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Old 05-10-2020, 05:00 PM   #1
LoneWolf23k
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Default Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

So, just a stray thought I had; if one were to build a Banestorm campaign centered around a merchant company going back and forth across Ytarria, transporting goods from one corner of the continent to the other, and it's members always ending up getting caught up in some adventuring nonsense wherever they happened, what would be a good resource to go to for rules for travelling merchants?
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:11 PM   #2
Steen
 
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Default Re: Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

Low-tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics will probably help you out a lot, particularly Chapter 7 called Transportation.
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

If you are feeling adventurous, you could adapt the rules from Spaceships 2.
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

Christopher Rice has had a few pyramid articles and blog entries that could be useful.
Pyramid 3/87 Purveyors of the priceless and the designer notes


A DF blog post about merchanting

DF 16 Wilderness and 17 Guilds have some useful things.
Social Engineering has a lot of useful things about reactions and influence rolls


Gurps Traveller Far Trader for 3rd has a lot of economics and trade discussions though set in a sf setting.
Spaceships 2 has rules for running a merchant ship that wouled apply to caravans.
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

Not so much rules, but you could read episode/chapter summaries for inspiration: Spice and Wolf.

Mercator RPG adapts classic Traveller trade and commerce rules for the Roman Mediterranean.
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Old 05-10-2020, 05:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

GURPS Hot Spots: The Silk Road might have some stuff worth stealing.
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Old 05-11-2020, 05:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

There are some relevant rules in GURPS Social Engineering.
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Old 05-11-2020, 06:01 AM   #8
Randover
 
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Default Re: Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

Aside from list of trade good prizes. Story beats Math.

It's great to have detail, don't get me wrong. But the big building stones of your adventures are better without complex economy.

If anything I would focus on one type of trade good. Weapons, Cloths etc. This way your players stand chance to understand all the relations. Being the general traveling merchant is realy hard (both on GM, and players). Sure they could use great opportunities in other commodities, but we all need some guide-lines, something we understand.

The math part you want to avoid is calculation how much profit players need from this job, to be able to do the next one. Or at least to keep the progress of story going. Volumes of goods, days of travel (travel rations), fair market values and taxes (fees for using roads and bridgess or entering towns). All this can overhelm GM and players quickly.

I would build it more abstract and GOAL orriented.
1. mission - Turn profit in trading spices
challanges - a/ local gang will try to bully players
- b/ make deal with local merchants (not only buyer, but also the competition - unless Win/Win solution is found futher bussiness can be crippled)
- c/ some other side-quest that can yield good intel for next trade opportunity and progresses the story
- d/ plan your next move based on intel you have (here players could deside to do riskier stuff, agree on goals as profit could be means to other end. (wedding, revolution, exploration...)
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Old 05-11-2020, 07:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

Are you and your players more interested in the trading, or in telling merchant stories?



A while ago I had a big old long conversation about how these games worked, and I learned that "merchant" games usually aren't about making money through shrewd trading. Usually they're about a bunch of extra-legal trouble shooters and trouble makers traveling from city to city, getting a blank slate each time. They usually aren't financially savvy, and they usually don't have the funds to buy the investment goods that would actually make their route worth it.


The main exception to that is stories of exploration where the merchants are traveling through exceptionally dangerous terrain, and the adventure happens in getting the cargo to its destination. In which case we still don't pay too much attention to the savvy trader, but pay attention to the skilled warriors or experienced wilderness guide.
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Old 05-11-2020, 12:29 PM   #10
LoneWolf23k
 
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Default Re: Banestorm: Wandering Merchants campaign concept

Thanks for all the responses. Honestly, this has mostly been an academic exercise, although someday I would like to try to run a "merchants going around a fantasy world" style campaign, and neither D&D nor Pathfinder really scratch that itch, except in a more abstract "why you're in Location X" plot excuse.

And heck, "Merchant Venues" is one of the example campaign types listed in GURPS Banestorm.
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