Gnome (monster class)

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Gnomes are a class of monsters that appear in large numbers in the Gnomish Mines. They are humanoids that are slower than the player, and are peaceful to gnomish and dwarven characters. Nevertheless, they are a frequent cause of death for incautious adventurers.



A normal gnome is slow and weak, but can use weapons and wands.

Gnome lord

Gnomish wizard

A gnomish wizard is a gnome dressed up as a wizard. Most of the time, its spell attempts will fail, so they can easily be hit or killed by any other means. When the spells succeed, however, you can suffer stunning or a splitting headache; stunning is especially problematic against groups of gnomes, or in Minetown where carelessness may cause you to attack a watchman or shopkeeper.

Gnome king

The gnome king is said to have a wine cellar, located in the basement of the Gnomish Mines.


Gnomes other than gnomish wizards are generated with one of the following: 3–14 darts, a crossbow and 3–14 bolts, a bow and 3–14 arrows, 3–5 daggers, an aklys, or nothing. The probability of getting nothing is 36% for a gnome king, 50% for a gnome lord, and 64% for an ordinary gnome.

Gnomes have a chance of getting a single candle: 120 if in the Gnomish Mines when the level was generated, and 160 otherwise. The candle will be tallow 34 of the time, or wax otherwise. If generated on a dark level, the candle will be lit.[1]

With the exception of Minetown, each floor of the Gnomish Mines will generate seven gnomes and one gnome lord, along with two random ​G. Minetown will generate varying amounts and types of gnomes based on which version is generated, with the exception of Orcish Town; Bazaar Town guarantees a gnome king in the northeastern room opposite the tool shop's designated location. Two variants of Mines' End, the Gnome King's Wine Cellar and the Mimic of the Mines, also guarantee a gnome king. If the player is a dwarf or gnome, two-thirds of the dwarves and gnomes generated this way are replaced with random monsters.

All types of gnome may be generated in throne rooms, with a gnome king eligible for generation on the throne.


In general, gnomes are not usually considered to be a big threat, especially on their own. However, large groups and the stronger versions can pose a challenge, particularly to a low-level adventurer taking on the Mines early.

Gnomes can pick up and use wands; in rare cases this can lead to the infamous Gnome With the Wand of Death long before a player is prepared to deal with such a threat.



SLASH'EM features more gnome variants:


dNetHack has separate growth chains for male and female monsters. Female gnomes will grow up into gnome ladies and gnome queens, instead of female gnome lords and gnome kings.


In GruntHack, lords and ladies are racial monsters that replace gnome lords and other similar monsters; kings and queens serve the same purpose for gnome kings, including generation on a throne in throne rooms.

Encyclopedia entry

... And then a gnome came by, carrying a bundle, an old fellow three times as large as an imp and wearing clothes of a sort, especially a hat. And he was clearly just as frightened as the imps though he could not go so fast. Ramon Alonzo saw that there must be some great trouble that was vexing magical things; and, since gnomes speak the language of men, and will answer if spoken to gently, he raised his hat, and asked of the gnome his name. The gnome did not stop his hasty shuffle a moment as he answered 'Alaraba' and grabbed the rim of his hat but forgot to doff it.
'What is the trouble, Alaraba?' said Ramon Alonzo.
'White magic. Run!' said the gnome ..
        [ The Charwoman's Shadow, by Lord Dunsany ]
"Muggles have garden gnomes, too, you know," Harry told Ron as they crossed the lawn.
"Yeah, I've seen those things they think are gnomes," said Ron, bent double with his head in a peony bush, "like fat little Santa Clauses with fishing rods..."
There was a violent scuffling noise, the peony bush shuddered, and Ron straightened up. "This is a gnome," he said grimly.
"Geroff me! Gerroff me!" squealed the gnome.
It was certainly nothing like Santa Claus. It was small and leathery looking, with a large, knobby, bald head exactly like a potato. Ron held it at arm's length as it kicked out at him with its horny little feet; he grasped it around the ankles and turned it upside down.
   [ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J. K. Rowling ]


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