Gnomes are related distantly to fey creatures, and as such they have an innate tie to nature. They also are known to have very quirky personalities, and so they are often one of the easier races to roleplay, as roleplayers generally use their characters to fill a character role that they wish they could fill themselves, and this lends to character personalities that are on the more extreme ends of eccentricity. Gnomes have some innate magical abilities that can be useful in some campaigns, but are completely useless in others, so choose your alternate race traits wisely!
Ability Scores: Gnomes are hearty and easy-going, gaining a +2 to Constitution and Charisma, but their small size hurts their Strength score. This lends them well to essentially any type of spellcaster, but especially those that use Charisma as their main stat such as Sorcerer and Oracle. The boost to Constitution will be a help to characters of any class.
Size: Gnomes are Small, which is definitely a double-edged sword. They get a +1 size bonus to AC, which can be a huge help, and a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, which is wonderful. They also get a huge +4 size bonus to Stealth checks. The -1 to CMB and CMD hurts, but it’s not a huge deal. The real issue with small size comes from the next racial trait...
Speed: Gnomes have a base speed of 20 feet, and unlike dwarves, they are still subject to encumbrance. With a -2 to Strength, you’d be surprised how easy it is to encumber your gnome character to the point of being unable to move, so inventory management is of HUGE importance to any gnome.
Defensive Training: Though situational, a +4 to AC that stacks with absolutely anything can be a serious life-saver. Giants, watch out for those little creatures around your feet, they’re hard to hit!
Illusion Resistance: Also pretty situational, this gives a gnome a +2 bonus vs. spells of the illusion school. Pay attention to the options for replacing this small bonus with something better, as there are some much better options.
Keen Senses: A +2 bonus to the best skill in the game is always welcome. This one’s a keeper.
Obsessive: You can get Craft and Profession bonuses boosted to ridiculous levels with relatively inexpensive magic items, so this one’s not that great.
Gnome Magic: This racial trait is actually twofold; you get +1 to the DCs of any illusion spells you cast, AND you get several spell-like abilities to cast once per day. Note that the DCs of these spell-like abilities are Charisma-based, like most SLAs are.
Hatred: Another very situational bonus, but if you know you’re going to be playing in a campaign where you will fight goblins or lizardmen by the swarms, it might be nice to have.
Weapon Familiarity: There is only one weapon that has the word “gnome” in its name, so I would normally suggest dropping it for some other, better alternate racial trait. Sadly, there are none that replace it, so you’ll just have to deal with this mostly useless trait.
Low-Light Vision: This can come in handy in shadowy areas, though in my experience most DMs only really pay attention to darkvision. Still, it’s a useful ability when it’s needed.
Alternate Racial Traits:
Academician [Obsessive]: +2 to a Knowledge skill will probably come in handy much more often than +2 to a Craft or Profession skill would, so I’d choose this one and run with it.
Bond to the Land [Defensive training, Hatred]: This ability makes a lot of sense for a character who knows that they’ll be spending a lot of time in one type of terrain, say if you know that your campaign will involve a lot of dungeoneering. A +2 dodge bonus against any type of creature is most definitely better than a +4 dodge bonus against one type of creature, so I’d suggest taking this one, though it’s important to note that you also have to give up your hatred against reptilians and goblinoids to get it.
Darkvision [Low-light vision, Keen senses]: This is another ability that is probably worth the trade-off about 90% of the time, so even though I love getting a boost to perception and low-light vision, I’d say this is probably a good choice.
Eternal Hope [Defensive training, Hatred]: I absolutely love this ability, because you get a stacking bonus to saves against fear effects AND you can re-roll a 1 on your d20 once per day. Re-rolling a 1 is like giving your character a second chance not to fail miserably, so I’m once again going to suggest that everyone take this. You’ll have to make a choice between this trait and Bond to the Land, and honestly both of them are great choices. Eternal Hope is probably better for a character who doesn’t know what type of campaign they’re playing in, if that helps you decide.
Explorer [Hatred, Obsessive]: This one’s interesting because it basically duplicates the Academician alternate trait, but also trades out a bonus to attack rolls versus some creatures for a bonus to Climb checks. If your character is going to Climb around a lot, then take this one, otherwise you’re better off keeping Hatred (or trading it for Bond to the Land or Eternal Hope, HINT HINT) and just taking Academician.
Fell Magic [Gnome magic]: Personally, I think this ability is all-around better than the standard Gnome Magic trait that it replaces, because Necromancy spells are just generally more powerful than illusions (that’s gonna come back to haunt me, I can feel it already). The list of spell-like abilities that you get from this are also generally better, in my opinion. An important note here, though, is that the spell DCs are based on Wisdom instead of Charisma, so if you’re dumping Wis then you probably want to stick with the standard Gnome Magic.
Gift of Tongues [Defensive training, Hatred]: This doesn’t seem like a super powerful ability, but just think back on the last time your DM asked “do any of you speak X language”, and when no one responded he or she said “oh well!” and continued with the campaign. Don’t you want to know what was written there? If your character is not going to be going into combat much (such as a Wizard or other spellcaster) you may want to consider this ability, as it’s very easy to very quickly know every language in the game.
Knack with Poison [Illusion resistance, Obsessive]: This one is a nice ability, and if you’re going to play a Rogue, Ninja, or Alchemist, you’ll proabably want to pick it up.
Magical Linguist [Illusion resistance]: This is a good choice for a gnomish bard, since they use language-dependent spells much more often than other spellcasting classes. If you’re not a bard, it’s probably not the best choice.
Master Tinker [Defensive training, Hatred]: Honestly, I really don’t like this one very much. The only time I’d consider taking this trait is if I were going to play a mostly-crafting-based character and wanted to be able to pull out any of a large number of exotic weapons that I had created when needed, which would be fun and flavorful, but not very powerful.
Pyromaniac [Gnome magic, Illusion resistance]: I absolutely love this ability both for its flavor (YAY FIRE!) and its effects. You get to be treated as a level higher when casting fire spells, which means that fireball that you cast at 5th level will be dealing 6d6 base damage. Note that this can be combined with other feats and abilities (such as Varisian Tattoo(Evocation) and several different sorcerer bloodlines) to create some truly devastating fire spells that deal much more damage than they normally would. Just as an example, I have a Sorcerer 1/Wizard 4 in a PFS game right now whose 2nd-level Burning Arc spells deal 8d6 + 17 base damage to the first target, which will usually vaporize bad guys pretty easily.
Warden of Nature [Defensive training, Hatred]: This one is pretty good, as it gives you both a bonus to AC and a bonus to attack rolls against aberrations, oozes, and vermin. However, I still like Bond to the Land and Eternal Hope better, so I recommend one of those instead.
UnArcaneElections Thoughts on New Racial Traits
- Architectural Ingenuity: Some gnomes demonstrate incredible talent for building and adjusting structures. These gnomes gain a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (engineering) checks and on Craft and Perception checks related to structures (including structural traps). This racial trait replaces keen senses and obsessive. Source PCS:ISR Wait a minute, this gives an alternative Obsessive trait, but ALSO replaces the bonus to Perception? Avoid like the plague.
- Behind the Veil (1 RP): Characters with this trait gain a +2 bonus on Bluff and Sleight of Hand checks while benefiting from concealment or cover. Gnomes can take this trait in place of low-light vision. Source PPC:BoS Bonuses to Bluff and Sleight of Hand checks only while benefiting from concealment or cover? Already see a problem developing here. But then this replaces Low-Light Vision that you probably want to have with a an alternative racial trait introduced in Blood of Shadows? Something's definitely not right here. I was going to say we could save this by taking the Darkvision alternate racial trait also introduced in Blood of Shadows (see below) . . . but then it turns out that this ALSO replaces Low Light Vision. No save for this stinker, unless you somehow manage to get Darkvision from a class feature.
- Blended View (2 RP): Prerequisite(s): low-light vision. Half-drow whose non-drow parent had low-light vision might be blessed with a legacy of versatile senses. Characters with this trait keep their low-light vision but also gain darkvision to a distance of 60 feet. Gnomes can take this trait in place of keen senses. Source PPC:BoS No rating, because this appears to be an editing error in Blood of Shadows -- this is the entry about Gnomes, not any variety of Elf or Half-Elf; if this alternate racial trait was really meant for Gnomes and the only error was in mention of Half-Drow, it would make the Darkvision alternate racial trait below completely superfluous, because it gives you the same thing while leaving Low-Lightt Vision intact. Expect an errata . . . some time or other.
- Dimdweller (2 RP): Whenever characters with this trait benefit from concealment or full concealment due to darkness or dim light, they gain a +2 racial bonus on Intimidate, Perception, and Stealth checks. Gnomes can take this trait in place of weapon familiarity. Source PPC:BoS Although the bonuses are restricted to concealment resulting from darkness or dim light, this could still be a worthwhile trade if your class gives you the weapon proficiencies you want. The problem with this trait is that as a Weapon Familiarity replacement, it is competing with Fey Thoughts (see below).
- Dirty Trickster: All gnomes love pranks, but some specialize in those improvised during battle. These gnomes gain a +2 racial bonus on dirty trick combat maneuvers. They need not meet the Intelligence requirement to select Combat Expertise, Improved Dirty Trick, and any feat with Improved Dirty Trick as a prerequisite. This racial trait replaces defensive training, hatred, and keen senses. Source PCS:ISR Replacing Defensive Training hurts a bit; replacing Hatred is not too bad; but what really hurts is replacing Keen Senses. Fortunately, you can get around the Combat Expertise feat tax by taking Dirty Fighting, which is usually a better feat (the exception being if you plan to use Blade Tutor's Spirt or some similar effect a lot), and among other things also lets you off the hook for 13 Intelligence for a fair number of feats, and is good enough that even in the odd case in which you want Combat Expertise for its own sake, you might still want to take Dirty Fighting -- chances are, you won't need this alternate racial trait unless you are in some super-feat-starved build.
- Dusksight (2 RP): When making ranged attacks, characters with this trait can reroll the miss chance granted by cover to any target in dim light, and take the better of the two rolls. The miss chance for total concealment applies normally. Gnomes can take this trait in place of keen senses. Source PPC:BoS Another alternate racial trait that shoots itself in the foot by replacing something that would synergize with it, in this case a bonus to Perception.
- Fey Magic (2 RP) The character has a mystic connection to one terrain type, selected from the ranger's favored terrain list. The character selects three 0-level druid spells and one 1st-level druid spell. If the character has a Charisma score of 11 or higher, when in the selected terrain, she gains these spells as spell-like abilities that can be cast once per day. The caster level for these effects is equal to the user's character level. The DC for the spell-like abilities is equal to 10 + the spell's level + the user's Charisma modifier. These spells are treated as being from a fey source for the purposes of the druid's resist nature's lure class feature and similar abilities. This trait replaces obsessive. Source HotW This replaces a trait you may not use with spell-like abilities that you can choose, thus potentially being more useful, although the limited uses per day hurts. This gets a higher rating for Gnomes than for -- for instance -- Dwarves, because Gnomes, having a Charisma bonus, are more likely to have the Charisma to get full use out of it; in addition, Gnomes who have class-based spellcasting are likely to have access to a 1st level spell called Recharge Innate Magic, which recharges those limited uses per day. Note that unlike the other Gnome spell-like ability alternate racial traits, this one DOESN'T replace Gnome Magic; instead it replaces the more situational and less-likely-to-be-missed Obsessive racial trait -- meaning that in most cases, you get to have your cake and eat it too (you could even replace Gnome Magic with a different spell-like ability alternate racial trait and have this trait). And thematically, since Gnomes are supposedly Fey-descended, this just fits really nicely.
- Fey Thoughts (1 RP) Select two of the following skills: Acrobatics, Bluff, Climb, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Fly, Knowledge (nature), Perception, Perform, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Swim, or Use Magic Device. The selected skills are always class skills for the character. This trait replaces racial weapon familiarity. Source HotW If you've been paying attention to Fey Magic and Fey Thoughts alternate racial traits of different races, you'll notice that they don't always replace the same thing, and so the tradeoffs may differ. Nevertheless, getting two skills in class in exchange for Weapon Familiarity could be just what you need, especially if your class already gives you proficiency with the weapons you want.
- Intrepid Settler: Some gnomes add to the thrill of living by settling in precarious places. These intrepid gnomes gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against fear effects and on Acrobatics, Climb, and Swim checks. This racial trait replaces illusionresistance, keen senses, and obsessive. Source PCS:ISR Replacing Illusion Resistance, Keen Senses, and Obsessive (or even Keen Senses alone) really hurts. Could be worth it if your campaign is Lovecraftian Horror on the High Seas.
- Poison Minion (4 RP): Drow sometimes augment their slaves and frontline warriors by making them toxic, causing their bodies to internally produce mawbane poison (see below). The resulting poisonous creature makes a potent weapon in the effort to discourage neighboring monsters. Any creature that hits such a character with a bite attack is immediately exposed to its poison. The save DC for this poison is equal to 10 + 1/2 the character's Hit Dice + the character's Constitution modifier. Mawbane Poison—ingested; save Fortitude as above; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Constitution damage; cure 1 save. Gnomes can take this trait in place of defensive training, gnome magic, and illusion resistance. Source PPC:BoS Repeat after me: I am not a minion. I am not a minion I am not a minion . . .
- Shadowhunter (2 RP): Characters with this trait deal 50% weapon damage to incorporeal creatures when using non-magical weapons (including natural and unarmed attacks), as if using magic weapons. They also gain a +2 bonus on saving throws to remove negative levels, and recover physical ability damage from attacks by undead creatures at a rate of 2 points per ability score per day (rather than the normal 1 point per ability score per day). Gnomes can take this trait in place of their bonus feat, also gaining Iron Will as a bonus feat. Source PPC:BoS One small problem: Gnomes don't get a bonus feat. Let's assume that this instead replaces your normal first level feat -- if so, it's basically a Gnome feat that has to be chosen at 1st level, so let's evaluate it as such: You get to be not helpless against Incorporeal creatures if they catch you without a magic weapon, a +2 bonus when removing negative levels, faster recovery of physical ability damage, AND the whole feat Iron Will, which is sometimes recommended by itself. Sounds pretty good, even with the obvious editing mistake.
- Shadowplay (1 RP): Characters with this trait cast spells with the darkness, light, or shadow descriptor at +1 caster level. Gnomes can take this trait in place of gnome magic. Source PPC:BoS Seems situational, and I wouldn't generally recommend it unless you are doing some kind of really specialized light and/or darkness build. Spells that make use of this do exist, so if you're going to build around them and are up against the right kind of enemies, this isn't completely useless, and you can even use Fey Magic (see above) to have spell-like abilities anyway.
- Utilitarian Magic: Some gnomes develop practical magic to assist them with their obsessive projects. These gnomes add 1 to the DC of any saving throws against transmutation spells they cast. If their Intelligence score is 11 or higher, they also gain the following spell-like abilities 1/day—mage hand, open/close, prestidigitation, and unseen servant. The DC for these spells is equal to 10 + the spell's level + the gnome's Intelligence modifier. This racial trait replaces gnome magic. Source PCS:ISR It's another Gnome spell-like ability alternate racial trait that replaces Gnome Magic. If this has the spells you need to fill in gaps in your abilities, and you need a bonus to Trassmutation spells instead of Illusion spells, this is for you.
- Vivacious: Some gnomes recover 50% more hit points (minimum 1) whenever they recover hit points from rest. Whenever they are healed of hit point damage by a spell, they heal an additional amount equal to 1/2 the spell's caster level (minimum 0). The extra healing does not apply to spells that grant fast healing or similar effects. This racial trait replaces gnome magic and keen senses. Source PCS:ISR Unfortunately, this doesn't let you get extra healing from Lay on Hands or heal-over-time spells, and it replaces Keen Senses, so it isn't very good unless you are playing in some place like Bachuan, Rahadoum, or Razmiran, in which any extra non-magical healing you get is extra important; even then, it doesn't let you heal ability damage any faster. And if you're in one of THOSE places, Only the Paranoid Survive, and you're going to need all the bonuses to Perception you can get.
- Wright: Some gnomes prefer to use their natural talents with mechanisms to drive machines. These gnomes gain a +2 racial bonus on driving checks and on Craft checks to build or repair vehicles. This racial trait replaces hatred and obsessive. SourcePCS:ISR Let's see -- this replaces Hatred and Obsessive with a more specific form of Obsessive that also gives bonuses to driving checks. Pass, unless you are the Gnome Han Solo or you are in Golarion's Wild West.
Alchemist: Gnomes make very nice bomber Alchemists, thanks to their small size and their favored class bonus granting more bombs per day than usual. A mutagen-based melee alchemist is proably a bad idea because of the Strength penalty, though her bonus to Con will keep your gnome alchemist on her feet longer than some other races. You may also want to consider the Grenadier archetype, which can make an already excellent bomber into a stellar one. If you want to be a more nature-loving alchemist, you could consider the Preservationist archetype, bottling your nature-themed allies and setting them loose on your enemies. There is also an interesting (though not terribly strong) racial archetype for gnomes, the Saboteur, which focuses very strongly on stealth and subterfuge.
Barbarian: Gnomes aren’t the best Barbarians out there because of their small size and Strength penalty, but at least they have a good Con score and decent AC thanks to their size. You could make a gnome Barbarian work, particularly if you went mounted, and the Mounted Fury archetype definitely would be a help with that.
Bard: Bards use lots of illusions, and so the gnomish focus on illusions can be a huge help to such a bard. Bards use Charisma for casting, which gnomes get a bonus to. Small size doesn’t usually hinder a bard in any way (unless you’re going for a martial bard, in which case go pick another race), and the gnome’s fey roots lends to a good roleplaying character when making a bard. The gnome favored class option for bards is helpful too, adding 1 round to bardic performance at each level. Bards have a lot of archetypes available to them, and many of these could complement a gnomish bard very well, including the Animal Speaker, Archaeologist, and Magician archetypes. Gnomes also have a racial archetype available to them, the Prankster, which is decent but isn’t anything earth-shattering in my opinion.
Cavalier [Samurai]: Most martial classes aren’t the best choice for a gnome, but a gnome Cavalier can actually be very powerful, thanks to the mount class feature beginning at first level. This means that your gnomish Cavalier can generally move much faster than her normal base speed (a wolf mount has 50-foot movement speed!) and mounted combat can be very powerful when you’re willing to spend a few feats on it. The favored class bonus makes this even better, by increasing your mount’s base speed. The gnomish Strength penalty definitely hurts, but can be overcome. I would highly recommend the Beast Rider archetype to gain access to some of the more powerful mount options, and it leads very nicely into the Mammoth Rider prestige class, which is just ridiculously powerful. The Samurai’s key abilities are the same as the Cavalier, so it’s also a decent choice.
Cleric: A gnomish cleric is a reasonable choice, though a gnome doesn’t get a boost to Wisdom for casting. For a frontline tank-style cleric, gnome is actually a good choice, since gnomes get a boost to Con and some extra AC from their size. A necromancer-style Cleric will find the Fell Magic alternate racial trait I mentioned earlier of particular use, and will probably want to take the Undead Lord archetype to build on that.
Druid: Gnomes make great druids, for several reasons. For one, similar to a cavalier, a mounted gnome can make for a happy gnome, and druids can start riding their animal companion very early on. Secondly, their penalty to Strength and any disadvantages because of their Small size can be very easily overcome through the wild shape ability and any number of useful druid spells that augment their physical abilities. Since gnomes are fey-related, it’s very easy to imagine a gnome becoming one with the forest and protecting it from intruders, so roleplaying is easy as well. There are no specific archetypes that are better in this case than others, but overall a gnome Druid is a good choice.
Fighter: Any race can be a good Fighter, because Fighters are the most versatile class in the game. That being said, some races are going to be better at certain TYPES of fighters than others. In the case of the gnome, ranged fighter is definitely the winner. Going ranged (probably with the help of the Archer archetype) lets a gnome Fighter forget about her weak Strength score and focus on Dexterity and Constitution, making an archer with lots of hit points and a very deadly shot. Other worthy options for a gnome Fighter include the Roughrider (for all the reasons that I like the Cavalier as a gnomish option), and the Tactician (because Teamwork Feats can be a great way to help boost your party while kicking butt in your own right.)
Gunslinger: I apologize again, but by now you know how little I like the Gunslinger, so bear with me. Gunslinger seems like a great choice for a gnome, since they need absolutely no Strength (other than enough to carry their gun) and the small size gives you a boost to attack rolls right from the start. Since gnomes get a boost to Charisma, you may want to consider choosing the Mysterious Stranger archetype, which trades Wisdom out for Charisma for Grit and some Deeds. You'll want to make sure to get your gun enchanted with the Reliable property as soon as possible if you do go Mysterious Stranger, because you lose the Quick Clear deed. Gnomes also have a racial archetype for the Gunslinger, called the Experimental Gunsmith, which allows you to trade iterations of the gun training ability for some neat “innovations” which improve the capabilities of your gun. This is definitely flavorful and fun, so I’d recommend it, although it’s sad that it’s not compatible with the Mysterious Stranger.
Inquisitor: Honestly, everything I said about the Cleric applies to the Inquisitor in this case. A gnome Inquisitor may want to go ranged as opposed to melee, and the Infiltrator archetype seems like it would be really great, since it relies at least partially on Charisma-based skills. Other than those few specific points, Inquisitor is a decent, but not amazing, choice for a gnome.
Magus: The magus is almost exclusively a melee class, and right off the bat that gives you a disadvantage as a gnome, since gnomes have only 20 feet base movement and a penalty to Strength. The exception to this, of course, is the Myrmidarch archetype, which lets you cast spells and deliver them through ranged attacks. A gnome could also do fairly well with a Dex-based build, using Weapon Finesse and Dervish Dance to replace Strength with Dex in as many ways as possible. Note that the gnome Magus favored class option is kind of strange, letting you choose a magic weapon property from a short list and add it to the properties you can add to your weapon by using an arcane point. All in all, Magus is probably not the best choice for a gnome.
Monk: Monks are one of the most MAD (multiple attribute dependent) classes in the game, because they require decent Strength for their attacks, Dex for AC since they can’t wear armor, Wisdom for ki points and ki powers, and Constitution for hit points. A gnome’s boost to Con is helpful, but the boost to Charisma is not so much. If you do decide to be a gnome Monk, you could consider the Sohei archetype, which grants light armor proficiency and several abilities which help you with mounted combat, and as we’ve already discussed, a mounted gnome is a happy gnome.
Oracle: Aha! Now here is the divine casting class for a gnome! Your boost to Charisma raises your main casting stat, the gnome Oracle favored class option is great, and Oracles can fill pretty much any party role based on which Mystery and Revelations you choose. I mentioned the favored class option… gnomes have the option to use their Oracle’s Curse ability as if they were a higher level character, and some Curses are very powerful, especially at higher Oracle levels. I would also suggest taking the Enlightened Philosopher archetype to synergize with the Gift of Tongues alternate racial trait. All of this adds up to Oracle being one of the best choices for a gnome, alongside Sorcere and Summoner.
Paladin [Antipaladin]: A gnome paladin works pretty well, thanks to the Charisma boost. The penalty to Strength is a little painful, but can be overcome. I’d like to point out, though, that a gnome really becomes a great Paladin when she gets her mount at 5th level (and this is why I prefer the Cavalier over the Paladin for a gnome). A mounted gnome Paladin is a scary sight to any evil creature in the game, and there are a few archetypes to help you do just that: Shining Knight allows your gnome Paladin to charge on her mount without provoking any attacks of opportunity at 11th level, which is a really nice ability. You could also take an Oath Against Savagery, which allows you to extend your reach by 5 feet for a minute at a time, which can be a huge boost when you’re riding around the battlefield on a mount. You may also want to consider Divine Hunter and Holy Gun for ranged Paladin options. Just a note on Antipaladin: a gnome could make a pretty good Antipaladin in an evil campaign, for the same reasons that she could make a good Paladin in any other campaign.
Ranger: Rangers are at least partially Wisdom-based, which isn’t the best choice for a gnome. A Ranger focused on ranged combat could be a great choice, however. The Skirmisher or Trapper archetypes may be a good choice, since they give up spellcasting, alleviating the need for a high Wisdom score. Rangers have a nature theme, which works very well for a gnome, so overall a gnome Ranger is a decent choice.
Rogue [Ninja]: A gnome’s small size and boost to Charisma will be helpful for a Ninja, since ki points are Charisma-based for them. There are far too many Rogue archetypes out there, although none of them specifically call to me for a Gnome. I do want to point out, though, that a Ninja or any other user of ki can take Monk Vows to increase their ki pool, so I highly recommend looking at those. The Vow of Silence probably makes the most sense for a Ninja, but you could have some fun role-playing if you try some of the others.
Sorcerer: Gnomes make some of the best Sorcerers in the game, thanks to their boost to Charisma and their innate magical abilities. I was actually surprised not to see a racial archetype or bloodline for gnomes in the Advanced Race Guide, though I suppose the Fey bloodline covers them from a role-playing perspective. I’m not going to go into the bloodlines themselves (I made a separate guide all about that here) but if you do choose a bloodline that has a first-level bloodline power that’s usable 3 + Cha times per day, consider using the gnome Sorcerer favored class option to let you use it more often. The Seeker archetype strikes me as very gnome-ish, so you might want to consider it for the purposes of flavor, though it’s not a super powerful archetype. Also, if you choose a fire-based bloodline, make sure to pick up the Pyromaniac alternate race trait, because it’s pretty incredible.
Summoner: The iconic Summoner is a gnome, for good reason. Like Sorcerers, Summoners are completely Charisma-based, and that’s great for a gnome. One of the first suggestions I have for a gnome Summoner is to pick either the quadruped or serpentine form of Eidolon. Why? Because that lets you use your Eidolon as a mount! (Look back at the Cavalier description if you don’t know why that’s a good thing.) Since you’re a Small creature, and your eidolon is Medium, you’ve effectively gotten yourself a powerful mount at 1st level. If you want to really take advantage of this, make sure you give your gnome Summoner a decent Strength score, and give him a lance. Other great eidolon evolutions you’ll want to consider include Shadow Blend (from the Advanced Race Guide) and Minor Magic (vanish). The archetypes for the summoner are all pretty incredible, though the best one by far is the Synthesist. I would also consider the First Worlder archetype, though, because it would be very flavorful for a gnome, and it changes your eidolon to a Fey creature, which again makes sense for the gnome’s nature theme. The gnome Summoner favored class option is to add +1 hit point to your eidolon, which might be worth it assuming you use it as a front-line fighter.
Witch: A gnome can make a great witch, because the Witch’s hexes really allow you to build a character that essentially never needs to be in melee. Just pick up the Flight and Evil Eye hex right from the start, and your character can just levitate (at 3rd level) or fly (at 5th level) up into the sky and hex every enemy on the battlefield. Gnomes also get one of the best Witch favored class options, +1/6 of a hex every level. More hexes is ALWAYS a good thing for a witch. As far as archetypes, look at the Beast-Bonded witch, because starting at 10th level, your character basically will never die. The Hedge Witch is also a great choice if you think your party might need a little bit of extra healing.
Wizard: Like the Witch, a gnome Wizard can work out really well, mostly for the same reasons. For me, the choice between Witch and Wizard comes down to what you want to accomplish. If you want to heal or debuff enemies, stick with the Witch. If you want to buff your allies, summon creatures, blast, or just be a generally useful character for your party, go Wizard. Other than that, they really work out very similarly for a gnome. As far as archetypes, if you want to deal some extra damage you could consider the Arcane Bomber or Spellslinger archetypes, but honestly if you’re looking for a character that can cast well and use weapons well, you should be looking at the Magus instead.
Racial Favored Class Bonuses:
Alchemist: If you’re a bomber Alchemist, +1/2 to your bombs per day is great. If you’re not focusing on bombs, however, this is no good.
Barbarian: Just a bonus to trap sense? No thanks!
Bard: Extra Bardic Performance rounds per day are always a good thing, so this one’s a keeper.
Cavalier: As I discussed above, you get to add base speed to your mount, which is just incredible for a Cavalier. This is one of the best favored class bonuses in the game.
Cleric: This bonus is weak because it doesn’t increase your healing when channeling to heal humanoids, which is what your party members are most likely going to be.
Druid: Resistance to an elemental damage type is really nice, so you’ll probably want to pick this one up.
Fighter: A bonus to CMD would be great, but this bonus only applies against dirty trick and steal maneuvers, which enemies will almost NEVER use. This one stinks.
Gunslinger: Given how little experience I have with gunslingers, I don’t know how often you will really need to repair your gun after it gains the broken condition, but this seems to me like a decent bonus.
Inquisitor: A bonus to concentration checks could come in handy, but there are better favored class bonuses out there.
Magus: This is one of the strangest and most specific favored class bonuses in the game. You get to choose from a list of magical properties, allowing you to add that property to your weapon in addition to the ones a magus can normally add. Some of these are really nice, like defending, ghost touch, and menacing, so I like this choice, overall.
Monk: A favored class bonus that you can’t choose until 5th level is already weak, and a boost to Acrobatics checks when you’re spending a ki point isn’t even that powerful, so I’d steer clear of this one unless you plan to move through a lot of enemy’s threatened squares. Like, all the time..
Oracle: While this favored class option is not nearly as amazing as the one that elves get, you will still find that being treated as a higher class level for your Oracle’s Curse ability will serve you very well. For example, if you chose the Clouded Vision curse, you could have blindsense 30 feet at 7th level instead of 10th, which is a big deal. An even bigger boost is having blindsight 15 at TENTH LEVEL. There are several other really good bonuses associated with Oracle Curses, so definitely pay attention to what you’ll get the most out of with this favored class option.
Paladin: Extra hit points on your lay on hands ability is nice, especially for healing yourself with a swift action in a pinch.
Ranger: Adding DR to your animal companion is pretty sweet, though you won’t see the benefit of this until you actually GET an animal companion at 4th level. The Beastmaster or Falconer archetypes might be a good choice here, since they get companions beginning at first level.
Rogue: This one is definitely situational, since as a Rogue you’re not going to be dealing with glyphs and scrolls all that often (Use Magic Device checks are for wands, silly!).
Sorcerer: If you have a first-level bloodline power that you love, here’s a nice way to use it more times per day! However, if you don’t have a first-level bloodline power measured in uses per day, this is not helpful in the least.
Summoner: Extra hit points for your eidolon is great, especially if you’re using it as a mount like I suggested earlier.
Witch: There is seriously no such thing as too many hexes, so this is an EXCELLENT choice.
Wizard: Just like the Sorcerer, if you have an awesome 1st-level school power that you love, this lets you use it more often, but if you don’t, you’re better off with a skill point or hit point.
UnArcaneElection's Thoughts on New Classes:
UnArcaneElection's Thoughts on New Classes:
- Arcanist: Like a Wizard, this is a 9/9 Intelligence-dependent spellcaster, but while Gnomes do not get an Intelligence bonus, they do get a Charisma bonus, and some Arcanist abilities (including several of the Arcane Exploits) are Charisma-based, and being a Gnome does help with that. The Constitution bonus is also especially welcome on a class having d6 Hit Dice. The Favored Class Bonus would be theoretically helpful (increasing the slow recharge rate of your limited Arcane Reservoir), but it scales way too slowly to be of much use.
- Bloodrager: See Barbarian, except that the Charisma bonus helps, so it's not all bad. As a Small character that (unlike a Halfling) cannot get an upgrade to normal speed and no more than a non-scaling upgrade from the class, you'll probably want to go mounted, and the Bloodrider archetype fits that want. The Favored Class Bonus adds 1/4 to your effective Bloodrager class level when determining the effects of your Bloodline Powers, so examine your Bloodline carefully for how well they scale (and note that while Bloodrager Bloodlines are not as uneven in quality as Sorcerer Bloodlines, they are still rather uneven).
- Brawler: The Small size, Slow speed, and Strength penalty of Gnomes hurts melee characters unless they have ways to compensate, and Gnome does not offer an easy path to any such compensation, nor does it offer any particular synergy with feat-based methods such as the Monkey Style feat chain (which unfortunately takes too long to come online), nor does Brawler offer a mounted archetype to make Small characters happy. The Constitution bonus is helpful, and the Favored Class Bonus helps you get more uses of Martial Flexibility, so this isn't all bad, but can't get past Orange.
- Cavalier/Samurai: As already in the guide, except also add mention of the Daring Champion archetype, which gets Swashbuckler's (Charisma-dependent) Panache and Deeds, although unfortunately trading out Mount in the process (in principle, if you get a mount by some other means, such as the Nature Soul + Animal Ally + Boon Companion feat chain, your Favored Class Bonus should still work with it). Also consider the Daring General archetype if Leadership is not banned -- Leadership is Charisma-dependent, and this archetype gives you Iterative Cohorts! Unfortunately, although Daring General doesn't trade out Mount, it does trade out some other Cavalier abilities that Daring Champion also trades out, so you can't combine the archetypes.
- Hunter: See Ranger, but being a Wisdom-dependent 6/9 instead of 4/9 spellcaster with a Strength penalty and no Wildshape hurts. Still, Hunter lends itself to being Mounted with a full-progression Animal Companion, so it's not all bad. The Favored Class Bonus gives Damage Resistance/Magic to your Animal Companion -- how useful this is will be highly campaign-dependent -- keep in mind that in many cases, at high levels a LOT of opponents will either have magic weapons, spells that don't care about damage resistance, and/or do so much damage per attack that the maximum DR 10/Magic will be merely a speed bump.
- Investigator: Like Alchemist, except you never get Bombs, so you have to engage in melee to do damage, and Investigators aren't particularly charismatic, although the Constitution bonus does help. On the other hand, Investigators are better Rogues than Rogues (even Unchained), and being Small is good for that, although being Slow isn't. The Favored Class Bonus adds Extracts to your Formula Book (but not at the highest level you can use), which is a trap unless you live and work in such a dump that you can't pick up more Extracts for a little cash.
- Kineticist: Now you can really put your Gnome Constitution bonus to use! Kineticist is a quasi-spellcaster whose primary (quasi-)spellcasting attribute is Constitution, so have at it! Some of the Elements give you ways to fly, thus overcoming the disadvantage of Slow speed. The Favored Class Bonus unfortunately only applies when dealing with creatures matching your primary element, although the skill bonus scales rapidly enough that it is quite good in that situation, and even synergizes with the Charisma bonus that Gnomes get; otherwise, with the class feature Burn putting a tax on your effective Hit Points, you can instead consider a bonus Hit Point per level to be a good Favored Class Bonus. (Avoid the Overwhelming Soul archetype like the plague unless you are planning on being Undead,although admittedly Gnomes are a bit better at this than -- for instance -- Dwarves; for most people, this archetype should really be called Underwhelming Soul.)
- Magus: For the most part, the Magus is a mainly melee class, and an Intelligence-dependent 6/9 spellcaster on top of that, and Gnomes don't get an Intelligence bonus. The Constitution bonus does help with survivability (especially important with the combination of d8 Hit Dice and melee). Magus does offer a few archetypes to help make things better, though. Harrow-themed Card Caster gets Harrowed Spellstrike, enabling Spellstrike at range with Touch spells without requiring Reach Spell metamagic or the Reach Spellstrike + Distant Spellstrike Magus Arcana chain to enable use of such spells (unlike the following ranged archetypes); Eldritch Archer doesn't give you Harrowed Spellstrike, but does give you Ranged Spell Combat and Ranged Spellstrike (which requires the aforementioned metamagic or Magus Arcana to make it fully functional); Myrmidarch acts a melee/ranged switch-hitter, giving Ranged Spellstrike but not Ranged Spell Combat (and unfortunately trading out Spell Recall and Improved Spell Recall, although on the plus side also giving you Weapon Training and Armor Training, the latter of which eventually helps with the speed problem); Eldritch Scion adds no ranged options, but makes your spellcasting spontaneous and Charisma-dependent, although before you get too excited, note that the archetype itself doesn't work very well. The Favored Class Bonus lets you get Arcane Pool weapon enchantments that you wouldn't otherwise be able to get, although if you take one of the above archetypes, check carefully to make sure that the extra enchantments you pick are compatible with your weapon(s). A very good Magus guide that is currently still being updated is available: Myrrh, Frankincense, and Steel: Kurald Galain's Guide to the Magus (advertises "Core, APG, ARG, UC, UM", but actually has plenty of stuff from newer books as well).
- Medium: This is a Charisma-dependent spellcaster, and although it normally only uses 4/9 spellcasting, the Archmage and Heirophant Spirits temporarily upgrade this to 6/9 spellcasting, for which the Charisma bonus is welcome. The Gnome racial characteristics (apart from the Charisma bonus) do not particularly synergize with the Medium class features unless you choose the Favored Class Bonus, which depends upon you running into the right enemies to get much use of, but is pretty good when you do, since it gives you rapidly scaling skill bonuses against them. The problem is that the Medium class itself just doesn't seem very good no matter what race you are -- the concept is fine, but the execution of the design doesn't seem very good (the playtest version had so much promise -- maybe we'll eventually get a Harrowed Medium archetype that revives and fleshes this out, and if done right, Gnomes should be good with it).
- Mesmerist: This is another Charisma-dependent spellcaster, this time using 6/9 spellcasting, for which the Charisma bonus is welcome; apart from being Small, none of the other Gnome racial characteristics particularly synergize with the class (and Slow speed hurts as always), but the thematic synergy is undeniable. The Favored Class Bonus increases the number of Mesmerist Tricks usable per day with decent scaling, so overall Mesmerist is a pretty good option for a Gnome.
- Occultist: This 6/9 Occult caster is Intelligence-dependent rather than Charisma-dependent, so Gnome ability score adjustments are not amazing for it, but at least not terrible. The class design tends to put Occultists on the front line, so the Constitution bonus is helpful, but other Gnome characteristics not so much, and Slow speed hurts as always. The Favored Class Bonus only increases a couple of minor powers specific to one Implement (Illusion) by small amounts, so skip this.
- Psychic: This is the 9/9 Occult caster, and it is Intelligence-Dependent, and you don't get an Intelligence bonus as a Gnome. On the other hand, it is also somewhat MAD by design, with Wisdom or Charisma being an important secondary ability score depending upon your choice of Psychic Discipline. The Favored Class Bonus increases your Phrenic Pool with decent scaling, so overall Psychic with the right Psychic Discipline is a decent choice for a Gnome.
- Shaman: Like Cleric, but generally with no help from the Gnome's Charisma bonus (unless you choose the Life Spirit, which has Charisma-dependent Channeling), so having Wisdom-dependent 9/9 spellcasting with no bonus to Wisdom isn't so great. The Favored Class Bonus gives you an extra Hex every 6 levels -- nice idea, but too slow scaling.
- Skald: See Bard, but Skalds are more front-line martial than Bards, for which the Constitution bonus helps, but the Strength penalty, Small size, and Slow speed hurt. Use the Urban Skald archetype to go Dexterity-based, although make sure the rest of your part can benefit from this, because Skald is one of the classes most dependent upon the rest of the party composition (actually, this is true of all currently released Skald archetypes) -- in the worst case, different characters will have incompatible primary physical attributes, but in the best case you will make your whole party amazing. With the Favored Class Bonusboosting your Concentration checks with VERY GOOD scaling, you WILL get your spells off once you get past the first few levels, though.
- Slayer: Slayers are like Rogues, but are not as Dexterity-dependent and better made for holding their own in straight-up fights, so this hurts Gnomes who would be Slayers, since they have a Strength penalty and Slow speed, although Small size does help with Stealth and avoiding hits. The Favored Class Bonus gives you an extra Slayer Talent every 6 levels -- nice idea, but too slow scaling.
- Spiritualist: Spiritualists are Wisdom-dependent 6/9 Occult spellcasters, and Gnomes do not have a Wisdom bonus, so Spiritualist is not an optimal choice for a Gnome. The Favored Class Bonus scales your Phantom's Spiritual Interference Shield Bonus too slowly to be of much use, and keep in mind that the Greater version of this ability may act as a big "Plant Fireball Here" sign to enemies.
- Swashbuckler: Swashbucklers are like Rogues, and just as Dexterity-dependent, for which Gnomes get no bonus (even though they get a Strength penalty). On the other hand, they are also Charisma-dependent (for Panache), which helps Gnomes, and the Constitution bonus is very welcome on a front-line class with a poor Fortitude Save. The Favored Class Bonus increases your uses per day of Charmed Life at a slow but usable rate. A particularly appropriate archetype for Small characters is Mouser, which lets you get inside your opponent's defenses; this works even if you only dip a single level, but seems fine for full progression as well.
- Vigilante (see below for ratings): Vigilantes are like any of several sorts of other classes, depending upon choice of Vigilante Specialization and/or archetype. The Gnome bonus to Constitution and the Hardy trait or the Unstoppable replacement for this helps with the poor Fortitude Save, and the Gnome bonus to Charisma hurts the social aspects of this class. The Favored Class Bonus is only useful if you are telling a lie that would be true from the point of view of the Vigilante's current identity, but if you are, it is really good.
- Standard Vigilante with Avenger Specialization: While this is supposed to be sneaky, it is also supposed to be able to hold its own in a straight-up fight, but only gets d8 Hit Dice -- although the Gnome Constitution bonus helps with this, Small size, Slow speed, and a Strength penalty hurt.
- Standard Vigilante with Stalker Specialization: This is more like a Rogue -- sneaky but without the Base Attack Bonus improvement, and the lack of Dexterity bonus hurts, but the Constitution and Charisma bonuses help.
- Brute Vigilante: This is just a bad archetype, regardless of whether or not you are a Gnome, and then the Strength penalty hurts on top of that -- about the only thing good to say about it is that it will be harder for you take out your party when you go berserk.
- Cabalist Vigilante: See Witch, but the lack of Intelligence Bonus hurts less, because this is a 6/9 spellcaster.
- Gunmaster Vigilante: This is like a Gunslinger, but the lack of a Dexterity bonus hurts. You are probably better off just being a Gunslinger.
- Magical Child Vigilante: This is like a Summoner, including the Charisma dependence, which is good for Gnomes. Also, this just feels totally right thematically.
- Mounted Fury Vigilante: This is the Cavalier substitute Vigilante, and as noted elsewhere, a mounted Gnome is a happy Gnome. The basic problem is that it just isn't a very good archetype, although at least it isn't as bad as Brute -- still, just be a Cavalier instead.
- Psychometrist Vigilante with Avenger Specialization: See Standard Vigilante with Avenger Specialization above, but this adds a certain amount of Intelligence-dependence. Gnomes don't get an Intelligence bonus, but they don't get a penalty either, so this is probably okay but not great as long as you build carefully.
- Psychometrist Vigilante with Stalker Specialization: See Standard Vigilante with Stalker Specialization above, but this adds a certain amount of Intelligence-dependence. Gnomes don't get an Intelligence bonus, but they don't get a penalty either, so this is probably okay as long as you build carefully, although better than with Avenger Specialization for the same reasons that Standard Vigilantes with Stalker Specialization are better on a Gnome chassis than Standard Vigilantes with Avenger Specialization.
- Warlock Vigilante: Gnomes will be okay with the spellcasting and Mystic Bolt parts of this archetype, for which they get neither bonuses nor penalties, and the Constitution bonus helps in case you get stuck on the front line, while the Charisma bonus especially helps the Social Simulacrum part, which needs to disguise itself as you. Solidly serviceable, but not amazing.
- Wildsoul Vigilante with Avenger Specialization: See Standard Vigilante with Avenger Specialization above, but this adds a certain amount of Intelligence-dependence. Gnomes don't get an Intelligence bonus, but they don't get a penalty either, so this is probably okay as long as you build carefully.
- Wildsoul Vigilante with Stalker Specialization: See Standard Vigilante with Stalker Specialization above, but this adds a certain amount of Intelligence-dependence. Gnomes don't get an Intelligence bonus, but they don't get a penalty either, so this is probably okay as long as you build carefully, although better than Avenger Specialization for the same reasons that Standard Vigilantes with Stalker Specialization are not as good on a Gnomechassis as Standard Vigilantes with Avenger Specialization.
- Zealot Vigilante: Wisdom-dependent spellcasting and some abilities that use Wisdom-dependent skills (although not as many as on an Inquisitor) -- being a Gnome doesn't hurt this, but doesn't help either, except when using the Channel Energy Talent, which gives you Channel Energy like a Cleric, including the Charisma dependence.
- Warpriest: This is like Cleric, but with no Charisma-dependent abilities -- everything is Wisdom-dependent, for which Gnomes get no penalty, but no bonus either, and being on the front-liner with Small size and Slow speed hurts, although the Constitution bonus helps. The Favored Class Bonus as written doesn't work in a clearly defined way: "Add 1/2 to the result of the warpriest's channeled energy when healing creatures of the animal, fey, and plant types" -- does this add +1/2 per die, or just +1/2 hit point total? If the former, it starts off humdrum, but then scales quadratically to become situationally almost broken; if the latter, it just stinks.
Experimental Gunsmith (Gunslinger): As much as I dislike the Gunslinger, this archetype actually makes me consider playing one. It reminds me of one of my favorite 3.5e classes that never made its way to Pathfinder, the Artificer. Essentially, this archetype lets your gnome add some unique and powerful abilities to her gun, making her seem more like a mad scientist than a cowboy, which I can appreciate in a fantasy setting. I especially like the Grapple Launcher ability, as I can just imagine a gnome sticking a grappling hook into a gun and firing it up to get to a ledge.
Prankster (Bard): The Prankster bard is exactly what I have always thought of a gnome as being... a little trickster who delights in causing mischief and loves making people laugh. I absolutely LOVE the Punchline ability, which causes your enemies to be affected by hideous laughter if you successfully mock them. I can also imagine the Swap ability causing quite a stir in the midst of battle, as the big bad guy tries to pull out a wand of fireball to finish off the party’s fighter, only to find a lollipop in his hand instead.
Saboteur (Alchemist): The Saboteur is a very interesting archetype, as it replaces the alchemist’s mutagen with a stealth-boosting Chameleon Mutagen, at the expense of your Strength. This means it would be great for a character trying to do sneak attack damage, so I’d strongly suggest combining this archetype with the Vivisectionist archetype to replace bombs with sneak damage. However, I can’t rate this archetype very high, because a Ninja would be MUCH better at this kind of battle than the Saboteur ever could be. If you DID go with this, the blur and displacement spells will definitely be your friend, as they will allow you to use Stealth in plain sight, thanks to the concealment they provide.
Arcane Trickster: Gnomes are very well-suited to be Arcane Tricksters, as their Small size helps both with Stealth checks and attack rolls (since casters normally have fairly weak base attack bonus). The fastest way to get into this prestige class is with three levels of Wizard and three of Rogue or Ninja. However, for a gnome I believe the best way to qualify is with four levels of Myrmidarch Magus and three of Ninja. This will let you use a bow (or even shuriken) to deliver all of your ray-style spells, giving you some extra damage from the arrow or shuriken each time. If you choose shuriken, you can also choose Flurry of Stars as your ninja trick, letting you spend a ki point to throw an extra two shuriken in a full attack. Just make sure to invest a bit into Strength, since you add Strength bonus to shuriken damage. At 8th level, you’ll start into the Arcane Trickster class and eventually get fun things like Impromptu Sneak Attack and Invisible Thief, letting you apply your sneak damage much more often.
Mammoth Rider: This is one of my favorite new prestige classes from Paths of Prestige, and for a gnome it’s just incredible. I’ve already discussed at length how nice being mounted can be for a gnome, and Mammoth Rider boosts your mount up to Huge size at first level. This means that at 10th character level, our gnome Cavalier’s wolf mount suddenly grows to Huge size, which is just crazy awesome. If you choose to continue in the Mammoth Rider class from that point on, your steed will get even more powerful every two levels, but you’ll be missing out on the Cavalier’s high-level abilities, so I would actually suggest sticking with just a one-level dip for the Huge-size mount.
Shadowdancer: The Shadowdancer’s stiff tax of three feats is painful, but for any stealthy character, Hide in Plain Sight is more than worth the investment. My suggestion is to take five levels of Ninja, picking up Combat Reflexes very early with your first-level feat, Dodge with your third-level feat, and using your fourth-level ninja trick to pick up Mobility. Then at 6th level, you grab your one level of Shadowdancer. It also might be worth your time to take two more levels of Shadowdancer to gain the Summon Shadow ability, which essentially gives you a shadow creature familiar, and you also pick up an extra Rogue Talent while you’re there. After that, go back to Ninja and enjoy the almost-constant sneak attack damage you get to your attacks!
Arcane School Spirit: This feat requires a full-round action to reduce a target’s save against the next spell you cast, and it has to be a spell in your chosen arcane school. There are so few situations where spending a full-round action is worth this benefit, that I just can’t see this being a worthy feat for anyone.
Arcane Talent: A thrice-per-day cantrip spell is not worth a feat, period. Stay away.
Bewildering Koan: This is a really interesting feat, and for a gnome Ninja or Monk is probably a really good option. Spending only a swift action to force your enemy to lose its next action is a very powerful ability, and sometimes that bonus +2 damage could come in handy also.
Breadth of Experience: This feat gives you +2 to all Knowledge and Profession skills, so it might be worth a look if you’re playing in PFS and never want to fail a Knowledge check. For a Wizard or Bard, who probably has good Knowledge checks anyway, this probably isn’t worth your time.
Casual Illusionist: For any gnome character who uses Bluff, Sleight of Hand, or Disguise often, this may be a good option, since most times you’re not going to use up all of your gnome magic SLAs in a day. If you were considering the Decietful feat, take this one instead (although the stipulation that this feat counts as Decietful for all feat and class prerequisites only helps you if you were planning to take the Master Spy prestige class, since this is the only class/feat other than third-party material that requires Decietful.)
Effortless Trickery: Wow, this is an absolutely amazing feat. For an illusion-focused caster (which gnomes are amazing at, by the way), this is a must-have feat. You get to use a swift action to concentrate on an illusion spell, letting you continue casting other spells or even concentrate on a SECOND illusion using your standard action each round! Seriously, this is a great choice.
Extra Gnome Magic: This one might be useful for a non-caster who wants to light up their enemies often using dancing lights, or for someone who also chose the Casual Illusionist feat right above this one, but otherwise it’s just not really worth a feat.
Expanded Resistance: This feat could be very useful for a Cavalier or other front-line type of character who is worried about failing Will saves and attacking her allies. Choose the enchantment school, and you’ll be failing saves against compulsions much less often.
Gnome Trickster: Again, spending a feat to get a few extra cantrips is just not worth it.
Gnome Weapon Focus: This is probably the biggest “trap” feat in the game, since there’s only one weapon with “Gnome” in the name, the Gnome Hooked Hammer. While this is actually a fairly nice weapon, the Weapon Focus feat gives you the same exact bonus and is a prerequisite for many other excellent feats, so just take that instead.
Great Hatred: If you find yourself using your Hatred bonus often, this feat is probably worth it, otherwise it’s useless.
Groundling: I can imagine this feat being used to create a super flavorful gnome character who travels with a family of gophers who give him advice and with whom he carries on conversations constantly. However, that’s the ONLY situation in which this feat would be worth taking.
Tantrum: For a gnome Barbarian/Rogue or Barbarian/Alchemist(Vivisectionist) this would be a great choice as a way to get sneak damage in battle, but othewise the Feint ability is just too action-intensive to be worth it.
Vast Hatred: This is an excellent choice for a Ranger who wants to really mess up his favored enemies, since it would stack with that ability. I could also see this being useful in a campaign where one type of enemy is very prominent, such as one based in a crypt full of undead, or in the midst of a war against an army of orcs. Overall, I really like this feat.