Templore Campaign Setting
Gnomes are impetuous, jovial and full of stinging humor. They live for pranks, quips and witty gags, most often at another’s expense. On the surface this may appear to be all they are capable of, but look deeper and you’ll find that while gnomes often enjoy a good knee-slapper, they are actually very kind-hearted and merely seek to make light of and enjoy their lives.
Seemingly a mixture of dwarves and elves, they have a knack for nature magic and arcane magic in general, especially illusions, and prefer to live close to the earth, either in shallow burrows underground or cozy forest cottages. Most abandon warfare and fighting altogether, preferring to live in joke-filled harmony with other races. They love song, dance, strong drink and excessive living. A gnome is not considered healthy unless his belly is spilling over his belt and his beard is full of crumbs, with the corners of his mouth drawn to a smirk, cocked and ready to fire off his next witticism.
Gnomes are viewed as eccentric by other races, and they indeed have a flair for the dramatic and unusual, favoring bright flamboyant colors and styles for their dress and art.
Of all of the mortal races descended from fey who dwell in Templore, gnomes retain the closest of their blood ties.
If there is one thing consistent about gnome culture, it would be how inconsistent it tends to be. Gnomes don’t enjoy living in large cities or expanding their borders for the sake of growth or power. Rather, they prefer to live in small villages very close to the forests and hills which they adore, and occupy small, cozy homes typically built half or wholly underground. While individual communities of gnomes love to trade and communicate, this type of culture means that the each community is often dominated by the most eccentric and flamboyant of the locals, and with their erratic nature, means that most villages are wholly unique in their livelihoods.
Magic, especially of the nature variety, is an integral part of gnome life. Whereas their dwarven cousins may employ technology to better their communities, gnomes can do much the same and more with their magic.
Gnomes have an exceptional relationship with animals and natural creatures of all kinds, and live closer to them than even the elves. Most gnomes form bonds with the animals that live near them, and it’s entirely common for gnomes to live and travel with animals for no other reason than because they enjoy the company.
Gnome government, what little there is, is lax and very flexible, for better or worse. Since gnomes divide themselves by individual settlements instead of by kingdom, each village normally elects a leader (the election process differs, though usually it involves great feats of drinking, poetry, dancing, or something similar) who then decrees a few simple laws and leave sit up to his people to fill in the blanks. This tends to work much better in practice than one would imagine, due to the kind nature most gnomes have, they very rarely violate the laws or good will of their community.
The tavern is often the center of a gnome village, and is usually the largest and most extravagant of their architecture. In some larger or more prosperous settlements, theatres and fairgrounds are also very important facilities. In these places, gnomes gather every day at morning, noon, and evening to drink, feast, sing, dance, and tell riddles. It is considered uncouth for a gnome to eat or drink alone. Gnome holidays tend to last not for a day, but for several days at least, and it is not unusual for a gnome to never leave the tavern the entire time.
Marriage and relationships are held sacred by gnomes, who often seek partners for life. Marriage and childbirth are exceptionally treasured occasions, and the most prolific wedding ceremonies or birthday parties become legendary and are cited as holidays to be celebrated again and again for years to come.
War and conflict, especially between themselves, is something persistently avoided by gnomes. A compromise is always sought to fighting, when possible. When not possible, gnomes usually resort to trickery and charm to outwit their foes, so that they may escape unharmed. Much like dwarves, however, vile humanoids such as orcs, goblins and giants have made gnomes their enemies, and seek to kill and destroy any trace of gnomes they come across. When left with no other option, a gnome will fight to the death, though it may weigh heavily upon his conscious for untold time to come.
Gnomes do not dislike dwarves so much as they dislike their attitudes; to them, such a stubborn and serious folk need to loosen up and “roll with the punches.” They view elves with delight at their skill with magic and close proximity to nature, though they feel that they too should come out of their introverted ways before they can be true friends. Gnomes get along well in most cases with humans, as even though gnomes live much longer lives, their constantly fluctuating attitudes and love for pleasure-seeking typically lead to rich trade between them. Whereas most races regard halflings in the same way they would regard humans, gnomes feel that as stout folk they should seek to reclaim the culture they had before they were absorbed into humanity, and are often very outspoken about halfling rights.
Gnome adventurers tend to be a common sight, as their love for good living and constantly seeking new experiences leads them abroad. They most always tend towards the arcane or divine magic arts, especially bardic, druidic or illusionary, and most gnome spellcasters tend to be sorcerers who draw upon their innate magical power, as the study required from most wizards is considered too haughty and tedious. Rogues and rangers are almost as frequent. Fighters and barbarians are rare among gnomes, though in places where conflict is common and self-defense is a must, they do exist.
As Pathfinder core, minus their Hatred and Obsessive traits, plus Animal Affinity as a bonus feat and +2 bonus on Knowledge Nature and Knowledge Arcana checks. Gnomes also have the Alien Spirit trait.
Alien Spirit: When a spell that raises a creature from the dead, such as Raise Dead or True Resurrection is cast on a gnome, there is a 50% chance the spell will outright fail. Each time a gnome is raised from the dead, there is an added cumulative 25% chance for the spell to fail.