On the History, Abilities, and Lifestyles of Gnomes - A Field Guide by Gerald the Durable (Condensed Edition) by Gerald the Durable, edited by Moore the Dexterous.
Gerald the Durable was a human who dedicated his life to cataloging the races of the world. His works are 50+ years old, but are still commonly cited to this day as an analysis of the culture of and surrounding various races, albeit embellished and exaggerated at times and having a “stream-of-consciousness” quality due to a lack of editing. These are the most coherent excerpts of his work, “On The History, Abilities, and Lifestyles of Gnomes”.
It is well known that Gnomes live in small and highly secluded groups, leaving them unknown with the general public. Ancient scholars have mused upon the Gnomish condition, coming up with such commonly accepted theories such as “Gnomes suck”. Granted, Gnomes do suck, however, they may not “suck” as much as some may think.
Ancient texts by an unknown, presumably mediocre scholar refer to “Gnome Hunters”. These legions would hunt Gnomes due to their racial presumptions of a potential “Gnomish Takeover”. Though the term has been mostly reclaimed by Gnomes, it still is a sensitive topic for some due to it being used as a pretense for the slaughtering of the race. The same scholar also describes a legendary dexterity, allowing them to “finely manipulate tools so that they do not wear”, but only occasionally. This trait is no longer seen in Gnomes and it is believed by modern scientists that this is simply a pseudoscientifical explanation for their luck-based abilities.
Gnomes are known as “quick little buggers” by just about everyone. Others call them “greasy weasels” and other, more unprintable terms. These names have roots in their two main abilities: Swiftness and Luck.
Swiftness is their first ability. They may have short torsos, but they compensate by having longer legs. Their long legs lend lengthier strides to their running, allowing them to quickly escape danger. Their second ability, on the other hand, is less biological and more cosmic: their luck. Though it has been poor in historical accounts, the universe has taken pity on the poor Gnomes and has given them uncanny abilities, ranging from the extraction of rare resources from battle to greater gambling abilities.
The Gnomish Lifestyle
As stated previously, Gnomes live in small and highly secluded groups. Their dwellings typically are ancient ruins, some withstanding the sands of time and outliving the civilizations that created them. These ruins are often civilian in nature, but oral records maintained by Gnomish curators speak of ancient military sites being inhabited, even having functional ancient weapons in some of them. Only the Gods would know what a “double-A encampment” is, though.
The territory of handling ancient ruins has lead to the veneration of those who are able to be the most careful with their artifacts and homesteads, perhaps lending credence to the ancient myth of “legendary dexterity”. Some ancient Gnomish tribes have even taken to worshipping the most dexterous Gnome in history, believing a figure named “Callahan” to be a God in Gnomish form, sent to archive but killed by Gnome Hunters.