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Drathnelars, also known as umbral gnomes,1 svirfneblins,2 or deep gnomes, are a Darklands offshoot of the gnome ancestry.34 They have a stronger connection to the First World, their ancestral homeland, than their surface-dwelling kin.[citation needed]


Drathnelars are similar in stature to their surface kin but have rocky gray or brown skin and pale, oversized eyes. Men are always bald while women have gray, stringy hair.5


Perhaps because of their strong connection to the First World, drathnelars are more emotionally erratic than gnomes, vacillating between cold detachment and violent outbursts.6 Most keep to their own, hidden insular communities and are slow to trust outsiders.7


Drathnelar ancestors came to Golarion from the First World in -4202 AR during the Age of Anguish, at the same time as those of the surface gnomes. Their decision to settle in the Darklands was likely prompted by either a desire to keep an eye on the evil fey of that realm85 or to escape some unknown threat.7 Millennia spent underground without sunlight slowly changed them into the people they are today.5


Deep gnomes are tenacious opponents of hryngars,9 and the two peoples have fought numerous wars in the past. These conflicts have had such a negative impact on drathnelars that they sometimes have trouble separating the grey dwarves from their surface-dwelling dwarven cousins.5 They also bear no love towards mites, with whom they frequently come into conflict.10[citation needed]

Drathnelars live in secret, luminescent cities that are nearly unknown to the other races of the Darklands.87 Drathnelars avoid the Bleaching by focusing entirely on tending to their homes.11 Their largest settlement is the hidden city of Dwimovel in the layer of Sekamina.128

Few drathnelars travel to or live elsewhere in the Darklands or underground, including a few in Highhelm1314 and Hagegraf.15

Court of Ether

The dark fey of the Court of Ether are perhaps the drathnelars' greatest enemies. Using the abilities of allied xorns and other elemental beings, they keep watch over Queen Frilogarma's court at all times but dare not approach too closely, lest they fall under her mystical powers.16


Drathnelars often speak Gnome and Sakvroth.5 Because of their isolationism, most drathnelars have difficulty making friends with people of other ancestries. Travelers who accidentally stumble across a drathnelar community are often incarcerated for the rest of their lives, for fear that they might spread the knowledge of the settlement's location to the outside world. Outsiders who do manage to become friends with a drathnelar are sometimes given small stone bonding stone amulets that symbolize their new relationship.8


Drathnelars consider the goddess Nivi Rhombodazzle to be the first drathnelar and mother of their race, and comprise most of her following.1718


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Caryn DiMarco & Vanessa Hoskins. “Campaign Background: Sky King's Tomb” in Mantle of Gold, 3. Paizo Inc., 2023
  2. In Pathfinder First Edition, the singular and plural of svirfneblin are the same. In Pathfinder Second Edition, the plural form is "svirfneblins".
  3. Colin McComb, et al. Gnomes of Golarion” in Gnomes of Golarion, 11. Paizo Inc., 2010
  4. Paizo referred to drathnelars (umbral gnomes) as svirfneblin (deep gnomes) until the publication of Mantle of Gold.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 74. Paizo Inc., 2019
  6. James Jacobs & Greg A. Vaughan. “Exploring the Darklands” in Into the Darklands, 4. Paizo Inc., 2008
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 James Jacobs. “Return to the Darklands” in Heavy is the Crown, 69. Paizo Inc., 2023
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Colin McComb, et al. “New Faction: The Wonderseekers” in Gnomes of Golarion, 13. Paizo Inc., 2010
  9. Paizo referred to hryngars as duergar until the publication of Highhelm and the Sky King's Tomb Pathfinder Adventure Path.
  10. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 207. Paizo Inc., 2009
  11. Paizo Inc., et al. Gnomes” in Character Guide, 29. Paizo Inc., 2019
  12. James Jacobs & Greg A. Vaughan. Sekamina” in Into the Darklands, 37. Paizo Inc., 2008
  13. John Compton. “Mantle of Gold” in Mantle of Gold, 68–69. Paizo Inc., 2023
  14. Piper Amatrudi, et al. “Chapter 2: Gazetteer” in Highhelm, 103. Paizo Inc., 2023
  15. Scott D. Young. “Cult of the Cave Worm” in Cult of the Cave Worm, 48. Paizo Inc., 2023
  16. James Jacobs & Greg A. Vaughan. Nar-Voth” in Into the Darklands, 27. Paizo Inc., 2008
  17. Colin McComb. “Minor Deities” in Faiths of Purity, 20. Paizo Inc., 2011
  18. Sean K Reynolds, et al. Inner Sea Gods, 184. Paizo Inc., 2014