These distant cousins to gnomes are reclusive, underground dwellers. Svirfneblins, as deep gnomes call themselves, have skin the color of gray or brown stone. While deep gnome males are bald, women have thin, pale-gray hair, and all have the large, expressive eyes typical among all gnomes. A deep gnome is 3 feet tall and weighs approximately 65 pounds. Deep gnomes rarely interact with those outside of their small cavern communities, and they are slow to trust outsiders, sometimes keeping them imprisoned for years simply to prevent them from informing others of the deep gnome settlement.
The first deep gnomes rose in the underground world some time after their early gnome ancestors migrated from the First World to Golarion. A group of these migrants elected to settle underground instead of on the surface, and it was from these gnomes that the svirfneblin came to be. Some believe the gnomes chose the Darklands as their home to watch for and stop any evil fey who might infiltrate the underground region, but much like the exact reasons for the gnomes’ relocation, their motivation has been lost to time. Thousands of years of living in subterranean caverns with little to no light transformed the physical characteristics of the gnomes living there into those of the deep gnome of today.
Though deep gnomes may seem dour and recalcitrant at first glance, they retain the fey blood of their ancestors. In fact, deep gnomes are sometimes more emotionally erratic than their gnome cousins, lashing out violently at what seems like the smallest provocation. Such an explosion is often followed by an extended period of quiet brooding. Despite this, deep gnome communities are close-knit, as each citizen knows when to give the others the space they require to process their feelings.
Many deep gnome settlements have clashed with nearby duergar communities for myriad reasons: resources, territory, and even religion and morality. Over the centuries, some of these disputes have evolved into full wars, with many lives lost on both sides. Neither deep gnomes nor duergars are particularly proud of these conflicts, but both insist they were in the right each time. The ferocity with which most duergars fight has left a deep impression on the psyches of some deep gnome communities, leading them to distrust all dwarves and dwarf-like ancestries even more than other strangers. This can result in non-duergar dwarves being driven off from deep gnome cities before being able to explain themselves. A dwarf and even those traveling with a dwarf require patience and tenacity when attempting to deal with deep gnomes holding such views. Svirfneblins value crafting and many decorate their cavernous homes with paintings on the walls, often incorporating the rock in clever ways. They also value crystals and gems, making jewelry and beads that they string through their hair.