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View Full Version : Gnomes: Do's agnd Dogn'ts



FlumphPaladin
2016-01-05, 12:56 PM
We love them, we hate them. They're ingenious builders, they're mad scientists. They're comic relief, they're game-breakers who are only enjoyed by their players. They live in underground warrens, or not. Their love of gold and big noses raises unfortunate implications. They all have names like Flibbertygibbet Frostynipples.

I am speaking, of course, of the other white meat short humanoid: GNOMES! Do you include them in your games? How far do you take the "slapstick race" aspect? How do you differentiate them from their fellow industrious subterraneans, the dwarves? Are they fun and helpful, or only a step away from fey? What's cliché for gnomes, and are cliché's a bad thing for such a take-the-piss race?

JAL_1138
2016-01-05, 01:04 PM
DOGN'T: Pull so magny silly, destructive, agnd/or game-breakigng shegnagnigagns that your group bagns you from ever playigng ogne agaign. You dogn't wagnt to egnd up with "GNO GNOMES" as a houserule.

nedz
2016-01-05, 02:09 PM
DOGN'T: Pronounce the G — it's silent
DOGN'T: Make them silly. OK, so, I did once create a Gnome kingdom called "The Garden" but that was a long time ago, and I was wrong to do that.

Mark Hall
2016-01-05, 02:35 PM
I've long had an enjoyment of gnomes. I tend to play them as being a race that's very much about community (makes sense, given that they're LG), but not dour or serious, like dwarves. Gnomes in Hackmaster are vegetarians and able to communicate freely with their animal neighbors, which means their idea of community is a lot larger than that of humans. Gnomes have a good sense of smell, but no increased susceptibility to scents (since they live in close proximity to badgers, weasels, wolverines, etc., they're used to things being pretty ripe). They are creative and create mechanical things, but without the Krynnish gnomes' proclivity for Rube Goldbergian devices. They're aware that they're small and lack physical strength, so they leverage intelligence and machines... they like crossbows because they pack the same punch no matter your strength, and they develop things like bipods and monopods to make using a crossbow easier (in Hackmaster, all weapons have a minimum strength, with penalties if you don't meet that).

While gnomes are about community, they're not really about states. They are long-lived and slow reproducing, so they don't tend to build up large numbers. They make small communities of gnomes (and sometimes halflings) scattered about, keeping in contact through letters and trade and marriage.

FlumphPaladin
2016-01-05, 03:05 PM
DOGN'T: Pull so magny silly, destructive, agnd/or game-breakigng shegnagnigagns that your group bagns you from ever playigng ogne agaign. You dogn't wagnt to egnd up with "GNO GNOMES" as a houserule.
I was hopigng you'd weigh ign ogn this ogne!


wrong
That's a strange way to spell "brilliant..."


I've long had an enjoyment of gnomes. I tend to play them as being a race that's very much about community (makes sense, given that they're LG), but not dour or serious, like dwarves.
Kind of splitting the difference between the traditionalist dwarves and mirthful halflings. I like it!


While gnomes are about community, they're not really about states. They are long-lived and slow reproducing, so they don't tend to build up large numbers. They make small communities of gnomes (and sometimes halflings) scattered about, keeping in contact through letters and trade and marriage.
I once created a world where the gnomes had a continent-spanning empire facilitated by constructs while the gnomes themselves lived in a steampunk metropolis... it never got off the ground, though.

This time, I'm still going steampunk, but the gnomes and halflings live together (and intermarry... I might combine them into one race), and their high standard of living makes expansion and conquest unappealing. Others in the world consider the two races to be decadent and shallow.

GrayDeath
2016-01-05, 04:08 PM
Gnomelings or Half Ones? :P


More (though not TOO much more) serious: i have always preferred Gnomes to Halflings, even if only because their stereotype was not trampled to death in every third Fantasy Setting/Novel since Lord of the Rings.

I have only ever played one once though (as non GM).
Very steretypical: Fun loving, Constructarmor using Prankster-Genius.

So yeah, Gnomes. Fun Stuff.

Douche
2016-01-05, 04:13 PM
I once had a gnome I called Zeirdo Jenkins, and he was a Great Old One warlock who had a tentacle coming out of his face. Other than that, he wore a regular train conductors uniform

JAL_1138
2016-01-05, 04:47 PM
I guess I would say gnomes are typically more technologically advanced than average. In general, that should be set somewhere that doesn't unduly impact the general tone of the setting. Mystara is an Anachronism Stew, so the gnomes can have a flying city and biplanes there. Greyhawk and FR are somewhere around late-medieval through mid-Renaissance on average, so the gnomes shouldn't exceed that too much (at least, not successfully). They are typically industrious and hard-working, but without the dourness of dwarves, but also have a propensity for mischief or humor (that should stop short of being annoying to the table). They're inquisitive and curious, but not suicidally so (except tinker gnomes, who sort of are when it comes to SCIENCE!).

DO: Make them quirky and clever on average. Vary individusls from the norm and the stereotype.

DOGN'T: Overdo it. Making them so silly or so technologically capable that it annoys rather than amuses your table is frowned upon.

DOGN'T: When portraying the infamous Tinker Gnomes, don't make them stupid. They're clever, just eccentric and with poor judgment and a tendency to overlook problems in their reasoning. Their reasoning makes a kind of sense when you squint and look at it sideways, even when they get carried away.

DO: When portraying non-Tinker gnomes, dial back the silliness and Rube-Goldbergian nature of the technology.
Ordinary gnomes aren't the most practical people in the world, but they don't waste too much time and energy in utterly inefficient or disastrously unsafe devices. Well-constructed machinery and clockwork has an aesthetic appeal and may be considered a form of artwork.

Tanarii
2016-01-05, 04:51 PM
Do play them as creative, intelligent, inquisitive people that come up with ingenious solutions to interesting problems.
Do give them a love of laughter and the small joys in life.
Do show they are skillful at whatever they choose to do.

Do make them AWESOME! Gnomes are by far the best race.

Dogn't give them a high pitched voice.
Dogn't make them careless for their own safety.
Dogn't play them as comic relief.

Gnomes aren't Tinker Gnomes. Or worse, Kender. Seriously, just dogn't do it.

Edit: Forgot the other big one: Dogn't play them as steampunk or magepunk. Unless that's the setting.

Winter_Wolf
2016-01-05, 10:08 PM
Gnomes are basically considered malicious little fey and get blamed for anything from missing socks or keys to mechanism failures. My gnomes don't have much in the way of human mores or morality. If you've seen Gnomeo and Juliet, they're like meaner versions of Tybalt. Redcaps meet gremlins maybe. Appeasement is a thing that commoners do and gnomes aren't exactly welcomed with open arms.