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marsher
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Merchants in Skywind

My current task is setting up merchants in Skywind to be similar, but improved from the ones in Morrowind.

The number one goal is to make the merchants have a persistent inventory. I don't see that being an issue, as long as their chest doesn't respawn. However, there are a few more ideas we were toying with and I'd like to get some opinions.

1. Items linked to merchant inventory -- is this even necessary? What kind of merchant goes "oh thx" and slaps a helmet on as soon as you sell it to him? I get that that's how it was done in morrowind, but I'm not 100% that that was a good thing.

2. (Scripting related) I was working on a system that would let the items on display disappear when bought. I'm 90% sure it can be done, although it'll probably take some tinkering to get right. Would you guys like to see this or should I scrap the idea?

3. Chests - I think that merchants should have a reachable inventory chest. My thought is it would require the key that the merchant already carries on their person. Problem is, this could be game-breaking, so let me know if you want to scrap this idea as well.

side note - from the time I've spent in-game it looks like merchants so far have the exact same inventory as that from Morrowind, including pauldrons, greaves, etc. Do we need someone to remove those items/add the new alternatives (Even if we don't currently have the assets)?

EDIT - One more large issue I forgot to mention. How are we going to handle stolen goods? In morrowind, they would only see an issue if you tried to sell it back to the original owner. Anyone have ideas on how to tackle this, or should we just keep it like Skyrim?

Thanks for the input. 

Edited by: marsher on 11/28/2014 - 11:35
tommythegun
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1 - You are right, it doesnt

1 - You are right, it doesnt make sense if each merchant equips everything he gets. On the other hand i partially liked that idea in morrowind. I'm not so sure if it's doable but in my opinion it would be great if we had merchants that would sell everything, never leaving items for themselves, but also merchants that would take care of some of the equipment. Rarely ofcourse, only really good stuff and fitting their abilities. especially if there gonna be traveling merchants.

From a merchant point of view - you try to sell stuff, not just buy stuff. You invest in things people bring to you to sell it with profit. But when that one stranger comes to you with beautiful ebony sword - glimmering with enchantment, you know you want it. You know it's gonna be yours. This time - you won't sell it to another person no matter the price. When the bargain has been made, you bid ferwell to the stranger that brought you this precious thing, muttering under your nose "This... This one i'm keeping for myself".

So yeah - it would happen very rarely and it would have to be special item (not unique maybe, cause there are as many reasons to sell it as to keep it - just powerful and pretty enough ;) ). If you guys could figure out a way to actually add merchant's comment when this happens - i think it would be super-awesome.

2 - WE WANT! For me every little thing as immersive as this idea is very important. It's your time and your decision ofcourse, but i love that idea.

3 - game breaking because people would steal it and rob the merchant? Is there a possibility to make these keys extremely hard to pickpocket? (You know, they dont just keep it in their pockets, they keep it close, cause they know people would want to steal the key) - i think that way it would make sens. And if someone wants to max pickpocketing just to rob every merchant's chest - i say we let him.

Hope that is creative enough to help you. Cheers mate!

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1: Yeah, that didn't make

1: Yeah, that didn't make much sense in Morrowind and there's no point in recreating it.

2: DO EET, DO EET NAOW!!!

3: That is what I would like. No artificial restrictions to the world, and instead option to put your hands on some goodies in not exactly legal way. However, is it possible to put Merchant's inventory in a few different places? Some things for showing off on shelves, more expensive stuff in a locked chest, and the biggest treasures in a hard locked chest in a locked storage room, etc. Just put some effort into making expensive items really hard to get, and it won't be game breaking. Not to mention stuff you could find in Morrowind if you knew where to look was game breaking anyway. If you knew where to look, and getting to know that through thorough exploration was the whole point of the game.

Note from me: Merchants will probably have to be tackled later on, to balance them with how the gameplay and game world turns out. Balancing is the last issue we'll be having though, and it's probably years away. And it will HAVE to be done and thought through, simple because for example we have different sets of items, different combat system, and many things will be different. I'd for one start with making the first merchant we meet - Arille, a bit less stocked on armour and weapons. Steel shouldn't be obtainable until we reach Balmora, (unless you prefer Imperial Steel, which would make sense in Pelagiad). I'd really like the merchants' items to fit and make sense within the world.

 

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would be good to track stolen

would be good to track stolen ITEMs (some good weapons, armors, silverware, family relics & very rare ingredients and gems) but not MATERIALs (like some food, usual herbs, skin and ingots).

most of NPC could be take back their items if they see that you steal them

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1. Most merchants make their

1. Most merchants make their living by reselling stuff for a higher price. In some cases though, e.g. when you sell a powerful enchanted robe to an ambitious and power hungry mage he would most probably put it on himself - even if that meant a loss in possibly profit. 

2. Merchants should not have endless supplies of any item, but their stock inventory should reset and even change once in a while, simulating that the player isnt the only one to buy from them.

3. This can imho only be satisfyingly balanced with realism. Image if you robbed a jeweler in irl and trade to sell the stolen goods to a pawnbroker in the neighborhood. this would only be possible if you sold the stuff before any alarms were raised or if the dust had settled. This could be implemented with a small delay on the 'stolen' flag on items and a general change on how this flag works. It should be invisible and not restrict the players ability to try and sell it but should instead trigger an event whenever a NPC recognizes an item as stolen. No one should be able to know if a single kwama egg was stolen and therefor the player should be able to sell it to whomever he wants. But if a storehouse of kwama eggs was broken in recently and the player tries to sell large quantities of said stuff, the local merchant should be conspicious. I know that this is probably impossible to implement but one could at least narrow it down to a distinction between valuable and not so valuable items. If a merchant however recognizes an item as stolen, he would  e.g.

a) end the trade and call for the guards / attack the player

b) engage in a dialog with the player where he e.g. threatens the player to call for the authority 

c) make a suggestive comment

How a NPC reacts in detail could be influenced by their disposition towards the player and their own "moral standarts "(fences dont care about flags). The disposition however should depend from the players skills (speech etc) and his appearance (race, clothes/armor, face covered, weapon equipped or even drawn) and should not only determine how much the NPC likes the player but also if he feels threatend/intimidated/etc. 

edit: should have refreshed before posting xD

marsher
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My idea as of right now is

My idea as of right now is making everyone "fences" in the sense that they will buy stolen items, and finding some way to check the ownership status of the item when sold. So, if owner==merchant, merchant gets pissed, etc, etc.

So - this brings up another issue. Should the item be a kwama egg or arrow or whatever, the merchant shouldn't be able to say "HEY THAT'S MINE". So I'm thinking setting the ownership of the item as a standalone flag on the item (if possible). This way, if its something cheap or unrecognizable, we could just not put the flag on it. All of that being said, I have no idea if this whole flagging thing is even possible to do in the CK.

Regarding the merchant wearing the items - NPCs are set to wear whatever has the highest armor rating in their inventory, and there is no way that I'm aware of in the CK to filter through the items by type. If I were handwriting this code, it'd be simple, but I can't modify what an item actually is and what properties it can hold. I'll see what I can do, but I think it's gonna be all or nothing on merchants wearing their inventory.

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persistent inventory sounds

persistent inventory sounds good, but I'll echo the need to have some amount of variety to simulate other buyers. Also, make sure arrows and other "ammo" types respawn so we don't run out!
You may be able to do this by having the merchant store items you sell on his/her person while having the respawned items linked to them in a merchant chest. Obviously would have to play around with this mixed system and see how the game handles it but there may be potential in it.

1. I definitely liked in morrowind when merchants threw on the armour they had bought. It was a bit surprising and funny at first and I think it would be a great nostalgia factor and you'd always remember what you had sold them when you'd go back. But I understand it may be a bit dated.

2.YES. there may even be a way to set it up like a display rack in skyrim and have it mount items from the merchants inventory to fill the spot via an individualized script based on item type. that way even if you steal/buy a given item on a shelf, it would eventually replace it with another similar type item from their inventory.

3. I agree, but yes this could be very game breaking. Especially since keys are relatively easy to pickpocket due to their weight. A workaround: you may be able to attach scripts to pickpocketing keys, or more likely when player has X named key =1 in their possession that would trigger the bounty hiring quest that would occur in skyrim when you had stolen from an NPC or having a percentage chance of a delayed bounty, based on them discovering "evidence" of your theft. I think it would also be important to having the key respawn on the merchant and to have the key "expire". Basically a small script would start when player has the key that would lead to the removal from his inventory after 2-3 days or even 24hrs with a small pop-up message saying "the merchant has changed their locks. The stolen key will no longer work unless a new one is obtained."

stolen items are a big issue. You could start a whole thread on that under game mechanics and get some community feedback.

marsher
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taerkalith wrote:

taerkalith wrote:

persistent inventory sounds good, but I'll echo the need to have some amount of variety to simulate other buyers. Also, make sure arrows and other "ammo" types respawn so we don't run out!
You may be able to do this by having the merchant store items you sell on his/her person while having the respawned items linked to them in a merchant chest. Obviously would have to play around with this mixed system and see how the game handles it but there may be potential in it.

Unfortunately, merchants can only draw from one container, so we'll need to figure something out in that regard. Could have a respawning chest who's contents are moved to the merch chest once per day or so.

taerkalith wrote:

1. I definitely liked in morrowind when merchants threw on the armour they had bought. It was a bit surprising and funny at first and I think it would be a great nostalgia factor and you'd always remember what you had sold them when you'd go back. But I understand it may be a bit dated.

I thought so, too. Then I started working on it, and I was like... why am I doing this? The nostalgia factor would be there, but I think that it was actually an improvement when they stopped doing that. </opinion>

taerkalith wrote:



2.YES. there may even be a way to set it up like a display rack in skyrim and have it mount items from the merchants inventory to fill the spot via an individualized script based on item type. that way even if you steal/buy a given item on a shelf, it would eventually replace it with another similar type item from their inventory.

Very clever. I'll look into the scripts Skyrim has set up. Could potentially set it up so that standing while activating makes you buy the item, where sneaking while activating makes you steal it. BUT this may be straying too far from vanilla Skyrim.

taerkalith wrote:

I think it would also be important to having the key respawn on the merchant and to have the key "expire". Basically a small script would start when player has the key that would lead to the removal from his inventory after 2-3 days or even 24hrs with a small pop-up message saying "the merchant has changed their locks. The stolen key will no longer work unless a new one is obtained."

Not a bad idea, but I disagree with telling the player. I hate pop up messages. What if merchants doors were locked under "Requires Key" so that you would be forced to steal a key during the day? If you're good enough to pickpocket it during daytime, then go for it. Or, you could get a duplicate key from the back room -- but the guard follows you back there.

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When it comes to nostalgia, I

When it comes to nostalgia, I think there's plenty other things Skywind team can work on, instead of recreating bad/dated game design elements :P

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Alright, I've worked on the

Alright, I've worked on the merchandise container idea and I think I have it fleshed out to where it'd be somewhat balanced.

-Shop's front door and merchandise container are locked under "Requires Key".

-The merchant has a key on them, as well as one in an unlocked nightstand in their personal quarters.

-The merchandise container will be, when applicable, behind the counter.

-Entering the merchant's personal area will require bypassing a master-level lock, and will count as trespassing.

-Containers and doors will lock again every morning and night.

-After 3 days, the key will be removed from the players inventory, simulating the locks being changed.

So, you have a few ways to rob a store.

1. Steal items off the shelves.

2. Pickpocket the key from the merchant during the day.

3. Break into the merchants personal quarters and steal the extra key from the nightstand.

4. Find a place to hide, and wait until night. Follow the merchant to bed and steal the key from the nightstand.

Let me know if you have any input.

 

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marsher wrote:-Shop's front

marsher wrote:

-Shop's front door and merchandise container are locked under "Requires Key".

You lost me already.

In vanilla Morrowind there was no such thing as a "Requires Key" lock, and even "Master" category locks are very rare. AFAIR only the Palace of Vivec has lvl100 lock, even this burial has lvl80 that's still Expert (borderline Master).

To balance that out, such locks can be opened either with a good lockpick and very high lockpicking skill or an illegal one-use scroll with ~400 septims base cost that's not sold anywhere and can only be obtained by raiding high-level smugglers. No relevant spell exists, although you could make a custom one.

I, for one, would very much prefer the "You can do anything, some things are just hard" approach over "Nope, you're not walking down this door in a way we did not intend, no matter what". For Azura's sake, even Skyrim didn't have "Requires key" on shops!

TL;DR: there's little point in trying to balance things before we know what the mechanics are. Just slap Adept locks on lower-class stores and Expert on more expensive ones and call it a day tag it for revisiting during the game balancing stage.

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I get your point, but

I get your point, but lockpicking is stupid easy in skyrim at any lock and lockpicking level, and literally impossible in morrowind unless your skill level is high enough.

edit to rephrase - in morrowind, locks were an obstacle that could be overcome if you a, had the key, or b, were a good enough lock picker.

in skyrim, locks are a minigame that scale in difficulty, but are always achievable at any level. That is stupid. The locks need to be an obstacle and the only way to enforce that is to require a key.

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Well, it is possible to

Well, it is possible to prevent the player from ever opening a lock by requiring perks (as it's done in Requiem mod.) Unless you have a specific perk, the lock will not open no matter how hard you try. 

If needed, I can take a look at how Requiem does this. 

marsher
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aretea wrote:

aretea wrote:

Well, it is possible to prevent the player from ever opening a lock by requiring perks (as it's done in Requiem mod.) Unless you have a specific perk, the lock will not open no matter how hard you try. 

If needed, I can take a look at how Requiem does this. 

That's a great idea but it would fall flat if the player isn't using vanilla perks. What if we based it off of their lockpicking skill?

And is this a direction we want to go? I don't mind the change personally, but that's getting a little far from vanilla Skyrim.

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Perks will be likely getting

Perks will be likely getting some changes anyways, so lockpicking might be tackled too. I'd leave that issue for later, as Shnatsel said.

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lock overhaul on nexus also

lock overhaul on nexus also adds the possibility of level requirements for locks.

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marsher wrote:

marsher wrote:

Alright, I've worked on the merchandise container idea and I think I have it fleshed out to where it'd be somewhat balanced.

-Shop's front door and merchandise container are locked under "Requires Key".

-The merchant has a key on them, as well as one in an unlocked nightstand in their personal quarters.

-The merchandise container will be, when applicable, behind the counter.

-Entering the merchant's personal area will require bypassing a master-level lock, and will count as trespassing.

-Containers and doors will lock again every morning and night.

-After 3 days, the key will be removed from the players inventory, simulating the locks being changed.

So, you have a few ways to rob a store.

1. Steal items off the shelves.

2. Pickpocket the key from the merchant during the day.

3. Break into the merchants personal quarters and steal the extra key from the nightstand.

4. Find a place to hide, and wait until night. Follow the merchant to bed and steal the key from the nightstand.

Let me know if you have any input.

Totally agree with you. Here's some other ideas:

1) Shop perks as new perks in lockpicking tree: as the others said, you will probably already change some perks. But why not adding perks, instead of changing it? I played both vanilla Skyrim and Skyrim with Requiem, so I can tell that perk requirements really add a lot of immersion and make lockpicking perks finally worth. But one thing I really hated in Requiem was finding chests impossible to lockpick (since I didn't have the required perk yet) in dungeons. Really, really hated. You can just add one new perk in the lockpicking tree, with a rank for every level of shops you will add (first rank for low level shops, second middle level shops, third richer shops). This way you will not break the game as Requiem does, but not even make robbery a shop so easy like in vanilla Skyrim. The requirement for the first rank may be around 60, then 80 for second rank and 100 for the third, so rob a shop by lockpicking the door will be a method available only to middle-high level thief characters. The low level will have to do as you already mentioned, with the key.

2) I like how stolen items were managed in Morrowind (I didn't play it, I just read about it in this topic): you steal an item, you can sell it to everyone except the one you robbed. But what if you can do it only after a week? Otherwise the merchant will be able to track you down and send the guards (the next time you are in that town) or hire mercenaries to bring you to him (and you will find a note on their bodies that say they were hired by that merchant). So you steal some items, you must wait for one week in order to sell them, or you can sell them immediately to a fence.

Imagine the possibilities, you steal something from a merchant:
- First scenario, you go immediately to another merchant in order to sell it: there is a very high chance that when you exit the shop the guards approach you in order to arrest you. You fight or go to jail.
- Second scenario, you go immediately to another merchant in order to sell it: when you exit the shop nothing happen, you made it. But the next time you are in town, there is an high chance the guards will approach you (since the merchant noticed the missing items, call the guards, the guards investigate and find out someone who looks like you sold that same items to another merchant).
- Third scenario, you go immediately to another merchant in order to sell it: when you exit the shop nothing happen, you made it. But while you are exploring Morrowind, a group of three guys approach you: they are hired by that same merchant you robbed, you can go with them (submit, then jail in the town where the merchant lives) or fight (you find the note). It's not like that merchant wants revenge xD, we assume he (or the guards), left a work note about tracking down a thief (the player) and some mercenaries take it. It's a job.

- Fourth scenario, you go immediately to a fence in order to sell it: nothing happen.
- Fifth
scenario, you wait a week then go to another merchant: you sell the items and nothing happen.
 

 

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To be fair, it was easy in

To be fair, it was easy in Morrowind if you had enough lockpicks or bolstered your skill through magical means.

I don't think a "Key Required" lock is the right way to go, no matter how easy it turns out to be without it. Morrowind was all about doing whatever you wanted. The game didn't stop you from doing something, it let you do it -- even if it broke some of the game. I don't think balance is something you guys should be striving for. If something's too easy, it's too easy. If it's too hard, it's too hard.. but the point is that we should be able to do it if we want to, the game shouldn't stand in our way by imposing barriers like "Key Required" and requiring us to jump through hoops to get where we want to go in order to add artificial difficulty.

Besides, we should we take a step back and look at what it is we're typing here. Are you guys really suggesting the player be a master thief, unrivaled in all of Tamriel, in order to pick the lock on the front door of any old shop? Shop owners in Morrowind weren't rich, they didn't have access to top-of-the-line security. The locks are just there to prevent most people from attempting to steal from them. They aren't meant to provide the same level of security as the door leading to Vivec.. that would be absurd (almost as absurd as a living god needing to lock his front door).

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Hey, I just wanted to get a

Hey, I just wanted to get a quick-heads up if there is anyone still working on this, possibly marsher itself?

I just volunteered to help some days ago, but no-one has given me any real task as of yet, so I thought I'd be proactive and just look around on the forums for something to implement to get used to working with the creation kit and all this.

So I implemented the second idea (letting items on display vanish when bought, letting them vanish from the merchants inventory when stolen  and enabling the merchant to restock this display after a certain amount of time), and I wanted to know if I should look into the other things discussed here as well - since it doesn't really make sense to work on things twice?

I'm also sure that there is a (relative simple) way to make a merchant equip / put in his inventory only certain items when sold to him, so I could implement that - depending on whether it is needed or not.

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Hey guys. Been a lurker

Hey guys. Been a lurker around here for a while, this is my first time actually posting, because I wanted to share an idea on how to handle stolen goods. Would it be possible, maybe borrowing from Skyrim's pickpocketing system, to give stolen items a percent chance to be recognized as stolen when you attempt to sell them, based on the item's value? That way you'd have an easy time getting away with selling random stolen junk like kwama eggs (though there would always be some small risk of getting caught), while more valuable items like scrolls, rare weapons or armor, etc. would be extremely risky to try to sell, but you might still have a slim chance to pull it off.

You could potentially tie the Speech skill in as well, so of you're a smooth talker you might be better at convincing merchants that it isn't stolen, though I'm a little ambivalent about that idea myself.

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@maxnosense, Thanks for being

@maxnosense, Thanks for being proactive! I haven't heard any updates from Marsher in ages. Send him a PM and see if he responds within a day or two. If not, it's all yours. PM me if you don't hear back after PMing Marsher and I'll get you setup with what you'll need if he doesn't respond.

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Just a heads up about the

Just a heads up about the progress, since I'm looking into this right now:

With the way Skyrim's merchant system works, I managed to make merchants sell what's on display, it's also possible to link certain item's to their inventory - although I'm not really sure on whether I'll be able to make them persist there - and it's fairly easy to make the merchant's chest reachable for the player even while including those other two features.

But making the merchants inventory persistent - as in "Once something is sold, it stays sold" really seems to be borderline impossible (at least if you want it to work 100% of the time. See the "Bugs" section here) because of some really nasty bugs in the merchant system. I think I have a concept work out that should do the trick, but as of now, there are a few tricky problems that stand in the way of the implementation.

So if anyone with in-depth experience with the CK and Papyrus scripting is interesting in helping, and has an idea how to overcome these problems just contact me via PM and I'll explain the problems in-depth.

marsher
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Sorry I haven't been around,

Sorry I haven't been around, peoples. I'd love to get back into things but I'm incredibly busy with my current school/work combo. If someone wants to take the helm on this they're more than welcome to. I had been waiting on the skill system to be implemented as per the coding lead's request, but to be fair I haven't been able to check in frequently enough to see how that's going. So good luck with it, hopefully sooner or later I'll free up enough to lend a hand where I can.

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I have a small suggestion

I have a small suggestion that is unrelated to the whole locked shop thing:

I was thinking about how in Skyrim there was a fellow who would offer you "fine goods from morrowind" He was the only trader in the entire game who would sell goods from another province, and while they were absolutely nothing unique it was a cool idea.

This gave me the idea of Market stalls in vvardenfell that could do the same! Especially Balmora, since they are very keen traders. I'm sure some dunmer here and there that have made a bit of gold would be interested in buying Nord Mead, which is a rarity in vardenfell. The best part is they are already in the game, since Skywind is mounted onto Skyrim (it would be very cool if they had unique models, but its not necessary)

This would be interesting for players who are taken aback by the uniqueness of vvardenfell, and find a small piece of skyrim, which was so familiar before, and is now so distant.

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1. I think the merchant's

1. I think the merchant's items should definitely be linked to the inventory. However, I don't think that means they should automatically equip their best armour. I seem to recall that when Faendal was my follower, he would wear armour, but when I dismissed him, he would wear clothes. Could similar coding be used for the merchants?

2. I think this is a great idea! I'm also certain it can be done in the Skyrim engine. If you take buy iron ingots from Alvor, the ones under his workbench disappear, I'm 90% certain.

3. The chests for the merchants inventory are in Skyrim, just cannot be accessed. I think that the chests should be possible to reach in Skywind, however they should be well hidden and the key should be difficult to pickpocket.

Stolen Goods: I think we should let merchants buy stolen goods. I'm not sure how the code works, but setting them all as being a 'fence' sounds to me like it should work.

 

alysander
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It would be nice if "stolen"

 

Liszkarz
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Hi, first comment here. I

Hi, first comment here. I have some ideas connected with this topic.
a. Maybe we should go back, like someone mentioned, to old 4 (5) types of lockpicks? Are we going back to traps? (I know they were always described, but maybe we could hide them, for little suprise <demons laugh>) And some option of forcing lock?
b. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in Skyrim receivers of stolen goods (how we call them in English?) offer same prizes like normal vendors - in my opinion it should be changed, they take risk of selling stolen goods to many people, they hold high prize items to wait for time to sell them - so they need to charge player for this.
c. I really like the idea of shopkeepers holding keys to their chest. I "love" fact, that we have something like  thousands of chest with only few keys... I understand that keys to dungeons are missing, but what about every chest in the house? Does normal person throw away key after locking the chest? I thought it's thing exclusive for lovers and freaks.

And idea total out if conversation, sorry if it was already described - I loved the newspaper in Oblivion, but likely in Skywind it won't be lore friendly?