OTW Lorebook – Gnomes
Other names: Brownies, hidden people, huldufólk, tomte, redcaps
Classification: Divine, Fae/Troll, sapient
Survival rate upon encounter: High
Population level: High
Lifespan: Up to 200 years
Gnomes are a subspecies of Divine and the result of long ago relationships between Fae and Trolls. At only one foot tall on average (not counting the distinctive, pointed red cap), they are one of the smallest known species of humanoid in the cosmos. Wide-ranging and with a large population, the species has many names and several home countries, spreading far and wide with immigrants and exchanges of cultures. Gnomes closely resemble people, but are much smaller with pointed ears and cowlike tails. Freakishly sharp teeth line their mouths, however gnomes do have flat molars similar to those of humans. Those assigned male at birth tend to sport beards, but some may opt to shave or style their facial hair in a specific manner, lending the species a wide variety of appearances depending on what they do with their faces.
Despite their small size, gnomes are very durable creatures. This comes from their troll ancestry and allows them to live through situations most other Divine could not. Poison resistant, heat resistant, cold resistant, stab resistant, the list goes on and on. Gnomes are very squishy and bouncy and known for being able to be thrown around and dropped from impressive heights, only to scramble back to their feet completely unharmed. Killing one is almost impossible, but old age does get most of them eventually. Couple this resilience and longevity with the fact that gnomes are almost always born as twins and you get a quick and easy explanation as to why populations of the species are so high.
Generally, gnomes are benevolent and will not attack unless provoked, but this is not to say that they cannot be dangerous. A single bite from a gnome packs so many bacteria that disinfecting the wound as soon as possible is highly advised. For something so small, gnomes are also incredibly strong and very good climbers. A determined individual could easily bring down a human, but outside of very rare fights this set of frightening abilities is only used for hunting small prey such as rodents and small reptiles. The species is happy to coexist peacefully with other sapient creatures and usually make their homes in whatever little nooks and crannies aren’t being used, assuming they can’t find a relatively undisturbed patch of forest to call home. Large communities of the species can spring up in some of the most unexpected places, and because of their social nature it is also not uncommon to find gnomes living in communities with entities of other species. Often, there is much benefit found in living with a gnome. In return for food and shelter, gnomes are able to bring good luck and prosperity to the people they live with. They will also often do small household chores for their neighbors and leave gifts as a way of thanking their companions for their hospitality.
It is important to note that gnomes love to learn and love to teach. They seek knowledge about whatever interests them, often found in libraries or in the company of beings with more knowledge than them, whether it be a god or simply someone more experienced than they are with a given topic. As they learn, they also strive to teach others, whether it be through speech or pictures or words on a page. They like to write books like the one you’re reading right now.