Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Selling Your Loot Part 2

In my previous post a few people were interested in how Charisma affects the pricing.  I do this for a couple of reasons.  First, in my mind, it makes sense.  Second, in old school games Charisma is a dump stat or just forgotten.  This gives it purpose.  It directly affects how the character advances.  With extra gold comes extra experience.  

These price adjustments are not automatic, just because you're pretty doesn't mean you'll get the better price.  I use the price adjustment as a suggestion, a suggestion on how much more a merchant will pay...or in low Charisma cases, a suggestion on how much lower they will pay.  Haggling and roleplaying impacts this of course.  But like in the old game Dark Tower, if you haggle too much the merchant shuts down and refuses to deal with the party.  

All of these tweaks I add are to enhance roleplaying by rewarding it with a benefit here and there.  How I do this with examples, is shown in the complex sections.  And if buying and selling isn't something I want to spend much time on, I just use the simple section to streamline the process.  

Weapons & Armor
Except for coinage, weapons and armor are the second most frequent thing found.  All those bandits, orcs and goblins don't run around naked.  Their armor is not only to protect them, but to protect you from seeing their junk swaying in the wind as they charge down the hill.  No GM needs to describe that in detail.  

If you want the easiest of systems here it is, Low End Loot 20%, Regular Loot 40%, High End Loot 60% and Magical Items 80% of listed prices.  I'll get more into magical items in a later post.

I like the idea of different qualities of armor and weapons.  A quick example is low end items suffer a -1 penalty because of their lack of craftsmanship.  So a suit of crappy chainmail would give you +4 to your AC instead of +5.  Weapons may be -1 to damage.  And they break if a 1 is rolled.  The high end quality items would get a +1 advantage.  The 'plus' is representative of the superior quality, not magical bonuses.

Low End Loot 
Low end armor and weapons, or crap quality.  The party has slain a scouting party of goblins.  The players grab the weapons and the chainmail off the leader.  The party comes into town to sell their bloody treasures.  The quality of the weapons and armor are poor plus the armor has a couple of gaping holes where your axe hacked through.  Trying to sell these as short swords and chainmail for the same price as listed ain't gonna happen.  

Simple: I start at 20% of the list price. This may seem low, but this is crap stuff.  Anyone who is buying it for resale needs to mend the holes and sharpen the blades.  Merchants aren't buying stuff out of the goodness of their little, black hearts, they are there to make money. 

Complex: In my campaigns there is always a smith or some sort of metalcrafter who buys scrap metal in bulk based on the weight to re-purpose the metal.  Such has making nails, iron spikes, horseshoes, any number of simple metal objects that apprentices can practice their trade on.  The price of course varies, but generally I give the price in copper (I use a silver system, if you use a gold system I would suggest using silver).  It's not a lot, but I run a low-level grind campaign where a few coppers can make a difference.  If you run a high fantasy game where gold pours out a unicorn's ass, then this approach will not work for your game.  But in general, most merchants won't touch the stuff, no profit in it.  That is unless you have a war raging, then even the crap stuff because a viable option for under equipped soldiers. 

Average Loot
The party finds an armory of a bandit baron.  They have a nice collection of armor and weapons in relatively good condition stockpiled.  Or the party removes the bandits need to breath.  Standard quality stuff.  Basic, no frills. 

Simple: If the equipment hasn't seen action or much action I  start at the 50% mark.  If the armor and weapons have seen action then I'd use a 40% starting point.  

Complex: I use the percents above, but outside influences affecting pricing.  If there is a war on, then pricing rises.  Merchants may sponsor adventurers so they can get first dibs on the loot.  An iron ore mine could have collapsed or taken over by murderous bugbears.  This would cause the prices to go up.  A 15gp short sword could double in price.  Adding outside influences to the economics of a game helps to add a depth to it and players can take advantage of the situation if they play it right.  

High End Loot
The party is now moved on to murdering innocent anti-paladins and virtuous mercenaries who have spent a little more time and money on what they wear and what the kill with.  These weapons and armor are well taken care of.  They need to no alterations ande ready to be put on sale.  

Simple: Give the party 70% of the list price.

Complex: When you start getting into better quality goods there is often some sort of symbol, etching, something where the weapon came from.  Most crafters have a mark.  It can also signify who owned it before hand.  For example, the mark might be for Abercrombie the Smith, someone who works strictly for Duke Fussy Pants.  Filing of a makers mark can be akin to filing off a serial number on a gun in some towns.  Should the party run into this they will have to sell their goods on the black market.  Most of the time this reduces the value, but with the right connections, a lot of money can be made.  Most merchants are willing to buy this level of merchandise.  They now it will sell and it has the largest profit margin. 

I'll cover magical loot in another post.  And I will also post about the merchants themselves.  How to develop a merchant with a few quick easy steps to give them a depth of what they are like, what they'll buy and so on.  There are different levels of merchants, some that will buy only the highest of quality down to the scrappers who buy the junk metal to repurpose it.


  1. Keep in mind that there is no bottom price to wholesale and you can't eat a broadsword or a gold piece(not in a nutritious way at least). Part of the fun I always had as a DM was introducing players to the world of resale. The book says X gold for a chainmail shirt and the merchant tells you he doesn't want it or he doesn't want the five you have to sell from the dead brigands. He will only pay you half the raw weight value of the gold chalice and the fist size ruby you've pried from the eye of the idol has no buyers. Not all the Charisma in the world is going to shift a copper from a merchant who can't sell the stuff on for a profit within a fortnight, they are immune.

  2. Charisma do factor into your "trade" when role-playing
    And a Happy Anniversary to you and the "Happy Whisk"...!!!