|City and Homeland|
Gnome is a Non-playable race in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. "Truth is never absolute. There are always new layers of truth to discover … or to conceal." Fomorous Hugues, famed inventor, lecturing an ambitious associate. The gnomes are an enigmatic people. They bestow wondrous gifts of knowledge, medicine, and magic to befriend the other kingdoms, yet seldom reveal their plans or intentions to outsiders. Their society is divided into three castes: Templars, who set direction and policy; Scholars, who focus on study and invention; and Praetorians, one of the most renowned fighting forces in Amalur.
Political power within gnomish society is ostensibly split equally between three castes—Templars, Praetorians, and Scholars—that govern together in the Forum. In practice, the Praetorians bow to the wishes of the Templars while the Scholars, excluding a few marginalized exceptions among their number, remain content to let the Templars drive key decisions. A fourth caste, the priestly Auspices, was lost to history after an attack that devastated their sacred monastery The Templars, serious and long-thinking, focus on politics, diplomacy, and planning. They set their society's agenda, directing efforts on long-term goals such as the creation of the Well of Souls. The protective Praetorians, accomplished warriors, focus solely on safeguarding gnomish society and culture. The Scholars, practitioners of philosophy, collect and record knowledge of the past in service of their Amalur's future. Altruistic, their genuine desire to improve the world at times puts them at odds with the rest of the elite. Historically, the gnomes have demonstrated no desire for conquest, nor have they tried to impose their politics or philosophies upon the other kingdoms. They have sought good relations with all parties, though they have been observed to show favoritism toward those who share their goals. The gnomes prefer to exert their influence carefully and discreetly.
Though the gnomes acknowledge they live in a world of rising magic, they approach all problems and goals with a rational mindset. Their steady, methodical approach to matters large and small has earned them a reputation as practical and pragmatic—a perception willingly fostered by the Templars. Despite this rigid mindset—or perhaps because of it—their greatest achievements have often occurred when an ambitious gnome takes the initiative to bend a few rules. The Templars have learned to afford Scholars enough latitude to explore unorthodox solutions to challenging problems, though care is taken to ensure that particularly radical explorations are conducted discreetly, away from the eyes of the other kingdoms. Through most of Amalur's history, the gnomes eschewed establishing a centralized kingdom or capital. Instead, they spread out across the world, either in villages of their own or in small pockets within the cities of their allies. The primary exception to this strategy came during the Age of Arcana, when the Templars decided to found the city of Adessa as a center of knowledge and learning in Amalur. Though the strategy succeeded in bringing visibility and prestige to the gnomes, the eventual destruction of Adessa ushered in the Age of Ruin, a dark era that would undo centuries of progress.
Having invented a variety of helpful devices over the centuries, the gnomes earn their profits by first giving away what they know they can sell later. Their strong relationships with the great kingdoms ensure varied markets eager for their goods. Though the highest-ranking members of gnomish society live lives of wealth and privilege, it is considered poor form to flaunt one's wealth to members of other kingdoms. Such actions draw undue attention, and may serve to sully the reputation that the gnomes have so diligently crafted.
Although not as inherently magical as the elves, gnomes have always demonstrated the ability to control magic through study and effort. When magic surged in the Age of Arcana, gnomish use of magic proliferated, becoming a more essential component in their culture and commerce. However, the matter-of-fact gnomes do not glorify magic in the same way other kingdoms do. Magic, for the gnomes, is a powerful tool used to unravel mysteries and enable discoveries. Working with societies of arcane study such as the Scholia Arcana and the Conclave, gnomish Scholars have extensively analyzed magic's principles and applications, even if they have been unable to determine its actual source.
Although many aspects of gnomish society are closely controlled by the Templars, the practice of religion is left up to the individual. Some choose to shun gods and religion, seeing claims of divine influence as explainable manifestations of magical energy. These gnomes believe that diligent dedication to study has answered the unanswerable before, and they believe in their ability to find rational truths even in seemingly mystical manifestations. Others see the proliferation of magic in the world as an undeniable manifestation of divine intervention. Favored deities among the gnomes include Mitharu, Lord of Order, and Lyria, goddess of magic. Some Scholars study the stars for guidance, whether searching for a correlation between magic and fate, or seeking enlightenment from the gods of the sun and moon, Helius and Lunala.
A Kingdom EmergesEdit
As the Deep Gloam receded, the gnomes returned to the surface of Amalur seeking to reestablish their culture. Along with the Alfar and the Mitharans, the gnomes stayed close to the Erathi during the Emergence. With the departure of the Erathi, the gnomes laid claim to some remnants of the Codex of Order, a series of writings that detailed the way to live a proper life in the service of order. The gnomes were particularly drawn to a section discussing the nature of mortality and fate. Gnomish society was divided into four castes: the Templars, politicians and planners; the Praetorians, soldiers and guardians; the Scholars, scientists and researchers; and the Auspices, priests and historians. Each caste held an equal vote in the Forum. Because the Templars and Praetorians often had shared interests and the Scholars and Auspices often voted together, there was a stable balance in their society. Any matter which ended in a stalemate between the two sides were settled by a vote of the Common House, gnome workers and citizens not affiliated with any of the four major groups. The four castes worked together to forge a new society that emphasized research and knowledge. They established settlements across the Faelands, taking with them the relics and writings they managed to preserve from the days of the Gloam. They built relationships with the other kingdoms by offering useful inventions while asking for little or nothing in return. Charged with preserving their cultural history, the Auspices took their sacred relics—including the fragments of the Codex of Order—and built a monastery on the distant isle of Akre. Wary of dark influences who sought to destroy knowledge, the gnomes kept the location of Akre a secret.
As the influence of the gnomes spread across Amalur, tensions arose within their leadership council. Due to the popularity of the Auspices and the Scholars, the Common House often sided with them, and the Templars found it difficult to advance their agendas. The Templars sought ways to increase their influence over other races in the world, but the majority of gnomes were resistant to such plans. During the era of the Early Kingdoms in 2807 BE (470 NW), a prominent Templar named Orjean de Palmes grew increasingly frustrated at being under the thumb of the Auspices. He despised the religious caste for what he perceived as undeserved reverence. At a social gathering where de Palmes imbibed far too much Ljosalfar winter wine, the angry Templar loudly complained that a crucial council meeting had been delayed so that the Auspices could observe the Lighting of the Path, a gnomish religious festival. One of the party guests, an acquaintance of de Palmes, commiserated with the gnome and made certain his wine goblet stayed full. In the course of his ranting, the Templar spoke of the location of Akre. After a long evening, the drunken de Palmes had to be carted home. The Templar's generous companion was, in fact, an agent for a clandestine group who considered the gnomes' storehouses of ancient knowledge a threat. Word of the treasures housed at Akre was given to the Tyrgash, brutal orcs eager to take objects of power from rival kingdoms. The Tyrgash fleet sailed to Akre and sacked the monastery, stealing what they wanted and burning the rest. The orcs slaughtered every gnome they encountered, leaving the island a bloody, smoldering ruin. Because all able members of the Auspices had been called to Akre to attend the Lighting of the Path, the Tyrgash attack decimated an entire caste of gnomish civilization. No less tragic, a priceless collection of artifacts and documents had been stolen or destroyed. Reeling from these events, the influence of the gnomes diminished across the world as their culture entered a long period of rebuilding.
The Templar AgendaEdit
In the wake of the massacre at Akre, the surviving Auspices no longer held enough influence to maintain their caste. Survivors were absorbed into the Scholars, shifting the balance of power firmly to the Templars. With the Praetorians supporting them, the Templars could finally set the agenda for their people. While the Common House would remain in principle, it became an advisory body rather than a voting member in the Forum. The Scholars supported this arrangement, which they believed to be temporary, so that they could focus on healing and rebuilding their culture. Searching the ruins of Akre, the gnomes were able to salvage bits and pieces—shards of a shattered relic here, the binding of a burned tome there—including fragments of the Codex of Order. Passages on the nature of immortality took on new significance for the Templars in the wake of the horrible massacre their race had just endured. What if they could find a way to restore life to those who had died? How much of their culture could have been saved if they'd possessed such a device? And what price would other kingdoms be willing to pay to share in this miraculous gift? The Templars ordered work to begin on the project, an endeavor that would be pursued by countless Scholars throughout the ages. Its name: the Well of Souls.
Rise Of CorthisEdit
Though the gnomes loaned their wisdom and expertise to many cultures over the years, they became particularly impressed with the humans of Corthis, a village founded in Adelia. As the village grew into a city, and the tribe blossomed into a republic, the gnomes increased their dealings with the Corthians, influencing the formation of their nation. The Corthian Republic grew in prominence and power, eventually controlling much of Adelia. The Corthians exploited the rich jungles and rain forests surrounding them, producing a wide variety of exotic herbs and medicines that they sold to other kingdoms. The Templars believed that Corthian alchemists may have made discoveries that could prove helpful to their Well of Souls project, so they dispatched a member of their order, Emilie Denard, to conduct research in Corthis. The wealth and power that the Corthians accumulated transformed them into a decadent, oppressive empire. They conquered or enslaved many of the peaceful kingdoms of Adelia, needing fodder for their labor camps and gladiator pits. In this environment, Templar Denard was free of any inhibition, and her experiments began to explore very dark paths. Though unable to create the immortality device that her people were seeking, Denard's experiments resulted in some important discoveries—though at a horrific cost. When the kingdoms of Adelia united to overthrow the Corthians, the empire's leaders attempted to flee with its wealth and secrets. Denard's ghastly experiments were revealed to the world, and the Templars hastily denied all knowledge of her experiments, claiming that she had been working in secret and against their wishes. Emilie Denard was hunted as a criminal, and the Templars assured the allied kingdoms of Adelia—who had formed an alliance called the Circle of Nakari—that her research had been purged from their records. Despite a search that had the support of all the civilized kingdoms of Amalur, Emilie Denard's whereabouts were never discovered. It is presumed that Denard died a fugitive, though her remains were never found. As more and more Corthian atrocities came to light, a stigma fell upon all the empire's former allies. It took time for the gnomes to wash away the stain of complicity that had smeared their reputation.
Fueled By MagicEdit
By the time that the gnomes of Marthen Row inspired the Crymbil to break away from the vicious Skratta during the era of the Middle Kingdoms, gnomish influence was once again on the rise. With the surge of magic that ushered in the Age of Arcana, the Templars decided it was time to demonstrate that the gnomish culture was second to none. It was decreed that the gnomes would build a capital city in the deserts of Detyre . This city, to be named Adessa, would be the greatest center of knowledge and learning in the world. Within Adessa's halls of study, experiments into the Well of Souls resumed in earnest. A number of teams—under the guidance of a Templar named Ligotti Octienne—were charged with exploring facets of the resurrection process, including an ambitious Scholar named Fomorous Hugues. Though Hugues' ambitious plans were largely theoretical, Hugues believed he could harness the rising level of magic in the world to make them a reality. After years of work, Hugues' prototype Well of Souls eventually succeeded in bringing a fallen mortal back to life. But efforts to understand why the Well worked for this individual, as well as how to duplicate the success, were disrupted by the events of the Crystal War —a long struggle between the Tuatha Deohn and the Alfar that embroiled the Faelands in conflict. Tales spread of the adventurer who had risen from death and altered the threads of fate, a hero who would play a significant role in the climax of the war against the Tuatha and their mysterious new god. As its reputation as a center of knowledge grew, Adessa became a very visible target for forces seeking to plunge the world into chaos.
Keepers of KnowledgeEdit
After the fall of Adessa ushered in the Age of Ruin, the surviving gnomes weathered the fall of civilization in seclusion, determined to never again to give their enemies so visible a target. They would venture into other kingdoms in small numbers, building goodwill by helping others grow strong once again. Though work continued on the Well of Souls, their experiments were conducted with the utmost secrecy and discretion. With the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment, the gnomes aided the members of the newly formed Concordance, earning trust and goodwill through their gifts. They took a particular interest in the Almain, helping the humans rebuild after Port Myria's long occupation by the forces of chaos. The gnomes were steadfast allies of the Kollossae throughout the Hyperian Age, until the empire's decline caused the gnomes to question their allegiance. With the influence of the Almain continuing to grow, the gnomes provided the humans with architectural and engineering support for the construction of the great city of Valiance. In an effort to prevent the kingdoms of Amalur from plunging into a global war, in 1140 AE (4416 NW) the gnomes founded the Gathering, a political council intended to help its members find diplomatic solutions to their conflicts. Though it met with limited participation and questionable success at first, the Gathering would eventually help maintain a tenuous peace between rival kingdoms. As the Age of Heroes began, the potency of magic in the world reached unprecedented heights, dwarfing even those experienced during the Age of Arcana. The gnomes believed they were very close to discovering a source of power capable of making the Well of Souls operable on a global scale. They invested substantial resources into secret expeditions that sent many of the world's great heroes to uncover the sources of rising arcane power in the world.
Notable Gnomes in the game:Edit
- Fomorous Hugues, a scholar of vivification working on the Well of Souls in Allestar Tower. He is responsible for bringing the Fateless One back to life.
- Encel, one of Fomorous' men in Allestar Tower. He is the very first NPC the Fateless One will ever meet. He unfortunately dies shortly after meeting the Fateless One.
- Nanne Hanri, an alchemist living in Gorhart. Gives a quest involving a formula she and her assistant made.
- Milou, the butler of Sandstone Villa. Becomes loyal to the Fateless One when he becomes owner of the said house.
- Octienne, a corrupt templar who sponsored Hugues in his attempts to raise the dead.