Swiss Juncture of Gnomes
Some Shadowkind find it difficult to make the transition to our world, others are able just pick up doing exactly what they did before. Such is the case for a group of gnomes who happened to pass through the veil of Shadow and find themselves in Zurich, Switzerland. In more than one sense they were lucky. The Swiss are an accepting people, and so they didn’t bat an eyelash at their new neighbors. For another thing, no fewer than four languages are spoken fluently in Zurich, and this gave the gnomes an advantage in dealing with people from all over the world.
These particular gnomes had been scholars and inventors in their lives on the other side of Shadow. They found that, advanced as the technology of the mundane world is, there were some important gaps—and ones that they were more than ready to fill. So they did what everyone in Zurich with an idea that will revolutionize the globe does: they incorporated and opened a consulting practice. Thus the Swiss Juncture of Gnomes was born.
Although very few people were interested in their inventions (self-winding pasta, automated hat tippers, and instant mildew), it turned out that quite a few wanted the gnomes to focus their “outside the box” thinking on other problems. In recent years, the S.J.G. has developed natural disaster relief programs for third-world countries, done feasibility studies on building domed cities at the bottom of the sea, and designed a fully functional orbiting laser-cannon platform that (because of cost overruns) never actually got built.
The S.J.G. has opened offices in every major city worldwide, and do consulting work for most of the major financial institutions and political organizations in the western hemisphere. They charge a significant amount for their services, but their patrons invariably think it is worthwhile. The gnomes are also completely unconcerned with how their work will be applied, a trait that many clients find invaluable but many advocate groups find unconscionable. Heroes will not be interested in joining the Swiss Juncture of Gnomes—the organization doesn’t actually do anything. However, if they can afford the group’s rates (purchase DC of 35 for one month’s consulting contract with one S.J.G. associate), they might want to hire the gnomes sometime to help out on particularly difficult research assignments. On the other hand, the gnomes constantly employ contract workers to help in their more physical activities (such as traveling into the heart of the Amazon to locate a particular species of butterfly). In this way, it is possible for heroes to make some money and have access to one or more of the gnomes at the same time. If the heroes hire S.J.G., they might be in the uncomfortable position of having requisition requests passed their way. On the other hand, if they are hired by the gnomes, they S.J.G. will supply all necessary equipment for achieving the mission’s goals.The Workshop
Although the gnomes of the Swiss Juncture now make their living as consultants, their first love will always be tinkering and invention. Every office of S.J.G. has a workshop fully equipped to do any kind of mechanical, electronic, structural, or even merely cosmetic repair to just about any kind of device or item.
They are willing to do repair work for a modest fee (see the Purchase DC rules for Repair checks listed in the Repair skill description.) Every gnome in the organization has the maximum number of ranks in Repair, and between them all they have people willing to work twenty-four hours a day, so repairs will be completed in the shortest time possible.
For an additional fee, the gnomes are always willing to make improvements to any item they are repairing. They can add an enhancement bonus to any weapon, add enchantments or spell-like abilities, or jury-rig a new mechanical application. (For the Purchase DC, consult the rules for making magic items.)