Gnomes in Bretonia
Gnomes are a magically adept race of beings that some believe come from Otherworld. Others, believe that they come from Annwn, originally. The truth is not exact, but there are gnomes across the cosmos. They are likely the only race with great cities and dwellings in Annwn, Otherworld, and the mortal realm. Wherever they dwell, they typically live together with other gnomes in close tightly knit communities called burrows.
Their culture is not agricultural, like the humans or the hobbits, but rather artisanal – focusing primarily on the crafting of wonderful, beautiful, and functional things. They support this cultural lifestyle through trade for agricultural goods with those who practice it. They also flourish in the service industry. A gnome might not be a dairy farmer, but he might be the cart-driver who delivers milk and cheese to your door.
Gnomes do not feature particularly in the great histories of men or elves. They are not notable warriors, or great heroes of renown. But that is not to say that they are unknown to the other races. While they may not feature in the histories, they feature heavily in the stories of the other races. Often a gnome’s appearance in the story is a catalyst for wonder and magic, and most often they aid the hero in his path toward adventure. Thus they are well loved by most people who encounter them.
Typically Forest Gnomes dwell deep in the forests of the world. They exist primarily in the summer and autumn lands, with a few hailing from the spring lands, but none are typically found within the confines of the winter lands. In Mithaard, the real world, they tend to live closer to the border of the woods, and attempt to keep good relations between the creatures and beings of the forests and the civilizations of humans and other races that dwell nearby.
Such gnomes are featured in the stories of The Three Woodmen, Ash Belle, and the less benevolent Rumple Stumbleduck. They are typically friendly, and have an innate knack for magical illusion and stealth. Their burrows are well hidden, typically in the great trees of an old forest or among their roots.
They trade with local citizenry, but rarely venture deep into the cities of stone and mortar.
Rock gnomes live mostly in our world, with rare communities in the other realms of the cosmos. They tend to be the most practical of gnome-kind, and are perfectly at home living in small communities in human cities. They usually work as craftsmen there, building toys, trinkets, and mechanical wonders. They tend to be friendly, vivacious, and full of life whenever they’re encountered. Rock gnomes who find no work as craftsman or have no talent for it, typically find work mining the earth, where the term ‘rock gnome’ was first applied to them.
They feature in the stories such as Moonlight and the Seven Gnomes, Moonlight and Scarlet, and The Three Spinning Aunts.
Less friendly then their counterparts these gnomes hail from Annwn, typically. Their burrows lie deep beneath the earth. They call themselves Svirfneblin, but most surface dwellers refer to them as “Deep Gnomes”. They are less friendly and less trusting then their counterparts, but they are just as vivacious when comfortable.
From other writings: "Born of Deep Earth
Svirfneblin seem more like creatures of stone than flesh. Their leathery skin is usually a gray, brown, or dun hue that acts as a natural camouflage with the rock around them. Their bodies are gnarled with hard muscle or fat, and they are heavier than their small stature suggests; svirfneblin often weigh 100 pounds or more but rarely stand much more than 3 feet tall.
Male svirfneblin are bald from early childhood, although adults can grow stiff beards or mustaches. Females have full heads of hair, and they usually tie their hair back in braids or cut it short to keep it from getting in their way as they work.
Svirfneblin are well adapted for their subterranean existence. They have excellent darkvision, and many of them have magical talents that rival the innate spellcasting of the drow and duergar. They are surprisingly strong for their size, enduring toil and
danger that would overwhelm most other people.
Despite their guarded natures, svirfneblin aren’t joyless. They admire skillful work and delicate craftsmanship, just like any other gnome. Svirfneblin love gemstones of all kinds, and they boldly seek out precious stones in the deepest and darkest tunnels. They are also expert gemcutters and miners, and they prize rubies above all other gemstones.
Svirfneblin are known as deep gnomes because they choose to live far below the earth’s surface. Most svirfneblin never see the light of day. Their homes are well-hidden strongholds concealed by mazelike passages and clever illusions. Vast networks of mine
tunnels ring most svirfneblin settlements, guarded by deadly traps and concealed sentries. Once a traveler passes through the outer defenses, the tunnels open up into marvelous cavern-towns carved from the surrounding rock with exquisite care. The svirfneblin are austere in their comforts compared to their surface cousins, but they take great pride in their stonework.
Deep gnomes do their best to remain hidden. Even if surface travelers succeed in locating a svirfneblin community, winning their trust can be even more difficult. Those rare travelers who do succeed in befriending deep gnomes find that they are loyal and courageous allies against any foe.
Scouts and Spies
Surface-dwelling gnomes often take up the adventurer’s life out of sheer curiosity about the world around them, eager to see new things and meet new people. By comparison, most svirfneblin possess very little wanderlust and rarely travel far from home. They see the surface world as a bewildering place without boundaries and filled with unknown dangers.
Nevertheless, a few svirfneblin understand that it is necessary to know something about what is happening on the surface near their hidden refuges. As a result, some svirfneblin become scouts, spies, or messengers who venture abroad, doing their best to avoid attention. These travelers are notoriously close-mouthed about where they come from and what they are up to, but a few eventually learn to trust good-hearted people of the surface world.
A few svirfneblin become merchants who deal with other races both above and below ground. Drow, duergar, and other peoples know that svirfneblin are usually neutral in outlook and typically honest in their dealings. Serving as middlemen between races too hostile to deal with each other directly can be lucrative, and it serves an important defensive function; svirfneblin middlemen tend to know more about rumors and threats between rival merchants than anybody else."
They tend to work mostly in trade with the other races, and is not uncommon to see a merchant of their kind in the market place, or bartering supply deals with craftsmen.