Brain over brawns is a common saying amongst the Gnomes of Callimhros. A diminutive race the gnomes are among the smallest people in Kygreum. Their mastery of arcane forces and mystic technology, however, is found across the continent, and other races view the gnomes with a respect they feel they deserve. Yet even as they succeed, their accomplishments are threatened by internal conflicts, personal pride, and individual greed.
Throughout history gnomes have been great friends of all the races. Prospering throughout generations by selling and exchanging their ideas and inventions. Uniformly brilliant as a people, analyzing, solving, and utilizing the intricate nature of magic itself. The gnomes are nothing if not resourceful. Armed with a surplus of inventive geniuses, they soon dominated the western region of Callimhros. Their golems pushed back the forests. Their levitation spells set their towns above the dangerous surroundings.
Gnomish society is organized around krewes—loose-knit research organizations, usually commanded by one particularly brilliant member. Highly motivated and competitive, these krewes codify and advance the magical brilliance of the people as they seek to recover lost knowledge, create new fields of study, and unlock the answers in the universal philosophy they call the Eternal Alchemy.
Gnomes tend to design fairly complicated devices that are relatively safe. Gnomes are in many ways commensurate organizers: a gnome can spend as much time (or more) organizing and planning a project as they do actually working on it. If the design fails, they try to learn why, and fix it if they can. If they meet with success, they will continue to tinker with it and improve the design, often for years afterward. Thus, many gnomish designs feature a high degree of complexity and a low chance of failure, the exceptions being those that dabble with chaos energy — but even then, they take steps to ensure the worst that could happen is a brief, non-fatal failure.
Gnomes are innovative thinkers and are responsible for a vast variety of inventions, including more than a few that are commonly attributed to dwarves. Although a diminutive people, gnomes think big, often producing designs far too complex to ever be realized. To gnomes, technology is a way of life. Even gnomes who take on other trades often tinker in their spare time. Because of their innate curiosity, they produce a wide variety of devices that are interesting or amusing but otherwise useless or impractical. While others might shake their heads at such folly, the gnomes value all invention, no matter how unimportant it might seem. Among the well-known gnomish devices are the invention of golems, clockwork creatures, and dragonpowder.
The greatest physical example of gnomish magical and technical mastery is their mighty city, Whistledown. Starting with no more than a set of scattered ruins belonging to an ancient race, the gnomes erected a testament to their power. Now dominating the surrounding area, Whistledown is a huge floating cube riddled with interior passages, its upper reaches divided into smaller cubes. The highest locations are the labs and meeting rooms of the Technological Convocation, the rulers of the gnomish race. The depths of this great cube are still being excavated by unsleeping golem servitors.
Gnomes think of themselves as individuals, each protecting his or her creations jealously, but there are several organizations that bind the race together. The most important of these is the Technological Convocation which is, in theory, a collection of wise gnomes who enforce the laws of the people. In reality, this group consists of those who are not wise enough to get out of the task, as most gnomes would rather be pursuing their own creative agendas as opposed to dealing with internal squabbling and bureaucratic rivalries.
Whistledown is also the home of the colleges of the gnomish people: the Colleges of Statics, Dynamics, and Synergetics. Each has a major complex where promising students, apprentices, and journeymen without their own labs can work, advance their knowledge, and attract better-established mentors. Each of the colleges has its own approach to the Eternal Alchemy. Those of Statics tend to think of the world in lines of force and support—as a fixed state—and seek to learn from the lost lessons of the past. Those of Dynamics perceive the world in an active, ever-changing state, and feel that any experiment you can walk away from is a success. Lastly, those of Synergetics think in terms of the connections between things, in the space between beats. They are the most mystic and theoretical of their people.
Whistledown is the central hub, but the gnomes have spread their laboratories and research facilities throughout Callimhros. The personalized nature of creation and the drive to prove themselves the best at their craft often send gnomish masters and their krewes across the land, away from prying eyes and potential competitors. Often, this means that labs are built in particularly remote or dangerous areas. Should a lab be destroyed or its workers slain, new discoveries may be completely lost. Gnomes curse such events, but neighboring races do not think this is a particularly bad thing.
The gnomes, as a people, thrive on competition. Each gnome approaches their research with a surety born of immense intelligence and confidence. They are a race of mad scientists, each seeking to prove their own exceptional nature. This competitiveness extends to other races as well. Some are viewed as potential resources, like the forge driven dwarves or the vampires for their endless supply of knowledge. Others are potential employees, like the Humans or the Adelinians.
The greatest danger to the gnomes is, to no one’s surprise, other gnomes. Putting aside the sometimes dramatic, even explosive, nature of their experiments, a group of gnomes have banded together to form their own meta-krewe. Known as the Inquest, these gnomes combine their resources into a larger organization and share their knowledge among their own members—never with those outside the Inquest. They are more involved in the activities of individual members, and they are less hampered by morality than the other gnomes, going so far as to use and abuse the spirits of sentient beings in their relentless research. As a result, they are both highly effective and extremely dangerous.
They make and keep friends easily; other races often find disliking a gnome to be difficult. The eccentric, often-brilliant gnomes are one of the most peculiar races of the world. With their obsession for developing radical new technologies and constructing marvels of mind-bending engineering, it is a wonder that any gnomes have survived to proliferate.
Gnomes place their loyalty in themselves, in their friends, and in their inventions. A few follow a loftier path and pay their respects to the gods of the Greater and Lower Pantheon, particularly Alkatosh, Castiel, Gilan, Selene, Torum, Valkaeys.
Gnomes speak Gnomish and Ithyrian (Common). Also, it is not uncommon for gnomes to refer to themselves in the third person.