Merchant

Dragon Age: Origins, Bodahn the Merchant.

Description

A merchant is a NPC with whom the player can buy and sell items. Often the merchant is an interactive npc and the player must navigate a dialog tree before trading with them, though this is not always the case. Some merchants, when spoken to, take the player immediately to a buy/sell screen.

Merchants sometimes specialize in selling a particular kind of item, such as a weapons merchant. Merchants also sometimes offer services other than buying or selling goods, such as enchanting weapons or sharing story information. Some games, such as Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn support the player attempting to steal from the merchant.

Merchants are often located in cities or other nuclei, and only accessible when the player is in the same location. Other games have mechanics that support the merchants being accessible while the player is adventuring.

Variables and Affordances

  • Type: what type of goods the merchant buys and sells
  • Services: what other services the merchant offers
  • Accessibility: when or how the merchant is available to the player

Examples

  • Dragon Age: Origins. The player encounters Bodahn the Merchant (and his son, Sandal, who provides enchantment services) when leaving Lothering. Bodahn decides to travel with the player, and is always accessible from the main party camp. Bodahn sells goods of many types, including weapons, armor, and potions. He will purchase any item from the player, including junk.
  • X-Men Legends. Forge is accessible from any save point, allowing players to manage inventory while they are on missions.
  • Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn. Innkeepers will offer rooms for sale for resting, and some items for sale. They also provide story nuggets about current events in the world, or “rumors”, when the player purchases drinks.

In Worked Examples

Quest-Level Relationships

  • Unlock Quest - Some merchants are not available until the player completes a certain quest to unlock their wares. This may be because what they sell is of too high a level until that quest is completed, or because it is a privilege to be able to buy from them as what they sell is more powerful than usual shops, so a quest stands in the way of the player and the opening of the shop.
  • Quest Tied Item - Some merchants sell items related to quests.
  • Compilation Quest - For some quests, the player is required to gather certain items in order to create/craft a bigger or different item. Some merchants sell components of these quests.
patterns/merchant.txt · Last modified: 2011/06/14 15:12 by Gillian Smith
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