Gnomes are clannish, insular people. Perhaps it was not always this way, but historical circumstance has thrust that role upon them, and a discussion of gnomish life and culture cannot be discussed without a discussion of their history. To a gnome, history is culture. Since being originally displaced and enslaved from Old Hakan during the days of the First Empire, gnomes tended to be artisans and skilled workers. When they entered into the Gnomish Vassalage, they were nominally freed, but were actually force-integrated into dwarven society. In order to cling to their heritage, they became fastidious keepers of history and jealously guarded those innovations they brought with them from their days of technical servitude. The restoration of their homeland during Alexandria's Crusade infused them with a cultural pride, but has also galvanized them toward radicalism.
Theirs is by far the most technically advanced species and nation in the Known World, although - oddly enough - gnomish wizardry trends toward the spiritual rather than technical. Of the few psionic talents in the mainland, almost all are certainly gnomish. The Canon of Orthodoxy itself mentions Alexandria's meeting with and very brief study under the powerful Telepath Granger, who is Champion of Psionics and Wild Talents.
Gnomes live primarily in Gildenhome and Hakan. Given the prominent waterway systems of those areas, giant toads are a very common hazard to the gnomes. Adults grow up with a healthy respect for, if not fear of, the vermin, and prominent signage warns travelers of the danger.
See House Rules