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Deep Gnome

( Races of Faerûn, p. 49)


Size: Small
Base speed: Land 20
Strength: −2
Intelligence: +0
Dexterity: +2
Wisdom: +2
Constitution: +0
Charisma: −4
Level adjustment: +3
Space: 5 feet
Reach: 5 feet
Automatic languages: Gnome , Home Region , Undercommon
Bonus Languages: Common , Draconic , Dwarven , Elven , Illuskan , Terran


The deep gnomes are closest thing the gnome family has to "black sheep." Many surface dwellers count the deep gnomes along with their evil neighbors, the drow and the duergar, believing them to be little more than dark reflections of the friendly rock gnomes with whom they are more familiar. In fact, the svirfneblin are just as good-hearted as their sunnier kin. However, after centuries of dealing with the everyday perils of living in the Underdark, they have become understandably distrustful of all outsiders.

Compared to their better-known kin, the rock gnomes, the deep gnomes are as gray and lifeless as the subterranean caverns in which they choose to make their homes. They keep to themselves out of fear of outsiders—a fear born from numerous poor experiences with such people. To a deep gnome, the only people you can trust are other deep gnomes from your village, and preferably from your family. All others are best avoided.

With strangers, most deep gnomes are sullen, reserved, and suspicious, almost to a fault. However, when they are alone with their own kind, they are friendly and respectful to each other. Few people from outside a svirfneblin community have ever seen this more pleasant side of the deep gnomes. For their part, the deep gnomes would be horrified to find themselves observed by outsiders, and they find such a person staring at them—or even looking directly at them—quite rude. Deep gnomes are gnarled and callused folk, with little fat at all on their wiry bodies. Their skin is the color of the rocks among which they live, almost as if they sprang directly from the stones themselves. They have dark gray eyes, tending toward black. Their hair is of a similar color, although it's only seen on the woman, as the men are entirely bald and beardless.

Deep gnomes are short-lived for gnomes and reach adulthood at an age of 20 years. Use the following aging effect characteristics instead of the ones in Table 6—5 in the Player's Handbook:

Race Age Information
Gnome, deep 80 120 160 +2d% years

Like their lives, svirfneblin are also short and hard. They stand between 3 and 3 1/2 feet tall on average. They are thinner than their surface cousins, but they weigh just as much— about 40 to 45 pounds—due to the density of their muscles. They are little more than wiry sinews and rocklike bones.

Regions: Gnome (deep), The North, Silverymoon.
Racial Feats: Animal Friends, Summon Earth Elemental.
Racial Prestige Class: Breachgnome.


Racial Traits

Svirfneblin have all the gnome racial traits given in Chapter 2 of the Player's Handbook (pp. 15) except as follows:

  • -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma. Wuick and perceptive, svirfneblin are suspicious and retiring to an extreme.
  • Darkvision up to 120 feet. This replaces gnome low-light vision.
  • Spell-like Abilities: 1/day – blindness, blur, and change self (disguise self in D&D 3.5). These abilities are as the spells cast by a wizard of the svirfneblin's character level (save DC 10 + spell level). This abilitiy replaces the gnome ability to cast the 0-level spells dancing lights, ghost sound, and prestidigitation.
  • Stonecunning: Like dwarfes, svirfneblin receive a +2 racial bonus on checks to notice unusual stonework. Something that isn't stone but that is disguised as stone also counts as unusual stonework. A deep gnome who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework can make a check as though actively searching and can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A svirfneblin can also intuit depth, sensing the approximate distance underground as naturally as a human can sense which way is up.
  • Nondetection (Su): Svirfneblin have a continuous nondetection supernatural ability as the spell cast by a wizard of their character level.
  • Spell resistance of 11 + character level.
  • +4 dodge bonus against all creatures (no special bonus against giants).
  • +2 racial bonus on all saving throws.
  • +2 racial bonus on Hide checks, which improves to +4 in darkened areas underground.
  • Automatic and bonus languages as mentioned above.
  • Level adjustment +3: Svirfneblin are more powerful and gain levels more slowly than most of the other common races of Faerûn.

Also appears in

  1. Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting

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