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Pathfinder 2e - The Gnome Handbook

Last Updated: August 20th, 2019

Disclaimer

I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
  • Green: Good options.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.

Introduction

Human Racial Traits

  • Hit Points: Average racial hit points, and a racial Constitution boost.
  • Size: Small. Medium and small size have few functional differences in Pathfinder 2e.
  • Speed: 25 ft. is standard.
  • Ability Boosts: 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.
  • Languages: Racial language plus Common is standard.
  • Senses: Low-light vision.

Gnome Heritages

  • Chameleon Gnome: 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.
  • Fey-Touched Gnome: 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.
  • Sensate Gnome: Even as an imprecise sense, Scent is a spectacular way to comabt hidden and invisible enemies.
  • Umbral Gnome: Darkvision is really good.
  • Wellspring Gnome: Basically the same as Fey-Touched, but the cantrip can be from any spell list except Primal.

Gnome Feats

Gnomes are heavily dependent on Charisma for many of their Ancestry Feats. If you use the Optional Flaw rules to drop your Charisma, you may find many Gnome feat options unappealing.

Level 1
  • Animal Accomplice: 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.
  • Burrow Elocutionist: Very situational.
  • Fey Fellowship: Very situational.
  • Fey World Magic: Great if your Charisma is high enough to make the cantrip worthwhile.
  • Gnome Obsession: If you pick Lore skills worth having, this will go a long way.
  • Gnome Weapon Familiarity: 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.
  • Illusion Sense: Situational, but the ability to automatically disbelieve illusions without interacting with them is helpful.
Level 5
  • Animal Elocutionist: 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.
  • Energized Font: 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.
  • Gnome Weapon Innovator: Some critical specialization effects are fantastic. Flail and Hammer both knock foes prone, making the Gnome Hooked Hammer and the Gnome Flickmace excellent choices.
Level 9
  • Fey World Adept: Both spells are really good, but they've also been available for 6 levels.
  • Vivacious Conduit: 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.
Level 13
  • Gnome Weapon Expertise: Crucial if you're reliant on Gnome Weapon Familiarity.