Jump to content
SavageBob

Skill for appraising monetary value

Recommended Posts

I'm running a fantasy game using Genesys in which I've been adapting scenarios from Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu, and other such investigative games. In these games, knowledge is just as important as weapons and armor, and my players are rising to that challenge. So far it's been great fun.

My question comes from a few situations where players have wanted to appraise the potential monetary value of items they've encountered. For instance, I showed them a portrait of a wealthy man they are searching for, and one of the players asked how much such a painting would cost to commission and how much it might sell for on the open market.

My go-to so far has been to use the Negotiation skill, only in these instances, tying it to Intellect rather than Presence. My reasoning is that part of striking a good deal (what Negotiation represents) is knowing the value of the various things being offered by both sides. But I wonder if I'm stealing the thunder of another skill? In the Terrinoth setting, for instance, should this appraisal function be part of the purview of Knowledge (Geography)? Knowledge (Lore) might fit, too, even if that seems more geared toward obscure knowledge of the type a scholar would possess rather than a merchant.

The advantage of Negotiation (Intellect) is that it opens the door for other such pairings down the road. "How much is this horse worth?" "Roll Riding, but based on your Intellect." Any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You have to be careful of pairing outside the norm as there are talents that do that.

Answering the question though, knowing about a thing is an Intellect check but could be any skill linked to that thing.

What does that Character know about weapons? Ranged skill will tell us. What do they knock about food prep? Survival.

My suggestion? Let the PCs determine what skill they want to use and then adjust the difficulty accordingly.

Edited by GM Hooly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Using negotiation falls apart when there isn't another person to haggle. It's mos def the skill to use in the moment of buying/selling the thing but for just appraisal it falls way short.

The knowledge skills in Terrinoth are all very specific, so specific that I would keep Knowledge (intellect) from the core book and have that be the one to roll for more mundane things that are not covered by the skills. A melee roll lets you appraise or spot interesting things about a sword, but a painting? There are no real art skill, so Knowledge (intellect) for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tbh hooly nails it. Just let the player say what they want and what skill to use and adjust difficulty and outcome to that. Also remember the how they want to use it can play a role. 

Take your example with negotiation while a straight up knowledge of an items worth might seem intellect if my player describes it as chatting up a gallery owner and asking about prices for portraits then maybe negotiation or even deception would yield the same results. 

With all checks ask yourself is this important ? and what are the consequences of failure 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks for the suggestions, folks. In a Call of Cthulhu-type game, being able to ascertain details about a painting just by looking at it is actually quite important. It's a common way PCs gain knowledge about what they're up against. In this case, I don't want to introduce a new generic Knowledge skill, so I think Negotiation (Intellect) is my best bet unless I put it under the umbrella of Knowledge (Geography). Hardly game-breaking, as it's a once-in-a blue-moon use of Negotiation, and it's never going to be something someone can use to actually barter with someone. Just a way to get a clue as to the purchaser's wealth, or where an artist may have gotten his pigments, or whether the artist is sought after by collectors, etc.

Edited by SavageBob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, nyvinter said:

Using negotiation falls apart when there isn't another person to haggle. It's mos def the skill to use in the moment of buying/selling the thing but for just appraisal it falls way short.

The knowledge skills in Terrinoth are all very specific, so specific that I would keep Knowledge (intellect) from the core book and have that be the one to roll for more mundane things that are not covered by the skills. A melee roll lets you appraise or spot interesting things about a sword, but a painting? There are no real art skill, so Knowledge (intellect) for that.

I would actually disagree, but only on a minor point.

The Negotiation skill is often used without an opposing side. Take the notion of looking for goods. The difficulty is set by the rarity and then rolled for using Negotiation to find that item. If the GM doesn’t want to trouble with further Negotiation, they can just say the good is available, and the player purchases it.

Not everyone Negotiates, nor is it necessary to bog down play by doing so.

If the goods are less likely to be at the location of where the PCs are looking, or otherwise restricted, you can add Setback and upgrade accordingly, or move to Streetwise to find those illicit goods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, GM Hooly said:

I would actually disagree, but only on a minor point.

The Negotiation skill is often used without an opposing side. Take the notion of looking for goods. The difficulty is set by the rarity and then rolled for using Negotiation to find that item. If the GM doesn’t want to trouble with further Negotiation, they can just say the good is available, and the player purchases it.

Not everyone Negotiates, nor is it necessary to bog down play by doing so.

If the goods are less likely to be at the location of where the PCs are looking, or otherwise restricted, you can add Setback and upgrade accordingly, or move to Streetwise to find those illicit goods.

I've always interpreted that as Negotiation being the skill both to haggle (an opposed check) and to be a savvy shopper. A character with a high Negotiation pool knows how to find a deal; the exact details of how they do so are hand-waved. It might be that they ask around, or have a nose for finding things on sale, are expert at couponing, or something else entirely. But you make a good point. Maybe ascertaining value is an implicit part of the skill's utility and can fit under the Presence-based form of the skill.

(I'm still gonna run it with Intellect in this instance, but I do appreciate the contrary opinions. :) )

Edited by SavageBob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a point in consideration.  Someone who can negotiate is charismatic and fundamentally skilled at turning a conversation (or negotiation) in their favor.  An top tier negotiator may know nothing about the price of an original print of Picasso, but an expert tells him going in that it's worth $500,000, he'll walk about with $500,000 and a bottle of Glenlivet Aged 50 Years Single Malt Scotch.  (It's like a $40,000 bottle of Scotch.)  So letting a negotiator also appraise his own objects may be a bit too powerful.  but, as GM Hooly said, your game, your rules.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For item appraisal in a fantasy setting, I would be inclined to call for a Knowledge (Adventuring) check, or else couple Intellect with the next most appropriate skill. I expect most objects would fall under alchemy or mechanics, but weapons would fall under their relevent combat skill. So you'd potentially roll Melee (Heavy) coupled with Intellect to appraise a Greatsword or Verse coupled with Intellect to appraise a musical instrument.

That being said, I might also waive the check and just tell my players the estimated value of the goods being appraised if they've got enough ranks in the appropriate skills. An experienced Bard appraising a musical instrument for example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to go in a different direction and say it's not a skill check. It's a Story Point expenditure. The player is declaring a story detail. In this case, the detail is that their character would know how much something would cost.

I can't think of any occasion (of course, I could be wrong) where appraising the value of something is an important story detail. Sure, you may want to examine (Perception check) to see if it's real or a forgery, but the MSRP isn't that important. For non-important details like this I would go to Story Points, declare facts, and move on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I suspect part of the issue comes from the fact that I'm running Call of Cthulhu scenarios in the Terrinoth setting. If I were to homebrew an Arkam Asylum setting, say, a lot of this more scholarly knowledge might fall under a version of Knowledge, like Knowledge (Education) to borrow from Star Wars.

I do like the Knowledge (Adventuring) suggestion. I think it's a valid option, as it might cover a character having to decide whether to grab the fancy painting or the golden harp from the dragon's horde when they don't have the encumbrance to take both.

Appraisal isn't a part of a typical Terrinoth game, but, as I said, this is an investigative game with a Terrinoth skin. The PCs are fantasy Sherlock Holmeses, so appraising a painting is a way to ascertain the relative wealth of the person who commissioned it, which can be a clue to solving a bigger mystery if they know the killer was filthy rich, and the killer commissioned the painting. I agree a SP expenditure may be enough in a more standard fantasy adventure, though.

Edited by SavageBob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Most of my comments will always come from the vein of "My players are rulemongering a-hats and try to break everything they can within reason.  So beware.  They tried to do this <applicable thing they tried to do as per thread>."  Like appraising items.  Every mission they go on turns into a Cat Burglar scenario.  "Rescue the political prisoner?"  Okay great.  While we're at it, do the prison guards have any gold stashed near by?  I have literally been asked "Does anything look old?"  The stapler looks very old.  "Like collectible old?"  ...you have no idea.  "What skill would that be?"  ...oh boy....

Edited by ElderKoala

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...