Barter

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Description

Ability Score Used: Wisdom
Usable Untrained? Yes
Armor Check Penalty Applies? No

Barter is the ability to accurately estimate the value of an item, and either buy or sell it to a merchant. Unlike diplomacy, this is the art of haggling, rather than charming or establishing long-term relationships. Barter can also be used to identify the presence of magic on objects, and even identify the properties of magic items.

As with all skills, the uses below are merely suggestions, and by no means the full gamut of possible ways a skill can be used. Players and GM's are encouraged to find additional ways to use each skill.

Appraise Value

When evaluating an item's value, the player rolls the dice and tells the DM the result. The DM then compares that check against a DC to see the result. A DC 20 Appraise check determines the value of a common item. The DC of appraising a magical item is 5 + double the caster level of the item. If the player's roll succeeds against either DC by 5 or more, you also determine if the item has magic properties, although this success does not grant knowledge of the magic item's abilities, it's a simple binary "that is magical" or "that is not magical." If you fail the check by less than 5, you determine the price of that item to within 20% of its actual value. If you fail this check by 5 or more, the price is wildly inaccurate, subject to GM discretion. Particularly rare or exotic items might increase the DC of this check by 5 or more, magical or not.

You can also use this check to determine the most valuable item visible in a treasure hoard. The DC of this check is generally 5 + double the CR of the hoard's former owner, but can increase to as high as 10 or even 15 plus double the CR for a particularly large or esoteric hoard.

Action Required:

Standard action

DC of Check:

20 for common items, DC 5 + double caster level for magic items, DC 5-15 plus double CR for hoards.

Modifiers to Check

Particularly rare or exotic items might increase the DC of this check by 5 or more.

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

Yes (up to 5 allies)

Results of Success

You are able to accurately estimate the price of the object

Consequences of Failure

If you fail by less than 5, you determine the price of that item to within 20% of its actual value. If you fail this check by 5 or more, the price is wildly inaccurate, subject to GM discretion.

Retry Allowed?

No, since you have no reason to believe you are wrong.

Provokes AOO?

Yes

Bargain

Bargaining is a classic part of the role-playing experience, and players are encouraged to try to squeeze the best prices they can manage from the local merchants. The mechanism for this has been simplified to keep it quick, so the other players don't get bored waiting for the bard to finish his shopping.

Bargaining may only be performed by one PC, and the Aid Another action may not be used to boost the PC's barter skill. However, the bargaining PC doesn't need to be the PC who wants to buy (or sell) the item in question. Sending in the charming Sorcerer to negotiate the entire party's purchases is just a good idea, and the shopkeepers quite enjoy hanging around such charming people.

Players may elect to bargain for each individual item they wish to buy or sell, or they may bundle them all together for a single bargaining check, as they wish. There are no bonuses or penalties for doing this.

Action Required:

5 minutes to an hour

DC of Check:

The DC of the barter check made by a player seeking to buy or sell an item to a magic shop is based on the size of the town or village in which she is shopping.

Players may always elect to skip the barter check, and accept a 50% sell value for their items, or buy items for 100% of the merchant's sale price. Note that this is exactly like failing the check to the maximum extent, so really, rolling is encouraged.

Selling an item to a merchant:
  • Starting value the merchant will pay for the item is 55% of the item's full value, if you are making a barter roll to negotiate.
  • +1% per 1 point over the Merchant's Barter DC, Maximum 75% of item value.
  • -1% per 1 point under Merchant's Barter DC, Minimum 50% of item value.
Buying an item from a merchant
  • Starting value the merchant will sell the item for is 95% of the item's value, if you are making a barter roll to negotiate.
  • -1% per 1 point over the Merchant's Barter DC, minimum 80% of the item value.
  • +1% per 1 point under the Merchant's Barter DC, maximum 100% of the item value.
Modifiers to Check

Collector NPC's: The GM can define a few NPCs as collectors, traders, or antiquarians interested in unusual items PCs collect after their adventures. If the PCs establish an amiable relationship with these collectors, the GM can declare them to be a merchant in their own right, and may define a seperate coffer limit and 'settlement size' for them individually. An example might be a quaint hamlet who cannot scrape together a dozen coppers, but there is an old retired adventurer who lives there who has an entire exradimensional mansion filled with loot who can buy or sell anything yor players could want...as long as he's having a good day.

Unusual Merchants: The GM is encouraged to allow players ways to use their loot. Not all merchants live in settlements and have shops. A merchant might be a passing tinker with his wagon, or a caravan that travels a circuit and shows up every Wednesday. A merchant could be a magic grotto where a Genie appears every day at noon and will buy and sell if you're there when he arrives. A Merchant can even be a magic fountain you throw money into until the item you want falls out, or a Magical Murder Bag into which you place money and withdraw scary toys. Any and all such things should be fully defined as a merchant, with target DC's and coffer limits.

Flooding the Market: When PCs attempt to sell multiples of a durable good, the GM may lower the offered prices by 10% or more to reflect market saturation in that location. For example, a border town patrolled by guards with crossbows can always use more +1 bolts, but has limited use for a wagon-load of spiked chains, so the Initial and Final Offers for the spiked chains would be 10% lower.

Trade Goods: Trade goods are exempt from bargaining, even in extraordinary circumstances. Trying to do such tricks as buying magic items from a low DC merchant and selling it at a high DC merchant counts as a trade good, and as soon as the merchant realizes you're setting up a trade, he considers you a competitor and shuts down the deal. Sorry, all you enterprising sorts out there!

Using Magic During Negotiations: An unscrupulous character may use magic to charm or dupe buyers into accepting inflated prices. Something as simple as Charm Person (Spell) can alter the Barter and Sense Motive DCs by 5 in the player's favor for an entire negotiation, and a specific suggestion can alter the result on a single roll by 10 in the caster's favor. When the buyer later realizes that magic influenced the negotiation, she will refuse to deal with the offender any further and will attempt to get her money back, or even report the offender to the local authorities. Trying to dupe or trick a merchant often works the first time, but rarely works after that, and a merchant's greatest punishment is simply refusing to do business. Repeat offenders may find themselves blacklisted in entire nations or continents, so be careful!

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

No. If you and your allies gang up on the merchant, he'll bring in his merchant buddies to even the odds.

Results of Success

The price received for selling an item to a merchant is increased, or the price paid when buying an item from a merchant is reduced, as indicated in the "DC of Check" section, above.

Consequences of Failure

A failed check means the PC pays (or buys at) the normal amount for the item. A PC selling an item to a merchant gets 50% of the item's value, while a PC buying from a merchant must pay 100% of the item's value.

Retry Allowed?

You must wait 24 hours to retry bargaining with the same merchant.

Provokes AOO?

Yes

Spot Most Valuable Item

You can use Barter to quickly scan an area you can perceive and spot the most valuable item in that area. This can be used, for example, to find a specific lost brooch in a pile of treasure, or to improve the results of Steal and Pick Pocket maneuvers by singling out the juiciest targets, etc. GM's are the final arbiter of what can be discovered with this skill use.
Action Required:

Standard action

DC of Check:

Average DC for the Caster Level of the item, or for the character level / CR of the owner (if it is a non-magical item).

Modifiers to Check

This action can be performed as a move action at +10 on the DC, or a swift action at +20 on the DC.

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

Yes (up to 5 allies)

Results of Success

You successfully spot the most valuable item in the scanned area.

Consequences of Failure

If you fail by less than 5, you narrow it down to a few items. If you fail by more than 5, you have no idea, or (at GM discretion) you choose the wrong item.

Retry Allowed?

No

Provokes AOO?

Yes

Detect Magic On Objects

You can detect the presence of magical auras of one or more objects in an area or on a creature, as Detect Magic (Spell). Unlike the spell, however, this skill cannot be used on creatures or spell effects which are not applied directly to an object. You cannot, for example, identify an illusion of a wall hiding a hallway, the aura of a paladin, the summoned nature of a creature or the lingering presence of polymorph on an impostor. You can, however, given time to study a particular creature or room, determine whether or not there are any items present which are magical in nature.

Note that, even though this is an extraordinary ability (i.e. non-magical), using Barter to detect the presence of magic is not subtle. Anyone observing you will know what you are doing as you closely examine, fondle, and check the objects in the area.

Action Required:

1 to 3 full rounds, as Detect Magic (Spell)

DC of Check:

Hard DC with a level equal to the CL of the object being studied, or the character level of the target, or the target's owner if you are studying an area.

Modifiers to Check

Some spell effects exist to specifically mask auras against Detect Magic. In such cases, this skill use does not detect the presence of magic.

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

No

Results of Success

You detect magical auras on the studied object or within the scanned area, if any magical auras are present. The amount of information revealed depends on how long you scan the area or study the object:

1st Round: Presence or absence of magical auras in the scanned area, or on the studied object.
2nd Round: Number of different magical auras and the power of the most potent aura.
3rd Round: The strength and location of each aura. If the items bearing the auras are in line of sight, you can make Knowledge (Arcana) skill checks to determine the school of magic involved in each. (Make one check per aura: DC 15 + spell level, or 15 + 1/2 caster level for a non-spell effect.) If the aura emanates from a magic item, you can attempt to identify its properties (see Divinity, Naturalism, or Spellcraft).
Consequences of Failure

You are not able to discern any magical auras in the area, or on the item or creature being studied.

Retry Allowed?

You must wait 24 hours to attempt this again on the same creature, object, or area. Any attempts prior to that always fail.

Provokes AOO?

Yes

Identify Properties of a Magic Item

You can use Barter to identify the properties and command words (if any) of a magic item you are holding. This is identical to the Divinity, Naturalism, or Spellcraft ability to identify magic items.

Barter may also be used to assist another party member's attempt at determining the properties of a magic item, even if the other party member is using a different skill to make the check.

Action Required:

5 minutes

DC of Check:

10 + double the caster level of the item

Modifiers to Check

-

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

Yes (up to 5 allies).

Results of Success

Item is identified, including the command words (if any) needed to trigger its magical properties.

Consequences of Failure

Item is not identified

Retry Allowed?

You must wait 24 hours before retrying on the same item. Any attempts in the meantime always fail.

Provokes AOO?

Yes

Retry Barter Check (Epic)

You can attempt to retry a barter skill check within the same 24-hour period.

This is an epic skill use, and requires at least 21 ranks in the skill before it may be attempted.

Action Required:

The same amount of time as the skill use being performed (in addition to the time used for the first attempt).

DC of Check:

+10 to the original Barter skill check DC

Modifiers to Check

-

Take 10? / Take 20?

No

Allows Assists?

No

Results of Success

Your price is reduced (when buying) or your sales value is increased (when selling), as Bargain.

Consequences of Failure

You pay full price (100%) of an item's value when buying items, or receive half price (50%) of an item's value when selling items to this merchant.

Retry Allowed?

Yes, each time you retry, your DC increases an additional +10.

Provokes AOO?

Yes