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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Mephibosheth's Avatar

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    Default Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critique

    Hey all!

    So, in the campaign I'm currently running, I have a player who's playing his character as a merchant specializing in rare and magical items. I want to devise a system to govern the haggling process. I figured that an alternate use of the Appraise skill would solve this problem, and have devised the following rules. I would welcome any suggestions/constructive criticisms, etc. from you guys. Also, I've heard of something like this existing elsewhere. If anyone can point me in its direction, I would very much appreciate it.

    Appraise Haggling – Alternate Rules

    This use of the Appraise skill allows characters to haggle with merchants when buying or selling goods. It represents the result of a long, drawn-out bargaining process.

    Check
    The basic check for an Appraise Haggling attempt is an opposed Appraise roll. If the seller wins the check, the final price of the item increases by a percentage equal to the amount by which the seller won (i.e. a seller who wins by 5 sells the item for 5% more than it’s worth). This extra price can never exceed a 20% increase. If the buyer wins the check, the final price of the item decrease by a percentage equal to the amount by which the buyer won (i.e. a buyer who wins by 5 purchases the item for the base price – 5%). This discount can never exceed 20%.

    Action
    Haggling is a lengthy process. Making an Appraise Haggling attempt requires 5 minutes (50 consecutive full round actions). The DM can lengthen or shorten this time, depending on the circumstances.

    Retry
    No retry is possible for Appraise Haggling checks. Once a final value is arrived at, the bartering process is over.

    Special
    Because haggling is a very circumstantial process, the following modifiers apply:
    1. A character bargaining with a friendly opponent has a +2 circumstance bonus on Appraise Haggling checks. A character bargaining with an unfriendly opponent has a -2 penalty on Appraise Haggling checks.
    2. Imbuing an item with a fake magical aura gains the seller a +5 bonus on Appraise Haggling attempts if the opponent detects the aura. However, if the aura is found to be fake, the seller takes a -10 circumstance penalty on Appraise Haggling checks.
    3. The DM can award additional circumstance bonuses as he/she sees fit (good roleplaying, etc)

    Synergy
    If you have 5 or more ranks in Bluff, Sense Motive, or any Knowledge skill related to the object in question, you gain a +2 synergy bonus on Appraise Haggling checks. 5 or more ranks in the relevant Craft skill also grant a +2 synergy bonus to Appraise Haggling checks made to determine the price of an un-magical good.

    Please let me know what you guys think!

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    I like the basic idea, but I would make a couple of changes for balance. First, I would make it a flat 1% increase/decrease in price per point of success/failure. Thus, if the buyer succeeds by 7 points, s/he pays 7% less than the listed price.
    Second, I would set a maximum reduction of 25% for magic items and 33% for mundane items, because these values are each halfway between the market price and the cost of making such items in the first place.
    Third, I would say that retries are not allowed, for the same reasons that retries on bluff, diplomacy, and intimidate checks are not allowed.
    Also, consider that many merchants would refuse to haggle at all, and those who do would likely have a high appraise modifier.
    Those points aside, good idea 8)

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    That Lanky Bugger's Avatar

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    I like it in theory, but a couple things:

    -No retry: After enough haggling, you get to the point where you'll either reach an agreement or not. I'd remove the Retry and double the time required. Or maybe just make it a -5 penalty for the retry... As it is, -20 is far too steep to even consider the rule.

    -I'd remove the friendly opponent bonus, or add an unfriendly opponent penalty of equal size. Maybe scale it, ala the new Diplomacy skill Rich has on this site?

    -I'd also remove the Synergy Bonuses from Diplomacy. You probably don't want to be mixing two different types of bargaining like that, and the synergy from Bluff/Sense Motive is enough. Maybe reduce the bonus further so the Bluff synergy only applies when you're selling (i.e. trying to sell rubbish and hyping it up) while the Sense Motive only works when you're buying (i.e. you see through the merchant's lies).

    -I'd get rid of the Disguise stuff, or at least nerf it a great deal. Maybe make it +2, -2 for the success and failure on the Spot checks.

    All in all, it's a good set of rules. The problem is that you've scaled the bonuses for Epic characters, not the Level 2 Bard and the Level 3 Expert merchant. ;)
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    Mephibosheth's Avatar

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    Thanks for the replies guys! I've made some changes to the rules (and edited the first post). Hopefully you find it more balanced now!

    Anyone else?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    That Lanky Bugger's Avatar

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    Looks good. A lot more balanced, and it's now in line (both in usage and in flavor) with the rest of the skills. With that said...

    *Yoink*
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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    I like the idea but why would it be based off of Appraise? Wouldn't it be a form of diplomacy? and why doesn't diplomacy have synergy? I recomend being more specific with the Synergys as a smart munchkin can get alot of synergy bonuses. Otherwise it's a good deal.

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    Zeful: It's based off of Appraise because a lot of haggling is pointing out why its value is such-and-such (though IMO, I'd have people roll it with their Charisma mods rather than their Ints, or give them a choice depending on how they're haggling...) and not just trusting to the force of your way with words to defeat the market forces. And the synergy got removed because of the fact that it and diplomacy are in a sense two different arenas (correct me if I'm wrong, someone). I'd say it makes more sense this way; among other things, it lets appraise get some extra use, and it's a perfectly logical field for it to be in. Read above for why the lack of synergy with diplomacy, though I think you've already answered the question for yourself in your posts.
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    Mephibosheth's Avatar

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    TLB:

    Wow, I'm honored that you would consider this worthy of theft. Thanks a lot for the vote of confidence and for your help. ;D

    Zeful:

    Thanks for your comments.

    I based it off of Appraise for two reasons:

    1. Appraise doesn't really get used that often in the campaigns I've played in. I thought that this would be an interesting way of making a skill with otherwise only moderate usefulness more attractive.

    2. Appraise seemed the most appropriate skill. In a haggling match, you’re not really trying to make the other guy like you or accept a deal you’re proposing, you’re trying to convince him that the item is worth whatever you want to pay for it/sell it for. Since Appraise is the skill that deals with the value of items, I figured it was most appropriate.

    As for the synergy with Diplomacy, I originally included that but its removal was recommended by the guys on the boards. Now that I look at it with this in mind, it makes sense, especially since you get a circumstance bonus for friendly shopkeeps, maintaining the role of Diplomacy in the negotiation process.

    As to the synergy bonuses, I think they’re specific enough. They leave room for the DM to make some calls about appropriate knowledge skills, which gives the system some flexibility. If you’re trying to sell/buy a wand or a scroll, Knowledge (arcana) would come in handy. If you’re trying to sell the weapon of a legendary hero, Knowledge (history) would be useful. I think that DM’s can easily make those calls or work it out with their players. How would you suggest I specify the synergy bonuses?

    Edit: the simu-post ninja strikes again! Good call Ravyn!

    Again, thanks for your suggestions.

    Keep ‘em coming!

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    ...And the synergy got removed because of the fact that it and diplomacy are in a sense two different arenas (correct me if I'm wrong, someone).
    Not entirely wrong, some parts of haggleing is coming to an agreement not nessicarily getting the most you can off of an item, also a good con-man known as a haggler can make his situation seem so much worse and playing the pity card,(which is bluff but it should get the point across) or being in a relationship with daughter/son of vendor playing the "your daughter/son will yell at you if..." card (which represents diplomacy)
    As for the specifing of the haggle option I going to leave it up to the DM, I can't think at the moment.

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    I'd just add Synergy rules

    +2 for ranks in Bluff if using to haggle
    +2 for ranks in Diplomacy if using to haggle
    +2 for ranks in Sense Motive if using to haggle
    +2 for ranks in craft (weaponsmithing) if haggling over a weapon (similar for all craft skills)

    Pick and choose which of those you like, but I figure that that build makes people who invest ranks as merchants/buyers get a nice payoff.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    I think the 20% cap should be removed. To me, the incentive to use the system, let alone specialize in it, becomes to weak otherwise.


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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    Quote Originally Posted by Harnryd
    I think the 20% cap should be removed. To me, the incentive to use the system, let alone specialize in it, becomes to weak otherwise.
    And if you have a 30th level character with a +30 appraise item and you haggle the 1st-9th level merchant into parting with that magic item for less than it cost him to buy it? No, without a cap it is broken.

    BTW, I once had the opposed check/percentage idea, but it never went beyond a passing fancy. I may have to echo TLB's sentimates. *Yoink* ;D
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    Quote Originally Posted by Corestimah

    And if you have a 30th level character with a +30 appraise item and you haggle the 1st-9th level merchant into parting with that magic item for less than it cost him to buy it?
    Yes? What's the problem with that?

    We're talking about the equivalent of Fëanor/Gilgamesh/Merlin in the world of haggling, using a powerful magic item against a low level opponent.

    Epic character are already capable of changing the world much more profoundly than this.


    My concern was simply this: if all you can get from a haggling is a 20% reduction/raise in the prise of an item, players won't bother with the mechanism, since it makes transactions lengthier and punishes those who haven't invested in many Appraise ranks.
    If, on the other hand, you can potentially achieve really profound effects - as with spells, feat trees, epic skill use, and the like - then players would be interested.

    [Hm, this is the second time in one week I feel like I'm talking to myself... ;) )

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    I have a rule that no skill check can affect the price of an item, unless the item and its price are particularly important to the character or the story. If you're almost broke and need some supplies, go ahead and bargain for them. If you're sleeping on a pile of gold like a respectable adventurer and want to roll Diplomacy every time you restock your potions or craft a new wand, the price is going to be the same no matter how many 20's you roll.

    I realize it's not terribly realistic, which is why I waive it whenever it actually matters. It irritated the players with ranks in Diplomacy until I asked them if they really wanted shopping trips during downtime to take twice as long. Haggling over every little potion and scroll in a high-magic game upsets item balance and takes up time we could spend RPing something interesting.

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    Default Re: Haggling - An Alternate System for Your Critiq

    Strange, I use almost the exact same system, but I've had it replace Diplomacy. Diplomacy in my game *is* haggling and it no longer works to change someone's attitude.

    Some notes on the way I've used it:
    -- The more expensive/valuable the item, the higher the Diplomacy of the NPC who will be selling it. If the PCs want to buy something expensive and they approach an inexperienced clerk about it, the clerk will insist the PC wait for them to summon the owner to discuss the item (just like in real life!)

    -- PCs are not allowed to refuse to sell the item if the haggling goes badly for them.

    -- NPCs will not engage in a haggling session to establish "what they would pay" for an item. If the PC is not dealing with them in good faith (ie, we reach the end of the haggling session and the PC insists "No, I'm not selling this to him for that price. I take the item and walk away.", then that NPC will never haggle with the PC again and the PC's DCs for the area will go up by +2 per time they pull this.)

    -- Given the above three points and trying to use this system in my game, the PCs soon discovered that PROFESSIONAL MERCHANTS who sold stuff FOR A LIVING were generally better than adventurers, especially for magic items and top end stuff like masterwork weapons. A 5th level commoner merchant who sold masterwork items would have his skill in haggling maxed out, plus a good CHR, plus Skill Focus. If they found someone who was selling magic items, they'd discover it was worth that person's while to engage an even higher level agent handle such negotiations for them. This is a logical extension of the system.

    -- Given the above, I eventually defaulted to saying "For every +10 you have on your haggle check, you can on average get a 10% discount, or a 10% increase when you sell loot. Discounts are not applicable to guild-controlled commodities like bulk rates or magical items." The PCs seemed happy with that and we've moved on.


    The most important thing about this skill is what happens to your game world as a whole when you introduce it. People who make their money based on selling stuff WILL get ranks in this skill and they will likely be better at it than your average adventurer - maybe even better than the average adventurer who is good at this. There *are* high level NPCs out there and if this skill exists, then you'd better bet they'd rent their services out to merchants to handle the higher cost sales. Especially without a cap on the contested check, a merchant would quickly go out of business if the PCs (or adventurers in general) were allowed to haggle him into selling stuff for less than he buys it for.

    Put this ability in the hands of your NPCs and think of it from their point of view.
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