Bartering (sage ability)

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Bartering is an authority-status sage ability in the studies of Logistics and Mercantilism that permits characters to trade goods and services without using a coin as a medium of exchange. Characters holding material objects may "price" those objects at 90% of the value set by local vendors, and take from those vendors an equal value in exchange. Essentially, the ability allows the character to haggle and convince vendors that the objects to be bartered have a resale value and that the exchange is of value to both parties.

For example, Jocasta has with her a small anvil priced at 20 g.p., which she cannot sell for a price equal to 90% of its value. However, by bartering the anvil at the blacksmith's (the source vendor for anvils), she is entitled to reap 18 g.p. worth of goods and services from that vendor. As the barter is made, no gold passes out of her hands or into them; if she cannot find 18 g.p. worth of product from the shelves of the blacksmith, she must take as much as she is able or fail to barter at all.

All bartered material must be essentially undamaged. Clothes that have been worn into a fight or in which participants have sustained wounds would not qualify. Each bartered arrangement requires a total of ten minutes, so that characters wishing to barter a dozen or more items should be prepared to begin early that day. Remember that each different vendor visited requires ½-hour to locate and search before haggling can be commenced (and that commonly shops remain open only between sunrise and sundown).


All goods and services to be bartered must be exchanged with goods related to the source of those goods. A brass scale may be exchanged for a bullseye lantern at the coppersmith's, one book may be exchanged for another at the printer's, a cello may be exchanged for a flute at the luthier's, and so on. Twenty pounds of fish would be of no value to the leather worker, a cow would be useless to a perfumer and a confectioner wouldn't know the least thing about the value of a rare coin. Such trades as these would be impractical for the vendors in question.

However, exceptions include the sale of clothes, food, property, common housewares or gemstones, which may be bartered at any vendor, as these items are relatively universal. Common housewares would include cups, saucers, spoons, candlesticks, furniture and ornaments, including a holy symbol (presuming the barter was made with another of the correct faith). Additionally, in certain specific instances, such as trading a hammer at the mason's, a bushel of coal with the innkeeper, weapons in a time when a village is threatened by war, or a Bible with most any Christian, where the trade makes reasonable sense, a barter can always be made.

See Also,
Black Market (sage study)