World in Progress
Masters of the Courts
Like elves, gnomes draw their ancestry to another plane of existence, either the Feywild or the Shadowfell. Unlike modern elves, gnomes usually maintain a closer relationship with their ancestor’s home.
The Shadowfell and the Feywild are closely related, and are each ruled by a court of fey creatures. The creatures that rule the Feywild are known as the Seelie Court, and the creatures that rule the Shadowfell are known as the Unseelie Court.
While not true fae, like pixies or fairies, fey gnomes are still closely associated with the Seelie Courts of the Feywild. Gnome villages are frequently built on or near leylines connected to the Feywild and will often phase between both planes of reality.
Fey gnomes are the smallest of the gnomes, and have the longest, pointiest ears. The biggest and most notable feature of these creatures, however, are their jet-black eyes. Unlike a human’s, fey gnomes do not have white eyeballs, nor do they have an apparent iris or pupil. However, a fey gnome’s eyes still sparkle with a jovial and friendly curiosity, and they rarely stay angry with anyone for long.
Fey gnomes use the rules for forest gnomes as detailed in the Player’s Handbook.
Like fey gnomes, these creatures are closely aligned with the Unseelie Court of the Shadowfell. Unlike fey gnomes, they are a cold and unfriendly people, preferring to hide in the shadows of other societies.
Grey gnomes are the tallest of the gnomes, and their skin is a pallid grayish-white. They clothe themselves in dark colors, and can wrap themselves in shadows to better hide in the darkness.
Grey gnomes use the rules for forest gnomes as detailed in the Player’s Handbook. However, they replace Natural Illusionist and Speak with Small Beasts with Shadow Cloak (see below).
Shadow Cloak. The gray gnome wraps itself in a cloak of shadows that grants it concealment from its foes. In shadows or darkness, the creature is heavily obscured (2 bonus to AC). Darkvision does not negate the dark one’s concealment, since the shadow cloak is formed from magical darkness. Creatures that can see in magical darkness are not affected. The gray gnome must spend a short or long rest before using the Shadow Cloak again.
While fey gnomes and gray gnomes are closely associated with the Feywild and the Shadowfell, hill gnomes have largely merged with human society. In fact, most hill gnomes care little for the machinations of the Courts.
While most gnomes have a natural curiosity, hill gnomes are notorious for their rabid, almost obnoxious curiosity.
Hill gnomes use the rules for rock gnomes as detailed in the Player’s Handbook.
Deep gnomes make their homes in the rocks and crevices of the Underdark. Unlike surface gnomes, which are often instilled with a sort of wanderlust, deep gnomes are content to live their entire lives in their homes. Because they share territory with the drow, their towns are cleverly hidden within the crannies and nooks of the Underdark.
Deep gnomes have dark gray skin, almost leathery in texture, and white eyes. Everything about them, from the clothes they wear to the homes they live in is pragmatic and logical. Everything about their culture favors function over form.
Deep gnomes use the rules for deep gnomes as detailed in the Elemental Evil Player’s Guide.