Gnome

Gnome

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!



Racial traits:

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.


Classes:

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.


Racial Archetypes:

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.


Prestige Classes:

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!


Racial Feats:

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.