They pretend, they are the oldest race left on this world. Actually the gnomes were created by The Perfect Ones for fun. As some kind of talking pets. Sometimes some of them were abandoned by their masters, some had escaped from them, then become to live free, and soon they became a pest. The annoying little mischiefs appeared everywhere, stealing food, and almost everything , they could carry. So their exmasters began a large operation of their total extermination.
Some still have survived far away from their creators, and deep under the ground in some wild and abandoned places. Such a mortal fear was set so deeply in the little creatures hearts, that they stood hidden for senturies after The Third Cataclysm, and the annihilation of the entire The Perfect Ones civilization. The survivors learned how to produce their food and all of the things, they need, without showing themselves too much on the surface. They cultivate some kinds of edible roots, mushrooms, berries. Also they breed many kinds of little animals, fishes, insects ect. Mining is another of their specialities. Especially finding some rare metals.
|| A huge net of tunnels connects almost all parts of this continent. The gnomes have a large underground railway system, and they are travelling much to exchange their production, knowledge, and information.
This hidden underground society is based on the family. The gnomes have not something like state, government, rulers, etc. The family elders are just coordinators, and arbiters. The important decisions are made by entire family. Also they have a system of professional guilds, that also keeps tight relations in gnomes society.
The gnomes were discovered again by mages, when after the final victory of The Forces Of Light, over the worshippers of The Golden Snake, the world fell in the chaos. They actually saved the new born Empire with food and metals supply. The well known Contract between gnomes and humans, guaranted by mages, still works well for the goodness of both races for the last 200 years. The gnomes "All Things Store" guild is at the base of the Empires economy. Still the gnomes keep the most of their secrets, and only the Great Mages may know the entire truth about that mythical Contract...