A Gnome 5e guide may be your ticket to creating the pint-sized powerhouse that your party deserves. Gnomes are wonderfully jolly beings who live in the present and are friends to anyone willing.
If you’re thinking about making a Gnome, then I’m Gnomely ecstatic at the prospect. Let’s find out together if Gnome is the right class for you and how even a Dungeon Master can find use in this race.
What is a Gnome in Dungeons and Dragons?
- Source – The Player’s Handbook
- Best Class – Rogue, Bard, Artificer
- Subraces – Forest Gnome, Rock Gnome, Deep Gnome (Legacy)
Gnome is a race in D&D. They are a fun-loving race that can add personality to any party. But don’t let their silliness and love of pranks fool you, because they are intelligent and skilled fighters as well.
Gnomes rarely pick real fights – and often don’t retaliate – but when they need to, they aren’t afraid to take on dangerous enemies. You can find out the basics about Gnomes in the Player’s Handbook.
Player Character Gnome 5e
- Ability Score Increase – Intelligence +2
- Age – mature like humans but live to be 300-500 years old
- Size – Small (3-4 ft tall and around 40lbs)
- Speed – 25ft
- Vision – Darkvision
- Languages – Common, Gnomish
- Saving Throw Advantage – Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma against magic
Gnomes are one of the most popular player character races. I love Gnomes a lot and have played a Gnome Rogue for one campaign. However, my favorite Gnomes are always Bards.
One Gnome Bard I had in my party was played by a guy who tried to put a wild cat in his backpack. He also thought it would be fun to knock a drink out of a guy’s hand to start a bar fight – just to have something to do.
Related read: Comprehensive Bard 5e Guide.
Gnomes are short and sweet in appearance. You can nearly see the energy ready to burst out of their small forms. They are about the size of a Human Race that is 5 to 7 years old.
Most Gnomes have dark faces, bright eyes, and large noses. They tend to forget to keep their hair kept, though if they have a beard, it’s almost always well-trimmed and brushed.
As for the Gnome’s clothing, it depends on where they are from. However, you will find that it is most often neutral in color, Gnomes love to dress up their gear with dazzling gems and vibrant embroidery.
Gnomes are historically from the grasslands and forests. They love to live underground but won’t stay all day indoors. Gnome establishments are almost always welcoming to visitors.
If Gnomes do venture out, they will set up camp with a business that does repair work or something similar. Their brain and their bodies work overtime to make the most out of their gifts.
Gnomes may have the most iconic personality of all of the races in Dungeons and Dragons. They are curious, vibrant, and friendly. They are a great example of how wonderful the gift of life can be.
Like excited children, they love storytelling, pranks, and exploring. Gnomes are my favorite race as far as personality goes because they possess everything that I wish that I had more of.
Naming your Gnome can be a fun experience. But if you have a block and can’t think of something, perhaps one of my original names can help get the creative juices flowing.
Just remember that Gnomes love nicknames too and often take on a name from each of their family members.
- First Names – Ravinka, Brianna, Caro, Roseria, Durk, Flint, Gerber, Naturanten, Duggy
- Last Names (Clan) – Tentaclo, Mackelmore, Arbols, Teargen, Dedeoran
- Nicknames – Pickletoe, Clumsybutt, Twinkle-Eye, Dingbat, Fluttergem, Catnip, Sparky, Honeyheart, G-Dog, Flytooth, Diddlysocks
Like many races, Gnomes have multiple subraces that players can choose from. There are two original subraces and one that is a legacy race, so your DM must approve the use of legacies races before you choose it.
For example, there are many subraces in homebrews that others have made online. If your DM allows homebrews, you can probably make your own – your imagination is your only true limit.
- Ability Score Increase – Dexterity +1
- Natural Illusionist – Grants Minor Illusion with Intelligence to cast.
- Speak with Small Beasts – you may communicate with small beasts.
Forest Gnomes are the shyest and the smallest of the three Gnome subraces. They rarely reach 3ft tall or 30lbs. Because they were born to live in the forest, their skin has brown tones, and their eyes are more likely to be brown or green.
Unlike most Gnomes, Forest Gnomes do not love venturing out into large crowds. They prefer to stick close to home where they can party without fear of being judged or attacked.
I want to note that Forest Gnomes don’t dislike outsiders. They don’t feel the need to venture out in most cases. They love their families and their homes but would likely be welcoming of outsiders.
- Ability Score Increase – Constitution +1
- Artificer’s Lore – When you make a History check on a magical or mechanical item, you can add your proficiency bonus twice.
- Tinker – Adds proficiency with artisan tools. With the tools, you can spend 1 hour and 10 gp to build a Tiny clockwork device that has AC 5 and 1 hp.
The Rock Gnome is the most common Gnome you meet in the world. The Tinker ability allows you to create a device that works for one full day unless you spend an hour repairing it.
You can only have three operating devices at a time, and there are three options that you can create without homebrew. The Clockwork Toy looks like a creature of your choosing.
It can move 5ft each of your turns and can replicate the creature’s sound that it represents. The second device is the Fire Starter, which is a device that can create fire – you can use it as an action.
Finally, the Music Box plays a single song and closes whenever the song ends. Although the DM can allow you to create custom devices, these are the three basic devices that are easy to make.
Deep Gnome (Legacy)
- Ability Score Increase – Charisma +1
- Superior Darkvision – 120 feet
- Stone Camouflage – Grants advantage on Stealth checks to hide in rocky terrain
- Languages – Add Undercommon
The Deep Gnome is a special subrace from Elemental Evil Player’s Compendium. Because they are fond of the Underdark, they often have greyish skin and gnarly appendages.
If any of the Gnomes could be Evil, it would be the Deep Gnome. They distrust others but don’t generally wish them to harm unless they are threatening to the other Deep Gnomes.
Despite this, if you get to know most Deep Gnomes, you’ll find that they are every bit as lively, inquisitive, and entertaining as other Gnomes. After all, that extra Charisma must mean something.
Best Classes for Gnome in 5e
Any class can be a Gnome, but there are a few that are advantageous. It’s more than just an ability increase that makes a class good for a specific race. Let me explain with my top three picks.
The Forest Gnome makes a great Rogue. The ability to blend into their surroundings, the extra Dexterity, and the illusion go really well with the Rogue’s skill set. However, any Gnome can be a Rogue.
After all, Deep Gnomes have a bonus to Stealth checks in rocky terrain. Rock Gnomes aren’t ideal for Rogue, but if you want to be an Arcane Trickster, you can have a really diverse skill set.
Check out this guide with everything you need to know about Rogues in 5e.
Rock Gnomes make excellent Artificers. The added Intelligence from the base Gnome race is amazing, while the History checks on magic items work well with the Artificer.
But of course, the Tinker ability reigns supreme as the Artificer is already a tinkerer. I believe that the Rock Gnome was made for the Artificer or vice-versa. These two are every gadget fanatic’s dream.
While Deep Gnomes have the extra Charisma, the rest of their toolkit isn’t ideal for the Bard. I believe that Forest Gnomes could work well with their illusions, or Rock Gnomes could work well because they are the most outgoing.
In short, any of the three subclasses will be fun to play as a Bard. Bards are naturally great for any race as long as that race doesn’t gain a negative to Charisma because Bards want to have fun and be liked – much like Gnomes.
Gnome as an NPC
Any race can be an NPC. Most Gnome NPCs are shopkeepers, tutors, and inventors. They will come into town to start a business with the skills they were born with – sharing their creativity with the world.
While players are often Bards and Rogues, it’s actually quite rare for an NPC to be something like this. Gnomes love to have fun, but they almost always are lawful, not in deity, but by principle.
My favorite two default NPC Gnomes are the tutor and the tinkerer. These presets are so simple and are an open book for those willing to get creative. The tutor can teach anything the players want to learn, while the tinkerer can make anything – for a price.
Iconic Critical Role Gnomes
Critical Role is a group of voice actors who play Dungeons & Dragons and have an insanely popular YouTube channel. There are two Critical Role races that I can’t stop thinking about.
Sam Riegel plays him as a persuasive and likable Gnome who loves to make jokes and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. He is extremely flirtatious and creates many personas with his Deception skill.
Pike Trickfoot is a Cleric who is dedicated to the goddess Sarenrae. She is a kind Gnome who was given a second chance at life. She loves to fight, as it makes her feel powerful.
Ashley Johnson plays Pike Trikefoot. Like the others of Vox Machina, she was brought to Legend of Vox Machina. Her ability and willingness to resurrect her teammates has made her very valuable to the team.
Question: What is the Difference Between a Gnome and a Halfling?
Answer: Gnomes and Halflings are both small races. But Gnomes have a more distinct appearance while Halflings look like small Humans. Halflings are similar to Humans in many ways; they’re just small.
Question: Where Did Gnomes 5e Come From?
Answer: According to the Grand History of the Realms, Gnomes were created from gems. Rock Gnomes were made from diamonds, Deep Gnomes from rubies, and Forest Gnomes from emeralds.
Question: Do All Gnomes Drink?
Answer: This is a common misconception because 99% of Gnomes love to party. Whether that partying involves drinking is up to the Gnome. After all, their small bodies may limit their intake.
Question: What is the Mark of Scribing Gnome?
Answer: The Mark of Scribing Gnome of a subrace that isn’t often accepted by DMs. It is an Eberron exclusive subrace. The subrace focuses on communication as a primary skill.
Question: Are Gnomes a Good Race to Play?
Answer: All races are good races. The impact they have isn’t as great as the impact of which class you choose. That’s why I prefer to choose my class first, followed by my race.
The Gnome of the Party
Gnomes are the life of the party in every sense of the expression – however, everything has an exception. Not all Gnomes are alike. Some may prefer a peaceful and lonesome life away from anything party-related.
Every family of extroverts has an introvert with extreme anxiety. Scanlan Shorthalt had his fair share of anxieties, but he rarely shared anything about them. So you can’t judge a Gnome by its cover.
If you want to be a Gnome, don’t let the meta or min-maxing take away from you getting the best personal experience out of it. Choose your own path and make your Gnome uniquely you.