Against the Flow
Gnomes are magical spirits of skill and craftsmanship given mortal form; they are to civilization what the fey are to nature. In addition to being skilled with tools and crafts, gnomes also practice a form of magic that makes heavy use of numbers and geometry to contain and direct natural forces.
Through most of history gnomes played a minor role, acting as helpers and assistants, becoming accomplished in many crafts but never developing much of their own. Recently that has changed, with dramatic results. A group of gnomish craftsmen developed techniques for combining their mathematical magic with their skill with tools and created complex machines that were powered by simple magic. This gnomish technology suddenly reduced the power gap that separated elves from the other races, right at the time when elven power was failing. Civilizations that adopted gnomish technology became powerful overnight, and societies where gnomes were well treated and integrated had better technology.
Gnomes, Humans and Giff are fairly well integrated into the Pax Victoria. Although the Pax does have a rigidly stratified social order, Gnomes have been very successful within the powerful Technologist caste.