Gnome (3.5e Race)

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Author: ThunderGod Cid (talk)
Date Created: January 7, 2010
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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These gnomes that are fey-descended short people instead of the bastard cousins of dwarves and halflings. Gnomes are surrounded by a supernatural mystique that allows them to perform admirably at most cool professions. Whether as an artisan and an inventor of miscellaneous knick-knacks (usually ones that only he can use so that no one can steal his secrets), a wizard who uses his abilities to enhance those inventions and dazzle people with awesome illusion magic, or a soldier who compensates for his small stature with technical ingenuity and tactical planning, gnomes are pretty versatile people.

Regardless of their vocation, gnomes are universally interested in combining magic and technology (whether it be for military purposes or not is largely dependent on the individual). This predisposition is largely rooted in a far-reaching fey ancestry—which grants them long lives and a natural affinity for illusions—and the need to build traps.


Most gnomes take a scientific approach to everything they do; every action of the gnomish people as a whole has been premeditated in just such a fashion. This is not to say the emotion is discouraged; it is just considered to be subservient to logic, more of a factor to be rationally incorporated into one’s decision. It’s a very consequentialist view of the world, but it tends to work for them.

Despite their super-rational outlook, gnomes always seek to improve their knowledge base by assimilating new information. They are innately curious, sometimes to a fault, and are highly interested in just about everything under the sun (so long as they haven’t seen it before).

Physical Description[edit]

Gnomes are small, only around three to three and a half feet tall on average and weighing approximately 45 to 50 pounds. Both males and females tend to be around the same height and weight. Although they do their best to be hygienic, being in the constant presence of alchemical solutions and other similarly bad-smelling things gives them a perpetual odor, often smelling of explosives that they use to blast away rock formations to create the caverns in which they live.

As inferred from above, gnomes are skinny by default. No one in a gnome city lives lavishly, and because they rely more on technology than hard labor to carve out their mines and settlements they have never become used to hard physical toil. Such a thing would be impractical in their view, since laborers would only require more food to sustain their workload.


Gnomes are frequently encountered outside of their cloistered homes; gnomish governors encourage outside exploration since it cuts down on the number of people they have to feed and often results in the addition of new trade routes discovered by travelers. Plus, it is exceedingly rare for any outsider to enter a gnomish city, even if their personal relationship with the gnomish people is a good one. This isn’t necessarily due to any trust issues on either side; it’s just that the gnomes do not build their homes to accommodate outsiders and it is exceedingly hard for a human-sized creature to move through a cavern with a ceiling less than 4 feet high. This is evident of the prevailing trend in all gnome activity: gnomes build to protect their own, not to increase the convenience of others.


Gnome alignment is highly variable, but rarely a popular topic of conversation since it is governed by the pseudo-sciences of philosophy and psychology. Even so, most gnomes are lawful in alignment, since their small stature and history have taught them that it pays to follow the rules and stick to your word if you don’t want to end up with your head on a pike.


Gnomes have few regions left to call their own; their general desire for solitude and inability to resist the transgressions of larger races have caused them to abandon all but the most unassailable positions. As such, they often occupy mountains, utilizing small crawling tunnels filled with narrow holes and traps as entrances that would deter even the most courageous of trespassers. Once inside their heavily defended compound, one can expect to find something of an underground metropolis, overpopulated and crowded, its resources strained daily with the task of accommodating such a large population.

Gnomish cities are very space-efficient, which often has the unintended result of long, narrow tunnels that snake and twist all the way through every nook and cranny of available earth.


Despite being related to fey, gnomes are rarely tree-hugging hippy freaks; only the select few that become druids live up to that stereotype. Most gnomes take a very pragmatic and scientific view of life and of worship; if it enhances their lives for the better, it’s worth doing. For this reason, and because there is no nihilistic debate in D&D over whether or not the gods exist, many have taken up the worship of deities. They tend to favor gods with dogmas that espouse the virtues of scientific research, while at the same time condoning faith and reverence.


Gnomes naturally speak Gnomish, a language that is actually quite phonetically similar to Common but is spoken with such rapidity that it sounds entirely different. When gnomes speak Common, they tend to speak with a similar pace, making it difficult for others to understand (of course, they are so used to it that they understand each other just fine).


Gnomes have the uncanny ability to recite a great deal of their entire family heritage, which is dictated by gnome culture to be the proper annunciation of one’s name (for example, a gnome may introduce himself as Namfoodle, son of Snoonose and Sorassa, and then continue backtracking to the limit of his extensive memory). This is complicated, however, by the fact that gnomes have family histories that, if written down on paper in fine print, would stretch for multiple pages. In the interest of honoring tradition but also of saving time, gnomes sometimes speak so quickly when reciting their full names that they are practically unintelligible. Since outsiders never have the patience to listen to such long-winded recitations, gnomes often truncate introductions to first name only when dealing with those of a different race.

Racial Traits[edit]

  • +2 Intelligence, -2 Constitution: Gnomes are a highly intellectual race with few weaknesses all around, but their small stature causes them to be lacking in intestinal fortitude.
  • Humanoid (Gnome)
  • Small size: As Small creatures, gnomes gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but they use smaller weapons than humans use, and their lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of Medium characters.
  • Gnome base land speed is 20 feet
  • Darkvision: A 120 can see in the dark up to 120 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and a Gnome can function just fine with no light at all.
  • Gnomes always have Appraise as a class skill regardless of their class. They also gain a +2 racial bonus on Appraise and Use Magic Device checks.
  • +2 bonus on saves against illusions
  • Gnomes are automatically proficient with the gnome hooked hammer or one exotic ranged weapon of their choice.
  • Automatic Languages: Common, Gnomish.
  • Bonus Languages: Abyssal, Celestial, Dwarven, Elven, Goblin, Kobold, Infernal, Terran, Undercommon.
  • Favored Class: Artificer (or Wizard until a good artificer class is created)
  • Effective Character Level: 1

Vital Statistics[edit]

Table: Gnome Random Starting Ages
Adulthood Simple Moderate Complex
40 years ++1d4 ++2d4 ++3d4
Table: Gnome Aging Effects
Middle Age1 Old2 Venerable3 Maximum Age
250 years 350 years 450 years ++5d10 years
  1. At middle age, −1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
Table: Gnome Random Height and Weight
Gender Base Height Height Modifier Base Weight Weight Modifier
Male 3' ++1d6 35 lb. × (+2d10) lb.
Female 3' ++1d6 35 lb. × (+2d10) lb.

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ThunderGod Cid's Homebrew (372 Articles)
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Facts about "Gnome (3.5e Race)"
AuthorThunderGod Cid +
Effective Character Level1 +
Favored ClassWizard +
Identifier3.5e Race +
Racial Ability Adjustments+2 Intelligence + and -2 Constitution +
Rated ByLeziad +
RatingRating Pending +
SubtypeGnome +
SummaryThese gnomes that are fey-descended short people instead of the bastard cousins of dwarves and halflings. +
TitleGnome +
TypeHumanoid +