Welcome to Trader's Corner. After discussing it with a number of PCs who have shown interest in opening a business as per the Business Rules, players can now open their own shops and vend items to other players at prices that they wish to ask. Naturally there are some rules to govern this, but they should be simple and easy to understand (and most of it is really just common sense stuff). Please read below to learn how to use Trader's Corner. Threads and merchants that do not adhere to these rules will be removed.
Opening a Business: A merchant considering opening a business should check the costs of opening a business in the Crafting Items and Hirelings rules. The cheapest business that a prospective owner can open is little more than a market stall or a tiny one-room store inside a business for 100 gp. Opening a business can be declared in the thread you use for your business, and the necessary resources expended. More expensive businesses can allow your operation to be more successful.
Expenses: Operating a business isn't a one-time venture, and it's all pearls and roses. There are costs to own and operate, prevent theft, spread word, and other factors that you must take into consideration. Because of this there is a sort of tax that is applied to each item that you wish to sell in your business, or for your services. When you post an item for sale in your store, you must expend 25% of the item's full market value to put the item on sale. What you ask for the item is entirely up to you (just remember that pricing items too low means you will lose out on profits, while pricing them too high means people might not care to buy them). No matter what, an item should never be priced higher than 110% of the item's normal market value.
For example: If you decide you want to sell a +1 cloak of resistance (1,000 gp market value) that you crafted (for 500 gp in materials) in your shop, you must first expend 25% of the cloak's value (250 gp) to post the item in the store and provide reasonable protections against thieves, cover taxes, and pay for advertisement to prospective buyers. If you sell the item at full market value, you would get 1,000 gp you would make a 20% profit on your cloak (counting the 500 to craft, 250 to post, and 1,000 gained, your total profits are 25% of the market value).
Possessing a larger business model can allow you to more efficiently operate. While a simple 100 gp stall is all that is required off you to begin a business, each business size category up reduces this taxation by 5% (to a minimum of 0% when your business is of Merchant Lord status). Because of the expenses of selling high value items, mundane items and minor magical goods (such as items produced with the Craft skill, scrolls, potions, and cheaper wondrous items) are typically favored by those with a small business model, while those interested in selling exceptionally costly items will prefer a greatly enhanced business model.
Using Your Store: When you decide you wish to open a business, you may make a new forum thread with the name of your business, such as "Cala's Enchanted Jewelry". This is now your own personal shop. Players can come and visit your thread and inspect your stock and post if they wish to purchase any items. You are responsible for keeping track of items that have been purchased and sold, and you must list your accounts in the first page of your forum thread (either at the beginning or end of the post) in case a GM needs to audit your activities. The accounting information should be in an easily legible format, but may be hidden inside an expandable/collapsible code to not clog up your main post.
As you operate your store, add new items for sale, remove items sold, and so forth, you should simply edit your original store post rather than posting each little update. Whenever you make a change to your store (such as when posting a new item, or after selling an item) you should include a small log with the date and activity that the action was taken. Such as "01/01/2013: Added a masterwork accounting book to item list". It will help to make sure you're not trying to cheat.
You are free to describe your business as desired within reason. Describing the appearance, smell, and general atmosphere is entirely fine. However, your descriptions of your shop should fit with what you paid for. It would be silly to open a basic shop (the equivalent of a market stall) and describe it as a grand multi-level emporium for example. Just use your better judgment in most cases. It is reasonable to assume that your store is a near equivalent to the suggested shop size and type. For example, you might purchase the equivalent of a market stall for your character, but you might describe your shop as not a stall in an open market, but instead a tiny shop in a back alleyway that smells of herbs and incense, with strange decorations hanging about and lit by soft candlelight. It's a tiny little place and is equivalent to a stall; so feel free to get a little creative.
Prospective Buyers: For those interested in buying items from the Trader's Corner, remember that you are trading with other players. These are not NPCs, and they have a right to sell their items for whatever prices they want. You should not expect them to sell you items at cost, nor should you expect to get exceptionally great deals (honestly a small % off is likely what you might reasonably expect compared to buying from NPCs, and that is worth it for most items). Feel free to roleplay a bit in the forum when you are looking to buy something. It can be more entertaining to describe your visit to the shop, how you react to its noteworthy features and so forth. However, definitely have made up your mind on what you want to purchase before you begin your post, because few people (especially the owners of a shop) are going to want to weed through entire posts of you browsing items, or asking about lots of items. If you want to haggle that is between you and the merchant, but realize that the merchant always has the option to name the price and you can take it or leave it. Once again, because it stresses repeating, you are not entitled to cheap or unfair discounts merely because the merchant is another PC; nor should you expect your activities outside of the trader's corner to mean anything (if someone wants to give you a special discount because you adventure together, that is fine, but don't expect it). Under Absolutely No Circumstances should a player ever treat a merchant poorly because the merchant did not sell them the item they wanted from their shop at the prices they desired. It is the merchant's item and they have final say on who does or does not buy it.
Other Dealings: It is possible to work out deals with merchants. Some merchants may be interested in purchasing items from players selling, or interested in bartering items, and so forth. A common example might include accepting items that are easily traded in place of currency, or purchasing items from players at a slightly better rate than the player could hawk an item to an NPC if the merchant believes they could get more out of it later. For Example: If a player comes into the shop and wishes to buy a +1 weapon from a merchant, he or she might be short on cash, but the merchant may accept potions as currency up to 75% of the potion's value. So the player might trade the merchant 10 1st level potions for the +1 weapon. Alternatively, if a player found a +1 goblin bane longbow (valued at about 8,375 gp) and wanted to sell it, the merchant might offer the player higher than 50% of the item's value in goods or gold immediately, and then either keep the bow or put it on sale immediately to sell to another player.