Friday, November 26, 2010

The Astral Black Market Firesale- a D&D 4e Event

So, Black Friday has come again this year. I am really sad that I won’t be in the States to enjoy it. I have fairly religiously been a Black Friday shopper since high school; I used to line up at circuit city and sell coffee at 3 am. This was always a nice way to earn a few dollars to be put towards PS2 games. Last year, I lined up from 6 pm the night before in order to be one of the first people inside Best Buy in order to pick up a PS3, games, DVD’s, and lots of other goodies.
Since I won’t be enjoying these sales this year, I thought I might put a little something together for all of you D&D playing bargain hunters. This event is designed for 4e D&D, but with a little work, you could easily adopt it into other games.

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The Astral Black Market Fire Sale –
“Everything an Adventurer didn’t know he needed and more!”

Lore
The Astral Black Market Fire Sale is rumored to have been started several hundred years ago. The sale is believed to have originally been started by a group of powerful and very successful adventurers who travelled the planes in search of treasure and found much, too much of it. In order to get rid of all their excess magical items, they put together a massive caravan of astral ships which they enchanted for travel to and from the astral plane to the material plane. Now, the original founders of the sale have long since stopped selling their goods, but others joined in and expanded the operation. It has now become a yearly even for selling off stock of old weapons, excess armor, and miscellaneous magical items ranging from the strange to just down right useless.

The Astral Black Market Fire Sale is an event which happens once a year. The location of the sale each year changes, but it always shows up somewhere highly populated, and densely packed with warriors, wizards, and other powerful people in search of powerful new toys. However, not only does the sale pedal magical wares, it also draws huge numbers of peasants because of the giveaways. During the fire sale, each of the dozens of merchants involved hands out free items to the general public for coming to see what is for sale. These items are usually not more valuable than a few silver pieces, but sometimes a vendor may give out something that is as valuable as a few GP. These items range from candles and cookware to small farm animals and rope. They could be just about anything. It is always a big surprise what will come up.

Part I – Getting what is on your shopping List
Of course, the biggest draw for the fire sale is the chance to pick up magic items. However, getting to the good stuff is not very easy. There are a lot of people buying a lot of stuff at this gathering. It takes some serious skills to get what one really wants.

The Wish List –
Before doing the fire sale event, each player must put together a wish list of 10 items that they want to buy. These items should be numbered from 1-10 with 10 being the item the player wants the most. The player cannot write the same item multiple times. The DM will use this list in determining what the player’s will have access to during the event
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The Fire Sale is a moderate difficulty skill challenge requiring 5 success before 3 failures. Every time a player succeeds on a skill check, he or she moves one step closer to getting all the items on his list. Whenever a player gets a success, up to 4 success, he or she earns 1 point. If the player succeeds on the skill challenge, he or she gets an additional 1 point. When the skill challenge ends, the DM makes a d10 roll against the player’s wish list for every 2 points the player earned during the skill challenge to see what items he or she was able to obtain.

Players can use the following skills during the Skill challenge.
Athletics – to push and shove through the throngs of people.
Acrobatics – to jump and cartwheel above the crowd.
Stealth – to slip unnoticed through the lines and make your way to the front.
Arcana – to sense where the really good magic items are being stored.
Diplomacy – to convince someone to give you the item you want.
Intimidate – when you want it no matter what
Bluff – to lie your way into the best deals around.

All the DC’s of the above skills should begin as medium, but pulling the same trick multiple times gets harder and harder. Each time a player makes the same skill check again, increase the DC needed to succeed by 2.

Part II – What you didn’t know you needed
Although getting what is on your wish list is priority #1 during the skill challenge portion of the Fire Sale, this event also offers a plethora of other, less important magical gear, which could be a fun addition to an armory.

The merchants offer a variety of interesting items and weapons at a discount.
Non-Magical Weapon and Armor are 50% off.
Basic Adventuring gear, non-magical, is 75% off.
Alchemical items/consumables are 25% off.
Random items costing less than 5 gp are given away for free.
Magical Weapons and Armor are 10% off.
Useful Magical Items are 15% off.
Semi-useful magical items are 20% off.
Ok magical items are 25% off.
Basically junk magic items are 50% off.

Haggling at the Fire sale is encouraged, however it is very difficult. Players can use Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Bluff (DC – Hard) to get an additional 5% off of an item each time they make a purchase, however, failing on Intimidate of Bluff causes the price to increase by 5%. Each time a player uses the same skill, the DC of the check increases by 2.

This event provides a great opportunity for DM’s to put together a big list of random magic items, which aren’t really something a player would want or particularly use, but might provide an interesting flavorful addition to his or her character. The decreased price just might get the player to drop some gold on something he or she didn’t want.

Part III – Not knowing is half the fun
Several of the merchants offer grab bags of various levels. These are items which are covered and concealed. No skill checks are allowed to be used when purchasing these items.

The Grab Bags are generated by random D10 rolls when the player buys the item. Grab bags come in two varieties, weapon grab bags and armor grab bags. Each grab bag is guaranteed to have either a magical weapon or a magic suit of armor inside. Each vendor offers a grab bag of level equal to the average level of the player’s in the group. In other words, if the players are all level 10, the vendors sell a level 10 grab bag. The grab bag costs the same as an item of the player’s level ,but may or may not have that level of item inside. Inside the grab bag is a random selection of items, roll on the following charts to see what is inside.

Chart 1 – roll on this 1 time.
D10
1 A random weapon/armor of player level -4
2. A random weapon/armor of player level -3
3 A random weapon/armor of player level -3
4. A random weapon/armor of player level -2
5. A random weapon/armor of player level -2
6. A random weapon/armor of player level -1
7. A random weapon/armor of player level -1
8. A random weapon/armor of player level
9. A random weapon/armor of player level
10. A random weapon/armor of player level +1

The grab bag also comes with several other items, roll on the following chart to determine how many items and of what levels they are before choosing what items to pick.

Chart 2 – roll on this 1 time
D10
1. 1 magic item of player level – 5
2. 1 magic items of player level -4
3. 1 magic item of player level -3
4. 1 magic item of player level -2
5. 1 magic item of player level -1
6. 1 magic item of player level -1 and one magic item of player level -5
7. 1 magic item of player level -1 and one magic item of player level -4
8. 1 magic item of player level -1 and one magic item of player level -3
9. 1 magic item of player level -1 and one magic item of player level -2
10. 2 magic item of player level -1

The DM should feel free to throw the weirdest, strangest, most useless magic items that they can find into the grab bags, even if it means making new ones.

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I hope you all have a good black friday, get some good deals, and enjoy some hot coffee, sold by high school kids, at 3 in the morning. Cheers.

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