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A tinker gnome

Tinker gnomes, also known as Krynnish gnomes or the Minoi, are a major[1] spacefaring race native to Krynnspace who are commonly found throughout the Known Spheres in the Spelljammer campaign setting,[2][3] and can be selected as a player character race.[4][5]

"There's always room for improvement."
- Gnomish aphorism[6]


Tinker gnomes are a gnomish subrace native to Krynnspace[5] who have embraced space-travel with such enthusiasm that entire communities have been known to journey into the void. Within the last 1,000 years or so these industrious creatures have spread across wildspace and can be encountered throughout the Known Spheres.[2]

No other groundling race has taken to spelljamming with such enthusiasm, embracing the opportunity to travel between worlds while having few qualms about leaving their homes and friends behind. Tinker gnomes are fascinated with spelljamming and everything else involved in the process of flying between planets, moons and asteroids. Gnomes native to Krynn, Reorx, and other planets in Krynnspace have been known to sell all their worldly possessions once they discover the existence of spelljamming, all in the hope of booking passage on a ship or, even better, to be taken on as a crew member onboard a spelljamming vessel. Some have even resorted to stowing away!

A few tinker gnomes have gone so far as to claim that their kind belong among the stars - with their feet firmly planted on the deck of a spelljamming vessel. Other races native to Krynn and Reorx fervently agree, wishing that all tinker gnomes would find their way into wildspace - and never find their way home. Spelljamming has allowed tinker gnomes to establish communities in other spheres, which they see as the perfect means of introducing other races to the wonders of technology. In turn, they are able to acquire foreign-made gadgets and devices to add to their own collections.[7]


Tinker gnomes stand about 3 1/2-feet tall and weigh between 45 and 50 pounds. Though short and stocky, tinker gnomes are quick and graceful, and their hands are deft and sure. They have rich brown skin, curly or straight white hair, and china-blue or violet eyes. Males favor oddly-styled white beards and moustaches, and both sexes have rounded ears and large noses. Tinkers who avoid getting blown up in an experiment can expect to live for 250 to 300 years.

A tinker gnome's voice resembles that of a human, except the timbre is more nasal. They speak very rapidly, running their words together in sentences that never seem to end. They are capable of talking and listening at the same time: when two tinkers meet, they babble away, answering questions asked by the other as part of the same continuous sentence. However, they have learned to speak slowly and distinctly to other races. If frightened or depressed, a tinker gnome may speak in much shorter sentences than usual.[4][5]

Tinker gnomes will wear almost anything that is relatively clean. They especially enjoy scarves, shawls, and hard leather footwear. In their workshops, they wear easily cleaned smocks and coats.[4] Tinker gnomes speak their own distinctive dialect, though many also learn the tongues of humans, kobolds, goblins, halflings, and dwarves.[5]

Gnomes can see in the dark up to 60-feet, and are highly resistant to magic. They can detect sloping passages and unsafe stonework, and can also determine their approximate depth and location underground.[5]


"'Gadget'! You call my creation a 'gadget'! Don't be insulting! This work of art can darn your socks, start a campfire, and entertain the children all at the same time!"
- Marjoritops Butterwill, Chief inventor on the Liddlebidoeverythinputogether.[8]

Tinker gnomes are similar to their gnomish cousins from other spheres, except for their near-obsession with technology and invention. They are a gadget-happy race that will invent a device to solve a problem, then invent a second item to solve the problems caused by the first invention, a third invention to solve the problems of the second, and so forth and so on. It is little wonder that these inventive creatures came across methods to hoist themselves (unwitting or no) beyond the atmosphere of their homeworld and into wildspace.[2]

They are constantly designing, building, and testing devices for a variety of applications, but their innate incompetence is such that anything their technology can do, magic can usually do more quickly and efficiently. Despite their cheerful and industrious natures, tinker gnomes are not well-liked by other spacefaring races: their technological bent makes them quite alien to those accustomed to magic, and their poor understanding of social relations puts off many potential friends and allies.[4] In fact, many sages believe that their indiscriminate promulgation of technology has actually discouraged its development by other races who have encountered them.[5]

However, the tinker gnomes do seem to have some sort of strange relationship with the arcane, such that the mysterious merchants appear to like the little folk, as much as they seem to like anyone. The speculation that there might be some kind of kinship between them, or even that the tinker gnomes may one day replace them, is too horrible to contemplate.[2]

A tinker gnome has three distinct names: the first is the gnome’s true name, which is actually an extensive history of the gnome’s entire family tree. Though gnomes can easily remember at least the first few thousand letters of their true names, they use a shorter name for routine interactions with others. This name is a simple listing of the highlights of their ancestry, requiring only half a minute or so to recite. Humans and other races who deal with tinker gnomes often give them nicknames, usually consisting of the first one or two syllables of their true names. Gnomes consider these abbreviated names undignified, but have learned to live with them.[4]


Tinker gnomes rarely carry weapons, though some of their ever present tools can be pressed into service if needed. However, they delight in invention and are always devising strange weapons of dubious utility, from the three barrel water blaster to the multiple spear flinger. When necessary, tinker gnomes wield hand-held and light crossbows, slings, short bows, darts, and wheel-lock pistols[9] as well as melee weapons that can be hurled, such as hammers and hand axes. Tinkers can wear any type of armor but typically outfit themselves in a variety of mismatched pieces equivalent to chain mail.[5][4]


"If you want something broken, give it to a gnome."
- Krynnish saying.[10]

Despite the ambivalence of other spacefaring races, tinker gnomes have integrated reasonably well into wildspace society. As a race, they are fairly loosely organised, with no more than a scattering of ships and communities, while a growing number of gnomes have chosen to live in human settlements. They have also come into contact with their non-tinker cousins, who lack their incessant drive but do have a tradition of specialist spellcasters, such as illusionists, whose abilities can be used to power spelljammer helms. This cooperation between various subraces has helped establish gnomish communities throughout the Known Spheres.

Ordinary gnomish communities can be identified by their lack of incredible (and stupid) inventions, whereas tinker gnomes typically have a hodgepodge of odds and ends of old machinery, clock workings, and dangerous items from half a hundred worlds cluttering up their areas. Attempts to control, or at least keep dangerous items away from others have failed in that a gnome working at full tilt can produce something dangerous overnight. Most spaceborne communities with a notable gnomish population will usually set aside a section at the edge of the settlement for gnomish workshops and labs - and which will inevitably be under continuous renewal.[2]

Tinker gnomes usually establish settlements in mountainous or rough, hilly regions consisting of immense tunnel complexes. The largest gnome settlement on Krynn lies beneath Mount Nevermind and is home to some 59,000 tinkers. Other tinker gnome communities exist, both on Krynn and Reorx, but their populations seldom exceed 200-400.

All tinker gnomes have a Life Quest: to attain perfect understanding of a single device. Few ever actually attain this goal, but their individual Life Quests do keep the ever hopeful tinkers busy. Tinker society is egalitarian, and all males and females pursue their Life Quests with similar devotion. Each tinker gnome belongs to a guild, which occupies the same place in a tinker’s life that a clan would occupy for other gnome subraces. Together the guild masters make up a grand council that governs the community.

The vast majority of tinker gnomes are devoted to creating new devices. Gnomish inventions are almost exclusively driven by basic mechanical devices, such as gears, windmills, waterwheels, pulleys, and screws, in unnecessarily complicated arrangements. Their sheer love of technology is their downfall, for they improve their inventions to death. Simple solutions are rejected in favor of redundant and ultimately unworkable complications. Needless to say, gnomish technology has had little impact on the cultures of wildspace.

Though most tinker gnomes are content to stay at home and tinker with their projects, some have Life Quests which require them to venture out into the universe. Unfortunately, gnomes in general are incapable of learning from past experience and repeat the same mistakes, yet they are often successful in developing quirky solutions to save the day for their companions and crewmates. They are often general handymen and jacks-of-all-trades; anything and everything draws their attention, causing them to reach for their notebooks or tool belts.[4][5]


Nebelun the Meddler is the patron deity of tinker gnomes among the Lords of the Golden Hills, and his schemes are often overblown and rarely work. Nevertheless, he delights in invention and experimentation, and is often invoked when building something new.[11]

In Krynnspace, the tinker gnomes revere Reorx, who is envisaged as an unusually large gnome who epitomizes the gnomish love of creating and tinkering, as evidenced by such inventions as the sun and the moons. Though they have no formal religious services, tinker gnomes have a healthy respect for their gods.[4]

Notable Tinker gnomes[]

Signature Spelljammers[]

Tinker gnomes are associated with various innovative designs, and have even developed their own helm. Gnomish designs range from the slapdash sidewheelers to the more successful but heavily overbuilt deathglories. They are also known for their experimental designs, such as the bolaship. Perhaps the strangest gnomish design is the cargo and people carrier known as the yawl.

No two gnomish sidewheelers look alike, though they often incorporate bits and pieces of other ships in their design - the wings of a dragonfly, the tail of a hammership, the masts from a galleon - all hidden somewhere in the melange of wood and metal that make up a typical gnomish ship. These vessels are often covered with blinking lights, twirling dials, and levers that go up and down of their own accord.[7]


External Links[]


  1. Jeff Grubb. AD&D Adventures in Space; Lorebook of the Void, TSR, Inc., 1989, Major and Minor Races side bar (pp.50, 52 and 54)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Jeff Grubb. AD&D Adventures in Space; Lorebook of the Void, TSR, Inc., 1989, Gnomes section, chapter 3: Spacefarers (pp.58–59)
  3. Jean Rabe, SJR7 Krynnspace, 1993, (TSR Inc.), The Tinker Gnomes of Krynnspace chapter, pages 84-88
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Rick Swan, Bill Connors, Troy Denning, Bruce Nesmith, James M. Ward, Steve Winter, MC4 Monstrous Compendium Volume Two, 1990, (TSR Inc.), Gnome, Tinker (Minoi) entry
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Tim Beach et al, Monstrous Manual, 1993, (TSR Inc.), Gnome entry, pages 159-161
  6. Nigel D. Findley, SJR6 Greyspace, 1992 (TSR Inc.), sidebar, page 62
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Jean Rabe, SJR7 Krynnspace, 1993, (TSR Inc.), The Tinker Gnomes of Krynnspace chapter, page 84
  8. Jean Rabe, SJR7 Krynnspace, 1993, (TSR Inc.), sidebar, page 77
  9. Roger E. Moore, The Cloakmaster Cycle, The Maelstrom's Eye, 1992, (TSR Inc.), pages 145-147
  10. Jeff Grubb. AD&D Adventures in Space; Lorebook of the Void, TSR, Inc., 1989, Gnomes section, chapter 3: Spacefarers (p.58)
  11. Colin McComb, On Hallowed Ground, 1996, (TSR Inc.), ISBN 0-7869-0430-5, Gnomes and Halflings, page 110
  12. Grant Boucher, SJA4 Under The Dark Fist, 1991, (TSR Inc.), Appendix B: Non-Player Characters, page 54
  13. Nicky Rea, Wes Nicholson, SJR8 Space Lairs, 1993, (TSR Inc.), A Breath of Fresh Air chapter, pages 15-18
  14. Jean Rabe, SJR7 Krynnspace, 1993, (TSR Inc.), The Tinker Gnomes of Krynnspace chapter, page 85
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Nigel D. Findley, The Cloakmaster Cycle, Into the Void, 1991, (TSR Inc.), pages 11-35 (first appearance)
  16. Jean Rabe, SJR7 Krynnspace, 1993, (TSR Inc.), The Tinker Gnomes of Krynnspace chapter, pages 84-85
  17. Nigel D. Findley, The Cloakmaster Cycle, Into the Void, 1991, (TSR Inc.), pages 4-35 (first appearance)
  18. Roger E. Moore, The Cloakmaster Cycle, The Maelstrom's Eye, 1992, (TSR Inc.), pages 51-55 (first appearance)
  19. Nigel D. Findley, SJR6 Greyspace, 1992 (TSR Inc.), Important NPCs section, The Spectre chapter, page 70
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Jean Rabe, SJR7 Krynnspace, 1993, (TSR Inc.), Wildspace Tinker Gnome Heroes section, The Tinker Gnomes of Krynnspace chapter, page 88
  21. Nigel Findley, The Cloakmaster Cycle, The Broken Sphere, 1993, (TSR Inc.), pages 39-55
  22. Jean Rabe, SJR7 Krynnspace, 1993, (TSR Inc.), Wildspace Tinker Gnome Heroes section, The Tinker Gnomes of Krynnspace chapter, page 86
  23. Richard Baker, SJR5 Rock of Bral, 1992, (TSR Inc), part three: A City Among the Stars, pages 52-53
  24. Jean Rabe, SJR7 Krynnspace, 1993, (TSR Inc.), Important NPCs section, Reorx chapter, page 23
  25. Elaine Cunningham, The Cloakmaster Cycle, The Radiant Dragon, 1992, (TSR Inc.), pages 38-39 (first appearance)
  26. Jean Rabe, SJR7 Krynnspace, 1993, (TSR Inc.), Important NPCs section, Stellar Islands chapter, page 66
  27. Nigel D. Findley, The Cloakmaster Cycle, Into the Void, 1991, (TSR Inc.), pages 4 and 10