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 Gnomes: An overlooked race.
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Shadowsoul
Senior Scribe

Ireland
646 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2017 :  07:05:55  Show Profile Send Shadowsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
When pooring over all my Realms material, something I've noticed is how overlooked gnomes are. They are a long lived, and highly intelligent race of humanoids that should have more involvement in the Realms. I know we have Lantan, but I really expected gnomes to have more of an influence and presence through out the Realms. I envision gnomes having great cities throughout the Realms on a level with the elves.

Anyone else feel this way?

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
#8213; J.R.R. Tolkien

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Taleras
Seeker

46 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2017 :  13:32:03  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm still far from well-versed in Forgotten Realms, but in the books and lore that I have read they do seem to be underrepresented. The only books that I think have even had gnomes are some of the Drizzt series and then in BG2 when you encounter the Svirfneblin city. There are other gnomes besides Svirfleblin, right? Where do they live? Also, they are a relatively secretive and independent race aren't they? I suppose that would make sense for them to be rather scarce, but you would think they might have some stories centered on gnomes at some point.
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Artemas Entreri
Great Reader

USA
3068 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2017 :  13:53:32  Show Profile Send Artemas Entreri a Private Message  Reply with Quote
IIRC there is a gnome character in Soldiers of Ice.

Some people have a way with words, and other people...oh, uh, not have way. -Steve Martin

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2017 :  15:22:52  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Artemas Entreri

IIRC there is a gnome character in Soldiers of Ice.



I want to say there was a whole flock of them in that book, but I've not read it in a very long time -- I consider it one of the worse offerings in the series.

And yes, gnomes travel in flocks. I looked it up on Google.

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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1489 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2017 :  15:24:02  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
They are "the Forgotten Folk"… and they like it this way (q.v. "Melve's Plan").
quote:
Originally posted by Taleras

There are other gnomes besides Svirfleblin, right? Where do they live? Also, they are a relatively secretive and independent race aren't they?

In the human cities. Where someone else fights monsters and invaders, and does hard work like chopping up the cattle. Where they may fade into background at will. Which saves the gnomes an amazing amount of troubles, they only have to make themselves useful and not go out of their way to attract attention.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14387 Posts

Posted - 27 Mar 2017 :  15:43:23  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Read Ed's article "The Hin Nobody Knows" in Dragon Magazine #269. Even the title of the article has 'forgotten' them.
Its an article about FR's 'small folk', and it has some great info on the gnomes and their settlements.

Aside from their own towns, they tend to live right under human noses - as do halflings - unnoticed, and thats how they thrive. I don't count them as trivial. Hardly; I think of them as schemers (same with hin, but they're not as ruthless as gnomes can be). Just be logical about it - what sort of skill sets would evolve in races that are smaller and weaker than average, and yet be able to survive among them? They can almost never get the upper hand physically, so they do so by other means. They are 'beneath notice' because they want it that way.

And if you think a race known as "The Forgotten Folk" are unimportant in a setting called 'The Forgotten Realms', well, then, they've obviously been very thorough about appearing unassuming, eh?

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 27 Mar 2017 15:45:09
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
744 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2017 :  03:33:14  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

They are "the Forgotten Folk"… and they like it this way (q.v. "Melve's Plan").

Quoted for truth - the "Melve's Plan" Forging the Realms article is the best piece I've found on the gnomish mindset, and the Trail of Mists piece comes second.

A couple of months after "Melve's Plan" Ed did another Forging the Realms article called "Imroad Gaskulyn", which offers a little bit more insight again, this time into the life of an individual gnome.

Edit: I recall there was an influential gnome in Blackstaff Tower, who kept up the gnomish reputation of preferring to not draw attention to himself, being good at keeping other things hidden, and having a good sense of humour.

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North

Edited by - KanzenAU on 28 Mar 2017 04:39:21
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Ari
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40 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2017 :  04:43:05  Show Profile Send Ari a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Similar to what Markustay suggests, giving them a kind of "underworld" where the gnomes and other smaller demihumans have their own ecosystems and politics alongside Medium-sized demis is a decent way to handle it. Secret rooms and tunnels, chambers for overhearing notable bigfolks, hallowed-out foundations and such. Not necessarily sinister, but what they need to keep on top of things and protect themselves.

It's not quite the same, but there,s a great bit in A Dance With Dragons where Penny, a performing little person, warns smartmouthed dwarf Tyrion Lannister to do everything he can to placate and amuse bigger people. "They can HURT you!" she stresses after an argument with a knight ends with the bigger man backhanding Tyrion across the room. The hin are quick and strong, and the gnomes have illusions and genius, but that,s not near enough to be on an even keel.


A good way to think of it is like a tight-knit immigrant neighborhood who know that the police won't care about their problems.
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
744 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2017 :  04:45:07  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ari

Similar to what Markustay suggests, giving them a kind of "underworld" where the gnomes and other smaller demihumans have their own ecosystems and politics alongside Medium-sized demis is a decent way to handle it. Secret rooms and tunnels, chambers for overhearing notable bigfolks, hallowed-out foundations and such. Not necessarily sinister, but what they need to keep on top of things and protect themselves.

It's not quite the same, but there,s a great bit in A Dance With Dragons where Penny, a performing little person, warns smartmouthed dwarf Tyrion Lannister to do everything he can to placate and amuse bigger people. "They can HURT you!" she stresses after an argument with a knight ends with the bigger man backhanding Tyrion across the room. The hin are quick and strong, and the gnomes have illusions and genius, but that,s not near enough to be on an even keel.


A good way to think of it is like a tight-knit immigrant neighborhood who know that the police won't care about their problems.



This is pretty much exactly what the Warrens of Waterdeep are.

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14387 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2017 :  05:06:08  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Also, I get the impression most of Sunset Vale is already riddled with tunnels. Some from perhaps the time of Oghrann, but any left behind by the dwarves have been expanded upon by the hin and gnomes living in the Vale, which has a preponderance of the small folk. I believe there is a mention of a project along these lines in the Volo's Guide, and the novel The Shadowking made mention of the fact that there are 'ways' to get into The Darkhold 'from below' that the Zhents don't even know about, or fear to tread, and this was being discussed by folks in Iriaebor, where there were also 'dangerous tunnels below the city' almost no one knew about.

The tunnels mentioned by the Volo's Guide were 'emergency tunnels', IIRC, or so Volo apparently thought, that could connect the various settlements together from below. So you'd have the villages everyone knows about, that have a fairly large proportionate number of 'small folk' in them, and then below you'd have a 'secret kingdom' of sorts, that only the gnomes and hin - and maybe some trustworthy dwarves - now of. Just one more secret they keep from the 'big folk'. After all , there has got to be some reason why the Zhents haven't made much headway in their takeover of Sunset Vale in nearly 150 years. And I recall reading somewhere that the Hin did want to set up a kingdom of their own in that region.

The hin are known to be able to 'just disappear' when trouble arises - their towns are left deserted, and attackers never see anyone leave by normal means. If we add what I've just said, and their close relationship with gnomes, one might think ALL settlements with large numbers of small folk have these 'secret escape tunnels'. They do tend to be able to survive in places where big folk have trouble (like near the Zhents, or the village of Shining Falls - at the Shining Falls - which is the closest settlement* to Hellgate keep, in an area where humans CAN'T seem to settle).

*Not counting the elvish village of Reitheillaethor, which is IN the High forest, which the fiends avoid. Its the Delimbyr Vale thats supposed to be uninhabitable because of roaming devils.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 28 Mar 2017 05:08:43
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moonbeast
Learned Scribe

USA
329 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2017 :  09:40:39  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the region of the Sword Coast and Heartlands….. there is (and this is canon info based on 5th Edition sources) the Trielta Hills region populated by many gnome settlements both in pastural (rolling hills) villages above, and also underground towns below. One of the larger gnomish burgs is the walled town of Hardbuckler, at the edge of the Trielta Hills.

Source: Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (aka SCAG)

In my 5E campaign, I've created a small (mostly-subterranean) gnomish burg in Trielta Hills, known as Tanterin. In the depths of Tanterin, just below the Shrine to Garl Glittergold is a teleportaion circle.




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Taleras
Seeker

46 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2017 :  15:51:01  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Artemas Entreri

IIRC there is a gnome character in Soldiers of Ice.



I want to say there was a whole flock of them in that book, but I've not read it in a very long time -- I consider it one of the worse offerings in the series.

And yes, gnomes travel in flocks. I looked it up on Google.



Man, I got psyched because I have that book sitting on my shelf waiting to be read...wasn't psyched to hear it's not very good haha.
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
14387 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2017 :  16:21:49  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can't believe we all forgot the kingdom of Songfarla, over on the eastern side of the Sunrise Mnts., in The High Valley (right up against Thay, thus proving my last point about them being "able to live in regions where humans would find it difficult to do so" because of other humans).

Not sure if that was detailed in the Hin article I mentioned above or somewhere else. Just checked, and NOPE - must make an effort to find where thats from again.

EDIT:
Dragon Magazine #349, pg.56, in The Horde article.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 28 Mar 2017 16:29:19
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30338 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2017 :  20:32:25  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Taleras

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Artemas Entreri

IIRC there is a gnome character in Soldiers of Ice.



I want to say there was a whole flock of them in that book, but I've not read it in a very long time -- I consider it one of the worse offerings in the series.

And yes, gnomes travel in flocks. I looked it up on Google.



Man, I got psyched because I have that book sitting on my shelf waiting to be read...wasn't psyched to hear it's not very good haha.



Keep in mind my reading taste is not universal; there are some rather popular Realms novels that I thoroughly disliked. And it's also been something like 15 years since I read that novel, if not longer -- if I read it now, I might have a different appreciation of it than I did then. I have, in the last few years, enjoyed novels I once wouldn't have ever touched.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 28 Mar 2017 20:34:16
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Taleras
Seeker

46 Posts

Posted - 28 Mar 2017 :  21:32:10  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's a good point, I'm typically easily pleased when it comes to books so maybe I will enjoy this one when I finally get started on it.
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Jorkens
Great Reader

Norway
2950 Posts

Posted - 14 Apr 2017 :  08:40:43  Show Profile Send Jorkens a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just to balance it; Soldiers of Ice is one of my all-time favourites (along with Night Parade, the Ogre Pact and Spellfire. Me and Wooly usually disagree on Realms books ). It has a whole gnome community without the usual silliness, and gnolls; what's not to like?

Then again, I am a huge gnome fan as long as a lot of canon is thrown out the window. 2nd. edition Gnomes and Halflings book is always a good source.

No Canon, more stories, more Realms.

Edited by - Jorkens on 14 Apr 2017 08:42:13
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Taleras
Seeker

46 Posts

Posted - 14 Apr 2017 :  14:08:08  Show Profile Send Taleras a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I just started the book and I am liking it so far! I loved Spellfire as well, so maybe I will continue to like this one. :)
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Elren_Wolfsbane
Seeker

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 15 Apr 2017 :  14:43:41  Show Profile Send Elren_Wolfsbane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gnomes always fascinated me. I always saw them as tinkerers and Crafters, but important no less. I would love to have stumble players run into a city of gnomes. I have a halfling in my party so it would be interesting to see another small folk interacting with each other

Aa' lasser en`coialle n`natula brown.

(May the leaves of your life tree never turn brown)

-Elren Wolfsbane
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4920 Posts

Posted - 16 Apr 2017 :  02:32:29  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
More than a few hidden and in plain sight gnomes in Impiltur. Plenty of halflings too.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6428 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2017 :  22:05:51  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Not all gnomes are tinkerers, inventors, artisans, jewellers, smiths, and moneylenders. Just as not all halflings are burglars and pickpockets.

Most will have the same professions as their human counterparts - they'll be farmers, labourers, and generally useless busybodies - which is to say they'd generally rather do as little or as easy work to gain as much comfort and reward as possible. I imagine that their small physical statures will encourage most gnomes and halflings to develop their social and professional skills; there's just not going to be a lot of demand for gnomish brutes and halfling lifters when humans (or even dwarves) can fill these roles so much better.

Gnomes are known for their amazing (if somewhat incomprehensible to non-gnomes) mechanical aptitude. So most gnomes probably share a certain racial temperament, they're probably very logical thinkers, methodical troubleshooters, excellent strategists and planners, obsessed with processes and precision (if not efficiency), and able to creatively "think outside the box". Not entirely dissimilar to our world's gawky "nerds" who focus (and obsess) on conceptual abstracts, hard academia, devices and technologies, and specialized interests (like D&D, Star Trek, and Monty Python) which aren't readily accepted by "normal" people. Nerds once dreamed of a world where everyone owns a computer, we can instantly communicate across the planet, and all human knowledge is accessible from every home - and look where we (and the nerds) are now. Nerds still dream of a world where humans live in space and on other planets, we can travel between stars, and medical miracles provide something akin to immortality - and it appears that steady progress towards these goals is always being made. I imagine gnomes as being something like our nerdish forerunners, they may fundamentally and profoundly revolutionize how peoples of the Realms live over coming centuries, or they may not, but they are (as a race) always firmly "convinced" of their critical role in today's/tomorrow's society on some conscious or subconscious level.

[/Ayrik]
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Elren_Wolfsbane
Seeker

USA
69 Posts

Posted - 19 Apr 2017 :  15:04:11  Show Profile Send Elren_Wolfsbane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know not all gnomes are Tinkers, inventors, Artisans, Jewelers, Smiths comma I guess it was just a bad generalization.

This is some really good points that make me rethink gnomes as a hopeful people that get overlooked all the time.

Aa' lasser en`coialle n`natula brown.

(May the leaves of your life tree never turn brown)

-Elren Wolfsbane
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shades of eternity
Learned Scribe

118 Posts

Posted - 20 Apr 2017 :  23:00:49  Show Profile  Visit shades of eternity's Homepage Send shades of eternity a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've had a blast with my twist on gnomes.

they are the only race that commonly uses 20th century technology. :D

they act as tech support for my drop team for my storm giant's shotgun campaign - a forgotten realms/stargate crossover game. :D

check out my post-post apocalyptic world at www.drevrpg.com
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Varl
Learned Scribe

USA
253 Posts

Posted - 21 Apr 2017 :  01:58:56  Show Profile Send Varl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gnomes are always overlooked...

I really like gnomes as characters. Blingdenstone is one of their greatest cities, and even though it's written as more of a deep gnome city, for me it's the Waterdeep for gnomes. They all know of it, and those that haven't been to it sometimes make it a life quest to go there.

"We're not out of here in 10 minutes, we won't need no rockets to fly through space." -Parker, Alien.
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moonbeast
Learned Scribe

USA
329 Posts

Posted - 23 Apr 2017 :  08:53:32  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wasn't Blingdenstone destroyed by the Drow?
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
744 Posts

Posted - 23 Apr 2017 :  09:04:24  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It was, but they're back rebuilding it. I think there was a playtest adventure involving it, and it's in Out of the Abyss (still being rebuilt).

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North
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ErskineF
Learned Scribe

USA
326 Posts

Posted - 28 Apr 2017 :  04:04:35  Show Profile  Visit ErskineF's Homepage Send ErskineF a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This thread reminded me of the poem from Mintiper's Chapbook, Trail of Mists. Hadn't thought of that in years. :)

As a friend of mine likes to say, "There's no race like Gnome."

--
Erskine Fincher
http://forgotten-realms.wandering-dwarf.com/index.php
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