Gnomes are one of the smallest of the common races, generally standing just over 3 feet in height. Despite their small frames, however, gnomes are extremely resilient, and not as weak as many of their foes assume. Though their diminutive stature reduces their ability to move quickly, gnomes often train to take advantage of their size, especially when fighting foes much larger than themselves. The coloration of gnomes varies so wildly that many outsiders assume gnomes commonly use dyes and illusions to change their skin and hair tones. While gnomes are certainly not above cosmetic enhancement (and may wish to change their appearance just to see how outlandish they can look), their natural hues truly range over a rainbow of coloration. Their hair tends toward vibrant colors such as the fiery orange of autumn leaves, the verdant green of forests at springtime, or the deep reds and purples of wildflowers in bloom. Similarly, their flesh tones range from earthy browns to floral pinks, and gnomes with black, pastel blue, or even green skin are not unknown. Gnomes’ coloration has little regard for heredity, with the color of a gnome’s parents and other kin having no apparent bearing on the gnome’s appearance. Gnomes possess highly mutable facial characteristics, and their proportions often don’t match the norm of other humanoid races. Many have overly large mouths and eyes, an effect which can be both disturbing and stunning, depending on the individual. Others may have extremely small features spread over an otherwise blank expanse of face, or may mix shockingly large eyes with a tiny, pursed mouth and a pert button of a nose. Gnomes rarely take pride in or show embarrassment about their features, but members of other races often fixate on a gnome’s most prominent feature and attempt to use it as the focus of insults or endearments.
Unlike most races, gnomes do not generally organize themselves within classic societal structures. Gnome cities are unusual and gnome kingdoms almost unknown. Further, gnomes have no particular tendency to gather in specific neighborhoods even when a large number of them live among other races.Whimsical creatures at heart, they typically travel alone or with temporary companions, ever seeking new and more exciting experiences. They rarely form enduring relationships among themselves or with members of other races, instead pursuing crafts, professions, or collections with a passion that borders on zealotry. If a gnome does settle in an area or stay with a group for a longer period, it is almost always the result of some benefit that area gives to a vocation or obsession to which the gnome had dedicated himself. Despite their extremely varied backgrounds and lack of a unifying homeland, gnomes do possess some common cultural traits. Male gnomes have a strange fondness for unusual hats and headgear, often wearing the most expensive and ostentatious head-covering they can afford (and that their chosen careers will allow them to wear without causing problems). Females rarely cover their heads, but proudly wear elaborate and eccentric hairstyles that often include intricate jeweled combs and headpieces.
Gnomes who guard their hidden enclaves within dark tunnels and caverns deep under the earth, svirfneblin are as serious as their surface cousins are whimsical. They are resistant to the magic of the foul creatures that share their subterranean environs, and wield powerful protective magic.
Serious creatures with slate-gray skin, these gnomes vary greatly from their surface cousins by choosing to live in the shadowy depths. Like the duergar, svirfneblin don’t grow hair on their heads, though they do have the potential to grow white or silvery beards.
Although gnomes in general lack any kind of cohesive history, deep gnomes bring this cultural idiosyncrasy to its greatest extremes. Deep gnomes lack not only a tradition of keeping records or writing biographies, but they also have never developed a calendar or a method by which to track the passing of time as the drow have. To a deep gnome the very concept of day or night is foreign, having never seen the light of the sun or the stars of a night sky. The svirfneblin are a very wary people attuned to the stone and earth on a level similar to a Dwarf. They have a love for gems and a deep hatred for the duergar, but even that holds no ground to the hate they hold for a drow Elf. The svirfneblin and the drow are mortal enemies, and will be quick to strike at one another, though while the drow may strike without mercy and kill every svirfneblin about, the deep gnomes may hold it in them to try and show mercy, offering a swift death to any captured dark elves.
Fascinated by the power of magma and living in vast caverns beneath active volcanoes, lava gnomes are considered hot-tempered and dangerously unstable even by other gnomes.
When the gnomes first traveled to the mortal realm from the distant land of the fey, some found the Material Plane so strange and terrifying that they lost their sense of joy. Seeing only the threats of the new world but none of its wonders, they grimly resolved to survive no matter the cost. Their innate magic responded to this twisted goal by reshaping them in mind and body over the course of many generations, transforming them into the creatures known as spriggans. Love, happiness, and beauty have no meaning for these poor souls, so they lead lives of violence and malice. The best they can manage in place of positive emotions is a muted satisfaction when they make another suffer. Spriggans resemble ugly gnomes with an alien, feral appearance. Many are gaunt and haggard. When magically enlarged, they look the same except much more hale and muscular
Moodier, less forgiving, and often crueler than other gnomes, dread gnomes trace their heritage to the darker, more bloodthirsty lines of fey. Though not all dread gnomes are evil, they all find humor in watching others suffer, and have little use for the bright colors and joyful pursuits of their more cheerful cousins