War of the Book
Merchants are encountered randomly. Each merchant has a probability of having a given non-magical item, broken down by weapon, armor, and equipment. A merchant can be asked about items a limited number of times, increased by a player’s Appraise role. Merchants have an Appraise skill used in bartering.
Example: A merchant with (20,30,80) and 2+ Appraise/5 has the following characteristics: 20% chance of having a given mundane weapon, 30% of having an armor, and 80% of having a piece of equipment. You can ask 2 times, plus one more for each 5 on the player’s Appraise roll.
Components for a wand or scroll constitute one gear “item” for this.
Merchants also have a fixed list of magic items. The number and type of item depends on the party’s level. Items are generated randomly. Generally, a given merchant will have at most 5 magic items.
The merchant will barter for the items based on basic worth. There are five things of value, from least to most valuable:
Paper (plastic disks)
Paint (ceramic squares)
Gems (colored stones)
Treasure (bracelets, brooches, pins, torcs) (black stones)
Books (white stones)
The merchant states a price by placing out items. The players respond with a lower offer. Each time the players offer, the merchant counteroffers by lowering his ask price. The players may take this price at any time, or offer more by increasing their offer, or, they may conclude by rolling an opposed Appraise check. If they win, they pay their price. If the merchant wins, they pay his price.
Merchants don’t barter over mundane items, just magic.
Merchants and craftsman can take consignment orders. There is a probability that any given order might be filled. The party must arrange for notification. Or, the ordered items may randomly show up with another merchant.