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Friday, June 27, 2014

Freaky Friday

Starlight slips in through the window.
An OSR bit of art by me.
Today's DM music for inspiration: Led Zepplin - Misty Mountain Hop

Candle Color:  Red

Current Blog Record:  12 Days and 12 Entries.  100%

Hey Gamers!

I have decided to dub my Friday blog entries on Dungeon Mastering by Candlelight under the heading of Freaky Friday.

This means that Friday will be a grab bag of the bizarro pulled completely at random from the folders where my AD&D and Swords and Wizardry campaign materials are kept.  To make it sound more interesting we will call this material,"gems pulled from the vault", but you and I will secretly know that "the vault" is the old filing cabinet stuffed with vanilla folders next to my desk and the "gems" are whatever I happen to find.   Sssshhhh, tell no one.

If you are new to this blog, this is Dungeon Mastering by Candlelight.  The blog where I sit down, crank up the classic rock and roll, light a candle and wax poetic about old school AD&D, D&D and Swords and Wizardry for 15 minutes.  Part of the experiment, indeed the challenge here is for me to have a fun blog entry every single day.  Welcome!  If you are a returning reader then, welcome back!

Today's Freaky Friday subject is pregenerated price lists for your shops.

The image to the left is one of thirty or forty generic and pre-game generated price lists I have for the shops in my campaign.  By having pre-generated price lists ready to go any time the players decide to nose around inside of a shop I can limit the goods currently available and the base asking price.

Players have to do a little shopping around several different shops when they are looking to do a major armor, weapon and equipment upgrade and this is an opportunity for city encounters, rumors, conversations with shop keepers and other fun bits of play that can easily get overlooked.

Pregenerating my price lists also forces me as the DM to think about this in advance.  In my campaign I have armor and weapons made from interesting things and not all of these items function in exactly the same fashion.  Sabre Tooth Hide Armor is a little different in some ways than Deer Hide Armor.  A broadpoint sword of iron strikes a little differently than a broadpoint sword made of steel.

Dude, this is the same price list!  Fooled ya!  The image to the right is another price list for an armor shop but the goods are different because it is intended to be used when the characters walk into a different armor shop.

I don't create price lists for specific shops.  I create maybe price lists for three to five armor shops, three to five weapon shops, a couple of blacksmiths, a few alchemist shops, three or four adventuring equipment shops, etc...

In reality there are really only about a dozen to twenty different types of shops your players will ever enter during the campaign and two of these are taverns and inns.  You can save yourself a bus load of time by creating generic price lists and then picking out the one that makes the most sense for the current shop where the players land.  Every once in awhile you can open the folder filled with these and drop a new one in for each category to keep it all fresh.  If the players make a big geographic move in the campaign you can update your price lists with maybe two for each category to get going.

Make your price lists look cool.  These were dropped onto a parchment background that I found randomly on the interwebs to make them look cool online but in reality I have resume parchment I print these on for the hard copy versions I hand to players during the game.

Well there you have it.  Another blog entry for Dungeon Mastering by Candlelight and greetings from the misty hills and cold shrouded forests of the Kingdoms Chimerical.

Happy Gaming!!!

Ed Kann


  1. Ever think about a no-price list? I mean, this isn't wal-mart we're talking about here, really probably nothing has a fixed price. Oh I suppose it would end up bogging things down because every party will have someone who wants to 'aggle over every iron spike even if he's carrying a king's ransom in his backpack.

  2. Well. I don't want the flow of the adventure to get completely bogged down in market haggling. I do offer a haggle skill in my Kingdoms Chimerical homebrew and the price listed is generally the medium asking price. A successful haggle roll drops the final price an automatic amount. If haggling over a price for something is an important part of the adventure or story...haggling over the soul of a dear departed friend, haggling over the details of a group's next adventuring commission, then I do roleplay that out. Otherwise I try to keep the actual buying of stuff relatively quick.

  3. Also the prices are as much of a reminder to me as I organize these shop lists as it is an aide for the players. I like having a single sheet I can hand with the information on it all set rather than having to stop the game to flip through rule books for the listed price of a certain item.