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Labyrinth Lord: The Gnome

Art by Eric Pommer. Used with Permission

Everyone hates the gnome. I swear every game I've ever run or played in, one person chooses to be a gnome, and everyone loses their minds. The thinking runs like this: You're playing a dwarf that can also be an illusionist. And the illusionist is the weakest class in the game.

Nay! I say. The gnome is an integral part of the fantasy milieu, and they have have been in D&D style games since the beginning -- though they have always ended up being "'s basically a dwarf." As the race evolved through the various editions, they gained a trickster air (as well as that of a tinker), which is more in line with the actual lore of earth spirits/elementals with a vengeful streak.

I have taken a different tact. In 2nd edition AD&D, gnomes were divided into standard gnomes (rock gnomes), forest gnomes, and deep gnomes (or svirfneblin -- which also appeared as a playable race in the 1st edition Unearthed Arcana). I am separating out the deep gnomes for specific treatment -- like the duergar, DMs may prefer to have those races optional to players.

So, here's the rock gnome and forest gnome. Using similar mechanics to the rarer sub-races of elves, forest gnomes are reclusive and this is reflected in an experience point penalty when outside of their forest homelands. And hopefully, they're different enough from dwarves to be interesting.

This article is one of a series re-tooling Labyrinth Lord character races for the Greyhawk setting (duergar, elf, dwarf, gnome, halfling, half-elf, half-orc, human).

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