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Gnome Rogue 5e D&D Guide

Gnome Rogue 5e D&D Guide

The Gnome Rogue is a mischievous little creature that has a heart of gold and a penchant for picking pockets.

Even though they may be small in stature, these pint-sized pickpockets are quick as lightning and sly as a fox.

Their nimble fingers can open any lock and disarm any trap, making them invaluable members of any adventuring party. 

Even though their cheery demeanor might dissuade you, when it comes to sneaking around and getting the job done, these little guys mean business.

So if you’re looking for a companion who’s as cunning as they are cute, you’ll be more than pleased to have a Gnome Rogue join you.

Remember, they may be small, but they’re mighty in their own way – and they’re sure to steal your heart (and your wallet).

Creating a Gnome Rogue


Gnomes often live in bustling, close-knit communities, and one can constantly hear the clatter of machinery, loud laughter, shouts of delight, or minor explosions.

Gnomes love life, enjoying their creations, explorations, inventions, and playful games.

SkinTan, Brown, or Gray (Deep Gnomes)
Hair (Including their Beard)Fair hair, yet sticking out in every direction 

Beards are well-kept, trimmed, and often styled in neat points or forks

EyesGray, turquoise, blue, or green, but not without a bright shine
NoseAnnoyingly large nose
MouthOften bearing a broad smile with smaller human-like teeth

Note: These features can be changed to your liking or added to if some variations don’t fit your character.

Gnome Subraces

Gnomes have 4 distinct subraces to choose from, some more common than others or only found in certain areas.

Forest Gnome – Forest Gnomes are secretive, rare creatures who often commune in sylvan forests, using their illusions to conceal their presence from outsiders.

These gnomes are often friendly to good-hearted woodland creatures, allying with elves and good fey. They also enjoy befriending smaller forest critters, relying on them for information.

Rock Gnome – Rock Gnomes are natural inventors, forming the bulk of the Gnomish population. They’re known to be hardy creatures – never eager to back off from a challenge.

Deep Gnome (Svirfneblin) – Deep Gnomes are found in the Underdark, living in small communities scattered throughout its dark landscape.

Deep Gnomes are different than most creatures in the Underdark yet remain as kind as their surface-dwelling relatives.

Their oppressive environment has, unfortunately, dampened their humor and enthusiasm.

Mark of Scribing Gnome – The Mark of Scribing Gnomes deals with communication – written and spoken.

They easily translate languages, speak to others at distances, and are gifted with communication spells.

Note: If you want to optimize your character, pick the subrace that best complements the Rogue class.

Rogue Class Features

Hit Points

Hit Dice1d8 per Rogue level
HP at level 18 + Constitution modifier
HP at Higher levels1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Rogue level after level 1


ArmorLight armor
WeaponsHand crossbows, Longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords, Simple weapons
ToolsThieves’ tools
Saving ThrowsDexterity, Intelligence
SkillsChoose four – Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth

Rogue Archetypes

Upon reaching level 3, you’ll be able to choose from 9 Rogue archetypes, all with different pros and cons – but you’ll have to find one that fits best with your character.

Arcane Trickster – Combine your skillful agility and stealth with magic, granting you enchantment and illusion spells.

Assassin – Your art is death, using disguises to fool your enemies, poisons to make their death accidental, and stealth to remain unseen whenever necessary.

Inquisitive – Rooting out secrets and solving mysteries is what you live for. Your eyes see intricate details everywhere, and through training, you’ve come to read and write more languages than most.

You effortlessly exterminate creatures hiding amongst their prey by using your mastery of legends and powerful equipment.

Mastermind – The Mastermind focuses on people, particularly their influence and secrets. They make unmatched spies, using their words to escape even some of the most threatening situations.

Phantom – As a Phantom, you walk the line between life and death, always eager to take lives and risk your own in the process. 

While on this path, you may discover magical connections to death itself or even take knowledge from the dead and immerse yourself in their energy – becoming like a ghost.

Scout – Scouts are masters of survival and stealth, always eager to scout ahead during expeditions and clear the road if necessary.

Scouts find solace in the wilderness, among rangers and barbarians, often joining war bands and becoming their ambushers or bounty hunters.

Soulknife – You strike not with a blade but infiltrate the minds of your enemies, cutting through physical and psychic barriers.

As a Soulknife, you discover vast psionic powers within you, channeling them in combination with your skills as a rogue.

Though useful, many other rogues and organizations mistrust them, as they are wary of their powerful mind-altering abilities. Many governments do, however, employ Soulknives as spies or masters of ‘persuasion.’

Swashbuckler – Swashbucklers know only the way of the sword, incorporating their charm, elegance, and speed. 

You aren’t adorned in heavy armor and fight as if performing a dance. Swashbucklers are unrivaled duelists, excelling with two weapons and one-on-one combat.

Thief – Thieves are seen as common hooligans, seeking nothing more than ‘treasure’ as they like to put it. 

They have exceptional agility and stealth, often using these skills to delve into ancient ruins or learn about unfamiliar languages in their search for wealth. They even use magical objects many others can’t.

Combining Rogue With Gnome

Determining Your Rogue Subclass

Choosing your ideal subclass is subjective, but if your objective is optimization, try understanding what your character wants to do and what stats fit best with their subclass.

Arcane TricksterFace/Support/Utility Caster

Optimal Gnome Subrace

Gnomes receive a bonus Intelligence score (2), coming in handy as an Arcane Trickster but leaving the rest up to your choice of subrace.

As a Rogue, you’ll benefit most by picking the Forest Gnome, as it has a bonus Dexterity score (1).

You even gain access to the Minor Illusion spell, not letting your Intelligence go to waste.

Your Gnome Rogue Background

Your Gnome Rogue needs a unique background that will affect their choices, as well as the way they see the world and what they want to achieve.

Start by asking yourself some basic questions: Where were they born, and where did they come from? Do they have any goals, bonds, or ideals, and what are their flaws? Where do they belong in social circles and society as a whole? What inspires them?

Place of Birth

Think of the environment a Gnome Rogue grew up in and how it affected them physically and emotionally and eventually shaped their view of the world.

Try to make their place of birth and upbringing correspond with their personality traits, ideals, bonds, and flaws – this will truly bring their character alive.

Note: The birthplaces of races are usually mentioned in the Player’s Handbook or some of its expansion books.

Characteristics and Personality Traits 

Gnome Rogues are witty and quick with words, but maybe you missed their Rogue classes and became an introvert – nevertheless, personality traits give characters their individuality.

Gnome Rogue Examples:

  • I ignore the risks in a situation. Never tell me the odds.
  • I pocket anything I see that might have some value.

Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws

Ideal – Express one ideal that is a driving force in a Gnome Rogue’s life – their conviction, ethical principle, and moral standing (if they have any). 

All people, rich or poor, deserve respect.

Bonds – Think of a single bond that your Gnome Rogue has to an event, person, or place. Bonds will tie them to their background and can inspire bravery or stimulate memories driving them against their ideals.

My ill-gotten gains will always go to support my family.

Flaws – Choose a single flaw for a Gnome Rogue – their unhealthy compulsion, greatest fear/weakness, or most vile vice.

I can’t resist swindling people who are more powerful than me.


The DM can use inspiration to reward you for playing according to your bond, personality traits, ideals, and flaw.

The people I steal from deserve it, I need to ensure those oppressed by the rich can survive.

Note: If you’re struggling to create your background or just don’t want to think, the Player’s Handbook has well-thought-through backgrounds that you can use for your character or use as a mold.

Supplies and Gear For Gnome Rogues

Rogues start with the following equipment, including the equipment from their background.

Choosing equipment based on your situation and your character’s proficiencies is the easiest way to go about things.

  • (a) A rapier or (b) A shortsword
  • (a) A shortbow and quiver containing 20 arrows or (b) A shortsword
  • (a) Burglar’s pack, (b) Dungeoneer’s pack, or (c) Explorer’s pack
  • Leather armor, two daggers, and thieves’ tools

You can decide how your character came about these goods – whether they stole, inherited, or purchased them some time back – adding to your character’s background.

Note: You can also buy equipment using your character’s starting wealth (4d4 x 10 GP for Rogues).

Final Thoughts

Gnome Rogues are cunning, so if you see one around, keep them in eyesight, as you never know what they might try.

However, their cunning can be useful to a party looking for a good Face or Scput, as they specialize in deception and stealth (aided by their height, of course).

You might also be interested in the following:

The 5 Best Classes for Gnomes in D&D 5e

Thursday 18th of January 2024

[…] Gnomes already make quite good Rogues because of their stature, and most players will be drawn to the Forest or Rock Gnomes subraces.  […]