Most house rules should address a setting issue … or a problem.
My problem with the market ventures rules has nothing to do with their balance, scope, or usage, but to be blunt, I flat-out don’t have the time to use them. They take longer than any other rule in ACKS, and the reward appears low for the time expenditure.
So I’ve been working on a simpler version. Here is my first draft. Comments welcome as always.
CARGO is a complex of generic commodity items at a variety of values. Each load weighs 50 stone and is worth 100 gold. If the merchant is traveling along an established route, the base value is –1 at the starting city and +1 at the target city.
If the route is not an established one, the base value is –1 at the starting city and 2d3–4 at the target city . . . and you roll the target city when you arrive.
VALUABLES consist of higher-ticket items, and are chancier, even along established routes. A load weighs 10 stone and is worth 1,000 gold. Along an established route, the base value is –1 in the starting city. For the target city, add 2d3–3 to the starting city’s base value to find the new value.
A non-established route is 2d3–4 for both cities, and they bear no relation to one another.
SPECIAL products are rarer. In addition to the above, a city has a chance of being known for the quality of a particular product. The base chance is 35% minus (market class x 5). Thus, a Class I city has a 30% chance; a Class VI city has a 5% chance. On a natural 01, there is a chance of a second product as well.
To determine the product, roll on the Common Merchandise table (p. 145). This product has a value of –2 in the city known for it. In other cities, demand fluctuates but is always at least a bit higher: 2d3–3.
BUYING AND SELLING
Merchants have no predetermined interests. Roll the number of merchants and the number of loads of CARGO they might buy or sell. Make a reaction roll - even though the game system views CARGO loads as generic, the merchants don’t!
VALUABLES are handled the same, but the number of loads they are interested in buying or selling is one market class worse (Class VI merchants are interested in 1d2–1 loads).
EVERYTHING ELSE . . .
. . . remains the same. It’s a good system :-).