This system is borrowed from Oakspar on the Wizards boards. Lot's of good ideas on DMing that one ;)
Haggling gives players a way to turn those well spent skill points into cold hard coin. Haggling should only be used for large purchases or sales. If it is just day to day supplies use the listed value. Larger purchases like a horse, suit of plate, or magic item are valid as are larger hoards to sell like stacks of armor, gems and art, and magic items.
What Haggling is
Haggling is attempting to get the best price possible on what you are buying or selling. It involves two parts: the Sales Pitch and the Offer.
The DM always knows what the Base Price for any item is. I will just use the terms Buyer, Seller, and Base Price from here on out, but remember that when the Seller is a PC, the Base Price is 1/2 the true Base Price Value.
To determine Base Price, each part uses the Appraisal Skill (see PhB for skill description) as well as whatever magical means the two parties choose. All such means (Identify spells, etc) are done at personal cost. In general, it is expected that a Seller already knows what his item is and does. If the Buyer spends money to Identify something that is NOT what the Seller says it is, it is reasonable to expect the Seller to pay the Buyer back for wasting their time.
Since the Appraisal skill is not exact, there are two options. One, the NPC's result is better for the PC's than their result or Two, the PC's result is better for themselves than the NPC's. If the PC's amount is better for the NPC, then that will be the Base Price for the sale (the actual value now being disregarded). If the PC's result is better for them than the NPC's, tell the PC's the NPC's result. The PC's can then choose to take that as the Base Price or walk away. Yes, this is unfair to the party, but since the party buys at retail or sells on demand, these things tend to work against them, but since dealers make their living on these skills, it pays for the party to Appraise as accurately as possible.
Once the new Base Price is determined, Haggling may commence. Note that acceptance of the Base Price on the part of the party commits them to buying. They cannot back out later if the Haggling goes against them.
The Seller makes a sales pitch. This is either a Diplomacy or Bluff skill check. Diplomacy represents honest salesmanship. A Bluff skill check represents fast-talking crooked salesmanship.
The Buyer makes a Sense Motive check in either case.
If the Seller wins with a Diplomacy check, the item is sold at +1% per point that the Diplomacy check exceeds the Sense Motive check. If the Seller looses with a Diplomacy check, the item is sold at -1% per point that the Sense Motive check exceeds the Diplomacy check. A tie is possible.
If the Seller uses Bluff, the percentages go to +2% and -4% (more to gain, but also much more to loose if the pitch falls flat).
That is the long and the short of it. Of course, expect people who run shops to invest everything they can into those skills, so it won't be too abusive, but even a 5% average mark up can result in a good deal of savings over a career.
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