Gnome 5e Guide

Published on September 3, 2020, Last modified on December 31st, 2020

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not Gnomes will be right for your character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Gnomes. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Gnomes?

Gnomes are short and inquisitive creatures. Standing on average 3ft tall and weighing in at just over 40lbs, Gnomes love to look at life from the technical side. Their inquisitive nature tends to drive them towards professions such as engineers, alchemists, tinkers, and inventors.

Gnome Traits

Ability Score Increase: a +2 INT bonus is quite a rare one, only being shared by 2 other races. When just playing with the PHB, this bonus makes Gnomes far and away the best choice for Wizards.

Age: Gnomes mature by 40 and live to between 350 and 500 years.

Alignment: Gnomes tend to lean towards good.

Size: Gnomes are small creatures, between 3-4 feet tall and around 40lbs. Being a Small creature has benefits and consequences. Seeing as Wizards likely won’t have to wield heavy weapons and won’t get into shoving/grapple matches very often, being a small creature tends to favor classes that Gnomes like to play.

Speed: 25ft walking speed may not seem like much but can certainly get in the way of expeditious retreats.

Darkvision: 60ft Darkvision is a solid benefit.

Gnome Cunning: Advantage on Saving Throws from magical effects that target INT, WIS, and CHA is an amazing ability.

Languages: Common and Gnomish

Gnome Subraces

Deep Gnome:

Ability Score Increase: +1 DEX is a great way to boost AC.

Superior Darkvision: 120ft Darkvision will come in handy in certain environments.

Stone Camouflage: Again, this is a good ability but is limited in where it can be used.

Forest Gnome

Ability Score Increase: +1 DEX is a great way to boost AC.

Natural Illusionist: Minor Illusion is a great cantrip. While it may not be a huge damage dealer, it has a ton of utility.

Speak with Small Beasts: If you don’t have a Ranger or Druid, this is a great ability.

Rock Gnome

Ability Score Increase: +1 CON is a great way to boost the lousy HP of Wizards and other casters.

Artificer’s Lore: Usually Arcana checks will be more beneficial for magical items than history, barring the fact that the item is legendary or similar.

Tinker: The clockwork devices can’t do much and they don’t last long without regular maintenance.

Which Classes Work With Gnomes?

Barbarian: No STR or CON for a Barbarian.

Bard: No CHA for a Bard.

Cleric: No WIS for a Cleric.

Druid: No WIS for Druids.

Fighter: No STR or CON for a Fighter.

Monk: The DEX bonuses are okay, but Monks are looking for +2 DEX to be optimal and the INT won’t be beneficial.

Paladin: No CHA, STR, or CON for Paladins.

Ranger: No DEX or WIS for Rangers.

Rogue: The DEX bonuses are okay, but Rogues are looking for +2 DEX to be optimal and the INT won’t be beneficial.

Sorcerer: No CHA for Sorcerers.

Warlock: No CHA for Warlocks.

Wizard: Gnomes are a perfect Wizards class because of the +2 INT, all the other class features are just gravy.

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Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and continually strives to help players and DMs have fun playing D&D. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios.