The Merchant Guide

By Erwos
With commentary from: Tarquin

Here's a merchant guide. I'm tired of trying to find a good one, so I'm writing it myself, with comments by various veteran (at least, more veteran than me) merchants..

Let's start with questions you do not ask over the guild channel. These usually will do nothing but get ignored.

  1. "What is the price (or value) of xxxxxx mineral?" No offense, but visit the mineral exchange yourself or go to Duke's BatMUD Mineral Exchange which automatically updates prices in real time instead of wasting everyone else's time. People HATE this question!
  2. "Where do I learn skill/spell xxxxxx?" It's all in the <merchant guilds> help file.
  3. "What does skill/spell xxxxx do?" Help whatever. There are a couple skills which aren't so intuitive, so sometimes this isn't bad. But assume it is, and spend at least 15 minutes trying to figure it out yourself before you do ask.

Now, on to the good stuff. Let's talk about the skills and spells.

Alloying: This can sometimes be an extremely useful skill, if you're big into the repair business. By using this, you can combine two minerals into one, creating a new type of mineral. Probably not all too useful if you're not going to be doing a lot of repairs, but it may come in handy for stuff you find when mining as well...

Amalgamate: Really important if you're a miner. This skill will let you combine scraps of minerals into one piece, but you'll lose a bit of it in the process (lessened by your % in the skill, of course). That means you can refine them in just one attempt, instead of having to do each separately.

Appraise: This is a newbie version of identify. It doesn't tell you so much, but is useful for determining the type of material an object is (for repairs).

Attack: The generic attack skill. Affects almost every combat you get into. Since you're a merchant, you won't be having all that much fighting to do, so don't bother training this skill. Tarquin's Comment: It can be helpful if you need a few exp. You will be able to kill things at newbie mountain.

Aura Detection: If you cast this on someone, you'll see what spells affect them. Doesn't seem terribly useful.

Axes: Affects combat when you're using an axe type weapon. Since you shouldn't be doing any fighting, don't worry about training this. Tarquin's Comment: This is a pretty good weapon choice for your rare hunting expeditions.

Bargain: This is one of those important skills. Bargain gives you a chance of getting items from shops and carts on discount. With a good % in the skill, these savings will often be as much as 20%, which is not an insignifcant amount. If you're a cart merchant, you'll definitely need this, and it's one of those skills that almost everyone else will need anyways. Tarquin's comment: Max it!

Blacksmithing: This lets you take two pieces of armor and combine them, creating a completely different piece of equipment. Please note that nothing will affect what the new piece of eq will be. The skill % only determines if you're successful in making it. You'll probably need to train this skill up sometime, as there is a guild quest in which you must use it to make an object worth more than 2000 gold. When using it, make sure you don't use any armor selling for more than 100 at the shop. It simply won't pay to do it, since most of the items that you'll make will be worth less. It's only the occassional item that you make a couple of thousand gold on. Tarquin's Comment: Stress the nothing will affect this skill. No helper skills. Cost of original eq. Skill %. NOTHING!

Bludgeons: Affects combat when you're using a bludgeon type weapon. Since you shouldn't be doing any fighting, don't worry about training this.

Call Pigeon: This spell lets you call a pigeon to take back a small object to your starting location. Obviously, that means your start location is going to have to be your own room in a castle or city, or people will just take the item when it gets to the right place. Train it if you think you'll need it; I doubt you ever will. Tarquin's comment:Sometimes items are cleaned from rooms, I once used the pigeon to carry all srts f stuff to my castle room, and when I got there, all the stuff had been dested. Beware of this when using this skill. You are better off with floating disc.

Cannibalize: Using this, you can take apart armours for the raw materials inside. Not tremendously helpful, as you will probably lose money doing it than just buying from the mineral shop. Tarquin's comment:VERY helpful. You will need to use this skill when repairing materials not found in the exchange. Leather, cloth, dragonscale, silk, ice, most woods etc. An item must be big enough to cannibalize, about 0.5kg.

Carpentry: Used with craft and construction skills, like shipbuilding, that use wood. Sort of like a cast generic for those sorts of skills. Tarquin's Comment: Also used when repairing wood, including the ever popular dragonscale items.

Cash Flow: Different than remote banking (the help for cash flow is a bit hard to understand), cash flow allows you to enable someone to make a transfer to you from wherever they are. Obviously, if you want to meet with someone in a place other than a bank, and don't want to deal with cash, this is a useful skill. Good for high-powered castle merchants. Tarquin's Comment: Not really worth studying because players typically prefer to use the bank.

Cast Control: A skill which improves your spell power on control class spells. Train as needed (the more you have invested in control spells, the more that needs to go in this). Tarquin's Comment: The help for any spell will give you a specific type of spell for additional helper skills.

Cast Generic: A skill which improves your spell power on generic class spells. Train as needed (the more you have invested in generic spells, the more that needs to go in this). Tarquin's Comment: The help for any spell will give you a specific type of spell for additional helper skills.

Cast Help: A skill which improves your spell power on help class spells. Train as needed (the more you have invested in help spells, the more that needs to go in this). Tarquin's Comment: The help for any spell will give you a specific type of spell for additional helper skills.

Cast Information: A skill which improves your spell power on information class spells. Train as needed (the more you have invested in information spells, the more that needs to go in this). Tarquin's Comment: The help for any spell will give you a specific type of spell for additional helper skills.

Cast Special: A skill which improves your spell power on special class spells. Train as needed (the more you have invested in special spells, the more that needs to go in this). Tarquin's Comment: The help for any spell will give you a specific type of spell for additional helper skills.

Cast Teleportation: A skill which improves your spell power on teleportation class spells. Train as needed (the more you have invested in teleportation spells, the more that needs to go in this). Tarquin's Comment: The help for any spell will give you a specific type of spell for additional helper skills.

Cast Transformation: A skill which improves your spell power on transformation class spells. Train as needed (the more you have invested in transformation spells, the more that needs to go in this). Tarquin's Comment: The help for any spell will give you a specific type of spell for additional helper skills.

Compare: Allows you to compare two weapons, to find out which is better in different areas. I haven't found it to be all that useful, but if you do a lot of cart selling (and doesn't everyone, nowadays?), then it could come in handy for saying, "Hits better than xxxxx axe!"

Create Money: Sounds good, no? Well, it sucks. You barely make any money casting this, and it takes forever. Don't invest in this. Tarquin's Comment: Erwos and I violently disagree here. When you are mining, this is a GREAT spell to cast repetatively while you are regenning. Don't use it as a main income, but it is Excellent regen fodder.

Create Food: A decent utility spell, which lets you magically create some food. Not too useful, since you won't be doing a lot of wilderness travel.

Credit Check: Lets you check out a player's credit history in regards to loans. Somewhat useful if you plan on doing a lot of that sort of thing.

Darkness: This spell creates a field of darkness around you. If you have a race which doesn't like the light, study this a little bit. Tarquin's Comment: Totally useless. If you need darkness, carry a chunk of nullium.

Detect Alignment: Allows you to detect the alignment of someone. As alignments matter absolutely nothing, this spell really isn't useful.

Essence Eye: The help on this isn't very specific. It shows you how long (in rounds) it will take to finish a spell on a successful check. Each round of casting, this skill is checked. You don't need to train it very high, because it isn't very useful, and it will improve fairly quickly on its own. Tarquin's Comment: Train one percent and let it grow on its own.

Exchange Money: When used on a pile of coins on the ground, it will make them into an equal value (hypothetically) of the next highest value of coin (ie, 20 silver to 20 gold). Now, the hitch is, you will always lose money in the exchange. And you need a high % in the skill to get to mithril coins, which are what you want to get everything to. This is a pretty good skill, but expect to train it all the way or none of the way. Having an exchange money of 50% doesn't help all that much...

Fire Building: Extremely important. You really need to max this out, as most merchants nowadays are miners, and miners need good ep regen. Fires will give you some more ep regen every so often, and since you don't move around when mining, they are very effective, maybe even more so than tank-built ones.

Floating Disc: By creating a floating disc, you create a little entity that will follow you around, holding things. Of course, a higher % in this skill will create a disc which can hold more for longer. It comes in handy when mining, so you can hold more than your character can carry.

Fresh Pants: Lets you make leggings from corpses. You aren't killing anything, therefore, no corpses. No reason to train it. Tarquin's Comment: Use this on your rare hunting expeditions. The items you create can be blacksmithed into profit. Very helpful when doing the blacksmithing quest.

Gem Cutting: Improves skills which use gems as a material. Very useful for miners when they need to refine their gem ores. Tarquin's Comment: Also used for gem repairs...like ruby for Blood Drinkers.

Glass Blowing: Quite similar to gem cutting, glass blowing helps you with any skills which are used with any sort of glass as a material. Tarquin's Comment: This applies to crystal and laen too.

Identify: This spell should be one of your most used tools if you sell a lot from your cart. Identify will tell you almost all information you'll need to know about an item to sell it, including its damage type, what stats it affects, its condition, and more. Study this spell!

Knowledge of Identification: Mastery skill for spells like identify. If you needed identify, you need this.

Knowledge of Metamorphosis: I'm pretty sure this is the mastery skill for skills like money over matter, and other transformation spells. If you've got a lot invested in that sort of thing, this is a very important skill.

Law: A pretty important skill, law allows you to fill out the various forms and papers in BatMUD which are legal in nature, such as divorces, marriages, and loans. If you plan on being a heavy-duty lawyer, you will need at least an 80%, which will allow you to fill out loan papers.

Leather Craft: Just like fresh pants, except that it doesn't work on truly newbie monsters (<300xp). Tarquin's Comment: It's fresh pants on Steroids. You can create more expensive items.

Light: The opposite of darkness, this spell creates a field of light around you. Obviously helpful if your race doesn't like the dark, or have infravision. Tarquin's Comment: Again, useless. It does not cast enough light to be worthwhile unless you are ENT. Get a ring of infra if you can't see.

Lumberjacking: With this, you can cut down trees. You need the plant lore skill to use it effectively (you need to know what type of tree you're cutting down). Logs are useful for making scupltures, so this isn't such a bad thing to train. Just don't expect to make money selling wood. Tarquin's Comment: Some shields require wood for repairs.

Masonry: Same as glass blowing and gem cutting, except for stones like granite and slate. Helpful when using skill that need stone. Train as needed. Tarquin's Comment:Rarely used, except for sculptures.

Mining: Mining is a needed skill for almost all merchants. With it, you can both identify mineral deposits in the wilderness, and mine them out with a pick or hammer. With a higher % in mining, you can see better minerals, and will have an easier time getting them out. You can potentially make a lot of money without the help of anyone else with this skill.

Money is Power: Potentially important. This spell can change all the money on a persona to experience points. You need, however, an extremely high percentage in both the spell and the mastery to make it worth anyone's while (80% in both will only net you a 10gold to 6xp ration on yourself, which gets lower when you try to do it to someone else). Study it if you plan to use it. Tarquin's Comment: Don't use it. It is better to hire a party to drag you around for exp. The money then stays with your friends, and you should get a better rate.

Money over Matter: By casting this, you convert everything on the floor of a room to gold. Helpful if you don't have time to fresh pants all ten of those corpses on the floor. This spell may be inactive; no one seems to use it. There's a reason for that; you never really run across a room that has a million things on the floor just waiting to be turned to gold. Tarquin's comment:Last time I checked this spell didn't do anything. Save your exp and don't study it.

Plant Lore: Ever wanted to be able to forage? Here's a skill that lets you. You, too, can identify plants, and even trees! Wow! If you want to lumberjack, you need this as well.

Plastic Surgery: One of the essentials, right up there with bargain. You need a scalpel to use it (scalpels are located in the hospital training room, from the dispenser). This lets you raise someone's charisma to 80, and with enough silicon, to 100. You need silicon to get them past 80! Don't expect to buy it, either; silicon is eternally in short supply. You'll almost always need to mine!

Preserve Corpse: If you have a reason to preserve corpses, tell me. This would really come in handy when alchemists come into play, though. You could potentially join a party, and constantly preserve corpse and feather weight all the corpses you come across, and then sell them to alchs desperate for organs. Tarquin's Comment: If you *do* hire a party, cast preserve corpse at the bigger monsies, and sell them to Mortis.

Protect Armour: This is a great spell to go along with the repair armour skill. Protect armour makes armour more resistant to damage, increasing its life span. Strongly consider studying this spell if you do a lot of armour repairs.

Protect Item: Probably not as useful as the other two protection spells, protect item is nice if you think you're going to do a goodly amount of item repairs. Study it if you think you need it.

Tarquin's comment:You'll probably never need it, save the exp.

Protect Weapon: Highly useful. Weapons tend to take a lot of beating, since you're constantly using them. Protect weapon is a must for any expensive tank weapon, and is a well-known fact. Get this spell if you do many weapon repairs.

Quick Chant: Not essential, since most merchants don't have to worry about getting off spells quickly. But it is a very useful skill for those of us who are impatient. Quick Chant will sometimes speed up the casting of spells. Obviously, that is a Very Good Thing (tm). Tarquin's Comment: As with essence eye, train 1% and let it build on it's own.

Refining: Essential skill if you plan to do any mining or repairing! Refining makes minerals into a more valuable refined type. These refined minerals are much better for repairs, and if you mine, are worth more than raw materials. Make sure you have amalgamate if you mine out raw materials and plan to refine them. Tarquin's Comment: Refined minerals are better for repairs. Unless you have a high %, don't use it on mined minerals and expect to get more money. You can lose quite a bit of volume in the refining process.

Remote Banking: Potentially helpful if you live in a city, or are too lazy to walk to the bank. With a cast of remote banking, any action possible in a bank room is possible where you are. Study it if you think you need it.

Remove Scar: By casting this on someone, you can remove a scar off of their body. Great when used in conjunction with plastic surgery. Tarquin's Comment: You cannot use plastic surgery on a person who is scarred.

Repair Armour: If you have a hammer, a forge, this skill, and some material of the same type as the armour that needs to be repaired, you can fix it up to a higher condition level (poor to decent, or whatever). Your skill % affects the level you can repair the armour to. After repair weapon, this is the next most wanted repair skill in the MUD. Just remember to ask what kind of material the armour is made of before you repair it, as it often is rather difficult to find some materials (like fire). Tarquin's Comment: Try to get at least 65% in this skill. Using refined material and good material skills, you should be able to repair to AWESOME.

Repair Item: If you have a hammer, a forge, this skill, and some material of the same type as the item that needs to be repaired, you can fix it up to a higher condition level (poor to decent, or whatever). Your skill % affects the level you can repair the item to. This is almost never used, but you'll want it anyways. Tarquin's Comment: Unless you have EXP to waste, don't train it.

Repair Weapon: If you have a hammer, a forge, this skill, and some material of the same type as the weapon that needs to be repaired, you can fix it up to a higher condition level (poor to decent, or whatever). Your skill % affects the level you can repair the weapon to. This is probably the most frequently asked for of the three repair skills; good weapons are very expensive, and you don't want to lose them in the middle of battle. Tarquin's Comment: Try to get at least 65% in this skill. Using refined material and good material skills, you should be able to repair to AWESOME.

Satiate Person: When you cast this on someone, they are immediately "cured" of any hunger or thirst they might have had. Not too bad to have handy, but it's unlikely you'll be using it.

Sculpture: With the right amount of materials, you can make a sculpture of a creature. They don't really do anything, but look pretty. Read the help carefully. Don't expect to make much money from this skill.

Sewing: Lets you make clothing.and affects repairs on silk armour. Probably a good thing to have some % in.

Shipbuilding: Theoretically, this skill lets you get a discount on ship-related costs. In reality, it's inactive right now. Probably not so good to train.

Shopkeeping: This is the most important skill to have, hands down. With shopkeeping, you can buy a cart, from which you can sell items. This is what will net you the most money as of now. A higher % in shopkeeping will let you sell for higher prices, and reduce the effectiveness of bargain against the cart.

Skinning: This lets you make leather sheets from corpses. Just like with the fresh pants skill, you won't be killing anything, so this skill is not a wise thing to train up. Tarquin's Comment: You can also get flesh, or other materials from this skill.

Tinning: Pretty much useless, since it's more of a corpse related skill, and you need to kill things to get corpses. It affects how well you tin corpses with a tinning kit.

Torch Creation: Free torches. Helpful if your race doesn't have infravision. A little bit of experience here couldn't hurt. Tarquin's Comment: Useless. Use a ring of infravision instead.

 

Now, on to the merchant guild quests. You'll need to do both to max out in the guild.

Blacksmithing: The objective of this quest is fairly simple; you need to blacksmith an object which is worth more than 2000 gold. If you can't do it, you can't get past level 6. Believe it or not, there is no trick to this quest. You really have to blacksmith armour until you come up with something worth more than 2000 gold. It will take a while, but not too long, assuming you have a good % in blacksmithing. One tip: don't blacksmith armours which are bought for more than 100 gold in the shop...

Alloy Gold: This is the quest that you need to accomplish before you can advance to level 21. You have to use alloying to create gold from two other minerals. That should be all you need to finish the quest. Don't buy a lot of the stuff, either. One kilogram of each material is all you need.

 

As a merchant, you can provide many wonderful services to the BatMUD populace, and make a pretty penny by yourself. Here are the things you'll be using to make a fortune.

Blacksmithing: Buy low, sell high. That's the motto of any good blacksmither. You need to buy items from the shop which are under 100 gold in value, and sell what you make from them when they are above 150 gold. Going may seem slow at times, but with enough patience, you will almost always come out ahead. Skills/Spells Needed: Bargain, Blacksmithing Tarquin's comment: The rare 1k-4k item makes it all seem worthwhile. A good task when idling in bc waiting for a customer.

Carts: Carts are wonderful devices. Basically, they're portable shops, in which you can store items for selling. You set the price, label things, and even tell your cart what to emote. Naturally, it's a good idea to sell for more than you bought, and to figure in that sometimes a merchant will come along and get your wares for 20% off, via bargain. Skills/Spells Needed: Bargain, Identify, Shopkeeping

Money Exchanges: Some people simply don't want their money in the bank. This isn't such a bad thing; bank robbers will sometimes come and steal money, and if you are being garnished, you lose money by putting it in. The secret is to keep your money on you. You need to have high denominations for that, and mithril isn't the most plentiful thing on the MUD. Have your handy merchant do a exchange money on your cash, and you'll soon be carrying all mithril; a very light load, usually. Skills/Spells Needed: Exchange Money Tarquin's comment:If someone is carrying around denominations of cash less than gold, and you convert it, you are helping that person avoid a loan repayment. Don't do it. Very useful for boxes and denominations greater that gold.

Law: Here, too, on BatMUD, you cannot escape them. Lawyers are everywhere, and unlike IRL, they are quite useful. Want to get married? Lawyers are there to help you with the paperwork. Want to sell a castle plot? A lawyer is your man. Even your surname can be changed for the right price. Skills/Spells Needed: Law

Loans: With the advent of the new player cities, everyone and their brother-in-law needs some money. Loans are a way of providing that money. You can lend a certain amount of money, for a certain amount of interest, and if the bum doesn't pay you back, you can have the bank garnish anything he deposits or gets transferred until he has paid you back. Not a no-risk skill (people can default if there's no way they can pay, or stop playing), but much better than just pure-trust. Skills/Spells Needed: Credit Check, Law, Loan Sharking

Mining: This isn't so much of a direct service to the rest of the players, but is nice in that you can put more minerals into the mineral exchange, possibly helping somebody find some repair material. Miners spend their time digging up ore deposits, looking for valuable minerals. You refine them, and then sell them for a good price. Boring, but not a bad way to make money. Skills/Spells Needed: Alloying, Amalgamate, Floating Disc, Mining, Refining

Plastic Surgery: More important than ever, plastic surgery can let you raise a customer's charisma to 80, and with silicon, to 100. Why is it so important? Because your charisma affects any ress and new body spells cast on you. A higher charisma will lessen the chance that such a spell backfires on the caster. And, of course, casters tend to be more than a little upset when you hurt them because you couldn't afford to buy a plastic surgery. Skills/Spells Needed: Plastic Surgery, Remove Scar

Repairs and Protects: Repairing things is one of the vital services merchants provide to the MUD. Instead of just waiting for everything to break (and it all will, with enough use), merchants can use their repair skills to make weapons, armour, and items "as good as new". In fact, they can even make such things more durable and resistant to damage with their spells. Skills/Spells Needed: Protect Armour, Protect Item, Protect Weapon, Repair Armour, Repair Item, Repair Weapon

Sculpture: Some vain people like to decorate their castles. Therefore, there will be the need for sculptors. Sculptors can make statues and other furniture to adorn your living quarters. Their work is not cheap, but is often beautiful. Skills/Spells Needed: Sculpture

 

Minimum Guild Prices:

When I say minimum, I'm not just giving you a guideline. I'm giving you the real, agreed-upon minimum price. Please do not charge lower! If you do, you end up screwing everyone over, as they will have to lower their prices in relation to yours, making everyone earn less money. Feel free to charge higher.

Tarquin's comment: People will pay these prices without question. If someone who is not a friend hassles you for a lower price, then you don't need their business.

Exchange Money: 5% of whatever is being converted. Some people have limits of some amount to this charge. (i.e. max charge = 15k)
IDs: 1,000 gold per item identified or appraised Tarquin's comment: Do this free when repairing.
Loan Sharking: No agreed upon minimum price. This is primarily because loan situations differ greatly. Tarquin's comment: Charge hefty late fees, garnishing is a hassle, and the late fee is your compensation.
Money is Power: 5% of whatever is being converted. Some people have 10,000 gold limits to this charge.
Plastic Surgery: 4,000 gold for surgery to 80 and 10,000 gold for surgery to 100. Tarquin's comment: 4,000 seems low to me, I harge 6k. It's a hassle to carry a scalpel and meet the person. If they go out of their way to increase convenience, I lower my cost.
Protect Armour/Item/Weapon 2,000 gold per item, or 1,000 if paired with repair or in bulk orders.
Remove Scar No agreed upon minimum price. Tarquin's comment: Tarmalens do it free, so why should anyone pay?
Repair Armour/Item/Weapon 5,000 gold plus the cost of materials used.
Sculptures 10k per item
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