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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Redeeming the Gnomes
« on: April 04, 2005, 02:19:12 PM »
This post is under development. I'm short on time because of an assignment
This thread is not a new look. It is an attempt to build one or more cool races of gnomes from their origins as depicted in Wikipedia. There should be no rules but feedback is ok. Let the gnomecrafting begin.

Quote from: "Wikipedia"
A gnome is a mythical creature characterized by small stature and living underground. According to Paracelsus, gnomes are the most important of the elemental spirits of the element of earth. He wrote that they move as easily through the earth as humans walk upon the ground. The sun's rays turn them into stone. In other traditions, they are simply small, mischievous sprites or goblins. Some sources say they spend the day as a toad. According to some traditions, their king is called Gob. A kaukis is a Prussian gnome. Gnomes appear in the German fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. In fairy tales, the mountain gnome Rubezahl was lord over the underworld.

In Fairy tales the gnome is usually a creature living deep underground and guarding buried treasure, resembling a small gnarled old man. Accordingly Swiss bankers are sometimes referred to as the Gnomes of Zurich.

The word gnome is said to derive from the New Latin gnomus and ultimately from the Greek gnosis, meaning knowledge. According to myth, gnomes hoarded secret knowledge just as they hoarded treasure.


Idea #1: The Cantuah are small folk (high as an index finger), filled with malice and hatred. They are the harvesters of bad dreams and the keepers of forbidden lore. They nest within the carcass of dead people or animals, using their fell magics to preserve the corpse causing it to rot slower. They dig tunnels through the flesh, eating and living off the same vessel. If they manage to find dying (not yet dead) creatures, their loremasters perform "The Harvesting Ritual" on top of the dying creature, extracting knowledge by denying the spirit departure to the afterworld, unless it cooperates.

Idea #2: The Shinoblin are creatures of darkness, cave dwelling small men appearing as twisted parodies of dwarves. Their features are misshapen, one eye often bigger than the other, and their skin is sensitive to sunlight, making them turn to stone if exposed for more than a second. The legends tell that the Shinoblin were a clan of Dwarves once, long ago. Seduced by the greed of their elders they became so ruthless and covetous of others' possessions that they took to murdering other Dwarves, eating their corpses and stealing their material wealth. So heinous was their crimes, so brutal their conduct, that the Gods themselves were appalled, cursing them forever to be apart from the rest of dwarvenkind. They became known as Gnomes, the Shinoblin of the Dwarves, and their features became twisted as described.

Now the Shinoblin are fearful and sad remnants of the ancient Shinoblin clan, cursed to live forever, unable to walk in the sunlight and outcast from the dwarven society. Full of self-pity these pathetic creatures can be found crying on top of their mounds of ill gotten gold and treasure, or outside during nighttime, carefully avoiding the moonlight and spying on the surface dwellers, ever searching for coin and treasure.
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Offline Cheka Man

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Redeeming the Gnomes
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2005, 05:14:46 PM »
I like both of your Gnomes.The first type are the most scary.Do they just prey on the dead and dying or do they use their magic to attack the living? If their *nest* is disturbed do they come out en masse with nasty spells and poisoned weapons? Also, can humans talk to them and pay them to spy for them or divulge knowlege or do they hate humans totally?If they hate humans so much,why? Are they just evil or were they wronged by the humans a long time ago?

The second type of Gnome is much less scary but I still enjoyed it.Do any shops open at night for them,or do they never spend their  treasure?

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Redeeming the Gnomes
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2005, 05:19:01 PM »
So we're coming up with a mythical-ish race? Well, here you go... Nobody could play one of these...

The Ugghim-
Ugghim are tiny, gnarled old beings who are born ancient and die when they are young. Each Ugghim has one huge ear. The corresponding eye is also huge. They use these giant senses to lean against doors and walls, eavesdropping and collecting thousands and thousands of secrets, which they love. Ugghim live underground, sucking water from roots and eating spiders, and only come out at night to eavesdrop and collect secrets. They never come out during the day, for the light of the sun causes them to shrivel away.
The king of the Ugghim is called Hegghu. Hegghu has been ancient for 9,000 years and is now getting young- he is expected be followed on the throne by his cousin, Pughugh. Hegghu has spent so much time listening to secrets that all the left side of his body has shriveled away, while his right ear and eye have become gigantic.
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Offline Cheka Man

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Gobbs
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2005, 05:28:01 PM »
Gobbs are elemential spirits that can pass through all uncarved stone and uncut wood, and can walk through such material like we walk through the air. They are about a foot high and coal-black in colour and carry short knives,and also have an imnate magic,so that they can throw small rocks at those they dislike. They drink water normally, and alcohol when they can get it,but shun strong drugs. They feed upon magic, and upon gold and jewels in the earth.

They have been known to decend in large numbers upon mines and devour the jewels and the gold, and each can eat up to a third of it's body weight a day,so they are a dangerous pest,striking out and then vanishing into the rock.They can go without feeding for months, but that makes them very hungry.

A nasty habit of theirs is to invade the trees of dryads en masse, kill the dryad and suck her magic from her with their fangs.They also attack wizards to take their magic.Other bloodsuckers only take blood, these drain a wizard's magical powers and damage his memory.

Offline Ancient Gamer

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Redeeming the Gnomes
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2005, 05:53:38 PM »
Quote from: "Cheka Man"
I like both of your Gnomes.The first type are the most scary.Do they just prey on the dead and dying or do they use their magic to attack the living? If their *nest* is disturbed do they come out en masse with nasty spells and poisoned weapons? Also, can humans talk to them and pay them to spy for them or divulge knowlege or do they hate humans totally?If they hate humans so much,why? Are they just evil or were they wronged by the humans a long time ago?

The second type of Gnome is much less scary but I still enjoyed it.Do any shops open at night for them,or do they never spend their  treasure?


I picture the Cantuah as scavengers that dare not, probably could not, attack even a human child. The swat of the arm of a dying warrior would be like the falling of a giant rock for them. They prey on the dead and dying because of their weakness and their potential for food, housing and knowledge.

When infected with Cantuah, a host corpse would appear bloated, filled with discoloured bulges, and open wounds. It would seem sickened and even the flies would stay away from it. If for some reason the corpse should be attacked (burned for instance), the Cantuah would employ magics to escape. Perhaps they would seem like rats or slithering worms fleeing from within the wounds. Probably a lot of Cantuah would die if attacked by a human.

The Cantuah can be summoned by sorcerors or they can be spied upon. They appear at bedrooms during night, binding the hair of their victims in the "Ritual of the Dream". This ritual instills nightmares within the victim, which in turn gives the Cantuah great pleasure. They feed on the bad emotions of others and nightmares are a special treat, some might even say that it arouses them sexually. Sometimes this proves fatal, as an overly eager young Cantuah dissects the skin of their dream host, causing him to awaken. Surrounded by dozens of tiny, bent creatures whispering and chanting, drinking deep of his blood, the host would probably slay them all. Upon death they dissolve and the host would believe it a bad dream, yet his wound would remain and his hair would be tied into knots.

They do not hate humans, they are fey spirits, the harvesters of bad dreams (for their pleasure) and keepers of forbidden lore (gained through tormenting the dying spirit or through secrets whispered during a bad dream). They treasure tormenting a cat equally much, and consider the secrets of a cat of equal worth as those of a human. Whether they gain knowledge about a particular good location for catching mice or the secrets of "the ancient Vûldrahn manuscript" might be the same for them. They hoard secrets for the sake of keeping, not for the learning. They are depicted as hateful and malicious by sages because that is the way they appear to humans (just like wolves have been depicted that way in millennia).

As for the Shinoblin: I would think that their curse is due to the fact that they cannot and will not share their wealth, but rather chose to obtain it by whatever means possible. Their treasure would be their last remaining love, the very reason for their curse, which they know, and yet they cannot stand the thought of parting with it. They are pathetic whiners and nighttime murderers, killing and eating a victim for a few copper coins.
Quote from: "CaptainPenguin"
So we're coming up with a mythical-ish race? Well, here you go... Nobody could play one of these...

The Ugghim-
Ugghim are tiny, gnarled old beings who are born ancient and die when they are young. Each Ugghim has one huge ear. The corresponding eye is also huge. They use these giant senses to lean against doors and walls, eavesdropping and collecting thousands and thousands of secrets, which they love. Ugghim live underground, sucking water from roots and eating spiders, and only come out at night to eavesdrop and collect secrets. They never come out during the day, for the light of the sun causes them to shrivel away.
The king of the Ugghim is called Hegghu. Hegghu has been ancient for 9,000 years and is now getting young- he is expected be followed on the throne by his cousin, Pughugh. Hegghu has spent so much time listening to secrets that all the left side of his body has shriveled away, while his right ear and eye have become gigantic.

I like them. Nobody can play them, but a GM could surely use them in strange plots. Dreamscape plots, magic component gathering quests and information hunting are such scenarios.

Quote from: "Cheka Man"
Gobbs are elemential spirits that can pass through all uncarved stone and uncut wood, and can walk through such material like we walk through the air. They are about a foot high and coal-black in colour and carry short knives,and also have an imnate magic,so that they can throw small rocks at those they dislike. They drink water normally, and alcohol when they can get it,but shun strong drugs. They feed upon magic, and upon gold and jewels in the earth.

They have been known to decend in large numbers upon mines and devour the jewels and the gold, and each can eat up to a third of it's body weight a day,so they are a dangerous pest,striking out and then vanishing into the rock.They can go without feeding for months, but that makes them very hungry.

A nasty habit of theirs is to invade the trees of dryads en masse, kill the dryad and suck her magic from her with their fangs.They also attack wizards to take their magic.Other bloodsuckers only take blood, these drain a wizard's magical powers and damage his memory.

These elemental spirits could be a scourge upon the land that they infest. A major hazard to mine owners and sylvan creatures alike. Mages would hunt them for their essence and soul, surely for use in some strange concoction or magic item.
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Redeeming the Gnomes
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2005, 09:03:12 PM »
Quote from: "Cheka Man in a PM"
The Cantuah seem so weak that they can't defend themselves.Can they defend themselves from attack at all, or are they almost helpless beings?

These creatures do NOT openly engage a foe in battle. They use subterfuge and cunning, stealth and guile to achieve their goals. They should not be used in a combat, but instead slowly torment and hassle the PCs while they are in a certain location. They can be classified as non-combatant foes, illusory spirits that disturb their dreams. They only clue a PC would have to its presence would be hideously discoloured corpses and disturbing dreams. They would tire the PCs until spellcasting became difficult and exhaustion was a real problem.

In terms the combat oriented can understand: They wear the PCs down before "The BIG BAD" moves in to kill.

Understandably this is good for the Cantuah as they then can use the corpse of the PC, provided "The BIG BAD" does not eat it. Following this logic the places near dangerous beings, who do NOT eat their victims, would be favourable spots for Cantuah infestations. Such foes are some undead (the Cantuah might thrive on the horrible, unbalanced emotions of ghosts), golems and human outlaws. An interesting combination would be Cantuah who reside in corporeal undead with intellect such as revenants and other eternally d**ned. Such an undead would nurture the Cantuah in every possible way and the Cantuah would make the undead even more dangerous, as its body would carry the magially induced Cantuah disease (which, as mentioned earlier, cause bleeding wounds, bloated bodyparts and discoloured swellings).

If you like elements of the Cantuah, I suggest that you take those elements and change what you do not like. That it the first commandment of a GM: Take what you like and change what you don't!. So if you like parts of the Cantuah and want to include those parts into Acqua, feel free to do so!.
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Offline Kinslayer

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Redeeming the Gnomes
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2005, 10:03:55 PM »
I like  the idea of the Cantuah as dark Fae.  This ties in well with the origins in mythology of Elves, Dwarves, etc. as strange & often cruel beings to be avoided or placated.  

Are the Shinoblin a self-propagating species, or are they the immortal/undead remnants of those originally cursed?

One of the Midian writers had an idea for Gnomes as an ethnic variation of Dwarves, called the Mullegnomes.  Rather than prize their beards (for men, at least) & braid them in clan styles, the Mullegnomes would instead their mullets.  They would live on southern islands, rather than northern mountains, wear sleeveless white shirts, and have a very different outlook than their kin.  They would still be heavy drinkers, but would prefer beer in a can to ale from a barrel.  Fortunately for the game world, he never "officially" unleashed this idea.
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Offline Maggot

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Ahguk
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2005, 04:19:57 AM »
Ahguk are ferocious little monsters that resemble 3 foot tall furry ferrets crossed with a very ugly pixie. Driven by their craving for the raw flesh of other woodland fey such as pixies and brownies,they often lurk in the dark woodland depths,waiting to pounce and rip apart the unsupecting victims that come their way.

 There is a reason behind this diabolical apetite that their kind possess,a reason that is linked to their innate shape shifting ability. Ahguk enjoy taking the powerful forms of exaggeratedly large weasels or ferrets with jet black pelts when going on their killing sprees. The agility and powerful senses of this form make it so easy for these solitary wanderers to traverse the rough undergrowth of the forests they dwell in,but in the process,takes a heavy toll on their energies,leaving them drained and sapped. The only way of replenishing this lost energy is to absorb the magic essence found in  abundance in the bodies of other fey,something which can be attained through the eating of the flesh of these fey. The blood of their victims too,is believed to be rich in this magic essence and is often drunk as it spills out of the victim's savaged corpse.

   Amazingly,there are those fey who have survived an Ahguk attack by managing to fight it off,despite being wounded badly by it. Unfortunately,for them there is no happy ending. They turn into the very thing that attacked them. This period of change varies according to the kind of fey that is afflicted with this curse. A brownie takes as long as five painful days,a leperchaun only an hour or so. These fey-Ahguk hybrids can either be smaller or larger than a true Ahguk. Again,this depends on the type of fey they once were.

 Though the veracity of this tale cannot be guaranteed,there are popular tales of a man who was bitten by an Ahguk,turning into a vicious killer who terrorized the villages in the province for over five months until an enraged ent or tree man,slew him for giving the terror stricken peasants cause to burn large sections of the forest down in a vain attempt to drive the fiend away. Scholars scoff at this story,saying that the Ahguk is dangerous only to fey. They also insist that contrary to popular belief,the Ahguk are controlled by an evil queen,as opposed to being almost mindless killers.
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Redeeming the Gnomes
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2005, 05:39:35 AM »
Quote from: "Kinslayer"
Are the Shinoblin a self-propagating species, or are they the immortal/undead remnants of those originally cursed?

Theoretically self-propagating and in effect immortal. Their twisted, greedy nature makes them cautious of their own species and thus they seldom mate. If they do so however, anything may happen and woe to the parent whose offspring wants his inheritance. (much like humans, eh?)
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