Regions: The Dalelands, Gnome (rock), Great Dale, Lantan, Thesk, Western Heartlands.
Racial Feats: Animal Friend, Rock Gnome Trickster.
Racial Prestige Classes: Breachgnome.
Rock gnomes are the gnomes most people are familiar with, so much so that when someone says "a gnome," he or she is almost always speaking of a rock gnome. Unlike their reclusive cousins, the deep gnomes and the forest gnomes, the rock gnomes are an inquisitive and loquacious people. They are renowned throughout Faerûn as technicians, alchemists, and inventors, as well as illusionists of the highest order. They do not care much for living in larger cities, where their talents are in high demand, and prefer the rolling hills of the countryside. But anywhere they find themselves, they display an amazing zest for life and all the pleasures it holds.
Rock gnomes are far friendlier and more outgoing than the other gnome kindreds. They are well known for their love of jokes and pranks, as well as their fondness for finely made things. As with all gnomes, they adore gems of all kinds, but rock gnomes have a particular passion for the purity and perfection of the diamond.
Rock gnomes average between 3 and 3 1/2 feet tall, and weigh between 40 and 45 pounds. Their skin comes in many different shades of brown, but is unaffected by exposure to the sun. The hair of young gnomes can vary greatly in color, but in adulthood they all tend toward gray or white. The males wear their beards neatly trimmed.
From a rock gnome's point of view, life is meant to be enjoyed in all its facets: work, play, and otherwise. Again, it's the process that's important, not the goal, even if those goals--like, say, finely cut gems--do end up being valuable on their own. This shows in just about everything a rock gnome does, from making a meal to working a mine to playing a practical joke. The care they put into their actions always shines through.
Young rock gnomes have carefree childhoods. During their adolescence, rock gnomes are expected to learn the basics of a useful trade and to master the basics of self-defense. They are encouraged to dabble in all sorts of pastimes until they find something that perfectly fits their temperaments. They come of age at 40, an occasion for the largest party of their lives. From there, the average life expectancy is about 350 years, although some have been known to reach 500 years in age.
The rock gnomes are counted as one of the major races of Faerûn. Although they may not be as populous or influential as some of the other races, there are gnomes scattered throughout the continent. Gnomes have played a large part in the development of firearms in Faerûn, and they are acknowledged as the masters of these tricky items.
There has never been such a thing as a gnome empire or even a country. If gnomes can be said to have a homeland, it would have to be the islands of Lantan, far to the southwest of the main continent. Of course, few gnomes have ever been to Lantan or know more about it than what they've heard in the legends passed down to them by their ancestors.
Rock gnomes are generally optimistic. They view the world as a puzzle that the gods--in their infinite wisdom--have laid out before them as the ultimate challenge, one that cannot ever be fully met. It is their greatest joy to be involved in the unraveling of the mysteries of creation, an act they feel brings them closer to the gods with each passing day.
In their adolescence, rock gnomes are encouraged to dabble in as many different things as possible. Eventually, they find something that truly intrigues them, fires their imaginations, and sets them on the path of a career that may last them the rest of their lives. Almost every rock gnome enjoys what she does for a living, which is one of the reasons that they have such positive dispositions.
Of course, rock gnomes enjoy their leisure time at least as much as their work. They are known for hosting wild celebrations on the thinnest of pretenses. When they really have a reason for cheer, the parties have been known to last for tendays.
While most gnomes are homebodies at heart, a number simply can't resist the urge to go out into the world to explore. Inquisitive by nature, gnomes often find themselves almost compelled to do everything they can to learn about anything they want. Others, the greedier ones, set off in search of fame and fortune. Sadly, these are fleeting dreams, as even the most famous of gnomes is usually just another member of her community when she returns home.
Rock Gnome Characters
Rock gnome characters with close ties to their communities are often clerics, wizards, or rangers (although their low Strength score means that they'll likely favor ranged combat). Rock gnomes infected with wanderlust almost always become bards (often supplementing their performances with their extra gnome spells) and rogues.
Favored Class: The rock gnome's favored class is the illusionist, for which there are two reasons. First, an illusionist can do a great deal to help hide the homes of his people, granting them the privacy they crave and the safety they require. Gnomes are not the match of most other races on an open battlefield, and they know this. They're smart enough to take every edge they can get.
Second, illusionists have the most entertaining magics at their disposal. The finest ones can actually tell visual stories with their illusions, creating a new kind of art form that is exclusive to illusionists and favored by gnome practitioners of that arcane art.
Prestige Class: Some of the braver and stronger rock gnomes excel in fighting in tight spaces in the tunnels in their underground homes. In such spaces, a breachgnome can hold off an invading force almost indefinitely.
Rock Gnome Society
Rock gnome life is filled with long days of work that stretch on for tendays at a time, punctuated by jubilant celebrations in which these hard-driven workers finally get to blow off some steam. This is the kind of life that most gnomes prize, and they feel blessed by the gods that they are mostly able to manage it.
Once a gnome reaches adulthood, she is expected to take up a career and work at it tirelessly to become the best at it that she can be. Some gnomes switch vocations later in life--some do it several times, in fact--but this is relatively rare. The vast majority of gnomes find something they like to do and then stick with it for as long as they can.
Even on the job, though, gnomes are usually friendly and fun-loving people. They are constantly telling jokes throughout their days, many of which leave their coworkers in stitches. Practical jokes are fine too, as long as they don't disrupt the work environment too much. Every gnome loves a good prank, but they all insist on getting their jobs done too.
Many gnomes work as miners. While they may not be as aggressive at it as dwarves, they're actually much better at getting the most possible out of a vein of ore. Others practice stonecutting or gemwork. Their metalworkers prefer to work with softer metals--gold, silver, and so on--although they do a fine job with harder materials like steel too. They also make excellent woodworkers and carpenters. Faerûnian rock gnomes are among the finest artisans working in the fields of toymaking, clockwork engineering, and gunsmithing. It's common for rock gnomes to be armed with smokepowder pistols.
Gnome cooking is not much of a draw to outsiders. It tends to be bland and overcooked or overcooked and over-salted; reliable gnome-friends claim to have tasted some that was bland and over-salted, though no one knows quite how the gnome cooks managed this. Their (salty) bread is unleavened. All gnomes are very fond of rock candy, and some eat rock salt with equal relish.
Gnomes do, however, make excellent brewers and vinters. Many of them are talented musicians as well. These two facets contribute greatly to the reputation of gnomes as wonderful party guests and even better hosts.
Most rock gnome settlements are small. It's rare to find one with more than five hundred adults in a widely scattered area. However, these communities are usually found clustered close together, usually within a few days' or tendays' travel of each other.
Rock gnome burrows are usually small but tidy. Any married couples have rooms to themselves, but the children usually share a single room. Adolescents are segregated by gender, each sex having its own room. Each burrow usually connects to those of the same clan by tunnel, meaning that many gnomes rarely if ever have to go outside during a day. This is one reason why their communities can go unnoticed by the larger peoples for so long.
When traveling or adventuring, gnomes appear both singly and in small groups. These groups are usually composed of a number of close friends or family members or both.
Language and Literacy
Rock gnomes normally speak Gnome and Common, as well as whatever language is predominant in their home region. They often pick up Dwarven and Sylvan because they live in areas favored by these races. Additionally, they regularly come into contact with those who speak Chondathan, Draconic, Goblin, Illuskan, and Terran, although this isn't always under the best of circumstances.
All gnomes are literate, except for barbarians.
Rock Gnome Magic and Lore
Like all gnome wizards, rock gnomes prefer illusions to any other school of magic. They like to use their illusions in clever ways to fool or misdirect does or to entertain friends.
Rock gnomes all have the spell-like ability to speak with animals, and many rock gnome characters eventually acquire the Animal Friends feat to improve this ability.
Spellcasting Tradition: A panoply of illusionists available to rock gnomes makes them incorrigible tricksters. They often take the Rock Gnome Trickster feat.
Rock Gnome Deities
Rock gnomes are not particularly devout in practice, although they are forever talking about their gods in conversation. They attend services about once a tenday, but not with any kind of fervor. They believe that the gods are with them everywhere, so it's not always so necessary to make the trip to a temple to see them.
Garl Glittergold is the patriarch of the gnome gods, and patron of the rock gnomes in particular. To look at them, one might think that most rock gnomes model their lives on Garl's behavior, including the constant tricks he plays on the other gods. Many gnomes do the same to their friends whether they are gnomes or not. Clerics of Garl Glittergold keep themselves endlessly busy with the planning of revels, feasts, and celebrations to bring good cheer, sustenance, and wisdom to their fellows.
Rock gnomes also venerate Baervan Wildwanderer. The protector of the forests and glades that rock gnomes call home, Baervan is also the patron of gnomish rogues. If there's anyone who could possibly outdo Garl in the prank department, it's Baervan. The two have been trying to top each other since the dawn of the gods, and the friendly rivalry is still going on.
Relations with other Races
Rock gnomes get along famously with almost all the standard character races. They are particularly fond of dwarves of all kinds, with whom they share a love of finely wrought jewelry and mechanical devices. They also have a great love for halflings who can take a joke. Their common style of housing and their similar sizes would be bonds enough, but their shared joy for living is what really brings them together.
Rock gnomes are a bit more cautious around the larger peoples, but these reservations usually quickly give way to enthusiasm when someone shows any sort of interest in or knowledge about the gnome's work or other passions.
Orcs, kobolds, and goblinoids find an especially cold place in a rock gnome's heart. Although most rock gnomes find it hard to hate anyone, long experience with these races has told them that it's better to never cut them any breaks. Besides, none of them can take a joke.
Animals and Pets
Rock gnomes befriend many sorts of burrowing animals, such as moles, weasels, badgers, and wolverines. These small creatures serve as watchdogs (and, in the case of badgers or wolverines, guardians) for gnome households.