GMH changes: let players determine prices

Started by Patuk, November 14, 2023, 05:17:27 PM

It isn't really controversial that the game's great merchant houses have been in a bit of an awkward spot for some years now. There are a lot of reasons for why this may be the case, but I think the people heading them could use a little more teeth and leeway. The specifics are tough to get right, but I think there's one the game could really use:

I think GMH leaders should have a lot more leeway to set their own prices than they currently do.

I've spent many, many months as part of a GMH semi-recently, and I couldn't quite help but notice how narrow the range of approved prices really is. Worse, these ranges are (or were; staff has changed teams and consistency is.. Not a strong suit) enforced fairly strictly, with little room to deviate from them. Someone could very literally be murdering your employees or working against you in twenty ways, but you still don't get to sell at ten times the markup to be petty and spiteful. NO. BAD MERCHANT. Your animated superiors will come down on you.

I'm not really sure why things came to evolve this way. The GMH's are cartels, not Arizona Iced Tea; fixing the prices for each and every product so narrowly is something I find a little jarring. Moreover, my favorite part of the game's tagline is dead center in it - Zalanthan societies are notably corrupt. As it stands, GMHs are lead by people who don't get to revel in that too much, because the scope in which they can charge people is a little limited.

It HAS been a few months since I've been in any GMH, so if these standards were relaxed, please do tell me - I'd consider that extremely good news!

But if not, I will ask the people of the southern, northern, and independent staffing teams what they think, as well as any producers who may have some time and people who have had such experiences playing merchants of their own. This is an area of the game that I think could use some love, and this seems like a good step to making the GMH merchantly role both a little more high powered and a little more appealing to applicants. They can very, very definitely use it.
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I have a lot of thoughts, but to keep on topic, my thought on the idea put forth:


So long as the item/House Cost is covered, whatever the merchant sells an item for is their business. IF you're constantly selling at %400 markups then, yes ... someone is going to tell you to stop because PCs could realistically just go to another merchant.

But on the other hand, if a Merchant knows Senior Lord Fale is in NEED of this new set of silk jammies? Why can't they add some markup?

The truth is, they can. Just not consistently, and staff are going to ask why you're gouging for coin. Just tell them why.
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Quote from: Riev on November 14, 2023, 07:00:52 PMThe truth is, they can. Just not consistently, and staff are going to ask why you're gouging for coin. Just tell them why.

I believe this is the gist of things, from my GMH experience. The staff at the time I was in a role was never too strict on our price gouging, so long as it had merit, and wasn't just for lining pockets. If Lord Jiminy Jal is being insufferably lecherous and harassing your prized crafter because vavoom, sure, charge 8k instead of 5k for that Pimp Hat of Silk and Souls under the guise of 'currently elevated operating costs'. But if you have 30 no-trouble grebbers wanting to buy mining picks that normally cost 50 'sid, don't charge them all 100 just for the sake of personal profit. They'll just go to a local shop and eventually your superiors will notice.

If things changed to a point where staff are making notes on folks charging too much, then I'm gonna assume too many Merchants were charging 100 for too many grebbers, so to speak, and it was no longer working as intended. (That isn't an accusation toward anyone specific, mind, just an observation as to why things might've became more restrictive.)

I would suggest for current Merchants who might be feeling hamstrung by this to make note of their responsible pricing practices, and file reports when overcharging a significant amount for a good/begrudging reason. This could lead to a relaxation of standards when the staff feels the Merchant player is being responsible with their actions. I'd also suggest that rotating staff leave more detailed notes on how they currently were running things at the time of the switch. (I believe that is done in some part currently, so maybe more detail, or more adapting from incoming staff?)

November 22, 2023, 07:56:35 AM #3 Last Edit: November 22, 2023, 08:01:11 AM by betweenford
Alot of prices for alot of items, especially in Kadius, don't match up to the cost of acquisition or material cost. Nor even the markup assigned to those same goods in the same exact region.

Kadius really be like "Oh here's a craft made by a master, sandcloth and linen: materials that in the region cost at least 50 sid to acquire." "Let's make the price 45."



Edit: The cost of the final item should be relative to the cost of acquisition for all the materials the merchant paid for, which is a constantly shifting number. If a merchant pays out 1200 sid for a styrax wood item, they need to at least sell the item for a price that recoups that loss for the House. Markets shift, some people can bring stuff in for super cheap. Some items have scuffed inherent prices.

Between is correct.
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Merchant Houses whose one and only job is to acquire materials and sell them as finished goods and whose ENTIRE HISTORY is various iterations of that should have a pretty good handle on that stuff, you'd think.
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