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Adorable Creatures: Garden Gnomes

Adorable Creatures: Garden Gnomes

Garden Gnome
From the first time I sat down to play Dungeons & Dragons, I knew my love of the game would always stem from the roleplaying aspect, from the quirky dialogues to the less-than-stellar Stealth checks through an unsuspecting NPC’s home. For some, D&D is less about combat and more about what ridiculous fun or laughter a player’s character brings to the table.

So whether you’re an avid fan of playing demented old men, doe-eyed halflings, or brutal half orcs with a soft spot for pet squirrels, you know that half the fun of character building is creating memorable characters that veer from typical archetypes. Adorable Creatures aims to offer new and unique races that are not only cute, but that are playable and offer a range of play styles for gamers looking to bring something fresh to the table. It also offers new and balanced options for players who may not want to abandon their favorite class but are just so darn bored of playing an elf wizard and a halfling rogue.

The races of Adorable Creatures are crafted using Paizo’s Advanced Race Guide. No race created will cost less than 8 RP or more than 10, meaning these races are balanced for play alongside standard races. Details regarding each race’s culture, society, and religion are also written to be highly adaptable for most campaigns. Stay tuned as fresh material rolls out!

Garden Gnomes, A Playable Race

Garden gnomes are a unique branch of gnomes who have adapted to dwell in forests and natural plains. Not only do garden gnomes tend to have yellow, brown, or greenish skin, each has a plant permanently affixed to their heads, giving garden gnomes a physical trait that separates them from typical gnomes.

As social creatures, garden gnomes are tricksters in conversation, enjoying spreading rumors and telling lies as a way to stir drama within social circles. They do this as a form of flattery and—being gnomes—do not understand why other races find it distasteful.

As adventurers, garden gnomes are natural druids, clerics, and bards. They have a love of the wildness of nature and conversation, and they seek to inspire others with the many mottos they invent daily. Their tight-knit communities emphasize family and friendship, making them caring and at times naïve to the wrongdoers of the world. Although physically weak and lacking the Constitution bonus typical gnomes receive, garden gnomes protect themselves by burrowing underground and camouflaging well in wooded areas.

Ever hopeful, they are optimistic in the face of defeat and can rally weary troops, turning the tides of battle with nothing more than their words.

The race was inspired by my love of gnomes. I have always enjoyed their quirkiness and wondered how they would excel as druids and clerics. Although not originally intended to have a Charisma bonus, the more I invented the race’s society, the more I realized how well they would excel in social settings, given their knack for conversation and inspiration. In exchange I sacrificed their heartiness in combat. Garden gnomes spend much of their idle time sitting and napping, so it was a natural exchange.

Given their nature, garden gnomes can be played only as good characters. While they may deceive others, their trickery is innocent, and with a society established on the foundation of “it takes a village to raise a child,” I couldn’t imagine an evil garden gnome.

With a bonus to Diplomacy and Skill Training in Sense Motive and Bluff, players are sure to have the resources they need to ascertain their character not only contributes to dialogue in-game, but that they’re heard. As the frontline in conversation, they can act as the party face, gather important information, or else get a fair shot at stopping a bad situation from getting worse. Add in their innate ability to speak with animals, and garden gnomes have a wide breadth of opportunities to interact with the world around them.

Though they may be squishy on the battlefield—especially in early levels—their built-in Burrow provides an escape when they’re under heavy fire. Just remember: they can’t breathe underground!

To learn more about garden gnomes, their society, appearance, and just about anything else, download the free PDF!

Garden Gnome Racial Traits

Type: Humanoid (Gnome) 0 RP
+2 Charisma, +2 Wisdom, -2 Strength: Garden gnomes are simple but thoughtful creatures who relish the company of others. Owing to their general laxness, they do not have the physical benefits of typical gnomes. 1 RP
Small: Garden gnomes are Small creatures and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks. 0 RP
Slow: Garden gnomes have a base speed of 20 ft. -1 RP
Burrow: Garden gnomes can tunnel through dirt at a base speed of 15 ft. * 3 RP
Low-Light Vision: Garden gnomes can see twice as far as humans in dim light. 1 RP
Gnome Magic: Garden gnomes add a +1 to the DC of any saving throws against enchantment spells that they cast. Garden gnomes with a Charisma of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like ability: 1/day—create water, dancing lights, message, and speak with animals. ** 2 RP
Camouflage: Garden gnomes receive a +4 racial bonus on Stealth skill checks in forests as a general means for avoiding giants. 1 RP
Friendly (Skill Bonus): Garden gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy skill checks. 2 RP
Social (Skill Training): Sense Motive and Bluff are always considered class skills for garden gnomes. 1 RP
Languages: Common, Gnome, and Sylvan. Garden gnomes with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Halfling, and Orc. 0 RP
Total:   10 RP

Typically only normal-speed races can have Burrow, thus I have reduced the garden gnome’s Burrow speed from 20-ft. to 15-ft. to accommodate for their slower movement. If Burrow is not approved by your DM, replace with:       

Eternal Hope (2 RP): Garden gnomes rarely lose hope and are always confident even in hopeless situations. Gnomes with this racial trait receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against fear and despair effects. Once per day, after rolling a 1 on a d20, the gnome may reroll and use the second result.

** Since garden gnomes are more social and focus much of their lives on tending to their plants, I made some changes to the Gnome Magic quality that I believe are balanced and flavorful. If not approved by your DM, replace with the normal Gnome Magic:

Gnome Magic: Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against illusion spells that they cast. Gnomes with Charisma scores of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities: 1/daydancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation, and speak with animals. The caster level for these effects is equal to the gnome’s level. The DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the gnome’s Charisma modifier.

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