Monday, July 1, 2013

Monster Monday: Gnomes of the Black Giant

Many fantasy settings envision gnomes as friendly, small woodland creatures at home among the roots of trees, trading in illusions and acting as a bit of ill-considered self-possessed comedy relief that then proceed to while away hours in pointless conversation with a star-nosed mole.

If only these fantasists knew the truth of gnomes, they'd cringe and recant the lies they spread, thinking they were nothing but harmless children's tales. For gnomes, you see, real gnomes, are the bastard children of the Black Giant, living, malefic stone arisen from where the roots of the Black Giant spread, foul creatures of greed and jealousy incarnate. Gnomes' bodies are living rock and they pass through the stone of the earth and the mountains as easily as a man passes through air, which they do in search of ores and gems which they prize above all else. In this endeavor, they are rivals of the dwarves - who turn those ores and gems into priceless treasures - and the kobolds - who nourish themselves by consuming those same valuables. Gnomes, however, neither build with nor eat the fruits of the earth; instead, gnomes collect them in the vaults of the Gnome King, who jealously guards them in preparation for the day when his father, the Black Giant, wakes, when they will gird him in their collected silver and gold, garnets and moon stones, to armor him against endeavors of Man and Law. 

Gnomes are treacherous and diabolic villains, caring not for the well being of mortal races, nor considering them good for anything that gnomes can trick, cajole or steal from them. Born as they are of the flesh of the mountain, most bladed weapons do little to harm gnomes, doing only half damage to them (magic and bludgeoning weapons as well as firearms do full damage). Gnomes, as mentioned above, may pass freely through stone, and so will readily retreat if presented with a credible threat; similarly, they'll use their bizarre mobility to their advantage in combat. If a gnome hits an opponent with both of his claw attacks, he attempts to drag his opponent into the stone with him; the opponent must save vs. Gaze or begin to suffocate as if he were drowning. 

For every five gnomes, a warren of gnomes will include a larger, stronger gnome huscarl of 3d8 hit points. For every five gnome huscarl, a group of gnomes will include one 5d8 hit point chieftan. The chief of all gnome chieftans is the Gnome King, an 11d8 hit point monstrosity who rules a vast vault at the foot of the Black Giant himself. Gnomes lack all sorcerous ability, and are incapable of using any form of magic whatsoever; magic items, when found, are typically misunderstood by the gnomes as being mere trinkets. These "trinkets" are usually given into the care of chieftans (who in turn will pay a tithe to the Gnome King), each of whom maintains a small gallery of such ornaments (although most really are just trinkets). 

AC: 5 (natural; half damage from bladed weapons and non-firearm projectiles; full damage from firearms, bludgeons and magic weapons)
HD: 2d8
Attacks: 2 claw (plus suffocation)
Damage: 1d3/1d3/special
Dexterity: 9
Move: 15
Alignment: Chaotic (3 CE : 1 N)
Treasure: 50 (15)

[Edit] For purposes of game effects, gnomes are to be considered elementals.