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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    I am planing for a game I plan to GM soonish and there is a good chance the players will end up wanting to buy/sell things on the black market so I can be somewhat prepared I am hoping for suggestions on how they might try to find it. If it is relevant it is a fantasy setting run using pathfinder.
    Last edited by somethingrandom; 2016-10-12 at 09:19 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Streetwise roll? Ask around?

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    One thing to consider is that black markets are usually spread out, but connected. By that I mean you generally have one person who will deal with a specialised area of contraband. Getting involved in that market generally requires someone within it (seller or consumer) to trust you enough to let you in. This might be an issue if you have a typical group of adventures who move around a lot and have anywhere from no reputation to a valorous fame.

    If your guys are connected to shady types then ask them. Are they connected to guards and guilds, ask them. If all else fails bribing random people should eventually get you somewhere.

    If they get desperate they could try to paint it black.
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by somethingrandom View Post
    I am planing for a game I plan to GM soonish and there is a good chance the players will end up wanting to buy/sell things on the black market so I can be somewhat prepared I am hoping for suggestions on how they might try to find it. If it is relevant it is a fantasy setting run using pathfinder.
    Depends. Could be anything from a single Knowledge (Local) roll to an extended series of sidequests to build trust with local crime lords, depending on how big a deal you want it to be.

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Yeah, the first thing you need to do is decide whether you want this to be a simple matter they can just check on doing and be done with, or the seed for a side quest.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Some guy in a tavern tries to sell them something - maybe the PCs have to buy it in order to get any further, which also gives you a nice plot device .

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Generally, it makes sense to ask in places where legality can get muddy, or in less reputable parts of the sin industry. Bars, pawn shops, brothels, low-rent auction houses, etc. Individuals may know somebody who knows somebody.
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    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    In Pathfinder, I'd probably go with the Gather Information function of Diplomacy. DC higher than 10 (or everyone would know it), but might be lower than 20 (the point where 1st level characters get less likely to be able to learn it).

    More generally, finding the Black Market is going to be a matter of finding someone who knows how to find the black market. Going to a pawnshop and asking "Do you know of any place where you can find more... unusual... merchandise?" is the usual RPG trope for it. You might also try looking for a bar and trying to score drugs, etc. In AD&D, I'd probably let thieves do it pretty easily... listen for the Cant, ask a few questions, pass a few silvers, and they can find a couple contacts for things like that.
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    If you want it to be a full-on side quest, then you set up your black market in town, know who the contacts are, what they know and how to find them. And then you let the players go looking. A functional black market will have activities they can find.


    If you want it to be just something they take care of in a few minutes to an hour of play-time, let them roll Gather Information, and give them "better" contacts the better they roll. (Or, if they fail, just have them unable to find it. It's not like it's an adventure-stopper.)

    Also, you could just rule that your party rogue has connections already. He knows where to go and what names to drop and he can hook them up.

    There's a PF feat somewhere - or maybe it's a Rogue Talent - that explicitly gives black market connections, and is used to abstract the process of getting cheap/illegal equipment on short notice.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Ask them what they're doing to find the black market.

    If that sounds at all reasonable, figure out what skill/mechanic to use, and roll appropriately.

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by somethingrandom View Post
    I am planing for a game I plan to GM soonish and there is a good chance the players will end up wanting to buy/sell things on the black market so I can be somewhat prepared I am hoping for suggestions on how they might try to find it. If it is relevant it is a fantasy setting run using pathfinder.
    There's basically two ways to find a black market:

    The right way: The PCs get friendly with a guy that knows a guy. After they do the requisite favours to show that they're the right kind of people, the guy vouches for them, and sellers become willing to admit they carry goods of a certain illicit nature.

    The wrong way: The PCs start asking around, attracting the attention of the local constabulary. They probably also attract the attention of a guy that knows a guy, but that guy is too smart to stick his nose out when the cops are on the prowl. Unless there's a great reward that makes the risk worth it - for example, the PCs want to fence some poison, but the poison merchant is really interested in cockatrice venom, so he would ask them to get it for him and only then buy their other poisons as well.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Four options, depending on what you're going for in your game.

    Option 1, AKA "I hate thinking about shopping and want to spend like five seconds on this":
    PC: "I'd like to sell these illegal goods on the black market"
    DM: "You sell the illegal goods on the black market. Great job!"

    Option 1B:
    PC: "I'd like to sell these illegal goods on the black market"
    DM: "Roll [skill] and beat [number] to sell them without a problem. If you fail by [number] then the guards attack."

    Option 2, AKA "This should be one session"
    PC: "I'd like to sell these illegal goods on the black market"
    DM: "Shifty Dan, who you saved from bees last session, says that all crime in this town is controlled by John Crime, who invented it. He'll only buy your illegal goods once he respects you."

    OPTION2A, AKA "Videogame RPG plothook"
    DM: "He'll only respect you if you can complete this arbitrary quest I had planned, like killing a bear. Yeah, sure, there's a bear he hates!"

    OPTION2B,AKA "Bioware social quest"
    DM: "He'll only respect you if you can get four of his capos to vouch for you. Each capo has a different quirky trait that you'll have to take advantage of, like one likes loud noises and one had a girl break up with him and soforth."

    OPTION3, AKA "Major part of the campaign"
    PC: "I'd like to sell these illegal goods"
    DM: "There's actually 40 different fences in this city. Each of them specializes in a different type or types of goods, with some overlap and competition. Every time you earn the approval of one, you'll be able to buy or sell a new thing, so probably by June or so you'll have accumulated enough to actually sell most of what you take in."
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post
    OPTION2A, AKA "Videogame RPG plothook"
    DM: "He'll only respect you if you can complete this arbitrary quest I had planned, like killing a bear. Yeah, sure, there's a bear he hates!"
    You may mock all you want but it had to be done, he was unbearable!
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post
    Option 2, AKA "This should be one session"
    PC: "I'd like to sell these illegal goods on the black market"
    DM: "Shifty Dan, who you saved from bees last session, says that all crime in this town is controlled by John Crime, who invented it. He'll only buy your illegal goods once he respects you."

    OPTION2A, AKA "Videogame RPG plothook"
    DM: "He'll only respect you if you can complete this arbitrary quest I had planned, like killing a bear. Yeah, sure, there's a bear he hates!"

    OPTION2B,AKA "Bioware social quest"
    DM: "He'll only respect you if you can get four of his capos to vouch for you. Each capo has a different quirky trait that you'll have to take advantage of, like one likes loud noises and one had a girl break up with him and soforth."
    All I know is that you've earned this capo's approval, funny man. I'll vouch for you in front of John Crime any day.
    Quote Originally Posted by KKL
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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Could be as simple as some towns in the real world where there is an area of town where the guards do not go(unless off duty). Should be easy enough to ask a random panhandler.
    -Make contact with the thieves guild, there is a reason for thieves cant after all.

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post
    DM: "Shifty Dan, who you saved from bees last session, says that all crime in this town is controlled by John Crime, who invented it. He'll only buy your illegal goods once he respects you."
    Is it bad that now I want to run a campaign with this exact situation.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Gather information check or ask the cleric of Olidammara
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post
    Option 2, AKA "This should be one session"
    PC: "I'd like to sell these illegal goods on the black market"
    DM: "Shifty Dan, who you saved from bees last session, says that all crime in this town is controlled by John Crime, who invented it. He'll only buy your illegal goods once he respects you."
    What's unfortunate for Mr. Crime is they didn't decide to label unlawful acts as "pulling a John" like he wanted.

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitten Champion View Post
    What's unfortunate for Mr. Crime is they didn't decide to label unlawful acts as "pulling a John" like he wanted.
    Though he's reputedly one of the most frequent patrons of Ladies of the Evening.

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Stand out in the middle of the street and shout at the top of their lungs "Hey, I wanna buy some crack!"
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Is it bad that now I want to run a campaign with this exact situation.
    I think it's a demonstration of character, really.
    Quote Originally Posted by KKL
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Check the sewer. The fantasy mafia always operates out of the sewer. It's like, a rule or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post
    DM: "Shifty Dan, who you saved from bees last session, says that all crime in this town is controlled by John Crime, who invented it. He'll only buy your illegal goods once he respects you."
    This is hilarious
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    My players once had this problem. They helped a city stop a smuggling ring. Then gathering up all the illegal items, found the list of smugglers contacts and went to sell the smuggled loot themselves. Though they were arrested because the captain of the city guard was assisting with the smuggling busting, told them selling it would illegal and had no problem arresting the party.

    The players were shocked and angry for being arrested, reasoning that the human hearts and pixie wings had already been harvested so the bad evil thing had already been done and the city owed them for their help.

    My players are idiots though. But maybe yours could just beat up a smuggler and steal his contacts.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Well it's a fantasy setting, so why not have it be an actual place? Run by goblins, naturally. For some reason, the usual laws don't apply there - maybe at the centre is a temple to a Chaotic deity. Not necessarily a very nice one, either. Finding it is not easy - it exists in a street that isn't on any maps, and, by the layout of the city, shouldn't actually be there.

    A realistic, non-fantastical approach to this is to have it be a micro-enclave of another land, with different laws, within the same city, existing for diplomatic convenience or other reasons.

    Alternatively, you could take the Lord Vetinari approach. The black market is an actual place. There are adverts for it everywhere, including special offers (Buy Two Cursed Amulets, and Get a Third Free!!!*). You go there, and for a small registration fee, buy and sell all the illegal stuff you want. The ruler of the city knows exactly who goes there, and who buys what, and gets a rather large cut of each deal. Illegal dealing *outside* the black market is punished severely, mainly by the black marketeers themselves. Do you have a permit for that Hellforged Blade, sir?

    *Subject to the following terms and conditions...

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by somethingrandom View Post
    I am planing for a game I plan to GM soonish and there is a good chance the players will end up wanting to buy/sell things on the black market so I can be somewhat prepared I am hoping for suggestions on how they might try to find it. If it is relevant it is a fantasy setting run using pathfinder.
    Thiefy characters should always know how to contact fences for stolen and illegal goods.

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    Goblin

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    To sell stuff on the black market, just stand in an alley in a trench coat and ask any passerby "Hey, wanna buy something?"

    To buy, talk to the thug who will inevitably show up and demand a cut since you were trying to sell on his turf. If he doesn't have it, a few silver should jog his memory about who he knows that might have it.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Ask around?
    Hello sir? I am looking for the Black Market? Where can I find it?

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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Check the sewer. The fantasy mafia always operates out of the sewer. It's like, a rule or something.
    I know, it's like the people who write that stuff have never actually been in a combined sewer.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: How might players locate the black market? (fantasy setting)

    Have your wizard or other frail looking fellow wander dark alleys looking like an easy mark. Capture the next cutpurse or brigand that tries to steal from him, force him to show the way to his fence. Work from there.
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