(WG: Noniz)

A gnome's preferred habitation is an area of rolling, rocky hills, well wooded
and uninhabited by humans. Details of the race are found in

Summary of Gnomish Racial Abilities:

  • +1 bonus per 3.5 points of CON to saves vs. magic && poison
  • +1 to hit kobolds && goblins
  • -4 to attack by bugbears, giants, gnolls, ogres, ogre magi, titans, and trolls.

  • - OSRIC

    Permitted Class Options: A character of the gnome race can select to be a fighter (max. of 6th
    level), an illusionist (max. of 7th level), a thief, or an assassin
    (max. of 8th level).

    Ability Score Cleric (All) Fighter (All) Illusionist (All) Thief (All) Assassin (All)
    15 7 5 6 U 8
    16 8 5 6 U 8
    17 9 5 6 U 8
    18 10 5 7 U 8
    18/50 - 6 - - 91
    18/75 - 7 - - 102
    18/99 - 8 - - 102
    19 12 9 8 U 102
    20 14 9 10 U 102
    21 14 9 13 U 102

    1: Intelligence 18 and dexterity 18 also required
    2: Intelligence 19 and dexterity 19 also required

    SA: Gnomish cleric/illusionists who have attained max. level in the cleric class may be able to make some permanent magic items via the cleric class.

    Multi-Class Restrictions: It is also possible for a gnome character to be two
    classes at the some time (a fighter/illusionist, a fighter/thief, or an
    illusionist/thief, for example). In the latter case, the character is restricted
    to the wearing of leather armor, regardless of which class combination he
    or she has chosen, unless only fighting is performed by the character. As
    with any such multi-class character, gnomes with two character classes
    must always divide earned experience equally between levels, even
    though it might no longer be possible to advance upwards in level in one
    of the classes. (See CHARACTER CLASSES for more information regarding
    this subject.) <See The Multi-Classed Character>

    Similar to their cousins, the dwarves, gnomes are highly magic resistant. A
    gnome player character gains a bonus of +1 for every 31/2 points of
    constitution ability score, just as dwarven Characters do. A constitution of 4
    gains a +1, 7 gains a +2, 11 gains a +3, 14 gains a +4. and 18 gains a
    +5 bonus to saving throws versus magic wands, staves, rods, and spells.

    Question: Do PC gnomes
    have constitutional poison resistance?
    This is mentioned in the MM
    but not in the PH.

    Answer: The concept of a PC is built around the idea that such
    figures are generally above average,
    compared to the norm for their race. Using that reasoning, it is permissible to
    award the gnome’s special poison resistance to PC gnomes as
    well as NPC gnomes. For PCs,
    assign the poison saving-throw bonus according to constitution (as per the
    PH), instead of simply allowing a save at 4 levels higher (as noted
    in the MM). — J. Ward, W.

    Languages: Gnome characters are able to speak the following languages in addition
    to their alignment language (q.v.) and the "common tongue" of
    humanity: dwarvish, gnome, halfling, goblin, kobold, and they can also
    communicate with any burrowing mammal (such as moles, badgers,
    ground squirrels, etc.). Gnomes are unable to learn more than two
    languages in addition to those noted above, regardless of how high their
    intelligence score is.

    Infravision: Gnomes have infravision, the ability to see into the infra-red spectrum, so
    a gnome character is able to see up to 60' in the dark, noting varying heat

    Being miners of exceptional merit, gnomes are able to detect the <Free miner skill for gnomes?>
    following facts when within 10' of the area to be examined, or at any time
    with respect to determination of their approximate depth underground:
    Detect grade or slope in passage upwards or downwards 80% probability (d10, score 1-8)
    Detect unsafe walls, ceilings, or floors 70% probability (d10, score 1-7)
    Determine approximate depth underground 60% probability (d10, score 1-6)
    Determine direction of travel underground 50% probability (dANY, score any half)

    It is important to note that the gnome must be actively seeking to
    determine the matter in question. The phenomenon does not otherwise
    become apparent to the character, for he or she must concentrate on the
    subiect to get some form of answer.

    In melee combat, gnome characters add 1 to their dice rolls to hit
    opponents who are kobolds or goblins. When being attacked by gnolls,
    bugbears, ogres, trolls, ogre magi, giants, and/or titans, gnome characters
    subtract 4 from their opponents' "to hit" dice rolls because of the gnomes'
    small size and their combat skill against these much bigger creatures.

    Q: My deep gnome character lost
    both his legs on an adventure. The
    party's paladin graciously carried
    my gnome in a jury-rigged papoosetype
    backpack. Could the paladin or
    my character engage in melee using
    this arrangement? How much would
    a legless gnome weigh?

    A, Legless gnome: The character carrying
    the gnome is going to be encumbered,
    even if he can handle the weight, because
    of the gnome?s bulk. This means he?ll suffer
    at least a - 1 penalty to his to-hit rolls
    (see the 2nd Edition Player?s Handbook,
    page 79); the penalty will be worse if the
    gnome weighs enough to reduce the carrier
    ?s movement. The DM might also add an
    initiative penalty equal to the combat
    penalty. The gnome could fight if his arms
    were free. I suggest a -4 penalty to his tohit
    roll and a + 3 penalty to his initiative.
    Human, elf, half-elf, and halfling anatomy
    generally follows the so-called Rule of
    Nines: The head takes up 9% of the body?s
    weight, each arm 9%, the chest 18%, the
    abdomen 18%, and each leg 18%. The
    missing 1% is ignored. Gnomes and
    dwarves are stocky and carry less mass in
    their limbs. The distribution of their weight
    might be: head 9%; each arm 8%, chest
    21%, abdomen 21%, and each leg 16%.


    The gnomes are a small, friendly race of humanoid creatures common in most regions of the Realms.
    They are smaller and less-stocky than dwarves, and are thought distant relatives (though only Gnomish men have beards).

    The faces of Gnomes, regardless of age, are lined with centuries of smiles nad frowns, and it appears that these creatures are carved from wood.
    Their natural coloring, from light ash and maple to that of varnished and buffed oak increases the tendency to think of Gnomes as woods-folk, when they are thought of at all.

    The Gnomes are called the Forgotten Folk of the Forgotten Realms, for despite the fact they seem an everyday sight in major cities, and have good-sized communities of their own, they seem unbothered by the world and similarly only rarely become involved with it.
    Gnomes have no history beyond the memory of the eldest clan-member and the songs of legend.
    They have never developed their own written tongue, rather acquiring the languages around them for everyday use.
    Unlike the elves they have no millenial heritage and unlike the dwarves no deathknell tomorrow.
    As a result, they tend to take life as it comes, one day at a time.

    Gnomes are among the most common-sense beings of a world filled with all manner of magical things.
    Their natural tendency toward illusion-craft, instead of making them more crafty, has given them a wisdom to look beyond the fancy trappings of speech and appearance to find out what is really there.
    Gnomes value their families first, then whatever other relatives they encounter, then other gnomes, then the world, in that order.

    The above description for gnomes is in general, and need not apply to individual PCs as a law that "ALL GNOMES ARE WISE".
    Individuals vary within a race, and it is as possible to find an impulsive Gnome as it is to find a trustworthy halfling.

    Gary, there are several abilities granted to demi-humans in the OAD&D Monster Manual that are not included in the Players Handbook. Specifically:

          Elves and halflings are considered invisible in vegetation (in addition to their improved chance to surprise).
          Elves have the ability to "split-fire" with their bows.
          Halflings are +3 to hit with bows and slings.
          Gnomes receive a saving throw bonus vs. poison (in addition to their bonus vs. magic).

    Are these editorial oversights in the PHB (akin to the infamous falling damage debacle), or did you intend for these abilities to be restricted to NPC demi-humans only? Thanks once again for your time!

    I did oindeed intend the advantages to be for NPCs, but there's no reason not to use them for PC's.

    Split-fire and move means half movement, archery, then remaining movement, of course.


    Movement Rate:

    Gary, one more if I may, and then I promise to leave you be for a few days.  In an earlier discussion of movement rates, you mentioned that you felt 9" was a good base movement rate for an unarmored dwarf, gnome, or halfling (and someone recently brought to my attention that this was done with a pre-generated dwarven PC in S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth). Human PCs have their movement cut in 3" increments as their encumbrance increases -- 12", 9", 6", 3-4" (per Players Handbook). How would you suggest reducing the dwarf's movement rate? A few ideas that I've seen bounced around:

    9", 6", 3", 1"


    9", 6", 4", 2"


    9", 7", 5", 3"


    9", 9", 6", 3"

    How have you handled this?

    The movement rate deduction is in 25% streps, so for a dtyrdy dward I'd
    say the steps are as follows (one of the options you suggest):

    9", 7", 5" 3"


    oldschooler wrote:

    1. Do you like gnomes?

    1. Sure, and my last OAD&D PC was a gnome illusionist-thief.

    fiscused wrote:
    Hi Gary! I'm always interested in the history of D&D and other games, and this is a queation I've always wondered about: When you wrote the AD&D rules, had anyone played a Gnome in your games yet? Or a Half-Orc?

    Thanks for so many hours and hours of enjoyment over the years!

    Indeed, as I was drafting the PHB, one of the group had a gnome PC.
    As for half-orcs, yes to that too, including my own half-orc cleric assassin.
    The other half-orc PCs in out party let him bite the bullet, though, because he was too likely to become dominant.


    Originally posted by Deedlit
    Why were gnomes put in? Hobbits/Halflings, Elves, Dwarves, and Humans had a clear origin in the works of Tolkien(Which seem to be the basis), and Half-Elves were there(Albeit uncommon.) and Half-orcs existed, though they were merely villains. But what was the purpose of the gnomes, and what was their inspiration?

    A fair question!

    Indeed, the number of JRRT fans who were potential D&D gamers encouraged me to include races like those in his works in the game.
    Dwarves, of course, are common in a lot of myth, German and Schadanavian.
    The elves in D&D were not those of the Rings Trilogy, but hobbits/halflings were that.
    As a reader of fables, fairy tales, fantasy, and myth for a long time before the work of JRRT was in print, adding another choice, the gnome, seemed a good thing, as in fantasy the former elemental had become more an archetypical "fairy" race.
    Inspiration came from extensive reading, and of course designing the race to fin the D&D model was not a great challenge 


    Originally posted by Cias the Noble
    2. The Monster Manual seems to indicate that dwarves, gnomes, and halflings have a lower base movement rate than their human counterparts (even after armor considerations) but the PHB and DMG say nothing of this. Was this the original intent?

    Base movement rate for demi-humans is that shown for the race in the MM, and it was always used for such PCs in all the game material I did--my own campaign and in modules printed.

    Originally Posted by redwing00
    I'm sorry to bring back up a question I've already asked, but i'm still a little curious. You answered WHY you put gnomes into the game, but I'm just wondering WHERE you got them. I know there are gnomes all throughout mythology, but each description varies from culture to culture. Did you take the gnome from one particular culture or combine traits from each culture? Why do you think gnomes would have appealed to gamers (when you introduced them, since there are already to "short" races: dwarves and halflings)

    another question: you answered in my previous question that dwarves and elves came from myth and folklore. Again, each description varies by culture. Which did you draw from? I'm assuming Norse, but I'm not quite sure.

    Thank you Gary!

    Happy to respond, Redwing00

    Gnomes in myth were created as one of the four elementals, that of earth.
    I took what I recalled from fairy tales and folklore about mine spirits to create a unique race for the D&D game.
    Yes, there were already halflings and dwarves, but i made the gnomes sufficiently different so as to allow another choice for character race.
    I have used it in a PC, he being a gnome illusionist-thief.

    Inspiration for the D&D dwarves came from the Norse mythology, legends, and fairy tales.
    Elves came mainly from folklore and fairy tales.

    I have read all the Andrew Lang (various colors in the titles) save the Yellow Book of Fairy Tales, Andersen, and Brothers Grimm fairy tales as well as many a book on folklore and legends.

    Halflings were mainly drawn from JRRT's fiction, of course.


    Originally Posted by Gray Mouser
    I agree. Can't recall any mythologies that have elves, dwarves, etc. as having the upper hand against humans.
    Nor any fantasy literature, although I don't read as much of it as I used to.

    Just so.
    The Norse dwarves were like giants in their powers, and the French fey were as potent as fairies in some fairy tales.
    Neither is suitable for inclusion as a character race in a FRPG.
    The original gnomes were earth elementals of considerable potency as well, but i modeled the D&D race after those in fable and fairy tale.

    Originally Posted by ColonelHardisson
    Hey Gary, I can't recall if this question has been posed to you before, so pardon if it covers old ground. The gnome of 3e D&D has gone through something of an identity crisis, in my opinion. Can you tell us what your role was in bringing the gnome into D&D in the first place, way back when, and what niche you felt the gnome occupied? The question was prompted by a recent rereading of Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, in which there is a gnomish enclave deep within the mountains. In the Forgotten Temple module, in particular, the gnomes seem to be very much like how dwarves are usually portrayed in RPGs - bluff, serious, perhaps rather grim. Any thoughts on how to differentiate between the portrayal of gnomes and dwarves?

    Good question, Colonel,

    As you undoubtedly know, gnomes were originally the nbame for small earth elementals, as salamanders were of fire, sylphs of air, and undines (I think, it's been a long time since I read on this subject) water.

    Despite the origination of the gnome, I meant to make the race more attuned to nature than are dwarves. The deep gnomes, Svirfneblin, are meant to be exceptional. The balance of their cousins deal well with both nature and the subterranean.

    Dwarves are miners, forgers, and somewhat mechanical.

    Gnomes are miners, botanists, and highly mechanical.

    Dwarves love gold and gems.

    Gnomes appreciate objects d'art more than gold, although those of Zurich love to keep the wealth of dwarves and others secure.

    That cover it?


    Originally Posted by TerraDave
    Good Col, on the question of Gnomes:

    I always guessed they where put in so that there would be fewer hobbit, er I mean halfling, PCs <wink>


    Those hairy-footed midgets have always been more populan decent, hard-working gnomes. What can I say?

    <nervous laugh>

    Originally Posted by ColonelHardisson

    Now, since we know what you think about dwarven women and beards, the question is begged: do gnomes have big noses?
    Did W. C. Fields enjoy imbibing spiritous liquor? "Godfrey Daniel! Who put lemonade in my lemonade?!" <laughing>


    Originally Posted by Barak
    So. Yesterday, much to my chagrin, found me bereft of new reading material. So I went digging for old books to reread. After reading some Bertrand Russell for an hour or two, I found myself in need of some reading material on the.. Hmm.. lighter side. So I dug up some TSR novel. Well, a collection of short stories, entitlted "Realms of Mystery". Which brings me to this.. Comment, and question.

    Now I know that the enlightened require no further proof, but since some still doubt, any little bit and piece can but help. And so I'll quote Elaine Cunningham (a woman, btw).

    So see, not everything TSR did post-Gygax was wrong! (book was pblished in 1998)

    And the question.. Was she as correct in her assessment of female gnomish hair?


    ...this should have been posted on the thread regarding bearded female dwarves, but what the hell, I am no stickler for propriety <paranoid>

    Gnomes have wispy facial hair, albeit males have a decent beard.
    As the author quoted indicates, female gnomes do have rosy, if leathery complexions, and their visages are generaly devoid of beard and moustache.

    In all, well done Barak!



        STRENGTH: 6/18
        INTELLIGENCE: 7/18
        WISDOM: 3/18
        DEXTERITY: 7/19
        CONSTITUTION: 8/18
        CHARISMA: 3/18
    STARTING AGE: Cleric (300+3d12), Fighter (60+5d4), Magic-User (100+5d12), Thief (80+5d4)