The Minoi are native to Krynn and are among the most innovative creatures among the known worlds.
Unfortunately, their keen and inventive motivation is at least as likely to cause harm to its operator as it is to do what it‘s supposed to do. In spite of this, Tinkers are thriving and have even managed to spread beyond their native world.
The Tinker are a curious bunch of gnomes, their attainment of Spelljamming travel is accidental but provides a good example of their creativity. They value various types of stones, attributing to them great and supernatural powers, but rather than precious stones they prize coal. The Tinkers hold that coal (also known as the ”Father of Steam’’) is the most valuable substance in the world. They average about 1 meter in height, and tend to weigh as much as 12 stones, but possess a deceptively small frame with hair almost always white or a slightly color tinted white. Their skin tends toward brown, in ruddy and earthen shades. Their eyes are blue or, less frequently, violet, but the noses are immensely prominent. The clothing of a Tinker is likely to be representativeof his or her travels and background- i.e., it will have parts of all kinds of things somehow attached together. As a rule, the more exotic the better, though the Tinker Gnomes tend to be fastidious about cleanliness.
Tinkers can attain an age of 250 or 300 years, but it must be noted that this is rare occurrence. If one of his or her own inventions doesn’t do a Tinker in, chances are good that one of his or her neighbor’s gadgets will. Even in childhood, Tinkers are encouraged to experiment with gadgets and gimmicks, trying different means of making things to perform tasks that could otherwise be easily done by hand. They are encouraged to experiment with a variety of activities until they find those best suited to them. Adulthood begins at about the age of fifty, by which time more than one out of ten have met an early death, and it’s at this point this a Tinker Gnome’s activities begin to get really dangerous, for they must devote
themselves to a single pursuit and join a guild of their choice.
The number of guilds available varies by location, but in Mount Nevermind on Krynn, which is the center of Tinker civilization and by far their largest community, there are more than 150 active guilds. These include virtually all areas of practical and impractical endeavor: Weaponry, Steam Power, Hydraulics, Mathematics, Agriculture, Warmaking, Animal Taming, Brewing, Carpentry, Astronomy, Ceramics (Rockmaking), Air Utilization, Historians, Coalmining, Rockcarving, Vehicle Design and Music. The guilds believe that whatever has been done before can be done better with a new innovation. Members of the Music Guild, for example, will spend the bulk of their life trying to design a musical instrument with at least one more moving part than the last instrument designed by a guildmaster (whole audiences have been scalded by ruptured steam pipes or deafened by ultrasonic waves of crushing sound). A good example of the Tinker Gnome tendency of not knowing when to stop is the infamous Giant Space Hamster. Discontented, the Animal Breeders’ Guild that created the creature promptly began working on developing new strains, such monstrosities as the sabre-toothed giant space hamster, the carnivorous flying giant space hamster (“a regrettable if understandable line of inquiry”), the fire-breathing phase doppleganger giant space hamster, and the miniature giant space hamster (a dwarf variant the size of an ordinary rodent).
After selecting a guild, each member settles upon a Lifequest. The actual choice of the quest may take several decades, but once decided, it becomes the reason behind that Tinker’s existence, an attempt to reach a perfect understanding of one device (anything from a spelljamming helm to a screw). The best estimate is that less than 1% of these gnomes ever do fully grasp the nature of the object that has occupied their attention for so much of their adult lives; so easily distracted most gnomes get hopelessly side-tracked somewhere along the way. Despite this, the Tinkers are a fun-loving and sociable race. Their speech is unique in both its speed and complexity. Two Tinkers can rattle off information and opinion to each other in a succession of thousand-word sentences, speaking simultaneously and yet listening and understanding (as much as is possible, given the esoteric nature of many discussions) each other even as they voice their own points of view. Tinkers grow frustrated when they must slow the pace of their communication with other races who can’t talk and listen at the same time.
These gnomes have a highly-organized societal structure and guilds are more important than clans when it comes to loyalty. The community is ruled by a council made up of the masters of the various guilds and the patriarchs of the various clans. The result is a paralyzed bureaucracy that nevertheless keeps itself going with debate, argument, near resolution, and subsequent disagreement. Following long and careful consideration for years or even decades the various concerned parties go off and do whatever they wanted to from the beginning. However, the debates themselves can be well-reasoned, extremely polite, and quite extensive. Just the recital of names at the beginning of a presentation can often take weeks, since the full and formal title of each gnome involved is used. Tinkers from extensive and well-documented ancestry can have an introduction lasting the better part of two days. Because of this inconvenience, an abbreviated form of a gnome’s name (usually taking less than a minute to recite) is used in daily life. Adults are too involved with their Lifequests to devote much time to the raising of their children, youngsters learn mostly by example, and of course are possessed of an insatiable curiosity. Tinker males and females accept their Lifequests with equal obsession; there is no difference between the sexes in level of recognition and attainment; guildmasters and clan leaders are as likely to be female as male.
Their communities are located underground, but always close to the surface, with plenty of access to fresh air. Their penchant for burning coal to achieve steam makes good ventilation necessary. The various chambers of a Tinker community will be connected by various means of transport, powered by steam, spring-power, wind, water, gravity, and any other means available; cars that run along rails or are suspended from cables and pulleys, soaring gliders, gnome-flingers (catapults), elevators that run up and down through shafts bored through rock, and independently-steered carts and cycles propelled by various means. There is a high rate of attrition on gnomish transport; any trip risks suffering grievous injury. For private living quarters, any old niche in the wall that can be closed off for a little privacy will do. They like to sleep in absolute darkness but have absolutely no trouble slumbering amid a thunderous cacophony of noise. Far more important than the bedroom is the workshop. This area will be a private chamber, if the gnome is influential enough to warrant such a luxury, or if it was inherited. The shop should ideally be well-lit, by candle, coal-oil lantern, or natural light. One successful gnome invention is a network of mirrors aligned to reflect sunlight through long tunnels so that it reaches caverns far underground. Despite its utility, this invention is considered an abysmal failure by most Tinkers, due to its utter lack of moving parts.
Tinkers venerate Reorx, patron of blacksmiths, crafters, and inventors instead of the gnomish pantheon. PHBR9 26-30