When it comes to role-playing games, I think everyone has favorites. Their favorite game. Their favorite setting. Their favorite character. Their favorite class. Their favorite race. This is the focus of my thoughts today – the races that we, as gamers, prefer to play. That’s what it really all comes down to – what do you prefer? What seems like it will be entertaining to play? After all, that’s what we’re here for – isn’t it? To be entertained.
I’ve known players to play the same race/class combo every time they get into a game, whether it’s a tabletop game or a video game. That’s fine, if that’s what you enjoy. If you always want to play a Human Fighter or an Elf Mage when it comes time to play D&D, there’s no judgment here, but you know who you are. I have my own preferences as well, but I also know there is great fun to be had in playing something outside of the usual character you play. Trust me. I think I have played a Human or Half-Elf character more than just about anything else, but some of the most fun characters I have ever played have been something entirely different.
So now I ask, what the hell about Gnomes? I know I joke about Gnomes quite a bit, but is there some unspeakable rule against Gnome adventurers? Sure, maybe they’re a bit rare, but in all my time adventuring in the many, many worlds I have stepped foot into, do you know how many Gnome adventurers I have met? Here’s a hint – I can count them all on one hand. That’s not nearly enough. I’ve asked around in games and many players just don’t seem to give the idea of playing a Gnome much consideration. Remember how Gnomes were left out of the initial 4th Edition Player’s Handbook? It’s one of the many reasons, my enthusiasm for 4th Edition flagged. So why don’t people play Gnomes in Dungeons & Dragons? Or is it happening and I just haven’t seen it much in the groups/games I’ve played in?
As a whole, I think Gnomes are overlooked and under-appreciated. Of the shorter D&D races, Dwarves are known for their war-like nature and Dwarven fighters are plentiful to say the least. Look at the Halflings, who are known for their roguish tendencies and you’ll see that Halfling rogues and their thievery are a dime a dozen. Sandwiched right in the middle between fighting and hiding, you’ve got the Gnomes – the perfect underdog.
Gnomes are vibrant, (typically) intelligent, and curious. They love life, nature, and pranks. They live in burrows and speak to animals. They tinker and create and explore and on top of all these things, a good portion are blessed with inherent magical abilities. I think the world (worlds) would be better off with more Gnome adventurers and explorers. Gnomes are awesome.
Do you notice yourself leaning toward one specific race when you’re coming up with a new character?