The Booksmith is a subrace of gnome that lives far beneath the surface in isolated communities. Booksmiths are known for their interest in history and their insistence on supporting every claim with factual written evidence. The culture of Booksmiths revolves around binding, writing, and maintaining books.

To most Booksmiths, the primary purpose of books is to record history. They record everything they can learn of the outside world, from city-crushing battles to royal lineages to arrests in small towns. By doing this, all Booksmith colonies contain one or more immense libraries, filled with shelves hundreds of feet long. To organize them, each of the millions of books has a magical gem embedded into its spine, marked with a unique signature that tells its age, author, subject, and so on. Complex mechanical and magical machines traverse the shelves, scanning the books and moving them if necessary. Preserving the books is a science the Booksmiths have perfected to an astonishing degree; special curing processes for their covers, pages, and inks can keep a book in readable condition for millenia.

Often, there will also be a smaller and more exclusive library dedicated to magical books and spellbooks. Access to the thousands of spells, rituals, and magical manuals is restricted to only a few high-ranking booksmiths. Exceptions can be made for other Booksmiths when necessary, and very rarely for an outsider if they are in dire need and can promise a great service to the community. These libraries have a multitude of magical wards and protections to keep out intruders.

To record their histories, Booksmith scouts are frequently sent out to nearby friendly settlements and cities to learn of recent events. In exchange for access to their libraries, they may be given foods, rare materials, or other services such as protection. The service the Booksmiths provide is valuable because they make an absolute guarantee that the knowledge will be kept for longer than any mortal lifespan and that it will be completely factual. Booksmiths who infuse their writing with biases, opinions, and creativity may be detained, exiled, or executed.

A Booksmith may be driven to adventure by a desire for knowledge of more distant lands, or perhaps they were exiled for their originality.

Game Statistics

The following game statistics provide a suggestion for a playable Booksmith race in D&D 5e.

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Intelligence score increases by 2, and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
  • Age: Gnomes mature at the same rate humans do, and most are expected to settle down into an adult life by around age 40. They can live 350 to almost 500 years.
  • Size: Gnomes are between 3 and 4 feet tall and average around 40 pounds. Your size is Small.
  • Speed: Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
  • Darkvision: Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of grey.
  • Sunlight Sensitivity: You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
  • Gnome Cunning: You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magic.
  • Book Magic: You know the Prestidigitation and Mending cantrips. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for them.
  • Historian’s Lore: Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) check, you can add twice your proficiency bonus, instead of any proficiency bonus you normally apply.
  • Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Gnomish. You can also read and write (but not speak) three additional languages of your choice.