In the last installment of this series, we were able to take a peek into the world of the Blood Elves and see how they might issue and handle challenges.
I knew that this time, I wanted to cover an Alliance race, but for whatever reason, I just couldn’t pinpoint which one I wanted to bring to the front page. I thought a lot about the races as a whole; how they interacted among their own people, how they interacted with others… it turned into a much bigger project than I had anticipated, and not one that I had enough time to sit down and sort out all at once. But now, here we are… at Gnomes.
Gnomes. The diminutive masterminds of magic, engineering, and apparently anything they want to stick their pudgy little fingers in. They are creators, innovators, and destroyers, all rolled up into a snack-size frame that would go beyond the legal limit of blood alcohol content at the first consumption of a quarter-pint.
Gnomes value intellect and innovation above all else. I would imagine that in a Gnome society, any Gnome that isn’t a spellcaster or engineer is looked down upon; you could probably even consider them second-class citizens, at best, too low on the totem pole to even hold a government job. This would mean that warriors and rogues probably get short shrift, unless they’re of the rare mindset that they don’t do enough destruction already, and need to use gadgets and devices to add a tiny bit more punch.
Okay, I’ll stop with the short jokes. Siasha, my guild’s resident Gnome Warlock and Purveyor of Souls, would probably set me on fire if she were reading this. Such a short fuse.
Regardless of my jabs at their size, Gnomes can (and do) pack a powerful punch, magical and mechanical alike. With this in mind, it makes sense that the way they issue and handle challenges would be much the same.
Challenges would probably be delivered in the manner that suits the challenger best. A lecherous warlock might send a succubus to deliver a challenge, while the tinkering warrior would probably use an OOX of her own. In terms of game mechanics, it’s not really possible to do this, and it’s a shame; though I suppose a more creative individual might substitute a Draenei in place of a succubus (hey, they’re closely related – it’d work), or another gnome (passed off as a clockwork) to deliver a message, the reality is that you’d probably have to institute the challenge as a series of whispers.
The actual challenge itself could take on many forms. Mages could prove their superiority by removing all gear, donning less-powerful equipment (read: cloth greys), and cast damage spells at each other until someone is forced to submit. Warlocks might prove their mettle by picking a powerful demon to enslave, and each will control or attempt to banish it; the first to be harmed by the demon while it is under their opponent’s control is declared the loser. Engineers could use a series of devices in some sort of challenge: a duel where only bombs and damage-dealing creations can be used, or even as an endurance test: choose an enemy, and only engineering items can be used to defeat it – the first person to use any non-engineer ability whatsoever loses the challenge.
As with Blood Elves, however, these kinds of duels would be lost on the other races. Humans are far too impatient by nature to participate in these types of challenges. Night Elves (by nature) have issues with technology and arcane magic, and would not deign to succumb to this sort of contest, not even for fun. A Draenei could probably get behind the intellect aspect for engineering, but their view of Arcane magic varies greatly from the Gnomish perspective. A Dwarf… well, let’s face it. If it doesn’t involve beer and guns, a Dwarf would get bored with Gnome challenges pretty quickly. Not really. Dwarves are more inclined to get involved in challenges over clan, honor, or personal pride – these little Gnomish grievances would be a little out of their element.
The important part to remember is to play up the eccentricities of the Gnomes. Make their mannerisms unique, outlandish, flighty. My mental image of a Gnome always comes across as very Absent-minded Professor-ish, and it suits the Gnome just perfectly in my mind. The Gnome’s best weapon is their intellect; capitalize on it with sly, cutting remarks (but don’t be a jerk), exasperation over having to explain something repeatedly for the slower-witted…
It will make for an interesting evening, and probably a great fireworks display.
Until next time!