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Old 02-12-2012, 10:17 AM   #11
Snoman314
 
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

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Originally Posted by gjc8 View Post
...

The intent of my system is to allow the PCs to choose the level of risk they're going to take in the negotiation. They do want their offer to be as close to the minimum acceptable offer as possible, since they'll get a better price that way, but if the offer is too low, they risk insulting the merchant and losing the ability to make any negotiation at all.
Ahh, I see. That is a cool idea. I didn't read your post carefully enough, as my first thought was that it doesn't really mesh with the existing rules. You have given me something to think about.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:30 AM   #12
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

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Originally Posted by gjc8 View Post
You should give the PCs some ability to determine approximately what the spread is in an initial encounter, so they can avoid insulting merchants this way if they're careful. This might be external to the negotiation, like looking up the invoice price to help in a car negotiation. It might be culturally determined, so that most spreads, say, 10-25% percent of the asking price in a given campaign (and anyone with Merchant knows this). You might allow a successful Merchant roll to sound out an unfamiliar negotiation, and get the spread (approximately; say add 1d-3 x 25%).
That is done by the Connoisseur skill and related defaults or Researching the price to get a feel for the 'real price' to get a feel the difference between the that and the initial offer to get a feel for their initial counter.

Yes this does mean if the Character is that inexperanced with what he's trying to buy it means he can't risk to make too low of an initial offer. If it's the player who inexperance not the charater then this is just like any other case of the GM having to provide a world detail to the player.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:34 AM   #13
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

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That is done by the Connoisseur skill and related defaults or Researching the price to get a feel for the 'real price' to get a feel the difference between the that and the initial offer to get a feel for their initial counter.
Yes! Exactly what I SHOULD have said. That section was basically an afterthought. Looking up the invoice price probably counts as a (really, really easy) use of Research.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:49 AM   #14
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

A simple house-rule to fix that problem is that if the PC both lose the contest and fail their skill roll, the merchant is annoyed/insulted/refuses to further deal with them as they're not serious and locks his price, refusing to budge from his last value. So, when the PC offer ridiculous prices, remember that every 10% off of the fair price gives a -1 penalty to their roll, the PC are more than likely to fail the roll, which will cost them any further negotiations.

For added danger, treat any critical failure on the roll as actually changing the merchant's reaction to hostile, as though the initial reaction roll was a critical failure.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:22 AM   #15
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

Try this on for size: for each offer below the base price, the PC is at a cumulative -1 to their contest rolls. The merchant will put up with some haggling, but he won't sit and dicker all day - he has other things to do, with people who won't try to squeeze him for every penny.

On top of that, if you like, for every full negative multiple between the base price and the starting price that the PC starts at, he's at a -1 to his haggling rolls. In your example, if the merchant starts at $1100, and is willing to go to $1000, then the "reasonable" range is $900+. Below that, to $800, is -1. Further down is -1 per full multiple. In your example, with the PC starting at $600, he's starting at -3 to his haggling rolls.

Combine either or both with the ruling that if the PC ever loses the contest by 10 or more (number adjustable depending on the friendliness of the merchant) he gets told to go away. (And the merchant probably talks to the others he knows in town...)

I don't own Social Engineering, though, so take this with a grain of salt.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:24 AM   #16
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

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Originally Posted by Kallatari View Post
A simple house-rule to fix that problem is that if the PC both lose the contest and fail their skill roll, the merchant is annoyed/insulted/refuses to further deal with them as they're not serious and locks his price, refusing to budge from his last value. So, when the PC offer ridiculous prices, remember that every 10% off of the fair price gives a -1 penalty to their roll, the PC are more than likely to fail the roll, which will cost them any further negotiations.

For added danger, treat any critical failure on the roll as actually changing the merchant's reaction to hostile, as though the initial reaction roll was a critical failure.
That doesn't really come into the haggling. According the RAW, every 10% gives +/-1 to the initial reaction roll, which is used to determine the NPC's counteroffer and minimum price (or potentially the NPC won't want to trade at all, and cause a roll on the Potential Combat table). For the actual haggling, you can already have the NPC fix their price by failing the quick contest by 10 or more during step 3 of the haggling process.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:30 AM   #17
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

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Originally Posted by Jovus View Post
Try this on for size: for each offer below the base price, the PC is at a cumulative -1 to their contest rolls. The merchant will put up with some haggling, but he won't sit and dicker all day - he has other things to do, with people who won't try to squeeze him for every penny.
Firstly, the haggling rules are only for when the GM rules that extensive haggling is acceptable in the situation.

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Originally Posted by Jovus View Post
On top of that, if you like, for every full negative multiple between the base price and the starting price that the PC starts at, he's at a -1 to his haggling rolls. In your example, if the merchant starts at $1100, and is willing to go to $1000, then the "reasonable" range is $900+. Below that, to $800, is -1. Further down is -1 per full multiple. In your example, with the PC starting at $600, he's starting at -3 to his haggling rolls.
Now this I like, I'd have to test the numbers to see if it needs tweaking for balance, but I think that the core of your idea addresses my problem nicely. The problem is that setting your counter-offer much lower makes it easier to haggle to optimum price for a given skill level, and your idea targets exactly that. I'll have a play around and see how it looks.

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Originally Posted by Jovus View Post
Combine either or both with the ruling that if the PC ever loses the contest by 10 or more (number adjustable depending on the friendliness of the merchant) he gets told to go away. (And the merchant probably talks to the others he knows in town...)
As per my last post, the fail-by-10 thing is covered, but great minds think alike I guess (you and the author, not me)
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:33 AM   #18
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

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If I'm trying to sell you a new mercedes and your initial offer is one penny, I'm going to be insulted. That's not haggling, that's mockery.
If a character keeps offering absurdly low prices (or demanding absurdly high prices) in public, then he'll eventually begin accumulating points towards a negative Reputation.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:50 AM   #19
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

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Are you still angry about that? Look, I told you I was short on cash.
Not all goods have equally obvious market values.

I try to reflect that in Sagatafl by having five different haggleability classes that an item can belong to. A liter mug of beer is an example of the lowest haggleability class. No matter how well you haggle, you cannot haggle it down by more than a very few percent. Likewise, no matter how badly you haggle, and how well the barman haggles, you won't have to pay more than a very few percent overprice. In fact the haggleability is so low that it's almost completely pointless to try to haggle, so you'll look silly trying to do so. Just cough up the asked price.

The highest haggleability class represents a very haggleable price. It's not at all clear to anyone what the price should be. That's for very exotic goods, such as a suit of Enchanted mail in my Ärth setting. It's unreasonable to say that there is a "true" or "proper" price, and therefore neither seller nor buyer can in any sense feel certain that they were "cheated". These are rare items, very rarely sold.

Increasing the amount of an item increases haggleability class. One liter of beer is class A. Increase to a 20 liter barrel of beer, and it's class B. Increase again to a shipment of 400 liters of beer, and it's class C (no further increase than 2 Classes is possible). A normal Quality broadsword may be class C, but 12 of them becomes class D, and with 144 or 240 of them (or any other nicely round number) we're talking class E.

Also, of course, in an industrial setting, items tend to shift towards Class A. A brand new car is not Class E unless it's extreme luxury and fitted with multiple Bond-grade-gadgets and is bullet-resistant (or if we're talking one of the very first cars ever produced, i.e. in the late 19th century). Haggleability class has less to do with how expensive the item is, and more to do with how common it is, how frequently they are sold, how much competetion there is (from buyers and from sellers), and how transparet the market is (the medieval market for beer is very transparent - prices can fluctuate in case of bad harvests, but that usually only acts upon the "true" price of beer, rather than on haggleability class, although in some cases beer may become so rare that it takes on a "veneer of luxury" and temporarily shifts up to class B).

It is somewhat cumbersome, and rquires a few square inches of lookup table (unless you want to do percentage calculations during play - I prefer looking up since it's faster), but it is much better simulation of how the real world works, than anything I've seen in any other RPG.

It's also important tonote that the process is 100% character skill-driven. At no point is the player or the GM required or even allowed to suggest a price. The price is "known" by the world (so to speak), and the opposed dice rolls tell what final price was arrived at (so any roleplaying will consist of player and GM arguing about the merits and flaws of the item being sold, rather than at them saying numbers at each other) relative to this "known-by-the-world" price. Neither character is supposed to have good knowledge of the "true" price of a high-haggleability Class item.

One thing I don't know is how to handle it when a character (PC or NPC) decides to walk away from the haggle result without buying. Obviously Reputation Points towards a location-based Reputation may be accumulated, but that's a very long term consequence, and the whole idea is that the haggling process consists of two characters trying to reach agreement of what the correct price should be, so in a way they should both think and feel at the end that the correct price was arrived at.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:59 AM   #20
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Default Re: Social Engineering: Haggling - Broken?

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If I'm trying to sell you a new mercedes and your initial offer is one penny, I'm going to be insulted. That's not haggling, that's mockery.
All right, let's play it out by the RAW.

Here is a Mercedes, fair price $60K. You come in and offer $1. That is effectively 100% under the fair price, so the merchant reacts at -10. With no other reaction modifiers, the average reaction is 0, Disastrous, meaning the merchant wants nothing to do with you, and you have potential combat at -2 (average reaction Poor, threats or insults). The best reaction is 8, Poor, meaning the merchant will ask 120% of fair price, or $72K, and will not accept less than $60K; the PCs can try to haggle him down, but if he listens to them at all, they won't get him below fair price.

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