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nitestar4 January 16th, 2009 02:57 AM

Broker Hiring issues
Mechanically hiring a broker can work really well for someone. But, I've run into one problem and maybe it's just my understanding of the trade rules. So the broker gets a percentage of the purchase price and the sale price, different brokers usually.
But, given that, isn't it in the broker's best interest to make the purchase price as high as possible? All done by die roll yes, but the fluff around the mechanic doesn't make sense to me.
So, a reward for making a steal of a purchase price would be in order I think. I was thinking originally of their percentage of the difference between standard price and the purchase price, but then that would cut them short for most rolls, never mind the rolls where the purchase prise is more than the standard.
How would you all resolve it, or just leave it as is?


Icosahedron January 16th, 2009 03:45 AM

Not sure how Mongoose works things, I haven't got the book yet, but would a percentage of the book price work? If the broker gets a good price he doesn't gain financially, but indirectly by improved reputation and customer base. With a NPC this can be ignored, but for a PC it could be roleplayed. It might even give an experience roll if such things exist in MGT.

CosmicGamer January 16th, 2009 12:53 PM

Yes, the amount a hired broker gets is based on the purchase or sale price. The percentage the broker gets of the purchase or sale price is based on the brokers ability (or effort?).

The combination of these and other factors and even a random dice roll determine the final amount the broker gets. In other words the amount they are payed is determined at the end of the transaction and is partially based on their results (DM).

- Cargo normally is purchased for 100,000cr
- No DMs other than broker
- Roll will be a 10 which is fairly average for 3d6 and with no DMs would be 100%

Option 1
Broker has a +2 DM and tries his best.
100,000cr x 90% = purchase price of 90,000
90,000 x 2% = 1800cr for the broker

Option 2
Broker has a +2 DM but is stupid and thinks that he will get more by not working the price down so only works at a +1DM.
100,000cr x 95% = purchase price of 95,000
95,000cr x 1% = 950cr for the broker

The broker and the characters do not sit down and discuss the mechanics of this calculation. The end result determines the amount the broker is due and the calculation is for the GM to calculate the amount owed, and I believe it works. I would just leave things as is.

My thoughts on brokers being broken is: Why would people (PCs or NPCs) with broker skills hire on to a free trader for a typical salary or small cut of profits when they can make an excellent income as a broker?

far-trader January 16th, 2009 02:04 PM

Does MGT address my main issue with wandering Brokers? As in how does a Broker practice their trade across many parsecs in different markets without intimate contacts and knowledge of those markets?

A Broker imo should be tied to a single system at the most, probably even limited to a single world, starport, or country depending on the factors involved (starport class and traffic volume, local TL, government type, law level, etc).

Certainly not simply able to land on a new world every week and immediately start making deals.

They may very well move to a new world and start working there, but it would take time to learn the local market and traders to the point where they were as good as they can be. And they would be sacrificing their old contacts and such where they used to work. A process that would take weeks at least, probably months. A brokerage firm isn't going to let some new trader come in and start making all their important deals without starting at the bottom*, unless they specifically hired the wonder Broker away from their old firm.

* of course, that may be the tramp Free-Trader accounts ;)

Which raises an interesting side question, why should Free-Traders, here today gone tomorrow, expect decent treatment from the local brokerage firms?

"Of course Captain, we'll put our best Broker on your, 4tons of grains worth some Cr4000. It's not like he's busy wheeling and dealing in MTons of MCr commodities and making the firm real money. GET OUT OF HERE AND NEVER COME BACK YOU IDIOT!"


Allowing wandering PC Brokers is really breaking the system imo. I think Free-Traders should have to do their own wheeling and dealing, and generally take much bigger risks and have a smaller profit margin. They are not Brokers (and shouldn't even be able to easily and quickly hire them, or not very good ones at least) but traders (small "t" more of a bartering skill).

mike wightman January 16th, 2009 02:40 PM

I have a house rule that allows the range of brokerage to be:

1 - adjacent systems
2 - subsector jump routes
3 - whole subsector
4 - sector jump routes
5 - whole sector

And I also think LBB7 dropped the ball when broker was introduced as a merchant skill.

While I don't mind a player getting the broker skill I think it belongs to a different trade than the classic merchant career.

aramis January 16th, 2009 02:53 PM

The fundamental broker skill is the same prety much everywhere.

The ability to apply it may take some time, but the skillset is the same.

ThunderChilde January 16th, 2009 08:01 PM

Agreed, knowing how a thing is done, then doing it in which ever harbor you arrive in will lead to a sharper appreciation of the art of the deal.

Is see brokerage as a collection of skills, much like all the other traveller skills are. It does cover everything from the Broker behind his desk, to the frieghters broker perusing the planetary nets to find both posible customer and seller, he will also develop a sense of what is in demand on a particular planet over time.

For example, the fish marketer who buys from the fisherman, may well have broker as a skill.

My Great Grandfather Captained a coaster that he owned, the John D., he was widely known as a sharp trader who ran a tight and spotless ship. He almost ran a cartel of sorts, he managed alot of the negoitations with the Baltimore shippers and docks for his region of the Eastern Shore. I would say that he also probably had broker and at a 2 or higher.

nitestar4 January 17th, 2009 03:07 PM

For clarification, *anyone* can be hired as a broker. It's simple as that. I'd pursue this more, but really any changes that I'm thinking of would only hurt players for the most part. Leave the rules with their little screwiness alone I guess.


far-trader January 17th, 2009 04:10 PM


Originally Posted by nitestar4 (Post 299266)
... Leave the rules with their little screwiness alone I guess.

That's a bit of an odd sentiment imo :)

Screwy rules should be fixed, if not by the producers than by the ref and players. But I guess that's old school while new school is more the rules are the game and if they don't cover it, or don't make sense, well we're screwed so we'll just play it the way "they" say we should.


Originally Posted by nitestar4 (Post 299266)
For clarification, *anyone* can be hired as a broker. It's simple as that. I'd pursue this more, but really any changes that I'm thinking of would only hurt players for the most part.

Certainly *anyone* can be hired. But will they know what they're doing? Will they get you the best deal possible? I *could* be hired as a an airline pilot by the same rational, but you really don't want me to try and fly a real plane despite my good flight simulator only record, from many years ago, on a different aircraft.

Your game deserves that you pursue this more. That you're here is a good first step towards that. Ask questions. Read replies. Think and research a little. It's really that simple.

There's no need anything has to "hurt" the players.

I'm reminded of Loren K Wiseman's reply he had in JTAS (I've been rereading) regarding science fiction role playing games in general (Traveller specifically). Basically a sci-fi game demands a little more thought than a fantasy game. Sci-fi requires logical worlds (no magic). And this is in a way related to that. Just as much as we have to expect technology to work in wondrous but realistic ways so too must the social aspects of the game.

And a Broker landing on an alien world for the first time and being able to instantly start working the market to find a seller or buyer and do so with their full talent applied for benefit stretches belief too far.

The solution is simple really. Require Broker skill to be tied to a specific market. It may be a small part of one world, or several planets in the same solar system. It might even be a few closely tied star systems. It should not be carte blanche through all of space, know and unknown.

You want a simple rule? How's this (in CT format, MGT should be close enough):

Broker skill may be applied to a single world for each level of skill. The worlds must be within one jump* (up to 4 parsecs) of each other and allied. All the worlds must have at least a Class C Starport.

* in this case "jump" means a single jump by the ship involved, a Free-Trader would only allow a range of 1 parsec, a Far-Trader would allow a range of up to 2 parsecs, a Subsidized Liner would allow a range of up to 3 parsecs, and so on.


Captain Nokia of Regina has her own Free-Trader and Broker-3. She can use her Broker skill on all trades for 3 designated worlds separated by no more than 1 parsec. Basically a trianlge cluster of 3 worlds. But to qualify those 3 worlds must all have at least a Class C Starport and be aligned.

In the Spinward Marches, Regina subsector, Captain Nokia is familiar with three worlds like that, Regina, Hefry, and Ruie. Unfortunately Ruie is not an Imperial World (not even a Client State which would qualify). And while Jenghe would qualify it is more than 1 parsec from Hefry. So Captain Nokia could choose just Regina and Hefry, or look elsewhere to base her operations.

Looking around she finds the cluster of Efate, Uakye, and Alell. It's perfect. So she sets off from Regina along The Main to set up her new enterprise there. After a single circuit of the cluster she has made the contacts needed on each world to begin applying her full Broker talents to her trades in the area.

It's as simple as that. What's more, instead of "hurting" the player of Captain Nokia you've actually made things more interesting and embellished the story, for the good of all concerned in the game.

far-trader January 17th, 2009 04:21 PM

Example 2:

Captain Nokia did very well for herself in the Efate cluster. So well in fact that she was able to upgrade to a Far-Trader. Able to stretch her trading further she has decided to pursue new markets. Besides the deals have been getting scarce in her old stomping grounds.

Doing a little research she thinks she's found an interesting, and unexploited, route. Boughene, Feri, and Uakye. Each is 2 parsecs from the others and all are good Starports. What's more she's already got contacts on Uakye. One quick circuit through Feri and Boughene and she's established her presence and is trading to beat almost everyone.

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