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Old 08-25-2014, 12:03 PM   #21
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Of course it's supposed to be used. If you're playing a merchant, and you have a scene where you look in on another merchant, you can use it to model the haggling that decides who gets more of the gains from trade. A realistically characterized merchant would probably care passionately about that.

But it's not supposed to be used when Joe Adventurer takes his loot to the fence or the pawnshop or the antiquities merchant.

Bill Stoddard
Okay, that basically makes the 90%-110% variation less relevant for an adventurer going to the Olde Gear Shoppe, but relevant to merchants dealing amongst themselves. OK.

But the point remains: results seem to differ significantly depending on what order of operations is chosen, even assuming same dice results and same Reaction Modifiers. That seems like a reason to suspect that I'm getting it wrong somehow in my step-by-step analysis. So how does it work?
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Old 09-07-2014, 06:31 PM   #22
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Okay, that basically makes the 90%-110% variation less relevant for an adventurer going to the Olde Gear Shoppe, but relevant to merchants dealing amongst themselves. OK.

But the point remains: results seem to differ significantly depending on what order of operations is chosen, even assuming same dice results and same Reaction Modifiers. That seems like a reason to suspect that I'm getting it wrong somehow in my step-by-step analysis. So how does it work?
This is something I would very much like to know myself.

In the game im currently playing I believe the GM is using an interpretation of the rules where you can add/subtract 50% of fair value from the item based on the magin of success of the quick contest. But we have only used it when goin to the good ol pawn shop.
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Old 09-07-2014, 10:01 PM   #23
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Okay, that basically makes the 90%-110% variation less relevant for an adventurer going to the Olde Gear Shoppe, but relevant to merchants dealing amongst themselves. OK.

But the point remains: results seem to differ significantly depending on what order of operations is chosen, even assuming same dice results and same Reaction Modifiers. That seems like a reason to suspect that I'm getting it wrong somehow in my step-by-step analysis. So how does it work?
I don't know. Give me a concrete scenario and I'll try to analyze it.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:11 AM   #24
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I don't know. Give me a concrete scenario and I'll try to analyze it.

Bill Stoddard
Okay, let's try it.

Mr. Ford is an adventurer. He has $800,000 worth of finances for a heist. He wants to spend them to buy a small used spaceship from Mr. Watt, the spaceship junkyard dealer. A loan/lease/etc. is not an option. The ship he wants, after the adjustment for being used, costs $1000,000. Ford knows this, Watt knows this. So Mr. Ford knows he must get the price down to 80%. Luckily, the business is slow this year, so there's some grounds for negotiating the price, and Ford is a charming fellow, so he's got reasonable chances to achieve a nice reaction roll. For the sake of the experiment, let us assume that he can expect to get a result of 16 after all modifiers. OTOH, he knows he shouldn't rely on using the Quick Contest of Merchant skills for one reason or another (most likely because he's not all that apt in it compared to Watt).

At this point Ford has to make a decision about how to approach. Apparently, this choice is significant.
  • Choice A: Ford asks Watt what the price is, and go from there.
    The GM rolls Reaction, getting 16 (Very Good), which lists
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by B561
    The merchant accepts the PCs’ offer unless they tried to buy below 80% of the fair price or sell above 150% of the fair price.
    Which is somewhat unclear, but luckily we have Social Engineering for extra info about using the Basic Set mechanics.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SE75
    The merchant asks the fair price,
    accepts any offer of at least 80% of the fair price. When buying:
    He offers the fair price, agrees to pay up to 150% of the fair
    price. He also offers help and advice.
    Notice that SE27 refers to the Expanded Reaction Results, which lists the initial price offered - something not found on B561.
    At this point, Ford can make a counteroffer, saying $800k instead $1M. By RAW (as far as I can understand it), the counteroffer is compared against the listing in the Reaction entry, which says the offer of 80% fair price is acceptable
    Yay, Ford gets to buy a starship by spending all his cash.

  • Choice B: Ford decides that he wants to name the price he can afford.
    He has to roll for reaction (assume the same 16), but he needs to take an extra -2 modifier for asking 20% below fair price. The result of 16-2 = 14, a Good Reaction. We see that:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by B561
    The merchant buys and
    sells at fair prices
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SE75
    The merchant buys and sells at fair prices. * In a society where haggling is routine, a merchant will
    ask 110% of the fair price, accept 90%
    I'm not sure whether the * bit applies here, but either way, 80% is less than both 100% and 90% - the merchant refuses to sell the spaceship.
    Boo, Ford has to look for another opportunity to become a starship owner.
This seems like a significant difference in outcomes that comes essentially out of nowhere. Am I reading the rules right? If yes, why the discrepancy? If no, how do I read them correctly?
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:54 AM   #25
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
This seems like a significant difference in outcomes that comes essentially out of nowhere. Am I reading the rules right? If yes, why the discrepancy? If no, how do I read them correctly?
It looks like you're reading the rules right.

First, a bit of history. The Basic Set has that ±1 modifier; I needed to make sense of how it worked. It seemed clear to me that it couldn't very well apply if the merchant was asked "how much?"—the PCs wouldn't have offered anything, so he wouldn't have anything to react to. On the other hand, it could apply if the PCs had named a price, and it seemed as if it applied at all, it had to apply then. So basically what I was doing was not replacing the Basic Set rules, so much as giving a full set of mechanics that was consistent with what they said—"saving the appearances." (This is basic to GURPS supplements generally. They can say, "Here is a clarified system," or, "Here is an optional alternative approach," but they can't just say, "The Basic Set is wrong. Do it this other way.")

So let's look at the social context. In one case, the customer has asked the merchant what the price is for that spacecraft. The merchant has named a price. The customer has said, "That's more than my budget will cover. Will you take 20% less?" And the merchant may want the sale enough to come down.

But in the other case, the customer starts off by saying, "I want to buy that, and I'll offer you X for it"—where X is 20% below the fair market value. That's leading off by trying to push the merchant into a less favorable deal, before the merchant has any involvement in the transaction. The initial reaction may be a bit negatively biased by the customer's pushiness. Or, assuming a coldly pragmatic merchant, they may well figure that that 80% is not the best offer the customer can make, because no customer would start out the bargaining by naming the highest price they can pay; obviously, if they offer 80%, they must have money to pay 90%, and demanding 100% may get them to raise their offer.

Bidding is a social process that reveals information and takes place through revealing information. Why would you not expect it to make a difference who reveals information in what order?

At any rate, that was the best rationalization I could come up with for the Basic Set rules, or for my attempt to clarify them. If you have a more elegant system of rules to suggest, I'd suggest writing it up.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:22 AM   #26
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
(This is basic to GURPS supplements generally. They can say, "Here is a clarified system," or, "Here is an optional alternative approach," but they can't just say, "The Basic Set is wrong. Do it this other way.")
With a few exceptions. Off-hand Weapon Training immediately springs to mind.
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Old 09-08-2014, 02:18 PM   #27
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
With a few exceptions. Off-hand Weapon Training immediately springs to mind.
Sure, but that's not the general practice. And I didn't take it that I was licensed to "repeal and replace" any GURPS rule I thought was problematic.

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Old 09-09-2014, 04:37 AM   #28
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
It looks like you're reading the rules right.

First, a bit of history. The Basic Set has that ±1 modifier; I needed to make sense of how it worked. It seemed clear to me that it couldn't very well apply if the merchant was asked "how much?"—the PCs wouldn't have offered anything, so he wouldn't have anything to react to. On the other hand, it could apply if the PCs had named a price, and it seemed as if it applied at all, it had to apply then. So basically what I was doing was not replacing the Basic Set rules, so much as giving a full set of mechanics that was consistent with what they said—"saving the appearances." (This is basic to GURPS supplements generally. They can say, "Here is a clarified system," or, "Here is an optional alternative approach," but they can't just say, "The Basic Set is wrong. Do it this other way.")

So let's look at the social context. In one case, the customer has asked the merchant what the price is for that spacecraft. The merchant has named a price. The customer has said, "That's more than my budget will cover. Will you take 20% less?" And the merchant may want the sale enough to come down.

But in the other case, the customer starts off by saying, "I want to buy that, and I'll offer you X for it"—where X is 20% below the fair market value. That's leading off by trying to push the merchant into a less favorable deal, before the merchant has any involvement in the transaction. The initial reaction may be a bit negatively biased by the customer's pushiness. Or, assuming a coldly pragmatic merchant, they may well figure that that 80% is not the best offer the customer can make, because no customer would start out the bargaining by naming the highest price they can pay; obviously, if they offer 80%, they must have money to pay 90%, and demanding 100% may get them to raise their offer.
Okay, thanks, sort of clarifies/confirms things.
Regarding naming those 80%:
  • Is there a way for the second character (Ford in the case of first example) to know what Reaction result was? I mean, to know what is a reasonable counter-offer?
  • If Ford's counteroffer is too low, can he move it up, eventually reaching the acceptable 80%, without employing the advanced Merchant rules?
A bit later I'll formulate my question regarding the advanced haggling rules from SE, I think.

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Bidding is a social process that reveals information and takes place through revealing information. Why would you not expect it to make a difference who reveals information in what order?
Well, let's say they two write down their numbers. Watt writes down 100%, Ford writes down 80%. Why would Watt's readiness to accept the deal differ depending on whether Watt or Ford is the first one to reveal the number? What would happen if they revealed them simultaneously?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
At any rate, that was the best rationalization I could come up with for the Basic Set rules, or for my attempt to clarify them. If you have a more elegant system of rules to suggest, I'd suggest writing it up.

Bill Stoddard
Ah. I am considering using a houserule for my campaigns next time this comes up, but I indeed need to make a sensible one. I don't think it would be Pyramid-worthy, so I suppose it can be posted here if I ever come up with one.
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:33 AM   #29
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Well, let's say they two write down their numbers. Watt writes down 100%, Ford writes down 80%. Why would Watt's readiness to accept the deal differ depending on whether Watt or Ford is the first one to reveal the number? What would happen if they revealed them simultaneously?
I don't know. I didn't address that in the rules I wrote. I think it's necessary to decide what the proper rule is by doing a new analysis.

Looking at the situation you describe, it appears that Watt is making his proposal without having seen Ford's proposal. Therefore Ford's proposal cannot be the source of a reaction modifier. So when Watt sees Ford's proposal he will have already decided that 80% is acceptable, and will accept it.

On the other hand, that sort of writing down numbers seems like it would naturally be the start of an advanced haggling process. I just don't see the two prices being compared, and the merchant just saying, "Okay, yeah, your offer's good enough." If you have two starting prices the natural sequel is to bargain about where you're going to split the difference.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:57 AM   #30
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Default Re: Merchant / Haggling: Clarification/cleanup of current rules vs remaking from scra

Another interesting consideration is a case when two NPCs meet to trade. This can actually be important e.g. when PCs send their minion with a task to buy (or sell) some goods, expecting the minion to act reasonably of its own volition at this point.
What's actually interesting about this case is that the Reaction Modifiers of both the seller and the buyer matter for the initial price-figuring.
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