The Gnorians are
gnomes who live
along the Eastern Santharian coast,
representing the most
numerous of the independent
gnomes. They are renowned for their skills at alchemy, glass production and medicine, due to their
ability with chemicals and their use of their dextrous hands and good eyesight
to measure minute quantities. As such they have made a large amount of money
trading and producing these chemicals for other people as well as themselves.
Appearance. The Gnorians look like a typical gnomes, the only distinguishing features tend to be the chemical stains on their hands.
Coat of Arms/Sign. Gnomes do not normally go to war and are not that well organised, as such they do not really have a coat of arms or a special sign.
The Gnorians live on the east coast of the
Santharian peninsula from above the Istarin Forest to just below the river
and city of Yorrick. Gnorian inhabited territory stretches as far in land as the
Paelelon. This stretch of land is relatively fertile, but it is
gnomish fertilising techniques which allow
the gnomes to produce all the plants they
People. All gnomes are peace loving creatures who just want to be left alone, and so are the Gnorians. They are famous throughout Santharia for the things they produce like glass and dyes which has made them very wealthy. Unlike dwarves gnomes do not covet diamonds and gold but do enjoy amassing wealth for the impact it has on their quality of life.
Gnorians do not have a religion of their own, believing that in the beginning were the four elements, Fire, Earth, Wind, Water and that these elements combined to create the world and everything in it. They believe that everything consists of some combination of these elements including the races. They also believe that gnomes are the most well balanced and that chemistry is the ultimate science, changing the balance of these elements. The only other thing of religious relevance is the awe and reverence with which they treat the memory of Arch-chemist Gnor the Unifier. Gnorians have a sense of working for the community greater than among most other tribes. All the undesirable jobs like farming are taken care of by each gnome in turn, each doing his/her fair share and receiving a fair reward. They are rather introvert as communities but if someone comes to them from any race in need of help they can normally be relied on to do their best.
The Gnorian gnomes’ houses tend to be low and squat, only one story high and
that means the roof is normally only about 2 to 2 and a half peds high. Each
gnome’s house is a combination
home/laboratory/workshop where he experiments and creates ideas before finally
turning them into reality. All houses have windows with glass as
gnomes are the main and certainly the best
glassmakers in Santharia and probably
all of Caelereth. The walls are normally
cement created by the gnomes using
limestone and clay. They are built up inside wooden supports which are later
removed after the cement has dried. Inside the floor will also be cement covered
with rugs to keep the floor warm. The ceiling however tends to be water proofed
wood normally with packed wool attached to retain heat. Most rooms will be
heated by a coal fire and normally a house will contain 4 rooms, the bedroom,
the main room, the kitchen and the workshop. Many rooms will be decorated with
imported art, which the gnomes appreciate
although they are not very good at replicating themselves. The kitchen will
contain a cooker consisting of a clay oven and above it a metal ring for frying
things on. The main room is the biggest and where most socialising goes on, the
rest of the rooms being very private. It is rare for a
gnome to be invited into another’s
laboratory and virtually unheard of for anyone but family to go into the bedroom
Most villages consist of a large open space where feasts take place surrounded by houses for quite a distance and then animal pens and finally spreading out from the village fields containing all the plants that the gnomes grow.
Clothing. The independent gnomes dress in their own unique style. The normal clothes are made out of specially treated flax that is much softer yet stronger than normal linen. Clothes are normally died very bright single colours. There are no major fashions for colour as long as it is bright it is considered fine. The Gnorians are very proud of their dyes and cloth and according to the "Merchant’s handbook":
"It is obvious to all impartial people that gnomish dyes and cloth are the highest quality dyes on the continent and, while we do not trade them cheaply they are reasonably priced and are not too expensive for most peasants to be able to afford at least one set of high quality Gnomish garments. The fact that they are not recognised as such and the inferior cloth from Carmalad is prized more highly is just another example of the other races relentless persecution of the gnomes."
-- Merchant's Handbook, p. 141
The style among the independent
Gnomes is a pair of flaxen breeches, with a tunic pulled over the top of the
head and pulled in using a leather belt. Leather shores are worn on the feet.
This is both everyday and holiday wear although normally a
gnome will have a pair of special occasion
clothes which are higher quality with brighter colours and are subjected to lees
wear and tear than everyday clothes, however they are in the same style. During
winter a gnome will normally wear a soft
undervest with a thick wool vest on top then his tunic. If it gets especially
cold they will wear a woollen jacket over their tunic.
Females’ clothes use the same fabric and bright colours. The current fashion among women is to wear one very long length piece of fabric which is clasped round the waist by another piece of fabric of the same colour. As always the colours are exceedingly bright and well dyed. In summer they will leave their arms bare, however, as it gets colder these will be covered up. During winter they will wear linen under clothes covering their whole body with wool over it followed by the normal dress. On special occasions or simply when they want to look good to attract boys female gnomes who still have hair will tie brightly coloured ribbons in it.
Gnomish skin is particularly sensitive and that is why they always wear linen between wool and their skin, as they find wool to be very irritating.
Diet. Aside from the typical gnomish food the Gnorians make several distinctive food types as well. One of the most famous is eaten during the winter and consists of melted fat, milk, egg and flour and then cooked below the roasting meat whose juices fall on it. It becomes a golden brown colour, and is either cooked in small round trays or one large rectangular one. It rises slightly in the oven and is a perfect accompaniment to any meat dish. It is quite a “heavy” food type and fills you up a lot which is why it is normally eaten in winter. Gnorians make a lot of bread as they have access to a lot of yeast and flour made from golden rain. The bread is among some of the best in Santharia and often gnomish bakeries in human cities do very well. They often put chopped up bits of berries or vegetables in their bread to add to the flavour and make them taste even better.
Often eaten for desert is a type of cake made from flour, eggs, sugar with something added to make it rise. It is eaten all throughout the year and has a very sweet but light taste due to the air bubbles. Another favourite is yoghurt and cheeses both made from milk and improved through their knowledge of chemistry and the large amount of chemicals available to the gnomes.
One of the areas where Gnorians excel is the production of alcohol. They ferment virtually anything containing sugar. They have the traditional beer, but on top of that they have yolk beer (fermented eggs), ice wine (fermented icemilk which has a particularly minty taste and is very refreshing, often it is drunk after a course to clear the palette for the next one). They also make cider and milk beer (fermented milk). The Gnorians have also perfected the art of distillation making all sorts of drink. All the above mentioned drinks can be distilled. One of the most popular is ice brandy. The gnomes also make a drink from tuberroots which is incredibly alcoholic and only drunk in small quantities.
Weapons. The Gnorians are not a very warlike people as a whole and as such they have few weapons, most of which they get in trade from other races. There is no gnomish standing army, which has caused them to be conquered and enslaved several times throughout their history. The mages often enslaved gnomes during the War of the Chosen and forced them to create chemicals for their magic. They were generally left alone during the first two Santharian wars between elves and men, however, in the third they were again conquered and subjected to torture and slavery before the humans, elves, and dwarves drove off the dark forces.
Occupations. Most Gnorians are chemists and alchemists, constantly producing and refining their chemical creations before selling them off. Chemistry is the most important profession among gnomes. All females are housewives who do the cooking, cleaning and sowing while the males work. Males are all either chemists or merchants. Gnomes have a very communal attitude to life. The fields are tended by the young gnomes and the adults taking it in turns. If a new house needs to be built all the gnomes will chip in with the construction. The gnomes are therefore either chemists or merchants. Of course there are many different types of speciality chemists among the gnomes although many gnomes will do a lot of different chemistry and most know one or two things about all the disciplines. When a young gnome comes of age at 20 he will be sent off to live with another gnome either in the village or from another village to learn all about the speciality he has chosen. There is a list below of all the gnomish occupations, sorted alphabetically.
Most gnomes will produce their own alcoholic drinks, but some gnomes will become so good at this and their particular drink will become so popular that they will mainly produce alcoholic drinks and not do anything else.
Cement is exported to most of the people of Caelereth and as such a cement mixer can make a large profit if he is willing to churn out the same thing day after day although as cement is quite simple most gnomes can mix it up and although some villages won’t have dedicated cement mixers they can still build things without importing cement.
As you can see most of these jobs are chemical in nature, but some gnomes will not specialize as much and create everything and anything from magical reagents to salt for their own use and for trade. Of course in this category some gnomes will specialize for example one might work almost exclusively on producing sulphur.
One of the possibilities for a gnomes is the creation of tablets and medicines to cure illness and their ability in this area is one of the reasons that gnomes are rarely ill. Gnomes living among humans with this skill are always highly prized. They create medicines to stop diseases, help bones re-grow and heal wounds. Some of the gnomes living in human settlements have started making poisons but an independent gnome would never do that.
Although women always weave the cloth the creation of the dyes and the preparation of the cloth for weaving are considered honourable duties for a man and a top dyer can be very well respected.
These gnomes as suggested by the title make glass from limestone and sand and either produce flat sheets for windows or mirrors or blow the glass into glasses or bottles. Often they will also produce coloured glass for more expensive goblets or even stained glass for decorative windows. There are several temples to Foiros containing these works of art, splitting the sun’s light into different colours representing how the sun affects all life. The biggest stain glass work is in the temple of Foiros in Strata.
The merchants are the gnomes who carry out all the trading for the gnomish people. They will travel to other places to negotiate trade agreements then take the goods using horse and carts. This section of society is among one of the richest but is not as well respected as the top chemists. There is a hierarchy of traders. A recently promoted gnome will simply take goods from his village and trade them as he likes. As he gets better he may be recognized by the gnomes above him and promoted so he might trade for several villages and at this point he will start to do more negotiations and leave the transport of the goods to the lower merchants. A gnome gradually gets higher up the system through promotions, the top level being the High merchants who help to decide the trade for all of the gnomes, the only higher level being the Mercantile Lord who is described below.
Gnomes living among
humans will either choose one of the above jobs, produce
chemical weapons which always fetch a high price or do any job they can which a
human normally does in the settlement in which they live.
Government. The Government of the Gnorian gnomes is a Meritocracy. The best merchant and chemist (from all the disciplines) form the government. The best chemist is selected completely apolitically and is called the Arch-Chemist. There are certain chemical reactions to perform and questions on chemistry to answer. When the chemist reaches this post he writes down the tests to be performed by the Arch-Chemist 3 generations in the future. This means that all the questions and tasks remain up to date but it is impossible for the Arch-Chemist to influence his successor by asking questions that only one of the candidates would know about. The selection of the best merchant is slightly more politically orientated. The wealth of a merchant is ascertained, anything he inherited is removed and then the top 10 merchants are selected. The rest of the merchants then vote on which merchant shall become the Mercantile Lord.
Both of these positions are for life. The Arch-Chemist outranks the Mercantile Lord and has the final say on everything. The Mercantile Lord is just there to advise the Arch-Chemist on how to run the relationships between other races and trade. The Mercantile-Lord may insist on a meeting with the Arch-Chemist where the Arch-Chemist cannot leave until the Mercantile Lord lets him or ten hours have passed.
This system is considered very primitive by most other races as the Gnorians do not believe that a qualification in chemistry makes you a good leader. This is probably true, but birth or the ability to persuade people are not that good indicators anyway, and this system turns up about as many good leaders as bad. One problem that does effect this system however is that often apathetic leaders gain power, but as the Gnorians generally stay out of the rest of the world’s way and there is seldom anything for the chief chemist to decide, this is probably a good thing for the gnomes.
Gnomish local government works on the same system whereby the best chemist and merchant is in charge with the chemist having the final say but it is a lot less organised.
|Image description. The Farseer Device ("Nearscope"), a device invented either by gnomes or dwarves, and often fabricated by hobbits. Drawn by Seeker.|
The Gnorian gnomes produce all things chemical aswell as large amounts of food
and alcohol. They make magical reagents normally sold to the magicians of
Ximax and brilliant medicines available to
all who have the money. They also create the finest quality glass and brightly
dyed cloth. They are one of the major suppliers of cement to the people of
Santharia who often use it in their
buildings as well as salt which is required to keep food through the winter
months. The finest artists will also use Gnorian made paints as these give the
strongest, longest lasting colours.
They trade a lot with humans, mainly receiving luxury goods or art in return as well as some wood which they mainly need for building as they trade with the Korkulgeron dwarves for coal for fires. Gnomes also trade with humans for stone and manufactured goods like chairs and tables which they seldom produce on their own. Their major trading partners however are the dwarves. They trade with the dwarves for metals both for reactions and ready produced goods, limestone and other rocks they need to extract chemicals out of especially rock salt as well as the already mentioned coal. In return the gnomes supply fresh fruit and vegetables, the specially treated charcoal to produce the colours of iron, salt (they find it ironic that one of the major buyers of salts supplies the raw materials) and a large amount of ice brandy (distilled ice wine) which the dwarves have quite a liking for as well as other specialist alcohols. All this trading started during the time of Apothek Urdan Dwarffriend and both races think they're getting a great deal (“all this food, drink and that stuff we use in iron for a load of waste rock?” and “We sell loads of salt and glass to the dwarves while their supplying some of the main ingredients!”).
Natural Resources. Not many natural resources are present where the independent gnomes live. They mainly produce plants to supply them with what they need and trade for other things like stone, metal, wood, coal and luxury items. The only resources that the gnomes use but do not grow are some rare plants that will only grow in the Seanian Swamps, muds from the swamps and river which they use to produce cement and many other things and finally sand which they find along the sea shore and is normally combined with limestone to make glass.
There are two resources known to the gnomes in their land that they do not use: Sea water used to be evaporated to obtain salt but since the days of Urdan Dwarffriend this is very seldom done as rock salt is now imported from the dwarves (at a relatively cheap price as the dwarves can’t understand what they use this rock for) which is then refined to remove the sand and leave you with pure salt a lot of which is sold back to the dwarves for a tidy profit. The only people who still extract sea salt are those living very close to the coast. The other natural resource is wood, which used to be cut down from the Paelelon and Istarin woods but earlier the elves had attacked and stopped the destruction of these woods so now wood is imported but coal is mainly used for burning.
Holidays, Festivals and Observances. The Gnorian gnomes have several major holidays.
The Apprentices Feast is a major holiday celebrated on the last day of august. It is on this day that all apprenticeships finish for the older gnomes and is the day before apprenticeships start with the younger gnomes. In each community all the gnomes will get together, normally in the open, with the youngsters who have just completed their apprenticeships in seats of special honour, and everyone sits down for a huge feast. A large amount of food is eaten, and although it is not particularly special food, mainly everyday fare, there is a lot of it and it is normally cooked with more care than is usual. The spectacular part of the feast is the alcohol. The gnomes are experts in the fermentation and then distillation of chemicals to make alcohol. On these days all the best alcohol is consumed and as completing your apprenticeship makes you a man thus allowed to drink, the new men tend to become very drunk, which is normally okay in gnomish villages but in the human cities it can cause friction with the local authorities.
The Apprentices Fast
The Apprentices Fast happens the next day. This is the day all gnomes 20 years old pack up to leave their family and become apprentices. The apprentices do not eat this day as they are supposed to contemplate the comforts they’ll lose as they leave home. No other gnomes eat either, partly to show solidarity with the new apprentices but mainly because they are full from the feast the day before and nursing terrible hangovers. It is on this day that a 20 year old gnome receives a gift from his parents. It is often though not always something to help him in his apprenticeship, for example a particularly well decorated pestle and mortar.
The Spring Feast
The Spring Feast is celebrated on the first day of spring which is considered by gnomes to be the day after the first green things return to the Earth. This means that when the first leaf or blade of grass appears the gnomes will begin to prepare for the celebrations. All the winter stores, that are normally quite extensive and stored communally, since the Vardýnnian Atonement almost wiped out the gnomes and now they have a huge fear of starvation, are emptied and all the women of the tribe prepare them for the meal the next day while the men bring out tables for the communal feast and select the best alcohol for the next day. On the day of the feast everyone eats and drinks and acts merrily. It is a tradition that any strangers should be allowed to eat at this feasts and also through any of the winter months before as the gnomes remember how during the Atonement they were turned away by humans who had stores of food. They also put out food and drink for Arch-chemist Gnor the Unifier, a messiah figure for the gnomes.
History. The centre of Gnorian gnomish history is the story of their unification. This story is normally thought to begin with the birth of Arch-chemist Gnor the Unifier. He was born in 1720 b.S. and 57 years later he had already become the leader of the city of Rasson now renamed Gnorath in his honour. It was in 1655 when he received the information that the dragon Seargon had been killed. Most objective historians believe that he realised that this was going to cause a huge war and that gnomes were best off collecting food and getting ready to leave the city if need be with this food. However, Gnor used the phrase “a year of darkness” which is of course what happened during the Vardýnnian Atonement of 1649 b.S. and so now gnomes claim that he knew that this was going to happen and that is why he ordered that large amounts of food should be stockpiled. For whatever reason the city of Rasson had one of the largest stores of food in the world during the Year of Atonement. Gnor was not selfish and neither were the people of Rasson so when other gnomes came to them in the time of darkness they willingly gave them food in exchange for an oath of loyalty.
Information provided by Avis