Gnome Male Level 9 Fighter
Standing at 3’ 2 and weighing in at just over 5 stone it would be real easy to overlook Faldkor except for the fact he was a Gnome (as well as his strange cyan eyes and short cropped jet black hair). And Gnomes as you know have a bad reputation with some of the others races for tinkering where they should not.
Faldkor is the exception to this rule, maybe the only exception for he has met no others that follow his path.
Those that get to know him (those that stick around enough) get to the know the real Faldkor.
The gnomes that know know me tell me I am not a normal gnome. But what is a normal gnome I ask you? What may be normal to one is not normal to another. Without a calculated base of statistical averages taken by one group of gnomes that have studied all gnomes, there is no definitive conclusion of what a normal gnome actually is. Why the one group I hear you cry? Here is where you may think I am different. Gnomes love projects, projects involve communities and committees as well as life quests. Sooner or later you will have a distributed spatial variation of locations where the same project has been envisaged. Taking Helbems theorem of chaotic differences in societies, that have formed self consciousness and intelligence into consideration, it is easy to see that the same project, but evaluated by different gnomish mindsets, leads to different algorithms in proceeding to determine what is normal. Different algorithms have a good chance of different results and different results can be taken by groups trying to prove their point. The groups that say there is no such thing as a normal gnome will take the failed tests. Tests that proved that there are too many averages and that there is no single average to rely on. Then there are the groups who want to prove the normality of a typical gnomish life. They would hang onto the tests that succeeded.
Do I have a problem with projects being created by gnomes, for the time it takes for the committees to set up and carry out a project? No I do not. I believe people are free to make choices. I am strictly positioned in the school of thought that says “you are free to do anything if you accept the reaction to that action”. I am also not adverse to ‘projects’. I have one myself, but it is a lone project because the abstract of the problem and what it is to solve can only be set-up, observed and concluded by myself. To have anyone else interfere would negate the plausibility and continuability of the project. Some point out that this in itself makes me not normal but I can argue against that point, once I ask them to hand across all pertaining details they have of what construes normality of the entire gnomish race. While some have been stopped in their tracks, I must admit that many a gnomish project in my village has been set up based on conversations with me. They see it as a challenge and I wish them every luck, but will this project make them a better gnome? Probably not, but I have begun to push us down a side track. I often find myself doing this. My colourful construction of formulaic words in our wonderfully expressive language is quite conclusive to conversations that start off like the trunk of a tree, but they spread quite quickly into branches and leafs and can depart into separate conversations like the seeds of the tree that fall into the fertile soil and begin their growth into mature trees. As you can see at this point a side track with a side track has now occurred. Once I usually identify this occurrence I can start to backtrack to get back to the main road. So here goes. The gnomish language is quite expressive, in fact I believe it is a language that has a natural growth to it, a language that will never get to a point where it will stop. Each minute, hour, day, week and month new words are added to our vocabulary. So now we have moved back to talking about our language I can move back one more time to our main point.
There are many example I know of where ‘one’ gnome sets out to prove something or to construct something. Proving and constructing are just two generic types of project protocols that have been determined to classify projects and their purpose. I only use these terms lightly and for those gnomes reading this I would like to take the opportunity to drop a seed for another conversation at another date so that I do not loose my train of thought. Gnomes you see have to deal with many things each day. Unless they focus on specifics it is easy to get lost amongst the other thoughts. An advantage of having one project (because there are those that have many or find just like communicating with each other, that their projects can be side tracked. I know of at least one that got so side-tracked that the original intent of the project (not written down) was lost. That to me signifies the importance of writing things down in a chronological order and keep on track at all times). So as you can see for me one project does not make me normal. In fact I have not real intention to classify myself as anything just in case it constricts my project. My project needs freedom. A freedom to which I am fully accepting of reactions to my actions. This freedom was also the main reason I had to leave my gnomish village. Again something many in the village tried to harangue me was being ‘not normal’. I just told them to go start a project. It was meant to be a reply that was somewhat rude, but as I said previously some take this remark as a challenge and quickly depart. Either way it gets to a successful conclusion to the conversation that I am having with them.
From an early age I have been part of many projects. An endeavour on my behalf to try and prompt the scenario where by I find the true inspiration for my life goal. Projects are now the mainstay of our society though. Each gnome has a place and position in the community and as a gnome comes of age they are to delegate some of their time to find their role in life. For me I found I had a natural skill at hitting things. This opened up a whole avenue of options, carpenter, blacksmith, armourer, weaponsmith. All these options greatly appealed to me but I had to drop carpentry. Nogbat my elder brother has carpentry in his project portfolio and for me to choose it would be seen by the family as me copying him and I can tell you that there is no greater crime in the land of the gnomes than copying. Its greater than stealing, assault, murder and genocide. This order of law has been handed down from generation to generation when a few hundred years ago a group of gnomes set up a project to scale laws according to the effect on the gnomish society. This scale was then placed into law and used to measure the punishment of the crime. Some may argue that the project never reached a full conclusion and I have just a little bit of time that I can explain what I mean by ‘full conclusion’. All the crimes (thousands and thousands) except for one where studied and graded accordingly with punishment to fit the crime. The one exception was the most heinous of crimes, that of copying, and in order to detail why it had a problem I first must lead up to it by quickly going over some of the other crimes. Robbery was dealt with by fine, prison or in some cases items of equal value being stolen from the criminal. The courts would find the criminal guilty and then the judge would employ a person entitled ‘legal robber’ to rob the possessions of the criminal for something equal to what they stole. For crimes of assault it would be a prison sentence. For some years it was also treated like robbing and someone would assault them with equal force but complaints after a few deaths lead to a project that determined that it was very difficult to either judge the damage an assault caused, or being able to supply the exact amount of damage back to the criminal. So this type of punishment was dropped.
For murderers it is often death while a prison sentence would be handed down for second degree offenses. This law also has grey areas in that some gnomish nobility can cite laws protecting them from death. On these rare occasions they are banished from all of the gnomish society.
Next is genocide. No one to my knowledge has been ever convicted of this, yet we have laws and procedures in place if case this ever happens. First it must be deemed if the crime is actually genocide. A committee of gnomes must sit and conclude if the quantity of living things killed is a percentage high enough for them to rule that the crime can be classified as genocide. The scope of living things has also been quantified. Killing of many ant hills is exempt even though the quantity could be proved as genocide under a project run by Greddal who concluded that ant society is so complex and totally difference even between ant hills of the same species, that indeed it was a fallacy to call them the same species. They are different species purely through the ecological and hierarchy differences. So it is pretty clear to see that no everything that is mass killing will fall under this law.
Those found guilty of genocide are put to death. There are no other options. Some proposed that the punishment should be expanded just like robbery and assault. But was never put into place as that particular gnomish group where quickly disbanded for being mad. That was quite unusual. Having read the clerics reasoning’s, there are subtle hints in the various documents that maybe the their madness was not the root cause of the project being disbanded. Their madness was used as a cover to justify the cancellation of a project that could have resulted in the destruction of the gnomish race and if a non gnome was ever found guilty could result in war with that race. We are a somewhat peaceful race and although this was a cover-up I see why it happened and fully and whole heartily agree with the clerics summation.
Now we come to the last and most grievous of crime. Copying. Sure there are many similar projects. So what do I mean by copying. In fact this is made simple if you ever look at document number 4482 category A72H. It in the history of gnomish project and committees has been deemed as the quickest conclusion to a project. In three minutes a single piece of paper (document number 4482 category A72H) was produce by the project members. On this single page was written:
“The crime of copying a project is isolated to those that copy word for word all written material”
So as long as the written material is different it is not copying.
So what of the punishment for copying? If murder and genocide result in the death of the perpetrator what rational punishment could be applied to them? This took many decades and resulted in the conclusion that the project was to continue to look into this because maybe at some point in time the gnomes may reach a level of intelligence where by new options would be opened to us. At that point maybe we will see a suitable punishment, up until that point the punishment is quite varied and totally down to the judge. The hope is that if the judge has a free hand at choosing any punishment it should put the fear into those thinking about it. Of course there is a whole separate legal framework that the judge has to use to justify his chosen punishment in order to prevent the same problems that could have occurred if the alternative punishment for genocide was ever made legal.
So as you can see there was no way I would want to see to be copying my brother. Imagine all the paperwork and investigation teams and committees I’d had to face and deal with. No that would take up too much of my time.
I could not quite make up my mind which profession to apply to be an apprentice for. Looking and analysing blacksmith, armourer or weaponsmith I could work out that they all had the same percentage of desire for me to do:
At this point I stopped my maths to find out if the recurrence of 3 was infinite. Again I do not have the time to do this so I handed it over to a group that where jumping at the opportunity to continue this work to see if the pattern of 3 recurring was ever broken by a number other than 3 and stopped. In which case they could give me that number and I will be able to add it to this text. So I would like to point out that the above mathematical project has not yet been concluded. Again this does not give any significance to those that call me ‘not normal’. Some projects never end (or seem never to end and hence get handed down generation to generation). There are many reasons for this, death, missing paperwork, many side tracks, and if you also remember there is also legal action that can force the closure of a project, as we saw in the genocide law I discussed with you.
So wanting to do all those jobs I picked a profession where I would be able to have access to each one. Where each one could contribute something great to me. I chose the path of a fighter. It was and is a dangerous path and it took a reasonable amount of years while training for me to conclude exactly why I should be doing this. In fact the conclusion even took me by surprise. Sometimes when you start a project you know the answer. You just have to take the methodical steps to get there with the appropriate paperwork so that you can prove your answer to others. For me I started the appraisal project thinking that the answer to why I am doing this is two fold. First, as I have previously said I like hitting things and have a canny knack of doing that. Hitting things is a very good trait for a gnome. The number of projects that you can become involved in that required hitting of one type or another will make you a popular gnome and sort after for project membership. I have had my fair share of membership requests some come as formal invites but some have come with a little bit of pushing behind. But that is expected of being a gnome. With all the projects going on all the time there is a high demand for gnomish workers. When you find that people are trying to push you into project membership that should ring any sane gnomes alarm bells. It does for me. More often than not those projects have certain ‘risks’ involved and find themselves needing more members on a regular basis. I’ve even head of stories where groups of conniving gnomes would get potential members drunk and get them to sign membership. This is still classified as legal so I always view with great suspicion anyone that buys me a drink or goes near my drink. Hence the need for me to create a mug chest. Not a chest but just think about it. A chest is just merely a space confined by materials. The main difference (and there are many) between a chest and a container is that a chest if often used to secure things via locks and traps. So taking that securing option I created a large mug with solid walls to prevent any one getting to the drink via holes and a lid that clasped tight enough that you can drop it into water and it will not leak. So while nothing can get out while locked, is also has the advantage of not allowing anything to leak in. While the lock is not the greatest at the moment. I do plan to improve on its design, maybe including some magical element to it. I would also like to trap it. So like I say, while the mug is not 100% fail proof it would take time to get inside my which time I will have observed them and taken the appropriate action. To avoid someone gaining access to the mugs within my house I have come up with an inspired idea. After a drinking sessions I dismantle and burn the mug. Then the day I want to have a drink I would go out and collect the raw and natural material. It would be no good if I had a stock of them, it could be easy tampered with. I then spend time constructing the new mug never letting it out of sight. Of course these days I do not find I have much time to drink, mainly because it takes a fair while to create my custom mug, especially since with each build I find new ways to do things or want to try different things. By that time the inns are usually shut. To be honest I find my time doing the mugs less and less so I often do not go to the inn. That takes out the danger of falling drunk and signing my life away to a project.
Being trained as a fighter automatically gave you the position of guard in our village.
You know it is really funny being a guard. I am not talking humour, maybe a little sarcasm but I do smile each time I think about this. The guard life in the village is a position of prestige. It comes with many benefits, your own accommodation, money and respect from the villagers through which a guard may deem other benefits. I am surprised that there have never been any guards who have take advantage of this respect in a way that is demeaning. If I was an evil gnome I could play the guards life so well that I could soon retire or set up any business I wanted to. I hear stories of evil gnomes and sure there have been gnomes who have broken the law but nothing that would be seen as evil, like a planned murder. Even theft often has a plausible story behind them. The courts would sit for weeks and months on a theft case as the defendant would recant their tale that lead them to commit the theft. It was very rare for the crime to be caused just be greed. It could be that the gnome though the item should belong to them because they have traced back a number generations to a point where the item exchanged hands under a dubious nature. Some believe they are owed the item for an outstanding debt. There are many reason why theft in our village is never just an evil act. If it was then I could easily make the case that the defendant was evil.
I have heard of races of gnomes who are evil. I do find this strange. Our village contains many gnomes of all different persuasions. Imagine how boring life would be if we all followed the same morals and ethos. Sure there is a single thread of moral that has to be sustained which is where the guards come in, but before a divert back to the topic of why I think being a guard is funny let me continue. Imagine a gnomish village of all… hmmm… not sure they have the right classification, but my friend Maglar once described a gnome that followed this way as a goody-too-shoes. Imagine a village full of these. I think in the grand scheme of things they would never amount to much or expand our knowledge like the current mixture in the village. Then think, what would happen if the village just contained gnomes whose intelligent or faculties meant they had no barriers. Not evil, no far from that, more those that are mentally challenged and lived in a chaotic world where anything went. Some may argue that this last sentence is a good premise for an argument what is the difference between evil and chaos.
I am glad we have a village made up of all the gnomes we have. Not to say there is never no trouble, and this takes me back to being a guard. We need guards, the village needs guards and the gnomes need guards. With all their benefits it is highly remarkable that so few even consider being a guard. But then again I can see their point. The life of most gnomes is project based. I can see that if a gnome became a guard then putting themselves in that position closed many doors as being a guard is a confined job. Having to live by a set of laws to protect the community is one thing, and even that places its own boundaries on what projects can achieve, but as a guard we had to take on a set of rules on how to be a guard.
We did not always have such rules for guards. It all goes back about 120 years ago when a Elven dignitary visited which a group of elves. The village jumped at the opportunity to show the Elves the life of a gnome. On the final night the Elves had become slightly bored of all the presentations. If we had only known that when Elves yawn its not because they are expressing enjoyment but that they are tired. You see we had very little idea about the culture of Elves. A project was set-up that came to many conclusions about how Elves acts and react. The problem with the project that was so readily accepted was that the final analysis was never shown to an elf. In fact I am sure elves where never included in the project at all. All the knowledge came through various gnomish writings about previous interactions. Let this me a knock on the head to those gnomes wanting to carry out a project based on the living and intelligent. Always, always, always include them in the project other wise you are going by second hand information that is speculative at best and opinion at worst.
The final day party was a spectacular affair but we had not garnered for another Elven fact. Elven alcohol is far stronger than ours. So as the Elves drunk, we drunk. As we got drunk they did not and a member of the guard in a drunken stupor bet his friends he could improve the design of the Elven dignitaries belt. Now say what you want, even drunk he as was to nimbly remove the belt of the now standing Elf (the fact he was standing made his job easier). As he turned to leave the Elf yelled out to the gnome. As it happened the Elf had not seen the belt walking off until his trousers fell down, at which point it immediately became obvious to him. I believe we are still apologising now each year about this. The elf demanded who this gnome was, and the gnome proudly, and drunkenly, announced his name as Jug, member of the Guard. To which the elf replied, is this the action and nature of the guard. From this question the rules of the guard project was started and since then we have a code of ethic we need to adhere to.
I was glad to be part of the Guard I could see the benefits for me and when ever someone asked why I became a Guard, rather than describing the benefits I just truthfully said I was currently in an appraisal project determining the validity of the next project. In the gnomish village projects that led to projects that lead to project etc… is the envy of all gnomes In a way my project gave me double respect, but I was too interest in my project to really make use of it.
My appraisal project went along for a few years. It was enough time that the data I collected all pointed to the same thing and it was not my original idea of how the project would end. Would you believe me when I said that while hitting things was part of this the real conclusion was that dodging was just as important as hitting, and the style of hitting can determine cause and effect on the target. In fact some hitting can be see as dodging. Take an Elven Swordsinger. They can use there swords to increase their protection by hitting their opponents weapons away from them. So as you can see hitting can be dodging. It was just a shame that my training did not cover this no matter how many times I asked the trainer. It seems there was no such thing as a Gnomish Swordsinger. And there in an inspired flash of brilliance sums up the conclusion to my appraisal project. I had stumbled across a niche. How often have you heard of something a Gnome has not done? Its rare but its rarity gives me my vision my life goal. Do not get me wrong. I do not want to become just a Gnomish Swordsinger. There are other niches I have catalogued and written down to make them my ideas. Lets take the a barbarian berserker, how many gnomes do you know that do this? You see there are many styles of hitting and dodging but its is the flavour of the race that defines a swordsinger or a berserker and those can only be taught my that race. For me the appraisal project helped me identify many things. I was not a brute force fighter, I like styles but there seemed to be no gnome styles other than fighting specific creatures, but that was more about moving and position than weapon style.
As I have spoken about previously being a Guard is rare and there are not many of them. My fighting styles project had already identified that I needed to learn from other races, but the lack of gnomish fighters meant the teachers in the fighters section had only basic knowledge, and it was quite quickly apparent to me that my gnomish fighting skills was limited by remaining with the Gnomes. I had a lust to learn more and 1 minute after completing my basic fighting skills I announced to the village I was off to learn as many styles of fighting as I could. Of course this lead to more accusations of not being normal for Gnome. But I left them squabbling amongst them selves as I said goodbye to my family. I told them I would keep in touch about my project. At least they seemed to understand, at least I was not copying my brother……..
Now my hand is up in the air, that last paragraph is not entirely true. I would not say it was a lie, but you are probably more than aware that writing cannot always convey sentiment and if it does not contain enough information and data (and yes there is a difference between them) it leads to people filling in the gap. Let me explain. Yes 1 minute after completing the gnomish fighting course I did say I was leaving, and yes up till that minute I had no idea I was about to make such a rash decision. Gnomes are often known for rash decisions but I am not one for rashness. I have learnt many a lesson from observing how others perform in carrying out actions in their projects. Some may call me blessed but in all honesty I just learn from the mistakes from others. Yes mistakes are good, they at least prove you are wrong in something that you have done to achieve the mistake. Now mistakes fall loosely into two categories in Gnomish society. Harmful and non harmful. Then this can be split down into further categories that cover yourself, others or both yourself and others. Harmful mistakes that include others are frowned upon and there is a special committee of elder gnomes that can convene it doubt are raised over the safety of a project. They do now meet that often before a mistake. They mostly meet after the event to discuss the what and how in order to see if lessons can be learned. As a Guard in my village I have attended and seen quite a few disastrous projects and have been present at many of the meetings that delve into why the mistake happened. If I do happen to miss the proceedings and conclusion I make sure I get hold of the various documents that are written during and after the meeting concludes. So although I do make mistakes I try my best to limit them.
Looking back at this trait of mine I can see why it has been easier for me to join another community that contain non-gnomes. Living a life in a gnomish village means we are isolated from the views of others on us. Imagine my surprise when I meet my first human contact outside of the village. At first I was mistaken for a halfling and then a thin dwarf. When it was realised I was a gnome I was amazed at how many people just did not want to know. All I wanted was passage to Waterdeep. They seemed to back away from me, and laugh when I mention I was a fighter. In return for passage I would quite happily guard the wagons both day and night. Something told me that humans did not believe or even trust gnomes and that would pose a problem when I finally came to Waterdeep. Would Waterdeep let me in, would Polandara accept me and how would the others in her army treat me? So there was a slight fear that I would be soon returning to my village but the only way to find out for sure was to go there and find out for myself in person. On my journey I may also pick up further knowledge.
I spent many days as a salesman trying to sell my knowledge and skills but it was a hard sell. Someone even paid me not to go with them, what a cheek…. After a week or so I got lucky. A group of halflings were heading to some village on the outskirts of Waterdeep. They had no problem with me and accepted me with open arms. I learnt quite a bit about halflings on the journey. Their love of festivals and food.. They even started to teach me to use a sling. There was not much trouble on the journey. Well I say journey. My calculations predicted we would arrive at Waterdeep in 10 days, but the amount of stops we had in the first day I had to recalculate that to 30. Those halflings can eat… Being too polite to refuse food (especially after having to wait so long for someone to allow me to go with them) I had to up my exercise to off set the intake… Anyway, we have few problems on the journey, mostly from creatures in the woods coming to close at night. But I knew that noise and fire was a good way to make them think twice and go away.
Going back to why I may have slightly mislead you about the decision I made to leave directly after completing my fighting studies. Since starting to learn how to be a fighter and knew I would have to leave my village. The limitations in what I could learn would not be good for my project. I needed a wide variety of people to learn from, and from my experiences on my journey to Waterdeep it looked like I would have to work hard to get people to accept me and then trust me before they would be willing to teach me. So as part of my journey I factored into my project the need to be a gnome-less as possible and to go out of my way to let people know that they should have no fear of me. I was able to even pre-empt this once I learnt why people did not like us. It seems we have a reputation of causing stress and damage because of our projects. I have to say I sort of agree with them. Any project really needs the full support of all participants or those that you need things from. Without this I can see why other races get upset with us. This was a really big lesson. Even though people still did not trust me, even when I said I would not touch anything without permission, it was only through my actions that people started to see I was different. If I asked for permission to alter something and they said no I did not alter it. I always made a point of asking first, rather than thinking they would not mind and that I would ask them afterwards as they would bound to say yes.
I had no problems getting into Waterdeep but I put that down to being part of a crowd and being small was missed. Anyway, thinking the guards had missed me I took the opportunity to present myself to them. I wanted to enter the city legally and the guards would surely know if I was allowed in or not. They seemed surprised for me to approach them. It seems they mostly watch those that enter and occasionally stop people. It was rare for people to ask for entrance but I told them that being a gnome caused some people problems and that I thought it be better to represent myself to them rather than creep in. They had no problem with me and I got them to give me directions to Polondara’s place. Two weeks later I arrived at Polondara’s. Please note that I am correct in my time, two weeks. No, I did not get lost but if I was to be a guard in Polondaras army I wanted to know the city, but I did not realise how big it was…