Bleaching, gnomes and long-term captivity.


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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What considerations are required for the keeping of gnomes in long term captivity? I have heard that they do not survive long because of bleaching.

Asking purely out of intellectual curiosity, of course.

- High Magister Phar, Servants of the Unceasing Light, All Await The Coming Of The Last Ones.


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I think an appropriately sized hamster wheel and a brightly colored ball would be the minimum investment needed to keep them "alive".

Also prison is an experience a scary one but it might be novel enough to keep a gnome going for quite a wile.


So you're saying that finding new ways to non-fatally stab them would work?

The unceasing light hungers.


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Captivity is not boring by itself. Prisons are full of colorful people. Things happen to you (you can smuggle things, you can be beaten by guards, you can drop your soap in the shower).

Now, if you speak of solitary confinement, I'll quote Wikipedia: "The United Nations considers solitary confinement exceeding 15 days to be torture." It's the same for humans and gnomes in that case, you don't survive long all alone.


SuperBidi wrote:
Now, if you speak of solitary confinement, I'll quote Wikipedia: "The United Nations considers solitary confinement exceeding 15 days to be torture." It's the same for humans and gnomes in that case, you don't survive long all alone.

I don't believe that is so true, after my pandemic experience and watching a TV show about solo round the world sailing.

It probably comes from omething about what is done to the people while they are confined based on some study of some bad place.


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krobrina wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Now, if you speak of solitary confinement, I'll quote Wikipedia: "The United Nations considers solitary confinement exceeding 15 days to be torture." It's the same for humans and gnomes in that case, you don't survive long all alone.

I don't believe that is so true, after my pandemic experience and watching a TV show about solo round the world sailing.

It probably comes from omething about what is done to the people while they are confined based on some study of some bad place.

A quick Google search makes me think Wikipedia's right.

Also, there's a difference between solitary confinement and round the world sailing. In one case, you have absolutely nothing to do, not on the other case. Also, prison is rarely a personal choice.


Just meditate or something? I'm not convinced, and even less so after my pandemic experience. I'm sure it's something else the prison is doing. Some prisons do a lot of bad stuff and pretend they don't.


Trying to get back on topic and out of politics, how does this affect gnomes in pathfinder?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
krobrina wrote:
Just meditate or something? I'm not convinced, and even less so after my pandemic experience. I'm sure it's something else the prison is doing. Some prisons do a lot of bad stuff and pretend they don't.

They said as they posted on the internet, undercutting their point.

-_-

This isn't based on the claims of prisoners. This based on the testimony and neurology of the imprisoned.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-chemistr y/201902/the-effects-solitary-confinement-the-brain%3famp

"Robert King, an ex-inmate who was in solitary confinement for 29 years, shared his experience with a room full of curious neuroscientists during the world’s biggest neuroscience conference by the Society for Neuroscience in November 2018. Being confined in a 6x9-foot cell for almost 30 years, with very limited contact with other humans or physical exercise, surely has consequences on one's overall health, including the brain. King knew that solitary confinement was changing the way his brain worked. When he finally left his cell, he realized he had trouble recognizing faces and had to retrain his eyes to learn what a face was like. His sense of direction was also messed up, and he was unable to follow a simple route in the city by himself. It is as if his brain had erased all those capabilities that were no longer necessary for survival in a cell no bigger than the back of a pick-up truck."


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krobrina wrote:
Just meditate or something? I'm not convinced, and even less so after my pandemic experience. I'm sure it's something else the prison is doing. Some prisons do a lot of bad stuff and pretend they don't.

Your pandemic experience is most likely nothing at all like being in solitary confinement in a prison where you're locked in a 10ft x 10ft cell with nothing but yourself. No computer. No TV. No books. Nothing. It's supposed to be a punishment that drives you virtually insane. I do believe the law requires you be allowed 1 hour per day outside your cell, but you are still kept away from other prisoners. It's a maddening experience, very unlike your pandemic experience where you likely play video games and are on the internet all day (or at least I do).

All that aside, a gnome would probably be okay for some period of time as it would be a new (terrible) experience. And then it would become repetitive and stop being okay, and the bleaching would set in.

How long does that take? I dunno.


i would say the confinement on a small space might have more to do with it than the solitary part


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ArchSage20 wrote:
i would say the confinement on a small space might have more to do with it than the solitary part

I would say quite the opposite. Even people who consider themselves introverts still need other people, just in different circumstances. While they may not like in person activities as much and get overwhelmed by groups, one on one they can be very different.

I don't think the space is a factor as much as having NO contact to the outside world aside from the guard who brings you food and checks that you're still alive periodically. You don't have any entertainment. None of the normal things we have in every day life to fill our lives when we don't have to do anything. An inmate in solitary confinement has nothing to do except be in their head.

I'm certain that the small space is more adding insult to injury.


Every single gnome in existence is highly idiosyncratic. There are some gnomes who can survive basically indefinite imprisonment because they are someone who is truly a genius in "finding things that they find interesting."

Other gnomes require more or less constant novelty or they whither and die.

On the assumption that you are justified in imprisoning someone (i.e. they are actually a criminal and/or danger to society) then with all prisoners you should monitor them and if things start to go badly you should intervene and see to their needs.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

Every single gnome in existence is highly idiosyncratic. There are some gnomes who can survive basically indefinite imprisonment because they are someone who is truly a genius in "finding things that they find interesting."

Other gnomes require more or less constant novelty or they whither and die.

On the assumption that you are justified in imprisoning someone (i.e. they are actually a criminal and/or danger to society) then with all prisoners you should monitor them and if things start to go badly you should intervene and see to their needs.

That's even assuming you are a government-esque entity that wishes to be "good" that you care about your prisoners and their rehabilitation rather than saying "we'll see you when your sentence is up" and return to find a corpse.

"Oppps, I guess another prisoner shanked him. Don't know why he's gone all colorless though. No ones gonna see the corpse, throw it to the pigs."


This is certainly an interesting topic if you want put some consideration into your setting which your players will never notice.

Depending on the environment, a ten year prison sentence could be troubling for a human but a death sentence for a gnome. Looking at just duration, ten years is little more than 1.5% of an elf lifespan but 20% of a goblin's.

If you have a just society where the punishment fits the crime, it would likely necessitate giving different punishments depending on the ancestry of the convict (I'm glad they dropped 'race').


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Decimus Drake wrote:

This is certainly an interesting topic if you want put some consideration into your setting which your players will never notice.

Depending on the environment, a ten year prison sentence could be troubling for a human but a death sentence for a gnome. Looking at just duration, ten years is little more than 1.5% of an elf lifespan but 20% of a goblin's.

If you have a just society where the punishment fits the crime, it would likely necessitate giving different punishments depending on the ancestry of the convict (I'm glad they dropped 'race').

Man that is a depressing thought.


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Something that in the real world would be a 10 year sentence would more likely be something like "A sentence equal to 10% of the typical lifespan of the criminal's ancestry", assuming a just society.


Claxon wrote:
That's even assuming you are a government-esque entity that wishes to be "good" that you care about your prisoners and their rehabilitation rather than saying "we'll see you when your sentence is up" and return to find a corpse.

I mean, sure. If you don't care about being evil (or just cruel and neglectful) you could dig a big pit, put some wolves in there, then throw anybody who is convicted of anything in the wolf-pit. Periodically add more wolves, I guess.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
krobrina wrote:

What considerations are required for the keeping of gnomes in long term captivity? I have heard that they do not survive long because of bleaching.

Asking purely out of intellectual curiosity, of course.

- High Magister Phar, Servants of the Unceasing Light, All Await The Coming Of The Last Ones.

Do you want to find out how many choruses to "This is the Song that Doesn't End" a gnome can make up? Because this is how you find that out.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
krobrina wrote:

What considerations are required for the keeping of gnomes in long term captivity? I have heard that they do not survive long because of bleaching.

Asking purely out of intellectual curiosity, of course.

- High Magister Phar, Servants of the Unceasing Light, All Await The Coming Of The Last Ones.

Do you want to find out how many choruses to "This is the Song that Doesn't End" a gnome can make up? Because this is how you find that out.

Or the entire family lineage of a baby shark.

You weren't planning on being anywhere near this gnome bard that you just put in prison, were you? Because 'seeing how long it takes to drive prison guards insane' sounds like a very interesting and novel experience to me.


AFAIK the Bleaching is not directly fatal, but rather leads to deep depresssion that leads to active or passive suicide. (Basing this mostly on their Ancestry description, I haven't read PF1's Gnomes of Golarion.)

So if you keep the gnome away from knives (like by chaining their wrists to a wall) and force-feed them (speaking of nasty things to do to prisoners), they should last indefinitely, Bleached or not.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

AFAIK the Bleaching is not directly fatal, but rather leads to deep depresssion that leads to active or passive suicide. (Basing this mostly on their Ancestry description, I haven't read PF1's Gnomes of Golarion.)

So if you keep the gnome away from knives (like by chaining their wrists to a wall) and force-feed them (speaking of nasty things to do to prisoners), they should last indefinitely, Bleached or not.

Wouldn't they stop eating eventually?


Captain Morgan wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

AFAIK the Bleaching is not directly fatal, but rather leads to deep depresssion that leads to active or passive suicide. (Basing this mostly on their Ancestry description, I haven't read PF1's Gnomes of Golarion.)

So if you keep the gnome away from knives (like by chaining their wrists to a wall) and force-feed them (speaking of nasty things to do to prisoners), they should last indefinitely, Bleached or not.

Wouldn't they stop eating eventually?

Yes, if they can---hence the force-feeding....


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Claxon wrote:
That's even assuming you are a government-esque entity that wishes to be "good" that you care about your prisoners and their rehabilitation rather than saying "we'll see you when your sentence is up" and return to find a corpse.
I mean, sure. If you don't care about being evil (or just cruel and neglectful) you could dig a big pit, put some wolves in there, then throw anybody who is convicted of anything in the wolf-pit. Periodically add more wolves, I guess.

Eh, my point was more that it seems likely that your average human isn't going to really know, understand, or care about bleaching in gnomes. So when a gnome goes to an average human prison, they're not thinking "we really need to make sure he's got enough to keep him from bleaching". They're thinking "we're going to treat him the same way we treat all the other prisoners".

I wouldn't jump to them being evil in such a case, but unconcerned and uninterested in others enough to know what problems it would cause.

In the same way the average person in our world doesn't typically consider how their actions may impact the working poor (and change their course of action), not only in the home countries but across the world.

Liberty's Edge

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I think the existence of the Bleaching is a very well known fact about Gnomes. Unless Gnomes are quite uncommon in the area, most people will know about it.


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"Gnomes can live practically forever, as long as they don't get too bored... if they do they lose all their color and most don't survive, but sometimes you see an oddly placid colorless gnome walking around like a tiny warm zombie" feels like the sort of thing people who have never even seen a gnome would tell each other.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Not knowing about the Bleaching kind of feels like not knowing about the Sabbath in the United States. It seems like a pretty basic thing, but you'd be surprised how many people are ignorant.


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We've got a bit of lore on this from the Nightglass novel. Gnomes are very valuable to the shadowcasters as slaves and prisoners because they get so desperate for experiences if put into a cell for a while that they'll look forward to torture, and even do it to themselves. I think that was weeks, but can't really check.

My take would be that prison sentences for gnomes are death sentences after a certain length if there's no active work being put into keeping them alive. If it's just a fortress style prison where the prisoners are left to their own devices to barter with one another, form factions, invent sports- I think the gnome could make it for years, maybe a decade studying the interactions in detail before bleaching set in. It would not be good for them, though. Solitary confinement, I imagine would be something like a month or two.

If a gnome starts to believe that tomorrow nothing new and interesting will happen, they're not getting something vital to their health.

Grand Archive

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

From what I know, bleaching side effects appear on a year scale. In Gnomes of Golarion (old book, but I'm quoting something that is more "lore related anyway):

Gnome of Golarion p.7 wrote:
Every year that gnomes fail to find new and exciting experiences, the process accelerates: they become more depressed and withdrawn, and their dulled curiosity leads to them having less desire to seek out new experiences, which leads inexorably to further bleaching.

TBH, I'd still rule that total isolation would accelerate this though.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Not knowing about the Bleaching kind of feels like not knowing about the Sabbath in the United States. It seems like a pretty basic thing, but you'd be surprised how many people are ignorant.

Well consider almost no business (Chik-fil-A) keep the Sabbath, and that Jews have Sabbath from Friday night to Saturday night, and potentially other variations of Sabbath occur with other religions I'm not familiar with even just the basic concept of Sabbath could be something that people get wrong or misunderstand.

Just like it seems very likely (to me) that one could misunderstand the bleaching in Gnomes.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Not knowing about the Bleaching kind of feels like not knowing about the Sabbath in the United States. It seems like a pretty basic thing, but you'd be surprised how many people are ignorant.

Well consider almost no business (Chik-fil-A) keep the Sabbath, and that Jews have Sabbath from Friday night to Saturday night, and potentially other variations of Sabbath occur with other religions I'm not familiar with even just the basic concept of Sabbath could be something that people get wrong or misunderstand.

Just like it seems very likely (to me) that one could misunderstand the bleaching in Gnomes.

Yep, I agree with you.

Liberty's Edge

The Bleaching can hit any Gnome and has a major impact on them. And the impact is always the same. I think it is pretty well known anywhere Gnomes are rather common. I would say that in such a place, it is as well known as the fact that different ancestries have different lifespans.


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The Raven Black wrote:
The Bleaching can hit any Gnome and has a major impact on them. And the impact is always the same. I think it is pretty well known anywhere Gnomes are rather common. I would say that in such a place, it is as well known as the fact that different ancestries have different lifespans.

Considering that we can't even get a sizeable portion of Americans to agree to wear masks and that they don't cause CO2 poisoning (or any other breathing related medical issue) despite the fact that medical personal wearing them for 12+ hour shifts during this pandemic and aren't dropping dead rom it...I'm going to say no, the average person isn't guaranteed to know or understand something that seems basic or trivial.


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I bet a lot of guys don't know what the symptoms and causes of Toxic Shock Syndrome is either.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I could see a nasty moral quandary coming up with imprisoned gnomes.

Human prisoners, given a choice between boredom and torture, would most likely prefer boredom. However, gnomes can literally die of boredom -- and this is enough of a problem that it might be necessary to frequently torture a gnome criminal who has not been sentenced to death but who is also considered too dangerous to be released into society before he completes his sentence.

So that raises an obvious question: Is it an evil act to torture a gnome prisoner?


How could it be "necessary" to torture him when you always have the option of non-torture entertainment?


Yeah, you could always at least (as an alternative to torture) give the gnome tasks to complete that require some creativity on the gnome's part. Given the choice between "boredom" and "I'm going to make some shoes" the gnome will be happy to cobble today.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Not knowing about the Bleaching kind of feels like not knowing about the Sabbath in the United States. It seems like a pretty basic thing, but you'd be surprised how many people are ignorant.

I don`t think it's quite the same, since bleaching kills gnomes. I would compare it to a unusual food allergy that only affects one group of people. By the second or third prisoner, someone should notice that the gnomes are screaming "NO, NOT GRAPES! I'M ALLERGIC TO GRAPES!! AAAARGH!!!" and dying slowly. I would forgive a small prison for not knowing about this, but a larger prison complex should have had this happen enough that it would be impossible to ignore.

It makes me wonder if there are "Toys for Gnomes" activist groups, who give toys to criminal gnomes to carry out their sentence. Entire divisions of the Toymaker's Guild dedicated to taking care of gnomes unable to experience new things on their own. A sect of the church of Nivi Rhombodazzle dedicated the telling stories to confined gnomes.

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