Download PDF here.
Or just read on...
Unique: An improvised sale that just happens to be going on here and now. Come back tomorrow and it will be gone, never to return.
Irregular: Think “swap meet”. The market is open when a number of vendors in the area agree to sell or trade to one another and to any friendly locals. It’s a whenever-we-feel-like-it affair, maybe even a chance meeting of two or three vendors.
Periodic: Think “flea market”. The market is open once every so many days, or seasonally. Periodic markets are often tied to important social events or to seasonal availability of the goods being sold.
Permanent: Think “shopping mall”. The market is always occupied. Permanent markets usually have sturdier, more durable structures, with doors and windows that can be secured when the market is closed.
Number of vendors:
1–2 1 vendor
3–10 1d4+1 vendors
11–19 1d6+5 vendors
20 1d8+11 vendors
1– 6 Sparse
7–14 Below Capacity
15–18 At Capacity
19–20 Above Capacity
Sparse: A nearly deserted market, with perhaps 2 or 3 empty spaces for every vendor present.
Below Capacity: The market has 1 empty space for every 2 or 3 vendors present.
At Capacity: The market is full or nearly so.
Above Capacity: Excess vendors are squeezed into odd corners or sharing spaces intended for a single shop.
Dead: No customers in sight. Vendors may fight over you.
Slow: Number of vendors is roughly equal to number of customers in the market.
Busy: Customers comfortably outnumber vendors. You’re always in sight of at least another customer or two.
Booming: Far more customers than vendors. Aisles/public ways are fully occupied but passable.
Mobbed: Customers are thronging the market to the point where it’s nearly impossible to move. It’s pickpocket heaven.
Haphazard: Vendors are set up everywhere, with few or no marked public ways and no formal division of vendor spaces.
Staked: Vendor space is marked with stakes, painted lines, rugs, ropes, or other impermanent boundaries, with some effort to provide public ways for customers. Reapportioning the market space would take minimal effort.
Dedicated: Vendor spaces are permanently defined by stalls, stone railings, niches, or other structures that would need to be demolished n order to reapportion vendor space.
13–14 Market Association
Free: Anyone can set up shop for free. Spots might be first-come, first-served, or there might be an understanding that longstanding vendors have first dibs. Arguments over space might be common if the market is above capacity. Security varies by shop.
Licensed: A vendor needs a license from a local authority to operate in the market. It might be a simple matter of presenting yourself to the license giver, or providing some sample wares to attest to their quality, or there might be a license fee or bribe required.
Market Association: Anyone can set up shop providing they pay a fee to a non-profit market association that provides security, cleanup, and maintenance for all vendors.
Leased: The market property is owned by a for-profit venture that makes money leasing market space to vendors, in exchange for keeping the place more or less safe and tidy.
Monopoly: Regardless of the number of vendors, they are all employees of the same entity and any profits or expenses ultimately come in or go out of the same purse. The owner of the monopoly is responsible for cleaning and protecting the marketplace.
You can generate individual vendors using these tables, regardless of what the vendor is actually selling.
Type of Goods
1 Melee Weapons
2 Ranged Weapons
7 Standard Magic Items
8 Adventure Gear (rope, lanterns, lamp oil, etc.)
9 Cooked food
10 Raw foodstuffs
12 Personal services (grooming, medical, massage, etc.)
13 Banking, moneylending, moneychanging, appraisals, or pawn shop
14 Instruments, gizmos, and toys
16 Containers, vessels
17 Ironmongery (nails, chain, locks, keys, hooks, utensils, etc.)
18–20 Unusual (see the Unusual Goods appendix at the end of this document)
Sparse: The vendor’s space is nearly empty of goods. The cause could be any combination of high demand and low supply. Chances that the vendor has what you’re looking for in her category of goods is 1/10.
Gaps: Noticeable gaps in the merchandise. You can find what you’re looking for about ½ the time.
Full: Shelves are full of goods. Odds of you finding what you’re looking for are 9/10.
Overstocked: The vendor has more items in stock than can be displayed at once. If it’s not on the shelf, she’s got one “in back.”
Quality of Goods
Shoddy: The goods here are likely to give you a penalty to skill attempts when used. They might even break. This may also include used goods that have seen a lifetime of wear.
Serviceable: Reasonably well-made goods that will serve as needed but aren’t made with any particular care.
Quality: Goods that are well-crafted, with attention to detail, and provide a small bonus when used by someone skilled in their use.
Masterwork: The goods for sale here are exemplary, showing the highest degree of skill in their manufacture. For skilled users of these goods, they provide a significant bonus to skill or performance.
Luxury: As masterwork, but they look ornate, with exquisite embellishment and detail. The very best.
Low: Knock a little off the standard price for this vendor’s goods. Maybe they want to get rid of inventory, out-compete another vendor, or they just don’t know what their goods should be valued at.
Fair: Prices are by the book.
High: Prices are higher than listed, either due to high demand or because the vendor thinks you’re all suckers.
Sales Approach (add +1 for quality, +2 for masterwork, and +3 for luxury quality goods)
5–8 Hard Sell
9–12 Soft Sell
Hawker: The vendor tries to persuade you to buy something, anything. She might pull you off the street or put goods in your hand.
Hard Sell: The vendor will steer you towards the most expensive item whether it’s right for you or not.
Soft Sell: The vendor makes suggestions and admits when something isn’t right for you. The pressure to buy is there, but subtle.
Neutral: The vendor is there to take your money, keep the goods in order, and make sure no one steals anything. She won’t talk to you unless you talk first.
Cool: You’re not good enough to shop here. The vendor might consider you unworthy of her attention, and you will find yourself buying something just to get on her good side.
Appendix: Unusual Goods List
1 Ghosts of cats, dogs, and other pets
2 Venoms milked from live animals and vermin while you wait
3 Animated skeleton warriors
4 Bonsai treants and ropers
5 Prosthetic clockwork limbs
6 Luminescent slime lanterns that are powered by table scraps
7 Altimeters and compasses
8 Magic candy (bubble gum of levitation, peppermints of protection from fire, atomic fire balls of dragon breath, spider climb taffy, pixy stix of revealing)
9 Pocket-sized dairy animals
10 Looseleaf potion teas and tisanes
11 Scrolls of puffery that write exaggerated accounts of the owner’s exploits
12 Animated disposable arrow-fodder mannekins
13 Liar’s gear (Return-teleport gold coins, crooked dice, you-dictate forged passes, self-aware card decks)
14 Mystery eggs from unknown animals
15 Remaindered love potions that make the imbiber love worms, drum solos, Brussels sprouts, the color blue, or knock-knock jokes
16 Odd socks
17 Bottled sounds (some pleasant, some cacophonous)
18 Copies of today’s newspapers from various outer planes
19 Spectacles that allow you to see a fixed time interval into the past (5 minutes, 1 hour, 1 year, 1 century)
20 Fill-in-the-blank curse scrolls that require you to choose adjectives, verbs, numbers, and nouns before opening the scroll and directing the curse on someone. (“May you continually ooze (sticky substance) from (body orifice) that attracts (annoying insects), and may you be compelled to shout the word (flavor of ice cream) anytime someone says “Cool.”)