Gnome Abilities


Ability Scores and Races

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Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Does anyone else feel like gnomes getting +2 Charisma doesn't make a whole lot of sense? In addition, I feel like gnomes don't have a good "niche" if you will. I propose returning gnomes to their old roots as illusionists and tinkerers. As they stand, gnomes just have an odd combination of halfling and dwarf cultural characteristics. I propose that gnomes be granted a +2 to Intelligence in place of their +2 Charisma and change their favored classes to Wizard and Rogue. Has anyone thought about replacing their spell-like abilities with the ability to prepare one cantrip like a sorcerer or wizard does? I never liked the gnome-fey connection, did not feel natural for the way DnD gnomes are presented, or were presented, anyway. Thoughts, feelings, criticism?


I disagree.

I think Jason's done a great job at bringing out what the Gnomes were supposed to be all along: FEY.

Your complaint of Gnomes being an "odd combination of Halfling and Dwarf CULTURAL characteristics" seem off to me: That seems more the case for the classic/3.5 Gnome, really. Didn't the Gnome classically get along with both groups wonderfully? I think you really have more of a problem with them now having a combination of Halfing and Dwarf STAT MODIFIERS. I agree that does mess with certain Race/Class combos.
But Archetype-wise...

While many can seem whimsical and distant, gnomes that dwell alongside other races often take to one craft or profession with obsessive zeal, using that passion to root them in their surroundings. Many view such gnomes as eccentric, as their passions tend toward invention, alchemy, or other technical pursuits.

That seems to cover Tinkering pretty well. And as for Illusion, well look at their SLAs: dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation, speak with animals. 2 illusions, all very much FEY feeling magic (And they get a bonus to resist Illusions).

The thing is, if you look at Fey Bloodline Sorcerors, they're a PERFECT FIT for Gnome Illusion/Trickery focused magic users. Sure, their favored classes (now that there's 2) no longer include "Illusionist Wizard" (though favored classes don't matter for multiclassing anymore in Pathfinder), but isn't Charisma-dependent Sorcery a better fit for Fey than Wizards? If Gnomes are NATURALLY magical and adept with illusions, the ones who geek out in Intelligence based tasks (Tinkers) most likely wouldn't RECREATE their own natural inclinations (high CHA/ Illusions-Sorcery), they'd discover new ones - Like Bards, who get every Knowledge skill and a bunch of skill points.

You say "I never liked the gnome-fey connection". Well, OK, but it's always been there, it just was barely acknowledged (why call something Fey and then ignore it?). Jason has done a great job because he's put it all together: WHY are they associated with Illusions? Because they're FEY. WHY are they Tinkers (but still out-Engineered by Dwarves)? That's their passion, trying to ground in this world.

The only thing I'd change is just condense Gnomic and Sylvan languages into one, even though they speak both... Other types of Fey don't have their own language, and it'd just be simpler to have one Fey language and Common.


I like them. Of course, they have a couple of racial traits now that could be replaced, but they're there for the sake of backwards compatibility (dodge bonus against giants and the like).

But now they finally are a race of their own: Fey-touched creatures with a more natural approach to magic (hence the cha bonus and the favoured classes), bonuses to illusion (which both their favoured classes can use), and some eccentricies that fit a fey-touched race.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
KaeYoss wrote:
I like them.

If Kae likes them, they must be Gnomes, 'cause Kae Gnows Gnomes like Gnobody's Business. Heck, he's the one who started the Gnome revolution on the DDM boards.

[tinfoil hat]I also blame him for getting Gnomes kicked out of the 4e PHB. He just pushed WOTC too far with all his "they're in the core rules, so we should have more of them in the minis"-- Shoe's response: "Well, let's just fix that problem. (Removes Gnomes form Core) There you go, no longer an issue." [/tinfoil hat]

Sovereign Court

thefishcometh wrote:
Does anyone else feel like gnomes getting +2 Charisma doesn't make a whole lot of sense? In addition, I feel like gnomes don't have a good "niche" if you will. I propose returning gnomes to their old roots as illusionists and tinkerers. As they stand, gnomes just have an odd combination of halfling and dwarf cultural characteristics. I propose that gnomes be granted a +2 to Intelligence in place of their +2 Charisma and change their favored classes to Wizard and Rogue. Has anyone thought about replacing their spell-like abilities with the ability to prepare one cantrip like a sorcerer or wizard does? I never liked the gnome-fey connection, did not feel natural for the way DnD gnomes are presented, or were presented, anyway. Thoughts, feelings, criticism?

I love me some Gnomes.

That said, I'm not 100% happy with the updated gnombres. I am happy that PRPG is moving gnomes back to their "historical" connection with nature, but there's one sticking point for me: spell-like abilities. I never liked that gnomes could use them.

In my last 3.5 campaign, I took them away, and instead gave gnomes the choice of a bonus feat that granted SLAs (there were a bunch in the Complete series of books). That way they weren't totally alien to my players, but it changed things up a bit. I also experimented with gnomes who lacked SLAs and instead had the Scent extraordinary ability (hearkening back to the big-nosed gnomes of 2nd edition). That went over well with my players at the time.

Just some thoughts.

Oh, and with the re-emphasis on the gnome/fey thing, +2 Cha makes total sense. I'd like to see PRPG declare gnomes Fey instead of Humanoids, but that's just me.


Reckless wrote:


If Kae likes them, they must be Gnomes, 'cause Kae Gnows Gnomes like Gnobody's Business. Heck, he's the one who started the Gnome revolution on the DDM boards.

That I did. It always gives me a warm feeling if I can annoy a huge corporation into giving me an answer - of course, none of this would have been necessary if wotc was even remotely as customer friendly as a certain Pathfinder RPG materials company....

Reckless wrote:


[tinfoil hat]I also blame him for getting Gnomes kicked out of the 4e PHB. He just pushed WOTC too far with all his "they're in the core rules, so we should have more of them in the minis"-- Shoe's response: "Well, let's just fix that problem. (Removes Gnomes form Core) There you go, no longer an issue." [/tinfoil hat]

Nah. They had that information back then already. That's why they didn't do more gnomes.

Well, I stopped caring. They can keep their crap. I'll just wait for Legendary Encounter gnomes or use the DDM ones I already have.

It's actually good that the gnomes were from older sets - that way, they weren't hit by the extreme decrease in DDM quality that started when they gave that shoe guy the run of the operation.


Quandary wrote:

I disagree.

I think Jason's done a great job at bringing out what the Gnomes were supposed to be all along: FEY.

Your complaint of Gnomes being an "odd combination of Halfling and Dwarf CULTURAL characteristics" seem off to me: That seems more the case for the classic/3.5 Gnome, really. Didn't the Gnome classically get along with both groups wonderfully? I think you really have more of a problem with them now having a combination of Halfing and Dwarf STAT MODIFIERS. I agree that does mess with certain Race/Class combos.
But Archetype-wise...

While many can seem whimsical and distant, gnomes that dwell alongside other races often take to one craft or profession with obsessive zeal, using that passion to root them in their surroundings. Many view such gnomes as eccentric, as their passions tend toward invention, alchemy, or other technical pursuits.

That seems to cover Tinkering pretty well. And as for Illusion, well look at their SLAs: dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation, speak with animals. 2 illusions, all very much FEY feeling magic (And they get a bonus to resist Illusions).

The thing is, if you look at Fey Bloodline Sorcerors, they're a PERFECT FIT for Gnome Illusion/Trickery focused magic users. Sure, their favored classes (now that there's 2) no longer include "Illusionist Wizard" (though favored classes don't matter for multiclassing anymore in Pathfinder), but isn't Charisma-dependent Sorcery a better fit for Fey than Wizards? If Gnomes are NATURALLY magical and adept with illusions, the ones who geek out in Intelligence based tasks (Tinkers) most likely wouldn't RECREATE their own natural inclinations (high CHA/ Illusions-Sorcery), they'd discover new ones - Like Bards, who get every Knowledge skill and a bunch of skill points.

You say "I never liked the gnome-fey connection". Well, OK, but it's always been there, it just was barely acknowledged (why call something Fey and then ignore it?). Jason has done a great job because he's put it all...

After reading this post, I'm not sure what to do with gnomes. on the one hand keeping the +2 to charisma makes them too similar to halfling stat adjustments but changing it to intelligence may not fit with a sorcerous or fey-like heritage. Either option isn't quite perfect.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm still going for the +2 Intelligence in the place of +2 Charisma. Gnomes seem more studious than outgoing to me, at least the way that I envision them. And I agree that the Spell-like abilities don't feel very "core". Maybe it's just me...

PS - aren't Gnomes supposed to be close relatives of Dwarves? Or did I make that up?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
thefishcometh wrote:

I'm still going for the +2 Intelligence in the place of +2 Charisma. Gnomes seem more studious than outgoing to me, at least the way that I envision them. And I agree that the Spell-like abilities don't feel very "core". Maybe it's just me...

PS - aren't Gnomes supposed to be close relatives of Dwarves? Or did I make that up?

I think it really depends on who's background you listen to.

Gnomes that wear pointy hats and stand on your lawn are related to fey. Gnomes in many the fantasy world are ancestors of dwarves. Each has a completely different playstyle and a completely different history (read the great Dragon article on the pointy hat gnomes for a little background).

I think (and this is just personal opinion) the +2 Cha addition (instead of +2 Int) is because they're trying to make Pathfinder backwards compatible. They're just trying to keep the changes in line with the change in 3.5 of gnomes from illusionists to bards (and thus why a +2 Cha). Personally, I'm all for gnomes going back to their studious ways and may very well provide them with a +2 Int instead.


MisterSlanky wrote:
thefishcometh wrote:

I'm still going for the +2 Intelligence in the place of +2 Charisma. Gnomes seem more studious than outgoing to me, at least the way that I envision them. And I agree that the Spell-like abilities don't feel very "core". Maybe it's just me...

PS - aren't Gnomes supposed to be close relatives of Dwarves? Or did I make that up?

I think it really depends on who's background you listen to.

Gnomes that wear pointy hats and stand on your lawn are related to fey. Gnomes in many the fantasy world are ancestors of dwarves. Each has a completely different playstyle and a completely different history (read the great Dragon article on the pointy hat gnomes for a little background).

I think (and this is just personal opinion) the +2 Cha addition (instead of +2 Int) is because they're trying to make Pathfinder backwards compatible. They're just trying to keep the changes in line with the change in 3.5 of gnomes from illusionists to bards (and thus why a +2 Cha). Personally, I'm all for gnomes going back to their studious ways and may very well provide them with a +2 Int instead.

Personally I would prefer +2 Int +2 Cha as the modifiers for Gnomes. The thought of a gnome being physically tougher than a Human, or even a Half-Orc for that matter, just strikes me as silly. Gnomes in legend are depicted as clever and friendly. They are generally not depicted as tough and hardy, shrugging off blows that would lay a human or half-orc flat.

Im not sure why between 2E and 3.0 that they decided to change gnomes from +INT to +CON. My only guess was that INT was very nice for additional skill points and they wanted to avoid giving one race a skill point advantage over another.

Others may say that Pathfinder wants to give each race a modifier to one physical and one mental stat but I would really advise against that. I mean some races may just be more mental than others and others more physical. There is a reason not many Gnomes are seen charging into battle weilding a battle axe as they enter their bezerker frenzy.


Add my vote +2 Int, +2 Cha, -2 Str


Epervier wrote:
After reading this post, I'm not sure what to do with gnomes. on the one hand keeping the +2 to charisma makes them too similar to halfling stat adjustments but changing it to intelligence may not fit with a sorcerous or fey-like heritage. Either option isn't quite perfect.

If you want to move them away from halflings I'd rather suggest giving halflings +2 Int instead of their charisma. Would help them at their rogueness too.

I think what has been done to the gnomes in pathfinder is pretty much the best interpretation of gnomes ive ever seen in a fantasy setting. Then again besides DnD, Warcraft and that German RPG thats english name i keep forgetting, i've not seen many gnomes in fantasy.

The gnomes in pathfinder are much closer to what they were supposed to be in mythology. Tiny nature spirit people. The bond to the fey for a change actually makes sense for them. I think it even makes more sense in regard of the gnomes' lifestyle in 3.X dnd. They live rather reclusively in touch with nature. And there i dont see it making a lot of sense to have academies for them to study illusionism.

Also I love that new look illustrated with the Gnome Druid in the Classes section.

@simondeschenes
You could at least give a few words on a reason for that motion.


Threeshades wrote:

@simondeschenes

You could at least give a few words on a reason for that motion.

Kalyth explained everything. I think the same way. Read Kalyth post to understand the point.

Edit :

Kalyth wrote:


Personally I would prefer +2 Int +2 Cha as the modifiers for Gnomes. The thought of a gnome being physically tougher than a Human, or even a Half-Orc for that matter, just strikes me as silly. Gnomes in legend are depicted as clever and friendly. They are generally not depicted as tough and hardy, shrugging off blows that would lay a human or half-orc flat.

Im not sure why between 2E and 3.0 that they decided to change gnomes from +INT to +CON. My only guess was that INT was very nice for additional skill points and they wanted to avoid giving one race a skill point advantage over another.

Others may say that Pathfinder wants to give each race a modifier to one physical and one mental stat but I would really advise against that. I mean some races may just be more mental than others and others more physical. There is a reason not many Gnomes are seen...


MAC III wrote:
I also experimented with gnomes who lacked SLAs and instead had the Scent extraordinary ability (hearkening back to the big-nosed gnomes of 2nd edition).

One could also hearken back to the gnome of 1st edition, which enjoyed twice the Hear Noise bonus awarded an elf (+10% vs +5%). It actually kind of bothered me to find Keen Senses defined for Gnomes exactly the same way it was defined for dwarves.

I like the +2 Charisma modifier. +2 Consitution fits the idea of gnomes living deep in the earth, but also works for your pointy-hat garden gnomes. However, the goggled gnome of the 3e Forgotten Realms Campaign setting seems to fit more of a mad scientist or engineering role. Since the word "gnome" is derived from a Greek word meaning "to know", the desire to support the option for +2 Intelligence is hard to ignore.


minkscooter wrote:
MAC III wrote:
I also experimented with gnomes who lacked SLAs and instead had the Scent extraordinary ability (hearkening back to the big-nosed gnomes of 2nd edition).

One could also hearken back to the gnome of 1st edition, which enjoyed twice the Hear Noise bonus awarded an elf (+10% vs +5%). It actually kind of bothered me to find Keen Senses defined for Gnomes exactly the same way it was defined for dwarves.

I like the +2 Charisma modifier. +2 Consitution fits the idea of gnomes living deep in the earth, but also works for your pointy-hat garden gnomes. However, the goggled gnome of the 3e Forgotten Realms Campaign setting seems to fit more of a mad scientist or engineering role. Since the word "gnome" is derived from a Greek word meaning "to know", the desire to support the option for +2 Intelligence is hard to ignore.

The words origin is not clear. It might be simply derived from "gnome" which means "mind" or "understanding" opr "gnosis" which means "knowledge" but there's also the theory of it being derived from "geonomos" meaning "earthdweller".

But i dont think this is the right place to start a discussion about etymology. Neither would it take us very far.
The Paracelsus's gnome however was described as an earth or mountain spirit as he included it in his list of elementals.
Also in mythology and german folklore gnomes were creatures of earth with a bond to nature.

Scarab Sages

In my House Rules I give gnomes a +2 INT rather than CHA. I like the idea of illusionist as a favored class.


Threeshades wrote:

The words origin is not clear. It might be simply derived from "gnome" which means "mind" or "understanding" opr "gnosis" which means "knowledge" but there's also the theory of it being derived from "geonomos" meaning "earthdweller".

But i dont think this is the right place to start a discussion about etymology. Neither would it take us very far.

Unless you happen to be thefishcometh and want to make a case for +2 Intelligence. :-)

Actually this goes a long way toward explaining why the gnome character class itself is hard to define to everyone's satisfaction. The additional word origin possibilities you bring up are actually very interesting and also go far toward helping someone appreciate the difficulty of deciding "What is a gnome?"

Threeshades wrote:

The Paracelsus's gnome however was described as an earth or mountain spirit as he included it in his list of elementals.

Also in mythology and german folklore gnomes were creatures of earth with a bond to nature.

Those are very helpful observations in my opinion.

I noticed in another thread that there was interest in supporting the option of +2 Wisdom for elves rather than +2 Intelligence. I suspect that there are similarly different ideas of what is an elf behind the discussion in that thread. This is not a trivial problem: Elves in 4e were broken into two races over exactly this kind of divergence. I favor imposing fewer limits on the character concept, allowing a gnome or an elf to be many things to many people. At least I think the major precedents in the gaming community are worth supporting. Would it really get people bent out of shape to allow the +2 bonus in either ability in these cases? Insisting that every non-human race follow the rigid +2/+2/-2 formula may be a consistent game machanic, but in this case the value of that may be outweighed by the needs of the community.


Threeshades wrote:

Also I love that new look illustrated with the Gnome Druid in the Classes section.

That's a gnome? Whoa factor... Anyway, it was my favorite illustration in the book even when I had no idea what it was. Kudos to the artist!


minkscooter wrote:
Threeshades wrote:

Also I love that new look illustrated with the Gnome Druid in the Classes section.

That's a gnome? Whoa factor... Anyway, it was my favorite illustration in the book even when I had no idea what it was. Kudos to the artist!

The artist is Wayne Reynolds, I recognize his pictures between thousands and i'm constantly covering him in Kudos for his amazing stuff.

What did you think it was? Couldnt be a halfling, since in the Pathfinder pdf those appear to have the cliched naked hairy feet. The Bard is a halfling too also painted by Reynolds and its got the hairy feet. So this must be a gnome. The taller races cant be it unless her animal companion is a dire leopard ;)

Maybe gnomes could be split into different kinds, just like there were different elf races already in 3.5, mainly prevalent in Fogotten Realms though (Moon/Silver, Sun/Gold, Wood/Bronze, Wild/Green and Drow/Dark elves). Those were covering pretty much every shade from a totally feral, natural race up to a highly civilized one.

There could be natural gnomes as well as the illusionist gnomes and maybe even the mechanic gnomes.

Scarab Sages

I had a pretty good time playing a gnome sorcerer. The racial abilities mixed really well with the class.

Making the classic illusionist is still an option, one I would enjoy, but the current set-up has its merits.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Maybe I play too much FR. ;p I'm house-ruling a +2 Int in the place of +2 Cha for my gnomes, and I may find a replacement for those wonky spell-like abilities. Just my feelings on the matter.

Sovereign Court

I don't really care to side one way or the other on this issue, given that everyone has their own views on what a gnome 'should' be.

I will however state the changes that groups in my area suggested/implemented.

1) CHA bonus changed to INT, to reflect the inclination toward intellectual pursuits
2) CON bonus changed to WIS, to reflect the influence of the fey nature
3) Movement increased from 20ft to 30ft at lvl 5 or with a feat at lvl 6
4) Ignoring small-sized weapons entirely**#

**Long debates ensued over this one, it was felt that slower movement AND the reduced damage from -2 STR and small weapons were forcing gnomes to be reduced to caster/support roles and that no race should be pigeonholed when choosing classes.

#Similar changes regarding halflings were made regarding movement and weapons.


Threeshades wrote:
minkscooter wrote:
Threeshades wrote:

Also I love that new look illustrated with the Gnome Druid in the Classes section.

That's a gnome? Whoa factor... Anyway, it was my favorite illustration in the book even when I had no idea what it was. Kudos to the artist!

The artist is Wayne Reynolds, I recognize his pictures between thousands and i'm constantly covering him in Kudos for his amazing stuff.

What did you think it was? Couldnt be a halfling, since in the Pathfinder pdf those appear to have the cliched naked hairy feet. The Bard is a halfling too also painted by Reynolds and its got the hairy feet. So this must be a gnome. The taller races cant be it unless her animal companion is a dire leopard ;)

Actually I was thinking how interesting it was that the gnome bard was given hairy feet like a halfling. As for the druid, my speculation veered toward the Monster Manual, although it should have occurred to me that the illustrations in that chapter featured iconic characters representing the standard races and classes. Now I completely agree with you about both illustrations.

Although Wayne does a good job making the leopard seem pretty dire ;-)

Threeshades wrote:

Maybe gnomes could be split into different kinds, just like there were different elf races already in 3.5, mainly prevalent in Fogotten Realms though (Moon/Silver, Sun/Gold, Wood/Bronze, Wild/Green and Drow/Dark elves). Those were covering pretty much every shade from a totally feral, natural race up to a highly civilized one.

There could be natural gnomes as well as the illusionist gnomes and maybe even the mechanic gnomes.

I suspect that the FR crowd would appreciate that.

Dark Archive

I'm seriously considering going all 'subrace' on Gnomes and just saying that there are different types of gnome. Foresty Gnomes who are all in touch with nature and have a +2 Wis, crafty Rock Gnomes who are good with fiddling with stuff and have a +2 Int and the fey-touched Gnomes that have a +2 Cha.

All three options seem to fit, following themes either already in-game or part of previous editions.


Set wrote:

I'm seriously considering going all 'subrace' on Gnomes and just saying that there are different types of gnome. Foresty Gnomes who are all in touch with nature and have a +2 Wis, crafty Rock Gnomes who are good with fiddling with stuff and have a +2 Int and the fey-touched Gnomes that have a +2 Cha.

All three options seem to fit, following themes either already in-game or part of previous editions.

I will accept +2 WIS, CHA or INT as a second attribute. The only thing I have a major issue with is Gnomes being tougher than a Half-Orc. That makes them tougher than humans and orcs and WAY tougher than elves. I mean really when I think of races that would be discribed as robust, tireless, enduring and just damn hard to kill gnomes really doesnt rank at the top of that list? If they want to reflect the fey nature give them a DR 1/cold iron or something actually fey like. +2 Con just doesnt fit in my eyes.


Kalyth wrote:
The only thing I have a major issue with is Gnomes being tougher than a Half-Orc. That makes them tougher than humans and orcs and WAY tougher than elves. I mean really when I think of races that would be discribed as robust, tireless, enduring and just damn hard to kill gnomes really doesnt rank at the top of that list? If they want to reflect the fey nature give them a DR 1/cold iron or something actually fey like. +2 Con just doesnt fit in my eyes.

/agreed

I never gave them the Con bonus.
The Int bonus fits them much better in my opinion. Or Wis for forest gnomes.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kalyth wrote:
I will accept +2 WIS, CHA or INT as a second attribute. The only thing I have a major issue with is Gnomes being tougher than a Half-Orc. That makes them tougher than humans and orcs and WAY tougher than elves. I mean really when I think of races that would be discribed as robust, tireless, enduring and just damn hard to kill gnomes really doesnt rank at the top of that list? If they want to reflect the fey nature give them a DR 1/cold iron or something actually fey like. +2 Con just doesnt fit in my eyes.

+2 Con works for someone like me, who likes to include a bit of something cartoony to my characters and who finds gnomes to be as ripe for comedy as they are for eerie mystisism.

The untested-invention/trap/fireball blows up in the gnome's face!

Gnome:*Cough-wheeze* I'm okay.... I'm okay... just needed a little less pepper. I'll ...remember that next time.


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KaeYoss wrote:

I like them. Of course, they have a couple of racial traits now that could be replaced, but they're there for the sake of backwards compatibility (dodge bonus against giants and the like).

But now they finally are a race of their own: Fey-touched creatures with a more natural approach to magic (hence the cha bonus and the favoured classes), bonuses to illusion (which both their favoured classes can use), and some eccentricies that fit a fey-touched race.

Just out of curiosity, what would you replace those abilities with?

Bonuses for Crafting Cookies and Toys?

They spend a lot of time in Gardens, maybe +2 vs Plants and Insects?

I hear some travel a lot, maybe a discount rate at hotels and Inns?


Yes, I wouldn't be so quick to jump on the "fey" bandwagon. The current gnome does have its own consistency, and I wouldn't consider not playing him, but frankly, in mythology, a small, magical creature attuned to nature describes equally well gnomes, elves, dwarves and goblins... Yet elves and dwarves are clearly divorced from their mythological roots (can you say Arda?)

I personally miss 2e's gnomes, clever and unwise: seekers of high adventure, good-natured tricksters with a quick wit and poor judgement, irrepressible good humour matched only by their good nature, but also diligent at work and lovers of fine, well-crafted things (like both elves and dwarves). The -STR is sort of a sacred cow, I guess, since they are Small-sized, but I think it could be moved elsewhere. The +CON looks to be there just for the sake of making them similar to their cousins, the dwarves.

Oh, and while you're at it, bring back the huge noses! Boy, I sure miss that in gnome art. Hmm... maybe I am a fossil after all ;)


Kalyth wrote:
If they want to reflect the fey nature give them a DR 1/cold iron or something actually fey like.

Cool idea. It might be fun if you could pick something like that from a list of gnome options during character creation. Or maybe elemental spell resistance.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I'm all in favour of the +2 Cha to gnomes

we had a fey-touched gnome sorcerer in the alpha playtest and it worked really well. Sorc feels much better as a natural magic user, and you can always pick illusionist spells for the retro-feel. It also ties into the Eberron Zilargo Gnome write up which i always thought made gnomes much more interesting / scary as a race.
Personally any NPC gnome I use always has several levels of Expert for the craft skills, so that gives you the tinker feel instead of wizard levels (IMHO)

the +2 con is a little more problematic, if you are going to have a phys stat bonus you can either have dex or con, and dex means little differentiation with the halfling. which may not be a big problem and increased dex for small PC's does 'feel' right.

some of the fey based abilities mentioned above I think would work really well as Racial Feats (eg DR/cold iron, additonal SLA's / day) possibly combined with a Fey-blood PrC?
But then i like the idea of racial specific options....

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

Interesting discussion everybody.

Right now, I am pretty firm on the Gnomes +2 to Cha and Con. The bonus to Cha was done specifically to match up with their fey background and obsessive nature. I think the trouble might be in the Halfling's +2 to Cha, but changing that to Int (Wis just does not fit) makes them too much like elves. This is a discussion we have had around the office more than once.

Keep the debate going however, as nothing is set in stone quite yet.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Interesting discussion everybody.

Right now, I am pretty firm on the Gnomes +2 to Cha and Con. The bonus to Cha was done specifically to match up with their fey background and obsessive nature. I think the trouble might be in the Halfling's +2 to Cha, but changing that to Int (Wis just does not fit) makes them too much like elves. This is a discussion we have had around the office more than once.

Keep the debate going however, as nothing is set in stone quite yet.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing

Couldnt you give elves Wisdom instead? I mean, okay that doesn't fit wizards, but gives them some of their natural bond too, and helps them rangering.

Yeah probably still not a good idea since they've always been passionate wizards (at least since 3rd editon).

On the other hand gnomes are about as similar to halflings as dwarves are to half-orcs (okay in the latter case the negative attributes are different)
I think they have enough difference between each other, especially considering their other racial features.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Right now, I am pretty firm on the Gnomes +2 to Cha and Con. The bonus to Cha was done specifically to match up with their fey background and obsessive nature. I think the trouble might be in the Halfling's +2 to Cha, but changing that to Int (Wis just does not fit) makes them too much like elves. This is a discussion we have had around the office more than once.

Welcome back, Jason! Hope everything went well. :)

I love the new gnome - their fluff really makes me want to play one! A gnome Paladin, while a little difficult given their low damage, would be so fun to roleplay!

I honestly never thought of Halflings with an Int bonus being too much like Elves. Maybe because the size difference is overwhelming in my internal image of the different races? I prefer halflings having a bonus to intelligence, myself...but then I love playing high intelligence rogues and bards.


Jess Door wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Right now, I am pretty firm on the Gnomes +2 to Cha and Con. The bonus to Cha was done specifically to match up with their fey background and obsessive nature. I think the trouble might be in the Halfling's +2 to Cha, but changing that to Int (Wis just does not fit) makes them too much like elves. This is a discussion we have had around the office more than once.

Welcome back, Jason! Hope everything went well. :)

I love the new gnome - their fluff really makes me want to play one! A gnome Paladin, while a little difficult given their low damage, would be so fun to roleplay!

I honestly never thought of Halflings with an Int bonus being too much like Elves. Maybe because the size difference is overwhelming in my internal image of the different races? I prefer halflings having a bonus to intelligence, myself...but then I love playing high intelligence rogues and bards.

High-Int rogues are just lovely. Bards dont necessarily need it, as they make more use of charisma, but still its nice to have tons of skills and be kind of witty too (as for the role-playing aspect).

About the gnome paladin: I dont think the low strength and small weapon damage are that bad, since the gnome makes up for it with better AC and Attack Bonuses and some extra hitpoints. (hitoints are something i simply cannot manage to get enough of when im trying to build a paladin, because i need all of the precious points/good rolls for cha, wis and strength)

Scarab Sages

Given the choice between "Gnomes with +2 Cha" and "Halflings with +2 Int" I would rather have the haflings with +2 Intelligence. I think that fits better with the class, and really provides a nice boost to halfling rogues (a very strong archetype).

With the difference in physical penalties I don't see it as a problem (after all, in my mind halflings have some relation to elves, just like gnomes have some relation to dwarves).

This is a good opportunity to critique the attempt at equation with +2 to one mental stat (presenting opinions I have seen regarding all races):

  • Halflings: Int is the only stat that seems to fit them, but this makes them very similar to elves.

  • Half-Orcs: Some disagreement whether Wisdom is an appropriate bonus given their heritage.

    The only race that I really see as working is the +2 Cha for gnomes. I know the system is supposed to encourage a warrior/caster option for each race, but maybe we should really look at whether this is absolutely necessary. I would be just as happy playing a half-orc druid with +2 Str and +2 Con as one with +2 Str and +2 Wis, maybe even happier. I'm not saying we need to, but maybe we need an honest assessment of whether the assignment of mental ability bonuses is forcing a system onto the races.


  • Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I love the new Gnome flavor and I hope they keep their +2 CHA. As for halflings I think I perfer them having +2. One my players, who's playing a halfling, thinks so as well.


    Jal Dorak wrote:

    Given the choice between "Gnomes with +2 Cha" and "Halflings with +2 Int" I would rather have the haflings with +2 Intelligence. I think that fits better with the class, and really provides a nice boost to halfling rogues (a very strong archetype).

    With the difference in physical penalties I don't see it as a problem (after all, in my mind halflings have some relation to elves, just like gnomes have some relation to dwarves).

    This is a good opportunity to critique the attempt at equation with +2 to one mental stat (presenting opinions I have seen regarding all races):

  • Halflings: Int is the only stat that seems to fit them, but this makes them very similar to elves.

  • Half-Orcs: Some disagreement whether Wisdom is an appropriate bonus given their heritage.

    The only race that I really see as working is the +2 Cha for gnomes. I know the system is supposed to encourage a warrior/caster option for each race, but maybe we should really look at whether this is absolutely necessary. I would be just as happy playing a half-orc druid with +2 Str and +2 Con as one with +2 Str and +2 Wis, maybe even happier. I'm not saying we need to, but maybe we need an honest assessment of whether the assignment of mental ability bonuses is forcing a system onto the races.

  • I really like the decision to balance a physical bonus with a mental bonus. I'd just like to see a little more flexibility, for example:

    Gnome: +2 Con, +2 Int or Cha; -2 Str
    Elf: +2 Dex, +2 Int or Wis; -2 Con
    Halfling: +2 Dex, +2 Wis or Cha; -2 Str
    Human: +1 to any two different abilities
    Half-Elf: +2 to any single ability

    I don't see anyone clamoring for dwarves to get anything different.

    I think Tolkien gave me the idea of halflings being intellectually unadventurous and preferring conventional wisdom, as well as having a knack for avoiding danger. I see that many players want to max out their halfling's skill points, but I don't see that as a proper advantage for halflings (let them use other racial traits to excel as rogues; give them a flat +1 to all rogue class skills if you have to, but without giving them an advantage as wizards or craftsmen).

    I like the idea of half-orcs being uncannily perceptive and aware. +2 Wisdom was wonderfully unexpected (until I got the gist of the +2/+2/-2 mechanic and it became a no-brainer).

    Dark Archive

    Threeshades wrote:
    Couldnt you give elves Wisdom instead? I mean, okay that doesn't fit wizards, but gives them some of their natural bond too, and helps them rangering.

    Elves are reknowned for their keen senses (more so than any other race) and their resistance to mind-affecting spells such as sleep and charm (again, more so than any other race), so Wisdom makes much more sense for them than Intelligence, IMO, since it plays into their portrayal far more than a plus to Intelligence would. Yeah, 3rd edition added the Favored Class Wizard thing, but they 'feel' more like natural Sorcerers to me than book-learnin' scholarly researcher-types.

    Based purely on my own preconceptions, I could see Elves having a +2 Charisma *or* a +2 Wisdom, far more than a +2 Intelligence.

    If any race(s) fit the +2 Intelligence, it would be Dwarves (always the crafty ones) or Gnomes (who, in previous editions, have been the tinkerers and illusionists and researchers and natural alchemists).

    Halflings? I don't really see *any* mental stat as ideal for them, but it would be Charisma first (naturally likable, self-assured and confident) and Wisdom second (keenly aware of their surroundings, resistant to persuasion). I'd be just as likely to declare the whole 'second stat must be mental' thing an artefact and give Halflings a -2 Str, +2 Dex and +2 Con. They're like roaches. Fast and hard to squish!

    But the attribute thing that really bugs me is how Elves, being otherworldly and fey and slight of build, have a -2 Constitution because they are not of this world, while the Gnomes, who are otherworldly and fey and slight of build, have a *+2 Constitution.*

    It's just inconsistent, and I don't see any way to work around it, as finding a different attribute penalty for elves is painful, and finding a different attribute bonus for gnomes is equally awkward.

    Gnomes with +2 Dex, -2 Str and +2 Int would be one solution. They are fey, but not quite as 'disconnected from the natural world' as the elves are, and so they tend to be a little sturdier.

    Defying tradition spectacularly, elves might instead have +2 Dex, -2 Int and +2 Cha (or Wisdom), and be wild court semi-savages, less the elves of mithril mail and more the painted hunters who wear helmets with antlers on them and blow horns and rattle their spears as they stir their hounds up for the night's chase. But that wouldn't be terribly backwards-compatible, even if it would be evocative as all hell to go all Herne / Wild Hunt with them and leave the mithril-mail-crafting to the Dwarves, as Tolkein did.


    Set wrote:
    Threeshades wrote:
    Couldnt you give elves Wisdom instead? I mean, okay that doesn't fit wizards, but gives them some of their natural bond too, and helps them rangering.

    Elves are reknowned for their keen senses (more so than any other race) and their resistance to mind-affecting spells such as sleep and charm (again, more so than any other race), so Wisdom makes much more sense for them than Intelligence, IMO, since it plays into their portrayal far more than a plus to Intelligence would. Yeah, 3rd edition added the Favored Class Wizard thing, but they 'feel' more like natural Sorcerers to me than book-learnin' scholarly researcher-types.

    Based purely on my own preconceptions, I could see Elves having a +2 Charisma *or* a +2 Wisdom, far more than a +2 Intelligence.

    If any race(s) fit the +2 Intelligence, it would be Dwarves (always the crafty ones) or Gnomes (who, in previous editions, have been the tinkerers and illusionists and researchers and natural alchemists).

    Halflings? I don't really see *any* mental stat as ideal for them, but it would be Charisma first (naturally likable, self-assured and confident) and Wisdom second (keenly aware of their surroundings, resistant to persuasion). I'd be just as likely to declare the whole 'second stat must be mental' thing an artefact and give Halflings a -2 Str, +2 Dex and +2 Con. They're like roaches. Fast and hard to squish!

    But the attribute thing that really bugs me is how Elves, being otherworldly and fey and slight of build, have a -2 Constitution because they are not of this world, while the Gnomes, who are otherworldly and fey and slight of build, have a *+2 Constitution.*

    It's just inconsistent, and I don't see any way to work around it, as finding a different attribute penalty for elves is painful, and finding a different attribute bonus for gnomes is equally awkward.

    Gnomes with +2 Dex, -2 Str and +2 Int would be one solution. They are fey, but not quite as 'disconnected from the natural world' as the elves are, and so...

    I would also vote for +2 Dex and +2 Int as a better fit than +2 Con and +2 Cha. Its really the Con bonus that bothers me more than anything. My prefered solution as I stated before would be +2 Int & Cha. I dont understand why one race cant be physically inferior and mentally superior to the norm. It seems like a fair trade of to me. What ever they end up doing I just hope they ditch the +2 Con it doesnt fit at all.

    I mean if we sat down and decided to right a list of how we invisioned the different races and did things like who are the prettiest or who are the fastest etc...there would be a few arguments but most people would aggree Elves would rate high on the Prettiest table while orcs would rate low.

    So if we made a list of the toughest and most robust to the squishiest where would everyone rate. Racial bonuses aside here we are looking at concept and classic fantasy settings.

    Half-Orc and Dwarves would rate at the top of most peoples lists I would assume. Humans, Elves, Half-Elves would fall in the middle of most peoples lists (though in D&D Elves are in the bottom). Leaving Halflings and Gnomes at the bottom or so it would seem. But Gnomes are TIED for the "#1 TOUGHEST RACE" This doesnt really fit ANY representation of Gnomes from any work of fiction I have read.

    I know I rehash alot of what I have said before I just really feel that +2 Con is way out of place.


    Please, no sub-races, unless every race has them including humans.

    Of all the beings in the Monster Manuals, why did gnomes get elected to become a PC race? I never had any desire to play or use gnomes at all. So, they are fine just the way they are, no changes necessary.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

    Jason Bulmahn wrote:

    Interesting discussion everybody.

    Right now, I am pretty firm on the Gnomes +2 to Cha and Con. The bonus to Cha was done specifically to match up with their fey background and obsessive nature. I think the trouble might be in the Halfling's +2 to Cha, but changing that to Int (Wis just does not fit) makes them too much like elves. This is a discussion we have had around the office more than once.

    Keep the debate going however, as nothing is set in stone quite yet.

    Jason Bulmahn
    Lead Designer
    Paizo Publishing

    So, keep the gnome abilities.

    Change the elf bonus from Int to Cha. They still have a fey connection, like the gnomes, and are always described as physically attractive. Personal magnetism fits, and one would imagine they would certainly have strong personalities with such long lifespans. (I like the idea of innately magical elves, you could also change favored class from wizard to sorcerer, though this isn’t strictly necessary.)

    Change the halfling bonus from Cha to Int.

    Don’t give anyone else a Wis bonus, as we already have 2 races with that bonus.

    This would allow for a pretty balanced spread without too much overlap:
    +Str - Half-Orc
    +Dex - Elf and Halfling
    +Con - Dwarf and Gnome
    +Int - Halfling
    +Wis - Dwarf and Half-Orc
    +Cha - Elf and Gnome


    Kalyth wrote:

    But Gnomes are TIED for the "#1 TOUGHEST RACE" This doesnt really fit ANY representation of Gnomes from any work of fiction I have read.

    I know I rehash alot of what I have said before I just really feel that +2 Con is way out of place.

    It would be a shame if the rules left a race unplayable by getting in the way of someone's character concept. I started wondering if Constitution could work differently for gnomes, like offering different types of resistance rather than a hit point bonus. But that would be going pretty far off track just to rescue the +2 physical/+2 mental bonus template. I do like the idea of resistance traits (like the Illusion Resistant trait gnomes currently enjoy). Rationalizing a flat hit point bonus is a little unsatisfying, but in the end I could live with it as an unexpected manifestation of their magical nature.

    It's curious, after all this head scratching, to look back at 1st edition and find that gnomes didn't even get an entry in the table of racial ability modifiers. (Presumably Gary Gygax couldn't decide what to do with them either.)


    Rob McCreary wrote:

    So, keep the gnome abilities.
    ...
    +Str - Half-Orc
    +Dex - Elf and Halfling
    +Con - Dwarf and Gnome
    +Int - Halfling
    +Wis - Dwarf and Half-Orc
    +Cha - Elf and Gnome

    While I do second the idea of moving elves towards sorcerer, being magical themselves and all, the idea of intelligent halflings seems to be off to me. When you think of the Halflings in LotR or Dragonlance, Halflings are anything _but_ intelligent. Add to that, that gnomes "tend toward invention, alchemy, or other technical pursuits". Invention and alchemy correlate with intelligence, so this should be one stat of the gnomes. Now somehow there seems to be a rule "1 mental stat and 1 physical" which makes it a bit hard to shift.

    Looking at mechnical inventions, dex would seem a logical choice, but then elf halfling and gnome would have dex as a bonus stat - this seems kind of bland.
    Con seems to put many people off and str seems just wrong - so in the case of gnomes I really would vote to break that rule and give them +2 to int and wis and a -2 to str. Now they can be the studious Illusionist or the fey-and-land-attuned druid.

    Apart from that: I really can't imagine a halfling wizard...could a halfling keep still long enough for reading just a single page of a spellbook? Also Halflings are uncharismatic to me, the are a nuissance, constantly chattering and whining for food...ok, yes, I do not like halflings.

    My proposal:
    Dwarf: +2 Con, +2 Wis, -2 Cha (stout and hard but grumpy)
    Elf: +2 Dex, +2 Cha, -2 Con (agile and fascinating but frail)
    Gnome: +2 Int, +2 Wis, -2 Str (physically weak but smard and dedicated)
    Half-Orc: +2 Str, +2 Dex, -2 Int (Strong, fast, but dumb)
    Halfling: +2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Wis (Foolhardy, but fast and hard to squish)

    Favourite classes:
    Dwarf: Cleric or Fighter
    Elf: Bard or Sorcerer
    Gnome: Druid or Wizard
    Half-Orc: Barbarian or Fighter
    Halfling: Ranger or Rogue


    I don't like to see Gnome like fey creatures.
    Perhaps because i play Baldur's Gate 2 a lot !

    I'm crazy about Lantan Gnome : intelligent, inventor. And work with illusion (Jan Jansen).

    I think there is too many class with Cha bonus, and this class are small ! Because small person are kind ? more than everybody ?

    There is 7 races avaible. Leaves the humans, that should be study latter.

    So 6 Stats and 6 races gives :

    Half Orc > Str
    Elven > Dex
    Dwarf > Con
    Gnome > Int
    Halfelin > Wis
    Half Elf > Cha

    I give halfelin Wisdom thinking about Sam and Frodo : they could resist to the Ring... more than humans... they have WILL.
    Wisdom in DD it's closer to perception or will than to "philosophy"
    I give HalfElf Charism bonus because they are self-assured, sympathic.

    Then, we give this races an other bonus (i try to give one stat to one race). I eliminate the halfhuman : it's easier to have the same rules for all halfhumans.

    Elven > Int
    Dwarf > Wis
    Gnome > Con
    Halfelin > Dex

    Finally, i give a malus

    Elven > Con
    Dwarf > Cha
    Gnome > Str
    Halfelin > Str

    So :

    HalfOrc : +2 Str
    Elf : +2 Dex, -2 Con, +2 Int
    Dwarf : +2 Con, +2 Wis, -2 Cha
    Gnome : -2 Str, +2 Con, +2 Int
    Halfelin : -2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Cha
    Halfelf : +2 Cha

    Favourite classes:
    Dwarf: Cleric / Fighter
    Elf: Wizards / Rogue (different culture : Wizards/Fighter)
    Gnome : Illusionist / ?
    Half-Orc: Cleric / Barbarian
    Halfling: Paladin / Rogue


    Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
    Jason Bulmahn wrote:

    Interesting discussion everybody.

    Right now, I am pretty firm on the Gnomes +2 to Cha and Con. The bonus to Cha was done specifically to match up with their fey background and obsessive nature. I think the trouble might be in the Halfling's +2 to Cha, but changing that to Int (Wis just does not fit) makes them too much like elves. This is a discussion we have had around the office more than once.

    Keep the debate going however, as nothing is set in stone quite yet.

    Jason Bulmahn
    Lead Designer
    Paizo Publishing

    Intelligent halflings work for me - fits better than wis or cha for the roguish stereotype. although wis works for tolkeinish stay at homes hobbits, i just don't see this working for most D&D settings....

    I really don't have a problem with both elves and halflings having the same stat bonus, they have different penalties and being small gives another difference.

    I would be tempted to make halflings favoured classes Ranger and Rogue so that although you can have halfling wizards with the +2 stat, they're encouraged into the skill heavy classes and thats a more traditional halfling (IMO).
    Halfling monks (as favoured class) does sound very interesting and the more you think about their traditional / underdog background .....

    Sovereign Court

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

    I love the Golarion Gnomes, fey touched all the way, don't change a thing.

    I also agree that these new Gnomes are very different than what many of us have come to expect from Gnomes and can understand the difficulty in incorporating them into more traditional worlds(Greyhawk).

    Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
    Drakli wrote:

    +2 Con works for someone like me, who likes to include a bit of something cartoony to my characters and who finds gnomes to be as ripe for comedy as they are for eerie mystisism.

    The untested-invention/trap/fireball blows up in the gnome's face!

    Gnome:*Cough-wheeze* I'm okay.... I'm okay... just needed a little less pepper. I'll ...remember that next time.

    I think that is the gnome image I have. I feel like that inventor-illusionist flavor makes gnomes unique. Elves are already kind of fey-like, what with the pointy ears and prancing through the forest. But gnomes, they just like to BLOW SH!T UP!!! And that's why I love them so very much. Jan Jansen FTW!


    thefishcometh wrote:
    Drakli wrote:

    +2 Con works for someone like me, who likes to include a bit of something cartoony to my characters and who finds gnomes to be as ripe for comedy as they are for eerie mystisism.

    The untested-invention/trap/fireball blows up in the gnome's face!

    Gnome:*Cough-wheeze* I'm okay.... I'm okay... just needed a little less pepper. I'll ...remember that next time.

    I think that is the gnome image I have. I feel like that inventor-illusionist flavor makes gnomes unique. Elves are already kind of fey-like, what with the pointy ears and prancing through the forest. But gnomes, they just like to BLOW SH!T UP!!! And that's why I love them so very much. Jan Jansen FTW!

    Yes, I think Drakli nailed it.


    IDK as a long time realms player gnomes have always had a fey feel to me the illusion just seemed to enforce it. Sure there were tinker gnomes of dragon lance but they were a subrace not the gnome race as a whole they were a part of the race that turned there back on there haratige and moved away from it. I for one liked the +2 cha gnomes have always been likeable if odd critters.

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