Although there are two distinct sub-races, the Hill Gnomes and the Forest Gnomes, they both share the same basic physical features. Being both noticeably smaller and less round than either their distant cousins the Dwarves, or the Halflings, rarely reaching over 2'6" in height and often significantly under that. Most have prominent noses, and light colored hair ranging from white to pale brown to strawberry blonde. Both sexes tend to have rather bushy eyebrows, which gives them a slightly serious countenance. Their skin is generally dark, tan to deep brown in color, and is offset by eyes generally of a pale color as well.
Males wear beards and mustaches that are usually left long, but trimmed to perfection. Females, on the other hand, are always trying a new hairstyle and are fond of fancy braids and plaits, or ribbons and trinkets woven into their hair.
Clothing tends to be earth-toned; with Hill Gnomes preferring grays and browns, while Forest Gnomes tend towards browns and greens. Many Gnomes like to wear caps or hats. Caps are usually simple things but the hats often tend to be elaborate, with both being decorated with feathers.
Gnomes of both sub-races are fond of gems, jewelry and inventing things of their own making. As a result, Gnomes prize their tools very highly. While both sub-races are expert gem cutters and jewelry makers, the Forest Gnomes excel at woodcarving, particularly wooden gears and such, while Hill Gnomes are more at ease working with metals.
Gnomes can live to be 350 years old. The overwhelming driving force for most Gnomes is a love of creating new things, be it a new jewelry item, a water-powered gristmill or a steam-powered hammer for Dwarven miners. For those who have more scholarly pursuits, the thrill of being the first to discover something new, or uncover some lost bit of knowledge is paramount.
All Gnomes share a sense of playful mischief, often playing practical jokes on not only one another, but also other races.
Gnomes frequently choose first names with consonant combinations of Cyn, Wyn Ryn or Gwy, with the latter being the most popular. This holds true for both sexes. Surnames are a combination of the Patronymic prefixes of Ap for males and Mab for females, followed by their father's name. Thus a typical male name could be, Cynarin Ap-Gwyndion.