Small creatures made of various materials (usually clay). They come to life almost exclusively at night, however they have the ability to awaken during the day if they deem it necessary. Most gnomes, however, only awaken at night, for they are incapable of daylight travel and remain as structures of whatever material they were constructed of (such as a clay statue). They are notoriously vicious when careless humans injure them or destroy their property. They can be found just about anywhere, though they are more common in the more rural areas of cities and especially among those with at least modest wealth. They are mostly unknown to people, remaining more as folklore. Few people take the tales of their existence seriously as gnomes are quite good at remaining hidden; that and one can never know which lawn gnomes are likely to come alive.
They are usually in and around two feet tall, rarely larger, and occasionally shorter. Large white beards extend from their faces--even the females--and they tend to wear little farm suits with pointed red caps, though they sometimes wear other things, depending on who creates them. They are rosy-cheeked and look similar to miniature Santa Clauses. Basically, a standard lawn gnome.
For the most part the only magical thing about gnomes is that they are alive. Gnomes do have a natural ability to regenerate: all they need to do is consume the substance they are created from or the blood and flesh of a human being. Their kisses do have healing properties. They almost never have any other forms of magic.
Gnomes are created almost exclusively by accident. Usually humans are responsible for their creation, though other sentient creatures have been known to create gnomes. Whenever someone creates a gnome for their yard or home there is a high likelihood that that gnome will be born. Much like werewolves, gnomes who will come to life do so on the first night after their creation. After that, they will either awake whenever they want, or every night. Rarely do they work on a lunar cycle where the full moon is the activator. You build them and they will come to life.
Gnomes are incredibly territorial. As such, they tend to be exceedingly violent towards outsiders. Owners of lawn gnomes who attempt to bring in new gnomes that aren't created in the same manner as those currently residing in a yard will find either the local gnomes cut up to pieces or the new gnomes in the same position.
Beyond that, however, gnomes in the same group tend to live relatively peaceful lives. They like to party in the manner of ancient times, smoke pipes filled with herbs considered toxic to most anyone else, and prefer the comfort of miniature homes built from their own hard work rather than from the hands of humans. They also perform mock-courting ceremonies in which two gnomes engage in low-contact acts--what one might see with young teens today. Because gnomes are predominantly heterosexual, this can be a jarring experience for them and for humans. Gnomes look practically identical, meaning that even the gnomes cannot differentiate between male and female, and it is considered extremely rude, if not horribly offensive to ask if a gnome is of a particular sex--hence the courting ceremonies, which tend to lead to the discovery of the true sex of an individual. Of course, it is also very embarrassing for a gnome to find out that they have been courting a member of the same sex, which is made possible by the fact that males and females may court at any time, without any restriction. It is generally considered wrong among gnomes for there to be discrimination against sexes, not to mention that it would be incredibly difficult to isolate one group from another.