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ShadoWarrior

Selling on the Black Market

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Every thread I've looked at on the subject of the black market discusses buying, some with examples. But as best I can tell, none of the threads have dealt with making sales and how talents can be applied to the sales side.

 

In one of my games, the party wishes to dispose of several intact TIE/LN fighters. The result of the check to make the sale is 2 successes, 2 advantage, 1 Triumph

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The 2 successes, if I understand the RAW correctly, yields a sales price of 50% of list per fighter, or 25,000 per (50,000 * 50%). The location rarity modifier is +1. Could the Triumph be used to further shift the resale value by another +1, getting the result to the 200% category? Also, the rolling character has 2 ranks in Black Market Contacts. Can that talent affect the sale, and if so by how much?

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One thing to keep in mind that is not ever touched on is the issue of quantity.  Very often when selling large quantities on a black market (especially of hot goods) the price per unit often drops very quickly as the person that is doing the purchasing will need to sit on the goods longer and/ or need to find multiple buyers.

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It's a shadowport, and a rather large one at that. One with no love for the Empire. The PCs being betrayed by one the permanent vendors (NPCs) would be very bad for that NPC's reputation and future business dealings across multiple sectors. A few hundred thousand credits on one deal isn't worth losing millions in future sales to the PCs and many more millions lost when word spreads that the vendor is an Imperial stooge.

Edited by ShadoWarrior

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It would be appropriate to muck up the transaction with complications, such as betrayals, if the check results warranted it. But with zero threats and zero despair, inflicting any betrayal is unjustifiable. The story should reflect what the players roll. Otherwise what they roll doesn't matter and the GM will be, rightfully, accused of railroading the players. Players, and their actions as indicated by dice results, contribute to the narrative. It is not solely the GM who determines what the direction of the story is. And an all-positive check result can be just as "deep" as one with complications, provided that the players roleplay the transaction.

 

However, the OP asked for help in interpreting the check result insofar as how it affects the sales price. Consequences of the transaction are outside the scope of the question.

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Basically, it all comes down to what you think. Personally, I am not keen on giving the party a couple hundred thou in cash. If possible, I would try to use the triumph to make the additional value some sort of payment in kind. If they want a better ship, that could be a way to pay them.

 

But in the situation in the OP, the decision is just up to the GM

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Handing the party a few 100k is trivial, and the money isn't going into their pockets anyway. The money is going into a general operating fund for a silhouette-6 frigate warship. Each PC already has between 300k and 600k as their individual share of their ship's last hijack (which netted the entire crew, numbering several hundred NPCs, a total of 180 million credits).

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Black Market Contacts only affects the purchasing of items on the black market.

 

Thanks. I'd forgotten that it explicitly mentions buying and says nothing about selling. Only the Master Merchant talent mentions both buying and selling. All the other trade-related talents only affect one side of trading, which is annoying.

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The rules answers are as follows (going from bottom to top):

 

1. Black Market Contacts: The talent specifies it works only when looking to purchase stuff, so RAW it doesn't apply here. That being said you can obviously let it have some impact on the check. Maybe it's easier to offload, but the buyer isn't willing to pay as much (read: reduce rarity but the payout is halved for each decrease?)

 

2. Rarity Shifting: It's not made very clear at all, but the "Selling and Trading" section is talking about two different game terms. Trading begins with the last paragraph of page EotE 150 and mentions it is the practice of "buying multiple items at one location, then selling them at another location where they are rarer." It's not clear from your post if they bought the TIEs as goods for resale but I'm guessing not, in which case it's not trading and this section (including table 5-3) doesn't apply.

 

3. Difficulty and Rarity: The OP seems to be simply a clear case of Selling an illegal good on the black market. In this case the difficulty should, RAW, have been set based on the rarity of TIEs (including local rarity adjust) which is 5 in this case and an Average check should've been made (assuming the GM didn't see fit to modify the difficulty at all).

 

It looks like you did in this case see fit to modify the difficulty. I don't know if it's the Average check with an increase and some upgrades or whether it was an opposed check, but either would be fine IMO. If I was in your shoes and I called for an opposed check I would've added 2 setback (one for each base difficulty based on rarity) so that the TIE's rarity was somehow represented in the check. 

 

4. Final Payout: You're correct the vendor is willing to pay 50% the base price. As JalekZem pointed out, RAW doesn't say too much about quantity so a successful check might only mean the buyer is willing to buy one of the TIEs. To offload both might require the triumph or might only take some advantage, depending on how many credits you want the group to walk away with (in this case they have both advantage and triumph, but what it'd take to sell more than one is something I'd be thinking about before the roll is made). Assuming they choose to offload both fighters, it looks like this group is walking away with 50,000cr plus a side benefit.

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Handing the party a few 100k is trivial, and the money isn't going into their pockets anyway. The money is going into a general operating fund for a silhouette-6 frigate warship. Each PC already has between 300k and 600k as their individual share of their ship's last hijack (which netted the entire crew, numbering several hundred NPCs, a total of 180 million credits).

Why are you worrying about it then? If it is pin money just say 'sure, here you go.'

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2. Rarity Shifting: It's not made very clear at all, but the "Selling and Trading" section is talking about two different game terms. Trading begins with the last paragraph of page EotE 150 and mentions it is the practice of "buying multiple items at one location, then selling them at another location where they are rarer." It's not clear from your post if they bought the TIEs as goods for resale but I'm guessing not, in which case it's not trading and this section (including table 5-3) doesn't apply.

 

3. Difficulty and Rarity: The OP seems to be simply a clear case of Selling an illegal good on the black market. In this case the difficulty should, RAW, have been set based on the rarity of TIEs (including local rarity adjust) which is 5 in this case and an Average check should've been made (assuming the GM didn't see fit to modify the difficulty at all).

 

It looks like you did in this case see fit to modify the difficulty. I don't know if it's the Average check with an increase and some upgrades or whether it was an opposed check, but either would be fine IMO. If I was in your shoes and I called for an opposed check I would've added 2 setback (one for each base difficulty based on rarity) so that the TIE's rarity was somehow represented in the check. 

 

2. Multiple items are being sold. How and where the goods were acquired (hijacked from the Empire, in this case) is irrelevant to the game mechanics of the transaction, isn't it? And the items to be sold are rarer at the point of sale.

 

3. It was my understanding of the RAW that the mechanics for selling on the BM are, essentially, the same as for legal goods, except that Streetwise is substituted for Negotiation. Hence an opposed check. Setbacks were negated by PC talents.

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Handing the party a few 100k is trivial, and the money isn't going into their pockets anyway. The money is going into a general operating fund for a silhouette-6 frigate warship. Each PC already has between 300k and 600k as their individual share of their ship's last hijack (which netted the entire crew, numbering several hundred NPCs, a total of 180 million credits).

Why are you worrying about it then? If it is pin money just say 'sure, here you go.'

 

Because I like to know how to apply game mechanics, if for no other reason than consistency (and the fact that my players also like to know how the rules work), and the next time a selling on the BM situation comes up the value of the goods sold might be tens of millions instead of a measly few hundred thousand.

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Rarity really only affects pricing when the PCs are trying to find and buy something. If they are trying to sell something, it doesn't matter how rare the item is in the location they are selling at... they have one (or more) for sale.

 

I can certainly understand the idea that the PCs could likely get more for the item(s) in a place that normally doesn't have them on hand (thus Rarity), but that only affects how much money the PCs think they can ask for.

 

A TIE/LN has a fair market value of 140,000 credits. It is a Restricted item. It's Rarity is 6.

 

The PCs can take it to a Core World and ask for 100,000 credits for it. They can take it to a Rim World and ask for 100,000 credits for it. They can take it to the shadowiest shadowport in the dimmest sector and ask for 100,000 credits for it. Rarity, Restriction, and market value have little bearing on how much the PCs ask for.

 

For the PCs to sell something, they first need to have a concrete idea of how much they want for it. This can be based on whatever factors the PCs deem useful and important. But they have to have an initial selling price to work with.

 

Then they need to locate a buyer. This may simply involve advertising and then waiting in their favorite booth at the local cantina for buyers to come to them. Or it may involve Streetwise and/or Knowledge (Underworld) checks to track down individuals or groups that want illegally-obtained TIEs. It could involve the PCs opening up a used starfighter lot in the shadowport or wherever; once open, buyers will come to them. They may already know a fence for such bootleggery. (Here's where a character's Black Market Contacts talent might justifiably and narratively allow them to "know a guy... who knows a guy.")

 

Then the buyer (NPC or PC) makes the Negotiation roll. If the buyer rolls poorly, then the PCs have actually managed to somehow increase the price during the haggle. However, even at the start of negotiations, the PCs themselves have already set the price they want. How much they get for it in the end might depend on factors like Rarity. However, it is the buyer's Negotiation check against the PCs that haggles the price. The NPC can have some boost dice if the PCs are asking too much based on the value for the Rarity, location, Restrictions, etc.

 

Alternatively, the PCs could have these items and not initially be wanting to sell them. They could be approached by a buyer who has heard through the grapevine that they have "surplus" TIEs. If that's the case, the NPC could start negotiations by asking how much the PCs want for them. See the above steps.

 

Or, more smartly, the buyer can simply make an offer; X amount of credits. In this case, the PCs should make the Negotiation roll to try to haggle more out of the buyer.

 

One party sets the price. The other party haggles it with their Negotiation check.

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ShadoWarrior: Check out the second to last paragraph on EotE p 151 and it specifies the Trading rules are only for commercial trade. Dumping stolen starships for credits isn't commercial trade, legal or illegal. The RAI is to deal with cargo loads of goods or large numbers of items (like, an entire squadron of starfighters) and, IMO, RAW supports that. 

 

You're right that the Black Market is the same as legal except for the swapped skill. It's just that RAW finding someone to buy something and settling on a price are both done in a single check based on rarity (first sentence of 3rd paragraph under "The Black Market" EotE p 150). To think of it in reverse, when a PC want to buy an item they roll once against the rarity and if successful they can buy it at the price listed in the book (barring GM intervention and other dice results). The PC does not need to find a buyer and then get a chance to negotiate a lower price. 

 

IMO, these rules are only for quick and easy liquidating of items which are not important to the story so the game keeps moving. The PCs roll based on the rarity difficulty and the GM says, "Faceless arms dealer #3 gives you X credits for it." If it's important enough to the story that the buyer even has a stat block and the PCs interact with him, then by all means make it an opposed check.

 

RLogue177: The PCs sure can ask for as much as they want, but the rules we're discussing say that rarity influences how much a potential buyer is willing to pay. Much of the middle of your post seems like an adventure which is kinda outside the rules on EotE p 150.

 

I think you looked at the price/rarity of the Lambda shuttle when you said 140,000®/6, but we can do an example based on that. If the GM has no modification to the RAW on EotE page 150, then selling that Lambda shuttle in a place with +1 location rarity is as follows:

 

1. Determine difficulty: Base for rarity 6 is Hard (DDD), and the location boosting it to 7 doesn't change that.

2. Roll dice: The PC kicks in their Streetwise skill since it's a Restricted item, along with any boosts or setbacks.

3. Examine results: If the PCs get no success, they don't find a buyer who is willing to purchase the Lambda. If they get 1/2/3 successes then they find a buyer who is willing to pay 35,000/70,000/105,000 credits, respectively, for the Lambda. Resolve other results.

 

To do it any other way is totally fine, but it's not in accordance with EotE p 150 either.

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It would be appropriate to muck up the transaction with complications, such as betrayals, if the check results warranted it. But with zero threats and zero despair, inflicting any betrayal is unjustifiable. The story should reflect what the players roll. Otherwise what they roll doesn't matter and the GM will be, rightfully, accused of railroading the players. Players, and their actions as indicated by dice results, contribute to the narrative. It is not solely the GM who determines what the direction of the story is. And an all-positive check result can be just as "deep" as one with complications, provided that the players roleplay the transaction.

 

However, the OP asked for help in interpreting the check result insofar as how it affects the sales price. Consequences of the transaction are outside the scope of the question.

 

Makes sense. I was thinking that a Triumph could result in something like making the proprietor a permanent favorable contact for the group...contacting them with lucrative opportunities, giving them the first pick of new "merchandise" he comes by, and/or applying friendly discounts where applicable. That kind of stuff. 

 

Your suggestion of increasing the sales value sounds fine too, though!

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