This is a conversion of the Sky Gnomes of the flying city Serraine of Mystara to my Emerald Spire Campaign running Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I wanted to keep the mad
science engineering present in those Gnomes while toning
down some of the goofiness of
Serraine itself. Ironically, the Sky Gnomes of Serraine, and of Oostdock, don't
irritate me as much as the Krynnish Tinker Gnomes.
Sky Gnomes, Sky Dwarves, Those Flying Assholes, or Gnomes, are the descendants of Dwarves and Humans who salvaged portions of an ancient starship. They built an island large enough for a city and proceeded to wander the sky. Centuries of isolation and radiation lead to the two peoples to become one, the Gnomes. As a whole they lack the species wide ennui that Dwarven kingdoms posses. Theirs is a technological society, even though they have never duplicated the awesome power source for their engines, and have lost the methods used to capture and bind elemental spirits to provide power to their mass transit system. They have discovered a process of refining oils from certain rocks, and alongside more mundane uses, like lighting and cooking, as well as using it to power flying machines.
The flying city keeps to itself a lot, flying high enough and painted like the sky underneath, such that while ignorant yokels and aristocrats in Shardheim know or believe in its existence, there is that group of folk educated enough to know that everything about Serraine and Gnomes is malarkey.
Gnomes are shorter and slighter than Dwarves, possessing some but not all their toughness. Their experience and hit points advance as an Elf, saves as a Dwarf, start with 2 in 6 in Piloting and Tinkering advancing as an Elf in both. They improve their starting Intelligence modifier by one. Due to their reduced stature they have the same weapon restrictions as Halflings.
As inventors, tinkerers, and mad scientists, Gnomes have and will continue to make machines that to the unschooled appeared magical. In order to make a machine a Gnome needs plans. On Serraine Gnomes have access to the Great Library and their friends and family, so most common machines there do not require additional research. Without such readily available plans, or when devising something new, new plans much be researched. Treat the Gnome as a Magic User researching a spell equal the level of effect the machine is duplicating, i.e. designing a single person flying machine would be treated as if the Gnome was researching the Fly spell, and each plan as a spell being added to the Gnome's "spell" book. Each instance of a spell-like effect, even if it is duplicating a preexisting effect in the intended design, is treated as a separate spell, i.e. making a two-person flying machine would be the same as researching two separate spells. The construction of the resulting machine is same as a Magic-User crafting a staff except creation time is measured in weeks not days.
This Gnome item creation process is an initial draft, has not been tested, and is therefore subject to alteration.
For more information on Sky Gnomes and Serraine: