Forest gnomes and rock gnomes are the gnomes most commonly encountered in the lands of the surface world. There is another subrace of gnomes rarely seen by any surface-dweller: deep gnomes, also known as svirfneblin. Guarded, and suspicious of outsiders, svirfneblin are cunning and taciturn, but can be just as kind-hearted, loyal, and compassionate as their surface cousins.
Born of Deep Earth Edit
Svirfneblin seem more like creatures of stone than flesh. Their leathery skin is usually a gray, brown, or dun hue that acts as a natural camouflage with the rock around them. Their bodies are gnarled with hard muscle or fat, and they are heavier than their small stature suggests; svirfneblin often weigh 100 pounds or more but rarely stand much more than 3 feet tall. Male svirfneblin are bald from early childhood, although adults can grow stiff beards or mustaches. Females have full heads of hair, and they usually tie their hair back in braids or cut it short to keep it from getting in their way as they work. Svirfneblin are well adapted for their subterranean existence. They have excellent darkvision, and many of them have magical talents that rival the innate spellcasting of the drow and duergar. They are surprisingly strong for their size, enduring toil and danger that would overwhelm most other people.
Master Miners Edit
Despite their guarded natures, svirfneblin aren’t joyless. They admire skillful work and delicate craftsmanship, just like any other gnome. Svirfneblin love gemstones of all kinds, and they boldly seek out precious stones in the deepest and darkest tunnels. They are also expert gemcutters and miners, and they prize rubies above all other gemstones.
Deep Dwellers Edit
Svirfneblin are known as deep gnomes because they choose to live far below the earth’s surface. Most svirfneblin never see the light of day. Their homes are well-hidden strongholds concealed by mazelike passages and clever illusions. Vast networks of mine tunnels ring most svirfneblin settlements, guarded by deadly traps and concealed sentries. Once a traveler passes through the outer defenses, the tunnels open up into marvelous cavern-towns carved from the surrounding rock with exquisite care. The svirfneblin are austere in their comforts compared to their surface cousins, but they take great pride in their stonework. Deep gnomes do their best to remain hidden. Even if surface travelers succeed in locating a svirfneblin community, winning their trust can be even more difficult. Those rare travelers who do succeed in befriending deep gnomes find that they are loyal and courageous allies against any foes.
Scouts and Spies Edit
Surface-dwelling gnomes often take up the adventurer’s life out of sheer curiosity about the world around them, eager to see new things and meet new people. By comparison, most svirfneblin possess very little wanderlust and rarely travel far from home. They see the surface world as a bewildering place without boundaries and filled with unknown dangers. Nevertheless, a few svirfneblin understand that it is necessary to know something about what is happening on the surface near their hidden refuges. As a result, some svirfneblin become scouts, spies, or messengers who venture abroad, doing their best to avoid attention. These travelers are notoriously close-mouthed about where they come from and what they are up to, but a few eventually learn to trust good-hearted people of the surface world. A few svirfneblin become merchants who deal with other races both above and below ground. Drow, duergar, and other peoples know that svirfneblin are usually neutral in outlook and typically honest in their dealings. Serving as middlemen between races too hostile to deal with each other directly can be lucrative, and it serves an important defensive function; svirfneblin middlemen tend to know more about rumors and threats between rival merchants than anybody else.
Deep Gnome Names Edit
Svirfneblin prefer less flamboyant names than their rock gnome or forest gnome cousins. Clan names reflect skills or occupations that a particular family is associated with, and sometimes change if a noteworthy individual strikes out in a new direction.
Male Names: Belwar, Brickers, Durthmeck, Firble, Krieger, Kronthud, Schneltheck, Schnicktick, Thulwar, Walschud
Female Names: Beliss, Durthee, Fricknarti, Ivridda, Krivi, Lulthiss, Nalvarti, Schnella, Thulmarra, Wirsidda
Clan Names: Crystalfist, Gemcutter, Ironfoot, Rockhewer, Seamfinder, Stonecutter
Deep Gnome Traits Edit
When you create a gnome character, you may choose the deep gnome as an alternative to the subraces in the Player’s Handbook. For your convenience, the traits of the gnome and the deep gnome are combined here.
Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and your Dexterity score increases by 1.
Age. Deep gnomes are short-lived for gnomes. They mature at the same rate humans do and are considered full-grown adults by 25. They live 200 to 250 years, although hard toil and the dangers of the Underdark often claim them before their time.
Alignment. Svirfneblin believe that survival depends on avoiding entanglements with other creatures and not making enemies, so they favor neutral alignments. They rarely wish others ill, and they are unlikely to take risks on behalf of others.
Size. A typical svirfneblin stands about 3 to 3½ feet tall and weighs 80 to 120 pounds. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Superior Darkvision. Your darkvision has a radius of 120 feet.
Gnome Cunning. You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magic.
Stone Camouflage. You have advantage on Dexterity (stealth) checks to hide in rocky terrain.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Gnomish, and Undercommon. The svirfneblin dialect is more guttural than surface Gnomish, and most svirfneblin know only a little bit of Common, but those who deal with outsiders (and that includes you as an adventurer) pick up enough Common to get by in other lands.
Optional Feat Edit
If your DM allows the use of feats your deep gnome character has access to the following special feat.
Svirfneblin Magic Edit
Prerequisite: Gnome (deep gnome) You have inherited the innate spellcasting ability of your ancestors. This ability allows you to cast nondetection on yourself at will, without needing a material component. You can also cast each of the following spells once with this ability: blindness/deafness, blur, and disguise self. You regain the ability to cast these spells when you finish a long rest.
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells, and you cast them at their lowest possible levels.