Gnomes are among the most inquisitive of races. They seek knowledge in all its forms and tend to careers which allow them to fulfill this thirst: bards, historians, alchemists, and librarians, as well as spies. The gnomes rule the nation of Zilargo, one of the oldest nations of Khorvaire.
Gnomes are one of the smallest humanoid races, even smaller than the halflings. They resemble their eladrin cousins, with pointed ears, chiseled facial features, high cheekbones, and sharp jaws. Gnomes from Thelanis have a more wild look to them, while gnomes from Khorvaire wear the same garb as many other races.
Gnome skin tones range from tan to brown to gray. Their hair can ve almost any color, including white, blonde, brown, orange, or even green. Their eyes are glittering black orbs.
Like eladrin, gnomes are extremely long-lived, living 300-year lifespans. Unlike eladrin, however, gnomes start showing their age at 100 years old, with their hair going white and their skin show wrinkles and weathering.
Gnomes have an innate thirst for knowledge, and always ask questions of those around them. Gnomes have made up for their small stature by sharpening their knowledge as a weapon. They often use diplomacy as a tool, but are not above using blackmail or espionage as a tool either. They frequently keep knowledge to themselves, and hide both their truths and their emotions from others. Most gnomes wear a false smile, all the while absorbing information from those around them. Even good gnomes tend to use manipulation of knowledge, and often justify it by using their skills for good rather than for evil.
Family and clan bonds are immensely important to gnomes, and are the only others that a gnome will trust. A gnome's family will help them out without question, but the expectation of the opposite is held. Clan bonds are not as strong as family bonds, but some clans, like House Sivis, retain a high level of trust amongst clansmen.
Gnomes are fey in nature and retain some of the traits carried over from Thelanis. Gnomes have low-light vision, and can see in the thinnest of light. Many gnomes possess spell-like abilities, such as speaking with animals, conjuring ghost sounds or dancing lights, using prestidigitation, or turning themselves invisible.
Migration from Thelanis
Gnomes originated on the plane of Thelanis, with the other races of the fey. On Thelanis, the gnomes joined the eladrin of the Summer Court. These gnomes inhabited the various eladrin feyspires.
At some point in the past, during one of the frequent coterminous periods between Thelanis and Eberron, a large number of gnomes migrated to Khorvaire. While some of these gnomes spread across the continent, most settled in an area on the southern portion of Khorvaire. The gnomes settled between the Howling Peaks and the Seawall Mountains, congregating mainly along the coast of the Thunder Sea. These gnomes were much more primitive than the gnomes of today.
Though the land was inhabited by tribes of kobolds, including the Haka'jhar tribe, the gnomes managed to push the kobolds back to the two mountain ranges to the north of their territory. The gnomes also clashed with the Dhakaani Empire, using guerilla tactics to help prevent the goblins from entering their lands. The Dhakaani Empire's Ghuurash Codex provides details about "jungle rats" that infested the coast between the Howling Peaks and the Seawall Mountains. The gnomes failed to stop the goblin empire, though, and were either enslaved or forced deeper into the wilds. But conquest was far easier than occupation, as the gnomes used guile to trick the goblins into fighting each other. Eventually, though, the Dhakaani Empire fell to an incursion from Xoriat, allowing the gnomes time to grow. These more primitive gnomes took over the abandoned cities of the Dhakaani and the daelkyr, devouring their knowledge and adding it to their own.
Era of Expansion
As gnome society grew, families aligned themselves into different clans. Clan names include the Adredar, Clebdecher, Dalian, Davandi, Harlian, Korran, Lonadar, Nezzelech, Santiar, Sivis, and Tarliach clans. These clans slowly joined together to form three city-states: Trolanport, Korranberg, and Zolanberg. Though the gnomes still faced threats of kobold tribes and the remnants of the goblin empire, they were able to raise these great city-states.
The gnome clans spread out, becoming one of the first seafaring races of Khorvaire. The gnomes came into contact with all the other races of Khorvaire. When the humans first came to Khorvaire from Sarlona three thousand years ago, the gnomes extended their hands in friendship. The gnomes, experts in both bureaucracy and linguistics, helped the humans adapt to their new continent. In fact, the gnomes claim that it was they that helped spread the humans' language of Old Common amongst the other races, transforming it into the Common language of Khorvaire.
The gnomes, with their endless desire for knowledge, became information traders with the humans across Khorvaire. Loremaster Dorius Alyre ir'Korran dedicated his life to the gathering of knowledge from the Dhakaani and Daelkyr Empires. With knowledge donated by the three great city-states, Korran created the great Library of Korranberg.
The Rise of House Sivis and Zilargo
Some 2,800 years ago, the gnomes of the Sivis clan became the third race to manifest a dragonmark—the Mark of Scribing. Fearing an outcast status with the other clans, the gnomes of the Sivis clan quickly used their aptitude in the arcane arts to master their dragonmarks. Soon, Sivis began to tap into their marks' abilities, using their spell-like powers to aid the other clans. Unbeknownst to the gnomes at the time, the Sivis clan would set the mold of what would eventually become a dragonmarked house: consolidation of all dragonmarked family lines within one larger clan, who would use their marks for profit and create a large commercial mercantile force. The Sivis clan used their diplomatic nature to reach out to the other marked races, and they began the creation of the true dragonmarked houses.
However, gnome relations with the humans were not always peaceful. About 2,400 years ago, a human warlord named Malleon the Reaver harassed the eastern and southern coasts of Khorvaire, from the Lhazaar Sea towards the southwest coast. Malleon plundered a large number of settlements along the southern coast of Khorvaire, including the remaining kobold and goblin settlements. And towards the north, a human named Karrn the Conqueror was also setting his sights on subjugating the disparate human territories. In the wake of such threats, the three gnome city-states formed a closer alliance. Trolanport, Korranberg, and Zolanberg joined forces to provide a united front against the forces of Malleon and Karrn. From the three city-states, they created a single nation, which they named Zilargo, or "The Home of the Wise" in the gnomish language.
The three city-states formed a unified government, called the Triumvirate. While each city-state was still ruled by one of their Council of Nine, one representative from each council was chosen to form a new ruling body to oversee the united nation. This new nation of Zilargo faced the threat of Malleon's sea marauders. Luckily, Malleon set his sight on a bigger target: the last remaining goblin city of Duur'shaarat. With his eye on a bigger prize, Malleon's attacks on the gnome settlements were ancillary, and easily fended off by the unified gnome nation.
At some unknown point after the formation of Zilargo, the Triumvirate sought a way to keep their nation unified. In order to police a populace that prizes secrets and knowledge above all, a mysterious gnome known only as "the Proctor" created the Trust, a secret police force within the gnomish nation. Anyone could be recruited within this police force, and even a gnome's lifelong friend may, in fact, be an agent of this order. The gnomes used this secret police to keep the population in line, and the Trust still operates this way to this day.
Not only did the gnomes continue to migrate across Khorvaire, they also began exploring the seas. About 1,600 years ago, a group of gnome explorers attempted to settle on the southern continent of Xen'drik, on the site of modern-day Stormreach. However, the settlement was short-lived and returned to Zilargo after being repulsed by the giant tribes. One gnome, however, believes the giant attack to be a cover story, citing a settler's reference to a "darkness that gripped both body and soul."
Then, 1,500 years ago, the gnomes of House Sivis joined the other dragonmarked houses in the War of the Mark. The dragonmarked houses banded together in an effort to remove the "unpure" traces of aberrant dragonmarks. The War of the Mark ended with the siege of Sharn. There, the leaders of the newly formed aberrant dragonmarked house, House Tarkanan fought against the various dragonmarked houses, but succumbed to the houses' superior power.
One thousand years ago, the human Galifar ir'Wynarn united the five human nations of Khorvaire into one nation: Galifar. Once the different human nations had been unified, Galifar turned his sights on Zilargo. The gnomes of a unified Zilargo met his forces in the valley north of Dragonroost and immediately surrendered. True to their ways, the gnomes negotiated to remain a sovereign principality of the nation of Galifar, and swore allegiance to the king.
Back on Thelanis, the gnomes there grew in power as well. They became the controlling power of one of their own feyspires: Pyras Pyrial, the Gate of Joy. Pyras Pyrial was situated on Thelanis in a location that allowed it to manifest in Zilargo when Thelanis became coterminous with Eberron.
In the year 498 YK, gnome explorers in the Shadow Marches came across clans of orcs that possessed a dragonmark. These orcs possessed the Mark of Finding. House Sivis brought the leaders of these tribes to the other dragonmarked houses, and House Tharashk was soon born.
In 783 YK, House Sivis made the breakthrough with the sending stone, a magical item that allows someone with the Mark of Scribing to send messages to other House Sivis members telepathically. These stones, created by Tasker Torralyn d'Sivis and improved upon by the Twelve, changed the face of Khorvaire, allowing the nations to communicate instantaneously. By 789 YK, House Sivis began setting up sending stone stations all across Khorvaire and beyond.
In 793 YK, a gnome named Byrnid Dojurn uncovered a long-forgotten text from Xen'drik in the Library of Korranberg. This text outlined the capability of binding elementals to items. Seeing the benefits to this capability, Dojurn petitioned the Doyenne of House Sivis at the time, Aliwas Lyrriman d'Sivis, to fund an expedition to to Xen'drik to unlock the long-lost giant ability to bind elementals to items. The expedition turned into an assault force, and gnome forces gathered as much information as they could from a drow clan residing in giant ruins. Led by Merranzabad, the drow showed the gnomes into the giant ruins, unaware that the gnomes sought to steal the information. The gnomes were successful in taking that knowledge and returned to Zilargo, though Dojurn died of drow-inflicted wounds shortly after. Within the next decade, the arcane artisans of Zilargo began creating elemental vessels, such as airships and the lightning rail.
By 805 YK, the gnomes of Zilargo had unlocked the secrets to binding elementals to inanimate objects. Since then, the gnomes have thoroughly mastered the art of elemental binding, which is used in a multitude of what are now considered essential technologies in contemporary post-War Khorvaire, including airships and the lightning rail. As a result, gnome alchemists, wizards and artificers are in high demand, especially by House Cannith, House Lyrandar, and House Orien.
In the year 894 YK, the human nation of Galifar splintered, marking the beginning of the Last War. Five nations emerged from the splintering: Aundair, Breland, Cyre, Karrnath, and Thrane. Zilargo suddenly found themselves between the new Brelish nation and the new Cyran nation. However, ever the diplomats, the gnomes took a neutral stance. They continued to supply knowledge and learning to all of the nations, citing "We are a principality of the crown of Galifar, and we are the loyal servants of the kings and queens of Galifar." However, in the year 962 YK, almost seventy years later, Zilargo changed their stance. Zilargo officially declared their allegiance to Breland, essentially declaring themselves as an independent nation and throwing support to Breland in one fell swoop. Zilargo began exclusively supplying its troops and, more importantly, its elemental vessels, to the cause of Breland.
The gnomes continued to support Breland until the end of the Last War, where the nation of Zilargo joined the other nations in the Treaty of Thronehold. Since then, the gnome race continues to be a major power on Khorvaire, with both the nation of Zilargo and the dragonmarked house of Sivis.
While most gnomes are truebloods that have originated from Thelanis, there are subspecies of gnomes. These gnomes are generally not considered of the same blood as gnomes, and none of the subspecies have shown the manifestation of the Mark of Scribing. However, some of these subspecies have been shown to have developed aberrant dragonmarks. They include:
The most noted gnomes of Eberron are the gnomes of House Sivis. As with other dragonmarked houses, House Sivis is made up of a number of bloodlines that have continually manifested the Mark of Scribing over the years. There are twelve families in House Sivis, including Corralyn, Haskal, Lyrriman, Magan, Santor, Severin, Syrralan, Tarlian, and Torralyn. House Sivis is responsible for the Notaries Guild and the Speakers Guild, which operate across Khorvaire. Though Sivis enclaves can be found on almost every nation on Khorvaire, House Sivis makes their home in Korranberg.
Other Gnome Clans
In addition to House Sivis, once clan Sivis, there are other clans within the gnomes of Eberron. Other clan names include Adredar, Clebdecher, Dalian, Davandi, Harlian, Korran, Lonadar, Nezzelech, Santiar, and Tarliach. These clans comprise even more families, with family names including Alyre, Canatar, Del, Dorian, Kan, Lin, and Sil.
The gnomes hold no one religion over another. Most cities in Zilargo hold a wide variety of temples. Gnomes support the worship of the Sovereign Host, the Dark Six, the Church of the Silver Flame, and even Cults of the Dragon Below.
The gnomes originated on the plane of Thelanis, and a large number of them still reside there. These gnomes are wilder than their Khorvairian counterparts.
Thelanis gnomes on Eberron mostly reside in Pylas Pyrial, a glittering tower of alabaster and gold. Over the centuries, the Zil have maintained a relationship with Pylas Pyrial when it has appeared. Pylas Pyrial is ruled by the Summer Council, which includes gnomes and eladrin. While the Triumvirate has no formal power within the Gate of Joy, the Trust has infiltrated the feyspire and have agents amongst its ruling council.
On the plane of Eberron, Zilargo is the gnomish homeland. Lying southeast of Breland in southern Khorvaire. It is situated between Breland on the north and west and the goblinoid nation of Darguun on the east. Zilargo has been effectively independent since 962 YK, and their independence was ratified by the Treaty of Thronehold in 996 YK. Zilargo is the major shipbuilding center in Khorvaire and also produces fine gems from its mines in the Howling Peaks and the Seawall Mountains.
- The most notable gnomes of Eberron are members of House Sivis, the dragonmarked house of scribing. Formerly clan Sivis, numerous powerful gnomes count themselves members of this house, which has been led by Doyenne Lysse Lyrriman d'Sivis for the last 90 years. Other members of House Sivis include Airek d'Sivis, Aliwas Lyrriman d'Sivis, Amilene Santor d'Sivis, Corius Corralyn d'Sivis, Harlus Haskal d'Sivis, Josilian Kan d'Tarlian, Kendal Santor d'Sivis, Mercantin d'Sivis, Odian Torralyn d'Sivis, Prelik Magan d'Sivis, Rurin d'Sivis, Solirion Torralyn d'Sivis, Syla Syrralan d'Sivis, Tassi Torralyn d'Sivis, Tesser Torralyn d'Sivis, Tyrin Torralyn d'Sivis, Wernor Lyrriman d'Sivis, Zander d'Sivis, and Zellwether d'Sivis.
- Clan Davandi is also a powerful clan, and distant cousins of House Sivis. Known members including Midian Mit Davandi, Thurik Davandi, and Tyzian Davandi.
- Clan Shadra is a powerful clan in the city of Stormreach. Known members include Kirris Sel Shadra, and Kolis Sel Shadra.
- Clan Doras is a powerful clan in the city of Sharn. Known members include Doran Del Doras and Tasho Mol Doras.
- A large number of gnomes work for the Library of Korranberg, including founder Dorius Alyre ir'Korran, and members Alina Alrene ir'Korran, Ingrim Jod Jarell, Jolian Dan Jessel, and Lohn Ender.
- Gnomes also count themselves as members of the Arcane Congress, including Uli Blackthatch.
- Since the Last War, a number of gnomes have served in the Brelish military, including Garrit Tomraan, Long Uthar, Nebik, and Talleon Haliar Tonan.
- Other known gnomes include Agraefa Fekk Earthheart, Alina Lorridan Lyrris, Benith ava Denithki, Byam, Byrnid Dojurn, Cassia Lyrriman Dal, Castar, Corvus Alyre Ramethes, Daca, Duralt the Augur, Ezala Whitelash, Fara Lin Nessian, Feralyn Wolf-Tail, Gaanshana, Giff Rapelje, Graspar Vength, Greeken, Hanruli, Harkra Loivaerl Lonadar, Hart Brantby, Hegan Del Dorian, Hellien Clamas Clebdecher, Hasal Dalian, Illivanik Istravar Lonadar, Jalara Sholkaran, Janesta Banton, Kalva Dannor, Kessler, Kidro Osanak, Madra Sil Sarin, Pifagor Quelf, Quinton Delby, Ridara, Roywin Garrick, Salleon, Scaramar, Seld the Gray Sister, Shae-ahm Rhen Skyshadow, Torren Blackfingers, Tyrl Gol Garin, Valexa Von Ruthvek, Vanira, Vundry, Yeksir Unday Dark.
- From Thelanis came the Gate of Joy, Pyras Pyrial, and its ruler Lord Pyrial, Other Thelanis gnomes include Marrot the Fool and his Harlequinade.
- Gnome article at the Chronicles of Astinus, a wiki for the Dragonlance campaign setting.
- Gnome article at the Forgotten Realms Wiki, a wiki for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
- Gnome article at the Spelljammer Wiki, a wiki for the Spelljammer campaign setting.
- Rob Heinsoo, Mike Mearls, and Robert J. Schwalb (2009). Player's Handbook 2. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-5016-1.
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