Gnomes are a small, clever, race characterized by their intelligence, stealthiness, and xenophobia. They live for a long time, up to 300 years, and have an appropriately long memory. They are the decended from the same stock as Halflings, but have very distinct cultural traits. They dislike others prying into their lives and are very secretive, often deliberately misleading those who try and learn more about their culture. As a result, everything known about Gnomes should be taken with a grain of salt.
Gnomes are Small creatures, typically between 2.5 and 3.5 feet tall at maturity. They have large ears, wide set oval shaped eyes, and rounded noses. Male and Female gnomes often wear beards, sometimes real and sometimes fake- it is impossible to tell which. (It is not uncommon for a non-gnome person to discover, after many years of dealing with a gnome sporting a long, full beard, that it was a lady gnome with the desire to remain anonymous. Such is the Gnomic sense of humor.)
Gnomes enjoy wearing brightly colored hats, but the rest of their clothing tends to be grays, browns and other subdued hues in order to increase stealthiness. The best way to tell the relative age of a Gnome is by the size of his or her hat, any answer cannot be trusted to be truth.
As a culture, Gnomes are Chaotic Neutral, with little need for codified laws, but they have a strong sense of honor. Individual Gnomes may be aligned differently, deciding to hold their grudges against the forces of evil, but they continue to possess a perverse sense of humor. Gnomes are quick to hold a grudge and will repay the smallest perceived slight in kind, often in a way that is objectively harsh. However they never wish true harm on others and their tricks will never go so far as to cause death, but often end with their targets experiencing much more hardship than was necessarily intended.
Gnomes live individually or in small family groups. They find too much organization distasteful and prefer to care for only those that are particularly close to them. They probably live in mound-shaped dwellings, typically on or near farmsteads. Legend says that these mounds are the burials of early settlers, but this may simply be heresay. Any attempted excavation of suspected gnome dwellings tends to go mysteriously awry. There are those who suspect that the idea of these places are burials is the Gnome’s idea of a joke. However with Gnome’s irreverence and taste for the valuables of those that have slighted them, it is a plausible theory.
Lawn Gnomes and Racist Attitudes
Gnomes are known for being incredibly secretive and xenophobic. They don’t like answering questions from any race and tend to keep to themselves. However they particularly dislike humans, choosing to remain hidden or invisible whenever humans are present. As a result they are particularly sensitive about perceived slights coming from humans. A few centuries ago a group of superstitious humans came up with the idea that Gnomes were the culprit behind their poor gardens, when it was probably due to drought or poor gardening skills. The tradition of putting up “Lawn Gnomes” was initially supposed to scare away the tricky creatures, but instead is interpreted as a particularly heinous form of racism. Only humans and the particularly un-wise half-human is dim enough to decorate using these ornaments, and interestingly they become the target of gnome pranks. People with lawn gnomes will never be able to keep their silver organized, will run out of toilet paper at a much speedier rate than normal, and will rarely keep a pair of matching socks.