Evaluatable Items and tags representing their worth

There was something posted up in the Rules ARC section about this and while I agree with what they put up as far as sentiment, I thought I would bring up another issue with Evaluate-able items being put out at chapters, and that is the issue of there NEVER being Evaluate sheets available at logistics for people with the Merchant (or previously with Evaluate Item) skill. I've played in 8 different chapters in 13 years of playing, almost all of which my various characters had this skill, and in almost every chapter when I asked for a copy of the local sheet I am met with blank stares and sheepish looks. I think that given we put out potion and alchemy tags with the item identity clearly written on the tags and rely on our player's integrity to get them identified by someone with the appropriate skill IG to tell them what they are before they use them, the same could be done for pieces of jewelry, goods, etc that are going out with an Evaluate-able value and nothing would be lost except the frustration felt by our players who spend build on a skill that a) is very underutilized and b) can almost never BE utilized when given the chance due to epic logistical fail. Use the same criteria: player must spend one full minute analyzing the piece to determine it's mercantile value, just like a potion or alchemical substance.
 
I sympathize totally. The only answer I can provide is that as a person who has done treasure buckets, finding cool looking phys reps that can be easily marked in a lasting fashion that are not themselves expensive to acquire is time consuming, and often frustrating. As there is an expectation that a certain number of magic items be included in the weekend treasure, searching for extra items just to provide a small role play benefit for a skill that is bought rarely (at least in my experience) is not really an enjoyable pursuit. Basically, stuff that can be evaluated and sold by merchants is pretty low priority, and ends up getting down rarely, which discourages the use of the skill, which reduces the priority even lower until it disappears.

As I said, I sympathize; in D&D games I have gone out of my way to design characters that feel more realistic only to have them fall behind in somebody's fantasy combat sim. I'm just not sure how you would go about reversing the momentum of not putting out such treasure when a chunk of the player base specifically objects to loot that is basically coin but only actually usable by a very few characters. In Deadlands we put out a large amount of gemstones with the intention of encouraging, well, Evaluate Item at that point. The negative reaction was so large we eventually just reused them saying that blue gems are worth 5 gold and red gems 10.
 
Agreed, I also have done plot, logistics, etc and have gone through the same issues. That's not what I'm talking about, I'm specifically addressing this:

The question was roughly as so: "Our chapter puts out an item that has an Evaluate number on it. Can a PC request an OOG tag stating the value of the item from Logistics, instead of using the Evaluate list to determine it for themselves?"

Answer:

"It is not Logistics' responsibility to provide tags with a specific value as relates to items numbered with Evaluate Item numbers. Part of the purpose of the skill is to promote roleplay between players by examining an item and taking the time to look over an evaluate list, just like someone with herbal lore has to spend 60 seconds identifying alchemy. Players should utilize the Merchant skill and the Evaluate Item list to determine the value of these items; if they subsequently wish to keep track of the items' value through in-game means (for example, writing down a description of a painting with its evaluated value) that's completely up to them in an in-game fashion. Once the item is in-game, in-game skills must be used to determine its value - and it's up to players and NPCs to verify (using the Evaluate Item list) the value of these items when conducting transactions."

ARC is saying it's unreasonable to ask for a tag with the value on it for the item, and I'm saying I agree with the sentiment that it needs to be found out IG by someone with the skill to do so, but time and again the tools with which to do that are not made available to the players, so why not eliminate that problem by putting the value on the item and trusting our players to go ahead and DO the roleplay in finding someone to evaluate it for them, and then they know what it's worth, exactly the same way they take a "mysterious vial" they found on a monster to their buddy the alchemist and then he "labels" it as an Antidote elixer for future use. In addition, this would now make it so that players could bring their found loot to other chapters and trade it with people they meet there and not have to say "Really, I swear it's worth ten gold, but they didn't have an evaluate sheet at the last game so I don't have a copy of it with me here!" While this may be mildly entertaining RP-wise, it is very frustrating for the player who took the Evaluate-able loot in the treasure split since he was the only one able to determine it's value and now has a chunk of his treasury unusable because he can't prove what it's worth while the guy who took the 5 gold in coin can spend his freely.

Whether such treasure goes out or not I don't care, sure it's neat to see but with all the headaches involved on both sides of it I see why it doesn't happen often, I just would like to see it done right if it's done at all.
 

Libras

Scholar
The real answer was totally danced around, imo. I wish there was more "valuables" in play as I've only seen one in my time playing and it was simply a PC-plot coin exchange. I can just see it being put as dead-last priority since adventurers have no use for gold that is being repped by an item with no combat use. Tags would make it MUCH simpler.

I'll at least throw this in for Ohio Anderian if it's any consolation, Jeff. :)
 

tieran

Duke
Gettysburg Staff
Marshal
The easy answer is to make more magic item reps have an actual value as opposed to the 1cp default.
 

Inaryn

Knight
tieran said:
The easy answer is to make more magic item reps have an actual value as opposed to the 1cp default.
Funny you should mention that... Boy do I have a story to tell you...
 

Talen

Adept
One game I've played at had a fairly decent way of working with what would be Evaluate Item items in Alliance.

Monsters and bandits and such were prone to steal or loot family heirlooms, treasures and such (not always something you'd take as "loot", like "grandpa Stonethrower's brewing keg", with descriptions and rewards of some kind for their return. They'd then put multiple identical or near-identical copies of the item, with different Evaluate ID's on them as part of the month's treasure and give all module marshals a copy of the "rewards list" ID's. The NPC's offering rewards for the items would be recurring throughout the weekend- if someone brought the item in, they'd go "get their reward" from Treasure and hand over a nice chunk of coin or other goodies.

So when someone went on a module and found a huge barrel with an Evaluate tag on it- parties with someone with the skill could go "Hmm, that's a nice keg but not Stonethrower's" (being worth far less than the reward), and ones that did would go "Hey,there's a reward for that!" and roll that barrel all the way to a happy dwarf and a nice chunk of change. They still had to actually ASK the marshal if it was the item- if you missed the reward postings and didn't, the marshal wouldn't mention it, the Merchant's Guild would buy it off them at the lower price- and of course, make a profit off the reward in-game.

Their version of Evaluate also wasn't useful in the field otherwise than as a method of identifying items as being valuable (roughly-exact stuff had to be done in their "Merchant's Guild"), and they also didn't allow folks to take many items that they wouldn't be able to ID as valuable without it- effectively, if you wanted to take everything that wasn't nailed down that was worth gold, you made sure you had someone with the skill handy on adventures. Two groups might go on the same mod- the one with Evaluate would come home with the silver plates they end up selling to the Merchant's Guild, a bottle of rare wine a collector was looking for (a nice reward), and the coins/gems/jewelry - but the one without it only ended up with the coins/gems/jewelry. It always made the skill useful to have along on modules as a result.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
Maxondaerth said:
...but time and again the tools with which to do that are not made available to the players...
From my perspective, that isn't a rules problem. The rules on how the lists are *supposed* to work are pretty clear, although I would personally prefer a different mechanism. If your chapter is not willing/able to supply an Evaluate list, that's a chapter-specific logistics problem (and it's one I've seen myself time and time again, so I'm not trying to minimize that it happens a LOT). But I think there's a distinction between saying "hey, we all suck at doing the process" and "hey, the rules are broken and need to change". In this case, it's a lot more of the former than the latter.

Now, there are ways the rules could be *improved*, without question. That's a different story. But as they're written, the rules work - so long as the players are given the tools they need. Similarly, if your chapter isn't giving out character cards when a character checks in, that's a logistical problem, not a problem of the rules requiring a character card. One of these shows up a whole lot more than the other, but in both cases it's something where a player should go to Logistics and say "yo, I need this" and they should say "yeah, here you go".

-Bryan
 
Hence why I put it here instead of in the rules section :D.

I agree, nothing wrong with the way it is written, so long as all parties get it done, but since it's not, we either need to police ourselves and get it done or change it to a way that will get done.
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
In the early days of Ashbury, I put out LOTS of items, and maybe 20% were magical. Our list thus became HUGE, especially since we're almost 20 years old. We keep a copy at the event for people with the skill.

There are two main problems with evaluating items:

1. So many items out there and having a list handy; and

2. Chapters that don't have your lists so if an item comes to another chapter it has no value.

Any suggestions as to how to make this work absent giving people pieces of paper that say "item" would be appreciated.
 

Inaryn

Knight
Fearless Leader said:
Any suggestions as to how to make this work absent giving people pieces of paper that say "item" would be appreciated.
A standardized national list that all chapters use?
 

jpariury

Duke
For gems, use a formula that relies on color, sides, and greatest length.

(Just throwing out random numbers)
  • Red: .2
  • Pink: .01
  • Dark Green: .16
  • Light Green: .09
  • Dark Blue: .14
  • Light Blue: .04
  • Yellow: .01
  • Purple: .02
  • Clear: .12
  • Black:.05
  • White: .04

Multiply by the number of sides/flats and closest half-inch along the longest side.

Thus, a ball pearl that has a one-inch diameter would be worth 8 silver, and a ruby about the size of my fist (5" at the longest) with 30 sides would be worth 60 gold.

However you were marking gems with evaluate strings, replace that with a chapter mark.

No sheet, and people can look all cool and in-gamey by measuring their gems and checking their color (imagine having to parse out pink from red, for instance).

You could even break things down by type of art:

  • Painting, unframed: .1
  • Painting, framed: .5
  • Sketches: .09
  • Silver metalwork: .1
  • Gold metalwork: 1
  • Bronze/copper metalwork: .01

Just attach a tag that says what it is and that it's evaluatable.
 

Lurin

Duke
Inaryn said:
Fearless Leader said:
Any suggestions as to how to make this work absent giving people pieces of paper that say "item" would be appreciated.
A standardized national list that all chapters use?
Careful here, If I won't want a tiny painting of a swam applied to a clam shell to be worth 50 gold in my chapter, because it's full of uncultured barbarians, I shouldn't be expected to have to have a merchant buy it.

On a more macro note, this could occasionally cost campaigns alot of money if I have a player come in with say a 25 gold piece gem and I honor it and give them 24 coins in "change" from logisitics. So a system like this, if implemented would have to done all at once, so I could say, make change with 4 "rubies" instead.
 

jpariury

Duke
To be fair, the evaluation "price" is what an object is worth to logistics, not what it is worth to characters (PC and NPC alike). If your heathens don't like my clamshell swan, they don't have to. And yes, I see no problem with giving 4 rubies in change.

The issue is that evaluate items come out of transferable treasure policy. Ergo, imo, they should be fully transferable at that rate, at least for the purposes of logistics, much like you can put out a fae who collects coppers in trade for riches, yet their logistics values remain untouched.
 

markusdark

Knight
For Jewelry, it could be as follows :

Multiply the Material by Make by Size

Material
Gold 4
Silver 2
Copper 1
Brass .5
Wooden .25
Bone .2
Shell .1

Make
Necklace 2
Bracelet 1.5
Ring 1
Pendant .5

Size - 1 per 1"

So a 10" Silver necklace is worth 40 gold. You could also add gemstones to the tally.

Note all amounts were assigned without any thought for value.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
Fearless Leader said:
In the early days of Ashbury, I put out LOTS of items, and maybe 20% were magical. Our list thus became HUGE, especially since we're almost 20 years old. We keep a copy at the event for people with the skill.

There are two main problems with evaluating items:

1. So many items out there and having a list handy; and

2. Chapters that don't have your lists so if an item comes to another chapter it has no value.

Any suggestions as to how to make this work absent giving people pieces of paper that say "item" would be appreciated.
It sounds like you guys add one individual number per evaluatable item that gets put out. That will definitely get huge over time!

For Oregon and Seattle, we have a single (albeit big) list with a lot of different possible values, from 0 copper to "see plot". When plot wants to put something out, they find a number that fits and put it on the item - not make up a new number for the item and add it to the list. That way, the list always stays the same size, and is consistent across both chapters, but the variety of possible values ensures that Plot has a ton of flexibility in what they can put out that's "evaluatable". Whether you use it for 1 year or 20, the list works without needing to keep growing.

-Bryan
 
Why not just have tags printed for them just like MI's and someone who gets an evaluatable item has to take it to logistics in the chapter it was issued in with someone with Merchant and say "This guy evaluated it, can I have the tag for it now please?" and now they have a tag that transfers from chapter to chapter (just like MI's do) and they can use it as intended, barter or sell it. Voila, problem solved and it uses an existing system.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
Maxondaerth said:
Why not just have tags printed for them just like MI's and someone who gets an evaluatable item has to take it to logistics in the chapter it was issued in with someone with Merchant and say "This guy evaluated it, can I have the tag for it now please?" and now they have a tag that transfers from chapter to chapter (just like MI's do) and they can use it as intended, barter or sell it. Voila, problem solved and it uses an existing system.
The best reason against it that I can think of is that it's propogating tags for no real need.

I don't really *like* the tag system to track stuff. RFID tags would be far better, but we're not set up to do it yet (hey, maybe in another 25 years...). Tags are a necessary evil to track items with game effects - alchemy, swords, armor, etc. - or things we can't physrep properly like ships, horses and the like. Most evaluatable items fit in a nice niche inbetween the "can't physrep" and "need a tag due to game effects". The "engrave a number, check the list" method is the closest we have to a low-tech RFID system right now.

When I get a gem with a tag, I have to keep track of 2 items and not lose them. I have to protect the tag from rain, even if the item itself can easily be thrown on the wet ground a few times without damage. If only one or the other gets stolen - the tag or the physrep, but not both - the "real" status of the item is kind of limbolic (hey, neat word there) until they're reunited. What I guess I'm trying to say is that tags suck, and any place we don't need 'em, I say get rid of 'em. Evaluate works just fine without needing to hand out tags with every item.

-Bryan
 

Shandar

Artisan
Maxondaerth said:
has to take it to logistics in the chapter it was issued in...problem solved and it uses an existing system.
...and creates extra work for logistics.
...and creates extra waste in the form of more tags.
...and wastes IG time on trips to logistics.
...and disrupts the IG atmosphere by adding an OOG travel step to the evaluation process.
...and lets chapters continue to skirt on something they should already be doing.

It's not that hard to create a no-maintenance evaluate list if you set it up to scale from the start (like the Seattle/Oregon/SF list).
Also, there is no rule stating that everything that comes out of treasure policy must have value in all chapters (see: ritual scrolls and catalysts).
 

phedre

Squire
Shandar said:
Maxondaerth said:
has to take it to logistics in the chapter it was issued in...problem solved and it uses an existing system.
...and creates extra work for logistics.
...and creates extra waste in the form of more tags.
...and wastes IG time on trips to logistics.
...and disrupts the IG atmosphere by adding an OOG travel step to the evaluation process.
...and lets chapters continue to skirt on something they should already be doing.

It's not that hard to create a no-maintenance evaluate list if you set it up to scale from the start (like the Seattle/Oregon/SF list).
Also, there is no rule stating that everything that comes out of treasure policy must have value in all chapters (see: ritual scrolls and catalysts).
Keep in mind that rit scrolls and catalysts don't come from the production point portion of treasure policy. They are based on attendance numbers. They are not intended to have value when they travel, even though the items they create can. The arguement here seems to be that there should be another form of treasure that can travel which would come out of production points... while I think it's a very cool idea in theory, I have to agree that it's a lot more work put onto an already hardworking group of volunteers.
 
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