Feel free to drop this into your world or cannibalize it. If I had any artistic and cartographic skill at all, I'd have mapped out the shop. Maybe I'll sketch it out later and share that or get someone to redo it to look purdy.
Small for a two story shop, Maurice’s has little need for floorspace to display products. At the front, the window opens so that a counter can be raised under an awning, as a display and demonstration space for products. Maurice can be found showing his gadgets--guns, watches, machines to chop wood, to boil water without an open flame--most of every day. Once the sun sets, though, he retreats the the back room, to tinker.
A man in his late fifties, Maurice always has an apprentice or assistant--usually a young person from a family of modest means who shows intellectual and creative potential. The assistant cleans the shop, fixes broken gadgets, and keeps the books (under close watch.) Loving the companionship, Maurice pays his apprentices well and offers room and board in the loft upstairs. Maurice himself lives in a small flat just down the street.
Having studied at the finest university in the capital, Maurice returned home and worked as a researcher in the library, writing and sharing knowledge freely on the physics and science of the world around him. He quickly found that his passion truly lay in creating devices that would help people accomplish mundane tasks more quickly, and decided to open a shop for just such things.
The shop itself was Maurice’s inheritance, some forty years ago, and is all that remains of his family’s legacy. In his father’s time, Maurice’s shop was a place for buying and selling of gemstones, precious metals, and other such mined goods. The good fortune that this business brought to the family allows Maurice to spend all his time inventing and not worrying about making sales. (Incidentally, everything Maurice builds sells wildly.)
- Explosion! The PCs are walking near the shop, or are making purchases, or working in the shop, when an explosion shakes the building just after twilight. Investigation shows that it was not negligence on the part of Maurice but rather someone has stolen a key component (a stabilizer, a gyropter, a magneton, etc) and run off with it. Maurice can pay well in gold or items for its return.
- Maurice’s shop is a great place to put a MacGuffin. Make it either the key item needed for a quest or the item that begins a major quest. Maurice could have invented any mechanical or steampunk device--even if he didn’t know it worked in the way needed for your mission.