The Gnome Hills
In the days of Westmark, a great tragedy oppressed the gnomish people, who then resided in the foothills of the Spine of the World. A great Red Dragon, Addertax, made it his mission to terrorize the Gnomish peoples and extort huge ransoms of gold and other precious items. Despite their best efforts (and those of many heroes and adventurers), the gnomes were unable to defeat this monstrous and evil creature. Many fled their homeland. A Prince of Westmark, hearing of their plight, decided to invite several gnome clans to settle in the hills southeast of Thentis. Known as the Gnome Hills, this area grew and thrived as a centre of Gnomish culture.
Gnomes are very egalitarian in their social structure. They are governed by a High Council, which is primarily drawn from the community based on a combination of merit, contribution to the community, and family status. Although most gnomes worship Garl Glittergold, and the Church of Garl is very influential in the Gnome Hills, other religions or cults (primarily based on nature or affinity with gnomish culture) exist within gnome society.
Unlike Hobbits, who tend to live in the open, gnomes tend to favour hidden or disguised homes and villages. A non-gnome, venturing into the inhabited parts of the Gnome Hills, would likely see verdant forests, rolling hills, creeks and ponds without many signs of civilization. However, this visitor would encounter a gnome (or gnome patrol) inquiring after their “business in these parts.” A gnome, or someone experienced with gnome culture, would see the hidden entrances and camouflaged structures that constitute gnome habitations and villages.
Gnomes are skilled in the artisanal crafts, forestry and mining and tend to animal husbandry and foraging. They do not plant or farm large fields, which are hard to disguise.