Demand Modifiers

How would a player learn market demand modifiers? Is this something you just find out when you go to a new market or do you have to spend time finding that out specifically? Also if someone is originally from a town would they have an idea of that towns modifiers? Would them having bargaining matter?

i’m fairly confident there’s nothing in the book about explicit knowledge, so it would probably vary depending on your campaign and your goals with regard to mercantile ventures.

If we assume players can potentially read the sections of the campaign chapters, they know the base cost of a good. Then, if you give them no other information with regards to how the city is set up, they’ll at least know that the percentage was 4d4+demand modifier *10%, and several months of shopping will slowly ferret out roughly what goods track at. If you want part of the activity of trading to be uncovering the demand modifiers, giving them no information would result in that. They’d likely spend a lot of time (and therefore money) ferreting out the prices. Characters that weren’t deeply invested in this activity would probably opt not to participate.

If you freely give out the demand modifiers, players will likely focus on the most negative demand modifiers on expensive goods, perhaps focusing on exotic goods if they have someone with a good enough charisma modifier to get merchants to deal in such an exotic product. A sufficiently savy player might be able to quickly suss out a major differential in something valuable like gems, possibly turning a huge profit in the process without having to invest in especially large transport (either many wagons or a large sailing ship). If you want the emphasis to be on traveling and the strategy of fully exploiting a large differential, this is the way to do it. Additionally, this way could be profitable enough in a short time that players looking to level up/make money quickly may opt to do it.

From there you can do varying levels of in between: you could simply list which products are in demand or in supply without giving the full blown modifiers as an example of a middle-of-the-road approach. In general, the closer you drift towards the first method you go, the more rewarding the process will be for someone who wants to dig into mercantilism, but the less interested other players will be. Drifting towards the second method will likely produce the opposite result.

In my opinion, learning in general what goods are in demand or not in demand would be a simple thing for anyone to do.

The exact numbers, however, are a mechanical construct and not something specific that’s set in-world.

So I would tell players which goods have positive modifiers, and which goods have negative modifiers, although not in those words. If a place has, say, a +3 for iron and a -3 for lumber, I would tell them “This location is known for its great timber, but it is also short on metals and is a great importer of iron.” From that, they would know that timber is cheap here and iron is expensive.

As far as time to learn it, I’d say a week would let you know the basic flow of goods, or you would know it automatically if you were from the area.

This is, of course, just my opinion.