Haggle Skill/Talent

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Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby Baravakar » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:30 am

I have some issues with the way this talent (skill) works.

Taking the Dwarf Merchant template from the GM's Companion as the basis of most merchants, the skill rank is 7.

When a PC wants to buy an item, does the merchant make 7 haggle attempts vs. the character to raise the price, followed by the PC (with haggle) making another set of tests to lower the price again? Assuming that the PC has a haggle score of 3, I cant see making up to 10 dice rolls for a transaction.

Also, the limit on the talent is that it can only be used on one transaction, with that merchant, per day. If the party has 10 items they want to sell, I cant see looking for 10 separate merchants or spending 10 days to try and get the best value.

Has anyone else run into these situations? Does anyone have a house rule as a work around for this?

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Re: Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby Telarus_KSC » Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:41 pm

I re-read the 4th ed version before answering this. It states that the limit is Rank # of transactions per day, with one transaction ranging from a single ring to an entire chest of jewelry. I wold run it like that.

As to running a Haggle exchange, I usually take it as a back and forth Social attack (note that Haggle is a default skill**, everyone gets one attempt). Let's set some context here. Nearly everyone in Barsaive who follows it knows you can get a good Throalic dwarf-forged broadsword (in middle-ages or kopesh design, apparently) for 25 silver where it is of Average availability (it's in the Player's Guide for a reason). I calculate the Haggle delta value (cost * 5%), so 1.25sp, but lets bump that up to 1s 5cp, as I round to to nearest the 5 cp at this step. This gives me "what's at stake" in any Haggle contest.

The Merchant says it costs 25, but if he leads with a Haggle roll he can get away with saying it costs 26s 5cp. If he fails, the customer offers 25 and Haggling stops. If the customer initiates a haggle he can say he'll give 23.5 sp for the sword if successful (if not, Haggling stops at 25). Once the initial offer is made, the other party can replay with a Haggle roll to raise or lower the Cost further. I usually then run it until some-one fails, and always give the person with the greater rank one more try when the other person runs out of Haggle attempts.

I've really been thinking about this and I think in 4th edition we can do better. I would let hagglers burn one of their attempts per Additional Success to get an additional 5% price change that Test. For example, if the customer leads and gets 3 successes (& burns 3 of her attempts) vs the merchant's Social Defense of 7 by rolling a 17, she could offer 20.5sp at first and the Haggle would start from there. I think that would be more interesting.


*Also note! In 4th edition it seems like Default Skills have been greatly simplified. There is no longer any requirements for achieving an additional Success level. There is still a note that for any stat based on Rank, it is considered to be 1.
Last edited by Telarus_KSC on Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby Kasbak » Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:50 pm


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Re: Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby Panda » Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:46 am

Haggle is one of the very few abilities in 4E which does not benefit from additional successes. In the initial drafts, it did adjust the price by 5% per success. However, there were a few instances when the price was adjusted to free or to an obscene during playtesting. This was played as gifting the item to heroes, though when the merchant had the extraordinary success there was a question from the groups if they were then forced to make the purchase/sale. If players aren't forced to sell or purchase at the offered price, why would NPCs be in a different position socially? The feedback from the playtesters on the whole was negative on the ability to haggle without any sort of ceiling. The end result was either make only one test, using all of the generated successes, or make a series of tests with each test generating 5%. In the end, a series of tests got the most positive feedback since it was less affected by chance and the characters who invested in Haggle felt like they were getting the most out of it.

Yes, the action does stop for the series of tests and this was a concern. However, it is best handled as a mini-game; a series of small interactions back and forth. It doesn't tend to be an ability which is brought out to play frequently, so it was felt when it could get more attention when it became relevant.
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Re: Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby Baravakar » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:23 pm


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Re: Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby etherial » Sun Oct 26, 2014 1:44 pm

One of the things that's confusing is the way modern buying is completely different from the way Haggling works in the first place. Let's consider that Absorb Blow Charm. Your character with Haggle 3 makes their initial roll and succeeds and offers 85 Silver for it [maximum discount] and the merchant makes their roll and says "No no no, I couldn't possibly part with it for less than 130 Silver [maximum upcharge - your already earned discount]". Assuming both parties keep making their rolls, you will argue the merchant down twice more to 120 and then he will hold fast. Eventually you settle on that price and either deal or no deal.

Now, let's say you blow your initial roll. The Merchant is not convinced by your ability to argue it down -- but also knows that if they ask too much you'll just walk away. So they tell you it's 100 Silver, not up for discussion.

Or perhaps you make your initial roll and the merchant fails theirs. The merchant says something like "I can settle for 95. Take it now before somebody else makes a better offer."

If the Merchant starts the Haggle mini-game, you can construct similar arguments in reverse.

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Re: Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby Telarus_KSC » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:02 pm

Yah, that's the reason I said it could be better. If it's purely "5% of cost" at risk, then the first few back-and-forth will only adjust the price by a maximum of 10% (as I first read it), until one party runs out of attempts.

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Re: Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby Baravakar » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:12 pm

I am currently working on some house rules for Haggle to incorporate into my campaign. The first change is to combine Haggle and Evaluate into one talent. This affects Weaponsmith as these are two of their initiate talents. My new rules are as follows. I hope they are not too convoluted. I appreciate any feedback on these changes. Also, they are a little incomplete.


Haggle Talent (skill)
Step: Rank + WIL (PER)
Action: Sustained
Default: Yes
Strain: 0
Using Haggle takes five minutes per use. During this time, the character is examining the item and / or making the interaction with the NPC to work out the settled price. When selling or buying an item the character’s willpower (to stand his ground on the price) is used. The test is made vs. a social defense, so raw Charisma plays a part too.

When buying or selling an item, once the test determines the final price of the transaction, the character and/or merchant is not required to actually make that deal. The result determines the final price. The characters then still have to agree to sell the item. They can always back out. This talent maybe used any number of items against a merchant, but only once per transaction. A transaction is considered any one deal. If the character is selling 20 items, he can choose to make 20 separate tests or bundle the deal into one transaction.

· When using the talent to determine the base value of an item, the character makes the test at Rank + PER. With this talent the adept can determine the relative worth (in silver) of an object by making an effect test vs. the spell defense of the item. On a good result the adept learns the items hidden value (what it would be worth to a collector). An extraordinary result is needed to determine an item is magical in nature (but not what it does). A character can only make on attempt to determine the value of an item. If the test fails, the character must raise his haggle rank to try again.
· When buying or selling an item, Haggle does not work as other abilities; the result level chart is not used. When the character makes the test vs. the social defense, an average result adjusts the items price by 5%. For every two full points over the target number the price is adjusted another 5%. (The merchant’s social defense is 10, the player rolls a 14. The price of the item modified by 15%)
· The talent can be used when purchasing an item from a merchant using the base value listed in the player’s guide. The merchant will first use his skill to raise the price of the item. Make a test vs. the social defense of the character buying the item to determine the merchant’s “selling” price. The buyer then makes the test vs. the merchant to lower the price.
· The talent can be used to sell items to a merchant. First the character has to have a general idea to the value of the item. (Previously used haggle is one option, or what he paid for it originally) A merchant will purchase used good starting at 50% of the value. Stolen or illegal goods start at 10% of the value. The seller makes an effect test vs. the social defense of the merchant. The merchant adds his haggle rank to his social defense. The result of the effect test is added to the base percentage. (Example: The character achieves scores two points higher than the merchant’s enhanced defense. The merchant is willing to pay 60% of the item’s value.) The maximum a merchant will pay for used goods is 75%.
· The talent is used when a character is trying to find a merchant with an item for sale. The character visits a merchant’s shop and asks if he has a particular item. The merchant makes a haggle test vs. the availability rating of the item. The higher the merchant’s skill the more likely he will have uncommon items to sell. The check is modified somehow if the player offers a bonus (more silver) for finding the item or if the player allows the merchant additional time to secure the item.
· Bartering goods for goods. A character can use this talent to barter goods in place of coins to a merchant to buy items.

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Re: Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby Baravakar » Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:42 pm

I have been thinking on this all week and I think I found a simplified solution that keeps the mini-game concept and also reduces it to one check. I still feel that in the real world, a person does not have to limit themselves to one purchase per merchant, per day for haggling. Watch American Pickers, all they do is haggle. Why apply a limit to a fantasy game. Fantasy expands on what you can do in the real world, not applies limits.

Anyway, Here is the new idea...

Haggle Talent (skill)
Step: Rank + CHA
Action: Sustained
Default: Yes
Strain: 0
Haggle is used whenever a player tries to buy or sell an item. Using Haggle takes five minutes. During this time, the characters are dickering over the item and its quality. The talent maybe used any number of items against a merchant, but only once per transaction. A transaction is considered any one deal. If the character is selling 20 items, he can choose to make 20 separate tests or bundle the deal into one transaction.

The PC and the NPC make a Haggle Test against the social defense of each other. For each level of success, the price is adjusted by a percentage. If the Haggle is being used as a default skill, the adjustment amount can never get as high as a skilled person can achieve.

Result Level: Adjustment (no skill): Average: 5% (5%); Good: (10%) (10%); Excellent: (20%) (15%); Extraordinary: (30%) (20%)

Once the two adjustments are determined, apply the difference to the base cost of the item. There is no requirement for the player to make the deal once the price has been determined.

(Example: The Merchant is selling a 100sp item and scores an excellent result against the player (20%). The player, using it as a default skill achieves an average result (5%). After dickering, the price of the item increases 15%, so the merchant states he will sell the item for 115sp)

A merchant will purchase used goods starting at 50% of the value. Stolen or illegal goods start at 10% of the value.

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Re: Haggle Skill/Talent

Postby Marceli » Fri Oct 31, 2014 1:00 pm

For me it make no sense at all.
Why anyone want buy stuff more expensive then it was at start ???

Haggle should only be used to drop price not make it more expensive. So this amulet should start from 130 (overprice) and allow adept buy it cheaper if he haggle better merchant.
Do you guys ever go shop and pay for stuff higher then initial price ?

So in short GM remove price table from book and set prices ranges for each good (can be +/-30%) and when adept come to merchant it will set some price (depend on city situation availability etc), then player can haggle price down or not. In some cases you can increase difficulty to +x success to drop price(1 item in city).


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