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All the World's a Stage
This page is intended for players who intend to roleplay as a gnome. Relevant information about the gnomes to a roleplayer's interest is below.
No one can tell you exactly how to roleplay anything, so take below as a helping hand and a guide - not a rulebook.
The origins of the gnome people are unknown. They may be related to dwarves. Gnomes were “discovered” by the dwarves, who invited them to live in Dun Morogh with them. The gnomes accepted and built their own city, Gnomeregan, in the mountains of Dun Morogh. The technological advancement of the gnomes and the aid of their troops were major forces in the Second War, and were decisive in securing victory.
However, they were unable to send aid during the Third War due to their own troubles. Gnomeregan was under attack by trogg forces. Knowing that their allies were held in their own war with the Scourge, they did not request aid, but valiantly made their last stand alone in a desperate last attempt that some have called an unwise decision. The last and most desperate strike against the troggs was the release of the city's radioactive waste as commanded by High Tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque. This toxic attack did not stop the troggs and only served to kill numerous gnomes.
Gnomeregan was rendered uninhabitable, and the surviving gnomes fled. These survivors now live with the dwarves in Tinker Town, a section of the district of Ironforge. Here, they are constantly plotting to retake Gnomeregan.
Tips for incorporating this history:
- Players are advised not to create characters who are said to have destroyed Gnomeregan themselves, single-handedly or otherwise. This is a common character background, but makes the character more historically important and powerful than is acceptable for a roleplay and modifies lore in an unfavorable manner. Again, this backstory is extremely ill-advised and players should avoid it.
- Gnomeregan's loss is not what would be called ancient history. At the present time of lore, this exodus dates ten (10) to twelve (12) years ago at maximum. A character who was present for the fall of Gnomeregan need not be significantly aged.
Gnomish society is largely unstructured and informal. Although centuries ago the gnomes had kings, in modern times the position of rulership is that of the elected High Tinker.
Gnomes do not have a particular bent towards any religion, nor do they have a particular racial religion. Some follow the Light or subscribe to some of the spiritual beliefs of the dwarves, but as a whole the gnomish people are neither spiritual nor religious.
Family is seen by the gnomes in a way that could be considered baseline for the races of Azeroth. A mature or adult gnome is expected to have literally made a name for him- or herself (see Names) as a part of his or her maturation.
Gnomish names are relatively simple, and follow conventions that can be compared to those of the orcs. However, it is unlikely that the gnomes acquired these conventions from the orcs, and the content of gnomish names differs greatly from orcish names.
A gnome is named by his or her parents at birth in a similar manner to a human child, and at this point their "family" name refers to the actions of a relation or ancestor. As a part of becoming an adult, a gnome acquires a surname reflecting their own deeds. Gnomish names tend to call to mind technological tools and components and often include words such as "boom" or "fizz". First names may follow these conventions, consisting of multiple or singular components usually used in surnames, or they may be seemingly meaningless names. Gnomish given names along these lines often include "soft" consonants, contain few strong vowels, and may sound silly or childish.
Here are some examples of gnomish names:
- Springspindle Fizzlegear
- Gelbin Mekkatorque
- Tally Berryfizz
- Fizzlebang Booms
- Wizzle Brassbolts
A Tip for In-Game Use of Names:
A character's first or given name is the name that should be used as the character's in-game name, although some gnomish surnames can seem more appealing than their given names. Surnames can be included using FlagRSP or MyRoleplay.
Although age is often disregarded as a roleplay mechanic, it is a very important part of a character's abilities and personality. Younger characters will be expected to behave like young characters in a roleplay and vice versa. Therefore, approximate ages in years in relation to stages of gnomish maturation are provided. It should be noted that gnomes have a lifespan between that of humans and dwarves, approximately 200 years.
A gnome reaches adulthood at the age of 40 and reaches a respectable middle age at approximately 100. A gnome of 150 years or more is very old and will most likely not be as prepared for physical exertion as a younger character.
Speech and conversation are very important in roleplay, and some players find it very difficult to affect suitable character "voices". Although fantasy settings such as World of Warcraft tend to draw attempts at antiquated English, which is more suited in small degrees to roleplaying a human, gnome speech patterns could not be further from this standard.
Gnomes as a whole are considered to be both childish, fanatic, careful and rational. Blunt and practical speech is preferred to match their usual work. However, simple and prosaic speech can sometimes be a difficult medium for the complex concepts the highly intelligent gnomes must convey on a regular basis. Gnomes may ramble and speak in a disorganized and convoluted manner, as well as inventing new words and repurposing old ones in order to get their point across.
This produces a patchwork of childish improvisation and the vastly intelligent and complex workings of the gnomes. In addition, gnomes tend to be intelligent and learned, so obscure, specialized, and long words are common. A dictionary is handy for a gnome player. Few figures of speech or rhetoric devices find their way into gnome speech, with the notable exception of hyperbole. To summarize, a gnome's speech patterns will more mimic a highly intelligent academic who speaks with the blunt simplicity and carelessness of a child than they will mimic medieval English.
Fanciful affectations are something to avoid when playing a gnome. "Getting into character" can be difficult, and stilted or affected character voices can be hard to avoid. A gnome character could be a good character to begin roleplaying with, as their "voices" and speech are very close to average modern communication and require only slight alterations to function well as in-character dialogue.
Finally, gnomes are prone to impromptu lectures. Psuedoscience and "technobabble" can be useful in this area, as real-world factual lectures require true study and specialization and are harder to come by than simply inventing one's way through a scientific or magical tirade. Astute players will be able to recognize such invention when they see it and take such improvisation in stride. In fact, a habit of improvisation will help a gnome player in particular, as gnomes themselves are greatly prone to it.
Gnomes, despite their many historical hardships, have a largely friendly and open-minded disposition. Due to their greater age in years than many races they encounter, gnomes can behave almost parentally to many other races, especially humans, once they reach adulthood. A gnome is usually always willing to help. In general gnomes are affable and very likeable, although irritability is not impossible and an archetypal "grouchy old man/woman" or "grumpy professor" may fit well as a gnome.
Gnomes tend to maintain affable if not friendly relations with other races. Although greatly spiritual races have by their nature philosophical differences with the gnomes, such races will not be treated any less civilly.
Alliance Races Edit
The dwarves are the gnomes' closes allies. It was the dwarves who gave the land that would become Gnomeregan to the gnomes, and it was the dwarves who sheltered the remaining gnomes after it fell. Gnomes will be friendly or very friendly to dwarves by virtue of this alone. Dwarves also respect gnomes for their technological skill, for although dwarves are skilled at engineering themselves, they also acquire much from the gnomes. Gnomes, in return, also respect dwarves for their technological skill to an extent. To a gnome, a dwarf would seem to be of average height.
The gnomes are friendly towards humans due to their shared Alliance. Gnomes can sometimes have a condescending, teacherly, and/or parental attitude to humans, due to the fact that gnomes live approximately twice as long as humans and could be seen to be more intelligent and/or advanced. However, gnomes can also respect humans for their bravery. Humans seem tall to gnomes, but not as tall as elves or many Horde races.
Although gnomes and night elves have many philosophical differences and have no particular affinity for each other, they treat each other with general kindness and respect. To a gnome, any elf will seem very tall.
Worgen, especially in their true form, may unnerve or even frighten a gnome. However, given the nature of the gnomes and the Alliance status of the Worgen, strong tensions between gnome and Worgen characters would be personal in nature if present at all, and the relationship between gnomes and Worgen would perhaps be similar to that between gnomes and night elves. The Worgen would appear tall to a gnome in human form and very large in true form.
The Draenei, along with blood elves, are one of the very few races with significantly longer lifespans than gnomes, to a degree where the usual parental or educational attitude of gnomes to other races is not in evidence. However, beyond this, the Draenei, as new allies whom the gnomes have no reason to dislike, should receive the same basic respect the gnomes give most other races. The Draenei would appear tall to a gnome.
Horde Races Edit
The gnomes still remember the injuries that the orcs did them in the Second War, but the nature of the gnomes is very forgiving. Although the gnomes and the orcs are politically enemies and the gnomes almost certainly harbor some degree of mistrust or possibly small disliking towards the orcs on a personal level, at large the relationship between the two races would not be called bad. The orcs most likely appear very large to gnomes.
The Tauren, as a Horde race, would not be said to be in a friendly relationship with the gnomes. However, they are not exempt from the respect that the gnomes give any race, and the gnomish attitude towards Tauren is likely to lean in the same direction as their attitude towards the night elves. The gnomes would certainly see the Tauren as very large.
Gnomish relations with the trolls are likely to be similar to those with the Tauren. Trolls would seem tall or very tall to a gnome.
The Forsaken, as undead, strike fear into the hearts of many. The gnomes are not necessarily excluded, although on an individual level a gnome may not fear Forsaken. As a group, the gnomes are likely to see the Forsaken as frightening, even dangerous, but not in the same way humans might fear the Forsaken, as a gnome is more willing to accept even a dangerous and foul-smelling undead, particularly because the gnomes as a whole lack any spiritual beliefs specifying undead as evil or the like. Forsaken would appear tall to a gnome.
The Forsaken are known to use both gnomes and leper gnomes in their experiments, however, so any gnome with this knowledge would likely tend to be wary of the Forsaken.
Blood Elves Edit
The gnomes are likely to view the blood elves in much the same way as the night elves. Like night elves, blood elves are a race concerned with things that the gnomes do not care about that focuses on practices and religion that the gnomes do not follow. Blood elves, like night elves, would seem very tall to a gnome.
Goblins and gnomes are great rivals, an exception to the rule of gnomish acceptance. As very similar races in skill but very different in interests, their rivalry is perhaps not as surprising as it could be. Sometimes this rivalry is a friendly one. At other times, it constitutes a dire opposition. A gnome character will have nothing good to say about goblins, besides the possibility of an individual gnome respecting the technological achievements of goblins, and will very often take every opportunity to impugn their ethics and their intellect. However, many gnomes may make an attempt to be respectful or at least polite even to a goblin. A goblin will appear to be average height to a gnome.
Troggs are the one group that gnomes actively dislike. Although gnomes are by and large forgiving and do not have a habit of holding grudges, they hold a special and sensitive place in their hearts for disliking troggs. As the troggs and the gnomes warred for some time and the troggs finally destroyed Gnomeregan, this one grudge is rather understandable. The subject of troggs is a sensitive one, and if it comes up in discussion a gnome may become angry, upset, or simply silent. Allies are expected to respect this.
Beyond these specific racial dispositions, gnomes are largely friendly and forgiving, not angry and bitter. They are impartial in many fields, their race giving them no particular reason to fight the Horde apart from their desire to help the Alliance. (Personal disliking of the Horde is possible, however.) A gnome will never dislike a person from the start for any reason, be it gender, class, or race. And lastly, a gnome will strive to be respectful and open-minded even if they have personal, non-racial reasons not to be.
Obviously, gnomes are brilliant. However, gnomes are not wise (Older gnomes may be a LITTLE wiser then the rest of them, but considering all the explosions and backfire, who knows how many gnomes get that old?). A typical gnome is an engineer who makes ingenious but impractical (probably dangerous) devices. That’s what makes gnomes fun to roleplay – they’re crazy! You can walk around doing absurd, dangerous things that fit your character perfectly.
Now, gnomes are still shrewd. A gnome will not be taken advantage of, and it’s very hard to deceive one. In a match of wits, the gnome always wins. Gnomes make excellent merchants when they apply themselves. It’s important to note though, that unlike goblins, gnomes are not greedy; they are utterly selfless and eager to please. If a profit can be had, so much the better.
Gnomes are practical, rational thinkers. Your gnome will probably not be fond of poetry or deep philosophical musing. When a human or elf starts waxing poetic, it would be perfectly acceptable to make a factual observation that completely ruins the moment. Gnomes, like dwarves, are not known for their subtlety or their tact.
Gnomes love to tinker, and not just with technology. When a Gnome establishes a topic of interest, be it swordsgnomeship, arcane arts, history or even on rare occasions philosophy and religion, they meticulously endeavor to learn everything they can about their preferential topic and simultaneously attempt to advance their field of research through careful modifications to previous assumptions and radical departures from the accepted paradigm.
There are of course gnomes known to have other personalities, but above is rather normal for a gnome.
A note on meta-gaming: Gnomes are very smart, so it’s usually fine to assume your character knows things. However, make sure you’re consistent with their story – an orphan who was a baby when Gnomeregan fell and grew up wandering the streets probably wouldn’t know much about the history of the High Elves. And even if your gnome should be knowledgeable, you will often annoy other players if you seem to know too much. So use moderation.
The number one question on any experienced roleplayer’s mind is “what should I wear?” Well, gnomes can be difficult to dress, since most clothes simply don’t look good on us. A long, flowing robe ends up looking silly, and gnomes in plate look funny (though cute). As a rule, gnomes should wear brightly colored clothing. Bonus points for matching it with your hair!
A typical day-to-day outfit might be overalls (tailors can make a blue pair, or engineers can get the Mechgineer’s Overalls in Gnomeregan), goggles, and a wrench. Goggles are a gnomish trademark, so wear them! Of course your dress should mimic your lifestyle. An alchemist might wear a lab coat, and a historian might have a suit and monocle. If you can work in a wizard hat, those look fantastic too.
Gnomes approach fashion as they approach everything – the flashier, the better! When an occasion calls for a certain type of dress, take it to absurd extremes. A strange, attention-getting costume is the norm for gnomes.
A gnome can often be seen with a new contraption. Exploding sheep are a fine accessory, or a quirky looking mechanostrider.
Of course, not everyone is the same.
Gnome warriors are absolutely uncharacteristic, since warriors tend not to be very intellectual, and gnomes are tiny. But that’s what makes them awesome! There is nothing better than a tiny gnome in heavy plate armor smashing something with a gigantic mace. Of course, warriors are not completely absurd for gnomes – someone has to do the fighting, after all. A gnome might consider combat a science in its own right. There’s plenty of room for creativity here, so go for it. Wearing metal goes with the flow though as Gnome are obviously natural metal workers and Tinkers.
Warrior gnomes could be considered a more recent phenomena, as the recent fall of Gnomeregan sparked an increase of gnome warriors looking to defend and liberate their homeland. You could also talk about how metal armor works, modifications you have made to your equipment, and hint that you know where every pressure point on the human (or something else) body.
Again, a physical combat class. But gnomes are actually very well suited to be rogues – they’re tiny! Gnomes have exceptional dexterity and sneakiness. They can be subtle when they really want to be. As a gnome rogue, you’re perfectly suited to be a pickpocket, a professional safecracker, a spy (with spy gadgets of course!), or a criminal mastermind. Just remember, most gnomes are friendly and honest by nature. If the thought of a nice rogue repulses you, you’ll have to justify the change in personality somehow. Gnomes can go bad, they'd be better running a crime gang than stealing from their guild. Use the brain.
Neon of Emerald Dream says: As my uncle always used to say, "all gnomes are rogues at heart." Even if not all of us have mastered the technique of stealth, every Gnome has the capacity to hide in places that no other race can reach, move behind obstacles without detection, and show up when they are least expected.
A gnome makes an excellent mage. Mages rely on sheer brilliance, and gnomes have plenty of it. As a gnome mage, your character can prattle endlessly about magic (“when the crystals are aligned parallel to the focus of electromagical potential, the cross-dimensional energy impulses will converge…”). Mages are also nice because size doesn’t matter in the slightest, only mental prowess. Think Yoda. Gnomes also delight in blowing things up, so make liberal use of fire. Plus you can wear brightly coloured cloth and augment it with engineering to look like a robot.
Ah, the gnome warlock. Could anything be more perfect? Combine an eccentric and prodigiously gifted race with a depraved and corrupting class, and you get a whole lot of fun! A gnome warlock can be absolutely insane. If you want to roleplay an evil genius, be a gnome warlock. A warlock is essentially a corrupted mage. When a magic user is overzealous and goes too far (gee, what race does that sound like?), he becomes addicted to magic, and can be an unwitting pawn to the energies he tried to master. Of course, a gnome warlock doesn’t have to be corrupt. In fact, if any race could successfully master summoned demons, the gnomes would do it. It's not as respected as mage so keep this in mind when talking to others.
- Tip: Warlocks don’t have to be evil. In fact, most gnome warlocks are not.
Alongside other caster classes, Gnomes are also suited for being followers of the holy light, labelled as Priests. Gnome Priests became popular about the time the Cataclysm came. Most Gnomes thought it was time to invest magic for allied benefit, rather for damaging purposes. It was then, that some Gnomes followed the light (under the supervision of the Dwarves, no doubt). Gnomes Priests will follow the light, like most Priests, and would discuss how it feels to finally be able to take back Gnomeregan. Throw in a few DPS classes and a tank, and you have a full group ready to kick ass!
Even though Gnomes are small, they're still fierce looking as Death Knights. Playing as a Death Knight would result in your character showing "GNO-MERCY" to other classes, specifically Paladins and Priests. Gnomes will scoff at their fellow brethren, mocking their immortality and foolish ways of going towards the light. Gnomes might like to talk about how Gnomeregan would not have fallen, if only the Lich King had saved them sooner. Gnomes could also be less evil, and seek to study every aspect of thier newfound undeath, much like any other power to be studied.
With the addition of Mists of Pandaria, Gnomes were recently taught the ways of the Monk from one of the Pandaren. A gnome monk could be treated with caution, as they have only just learned this new way of fighting and, who knows? Maybe this jabbing and punching could hurt your hands, halting your experiments!
Gnomes and engineering go together like bread and butter. Engineering should be your first choice of profession for any gnome character. Of course, there’s absolutely no reason that you can’t roleplay most aspects of engineering, even without being an engineer. You should make liberal use of explosives and gadgets. The more exotic the gadget, the better. Designing and building a weird new contraption is a classic gnome storyline.
Gnome engineers sometimes run into problems with god-modding. Gnomes are brilliant engineers, and can do extraordinary things. There is absolutely no contradiction with Warcraft lore when gnomes make absurd contraptions – look at mechanostriders, death rays, nuclear reactors, giant killer robots. But be careful not to be obnoxious. If you’re always producing the perfect device at the perfect time, other players will get annoyed. It should be noted, that your devices shouldn't always succeed, as a gnome if a super safe bandage dispenser explodes and burns off your hair, try and try again. Also going to a barber shop after detonation or mishap with your personal devices makes for interesting RP, as can using dynamite as a "failed invention"!
Also a good choice, since it’s a science. Gnomes should treat alchemy more like chemistry, whereas elves would probably treat it as a more magical art. A gnome will probably ramble about alchemy just as he’d rave about engineering or magic (“If I can procure a sample of partially deionized arcanite extract, it will nullify the ascorbic viscosity of the moonberry juice!”). Alchemy goes well with the mad scientist motif. Jeckel and Hyde anyone? However keep in mind that the Goblins have a bonus to Alchemy.
Another very gnomish profession. Gnomes are experts with magic, and so they make brilliant enchanters.
Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and TailoringEdit
These are not gnomish specialties. Gnomes are good at them of course, because they’re skilled artisans in general. You can absolutely roleplay a professional tailor or a skilled smith, and do so with plenty of success. They’re just less common choices for gnomes.
Jewelcrafting and InscriptionEdit
Not particularly gnomish either. However, the sheer number of things you can make with the same materials suggests that these professions require extreme precision, so working mathematical and especially geometric terms into professional discussion would add a gnomish element to them. They also tend to be more creative fields than the others, so consider roleplaying an eccentric artist.
You should be careful not to get caught on a fish hook. You would look funny fishing though. Please refrain from getting eaten by larger fish and shore creatures (It would look rather bad if your character met his end by being eaten by a turtle or a pissed off Frenzy)
Gnomes approach cooking much like they approach engineering. They’re constantly trying new and strange things. At gnome parties, each guest brings a dish to share, and they all try to outdo each other. There are inevitably some absurd dishes. That is of course enormously fun for roleplayers! If you go to a party, don't bring a death ray.
Gnomes are very good with first aid, since they’re constantly injuring themselves.