Gnomes are famous for their productive and creative output. In a big city, gnomes usually find it vital to band together.
Undercity Artificers is the city's de facto source for intricately crafted mechanisms and other crafts. Founded several decades ago by a handful of enterprising gnomes, it's now expanded into a cavernous workshop fitted with three forges, two looms, a dozen workbenches, and an impressive supply of metal scraps, wood scraps, fabric, thread, and other supplies. Rooms above the workshop serve as bedrooms, storage, and parlors.
Of the approximately twenty members of Undercity Artificers, over half are gnomes, and three know enough magic to enchant items. They're very friendly to each other but they hesitate to let outsiders into the group until they've proven themselves with both intricate work and long hours.
Among those in the group, Orrhana, knows most about fabric crafting, Kellen knows the most about woodworking, and Zildri is most familiar with metalworking. All three are founders.
As a friendly faction, the Artificers are a happy collective who work hard, play hard, and produce good work. They're well-liked by the city and have built an excellent reputation. They often use adventuring parties to obtain unique materials for their commissions, and can often identify at least the purpose of any old mechanical or hand-crafted artifacts they find.
As a foe faction, the Artificers have been known to take commissions from...less than savory clients. The final touches on their dark projects are completed in upper rooms to keep the nature of their work secret. As a tight-knit group, they don't betray each other, and they're smart enough to keep any signatures out of their work.
- (Friend) An Artificer needs a black ioun stone for a mechanical spider he's building. If the party asks around, they'll hear of an ioun stone matching that description that was seen in the treasure hoard of a kobold tribe living in a mine outside town.
- (Foe) The head of the nearby city's Watch, Valfire the tiefling, calls the adventurers in for assistance. Several recent crimes have involved intricate mechanical contraptions, according to witnesses. He suspects the Undercity Artificers but can't prove anything. The PCs are asked to set up a round-the-clock lookout on the Artificers' workshop, tailing any members who leave (though remaining within a few miles of the workshop), until they've established the Artificers' habits. (Feel free to create one or two city encounters and chase scenes.) After reporting back to Valfire, the PCs will be asked to tail various Artificers who do leave the city regularly, to find out who they're working for.