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 Like a modern day Diogenes.


By: Jeff Sparks

Gnomes are a human-like race related to (but smaller than) dwarves, with long noses and full beards. Gnomes have well-developed infravision, with a 90' range. They usually live in burrows in the lowlands. Gnomes are excellent metalsmiths and miners. They love gold and gems and have been known to make bad decisions just to obtain them. They love machinery of all kinds and prefer crossbows and war hammers as weapons. Gnomes like most dwarves, but war with goblins and kobolds who steal their precious gold. They usually attack kobolds on sight.

Prime Requisites: Intelligence & Dexterity

Restrictions: Min. CON of 9

The class features of the Gnome are:

4Master Tinkerer8,8001d6
5Apprentice Engineer17,0001d6
6Journeyman Engineer35,0001d6
8Master Engineer140,0001d6
10Inventor (10th)400,0001d6+1*
11Inventor (11th)530,0001d6+2*
12Inventor (12th)660,0001d6+3*

Gnome Skills:

Gnomes start with 15 skill points to distribute between the above 3 skills and gain 6 + INT modifier skill points per level.

(The above is tied to my house rules on thief skills, for a simpler system use the same level thief for the first two skills and the "Open Locks" progression for Repair.)

Disarm/Set Traps: Gnomes are skilled at disabling mechanical traps much like a Thief. The Gnome can also "re-set" a trap so that it is armed after he is done with it. For example, a Gnome might disable the poison needle trap on a chest then re-set it after removing the chest's contents. A Gnome can also fashion simple traps like tripwires, etc. if he has the correct materials with him or can find them easily. Making a new simple trap takes a minimum of 1 turn. More elaborate/complex traps require more time or -in the case of complex mechanisms- special tools.

Pick Locks: Works exactly as the Thief skill. Thieves' -or Gnomish- tools are needed for the job.

Repair: Allows the gnome to make "field repairs" to his Gnomish equipment. It takes 1 turn to perform a simple repair job. If he waits until he is back in town and/or can spend at least an hour with the proper tools, his chance of repairing the item increases by +20%. Only one attempt per item to make a field repair can be made. On a roll of "00", the item is ruined and cannot ever be repaired. A set of Gnomish tools weighs 100cn and costs 100gp.

Appraise: Gnomes start with the general INT-based skill Appraise for free. Improving their appraisal skill costs skill points normally. (again, part of my house rules on skills, feel free to use or ignore. You can also use the Pick Pocket progression scale from the Thieves Skills for this if you wish))

Special Gnome Equipment

Gnomes make many curious and fascinating gadgets. These items are generally only usable by Gnomes, who understand how they work. Also, Gnomish devices have a tendency to break at unexpected moments, sometimes in spectacular fashion. Gnomes are trained in the maintenance and repair of their equipment as well as their use.

Sample Gnomish Devices

Repeating Crossbow: Fires 1 bolt per round. Holds 6 bolts. Range: 60/120/180. Weight: 80cn. Cost: 200gp. On an attack roll which misses by 4 or more, the weapon jams and will require a Repair skill roll to fix (Repair time: 1 turn). The weapon always jams on a natural 1, regardless of target number.

Wall Spider: A clockwork "spider" that can climb walls up to 100' with 85% chance of success, then clamps down and holds like a grappling hook. The Gnome typically attaches one end of a rope, sets it to the height he wishes, winds it up and sends the Spider on its way. The spider is quite noisy, however, and its loud clacking may attract wandering monsters. If successful, a simple STR check allows a character (up to 100 lbs.) to climb the rope. If the spider's Climb check fails, it either falls or jams partway up. On a Climbing roll of "00", the spider falls and smashes to bits. Weight: 50cn. Cost: 200gp.

Lobber: This bizarre device looks like a cross between a miniature catapult and a spinning wheel. It it loaded with up to 6 flasks of oil (or holy water). When activated, it "tosses" 1 flask per round (automatically lighting the oil). It has a range of 40/60/120, weighs 100cn, and costs 200gp. On a failed attack roll that misses by 4 or more, the weapon malfunctions and requires a Repair roll (Repair time: 1 turn). On a natural 1, if oil is loaded in the device it bursts into flames, dealing 1d8 damage to the wielder and destroying the weapon. If holy water is loaded the weapon is still broken beyond repair, but deals no damage to the wielder.

Players of Gnome PCs should feel free to suggest alternate devices to the DM, bearing in mind the cost and unpredictability of these machines. DMs may also want to design their own Gnomish devices and place them in dungeons as possible treasure for the Gnome PC instead of typical magical items.

When a Gnome reaches 9th level (Inventor), he can choose either to set up a workshop in a town or to found a new burrow or mine. Whichever choice he makes, he will attract 2-12 1st level Gnomes as apprentices who will work for him in exchange for instruction.

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Copyright © 2005 Jeff Sparks

Last Updated Sat Aug 11, 2007