Kin to dwarves, gnomes are noticeably smaller than their distant cousins. Gnomes, as they proudly maintain, are also less rotund than dwarves. Their noses, however, are significantly larger. Most gnomes have dark tan or brown skin and white hair. A typical gnome lives for 350 years.

Gnomes have lively and sly senses of humor, especially for practical jokes. They have a great love of living things and finely wrought items, particularly gems and jewelry. Gnomes love all sorts of precious stones and are masters of gem polishing and cutting.

Gnomes prefer to live in areas of rolling, rocky hills, well wooded and uninhabited by humans. Their diminutive stature has made them suspicious of the larger races--humans and elves--although they are not hostile. They are sly and furtive with those they do not know or trust, and somewhat reserved even under the best of circumstances. Dwelling in mines and burrows, they are sympathetic to dwarves, but find their cousins' aversion to surface dwellers foolish.

A gnome character can elect to be a fighter, a thief, a cleric, or an illusionist. A gnome can have two classes, but not three: fighter/thief, illusionist/thief, etc.

Due to his upbringing, a beginning gnome character can choose to know the following languages, in addition to any others allowed by the DM: common, dwarf, gnome, halfling, goblin, kobold, and the simple common speech of burrowing mammals (moles, badgers, weasels, shrews, ground squirrels, etc.). The actual number of languages a character begins with depends upon his Intelligence score (see
Table 4) or the proficiency slots he allots to languages (if that optional system is used).

Like their cousins the dwarves, gnomes are highly magic resistant. A gnome player character gains a bonus of +1 for every 3˝ points of Constitution score, just as dwarves do (see
Table 9). This bonus applies to saving throws against magical wands, staves, rods, and spells.

Gnomes also suffer a 20% chance for failure every time they use any magical item except weapons, armor, shields, illusionist items, and (if the character is a thief) items that duplicate thieving abilities. This check is made each time the gnome attempts to use the device, or, in the case of continuous-use devices, each time the device is activated. Like dwarves, gnomes can sense a cursed item if the device fails to function.

In melee, gnome characters add 1 to their attack rolls to hit kobolds or goblins. When gnolls, bugbears, ogres, trolls, ogre magi, giants, or titans attack gnomes, these monsters must subtract 4 from their attack rolls because of the gnomes' small size and their combat skills against these much larger creatures.

Gnomish infravision enables them to see up to 60 feet in the dark.

Being tunnelers of exceptional merit, gnomes are able to detect the following within 10 feet (exception: They can determine their approximate depth or direction underground at any time.). They must stop and concentrate for one round to use any of these abilities.

Detect grade or slope in passage
1-5 on 1d6
Detect unsafe walls, ceiling, and floors
1-7 on 1d10
Determine approximate depth underground
1-4 on 1d6
Determine approximate direction underground
1-3 on 1d6

Gnome characters gain a +1 bonus to their Intelligence scores, to reflect their highly inquisitive natures. They suffer a -1 penalty to Wisdom because their curiosity often leads them unknowingly into danger.

(See also
Arms & Equipment Guide, Monstrous Manual, Player’s Option: Skills & Powers and The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings)

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