From Dragon Eye Atlas
Revision as of 09:05, 3 December 2019 by Tom
A race much younger than elves and dwarves, gnomes are small like dwarves, but without the heavy physique. They more resemble small humans, with a height of about 1 m to 120 cm. They commonly have colourful hair, mostly red or blonde but also black or a bright chestnut brown. Almost all of them have green eyes, though sometimes, especially in the north, it goes towards blue.
Personality and Society
Gnomes are famously curious and it can go both ways with them - as tinkerers and alchemists or as thieves and even burglars, at least as long as their short height is not a hindrance. They can pick locks well, but climbing is not among the strong points of a gnome.
The history of the race is shrouded in mystery. They used to have their own kingdom, but that was a long, long time ago and these days, gnomes live entirely within both human and dwarf cities and towns. They are only rarely found in the countryside.
While adapted to and accepted in most places, gnomes have also retained their own culture and habits. One of the strongest is the tribal coherence. The extended family of a gnome is treasured and gnomes form tightly-knit circles wherever they live. It is very rare for a gnome in trouble to not be able to get support from virtually every other gnome who so much as shared a drink with him once. These families overlap within the same city or town, with a gnome often belonging to two, three or more of them due to marriages and other connections. So gnome society in a town will be made up of a few, in cities of a few dozen different extended families, all connected through several individuals.
As far as culture goes, gnomes are extremely flexible and adapt to whatever place they live in. Most gnomes participate with great pleasure in the festivities and traditions of humans or dwarves, even of elves if they have a chance. Sometimes, they are more excited about them than the actual people whose traditions they copy. This has added greatly to the image of gnomes as being generally merry and joyful creatures, sometimes overdoing it.
Underneath all that, however, gnomes do also have their own culture that they keep hidden from the other races, though not to the point of secrecy - they just keep it among themselves and don’t share unless explicitly asked to.
The main part of the pure gnomish culture is stories of old. Gnomes are suckers for legends and myths, and they keep a vast repository of such in mainly oral tradition, told around the dinner table and at the fireplaces. Those stories are not about the heroes and kings of the other races, but about the minor roles that gnomes have played in history. Quite often, they fill the gaps in the larger legends. That mythical sword lost for three centuries? There is a gnomish legend about it telling about how it was kept not only safe but also well-maintained for five generations by a family of gnomes. How else would it have been found much later in still such good condition?
Gnomes in general are not people of the great things or the great stories, but of the small things and the details that are often overlooked, but are so important to the big picture. It is one of the reasons they make great tinkerers, inventors and alchemists - not just that they have small, deft fingers, but also that they pay attention to the most minute detail.