Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen, We dar n’t go a-hunting, for fear of little men; Wee folk, good folk, Trooping all together; Green jacket, red cap, and white owl’s feather.
The Fairies by William Allingham
- +1 Mobility
- +1 Awareness
- -1 Persistence
- -1 Ability
- Dwarf: “Gnomes are ineffective. How can they work so hard and have so little to show for at the end of the day?”
- Elf: “Gnomes are erratic. Their pursuit of truth is slapdash at best.”
- Giant: “Gnomes are sincere. All their tinkering sometimes produces something useful.”
- Gnome: “Gnomes are the best because we can build anything. We promise it’ll work at least once before it blows up.”
- Goblin: “Gnomes are delightful. Their stuff only needs to work once in order to get someone to buy it”
- Halfling: “Gnomes are selfish. They don’t like to share their toys or play any games but their own.”
- Human: “Gnomes are inconsistent. They provide great value if they can stay on task, deliver on time, and not blow everything up.”
- Orc: “Gnomes are useless! Nothing they make has any practical application at all.“
- Troll: “Gnomes are clueless. They have no idea of the value of the inventions they make. Which is a good thing…”
Gnomes are inquisitive creatures who enjoy playing with gadgets and getting their hands dirty. Gnomes want to know how everything works and are not afraid to take it apart in order to find out. Once their curiosity has been sated, however, they will usually forget to put it back together again.
Gnomes prefer to act first and analyze later. They are perfectly content taking a half-formed idea and implementing it right away. As far as they are concerned, when the prototype blows up, it provides more information to do better next time.
In social gatherings, gnomes will either be completely distracted on a problem or chattering enthusiastically, although not on the same topic as the rest of the group. Gnomes make an energetic and playful addition to any party.
Gnomes have a natural aptitude for gadgets and technology. They enjoy discovering what makes things tick and using that knowledge to solve problems. Gnomes tend to be drawn to vocations that have heavy technical or mechanical components. They enjoy learning by doing, instead of spending hours in boring theoretical study.
Gnomes are mischievous by nature. Their keen minds and innate playfulness makes them natural pranksters who enjoy trying to “cheer up” those they have identified as being dour. This usually light-hearted attribute can take a sinister turn, though, if the gnome feels insulted or threatened. In such cases, gnomes can dismantle or booby-trap tools and systems in order to undermine their perceived ‘oppressor.’
3. Inquisitive Quest for Quantifiable and Qualitative Equations
Gnomes are constantly pursuing the answer to the ultimate question, “Why?” They desire to know not only how everything works, but also it’s motivation and purpose. To that end, gnomes are constantly dreaming up new theories about how and why things work. Their equations tend to be elaborate and complicated as they try to take into account every possible subtlety and variation. Gnomes often infuriate others with their constant questions and clarifications; gnomes simply consider this as being thorough.
4. Prototypical Tinker
Gnomes use a lot of resources to create their never ending supply of prototypes and models. They never consider efficiency in their projects. On the up side, gnomes have developed a talent for building working models out of scraps, duct tape, and bailing wire to prove their theories. Of course, these “scrape-o-types” are not terribly reliable and tend to break or blow up at inopportune moments.
5. Un-gnome Speech
Gnomes are great at talking, but no ever knows about what… Gnomes pack tons of information into complex and quickly-delivered sentences. Jargon, mixed metaphors, rabbit trails and partial ideas are common in gnomish communication. Why use five words when 500 provide so much more information?
1. Orderly Chaos
Stacks of documents and workshop clutter are the true signs of a gnome. Partially completed formulas scribbled on scraps of paper and broken gizmos and whats-its help spark gnomish creativity. Despite this chaos, gnomes always seem to be able to find what they need. Gnomes even claim that this type of organization helps them combine concepts in new and unexpected ways.
Gnomes gather in small pods of about 3-7 to discuss their ideas and work on projects. With this select group they will develop a language all their own with which to communicate more effectively. It is with these close colleagues that they share their secrets and revolutionary ideas.
When sharing their ideas, gnomes like to invite others into their workshops to demonstrate core concepts. They disdain lecture formats, preferring instead to have the group participate in exercises or games that explore the point the gnome intends to make. These hands-on exercises can be dangerous, and may even risk the life and limb of the participants. Gnomes consider this a necessary risk of imparting true knowledge.
Gnomes do not have the same sense of time the other races do. Gnomes are known to lose hours, days, or even weeks to a project and have no idea that they did so. If questioned, gnomes cannot explain what they were doing during all that time other than simply exploring the idea. Consequently, gnomes are often late to appointments and tend to work past project deadlines.
5. Abstracted Engagement
Gnomes have a hard time focusing on the present or keeping pace with conversations. Their minds are constantly working on problems they left half-finished in their workshops. Thus, gnomes may respond long after the conversation has shifted to another topic, or they may interject some little known fact that doesn’t relate to the current situation. When the gnome has the stage, they will likely jump from topic to topic and offer others little chance to get a word in edgewise.
One of the biggest challenges with dealing with a gnome is having any idea what she is talking about. The gnomish habit of constant subject-hopping, jargon-using, and metaphor-mixing makes it difficult for others to understand her. Spend a lot of time asking the gnome what SHE means when she uses a particular word; don’t assume it is the dictionary’s definition.
2. Bomb Shelter
Gnomes need a place to work that is well supplied and fortified. Their projects will likely self-destruct many times before becoming stable enough for non-gnomes to handle. Since this process is expensive, keep a firm hand on the budget when gnomes ask for something. Don’t worry about saying no, as gnomes are perfectly happy using scraps for their new projects.
3. Punch-card Check Up
Gnomes need frequent check-ups and progress reports on their work; otherwise, they may completely disappear into their workshops and never come out. Though they are more interested in application than theory, this doesn’t mean gnomes are concerned with practicality. Inspect the work frequently and give lots of feedback if you want to make sure the final product does what it was originally supposed to do.
4. Gnomish Guild
Gnomes are social people, and if they don’t have people with whom they can discuss things in their own language, they will try with pull in everyone around them. Make sure to surround gnomes with people who enjoy discussing such things. The never ending stream of questions and ideas are likely to drive anyone else crazy.
Gnomes thrive on continual exploration. Make sure to keep gnomes surrounded by lots of tools, toys, and supplies to keep them busy. If they get bored or don’t feel appreciated for some reason, gnomes will throw tantrums and meddle with other people’s productivity to blow off steam.