Buying & Selling Magic Items

OK, I love this section! For my tastes, it could accomodate much more of the discussions we had in the forums here about illiquid markets, but at Gen Con Alex and I agreed that hyperlinking to this kind of discussion is a good way to keep the print book efficiently-sized and give interested readers like me a way to follow it deeper.

  1. The Magic Item Transactions by Market Class table needs a key. Reading the example in Selling Magic Items, I think I get that the table is showing me the number of buyers for that item, or the chance of finding a buyer at all. However, there should be a legend explaining this.
    1a) The logarythmic scaling on the table seems weird. How many magic items cost 1 gp or less? Since many of the items in the examples seem to fall into the 1,001 - 10,000 gp band, I think it’d be much more useful if this table had the same number of rows, but started at the minimum cost of a magic item we can think of and subdivided the gradations more finely.
    1b) It’s not clear why knowing the number of buyers matters as long as there is one. It would be cool if there were rules for a quick mini-game of negotiating with a buyer, such that if there were seven potentials you’d have seven chances of getting a good deal from this minigame. But just a formula saying “competition among X potential buyers increases the bidding price by Y%” would be fine.
  2. Selling Magic Items is explicit about what a player-created items sells for, but it’s not explicit what a found item can fetch. The example suggests it sells for the base cost, which is fine - if so we should make it explicit - but it’d be cool if this related to the number of buyers and was variable to drive interesting choices about selling it here now or traveling to a distant city in search of a better price.
  3. Buying Magic Items only distantly approaches the question that’s likely to come up in play: can we buy the specific thing we want (e.g. healing potions) here? The example seems to suggest that in a class I city, seven of every item under 1K will be available and two of each item under 10K, which is not a bad rule of thumb but if carried to extremes implies stores well-stocked with every obscure item imaginable.
    I’d like to see some guidelines here that derive from the assumptions about magic item markets and which could then make predictions about the stock carried by each of the vendors in a market. For example:
    20% common useful items manufactured by reputable wizards catering to the adventuring trade, appropriately certified, fetch top dollar
    10% as above but recovered from the bodies of dead adventurers, 5% chance that the items have been somehow corrupted since their manufacture, sold at discount
    10% obscure items manufactured by wizards for research purposes, fetch top dollar but few buyers
    10% obscure items recovered from dungeons and researched, properties are known but provenance is not, fetch a good price but few need this kind of weird item and its former owner may come looking for it
    40% assorted items recovered from dungeons which are known to be magical but no one has paid to research, 30% of these are cursed
    Having this breakdown, we could then create sample item shop inventories for cities of different sizes, customized item-stocking tables that could be used for online generators, etc.
    Overall I love the idea of knowing how many people in an area might buy or sell magic items of different categories - this tells me lots of game-important things about what this city or village is like, and there are lots of roleplaying opportunities inherent in knowing how many other buyers there are for high-level scrolls after one you sell accidentally blows the head off the lich who was your main buyer. I just want this information to be more integrated into the kinds of questions that will come up in play: sale price of found items and availability of specific items.