Until relatively recently, Gnomes were kinda like the Ugly Ducklings of the small folk when it comes to games in the dungeon fantasy genre. In my experience, Halflings have always been the tiny sneak-thieves1 and dwarves the stocky, bearded axe murderers. Gnomes, on the other hand, just felt like a somewhat bland blend of dwarven and halfling traits.

Over time, as authors began to cast about for a stronger niche for them, I began to see a couple of different varieties. One of the most famous is the tinker gnome, whose shtick is being good at messing with “advanced” technology like clockwork mechanisms or steam engines. The Dragonlance setting takes this to an extreme by making them pint-sized mad scientists, and the world of Warcraft takes a similar tack. The gnome racial template present in both GURPS Dungeon Fantasy and the DFRPG is a less extreme version of this type, having access to a Talent that makes them good at dealing with locks, traps and making things like crossbows.

The other famous gnomish niche is the fey trickster. Gnomes of this type usually prefer the same type of forest that houses faeries and nymphs, can use a bit of innate magic, and have other stats conductive to becoming good magic users. Recent editions of D&D usually go with this type of gnome in most settings that aren’t Dragonlance, and Pathfinder follows suit.

If you want to play this type of gnome in your Dungeon Fantasy game, this racial template will help you!

Fey Gnome

Illustration by Zelulae

Racial Cost: 0 points

Fey Gnomes are about as big as halflings, but no one would confuse the two. With their slim builds, pointy ears, large eyes and wildly-colored hair they look more like tiny psychedelic elves. Tough they are mortal, these gnomes still have a strong connection to the faerie realm, which manifests in their natural talent for magic and their predilection for whimsy and pranks.

In Golarion (Pathfinder’s setting), these gnomes were native to an otherworldly faerie realm, and were kicked out of it in the distant past. They never quite adapted to mortal life, and to this day have some trouble relating to other peoples or settling down.

In other settings, most Fey Gnomes might still live in those realms, or visit them regularly! Gnomish communities would be more common here, and would rely heavily on illusion magic to protect themselves.

Attribute Modifiers: ST-3 {-30}; IQ+1 {20}; HT+1 {10}.

Secondary Characteristic Modifiers: SM -2; HP+1 {2}; Basic Move -1 {-5}.

Advantages: Magery 0 {5}; Night Vision 5 {5}; Gnome Magic {3}.

Disadvantages: Impulsiveness (12) {-10}.

Features: Wild, brightly colored hair and/or dark eyes without pupils.

Special Gnome Traits

Gnome Magic2

You may learn up to three wizardly or druidic spells without regard for pre-requisites! You must specify which spells those are during character creation, though you can wait to actually learn them later if you wish. You must still pay points to learn the spells as normal. If your Magery is 1 or more, it gives a bonus to these spells (even if they are druidic).

The spells don’t all have to be from the same “power source” - you can choose one wizardly and two druidic spells, or any other combination. Your choice is subject to GM approval. Popular spells for gnomes include Apportation, Sound, Light, Beast Speech, Invisibility or other illusions.

  1. Furry feet are optional, but equally iconic. 

  2. GURPS Stats: This is identical to the Leprechaun Charms perks possessed by that race in DF 3: The Next Level.