Silent and wary, the svirfneblin (or deep gnomes) dwell in mines and caverns far beneath the surface of the world. While the rock gnomes of the Lands Above are known for their boundless optimism and cheerful mischief, the deep gnomes are suspicious and serious creatures. Their holdings are hidden from the predatory races that share the Underdark with them because only caution, stealth, and cooperation with others of their kind stand between the svirfneblin and a terrible end.
Svirfneblin are master artisans, miners, and gemcutters. Their handiwork is prized throughout the Realms Below, and the boldest deep gnomes are welcomed as neutral merchants among many Underdark races. They make superior guides, scouts, and foragers because they often know passages and portals long lost to other races, and few can match the stealth or cunning of svirfneblin rangers watching over their own territory.
Personality: Deep gnomes are suspicious and slow to give their trust. They have little desire to meet new people, so most deep gnomes appear grim, sullen, and pessimistic to others. Anyone who takes the considerable trouble to befriend a svirfneblin, however, usually finds him to be a loyal and unflinching comrade whose pragmatic outlook is balanced by a wry, self-deprecating wit.
Svirfneblin admire well-wrought metalwork and weapons, but they love the beauty of gemstones with a passion that seems impossible for creatures with such dour personalities. They are diligent, industrious, and tireless in the pursuit of excellence. Deep gnomes believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it turns out to be.
Physical Description: A deep gnome stands between 3 and 3-1/2 feet tall and weighs between 40 and 45 pounds. He is wiry and lean, with a body as hard as a slab of stone. His skin may be either mottled gray or dun-colored (a good match for the rock around his home), and his eyes are either dark gray or black. A female svirfneblin has hair the same color as her eyes, but a male is entirely bald and beardless.
Relations: Deep gnomes are deeply suspicious of all other races, particularly drow and kuo-toas. To a svirfneblin, a stranger is an enemy, and the best way to deal with enemies is to avoid them completely. Deep gnomes are most accepting of gloamings and slyths, since these folk rarely threaten them. But they deal very cautiously with grimlocks and orogs, having learned that members of these races are all too willing to plunder others who are too weak to defend themselves. Svirfneblin traders take care to meet with merchants of other races in neutral caverns that feature plenty of potential exits, in case a deal goes sour.
Alignment: Svirfneblin believe that their survival depends on avoiding entanglements with other races, so they strongly favor neutral alignments. While they rarely wish others ill, neither are they especially willing to take risks on behalf of others.
Religion: Like most other gnomes, the svirfneblin venerate the gnome pantheon. Their special patron is Callarduran Smoothhands, the Master of Stone.
Language: Svirfneblin speak Gnome and Undercommon. Those who have reason to deal with outsiders often learn Aquan, Common, Dwarven, Elven, or Kuo-Toan as well.
Names: Svirfneblin given names sound somewhat gutteral but are much simpler than the names adopted by their cousins in the Lands Above. Svirfneblin surnames are descriptive and often have to do with gems or stonework. Male: Belwar, Kronthud, Durthmeck, Schneltheck, Thulwar, Walsehud. Female: Beliss, Durthee, Ivridda, Lulthiss, Schnella, Thulmarra. Surnames: Gemcutter, Ironfoot, Rockhewer, Seamfinder, Stonecutter.
Adventurers: While most svirfneblin have little use for adventuring, they are without a doubt the best guides, scouts, and pathfinders in the Underdark. Quick, clever, and stealthy, svirfneblin have an uncanny knack for finding their way through the bleak maze of the Underdark and avoiding dangerous encounters along the way. A few svirfneblin find their way into the adventuring life by serving as guides for parties composed of other races.
Regions: Svirfneblin normally choose the Underdark (Northdark).
Svirfneblin Racial Traits
- -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, -4 Charisma. These adjustments replace the rock gnome ability score modifiers.
- Small size. A svirfneblin has a +1 bonus to Armor Class, a +1 bonus on attack rolls, and a +4 bonus on Hide checks, but his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
- A svirfneblin's base land speed is 20 feet.
- Darkvision: A svirfneblin has darkvision out to 120 feet.
- Racial Bonuses: A svirfneblin has a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws, a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against illusions, a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds and goblinoids, and a +2 racial bonus on Craft (alchemy) and Listen checks. He also receives a +2 racial bonus on Hide checks, which improves to +4 in underground environments. +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against all creatures.
- Spell Resistance: A svirfneblin has spell resistance equal to 11 + class level.
- Stonecunning: This ability grants a svirfneblin a +2 racial bonus on Search checks made to notice unusual stonework. A deep gnome who merely comes within 10 feet of unusual stonework is entitled to a Search check as if he were actively searching, and he can use the Search skill to find stonework traps as a rogue can. A svirfneblin can also intuit depth, sensing her approximate depth underground.
- Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day - blindness/deafness, blur, disguise self. Caster level equals the svirfneblin's class level. The save DC is Charisma-based but includes a +4 racial modifier.
- Nondetection (Su): A svirfneblin continuously radiates a nondetection effect as the spell (caster level equals the svirfneblin's class level).
- Add +1 to the Difficulty Class for all saving throws against illusion spells cast by svirfneblin.
- Weapon Familiarity: Svirfneblin may treat gnome hooked hammers as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
- Automatic Languages: Common, Gnome, Undercommon. Bonus Languages: Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin, Orc, and Terran. In addition, a svirfneblin can use speak with animals as a spell-like ability once per day to speak with a burrowing mammal (caster level 1st, regardless of the svirfneblin's actual character level).
- Favored Class: Rogue.
- Level Adjustment: +3. See Powerful Races