Therianthropes? Lycanthropes? Animorphs? Homo-Zoological-Hybrid-Sapiens? Manimals? Take your pick.
Space-Faring, Hard-Rocking, Metal-Grinding, Star-Tripping, Deathdealing, Dwarves.
When want and famine stalk the land, a strange tower of ashes appears in the village common, a tower holding the sacrifices of the unworthy. Those who have the courage may reclaim these treasures…
Somehow, someway, a band of gnomes learns how to be ninjas. In fine gnomish style, they open an academy to teach this art to other gnomes. Wacky Hijinks ensue. Or the gnomes become some of the finest assassins in the land. Or both.