Sunday, October 5, 2014

Selling the Party's Loot

I'm interested in how characters divest themselves of their ill-gotten gain.

How much for the Arch-Lich's hat?
I've noodled with a poisoned Monty Haul where the adventure begins with finding a huge, unwieldy treasure trove in some remote, inaccessible area. The challenge would be getting to treasure back to civilization and disposing of it without getting killed or tipping your hand to the millions of interested parties who'd love to find the source of the goods and cut out the middle man. Do you cut the giant ivory statues into smaller pieces? Melt down the gold throne? Do you make a circuit to several cities to dispose of the loot slowly? Can you hire henchmen and trust them around such temptation? What happens when a bandit king gets wind? Or a group of fellow adventurers? A young dragon? Did you know that the local king has an ancestral link to this horde, and considers not handing it all over to him to be treason? So does the king next door. And the leader of that death cult. And then there's the curse...

Yesterday, +John Stater posted "What's It Worth?", an article about using his experience researching real estate markets to provide insight into the experience of a party trying to unload their treasure.

The Gist: Nothing has value beyond someone else's willingness to pay for it, so instead of stating a flat value for a treasure item, Stater came up with a haggling matrix. Compare the type of item to the type of customer to see what you roll for their opening bid and then calculate their maximum bid.

It looks like a great system, and I knew I'd want to implement it. So, I redesigned his haggling matrix to include more information from the article for ease of reference. With Stater's permission, I present it here:

A preview screenshot.

It's system-neutral, but using this in Beyond the Wall, I'd probably let characters with with merchant backgrounds have direct access to this chart. Everyone else would have to rely on the general knowledge that the rich tend to have more money. Role-play the haggling when it seems relevant or fun. Otherwise, transactions could be based on a Charisma (+Haggling) check. Each point below the target might represent a five or ten percent increase over the starting bid, up to the maximum price generated.