Stats standard, except most gnomes begin play with the Master Tinker racial trait. Gnomes are unusual among the core races - as they are not a product of Samsaran-evolved beasts. Gnomes are actually the creation of Tatiana, a goddess of beauty and nature from the first age of Gods. Gnomish mythology suggests that Tatiana created the gnomes to build her a magnificent kingdom in her godly realm - the realm of fey - a verdant and untamed mirror of the mortal realm.
As the First Age of Gods came to a close and the realms collapsed into Limbo or fell to Senium, the fey inhabitants of Cendriane - Tatiana's glittering city - worked a great spell to transport their city into the banal mortal realm. Barely escaping their collapsing world, they arrived to face the loss of much of their magic and all of their immortality. Many could not handle the idea that only a scant few hundred years or less remained before them. The old ways of teaching would take far too long to pass on the knowledge of the ages. None knew how to farm or hunt in the comparatively desolate lands of creation. Death cults formed and suicides were common.
In just under 200 years, Fey society collapsed and the gleaming city of Cendriane was lost. The wards of the city fell as the knowledge to maintain them died with their keepers. Refugees streamed forth from the deadly web of collapsed magic and died in the wilds of Arvandor. Gnomes, being an industrious servitor race, fared much better than the other fey. They traveled across miles of trackless forest and founded a new city - Astrazalian. Refusing to serve the ever more twisted fey, the gnomes now rule themselves.
Physical Description: Gnomes are rather small, 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.
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 obsession 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.
Society: Gnome society can be described as a grand contradiction. Being once fey, they are whimsical creatures at heart. However occasionally, an obsession will grip a gnome, and its expression becomes almost contagious to other gnomes. In an astounding display of cooperation and coordination, gnomes will naturally band together an accomplish tremendous feats. Astrazalian was founded in short order in this manner, as are many other wonders found throughout Arvandor.
This tendency of whimsy interspersed with periods of obsessed industry powerfully influences gnome society. Though social strata does exist, individual gnomes travel between the strata as their obsession takes them. Traditional values such as family, wealth, and power are simply obsessions - temporary focuses that must be expressed and then can be abandoned.
Relations: Gnomes have difficulty interacting with the other races, on both emotional and physical levels. Many gnomes simply do not value the same things as the other races, and this leads to a strong lack of common ground upon which understanding and relationships can be built. When two gnomes encounter one another, it's in their nature generally assume some mutually beneficial arrangement can be reached. Even if this turns out not to be the case, the gnomes continue to look for commonalities in their dealings with each other. The inability of other races to make the same effort when dealing with gnomes is both frustrating and confusing to most gnomes.
In many ways, it is gnomes' strong connection to a wide range of apparently unconnected ideas that makes it difficult for other races to build relationships with them. Gnomes in turn tend to think of the taller races as predictable and lumbering giants.
Adventurers: Several gnomes have made the journey to the free cities peninsula in the throes of wanderlust, deep curiosity, or the desire to master odd or esoteric skills and languages, among other things. They are generally uncommon, but not unheard of.
Being a small race like halflings, some early gnomes were taken captive and held as slaves. Most slavers know now that this was a terrible mistake. A gnome held and unable to express his obsession undergoes a terrible process known as "the bleaching." The result is a insidious, calculating, and terrible creature bent on inflicting terrible and vicious pranks on his captors.