&D 5e: Gnome Wizard Guide
One of the most flexible, intelligent, and befitting races for wizardry. Gnomes are known to be very creative, hard working, and find gaining knowledge as a simple pass time. Although there are multiple cases of them discovering lost secrets, uncovering old ruins, and just being capable of discovering the cure to cancer during tea time.
How to Make a Gnome Wizard
Gnomes are lovable characters in D&D, both for the players and in lore. Their appearance is like smaller elves standing at 3 to 4 feet tall, more befitting to the description of those cookie makers we see in commercials or the minimum wage workers of Santa’s workshop.
Compared to their dwarf cousins, Gnomes are known to be much friendlier, optimistic, impulsive, preferring to live in the moment, and going with the flow. Never underestimate a Gnome for their childish behavior, as they possess great intelligence, flexibility in work, and are great assets to a team, especially in the absence of a ranger or druid.
If you noticed, the word ‘known’ is underlined in the previous paragraph, that’s because that’s as far as most races know about Gnomes. There are about three subraces of Gnomes in D&D, it may surprise you how different each is.:
|Deep Gnome(svirfneblin)||Compared to Gnomes on the surface, Deep Gnomes are serious, wary, and prefer minding their own business. Though they do interact with drows and the gray dwarves, they aren’t evil. They treat their kind and those close to them with goodwill and respect.Skin: Medium brown to brownish-grayHair: Bald (Males); Gray (Females)Eyes: Gray/BlackAlignment: Neutral goodAdvantages:Superior darkvisionStone Camouflage|
|Forest Gnome||If you think you’re antisocial then you’ve got to learn about these guys. These Gnomes go through great lengths not to mingle with other races. It’s not a matter of mistrust but rather privacy. Skin: Bark-coloredHair: Black/ brown; grays to white with ageEyes: Blue/BrownAlignment: GoodAdvantages:Natural IllusionistSpeak with small beasts|
|Rock Gnome||The more well-known and extroverted of the Gnomes. They’re the ones many see around, cutting gems and making crazy inventions. They also possess the skills to create the greatest magic of all, A GUN! (This is true btw…)Skin: Light tan to brownHair: Varies (yes, even unnatural colors); white or gray with age. Beards are neat and trimmed.Eyes: Natural colors, but sometimes glittering black or blue.Alignment: Good|
Wiznerding 101: My Wizard Academia (Arcane Tradition)
Compared to a sorcerer or warlock, you’re the kid that studies for the test and gets an A+. Only to realize in the end that your degree never mattered, and the only useful spell is Fireball. At level two, you pick which school and major you’re going to for the next couple of years.
For simplification we will use an apple as a subject to describe each school:
- School of Abjuration- You either protect or banish the apple.
- Abjuration Savant
- Arcane Ward
- Projected Ward
- Improved Abjuration
- Spell Resistance
- School of Conjuration- You teleport or create the apple.
- Conjuration Savant
- Minor Conjuration
- Benign Transportation
- Focused Conjuration
- Durable Summons
- School of Divination- You see the future of the apple.
- Divination Savant
- Expert Divination
- The Third Eye
- Dark vision
- Ethereal sight
- Greater Comprehension
- See Invisibility
- Greater Portent
- School of Enchantment- Make the apple attractive (That doesn’t make up for the lack of charisma your class has so dream on.).
- Enchantment Savant
- Hypnotic gaze
- Instinctive Charm
- Split Enchantment
- Alter Memories
- School of Evocation- Burn, shock, freeze, or bury the apple. No, you aren’t the Avatar.
- Evocation Savant
- Sculpt Spells
- Potent Cantrip
- Empowered Evocation
- Over Channel
- School of Illusion- Psychologically and mentally scar the apple with hallucinations and proceed to take over its life and become the apple.
- Illusion Savant
- Improved Minor Illusions
- Malleable Illusions
- Illusory Self
- LLPIllusory Reality
- School of Necromancy- Bring the apple back to life or resurrect it into an undead slave.
- Necromancy Savant
- Grim Harvest
- Undead Thralls
- Inured to Undeath
- Command Undead
- School of Transmutation- Turn the apple into a banana.
- Transmutation Savant
- Minor Alchemy
- Transmuter’s Stone
- Master Transmuter
- Major Transformation
- Restore Life
- Restore Youth
- By default, Gnomes get +2 intelligence. Apart from that, the additional ability score increase is determined b the subrace:
- Deep Gnome +1 Dexterity
- Forest Gnome +1 Dexterity
- Rock Gnome +1 Constitution
Your main stat priority as a Wizard should be Intelligence. What follows is either Constitution or Dexterity. Just make sure both are over 10.
- Constitution gives you extra HP and helps in saving throws.
- Dexterity helps you with stealth & dodging attacks
Followed is wisdom, then Strength or Charisma. Yeah, you aren’t going to be the most charming in the campaign but at least you have default proficiency in perception, can’t be magically charmed or put to sleep, and darkvision. Just like a student during their finals.
How to Play a Gnome Wizard
Hit Dice: 1d6 per wizard level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your
- Constitution modifier per wizard level after 1st
Spellcasting Ability: Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
There are multiple terminologies you’ll need to know as your existence is practically an encyclopedia. Here are a few:
- Cantrips- You get three first level spells and get more as you level. You only get two spells slots though but you don’t have to rest like your other magical counterparts as you have Arcane Recovery. In the absence of a spellbook/scroll, these are the only guns you’ll be able to count on.
- Acid Splash
- Chill Touch
- Dancing Lights
- Fire Bolt
- Mage Hand
- Minor Illusion
- Poison Spray
- Ray of Frost
- Shocking Grasp
- True Strike
You’d be surprised that apart from having great intelligence and creativity, some Gnomes have the natural ability to cast certain cantrips. This is best discussed with your DM though- no one wants a party-pooping OP player.
Here are some cantrips you can cast:
- Mage hand
- Mage hand
- Dancing lights
- Spellbook- You’ll be carrying this heavy thing around since you can’t seem to remember everything you’ve learned- which is honestly understandable. Unfortunately, your spellbook is practically a scrapbook composed of spells and whatnot because tuition doesn’t cover the whole book of magic, and you can’t just write what you need to know on regular paper! Oh, no! You need to spend gold to get some special paper for your education *coughs* accountancy, engineering, architecture, fine arts, college *coughs* and sometimes for the spells
- Copying a Spell into the Book
- Replacing the Book
- The Book appearance
- Weaponry- Just because you can summon power with your magic hands doesn’t mean weapons won’t come in handy. Gnomes, though small and not the strongest of built, commonly use certain weapons.
- Clubs, short bows, short swords, slings, and spears.
How to Roleplay as a Gnome Wizard
Not all Gnomes are the open, quirky, and tinkering beings many know. If you read the table in “How to build a Gnome Wizard”, two out of the three known kinds prefer to be isolated. The Rock Gnomes are a friendly and wholesome folk that many races have interacted with hence the stereotype of Gnomes equals happy friendly cookie makers.
Rock Gnomes are described to have similar characteristics to that of human children- but not in intelligence. They’re quirky, curious, friendly, and love to tinker and create clockworks and gizmos. They just enjoy being alive and living in the moment without other reasons- which many find strange. Some may find them annoying as they like to ask many questions but nothing like round the clock asking random questions.
In Gnomish history, the great heroes of old were not known to be warriors that vanquished their enemies with weapons like most epics but rather tact and trickery. Not that Gnomes are deceitful, they are pranksters but they focus more on strategy and stealth when it comes to dealing with enemies and difficulties in completing their work. A good characteristic for a wizard to have.
Compared to their dwarven cousins, Gnomes aren’t religious but do believe in Garl Glittergold whose name sounds like some Hollywood talk show host-wait till you learn what his clerics are called. He is known as the watchful protector, the priceless gem, the father of all Gnomes, the sparkling wit, and the Joker (the good kind). Yes, even Gnomes’ deity is a notorious prankster so much so that Gnomes shrug of a married couple breaking up since they believe the love between the two- no matter how long and committed it was- was a prank by Garl.
Speaking of marriage, Gnomes tend to be extravagant in their ways of celebration. A single event lasting for a week or more. Additionally, they also have a love for gems, especially rubies, but they aren’t greedy or devious. They just enjoy large celebrations and luxury items in good faith.
All Gnomes can speak Common and Gnomish but some are capable of speaking Dwarvish, Halfling, Goblin, and Yipyak. Others are even capable of speaking with burrowing mammals.
The other Gnomes:
Forest and Deep Gnomes are pretty much the opposite, preferring to be away from others apart from their kind and kin. Deep Gnomes live in the deep underground, never seeing the sun. interacting with gray dwarves and other beings of the deep and dark but, surprisingly, are considered neutral good. It is unknown how these Gnomes ended up far from the surface.
This is due to the lack of records of their history, culture, tradition, and such since they want to keep themselves as hidden as possible- apart from business purposes. The only race they would entirely avoid interacting with are drows. Most records of Deep Gnome history depict how they’ve abandoned their cities and homes due to invaders and drows enslaving them. They weren’t as lucky as their Rock Gnome cousins where most of their kind escaped bondage. Any deep Gnome that managed to escape settled in Mithral Hall and Silverymoon, where they built homes protected with an invisibility spell
Unlike Rock Gnomes, Deep Gnomes felt abandoned by Garl Glittergold and feel a closer tie to the neutral good Gnome deity of earth and nature, Segojan Earthcaller. Because of the rivalry between Segojan and Urdlen, the crawler below and deity of bloodlust, murder, greed, evil, war, and death, Deep Gnomes strongly disapprove of taking more than you should. They believe Urdlen sets up a trap with gems to catch any who dare to be greedy. Despite their fear, they also respect Urdlen for keeping them on their toes
Forest Gnomes, on the other hand, are very primitive and keep their homes in trees. They are very good at hiding their whereabouts. So much so that you wouldn’t know you’re just a few feet away from a Forest Gnome. Unlike their cousins, they have a strong sense of tradition with magic and religion. They’re a bit like dwarves, conservative, family-oriented, focused on their craft, and religious.
Like Deep Gnomes, they worship Segojan Earthcaller as they are more in touch with nature and the earth. They also worship Baervan Wildwanderer, known to be the protector of the land they dwell in and the deity of nature. They too have a similar fear of Uldren but do not possess the same respect Deep Gnomes do for the deity. They too do not have many records on their history but it is said they are the mysterious protectors of the forests and their inhabitants. From fires to overlogging, to any kind of extreme destruction.
Despite the differences of each Gnome kind, they do share one crucial thing in common apart from not being greedy. That is keeping themselves out of other people’s businesses or issues. For the most part, they’ll be involved when asked but they aren’t ones to gossip.
Although Gnomes are very open and friendly towards other races, they may be somewhat wary of beings bigger than they are such as humans, elves, and the like. Strangely, they move to cities and work in mixed environments to purposely be uncomfortable. Suppose everyone has their thrills. They’re pretty in demand as gem cutters, blacksmiths, sages, teachers, engineers, and the like.
Dwarves have a special place in Gnomes’ hearts and homes, the same goes for dwarves. Both believe they are distant cousins that came from one race. Apart from them and their kins, Gnomes also have a love for those close to them regardless of race. Heck, even their pets are treated as family rather than just a means for the hunt. They mostly keep badgers, giant badgers, and wolverines around.
There are races Gnomes aren’t open to interacting such as formodians, giants, and drows. Less due to size difference, more due to history of colonization, genocide, and slavery. Then there’s the goblins and kobolds that they may somewhat tolerate but are likely to buttheads with them.