According to Gnomish lore, their people came to Nillin early in The Awakening Era, arriving from their home, Behrdoo, which had been, rather fantastically, overrun by mimics. The known gates to Behrdoo have now been sealed for centuries, but that’s a story for another day.
In modern Bastion, gnomes are primarily known as wondrous tinkers and magic makers as well as trustworthy purveyors of fine fey tobacco, a well-known euphoric smoke that rivals ale for popularity in certain regions. In addition to recreational uses, Forest Druids commonly use the substance in their rituals.
The vast majority of Gnomes live amongst traveling clans comprising 50-100 individuals and 3-5 distinct families. Traditional clans plants and harvest tobacco year-round. Gnomish magic produces a bountiful crop that will grow in most any conditions, however, the soil takes time to recover from the arcane manipulation. Thus, they spend one season in a temperate location of their choice, harvest the crop, and move on to the next.
Through their work as tinkers and artificers, gnomes are also widely known as merry makers, arriving in towns and cities looking to sell fey tobacco, wondrous toys, and magical devices for just about any job you can imagine. As a result, they are well-traveled and welcomed everywhere they go.
The most frequently traversed gate from Behrdoo lies in southwest Qiron, within sight of The Adamantine Steps. In the early days of The Era of Awakening, the Qiron people had not yet come to be and the plains of what we now call Qiron were wide open, grazed by the Great Bergouins, massive, elephant-sized creatures. In fact, if you were to shave their long, matted strands of fur that hang down to the ground, Bergouins would look quite like mammoths without tusks.
The first gnomes on Bastion quickly forged a bond with these massive creatures. Gnomish medicine strengthened the massive, but short-lived beasts, while Bergouin might brought the peaceful gnomes a welcome measure of protection. As the naturally curious gnomes sought to see more of their new home, they tapped into their own inventive nature to build traveling homes atop the Bergouin.
Known as lodges, these wood-and-metal structures provide safe haven and comfort for the gnomes as they travel, while the robust Bergouin carry the burden with no trouble at all. When a clan reaches its destination, posts extend down out of the structure creating a sturdy base for the home, which expands upward and outward - both magically and mechanically. Once the home is stationary and stable, the Bergouin are free to roam. Truly, the magical gnome lodges are a sight to behold.
Each clan travels with a natural herd of Bergouin, typically 4-10 beasts, referred to as a poggle.
Gnomish culture fosters and encourages curiosity above all else. As a result, some of the greatest Gnome minds have sated their creative hunger outside the clan structure. In fact, several gnome lodges can be found in Evenfell (and other great cities), where one-time nomadic clans looked to change their fortune. It’s also not uncommon for individual gnomes to leave their clans individually to pursue their own curiosities.
In many cases, city gnomes still serve as intermediaries for their clans whenever the clan has business within a given city. This includes brokering sale and trade of the harvest along with the consignment or wholesale for magical devices and toys.
Regardless of their clan associations, city gnomes can be found in small number in just about any profession anywhere in Nillin.