|+2 Con +2 Cha -2 Str||[Small] size|
| +1 (+1/8 levels) racial bonus to Diplomacy|
|Bonus Feats||Chatty Bugger|
The Bigger They Are
Gnomes can be found anywhere in Hallow; indeed, some swear that the same gnomes can be found just about anywhere if you give them enough time. They are undeniably friendly; many who interact with gnomes find that they have an uncanny knack for understanding people's problems and offering helpful solutions. Indeed, gnomes seem like the perfect negotiators and diplomats, often performing those roles in all wide variety of situations. Gnomes have a long history with dwarves; many attribute this special relationship to dwarves' need for diplomatic assistance when dealing with other races.
Of course, rumors of another sort spread any time gnomes stay in one place for too long. People start to whisper that every deal a gnome brokers seems to eventually benefit the gnome in some way, that the gnome talking with them seemed to know them just a little bit too well... that when you get down to it, do they not seem just a little bit too persuasive?
Gnomes are subtly empathetic and telepathic, allowing gnomes to sense others' emotions and give them just a little nudge in the right direction. Some gnomes are tricksters, to be sure, but others simply hate to feel pain and anger around them and do their best to help make it go away wherever they encounter it. A very few individuals actually enjoy the sensation of fear, anger, and hatred surrounding them. These are considered horrifying aberrations in gnome society, let alone by the people whose lives they subtly destroy. They are most dangerous among fellow gnomes, as mistrust and anger can turn into an extraordinarily dangerous feedback loop among a large group of empathetic creatures.
Typically, gnome communities exist first to protect gnomes from "misunderstandings" and second to protect against the mercurial bursts of unrest that happen if too many gnomes turn bad. Most such communities are ruled by a reasonably benevolent monarch who, in some cases, is not even a gnome. The idea is that if a monarch incapable of mind control is surrounded by creatures who can sense deceit or ill-intent, then the monarch will naturally be well-behaved. Many gnome communities are part of cosmopolitan cities or even whole nations; these are usually loosely-knit groups who do not act in any particularly unified way but provide mutual support
Rumors persist that shadowy cabals of gnomes can be found in many of Hallow's metropolises, and can be hired to interrogate prisoners, cause social unrest, and perform other acts that most gnomes would not want to be associated with. Some of these cabals allegedly employ unusually small assassins who seem specially trained to harm larger creatures. However, no known credible witnesses have been able to confirm such allegations, let alone name any of the cabals or their well-to-do patrons.
The names that gnomes share with others are often lighthearted and fanciful, chosen more for amusement and entertainment value than anything else. Examples are: Benham Briggs, Darren Deeds, Gleeson Glitterhand, Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Mario Moretti, Sally Shoemaker, Stan Still, and Wally Wainwright.
Gnomish Technology and Magic
Gnomes have something of a reputation for constructing whimsical items that serve little practical purpose. Of course, practicality is in the mind of the end user, and many gnomish inventions that seem useless at face value are carefully presented to leave that impression. For example, many suits of gnomish rainbow armor can be found on mannequins in rich humans' mansions. Covered with slowly-shifting colors, the extraordinary plate armor makes for a great conversation piece; when coupled with a small device that allows the wearer to mentally direct it, the armor is capable of extraordinarily specific camouflage as well.
Gnomes also specialize in the crafting of optics and other devices that require fine crafting but are not mechanically complex, although again such optics are marketed more often to pranksters and opera connoisseurs than to the snipers who mount them on dwarf-crafted crossbows and rifles.