The World of Temmuren
The ancestral home of the gnomes is the arctic north of both the first and second continents. Known to few besides the somewhat insular Gnomish culture is that these continents were once one great land mass. While a harsh environment to most other races, the determined Gnomes survived and flourished in this land; adapting to their surroundings and eventually adapting those surroundings to themselves. While the tightly-knit gnomish civilization has spread somewhat from its origins in the north of both continents, they’ve been mostly content to claim the frigid north and a modicum of surrounding lands for their own and avoid greater claim or conflict.
Gnomes live in clusters of burrows in mountains, hills and forests, ranging from frigid mountain peaks to the modest weather of lowland hills and forests at the periphery of their territory.
The Great Divide & Subraces
The Great Divide split Gnomish territory into two countries, which developed independently of one another. Gnomes dwelling primarily in the lower hills an forests in the west of their land remained on the first continent and regarded this event as a cataclysm, which decimated their race. These ‘survivors’ became the subrace now known as the Forest Gnomes.
The Forest Gnomes were proven wrong centuries later when Humans encountered their kin on what became known as the second continent. The Gnomes who were separated from their homeland in The Great Divide knew their kin yet survived, but were confounded by the shifting earth and unsure how to return to their kin, and so set feverishly about studying their new surroundings and fashioning various inventions towards the ends of studying The Great Divide and reuniting them with their kin, before ultimately getting lost in their pursuit of knowledge itself and forgetting entirely about returning to the first continent. These Gnomes have since become known as Rock Gnomes, not only for the rocky hills and mountains they predominantly settle, but their common stubbornness and somewhat aloof nature.
Concerned for their survival as a race, Forest Gnomes forged close symbiotic bonds with the denizens of their forests and their Elven neighbors, though wisely concealed themselves from their often violent and aggressive Human neighbors. Many human armies in fact have attempted to take their land, but all fell prey to cunning illusion, unforgiving weather, and repeated blows to morale as they could rarely find Gnomish warriors to fight, but lost men to famine, frost-bite, and mysterious disappearances throughout their campaigns. Some human soldiers still tell tales of entrapment in Gnomish gulags hidden deep within their mountainous holdings, but most consider these to be no more than tall tales meant to spare the honor of warriors lost in the snow. All the same, many Humans are still wary of the Forest Gnomes and their territory.
Rock Gnomes, by contrast, are renowned for hospitality, despite their quirks. Humans who made landfall on the second continent hardly notice Gnomish presence at first, too preoccupied with the vast and bountiful lands to explore. However, upon discovering the Rock Gnomes had long since colonized the northern part of this continent Humans were content to settle for the vast majority of resources and arable land that the Gnomes had apparently ignored to their south. The Rock Gnomes became steadfast friends with the Humans of the second continent, who did not know what to think of Rock Gnome sports, music or arts; ; and really the Humans just didn’t think about them at all and mostly continue to do so to this day. There are two exceptions to this rule. The first is Rock Gnome engineering, which is renowned and respected if not understood. The second, likewise not understood, is Rock Gnomish sexuality and fetishes, which are frequently the source of shock and the butt of jokes among Humans of the second continent.
The trade practices of both Gnomish cultures is as eccentric as their respective cultures. Forest Gnomes are purveyors of fine alcohols and precious cut gems, as well as trained animals, which they have a knack for raising. It is also rumored that Gnomish merchants rival Halflings in bringing illicit goods to market. While not typically prone to wide travels, Forest Gnomes are purported to be able to smuggle a trained yak into a Dwarven woman’s veil on the other side of the continent in a pinch.
Rock Gnomes’ trade goods and services for trade are much more traditional by comparison, but perhaps even more fantastic. Rock Gnomes have become the seminal purveyors of elaborate engineered contraptions and magical devices. Not job is too big or small for Rock Gnomes’ contraptions, though earning their interest may be too daunting a task for some. Those with enough cunning or coin have rarely found themselves disappointed in a Rock Gnome’s work though, which leaves them as highly sought after craftsman, researchers, and business partners.