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View Full Version : How do YOU roleplay a gnome?



gkathellar
2011-07-24, 09:27 AM
Since this is apparently a thing now, I figure I'll put forward one that I personally have no idea how to answer. What do you see in gnomes? What characterizes them? Do they seriously have anything going on besides "fight giants and kobolds" and "irritating pranksters?"

Aidan305
2011-07-24, 09:33 AM
Depends on the setting and the place of gnomes in it.

Eldan
2011-07-24, 09:48 AM
Magic. Magic, magic, magic.

They have a natural talent with illusion. Half of them, at least, know a few spells from birth, inborn. Probably more. They are the most suited natural spellcaster races (I mean, really. What do elves really get that helps wizardry? Nothing).

Gnomes have no paintings or statues. They have marvellous illusions instead. They don't wear fine clothes, or jewellery. They disguise themselves with magic. Everything they wear, create, craft, is inherently practical, economic, reduced to the most efficient. Then outfitted with the most gaudy illusions possible. Why buy a hat, if you can wear a cap and make it look like a wide-brimmed hat with seven kinds of peacock and bird-of-paradise feathers on it?

Furthermore, gnomes lie. They love to hear themselves talking. They also love to hear other gnomes talking. Everything they say will be a story. The story doesn't have to be true, it has to be interesting. Gnomes don't expect other gnomes to say the truth, and they are always intrigued when they first find out that other races have a concept of "lying is bad".

Yora
2011-07-24, 10:02 AM
Like halflings without the silliness, and dwarves without the drunkeness.

Gnomes have a optimistic outlook and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, but generally don't overdo it and keep themselves in check. Conflict is best to be avoided, but they are no pushovers either. They don't let their pride get in their way and when a situation can resolved in an elegant way, that's much better than getting the other side angry.
Whenever possible, it's best to make a deal or use some bribery that makes the other side feel the winner in any given situation. When you're small and not as strong, it's best to be able to walk away and then arrange for a more permanent solution from the safety of your hideout. If you can't do something by yourself, there are always ways to get someone else to do it for you.

Honest Tiefling
2011-07-24, 11:25 AM
I prefer the Forgotten Realms rock gnomes. They are very industrious, and spend their youth finding a profession they love. Dwarves are better at ironwork, but gnomes are better at jewelry. Gnomes produce a lot of goods, and most members find joy in their work.

Instead of meddling with other people's affairs, they prefer to stay hidden and out of the way of trouble. Their lives are not filled with intrigue and grand adventures, but often the simple joy of working with their hands and enjoying the process of learning their craft.

What I am not so fond of is their inclination to party all of the time. Now, I don't mind the fact that they are partying, I mind the fact that there is no acknowledgement that their parties probably aren't lavishly decorated or catered. They don't trade very much and they value the process of creation over goods so I imagine they have nice things, but not enough to start wasting them constantly.

Also, their food is kinda bland, and they are famed for both making something that was bland and over salted at the same time.

Basically, humble miner-hobbits.

OverdrivePrime
2011-07-24, 11:51 AM
With a sword to my neck. :smalleek:

Ksheep
2011-07-24, 11:54 AM
"Heyguys,what'sup? Ooh,you'retalkingaboutgnomes! Ohgoody! Iknowallaboutthose, they'reum… um…" *makes a bardic knowledge roll* "kindashort… andtheylikeplayingpranksandstuff. Andtheyreallylikeshiniesandmakingnewstuffs. Oh,andalchemy,theylikethattoo. Anythingthatgoesboom,really.Evenifitisn'tsupposedt ogoboom. ESPECIALLYifitisn'tsupposedtogoboom."

Yeah, that more or less wraps up how I played a gnome. He was very energetic, always showing off. He was constantly trying to get on the parties good side by showing that he was some use to the party. Unfortunately, this was usually done by thinking up "useful" inventions and trying to make them. Half the time, said inventions would backfire and explode in the faces of whoever used them.

He also LOVED telling stories and music (that whole being a bard thing, I guess), and he was an ardent follower of Garl Glittergold, to the point where he made himself a golden suit and a pair of glasses out of a sapphire. He loved shiny things, and this love got him in trouble several times. He was also fairly cautious in combat, always staying near the back and tricking the enemy to avoid him. He also drove one of the party members insane (but that's a story for another time).

Lord Raziere
2011-07-24, 12:05 PM
As an often underestimated schemer pretending to be a singer to get close to people and manipulate them while staying unnoticed.

erikun
2011-07-24, 02:07 PM
I play my gnomes as curious, inventive, knowledgable, magic, nature-caring individuals. Not all will apply to the same character, of course, just like not all individuals are identical to the average of the group. However, gnomes are strongly connected to magic and to nature, and I play them to my curious and creative side.

Before anyone says "that just sounds like small elves", most elves are connected to singing and classical art rather than creating something new, and most treat nature as the family lapdog - something to be whipped into shape for their uses, not something to be a part of.

Anderlith
2011-07-24, 05:00 PM
They are make homes in hills & like to play practical jokes. Also they make fireballs:smallfrown:

Knaight
2011-07-24, 05:19 PM
The culture described in D&D seems to work very well for fundamentally nice, harmless seeming characters who are also very capable in whatever they do. Admittedly that is a bit of a rut, but then, I favor humans by an absurd extent anyways.

Archpaladin Zousha
2011-07-24, 06:12 PM
I like the depiction of them from Pathfinder:

Gnomes are literally foreigners in this world, who came here from the First World of the fey. Here, they need to constantly keep their minds occupied, or else they undergo a mystical aging process known as the Bleaching. The Bleaching is something most gnomes fear, for while some gnomes survive it, most either transform into evil spriggans or more likely just die. But while this DOES lead to the occasional "annoying prankster," more often it just manifests in a unique and unusual hobby.

For instance, one gnome's hobby was touching magical items. Not stealing. He'd just hold it for a little bit, and then return it to its owner. He also kept an extensive log of the magic items he'd touched, which caused many adventurers to come to him for information, and having him touch your magic items was considered sort of a good luck charm. He ended up meeting his end when he was told about a powerful magic item that he knew to be a sphere of annihilation. He knew what it was, and he knew that if he went after it, he'd likely never be seen again. But he knew that he'd built his life around this, and finally decided that if he was gonna die, this is how he'd wanna go out. He touched the sphere and vanished. No one knows if he's gone forever or if maybe, just maybe, some god or goddess saved him at the last minute and brought the grabby fellow to a pleasant afterlife.

Another gnome's hobby is based around a magic copper she has. She keeps it under her tongue to attune it to herself, allowing her to know where it is. Then she spends the coin and waits for it to change hands for a short period of time. After that, she pursues the coin, seeking to get it back. Not just any coin, but that particular copper. She'll bargain for it, steal it, do anything short of actually hurt someone (she's a nice person) to get it back. Then she places it under her tongue to renew her attunement to it, spends it again, and the hunt begins anew.

The idea isn't that gnomes are annoying, but more along the lines of obsessive. If they pick up on a method to stave off the Bleaching, they'll go to great lengths to use that method. The hobby, however, never hurts people. Gnomes are very big on this one rule because of the most important thing that they discovered in this world: consequence.

In the First World, gnomes didn't have to deal with the results of their actions because the moment was all there was. The results never lasted, and soon things effectively reset. Here, the results of one actions remain, sometimes long after the action happened. Gnomes realize this, and as a result, they are careful to consider the consequences of what they do. Staving off the Bleaching at the expense of another's life or happiness is wrong. That's why, while a gnome may play pranks, they're always harmless and they don't carry long-standing consequences. A gnome who steals something from you will likely give it back later. A gnome who makes you slip will just have you land in a pile of manure, forcing you to take a bath, instead of getting you to fall off a cliff and break a bone or two. They look wherever they can to find joy and life, unflagging optimists and everyone's second-best friend.

Akal Saris
2011-07-24, 06:39 PM
I've played two gnomes so far. One was in a world where Gnomish culture was similar to Japanese culture, so my character was ended up as a very taciturn, very serious ninja-type who rarely smiled or laughed, and always spoke very softly. My other character I just started, and I'm really not sure how to play her yet...she's supposed to be a fey-focused summoner, but the high int sorta makes her wild background a bit odd.

Xefas
2011-07-24, 06:51 PM
Gnomes have a bonus to Illusion spells. To my knowledge, no other race has a bonus to an entire arcane school. Then, they get a save bonus versus illusion, and most of them can cast an illusion spell without ever having learned about magic in the first place. Therefore, my only recourse is thus:

"What's you favorite thing about Illusions? Mine is Illusions."
"Gotta cast Illusions. Lady. Lady. Oo. Lady. Lets cast Illusions."
"Illusions. Casting Illusions. Can't wait."

"Dad, I'm casting an Illusion."
"I'm proud of you, son."
"Dad, are you an Illusion?"
"Yes, now we are an illusory family again."

"Better get some True Seeing. Wanna see me. Buy True Sight. Gonna be an Illusion."
"Come here, Illusions. I have a spell secret for you. No, closer."

"You have the most realistic Illusions."
"Why me, Illusion?"
"Because you are the best."
"I'm the best at Illusions?"
"Yes."

Mark Hall
2011-07-24, 07:05 PM
My conception of gnomes tends to be somewhat stereotypically Jewish... more secular style than the ultra-Orthodox or the like. Think Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Zero Mostel. They've got a sense of humor that sometimes runs to the absurd, aren't above poking fun at themselves, but also have a scholarly side. Gnomes tend to be more detail than big-picture oriented... that's why gnomes will work a vein that dwarves might abandon as being worked out, and why they tend to go into jewelry-making... they like the fiddly little detail work. They're more patient than dwarves, but more involved in the world than elves.

In combat, gnomes tend to take a defensive posture... find a corner or corridor where you can't be approached, then force others to come to you (preferably through a field of traps and a hail of crossbow fire). If you have to go out, do so with long-range crossbow shots and knives in the dark, not heavy armor and heavy casualties. Gnomes tend to be few... small families, late children, long childhoods... so they're very conscious of numbers.

Most gnomes are not very religious... they're not irreligious, but the specifics of large ceremonies tend to interest only a few. Instead, they've a personal relationship with their deities, many of whom are somewhere in their distant ancestry. There are no female gnomish deities, and "searching for the Ladies of the Golden Hills" is a frequently cited reason to adventure.

Zonugal
2011-07-24, 08:12 PM
In my campaign setting I replaced the standard gnome with the Whisper Gnome, so my fluff regarding them pertains the the bonuses/penalties that the Whisper Gnome carriers with them. It should also be noted that my campaign setting is basically D&D in space (effectively like Chronicles of Riddick or Star Wars).

Gnomes in my campaign setting have a heavy amount of inspiration from the Sicilian mafia within Italy (think Joe Pesci in Goodfellas or Casino). They're small, they know it and should you call attention to it as a point of weakness you'll end up with a garrote around you neck by next week. They love secrets, gossip and basically anything that allows non-physical leverage over another. In this way they are able to escape the bounds of their weaker, physical forms & gain power through their cunning intellects.

-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con and -2 Cha; The gnomes are physically weaker than other humanoids although that isn't to say they aren't a complete mess. They pack great fortitude and agility, important stats when poisoning & retreating are your cultural name-sakes. As to the charisma penalty they are quick to anger and tend to think everyone is out to get them.

Regarding their relation & situation to others in the campaign setting they operate their world as a place of neutrality where other races have established embassies & ambassadors. This has created two effects with the first being that the Gnomes are seen a suspicious but hopeful hosts to those in need, the second being that the most intrigue is seen in the bloodied streets of their world.

Archpaladin Zousha
2011-07-24, 11:50 PM
Most gnomes are not very religious... they're not irreligious, but the specifics of large ceremonies tend to interest only a few. Instead, they've a personal relationship with their deities, many of whom are somewhere in their distant ancestry. There are no female gnomish deities, and "searching for the Ladies of the Golden Hills" is a frequently cited reason to adventure.
Interesting. Pathfinder's the exact opposite. A gnome will most likely be one of the most enthusiastic followers a god can have, as religion is an effective means of staving off the Bleaching. When a gnome is religious, like with everything, they don't do it halfway. A gnome priest will know his deity's tenets to the absolute letter and spirit, and will likely have the minor rulings, apocryphal verses and heresies long burned committed to memory. They throw themselves headlong into whatever cause their god champions and their zeal can be both inspiring and unnerving.

Coidzor
2011-07-25, 12:07 AM
Well... I've come up with the general purpose backstory "Raised by Gnomes" for my characters to explain why they'd be willing to put up with exploding treasure chests, insane kobolds trapping everything like paranoid kobolds, and the general shenanigans and chicanery of heavily armed hobos breaking into homes and murdering people in the face for their stuff... Along with all of the other weirdness, like waking up the next day as a different race due to a bad run of luck and reincarnate...

That may shed some light on how I view proper gnome psychology.

gkathellar
2011-07-25, 09:09 AM
Think Woody Allen,

That is the best thing. You, sir, are the best thing.

Janus
2011-07-25, 11:34 AM
I've only roleplayed a gnome once (an NPC, specifically). I took a page out of Futurama's book:

"Good news, everyone! I've invented a device that will grant you access to the dungeon!"

Severus
2011-07-25, 01:31 PM
I prefer gnomes are RP'd as dead. Dead and dismembered. Unressurectably Dead and Dismembered. In a ditch.

Regularguy
2011-07-25, 02:02 PM
-2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con and -2 Cha; The gnomes are physically weaker than other humanoids although that isn't to say they aren't a complete mess. They pack great fortitude and agility, important stats when poisoning & retreating are your cultural name-sakes. As to the charisma penalty they are quick to anger and tend to think everyone is out to get them.

I cut my teeth in 2E, where gnomes were as strong and dextrous and charismatic as humans, but more intelligent than any of the core races. Slap that on top of picking up the "woodland creatures" language -- and choosing multiclass combinations nobody else could study while inventing stuff nobody else could engineer, and showing a knack for potions nobody else could match, and doing stuff with magic that nobody else could manage -- they were the brainy culture par excellence, only without the elf haughtiness.

Zonugal
2011-07-25, 02:11 PM
I cut my teeth in 2E, where gnomes were as strong and dextrous and charismatic as humans, but more intelligent than any of the core races. Slap that on top of picking up the "woodland creatures" language -- and choosing multiclass combinations nobody else could study while inventing stuff nobody else could engineer, and showing a knack for potions nobody else could match, and doing stuff with magic that nobody else could manage -- they were the brainy culture par excellence, only without the elf haughtiness.

I think I just liked some of the flavor of the Eberron Gnomes and wanted to mix it with a lot of cultural tropes from Italians. Basically Leonardo da Vinci as played by Joe Pesci.

Mark Hall
2011-07-25, 03:44 PM
Interesting. Pathfinder's the exact opposite. A gnome will most likely be one of the most enthusiastic followers a god can have, as religion is an effective means of staving off the Bleaching. When a gnome is religious, like with everything, they don't do it halfway. A gnome priest will know his deity's tenets to the absolute letter and spirit, and will likely have the minor rulings, apocryphal verses and heresies long burned committed to memory. They throw themselves headlong into whatever cause their god champions and their zeal can be both inspiring and unnerving.

What is the "Bleaching"? I've determined that I don't like Pathfinder (for a variety of mechanical reasons), but I am interested in neat world design.


That is the best thing. You, sir, are the best thing.

You know what? Even my ex-wife thinks so. It's probably true. :smallbiggrin:

Rockphed
2011-07-25, 07:21 PM
Magic. Magic, magic, magic.

This sums up my best and fullest experience with gnomes: the Tears of Blood campaign setting we used to make in these parts.

In short, gnomes were halflings who millenia ago got stuck in some caves and were forced to use magic to survive. After a while they developed both a inclination and ability to do magic most other races were incapable of. They also decided to worship the dracolich who taught them magic and loved them more than the kobold's who worshiped her as their ancestress. That and their air ships that probably run by burning people alive in magical fire while belching smoke that melts the lungs of the unprotected(thus allowing the gnomes to capture more people to burn alive in their air ships). Or maybe the engines just run on pure magical ore only recoverable from the deepest caverns. The gnomes surely won't tell you.

They are secretive, self-centered, goal-oriented people. They have no use for wealth except as a means to acquire mystical power. They fear nothing in the darkness, but shy from the light where their deeds will be seen by all. They claim to have no remorse for the evils committed in keeping their people alive, but frequently build shrines and altars with no explanation. They claim to be non-religious, but wear any charms they can find and never desecrate an altar, even especially those to the darkest gods.

LansXero
2011-07-25, 07:35 PM
With a sword to my neck. :smalleek:

Pretty much, in any game Ive run players HATE gnomes, dont want anything to do with gnomes, will spit and kill and destroy any gnome or gnome-lover or gnomish-thing they come across and will never take orders from gnome NPCs. Its got to the point where describing halflings makes them go "That sounds like a skinny dwarf or A TALL GNOME. KILL IT TO MAKE SURE".

Hiro Protagonest
2011-07-25, 07:45 PM
Pretty much, in any game Ive run players HATE gnomes, dont want anything to do with gnomes, will spit and kill and destroy any gnome or gnome-lover or gnomish-thing they come across and will never take orders from gnome NPCs. Its got to the point where describing halflings makes them go "That sounds like a skinny dwarf or A TALL GNOME. KILL IT TO MAKE SURE".

Then make a super optimized gnome illusionist. Half of the dungeon they're in is actually an illusion. That floor? Illusion, there's a spiked pit there. Then when they finally meet the dungeon boss, they're gonna be like "it's a gnome!" and attack. Good thing the gnome saw them coming due to the alarm spell he put up at the start of the dungeon, because he's layed on a bunch of buffs like protection from energy, stoneskin, and overland flight.

Obviously you've got to wait until theyre high enough level, because they'll always remember that TPK from a level appropriate encounter that wasn't a beholder or dragon.

Zaq
2011-07-25, 07:48 PM
I've always played gnomes as having a sort of subtle (background, if you will) pride to them. Yeah, they're kinda gregarious and willing to do a lot of stuff that'll really catch you off-guard, but the way I played them, they're not clowns, and if you really call them out in a moment of weakness, they'll be most offended at you (more so than most other races, that is).

That said, yeah, curiosity and a fascination with magic are definitely big gnome traits.

BadJuJu
2011-07-25, 08:06 PM
You see a small man in a terrifying mask. His goal is nothing short of total destruction of the gnomish race. He systematically wipes out the race through any means necessary. Sword play, sorcery, and powerful artifacts are his weapons. After he is finished, he removes his mask and plunges his knife into his breast. After all, the gnomes can't all be dead a's long a's he, the last of his race, dies.

The only good gnome is a dead gnome.

Hyudra
2011-07-25, 08:33 PM
I've found gnomes to be one of the trickiest races to roleplay. I think key points I'd strive to hit are:
Gnomes are problem solvers. How they go about this is generally dependent on their culture, but generally speaking, if they aren't the one who comes up with the solution to a problem, they want to be the one to put that solution into effect. If there isn't a problem that occupies their attention, they might feel compelled to go find one.
Gnomes have a great affinity for magic, particularly that magic which provides the most expedient and flexible means to solving problems... illusion. This affinity for magic is both in their blood (they are born with some ability to use magic) and in their culture.
A gnome would enjoy crafting things, but not the same way that a dwarf would. A dwarf is liable to find the most value in having one true work of art produced in their lifetime - a crown fit for kings, a hammer fit for a hero, etc. A gnome, by contrast, would find value in having the most versatile and varied collection of goods. For this reason, a gnome is liable to turn to stuff like alchemy and trapmaking. Even if a gnome character doesn't, this mentality colors how they appreciate and value the craft of others, and how they might go about accruing a collection of magic items.
Gnomes are perceptive in their own way, if not necessarily possessed of higher Wisdom. Note their strong sense of smell and acute hearing. I'd suggest that a gnome is always investigating in some fashion. This doesn't mean they're necessarily good at investigating. It just means they're always looking into things.
Gnomes have a connection to burrowing animals. When trying to find a starting point for a gnome's personality, think of a burrowing animal and use it. Think of a gnome with a particular affinity for rabbits
Carsys Soldshort is nervous, white of hair and pink of eye. She was born in a community perpetually under siege, where every gnome had to serve fifty years in the military before going on to the occupation of her choice. She chose the healing arts, hoping that it would keep her furthest from the battle. She's since branched into arcane magic for access to spells like Expedited Retreat and Dimension Door. or foxes Maraver Vulpinwheel is a fiery haired, red bearded gnome who was a bandit for a few decades, having left his father's potion making business for his own fortunes. He's a mean bastard with a gold tooth. His favored job was to catch his victims when they thought they were safest, such as a woodcutter and his family within their home, hours away from the nearest settlement, or an old man resting on a park bench in a busy city with regular guard patrols. With sheer intimidation, wit and bravado, he fleeces his victims and escapes before trouble can be brought down on his head.

Except he chose the wrong victim, an Archmage. He's been Geased to repay the money he stole a thousand times over before his hundredth birthday, except he doesn't know how much he really stole over time... he's been active for decades, so he's forced to guess at the amount he must pay. In the hopes of getting enough coin, he joined an adventuring guild.
Gnomes are all about the indirect and unexpected resolution. Their enemies are kobolds and giantish foes, where any direct opposition will only see the gnomes slaughtered. Their homes are hidden by illusion, they fight with guerrilla tactics, and the best victory is a battle they don't fight. Cast an illusion that makes it appear as though the sun is setting in the wrong direction, making an army march the wrong way? That's the stuff of legends, a thousand times better and more interesting to a gnome than a tooth and nail war fought over weeks, months or years, with enemy lines crashing into one another.

Sample characters:

Quirath Millsheart was the first daughter born to a bloodline of men, stretching back nearly three thousand years. Her father was the eldest son of an eldest son of an eldest son, and so on, and she was the one to break the chain. To put it simply, her family didn't know what to do with her, so she was raised as a soldier, and she spent the first one hundred and fifty years of her life defending her home valley from tribes of ogres with shortspear and wits, working alongside the gnomish men. When she was turned down for a promotion for captain for the fifth time, she tore her military insignia from her breast and threw it to the ground, striding off. She joined a fighter's guild in a human settlement, and from there, began adventuring with various groups.

Quirath is not the wisest or the most intelligent individual, so she is content to leave matters to others when it comes to long term plans. Where she thrives is in the heat of battle, making plans and shouting them to her allies as blood is drawn and the enemy is in their midst. She enjoys discussing tactics with others and raising hypothetical scenarios. What if a minotaur charged through this shop window right now? What would you do? We're barely strong enough to take on a troll... but what would be the best course of action if a pit fiend landed in the center of our camp? She has faint dreams of proving her worth - either with a grand sacrifice that would make a legend of her or by writing a treatise on tactics - but she's content to wait on the former, and she's restarted her book no less than fifteen times. When she's not adding notes to her book, she's carving miniature figures of common monsters and soldiers of various races of soft stone or wood - but these miniatures are often crafted with a dual purpose in mind (oftentimes they serve as caltrops or are given as gifts) and are destroyed or used up as fast as she makes them. Though small, Quirath is oftentimes hired by adventuring groups and patrons for her quick thinking and her willingness to use all tools available to her, be they the minor spell like abilities she has as a gnome, her skills with her spear or stealth.

Nerisdove, Thief of Wits was born a slave. Her mother was a slave, and once she was weaned from the breast, she never saw the woman again. Trained as an acrobat from the time she could walk, Nerisdove was one of the toys of a depraved merchant, among a half dozen sideshows he could bring into his dining halls to entertain his guests. For decades, she danced and played her part in the show, where an ogre (Makon - a dumber ogre than most) would juggle her and another slave (Penny - a human child), while they did flips and stunts in mid-air. For decades, she waited and watched for an opportunity to escape with the other two slaves, who she had grown rather close to.

Nerisdove came to a realization when she was thirty years old, as she recognized a guest she had performed for decades ago. He was old, after just thirty years, but her human master and owner - as well as her fellow slaves Makon and Penny - were not aging at all. Careful and patient investigation revealed that Nerisdove's master had access to what he called 'Z'Fontanna Tiososia', crudely translating into the 'Salmon Fountain'. Anyone who drank of it would age backwards until they drank from the pool a second time. In this way, her master kept his age, as well as the ages of his most prized slaves and closest business confidants within a certain span. Nerisdove made a slight modification to her act. Where she would disappear into the rafters while letting a dancing lights version of herself hit the ground and shatter into a thousand motes of light - she took the time to drop trickles of the fountain's water into her lord guest's dishes and chalices when they were most distracted. Believing that his guests had somehow stolen from his fountain, her master grew paranoid and reclusive. With a decade's time and patience, Nerisdove saw his contacts, connections and sanity wither away, then slipped free of her confinement and killed him in his sleep, confident that nobody cared enough to look too far into his death.

She works as an assassin now, using her agility and cunning to make a name for herself. With the coin she earns, she cares for Makon and Penny, who remain together in an apartment she pays for. While Nerisdove is more lawful than most gnomes, patient enough to remain still for eight or twelve hours, she does expresses an eerie sort of creativity in her work. The technical term for her type of work is a 'gaslighter', and involves using her racial magics, stealth, magic items and days of time to drive her targets mad before killing them. Every victim - and even those she crosses paths with on the street - is a puzzle to her. Where is the chink in their mental rectitude? What is their weakness? For some, breaking their mind is as simple moving their possessions about their residence while they are away, hiding things and replacing them shortly after. For others, it is adjusting the height of their furniture, waking them every time they begin to drift asleep, a ghost sound repeating a phrase, or wounds having appeared on their flesh while they slept. She is quietly proud of her work, though she almost never receives praise for it, but her own weakness (aside from her affection for Penny and Makon) is the devastation and crumbling self confidence she experiences when she fails to take care of a target - mind and body - in a creative and truly artistic manner. Should someone discover her ruse, fail to go mad or escape her knife, she becomes despondent and introspective, listless and disinclined to eat. This usually ends with an epiphany of sorts, whereupon she utterly destroys her previously elusive target.

LansXero
2011-07-25, 10:14 PM
Then make a super optimized gnome illusionist. Half of the dungeon they're in is actually an illusion. That floor? Illusion, there's a spiked pit there. Then when they finally meet the dungeon boss, they're gonna be like "it's a gnome!" and attack. Good thing the gnome saw them coming due to the alarm spell he put up at the start of the dungeon, because he's layed on a bunch of buffs like protection from energy, stoneskin, and overland flight.

Obviously you've got to wait until theyre high enough level, because they'll always remember that TPK from a level appropriate encounter that wasn't a beholder or dragon.

Gnome-owning them would just make them hate gnomes even more though, but I can use several of the ideas from this thread to flesh out more gnome antagonists.

Ramien
2011-07-25, 10:18 PM
... As monsters. Rawr.

Hiro Protagonest
2011-07-25, 10:28 PM
... As monsters. Rawr.

I'm a monster! Rawr!
I have a lair! Do you have a lair? I have a lair!
And then I have a minion! *holds up badger* Say hello, Francis! Who's my minion? You're my minion! Who's my minion? You're my minion!

Then when PHBII comes out...

I'm a bawbarian, rawr!
I got this axe! *holds up wooden axe* See my axe? My mom made it for me!
Did you know adventurers have parties? I. Love. Parties!

Masaioh
2011-07-25, 10:31 PM
Nobody expects the Gnomish Inquisition!

In my setting, I wanted all of the standard fantasy races to be distinct from their incarnations in basically every other setting out there. I decided to make Gnomes into paranoid racial supremacist mobsters, sort of like a mix between the KKK and the Russian Mafiya. Oh, and they have silly Dutch accents and tend to wear wooden clogs.

Archpaladin Zousha
2011-07-26, 12:09 AM
What is the "Bleaching"? I've determined that I don't like Pathfinder (for a variety of mechanical reasons), but I am interested in neat world design.

Taken from Gnomes of Golarion:

The more they allow the years to weigh them down, and the less engaged they become in the world, the less vibrant gnomes become. Their colors fade, representing their slow detachment from the Material Plane, until their skin and hair is completely white. Every year that gnomes fail to find new and exciting experiences, the process accelerates: they become more depressed and withdrawn, and their dulled curiosity leads to them having less desire to seek out new experiences, which leads inexorably to further bleaching. The Bleaching turns the world into a single, unbelievably bland experience, seemingly exhausted of all its possibilities, and succumbing to this horror is often a gnome's greatest fear. The Bleaching is almost always fatal--gnomes eventually become so bored that even breathing and circulating blood seem burdens too great to bear. While gnomes often sympathize with those suffering from the Bleaching, there is a palpable cultural fear surrounding such individuals, and it is common for all but immediate family to shun them. Moreover, many sufferers are greeted with a certain amount of blame from their communities, as the affliction--though horrifying--is generally preventable, and those gnomes who don't take the time to save themselves from certain death are considered to be "doing it to themselves." Those rare few who survive the affliction's ravages and come out the other side as the dreamy, pale beings known as bleachlings are treated with even greater distrust, as in the mind of most gnomes, they've survived something that no one should--bleachlings are not exactly back from the grave, but they're eerie to say the least.

Trekkin
2011-07-26, 12:44 AM
I play them as paranoid to the nines, just waiting for someone to decide to play Gnomeball. Magical items, especially healing potions, are surreptitiously acquired and hidden, with mundane replicas hidden slightly less skillfully; mundane items like rope are always readily to hand. For 3.5, I normally play them as factotums, because I'm out to make them the perfect Nethack player: as soon as someone decides to be anti-gnome, they can get out of there via some MacGuyvering and luck. I also make them wary of interacting with living beings; rather than pay a ferryman, they'll make their own ferry. They sleep surrounded by wards and as many golems as they can scrounge up, and their waking moments are spent with their back to the wall and a loaded crossbow in their hand, cynical enough to use it with very little provocation; when everyone else is asleep, the magical deadman switches get installed on all the gear.

I should mention that my group and DM playfully detest gnomes.

panaikhan
2011-07-26, 07:43 AM
I'm having immense fun with my Gnomish Alchemist :smallsmile:
Having taken the Pyromaniac substitution (no wussy illusions for me) she has an obsession with fire.
At camp, she will sit and watch the flames from her everburning torch, commenting on the beauty of their dancing and the wonderful colours.
Her first suggestion to almost any problem is "Will setting fire to it help?"
She dresses in reds, oranges and yellows.

hamishspence
2011-07-26, 07:49 AM
I'm surprised no-one's suggested "making regular gnomic utterances".

:smallamused:

Coidzor
2011-07-27, 12:45 AM
One interpretation that I've seen touched upon in part, but never quite fully in practice, has been something along these lines which I feel best exemplifies the essence du gnome.

The Leshy from Quest For Glory 4: Shadows of Darkness. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIKN1pcEl4U&NR#t=3m30s)

Thistlefrost
2017-09-30, 11:58 PM
I play gnomes similarly to how I play half-orcs: against type.

The gnomes I like are more serious, dynamic, and even intense; much moreso than other players likely expect. They are not funny, overly chummy, or talkative. They are not tinkerers or clowns. But then in town or among others races who 'expect' a certain something from gnomes, the gnomes I play put on an act seeming suddenly affable and happy. The 'act' of suddenly smiling and seeming buffoonish, silly, or overly chummy turns everything the players think they know about gnomes on its head, as though everything they've known about gnomes was always a lie and an illusion, and there is sharp steel hidden underneath. Unfortunately it takes a bit of buy-in with the GM to do well who may have strong opinions about what gnomes are and are not.

Let me give you an example:

I've written a character that has the stated goal of
1. "Learning as much about magic as possible."
2. "Getting enough money together to build a tavern, and call it 'Lakhi's Laughing Song,'"
3. "Finding the men who hurt Lakhi and getting her revenge,"

He won't talk about Lakhi, or who she was to him other than to say that "She was beautiful and she sang like a dream, but that was before..." and nothing else.

Apart from the seriousness aspect, I also try to give my characters gravitas. They aren't small people in a big world. Not when I play them, anyway. When I play them, you're an unwieldy giant in a gnome sized world. To get that across I have to project a certain level of comfort with things that are bigger than gnome-sized, and be willing to give a chilling threat from time to time to various NPCs.

Just a quick note because I mentioned it above; Half-Orcs I play as wise and world-weary survivors of prejudice, often using my better stats to make certain they are by no means stupid.

hymer
2017-10-01, 03:30 AM
Gnomes are intelligent and vicious. They enjoy the suffering of others, sometimes in small ways, but if possible in big ways. As such, they do small cruelties and laugh when people are offended, brushing things off by calling their offensive behaviour 'pranks' or 'practical jokes'. Or they do major cruelties and hide behind the letter of the law, which they study to protect themselves in such situations.
They like complicated things like alchemy and advanced mechanisms, and combining these things with watching someone get hurt or hurt themselves is great fun. The most prominent gnome in my campaigns at this time is an alchemist, who pays people to be guinea pigs, and gets both professional and personal satisfaction from detailing the results of his concoctions on desperate, stupid, or ill-informed people.

Coidzor
2017-10-01, 04:01 PM
I suppose if I had to do it today, as opposed to around 6 years ago, I'd play them are fairly excitable and curious.

a_flemish_guy
2017-10-01, 05:19 PM
like the humans venerate wealth, the dwarves venerate honor and the drow venerate power the gnomes venerate amusement

there's no greater faux pas in gnomish society then to be boring

a dragonslayer who killed it in mundane fashion or is simply bad at telling the tale is less respected then someone who tells a unique dragonslaying story but hasn't even seen a dragon

this also makes gnomes naturally curious and unpredictable and averse to sticking to what's tried and true and instead try to experience something new every time

gnomes will protest when a mundane plan is put on the table in favour of something excentric but will compromise if they can just have something to turn into an interesting tale back home

my main gnomish example is jan jansen from baldurs gate 2

Pugwampy
2017-10-01, 05:25 PM
Gnomes are fairy folk .

Watch some winx club and tinkerbell movies to get a basic idea . My little pony movies should help too .

I never played gnome heroes but my fave Dm did and well he liked to try and talk to any animal he came across . Seems like a reasonable gnomish habit .

Mark Hall
2017-10-02, 11:39 AM
Gnome, Gnome on the Range
Through paths both twisted and strange
The thread has come back
In a nostalgia attack
It's time in the open has waned!