Gnomes are one of the Elder Races of Morvia. Mischievous, elusive, pranksters, gnomes represent the wild and curious nature of the Feyrealms (that world of fairies, brownies, pixies and other magical woodland creatures). Known as wooded hill dwellers, gnomes are a close cousin to the Dwarves and share similarities in both stature and culture. Gnomes are also known as the caretakers of animals. Indeed, many Human farmers have benefited from the healing touch of the gnome whenever they have a sick or injured horse or cow.
Gnomes dwell mostly in wooded hills, however the largest concentration can be found in an area called The Moot located in Eresbor. Gnomes construct their cozy homes in hillocks and dells, which are cleverly disguised with illusion magics, hidden from the big folk. Although gnomes prefer to hide their homes from other races, their curiosity and inventive nature gets the best of them, eventually drawing them out to lead a life of adventure.
Of the elder races in Morvia, gnomes are the smallest, normally standing just above 3 feet in height. They can be mistaken for children to the untrained eye as many younger races have not been exposed to gnome-kind. Hair colour can range from russet browns to wild reds and oranges, a mark of the fey nature of gnomes. Their skin tones run from a deep tan to a cream colour. The most disturbing feature however is the size of their eyes. Disproportionate, gnome eyes are large, and possess larger than normal pupils that nearly fill the visible portion of the eye itself. Therefore their eyes can appear mainly one colour, such as emerald green, brown, near black or blue. This can have a shocking response on those who have never seen gnomes before. Gnomes dress in self made fabrics that incorporate patterns reminiscent of nature, including floral and leaf designs. However there are others who disapprove of clothing altogether, preferring to live in as natural a state as possible, shedding any modesty that some of their kind have adopted.
If one word can be used to describe gnomes, it would be curious. Gnomes marvel at the world around them, and see it as something to be both discovered and experienced. They love, nature, and have a special affinity toward animals, claiming them as allies. However, for all of their curiosity, gnomes are also known to be cautious, wary of the big folk (Humans and Elves, especially) and tend to steer clear of these races as much as possible. But, to know a gnome is to know joy and happiness. Gnomes love to learn and experience new things, which can tend to brand them with a reputation of being mischievous.
Gnomes also have a love for all things that grow, and are masters of tilled earth and a bountiful harvest. They tend to the health of their wooded homes with as much love and attention as they do with animals. Tending to injured or sick animals is a vocation that gnomes view as their responsibility and see poachers and those that hunt animals beyond their own immediate sustenance as an abomination. It is believed that many hunters who have stumbled into a nest of gnomes escape only within an inch of their lives, if they escape at all.
Gnomes view the other races, like most things of this world, with amazed wonderment. Although they maintain an arm’s length association with the big folk, gnomes are comfortable with their cousins, the dwarves. Goblinoid races such as Goblins, Orcs, Hobgoblins and the like are seen as unnatural monsters that must be destroyed whenever they are encountered.
On top of that, gnomes have a particularly special bond with creatures of the feyrealms. Fairies, brownies, and pixies find gnomes worthy of their admiration and see them as caretakers of the feyrealms. It is not unusual to have these fairyland creatures in the company of a gnome.
Gnomes tend toward a naturalistic approach. Primarily an agricultural based culture, Gnomes tend to the growing of crops ranging from grains to fruits and vegetables. At a very young age gnomes are schooled in the art of farming, rearing animals, and the ways of the forest, along with the dangers that lurk beyond their realms. Most of a young gnome’s education comes from folktales and stories passed down from each generation. The elders of the family take on the role of teachers of the young, instilling in them a love for nature and the wild places.
As gnomes age into young adulthood, they are taught the ways of the arcane arts that are inherent in their race. Communication with animals and the ability to cast minor spells creates a deeper connection with their realm. Some of these gnomes continue their education in the arcane arts, bringing them closer to their fey comrades.
Typical gnomes spend most of their day tending to their communities, either farming, the brewing of ales, caring for woodland animals, or protecting the feyrealms. However some decide to experience the world beyond their comfortable homes, perhaps striking out to the nearest human village or town, seeking adventure beyond familiar horizons.
Gnomes are unfamiliar with the typical trappings of the big folk. Marriage, for example, is an alien idea. Gnomes are a free spirited people, akin to the fey and as a result such restrictions are unknown to them. Although some Gnomes may mate for life, it is not through obligation or contract, but a freedom of choice. Gnomes are typically known to go through life having many mates and having many children.
All Gnomes are known to speak a common language known simply as Gnomish. The details of the Gnomish language are very sketchy and it’s origins are simply unknown. Gnome culture is based primarily on an oral tradition and very few things have been written down as a result. Typically, very few gnomes (save wizard or scholar types) can read and write.
The history of the Gnomes is a spotty, oft forgotten tale that has been passed down to young gnomelings as stories told by their elders. Ask any gnome to discuss the history of her people, and it would be a fair bet that what she tells would be a different tale from the one told by the gnome standing next to her. Somewhere in the middle however is the truth. Below are the more commonly known historical and mythical beliefs of the gnome people.
The gnome people retell the story of how their patron Goddess Dellabrine came to the formless land created by her father Thorebrin Morvios and saw that it was void of life and laughter. For Dellabrine loved song, dance, tricks and pranks of all varieties. Dellabrine also loved things that grew, and in the formless land she planted her first seed. When the seed sprouted and grew she sang to it until the land was covered. She named what she grew, trees. Dellabrine also created the grass, the flowers and all the other things that grow from the earth. And when she was done she called to the wild animals and showed them a place where they could live without fear. She also called forth those small magical creatures known as the Fey, and they too were allowed to live in her wild forests.
But no matter how much Dellabrine loved her forests and plants, she still did not feel that the world had received her great gift. And so Dellabrine removed the beating heart from her body and planted it deep in the ground. And from that pulsating seed, sprang forth the first gnome. A creature born of the wild, connected to everything around it. It shared Dellabrine’s love of things that grew, of the animals that ran boundless through the grasses and most of, the pranks that was born from a well thought out joke. Dellabrine named her people Gnomes and soon showed them the way of magic and healing. Her people quickly spread across Morvia, encountering the Dwarves, their closest cousin.
Gnomes do not have a written history and as such, the accuracy of their tales cannot be substantiated. What is written is mostly preserved in the writings of the other elder races such as in the Recount of Dreykinof the Eldar and the Hewnish Halls of the Dwarves. From the few accounts that have been committed to account, it is believed that the Gnomes had always called The Moot their home. A vast, forested and hilly area located in south easternEresbor, this is their native land. Some accounts show that the Gnomes have lived in The Moot for nearly 40,000 years and were a more wild and tribe-like people. Other accounts say that the Gnomes migrated from the Teleasen States due to some unspoken calamity that struck their people there. Some believe that it was the invasion of the ice and cold that now dominates this terrain while others claim that it was the influx of men that drove them away. Despite what was written, the oral folktales speak of Dellabrine and her first harvest of gnomes while others make mention of a great migration. What is true or not is left for others to argue.
What is truly known is that gnomes first encountered men nearly 1000 years before the nation of Eresbor was created. Back then, gnomes so feared the big folk that they remained hidden from them and were at best, believed to be a children’s fairy tale. This was something that the gnomes preferred. However, as wars raged across the lands, fought by men for titles and countries that did not belong to them, gnomes began to become greatly affected. In hopes of stemming the tide of war from men, the great gnome elders approached the Eldar. Urging them to help the race men cease their senseless violence, it was they who started the move toward peace. Indirectly, as a result, the Eldar helped the race of men established their first nation, Eresbor. From that point on, the High Court of Eresbor always reserves a seat in The Elder Council for a delegate from the gnome people. That seat however has yet to be occupied at any of the sittings.
The Gnome Pantheon
Gnomes, just like the other races in Morvia venerate their own cast of gods. Although the Church of Morvia has good relations with the gnomish religions, they are not directly recognized as real deities. This does, from time to time, create tension between the two churches. What follows are the more main stream gods that the gnomes worship. These are only the more popular gods for the Gnomes.
Dellabrine (Del-ah-brin) Beloved Mother, The Green Mistress, Creator of the Gnomes
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Domains: Animal, Chaos, Community, Good, Plant
Creator of the Gnomes, Dellabrine is considered one of the Elder Gods. She is daughter of Thorbrine Morvios, and is sister to both Beruthiel and Ethelbrine.
Valdormious (Val-door-me-us) Lord of Trickery, The Laughing Lord
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Domains: Chaos, Charm, Liberation, Luck, Trickery
The Lord of pranks and tricks. Valdormious loves the intricacies of a well planned and executed prank or trick. The more embarrassed the target the better.
Diotomah (Die-oh-tow-mah) Mother of Changelings, Mother Dread, Lady of Missing Gnomelings
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Domains: Darkness, Evil, Madness, Magic, Trickery
There is a legend that the old witch Diotomah placed a curse on the gnome people before she was killed by an entire community who hunted for her in the woods near the The Moot. It was believed that Diotomah was kidnapping gnomelings in the dead of night for her nefarious spells and incantations. After her death however, the disappearance of a gnomeling still occurred from time to time, leading many to believe that her curse came true. Others believe that it’s Diotomah’s ghost returned from the grave to exact revenge. Sometimes, when a gnomeling is taken, it is replaced with a grotesque replacement. An abomination that is quickly destroyed.
Frellyr (Frel-er) Keeper of the Horizon, Inventor of Curiosity, God of Invention.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Domains: Artifice, Chaos, Knowledge, Magic, Travel
The lord of invention. Frellyr loves the building of items, the invention of things and the curiosity that is the central personality of the gnome people. Frellyr is followed closely by those who create and make life easy for those from their inventions. In addition Frellyr watches over those who travel great distances and is asked to ease their passage.