Deep gnomes, also known as the Svirfneblin, live deep within the earth throughout the archipelago. While surface gnomes are known for their unbound optimism and cheerful mischief, deep gnomes are a serious and suspicious people. Like other gnomes however, they share an insatiable curiosity and quest for truth. They survive the underground depths by maintaining a cautious behavior toward others and hard work to keep their communities a secret. It may take a considerable amount of effort to befriend a deep gnome, but once done, one can find a loyal friend whose trust cannot be easily misplaced.
These gnomes are highly adapted for underground living. Darkvision allows them to see where there is no light. Like dwarves, they also have stonesense; the ability to point out flaws and secret passages of stone structures by a just a glance. They are also highly resistant, but not invulnerable, to most magic spells. Deep gnomes are also better at stealth and hiding than surface gnomes.
Deep gnomes are wiry and lean, with hard muscular bodies. They stand as short as other gnomes. Most males are bald or beardless, though females do sport grey hair. Their skin is typically dark in color, ranging from brown to grey. Eyes are almost always grey.
Cities of deep gnomes are carved directly from the walls of a single large cavern. Through a series of interlocking chambers, their cities spread out. There’s very little contact outside of a community, and deep gnomes generally have little idea as to where the settlements of their kin are hidden. Population density is very high and most families share a single small room for living space.
Children are extremely important to deep gnome society, as low birthrates and underground dangers mean few see adulthood. Mothers obsessively dote upon their children, but leave some room and opportunity for personal growth. When deep gnome children come of age, they are immediately apprenticed to masters in whatever trade is expected of them to take on. When children grow up to have families of their own, they leave their parents’ home.
It is rare for a deep gnome to leave their haven, for they prefer to crowd together for protection. Deep gnomes that leave their homes adventure to sate their curiosity of the outside world. Fighters, rangers, rogues, and wizards make up the lot of deep gnome adventurers. Particularly successful deep gnome adventurers are called breach gnomes: elite warriors trained to defend their hidden deep cities from enemy attack.
As a whole, deep gnomes are a hard working and deeply sullen people, though they do find time to relax. Many find pleasure in food, which is made up of exotic fungi and blind fish found only within the underground depths. Many take up an artistic flare and incorporate gemstones into their numerous works.