Not Seeing What Isn't There: A Handbook for Gnomes

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Not Seeing What Isn’t There
A Handbook for Gnomes


IMAGE(http://www.critical-hits.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/gnome-241x300.jpg)



"Gnomes live ten times faster than humans. They're harder to see than a high-speed mouse. That's one reason why most humans hardly ever see them. The other is that humans are very good at not seeing things they know aren't there."

- Terry Pratchett

Over the years, gnomes have known numerous incarnations, from the tinker gnomes of Dragonlance to the Ice Gnomes of Eberron, the Forgotten Folk of the Forgotten Realms, the Rock Gnomes of third edition, and countless subraces besides. In Fourth Edition, gnomes are fey folk who have lived in servitude in the Feydark, using their wits and stealth to survive. Throughout all their incarnations, however, two traits stay the same: the gnomish love and curiosity for arcane innovation, and their propensity for not being seen when they don’t care to be.

To that end, gnomes are most at home in the adventuring life when they’re manipulating the power of the arcane, or hiding even deeper in the shadows than the rogues of other humanoid races. If you’re one of those lucky few tinyfolk who have escaped your fomorian oppressors, I’ll give you some insight here as to how you might put your unique talents to good use for the betterment of the world.

In this guide, I’ll be using the standard color-coded rating style:
Sky Blue indicates true gnomish synergy. Pick as much of this color as you can, and one day it’ll be your tales the bards sing.
Blue is a pretty good gnomish option. Sometimes you just can’t have the best, and if that’s the case there’s nothing wrong with a blue option.
Black won’t get you picked on by your fellow adventurers, but you’re not going to be wowing crowds with mediocrity. You’re a gnome, if it’s not flashy, it’s not gnomish!
Purple options might be bad enough that not even a gnome can make them work out.
Red means that you should never be seen using one of these options, on those rare occasions you’re seen at all. Or it could mean that you’re stuck with something that will cause you troubles.


Credits Due:

Lord_Ventnor, whose template I used, and whose Tiefling handbook made analysis of an INT/CHA race much easier.

Features of the Fey Folk
Gnomish Racial Traits



The Fourth Edition gnome has lost a lot of the abilities of his forefathers. I can’t remember the last time I was able to speak with my pet badger. Nonetheless, our time in the feydark has given us some notable traits.

Ability Scores: Our wit and charm makes us well-suited for any Arcane endeavor. Intelligence plus Charisma is a great defensive combination, giving us Reflex and AC (let’s face it, it’s so hard to find a suit of plate mail in our size), and Will.

Low-light Vision: Chances are you’ll be adventuring with folks without it, but this ability is still indispensable to those who live in the shadows.

Small Size: We can’t use two-handed weapons, and if we wish to use a Versatile weapon, we have to use it with both hands and don’t get any damage bonus for doing so. In exchange for our martial woes, we get… well, nothing. We don't even get to use medium-sized mounts any more. You might find yourself in a situation where your small size means you can hide in some terrain that normal-sized folk couldn’t use for cover, but don’t make that something you count on.

Movement Speed: We move 5 squares. Wear heavy armor, and we move 4. You know how they say the slowest guy is the one who gets eaten by a dragon? Better plan ahead for that contingency.

Languages: There are worse languages than Common and Elven. On the bright side, our racial Intelligence means that you likely won’t have any difficulty qualifying to be a Linguist, if speaking to orcs, goblins, and dragons is that important to you.

Skill Bonuses: As expected, we’re better than most at Arcana and Stealth, two skills that are often in demand.

Fade Away: An entire turn of invisibility means getting out of danger when you need to do it most. It could also mean setting yourself up to backstab an annoying caster when his melee buddy puts a blade into your shoulder.

Master Trickster: Using Ghost Sound once per encounter as a minor action may seem weak to the kinds of folk who aren’t adept to put creative use to this ability, but used properly, you can save your bacon in a tricky social situation, or set up a killer bluff, even in combat.

Reactive Stealth: This power is easy to underestimate, since many gnomes will have high initiative, and so will have little opportunity to make use of this defensively. Rogues already have first strike, so they don’t need it for combat advantage. However, since you will likely start every combat behind an ally, you should have cover to start with, and a +2 to hit with an opening AoE before the monsters split up is good. Likewise for rogues when the polyhedral lords turn the screw with their initiative roll.

Trickster's Cunning: While illusions don’t come up nearly as often as other racial resistances, say for instance poison, a particularly nasty illusion can immobilize, daze, or even worse. +5 to save versus these things is nothing to scoff at.

This is What We Do
Gnomes in Arcane Roles



We eat, sleep, breathe, and bleed arcana. There is no arcane class in which we cannot excel.

Bard (PHB2)
This was once upon a time our favored class, and with good reason. Bards are masters of subterfuge and dabblers of arcane power. Sound familiar?

Cunning Bard(PHB2): Gnomes can easily start with 18 in both Charisma and Intelligence, meaning a high success rate with attacks with strong riders, a strong heal on Majestic Word, and a high AC in light armor. Furthermore, you can put the bardic multiclass ability to excellent use by pulling abilities from the wizard and tactical warlord thanks to your intelligence.

Valorous Bard (PHB2): This isn’t quite as good as cunning, but don’t underestimate it. By making constitution your secondary stat and intelligence your tertiary, you have a good array of defenses and some fun synergy with the Infernal Warlock.

Prescient Bard (AP): Unlike the other two virtues, the Virtue of Prescience only applies once per encounter, but it's a STRONG ability for a leader. With a good Wisdom modifier, you can turn a near-hit on an ally with few HP remaining into a miss. (Or for that matter, the BBEG's big encounter ability.) This one's rated blue because it fits the focus of the gnome well - stay out of danger. Though it lacks the good defensive array of the Valorous Bard, it's still a very good fit for gnomes, but not quite as good as the Cunning Bard.



Warlock (PHB)
For eons, gnomes have looked to the skies at night and pondered upon the worlds beyond our own. In recent times we have found power within the Feydark. While those other gnomes weren’t looking, others pondered paths of power from sources more sinister.

Fey Pact (PHB): The fey pact is a warlock path for the sneaky sort, the kind who are at home in the Feydark. The teleportation inherent in the pact allows for greater mobility than we would otherwise have, and the at-will, Eyebite, gives us even MORE invisibility. Fey pact abilities are reliant upon charisma and intelligence, neither of which are a problem for us.

Dark Pact (FRPG): For those more at home of the “dark” portion of the Feydark, the Dark Pact is a no-nonsense damage-dealing warlock pact. Not unlike the Fey Pact, the Dark Pact is powered by intelligence and charisma, making us natural practitioners. Taking the Dark Pact over the Fey pact is a simple trade where you lose subtlety and mobility in exchange for raw damage.

Star Pact (PHB): This warlock pact grants the most options, and arguably the greatest pact boon, but is the most MAD of all warlock pacts. Star Pact powers require either Charisma or Constitution to use, and many of them are empowered by Intelligence. The best way to get started would be a 16, 14, 14 array, giving you an 18 Charisma, 16 Intelligence, and 14 Constitution. Then, try to pick as many Charisma powers as possible.

Infernal Pact (PHB): With its focus on constitution, this is the least desirable gnomish warlock path, but it’s still viable. If you want area-of-effect spells, it’s probably best to go with Wizard instead.

Vestige Pact (AP): The Vestige pact has a constitution focus as well, but it still uses Charisma as a secondary ability. There are still more optimal pacts for a gnome, however.



Wizard (PHB)
Gnomes have worn wizard robes as long as they’ve been seen by the outside world. While we will never be the ‘best’ at any particular implement type, we have the flexibility to make any style work for us, and our charisma means that we won’t have to work very hard (if at all) to obtain Spell Focus.

Oh, and gnomes are the best illusionists in the game.

Orb of Deception (AP): Orbs are the strongest control-oriented implement, and the Orb of Deception makes sure that if you somehow miss the first shot with an illusion spell (like an important encounter spell, or a daily, or even a desperately-needed At-Will), you can take the shot again against a different target within 3 of the original, with a bonus equal to your Charisma modifier. A gnome optimized for illusions should NEVER miss that second shot.

Orb of Imposition (PHB): The strongest control option for a wizard, and one we can do fairly well. This is probably the best option for gnomes who don't want to specialize in illusions.

Wand of Accuracy (PHB): The strongest offensive option, though it uses dexterity for a secondary stat, which means that your fortitude and will defenses will suffer a bit.

Staff of Defense (PHB): The strongest defensive option, and should definitely be considered for gnomes. However, don’t expect to multiclass into a martial class for staff fighting – we’re small, remember?

Tome of Binding (AP): You should only consider this option if you're considering taking an abundance of summoning spells. This option will give your summons a damage bonus equal to your CON modifier. At first glance, wizards shouldn't care too much about damage, but the bonus applies to opportunity attacks made by your summoned ally as well. A stronger AoO means stronger battlefield control.

[color=blue]Tome of Readiness (AP):[/color] This is a very strong option for gnomes who don't want to have to worry too much about a secondary stat, or who are interested in specializing in Fire or Frost. The tomes currently available complement fire and frost well, and this option will give you a slight edge in utility with another Encounter power available to you.



Swordmage (FRPG)
Swordsmanship enhanced with arcana… it’s like being a front-line bard, staring into the maw of danger. If you want to sniff the putrid halitosis of inevitable death, then this is one of the two best ways of doing it. Your intelligence will be put to good use here, no matter which path you choose.

Assaulting Swordmage (FRPG): A 16 starting strength score is fine here, and easily attainable thanks to your intelligence bonus. Intelligence is used to hit, and strength powers the riders. This would be blue if not for the fact that you’re a small creature. If you want to make use of the Swordmage Warding feature (or for that matter, a shield), you’re stuck with a scimitar or rapier, so your damage will be lacking compared to swordmages with the exact same stats, but a medium size. Since your constitution will likely be lacking, consider selecting a character background that allows you to use your intelligence score for starting hit points instead of constitution.

Shielding Swordmage (FRPG): The Shielding Swordmage has a very interesting option for gnomes. It is to our advantage, thanks to our small size, to select implement powers that don’t rely on weapon damage. Since we don’t much care what weapon we’re using, that gives us the option of interesting blades we might not be proficient in, like the Spiked Shield. The Spiked Shield can be used as a shield on our main hand (we will still need the Light Shield Proficiency feat to do this), and it counts as a light blade. So, we have our implement, a shield, and we still get the benefit of the Swordmage Warding feature. The hardest part of this build is setting aside the temptation to select the level one daily “Whirling Blade,” which allows us to throw our shield and pretend we’re Captain America.

Ensnaring Swordmage (AP): This may be the best option for gnome swordmages, because the Aegis of Ensnarement helps to negate our low movement speed as a defender. The Ensnaring riders aren't heavily dependent on a secondary ability and focus about half/half on weapon or implement powers, so you can realistically choose either of the build options listed above. This option comes alive when you have a party that can exploit combat advantage, or those that can create damaging zones. Or hey, since you're a gnome, you can probably do either yourself by multiclassing properly.



Sorcerer (PHB2)
Like the wizard and swordmage where intelligence is concerned, we have the charisma to make formidable sorcerers, but are lacking a boost to the secondary stats for every build. We won’t be quite as good at Dragon Magic as the Dragonborn, or as proficient at Wild Magic as Halflings or Drow, but we retain the versatility to make the choice. Sorcerers get to use daggers as implements, which means that a gnome wielding a Goblin Totem Dagger can apply the bonus damage to creatures of medium size or greater.

Dragon Magic (PHB2): Every gnome at some point in his life has wanted to breathe fire. That’s why many of us got into alchemy. We have the charisma to handle the magic, and can work on building up the strength to make it sting. Our intelligence then becomes well-served as a tertiary stat for our Reflex defense, and we’ll be better at Arcana than our peers.

Wild Magic (PHB2): For every gnome that has dreamed of breathing fire, there’s another one that’s… well, a little crazy. This is the sorcery path for them. Given that dexterity is the secondary stat for this sorcery, however, our intelligence will be put to less use, only helpful with Arcana.

[color=Blue]Cosmic Magic (AP):[/color] The cosmic magic path sacrifices a tiny amount of damage for some control. We have better options available to us, but there is one thing we can bring to the table here: a degree of control over our phases. Gnomes have good options for staying out of harm's way, so you shouldn't become bloodied too often as a cosmic sorcerer.

[color=DeepSkyBlue]Storm Magic (AP):[/color] This path has Dexterity as a secondary ability, which marginalizes the impact of our racial Intelligence, so that's the downside. The positives, however, are strong. The path ability to end resistance to Thunder/Lightning to turn a near-hit into a miss makes us even harder to put down than we already are. This path also has incredible synergy with the Bard class, in which we excel.



Artificer (Drag364)
For those who haven’t let go of our tinkering heritage, this may be an option for you. It’s yet another class for which we have a boost to the main stat, but not to the secondary.

You'll need to work on your constitution, but can easily start with a 16 there. More on this class when it is properly released.

Fighting Against Fate
Gnomes in Martial Roles



There exist certain races built by their gods to stand on the front lines and stare into the maw of danger. We’re not one of those races. Not that it can’t be done, you’ll just be fighting against your own racial limitations as well as the hordes of marauding enemies.


Rogue (PHB)
Even without a focus on dexterity, we gnomes tend to do well in this discipline. Our small size means that we were probably going to use daggers anyway (say for instance a Goblin Totem Dagger,) so we’re not missing out on a whole lot of damage potential.

Artful Dodger (PHB): This is how we gnomes put our Charisma to use as a rogue. Gnomes are better than most at balancing stealth and subterfuge.

Brutal Scoundrel (PHB): Don’t do it. Just don’t. You’re likely to embarrass yourself. You need to be able to focus on Strength and Dexterity to make it work, and that’s just not us.

Ruthless Ruffian (MP): Don’t even think about it. The mace is versatile, which is a hindrance to small creatures, so you’re using a club. You might as well just be using a dagger at that point. Even with our racial charisma, this build is just as dependent on Strength and Dexterity as the Brutal Scoundrel is.



Warlord (PHB)
Gnomes can make some good warlords, which is funny when you realize that for a race whose specialty is not being seen, we can do pretty well at a class whose entire purpose is to be visible in combat. Fade Away, however, makes the risky Fearless Rescue a nearly flawless power. No matter which Warlord path we choose, we have a bonus to the secondary stat.

Resourceful Presence (MP): We make the black sheep of the Warlord class look good. The Infernal Strategist path wasn’t made for us, but it should have been. With a 16, 14, 14 array, we have a 16 in Strength, Intelligence, and Charisma. That makes us durable in every defense, and even though we have a 16 in our main attack stat, we still have Commander’s Strike at our disposal. Small creatures still have one reach weapon available to them, and they can even use it one-handed: the whip. You don’t even need to be proficient in it, just keep it in your off hand and use it for range with Commander’s Strike.

Inspiring Presence (PHB): Come on, seriously, how are people not going to be inspired by the site of a three-foot creature spurring them forward in battle? Could they honestly go to a bar and admit, “yeah, the gnome fought harder than I did?” Nonetheless, Inspiring Warlords need charisma, and you’ve got it.

Tactical Presence (PHB): Tactical warlords need a good intelligence for their riders, and that’s us. We’re still likely to maintain a good charisma as well, making you a formidable warlord.

Bravura Presence (MP): Okay, so this probably isn’t the best way for us to be warlords, but we can still do it if we want. It would be better if Fade Away could be triggered on our turn, but it can’t. Nonetheless, for some reason, there’s a lot of gnome hatred out there, and other creatures just might be more likely to take the bait on some of our riskier abilities.



Fighter (PHB)
We may in fact be the worst race for Fighters. That’s up for debate, but Charisma and Intelligence tend to be dump stats for this class, and those are our specialities. Other races that have similar attributes, like Tieflings, generally have some trick they can do to make themselves better fighters (for example, Tieflings have Flaming Weapons.) To date, we don’t have such an exploit.

Weapon Talent (PHB): If you’re absolutely unmovable on the subject of being a fighter, this is really your only reasonable path. Gnomes may be small, but they handle shields just fine, and if you’re stuck with one-handed weapons anyway, you might as well specialize in them. So you’ll need a good non-versatile weapon. The scimitar or rapier will be your best friend.

Battlerager Vigor (MP): If you’re absolutely determined to use a versatile weapon in two hands, then this is likely your path.

Tempest Technique (MP): This should be red, honestly. Tempest Fighters like to use double-weapons (which we can’t), or big versatile weapons in their main hand like the bastard sword (which we can only use two-handed). The only thing that keeps this option from being red outright is that this is the only fighter style designed to work without heavy armor.



Ranger (PHB)
You think gnomes would make decent rangers, with our focus on stealth, but that’s just not the case. Low mobility and small size hurts us badly here.

Archery Style (PHB): If you’ve decided that you want to be a gnomish ranger, this is your best option, but you will be relegated to the Shortbow. It can, however, be made to work.

Two-Blade Style (PHB): See Tempest Technique above for why this style isn’t so hot for us. However, if you can invest the strength and dexterity, a pair of scimitars plus Scimitar Dance can turn you into a somewhat fearsome martial gnome.

Beast Mastery (MP): Back in the days when we spoke the Burrowing Mammal language, this was our preferred means of Ranger’ing. But not now. Beast Masters tend to use two-handed weapons, and we don’t. Likewise, this build is dependent on two stats (Strength or Dexterity for you, Wisdom for the beast) that just aren’t normally found in abundance within our race.

Praying for Proficiency
Gnomes in a Divine Role



Though we are not without our gods, we gnomes tend to stick with science over faith. That being said, there are one or two good options for divine work.


Paladin (PHB)
I’m not going to lie to you: we’re not the best paladin race. We’re not even the best small paladin race (curse those Halflings and their ability to avoid damage and boost their AC against opportunity attacks, when they’re next to larger creatures… oops, I digress.) But, our racial charisma goes a long way to making up for our racial tendency to not want to be on the front line.

Strength Paladin (PHB): Don’t do it. You’ll want a two-handed weapon to unleash the fury of this career option, and as you know, that fury is not ours to unleash.

Charisma Paladin (PHB): Stick with charisma-based powers, and you’ll go pretty far in this build. Our Divine Challenge damage is equivalent to everyone else’s, no matter what weapon we’re holding. A scimitar and shield is an excellent choice, though you will need to select Melee Training to be an effective defender. If you can somehow muster the dexterity for Heavy Blade Opportunity at paragon tier, then you might be able to train out of it then. Furthermore, since Intelligence is a dump stat for most paladins, you’ll be inherently better at your required Religion class skill. Your 4 speed in heavy armor keeps this from being sky blue.

Balanced Paladin (PHB): No. You don’t want to use Strength powers, on account of our poor weapon selection. So, it’s better just to be a Charisma paladin and excel at that.



Invoker (PHB2)
Yeah, we’re more the “evoker” type, but as far as controllers go, we’ve got some good synergy with staff wizards for multiclassing options.

Covenant of Preservation (PHB2): Intelligence is this covenant’s secondary stat, so you’re covered here. Your charisma won’t totally go to waste, since invokers have Diplomacy and Intimidate as class skills, but since Wisdom is the primary ability for the class, expect your charisma to me mediocre at best, or your Fortitude defense to be abysmal.

Covenant of Wrath (PHB2): Garl Gittergold is not a wrathful god, and nor should his subjects be. At best you could start with a 16 in both wisdom and constitution, leaving your other stats in the lurch. If this covenant gave you much greater abilities than the covenant of Preservation, it might be worth it. But, it doesn’t, and so it’s not.



Cleric (PHB)
My greatest advice to you if you really want to be a cleric is to worship Corellon (there’s nothing wrong with gnomes worshipping the god of magic) and take his star as a holy symbol, so that you can multiclass and tap in to the greatness of your arcane heritage.

Battle Cleric (PHB): Move along. Don’t even think about it. To play this effectively, it requires three stats that aren’t our forte, and makes zero use of the two stats that are.

Devoted Cleric (PHB): Our natural charisma helps out a lot here by boosting healing riders, and there’s still much to be said for having a higher Religion total than other clerics, thanks to our natural intelligence.



Avenger (PHB2)
Okay, seriously. If the gods have a problem, they should probably find someone taller to solve it. Avengers are strikers, and their damage is highly dependent upon weapon damage, something we don’t have on account of our small size.

Isolating Avenger (PHB2): You just plain can’t pursue, so if you are just hell-bent on being the arm of wrath for the gods, this is the way you have to go. Since intelligence is the secondary stat, you won’t be outright terrible at it, and Fade Away means that once per encounter you can position yourself perfectly for Oath of Enmity without worrying about attacks of opportunity against you.

Pursuing Avenger (PHB2): We honestly have everything working against us in this path. No stat synergy, and our terrible movement speed means we’re not chasing anything.

Banging Your Head on a Rock
Gnomes in a Primal Role



No good can come of this path. We are scholars, not bark-eaters. Once upon a time, we may have been fine druids, wardens of the earth below, and guardians of the foothills, but those days are now long gone. Heed my warning and turn back now.


Shaman (PHB2)
This is perhaps the only way for a primal gnome to not make a fool of herself. Keep in mind, though, that shamans have zero charisma-based class skills.

Protector Spirit (PHB2): Forget about this one, though. You need to have both Wisdom and Constitution screwed on tight, and you’ve got a screw loose in both regards. To make matters worse, it’s highly regarded that protecting shamans need chain armor, which means your speed (and that of your spirit) is FOUR.

Stalker Spirit (PHB2): The stalker spirit is fueled with intelligence, so you actually have some options here. Stalker’s strike will allow you to set up flanking opportunities with your allies while you stand safely back in the distance. Keep picking powers with stalker riders, and you should be a passable shaman.



Barbarian (PHB2)
Don’t be fooled by the existence of a Charisma-secondary path in this class. This is NOT a good option for us. Since we can’t use two-handed weapons, we’re locked out of several class powers (including 2 at-wills) that require their use, unless your DM is nice and allows you to use a Versatile weapon instead.

Rageblood Vigor (PHB2): Don’t even look twice. This one isn’t for us. Charging isn’t for folks with our speed, especially in chain mail.

Thaneborn Triumph (PHB2): I know I just told you not to consider the Barbarian class, but I have to admit that there’s just something appealing to the idea of a gnome on the field of battle screaming bloody murder. Thaneborn riders work off of charisma, so you can actually use them effectively. Your damage output will still be far behind other barbarians on account of our small size, however.



Druid (PHB2)
Alas, our druidic heritage is no more. There are no good options for us here.

Primal Guardian (PHB2): Yet another class requiring Wisdom and Constitution. This isn’t as bad an option as barbarian, since druids don’t use weapons, but we still have nothing we bring to the table for this class. Since druids use staves, we might have some controller-synergy with wizards on account of our Intelligence, but that’s not nearly enough to make this a viable option.

Primal Predator (PHB2): And this one’s even worse. Instead of Wisdom and Constitution, it’s Wisdom and Dexterity. The +1 speed class feature just puts us on par with most normal creatures in terms of speed, and still leaves us in the dust compared to other Primal Predators. Pass on this one.




Warden (PHB2)
Right. This gnome is actually starting to get a little angry now. There’s no one in the world closer to the earth than we used to be, and yet this class is not for us.

Earth Warden (PHB2): No use for Intelligence or Charisma, and this one keys off Strength and Constitution. Don’t get me started on the lack of reach weapons available to us.

Wild Warden (PHB2): This one’s got the same exact problems as the earth warden, but change out Constitution for Wisdom.
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Final Tinkering
Gnome Feats and Paragon Paths



Insert snarky or insightful comments in the Elven language here.

Feats

There are a few feats exclusive to we gnomes.

Heroic Tier
Fey Trickster (PHB2): While Ghost Hand and Prestidigitation are nice to have in a pinch, wizards already have them, and so they can skip this one.

Group Stealth (PHB2): This goes a long way to helping the team achieve a surprise round. Since an adventuring party is only as stealthy as its least-stealthy member, giving your allies a stealth bonus goes a long way to starting a combat encounter on your terms.

Shadow Skulk (PHB2): This gives you one of the juiciest features of the Cloaked Sniper paragon path right out of the box. Useful for rogues, wizards, sorcerers, bards, and archery rangers. Everyone else can probably skip this one.

Magic of the Mists (AP): This is a nifty little feat. After our Fade Away ability triggers, an arcane gnome can take a free shot at anyone she chooses without drawing opportunity attacks (since she's invisible) and then use her move action to go and hide before Fade Away expires at the end of her turn.

Feyborn Charm(AP): This is a solid feat for cunning bards that applies a feat bonus to hit and damage for arcane Charm attacks, which includes two very popular At-Wills and the dominating attacks. Even though there isn't an overabundance of Charm spells for the bard, the ones the bard does have are very strong abilities. And yes, the to-hit stacks with Implement Expertise.

Gnome Phantasmist(AP): +1/+2/+3 to hit and damage for Illusion spells. Win. It's entirely possible to build a wizard with nothing but illusion powers, and be a formidable character. This feat aids you against creatures that have a high Will defense, and all-but guarantees hits on creatures that don't. And just like Feyborn Charm, the to-hit stacks with Implement Expertise.


Paragon Tier
Fade Ally (PHB2): Instead of you turning invisible, you can turn one of your allies within 5 squares invisible instead. Chances are, you’re the one who needs to turn invisible, but defenders might find some mileage in this one.

Surprising Disappearance (PHB2): This one’s just hilarious. Disappear, and then watch all your allies come to pile on the guy who hit you.


Epic Tier
Vanishing Act (PHB2): Teleport is always handy, and an extra encounter teleport right when you need it most is excellent. Particularly irritating in the hands of a Fey Warlock.


Paragon Paths

Fey Beguiler (PHB2): This path has much to be desired. It gives you yet another way to become invisible, but you have to waste an action point to do it. You gain training in a skill, a rogue or wizard utility power, and two attacks based off Intelligence or Charisma: an encounter that dazes, and a daily that lets you regain use of your Fade Away power. Chances are, you’ll want to pick a class-based paragon path instead of this one.


[u]Sample Gnomish Builds[/u]

[b]Warlocks[/b]
Feyknight of Corellon, by MeltedCanary
Archie the Darkmage, by monkey9696

[u]Wizards[/u]
Gnome Illusionist Builds, by Yours Truly

[b]Bards[/b]
[THREAD="1186121"]Entrancing Locker[/THREAD], by HeRaw
Charming Bard, by Reinhart

Rogues
Gnimish, Invisible Gnome Thief by Gnoob

[b]Avengers[/b]
Lightsaber Avenger by Anubis Reynard

[b]Hybrids[/b]
Emmin, Swordmage/Warlock by Lord Ventnor
Well, it's complete for now. Once I've got my hands on Arcane Power, I'll get it updated again.

This is my first handbook, so please be honest but polite in comments/suggestions/additions. ^_^
Nice handbook. I'm glad to see the idea of the racial handbook catching on.

I think you may be underestimating Reactive Stealth, especially when you combine it with Warlock. The warlock grants you concealment every time you move, and Reactive Stealth lets you hide even without total concealment or superior cover. In addition, there's a good argument that you have cover whenever you're standing behind a companion at the beginning of the combat. Having a chance to start every combat hidden is pretty good. You do need stealth training to be really good at it, but that's fairly easy to get, and since you get a racial bonus to stealth, it's not too much of a hindrance to not be pumping Dex. Starting out hidden for every combat gives you a pretty good advantage, even if you're not a rogue.

Personally, I'd rate Master Trickster higher, but that's mostly a taste thing. I personally think the Wizard cantrips are great for a ton of non-combat situations, but I can see being hesitant about spending a feat for a less powerful version of something you can get from an item.

I'm not quite sure I see the reason for rating Fey Beguiler purple. You point out that it has a lot of great features, but the only downside is that you can probably find a better class one. That depends largely on what your class is, though. And I can think of lots of class paragon paths which are usually rated black but which have a lot less to offer than Fey Beguiler. It's an easy way to train Stealth without wasting a feat (or just retrain that feat to a better paragon feat once you take the path), plus Wizard and Rogue utilities are in my opinion some of the best. I wouldn't recommend it for a gnome who was already a wizard or a rogue, but otherwise, I think it's a sound choice.
Nice handbook. I'm glad to see the idea of the racial handbook catching on.

Thanks. Your dwarf handbook has been one of my favorite reads in all of the D&D forums. Thanks for getting us all started. ^_^

I think you may be underestimating Reactive Stealth, especially when you combine it with Warlock. The warlock grants you concealment every time you move, and Reactive Stealth lets you hide even without total concealment or superior cover. In addition, there's a good argument that you have cover whenever you're standing behind a companion at the beginning of the combat. Having a chance to start every combat hidden is pretty good. You do need stealth training to be really good at it, but that's fairly easy to get, and since you get a racial bonus to stealth, it's not too much of a hindrance to not be pumping Dex. Starting out hidden for every combat gives you a pretty good advantage, even if you're not a rogue.

You make a good point. I can definately see that for the AOE-using classes, there's certain advantage to a +2 to hit before the monsters all separate, even if the rest of your party blew opening stealth for surprise. I'll edit it to rate it black for now, and give it some further evaluation.

I'm not quite sure I see the reason for rating Fey Beguiler purple. You point out that it has a lot of great features, but the only downside is that you can probably find a better class one. That depends largely on what your class is, though. And I can think of lots of class paragon paths which are usually rated black but which have a lot less to offer than Fey Beguiler. It's an easy way to train Stealth without wasting a feat (or just retrain that feat to a better paragon feat once you take the path), plus Wizard and Rogue utilities are in my opinion some of the best. I wouldn't recommend it for a gnome who was already a wizard or a rogue, but otherwise, I think it's a sound choice.

Honestly, my biggest issue with Fey Beguiler comes from the fact that it seems they tried to capture the old Arcane Trickster with this class, and they missed the mark. In my opinion, anyway.

I rate it purple for a couple reasons, the largest being forced to spend an action point to turn invisible. Most black-rated paragon paths give you an added benefit for using an action point, but FB requries you to spend an action point (which will almost always be better spent on a standard action) to turn invisible.

I never said the features of the class were great, in fact I think they're kinda lame. When you compare Disappearing Trick and Skill Learning to other 11th level powers of other PPs, I can't help but feel underwhelmed. I think Clever Versatility is good, and you're right that rogue and wizards have some awesome utilities. They're good enough that pretty much any class can use them (rogues and wizards themselves included), and I think that makes it the best part of that PP.

The level 11 encounter power does underwhelming damage, and a daze effect. When compared to similar lower-damage status-effect paragon encounter powers like the Heartwarder's domination ability, it too comes off as weak.

I think Beguiling Bolt is a pretty good daily, no problems there, and if you're trained in Stealth, Sneaky Gnome at 16th level is nice.

However, put together as a package, and I'd say that Fey Beguiler is a paragon path one should only take if they absolutely dislike their class paragon paths, and don't wish to paragon multiclass. It's not red, by any means, but I don't think it's quite good enough for black. I'll continue to mull it over, though, and may change my mind later.
Arcane power has some nice feats for gnomes. You'll probably want to bump wizards up to sky blue, with the addition of the Illusionist, and the gnome feat that probably makes gnome illusionists overpowered.
I should have me a copy of Arcane Power within the next week or two, so I should be updating the handbook soon.
Arcane power has some nice feats for gnomes. You'll probably want to bump wizards up to sky blue, with the addition of the Illusionist, and the gnome feat that probably makes gnome illusionists overpowered.

The gnome feat is a growing +1/2/3 feat bonus to attack and damage. So it will not stack with other feat bonuses, but it appears that it will stack with implement mastery... That means +6 to attack at epic levels and that's not even including 1/2 level, enhancement bonuses, and int bonuses...
The gnome feat is a growing +1/2/3 feat bonus to attack and damage. So it will not stack with other feat bonuses, but it appears that it will stack with implement mastery... That means +6 to attack at epic levels and that's not even including 1/2 level, enhancement bonuses, and int bonuses...

Implement expertise, actually. And since it applies to damage, a 25th level gnome with both should have +6 attack and +3 damage, and yes, that doesn't include 18 starting Int, a +6 implement, and 1/2 level, which combined, should bring it to +31 attack bonus for illusion spells at level 25. Feyborn Charm is another good one, doing the same thing for bards with charm spells, but Bards don't get enough charm spells to use them exclusively, whereas Illusionist wizards can easily do illusions exclusively.
Updated with Arcane Power class features and racial feats.

I've only had a couple hours to digest AP, so any comments in agreement or disagreement are welcome.
Even with the red color, my Gnome Druid is a lot of fun to play.
I just posted a simple gnomish bard/feylock build under "Simply Charming" that uses Feyborn Charm feat and the Enchanted Mystic PP from Arcane Power to make a pretty devastating beguiler that can rely almost entirely on charm powers.
Even with the red color, my Gnome Druid is a lot of fun to play.

I loved my 3.5 gnome druid. I've got a gnomish Primal Guardian type druid I play on occasion, but I have yet to come up with a build that comes close to the optimal build of any other race.

The biggest problem I've got playing the Primal Guardian is that it just feels like I'm playing a gimped wizard who goes into beast form once in a while. The gnome race just doesn't bring much to the table for the class.
I just posted a simple gnomish bard/feylock build under "Simply Charming" that uses Feyborn Charm feat and the Enchanted Mystic PP from Arcane Power to make a pretty devastating beguiler that can rely almost entirely on charm powers.

I have added it to the build section.

I myself am working on an archetype-series build for a Gnome Illusionist that uses the new AP stuff. I should have it finished tonight and will add the link then.
Updated with a couple new builds.

On a side note, I can't tell you how happy I am to see Feyborn Charm and Gnome Phantasmist. It gives us two things we're actually better than Tieflings at.
Speaking of Fey Trickster, does it help in any way in a combat situation? i.e. Can Cantrips affect die rolls and/or defenses?

I play a Gnome Warlord, and I wanna find an excuse to take the feat...but I just don't know how. (Is there a "Tactical Cantrip Usage 101" guide somewhere?)

Should I use Cantrips in a manner similar to a Bluff check in terms of allowing one to gain combat advantage?

Also, would it be the only racial feat so far that's supplanted by being a certain class (Wizard), whereby the bonus granted is identical to the powers of that class?
Speaking of Fey Trickster, does it help in any way in a combat situation? i.e. Can Cantrips affect die rolls and/or defenses?

I play a Gnome Warlord, and I wanna find an excuse to take the feat...but I just don't know how. (Is there a "Tactical Cantrip Usage 101" guide somewhere?)

If you've got the Intelligence for it, (Taclord perhaps?), multiclass into Wizard and take the Bonded Summoner paragon path. Mage Hand, as well as the encounter power of the path, have the conjuration keyword, so will give you two built-in teleport actions as a result of the class features. Other power-swaps with the conjuration keyword might be worth looking at as well.
Fey Beguiler (PHB2): This path has much to be desired. It gives you yet another way to become invisible, but you have to waste an action point to do it. You gain training in a skill, a rogue or wizard utility power, and two attacks based off Intelligence or Charisma: an encounter that dazes, and a daily that lets you regain use of your Fade Away power. Chances are, you’ll want to pick a class-based paragon path instead of this one.

I'm working on a feylock build (with multiclass rogue, using Sly Dodge) to make a very stealthy character. Fey Beguiler really seemed to fit into my build, as I'd be able to grab Chameleon, combined with the Secret Stride feat, the Warlock's Shadow Walk, and the PP's roll twice for stealth. That frees up Acolyte Power for "Hide in Plain Sight".

Is there a better option for a PP for what I intend?
I'm working on a feylock build (with multiclass rogue, using Sly Dodge) to make a very stealthy character. Fey Beguiler really seemed to fit into my build, as I'd be able to grab Chameleon, combined with the Secret Stride feat, the Warlock's Shadow Walk, and the PP's roll twice for stealth. That frees up Acolyte Power for "Hide in Plain Sight".

Is there a better option for a PP for what I intend?

Honestly? I'm not sure. Probably not. You'll have to ask someone with more expertise in warlocks than myself on that one. However, all the PP is offering your character is: the stealth reroll, another Rogue class skill, and Chameleon. Spending an action point to turn invisible is a particularly useless thing for you, having Eyebite at your disposal. Bedazzling Orb is still a sub-standard Encounter power, and Beguiling Bolt is only particularly useful for getting Fade Away recharged.

Is it of use at all to you? Sure. That's why I didn't rank it red, because a specific build might actually find something to take advantage of in it. Optimal? Not by a long shot. Is it a paragon path every gnome should at least consider? No again.

I still consider purple to be the proper rating.
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