Monday, May 1, 2017

The Gnomes of Lakeport

OKay Game Fans, we’re adding another piece of the puzzle to my Lakeport Homebrewed Setting.  The world is massive, and is so big that no one short of the Gods (and they’re not telling) how big it exactly is.  I’ll cover an actual breakdown of the continent in another article, but today we’re going to talk about how the races differ in terms of the core Dungeons and Dragons rules.  Some of the changes are very minor, but some of them are massive in terms of culture, history, and there are rule changes that go with them.  Today i’m going to continue with the Gnomes.  


Now the Dwarves themselves are part of a larger racial group known as the Giant’s brood.  When the first giants and their God found the world, the set about building a small fortress far north of the Fey that dominated the great forest.  High mountains and the clouds themselves were their demense, and eventually, they started to unlock the secrets of arcane magic.  This study required all of their time, and so they bent their prodigious arcane might to creating servants to carry out the little things they needed (like food, water, and materials for their research).  So they gathered Rock, Clay, Soil, and the Sweat of their own brow.  From the pieces of Rock, they hammered away and chiseled the first Dwarves, whom they tasked with digging deep into the earth and bringing its riches to the surface.  From the clay they shaped the delicate hands of the Gnomes, who would turn the raw material into finery and artifice for the arcane works of their giant masters.  The Soil was given a life of its own, and these first halflings were given the task of feeding their fellow servants (and giant masters) and managing the resources that the Dwarves and Gnomes used and created.  Finally, from the sweat of their own brow, they created the Ogres to watch over the mines and vaults that their minions lived in, and to brutally enforce order if it were needed.  

This arrangement worked for many hundreds of years until the War between the Fey and Me’Ah’Chin shook the foundations of the world.  The Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings decided that they wanted to be free, and it took a violent revolution to break the cycle of their giant overlords.  That war had many terrible battles, and all three races paid a high price for their emancipation.  Finally, at the War’s end, the Giant’s brood were freed from slavery, and took their place on the surface world, finally seeing the sun for the first time.  

The war against the giants took a terrible toll on the Gnomes.  The Ogres stormed the Gnome bastions early in the war and end slaughtered untold numbers of Gnomes. Entire family lines and extended clan holds were wiped out, and the Gnomes were shaken by the brutality of that war.  Only the intervention of Seramesh and her companions steeled their resolve.  They turned their arcane magic against the Ogres and finally helped to end the war.  

After the war, the Gnomes retreated into their own minds and communities.  They formed small insular communities in the isolated parts of the mountains they shared with the Dwarves, and a few small colonies on the surface with their Halfling cousins.  There are rumors of vaults built by the Gnomes deep under the mountains, where they live alone, but those are just rumors.  


Gnomes have an interesting appearance.  As children, they have skin with the complexion and texture of clay, and there are some children who play with their texture and rearrange their features in minor ways.  As they age into maturity, their skin starts to dry out, and when they take their rite of adulthood, the elders bathe them in a hardening glaze.  Adult gnomes as a result have skin that is incredibly smooth and shiny.  Skin coloration and hair color run the gamut of what you could expect in nature, though gnomes dress in dark clothing to avoid drawing attention to themselves.  


The tragedies of the war shook the gnomes to their core.  They worry constantly about what the future holds, and display neurotic tendencies that drive every decision they make.  Even reassurances from close friends are only temporary, and the worry returns as quickly as it left.  Gnomes are undisputable the greatest smiths in the world, and they can rocks into works of art.  They also have a level of understanding for arcane magic that most can not comprehend, but the Gnomes are loathe to share their greatest secrets with anyone (including other Gnomes)


Gnomes lost so much of their family through the war that they rebuilt their society along arcane lines rather than families.  The Gnomes follow the arcane schools of magic as their primary social groups, and within each school of magic Gnomes of both types find a place.  The Gnomes who fall outside of these arcane groupings tend to leave the Gnome villages and enclaves and wander the world, selling their services to the highest bidders.  These wayward Gnomes are often the only contact that most outsiders have with Gnomes, and this had led to some unusual circumstances when meeting other gnomes.

The Craft

Gnomes are masters of artifice and craft.  They were purpose built by the Giants to make everything they’d ever want or need to pursue their arcane studies with the least amount of disruptions.  Because of this, Gnomes learned Magic at the feet of the original practitioners.  Gnomes have an inherent love of magic, and there are some Gnomes that love magic more than other people.  Gnomish craftsmanship is highly sought after and a Gnomish smith can command vast sums for their superior work.  


With the Gnomish personality, it’s a mystery to some why they’d leave their libraries and their villages.   Some Gnomes feel the ancient ties of family more keenly than the societal tradition to follow arcane magic.  These Gnomes often feel the call to wander, and despite the repeated warnings of their elders about trusting beings other than Gnomes, they find a place in the wider world.  They make a place for themselves and try to find like minded people to see the world and explore it.  With their command of magic, they are often sought after as experts and teachers of magical theory.  

Rules addendums

Gnomes from this setting have the following changes:

Tool Proficiency:  

Gnomes have Proficiency with two Tools of Choice

Forest Gnome (High Gnomes)

These are the Gnomes who hold onto the traditional approaches to arcane magic.  They are accomplished practitioners of arcane magic and have the following changes.  

Cantrip:  The Gnome knows one cantrip of his or her choice from the Wizard spell list.  Intelligence is the Gnome’s spellcasting attribute.

Proficiency:  High Gnomes are proficient with the Arcana Skill

Extra Language:  High Gnomes can speak, read and understand an additional language of choice.  

(They lack the Natural Illusionist and Speak with Small Beasts ability)

Rock Gnome (Star Gnomes)

Star Gnomes are the Gnomes that feel the call of their ancestry and wander the world.  They are more physically inclined than their High Gnome kin, and are the master smiths that most people think of when they think of Gnomes.  They have a remarkable understanding of craftwork and are usually willing to share it, for a price.

Attribute Bonus:  Star Gnomes add +1 to their Charisma and their Constitution.

Tool Proficiency:  The Star Gnome is proficient with two additional tools of choice.  

Proficiency:  The Star Gnome gains proficiency with either the Persuasion Skill or the Survival Skill.

(They lack the Tinker ability)  


Gnomes are the beloved children of Seramesh, referred to as Mother Gnome by her children.  In many ways she’s the counterpoint to the Gnomish personality.  Where the Gnomes worry, Seramesh counsels optimism.  She is a point of hope to their despair, and her clergy are one of the forces that helps keep the Gnomes together.  They also serve as one of the primary ways that outsides can interact with Gnomish villages and enclaves, and newcomers are often directed to her temple first.  

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