Buy Low, Sell High
Line Goes Up
Why hello there, and welcome back. As promised earlier this week I wanted to come back to working on finishing up my region, but given the game I have to travel up into town for today and not quite wanting to go back to working on the area I’d already been working on I’ve started fleshing out the area of Karthas. I’ll probably work on that more throughout the week, but for today we’re going to take a look at mercantile (ad)ventures.
When we last left off with the ACKSgrinders they had decided to go their separate ways and seek their fortunes returning in one year’s time. Elvis and Greg decided to pool together their 1500gp and start running some legitimate business. First I’m going to take a look at what kind of surpluses (items with a negative demand modifier are generally surpluses while those with a positive demand modifier are in demand and command a higher price) Origin has from when we rolled it up originally, and it looks like the big ones that jump out to me are Grain, Ivory, Gems, Monster Parts, and Common wood. Ideally they’d like to pick up one of these commodities and take it to a big city where it might be in high demand.
I’d thought about them trying to buy a boat to move the cargo in, but with how poor a market class VI settlement is, and how little starting money they have, that was pretty much an impossibility. Even the humble 40gp canoe is not available in town this month, but they are able to have one commissioned and it will be available within 8 days. A canoe has a 60 stone cargo capacity and can be crewed by two people. How convenient!
Next up we’re going to see what exactly is available in town at the moment. As a tiny class VI market there are 1d3-1 (1) merchants with 1d2 (1) loads of merchandise available. Now we’d need to determine what merchandise the merchant is interested in trading. Elvis is really looking to make a good deal on some cheap goods that would be transportable on their canoe. In order to find or persuade a merchant into trading a particular commodity a reaction roll must be made modified by the demand modifier (added or subtracted depending on if they are looking to buy or sell, making it easier to purchase high/low demand goods or harder to sell high/low demand goods as appropriate). Neither Elvis or Bill have any charisma modifier or proficiencies that would modify this check so considering that a 9+ is needed to select a specific common trade good or a 12+ for a precious commodity, even with the -2 for targeting surplus goods the odds aren’t great for them. Given that most of the common surplus goods are too heavy for their canoe, and they are unlikely to succeed at purchasing an exotic good (and on a failed roll the merchant will not trade with them at all as they are assumed to have found another trader to meet their needs) they decide to let nature take its course and just accept a random roll (83) and find out he is trading in animals (7) warhorses… SERIOUSLY after what Harald was looking to do now there’s a merchant selling them back at Origin!? A load of warhorses is two animals and a base price of 500gp / load. Now we determine the actual price of the “merchandise” by rolling 4d4 (10) modified by demand (0) and multiply by 10 (100%) which sets the current price for the two warhorses at 500gp (which would appear to match the price of two medium warhorses). They buy the horses, and then also decide to commission a small cart (25gp and 5 days) and saddle (25gp and 5 days) as well.
As stupid as this sounds they now have 500gp of merchandise (and 910) taking turns pulling a cart with a canoe and thief on it as the other one rides along with the cart. They leave town heading off for a larger city about 50 miles down the road. A few days later they enter the a class IV town. Upon reaching the town and seeing the wagon, but no obvious merchandise the watch doesn’t charge them the 8gp toll. Once in they check to see how many merchants are active in town this month 1d4(2). Deciding to leave things to the hands of fate once more this one is selling (98) some precious merchandise (47) Ivory and has 2d4 (3) loads of merchandise available at ((4d4-1)*10) % (80%) market value = 640gp / load. They then also want to get the second merchant to buy their horses which are +1 in demand in this town. They need a 8+ on the reaction roll to convince the merchant to purchase the horses and fail. They decide to purchase a single load of ivory for 640gp and pay the 2gp for stabling the cart and horses for a day (leaving them with 268gp) and load it up on the cart then head back out on the road up to the regional capital, a MC III city.
This time upon arriving at the town the guards are a little more ready and assess the 13gp toll - 255gp left). In the large city there are 2d4(5) merchants available and they absolutely want to cash out their in demand ivory and horses here. Ivory is in high demand (+2) here in the capital and on their second attempt they are able to find a merchant willing to purchase it for (4d4+2 = 140% market value) 1,120gp. In addition they are also able to find another merchant to buy the horses at 110% = 550gp. However, the town has a 11% custom duty on transactions that our honest heroes have no desire to pay. Skipping out on the taxes the two thieves are left with 1,925 gp to split amongst themselves by the end of the month. A profit of 425gp over the 1500gp they started with. Split between the two thieves they each receive 212.5 gp. The GP threshold for level 1 characters is 25gp thus they each receive 187xp.
Unfortunately the good times have run out and the watch moves to arrest Elvis and Greg for dodging their taxes, Elvis sneaks out of town in a canoe loaded with some stolen goods from the market and Greg seeks refuge with the thieves guild in town leading to some further hijinks that we’ll be looking into tomorrow.
Overall I think this system has a lot of promise, but also puts a good deal of emphasis on the judge having built up the economic needs and resources of the region, especially trade routes, for the players to attempt to exploit. With a good charisma modifier and maybe a rank or two in the bargaining proficiency. Maybe some thief skills for smuggling. I think there’s a pretty good chance that this could be a great way to fit in some XP and gold between adventures. There’s also some pretty hefty bonuses for trade which occurs within your domain or for goods that the character has a monopoly on. All in all a lot of meat still left on the bone for enterprising players to work with.
So tomorrow we’ll be back with Greg’s thieves guild hijinks and then we’ll probably wrap up the month after Halloween as there’s no chance I’m gonna be able to juggle my daughter’s trick-or-treating and trying to write up an article that day. For now I’m signing off and look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.