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Gnomes (called "Gnommi" in their own language Ghassally) are a mysterious race that lives in the hidden recesses of the Old World. Infused by the Grey Wind of Magic, they are natural tricksters and usually live withdrawn from the rest of the Empire.[4a]

Overview

As far as most of the Empire is concerned, Gnomes are a myth, found only in over-blown Bretonnian romances or Altdorf pfennig-dreadfuls where they frequently appear as magical tricksters. However, there is truth behind the stories, for Gnomes are not only real, but they live in the Empire.[4a]

However, gnomes are notoriously clannish and almost never mix with other races. Most confuse them for Halflings. Because of this, Gnomes seeking unquestioned passage through the Empire often shave any facial hair and wear bulky clothes or padding to hide their far thinner frames. Whilst this would never fool a Halfling, it is usually enough to convince others.[4a]

Since the establishment of the Colleges of Magic, Gnomes have found themselves hounded by the Magisters of the Grey Order and Witch-Hunters. As creatures inherently infused with the Winds of Magic, they have often been deemed a threat. Since that time, the gnome clans have become even more isolated and mistrusting of outsiders.[4b] In the duchies bordering the Mirror Moors and nearby the Midden Marshes, Gnomes are relatively well known as they are often found abroad as entertainers, wandering pedlars, or merchants. Locally, they are known as ‘Moorfolk’, a secretive people with untrusting natures who fish the Midden Marshes. Rumours of Moorfolk practicing forbidden magics are common, which attracts witch hunters to the region in significant numbers, though few find anything more than open moors and the dangerous local fauna, including River Trolls, Fen Worms, and Bog Octopuses.[4c]

Organisation

Gnomes are organised in clans that have stood for centuries and who organise themselves in hidden settlements called burrows. A Gnome's clan name is inherited from the mother, and never changes, even when a Gnome marries. Many Gnomes, secretive folk such as they are, prefer to keep their clan name secret, and instead offer an epithet as a surname. These names are often descriptive, self-mocking, and sometimes sardonic, such as Mudfoot, Glittereye, Soleheart, or Patchcloak.[4d]

Glimdwarrow is the largest Gnome settlement within the Empire, though rumours claim others lie beneath the Grey Mountains in Reikland, the Middle Mountains in Middenland, and the Kölsa Hills of Talabecland. Glimdwarrow itself lies hidden below the Mirror Moors to the south of Middenland, its burrows and halls cloaked by powerful illusions and vigilantly guarded by the Dwarrow Guard, an elite unit of warrior-wizards. Glimdwarrow once boasted a bustling population of many thousands, but a century ago the Greenskin hordes of Grom the Paunch swept through the Mirror Moors and massacred almost all the Gnomes hiding there. Today, Glimdwarrow’s crumbling chambers are largely empty, and only eight Gnome clans survive. Ruled by troubled Merawidda Frayne, the Ashen Queen, the leaders of the remaining clans openly hate each other, each blaming the others for the horrors Grom's Greenskins unleashed.[4a]

Gnome Clans

Gnomes usually name their children following a traditional pattern. The firstborn is named after the grandmother on the mother’s side or the grandfather on the father’s side. The second born is named after the mother or father. The third is named for the grandmother on the father’s side or the grandfather on the mother’s side. And the fourth, and later, is named after any other relations of importance. However, it is also common to name children after people important to the family, such as local rulers, those who have been of great service, or close friends.[4c]

According to Gnome myth, there were originally 444 great clans of Gnomes. The gods created each clan for a specific purpose, which was secretly imparted to the Great Mother of each clan to pass on to her children. Today, few Gnomes believe such fables, but priests and priestesses continue to repeat the old stories, warning the surviving clans that they should never forget their original purposes. Gnomes believe their gods created the Gnome species in a time of great need, tasking each clan with a specific purpose. Even though most of these legendary tasks are lost to myth, Gnomes typically have a very close relationship with their gods. Most pray before enacting any activities associated with one of their deities, and it is common for Gnomes to make offerings to ensure not to fall into disfavour. In general, no god is placed above any other; although, each clan usually favours one god over the others for traditional reasons.[4d]

Glimdwarrow Clans

  • Annearil,
  • Frayne,
  • Hawken,
  • Landweth,
  • Peddlar - Gnomes from Clan Peddlar have wandered the Empire for centuries, trading for goods and spying on their neighbours. Indeed, many scholars claim the world ‘pedlar’ is sourced in that Clan name, and that the dangerous profession was introduced to the Empire by Gnomes.
  • Scantleburn,
  • Thorne,
  • Trethewey.

Gnome Religion

Gnomes dedicating themselves to the service of the gods, and ensuring their chosen deity is appeased, draw respect from other Gnomes, as they understand just how capricious and difficult the gods can be. Gnomes looking for spiritual guidance in matters directly related to one of the gods will often turn to a priest for advice.[4d]

Gnomes believe their gods created the Gnome species in a time of great need, tasking each clan with a specific purpose. Even though most of these legendary tasks are lost to myth, Gnomes typically have a very close relationship with their gods. Most pray before enacting any activities associated with one of their deities, and it is common for Gnomes to make offerings to ensure not to fall into disfavour. In general, no god is placed above any other; although, each clan usually favours one god over the others for traditional reasons.[4d]

When abroad, Gnomes have no desire to offend the other gods, and often visit local temples and shines to make appropriate offerings, which they feel will make it more likely they will pass through foreign lands safely.[4d]

Gnome Deities

  • Evawn: The goddess of travel, trade and thievery.[4d]
  • Ringil: The god of entertainment, trickery and merrymaking.[4d]
  • Mabyn: The goddess of shadows, revenge and magic.[4d]

Biology

Short, wiry, with bulbous noses, and large, rounded ears, Gnomes have thick hair, dexterous fingers, and gruff voices that can be surprisingly deep for such diminutive folk.[4a] They can get up to 500 years old.[4d] They are a close-knit, clannish people, putting family and personal loyalty ahead of most other concerns with a stubborn tenacity that can surprise even the most intractable Dwarf. Much as the legends suggest, Gnomes are inherently magical, and share a close relationship with Ulgu, the magical wind of shadows, illusions, and deceit.[4a]

Under witchsight, gnomes are revealed to be permanently shrouded in grey mists. Every gnome, even non-wizards, can channel Ulgu to some extent to hide themselves and objects they have touched.[4c] As a result of the close ties to Ulgu, gnomish wizards find they can only practice the Lore of Shadows or the darker forms of magic in the form of Necromancy or Dhar.[4c] Because of the danger it represents, both from the dark forces they meddle with and in the form of retribution from the Empire, using the darker arts is strictly forbidden.[4c] As a side effect of this connection, the eyes of every gnome turn grey eventually.[4d]

Gnome Wizards

Gnomes can only learn the Lore of Shadows, Dark Magic, and Chaos Magic. Like Wood Elves, some Gnome wizards study Dark Magic, which results in significant interest from witch hunters; however, they recognise its dangers, and have outlawed Necromancy and Daemonology. Using Chaos Magic of any kind is strictly forbidden.[4d]

Gnome Names

Gnomes usually have a forename and a clan name, though those integrated into other cultures may conform to local naming practices.[4d]

Gnome Forenames

Gnomes usually name their children following a traditional pattern. The firstborn is named after the grandmother on the mother’s side or the grandfather on the father’s side. The second born is named after the mother or father. The third is named for the grandmother on the father’s side or the grandfather on the mother’s side. And the fourth, and later, is named after any other relations of importance. However, it is also common to name children after people important to the family, such as local rulers, those who have been of great service, or close friends.[4b]

Example Matrilineal Names: Elowen, Ia, Kerra, Ladoca, Metheven, Morwen, Steren, Tryfena Example of Patrilineal Names: Breward, Daveth, Gwinear, Mawnan, Meriasek, Nivet, Talan, Ythel.[4b]

Opinions on the Other Races

On Dwarfs… ‘Great Mother Tegen thinks she’s stubborn, always talking about ’ow it were Clan Landweth that caused all our problems, and ’ow she won’t be persuaded otherwise. But, as Mabyn is me witness, she ain’t got nothing on they Dwarfs. I’ve seen mountains more moveable when it comes to matters of gold.’ – Aelyn Thorne, Glimdwarrow Trader.[4b]

On Wood Elves… ‘I ain’t ever met them, and I doubts I ever will. Probably no better than them other hoity-toity Elves from across the water.’ – Morkam ‘Kneebone’, Mirror Moor Farmer 87 APPENDIX 1: GNOMES AI On High Elves… ‘ ’Ere, after 200 years, I’m still jumping mad at them Elves. If it ’adn’t been for they idiots, we’d still be accepted across the Empire. But, no, it’s their way or nothing, and sadly that Emperor Magnus listened to those bloody Elves about what magic is. So, here we are, ’iding away, jumping at shadows.’ – Kywere Hawken, Glimdwarrow Illusionist.[4b]

On Halflings… ‘Little hellers, they are! Met a family of them on the road travelling to Nomenfast, and while one was making a good deal to me face for a tray of pins, the rest were in me wares attempting to half-inch all me gear. Ringol’s Beard, I bet they got a shock when they got back to camp and found themselves light of their purses…’ – Durngarth Peddlar, Wandering Vagabond.[4b]

On Humans… ‘If it ain’t their witch hunters chasing us for whatevers, or their lords looking to muscle us out, it’s their traders looking to steal what’s ours. But, they’s our neighbours, so they are, so we ’ave to make do somehow. Best to keep our heads low, I says. Real low.’ – Old Demelza ‘Crowfeet’, Mirror Moor Fishwife.[4b]

On Ogres… ‘So, she says to me, “Ain’t much eating on you, eh?” Didn’t bloody stop ’er trying though! Chased me across the moor, she did. For two days! Bloody wouldn’t give up! Never met an Ogre that didn’t look at me the way I look at a Rumster’s pie, so I runs whenever I see ’un of they idiots. Safest that way.’ – Jowanet Scantleburn, Herbalist of the Midden Marshes.[4b]

Older Canon

  • In older lore, Gnomes were said to have been relatives of the Dwarfs and were much more present within the Empire, being present among the Imperial Court and being famed among the people for their jokes and wits. The race was considered retconned until their reintroduction in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's 4th Edition.

Gallery

Sources

  • 1 Warhammer: Apocrypha Now (1st Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
    • 1a: pp. 60-63
  • 2 White Dwarf 86
    • 2a: pp. 28-31
  • 3 Warhammer Fantasy Battle: Rulebook (3rd Edition)
    • 3a: pp. 218-219
  • 4 Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Rough Nights and Hard Days (4th Edition)
    • 4a: pp. 86
    • 4b: pp. 87
    • 4c: pp. 88
    • 4d: pp. 89
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