Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
Highforge Gnomesby Joaquin Menchaca
1. History of Highforge
Centuries ago, the gnomes and their allies the Cynidicean Empire have barely escaped annihilation from the kobolds their minding controlling dark masters. Both Cynidicean Empire and the gnomish kingdom, located under what is today the hills and mountains of Soderfjord Jarldoms and Ylaruam. Some pockets of gnomes escaped annihilation through their own inventive genius, were able to escape extensive tunnels to a land with a red sun and elsewhere within Mystara. Many of the gnomes that made it to the surface built sky crafts and settled upon floating islands. There they developed their science of flight. One such community that survived settled within an abandoned colony of some great-unknown empire, called Traladara and later Karameikos. This land is largely untamed and undiscovered by most of the world at that time, which was a great advantage that allowed the gnomes to start over and rebuild their kingdom.
The Highforge community was established in secrecy from the dark masters. The gnomes traded mostly with elves and forest folk, and closely guarded their community against other races. Any other race that trespassed upon their area was immediately dispatched. This might be extreme, but given risk of complete genocide, this was a necessary evil.
The Highforge gnomes observed the dwarves in their fruitless mining expeditions into the harsh territory of Traladara. They did not expect the dwarves, but the dwarves were surprisingly resilient. They watched as the dwarves organise themselves against savage humanoids and form the Stronghollow clan. Slowly the gnomes established much needed trade for the dwarves, including some technological gizmos, and eventually came to trust the dwarves. The gnomes invited the dwarves to live within their community for mutual protection against the wild elements like savage humanoids and hideous monsters so prevalent in the land.
After a few centuries the gnomes flourished, and trade was established with distant communities like the flying city of Serraine. All gnomes displaced around Mystara were invited to live in Highforge. The gnomes carefully navigated below the land and established great subterranean communities.
The Highforge gnomes, with prodding from the Stronghollow dwarves, opened limited trade with the local Traladara communities. When the Thyatians conquered these regions, their existence remained a secret, as the Thyatians would dismiss their existence and fairy tales and superstitions of Traladarans. Once the Duke acquired these lands, built and patrolled the roads, the Highforge gnomes, again with strong encouragement from Stronghollow dwarves, established relations, and permitted the Great Caravan, where the large caravan train annually migrates from Highforge to Specularum to trade their unique wares and inventions. This has brought immense wealth to both the Highforge communities and Karameikos alike.
The continued trade and relations with other races was initially resisted, but the Stronghollow clan made good arguments. First, with the extensive mining operations of the Stronghollow clan and the Tunneltrotter clan, the gnomes whereabouts and existence would eventually be discovered by the developing Karameikos. Second, these legendary dark masters desire to keep their existence from the Known World, and by destroying the gnomish kingdom would make the presence obvious to surface dwellers. Finally, the destruction of the Highforge community would make enemies of not only dwarves of Rockhome, but also all those that benefit from the trade of the Highforge community, which includes Thyatis, Ierendi, Minrothad Guilds, Darokin, Sind, Slagovich, amongst other nations.
2. History of Highforge
The gnomes admired the Stronghollow dwarves efficiency and their well structured society. They patterned a structure similar to the dwarves corporate structure. However, instead of actually having a single clan divided into corporations and then departments, the gnomes have several clans with a clan leader. Each clan elects a leader as a candidate to be the king, which then is later popularly elected.
Within each clan there are specialists, unskilled labourers, leaders, and as such that have varying levels of wealth.
The gnomes model their society in a similar fashion after the dwarves for the sake of ultimate efficiency, but the gnomes strongly value individual freedom as opposed to the collective group objectives and collective, over the individual. In many ways the gnomes are less efficient than the dwarves, but in other ways the gnomes are more creative and inventive.
3. Social Standing
As with dwarves, the gnomes take care of their own, and so there are no gnomes that are of the penniless class. The gnomes are stratified much to their role within their clan and society, much like the dwarves. Those that are unskilled labourers do not command as much wealth as those that are specialists or professionals. Likewise, those that excel in their career, or is member of the clanhead's family, is wealthy. The most wealthy are either clan leaders that are more than successful or the ruling family.
Players can elect to either choose to a crafter, i.e. comfortable, or roll for a chance to be wealthy.
Gnomes Social Standing
Roll d20 to determine result
1/2 starting funds
normal starting funds
Clan Leader (Wealthy)
double starting funds
Ruling Family (Very Wealthy)
triple starting funds
4. Permitted Classes
Generally with Dungeons & Dragons, 3rd Edition any race can play any class, despite how outlandish, bizarre, or freakish the combination may be, or whether it fits in the campaign scope. This game master will not part from this path. Thus if a player wants to play a gnome paladin/pscionist/monk/wizard, but they will find themselves wholly unique gnome in Mystara.
The Highforge gnome have natural tendencies to certain classes. These include Alchemist, Fighter, Cleric, Illusionist, and Rogue. A few Highforge gnomes are also druids and ranger, operating within the Wufwolde hills. The help in training animals and patrolling the land against dangerous elements that can affect the Highforge community.
Below are the list of classes are how common they are. Very Rare represents that no one studies this craft; rare represents maybe a few people study this profession; uncommon represents more than a few study this profession.
Alchemist, Cleric, Fighter, Illusionist, Rogue
Druid, Psionicist, Psychic Warrior
Bard*, Monk**, Ranger***
Classes, Very Rare:
Barbarian, Sorcerer, Wizard
* A gnome can become a bard, but substitutes druidic magic in place of arcane magic.
** The Temple of Pure Logic in Haven trains any race their martial system who devote themselves to peace through the pursuit of pure logic.
*** The ranger class is common for elves of Vyalia or hunters of Zirchev. It is rare, but not impossible, for others to be taught this trade.
5. Prestige Classes
The gnomes are highly advanced in the arts of creating crazy mechanical inventions; they are masters of illusions; and they deep rooted understanding of alchemy combined with herbalism. They also specialise in artifice, and unknown to many there is even small group practicing psionics through the use of crystals. Many of these gnomes specialise in their art and belong and elite group of practitioners.
* Highforge Tekaficer - those that belong to the tinkering clan often specialise in this class. Some other clans have tekaficers as well, and often compete annually in the contest called Great Inventions that occurs around the same time as the Great Caravan.