Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gnomes for Basic D&D

I guess this one is for my brother who loves gnomes. First in a batch of various "Basic" D&D things I have been thinking about.

Gnomes for Basic era FRPGs

Gnomes have long been a staple of various fantasy role-playing games, but surprisingly there were never any core rules for gnomes in the Basic-era (1974-1991) of the Worlds First and Largest Fantasy Adventure RPG.

Gnome

Gnomes are small humanoids that live in the same general areas as do elves. While elves prefer the open spaces, Gnomes live underground in elaborate burrows and underground cave systems. They share many similarities with dwarves, which maybe something of a racial cousin, they are their own race with a long history.

The typical gnome stands 3' to 3½ ' tall, and weighs about 40-45 lbs; About the same size as a Halfling, but not as stocky. Their skin color ranges from dark tan to woody brown, their hair is fair, and their eyes can be any shade of blue (from a light ice blue, to brilliant cerulean to a deep midnight violet-blue). Gnome males prefer short, carefully trimmed beards. Gnomes generally wear leather or earth tones, though they decorate their clothes with intricate stitching or fine jewelry. Gnomes reach adulthood at about age 40, and they live about 350 years, though some can live almost 500 years.

A gnome character must have a score of 9 or higher in both Intelligence and Dexterity. Gnomes are similar to Elves in terms of play, they can act as fighters (though not as good as true fighters or Dwarves) and can cast spells as do Magic-Users, though in the form of Alchemy.

Sages disagree on the origins of the gnome as a species and their name. Some point to the word "gnomic" meaning "to know" or "the wise". Other point to "gnomus" meaning "earth" or "from the earth". Both seem to be apt.

Some occult sages and scholars suggest that gnomes are off-shoots of dwarves, halflings, or even goblins. They do have some connection to the lands of Faerie, as do the elves. Other have suggested that gnomes are in fact some sort of earth spirit or even an elemental. Gnomes themselves say they simply are and leave it at that.


Gnomes are inherently magical, many excel in areas of alchemy and other magic, and most gnomes know at least a little magic. Adventuring gnomes can cast wizard spells as indicated below. Gnomes though use their magic via Alchemy. Gnome spell books are full of arcane recipes and formulae. To "cast" a spell then the Gnome either drinks, throws or otherwise invokes the potion as needed. For example a Clarivoyance "spell" might require the Gnome the spread an oily poultice over their eyes, a Fire Ball spell could be a potion that is thrown. In any case these would not require a roll to hit any more than any other magic-user or elf.

Gnomes tend to be Neutral in alignment, but quite a few are Lawful.
Gnomes hate kobolds and will try to attack them on site.

There are Gnomes that also known as "Deep Gnomes" that have well defined infravision to 90'.

Prime Requisite: A gnome has two Prime Requisites: Intelligence and Dexterity. If either of these Ability scores is 13 or greater the character gains a 5% bonus to Experience Points earned every adventure. If both are 13 or greater, the XP bonus if 10%.

Weapons and Armor: Gnomes may use any weapon, but it needs to "sized" to fit them. Typically any weapon sized for a Halfling character. Gnomes may not use "two-handed" handed weapons such as two-handed swords, long bows, battle axes, and other larger weapons.

Gnomes may wear any type of armor, but most prefer "natural" armor such as leather or hide. Halfling armor must "taken in" in order to properly fit a Gnome.

Gnomes may use any magic item that is useable by Magic-Users and any magic weapon.

Special Abilities

A gnome has a number combat advantages, due to it's size and familiarity with various terrain.

Combat: Gnomes use a combination of melee weapons and magic in combat situations. All gnomes gain the following bonuses when in combat.

-2 bonus to Armor Class when attacked by creatures larger than man-size.
+ 1 bonus to initiative rolls.
+1 bonus to "to hit" rolls against Kobolds and Goblins.

Hiding: Gnomes are difficult to spot. In their natural habitat, dense wooded areas, low hill lands and natural (not man-made) underground formations a gnome can only be detected 15% of the time (GM rolls). In man-made dungeons this increases to 25%. The gnome must remain still and not be carrying any type of light.

Languages: In addition to the common and alignment languages Gnomes may also speak gnome, dwarf, kobold and goblin. Additionally a gnome may speak to animals 1/day as per the Spell of the same name. Animals are limited to burrowing animals (badgers, rabbits,

Vision: A gnome can see twice as well as a human in low-light conditions (starlight, moonlight, torchlight and a "light" spell, but not "Continual Light").

Spells: As mentioned, Gnomes can use Magic-User spells like an elf. These spells are usually in the form of an alchemical mixture that must either thrown, drank or applied as needed. There is no penalty for performing this action since it is considered to be part of the "casting time". The gnome can only prepare the number of alchemical agents ("spells") as per the chart below. The gnome then must prepare a new batch the next day. Gnomes use natural ingredients that are usually readily available and carry others with them. These materials are small and light and typically weigh no more than a ounce per level of spells. So a 3rd level spell would weigh about 3 ozs.

For example the Gnome may wish to cast a Light spell. This may require them to mix two reagents together that produce a glow.

Advancement
Gnomes may advance only to 9th level ("Gnome Adeptus"). This is balanced by the gnome's magical ability and their ability to also fight better than a same level magic-user. At 9th level a gnome may settle in area and attract other gnomes to form a clan, or gather their family together for a clan as it's Chieftain. All burrowing animals within the area (a radius of 5 miles) will be friendly to the gnomes of the clan and can speak to them. These animals will warn the clan of approaching intruders or strangers, carry brief messages back and forth to other clans.



GNOME EXPERIENCE TABLE
LevelTitle
XP
Hit Die
1
2
3
4
5
1Gnome Neophyte
0
1d6
1
2Gnome Apprentice
3,000
2d6
2
3Gnome Theoreticus
6,000
3d6
2
1
4Gnome Practicus
12,000
4d6
2
2
5Gnome Philosophus
25,000
5d6
2
2
1
6Gnome Major
50,000
6d6
3
2
2
7Gnome Magus
110,000
7d6
3
2
2
1
8Gnome Magister
220,000
8d6
3
3
2
2
9Gnome Adeptus
400,000
9d6
3
3
2
2
1



GNOME SAVING THROWS
Level
1-3
4-6
7-9
Death Ray or Poison
12
10
8
Magic Wands
13
11
9
Paralysis or Turn to Stone
13
11
9
Dragon Breath
15
12
9
Rods, Staffs and Spells
15
12
9

Gnomes use the same attack to hit rolls as do fighters, dwarves, elves and Halflings.


CHARACTER HIT ROLLS (on 1d20)
Level
Target's Armor Class
Gnomes9876543210-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9
1-310111213141516171819202020202021222324
4-6891011121314151617181920202020202122
7-96789101112131415161718192020202020


Section 15 Copyright Notice

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document Copyright 2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Liber Mysterium: The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks Copyright© 2003, Timothy S. Brannan and the Netbook of Witches Team.

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2006-2008. Chris Gonnerman.

Labyrinth LordTM. Copyright © 2007, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.

"Gnomes for Basic era FRPGs" Copyright ©2010, Timothy S. Brannan

5 comments:

Greg Christopher said...

I decided to include Gnomes in Errant. I have always liked them for some reason.

Mondbuchstaben said...

There haven't been gnome rules for Basic D&D in the US? Strange. The German edition of Dragon ("Drache") had one in the first or second issue.

Tim Brannan said...

There were some in "Top Balista" but I purposefully did not look at those.

BlUsKrEEm said...

Gnomes also have a write up in the Rules Cyclopedia (bottom of pg 293 in the AD&D conversion notes,) although it's not a particularly popular version.

Ronin78 (Joey Mullins) said...

What...Add to the cannon of D&D Blasphemy!!! Add to the sacred text anything not sanctioned by one of the chosen ones? How could you. You ruined my childhood even suggesting it!!!

See I try being a grognard every now and then....not convincing. Looks good to me.

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