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Svirfneblin,1 or deep gnomes as they are also known, are a subterranean offshoot of the gnome race who inhabit Golarion's Darklands. They have a stronger connection to the First World, their ancestral homeland, than their surface-dwelling cousins.2


Svirfneblin appear similar in stature to their overburn (Darklands slang for the surface world) cousins, but with rocky gray or brown skin, and pale, oversized eyes. Males are always bald while females have gray, stringy hair.2


Perhaps because of their strong connection to the First World, svirfneblin are more emotionally erratic than gnomes, vacillating between cold detachment and violent outbursts.23 Most are somewhat xenophobic and prefer to keep to their own, hidden insular communities.4


The ancestors of the svirfneblin came to Golarion in -4202 AR during the Age of Anguish, at the same time as the forefathers of the surface gnome race. Their decision to settle in the Darklands most likely was prompted to keep an eye on the evil fey of that realm. Their prolonged exposure to the energies there slowly changed them into the race they are today.56


Deep gnomes are tenacious opponents of the duergar, and the two races have fought numerous wars in the past. These conflicts have had such a negative impact on the svirfneblin, that they sometimes have trouble separating the grey dwarves from their surface-dwelling dwarven cousins.2 They also bear no love towards mites, with whom they frequently come into conflict.7

Svirfneblin live in secret, luminescent cities that are nearly unknown to the other races of the Darklands. Their largest settlement is the hidden city of Dwimovel in the layer of Sekamina.85

Court of Ether

The dark fey of the Court of Ether are perhaps the svirfneblin's greatest enemies. Using the abilities of allied xorns and other elemental beings, they keep watch over Queen Frilogarma's court at all times, but dare not approach too closely, lest they fall under her mystical powers.9


Nearly all svirfneblin speak Gnome as well as Undercommon.2 Because of their isolationism, most svirfneblin have difficulty making friends with other races. Those who accidentally stumble across one of their communities are often incarcerated for the rest of their lives, for fear that they might spread the knowledge of the settlement's location to the outside world. Outsiders who do manage to become friends with a deep gnome are sometimes given bonding stones, which are small stone amulets that symbolize their new relationship.5


Svirfneblin consider the goddess Nivi Rhombodazzle as the first svirfneblin and mother of their race, and comprise most of her following.1011


For additional resources, see the Meta page.

  1. The singular and plural of svirfneblin are the same.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 261. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  3. James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 4. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  4. Jason Bulmahn et al. (2012). Advanced Race Guide, p. 182. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-390-3
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Colin McComb et al. (2010). Gnomes of Golarion, p. 13. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-223-4
  6. James Jacobs et al. (2011). "The Inner Sea". The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 34. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  7. Jason Bulmahn. (2009). Bestiary (First Edition), p. 207. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
  8. James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 37. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  9. James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 27. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
  10. Colin McComb. (2011). Faiths of Purity, p. 20. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-314-9
  11. Sean K Reynolds et al. (2014). "Other Deities". Inner Sea Gods, p. 184. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-597-6