Gnomes are among the strangest looking races on Aerus, and their history is even stranger. At a glance, gnomes appear to be small, rat-like humanoids. They are known for their natural magical ability, love of flora and fauna, and digging ability. Gnomes often become druids or wizards, and often use their magic for good. They also have a knack for engineering, combining magic and technology to create magnificent contraptions. It is wildly known that they created gunpowder, steamboats, and the assembly line, all inventions which significantly helped society.
Unless they knew it already, nobody would ever assume that gnomes are the relatives of gnolls, the demonic tribal cannibals who murder and sacrifice to appease The Hag. Gnolls and Orcs were created by The Hag to serve as an army to decimate Aerus. During the war, The Serpent put a curse on some of the gnolls, giving them a love for magic, a good nature, and a small size, just to see what would happen. He tried the same with the orcs, but the orcs killed any child who wasn’t strong enough to fight in the war. The gnolls were not smart enough nor organized enough to perform such a ritual. Many gnomes were killed, but many also escaped, prompting them to grow a hatred against their demonic ancestors. Gnomes were distrusted by the civilized races at first, but their intelligence and ingenuity was valued greatly. They invented gunpowder, and subsequently the firearm, which many credit for being the weapon which won the war. After the war, gnomes quickly earned a spot in society as brilliant thinkers, and often served as court wizards for kings and queens.
Despite this, gnomes can be distrusted. Their demonic heritage, association with magic and strange appearance cause the superstitious to fear gnomes. Some dislike gnomes, not out of superstition, but rather distrust. Gnomes have a reputation for being tricksters, and enjoy the occasional joke or prank, which is thought to be the cause of The Serpent’s influence. A gnome’s pranks are never out of malicious intent though, and they never try to go too far.
Gnome communities are often underground, usually in a burrow or cave. Gnomes are known to have a great digging ability, and burrows can sprout up surprisingly fast. The average gnome can use their magic to dig a tunnel over 6 miles long in a day. Unfortunately, this can cause problems for gnomes who wish to burrow in a city, as burrows tend to cause structural damage to the foundation, and tend to damage nearby sewers. This has lead to gnomish burrows to be banned in most cities, and gnomes have to stick to regular “above-ground” homes in non-gnome societies.