Thursday, August 11, 2016

Stronghold Expansion: Traders & Merchants [ROUGH DRAFT]



When I initially set out to make an expansion for my Strongholds content, this is not the expansion I had planned.

It just kind of happened. All 20+ pages of it.

The situation with merchants in my Strongholds project was something I was never happy with. I had some nice random-roll tables to give people an idea of what merchants they were getting, but then just shrugged and walked away when people asked exactly what these merchants were selling.

This expansion takes all the guesswork out of the equation, giving you access to 20 different types of merchants to frequent your strongholds, or even other places in your world.

And yes, I'm definitely still working on a Stronghold expansion with proper new rooms and features and what-not, this just needed to be released first to properly complete what I intended to do with merchants in the first place.

If I'm really, really lucky and have enough time, expect the next expansion to be out around this time next month.

FEATURES:

  • Twenty merchants of seven different qualities, bringing almost the entire item content of the PHB to your doorstep!
  • Purchasable animals and magic items, because you have to fill those animal pens somehow.
  • A wide variety of fun fluff items, from flowers that burn to clockwork mounts!
CONCERNS:
  • I'm hoping the rules here aren't too obscure. I tried to make them obvious, but we'll see if anyone has complaints. 
  • Magic items are always tricky to include, balance-wise. I attempted to balance what I included, and I also included options to omit them, if necessary. 
WHAT I LEARNED:
  • Sometimes, twenty-three pages of content just happens. 

30 comments:

  1. Wow, this will be amazingly helpful! When my party eventually gets out of Barovia that is xD

    Still, thanks so much for this, I can't wait to use it!

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    1. Ok, I laughed out loud at the Atrocious quality Animal merchant. Great job!

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    2. When you get out of barovia? clearly, you should just build a huge castle right next to castle ravenloft. But bigger, just to piss of strahd.

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  2. do you think you could add a section in the notes for a recommended magic item rarity for alternatives to the items?

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    1. also a challenge rating for animals for custom settings like dark sun

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    2. These both seem like really solid ideas. Expect them next pass.

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  3. This is soooo useful far beyond it's intended primary use in conjunction with the strongholds document.

    Just being able to tell players what kinds of liquor are for sale and how much what fancy hat might cost them is somethings that creates a much more in-depth and satisfying roleplay experience. It's one of those small things that just increase the immersive effects.

    We also implemented a houserule where settlement size influences the quality roll of merchants, with smaller settlements receiving disadvantage on the d20 roll, medium sized towns rolling normally and larger city-hubs gaining advantage.

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    1. Dang, that's a really good idea with your houserule. I may have to find somewhere to wedge it in to this document.

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    3. I believe that something more like.. +(number of room points) on the roll would be a great balance. Should someone below "mediocre" really be selling things at your palace? I imagine one of your 300 hirelings or 1800 servants could be dedicated to quality control for the merchants.

      With that, it might be interesting to see what would happen if you surpassed a roll of 20. Wider variety? More stock? Additional merchant? Perhaps very good and excellent merchants are only available above 20. Maybe the stock is enhanced somehow; a clear example is for the Animal merchant, where the untamed animals might instead be tamed, or are some special version, like a white tiger. Equipment could have special features as detailed in the DMG.

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  4. Hey Walrock, I’ve been enjoying the homebrew stuff you’ve been put out for quite a while and have an idea to propose to you for expanding the Books and maps merchant goods to include things such as guide books, outdoor survival guides and books about what creatures may be encountered in different areas or even the planes. As you know players tend to know about things that their characters wouldn’t and this could be an in game way to allow the player’s character to know this knowledge without just metagaming.

    Books on outdoor guide books can help with survival checks for finding certain flora or traveling through dangerous environments. Other guide books could be used to aid with tool checks for certain things or have recipes or instructions to craft certain items or consumables. Depending on the quality of the goods the merchant has available, some of these guide books or instructions may be poorly written with misinformation or even lies. “Reginald’s guide to successful dragon slaying says the best way to slay a gold dragon is with a weapon made of gold similarly to how silver is useful against werewolves. Ride on brave adventurer!” “Timone’s quick method for creating alchemist’s fire is to purchase a bottle of nitroglycerin and shake it vigorously before throwing it at your intended target.” As the quality of the goods improve, there is less chance that the books are fraudulent or based on rumors so knowledge gained from the books can be more accurate. Books about average forest creatures or edible berries may be commonly found but exotic creatures from unexplored environments and the planes or instrustions to build magical items (such as the golem books in DMG) would be much rarer to find and much more expensive.

    Now let’s start with the meat of the idea, the monster books. If the party is in a cave and they encounter a rust monster, every player in the group knows what it is and what it can do. But how should the character know? How should the character know a rust monster destroys metal equipment or that fire stops trolls regenerating when a there’s a good chance the character never encountered these creatures before? Having these books and spending time reading them can be a logical reason why their character knows these things.

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    1. Part 2

      How it works---- Each book will be on a particular subject such as forest creatures, mountain creatures, underdark creatures or even creatures on the planes. If the player’s character owns one of these books he must spend 1 hour researching certain facts or inquiries. The monster books would be special as the character would know total number of facts or inquiries equal to (Int mod * 2) and must read from the book(s) at least once a week or start forgetting one fact per day after the week of not researching. Creatures with average intelligence or lower don’t know much about the monsters besides that they are dangerous or scary. It might seem much doubling your intelligence mod but a character with 20 intelligence knowing about 10 creatures out of the whole list of monsters available isn’t that unreasonable, especially when there’s no guarantee those monsters will show up in the first place. This knowledge will allow the player to use anything he can recall from their own game experience or to avoid players from constantly looking at the monster manual have the DM hand pick what strengths or vulnerabilities they may know instead.

      In combat mechanics----Say the party is walking along and some creature pops in to ruin their day. This particular monster is one that a player knows is dangerous and should be handled cautiously but the player didn’t add that creature to the character’s list of known facts. If the character wishes to gain any knowledge about the creature in combat it must spend a full round flipping through the book using all his concentration to find any information they can on the beast. Then on the player’s next turn they must roll a knowledge skill relevant to what they are researching to see if they found any information they are searching for. Rolling for this knowledge counts as the player’s interaction for that turn, after which they can use their normal actions to do what they will with or without the knowledge they get. If they roll too low, they wasted their time flipping through pages and can try again repeating the process. If they succeed on the roll they can add that creature to their facts known table and the DM can tell the player any information the DM feels they should know. If the character already knows the max amount of facts they can know, then the player chooses to forget one of the creatures for the newer one. Since this action requires the character’s full concentration, the character must use his action to start reading and spend the entire round researching not make any further actions until his next turn. Any movement or bonus actions the player wishes to make must be made before the character starts researching. If the character uses a bonus action or his reaction, the player stops researching and the process fails so he’ll have to start all over again. If the player is attacked they must then roll a concentration roll to not lose focus or the search fails as well.

      Sorry for the wall of text but I thought this might be an idea you might want to expand upon. I left this summary without DCs because I figured you’d be a better judge on what to roll. I hope I didn’t inconvenience you to read through all of this and whether you use this idea or not I look forward to more of your great homebrew ideas.

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    2. I like this. It means I'll have to do a LOT of reformatting to slip it in sideways, but what are second drafts for?

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    3. If it's too much mechanics to cram into this project, you could always just add the types of books to what you can buy in the merchants tables and make another homebrew project called guide books and literature or something. Kinda similar how people have expanded the poisoners kit and achemist supplies in other people's homebrew.

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  5. A thought: Shouldn't the price of the fake treasure map be the same as the price of the real treasure map? Plus, I think it'd be hilarious for that table to start: "Atrocious - Treasure map, fake - 1,000 gp."

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    1. maybe its incredibly obvious that its fake, like that one guy in papers please who made a fake passport using a crayon

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    2. First off this content as well as the original strongholds expansion you did is worthy of being official mechanics in the game. I just gave my players the small cottage house and the extra room point to spend on it, they thought it was actual in game mechanics so hats off to you good sir.

      My thoughts: (Not sure if I said this in your reddit thread in UA but here goes) I think the D20 for merchants should become a d100 or if you wanna go out there a d120 variant so you have the option, or the dm's have the options of new merchants coming in specific to their campaigns, and it allows the rarity of some merchants to be higher than others (For example in campaigns wher magic is rare its not as equally as likely for a magic merchant to come in as it is a alcohol vendor etc) .


      Another idea that could be possible, have some vendors get a variant option dice (12 races if I remember correctly so a d12 or d20 or another d100 maybe?) and having that little variance can impact the goods sold.

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  6. Oh man there's an expansion also? Awesome!

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  7. Instead of always specifying specific magic items, perhaps you could say "Merchant has a magic item for sale, roll on magic item table C" or something to that effect?

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  8. Instead of always specifying specific magic items, perhaps you could say "Merchant has a magic item for sale, roll on magic item table C" or something to that effect?

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    1. Not a bad plan.

      The idea with the specifics is that I had more direct control over the power level of items the merchants offer. Even items clustered by table or rarity in the DMG have a vastly different impact on the game, and I wanted to cherry-pick the ones that would offer a substantial benefit without directly breaking too much.

      Still, though, versatility is a good thing, and I'll look at ways like this of increasing the variety of what's offered.

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  9. Hello. I really like this supplement and I'm using this and the Stronghold system in my current campaign. A question came up though about the exact use of the Spell Tomes item. It says it imparts knowledge of the spell upon the user. But, mechanically what does that mean? Like does it replace a known spell for Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks? Does it add an always prepared spell to the caster?

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    1. The intent is that it adds knowledge of a spell above and beyond any limits put in place by a class, such as how a wizard can find knowledge of spells as loot in a dungeon.

      The intent is also that these spells MUST be ones on the class's spell list, and not a spell that the character already knows. These spells must be prepared like any other spell and are not always prepared, unless a class's spell slots act in that way.

      Typing this, I realize that my implementation of this was a little wonky. I'll fix it up next time around, which should be coming relatively soon.

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    2. It would be kind of cool to make it something usable for any spellcaster to have an additional prepared spell for the day.

      Like, for example,

      A *spell tome* bears the words of a single spell, written in a a mystical cipher laced with enchantments that impart the knowledge of the spell onto a reader. If the spell is on your class's spell list, you can use an action to read the tome and gain the knowledge of the spell temporarily. This makes the spell become prepared or known to the reader until the user takes a long rest. Otherwise, the tome is unintelligible.

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    3. That's kind of the idea behind the spell scroll, I think.

      Rather than read and digest it beforehand for use later, you whip the scroll out and cast it when you'd like.

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  10. I've thoroughly enjoyed the time and effort you've put into presenting this document. Just have one little nitpick to correct in the next draft. It's spelled "furniture", not "furnature". This applies to the chart in the original Strongholds as well.

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  11. One minor correction - From the Food and Animal Parts table, Ioun Stones should be DMG 176 rather than PHB 176.

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    1. Good call, will fix.

      Maybe sooner rather than later. ;)

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