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.
It also seems that the check for Merchant's Friend is done only for the PC and not the companions (as opposed to the Appraisal check that uses the PC's Appraise in each case). While browsing merchant's wares selecting a companion changes the prices based on the presence of the feat.
There 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.
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.