View Full Version : An idea for making Appraise useful

2007-06-06, 02:23 AM
When you are selling stuff of unknown value to unknown merchants, you make an Appraise check, but with your CHA modifier instead of your INT modifier (this check may be made untrained). A modifier of +5 to -5 may be made depending on the size of the town/number of merchants you are willing to go to. Say a single available buyer in town is a -5, and for each additional buyer it goes up by one to a max of +5.

Appraise Check
5 or less - 50% of actual value
6-10 - 60% of actual value
11-15 - 70% of actual value
16-20 - 80% of actual value
21-25 - 90% of actual value
26+ - Full value

Time - 20 minutes per merchant visited. So if you are in big city and really wanted to shop around for the best deal, you could visit 11 merchants and take several hours to get the +5.

Failure - Well, you don't really fail as such, but you can choose not to sell for the price you have been offered (perhaps it can be rolled in secret and a seperate Appraise check can be made (this one 'normal', INT, trained, etc), for the character to realize he's getting lowballed). In that case you can't make another check until you get to a new town, go to additional shops, or wait some reasonable period of time (a week? a month?).

Synergy - Seems like Diplomacy, Bluff and appropriate Craft and Profession skills could give synergy bonuses.

This is primarily intended for situations where you don't know the merchants involved better than casually. If the characters have a good working relationship with a certain merchant, he may just give them a good general price (say 90% of value) without negotiation.

2007-06-06, 02:59 AM
Most of this is handled with a diplomacy check. I do not understand how knowing an item's value better yourself would assist so significantly making other merchants offer more, other than being more obvious in the 'know' of the item's value. Also, your checks are too permanent - final. Lets say I take the ECL 6 character I am playing and offer an eagle's splendor. +7 mod to cha. She already automatically would get 60% (which, is a 20% increase over 50% in relation to 50%). 70% if she made a roll of 4 or higher. 80% on a roll of 9 or higher. This would be without -any- ranks in Appraise (it can be used untrained).
This may upset gp distribution a bit, especially with someone who actually took a few ranks.
Lets say you had the natural synergy (related craft) and 10 ranks in appraise, then stopped. 14 cha from 10 natural and 4 in eagle's splendor (very possible).
That would mean, base 14 at level 7. They would get full value on a roll of 12 or higher. Nearly that on anything in between.
Lets take interaction a step further, I sell you this great masterwork suit of armor for full value. I walk over to the next guy and haggle it down with diplomacy to 10% off an a suit of armor that is exactly the same. Full plate? I just made 165 gp in an hour, no sweat. Half plate? 75 gp. Even non masterwork half-plate, 60 gp.
Looking at the perform skill now. DC 30, 3d6 gp/day. That's max of 18 gp, and that's in a day.

2007-06-06, 04:50 AM
I like the Idea but I would bump the DC's up by atleast 10 if not more, anbd have a bigger gap imbeteeen each possible result.

Psionic Dog
2007-06-06, 07:28 AM
Somehow I thought 50% was the standard accepted sell price when disposing of excess equipment. As the standard, 50% needs to be more central in the chart.

I'd suggest dropping the stated rates by 20 (Down to 30,40,50,60,70,80), then have the 80% category top out at 30 (26-30 = 80%) and have 31+ give a max of 90%. After all, merchants are middlemen and will insist on having some profit margin.

Even with this, I would still tentatively agree that merchant interaction is covered by diplomacy. At the very least I would grant synergy with this variant between diplomacy and appraise.

2007-06-06, 10:38 AM
I came up with a similar system a while ago that allowed the use of appraise to represent haggling over price. It was a system of opposed rolls and can be found here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11650&highlight=appraise+haggling).


2007-06-06, 01:02 PM
OK a couple things that might explain better why I made this:

1. This is mostly meant for gems/art objects, not equipment and magic items. Generally, those get sold for half value, which is a known quantity. I mean, we know how much a +1 longsword is worth as players if not characters, but we have no idea how much the fire opal or antique goblet we just found is.

2. I want this to be one simple roll. My group plays on weekday nights once or twice a month. We don't have a lot of time, and spending a lot of time selling stuff was not high on our list of things to do, but the DM just giving us the value of things (which is what we'd been doing in the past) is not really satisfying. Using appraise as written is simply not an option for us. The idea of spending time rolling to see what every object is worth, and then making diplomacy rolls against merchants to try to sell those for what we know (or think) they are worth. Well, it's just not what we want to spend our limited time doing.

3. Appraise, particularly for us, is a worthless skill. It's only available to Rogues (well, OK and Aristocrats and Experts), and even a Rogue with a big Int bonus is frankly unlikely to take it.

As for SweetRein's comment that knowing how much something is worth isn't going to let you get more for it, well, all I can say is that I catagorically disagree. If your only context for value is what the merchant says it is worth, you are going to get less for it. Pick something you know little-to-nothing about (crystal glassware, video cameras, speakers, whatever). Now go look for that thing on Craigslist or eBay. Hey, which of those things is a good deal? It's not like everyone is selling the exact same thing. If you know the difference between powered 300 watt 15" JBL EONs and unpowered 10" 200 watt Mackies, you're going to be able to tell which of those are the better deal.

The market environment for gems and art objects in a typical DnD campaign is much more chaotic and characters have even less information. Merchants aren't going to bump their price by 30% just because they like you. But if you can say "hey, this jeweled goblet bears the stamp of the Gnome craftsman Goldbrook Wiggleworm, that alone makes it worth 200GP" or something like that, you will be able to get much closer to it's actual value.

Now, you could do that by making individual appraise checks for each object and then having a baseline for haggling over each object, which would be handled via roleplaying and diplomacy checks, but as I've explained, we're not going to do that and we're looking for a quick, one-roll solution.