No one is quite sure where the gnomes come from, but they aren’t from around here.
Wherever they’re from, something about the world of the Dragon Empire befuddles gnomes’ minds and senses. This accounts for their reputation for mischief, silliness and erratic thought processes. When gnomes imbibe alcohol they become seriously drunk.
A few adventurers have reported that when their parties entered certain magically-influenced environments, their gnome companions gradually stopped being being cheerful jokers and turned serious, driven and intense. Scholars who study gnomes have searched without success for a common element in these environments that counteracts the inebriating effect that this world has on gnomes.
Under the circumstances, the gnomes must have a very good reason for remaining in the Dragon Empire. When asked, they wave dismissively and mutter something vague like, “Oh, you know…”