D&D Homebrew: Merchant Bot

I want to take a moment to write about another homebrew I have added to my game. Because of the time crunch that exists at my table, I have to find way to automate a lot of the processes in the game to optimize the session. This also means there are aspects of the game I need to cut out.

My players hate shopping. They are mean to the shop keeps or don’t talk to them at all and as much as I try to make the shop keep interesting and engaging, my players are only interested in getting to the next leg of combat. There is nothing wrong with that, that is just the truth of my table. As a result, we do shopping outside of our game session. Now the prices are set to what they are unless the player wants to haggle, then they must do the work and haggle and talk with the shop keep. Why? Because I want to play too.

Now for selling items, we’ve come up with a sort of gambling mechanic. Now story wise, this will be an NPC follower of the party. One whose only job in the party will be to carry around the junk the party doesn’t want and sell them when they arrive in town. You can adjust the responsibilities this NPC has to better fit your campaign, but in mine a follower that is a mule is fine enough. I do not do combat with this NPC or make checks with them. In combat, you can ignore him and say he hides or holds his own but I don’t see the point in making roles for him. This should be about the party, not the random bot you made for them. You can however, set him as a target to add complexity to the combat. She can’t sell if they are dead. And if they lose the NPC, make them work to gain another. If they keep killing off their npcs, maybe no one will agree to join them. You can have fun with this.

Now for the mechanic.

The players will give the NPC the items they don’t want. Armor, weapons, and other junk items that are worth gold. You as the DM keep track of the price on all of these items. I use the DND Beyond pricing, but you can use whatever you want as long as it is consistent. You keep the tally until the party makes it to town. Then, the NPC will take a few days to sell the items. I roll a d6 because I want to roll dice. One member of the party will then roll 1d100. The result of that will be how much of the total they will receive.

For example, if they collected 100gp worth of junk and the player rolls a 60, they only get 60g. I suggest rolling on a computer or app so you get more variety but rolling dice is just fine.

If the players want to try to haggle to get the better price, that is always an option. The caveat being that they can either roll the d100 or try to haggle. It wouldn’t be fair if they roll a one and then they haggle for the better price. What they get is what they get.

So far it has worked pretty well. My players always opt out for rolling dice and it is exciting to see the how much of the cut they receive. I charge my character a wage for the NPC. You can choose the rate that goes for. The NPC can quit if they are mistreated or if life gets too dangerous so they should be actively trying to keep him or her happy like some kind of Tamagotchi. You should also think about setting a carrying capacity to try to limit any abuse. My players at least will take advantage of the lack of carrying capacity and try to steal enormous items in the hopes of being imaginary billionaires.

Let me know what you think? Is there any ways that I can improve this system?

4 thoughts on “D&D Homebrew: Merchant Bot

Add yours

  1. This is a cool idea! It could even be a squire or someone, who has decided to tag along with the party because they’re inspired by their deeds.

    I _also_ like the idea that adventuring parties would have to hire someone just for this job. I guess this would be a “fence” in some other situations, or just someone that knows where to get the best prices for stuff. Them being around would be a big red flag for bandits though – they’re obviously carrying a bunch of loot!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: