The DCC RPG Gnome (Illusionist)

by Yves Larochelle (sheriffharry)

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Gnomes are mischievous distant cousins of the dwarves. They are small in size, rarely reaching more than 40 inches in height and 90 pounds in weight and can live up to 600 years of age. Gnomes are magical beings; they are very proficient with illusions and have better magic resistance than other races. Unlike the dwarves, gnomes usually live above ground, preferring forest and gardens to underground or brick and mortar habitations. Gnomes are curious and playful by nature but can also show extreme bravery and fellowship when danger shows up.

Hit points: Because of their frail nature, gnomes gain 1d5 hit points each level.

Slow: Due to their small size, gnomes have a base movement of 20’.

Weapon training: Gnomes usually don’t like to fight with weapons. If forced to defend themselves, they will use a dagger, dart, sling or staff. Armor that will fit a gnome is very difficult to find, plus it affects a gnome’s ability to use magic.

Alignment: Since gnomish lifestyle is based on freedom and nature, they usually are neutral but chaotic and, more rarely, lawful gnomes have been encountered.

Level limitation: Gnomes are simple, humble creatures, they don’t save the universe from annihilation or become demigods and hence are limited to level 5.

Magic: Gnomish magic is solely based on illusion, deception, mirage and trickery. Gnomes are especially resistant to magic and its corrupting effects. Gnomes can’t have “patrons” and their spell list is limited (See sidebar.) At first level gnomes can pick any 3 1st level spells from their limited list. Gnome spells, like wizards, are affected by Intelligence. Spellcasting for gnomes generally follow wizard’s rules, with the exception of the Trick Die (See Table G1: Gnome.) The Trick Die determines the effective caster level (CL) each time a spell is cast. For example, a 1st-level gnome has a caster level of 1d3, as opposed to 1st-level Wizards or Elves with a caster level of 1. The spell check is usually a d20 + Trick Die + Intelligence Modifier. A gnome will only suffer the “1” effect of a spell failure if both the die roll and the Trick Die are natural ones.  

Sturdy Illusionist Trick: Gnomes sometimes cast special illusions that become “sturdy” or solid. Whenever the gnome casts a spell, he can add a description of the precise manifestation of his illusion. If the judge considers it appropriate in relation to the situation and the adversaries and the Trick Die roll is 3 or higher, the illusion becomes “sturdy” (thick/real/solid) and causes combat damage to an adversary on top of its other effects. The judge should describe the exact form of the damage according to the context. The damage is a one-time automatic hit doing 1d5 of damage per level of the gnome, and can also be fire-based, cold-based, etc. If the Trick Die is 5 or higher the illusion is also especially impressive and the adversary must make a Will save vs Spell Check or flee in panic for 1d5 rounds.

Magic resistance: Gnomes are especially resistant to magic. There is a 10% chance per level that any magic spell or effect targeting them will dissipate on contact with the gnome (this is in addition to any other applicable save check.)

<sidebar> Gnomes are limited to the following spells:

1st lev: Charm person, Color spray, Magic shield, Read magic, Ropework, Sleep, Ventriloquism, 2nd lev: Detect invisible, ESP, Invisibility, Knock, Levitate, Magic Mouth, Mirror Image, Phantasm, Scare, Scripted Illusion* (See New Spell Sidebar.)

3rd lev: Consult spirit, Dispel magic, Fly, Haste, Slow, Turn to stone, 

4th lev: Polymorph, Transmute Earth.

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Animal Trick: Gnomes are very close to nature. With a roll of 3 or more on their Trick die, an animal or insect of less than 1 HD will become “friendly” with a gnome, protecting him or performing a small task for him. Minimal communication, but not an actual “speak with animal” skill, is also possible. The animal will not become a “familiar” and will leave afterwards.

Night vision: Gnomes can see in the dark up to 60’.

Gem affinity: Gnomes can detect the presence of large quantities of gems and various other precious stones (10% per level).

Luck: A gnome’s Luck modifier applies to all Saving Throws against magic attacks and spells.

Language: A 1st-level, a gnome knows Common plus the gnome, elf and dwarf languages. A gnome knows one additional language per point of Int modifier.

Action Dice: A gnome’s action dice may be used for attacks and spell checks at any level.  

Table G1: Gnome

Level

Attk bonus

Crit die

Action die

Trick Die

Known spells

Max sp. lev

Ref save

Fort save

Will save

1

+1

1d6

1d20

d3

3

1

+1

+1

+1

2

+1

1d6

1d20

d4

4

1

+1

+1

+1

3

+2

1d8

1d20

d5

5

2

+2

+2

+1

4

+2

1d8

1d20

d6

6

3

+2

+2

+2

5

+3

1d10

1d20+1d14

d7

8

4

+2

+3

+3

Gnome titles:

Level-Title

1-Trickster

2-Charmer

3-Illusionist

4-Master Illusionist

5-Copperfield

APPENDIX

Zero-level occupations for gnomes:

- Gnome gardener – hand garden fork (as dagger) – bag of flower weeds, green thumbs

- Gnome entertainer – black wand (as staff) – shiny black top hat, white gloves

- Gnome stroller – walking stick (as staff) – pants with large pockets (small rocks, thread)

(Note, some ideas come from svaragog, on the Goodman Games forums, in designing this gnome.)

<sidebar>New spell:

Scripted Illusion: 

The spell caster creates an illusion that will start with or react to somebody’s actions. For example, the illusion might suddenly show a firewall at a certain time of day, or a sleeping dragon that wakes up when somebody walks nearby.

Level 2

Range: 100’+20’ per CL (once the spell is cast, the caster can move away.)

Duration: Varies.

Casting Time: 1 action

Save: Will save vs. spell check DC to disbelieve

Manifestation: Per description.

Corruption: Roll 1d3: (1) caster’s eyes become permanently transparent, and he is blind for 1d5 rounds; (2) caster’s body becomes ethereal for 1d5 hours every day; (3) caster becomes covered in small bumps that resemble small pox or toad skin that the caster can’t see.

Misfire: Roll 1d3: (1) the illusion appears to work, but only works for the caster; (2) the illusion script is reversed (e.g. the dragon goes to sleep when somebody walks near); (3) the illusion becomes a colorful blur starting at the left foot of the caster and follows him for 1d5 hours.

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1 Lost, failure, Roll 1d4 modified by Luck: (1 or less) corruption + misfire; (2-3) corruption; (4+) misfire.

2-11 Lost. Failure.

12-13 Failure, but spell is not lost.

14-19 The illusion follows the planned script. The illusion may affect an area up to a 5’ sq. for 1 turn.

20-25 The illusion follows the planned script. The area affected may be up to a 10’ sq. and can last for 1d3 turns.

26-31 The illusion follows the planned script, affects an area up to 20’ sq. and lasts for 1 hour. It is particularly realistic and adversaries failing a DC 15 Will check will flee in fear, be charmed, etc. (depending on the actual form/script).

32-33 The illusion follows the planned script, affects an area up to 40’ sq. and lasts for 1 week. It is particularly realistic and adversaries failing a DC 20 Will check will flee in fear, be charmed, etc. (depending on the actual form/script).

34+ The scripted illusion can become permanent. It can affect an area up to 100’ sq. It is particularly realistic and adversaries failing a DC 25 Will check will flee in fear, be charmed, etc. (depending on the actual form/script).

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