Quote Originally Posted by Reltzik View Post
Dwarves: Dwarves originally came from an "Inner Earth" type plane (a shell of rock around a central sun where gravity pushes them "outward"). They tunneled their way to other planes, and their migration tales are of journeys through deep and dark places. Originally they made regular pilgrimages back to their home plane (which they called Inner Light) as a religious obligation, but when that plane was overrun by savage invaders and the tunnels began spewing forth twisted beings, the dwarves went through a doctrinal change. Inner Light now refers to a spark of divinity, determination, and potential within each dwarf, and the pilgrimage is meditative in nature. I'm utterly flumoxed about what sort of gods to give them.
The first thing that jumped into my head when you said "meditative journey" was Buddhism. What if you had a god for every little thing (Hindu-esque pantheism), but they were all nothing more than ascended mortals? They aren't worshipped so much as they are deeply respected for their spiritual accomplishments.

Quote Originally Posted by Reltzik View Post
Gnomes: Gnomes believe in the elevation of the world through figurative levity, and its fall through figurative gravity. Seriousness and dourness sends the world spiraling towards destruction, and laughter and humor is the key to salvation. Gnomes have an animistic view of things -- rocks and mountains and animals have spirits, and the embodiment of an entire class of spirits is a god. Thus, Mountain might be a god and Fox might be a god, but these are assembled out of the combined spirits of all mountains and all foxes. Again, I don't have details, and suggestions for fables would be awesome. Their name for all the land (and the plane at large) is Old Stoneface, and the highest calling in their faith is to produce a joke or prank so amusing that Old Stone Faith (and thus the entire world) must laugh. Gnomes are closely connected to fey, and their trips (in multiple senses of the word) may have involved wild parties with satyrs and rings of mushrooms.
Haha, cool idea! Have you read Thus Spoke Zarathustra? Your ideas made me think of Nietzsche, and it might put an interesting spin on the idea of levity. Even if the gnomes are pranksters--and even if they approach it with a light heart--maybe they are deadly-serious about being lighthearted. Maybe being dour and gloomy is the only way to offend a gnome, and maybe there's the old saying "Happy gnomes and their pranks are harmless. Unhappy gnomes and their pranks are deadly."

To be fair, I didn't read the rest of these, but I like what I've read!