Gnomes in RPGs

Gnomes are quite peculiar beings, but their impressive wide array of skills can guarantee you a very interesting journey. While they may not be your first choice, a gnome’s yearning for knowledge makes them the perfect character for you to impersonate in RPG’s! There are varying opinions online about gnomes, but there is a consensus that these creatures are well loved within the community.

There is often a reluctance to choose this character during a game because of their size, but gnomes have some of the best qualities that other creatures have to offer.

They have:

1) The ability to cast spells like elves but without having their eloquent beauty.

2) The technology and intelligence of a dwarf without having their endurance.

3) The stealth of a halfling.

All of this makes gnomes very versatile. Their intelligence is key for a realm that is full of other creatures/villains that are way stronger, powerful, and dangerous than them.

They have the special ability to be necromancers, as they are adept to perform all sorts of arcane training. If they complete their training, they could possibly turn into wizards, warlocks, or sorcerers. They already have a virtuous trickster nature and the special attention they have to detail, makes them excellent tinkers and necromancers.  

Gnomes can sometimes be extravagant, so they always go the extra mile. Their boldness is often misunderstood as immaturity or recklessness, but, more often than not, are intelligent. They take risks in a game that rewards risk-takers. Make sure that your storyline is consistent because a gnome that is old (300 years) will not be able to fight as well as a younger gnome. Another example being, if your gnome is young, then they will not have mastered the arcane arts yet.

Gnome Language

All gnomes speak gnomish and local languages to facilitate trade. They are a core race to society as they contribute to the local economy and infrastructure. Gnomes are often found in jobs that require any sort of pragmatic skills such as engineering, sciences or other tinker activities. Their intelligence shines through their vocabulary and they have an impressive manner of speaking. They use a lot of technical words, but they stick to a lot of declarative sentences.

When imitating a gnome, don’t use poetic language and avoid speaking in an accent. When gnomes communicate with other entities, they are very curious and usually bombard them with a bunch of questions. Don’t hesitate to ask the other players a lot of questions about their persona, history, interests etc. Gnomes enjoy getting into people’s business and are always up for offering parental advice, especially to humans. 

Gnome Dress Code

Some gnomes are attention-seekers and it is not uncommon to find them in the oddest outfits. They often wear patterns that clash, clothes that don’t fit well and they are not afraid of challenging the status quo. They will create new fashion trends rather than follow them, so don’t be shy when it comes to dressing up for these creatures. The less boring the outfit is, the more gnome-like it will be.

Gnome Names

Gnomes can be a great choice for beginners, whether you just started role playing or aren’t fairly acquainted with the characters. A gnome’s name is one of the most important parts of their identity because it gives other people hints about their personality. Most gnome names are funny and give a good insight to what they are good at. People expect them to have a distinctive name and something which at least hints at what they spend their time doing as an adult so they are often compounded words ie. FizzFuzz Ironbolts. To roleplay a gnome, it helps to have a lot of creativity and wittiness to match the vibe of a gnome. 

World of Warcraft (WoW)

Gnomes in WoW

The gnome race in World of Warcraft is part of ‘The Alliance’. In Azeroth, the Grand Alliance is one of the two major political factions that is often at war with Horde (an alliance between trolls, blood elves, goblins, orcs etc.) which is composed of humans, dwarves, night elves and gnomes. Gnomes in this game are small humanoids that have out-of-proportion facial features i.e.. oversized crooked noses, but they are very cheeky individuals and are often found pick-pocketing others.

They are very family-oriented creatures that share a mutual love for nature, art, music, and gastronomy. These creatures can live for centuries and when they reach adulthood, they are meant to stand out from their community with something they are good at. Their name is indicative of their skills so bare that in mind when you choose your character’s name.

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D or DnD)

DnD Gnomes

In this game there is a wide range of gnomes to choose from: arcane, seacliff, forest, rock, chaos and deep gnomes. All these sub-races have different specialties and unique backgrounds so with a bit of research, you can create the most engaging character. Gnomes are popular in the DnD community and get along with goblinoids, reptilians and the giantkin species.

Gnomes are typically found in the Forgotten Realms, also known as Al Qadim or in either underground, wooded or in hilly landscapes.  Some gnomes can camouflage in between rocks, talk to forest animals, fast rock climbers, excellent shipbuilders but it all depends on the setting that the game is in.

Now that you have an idea of the characteristics, clothing and name your gnome should have, it is time to tackle the second part: Intra-realm Dynamics

Dwarves are a gnome’s closest ally, as well as humans. Although they sometimes get short tempered with humans because they consider them to be a very primitive species. Gnomes can often be condescending towards humans because they don’t understand human religious practices, political entities, and social hierarchies. But when it comes to helping them out, they are more than happy to help guide them through life, with their very extensive wisdom.

However, when it comes to night elves, gnomes are often frustrated by them because they are aware of their intelligence and do not understand why elves don’t like magic and technology (things that gnomes thrive on).  Gnomes love to experiment with magic whereas elves are very cautious with magic, to prevent unholy creatures from entering their realm.


Unfortunately, sometimes gnomes aren’t taken very seriously because of their whimsiness. It is argued that gnomes don’t have a clearly defined distinction, because they share the same qualities as other characters. Gnomes are often more of an ‘afterthought’ rather than a separate character. While that may be true, their wholesome nature and refreshing prankster-like personality is sure to liven up the game. It is up to the players to take the responsibility of acting out their character and expand them through either structured decision-making or character development to make sure that a gnome is well appreciated. 







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