How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Eberron
What are gnomes like? It depends on who you ask. If your only interaction with gnomes is stopping by a House Sivis scribe station, you probably think of them as a little creatures with their nose permanently stuck in a scroll. If you’ve ever challenged a gnome to a game of wits in a bar, you probably know them as a jovial and smart folk. And if you’ve ever had to negotiate with a gnomish bureaucrat, you probably think they’re the craftiest race on the face of Eberron. To be accurate, gnome culture is often a combination of these three archetypes. Gnomes are raised on a mixture of book learning, intricate games, and an impossible bureaucracy. Some may venture out to become sorcerers and barbarians, but those who stay in Zilargo stick close to the traditions they were raised on.
To understand Zilargo as a country, you only have to refer back to its creation. Gnomes were present during the time of the Dhakaani Empire, and when the empire fell, they scavenged the ruins (also finding significant store of daelkyr magicks). But the gnomes only came into power with the emergence of Pylas Pyrial, the feyspire in the Shimmerwood Forest. Learning and borrowing (and sometimes stealing) magic from the Fey, they became powerful enough to form defensible communities, specifically the nation’s three great city states. The trade and cultural exchange between these cities eventually lead to the creation of the Zil Triumvirate and the establishment of Zilargo as a nation.
When the human settlers from Sarlona came to the continent, gnomes allied with the new people quickly. Small, unassuming, literate, magically adept, and mathematically-inclined, they integrated into Khorvaire’s feudal system. Their positions kept them under the radar of any antagonistic scrutiny, and the wealth of information and social capital made them powerful very quickly. But when Karrn the Conqueror spread his army across Khorvaire, the gnomes fought back, and when defeated in -1024YK, they conceded official control to the nation of Breland. As the royalty of Breland came to rely on the gnomes more and more, the gnomes convinced the Brelish government to give back some autonomous control over their own land.
During the Last War, the gnomes of Zilargo acted as a neutral party for many. But as they saw a series of new nations secede from the Five Nations (Q’Barra, Valenar, Eldeen Reaches), the Triumvirate saw an opportunity to take back all of their autonomy. In 962 YK, they declared their independence (after extensive politicking to assure their neighbor Breland that they were still an ally).
- The Zil Triumvirate is the highest power in the hierarchy, each member taken from the three major cities’ elected Council of Nine.
- Zilargo’s borders are defined by the Seawall Mountains to its east (separating them from Darguun), the Thunder Sea to the south, and the Howling Peaks to the northwest separating them from Breland.
- Notable Locations
- The feyspire Pylas Pyrial, in the southwest Shimmerwood Forest, is much more integrated into local society than the other spires, probably tied to the fact that the spire’s population is mostly gnomish.
- The nation is defined by the three city states that joined to form it: Korranberg, Trolanport, and Zolanberg.
- 60% gnome
- 16% human
- 11% dwarf
- 7% kobold
- 6% other