Appraise allows characters to estimate the value of an item.
Requires training: No
Check: The main use for appraise is in an opposed check against a merchant's appraise skill, resulting in a favourable reaction of up to 30% discount on prices, or an unfavourable reaction of up to 30% additional cost. Some conversations allow for an appraise check to be made also.
Use: Automatic (merchants), Selected (conversations)
The Appraisal checks are covert and occur when the store inventory opens on the player (partially scripted in ginc_item.nss include, partially hard-coded within the OpenStore function). Note that only the player character's Appraisal skill is checked, so giving skill ranks in this skill to any other party members is pointless, unless required for a particular prestige class.
In earlier versions of the game, the Appraise check was partially random. This changed in recent versions of the game, now the check is fixed and works like this:
1) The game checks if the merchant has any Charm or Dominate spell effects on him. This is some junk code leftover from NWN1 and will never work in NWN2, because it is not possible to cast hostile spells like Dominate Person on friendly NPCs, and besides, even if it were possible, it is not possible to affect plot characters. However, if it were possible, the charmed/dominated merchant would get a 10-20 penalty to his Appraise skill.
2) The game checks the player's Appraise skill and the merchant's Appraise skill. The player Appraise skill is then subtracted from the merchant's Appraise skill. There is a hardcap of 30 or -30. The final prices are then calculated according to the following formulas:
nBonusMarkUp is added to the stores default mark up percentage on items bought by player (-100 to 100 - negative is good for player). Effect on buying items is only half of effect on selling items:
nBonusMarkUp = base nBonusMarkUp + nAdjust/2;
where "base nBonusMarkUp" is the default mark up percentage (depends on merchant), as modified by nAdjust/2, which represents half the difference between the player Appraise and the Merchant Appraise (if merchant's appraise is 0, 1 is assumed).
nBonusMarkDown is added to the stores default mark down percentage on items sold by player (-100 to 100 - positive is good for player):
nBonusMarkDown = base nBonusMarkDown - nAdjust;
where "base nBonusMarkDown" is the default mark down percentage (depends on merchant), as modified by nAdjust, which represents the full difference between the player Appraise and the Merchant Appraise.
(based on in-game test in OC v1.23) In general each point in Appraise will change the cost by 1% of the base cost of the item when selling. When buying, each 2 points change the cost. With the hardcap mentioned earlier it's possible to get a max 15% discount when buying and 30% increase when selling (these are always percentage points of the base cost of the item). When you have Appraise at 1, the usual prices you get are: 100% when buying and 40% when selling. With Appraise at 31 or more you get 85% when buying and 70% when selling.
When you have the Merchant's Friend epithet both of these values are adjusted by 15% in your favor (not by 10% as the in-game info states). There's a safety check in the selling price function, so that you can't have the selling percentage greater than the buying percentage (otherwise it could be exploited right away). So with the Appraise at 31 you get both 70% when buying and selling. Whereas Appraise at 21/22 will get you 75% in both cases.
You could still exploit this by manipulating you Appraise skill (Inspire Competence, Heroism, INT Items) and buy an item for 70% of the cost and then selling it for 75%, although you would eventually exhaust the merchant's supply of gold to purchase your items in this way. In a sense, It would be easier to just get the gold through the console, although one could argue it's one thing to exploit a loophole by committing 20 points into a skill and another to simply use a character editor to obtain a similar result.
As of v1.23, there still seems to be a bug where the safety check is applied only when showing the gold value on mouse-over and not for the actual transaction.
Gameplay notes Edit
When used in conjunction with the Merchant's Friend feat, the following five money-making loopholes exist as of v1.23 of the game:
- If the player refuses Judge Oleff's reward for rescuing the priest Onan from the Tomb of the Betrayers, he will reduce his buying and selling prices by about 25%, but ONLY for the PC - not his/her companions. The fact that this applies to both items bought and sold (but only by the PC) is crucial, because this reduction breaks the normal in-game protection against a player selling an item to a merchant for more than its purchase price. Specifically, anything a party member other than the PC sells to Oleff is sold at full price, without the 25% pricing reduction. The PC who refused the reward can then buy back the same item with Oleff's 25% discount in effect, making a small net profit - which can be significant on more expensive items. For example, with an appraise of 19 or higher, Khelgar can sell the flail "Ardulia's Fall" to Oleff for 9,953 gold, but the PC can buy it back for 9,447 gold - a 5.08% profit. In this way, you can easily buy everything Oleff has, plus exhaust his supply of gold, without having to surrender a single item. In addition, because Oleff sells unlimited quantities of every potion he offers (except his single Potion of Heal), you can buy an unlimited number of these from him and re-sell them to other merchants in the game to pay for any and all items you desire (in this case an appraise of 19 or higher is not needed). Finally, as stated above as of v1.23, there still seems to be a bug where the safety check is applied only when showing the gold value on mouse-over and not for the actual transaction. For example, if with an appraise of 18, you sell 31 mild poison arrows to Oleff after refusing his monetary reward for rescuing Onan and he gives you a 25% discount, the mouse-over in the game will indicate you'll receive 7,757 gold for those arrows, but when you sell them the game's activity log will show (correctly) you received 9,798 gold - a 26.25% increase. This disparity with Oleff shrinks or grows in proportion to how much lower or higher your appraise skill is.
- If Edario and Jacoby are recruited to Crossroad Keep, they offer a pricing structure very similar to Judge Oleff except with a better ratio (possibly as thanks for their new and more rewarding posts). For example, one of the PC's companions can sell the Falchion "Decison" to Edario for 18,132 gold, but the PC can buy it back for 14,132 gold. Similarly, one of the PC's companions can sell the dagger "Pixie Lance" to Jacoby for 20,000 gold, but the PC can buy it back from him for 15,516 gold. Edario does not sell unlimited quantities of any goods, but Jacoby does (iron ingots and wooden planks). This allows the quickest venue for unlimited cash, far faster than the others listed here:
- A modified appraise that is high enough (13 or higher should be sufficient) will allow the player to buy individual iron ingots, leather hides and wooden planks from Jacoby or Fibba at a price of 3 gold each and sell them back in bulk at higher prices. For example, an appraise of 20 allows the player to buy 99 iron ingots individually from Fibba or Jacoby at a cost of 297 gold, but sell them all back in bulk for 366 gold. Note that Jacoby and Fibba sell unlimited quantities of these three items.
- Once Jacoby has been recruited and is stationed at Crossroad Keep, he can sell an unlimited supply of iron ingots and wooden planks individually at a cost as low as 2 gold (16 Appraise required). At the Keep, he and Edario buy back these items back at profitable pricing percentages similar to number one above. However, if you haven't left ACT II, you can sell these items to other merchants at a much greater profit margin. For example, 99 iron ingots can cost as little as 198 gold at the Keep, but can be sold to merchants elsewhere for 366 gold.
This method of buying and selling offers the first opportunity to make a net profit (specifically, from buying and selling ingots, hides and planks) even without the Merchant's Friend feat due to the the profit percentage of gold you can get from every sale. However, a very high appraise skill is required to make a profit in this way without the Merchant's Friend feat (30+)
- Sand's Merchant Elemental sells unlimited quantities of Garlic (4 gold) and Belladonna (16 gold). These two reagents can used to craft to choking powder, one of the most valuable grenade-like objects you can make in the game.
This method of buying and selling offers the second opportunity to make a net profit (specifically, from crafting choking powder) even without the Merchant's Friend feat due to the the profit percentage of gold you can get from every sale as detailed below (assumes Appraise of 20):
From the above table one can see how, even without the Merchant's Friend feat, it is possible to earn around 150 gold for every perfected choking powder crafted and subsequently sold by the player.
To the extent the player has an appraise higher or lower than the numbers stated above, profitability from the four activities listed above will adjust by appropriately varying margins.
The amount of gold you can earn is limited only by the merchant's pool of gold from which they can buy. Remember, however, that when you buy from a merchant, it increases the pool of gold from which they can buy from you in return.
Taken to its logical conclusion, using the above techniques allows for the player to buy anything needed from any available merchant (at least in ACT II) and still have enough gold left over to fund every improvement project at Crossroad Keep without worry. All of this can be done without the Merchant's Friend feat or having to apply a single point to the Appraise skill, nor is it necessary to use a character editor or the in-game console. If you've always wanted to buy the spear Vengeance of Asenath from Dayne Lynneth (or other astronomically priced items) and still have some money left over, these are sure paths to do so.
The following special aspects of appraise are not included in NWN2:
- If you have 5 ranks in any Craft skill, you gain a +2 synergy bonus on Appraise checks related to items made with that Craft skill.
- Dwarves, including the Gold Dwarf and Duergar subraces, gain an Appraise bonus on stone or metallic items.
- This skill was only added with the expansion packs, not the original game.