Sverfneblin Gnome Druid
Bulli is an odd sight. His large ears and prominent nose identify him as a gnome, but unlike the other Forgotten Folk on the surface, his skin is dark gray and he is completely bald. His eyes — pale blue, like the glow of the moon — are striking, and eerie. Other than his abnormal skin, eyes and lack of hair, Bulli’s face is smooth and has a healthy glow. Characteristically, he is well-groomed, with manicured fingernails and a generally clean bearing.
A missive from the mushroom kingdom
“That’s a pile of rothe shit!”
Two bald, basalt-skinned gnomes stand in a circle of black-speckled, luminous mushrooms, deep inside a pitch black tunnel. One is bent over, scraping slithers of fungus into a pouch.
“No, really. And they’re called bees. The plants call to them with the song of color.”
The other guffaws, leaning on the shaft of a tall warhammer. His chin rests on his gnarled hands.
“Sure enough. Bees… and they’ll be the ones that sing in trees?” he croons in a sotto voice.
The one holding a sickle sighs softly.
“No… those would be the birds.”
“Humph! Last time I listened to a stirge singing, it was about to stick its needle in my gut. It wasn’t a song as much as it was a dirge—”
“B-i-r-d. And these are different! Stirges are of a completely different kingdom! They’d sing, too, if they lived under an ocean sky. They’d sing, if they weren’t made by twisted gods! They’d—”
“Bulli! Peace. Brother… please, reconsider. You still have so much to learn about our home. Why give it all up, for a dream?”
The other gnome is clad in the heavy armor of the Blingdenstone Guard. He stares at his brother’s bent back, hands clutching at his hammer. The robed one wipes his sickle clean and stretches to meet his stout brother’s eyes.
“I will be fine, Bertel. I’ve been preparing for this for many years. I cannot live on stories alone.”
Bertel turns away and stares into the corridor.
“Don’t trust anyone, brother. Bring us strength and wisdom, when you return.”
The stouter svirfneblin hefts his weapon.
“It’s time for your farewell. We’ll share a glass of gogondy and listen to Sejogan’s whispers. Eathcaller knows you’ll need all the guidance he can give.”
They travel down the cavern, trailing spore clouds in their wake.
Being the only good-aligned major race living in the Underdark of Faerûn, deep gnomes know a lot about bullies — particularly the kinds who prefer ripping off your ears over boxing them.
Surrounded by all kinds of terror, a svirfneblin is more likely to meet a brain-slurping illithid or a spleen-plucking drow than a friendly farmer, when he dares to leave his well-concealed home. As such, deep gnomes are rather boring, and rarely go out. Unless, of course, duty requires it of them — which was the case for the Bogglewig clan of Blingdenstone .
The Bogglewig boys are scoutish soldiers, trained in stealthy guerilla tactics and subterfuge. They are adept at surprise knee crushings, unexpected groinal eviscerations and what-the-f-ambushes. While not the most illustrious of vocations, the Bogglewigs are proud of this duty, and expect only the best from their kinsgnomes.
A life in the unseen militia was Bulli’s fate, too, until he ate the wrong mushroom while on a scouting mission.
The floral bounty of the Underdark is dominated by fungi, lichens, mosses and slimes. Where songs on Overlight describe blooming daisies or dancing grass, those down below drone on about sticky tendrils, engorged tubes and, most frequently, the soft puff of spores spreading.
Svirfneblin are taught about the astonishing variety of fungi found in the Underark from an early age. Only an idiot would, for example, mistake the slender, white bluecap with the more technicolor, timmask toadstool . Bulli certainly isn’t an idiot, but he was peckish, and his herbalism tutor had had a terrible headache on the day of that particular lesson.
Wandering off in a mushroom-induced reverie, Bulli was lucky not to be gobbled up by a passing Underdarkian. Instead, he stumbled into a small tunnel that opened up into a sky-high cavern ceiling. The ceiling of thick, sky-blue glowmoss housed a colony of symbiotic glowworms. To his addled eyes, this perceptual spectacle painted a scene described to him once, decades ago, by a wandering minstrel: the Overlight, the Land Above, the Great Ocean Sky and its far-off fires that march over its expanse as the days pass by. Bulli was entranced. He dreamed of a trip to a bright new world.
Memories of this powerful vision remained with him throughout the trashing he received from his brothers after he stumbled back home.
Bulli’s vision clung to him long after his bruises healed. He had to learn more. In his free time, Bulli devoured every book he could find that described the natural wonders of the Overlight — its cosmic tapestry, the habits of the lightwalkers and, most importantly, its vegetation.
He eventually met a member of the secretive gray druids . His acquaintance cautioned that his travels would be rather limited, if gobbledygook was his only way to initiate conversations. In addition to common, the gray encouraged him to study druidic, the obvious standard through which to exchange information about the natural world. Finally, satisfied that Bulli was able to find his own way further, the gray oversaw a ritual that gave Bulli his druidic focus: a petrified timmask toadstool.
He would leave for the Overlight within the month.