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- This article is about the gnomes' lore. For the playable race, see Gnome (playable). For the language, see Gnomish.
The gnomes (collectively referred to as gnomanity or gnomekind) are a race of diminutive and highly intelligent humanoids, known for their mastery of technology. They were originally descended from mechagnomes, metallic titan-forged, who were afflicted with the Curse of Flesh. The early gnomes eventually found their way to Khaz Modan, where they founded the capital of Gnomeregan and became allies with their nearby dwarven cousins. For years the gnomes were based in Gnomeregan, providing technological support to the Alliance during the Second War, until a trogg invasion and treachery from within irradiated Gnomeregan and killed as much as eighty percent of the gnomish population. The gnomes were forced into exile in Tinker Town in the dwarven capital of Ironforge, until, following the Cataclysm, the gnomes launched a partially successful recapture of Gnomeregan, and are now based in New Tinkertown.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 History
- 3 Culture
- 4 Appearance
- 5 Relations
- 6 In the RPG
- 7 Notable
- 8 Other gnome races
- 9 Notes
- 10 Gallery
- 11 See also
- 12 Mythology
- 13 References
- The clever, spunky, and oftentimes eccentric gnomes present a unique paradox among the civilized races of Azeroth. Brilliant inventors with an irrepressibly cheerful disposition, this race has suffered treachery, displacement, and near-genocide. It is their remarkable optimism in the face of such calamity that symbolizes the truly unshakable spirit of the gnomes.
Gnomes are a diminutive, wiry race of tinkers who live underground. In the Second War, they built gadgets and vehicles, such as submarines and flying machines, for the Alliance to combat the Horde. They are great mechanics and inventors, renowned for their knowledge and eccentric natures. The gnomes had a city, Gnomeregan, built into Ironforge Mountain, but invading troggs destroyed it and slaughtered its citizens. Many survivors now live with the Ironforge dwarves, a few traveling with their dwarven friends to Kalimdor. The gnomes are still reeling from the destruction of their home city and are loath to leave the safety of the dwarven tunnels.
The eccentric, often-brilliant gnomes are one of the most peculiar races of the world. A race of diminutive beings, gnomes have made their mark on Azeroth through the application of a collective intelligence and ambition overshadowing that of their larger peers. Gnomes are renowned mechanics, engineers, and technicians, widely respected for their knowledge of the scientific facets of the world and their ability to transform said knowledge into surprising tools, vehicles, armor, and weapons. Much of gnomish philosophy is focused on forward-thinking, inventive concepts; little thought has ever been given to history or non-scientific records. With their obsession for developing radical new technologies and constructing marvels of mind-bending engineering, it is a wonder that any gnomes have survived to proliferate.
Historically, there are some records of gnomes having contact with other races. There is the occasional historical documentation of individual gnomes having contact with humans and high elves in the northern continent of Lordaeron in Tirisfal Glades as early as 2,600 years before the First War.
The first gnomes that came into existence were "mechagnomes", small, metal clockwork-creatures created by the Watcher Mimiron, apparently as servants and caretakers, much like the earthen. What is known is that the mechagnomes, like many other beings creatures with Titan origins, were affected by the Curse of Flesh. Some mechagnomes gradually turned into the fleshy variant seen today. Also for unknown reasons, this knowledge has been lost by the gnomish race. Information of this evolution can still be found in various locations, gradually explaining how the gnomes appeared on Azeroth.
One of the major sources of this info is Gearmaster Mechazod, a mechagnome that was found by normal gnomes in the Borean Tundra during the building of an airstrip. He claims to be one of the first "gnomes" ever created, created by a titan called "The Grand Architect" within Ulduar. Not only does Mechazod confirm that fleshy gnomes are a result of the Curse of Flesh, he also possesses the ability to remove the curse and thus revert fleshy gnomes back to mechagnomes. Still, most fleshy gnomes would prefer he didn't. Other traces of the gnomes' past can be found in the Storm Peaks which contains a large population of mechagnomes. These have been found maintaining titan data, and even riding mechanostriders, adopted from their gnomish descendants.
As there are mechagnomes still in existence today despite the Curse of Flesh, they are likely a later version, or possibly original versions adapted to be immune to the Curse, a similar situation to the titans' discovery of the curse in the evolution of the dwarves.
Little is known concerning gnomish history previous to the Second War — even among gnomes themselves. Much of gnomish philosophy is focused on forward-thinking, inventive concepts, and little thought has ever been given to history or non-scientific records. It was not until centuries after their transformation into flesh-and-blood beings that gnomes were recognized as a viable and important race. The dwarves were impressed with the ingenuity and quickness of their smaller "kin" (for they had also been titan-forged and similarly cursed), and they assisted the gnomes in constructing a capital city, Gnomeregan, in the foothills of Dun Morogh near the dwarves own capital of Ironforge.
Gnomes are remarkably adept arcanists. Pound for pound, they are some of the most potent casters the world has ever known, and have always had a presence in the Kirin Tor. The first detailed historical account of a gnome was a female named Indus, a member of the Council of Tirisfal. 2,600 years before the First War, she was the group's gnomish representative in her day. Not only was she a respected, powerful mage, but following her people's penchant for tinkering, she was also known as "the inventor" in Dalaran. She was an associate of founding Council member Meryl Felstorm (then known as Winterstorm). She, Meryl, and the rest of the surviving Council would empower the first Guardian of Tirisfal, an orphaned half-elf and talented mage named Alodi.
She was followed much later by another gnome named Erbag, also a member of the Council of Tirisfal, during the early days of Aegwynn. He was already inducted eight hundred and forty-four years prior to the Battle of Mount Hyjal. Erbag was described as being highly talkative as well as rather impatient with Aegwynn.
King Mechagon was once the king of the gnomes, who 400 years ago led his followers in search of a mystical land of technology. He left no clues where he was headed and over time his his tale became a legend. Gnomes have not had kings or queens since; although Gelbin Mekkatorque has the title "King of Gnomes", he was elected and his position is officially called High Tinker.
Thriving within the wondrous techno-city of Gnomeregan, the gnomes shared the resources of the forested Dun Morogh peaks with their dwarven cousins. Though dwarves also have a propensity for technology and engineering, it is gnomes who provide the critical, visionary designs for most of dwarven weapons and steam vehicles.
The First, Second and Third War
When the orcs from Draenor rushed out from the Dark Portal and caused the First War, the various human kingdoms decided to forge an alliance in order to drive them back. This alliance also included the dwarves and the gnomes who after witnessing the orcs' attack upon Ironforge decided to strike back. The gnomes did not have their own representative in the meetings between the different factions and were instead also represented by the delegate from Ironforge.
The gnomes served the Alliance well during the Second War, providing useful technology such as submarines and gyrocopters. It helped the Alliance to win the war, pushing the orcs back through the portal. In many ways they were the counterpart to the goblins which supported the orcs with their own inventions. This technological battle between gnomes and goblins has survived to this day, and has recently been fueled by the Bilgewater Cartel joining the Horde.
Strangely, the gnomes refused to send any personnel to aid their allies during the Burning Legion's invasion during the Third War. Though their designs also helped turning the tide against the Legion, both the humans and the Ironforge - and Wildhammer - dwarves were shocked by Gnomeregan's decision to withhold their courageous troops and pilots.
When the Third War ended, the Alliance discovered the reason for the gnomes' sudden withdrawal. Apparently, a barbaric menace — troggs — had risen from the bowels of the earth and invaded Gnomeregan. Knowing that their allies' priority was defeating the Burning Legion, the gnomes decided to make their stand alone against the troggs.
Though they fought valiantly to save their beloved city, Gnomeregan was lost and nearly eighty percent of the gnomish race was wiped out during its fall. The ragged survivors fled to the safety of Ironforge. There, they made a new home in Tinker Town.
In the aftermath of Gnomeregan's fall
Committed once again to the cause of the Alliance, gnomes spend their time devising strategies and weapons that will help them retake their ravaged city and build a brighter future for their people. Currently, gnomes can be seen living in numerous Alliance and Neutral cities such as Darkshire and Gadgetzan. Many gnomes could also be found at the Mirage Raceway in the Thousand Needles, competing with their goblin rivals, before that area was flooded. (Its replacement, Fizzle and Pozzik's Speedbarge is co-owned by gnomes.) One can also spot the occasional gnome hovel in places like Tanaris, the Hinterlands and Azshara.
The ruling council of the gnomes has reunited in Ironforge at Tinker Town. More recently, gnomish encampments have begun to appear at the fringes of the world, including Toshley's Station in Blade's Edge Mountains and Fizzcrank Airstrip in the Borean Tundra. While the motive behind their activities in Outland is unclear, the gnomish force in Northrend is tasked in establishing a forward base for the Valiance Expedition.
Just prior to the Cataclysm, the gnomes' leader, High Tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque, led an attack on Gnomeregan’s invaders. The Gnomeregan exiles were priming their forces at Steelgrill's Depot, the staging grounds for the Gnomeregan offensive and the production site of the gnome's mechano-tanks. After the preparations were made, Gelbin led a full assault to wrest control of Gnomeregan's air field, surface command post, and ultimately underwent a raid into the tunnels of lower Gnomeregan. Despite the Gnomeregan exiles' best efforts to reclaim their techno-city, Sicco Thermaplugg detonated a radiation bomb in the city; forcing Mekkatorque's forces to hastily teleport to the surface to escape the re-irradiated city. It was a successful first maneuver, but there will be much more bloodshed before the entirety of the gnomeland is liberated. In the ongoing effort to reclaim Gnomeregan from Sicco Thermaplugg and his twisted cohorts, the gnomes have carved out a tenuous foothold in New Tinkertown, near the techno-city’s gates.
This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.
A group of gnomes lived in Boralus on Kul Tiras. However, some time ago they all went missing. Their abandoned machinery still inhabits the Abandoned Junkheap in Tiragarde Sound. While Parin Tinklocket was looking into their disappearance, and eventually found the lost city of Mechagon where gnomes were being converted into cyborgs by King Mechagon.
Gnomes are a race of ambitious folk that celebrate creativity and craft and whose lives are validated by a masterful command of the scientific laws of the universe. This outlook on life makes them feel that to be pitied is unbearable, even insulting, though they know their allies do not do this intentionally. They have been more of a race of scholars throughout their history, generally focused on escaping and avoiding conflict, being also known to offset their lack of physical strength with ingenuity and daring. However, the loss of Gnomeregan and years of hardship and survival amongst increased association with the dwarves have made the gnomes stronger and more comfortable with their physical prowess, giving them a combatant edge. Gnome melee fighters have become more common, and are in general more willing to talk back to Tall Folk than ever before.
Unlike many other races such as the dwarves, orcs, and humans, the gnomes had no history of internecine violence prior to the fall of Gnomeregan. Generally speaking, gnomes simply do not fight gnomes. In a world of hostile creatures and Tall Folk, it goes without saying that gnomes have to rely on each other. This is why gnomes don't need primogeniture and why they abandoned monarchy centures ago, instead electing their leaders by common consent based on their work's benefit to the race as a whole. It is unthinkable for a gnome to act in a selfish manner in spite of the cost to their people, which made Sicco Thermaplugg's betrayal all the more shocking.
As noted above, much of gnomish philosophy is focused on forward-thinking, inventive concepts, and little thought has ever been given to history or non-scientific records.
Little is actually known about gnomish culture. Though what gnomish life really revolves around is unclear, it is perceived by most to be about striving towards the next levels of technology and knowledge through experimentation and tinkering (this is corroborated by the comments and clothing of gnome NPCs).
From that is known, gnomes do value and follow the hierarchy, but they also understand the hierarchy as the masters duty over the servants, to care for them and help for them. Some senior gnomish engineers may actually have less parts, metals and similar resources than an ordinary engineer, as they tend to share them with the followers. Also, the higher rank is most easy to earn by teaching others, while this of course requires to be a master on a subject. When goblins say they hate hierarchy as the master first cares about himself (so who would want to be the servant), they seem talking in a two completely different languages. Gnome groups are small and form with difficulty over long time. However when once established, they usually last for life, and a gnome reasonably expects much more support and cooperation from the team-mates than a goblin would. When goblin children leave family at maturity and go their own ways, gnome families tend to stay together over generations and usually run some shared business.
It is not known what social norms may exist for gnomish marriages, though Marvin and Tamara Wobblesprocket provide at least one example of humans and gnomes intermarrying. Whether or not half-gnomes might be produced from such unions is unknown. If once created, gnomish family usually lasts for life as gnomes feel duty to stay together not just after the love goes away but even if they already totally dislike each other.
They are able to become priests, but focus more on the practical healing-abilities of the divine rather than to embrace it as a path of sorcery. In fact, the gnomes practice holy magic as a form of first aid. While priests among the other races may play the roles of clerics and prophets, gnome priests refer to themselves as doctors, medics and surgeons.
Gnomes speak Gnomish and Common.
- Main article: Gnomish#Naming
Gnomes are approximately 3 feet tall. They have four fingers (three fingers, one thumb) on each hand, and five-toed feet. Although it can and has been a bit nebulous in Warcraft art throughout the years, in World of Warcraft, the gnome model is noted to have large, rounded ears in proportion to their head.
Despite the gnomes' size, they exude great resilience and survivability both in and out of combat.
Thanks to their extremely small size, in World of Warcraft gnomes can be a hard target to click, making it harder for enemies to target you using their mouse. This is especially helpful in the event the gnome is a warrior or rogue. Gnomes who specialize in melee weapons are also particularly hard to target due to their acrobatic fighting styles combined with their small size. Their small size can also be advantageous to people who like to explore; gnomes are the shortest race, and can go to certain places where character height keeps other races from going.
Gnomes in night elf territories are tolerated, despite the high number of gnomes who work with arcane forces. The gnomes believe that with their use of arcane magics and technology they offer something that night elves lack in defense. During the cataclysmic arrival of Deathwing, gnome engineers and sappers from Tinker town helped create cannons and bombs for the night elves.
In the RPG
Most gnomes on Kalimdor remain secluded in Bael Modan. Even after the decimation of their race and the destruction of their city, gnomes are an amiable and kindhearted lot. They make and keep friends easily; other races often find disliking a gnome to be difficult. Gnomes are long-lived and take a fatherly approach to other races, particularly humans. Gnome society is loosely organized, with most living in Khaz Modan and mixing freely with the dwarves, sending representatives to speak to the dwarven king on their behalf. Those few gnomes who traveled to Kalimdor live in a similar fashion in Bael Modan. Gnomes are gifted tinkers, and have a penchant for creating radical technology and innovative designs. They often work together with Ironforge dwarves, developing the blueprints and concepts from which the dwarf smiths draw their inspiration.
The first widely recorded interaction between gnomes and dwarves occurred a little over 200 years prior to The Burning Crusade. As the story goes, a dwarven explorer came across a small gnomish village. He was shocked to discover that while dwarves had just discovered gunpowder, the gnomes already had a fully automated village with such novelties as mechanical chickens. Contact between the two races grew, and soon, they became quick allies, and the dwarves allowed the gnomes to build their capital city, Gnomeregan, in the foothills of Dun Morogh, near the Dwarven capital, Ironforge.
Gnomes are small, slight and nifty. They somewhat resemble dwarves, but are even shorter, not as stocky, and have large heads in proportion to their bodies. They have large noses and ruddy skin, their ears are large and rounded, and their hair color varies wildly, some even having pink or green hair. They are often seen with goggles, tool belts and other items related to their technological inclinations.
Gnomes are great friends of the Ironforge dwarves. They have been allies for generations and often exchange ideas and inventions. Their bond is so great that they live in many dwarven settlements including Ironforge itself. Gnomes have fought and died alongside human soldiers and have been readily welcomed in Stormwind City with open arms. They are wary of the high elves, but so is everyone else, so they don’t feel too bad about that. They battled the Horde in the Second War and have a bit of a grudge against orcs, but gnomes are a kindly and forgiving lot and are willing to give the orcs a second chance. Gnomes and goblins have always been rivals — though whether this rivalry is friendly or brutal depends on the individuals involved. Gnomes have not been on Kalimdor long enough to form proper opinions about its denizens. Tauren and night elves both seem rather rustic for gnome sensibilities — but they can make friends with anyone.
Gnomes place their loyalty in themselves, in their friends, and in their inventions. A few follow a loftier path and pay their respects to the Holy Light. Since the Ironforge dwarves' recent discovery of their titanic origins, the gnomes think that they too may be products of the Titans, a theory confirmed by the accidental discovery of the mechagnomes. Some female gnomes have been known as members of the Sisters of Steel that have shown abilities to turn their flesh to stone or steel.
- See also: Goblins versus Gnomes
Gnomes tend to design fairly complicated devices that are relatively safe. Gnomes are in many ways commensurate organizers: a gnome can spend as much time (or more) organizing and planning a project as they do actually working on it. If the design fails, they try to learn why, and fix it if they can. If they meet with success, they will continue to tinker with it and improve the design, often for years afterward. Thus, many gnomish designs feature a high degree of complexity and a low chance of failure, the exceptions being those that dabble with chaos energy — but even then, they take steps to ensure the worst that could happen is a brief, non-fatal failure.
Gnomes overplan new projects, producing blueprints and schematics that can take longer to make than the device itself. While this cautious attitude results in higher quality products and a greater success rate, it often takes so long that cost overruns creep in. While a goblin would scream and flee at the mere thought of a cost overrun, a gnome simply shrugs and presses on. If a project fails to work correctly the first time, a gnome will continue to tinker with it, while a goblin would usually give up and move to something else. Thus, gnomish items have very low failure rates compared to goblin items.
Gnomes are innovative thinkers and are responsible for a vast variety of inventions, including more than a few that are commonly attributed to dwarves. Although a diminutive people, gnomes think big, often producing designs far too complex to ever be realized. To gnomes, technology is a way of life. Even gnomes who take on other trades often tinker in their spare time. Because of their innate curiosity, they produce a wide variety of devices that are interesting or amusing but otherwise useless or impractical. While others might shake their heads at such folly, the gnomes value all invention, no matter how unimportant it might seem. Among the well-known gnomish devices are the world enlarger, net-o-matic projector, and harm prevention belt.
Many gnome machines last for a long time, making a significant capital for generations. Even after new, better machines are build for replacement, the older versions are usually good enough to be stored in the mountain caves, reactivating them when necessary. While goblin can build a more complex and powerful machine for the same price, a really complex machine may break for him before it could be finished. Hence the most advanced systems like Deeprun Tram are still of gnomish origin. Gnome schematics are such that machines and devices can be build as initially thinked hundreds of years ago. However this does not mean they are easy to read or easy to use. Goblin engineers keep saying they suffer strong headaches while reading the stolen gnomish schematics and tend to break out of the middle of specification by finishing the device how they themselves see fit.
Other gnome races
- Mechagnomes - Titanic creations that when afflicted with the Curse of Flesh, resulted in the modern gnomish race, much like the history of the Earthen and the Dwarves.
- Leper gnomes - Normal gnomes that has been corrupted with radiation and poison. Most of them have lost their sanity.
- Sand gnomes - An elusive race of gnomes only seen in Outland. Many even doubt their existence.
- Undead gnomes - Although they are not their own race, undeath sometimes gives gnomes a rather unique look.
- Junker gnomes - These gnomes have replaced much of there original body parts with mechanical implants.
- In the canceled Warcraft Adventures, the gnomes were responsible for creating the black ale that kept the orcs pacified.
- The gnomes were planned to be their own faction in Warcraft III, but were rolled into the Alliance (though no actual gnomes appear in the game).
- At first it was said that half of the gnomish race was killed during the trogg invasion, but later it was specified that it was actually eighty percent.
- Gnomes were, until March 2014, the only original race not to appear in a World of Warcraft cinematic or in any trailer. Tom Chilton had explained that gnomes were added to World of Warcraft "pretty late in its development, when the cinematic was already ... in full production" stating that "since then, there hasn't really been a great opportunity to showcase gnomes," due to factors such as storylines. This was finally rectified when a male gnome was chosen as the main character for Blizzard's "Wish You Were Here" Warlords of Draenor character boost trailer. As well as the gnomes' noted absence in trailers until that point, this model may have been chosen due to being one of the most advanced at the time the trailer was created.
- In the Second War, gnomes are allied with the Alliance of Lordaeron, but they aren't mentioned in the book Tides of Darkness. However, High Tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque plays a role in the follow up (Beyond the Dark Portal), as he is in charge of building the transportation system between Stormwind City and Ironforge.
- Referring to the non-canon RPG race life spans chart, a gnome can actually live for quite some time, becoming mature at the age of 40, middle aged at 100 and old aged only at 150 and higher. (This is most likely just in speculation, and not completely by Lore.) Alternately, in the book Tides of War, Kinndy Sparkshine is mentioned to be a teenager at 22.
- It appears the position of High Tinker can be held by one person indefinitely, so long as they are re-elected each time their term ends. This is best seen in Gelbin, who has led the Gnomes since he was young and well before the Second War. While unknown how long this is exactly, the Second War was about 20 years before the beginning of World of Warcraft, and Gelbin is an older gnome; meaning he has held the position most of his life.
- Gnomes sometimes broadly refer to the other sentient races that are not close to their own stature as "Tall Folk".
- They are voiced by Dino Andrade.
- Gnome hair is great for blood elf wigs.
- In Hearthstone, the gnomes card back was rewarded for achieving Rank 20 in Ranked Season 9, which took place during December 2014. The flavor text reads: "This multifunctional device also works as a gnomish army knife, a shoe horn and a pass to the Deeprun Tram. Gnomish ingenuity!"
- Interestingly enough, because Mimiron is still very much active and alive in Ulduar, gnomes are one of the few races who can actually meet and interact with their own creator.
- The RPG-only Sister of Steel class hinted two years before the actual release of Wrath of the Lich King that humans, dwarves and gnomes shared a common "metallic" ancestry.
- World of Warcraft
Gnomish Flying Machine from the Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual.
Gnomish inventors from the canceled Warcraft Adventures.
Tinker Bixy Blue, a TCG gnome rogue.
Sketches created for a book prop for the Warcraft movie, including a depiction of a gnome.
A gnome is a mythical creature characterized by its extremely small size and subterranean lifestyle and have a love for building unique items and gear.
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 25
- ^ a b c d Races of World of Warcraft - Gnome
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 40
- ^ The First Guardian
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume II Issue I
- ^ The Old Wizard's Almanac
- ^ a b World of Warcraft manual, pg. 175
- ^ The Legend of Mechagon (Alliance)
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3, pg. 64
- ^ a b http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/underdev/3p9/gnomeregan.xml
- ^ a b c Cut Short
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Alliance Air Units, Gnomish Flying Machine
- ^ "Doc" Cogspin, Holdout Medic, North Fleet Medic, Chief Surgeon Gashweld
- ^ World of Warcraft: Official Beginner's Guide, 29
- ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, page 224
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 18
- ^ Rosey Axlerod
- ^ a b Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 4
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, pg. 60
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 40
- ^ a b Alliance Player's Guide, 145
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, 18
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 41
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 40-41
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, 107
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, 112
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, 101
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, 100
- ^ Game Informer #108: Reforging Real-time Strategy
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/faq/races.html
- ^ WoW Source: Patch 5.4 Developer Round Table
- ^ Cut Short, pg. 6, 7
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 12