Garden gnomes

Garden Gnomes

Table of contents

General description

When the ancient gnomes left the world of the fey, history tells of a small group who scurried away deep into the forests to find refuge from villains. Finding themselves in groves that flourished like the wild lands of their past home, these gnomes sought to become a part of the landscape. Using their gnomish magic, they permanently affixed plants to their heads.

These gnomes later became known as garden gnomes.

Garden gnomes are the more naïve and sociable counterpart to the more common gnome. Valuing community and friendship above all else, garden gnomes are privy to trusting and treating strangers as they would their own kin. But beware: Once a garden gnome’s trust is broken, it will take many feats to regain it.

Garden gnomes are generally unable to distinguish differences between other races or species, even from themselves. After all, an elf is just a very tall, skinny gnome; a dwarf is just a fat, hairy gnome; and gnomes are just garden gnomes without plants affixed to their heads!

This outlook on the world makes garden gnomes impartial. However, garden gnomes commonly break social norms, such as by gossiping and spreading rumors. To garden gnomes, doing so is a sign of affection and trust. Also, it’s fun.

But as quickly as garden gnomes might jump into social situations so do they take pleasure in retreating to nature, to the very thing that defined their early years as seedlings. Thus, a garden gnome can find as much joy in the setting sun as in fancy parties.

Physical description

At birth, an infant garden gnome — known as a seedling — has a small bald patch on the top of her head. In this patch, a plant seed is gently pressed against the seedling’s soft scalp. By gnomish magic, the seed becomes permanently affixed to her head. And over the next two centuries, the plant will grow slowly, flowering no matter its species.

To garden gnomes, their plants are the centerpiece to any outfit. As they might look after their hair, so do garden gnomes condition and trim their plants.

Like typical gnomes, garden gnomes stand, on average, three feet tall and weigh between 30 and 35 pounds. Their skin, hair, and eye color vary as wildly as among other gnomes, though they’re more commonly shades of green, brown, and yellow. Garden gnome eyes are slightly larger than human average and they have large mouths through which they enjoy feasts. A garden gnome’s mouth always smirks at rest, and thus they almost always appear cheerful.

As garden gnomes prefer to sleep underground, they are rarely clean. And while garden gnomes enjoy elaborate costumes and acting, they prefer not to hide their plants — and thus, do not do well in disguises.


Few adventurers stumbling upon an open field of flowers and small trees at night would suspect an entire community beneath their feet. But such is the reality for garden gnomes, who find safety in underground lairs. During the day, they’ll lie about and work in the sun, embellishing stories and gossiping.

Of course, it is not uncommon for garden gnomes to build communal houses above ground from wood and foliage, and to decorate them with flowers. Such constructions do not contain doors, as garden gnomes find privacy an unnerving concept.

During festivals, communities will also construct elaborate arbors, tents, and even tables from nearby trees and undergrowth. As garden gnomes can come up with just about any reason for a celebration, such festivals are commonplace.

In their day-to-day lives, garden gnomes work the land, sew, and craft goods to sell.

Garden gnomes tend to nap and eat frequently, making them a hearty people. In general, they are not patient. When conversing with strangers, they can hardly contain their excitement as to what the next sentence might bring.

Notably, garden gnomes have a knack for mottos and tend to have one in mind for every situation, making them great for pep talks. As a type of gnome, their mottos might be confusing or cryptic to outsiders. Such mottos include: “Friends sleep belly up!” (Your friends will bring you no harm!), “The sun rises at dawn!” (Tomorrow is another day!), and “Hey, you’re no giant!” (You’re smarter than that!)

Garden gnomes are farmers and fishermen by trade, and make great merchants thanks to the many connections they make on their journeys. More practiced garden gnome merchants will be less trusting of strangers, though they will give cheats a chance to retract an unfair bargain before blacklisting them for life.

Garden gnomes are a communal race and readily welcome outsiders, finding their foreign languages and stories of adventure fascinating. Their enthusiasm and trust in other creatures often gets them into trouble. Through the centuries, for instance, garden gnomes have found giants to devour them in their sleep. And repeated efforts to train giants not to eat them have failed. “But,” as a garden gnome might say, “I haven’t been eaten yet!”

A garden gnome’s diet is comprised of fruits, vegetables, small rodents, and insects that try to eat their plants.

Most garden gnomes never leave their communities, and communities only willingly migrate when conditions threaten the health of their plants. If ever a kingdom were to attempt to force a garden gnome community to move, that kingdom would assuredly be met with protests from all the creatures the garden gnomes have befriended.


Garden gnomes are a handful for less-patient adventurers. Given a chance, however, a garden gnome can win over just about any creature with their childlike nature.

In general, garden gnomes find dwarves and half-orcs to be tall-but-unfunny gnomes. Halflings and gnomes are a joy to them, as are humans that can enjoy a good joke.

Within social circles, garden gnomes can get into trouble when they begin gossiping and starting rumors. To them, doing so is customary and not in the least bit rude. They are also privy to interrupting others, even those onstage. For this reason, garden gnomes can be outsiders in more sophisticated circles or formal settings.

Alignment and religion

Garden gnomes can be played as any good alignment. They frown upon betrayal, greed, self-righteousness, and senseless violence. They are always on the lookout for the well-being of others.

Garden gnomes worship gods of nature, community, and good will.


Few garden gnomes leave their communities. Those that do tend to become merchants or performers for the benefit of the community. It is not uncommon, however, for a garden gnome to be struck by wanderlust.

Whether to explore new societies or to do exceptional things for the sake of having an exceptional tale to tell, a garden gnome might unwittingly leave their community, vowing at least to write home or return at some point or another. Others still, simply leave to learn a new trade that might benefit their community in the future.

As performers, garden gnomes lean toward storytelling and acting. They generally only play instruments when assured someone will sing or play along with them, as is typical in their communities.

Garden gnomes with an innate gift for magic, might choose to go on a pilgrimage to learn

Older garden gnomes travel for a more somber reason: to find a peaceful place to die. Up to a decade before her expected death, an elderly garden gnome will venture to find a comfortable, exotic place to plant herself. Nearing her death or by the graces of another creature, she will plant herself in that spot to pass away. Upon her death, her plant will flourish, bursting with flowers and fruits said to revitalize even the most tired of adventurers.

Garden gnomes favor the following classes: bard, cleric, and sorcerer

Garden gnome names

It is a running joke among garden gnomes to give seedlings long, gibberish names. It is a form of affection. As a child’s birth is a cause for celebration in garden gnome culture, whole communities are present to name the child. Following tradition, when the seedling opens its eyes, whatever sound or name is called first will be its name. However, because numerous garden gnomes are certain to shout at the same time a seedling opens its eyes, garden gnomes tend to have very long names.

Meanwhile, garden gnomes do not understand the concept of lineages or surnames. All garden gnome communities share the last name, and if ever one community meets another, the two communities’ surnames will be combined into one longer name.

Garden gnome racial traits

Type: Humanoid (Gnome)
+2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, -2 Wisdom: Garden gnomes are hearty and entertaining creatures who relish in the company of others. Their inability to foresee the consequences to their actions can get them into trouble.
Small: Garden gnomes are Small creatures and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty to their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
Slow: Garden gnomes have a base speed of 20 ft.
Gnome Magic: Garden gnomes add a +1 to the DC of any saving throws against enchantment spells that they cast. Garden gnomes with a Charisma of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like ability: 1/day — create water, dancing lights, message and speak with animals.
Eternal Hope: Garden gnomes rarely lose hope and are always confident that even hopeless situations will work out. Gnomes with this racial trait receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against fear and despair effects. Once per day, after rolling a 1 on a d20, the gnome may reroll and use the second result.
Plant Disguise: When buried in soil, garden gnomes receive a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks and Disguise checks when attempting disguise as a plant.
Friendly: Garden gnomes receive a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy skill checks.
Social: Diplomacy and Bluff are always considered class skills for garden gnomes.
Low-Light Vision: Garden gnomes can see twice as far as humans in dim light.
Languages: Common and Gnome. Garden gnomes with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Halfling, and Sylvan.

Alternate racial traits

The following alternate racial traits may be selected in place of one or more of the standard racial traits above. Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

Favored class options

The following favored class options are available to all characters of this race who have the listed favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the favored class reward.


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