Gnomes and dwarves are said to have come from the same place of Tellest. While dwarves came from underground hundreds if not thousands of years before, gnomes have only just recently broken to the surface of the planet, and even then, did not have to compete with the harsh journey that the dwarves did.
The gnomes have colonized all the areas of Tellest that could be linked by the underdepths.
Gnomes share similarities to both dwarves and humans. They are smaller than either, standing between three and three-and-a-half feet tall, but their bodies are not stocky like the dwarves. By most accounts, they just look like small humans. The reason for their lack of height has been described in a similar fashion as the dwarves. As they traveled through the depths of the planet, their bodies were compressed from the pressure, making them appear smaller. Because of the molten metal that they supposedly were created from, they were not forced to dig or labor to escape the core, thus, they did not build any immense muscle mass like the dwarves.
Gnomes wear their hair and facial hair like humans and dwarves as well. Their moustaches and beards hold the same proportional length as the dwarves, but they are more meticulously groomed. Their hair is also neat, more like a human’s than a dwarf’s. The gnomes’ choice of grooming is a purely aesthetic choice.
A gnome’s skin tone carries over a variety of colors, just like a human. Some gnomes are said to embody the brightness of winter snows, while others are said to disappear during the night.
In stories, a gnome’s voice is usually high pitched, to the point where it seems awkward. In reality, a gnome carries the same vocal tones as most humans, although they are usually fraught with a more inquisitive or jovial connotation.
Clothing and Adornment
Because gnomes are small and somewhat weaker, compared to the larger races of Tellest, it is odd to find them wearing anything heavier than cloth or leather. While it is rare to see a gnome fit to be a warrior, they do exist, and they burden themselves with metal, surprising those they encounter.
Relations to Other Races
Gnomes share similarities with dwarves and humans. The most notable features that they share with dwarves are their larger noses and ears, and their smaller eyes. Their shape, though smaller, is more akin to humans.
When the races of Tellest think about gnomes, they generally think of their curiosity first. Gnomes are inquisitive to a fault, sometimes causing them great harm. They experiment with things a little too carelessly sometimes, not thinking of all the possible outcomes of their endeavors.
The next most apparent quality of a gnome is their kindness. It has been said that gnomes cannot feel anger. This is supposedly a result of their journey from the heated core of Tellest. As they cooled, anger left their bodies, and they were never able to retrieve it again.
Going hand in hand with their kindness is their compassion. A gnome will go of their way to help another, even if it means sacrificing something for them. Many of the strides that the race makes are to try and make life easier for everyone.
Gnomes are meant to be a very affectionate race. The males and the females work cooperatively, neither taking a specific task based on gender. This fairness helps the partners approach every day activities with more ability, as well as more intelligence. Males and females are both appreciative of each other, and consider each other equals.
Like the dwarves, gnomes are monogamous. When a mate passes away, another is never searched out.
Family and Society
Because gnomes are small, space is not usually an issue. They live together in permanence, never trekking too far from home. As a family, the gnomes are more powerful than the individual, and they rely on each other for strengths.
Gnomes have large cities underground, and usually follow a council to determine what is best for the race. The council is constantly changing, the gnomes voting on new members who bring their own strengths to the people.
Behavior toward Other Races
Gnomes rely heavily on humans and dwarves for their foodstuffs, often offering metal compounds or finely crafted jewelry in return. This trade connection between the three races has fashioned a long lasting friendship as well. Gnomes generally do not try to bargain for their wares, taking what they are offered at face value. Over time, this honest relationship helped to make things fair, as the other races felt it was only fair to treat the gnomes with respect and decency.
Gnomes have also made fast friends of the orcs and the minotaur, the benevolent nature of the diminutive race being a pleasant diversion to the races thought to be more aggressive.
The gnomes have been recently been connected to the kobolds as well, offering their services where they are desired.
The only races that the gnomes do not openly deal with are the kaja and the elves, both of which are incredibly difficult to come into contact with under anything other than their own accord.
Gnomes are able to learn all the languages of Tellest fairly well. Their intelligence aids them in translation, and they are learned in common, gnomish, dwarvish and elven.
It is difficult to read what a gnome writes, not only because they write small, but also because they jump between so many different languages.
Gnomes believe in the same gods as the humans, however they only pray to two. Galvan, the blacksmith of the gods, and Obsam, the god of crafts are revered among the gnomes. The gnomes also represent Galvan and Obsam as gnomes in all the art and sculptures that feature them.
It is said that the gnomes were created from an even deeper place within Tellest than the dwarves, one brimming with molten metal. The gnomes were engulfed in the liquid metal, which gave them the power to trudge through the earthen tombs around them. Once they broke free of the inner core of Tellest, they were able to navigate the tunnels that the dwarves had carved out millennia before. As they walked, they cooled, and their bodies eventually became more organic, like that of their allies.
Myths and Legends
The gnomes have a powerful curiosity of everything. Exploration is at the forefront of this curiosity. Despite the small stature of the race, they take large bounds to reach anywhere on Tellest that they can. They have traveled to the tops of mountains and to the furthest accessible area of the underdepths. Some have even made mention of gnomes who have tried to reach the bottom of the seas.
Gnomish technology is at the forefront of Tellest’s visible changes. Though the gnomes have been lax to share in their advances thus far, they do utilize it for their own purposes. They use metal to brace their carved cities, and have many devices that are operated by steam. Because their cities can be so big, and they are so undersized, they use carts to travel to and fro.
Their craftsmanship is also said to be uncanny, the race being able to make nearly any compound as tolerable as dwarven mythril.
Gnomes are as curious with magic as they are with technology. It is almost impossible to find a school of magic that gnomes have not dabbled in.
The arcane schools of magic are the ones that most gnomes are learned in. They usually do not apply their spells to combat, but rather to the aid of normal tasks and every day labor.
Gnomes also employ priests, and it is these gnomes who take the extra step in worshiping other gods to help aid their holy magic. Gnomish paladins were attempted to be trained at one point, but a lack of focus caused that idea to fall through.
Nature magic is something that the gnomes perform as well, but to a much lesser extent. Shamanism and geomancy are both fundamental types of nature magic that the gnomes employ, but every now and then, a gnomish druid is found as well.
Gnomes are also the only race on Tellest that is not seen as evil when they use dark magics such as necromancy or demonic magics. It is just their inquisitive nature, and never used for malevolence.
Gnomes generally do not enter battle. If they do, it is unexpected, and they will most likely try to escape. If a gnome is purposely involved in a battle, it is not directly.
Weapons and Tools
Dwarves prefer to handle small weapons, such as undersized clubs and swords.
Gnomes pride themselves in knowing about all kinds of siege machines, and also credit themselves at being the greatest at constructing them.
Wars and Enemies
While gnomes are not at war with anyone specifically, they often find themselves defending themselves from goblins and gremlins.