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FeiLin 06-28-2021 04:03 AM

Sensible negotiations
 
Unless I'm mistaken, negotiating price as per SE26 incentivises PCs to make ridiculous offers to make the counterpart adjust their price by as much as possible.

For example, let's say I have an item worth $200, initial offer from a merchnant may be (after a reaction roll) $75 and acceptable $100. However, since his response will depend on the PCs answer, the best answer will be M, where M is a sufficiently large number (ie M ≫ $200), because the size of the next price change by the merchant will be a percentage of that. If M is large enough, it's possible to, say, lower M to half it's value, because that will make the NPC hit it's limited ceiling for what he will pay. That feels a bit cheap hack...

I know that haggling cultures in particular are prone to making outrageous offers, but is there an easy way around this? If the offer is outragously large, then shouldn't the response be outrageosly small? I could, of course, simply fiat the whole encounter an declare that "the merchant is unwilling to do business with you", but are there other options of tweaking the rules and still have a smooth bargaining process?

Emerikol 06-28-2021 05:59 AM

Re: Sensible negotiations
 
Yes. You are the GM. The rules are guidelines but you have the authority to override what the rules say when the rules don't make sense and sometimes they don't. Writing rules to handle every conceivable possibility is beyond the skill of mere mortals even the great writers at SJ Games.

If they offer something that you think is insultingly off the charts, just have the merchant tell them they should move along as he has serious business to transact and these fools are in his way.

Varyon 06-28-2021 06:46 AM

Re: Sensible negotiations
 
I'd have to look at the Social Engineering, but you mention a ceiling for what the NPC is willing to pay. I'd suggest a mechanic by which countering with too high* of an offer risks insulting the NPC, reducing the ceiling and having the NPC respond with only a modest boost to their initial offer, if any boost at all. If the ceiling gets dropped lower than what the NPC has already offered, either the NPC walks away from the deal or actually counters with their ceiling "Take it or leave it." As to the mechanic itself... I'm not certain how it should be constructed.

*This would be expressed as some multiple of the item's "true" value, but should have some variability to it.

FeiLin 06-28-2021 10:50 AM

Re: Sensible negotiations
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Emerikol (Post 2386046)
Yes. You are the GM. The rules are guidelines but you have the authority to override what the rules say when the rules don't make sense and sometimes they don't. Writing rules to handle every conceivable possibility is beyond the skill of mere mortals even the great writers at SJ Games.

Sure, gm always has the final say, and don’t get me wrong, I love most of what they do. In this case, however, I’m surprised there are specific percentages for what an NPC offers based on the reaction roll, a few somewhat complicated calculations (for RPG during-play math, that is), followed bye this glaring “glitch” (assuming I got the rules correctly). Plugging that hole may be perhaps beyond mere mortals, but the heroes at sj games surely must’ve missed it or not considered it a problem. But I don’t mean to criticise them as opposed to discuss solutions, though.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Varyon (Post 2386054)
I'd have to look at the Social Engineering, but you mention a ceiling for what the NPC is willing to pay. I'd suggest a mechanic by which countering with too high* of an offer risks insulting the NPC, reducing the ceiling and having the NPC respond with only a modest boost to their initial offer, if any boost at all. If the ceiling gets dropped lower than what the NPC has already offered, either the NPC walks away from the deal or actually counters with their ceiling "Take it or leave it." As to the mechanic itself... I'm not certain how it should be constructed.

*This would be expressed as some multiple of the item's "true" value, but should have some variability to it.

I like that. Ceiling could be twice (thrice?) the accepted price as per reaction roll. If above that, the answer is no price change, but instead the reaction drops one level and the gm hints “you might want to improve your offer…”

Polkageist 06-28-2021 12:35 PM

Re: Sensible negotiations
 
Wait, what? The GM isn't a computer that you found a glitch in the code allowing you to dupe an NPC into overpaying for an item. The purpose of the opposed Merchant roll and the half-price for resale option is to streamline the obviously complex discussions that occur when negotiating a price. The percentages assume that the starting point for the item's value is within a sane (or pre-determined) range. I guess the "glitch" is based on the assumption that the price/value for an item is what the seller (i.e. PC) says it is when offering it for sale?

So yeah, you walk into the store with a $200 widget and tell the shopkeeper "Hey, this is a $2000 widget, want to take it off my hands for $1000?" the shopkeeper will look at you, look at the widget, and say "get lost". Or rather, that's the sane GM's response followed by a good laugh and then a request to quit wasting time trying to scam shopkeepers or at least come up with a better (i.e. non-meta) con. For one, an item's value is independent of what the PC says it is (from a metagame standpoint) and a given shopkeeper would probably have an (in game) idea of what a widget is worth which ought to disarm the truly outlandish propositions. Then, if you have a superb reaction roll then he'll give you a great deal relative to that widget because you're a hoopy frood, but not based on the PC quoting some absurdly high value.

Emerikol 06-28-2021 01:08 PM

Re: Sensible negotiations
 
I think the previous poster is right in that there needs to be a market value for something that is being bought and sold. That market value should dictate the direction of negotiations. With good skill you might get some percent over market value but you won't get some outrageous amount miles above market value.

Pursuivant 06-28-2021 11:04 PM

Re: Sensible negotiations
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FeiLin (Post 2386038)
I know that haggling cultures in particular are prone to making outrageous offers, but is there an easy way around this? If the offer is outrageously large, then shouldn't the response be outrageously small? I could, of course, simply fiat the whole encounter an declare that "the merchant is unwilling to do business with you", but are there other options of tweaking the rules and still have a smooth bargaining process?

The GM can always rule that outrageously low offers trigger an additional reaction roll from the merchant at -1 per [$ increment] below the fair price. That might result in the merchant refusing to do business with the character or otherwise altering their Reaction. ("Offer me just a quarter of what my goods are worth? I'll show her! The city watch might be very interested to know that Ayeesha the Rogue just bought 10 barrels of flammable oil and 100 yards of slow match.")

If a merchant accepts an outrageously low offer there should be strings attached. For example, the item might have been sold by a disgruntled employee to spite their boss, triggering attempts by the item's rightful owner to recover it. Or, the item is actually defective, radioactive, stolen, or otherwise "too hot to handle."

Alternately, since haggling depends on personal relations and reciprocity, the sale might come with additional non-financial obligations. "I'll give you a great deal this time, but you owe me one." or "I'll give you a great deal, but I want you to do me a favor."

If a NPC merchant accepts an outrageously low offer due to the PC's reaction bonuses, that implies that the merchant gets some non-financial benefit from the sale. Expect to see advertising mentioning the character's name ("Come to Tawfeek's Armoury, where Raslan the Mighty buys his swords!") and/or rumors which aid the merchant's business ("I heard that Tawfeek is under Raslan the Mighty's personal protection. Let's not shake him down for protection money this month.").

Characters might also have to put up with a certain amount of fanboy/creep behavior on the part of the merchant and their staff, posing for pictures, signing autographs, and other types of "fan service." This might take extra time or bring extra attention if the character wishes to get the full discount. ("Sorry I'm late. I got a fantastic price on the ceremonial candles you wanted, but it took me two hours before the chandler stopped asking me questions about the time we were marooned on the Isle of Dread.")

whswhs 06-29-2021 06:09 AM

Re: Sensible negotiations
 
If the fair price is $200, then $2000 asked is $1800 over. That's 900%. There's a -1 reaction modifier per 10% over, so the merchant's reaction is rolled at -90. I might not have combat occur (if this is a merchant confronting armed adventurers), but the merchant is going to reject the proposed price and not even make a counteroffer. And it's the merchant's initial reaction that determines the merchant's counteroffer.

Anaraxes 06-29-2021 07:44 AM

Re: Sensible negotiations
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2386200)
There's a -1 reaction modifier per 10% over

As found on B562, in the Commercial Transactions section of NPC Reactions (after the Reaction Table). The suggestions above to add a modifier to the reaction roll based on how reasonable or unreasonable the offer is are good ones, and in fact already RAW.

Pursuivant 06-29-2021 07:05 PM

Re: Sensible negotiations
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by whswhs (Post 2386200)
I might not have combat occur (if this is a merchant confronting armed adventurers), but the merchant is going to reject the proposed price and not even make a counteroffer.

If a reaction modifier indicates that the NPC "attacks" the PCs, it's only logical to assume that they will do so on their own terms and in their own time. Essentially, they turn into a temporary Enemy until the PCs make amends.

Unless you have a very stupid and impulsive merchant, or you're running the sort of DF or martial arts campaign where everyone has combat skills and is willing to use them, they're not going to physically attack a PC.

Instead, they will "attack" indirectly. For example, an ordinary 21st century merchant will call the cops/security, file a lawsuit or a restraining order, use their influence in the community to blacklist the PCs, or all of the above. This might be as simple as, "You're insulting my products and wasting my time. You are no longer welcome in my store. You have 30 seconds to leave before I call security."


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