Are there any official descriptions of Deep Gnome (Svirfneblin) homes?

I am making some research notes for how my magnificent mansion might look, and have searched for descriptions of a Deep Gnome home, but haven't managed to find any.

Ideally I would like a wizard tower or upper class home, but really any house or architecture of any type would be useful. A picture would be very helpful too.

I only really have 5e sourcebooks, but have read the Blingdenstone section of Out of the Abyss, and it is very sparse on physical descriptions of the entire are, there is even a residential area but the only useful information is that deep gnome hovels have no doors. There is also a grand hall that has no description whatsoever!

I am happy for answers from any edition, including literature, video games and any other official source. If setting matters I would say Forgotten Realms, but I don't know if it matters or not as I haven't found any information about deep gnomes at all in what little of other settings I have read. I would probably be interested in anything, though Eberron is likely less useful.

If there are no home descriptions, general architecture would be a close second best.


1 Answer 1


This answer contains spoilers to The Dark Elf trilogy, the story of Drizzt Do'Urden. Rather than hiding everything behind spoiler tags, just avoid reading this answer if you have not yet read the over two decades old story.

Drizzt saw every sight in the deep gnome city as a contrast to Menzoberranzan. The dark elves had worked the great cavern of their city into shaped artwork, undeniably beautiful. The deep gnome city, too, was beautiful, but its features remained the natural traits of the stone. Where the drow had taken their cavern as their own, cutting it to their designs and tastes, the svirfnebli had fitted themselves into the native designs of their complex.

Menzoberranzan held a vastness, with a ceiling up beyond sight, that Blingdenstone could not approach. The drow city was a series of individual family castles, each a closed fortress and a house unto itself. In the deep gnome city was a general sense of home, as if the entire complex within the mammoth stone-and-metal doors was a singular structure, a community shelter from the ever-present dangers of the Underdark.

The angles of the svirfneblin city, too, were different. Like the features of the diminutive race, Blingdenstone's buttresses and tiers were rounded, smooth, and gracefully curving.

It continues:

Tucked away in a remote corner of one of the outer chambers sat Belwar's dwelling, a tiny structure of stone built around the opening of an even smaller cave. Unlike most of the open-faced svirfneblin dwellings, Belwar's house had a front door.

A little later:

The inside of Belwar's house was sparsely furnished with a stone table and a single stool, several shelves of pots and jugs, and a fire pit with an iron cooking grate. Beyond the rough-hewn entrance to the back room, the room within the small cave, was the deep gnome's sleeping quarters, empty except for a hammock strung from wall to wall.

Source: The Dark Elf Trilogy, Book Two: Exile; Chapter 7

I think these passages are probably some of the best descriptions that I, at least, know of. I bolded the most relevant lines that described what you were looking for.

Chapters 2 and 4 of the same book include some descriptions of the outside entrance to Blingdenstone, and chapter 6 includes a more lengthy description of the inside of the entrance to the city. (Chapter 6 by far is the best additional description of the city, the other two chapters just contain relatively short descriptions of the outside of the gates.)

I recommended reading the entire trilogy, if you haven't already. It is a fairly quick/easy read (I re-read it myself in just a few days a couple months ago.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for this answer; I won't make you add any more of the book, you sourced it so I will probably go and obtain it and give the sections a read myself. Might as well let the publishers benefit from their work if I am going to steal ideas from them. I figured one of the novels would provide an answer, although I have to say I am still struggling to imagine what it actually looks like, but I don't think that is the fault of this answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 10:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer has also now inspired a new question: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/179700/… \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 11:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I updated my answer to include the chapters where those other references I was thinking of are found. There are probably more mentions throughout the books, but Chapter 6 is probably the second best trove of information (the best being the sections I quoted in my answer.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 15:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I really appreciate it. I have already got it and been through up until chapter 12, obviously this time through I am just skimming for svirfneblin related information, but it will serve a useful source of RP I expect. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Jan 18, 2021 at 15:20

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