From: "G.G.Lepper" <ZZA95GGL@sheffield.ac.uk>
Subject: WFRP: Long overdue Gnome stuff...
Psychology: This has changed in my campaign. They're no longer
mean. They are however, cynical, sarcastic, witty, and caustic.
This affects their sense of humor, and why they are in demand as
jesters, as sorts of harmless foils, who despite their barbed words
and twisted jokes, give a degree of incredulity to their humorous
criticisms. What would a noble care what they're pet Gnome Jester
says, but often, they're witty asides give the noble a certain
The reason for this sarcasm and sense of humor are two fold. First, it is Gnome psychology itself. Gnomes are very aware of appearances and realities, and the subtle nuances of both. Allegory, metaphors, and discrepencies between what is real and what is perceived color their tales and jokes. The practice of Illusions has further implications: What is real? Subjective or Objective? How can the truth be manipulated etc...etc... Second: Gnome isolation. As outsiders, they have a different view than others, and feel free to make scathing remarks about other cultures under the auspices of a "joke". They look down on other cultures, and therefore are prone to poking fun at the silly humans and their filthy towns.
Gnomes have always worked as intermediaries between the dwarves and others. Often buying or acquiring dwarven raw materials, the gnomes would craft them and sell the fine finished goods to Elves or humans. During the Dwarven-Elven wars, many Gnome communities attempted to remain neutral, while the rest sided with the Dwarves. This resulted in many devastating battles, where the pro-Dwarven elements that chose sides were devastated. This was the beginning of the decline of Gnome civilisation.
Over 500 hundred years ago, there was a sizeable Gnome population in the hills south of the Black mountains, I believe Eric Oppen called them the Karpathian Hills, feel free to locate them here. >From here the Gnome communities created goods and peddled in the Border Princes. A large Goblinoid invasion swept through, and the Gnomes held them off, but at the destruction of most of their homes and a tremendous loss of life. The Largest Gnome community now numbered a few hundred. The survivors fled, on a exodus, away from the Border Princes. Their lands are now fairly empty and barren, occupied by a few groups of humans and goblinoids. One small community of Gnomes persists: Bleakbearing.
All communities are almost exclusively Gnomes. Most other feel out of place, with the exceptions of dwarves and halflings, who receive very little needling from the Gnomes.
As artisans the gnomes are highly respected. However, their competition often angers human artisans, who resent their clannishness and competition. Various Guilds harbor hostility to gnomes.
Most of the population isn't sure what to think. They're always jesting, easy going, and laughing, but nobody's sure who exactly they're laughing at, and whether or not this joke or that joke was really just a joke, or a scathing rebuttal! Nobles like Gnomes. The Gnomes are always efficient paying taxes, giving gifts. The Gnomes keep their area clean, organised, and need little or next to no assistance from the nobles. Some nobles, despite the productivity of the Gnomes, dislike the secretive group well armed, and possible deceiving groups.
Gnomes in the Empire
Gnomes are distrusted in the Empire, but their pervasive peddling, crafting, and merchant dealings give them a high degree of economic and financial clout, and most groups of Guilds and nobility are afraid to limit their activities. All communities maintain a strong and well armed militia, which keeps humans from acting out their frustrations on this small minority. Gnomes pedlars, far from their community, are often victims of crimes, or harrassed by the local population.
Their undue influence in some areas of politics, despite their numbers, causes resentment also.
Gnomes in Bretonnia:
Very few Gnomes in Bretonnia. Their communities are often in conflict with the nobles of Bretonnia, who are constantly raising exhoribant taxes on the only productive community in their areas, to maintain their decadent lifestyles. These conflicts and often turned into small bloody confrontations, and their position in Bretonnian society is eroding quickly, with banditry, noble resentment, and popular agitators attacking "Gnome greed and privelage".
Gnomes in Tilea:
Gnomes in Tilea are a stable factor in an unstable region. More militant and liberal than most other Gnomes elsewhere, rural banditry, rival merchant houses, the Syndacalista, and the taxing nobility requires that the Gnomes exert great influence on the society. Tilean Gnome Burrow communities are safe havens for other non humans in the area, and many communities are mixed with halflings and dwarves drifting in and out and working in Gnome communities.
Of course, the most well known career are the Gnome Jesters. Many
young gnomes, will often leave their communities for a time to drift
about with traveling troupes of Gnome entertainers who specialise in
comedic plays, pantomimes, puppet shows, etc.
Due to their intellectual interests, many Gnomes become
philosophers outside of their communities. Illusionists, and the
Clerics of Radandill and Ringil are popular. Fisherman, artisans,
pedlars, and merchants are also prominent classes. With the
exception of Ratcatcher, Fisherman, and Prospector, Gnomes may not
initially enter any Ranger career.
The most popular spellcasting career is Illusioninst, followed by the elementalists, and then the standard wizard career. Diplomat is an important career for Gnomes, who always seek to get a representative to wield some influence in local towns or noble houses. Witty and more prone to subtle jokes, they are often seen as a status symbol for nobles, a way of getting a Jester for free! However the clever diplomats machinations often bely their easy going exterior...
Military careers are also essential, to defend against bandits and pogroms often incited by bitter or unhappy humans, who seek an easy way to solve their problems by using the Gnomes as scapegoats to all their problems.
Bleakbearing: Bleakbearing was a small set of Gnomeburrows located
in the hills south of the Black Mountains. It was the refuge of a
group of recluse and introverted Gnomes concerned with illusionist
magic and the fabric of reality. During the Goblinoid invasion 500
years ago, Bleakbearing was saved by a cabal of Gnome illusionists
and Clerics of Randandill.
Bleakbearing are fortified Gnomeburrows hidden and concealed by the will of Randandill and Illusionist magics, and supported by a strong defense of Elementals. None but the agents of Bleakbearing are knowledgeable of it's location.
The reasons for this, is that Bleakbearing was at the time, one of the largest Gnomic libraries, with a tremendous amount of books. Since then, they emissaries of Bleakbearing have amassed a huge amount of material in their search for knowledge, so that they have one of the most extensive and dangerous libraries in the Old World, if not the most extensive and dangerous. Ancient history, forgotten spells, tomes on Necromancy, Daemonology, some on Chaos. The most dangerous tomes are secreted in the inner sanctum of the Temple of Randandill, and there is some speculation of how much longer even Randandill can keep the location of so much power secret! The allure of all this knowledge is quite dangerous, and only the oldest, strongest, and wisest of Gnomes are allowed to examine said editions. As an extra precaution, all Gnomes are only allowed to practice Illusions and Elemental spells. Any Gnomes with any other knowledge, are not given entrance to the inner sanctum by Randandill. To acquire this collection, the Bleackbearing Gnomes send out loyal Gnomes to acquire these works. The Bleakbearing Gnomes have become concerned, since many of these Gnomes haven't returned back, and strange activities have been going on in the Karpathians. A schism has erupted within Bleakbearing over the future of the library, with some dissenting members wanting to rid the library of the dangerous tomes, while other's declare the dissenters actions as bordering on heresy. Any divinations in the matter to Randandill, have proved cryptic and ambigous, which is to be expected. If knowledge of this library were to get out...it is certain that Witch-hunters, Templars, Necromancers, Daemonlogists, and the forces of Chaos would rush to the area, and some believe that these groups are already active in the area, searching for the hidden Bleakbearing. Knowledge of such a library would also cast grave doubts and suspicions on innocent Gnome communities in other parts of the world, as the contents of the unknown library would be revealed.
There is much speculation amongst the few human scholars knowledgeable of the cult, that possibly Randandill is the Gnomic representation of Ranald. Support for this argument comes from the similarity in spells between the cult: Illusionist, and similarity in symbols: crow and the raven, and Ranald's "x" and Randandills "+" as well as the similarity in names. The implications of this are up to the GM.
As for Morr, this argument is less defensible, and it centers around the same symbol of both cult's raven motifs, and the strange similarity in cult literature (of which there is very little for Randandill). The implications of this are left to the GM.
As described in Out of the Garden, gnomes have a predilection to tinkering. As well as traveling about fixing things, many become inventors. There are, in the archives, a Inventor Career. I can't remember who created it, but I strongly urge you to integrate that career into Gnome society. Thank you to the individual who created it!!!
Gnomes are also prominent in a few Dwarven Engineer Guilds, where they work as the only permitted outside freelance workers! This is highly rare. They also have a prominent place in the Nuln School of Artillery, and a number of them are specialists in the use of Artillery.
Yes, the Gnomes have a Loremaster, described in Out of the Garden.
Arcane Language-Magick, Astronomy, Charm, Dynastic Knowledge: Gnomes, Evaluate, Haggle, Heraldry: Gnome, History, Law, Linguistics, Super Numerate, Wit
The role of the Dwarven Loremaster is the role of an elder, and an
impartial mediator, as opposed to the Dwarven one who is a walking
library. The Loremaster is a specialist who is approached to help
out in the community, give advice, and to ensure that everything
works out alright.
Career Entries: Must have completed two of the following: Cleric
of Ringil or Randandill, Artisan, Engineer, Illusionist, Inventor, Noble,
Storyteller, Alchemist, or Merchant.
Career Exits: Librarian, Scholar, or any mentioned under Career Entries. Archivist
Storytellers are important Gnomes who travel to communities, telling tales of the gods and Gnome history. They'll often entertain in towns. The best travel singly, and their arrival in a Gnome community is of great importance, and accompanied by great fanfare. They are provided for by the community, and will tell tales for the children, and later, for the adults.
Acting, Animal Care, Blather, Charm, Drive Cart, History, Public Speaking, Storytelling, Ventriloquism, WitTrappings:
An enclosed wagon, with side door for marionette shows, Puppets, Different costumes, Two ponies, Face makeupCareer Entries:
Bawd (!), Entertainer, Gambler, Hypnotist, Cleric of Randandill or Ringil, Noble, Pedlar, Raconteur, SeerCareer Exits
Any career entries, Loremaster, Minstrel, Demagogue, or Scholar