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[Hell on Earth Reloaded] Haggling

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  • [Hell on Earth Reloaded] Haggling

    One of my players pushed for being able to Haggle for prices of items in the game. There's no mechanic that I could find for that in the core book or companion. My assumption is that the game doesn't have that because it's a post-apocalyptic game so scarcity / expense is built in, and the prices in the game reflect the best price you could get. It seems like if players can haggle for things without consequence it probably doesn't fit with the game's design.

    Am I off?

  • #2
    There are no explicit Haggling rules. But haggling is within the scope of the existing rules.

    First, remember that prices are adjusted for local conditions. A farming community probably has a much lower scarcity for fresh food, and lower base prices; they might also have higher prices for medical supplies because they keep treating farming-related injuries.

    Second, decide what a given merchant's mark-up is going to be. The listed prices are the generic "average value" in the wasteland, but history is full of commerce done by the greedy and unscrupulous that try and gouge the community for all the wealth.

    Third, get a Reaction Level for the merchant to the player character(s). NPC Reaction is one of the easiest to overlook but most important parts of making the game world feel like it's full of people.

    Haggling is going to tie into the Persuasion rules.
    The prices in the book are going to be the baseline value, what most folks would agree is a fair price / valuation for the goods. Trying to go much below that is trying to rip off the merchant and probably going to lead to a bunch of hurt feelings. Similarly, a merchant charging much above the book values is either trying to gouge the characters or has some serious supply issues (and possibly a quest).
    Pay attention to the merchant's Reaction level. Haggling with a merchant that is Hostile will probably get the character banned from the store - and shot for trying to avoid the ban.
    Convincing folks to shift prices is within the scope of Persuasion. Maybe adjust the price by 5%, like trying to change reaction levels - the merchant can only change values so much before he won't make a profit.

    Good luck, and I hope that helps.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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    • #3
      Another way is to just tie an "adjustment percentage" directly to the Reaction Table. Merchants you are Friendly with are simply more forgiving of debts, while those that are Unfriendly are more likely to try to stiff you. Hostile merchants would probably outright refuse you service.

      Haggling can be a Social Conflict that temporarily changes the Reaction Table for better prices (but not the target's actual disposition toward you). Threatening to call the authorities for price-gouging (Intimidation) is probably just as effective as trying to work out a compromise (Persuasion)... or berating the goods as inferior and not worth the asking price (Taunt).

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      • #4
        I'm strongly tempted to require that the player must commit to buiying the item at whatever price before resolving the mechanics of your haggling subsystem. That is your risk/consequence to justify including a haggling system rather than just assuming the book price is the best the PCs can get.

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