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Library: Guide to Succesful Merchanting

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Author: Finaldey
Date:Jun 21 1996

FOREWORD

This book teaches the basics of making a career as a merchant. First word of
warning is that even if merchants make money relatively well, they don't
necessarily make it fast. Second, merchants earn no exp without MiP, since
they don't fight or heal others. Anyway, if you just want to make money and
want to do it with minimum risk, your choice of career is a merchant.
Following is almost all I know about it, and you'll come to notice that
there's much more to learn, both for you and me.

BECOMING A MERCHANT

To start with, you'll need at least 3M experience to get the required levels
and basic percentages in the important skills and spells. Then when you reinc,
you should choose civilized as your background. It is possible to be of
religious background, but then you need a lot more exp if you want to get
decent %s in bargain. It will also help if you have some cash to begin with.
200k is enough for starters.

Best races for merchanting are ones with above average wisdom and
intelligence. More important than that, it should have a high experience rate.
Sprites and hobbits are propably the most suited for this. I chose drow purely
because they have a high score at magic missile and a decent basic sp regen
rate.

When you reinc, first concentrate getting 10 free levels (i.e. advancing to
level 25) and spending seven levels in Master Merchants guild, which is
located in the same block with the armorer's shop and the weaponsmith. From
the 'Entrance to many boutiques' go up and you arrive in the guild. When you
have done that, raise your bargain % to 60 or more. If you're also very rich,
go to the hospital and raise your charisma by 10 or more points with plastic
surgery. Then, go to the Travelling Shopkeeper Consortium and spend the last
three levels and raise shopkeeping % to at least 30.

Now, spend the rest of the exp accordingly to how much you have left. If you
have shitloads of it (tens of millions or more), start concentrating on the
Money is Power spell. To be effective with it, you need Knowledge of
Metamorphosis, which you cannot acquire before you are on a higher level. The
% in MiP spell itself should be at least 100 and cast transformation & cast
generic near 100%. This way, you'll get some 1:4-6 ratio with the spell and
people will start using your services. This means that soon you'll be swimming
in money.

On the other hand, if you have only a little of exp left, you should try to
get at least these percentages: Bargain 70%, Exchange Money 70% and
Shopkeeping 30%. Very useful spells and skills include Cast Generic (of
course), Identify, Remote Banking, Appraise and Floating Disc.

WAYS OF EARNING MONEY

The best of them are definitely money exchanges and MiPs. With these, you can
easily expect to earn some 50-500k per day. Unfortunately they require that
you are there when these services are needed. If you've got the best MiP in
the game, you can ask a 10% fee for casting the spell. Money exchange produces
less, because it's wanted less and you can't expect a bigger fee than 5-7% for
that.

The next fastest way is also the easiest. Buy a cart from the shopkeeper
consortium and fill it with items. Below, there's a whole chapter of the arts
of shopkeeping with a cart.

The last way is to use your bargain skill to buy chests and other expensive
items for other players. With 70% bargain and a charisma of 80 you get 23-25%
off the nominal price at best. It seems that the maximum discount gets higher
very slowly from these scores. For example, a 110% bargain and charisma of 100
produce only about 28% discount at maximum. The trick is to determine the
approximate maximum discount and calculate the best price for an item
beforehand. Then you only got to withdraw enough money to just and just buy
the item with your max discount and keep on buying until you get it.

CART SHOPKEEPING

Acquiring a cart is easy. You just go to the guild and buy one, preferrably
with one or two extra slots. Then comes the hard part.

First of all, the location is very important, since if nobody finds your cart,
no one will ever buy from it. Clearly the best places are on or near the route
from the church to the bank If possible, near the ends. Shopkeepers commonly
follow the "one cart per room" rule, but there's nothing to prevent you from
putting your cart into a room that already contains someone's cart. This tends
to make things a bit complicated and earn you eternal contempt amongst the
other merchants so it's not recommended.

Even the best location won't help if your cart has nothing to sell. Acquiring
items can be done several ways. The most common, at least for newbie merchants
is to buy items from the sales channel. If you do this, try to concentrate on
smashing sale prices (50% or more off the average price) or at least below
average prices. Also remember that you cannot assign a price higher than 2000
x your level to an item in cart, so don't buy too expensive items or you'll
have to sell them on sales (not a bad option if you happen to get a 100k item
for 10k).

Another option of getting items is to buy them from shops. Checking regularly
in all the four shops can be very fruitful. Sunmaces, JetBlacks, Supple Maroon
Trousers and many more valuable items are sometimes sold in shops for various
reasons. The prices are often a fraction of the price you can get from them.

A rare instance is that if you have a higher level friend or many of them, you
can make a deal that they get you useful items for sale and you pay either a
fixed price for them or a commission of the selling price. It is rumored that
some merchants might even make a deal with a thief, but this has been
unconfirmed so far.

Now you have a cart full of items and everything is well? Wrong! The pricing
in carts is very important. Generally speaking, you can ask about 50% more
than the average sales channel price for the item, but several factors
determine how fast you can sell it: The competition is cruel, and a good
merchant is always on his/her toes about the other merchant carts' prices. If
your price is the lowest in town, people will most propably buy from you
first. The supply of the particular item is even more important. If the sales
channel is littered with Hammers of Might selling for 10k apiece, don't expect
to sell too many of them for 15k apiece from your cart. If your cart isn't
full yet, let the item be there and wait that it becomes more scarce.
Alternatively, if your cart is full, store the item in your chest to wait for
better times. In a diire need of cash or if you can't store more items, lower
the price
A few more tips when using carts: See that the stats for the items are
complete and correct. If you're not sure of a stat, confirm it or label it by
the lowest possible bonus. This way, if someone buys the item, he won't be
disappointed as he/she notices that the stats you informed were higher than
the actual bonuses. For unidentified items, it's best to tell what the item
is, since not all newbies know that durandium mace is actually a Sunmace or an
adamantium hammer is a Hammer of Might, and it's most often the newbies that
buy the most things from your cart.

If your cart is emptied, it can be pushed back to the guild by another player
(and it goes there automatically next boot). If this happens, you'll have to
recover it from there. The cart storage room is 2 n from the cart shop. In the
room are hundreds of carts but just type 'cart follow on' and you have
retrieved your cart. Some merchants prevent the cart from emptying by putting
a worthless item for sale with a high price. This is fine as long as you have
room in your cart.

WHAT ELSE DOES A MERCHANT NEED?

So, being a merchant is easy huh? Partially true, but in order to be
succesful, you have to know the selling prices of items, which propably won't
be achieved with too little game experience. An experienced merchant friend is
useful, because he can often tell you a good price for a particular item.
Also, recognizing useful items amongst all the junk in shops is essential, so
that you can pick the pearls from the ocean.

In addition to all above, you need a little arrogance, a bit of unresistable
charisma and a touch of luck to flourish and prosper. I wish good fortune to
all would-be-merchants and hope that this book will give you valuable
information about the tricks of the trade.

- Finaldey Keeneye the Newbie Merchant


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