Often known as the Forgotten Folk, gnomes are a race of small humanoids known for their speed, stealth, and love of illusions. Unlike their small cousins the halflings, gnomes have a strong touch of fey ancestry in their lineage, much like elves, and magic is part and parcel to their culture.
Gnome Spirituality in the Forgotten Realms
Gnomes have a fairly decently sized pantheon in the Forgotten Realms, headed up by the trickster Garl Glittergold. They are known as the Lords of the Golden Hills, after the area of Bytopia where the species is most common, and may have originated. These gods often act directly on behalf of gnomes, although not by appearing or speaking to their people, who are not known for devotion and clerical religiosity, despite their rich oral history about the gods. Instead, they send their avatars on their own adventures, which benefit gnomes in some way, often by exploring new lands to settle in.
Legends say that the gnomish gods were born in the form of gemstones, which eroded, releasing the divinities. They are not family, although they are sometimes referred to as brothers, and are not prone to the expulsion of members even when they threaten each other or gnomish communities.
Legends also say that there were once goddesses among the pantheon, but their fate has not been recorded. No god has ever revealed what became of them, only expressed a vague sadness at the notion. Young gnomes who leave their families are often referred to as “seeking the Ladies of the Golden Hills”.
Garl Glittergold, Greater God of Gnomes
The head of the gnome pantheon, the Joker holds special dominion over luck, protection, and trickery. He guides the rest of his number with a loose hand, moving from place to place, and only occasionally sending his avatars to mediate conflicts among gnomes.
While he will defend his people in battle (taking on a strangely grim and determined countenance, outthinking his opponents at every turn), Glittergold prefers a peaceful and friendly manner of living. He encourages cooperation and community among gnomes, and maintains friendly relations with other gods whose domains align closely with his. He values quick thinking, a clear head, and a mind for tricks and illusions.
He is almost always accompanied by Arumdina the Justifier, a sentient battle-axe, known to be his boon companion.
Baervan WIldwanderer, God of Nature, Forests, and Travel
A close friend to Garl Glittergold, the Masked Leaf is the particular patron of forest gnomes. He is said to have taught them how to talk to the animals of the forest, and move through it silently.
Baervan is fond of pranks and mischief, but is always good-natured, and rarely causes damage with such jests. While he prefers his own company, and that of his pantheon, to most others’, he is known to have sought after the affections of Verenestra, a few goddess.
He is almost always accompanied by Chiktikka Fastpaws, a giant, highly intelligent raccoon. Many of their stories involve Chiktikka getting into trouble, and Baervan getting him out of it.
Baravar Cloakshadow, God of Illusion and Deception
Known as a general Master of Illusion, and as the particular Bane of Goblinkin, Baravar Cloakshadow holds domain over illusions, traps, wardings, and deception. Much of this crosses over with Garl Glittergold, with a distinctly more vengeful and mean-spirited tint to his protection.
Baravar is fiercely protective of the gnomes in his charge, and is known to attack goblins, kobolds, and humanoids sometimes before they even have a change to oppress them. For all his seriousness, he is a valuable force of safety for the Forgotten Folk.
Callarduran Smoothhands, God of Svirfneblin and Stone
As the patron of the svirfneblin, the underdark gnomes, the Deepbrother is primarily concerned with the protection of his charges against the great dangers found therein. He holds a strong power over earth elementals, and legends say that his hands are worn smooth from polishing a great stone that controls them.
By nature, Callarduran is solitary and secretive – but his arrival can be heralded by the sound of his avatar’s ever-present humming, which can be heard even through solid stone.
Flandal Steelskin, God of Smithing and Metalworking
Known by several monikers, the Master of Metal holds dominion over mining and smithing of all kinds, particularly weapons and armor, and also over physical fitness. He is a craftsman above all else, and even other gods of smithing often pale in comparison to his skill.
Unlike others of his pantheon, Flandal has no truck with trickery or shortcuts. He demands constant improvement from his followers, and the betterment of their own work. He himself searches tirelessly for new veins of ore throughout the realms.
Gaerdal Ironhand, God of Vigilance, Defense, and Combat
The Shield of the Golden Hills, Gaerdal is the primary defender of the Forgotten Folk, taking to the task in a way for more straightforward than the deceptive and illusive Baravar and Garl. He is by far the most stern and serious of any in the gnome pantheon.
Gaerdal oversees most of the organized military and watchmen among the gnomes, and often sends his avatar to oversee their organizing.
His worship is less joyful, but no less sincere, among his people. None doubt his place among the pantheon, despite his lack of japes and comedy. There is always hope that he will not need to be called upon, but when he is needed he rarely fails.
Nebelun the Meddler, God of Invention, Construction, and Luck
While common belief holds that Nebelun in merely the gnomish name for Gond the Wonderbringer (a broader Faerun god of smiths and invention), there are some gnomes who believe that they are in fact separate deities. In other dimensions they are in fact separate, but in the Forgotten Realms Nebelun is not active, and so Gond has assumed his aspect.
Regardless of whether he is worhsipped by gnomes alone, there is no doubting the importance of invention and smithin in gnomish culture. No conflict has ever been recorded between Gond and the other Lords.
Seojan Earthcaller, God of Death, Earth, and Nature
As the Lord of the Burrow, Seojan Earthcaller is the particular patron of rock gnomes, creatures that burrow through the earth, and death. He once had far greater domain over gnomish life, but over time other gnomish gods took over many of his responsibilities as he took over funerary rites.
In personality, Seojan is pragmatic, but still fond of mischief. His tricks are often targeted at Urdlen, whose constant attacks frequently endanger the denizens of the earth before other gnomes.
Urdlen, God of Evil, Bloodlust, and Hatred
Although Urdlen is mindless, feared, and reviled, his place in the gnome pantheon is unquestioned by the Forgotten Folk. He is every dark thought and cruel impulse by every gnome given form – and is combatted always by other gods among the pantheon.
Have you ever played a gnome in Dungeons and Dragons? Did you include their religion in the character? Do you have a favorite gnome god? Let us know in the comments below!