What if gnomes were like elves…

This is a sort of follow-up post to the previous one. You see, someone in the The Perfect 10: Why Elves are the Scourge of MMORPGs article commented that we don’t need games with more elves. Instead we need a game with more gnomes. Kinda like the multitude of different elven races we often see in fantasy worlds.

That got me thinking about how that would work out…. Follow after the jump to see what it could be if there were a dozen gnome races in a fantasy world!

Disclaimer: I do not hate gnomes. In fact I find them quite funny and their inventions useful. Well, useful until it blows up that is. The only reason I am doing it with gnomes instead of another race like… say, orcs, is because it is easy. Which also goes to show another good point of them: flexibility. If I get crazy enough though I can try doing it with other fantasy races. :p

EDIT: Ops! Forgot one of the gnome variants. It was added now.

Garden Gnomes

The garden gnomes are the oldest of all the gnome races. They are also the most in tune with nature. So much, in fact, that other races tend to think they are just tiny statues littering some fancy garden. They only realize their mistake when they try to pick a flower then find themselves being surrounded by a bunch of very angry gnomes.

Despite that the garden gnomes were always friendly, enjoying other races coming to visit their gardens. That is until the Great Hole War where their lands were invaded by the vile Moles. That event  was so traumatic that the garden gnomes adopted an isolationist attitude, building high walls around their gardens. Only problem is, what is a high wall to a gnome is actually quite easily jumped by the taller races. Regardless of its effectiveness, the garden gnomes adamantly believe that the walls are a necessary evil to keep the savage outsiders away.

Lawn Gnomes

Long before the Great Hole War groups of gnomes split from the Garden Gnomes from a reason or another. One of these groups was the lawn gnomes. The lawn gnomes were a group that wanted to live in a more open, free space while still in tune with nature. After much traveling they eventually settled in a region with plains covered with nothing but grass.

Like their garden cousins, the lawn gnomes are so in tune with nature that they can easily be confused with statues littering the scenery. They are more friendly though, even willing to live peacefully in lands of other races.

They also have some unique extravagances though. For example, it was discovered they only work in bands of seven. Singing is also traditional while working. They also have a penchant for human princesses who like to buy apples from suspicious old ladies.

Regardless of that, the friendly nature of the lawn gnomes allowed them to prosper far more than any of the other gnome races. They can be easily found all around of the world. They are so common that some people even think the garden gnomes and lawn gnomes are actually the same race. The fact they both wear similar garments probably doesn’t help either.

Dark Gnomes

Centuries ago, the garden gnomes lands were invaded by a bunch of moles. The invasion came in the form of holes that destroyed the carefully built gardens of the gnomes.  The war was fierce, with many casualties on both sides. Eventually the garden gnomes were able to repel the invaders. Later on they would remember it as the Great Hole War.

However that was not the only tragedy that happened during those battles. Some brave gnomes volunteered to go down into the holes to defeat whatever evil was leading those moles. At the time nobody knew it but none of those gnomes would ever come back… at least not as garden gnomes.

After waiting for the great long time of 5 minutes, the garden gnomes were sure those who delved in the hole were gone for good. The holes were then closed up, homages were done to those who were lost in the war and they all went back to their lives.

Months later new holes opened up in the gardens. This time they weren’t made by moles but by gnomes! These, however were not gnomes like any of other gnome races. They had dark skin, a hungry look and wore tattered clothes. They claimed that they weren’t invading, they just had to open new holes since someone closed the ones they used to chase the moles. Also, their dark skin wasn’t really skin, just lots of dirty from being in the tunnels for so long and from all the digging they had to do. Lastly, they didn’t have much to eat in all that time so they were really looking for a good meal.

The garden gnomes however were not fooled by such trickery. It was clear by their looks that these hole-digging gnomes had offered their allegiances to some dark mole god and now were intent on finishing what the moles were not able to. Worse, they were cannibals and intent on eating all the garden gnomes.

The garden gnomes quickly repelled them back to the tunnels, sealing the holes once again. However some say this was just the start…. That somewhere deep down, the dark gnomes are plotting to turn all the gardens in a giant hole for their dark master. It is only a question of time before war breaks out again….

Sand Gnomes

Among the garden gnomes there were a group of geniuses whose intellect was so formidable they easily stood out from among their race. Eventually they decided to split from their garden cousins and call themselves “High Gnomes”. The name, they would say, was fitting due to their obviously superior intellect. Trying to dispute such claim, they would continue, was an obvious proof of other race’s inferior minds.

Not satisfied with just being more intelligent than everyone else, these high gnomes decided they needed a home fit for their race. They built then a vertical city, saying that it was something no other race would be capable of. It was totally not an attempt to overcompensate for their short stature. Or a tower.

In their new giant tower vertical city they prospered, building many wondrous inventions that no other race would be even close to understand its workings until centuries later. These inventions not only provided anything they needed it also allowed them to easily trade for anything they didn’t need.

This was not meant to last forever however. Eventually the High Gnomes’ giant tower vertical city was invaded by the insectoid demon H’cthlis’thata and his army. The forces of the invading army were so overwhelming that the great High Gnome hero, Paradox Darkreaper (which may or may not have been an “homage” name after the fact. History is unclear on that point), pressed the Holy Red Button destroying the entire giant tower vertical city together with the demon army.

The destruction wasn’t limited to the giant tower vertical city though. It spread for miles, creating a great desert where once was the High Gnomes lands. The few survivors were only the ones who were away from the area during the incident. In honor of their fallen brothers and sisters, they adopted the name of Sand Gnomes.

Some claim that the whole demon invasion thing is nothing but a made-up story from the survivors. That the truth was  that the giant tower vertical city was actually have a bad case of mosquitoes. One of those happened to get to the control room and one of the operators hit the red button by accident while trying to kill the mosquito. The Sand Gnomes though claim that those are filthy lies spread by jealous people.

Regardless of the truth, the Sand Gnomes now wander in the desert that was once their lands. They trade with other races for any junk they can buy in order to rebuild their giant city vertical city. Or just to blow stuff up. It is hard to tell nowadays.

And those are all the ones I could come up with for now… If I can come up with more I might do a follow-up post.


Half-gnomes are the most troubled of all the races. While every other race has their place, half-gnomes find themselves having difficulties fitting in. Their appearance of short human teenagers doesn’t help much either. Every time anyone confuses them with a human teenager they will go into a lenghty explanation of why they aren’t neither human, nor gnome but instead half-gnomes. The explanations also cover why their human parents aren’t really their parents and how they were adopted after their real parents were slain by some villain. When confronted by people saying that nothing of that makes sense the half-gnomes just run away, locking themselves in their rooms to write bad poetry about how nobody understands them.

4 thoughts on “What if gnomes were like elves…”

  1. Hah! While I’d love to see multitudes of ratonga types spreading across Norrath (and elsewhere), having a bunch of lawn and garden gnomes running about would be hilarious! Maybe I’ll dress Zaji up as a garden gnome for Frostfell. 🙂

    I do sometimes mistake halflings for gnomes, so maybe there is gnome blood in there somewhere. After all, there could be multiple meaning to the term “halfling” hrrrm.

  2. Hm. Although the idea of a multitude of ratmen races is interesting there is a few problems with it. The first is a question of a common race name. High Ratmen, Dark Ratmen just doesn’t have a good sound to it. I guess I could pick something specific from a game, like ratonga, that is easy to guess what the race is just by the name.

    The second problem is they haven’t gone through countless variations in popular cultures like the elves and gnomes. They usually appear either as friendly, misunderstood, cartoon types or thieves and plague bringers.

    Still it might be interesting as an exercise in creativity even if nothing actually comes out of it. 🙂

    As for confusing halflings for gnomes… Indeed, that is so easy to do given they are both shorties and they aren’t given enough distinctive physical features in most medias. I guess a sure way to find out their race is offering either a pie or some assorted metals and tools. Then see how they react to it. 🙂

  3. I volunteer immediately to roleplay a half-dark-gnome! We’re so misunderstood and nonconformist.

    • *gives the standard non-standard (no, it was not a typo) half-dark-gnome package to Tisheriona that includes: a variety of black outfits, lots of black hair dye and heavy make-up kit*

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