Gnomes, who needs them? I don't even know why they're a PC race. They're just dwarfs but shit. I'm not sure their supposed love of mining and illusions are mutually compatible predilections. After all, mines are inherently dangerous places. They collapse, get filled with poisonous gases, go too far and too deep thereby uncovering things that are best left uncovered. Generally not the sort of place you want to introduce reality blurring magic to, I would suggest.
I liked the cracked gnomes in the most maligned, railroady setting of all time: Dragonlance. They are probably the best thing about it, except if you count the legions of people who took up the game because they loved the books. Everyone else stands back, well back, while your gnome tinker attempts to fire miniature barrels of flaming oil from his specially adapted, hand portable trebuchet. Good times. After all, once you realise setting your beard on fire only does 1d8 per round, half if you save, the world is your needlessly complex clockwork oyster.
The annals of sword and sorcery fiction are not exactly filled with great examples of gnomish heroes and heroines either. In fact off the the top of my head I can think of approximately... None. About as close as I can get is Pratchett's use of "lawn ornament" as a dwarfish insult.
I mean if the gnomes were worth it then maybe the Sword would have written a metal classic called "How Heavy This Steam Driven Piston Based Repeating Crossbow" but they didn't and fortunately I didn't then have to name this blog after it.
Yes, gnomes are not really doing it for me in a dark fantasy type of setting like the Grim North. Much less the crazy, technology loving type. Despite them clearly conforming to the rule of awesome, I just can't get along with "inventions" in the gritty world I wish to create. Despite all this I'm leaving the pointed hatted little freaks in there none the less. Why? Charm, and not as in the spell. I can't help but go for it when someone says "I've rolled up a 1st level gnome illusionist." I just love it and what you love is not a choice.
XP bonus for role playing if he carries his adventuring equipment around in a wheelbarrow.