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 you can sell it "at auction in any major city"
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CapnZapp
Acolyte

5 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2018 :  07:28:44  Show Profile Send CapnZapp a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
...is not an uncommon guideline for major artifacts and relics you find in adventures.

So I have a very specific question:

Who could and would handle such an auction in Waterdeep? I'm talking the tens and hundreds of thousands of gold range here: a mid-high level party.

Is there any official Realmslore regarding this subject? (Perhaps example buyers? Although feel free to suggest buyers from all over Faerűn. It's the middlemen that's going to be specific to the city)

Pointing me to specific passages in any past or present sourcebook from any era or edition would be acceptable, if you don't just want to give me names of a merchant or trading house :)


Regards,
Zapp

PS. Reason I'm asking is that when the party finishes with Tomb of Annihilation they have a bunch of more or less evil artifacts with significant sale values. (Since I'm running the module for a high-level party, trust me when I say significant)

But I don't just want to roll a random d20 to see what they get out of each item.

Ideally, I want to be able to present two or three choices for auction houses or, well, fences. And then a variety of upscale buyers, one shadier than the next... ;)

Point is to present a moral dilemma: do we sell to the obviously evil buyer for top dollar, or do we accept the lower bid from a neutral or even good interested party?

Since I'm pretty sure they won't settle for any backwater market (and with access to level 7 spells they don't have to), Waterdeep is the obvious megalopolis to do business in.

So I need a crash-course on the Realmslore that I'm sure is lurking somewhere :) Only question - where exactly? :) 3rd edition Forgotten Realms supplements, old AD&D adventures, Dragon magazine articles, ... anything you have would be appreciated.

PPS. I first posted over at ENWorld, but sadly that community doesn't seem to be able to provide the answers I seek. "Candlekeep, you're my only hope" =)

Dargoth
Great Reader

Australia
4607 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2018 :  12:01:04  Show Profile  Visit Dargoth's Homepage Send Dargoth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It sounds like youve got some evil aligned aritfacts so you may have have issues unloading it especially if it has wide spread atunement penalties for those around it. For example During a Dragon Heist playthrough I was watching one of the artifacts had an attunement effect that no one with in 300 metres of the Atuned artifact could gain the benefit of a long rest as they where plagued with vivd nightmares everytime they fell asleep.

Its also possible that Good and Neutral societies may ban the sale of Evil aligned artifacts within their territory. Some may even try and take the artifacts away from them so they can be secured or destroyed ie Harpers or good Chruches.

Your best bet to sell them would be an evil controlled city pr some place like Skullport or Thay where the the Law and good dont apply


“I am the King of Rome, and above grammar”

Emperor Sigismund

"Its good to be the King!"

Mel Brooks
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JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2018 :  12:51:23  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don’t think the nobles of Waterdeep would allow organisations to openly rob people of their possessions. These nobles, after all, are the sort to make pacts with demons and devils, so calling Waterdeep good aligned seems a bit dubious. That said the Harpers would definitely try to obtain them without paying.

The Church of Mystra would probably pay fair rates (which they would then destroy). The Zhentarim and Red Wizards of Thay would likewise pay. Alas I couldn’t find the word “auction” in Volo’s Guide to Cormyr. So nothing canon I’m afraid.

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
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dwarvenranger
Senior Scribe

USA
428 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2018 :  12:53:43  Show Profile  Visit dwarvenranger's Homepage Send dwarvenranger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Iirc, Volo's Guide to Waterdeep lists merchants/fences who didn't ask questions about where something came from.

If I waited till I knew what I was doing, I'd never get anything done.

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JohnLynch
Learned Scribe

Australia
243 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2018 :  13:39:25  Show Profile Send JohnLynch a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Balthorr’s Rare and Wondrous Treasures sells stolen goods for 40% of its street value.

Phalantar’s Philtres & Components will also sell evil items for 35% of its value and he specialises in evil items that adventurers typically don’t want (and even bankrolls adventurers for a share of their loot).

These are AD&D 2e era NPCs, but you could easily use their descendants (or even just them and ignore which era they are from).

DM of the Realms: A blog for my Forgotten Realms adventures.
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4524 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2018 :  14:50:13  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Illegal and dangerous items would probably not be allowed to be sold in the city and would be confiscated.

But skullport was designed for just such an occurrence.

That's all pre 4e, no idea about 1370 onwards.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8031 Posts

Posted - 26 Dec 2018 :  21:55:47  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A few things to bear in mind. Supply and Demand. Advertisement. The realms is not our world. There's no google search or pop up ads to tell people all around the world that items are for sale. There may be some spreading of the word through magical means, but it won't be near as efficient as it would be say in our modern world without expensive spellcasting to spread the word. Thus, in the case of trying to unload "a truckload of big bad artifacts".... you're only going to have a certain number of buyers in a certain range of the auction, and if these artifacts are evil and have deleterious effect, you may only have a single person who really has a use for it and is willing to shell out anything like decent money for it.... and he may be more interested in some other item, so that's where he wants to put his money. Thus, when it comes to big ticket items, players are likely to have to hold onto things until they can find a buyer OR sell them fast and cheap and let someone else deal with the long term issues of protecting the item from theft, finding a buyer, etc....

I know it may sound counter to what we've all heard over the years... i.e. the party risked their lives, and they should get the reward... but honestly, they didn't put in the effort to MAKE the item... they aren't putting in the effort to secure the item, advertise it, negotiate a sale, etc.... and thus there are sale houses in the world that likely make a LOT of money selling magic items, but they also SPEND a lot of money on spellcasters sitting on the sidelines and securing sites magically, etc... Moneylenders and auction houses are big business.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6817 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2018 :  00:49:51  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Vendors can be notoriously dishonest when trying to unload unethical, problematic, or dangerous commodities. "Oh, this car is a great deal and it runs just fine ... if you can live with the unwashable bloodstains and the transmission being possessed by a malevolent demon." There's always a market for magical items, there's no real requirement to advertise when magical items happen to also be cursed.

And there's always dealers savvy and enterprising (and perhaps criminal) enough to explore other business opportunities. Evil-aligned liches, wizards, fanatics, and warlords might always be willing to purchase such items. Guilds of thieves and assassins often specialize in such products. Churches in service to evil deities can always use such products. And then there's all sorts of monsters - drow, dragons, genies, giants, etc - who might be willing to buy items useful to their causes. Along with other sorts of monsters - elves, kings, Harpers, Chosen, etc - who might be willing to buy these things simply to secure them or deny access for their enemies.

[/Ayrik]
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5492 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2018 :  04:01:55  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would say that they don't part with the items for money, but rather for "favors". If they were to hand over the evil artifacts to the powers of good (good-aligned faiths, the Harpers, the Lords of Waterdeep, etc.) then they could seek things like healing or raising when required, curse removal, etc - or even a token that will be honoured for safe conduct, supplies or assistance in other places. Feel free to come up with interesting options rather than just gold.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8031 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2018 :  12:26:56  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I would say that they don't part with the items for money, but rather for "favors". If they were to hand over the evil artifacts to the powers of good (good-aligned faiths, the Harpers, the Lords of Waterdeep, etc.) then they could seek things like healing or raising when required, curse removal, etc - or even a token that will be honoured for safe conduct, supplies or assistance in other places. Feel free to come up with interesting options rather than just gold.

-- George Krashos



Damn good point, and very much links into what I was saying above that when trying to unload a lot of expensive stuff at once, you have to basically take what you can get. Its another thing entirely when say someone comes to you and says "I want a magic item that does X, Y, and Z specifically" and you tailor that item to their request. Then you can charge huge amounts of cash. Otherwise, someone may only want an item because of X, and y and z are just trivial extras to them that they may not even have a use for. Thus, people coming up and offering resurrection services, information gathering services, magical warding services, magical transportation services, a boatload of lesser magic items, armor, weapons, etc... to give to your henchmen/hirelings/servants, the layman construction work of temple worshippers, a deal on construction materials, enough food to feed your henchmen/hirelings/servants for a year, etc...

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8031 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2018 :  12:28:45  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

I would say that they don't part with the items for money, but rather for "favors". If they were to hand over the evil artifacts to the powers of good (good-aligned faiths, the Harpers, the Lords of Waterdeep, etc.) then they could seek things like healing or raising when required, curse removal, etc - or even a token that will be honoured for safe conduct, supplies or assistance in other places. Feel free to come up with interesting options rather than just gold.

-- George Krashos



Damn good point, and very much links into what I was saying above that when trying to unload a lot of expensive stuff at once, you have to basically take what you can get. Its another thing entirely when say someone comes to you and says "I want a magic item that does X, Y, and Z specifically" and you tailor that item to their request. Then you can charge huge amounts of cash. Otherwise, someone may only want an item because of X, and y and z are just trivial extras to them that they may not even have a use for. Thus, people coming up and offering resurrection services, information gathering services, magical warding services, magical transportation services, a boatload of lesser magic items, armor, weapons, etc... to give to your henchmen/hirelings/servants, the layman construction work of temple worshippers, a deal on construction materials, enough food to feed your henchmen/hirelings/servants for a year, etc...

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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CapnZapp
Acolyte

5 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2018 :  21:51:02  Show Profile Send CapnZapp a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh well, seems there isn't much established lore I have to be aware of. Thanks anyway.
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6817 Posts

Posted - 27 Dec 2018 :  23:33:14  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Favours. Tokens. Fame. Glory. Admiration. Intangibles. Bah. Royals and nobility and city lords are always so cheap. Worth considering when their proxy is a sometimes-adversarial Dungeon Master.

"Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money."

[/Ayrik]
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CapnZapp
Acolyte

5 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2018 :  12:12:07  Show Profile Send CapnZapp a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Exactly. Quoting from Tomb of Annihilation:

quote:
The Black Opal Crown is worth 5,000 gp
but can fetch up to four times that value if sold at auction
in any major city.


And similar for the other three legendary treasures.

So. Ideally I want two or three choices for auction houses (or fences, middle-men etc) and two or three choices for prospective buyers at each auction house.

One auction house might charge more, but provide better screening of buyers (less risk of fraud attempts). Another offers richer buyers. Etc. One buyer might offer less money, but represent benign interests that will keep the item safe. Another might offer more but intend to use the artifact for evil purposes that might come back to bite the party later. Etc

What I need is to put actual names, "faces", and backstories to these choices.

I know full well I can make it all up myself, but I have turned to Candlekeep to see if there is any canon lore regarding this.
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
5492 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2018 :  13:40:44  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I think that there is no such thing as an "auction house" in the Realms. There might be, but they have never been mentioned in 30 years of Realmslore. So there is no canon lore available and you'll have to make it all up yourself if you want to go down that road.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Gary Dallison
Great Reader

United Kingdom
4524 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2018 :  14:30:47  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sounds like another use for cloak societies, setting up shady auctions and spreading the word among its nefarious contacts to line up unscrupulous buyers at secret locations.

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6817 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2018 :  16:49:31  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I believe Raven's Bluff had auction houses as some of the many implausible civic institutions designed all around catering to PC adventurers. Although validity of Living Realms canon is dubious at best.

[/Ayrik]
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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1812 Posts

Posted - 28 Dec 2018 :  19:09:55  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

I believe Raven's Bluff had auction houses as some of the many implausible civic institutions designed all around catering to PC adventurers.

What is implausible about having auction house(s) in a trade port?
Either way, City of Ravens Bluff (TSR#9575) doesn't mention them.
quote:
Although validity of Living Realms canon is dubious at best.

It looks like you mixed up campaigns. Raven's Bluff is Living City.

People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
It's not good, Eric. It's a gazebo. -Ed Whitchurch
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CapnZapp
Acolyte

5 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2018 :  09:26:28  Show Profile Send CapnZapp a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Well, I think that there is no such thing as an "auction house" in the Realms. There might be, but they have never been mentioned in 30 years of Realmslore. So there is no canon lore available and you'll have to make it all up yourself if you want to go down that road.

-- George Krashos


Thank you. While the answer wasn't the one I was hoping for, at least you saved me quite some time...
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Zeromaru X
Master of Realmslore

Colombia
1328 Posts

Posted - 29 Dec 2018 :  10:20:49  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The only auction house I'm aware of is the Tarmalune Trade House in Neverwinter. You can read about it in the Neverwinter Campaign Setting, thought its role as an auction house is from the MMO.

However, I do remember that, in one of Erin's novels (Lesser Evils) some character auctioned an evil artifact on the street of the Dock Ward in Waterdeep, with the patronage of some noble (nobody knew it was an evil artifact at first, of course). So, there is that.

EDIT:

Here is a link to the article about the Tarmalune Trade House in the Wiki. Hope it can be of use for you:

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Tarmalune_Trade_House

Long ago, in the distant past, they fell into decay. The philosopher’s path... The river of glory... Even the saints resting in the darkness rise up without response and block the way...

Edited by - Zeromaru X on 29 Dec 2018 10:29:22
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CapnZapp
Acolyte

5 Posts

Posted - 30 Dec 2018 :  14:16:54  Show Profile Send CapnZapp a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you.
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