Alpine Gnomes

Gnomes are a diminutive, austere, and productive alpine people. They share a similar cultural background, language, and temperament with their dwarf cousins. Though also mountain dwelling, gnome settlements are isolated and distinct from the dwarves, and hidden by illusory magics. Gnomish towns are semi-subterranean more akin to the mining towns of men or forest hamlets. Gnomes are not skilled metalworkers like the dwarves. Most are humble craftsmen who would rather bake, coop, cobble, mill or farm than face a hoard of gibbering goblins. These productive trades have put the gnomes in significant contact with the men of the lowlands. Because gnomes are less doughty than the dwarves they have taken to the cooperative drill and tactics of these men to face foes greater than themselves. This combination of isolated settlements, humble guilds, and teamwork-driven tactics has led to the gnomes having very close knit communities and a democratic society. Gnomish military decisions are heatedly debated and eventually agreed upon by a council of senior guild leaders and learned wizards. Gnomish armies, though made up of citizen craftsmen, are known for their discipline and lack of generals.
 

History

Much of the gnomish history is the history of a marginalized people. In the high mountains their communities are outshone by the imposing fortresses and keeps of the dwarves. As the dwarf empire expanded in the distant past it would often displace the quiet gnome communities or build impressive merchant ways that would bypass the gnomes and supplant any peripheral trade they could make. Many poor gnomes were ousted from the mountains where they would take to creeping into human villages.

In human settlements they don’t often dwell openly. More often they assume the aspect of spirits that make the house go bump at night – called gremlins if they did harm or faeries if they did good by superstitious and less discerning humans. Dwarves and Elves are oft credited for teaching early men the arts of smithing and magic, however, it was the gnomes that imparted the craft baking cookies.

In the wake of the Dwarves’ collapse, gnomes have been able to return to their long ancestral niches in the passes, forests, and peaks of the mountains. This return has come with perils of its own. Orcs, human wildmen and brigands, and ratmen lurk in the dark places. But, the worst offenders are the goblins. Marginalized by their own goblinoid kind, these cretins creep, sneak, and slither into the boundaries of gnomish settlements. Many gnomish children grow up being told to behave or they will get snatched at night by hungry goblins.




Sculpted by Byron Harmon

All Gnomes are around 13-15mm to eye