Argonnessen: A Draconic Exaltation
Little is known for sure about the diminutive creatures that live in the cities of Argonnessen. They claim to hail from the plane of Thelanis where they once were part of the Summer Court but found themselves, mysteriously, upon Eberron sometime in the distant past. They call themselves “Vrak’Tor” and claim to have been lead to Io’lokar by the promised one who was made of the greatest star metals. They were not brought to Argonnessen by the dragons, that must is sure, but seem to have migrated here (albeit in small numbers) of their own volition. In either case, they are in your city – fixing your magic items. Just don’t insult their small stature.
Physical Description: Gnomes are one of the smallest of the common races, generally standing just over 3 feet in height. Despite their small frames, however, gnomes are extremely resilient, and not as weak as many of their foes assume. Though their diminutive stature reduces their ability to move quickly, gnomes often train to take advantage of their size, especially when fighting foes much larger than themselves.
The coloration of gnomes varies so wildly that many outsiders assume gnomes commonly use dyes and illusions to change their skin and hair tones. While gnomes are certainly not above cosmetic enhancement (and may wish to change their appearance just to see how outlandish they can look), their natural hues truly range over a rainbow of coloration. Their hair tends toward vibrant colors such as the fiery orange of autumn leaves, the verdant green of forests at springtime, or the deep reds and purples of wildflowers in bloom. Similarly, their flesh tones range from earthy browns to floral pinks, and gnomes with black, pastel blue, or even green skin are not unknown. Gnomes’ coloration has little regard for heredity, with the color of a gnome’s parents and other kin having no apparent bearing on the gnome’s appearance. Gnomes possess highly mutable facial characteristics, and their proportions often don’t match the norm of other humanoid races. Many have overly large mouths and eyes, an effect which can be both disturbing and stunning, depending on the individual. Others may have extremely small features spread over an otherwise blank expanse of face, or may mix shockingly large eyes with a tiny, pursed mouth and a pert button of a nose. Gnomes rarely take pride in or show embarrassment about their features, but members of other races often fixate on a gnome’s most prominent feature and attempt to use it as the focus of insults or endearments.
Society: Unlike most races, gnomes do not generally organize themselves within classic societal structures. Gnome cities are unusual and gnome kingdoms almost unknown. Further, gnomes have no particular tendency to gather in specific neighborhoods even when a large number of them live among other races. While specific laws meant to contain the potential impact of gnomes on a society may require a “gnome quarter,” and societal pressure sometimes causes all non-gnomes to move away from areas with high gnome populations, left to their own devices, gnomes tend to spread evenly throughout communities that allow them.
However, even when gnomes are common within a community as a group, individual gnomes tend to be always on the move. Whimsical creatures at heart, they typically travel alone or with temporary companions, ever seeking new and more exciting experiences. They rarely form enduring relationships among themselves or with members of other races, instead pursuing crafts, professions, or collections with a passion that borders on zealotry. If a gnome does settle in an area or stay with a group for a longer period, it is almost always the result of some benefit that area gives to a vocation or obsession to which the gnome had dedicated himself.
Despite their extremely varied backgrounds and lack of a unifying homeland, gnomes do possess some common cultural traits. Male gnomes have a strange fondness for unusual hats and headgear, often wearing the most expensive and ostentatious head-covering they can afford (and that their chosen careers will allow them to wear without causing problems). Females rarely cover their heads, but proudly wear elaborate and eccentric hairstyles that often include intricate jeweled combs and headpieces.
Alignment and Religion: Although gnomes are impulsive tricksters, with sometimes inscrutable motives and equally confusing methods, their hearts are generally in the right place. What may seem a malicious act to a non-gnome is more likely an effort to introduce new acquaintances to new experiences, however unpleasant the experiences may be. Gnomes are prone to powerful fits of emotion, and find themselves most at peace within the natural world. They are usually neutral good, and prefer to worship deities who value individuality and nature.
The Gnomes of Io’lokar all seem to worship the same deity, a metallic “promised one” who both led them to the continent of Argonnessen and protects over them. Whether this is a Dragon, a mythical figure, or a God is of some debate.
Notable Zones: City only
Notable City: Io’lokar
Standard Racial Traits
Ability Score Racial Traits: Gnomes are physically weak but surprisingly hardy, and their attitude makes them naturally agreeable. They gain +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, and –2 Strength.
Type: Gnomes are Humanoid creatures with the gnome subtype.
Size: Gnomes are Small creatures and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
Base Speed: (Slow Speed) Gnomes have a base speed of 20 feet.
Languages: Gnomes begin play speaking Common, Gnome, and Sylvan. Gnomes with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, and Orc. See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.
Defense Racial Traits
Defensive Training: Gnomes gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC against monsters of the giant subtype.
Illusion Resistance: Gnomes gain a +2 racial saving throw bonus against illusion spells and effects.
Feat and Skill Racial Traits
Keen Senses: Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception checks.
Obsessive: Gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on a Craft or Profession skill of their choice.
Magical Racial Traits
Gnome Magic: Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against illusion spells that they cast. Gnomes with Charisma scores of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities: 1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation, and speak with animals. The caster level for these effects is equal to the gnome’s level. The DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the gnome’s Charisma modifier.
Offense Racial Traits
Hatred: Gnomes receive a +1 bonus on attack rolls against humanoid creatures of the reptilian and goblinoid subtypes because of their special training against these hated foes.
Weapon Familiarity: Gnomes treat any weapon with the word “gnome” in its name as a martial weapon.
Senses Racial Traits
Low-Light Vision: Gnomes can see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.