Svirfneblin (Deep Gnome)

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Svirfneblin (Deep Gnome)
Climate/Terrain: Subterranean
Frequency: Very rare
Organization: Clan
Activity Cycle: Day
Diet: Omnivore
Intelligence: Exceptional (15-16)
Treasure: K (x2) and Q (x3)
Alignment: Neutral (good)
No. Appearing: 3-30
Armor Class: 2 and better
Movement: 9
Hit Dice: 3+6
THAC0: 17
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attack: By weapon
Special Attacks: Stun darts at +2
Special Defenses: Save at +3, +2 vs. poison
Magic Resistance: 20% (or more)
Size: S (3')
Morale: Elite (13)
XP Value: 420

Far beneath the surface of the earth dweU the svirfnebli-the deep gnomes-a race related to the the gnomes of the bright world. Small parties of these demihumans roam here and there in underworld mazes of small passageways, always in search of gem minerals. Their realm is in a region unknown, but thought to consist of a closely-connected series of vast caverns in which thousands of these diminutive creatures labor for their king. Only males have ever been seen, and those only in very deep places beneath the ground.

The svirfnebli are gnarled and muscular. Their skin color is usually medium brown to brownish gray. Deep gnomes have gray eyes and tend to be bald.

The svirfnebli communicate with each other by a form of racial empathy when outside their own domains. They also have their own dialect of gnomish that a normal gnome is 60% likely to understand. Most deep gnomes are also able to converse in the underworld cant (the trade language) and speak and understand a fair amount of kuo-toan and drow (tongues of their hated and feared enemies who, along with the mind flayers, are the worst threat to any deep gnome gem-gathering expedition). All these small creatures can converse with speaking creatures from the Elemental Plane of Earth.

Combat: Despite their metal armor and arms, these small and fast moving creatures are able to move very quietly. They are 60% likely to be unseen by any observer, even a kuo-toan, as deep gnomes are able to "freeze" in place for long periods without any hint of movement. They are surprised only on a 1 due to their keen hearing and smelling abilities. They are likely to surprise opponents 90% of the time.

All the svirfnebli have the following magical powers of illusionist nature: blindness, blur, and change self. Each of these spell-like abilities can be used once each day by any deep gnome. All these creatures radiate non-detection identical to the spell of the same name.

The deep gnomes wear leather jacks sewn with rings or scales of mithral-steel alloy over fine chainmail shirts. They do not usually carry shields, as these devices would tend to hinder movement through the narrow corridors favored by the svirfnebli. For every level above 3rd, the typical svirfnebli's Armor Class improves by one point-i.e., a 4th level deep gnome has AC 1, a 5th level AC 0, and a 6th level AC -1.

All deep gnomes are 20% magic resistant, gaining and extra 5% magic resistance for each level they attain above 3rd. They are immune to illusions, phantasms, and hallucinations. Because of their high wisdom, speed, and agility, they make all saving throws at +3, except against poison, when their bonus is +2.

Deep gnomes are typically armed with a nonmagical +1 pick (as horseman's pick for purposes of damage, size, etc.) and a nonmagical +1 dagger. They fight with these as fighters of the same level.

Each individual also carries a pouch of special darts, 7-10 handhurled missiles of about nine inches length. Two darts can be thrown each round, with an attack bonus, due to dexterity, of +2. The range of the dart is 40' and the dart inflicts 1-3 points of damage. It is constructed to contain a small glass bead filled with a gas, which compacts and breaks on impact. Any creature struck on its front parts by one of these darts must save versus poison. If it fails, the puff of gas has reached the creature's system and the creature will be stunned the next round and slowed for the four rounds following that. Deep gnomes above 3rd level also carry 3-6 special darts containing an acid that eats a three-inch hole in armor protection in 1 round, or inflicts an addjtional 2-8 points of damage on non-protected targets (such as armor with holes, ring mail, chain mail, etc.).

When being pursued by enemies, svirfnebli will typically dash into a secret escape passage tunnelled to their size. Larger escape routes used by the deep gnomes will be filled with covered pit traps and rock deadfalls. A deep gnome leader is 75% likely to carry 3-12 small rock-like crystals (dl0+2), and these will be strewn in the path of pursuing enemies if no handy escape route is nearby. These crystals are crushed if stepped on by any creature weighing more than 100 pounds, and each releases a cloud of poisonous gas about 10' in diameter and 15' high. Any creature passing through the cloud must save versus poison or lose consciousness for 1-12 turns. The gas cloud dissipates in 2 rounds.

Habitat/Society: Deep gnomes have 120' infravision. The have the normal gnomish powers:

Detect slope in passage1-5 on 1d6
Detect unsafe walls, ceilings, or floors1-7 on 1d10
Determine approx. depth underground1-4 on 1d6
Determine approx. direction underground1-3 on 1d6

All males of the race are doughty fighters. For every four svirfnebli encountered, there will will be an additional leader-type with Hit Dice 4+7. If more than twenty normal deep gnomes are encountered there will be an additional 6th level fighter (Hit Dice 6+9)-a burrow warden-with two 5th level assistants (Hit Dice 5+8). It is 25% probable that a 6th level deep gnome will have illusionist abilities of 5th, 6th, or 7th abilities. Note that a deep gnome of 6th level, if not an illusionist, is 50% likely to be able to summon an earth elemental. The type of earth elemental that can be summoned is found on the special table, and the summoning can be attempted only once per day. Deep gnome clerics might reach 9th level, though levels 5-7 are most common. Priest spell sphere include the following: Charm, Divination, Elemental (earth only), Healing, Necromantic (minor access), and Protection. The ability to summon creatures of the Elemental Plane of Earth once per day (as per the table) is a granted ability for deep gnome clerics at 7th level, and deep gnome clerics have no ability to turn undead.

Deep Gnome Elemental Summoning Table
Die rollElemental
124 Hit Dice earth elemental (or DM's special)
2-616 Hit Dice earth elemental
7-1012 Hit Dice earth elemental
11-158 Hit Dice earth elemental
19-20summoning fails

Ecology: Deep gnomes will usually aid any non-enemy for a fee, and they will certainly help in fighting drow, kuo-toans, or mind flayers, providing there is a reasonable chance of defeating these mortal enemies. They love gems and will take great risks in order to gain them. Creatures from the Elemental Plane of Earth are 90% unlikely to harm a deep gnome, though the gnome might have to pay a heavy bribe in precious metals or gems to escape.