Haggling?


Advice


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How do you handle haggling for prices in your game? Do you have your players make a diplomacy check? Do you incorporate bluff and sense motive? Appraise?


Cesare wrote:

How do you handle haggling for prices in your game? Do you have your players make a diplomacy check? Do you incorporate bluff and sense motive? Appraise?

People don't get discounts in real life based on how likable they are unless they are a close friend of the business owner so diplomacy would not drop the price in my games either. Now if they can give the shop keepr a good reason(one that involves the shopkeeper making more money) to give them a discount I can see a DM allowing that.

I don't use appraisal either because I could never figure out a fair system for it that did not get over on the players. I just assume the shop keepers are honest enough to offer fair prices.

If you want to use it in your game I would say appraisal vs sense motive, but the PC's will almost always win that contest.
For appraisal it could be bluff(shop owner) vs the Pc's appraisal, and for every 5 by which the PC's lose they lose 5%.

PS:If the PC win in the case of them being the buyer they get a 5% discount for every 5 by which they beat the sense motive of the shop owner. I just made this up so I have no idea about how well it works.


In all the games my group has run (there's been about four alternating GM's now) it has been a diplomacy check. To set guidelines on the percentage off, set their attitude and every increase in it can be x percent off, but you only get one check.

Sadly, my group members have never tried the bluff approach... if they did (or as my wizard may now) I would give the vendor a sense motive. Success means they know they're being hosed and their prices go up, their attitude goes down.

Grand Lodge

We had a long discussion in my game about how to handle haggling. There were so many skills that fit the bill, such as appraise, diplomacy, sense motive, and bluff. In the end, we didn't see one that encompassed the whole back and forth.

Diplomacy is skill in managing negotiations and handling people so that both parties walk away satisfied leaving little or no ill will. Friendly people have a leg up in the matter, but its certainly not the defining aspect of the skill. Countries that don't like each other "haggle" all the time. BUT, that doesn't account for knowledge of value or the art BS'ing about how this sword was once used by Duke Awesome Shinypants and I can't just let it go for normal price.

The end conclusion was that it should be a skill challenge, because knowledge, negotiation, and lying all play a part. We thought about synergies, but decided that A) those have been phased out of pathfinder, and B) skill challenges seemed a little more exciting and they're "in" at the moment. Yes, we let ourselves be steered by popularity, you can take my cool card away.

Caveat: Haggling is an art form, and if your characters are haggling over every little box of trail rations or dagger, your game will quickly devolve into Andoran Pickers Roadshow the RPG. I can't stress enough that this should be considered a role playing opportunity that loses its glamor VERY fast if overused.

The skill challenge: Haggling comes down to the final diplomacy roll. The challenge follows several steps, the outcome benefiting or hindering the diplomacy roll at the end. In order to keep it from being a minor collection of rolls, this method should *only* be used during one of the rare times that you decide to role play the purchase. Perhaps because the PC's needs something to complete a quest and needs just that little bit extra to afford it. Role play each step and *then* roll. Let the group participate, either by letting different characters take point on different steps, or aiding the point character by pointing out flaws in the merchants argument. Remember, the merchant should have reasonably good ranks in these skills. He does this all day, every day.

Step 1: Appraise to identify value per RAW. Success by 5/10 = +1/+2, failure by 5/10 = -1/-2 to diplomacy check. [The merchant will have undoubtedly spent enough time with this item to assume success, hence the static check.]

Step 2: Merchants bluff vs. your sense motive, Success by 5/10 = +1/+2, failure by 5/10 = -1/-2 to diplomacy check. [Technically speaking, you could lie too, but that would add an extra step, and we felt three was enough]

Step 3: Diplomacy vs. Diplomacy. Base trade = book value, minus the difference. This method can also be used when selling. In that case, the merchant makes the roll for step 1 with the result affecting his diplomacy check, and the base price is 65%, not book value.

Step 3.5: Charm Person adds +5 to your diplomacy check, it does not guarantee success. Just because he likes you, doesn't mean he's just going to give it away.

---standard merchants are at least 5th level experts with these skills maxed out and all three feats used for skill Focus, with cha being their high score for a base of +11 appraise, +13 bluff, +13 diplomacy.

This is a lot, and I don't expect it to appeal to everyone, but I have some pretty rules heavy players.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

We use opposed Diplomacy checks, with the difference between the results being the percentage change in price. So if the PC botches and the NPC really shines, the PC could end up paying more than the item is worth.

I run (or used to run) a swashbuckling, sea-based 3.5 campaign, and the PCs would buy and sell "goods" (generic cargo for ease of play...they were primarily adventurers after all!) at different ports. The PCs have a half-elf beguiler with max ranks in Diplomacy, +6 synergy bonuses from Bluff, Knowledge nobility, and Sense Motive, +2 from being a half-elf, +3 from skill focus, +2 from negotiator, +3 from a Circlet of Persuassion, +3 from a +6 Cloak of Charisma, +3 from her natural Charisma of 16, so at 15th level, she gets a +40 to her Diplomacy rolls!!!!!!!!

So her main contribution to the party is mad loot. It's a party of 8 with a DMPC healer (I usually let another player control her), so the party can afford to have a member that is focused on being the face. She also has some nifty spells. She also has some nifty skill tricks from Complete Scoundrel.


poizen37 wrote:


We had a long discussion in my game about how to handle haggling. There were so many skills that fit the bill, such as appraise, diplomacy, sense motive, and bluff. In the end, we didn't see one that encompassed the whole back and forth.

Diplomacy is skill in managing negotiations and handling people so that both parties walk away satisfied leaving little or no ill will. Friendly people have a leg up in the matter, but its certainly not the defining aspect of the skill. Countries that don't like each other "haggle" all the time. BUT, that doesn't account for knowledge of value or the art BS'ing about how this sword was once used by Duke Awesome Shinypants and I can't just let it go for normal price.

The end conclusion was that it should be a skill challenge, because knowledge, negotiation, and lying all play a part. We thought about synergies, but decided that A) those have been phased out of pathfinder, and B) skill challenges seemed a little more exciting and they're "in" at the moment. Yes, we let ourselves be steered by popularity, you can take my cool card away.

Caveat: Haggling is an art form, and if your characters are haggling over every little box of trail rations or dagger, your game will quickly devolve into Andoran Pickers Roadshow the RPG. I can't stress enough that this should be considered a role playing opportunity that loses its glamor VERY fast if overused.

The skill challenge: Haggling comes down to the final diplomacy roll. The challenge follows several steps, the outcome benefiting or hindering the diplomacy roll at the end. In order to keep it from being a minor collection of rolls, this method should *only* be used during one of the rare times that you decide to role play the purchase. Perhaps because the PC's needs something to complete a quest and needs just that little bit extra to afford it. Role play each step and *then* roll. Let the group participate, either by letting different characters take point on different steps, or aiding the point character by...

+1 Living in countries where haggling is the norm and not the exception, I can attest to it being a skill challenge. Very fun to when you know you got one over on the vendor and cheated when you realize you were bested.


I would go a step further and say that if you allow a roll for haggling and the character fails (or is beaten by the shop owner's roll), the PC actually pays MORE than the beginning price. The player may bark at this, but you tell him that his character was actually convinced by the store owner that the item is ov higher value (or in higher demand).

There has to be a consequence to everything...

Ultradan


Cesare wrote:
How do you handle haggling for prices in your game? Do you have your players make a diplomacy check? Do you incorporate bluff and sense motive? Appraise?

Have the Player either describe their "haggling methodology" OOC or else RP the scene IC ... Player's choice.

Skill Roles (generally Bluff/Sense Motive for the actual haggle, Appraise to determine actual value of item separate from the negotiation, etc.) are used as a back-up to RP, and then DM-judgement determines the result, particularly if the Player's haggling-plan/RP was highly divergent from the roll. Personally, I weight Player actions more strongly unless the Player has no knowledge/skills in this area and desires to let the dice decide entirely. Generally, a great roll will aid a bad plan/RP more than a terrible roll will weigh down a great plan or well-RP'd scene.

Story and fun trump all ...

FWIW,

Rez


Establish an upper and lower price for the item. rule of thumb it to +/- 20% (This Vase, value 100GP has a salable value of 80-120 GP)

Have merchant make a profession: merchant roll.

* If the merchant is actively hawking start with a slightly higher initial bid 'Hey Mister! you want Vase? 130 gold!'
- If PC refuses, immeadiately jump to 120

* If PC asks about object, start with initial high price.

In either case, PC makes an counter offer, and then rolls diplomacy. He's aiming for the result of the profession check. If he bids underneath the lower amount, grant a circumstance penalty. If he fails, move the offer down by a few coins (never below base price). if he succeeds, move it down by 10%

Give the PC three attempts before the merchant settles on his 'final price'

I've found that most goods that have to be haggled for carry a vastly inflated price, and merchants are more than willing to eat into the 'profit' margin of an item. They expect it to be haggled downwards a little or a lot. It is a rare occasion for a merchant to be out of pocket though.

Batts


I use the following formula. When trying to get a discount on a purchase, make a diplomacy check. For mundane items, the DC is 15, and every point above the DC is a 1% discount, so a roll of 30 you could buy things at 85% of book price. For magical items the DC is 15+CL of the item, same discount. When selling, same rules apply, and you can sell them for 1% above the 50% standard per point above the DC you roll.

So yes, in theory, someone with an absurd diplomacy check (+55 or so) could buy something at 50% of its market value and turn around to sell it at 100%. But since such a bonus is pretty absurd, and 20th level characters have much better things to do than spend their days haggling over a few measly gold, it's a loophole I don't bother to close.


...
I check this thread because from the title I thought it was about a new race, a half-hag: Hagling.

/sigh

Now, to answer the actual topic of this thread, for a long time I considered adding the Bargaining skill in the game.
I think that would solve the problem.

Grand Lodge

Ultradan wrote:

I would go a step further and say that if you allow a roll for haggling and the character fails (or is beaten by the shop owner's roll), the PC actually pays MORE than the beginning price. The player may bark at this, but you tell him that his character was actually convinced by the store owner that the item is ov higher value (or in higher demand).

There has to be a consequence to everything...

Ultradan

I originally had that as a possible consequence to the challenge, but I couldn't think of any argument that would get me to pay more than sticker price. It's more fair that way as a game mechanic, but didn't strike me as realistic.


There may be all sorts of skills that lend themselves well to a bartering situation. However, imho, bartering is something best handled through role-playing.

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