Sunday, March 17, 2024

Murderhobos Figuring Out How to Offload Their Loot (Merchant Thoughts)

Murderhobos Figuring Out How to Offload Their Loot (Merchant Thoughts)
I've been thinking of writing up the beginning area of my old (like a good 15 years ago) campaign into an....well not so much an adventure, but a larger drop-in area for a GM to use in whatever game world they desire. A big part of this beginning area revolves around (it's not obvious though) a general store of sorts....and the "of sorts" is the real meat of the setting, but that's what I'm thinking of today.

Now I don't know about your particular band of murderhobos, but I'm used to groups that I'm in or running for liking to take most everything that even looks like it has some value. Murder some armored brigands? Grab that armor and weapons...make sure you check their boots for hidden loot. Wipe out a Kobold nest, make sure to grab those "ok" shortbows and arrows. Wow, the front door of that otherwise ruined hovel looks nice.....toss it on the cart.....

...you get the picture.

Of course offloading won/stolen/scavenged loot can be problematic. Not like there's a ready market for "ok" shortbows and a nice front door. Armor and human-made weapons...maybe, but that other stuff...even if you found a buyer, just how much can you get? Who cares...every CP counts.

When I do this, well I blame computer RPGs. If you will let me take everything and sell it, I will. Usually there is something that doesn't have a carry weight, ammo is a likely candidate in modern/futuristic games, so I'll sell every piece of fruit, silverware, or random piece of crap and store it in the form of ammo (gems, or whatever works). This carries over for me in table-top RPGs, but there it can be hard to find a buyer.

I don't know what other GMs do, but when I GM'd I'd have a particular buyer available to either purchase all this crap outright, or to help broker sales for bigger stuff, like magic items. The absolute best price the party could get...and this was never advertised...was 49% of the value for their items. What I did was roll a d20 and subtract that, as a percentage, off of 50%. If the players wished to purchase non-magical "gently used" gear from the same merchant I reversed things, so the players could get items for 51% to 70% of "book" value. Often new gear would have a similar percentage added, so 101% to 120% of book value, unless the party wanted to haggle.

Now, when creating a character straight book-values are used, and usually parties are more than pleased with this setup because it gets them coin for their crap stuff quick and easy and there isn't a lot of time spent on "in town" stuff. They always have the option of spending time "shopping around", but they rarely care.

I once also had a campaign where I advanced the game world like 10,000 years (society had stagnated, for reasons, so still more medieval fantasy) and people generally didn't travel far from home. In that campaign/game world Halflings were basically the merchant class and were the only ones who actually travelled, usually along set routes. They connected communities with trade and information. Because they controlled merchant services outside of the community, they could generally buy/sell anything. If not personally, they could forward things to their extended family, getting that good door or "ok" bows from the party to some buyers.

Maybe I'm being overly generous, but I like the randomness of the d20 (maybe I should have used a d30?) introducing some price fluctuations and then some relatively easy math because I'd just figure out the total book value of everything and apply the appropriate percentage. I'd rather do that than role-play a crap-ton of sale/bartering interactions. Also, maybe.....just maybe....the party won't be trying to extract every CP of value out of the dungeon...

....yeah, right.

I have wondered how other GMs handle shops/shopkeeps in their own campaigns.... 

1 comment:

  1. Like the d20 random price generation system.

    For the crap stuff I usually have a shady merchant who buys used goods if you have a thief who recognizes the "cant". Probably not 30 goblin shortbows? Unless someone was decorating the walls for a number of chain restaurant. Used human weapons sure. A nice front door? Maybe.

    Most of the time my players only loot equipment if I describe the guy with a fancy cape or its plate mail and has a high value.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition