Appraise Every Single One?


Rules Questions


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My party members just got a big pile of loot with various items. My question is, do we HAVE to roll for appraise for every single individual item? It seems so boring to have to make so many rolls over something we're just turning in for gold anyway.


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In 3....

2....

1....

Ask your GM.


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I AM the GM.

Liberty's Edge

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Blue Tempest wrote:
I AM the GM.

Ask yourself? =)

But seriously, this is a choice you get to make. Personally, I've never made a player appraise anything common - appraise is for rare and interesting occasions, not determining the market value of a dagger.

Edit - In the campaigns I run, I typically set up a Google Doc to track party inventory, leaving an entry at the bottom that says "===move items below here if you want GM to convert them to gold===", it seems to work well.


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My experience is that most GMs hand-waive the minor stuff and might ask for rolls on the substantial items, if someone has put a rank into Appraise.

Appraise is one of those 'fiddly' rules that really needs to be refined or go away.


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If the information is important for them to have in the moment (like an item they need to use to do a thing) then they should roll. If it's just loot, as long as someone can take 20 and know what it is there is no reason not to just give them the list of items.


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What i mean is, the group came across a bit pile of loot via a bunch of valuable items. They can tell right away what each item is, but they want to appraise their gold value. But at the same time, they're asking if they seriously have to roll for each and every one of them.


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Gallant Armor wrote:
If the information is important for them to have in the moment (like an item they need to use to do a thing) then they should roll. If it's just loot, as long as someone can take 20 and know what it is there is no reason not to just give them the list of items.

I don't believe you can take 20 on Appraise, since you get inaccurate results on sufficiently bad rolls.

However, you can certainly take 10 if you're not evaluating loot in the heat of combat for some reason. Can they hit the necessary DC 20 that way?


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If they know what is than they know the value. At least that's how my group plays it.

The Exchange

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Unless you plan on role-playing them haggling with merchants, there's usually not a reason to drag it out. Especially when it comes to "common" items, you can assume all the PCs know how much a +1 dagger sells for.

If you plan on introducing a wildly expensive trade good (the Arkenstone?) later, so expensive that 20% is significant to their loot total, you may want to have them roll on a couple of things now just to get used to the idea that Appraise may matter. (Or if you think it will make an amusing scene later for the party to be *sure* that a gem is worth tens of thousands of gp but every merchant offers them 5 gp for "that interesting piece of quartz.")


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
If the information is important for them to have in the moment (like an item they need to use to do a thing) then they should roll. If it's just loot, as long as someone can take 20 and know what it is there is no reason not to just give them the list of items.

I don't believe you can take 20 on Appraise, since you get inaccurate results on sufficiently bad rolls.

However, you can certainly take 10 if you're not evaluating loot in the heat of combat for some reason. Can they hit the necessary DC 20 that way?

Not knowing the true value isn't a penalty as long as you eventually find the true value, but technically you are right given that you can't retry. I would still allow it unless you really wanted to RP having to research the value of an item.


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They're not exceedingly rare and valuable objects. Just various bits of art or small figurines or jewels each worth about 50-500 GP each.


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If they are not mechanical items, you could just say "you found a cache of various bits of art or small figurines or jewels worth a total of X GP" with a single appraise check if you want to have one at all.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Is it a gem, art object, or something particularly rare or unusual? If not, no Appraise check is necessary (in my games).


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The RAW says the DC to determine the value of a "common" item is DC 20.

Seems high to me, but then I watch one episode of the Price is Right and see real people who don't know the price of a common toaster or a common bottle of bleach.

OK, the RAW says it's 20 so that's what it is.

Anybody with Appraise as a class skill, a decent intelligence, and a few ranks in Appraise can learn to know the EXACT price of EVERY common item in the entire world by level 5 or so.

Sure, level 5 isn't your average commoner, but consider: one level 5 Expert or Aristocrat could literally own the Price is Right, knowing the exact price of everything in the whole show. How often does that happen?

So, maybe DC 20 is fair. Maybe everybody shouldn't be able to look at a "common" item and instantly know its exact price every time.

In Low-Level Pathfinder, it seems reasonable to have newbie adventurers stumble over knowing the value of some common items from time to time. But by mid-level, or even upper-low-level, there probably should be somebody in the group who has become expert enough to never screw it up (can make a Take-10 check automatically).

All reasonable by RAW.

That all applies to one person. But adventurers usually travel in groups. Everybody in the group can try to help since this skill can be used untrained. Each person who can make a DC10 check adds +2 to the check of the PC attempting to Appraise the item. Statistically, for most groups, that means at least +2 or +4 to the roll. Now you just need an INT-caster or anybody with a rank in Appraise as a class skill and you'll automatically succeed on a Take-10 even as low as level 1 or 2.

Hardly worth worrying about.

What probably isn't reasonable (or at least isn't reasonably fun for most people), is making dozens of Appraise checks every time the party loots a corpse or opens a chest.

So to the OP's question, I wouldn't make them do that for common stuff they are just taking to town to sell - between having a rank or two, Taking-10, Aid Another, and the merchant's own skill, this is generally automatic (though the merchant might try to cheat them, but most merchants won't do that often or word will get around and they won't ever have any customers).

I would make them roll Appraise checks for uncommon things. I also would make them roll if they insist on dividing it up right at that moment in mid-adventure, or if for some reason the adventure depended on them knowing an exact value "The secret door only opens when a common item worth exactly 6gp 5sp is placed in the bowl by the statue's feet" or some such weird thing.

The rest of the time, don't break the flow of the narrative for mundane things like Appraise checks.


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The issue with Appraise is the same issue with using Knowledge Checks to identify monsters. By RAW we're supposed to make said checks to gain the relevant information in character... But in practice the book is right there on our shelves, and we've already learned the vast majority of this information out of character, so we cheat.

For the most part, GMs let us (or as GMs we let our players), because it isn't all that much fun for your PCs to know they are being screwed; either out of a huge percentage of their potential gold because they didn't invest one of their fairly limited supply of skill points into Appraise, or into a TPK because none of them invested in the right Knowledge skill to identify the Troll they know out of character they are fighting.


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I WANT my players to learn Knowledges, and I suppose Appraise fits under that umbrella. I try hard to reward them if they put ranks in one. And yeah, I insist on rolls.

But I have come to greatly appreciate the Background Skills option from Pathfinder Unchained. The option gives everyone an extra 2 ranks/level to put into the skills that are least likely to absorb precious ranks from classes. I've seen good stuff coming from the option so far.

I fiddled with Unchained's list, I admit:
> adding Climb, Knowledge (local), Ride, and Swim;
> removing Perform and Sleight-of-Hand as too class-oriented. (I don't mind SoH so much, but Bards can do really impressive stuff with Perform!)

And yes, Appraise is on the RAW Background Skills list, for obvious reasons.

So my rec to the OP would be to run over and check it out, and consider implementing it retro-actively if the party isn't of too high a level. While announcing that a bonus of at least +8 in Appraise would be a very useful thing to eliminate tedium! (On the theory that someone could provide a +2 from Aid Another.)


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ask the PCs if they want to appraise something, anything, or nothing--it's up to them. If they just want to haul everything to a merchant and trust they'll get a reasonable price, they don't need to appraise anything at all. Most people in the real world who take in old watches and jewelry to a pawn shop really have no idea what their stuff is worth. If the PCs want to only grab the most valuable items out of the hoard (perhaps because of encumbrance or other issues), then yes, they'd need to appraise the items. Often, it's best to handle this stuff via e-mail in between sessions if the timing works out.


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bitter lily wrote:

I WANT my players to learn Knowledges, and I suppose Appraise fits under that umbrella. I try hard to reward them if they put ranks in one. And yeah, I insist on rolls.

But I have come to greatly appreciate the Background Skills option from Pathfinder Unchained. The option gives everyone an extra 2 ranks/level to put into the skills that are least likely to absorb precious ranks from classes. I've seen good stuff coming from the option so far.

I fiddled with Unchained's list, I admit:
> adding Climb, Knowledge (local), Ride, and Swim;
> removing Perform and Sleight-of-Hand as too class-oriented. (I don't mind SoH so much, but Bards can do really impressive stuff with Perform!)

And yes, Appraise is on the RAW Background Skills list, for obvious reasons.

So my rec to the OP would be to run over and check it out, and consider implementing it retro-actively if the party isn't of too high a level. While announcing that a bonus of at least +8 in Appraise would be a very useful thing to eliminate tedium! (On the theory that someone could provide a +2 from Aid Another.)

Likewise I always use Background Skills in my campaigns, and usually modify the list slightly. My Background Skill house rules include:

---Perform is an Adventuring Skill for Bards & Skalds.
---Craft (Alchemy) is an Adventuring Skill for Alchemists & Investigators.
---Climb, Swim, and Survival are always Background Skills.
(Because almost nobody invests in them otherwise.)
---Handle Animal is always an Adventuring Skill.
(Handle Animal gets nixed from the Background list in part because of Animal Companions, but also because you can use it to train animals for Combat.)

I don't generally shift the Knowledge Skills around because all of the ones considered Adventuring Skills can be used to Identify Monsters. But I also tend to be more lenient with defining Lore skills than the RAW suggests, so long as the topic defined is still narrower than whichever Knowledge Skill it would otherwise be a subset of.


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My group no one ever uses appraise.

We also strictly use wealth by level and items self for half their cost always.


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Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I've been tinkering with how to deal with appraise. Making them roll for some obscure piece of art makes sense. Making them roll for even ordinary objects, however, seems silly when I make them do it. I think I'm going to require that *someone* has appraise if they really want to know what most stuff is. If you don't, it becomes a useless skill that nobody puts ranks into, concentrating on only those skills they know I am religious about (knowledge, in particular).

I need to read the background skills section a bit more carefully. Maybe that's the better answer.


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Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Cantriped wrote:
---Climb, Swim, and Survival are always Background Skills. (Because almost nobody invests in them otherwise.)

Huh, we actually use these pretty regularly. Granted, they are probably very campaign specific, too. Since I'm running both Mummy's Mask (sort of) and Giantslayer, survival is necessary in certain parts (albeit not a focus through the entire campaign). I'm also doing an interim through Ire of the Storm and Seers of the Drowned City, so obviously swim is necessary, and will be rolled heavily. Climb is the least required because climb DCs are generally low, and only a few ranks gets you into the automatic range (coupled with climb kits and swappable magic, of course).

@Claxon: APs are so far over wealth by level I have given up worrying about it. So is the Ire of the Storm module for that matter. Of course, the party tends to walk around with a lot of equipment they can't sell because I also enforce economy rules, hehe.


I usually use it when the PCs go to sell their items. They can choose to roll for each or as a collective (generally it's as a collective). With a successful DC20 appraise check they get 50% of the listed price and, if unsuccessful, they get 40% of the listed price.

Makes it quick and easy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Loot is problematic.

When it's just a pile of oddly-shaped gold pieces, it kind of loses its lustre, and it just becomes a question of how much closer you are to buying the next magic item you've already picked out.

Using the appraise skill, however, is extremely depressing and fastidious. It's adding major slices of game time to an operation that is already somewhat tedious.

What we usually do is just have the DM read off the list of loot, and we note it down, assuming that our characters managed to detect magic on all the magic items and successfully appraise all the minor stuff.

I mean, when your loot looks like this:
2 silver candelsticks, 30 gp
1 scrimshaw carving of a walrus, 45 gp
1 laquered screen painted with cranes and ricefields, 100 gp
5 small lapis gems, 50 gp each
3 ivory armbands of interlaced ravens, 75 gp each

And that goes on for a while longer... just *listing* the loot can be tedious enough, without going to all the trouble of using the appraise skill on it.

Which is why larger hoards tend to just say "15,800gp worth of assorted gems, jewelry and minor art objects."


Cantriped wrote:

Likewise I always use Background Skills in my campaigns, and usually modify the list slightly. My Background Skill house rules include:

---Perform is an Adventuring Skill for Bards & Skalds.
---Craft (Alchemy) is an Adventuring Skill for Alchemists & Investigators.
---Climb, Swim, and Survival are always Background Skills.
(Because almost nobody invests in them otherwise.)
---Handle Animal is always an Adventuring Skill.
(Handle Animal gets nixed from the Background list in part because of Animal Companions, but also because you can use it to train animals for Combat.)

I don't generally shift the Knowledge Skills around because all of the ones considered Adventuring Skills can be used to Identify Monsters. But I also tend to be more lenient with defining Lore skills than the RAW suggests, so long as the topic defined is still narrower than whichever Knowledge Skill it would otherwise be a subset of.

The distinction we made that was most interesting for me was that you think of Survival as a Background Skill, while my group wants to invest in it because they know it can save your life. Meanwhile, I didn't think about the consequences of leaving Handle Animal on the list, in terms of combat-trained animals. OTOH, the only companion I'm handling at the moment has gotten to Int 3, so I'm waiving most of the Handle Animal rolls for her companion hunter. But if you want to ride horses or drive a cart getting from one adventure to another? Be prepared for a Handle Animal roll every now and then -- but you probably don't want to pay for your rank in "hard currency."

I have to admit, I completely re-examined Knowledge skills, so I suppose saying I stuffed Knowledge (local) onto the Background Skills list wasn't very informative of me. For my game, it covers knowledge of local gossip, not knowledge of Humanoid traits.


Yeah I didn't shift Survival out of a belief it was less valuable than other skills. I chose to shift it as a means of encouraging players to feel like they could afford to take it (same for swim and climb).

According to the RAW, Knowledge (Local) covers such a huge number of topics it isn't really fair in comparison to other Knowledge categories.

There is also the unusual corner-case that Knowledge (Engineering) is considered a Background Skill, but under some circumstances you can use it to identify some constructs (Robots). With it and Craft being Background Skills you can meet the Prerequisites for crafting Technological Items without touching your Adventuring Skill Points. In a campaign that featured lots of Tech, I'd consider shifting it to being an Adventuring Skill.

I also considered listing Handle Animal as only being an Adventuring Skill for Druids, Rangers, and Hunters... but that didn't seem fair. Isofar as driving is concerned. You can do much of that untrained, or use Profession (which is still always a Background Skill).

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