The Gods of the Gnomes

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The Gods of the Gnomes

Garl Glittergold, NG: The Joker, The Watchful Protector, the Priceless Gem, the Sparkling Wit
-Domains: Community, Creation, Gnome, Good, Protection, Trickery

Baervan Wildwanderer, NG: The Masked Leaf, the Forest Gnome, Father of Fish and Fungus
-Domains: Animal, Gnome, Good, Plant, Travel

Callarduran Smoothhands, N: Deep Brother, Master of Stone, Lord of Deepearth, the Deep Gnome
-Domains: Cavern, Earth, Gnome, Good, Healing, Protection

Flandal Steelskin, LG: The Stern, Shield of the Golden Hills
-Domains: Artifice, Creation, Gnome, Good, Metal

Gond, N: The Wonderbringer, Lord of All Smiths; God of invention, artifice, craft, construction, smithwork
-Domains: Artifice, Earth, Fire, Knowledge, Metal, Planning

Segojan Earthcaller, NG: Earthfriend, the Rock Gnome, Lord of the Burrow, Digger of Dens, the Badger, the Wolverine
-Domains: Animal, Cavern, Earth, Gnome, Good

Urdlen, CE: The Crawler Below, the Evil One
-Domains: Chaos, Earth, Evil, Gnome, Hatred

The Forgotten Folk of the Realms worship a pantheon or deities known collectively as the Lords of the Golden Hills. They are so named for the region of Bytopia where most dwell. The powers included in the pantheon varies from gnome clan to clan (and even more so from world to world), but those presented hereafter are venerated or at least acknowledged in most gnome settlements in the Realms. Urdlen, the Crawler Below, dwells in the Abyss, but he has tunneled into Bytopia on more than one occasion only to be driven back each time.

While Garl Glittergold is clearly acknowledged as the leader of the gnome pantheon, he has never banished any god from that pantheon, even Urdlen, despite relentless attacks by the Evil One against its fellow powers and the Forgotten Folk. The Lords of the Golden Hills include Baervan Wildwanderer the Masked Leaf, Callarduran Smoothhands the Deep Brother, Flandal Steelskin the Master of Metal, Garl Glittergold the Watchful Protector, Segojan Earthcaller the Lord of the Burrow, and-by nature of the threat he embodies-Urdlen. Also, the human deity Gond the Wonderbringer is venerated by the Forgotten Folk. This is largely because of Gond’s widely heralded appearance in the form of a gnome on the shores of Lantan during the Time of Troubles. As such, Gond is currently counted as a member of both the gnome pantheon and the human Faerunian pantheon.

Several of the Lords of the Golden Hills have a boon companion that accompanies them wherever they may go. Some examples include Arumdina, the sentient battle axe of Garl Glittergold, Chiktikka Fastpaws, an intelligent giant raccoon who accompanies Baervan Wildwanderer everywhere, and the intelligent stone golem that accompanies Segojan Earthcaller. Other gnome deities typically travel together or in the company of a non-gnome deity of a related portfolio. Mythic tales almost always involve the gnome hero being accompanied by one faithful companion or receiving significant aid from a deity (often in the form of hints and riddles) presented by well-disposed creatures as the adventure unfolds. This reflects the value the Forgotten Folk place on companionship and sharing with trusted fellows, whether they are gnomes or of other races. The gnome deities, it is said, were born as gems or veins of rich ore in the heart of the world. The gentle erosion of underground waters eventually released them. Some members of the pantheon are still associated in myth with the gems or metal from which myth says they were birthed- Baervan with emeralds, Callarduran with rubies, Flandal with the magical ore adamantine, Garl with gold, and Segojan with diamonds. Other deities have lost this association. Little in the way of familial relations has ever been ascribed to the Lords of the Golden Hills, although some legends refer to gods of the pantheon as brothers. Some myths claim that there were once female gnome deities, by their fate, assuming they ever existed, has long been forgotten. Members of the all-male pantheon have nothing to say on the matter except to betray a hint of ancient sadness.

Notwithstanding, it is an ancient tradition of the Forgotten Folk that when a young gnome wishes to leave the close bonds of his or her community, even for a short period of time, that she or he avoid engendering a feeling of rejection in family and friends by attributing his or her wanderlust to a divine vision to search for the missing sister gods. The Lords of the Golden Hills are actively involved in the lives of the Forgotten Folk.

Compared to the gods of other pantheons, they frequently dispatch avatars to intercede on behalf of their worshipers. However, instead of appearing to their worshipers on a regular basis, the gnome gods typically dispatch avatars only to undertake adventures that will indirectly benefit the Forgotten Folk. A subtle but important aspect of such exploits, as chronicled by gnome legends, is that they encourage small groups of worshipers to settle new lands that they might not otherwise explore. While the Forgotten Folk are not in decline like the dwarves and the elves, their numbers are no longer increasing significantly. The out-of-the-way, relatively untrammeled corners of the Realms that gnomes prefer to inhabit have become less and less remote as the years unfold. This has lead to increased competition for living space with both allies and foes.

Gnome folklore holds that the first gnomes were born from gems discovered by Garl and Arumdina in a fashion similar to that ascribed to the gods. The Watchful Protector discovered a sealed cavern whose walls and ceiling were studded with countless gems embedded in veins of valuable ore. When Garl polished the gems and breathed on them, the jewels opened like a blossom to release the first gnomes. Before leading them into the world, Garl bequeathed laughter and a spirit of mischievousness to the newly born race by telling them a joke. Those who were born of diamonds chose to dwell beneath the land and became the rock gnomes, those born of emeralds chose to dwell amidst the great trees and became the forest gnomes, and those born of rubies wandered deep into the heart of the earth and became the deep gnomes (or svirfneblin).

The Gods of the Gnomes

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