Undergnomes, most commonly known as svirfneblin, are greatly misunderstood by other races, just as their ancestors were once ostracized by their kin on the surface. Still, they maintain the same tight-knit sense of familial duty. While they dabble in mining, the svirfneblin are as adept at engineering as regular gnomes, and have even learned how to incorporate arcane magics into their clockwork creations. Their undeniable talent with mechanical devices, however, makes them extremely ambitious in their designs, often leading to disastrous consequences.
Svirfneblin look very much like gnomes, save that many have stark white hair and all of them have dusky, dark skin that blends in easily with the caves of the Underworld. They favor light armors and almost always have a set of tools about their person, if not an odd-looking device or two as well.
The undergnomes are very polite, amicable people, but most outsiders fail to understand their esoteric, extremely rational approach to problem solving and life. The pursuit of science and magic are penultimate, only in the shadow of loyalty to kin. Svirfneblin are woe to betray another of their kind, and are revolted by the very thought of doing so to a direct relative. Their settlements run efficiently, using magica lly augmented mechanical devices throughout to create wondrous cities filled with clockwork amenities.
Svirfneblin are often mischaracterized as cold, calculating and pessimistic—in truth, they are thoughtfully efficient, comprehensive thinkers, and pragmatic, often determining what to do by weighing the probabilities of success or failure. Their aloofness makes it difficult to establish a true bond of trust with an undergnome but those that do find an extremely resourceful, productive companion of unwavering loyalty.
Alignment and Religion
Svirfneblin are typically of a good alignment but not exclusively so; their positive morality is a societal trait and not a racial compulsion. They sometimes pay homage to Nearru but for the most part, svirfneblin don’t much care for the gods. Little attention has been paid or given to the undergnomes by the deities, and with their penchant for overwhelming self-confidence, it should be no surprise that most svirfneblin worship science over faith.
While they aren’t keen on leaving their kin, many svirfneblin find themselves exiled from their home enclave. Overly ambitious students that let experiments get out of control receive periods of banishment for punishment, though they typically survive the enduring trial (thanks to allies that refuse to leave their side) and are the better for it. When a posse of svirfneblin finds a foe too powerful to defeat or hide from, however, surviving undergnomes attach themselves to the most likely means of continuing their existence, which has led to many of the subterranean gnomes achieving great glory in the endless caves of the Underworld.
Male Names: Bezkyzan, Dryleno, Haszinzk, Mynakysk, Plykk, Tzenri
Female Names: Cyzil, Ellyaz, Fyllyz, Naztali, Ryllzi, Zessyssi
Like their kin on the surface, svirfneblin are prodigious craftsmen and engineers and while you and your kin aren’t widely known to upperworlders, you are still gnomes. You have the standard gnome traits. In addition, you have the following svirfneblin subrace traits.
- Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma or Wisdom score increase by 1.
- Superior Darkvision. Your darkvision has a radius of 120 ft.
- Mechanowonder. You hail from a culture that blends technology and magic, and thus you may use Intelligence (Arcana) in place of other skill checks to determine the function of obscure pieces of technology and/or activate them.
- Sunlight Sensitivity. Whenever you are in direct sunlight, you have disadvantage on all checks that rely on sight including attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks.
- Tool Proficiency. Select one artisan tool. You are proficient with that tool.
Underworld Races and Classes © 2017 AAW Games LLC; Designers: Thilo Graf and Mike Myler