Rodorsceaft: Pillar of Heaven
Rodorsceaft gnomes are a brilliant, ruthless bunch, with a culture that emphasizes the pursuit of knowledge and power over all things, save obedience to those more powerful and knowledgeable. Gnomish culture is absolutely homogenous, a totalitarian meritocracy where the study of arcane magic is absolutely mandatory.h3. History
Once upon a time, long before the Demon War, the gnomish kingdoms were thriving and vibrant. They were foremost amongst the sentient beings in the Terrestrium, their technological and magical prowess placing them head and shoulders above the humans, dwarves and centaurs. Even then, gnomes were driven by the pursuit of knowledge; it was they who conceived and built the Spiral Path and opened the way to exploration of the Branches.
Over the next several thousand years, the gnomes acted as the facilitators and ambassadors between the races. Their drive to learn pushed them into the furthest corners of Mother Tree’s canopy, bringing them into contact with the elves and the raptorans. These contacts were largely peaceful at first, but as the humans expanded and grew, displacing the races “native” to the Branchlands, hostilities quickly erupted.
Finally came the Demon War, in which most gnomes sided with the humans out of deference to ancient alliances. In the end, however, the gnomes were betrayed, sacrificed by their would-be allies in order to win the war. Most of the gnomish race was wiped out; only the most gifted and puissant survived.
The surviving gnomes retreated to the gnomish city, and for a human generation they closed their borders and kept to themselves. When they emerged, their culture had radically transformed, and the once cheerful, affable people had become reserved and suspicious.h3. Culture
The Druids strongly discourage wizardry, to the point that they tend to kill wizards when they find them. The gnomes, being highly skilled in the arcane arts, would not brook this loss to their already-diminished power. Knowing that the Draiocht would not commit genocide, the gnomes decided that the only way to force the druids to allow them to continue practicing wizardry would be to have every gnome alive take up the art. Not a single gnome child could be allowed to reach adulthood without donning the wizard’s mantle. This has had the desired effect of fending off the Druids’ aggression; the Druids, for their part, settle for keeping a very close eye on the gnomes.
Thus, every gnome, no matter what their eventual career, takes their first level in Wizard. Those gnomes who are not intelligent enough to master even the most basic arcane arts are killed by the gnomes themselves, for the good of the species.
Despite this emphasis on the arcane arts, the gnomes do not live in a magocracy. Rather, individual strength and accomplishment is exalted, no matter what the field; those who have accomplished more for and contributed more to the society are given more power and authority. The most skilled and powerful gnome alive, the Primus, rules the gnome city of Carakor with absolute authority. Every gnome alive owes absolute fealty to the Primus.
While there are some noted gnomes who travel the world, the vast majority of gnomes remain within the relative safety of Carakor, far from the dangers of the other races. As a result, each new generation of gnomes gets progressively more xenophobic.