Here is where I am coming from when I say "hire someone who understands economics": a better system than a character can ONLY sell an item for 50% of its value, and a better system than a flat 1:1 skill roll result to money.
Now I am not an economist. I do not sell things for a living. However I can routinely buy things and eventually sell them for more than 50% of their value. I don’t think my wife would like my hobby of playing merchant if I sold things for half of what I bought them for. As it stands now she finds it slightly tolerable.
Sometimes the things I sell go for 50% more than I paid for them, sometimes they go for 150% more than I paid for them, and sometimes they go for even more than that. Sometimes I buy things that do not sell at all.
I paid for my engagement ring trading Magic: The Gathering cards. Every year I pay for my entire trip to GenCon (including everything I spend money on at GenCon) buying, selling, and trading things before, during and after GenCon that are related to GenCon. I treat this exorcize as a mini-game of resource management. I start with X and end up with X+.
Sometimes you hit it big. I recently made a $4,500 deal trading some stuff as a hobby. My dad once made $30,000 buying and selling a toy gun collection (he likely makes this much in a year buying and selling things from estate sales and garage sales for fun). I bet we have all seen those antique shows on television about that ugly fish paining worth $100,000 or whatnot. I should be able to make an ugly fish painting finder character.
So if I can make hundreds or thousands of dollars playing merchant for a few weeks in the year, then a gosh darned hero type going on adventures should be able to figure it out, and on a larger scale. Especially if he is an Indiana Jones type treasure hunter. It is really frustrating to have rules that mystify or make it impossible for two people talking about trading an item for money . . . rules that stop people from acting like people.
I kid you not in 4e D&D one cannot under any circumstances earn more money than their level would allow. An 3 Intelligence 3 Charisma character earns the same Gold as an 18 Intelligence 18 Charisma character does when selling something (essentially gold is equipment points by level). Now, given, this is on the extreme side of the spectrum of not understanding or caring about economics in an RPG, but this is a chief example on how economics is not given any thought in game design. As a result no one can create any type of character that interacts with the economy in any meaningful way. It just flat out kills a concept.
A great deal of RPGs boil earnings down to something like a roll of d20 – 10 + skill * $25/day. One would earn more money the higher skill one has. The earnings comparing an apprentice’s with that of a grandmaster’s should not be linier and should resemble some type of exponential growth. In d20 a skill 14 lawyer (11th level) would earn a great deal more than $250/day over that of a skill 4 (1st level) lawyer [skill 4 = $100 and Skill 14 = $350]. This is almost never given consideration in RPGs.
Hmmm perhaps just for the fun of it I might be persuaded to come up with some guidance framework …problem is I actually dont know enough about the SW lore to imbed it into the world … or again its kinda hard to keep it both specific, realistic AND simple … - would probably be best with some general guidelines and then just winging it … what do u guys think?
That would rock! If you went into what was being traded, then you would need to include blue milk! A chart from [A] you bought worthless junk to [B] you bought something valuable on the cheap, with [C] some normal results in the middle would be cool. Interpreting the dice symbols would be really fun!