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Merchant/Broker questions



I'm assuming that when you are selling a speculative cargo, the price that you get is an offer only, i.e. you don't have to sell at the quoted price? I was allowing people to reject a price, but then they have to wait a week to find more buyers.

I'm a bit unsure about the interaction between Calculating Eye (take 10 on broker rolls), and Market Analysis - can you roll the Market Analysis first and then use the Calculating Eye if you roll badly on the first/second dice, or are you constrained by the dice rolls?

Also, my players were asking about buying and selling on the same planet i.e. can you buy a cargo, stuff it in a warehouse for a week or so, then resell it? I don't see why not, but it doesn't feel quite right somehow, there should be some modifier?


As for the first, I think that is a GM call, and having the players wait a week or more for another buyer sounds okay.

AS for buying and selling on the same planet, I do not allow that in my campaign, on the basis that the seller is looking to move goods off-planet. If the seller wanted to sell his goods on planet, he could do it himself.
I seem to recall the old rules were that once offered for sale you were bound to complete the transaction for that price. I always felt it should be more an offer too and did it similar to the way you handled it. You could figure out the perishablility of each cargo individually (even data may be perishable in the sense that old news is useless) but I just apply a cumulative -1 per week after the first check to cover that and encourage the PC's to sell sooner than later.

If the cargo is very valuable some criminal mind might steal it from the warehouse after the first week (but not often), did they buy the extra insurance?

On the buy and sell locally I impose at least a week after sale before they could even hope to turn it over for resale, and apply the same cumulative -1 per week modifier.

The way I understand the Broker skill check is you can take 10 (for Calculating Eye feat) on either or both checks for the Market Analyst feat or just roll, but not both on the same check. If you make your first check (DC 15, take 10 or roll) you roll the first d6 in advance and are stuck with it (for that transaction, up to the valid duration of your check). Then you may make a second check (DC 30, take 10 or roll) to see if you may roll the second d6 in advance (again for the same transaction, and valid for the duration). I allow seperate checks of each cargo for any market the PC may be interested in. For example a check for the price to be paid on the current world, two more checks for the price they might get on 2 worlds, each a jump away, and a fourth check on a world two jumps away. Of course the sale forecasts for the worlds one or two weeks away may not hold that long. I also keep the check secret so the PC's don't know how long they have or even if the forecast is accurate.

i.e. They might fail the check (I roll and make a note) but believe the price will be high (they roll the d6 and get 6), or they may make the check (I roll and make a note) and think they'll get burned (this time their d6 roll is 1). This applies to both purchase and sale as I understand it. So they check to see how much something is valued at to buy or sell, and may be right or wrong and then decide to buy or sell. Or they don't check and just buy and sell taking their chances. I allow cancellation of the contract after the final value is rolled (all 3d6) subject to a penalty (3d6% of the final value), and of course any bribes and/or brokerage fees still have to be paid.

Anyway just some thoughts, sounds like you have the will and wit to handle it without too much help though. Play on.
I think Market Analysis is a predictor of the range of likely values at the intended destination for a commodity transported. I'd say an analyst should be able to make their estimate before actually buying the commodity... this might be a research (Edu+[K/local trade routes], Wis+[P/Merchant], maybe), or Edu+Trader roll and require minutes, hours or days, at the Ref's whim.

Your Broker roll (whether you use Calculating Eye to "Take 10" or not), you make when you get to your destination, roll the remaining dice (or reroll some if appropriate) on the AV table and your Broker modifier then affects the AV index as normal.

So a sequence of actions might go something like:
  1. Player makes broker roll to find cargoes;</font>
  2. Ref determines what cargoes are available;</font>
  3. Player decides what AV mod they're going for;</font>
  4. Player rolls broker to see if they can find a bargain cargo. Being able to "Take 10" here can guarantee a certain amount of margin;</font>
  5. Ref determines what the asking price is (AV roll, modified by local selling DM and the PC's broker mod if they were successful);</font>
  6. A/the Market Analyst PC spends whatever amount of time they are required to by the Ref to predict whether or not each available commodity will sell for a good price at the destination in mind (or all possible destinations if they're basing their Travels on the goods they're shipping);</font>
  7. Since the Trader skill has to have some purpose not covered by Broker, the Ref might permit an opposed Trader roll to represent haggling. Most of the time, I'd be inclined to not allow this to move the purchase price by much more than 5% or so, unless you're buying off amateurs (or being fleeced by professionals...
  8. A commodity is bought (or not, if the price is too high and/or the selling prospects are grim);</font>
  9. It's shipped to the selling location;</font>
  10. Broker rolls get made to find a buyer;</font>
  11. The player decides what AV mod they're going for for selling and makes their Broker roll</font>
  12. The Ref completes the AV roll and applies relevant DMs;</font>
  13. Opposed Trader rolls might change the final price a little;</font>
  14. A sale is made (or not, if the offer price is too low.</font>
Does that make sense?