Appraisal I (sage ability)
Appraisal I is an amateur-status sage ability in the study of Burglary that enables the character to correctly identify the approximate value of items according to their workmanship and innate value. The skill assigns a precise monetary cost for each item according to its local value.
The ability also enables the character to distinguish the quality of workmanship of the item. All manufactured items are measured by their maker. Most items have an "ordinary" quality. Progressively, better qualities are recognized as "fine quality," "highly crafted," "excellent work," "brilliant work," "masterwork," "magnificent" or "genius." The quality of an object depends upon the knowledge of the craftsperson responsible.
As quality improves, it's monetary value does as well, so that a "fine quality" object averages to be 2.3 times as valuable as an ordinary object. A "highly crafted" object averages to be 2.3 times as valuable as a fine quality object. This progression in value continues with each higher stage of quality, so that "genius" object is more than 200 times as valuable as an ordinary one. Better than genius objects are "masterpieces," which have no fixed price, but which are always considered better than genius in make.
In addition to their quality of appearance and binding, books are also measures by the rarity of their content.
"Common books" include storybooks, diaries, lists of accounts or local ordinances and holy books. Common books are usually "ordinary" in quality; some are "fine quality."
"Uncommon books" include any book that are written to explain how something is done, including works about manufacturing items, science, engineering, civics, the law, theology and hundreds of other academic subjects. These books range from "ordinary" to "brilliant work" in quality.
"Rare books" include any treatise in a study that surpasses the knowledge of an "authority"; this is knowledge that only an "expert" or "sage" can explain. This is usually about how to accomplish the making of an item or bringing about some unlikely event. While rare books can be understood by persons with at least an authority knowledge in the subject, the work cannot be duplicated except by another expert or better. These books are always least "highly crafted" in quality and range up to "genius."
"Arcane books" are magical in function and are remarkably precious and unlikely. These books can only be understood and used by character classes who possess a level of 6th or higher, in the sort of magic described by the book. Most tell how to accomplish magic generally not available to casters. All books of this sort are at least a "masterwork" in quality.
Materials and manufactures are measured in value according to their origin and design. Gemstones can be recognized as "ornamental", "fancy", "semi-precious", "lesser precious" and "greater precious" depending on the mineral nature of the gem and its worldwide rarity. Ales such as lager, porter and stout have different values, as do distilled spirits and varieties of wine. There are many kinds of cloth, measured by weight, rarity and desirability. Woods, incense, perfume, spices and other substances are likewise be measured. Even a standard like Gold depends on how pure the metal is, or what combination of other metals it is alloyed with. The value of things is not a simple matter.
For that reason, this level of ability provides no insight to the potential "liquidity" of an item, that being whether or not the item can be easily bought or sold. Nor does it calculate an item's "halo effect," which is based on where the item came from or who previously possessed it. Nor does it provide any specific information about the manufacture, its place of origin or source, or the specific materials used in its creation. The ability does not provide information on whether or not the item is magical.