Gnomes originate from Central Europe and Asia Minor, though even in these areas they are a minority among dwarf populations. Whether this is due to gene pool dilution, or because gnomes are a relatively recent addition to the local anthroposhere is unknown.
Gnomes are distinguished from other dwarfs by little body hair (no beards and pubic hair) and small, childlike physiques (heights range from 70 cm to 100 cm, with body mass typically two thirds of a common dwarf ’s). Their petite physiques mean hands and fingers are proportionately smaller which proves a significant handicap in modern urban environments designed with metahumans averages in mind. Despite this, gnomes are highly sociable and appear to take discrimination due to size in stride. Furthermore, surveys conducted post-Crash indicate that gnomes have benefited immensely from the advances in wireless networking and computing. The new technologies have empowered them by enabling greater freedom in conducting their normal lives (via commlinks, agents, and autopilot-driven vehicles).
Charles University of Prague has also recently produced some facts to back the traditional belief that gnomes possess some form of natural immunity to magic and sorcery. Clinical tests suggest that, while not totally immune, gnomes have proven to be more resistant to the effects of magic. Studies and testing into the root mechanism are ongoing and little is currently understood about the phenomena.
Average Height: .8 meters (2'8")
Average Weight: 37 kg (81 lbs)
Average Lifespan: More than 100 years
Gnomes are the smallest of all dwarf metavariants and the rarest. They are most common in Central and Eastern Europe with smaller populations in Asia Minor. Social exclusion, due to their small size and immature features, means gnomes often find themselves outcasts of mainstream society. Their resistance to magic and their inconspicuous stature (often mistaken as children) often lead them to work as negotiators, informants, or spies for European powerbrokers or among the shadows.
Metavariant Cost: 25 BP
|Gnome Metatype Abilities: Arcane Arrester, Neoteny, Thermographic Vision|
- Arcane Arrester
When affected by a spell (including a critter’s Innate Spells), the character—and she alone—treats Force-based effects (damage, paralysis, etc.) at half (round down) actual strength. Note that the actual Force of the spell is not actually reduced. For instance, a character with Arcane Arrester targeted by a Force 5 spell would resist it as if it were a Force 2 spell, though the spellcaster could still add hits to improve the effect. Arcane Arrester cannot be combined with Magic Resistance (p. 79, SR4). This quality can be taken by characters with a Magic attribute.
Neotenous characters have halted during development and retain the physical traits of a child or adolescent (up to a 13-year old) even though they are legally adults. They are usually quite short and may have underdeveloped sexual attributes (though this is not the case with metavariants). Given the absence of certain traits common to adults (height, body and pubic hair, facial changes, deeper voice, and so on), they can easily be mistaken for children or teenagers. Gamemasters may modify certain Social Tests depending on how an NPC will interact with the character. People often underestimate children, which may give a neotenous character an advantage.
The character’s lack of physical development reduces his default Physical Condition Monitor to 6+ (Body/2, rounded up) boxes, and may result in social modifiers).