Good idea for a new skill? You could test ahead of time to see what a treasure’s value was. A good failure result could be that the treasure is reduced in value from what you, as GM, rolled.

You could even combine it with Haggler to create a “Mercantile” or “Mercantilist” skill.

I would definitely combine it with haggler if you’re going to try it out… though it seems to do the same thing as haggler, just on a per item basis rather than once per town visit. I think it was intentional to combine the haggling, trading, appraising stuff into a single roll, probably to get it out of the way and not make it too… mechanical or repetitive? Also because stopping to appraise every piece of treasure would really suck for the grind, it’s supposed to be a reward not a chore. That said, having an appraisal application would add more focus and depth to the nature of the treasure… basically more gambling, more “pull the lever and see if you get something good”. If you feel like you want more of that, then this isn’t a bad idea, it just changes the dynamic slightly.

That sounds like a -wise used to help in Haggler tests. “Actually, that ‘priceless’ vase was sold in K-Mart in the 1980’s. It’s worth about $17.”

The difference is that you have to haul all the loot out of the dungeon you can that way, since you have no idea what’s good.

With this, if you wanna gamble, you can see that the pack 6 tapestry you though was a masterwork was just 2D cash worth of junk right then and there in the dungeon. You’ve gotta use a turn or a check in the Camp Phase to do so, though. Then you can toss the item/put it on the priority backburner. You’ll swing by the room it was in and get it if you can on the way out (assuming you find nothing better).

This also better informs and makes more agonizing decisions of “do we need to keep going and see what’s in the next room or should we cut and run with what we have?” You can find out whether you’ve made it big and can head back or if the stuff you got was total shit and you have to push your limits.

I think that’s interesting enough to merit its existence, and isn’t something Haggler already does.

Oh, something occurred to me… What happens if you fail? Of course you could get a condition or be attacked by monsters while you stand around inspecting the treasure with your magnifying glass, but the most obvious result would be that you misjudge the value of the item. That doesn’t seem to work though because you know how many successes you rolled. So you would know that the GM is lying to you if you didn’t roll well. It would seem odd if appraise always either worked or somehow the item was lost as a result of a twist.

Philosophical musings to follow:

I’m going to have to disagree and say that it does do essentially the same thing as haggler. If you succeed at either then the value of your loot may be optimized, if you fail at either then the value of your loot may be minimized. The difference is that this appraisal mechanic, for better or worse, is more immediate and more affected by character skill than the haggler mechanics. Luke warned in another thread that fiddling with the haggler mechanic to make it more influenced by skill has negative effects, though I don’t think he ever went into detail as to how.

Also, I think in raw you pretty much know what things are worth, if I’m not mistaken. There’s a small amount of variability, but you pretty much know that a piece of jewelry is going to be worth at least as much as a bag of gold, and probably more. I suppose the GM could throw in a few fake treasures though, and there wouldn’t be any raw means that I can think of to identify false treasure… maybe scholar or nature or good ideas?

So yeah, it’s a good mechanic if you want to obfuscate rewards and give the players one more thing to agonize over in the dungeon. It would be one way to add additional difficulty and complexity. It’s psychological effect in terms of game fun is essentially a Skinner box thing, like killing monsters in an mmo repeatedly hoping to get that one rare drop you wanted. That may distract from the narrative of the dungeon delving or it may be something extra that’s compelling to the inner minds of your players.

On the other hand, the random loot table already has that Skinner box psychology a little bit, since you could get either treasure or junk, so I guess your suggestion just intensifies that mechanic by also adding a test that could go wrong and leave them with nothing but junk when they return to town.

In the OP I mentioned that I think it’d be good to have it knock off 1 or 2D from the item’s real value (that you, as GM, rolled). It wouldn’t be a false appraisal/conflict of metagame knowledge—the item wasn’t worth that amount to begin with, since you’ve failed the roll. You’ve changed reality, essentially.

Took me a sec to understand, but now I agree.

The difference there would be that Luke was defending against adjusting the Haggling mechanic to be more beneficial, whereas this has a definite cost on a per-item basis. Certainly still could be a problem though.

Good stuff. As you say, it’s just different. I might try it out.

Oh right, didn’t reread the OP, that makes sense. I suppose you could not appraise items to avoid risking the reduced cost? Or would that count as an automatic failure as the merchant would most likely try to pull a fast one on you if you didn’t know what the item was worth?

My thinking exactly since it’s situational and won’t be done for nearly every item. Just the bigger hauls, if it matters.