November 19th, 2008

hoard potato, tv, movies

The Hoard Potato Rants About Gnomes In D&D

paka posted a "D&D Meme" last night. I'm not going to answer the whole thing; regular readers have probably deduced that I haven't played enough D&D in recent decades to be able to answer them. One question, however, pushed one of my buttons:

8) Halfling or Gnome?

I've been saying this since AD&D1: Why does D&D even HAVE Gnomes? They're REDUNDANT. The ecological niches that Gnomes traditionally fill in folklore get filled by either Dwarves or Halflings. In TV Tropes lingo, they're not "Stouts" and they're not "Cutes".

Really, there's nothing for Gnomes to DO except fill up an unused folklore name; that's why every single edition and sub-edition and variant setting gives'em an entirely different gimmick and identity. If you look at the First Edition version, it was really a half-assed, gamery attempt to cash in on adapt the Gnomes from the Huygen & Poortvliet coffee-table book that was so popular in '78.

When the Tolkien Estate groused about them using "Hobbit" in the first printing of Greyhawk, they should have just dubbed THEM "Gnomes" instead of "Halflings", and been done with it.