Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gnomes: Driven, Sexless, Clever Gnomes

Elves embody passion, liminality, and violent natural forces.

Dwarves are built of dedication, intractability, and stolid grim refusal.*

And, Halflings personify serendipity, curiosity, and grinning pastoral acceptance.*

Gnomes, then, represent drive, ingenuity, and independent creative invention.
Perhaps Slightly Less Cartoonish

Gnome, a new class for LotFP.

Gnomes, so far as anyone can tell, spring fully formed into the world.  Gnomes have no real conception of their beginnings. They exist. There are new things to be learned, problems resolved, progress to be made. The past is useful because of lessons learned, but nostalgia is without purpose.

Most scholars suppose that gnomes are formed from the dreams and desires of men leeching into the Feywode. Other scholars believe that gnomes are born from the despair of great men who failed to accomplish great ends. Some scholars are clearly frustrated poets. It is likely best that they only haunt us with their mediocre scholarship and not their abysmal poesy.

Gnomes, though actually being sexless, appear to be very short men or women, on average slightly taller than most halflings. Silver, white, or gray hair and prodigious noses (whether hooked or bulbous, gnome noses are large) round out their defining physical features. Otherwise, they can have any features that men have. Gnomes typically live for 100-200 years unless slain.

At the center of every gnome’s being is the desire to practice some particular manner of art or craft, his/her Drive. Be this craft mechanical, scholarly, or artisanal in nature, the gnome is compelled to perfect his/her Drive. Most gnomes are well received by human communities excepting those tradesmen with which they compete for business. Adventuring gnomes simply have a Drive that requires travel or field testing. For instance, a knife maker may need firsthand knowledge to perfect the smithing of fighting blades, or an apothecary gnome may need to visit odd places to gather new knowledge and specimens of diverse flora. (Having traveling companions insane enough to try experimental blends of medicinal herbs would be a boon to the apothecary gnome as well.)

Game Stuff:
Gnomes have the saving throws and hit dice of a Cleric. Like halflings, gnomes can’t use large weapons and must use medium weapons with both hands. Gnomes are exceptionally gifted at identifying the form and function of mechanical contraptions. Therefore, they begin play with a 3/6 in Tinkering. This rises to 4/6 at level 4, 5/6 at level 7, and 6/6 at level 10. Gnomes also have 5/6 skill in their Drive (which becomes 6/6 at level 10). Finally, gnomes may cast a single spell per day from the Gnomish Spell List so long as they are unencumbered.

Gnomish Spell List:
Illusion (New Spell, See Below)
Light (Many gnomes instinctually cast Light as they continue working late into the night.)
Fairy Fire (The outlining hyper-light of Fairy Fire is often used by non-adventuring gnomes to detect flaws in workmanship and materials not quite visible to the naked eye).

Illusion
Level: 1
Type of Magic: Gnomish
Duration: Special
Range: 30’ Radius centered on Caster
Saving Throw: Save (-1 for each sense engaged) to realize it’s a phony or just disbelieve.
Required Components : Complete Concentration.

By means of this spell a gnome may create an illusion of anything he/she desires. This illusion may be composed of elements interacting with the following senses:

1. Sight
2. Sound
3. Hearing
4. Smell
5. Light Tactile Sensations
6. Mild Temperature Differences; Warmth/Cool
7. Very Minor Pain/Discomfort

The caster can create an illusion with a number of sensations equal to his/her level.

The illusion lasts so long as the gnome maintains complete concentration. He/she may speak in short, simple sentences but may not move at more than a snail’s pace. There is one exception; a gnome may perform work related to his/her Drive while maintaining an illusion. In fact, many gnomes do this spontaneously while working. This allows them to plan out complicated procedures as they’re performing them.

Tactile sensations are a definite weakness of illusions.

Thoughts?

I've also got an alt-history/fantasy early colonial Americas setting bouncing around in the back of my mind. The weird elves, gnomes, halflings, and dwarves would be in it.

*Rules As Written. These Dwarves are gonna be hard-ass vikings, I think...

Lamentations of the Flame Princess & the LotFP abbreviation are totally © James Edward Raggi IV.