Deep Gnome (Svirfneblin): A Svir-What Now?

Gnomes. One of the most frequently forgotten races in Dungeons and Dragons. Because how many people in the world want to play as a gnome? You can be a dragon man, a cat girl, a turtle, or even a robot! Why be a tiny little smart guy?

And for that matter: why make your players fight one?

Lore: Miners in the Dark

Svirfneblin, deep gnomes, live in caverns well below the surface of the world. They rely on their wits and stealth to survive in the dark, although they’ve got the strength and weight to help them out. Their enclaves are often run by the women while the men search for valuable gemstones (which they love) and any enemies that might threaten them. Often times, they’ll ally themselves with creatures from the Elemental Plane of Earth, as they share much in common in relation to their goals.

And that’s about it. Honestly, this lore is fairly dull and uninteresting. At best, you could write a single encounter out of it. If your players want to explore a deep history that ties into the plot, though, they’ll be disappointed.

Design: I’ve Got Nothing

Like… it’s not the most boring thing in the world. But what is there to talk about?

It certainly looks like a cave-dwelling creature, I’ll give it that. With the equipment and the coal-colored skin (and the backpack filled with the shit), it’s hard not to put that together. It looks more like a goblin than a gnome, but I guess that makes sense, given where it lives.

And… yeah, that’s it. A fairly dull design. Not so generic that it’s awful. But not something any DM will have much fun in describing to their players.

Stats: Metal Gnome Solid

Get it? Because they’re stealthy? Okay. I’ll leave now.

These guys aren’t exactly the most durable of the lot. Their AC is higher than nothing, but their HP is on the low end. It doesn’t take many hits to kill one.

But finding one can be a pain in the ass. Not only are they stealthy as fuck, but they’re also strong against any magic that requires a saving throw (so… most of it). And it’s got a few spells that make it easier to escape as well! Including:

At will: nondetection (self only)
1/day each: blindness/deafness, blur, disguise self

Oh, I’m sorry! Did you just find it? Well, too bad! It’s gone again!

In terms of actions, it’s fairly limited. It can hit you with a war pick or throw a poison dart at you. They’ve both got meh damage, but the poison effect can be troublesome.

All in all, it can make for a decent fight. But it’s tricky. You’ve got to set up just the right number of enemies, just the right battlefield, and pace it just the right way. That alone is tough. But when you factor in the unpredictability of the players themselves? The encounter could quickly end up falling apart.

Whether that’s fun or not depends on your group. Kind of like D&D in general, really.


Yeah, this monster is pretty boring. It’s lore is lackluster, it’s design just the same, and the stats only slightly better. I’d be amazed if I didn’t forget this thing existed the moment this article is published.

With all that in mind, let’s put the Deep Gnome on the Best of the Bestiary!

  1. Beholder
  2. Death Tyrant
  3. Dragon Turtle
  4. Green Dragons
  5. Red Dragons
  6. Blue Dragons
  7. Black Dragons
  8. White Dragons
  9. Silver Dragons
  10. Couatl
  11. Behir
  12. Aboleth
  13. Bronze Dragons
  14. Brass Dragons
  15. Copper Dragons
  16. Gold Dragons
  17. Chuul
  18. Gibbering Mouther
  19. Chimera
  20. Death Knight
  21. Fomorian
  22. Bone Devil
  23. Dracolich
  24. Faerie Dragon
  25. Ankheg
  26. Storm Giant
  27. Hill Giant
  28. Empyrean
  29. Efreeti
  30. Dao
  31. Cloud Giant
  32. Drow (all four of ’em)
  33. Shadow Demon
  34. Marilith
  35. Drider
  36. Aarackockra
  37. Azer
  38. Demilich
  39. Spectator
  40. Marid
  41. Cambion
  42. Fire Giant
  43. Animated Armor
  44. Banshee
  45. Basilisk
  46. Yochlol
  47. Bulette
  48. Cloaker
  49. Darkmantle
  50. Doppelganger
  51. Ghoul and Ghast
  52. Ettin
  53. Pit Fiend
  54. Erinyes
  55. Chain Devil
  56. Bearded Devil
  57. Barbed Devil
  58. Spined Devil
  59. Ice Devil
  60. Djinni
  61. Nalfeshnee
  62. Glabrezu
  63. Chasme
  64. Barlgura
  65. Horned Devil
  66. Balor
  67. Shadow Dragon
  68. Vrock
  69. Dretch
  70. Gnolls (all three)
  71. Goristro
  72. Hezrou
  73. Manes
  74. Frost Giant
  75. Duergar
  76. Quasit
  77. Dryad
  78. Flumph
  79. Githyanki
  80. Planetar
  81. Imp
  82. Flameskull
  83. Displacer Beast
  84. Carrion Crawler
  85. Githzerai
  86. Rug of Smothering
  87. Bugbear Chief
  88. Bugbear
  89. Vine Blight
  90. Twig Blight
  91. Needle Blight
  92. Bullywug
  93. Ettercap
  94. Gas Spore
  95. Cockatrice
  96. Lemure
  97. Solar
  98. Deva
  99. Cyclops
  100. Centaur
  101. Ghost
  102. Fire Elemental
  103. Water Elemental
  104. Air Elemental
  105. Stone Giant
  106. Deep Gnome <——————–
  107. Dinosaurs (All six of them)
  108. Earth Elemental
  109. Galeb Duhr
  110. Flying Sword
  111. Crawling Claw
  112. Violet Fungus
  113. Shrieker
  114. Gargoyle

One response to “Deep Gnome (Svirfneblin): A Svir-What Now?”

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