Gnomes make their home most commonly in The Hegemony. They make up about 15% of The Hegemony’s total population and are disproportionately more likely to hold wealth and power for their smaller numbers. Here they have established their race as a key component of administrative and bureaucratic governmental duties.
Long ago the gnomes dominated the riverlands and alluvial fans resting along much of the coastlines that now make up Hegemonic territory. They dammed up many rivers in the region, constructing floating trade-towns atop the resulting standing water. Each of these towns developed into city-states, maintaining independence from each other and the growing human societies surrounding them. After years of staving off repeated assaults and many of their number falling to conquering armies, the remaining states allowed themselves to be enveloped human kingdoms growing around them.
The leaders of these kingdoms often established harems for themselves and therefore needed some administrators in their palaces that could be trusted with their concubines. They looked to the gnomes, consistently wealthy and successful in managing their floating city-states, and brought many in to take on duties. This practice grew until the gnomes came to have great influence in the courts. By the time The Hegemony had risen to its current glory, it was standard practice for gnomes to have a strong role in governing, albeit indirectly.
Gnomes natural magical abilities encouraged from an early point their manipulation of their environment for their advantage. Their raft cities have developed into elaborate canalways with buildings of worked wood twisting and turning through all the artificial rivulets. The gnomes are master wood-workers, a product of their floating cities, where their is diminished risk of fire and where wood is in cheap abundance.
Gnomes are proud of their fey heritage, and how they have been able to preserve it and even utilize it for profit. They have natural wood-working and magical abilities they use that prevents them from performing back-breaking manual labor. They however embrace civilization and the wealth it has brought them.
The Gnomish economy is built primarily on skilled labor and services. Their main goods are fish and other products of the rivers and worked objects, especially wood, jewelry, and blacksmith products. Cities such as Mantina, Cropa, and Botillia have flourished with their free enterprise and open exchange of ideas and goods.