Haggling Random Table thoughts.

As much as I like the random table elements of TB, in our last game the burglar got all riled up when the fighter managed a luckier roll on the 3d6 despite only having just met the obstacle on his haggler test for the crossroads. The halfling on the other hand nailed the haggle but rolled only a 4 on the random table, effectively rendering his 5 successes moot.

I had a good long think and thought that what if you meet your obstacle on the haggling roll, you can take the 7 result on the random table. Every success above the obstacle (margin of success) allows you to advance one ‘level’ on the table. Each margin of failure requires you to drop one level.

In effect this makes smaller settlements less of a danger when haggling, but larger settlements can be downright dangerous as folks come looking for the recalcitrant haggler. Conversely you can blow a lot of fate or persona or tap your nature (since no-one can help) in order to reach the higher levels on the haggling table.


Haggling Events Table (which is the only use for Haggler as the skill is described) does seem to be something of a sucker’s bet. So let’s take some time to crunch numbers for perspective:

Assuming the Haggler Test succeeds AND you have a piece of 2D treasure (not coins, which I’m pretty sure also means not “gems” by inferring the “Treasure and Valuables: Spaces to Value” table and footnote on page 92), you can better than break even on a roll of 13+, which is roughly 1/4 of the time (25.9% to 3 sig digits). If you fail the Haggler Test (but have a Treasure => 2D) by just 1 that drops to 6.5%(!), MOF 2 is %3.2, MOF 3 is below 1%, and MOF 4+ you can’t better than break even.

Note that if you don’t have at least one 2D piece of treasure (and sometimes you’ll not even know if you do) even succeeding only gives you <5% chance of coming out ahead.

Given that you need Ob2 for even the most easy place to Haggle, beginning characters are likely to have a base chance of 25% or 50%, for %6 or %13 upside odds. That seems a pretty bad deal on the face of it.

The result of 9 complicates this all somewhat with the potential for snagging an extra expensive item if it has purpose and you’ve got the dice for it.

What about the “break even” range? Most of the time you’ll come out slightly worse (a +1D for a +1Ob Resource Test for Lifestyle). BUT this is only notably worse if you have an expected Lifestyle nearing 1/2 of your Resources stat. Any outcome that gives you a +1D in Treasure is pretty much a wash as it insulates you from the Tax of the +1 Lifestyle, as is the case if you are just popping into town because your friends are hurt (or you are visiting ‘free lodging’ because of friends/family/etc.) and you have Resources of say 4 or 5.

Further Help + checks could really tip the balance here as your teammates can convert checks into test logs for even less downside risk.

Without digging deeper into the numbers here, it seems that Haggling is a somewhat viable option for advanced PCs that come into town already in a good position, but does represent some wild-swing risk and long shot on payout. It is however a sucker bet for PCs that are weak or in trouble.

Now to my feeling on your two suggestions separate:

Allowing addition of up to MOS on the roll, the odds change drastically. Piling on with Help and Traits and maybe a Persona to tap Nature (or potentially even just Fate, for those Demanding Humans!) you’ve got a slam dunk. If they’ve dragged a +4D Treasure into town eek! Too rich I suspect. Trading what is arguably an issue of ‘trick’ false choice for another issue.

Take 7? Well damn, that makes it boring. :wink: Plus it effectively kills the chance of a big payout.

I don’t feel that good about Haggler, as constructed it feels somewhat like it is all cruft. But I like your suggestion less.

P.S. I respond here with the assumption this thread will get moved to Hacks.

It’s unfortunate, but I think the best fix here is to just make it clear that haggling (the activity) is very unreliable and that Haggling (the skill) can only do so much to change that. It’s a gamble, and the house always wins.

And considering that it’s scruffy washed-up adventuring scum trying to squeeze a good deal out of experienced shopkeeps, I could buy that paradigm as well.

Or you could try and fix it to better suit your needs…

But those are not popular words around here. :slight_smile:

They are in the Hack forum. :wink: Certainly after you have figured out what they really do as is and what you want to happen, what “fixed” means.

P.S. Not sure you are ever going to get better than “tacked on” when the only place the skill is used is that one place. But this isn’t a game about being in town so not sure about what scope that’d involve.

Yeah, I don’t like it either.

“You passed the test . . . but you failed . . . miserably!”

It’s against the Burning paradigm (though I know this isn’t entirely a Burning game).

The absolute best result you can get is a reduction of 1 on your lifestyle test (17 or 18). Not 2, since it costs 1 to haggle, so the net gain is one. Not much incentive.

Leads me to believe that to test Haggling it shouldn’t cost anything.

Fair Enough Dwight. Points taken, except that a slam dunk (result over 10) isn’t that game breaking, it just makes life in town a little easier this time back from the dungeon, plus you only get one result.

Though I’m somewhat confused that on p.87 it says that you make an independent test against the town and is always done individually (my assumption on that term being no help given by other memebers of the party). Yet in the skill descriptions on p.138 Suggested Help is listed? This changes things somewhat to the possibility of success on the haggling test, yet has little impact on the 3d6 haggling table roll… Odd. Especially when you may have a big loot item from the dungeon that you really want to get the best price for, and have travelled to a specific town to get said price, and your forgeries of its authenticity grasped in your grubby little hands.

Hmmm. I think I may just stick with the haggling roll as a standard independent skill test (help / fate / persona / wises / tools as normal) and giving the MOS/MOF as a modifier to the 3d6 haggling roll. That way if you nail your test by at least 4 successes over, you can’t really have a ‘bad’ result, conversely, a failed test with a large MOF is a huge recipe for disaster in your attempt to garner lower prices. (which is how the rules work RAW anyways). If you just meet or miss your obstacle, well then the 3d6 bell curve is more likely to give you a 9-11 result as expected.

Also, I think a good ‘condition’ to the failed haggler roll (in addition to the result on the table) might be that the lifestyle cost for Haggling goes up by 1 to +2

Well, you could always roll on the chart first, and then (mandatorily) roll Haggle to try to do better (or make it worse).

As for the “individually” bit, I took that to mean that each character who wants to benefit from haggling needs to make his own roll (with help, sure) and abide by his own results (barring a 3 or 4). That is to say, you can’t gang up on a Haggling test and then apply the benefit to everybody. Each haggler gets his own roll on the chart.

  1. The Haggler rule was carefully constructed after much playtesting. Many other options and variants were attempted. None work. None. This option was the only compromise that we could arrive at that would allow us to keep the Haggler skill in the game.
  2. As Dwight pointed out, the rule as designed is rather friendly. You almost always break even and have a better chance of coming out ahead than really squishing yourself. But it’s a gamble. It has to be a gamble, otherwise there’s no point to any of it—it’s a money-making machine in any other format.
  3. Do not nudge these rules in a way that makes Town fun or lucrative. Town is expensive and boring by design.
  4. And let me impart a bit of wisdom that we learned while playtesting this game: Never change a rule because a gentleman playing a halfling complained about it.

The only thing that I can think of that might also work and give a similar feel would be to break up the Haggling chart like the Town and Camp events charts, into disasters etc. If you succeed at haggling you’d have a better chance of getting on one of the good charts (say 2d6 for the type of outcome and then 2d6 for the actual outcome). However, considering that system exists in those other places and Luke just said that they play-tested all available options… I’m inclined to believe they tried something like that and it didn’t work out. Not that I don’t have sympathy for halflings…

What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn’t he?

That’s it, we need an Elevenses rule stat!

Elevensies-wise! (Useful for Cooking when nobody else really wanted to make camp.) :slight_smile:

Instinct: Always have Elevensies

Gives you a free cooking check every 11 turns right?

So I was looking over the haggling rules for another thread and came to a realization. If you don’t have a lot to lose haggling is a better deal than it looks. Yes you get +1 lifestyle, but if you are just planning to raid town for gear and rest before skipping out on the bill anyway, then who cares!