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Gnome Child is a type of non-player character featured in the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game Runescape that has gained notoriety for its tendencies to respond with bizarre and philosophical quotes when approached by the player.
On December 12th, 2002, Runescape was updated with several new features, maps and non-player characters (NPCs), most notably a group of youthful gnomes who could be found in the Tree Gnome Stronghold.
On June 6th, 2008, an entry for “Gnome Child” was created on the Runescape Wiki. The character did not gain a significant following online until July 2014, when discussions of the character began surfacing on the /r/2007scape subreddit. On July 21st, 2014, Redditor helofrand posted a screenshot of a Gnome Child’s portrait titled “I love gnomes” to /r/2007scape (shown below, left). On July 25th, Redditor Cheesydude submitted a photoshopped image of a Runescape avatar wearing a Gnome Child mask and hat to /r/2007scape, where it gained over 450 votes (90% upvoted) in the first month (shown below, right).
Meanwhile, YouTuber Flopske uploaded a video titled “Gnome Child,” featuring Runescape gameplay footage in which Gnome Child discusses the existence of God before being attacked and killed (shown below). On July 26th, Runescape Forums member Kirtinaa submitted a thread hailing Gnome Child as the “new overlord.”
In December 2013, an audio clip of the kill streak announcer from the Halo video game series saying the phrase “slayer” accompanied by a thumbnail of a Gnome Child in the style of Tony Kornheiser’s ‘Why’ (shown below) by user Mirakurutaimu began circulating on Tumblr.
In August 2014, additional audio clips of the Halo announcer with various photoshopped Gnome Child thumbnails began circulating on the microblogging and social networking site under the tag “#slayer” (shown below).