Beyond the Empire
To the gnomes the world is a tapestry upon which they can paint endless artistry, a place designed to allow them to express their inherent creativity and inventiveness. As a society gnomes tend to prize the ingenuity of the individual over the collaboration of the collective, and for one of the oldest races found within The Empire, gnomish society carries relatively few strict traditions. As a race of small stature, gnomes tend to favour being creative and clever over being strong and brutal. Some gnomes however flout this physical weakness and whether through training or Fleishtanzen become just as capable in combat as any taller folk.
Gnomes have always found succor in the dense leaves of the forest, and it is almost unheard of to find a gnomish settlement outside of at least some form of woods. For this reason it is unsurprising that druids or Druumlach have always formed half of the twin pillars of gnomish society. In the stories of old it was the Druumlach who shepherded the gnomes through the harsh world, and protected them from outside threats.
In contrast, the threats from within, the weaknesses and shortcomings of gnomish flesh were overcome by the Vyrrlach the other pillar of gnomish ‘governance’. The Vyrrlach are wizards who follow ancient gnomish traditions of the same name. The path of a Vyrrlach is a complex journey during which one must demonstrate mastery first of the school of Illusion, and then subsequently Necromancy, Transmutation and Enchantment. The final specialisation varies from wizard to wizard, depending on whether the practitioner wishes to specialise in manipulating the spirit, the body or the mind. A Vyrrlach may never specialise in the school of illusion, as such magic is something possessed to some degree by almost all gnomes and is viewed by gnomes as a tool for demonstrating rough sketches rather than a school of true value.
While these twin pillars represent the high echelons of gnomish society, gnomes are anything but predictable and occupy a vast gamut of professions. Alchemists who brew powerful potions and flesh warping elixirs are not uncommon, while gnomish warriors often make use of various plants and fungi to drive themselves into furious rages. In human lands gnomes have found a unique niche as hairdressers and minor cosmetic artists and it is rare for a family of high ranking within the Empire to be without a gnomish stylist.