Pathfinder 2e - The Gnome Handbook
Last Updated: September 8th, 2020
I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
- : Good options.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
Gnome Racial Traits
- : Average racial hit points, and a racial Constitution boost.
- : Small. Medium and small size have few functional differences in Pathfinder 2e.
- : 25 ft. is standard.
- : Constitution and Charisma is great for any Charisma-based spellcaster (Bard, Sorcerer, etc.), and the Free Ability Boost can go into Dexterity to make the Gnome a good option for most martial classes. The Strength flaw makes the Barbarian a hard choice and limits some of your martial options, but Fighter, Ranger, and Rogue all still work.
- : Racial language plus Common is standard.
- : Low-light vision.
- : Somehow this works while covered in clothing head to toe. As a GM I might allow players to use a disguide kit or a Survival check to camouflage themselves to get the same bonus. But if your GM won't allow that, the +2 bonus to Stealth is nice.
- : A reliable magic option, and you can change it once per day. Since no ability score is specified, it's Charisma-based so unless you have decent Charisma try to stick to utility options.
- : Even as an imprecise sense, Scent is a spectacular way to comabt hidden and invisible enemies.
- : Darkvision is really good.
- : Basically the same as Fey-Touched, but the cantrip can be from any spell list except Primal.
Gnomes are heavily dependent on Charisma for many of their Ancestry Feats. If you use the Voluntary Flaw rules to drop your Charisma, you may find many Gnome feat options unappealing.
- : Familiars are really useful, and even if you use it for nothing else you can use its abilities for things like extra Focus, extra Infused Reagents, and as an extra set of eyes for Perception.
- : Very situational.
- : Absolutely spectacular for any Face build. However, it becomes less effective as fights progress and you take actions which other creatures might percieve as "hostile". The term "hostile" isn't clearly defined here, but as a GM I would rule that anything which adversely affects a creature or which assists another creature in doing something harmful to the creature (such as buffing an ally who is attacking an enemy creature) would count as hostile. So standing in the back and casting buffs and healing spells wouldn't be a loophole to abuse this feat.
- : Very situational.
- : Great if your Charisma is high enough to make the cantrip worthwhile.
- : If you pick Lore skills worth having, this will go a long way.
- : The Gnome Hooked Hammer is better than most Simple weapons, so getting it as a Simple weapon is tempting for any gnome limited to Simple weapons. The Gnome flickmace is neat, but it's only interesting if you want reach. Glaives and Kukris are fine, too, but your proficiency with them won't increase beyond Trained unless you already get proficiency with them or you take Gnome Weapon Expertise.
- : Situational, but the ability to automatically disbelieve illusions without interacting with them is helpful.
- : Situational, but Blinded is a great debuff and it's available from a variety of source. Better still, this is a Free Action. Unfortunately, it only extends the duration for one target creature.
- : Tempting for a Druid, but I don't know if anyone else would care. Speak With Animals is a 2nd-level spell exclusive to the Primal spell list, which is nice, but it's an extremely situational spell. You can't count on animals being present for you to speak with, you can't count on them having something useful to say, and you can't necessarily use this to calm hostile animals because Make an Impression takes a full minute. You also need a total of 2 feats to get to this point, which is hard to justify for such a situational ability.
- : You can recharge Focus easily by spending 10 minutes out of combat, and Animal Accomplice gets you a familiar which can replicate this effect and continue to be a useful addition to the party.
- : Some critical specialization effects are fantastic. Flail and Hammer both knock foes prone, making the Gnome Hooked Hammer and the Gnome Flickmace excellent choices.
- : Too situational.
- : Misdirection is very situational, but Silence is great both for hindering enemy spellcasters and for helping you and your allies to remaing undetected while sneaking around.
- : Both spells are really good, but they've also been available for 6 levels.
- : A great way to get into position to flank a creature, but if you're not built for melee you can also use this to jump through allies' spaces in order to get behind a more durable ally.
- : This could be a lot of hit points once your Constitution is high. If you're at 18 Constitution by the time you take this, you're healing 16 hit points every time that you rest for 10 minutes. There doesn't appear to be a limit on how often you can use this, so if you have time you can just around and return to full hit points. Of course, by this level you should have ample healing resources, so this is hardly essential. If your party relies heavily on Medicine for hit point restoration you might use this to make that time more effective, but since Treat Wounds doesn't have a limitation on how often it can be used there's little reason to take this when you could just spend more time being subjected to Treat Wounds. Amusingly, there isn't a floor on the hit points, so by a pedantic, RAW reading of the rules you can kill yourself if you go to sleep with a negative Constitution modifier.
- : Crucial if you're reliant on Gnome Weapon Familiarity.
- : Mirror Image is a great defensive option, and the ability to use it as a Reaction even once per day is a spectacular defensive option on any character. Sure, you only get two images, but that's still two attacks negated.
- : A really interesting concept, but Plane Shift has been available for at least 3 levels on every spell list. This is not worth a feat, especially one this high-level.