Apu's Simucon Trader Notes

Ok, so I'm back from Simucon now. I had all sorts of fun, even though the Trader attendance may have been at an all-time low (there was me, Arnimas, and a couple people with Traders as their 2nd or 3rd characters). So since I was the only Trader there, I guess I'm stuck with the note taking responsibility. Actually I'd be doing this no matter what - it just can't be Simucon Trader Notes without my all-important opinions of each thing included :)

For those who are interested in who Arnimas' Trader character was (some may not want to know, but I know it's been a topic at the Trader socials and around the sewing circle in the gemshop) - I knew who his character was before I even close enough to read his nametag and make sure it was Arnimas (hint). I won't post who his character is on the message boards, but Arnimas said he didn't really mind me telling people who ask. But I will say on the boards that when we were trying to figure out who he was based on the information he posted about selling gems in Theren, my guess was right :)

Anyways, on to the much-anticipated Top 10 Wish List for the new Trader GM Arnimas:

**DISCLAIMER #1** Arnimas asked me to make sure that I tried to make it clear to people that this is his Top 10 WISH List for the guild - these are not necessarily coming out "soon", or even at all. The stuff on this list ranges anywhere from "potentially nearly finished" to "not even approved yet, but Arnimas wants to see it happen". So nothing listed here is a "promise", everything is subject to change, etc, blah, blah...miscellaneous fine print... you guys get the idea.

**DISCLAIMER #2** Most of this information was discussed Friday morning at the Trader meeting and I don't write down notes (I figure if I forget it then it must not have been important enough to begin with). So if anything here is incorrect, you'll have to take it up with my good friend Samuel Adams, it's all his fault.

1. Trading Houses (mostly approved, partially coded?, biggest NEW announcement)

- Traders of a significant, unspecified circle will be able to start what is basically their own trading company. Traders of a lower, unspecified circle will be able to join the trading houses owned by other Traders. Each house will have privately owned stock (where the original chairman Trader would be wise make sure he keeps a majority ownership), which can be bought and sold (only between Traders). Houses will be able to purchase NPC businesses, and will eventually see a return on their investment, depending on how profitable the particular business is. I forget exactly how they determine which house gets to buy each business, I'm thinking maybe they will be auctioned off or something. Each trading house will have a sort of "House Ranking" based on its wealth, power, prestige, number of businesses owned, etc., and belonging to a house with a high ranking will give a Trader a bonus to "traderly" type abilities (presumably like contracts, gem selling, etc). Houses may have other capabilities to facilitate cooperative trading between members, such a shared vault, shared bank account, house stamp for writing secured market certificates redeemable at the house office, and whatever else we can convince Arnimas to code up.

- All in all, I'd say this idea sounds like a fun system, although not incredibly useful. I'm interested to hear what other Traders think.

2. Commodities Rewrite (partially coded, old announcement)

- Same commods rewrite system that has been detailed before.

- Sounds friggin awesome, maybe we'll see it some day.

3. Contract Rewrite (not sure on status, NEW announcement)

- I'm guessing this one is still early in the developing ideas stage, since Arnimas just threw this one out there without many details (even though it sounds like a semi-major change to contracts). Basically what he said was that instead of delivering contracts between each outpost, we'd be delivering contracts from outposts to NPC shops. For example, maybe you'd get a contract of metals from Stone Clan to take to the Crossing weaponshop, or wheat from Tiger Clan to deliver to the bakery, and such. One detail Arnimas did mention is that newbies (he originally said up to 5th circle, but I tried to convince him to extend it to at least 10th) would only get short contracts, like from the Crossing guild to the shops inside the Crossing, so they could get their feet wet and learn the system.

- I'm not really sure what the point is of just changing the system so we deliver to shops instead of outposts. It definitely makes more sense IC, but unless there were other details not mentioned then it just seems like making the system more complex for the sake of making it more complex (maybe it was Veyl's idea?). I have all sorts of ideas and suggestions for how to make this change completely awesome and fun, so if I don't post another huge rambling post about it in the next few days, someone remind me.

4. Caravan Rewrite (in progress?, obscure old announcement)

- No this isn't the "White Whale" (Arnimas' words). He was just talking about stuff Godrich alluded to before about combining/streamlining/spiffying up the code for the caravans and kregs systems.

- We won't really be able to tell that anything is changed (except that Gossford will be deleted less often), so this isn't very cool, but it's a necessary step for Wish List item #5...

5. Personally Owned Caravans (who knows, announced like 50 years ago)

- Not alot of details were given, since we've all heard them a dozen times before, and will believe it when we see it (well actually we'll probably even refuse to really believe it then). There was some discussion about different mount types that we could get to pull our caravan, and effects it could have on our caravan's performance.

- As you can imagine, the "discussion" was mostly just me begging for elephants.

6. Trader hirelings (not sure on status, old announcement)

- I think this was announced last year at Simucon, that we would be able to hire a servant to go find someone, or give them a message, or shine our shoes (and other RP messaging).

- Makes sense IC and would be useful at times, but not something I particarly care whether we actually ever get.

7. Commodities Almanac (probably still in idea development stages, NEW announcement)

- This would be another book we'd carry around as a companion to our ledger. The pages would contain notes about the commodities in each outpost (like prices, favorites to buy, favorites to sell, etc). We'd also be able to study each page and learn scholarship, like with a ledger or spellbook (since there would be alot more work in acquiring the pages for each outpost, it would presumably teach more than our ledgers which teach almost nothing).

- This idea sounds awesome too, and I've got some ideas/suggestions for this one too. Look for that post within a couple days of whenever I finish the other one :)

8. Trader Reputation (not worked on yet?, old announcement)

- Not a whole lot of new stuff mentioned, just that this old idea of Godrich was still looming. Pretty much all of the details still need to be worked out, like whether it will be provincial or universal, whether it will drift towards neutral over time, what the rewards/penalties of a good/bad reputation would be, etc. One detail that will get some people drooling is that Arnimas wants to get it so that a Trader could get into other guild-only or race-only merchants if their reputation was high enough. It was also mentioned that committing crimes would be a good way to lose your reputation.

9. Trader shop additions (not sure on status, NEW announcment)

- There will be additions either to the existing Trader shops, or of additional shops. At least one will probably have an area that is restricted to higher circle Traders, and sells "quest-type quality" items (for lots of money). These items would be more rare and maybe only have 1 item in stock per week (or month or year or whatever), instead of having an unlimited supply like the items in the shops now.

- I've been asking for something like this for years, so this got me drooling. I just hope there is some way to keep it from having a couple Traders ending up with all the high-end items because they check the shop the most often. Maybe we should also have a limit on how often each Trader can buy one of the items too (or something like that).

10. More Speculates (needs ideas, not an announcement)

- Arnimas seems to have enough ideas for major systems that he wants to see to last him a few GM lifetimes worth of coding time, but is in short supply of ideas for smaller abilities which are easier to code. So everyone needs to come up with all sorts of ideas for more speculates and e-mail them to him or post them on the boards.

- I ran a couple speculate ideas by him, including a "speculate paranoia" where we'd get a big boost to perception but get a big roundtime added to any action we perform (especially moving), and he seemed to like the idea. Some day maybe I'll get around to posting all the other speculate ideas I had.

** So that's it for the big news at the Trader meeting, but there were also some other minor things mentioned during the convention, such as:

- The Trader shop contest is almost finished being judged. There are multiple GMs judging it, and Arnimas has already finished all of his judging, but is still waiting on some of the other judges.

- As far as getting new requirements (and letting people at 99th circle get past 100th), Arnimas doesn't include it on his Wish List since it is something he considers must be done immediately if not sooner. He is trying to argue for making sure that the guilds which didn't have new reqs yet under the old system (Traders, Bards, Empaths and Clerics) are the first guilds which get their new reqs under the new system. But we'll still probably be the 11th guild to get their reqs reevaluated :(

- There was a Trader event that they were trying to run a while back (maybe the event with the Ratha trading houses trying to blame Imaar for the assassination of the Dne ambassador even though he had nothing to do with it). The event got kind of swallowed up by the stupid war event, and the GMs decided to just postpone it, but keep an eye out for it picking up again, assuming the war really is over.

- I have never seen anyone laugh so hard in my life as when I was telling Arnimas and Eldrad how Apu wants elephants that lay eggs. Doesn't matter what type of eggs, they can be golden eggs, chocolate eggs, Cadbury eggs, even plain old elephant eggs.

** Other news from Simucon which is relevant to Traders (and likely detailed in other people's notes from other seminars):

- The way circle requirements work is being changed significantly. I won't go into the full details since I know there were detailed notes posted in the Discussions with Simu folder, and LOTS of discussion/whining already. The main thing to know is that after 30th circle, we'll have specific requirements in 3 or 4 "core skills" - obviously trading and appraisal, and then maybe one or two of the mechanical lore skills. Then we'll have Overall Survival and Overall Lore (and Overall Armor?) requirements which are ACTUAL overall requirements instead of the stupid X ranks in your top Y skills format. Only instead of adding up the total number of ranks, it will consider the total number of exp bits. This has the potential to be a very fair system, since it rewards basically all training styles, and the most efficient way to circle will pretty much be to train whichever skills you like to train the most. If they don't screw it up, that is. Also, I have no idea what will happen to our armor requirement, but it will probably either have to be: a) a "core skill", which would be stupid since there are about a dozen skills which should be a core Trader skill before armor, or b) an overall requirement where exp from all armor types is included.

- Trader will be able to learn animal lore (well actually all guilds will). It will remain a lore skill, but Rangers will learn it as if it was a primary skill. Even though this makes perfect sense in this one situation (obviously Rangers should be the best at learning the skill since previously they were the ONLY ones who even could), this sets a precendent for other guilds to do incredibly stupid things that would completely ruin the balance of the game (like WMs wanting evasion primary, or Barbarians/Paladins wanting metalworking primary, Rangers wanting woodworking and clothworking primary). Luckily, I talked to Jeremael about these type of situations and it sounds like he totally agreed with me, so we probably won't see anything ridiculous like that.

- I asked Meriel whether we would be getting some more difficult origami instructions, and she said "YES!".

- The careers system (which is probably detailed somewhere else on the boards) sound VERY cool, although certain aspects seem incredibly unfair if you ask me. There would be different Halls that you can join (like Justice, Blacksmiths, Stonemasons, Husbandry, etc) and each would have several Specializations that you can join (like Stonemasons would have mining, gemcutting, etc). When you join you would be an Apprentice, and by completing tasks you can earn Career Development Points (or CDPs, note: TDPs will NOT be used) which you spend as you make your way to the Journeyman level, and ultimately Master level. At each level you would obtain different abilities that allow you do things that people not in your career cannot do (even if they have a billion ranks and you suck). At this time, Jeremael's plan is to make it so that once you become a Master in one specialization, you can still become a Master in other specializations within the same Hall, but for all other specializations the highest you could achieve would be Journeyman. This is the part I find so unfair. They don't have rules that prevent a Barbarian from become the best at using every weapon, or a Ranger/Thief from being a master at each survival skill, or a Mage from being a master at every magic skill. Why the hell are lore skills always treated differently like this? Sure, it would take forever for a Barbarian to be a master at every weapon, and it would prevent them from being as proficient in their highest weapon skills. But they don't have arbitrary mechanics set up to force them to choose only 1 weapon they can be extremely good at (and NEVER letting them change their mind if they made a bad decision, or if something was tweaked to make their chosen weapon less effective, or if some new awesome weapon skill was released). How can anyone think it is fair for lore primary guilds to be restricted from doing what we're best at, when no other guilds are? I tried arguing this with Jeremael, and he admitted that everything he said was still just the initial design and could be changed. So if other people agree with me, it would help if you voice your concerns too.

They will resolve the problem with seordmaors making it impossible to trade contracts in Therengia by moving the seordmaors a few rooms away and putting a different creature in the rooms we actually have to walk through. There will still be some danger, but as long as you stick to the trade road, it will be reasonable.

Well that's about all I can remember right now, I have a feeling I'm missing some minor stuff, so feel free to ask any questions about stuff, maybe it will jog my memory.


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