Tinker Gnome


Average Height: 2'8" - 3'3"
Average Weight: 44 - 55

Ability scores: +2 Intelligence, +2 Constitution or +2 Dexterity
Size: Small
Speed: 5 squares.
Vision: Low-light

Languages: Common, choice of one other
Skill Bonuses: +2 Arcana, +2 Thievery.
Lab Conditioning: You have the lab conditioning power.
Quick Fix: You can make Arcana checks to disable, identify, or sense magical phenomena, and Thievery checks to pick locks or to disable or identify devices, as a minor action instead of a standard action. But if you do so, your haste causes you to take a -4 penalty to the check.
Use What's at Hand: You gain proficiency with improvised weapons other than unarmed attacks.

Tinker Gnome Racial Utility Lab Conditioning

When the experiment goes awry, you know how to get out of the way of the results.

Immediate Reaction      Personal

Trigger: An area or close attack hits or misses you, or any attack misses you.

Effect: If you take any damage from the attack, halve that damage. You then shift up to half your speed.

No one is precisely sure where tinker gnomes originated, since most of their earliest records were destroyed in a fire resulting from dubious experiments in advanced record-keeping technology. Despite this event, most tinker gnomes insist that they can trace the personages and events surrounding their family lines all the way back to their creation by the god Reorx. This assertion suggests that entire swaths of tinker gnome history are the product of sheer invention. To anyone who knows tinker gnomes, such a hypothesis seems a strong possibility.
    Tinker gnomes are industrious to the extreme, exhibiting an obsessive need to build and redesign devices to help with every facet of their hectic lives. These gnomes challenge the limits of their world’s scientific and magical knowledge on a daily basis. The average tinker gnome generally regards those few members of the race who are uninterested in technology as either lazy or insane, since satisfaction with the status quo and reliance on mundane solutions is nearly unheard of in tinker gnome society.
    Though all tinker gnomes have a penchant for invention and engineering, relatively few are truly gifted in this area. The bulk of gnomish experimentation relies on trial and error, and most gnomes cheerfully acknowledge that the majority of their efforts end in failure. This fact does not disturb them, however; they are always ready to move onward to their next pet project.


Tinker gnomes average about three feet in height, and around fifty pounds in weight—slightly stout, but still nimble. Their hair is fine and pale—usually platinum blond or white—and most of the males grow luxuriant beards and mustaches. Tinker gnomes’ skin comes in varying shades of tan, and wrinkles develop at an early age.
    When on the job or traveling, tinker gnomes prefer to wear heavily modified thick leather aprons festooned with all manner of small tools. A tinker gnome is always prepared to make improvements, no matter the situation.


Here are a few points to consider when creating a tinker gnome character.
    There is always a better way. Every task, no matter how mundane or minute, can be improved through study, industry, and creativity. Why use a mousetrap when you can design and build a Wind-Powered Troublesome Rodent Detection and Humane Extermination Automaton? True, the beta test version incinerated your cousin’s foot, but that’s a small price to pay for a rodent-free laboratory, and he seems to like his new Footmatic Pulley-Driven Prosthetic just fine (when it works, anyway).
    Never forget your Lifequest. An important concept in tinker gnome society is the observance of the Lifequest. Every tinker has a Lifequest from birth, in addition to his or her normal duties and projects. Completion of the Lifequest safeguards the gnome and his or her bloodline, and it guarantees the gnome a place in the Afterlife. Lifequests are typically completed through the perfect development and understanding of a particular device. Few tinker gnomes have ever fulfilled a Lifequest.
    Invention exists for the sake of invention. The prevailing sentiment within tinker gnome society is that creating a perfectly functioning device runs counter to the underlying principles of progress and advancement. A device that fulfills its task without complication or need for improvement is a creative dead end—anathema for most tinker gnomes. Those whose devices work regularly are often subjected to ridicule—or even exile in extreme cases.

Tinker Gnome Characteristics: Abrasive, cheerful, curious, disorganized, excitable, inventive, tenacious

Tinker Gnome Male Names: Aerodyn, Cog, Conundrum, Dyffed, Gnimsh, Gnosh, Miggins, Saliman, Spanner
Tinker Gnome Female Names: Angle, Cinder, Dana, Erg, Gnissa, Latitude, Mystie, Pepper, Zenith

Published in Dragon Magazine 422.