HD&D: The Gnome

Not to be outdone, Daniel has now finished his first draft of the HD&D gnome. Sadly, I don’t have chance to add my comments right away today, I’ll post to the comments thread in due course. That said, I will let Daniel speak for himself:

The HD&D Gnome

 Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the Gnome.  A creature of great variety and potential.  Full of contradictions, yet unquestionably Gnomish in all that they do.  Gnomes are beings tied to the natural, magical and manufactured worlds all at the same time. 

Gnomes have an instinctive and humble understanding of the natural world, yet they are also highly intellectual and inquisitive, gathering wild theories and obscure knowledge wherever they can find it.  They can become great masters of Wizardry or can use their innate magic as a simple plaything.  Gnomes are great artists and artisans and love to create physical objects of beauty, usefulness and ingenuity.  They are driven by a constant sense of wonder at the world around them – what it is now and what they can make from it.

This is a first draft of course.  I’ve got plenty more ideas for Gnomes but this is clearly enough for now.  Most of the ideas are from third edition, with a smattering of 2nd and 4th and few from my own brain.  Seal the Breach and it’s derivatives form the base of a prestige class ( the Breach Gnome from Races of Faerun) and could be used as such again.  Anyway, let me know what you think.

Forest Gnome (Stonebark)

Average Height: 3’-3’6”
Average Weight: 40-45lbs

Ability Scores: +2 to Con and Int
Size: Small
Speed: 25 feet
Vision: Low-light

Unarmed Attack: Punch or Kick (Strength)
Unarmed Damage: 1d4 + Strength Modifier

Languages/Scripts: Any four
Skills: +2 to Perception and Stealth
Defence: +1 to Fortitude

Rock Gnome (Five Colour Kingdom)

Average Height: 3’-3’6”
Average Weight: 40-45lbs

Ability Scores: +2 to Con and Int
Size: Small
Speed: 25 feet
Vision: Low-light

Unarmed Attack: Punch or Kick (Strength)
Unarmed Damage: 1d4 + Strength Modifier

Languages/Scripts: Any four
Skills: +2 to Craft and Alchemy
Defence: +1 to Fortitude

Tinker Gnome (Walhoon)

Average Height: 3’-3’6”
Average Weight: 40-45lbs

Ability Scores: +2 to Con and Int
Size: Small
Speed: 25 feet
Vision: Low-light

Unarmed Attack: Punch or Kick (Strength)
Unarmed Damage: 1d4 + Strength Modifier

Languages/Scripts: Any four
Skills: +2 to Craft and Disable Device
Defence: +1 to Fortitude

Racial Traits

Natural Trickster
Magic runs through your blood and you can create minor magical effects with consummate ease
Standard Action | Magical
Prerequisite:
Gnome
Area of Effect: Personal or target
Effect:  You can use the spells Prestidigitation, Ghost Sound and Dancing Lights once each per day, as a spernatural ability.

Animal Friend
You have a close affinity with the small animals which share your home
Continuous Effect | Mundane
Prerequisite:
Gnome
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: You gain a +2 bonus to Handle Animal checks and can speak the language of small burrowing mammals.

Racial Talents

Master of Illusions
Arcane trickery and obfuscation come naturally to you giving you a deep understanding of the nature of illusions.
Continuous Effect | Mundane
No Action
Prerequisite: Gnome
Area of effect: Personal or target
Effect:  You gain a +2 bonus to spellcraft rolls when using Illusion spells and a +2 bonus to your Will defence against the Illusions of others.
Gnomish Resolve: You gain 2 additional hit points when you choose this talent.

Obsessive Tinkerer
Your expertise in the crafts is unmatched but you can’t resist tinkering with your creations
Continuous Effect | Mundane
Prerequisite: Gnome
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: Artistry and artisanship go hand in hand for Gnome craftsmen.  A Gnome’s industrious nature is revealed best when they are given free reign to express themselves in their creations.  When using a Craft skill to build either a mundane or magic item, you may add 10% to the cost of the base materials, as you can’t resist adding extra materials to the item.   These extras are superfluous, decorative or overcomplicated additions that do not increase the practical uses of the item and include such things as gemstones worked into the base material, fine carving in exotic woods or unnecessarily complicated clockworks or hydraulics.  These alterations add 10% to the finished value of the item, and the crafting takes only 75% of the time normally required to build the item.
Gnomish Resolve: You gain 2 additional hit points when you choose this talent.

Protector of the Burrows
You have trained long and hard to protect the Gnomish homelands from their traditional enemies.
Continuous Effect | Mundane
Prerequisite:
Gnome
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: You gain a +2 morale bonus to weapon skill rolls against Kobolds and Goblinoids.
Gnomish Resolve: You gain 2 additional hit points when you choose this talent.

Spirit of the Woods
You are kin to the woodland fey and one with the boundless forests.
Continuous Effect or Recharge | Mundane + Magical
No Action or Standard Action
Prerequisite: Forest Gnome
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: Your racial bonus to Stealth increases by a further +2 when in woodland (i.e. from +2 to +4).  You may use the spell Pass Without Trace, on yourself only, once per short rest as a spell-like ability.
Gnomish Resolve: You gain 2 additional hit points when you choose this talent.

Trivial Knowledge
You are deeply inquisitive and have gained a vast knowledge of obscure and miscellaneous lore.
Recharge – long rest | Mundane
Prerequisite: Gnome
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: Once a day, when you make a Knowledge skill or Bardic Knowledge check you may roll twice and choose the highest roll.
Gnomish Resolve: You gain 2 additional hit points when you choose this talent.

Seal The Breach
You are a protector of the Gnomish community and are highly skilled at defending the tunnels that criss-cross Gnome burrows.
Continuous Effect | Mundane
No Action
Prerequisite: Gnome, level 11
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: You gain a +2 dodge bonus to Reflex Defence when you are adjacent to at least one solid vertical surface (a wall, tree, wagon etc).  When adjacent to two such surfaces, the bonus increases to +4.
Gnomish Resolve: You gain 2 additional hit points when you choose this talent.

Racial Feats

Dodge Giants
A history of enmity with the giantish races has given you the happy knack of avoiding the attacks of larger foes.
Continuous Effect | Mundane
No Action
Prerequisite: Dwarf or Gnome
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: You gain a +2 racial bonus to Reflex Defence against the attacks of Large or larger foes.

Compulsive Recycler
You always have spare parts and raw materials lying around, ready to be put to better use in new and unusual ways.
Continuous Effect | Mundane
Prerequisite: Gnome; Obsessive Tinkerer talent
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: Whenever you use the Obsessive Tinkerer talent you do not have to pay the extra 10% to your costs as you already have enough spare parts to improve the item you are building.  Its sale value is still increased by 10%.

Foe-Killer
You have decided that attack is the best form of defence and have focussed your combat training on killing as many of your traditional enemies as possible
Continuous Effect | Mundane
Prerequisite: Gnome, Protector of the Burrows talent.
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: You gain a +2 morale bonus to damage whenever you hit a Kobold or Goblinoid with a weapon attack.

Insidious Illusions
Your illusions are so convincing that even magical means may not reveal them.
Continuous Effect | Magical
Prerequisite: Gnome, level 11, Master of Illusions talent
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: When your illusions are targeted or come within the area of effect of a divination that may reveal them to be an illusion, such as Detect Magic, Detect Invisibility or True Seeing, the caster of the divination must succeed at an opposed Spellcraft roll in order to detect anything magical or illusory.

The Immovable Object
When you set yourself to defend your people, you will not be moved from that duty.
Continuous Effect | Mundane
Prerequisite: Gnome, level 11, Seal the Breach talent
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: Whenever you gain the Reflex Defence bonus from your Seal the Breach talent, you gain a +5 bonus to any attack that might try to move you or knock you over.  This includes bulrush, overrun or trip attempts as well as spells such as Gust of Wind.

None Shall Pass
You become a living barrier, protecting those whom you have vowed to protect.
Continuous Effect | Mundane
Prerequisite: Gnome, level 11, Seal the Breach talent
Area of Effect: reach
Effect: You gain a +2 morale bonus to hit any creature that attempts to move through your threatened area.  In addition, any tumble attempts to move through your threatened area receive a penalty of +10 to their DCs.

Furious Industry
You love of craftsmanship is all consuming and when you set yourself a task you will not stop until you finish it.
Continuous Effect | Mundane
Prerequisite: Gnome; Obsessive Tinkerer talent
Area of Effect: Personal
Effect: When you use your Obsessive Tinkerer talent to enhance an item the time it takes to complete the item is reduced to 50% rather than 75% of the normal time.

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5 thoughts on “HD&D: The Gnome

  1. I have to say that in all my time playing D&D I have never once been tempted to play a gnome. Well, that’s not true. I did play a gnomish archaeologist years ago, but that was largely so I could call him “Indiana Gnome”. He didn’t really fit into Ravenloft. However, I think that gnomes have the potential to be a desirable race, particularly the Walhoonians. Now, let me rip apart everything you’ve written…

    The Sub-Races

    You begin with dividing the gnome into the three subraces (Forest, Rock and Tinker) but there’s no mechanics to differentiate them. If all we can come up with is that the three gnomish races get racial bonuses to different skills, then we need to consider whether the gnome really needs to be divided into subraces at all.

    Personally, I think they could be made very different. The Forest Gnomes are the stealthy tree-huggers, the Rock Gnomes are the avaricious illusionists and the Tinkers are the scientists and inventors. From that starting point we could assign different ability score modifiers, skill modifiers and even Defence bonuses.

    I remember the points you raised regarding the HD&D Elf, and I recall you weren’t too keen on sub-races then. You and I have different approaches, so the question is which way to we go? Do we make the races physically and statistically identical, and allow “sub race” specialisation by way of feats and talents? My observation here is that some races really need the choice between more than two racial traits. Whatever way we choose, we should be consistant about it.

    Racial Traits

    Animal Friend is a given, and I would have been surprised not to see it. We need to be careful about giving out extra skill bonuses if we can avoid them, and particularly wary if a racial trait gives a bonus that can stack with an Ability Score bonus. That’s not the case here, though.

    Natural Trickster is also fine, although it seems a bit stingy. I can’t imagine that giving all gnomes Prestidigation, Dancing Lights and Ghost Sound as at-will abilities is going to break the game. The problem here of course is that any gnome that enters a spellcasting class will be able to cast a whole host of cantrips at-will, including these three. You make them a little more desirable by making them Supernatural rather than Magical abilities. However, if I was playing a gnome illusionist I might think this was a bit of a waste of a trait, as it was giving me something I could do anyway.

    This is generally why in HD&D, as with my third edition house rules, giving a character an ability to cast ‘x’ spell a certain number of times per day isn’t very desirable. It’s okay if the character isn’t a spellcaster but if he is (and most rock gnomes will be) then it becomes less useful.

    Which is why I think that multiple racial traits could be the way to go. This trait could be for gnomes who aren’t going to be spellcasters. Spellcasting gnomes don’t need it, so they could take something else. This is also highlights the problem of supporting multiple subraces from a small number of racial traits.

    Animal Friend works well for Forest Gnomes, but not Rock Gnomes. Natural Trickster works well for Rock Gnomes, but not Forest Gnomes. And neither trait applies particularly well to Tinkers. We probably need to broaden this area. Dinosaur Wrangling is a good trait for Walhoonian gnomes – there must be plenty of stuff regarding that in the Eberron setting.

    Racial Talents

    If I was to make a general comment on the racial talent is that I don’t think they have enough oompf. Graham has just sent me some alternative powers for dwarves, and I think much the same thing. Does this say something about me? Am I inclined to make the powers and abilties granted by talents and feats too good? Something for use all to think about.

    Master of Illusions is a solid talent. There absolutely has to be something like this in the list of a gnome’s options. However, I am wary about handing out additional bonuses to skills if we can avoid them. At the moment, skills are dependent upon your ranks (half your level), your ability score, the skill focus feat and the +2 racial bonus. There might be some powers, spells or items that grant temporary bonuses in special circumstances, but there’s nothing that grants a persistant bonus. I would be happy to leave things like that.

    The more bonuses characters can accrue from various sources, the higher the skill. If it gets too high, then the game breaks.

    As opposed to giving a bonus, I’m all for giving a reroll. Gnomes could roll twice every time they make a Spellcraft check to cast an illusion spell, and take the higher result. Statistically this is an effective +5 (I am told) but the gnome still can’t achieve a DC that is too high for his level.

    Circumstantial bonuses to saving throws/defences are easier to deal with. In game, the gnome will be throwing illusion magic around far more often than he’ll be trying to resist it. Should this be a +2 bonus, or is that too low? Dwarves have a +5 against poison, should gnomes have +5 against illusions?

    But does that make the talent too powerful. Could you devolve the +5 against illusions to an additional Racial Trait, and then just have this talent offer the reroll chance?

    Obsessive Tinkerer and the accompanying feats Compulsive Recycler and Furious Industry all assume a mechanics for the Craft skill that may or may not exist in HD&D. I like the talent in principle, and think we should include something like it. Chances are that may wind up working slightly differently, but that won’t be your fault.

    Now we come onto xenophobic hatred of other races – a big thing in all editions of D&D. Protector of the Burrows gives gnomes a +2 to hit their traditional enemies: goblins and kobolds. Hmmmm.

    The decision to make here is whether this is really a talent, or more appropriate as a racial trait, or a feat. It’s a useful bonus to be sure, but it is highly circumstantial. I don’t think it holds its own with talents.

    Presumably, at some point in the future, the ranger’s Favoured Enemy is going to be a talent. At that point we may want to look at employing the same mechanics to this type of racial talent. Maybe the bonus is to hit, damage, tracking, knowledge and all sorts of other things. That might make it more worthwhile.

    Spirit of the Woods is intended to create an elusive Sylvan gnome that no-one can find. This is definitely in the spirit of the Forest Gnome. Does it work? Well, maybe Pass Without Trace as a continuously active ability (although only in woodland settings) might be more appropriate. I wouldn’t add anything else to the Stealth bonus, but you could have a reroll mechanic instead. The talent gives two bonuses, but both only really apply in the woods, which seems balancing enough. Forest gnome rangers are going to be elusive little buggers, aren’t they?

    As an aside, the fourth edition PHB2 reveals the Fade Away encounter power: when a gnome takes damage he turns invisible until the end of his next turn. Highly appropriate for Rock Gnomes. Definitely worth turning into a talent.

    Trivial Knowledge seems a very good talent for Tinker gnomes, although it probably has more mechanical application for gnome bards. I’m not sure about this one. Make one reroll once per day doesn’t strike me as very powerful. Rerolling every knowledge or bardic knowledge check is very powerful. You know, I might adapt this to reroll the bardic check at will, and make it a class talent for the bard. That would make it available to all races.

    Seal the Breach has the disadvantage of using the word “adjacent”. I seem to be programmed to think of fourth edition and miniatures every time I see that word. However, along with None Shall Pass and The Immovable Object this makes a fair stab at recapturing third edition’s Breachgnome prestige class.

    However, HD&D probably isn’t going to have a threatened area. Opportunity Attacks will be limited to extra attacks against someone you’re already in melee combat with, if they try something stupid. Running past someone won’t provoke an opportunity attack per se.

    So the Breachgnome’s powers of plugging a hole and making sure no-one gets past him, need to be focused differently. My suggestion is that Seal the Breach should work a little like a combination of the Dwarven Defender prestige class and the Large and in Charge feat from third edition.

    While in a breach, the gnome gets his boost to Reflex Defence. He should also get a special ability to make an opportunity attack at anyone who tries to bull-rush, over-run or vault over him. If that attack succeeds, then the target is knocked back and doesn’t pass. This might also be accompanied with a bonus to hit while defending the breach.

    I’m not sure the exact combination of talents and feats that would take. Maybe one talent for all the abilities and then a couple of feats to directly improve upon them?

    Racial Feats

    I’m covered most of these all ready. To look at the one I haven’t mentioned so far: Insidious Illusions is an excellent feat. I’m not sure about the mechanics, but then I’m not sure about any of the mechanics around spellcasting at the moment.

    And that about wraps it up. All told, there’s a lot of good ideas in there. My opinion is that some talents could become Racial Traits without downgrading their effects much. I also think some other talents could do with a little more power. However, as you said, definite food for thougth about the gnome.

  2. Thanks for the critique. Some interesting points, some of which I agree with and others not.

    Before going in to specifics, I think that there are some fundamental differences with the way we are looking at this game. The key appears to be in the variety of, and specialism of, the mechanics. My instinct is to have a few broad mechanics and then allow for specialisms developing from those, whereas you have posited a great variety of base options that can then be specialised further. I’m thinking about sub-races, narrowly focussed classes (there’s that Mariner again!) and highly specialised talents and traits.

    My instinct is not to diverge the sub-races too much from one another, as they quickly become separate races altogether. You could easily have one base Gnome template and then allow talents to differentiate the various Gnomish cultures. If you make the sub-races all radically different from the start, will they all still be Gnomes?

    On the same lines, you suggest Dinosaur wrangling as a good racial trait for Walhoonians. What makes Dinosaur wrangling any different from dealing with any other animal? It’s a cultural identifier for Walhoonians and could lead to some interesting, highly focussed talents or Dino-riding prestige classes, but at its core is it a separate skill to the regular handle animal and ride skills? I don’t think so (and neither does Eberron).

    I think that you run the risk of creating very narrowly focussed characters, races and classes. The problem this causes, is that your character becomes more defined by their abilities than by your interpretation of their abilities. In second edition, you had to work hard to create an interesting and three dimensional character out of the blank slate character classes and races. In fourth edition, your PC is basically a list of powers that are so clearly defined that you don’t have to think about what they might mean to you. It’s already decided for you. The illusion of choice steals creativity from the game, in my opinion. I would be much happier with a feat that gave some kind of bonus (or re-roll or whatever) to Handle Animal and Ride which could then be used by a Junosian caravanner, a Norandon knight or a Walhoonian dinosaur wrangler at the players inclination, than three such feats that catered specifically to those different types of characters.

    Of course, you may disagree with all that. I don’t think we’ve gone too far down the extreme proliferation route yet, I just think we should be careful. The game is looking more and more like fourth edition, particularly when we talk about talents and traits and that worries me a little. Now, on to the specifics.

    Subraces

    I’m happy with them as they are, but I can see that we could make them a bit more different. Forest Gnomes could have bonuses to Con and Dex; Rock Gnomes to Con and Int and Tinkers to Int and Cha maybe? I’m yet to be convinced on this as I think a Gnome is a Gnome and the differences are mainly cultural (as represented by talents and feats) but I’m open to persuasion.

    Racial Traits

    I take your point on Natural Trickster. It’s not useful to a spellcaster in this system. What if they were bonus spells that the caster didn’t have to learn but could be used just like their normal spells? You could maybe chuck a first level illusion spell of the players choice in there too.

    I think both traits are suitable for all types of Gnomes. Rock Gnomes have always had close ties to nature as I mentioned in my introductory spiel. Their love of animals is almost as defining a characteristic as their skill with illusions. Also, Natural Trickster is definitely appropriate for Forest Gnomes. Why would they not use minor illusions? It’s completely in keeping for sylvan fey creatures. If Walhoonians don’t use these traits, are they really Gnomes at all or should they be a separate race like the Svirfneblin? To me, these are the key features of Gnomes. If you think more traits are appropriate, I wouldn’t want more than one extra. As a player of a Rock Gnome, I would want to have both of these traits and wouldn’t necessarily want to have to use a feat to pick up others if I thought the were crucial to the race. It’s the same problem I mentioned regarding Elves. I wouldn’t want an Elf to feel less Elvish than, say, a third edition Elf, because I couldn’t afford all the traits. I think that if anything could become a trait, it’s the +5 to defences against illusions that you suggest. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

    Talents and Feats

    I see your point about too many bonuses to skills unbalancing the game. The re-roll seems pretty powerful but I’m not going to pretend to understand the maths. Anything that I’ve given a bonus to could instead be a re-roll if that becomes the preferred mechanic. The idea of a re-roll smacks a bit of board games and war games to me but if it’s the best way of doing things then that’s fair enough.

    I’m happy with your changes to Master of Illusions (reservations about traits aside) and Spirit of the Woods. On the topic of the Fade Away power, I was considering something like that – some kind of super fast hiding power maybe – but as written I hate the Fourth Edition power. All this moving, teleporting and turning invisible as an immediate reaction is nonsense in my book.

    I always thought the Breachgnome would have to be seriously amended to reflect the final combat rules. I like the idea but will happily change all the mechanics when there’s something to base it on.

    Tying Protector of the Burrows to the Ranger’s Favoured Enemy talent seems fine to me. What happens when a Gnome Ranger takes Goblins as a Favoured Enemy though? In third edition the bonuses complement each other. If we use the same ability for Gnomes and Rangers in this system, will they stack with each other?

  3. You see, the reason I’m not doing this on my own is that I need someone to check my youthful exuberance. You are right to be cautious. Less is almost always more. We must be careful of proliferation if only because we’re the poor buggers who have to come up with all the different ideas.

    However, if there’s a mantra we need to remember in this process is that HD&D should be “third edition that works”. There’s need to be a certain amount of options out there, but not so many options that characters are overwhelmed. Things were a lot simpler in second edition, but I think it was a little too simple. There’s a line here, somewhere.

    My general point with the subraces was that if they’re going to be that similar, we may as well not have them at all. We could just as easily present elves and gnomes as one race with different options for skills, defences and so on.

    It all depends on whether we say “a gnome is a gnome” or whether we think that the sub-races deserve to have more a difference between them. Perhaps your approach is better. Drow, Derro, Svirfneblin, Duergar, Sea Elves, Avariel and the like are all legitimate sub-races because they have physical differences. If the differences are cultural then perhaps we shouldn’t go down the subrace route. It would make things easier.

    However, subraces (by their nature) do have well defined personalities and racial cliches. I think it’s a appropriate to introduce a selection of Racial Traits, and not expect all members of all races to have them all.

    Onto some specifics.

    The trouble with Natural Trickster just giving a gnome spellcaster extra cantrips is that, eventually, that benefit will disappear. As the gnome gains levels and learns more spells anyway, he can easily learn these cantrips for free and with very little inconvenience to himself. At that point, it feels like a wasted trait. It only remains vital and interesting if the gnome isn’t a spellcaster.

    Basically, the way the maths work I assume that someone who focuses on a skill has maximum ranks (half his level) + an ability score modifier of 18 at first level that increases at every conceivable opportunity as the character advances.

    That’s the base line. I don’t bother to factor in the racial bonus, or the skill focus feat. I reason that some characters will start with stats less than 18, and also that there still needs to be a way in the system for characters to have an edge. A dwarf with a skill focus in Axes is +8 to hit over and above another character by 30th level.

    If we introduce any futher bonuses to skill rolls, I think they have to be circumstantial. +2 or +5 in a particular circumstance is probably fine. But if it applies all the time, then we get into the problem of PCs always being about to hit the DC of level-appropriate challenges. Which would be unfortunate, because we’d just be duplicating the same mistakes as third edition.

    I don’t know if the reroll will be any better, and I don’t understand the maths either (I’m taking it on faith for some messageboards I have been reading). However, I think it’s worth testing it. We know what it won’t do: it won’t let the PC roll higher than he should be able to.

    Rather than calling it a reroll, we could just say that you roll twice and take the higher result. That’s probably less board gamey.

    I don’t think that Protector of the Burrows would stack with a Ranger’s Favoured Enemy, it would just work the same way. Non-ranger gnomes could then have a very appropriate ability without having to multiclass into ranger, and gnome rangers wouldn’t need to take the racial talent as the class one would supercede it.

  4. I agree that we want to have a workable version of Third Edition as a basis for HD&D. I am in no way suggesting a return to Second Edition. I’d rather play second than fourth, though, which is quite a condemnation of the new game. Keep things simple. It encourages in-game creativity.

    I’m sold on the idea of keeping bonuses down to a minimum and re-rolls or double rolls seem worth a try. It was a problem with 3.5 and we don’t want it again.

    If Protector of the Burrows (and the Dwarven Homeland Defender) uses the same mechanic, but doesn’t stack with Favoured Enemy (and I’m quite happy for it not to) then it’s actually better than the Ranger ability as it’s two enemies for the price of one. Worth bearing in mind when designing the Ranger. Would Gnomish or Dwarvish Ranger’s bother with the Ranger ability unless they wanted to hunt and destroy other races (like Ogres)? Will improvements to Favoured Enemy improve Racial Talents? They probably should.

    I think Natural Trickster needs redeveloping. I do want all Gnomes to find a use for it. I might wait until Wizards are done though.

    The big issue is the sub-races. I’m happy to change the ability score bonuses (to be honest I didn’t realise that Elves had different bonuses). Depending on the ability score poll though, that might become irrelevant. I’m just not in favour or multiple racial traits though. The way I see traits, they are inherent characteristics of the race. Anything learned or cultural should be represented by skills, talents and feats. Graham’s Dwarf has reinforced this for me. Dinosaur wrangling is not something all Gnomes (or even most Walhoonians) will do. It’s a feat, not a trait. I’m beginning to think that Animal Friend might be better as a talent. The bonus to defence against illusions comes from training and is not intrinsic (like either Dwarvish defence) so should be a talent or feat too. Something like Natural Trickster should be the first trait and maybe something to do with big ears and noses should be the other. I think Elves could be abridged too. Closed Mind and Elven Reverie could easily be combined in to one trait. (I note that the other two Elf traits give +2 bonuses to various skills…)

    Feel free to disagree! I’d be interested to hear another opinion on this.

  5. I think we would have to word Favoured Enemy so that its power, utility and limitations were the same as Protector of the Burrows. However, I would expect that Gnome or Dwarf rangers would choose the racial talent over Favour Enemy, unless they wanted to be particularly xenophobic about another race (like ogres).

    The way I see Favoured Enemy is that each time you chose the talen you would select an enemy. Then as you advance in level, Favoured Enemy would improve. Protector of the Burrows would work that way as well.

    Regarding Racial Traits:

    I think we should be careful assuming that Racial Traits are limited limited to inherent, genetic abilities; and Racial Talents can only be learned abilities. Both can be either. Dragonbreath is inherent, and that’s a talent. I think if we pigeon hole traits as you seem to be suggesting, then we’ll tie our hands when it comes to race design.

    The thing that differentiates traits and talents is that traits aren’t as powerful. It’s an artificial distinction, but I think that works best for the purpose of character generation.

    This is also the main reason for me wanting to keep the door to multiple racial traits open. If we say that all races must have two racial traits, then we are placing unnecessarily limits on character generation. Sometimes a third or fourth trait will be appropriate. We shouldn’t deny ourselves the options. Which is not to say that the elf can’t be trimmed. Maybe it could be.

    Yes, the elf does grant +2 to some skills doesn’t it? I wrote this before I had properly made up my mind about rerolls. However, all the bonuses are to skills where versions of the elf have traditionally had bonuses in the past. And at no point do racial bonuses stack, so although the elf could enjoy +2 in a number of skills, there’s no way for him to get +4. That’s the more important distinction, I think.

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