Forest gnomes are among the least commonly seen among other gnomes. These reclusive people are so unknown to outsiders, that they have been repeatedly “discovered.” Timid and shy to an extreme, forest gnomes rarely leave their hidden homes. Common habitats of forest gnomes are within the dense jungles of Eyr and formally the deep forests of Mystara. Though they may live in far flung reaches, these gnomes are anything but tribal nor savage.
The abilities of forest gnomes focus on remaining unseen and undercover. They have a particular advantage when it comes to sneaking around their home territories. By their pastoral heritage, forest gnomes develop bonds with animals and may speak to them as if it were a spell-like ability.
Compared to other gnomes, forest gnomes are more diminutive in size. Typically, males stand taller than females. Hair tends to be brown or black, though it grays with age and sometimes to a pure white. Unlike other gnomes, they grow their hair long and free. They lack the desire to either shave or trim their hair, though males do carefully maintain their beards. Their skin ranges from a variety of earthy tones, and in many ways looks like wood.
The life of a forest gnome is said to be simple and idyllic, as they live directly off the land in small hidden villages. Their homes utilize much of the natural terrain and are built to disturb the local environment as little as possible. Many of their homes are built within trees, in the trunks and underneath the roots. When carving out a home, great care is given not to harm the tree. Homes are made up of many tiny rooms and chambers stacked on top of one another. There are two entrances, one in the front and in the back, and they are both protected by traps and ladders.
They live in a curious mix of hard work and luxury. Few, if any troubles, plague forest gnomes, and they are afforded quite a bit of leisure time. Most often, they spend that time by taking up artistic pursuits. Much of their work is humble, but impressive, and their crafts span from gemcutting, forging tools, and woodworking. There is a particular taboo among forest gnomes regarding axes, and the wood they use is collected from loose debris from the jungle or forest floor.
Children, who are too young to contribute in meaningful ways, are left to their own devices. A careful eye is kept on them however, and they are prevented from wandering too far from the village into danger. Children learn primarily by example through watching their elders. Gradually, they acquire a reverence toward nature and an appreciation for their society.
Largely, forest gnomes are hunter-gatherers, and harvest their food from wild fruits, nuts, and berries. They also supplement their diet with a little meat. Much of their day is spent gathering food throughout the wilds, but a few search underground for gems. It is exceptionally rare for a forest gnome to become an adventurer, and it is done out of necessity. Instead, most forest gnomes are crafters or experts of some kind. Their love of music make for excellent, if somewhat shy, bards. As forest gnomes are surrounded and are at one with nature, many choose to become druids, rangers, and even clerics. As all gnomes share a talent for illusion, some forest gnomes do become wizards in that regard. As stealth is prefered over fighting opponents head on, rogues can be counted among forest gnomes. It is completely unheard of for a forest gnome to take a warrior’s lifestyle.