Merchants are crazy important, both in the real world and the fictional. However, sometimes, these merchants can’t help but spin themselves a pretty penny. They may use fanciful words, may give themselves a five-finger discount to get their wares – Or they may just charge, ahem, a small fee? Protect your wallets, folks, for these characters are out to get the contents of them. As ever, we’re Timlah and Joel and today we’re checking out our Top 10 Merchants.
10) The Spiv – MediEvil 2
This one may be a little bit obscure compared to the rest on the list, but throughout the PlayStation 1 classic title, MediEvil 2 (and indeed the remake), this guy was hugely important. A Spiv is some old slang term for a criminal, which isn’t surprising when this guy is mumbling “Oi, c’mere” and trying to open his coat to you. What? They never specified what kind of criminal this guy could be.
Nevertheless, The Spiv is beyond useful in this game of the honourable dead. Without him, you don’t get new weapons to take on the hordes of the damned. The Spiv is many things; a conman, a swindler, an off-the-back-of-a-truck opportunist – And a friendly face in this otherwise dangerous world.
9) Stiltzkin – Final Fantasy IX
Ranking pretty low on our list, but still worth a mention, Stiltzkin from Final Fantasy IX is the only travelling merchant. Whilst we are sure there are other worthy mentions of merchants from the juggernaut franchise, we felt Stiltzkin had something a bit more unique going. He wanders from place to place, a free spirit who is only looking to fund his journey by selling the wares he acquires on his journey.
You meet Stiltzkin right at the beginning of the game – Distinctive in appearance from the other Moogles, Stiltzkin wears a patterned hood. He explains he’s off for a journey at the beginning of the game and when you first encounter him in Burmecia, he sells his first bundle for 333gil. Stiltzkin deals are usually worth buying, so go through them all – This goes towards a secret side quest after all!
8) Moneybags – Spyro: the Dragon
Oh Moneybags, your greed is exactly why you got put in this list. A ruthless salesman, one who knows how to keep you locked out of all of the content until you pay him, Moneybags is the ultimate 90’s “DLC” provider. Look, I’m not saying that Moneybags is as bad as some companies for on-disc DLC, because at the very least you don’t have to pay with your real money, but rather in-game gems.
Moneybags is both helpful and a hindrance. To complete the game, there are many occasions where you must pay him. He’s always able to provide a helping hand for, ahem, a small fee. He’ll sometimes charge as low as 100 gems… And sometimes he’ll let his greed really sink in when he asks for more than 1,000 gems.
He makes it all worth it though, as if you manage to complete the game, you do get to run around after him, blasting him with your flame breath. Vengeance is sweet.
7) CMOT Dibbler – Discworld
Master street vendor, small-time entrepreneur, and representative for the small businessman just trying to make a living, “Cutting Me Own Throat” Dibbler sells famous wares ranging from his “meat” pies to his infamous sausage-inna-bun, alongside several other intrepid enterprises he has attempted after one too many lethal “meat” products. But he knows a bargain and is willing to offer it to you at a fair markup, but he’s cutting his own throat to do it!
Dibbler has proven to be a universal constant, representatives of the very concept appear across the Disc, peddling their various dodgy wares. Fair Go Dibbler from Fourecks, Disembowel Meself Honourably Dibhala San of the Agatean Empire, and Ratonasticthenes in Ephebe. Each is reputably disreputable, a reliable source of local knowledge and questionable foodstuffs, and each is willing to generally disfigure themselves in culturally appropriate fashions for a good deal.
6) Pumat Sol – Critical Role
Enchanter Pumat Sol and his many simulacra operate a magic item emporium known as the Invulnerable Vagrant, a place for murder hobos of all stripes to spill their coin on items better suited to the task of wholesale slaughter, transportation of “phat loot”, and otherwise adventuring around the world of Tal’dorei.
Firbolgs are atypical in an urban setting, leaving a hint of mystery to the enchanter’s past, but he has a loveable and heartwarming voice to match his soft and fuzzy exterior. At Gencon this year, Matt Mercer brought one of his most adored NPCs to life at a Critical Role merch booth, appearing in full cosplay to sell to a crowd of excited critters. Last episode the Mighty Nein landed a heaping stack of gold and platinum. Guess where they’re going this week…
5) Tom Nook – Animal Crossing
You know what rhymes with Tom Nook? Crook. He’s an absolute villain, even though he presents himself as this nice, wonderful being. A lot of people agreed with this too, as Tom managed to make it as one of the top Nintendo villains in the 2003 Annual Nintendo Power Awards. He may not be an actual villain, but his greed and peddling of his wares is a very strong message about corrupt-capitalism for such a chilled out game.
It’s fair to point out that Tom Nook isn’t really all that bad – He gives you the mortgage for your first house in basically every Animal Crossing game. He lets you pay it off as and when you can, not really pushing you too hard to get that money in. It’s just… Everything in Animal Crossing kinda comes back to him – He owns everything. Really, we should just get on with working in Nookingtons for him, before he gets angry and insinuates that we’re just squatting in his property.
4) The Guardian of Metal – Brutal Legend
Fun choice here, we had to think about the positioning of the character along with the position on this list – We came all the way to the fourth spot, because of what The Guardian of Metal represents. Brutal Legend is a game about the metal music genre, with roadies, headbangers, guitars as your “axe” weapons and much more. So it was only fitting that The Guardian of Metal, who effectively acts as your merchant for the game, was a truly metal person for real.
So they hired Ozzy Osbourne – If you don’t know who he is, you should listen to one of Ozzy’s most famous songs here: Crazy Train. To hire Ozzy to be a voice of a game is mad by itself, but for him to be an immortal merchant who looks pretty much exactly like Ozzy does for real makes it all the better.
Rock on, metal fans!
3) Happy Mask Salesman – The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
“You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you.”
He’s a terribly busy man, but seems to have time aplenty for following little Deku children around forests in the hopes that they’ll do him a favour. Is it his sallow skin? The permanently fixed grin with eyes sealed shut? Or perhaps it’s the mournful faces that adorn his heavy backpack, one horrified mask hanging over his shoulder, as if he were no mere mask salesman, but a thief of faces.
A sly chuckle that threatens to turn into rage at a moment’s notice, oh gods, don’t touch me! And why do you have such a massive piano in here? And how do you know so much strange magic? What have you done to these poor Moon Children, have you made them obsessed with masks you greasy haired lunatic?
May he never truly become a villain in a future LoZ title, better he be left as a menacing presence as opposed to an overt threat. Better yet, may he forever vanish into the low-poly history of the game, remembered only in lists such as these.
2) Marcus Kincaid – Borderlands
Selling guns on Pandora is lucrative beyond compare, especially as a third party vendor in a place where Hyperion has monopolised trade, and where most of your stock is cheap, having been pried from the cold, dead hands of people who say things like “you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!” So far, Marcus has a range of vending machines that reach the moon, and a sizeable cult of mental cases who built a statue to him and sacrifice guns at its feet.
Marcus also has the pleasure of being your humble narrator, making his the most famous… perhaps second most famous, in all of the Borderlands series. He’ll pay a fair price to have debts collected, stock delivered, customers and creditors killed, and a few other discrete jobs along the way. He has a couple of small DLCs with his name on them, and has made it to our number 2 slot by outliving Scooter.
1) Stan S. Stanman – Monkey Island Series
I mean could there be any better merchant to take the top spot? Stan S. Stanman, will take your hat off your head and sell it back to you for more than you originally purchased it – Trust me, he’s that good. Stan S. Stanman’s whole purpose in life is to see what he can sell you, in whatever situation he finds himself in. If you were lost out at sea, he’d probably float “accidentally” near you and go “Oh, did you want a compass to get back?”
Stan is known for his gaudy outfits, which has been parodied many times in games such as Dungeons of Dredmor. Stan is genuinely the best salesman, even with this incredibly exaggerated arm flailing. This man sells Previously Owned Vessels, Previously Used Coffins and worst of all, life insurance. Get this man away from your wallet, he’s looking for ways to fleece you for every coin.
Not all traders and salespeople are as good as the others, some are incredibly hard to come by. So, we’ve got two more examples of traders in games that make a humongous difference, but uh, they’re a little bit more uncommon than the above penny pinchers.
Mudcrab Merchant – The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
I’m not entirely sure how to process this. Many hours spent honing my skills on the hardened carapaces of you beasts have made me unwilling to offer you my hard-earned septims, especially as you’re a self confessed alcoholic. But here’s the thing, as you rise and rise in prestige and delve deeper for the greatest treasures Vvardenfell has to offer, you’ll eventually run out of traders who can afford to buy from you, and then you will come to the mercantile crustacean on the Azura Coast.
This is one rich Mudcrab, and willing to buy almost everything in the game. He can’t offer a full range of wares in return, and will only buy and sell at base values (which makes you wonder how he’s amassed such a fortune without drinking it all) but if you’re looking to sell, he’s happy to buy. I guess that kind of powerful addiction can drive a crab to incredible heights.
Great Merchant – Sid Meier’s Civilization Series
Gaming immortalises those great entrepreneurs and masters of capitalism in the form of the Great Merchant, a type of unit that advances your economy, and one which is spawned only by fostering the proper atmosphere for them. A nation with a strong military will occasionally produce a powerful general for example, but a nation that is prosperous and well connected will generate people who marshall coin and command numbers.
Among the luminaries in the series, Marcus Licinius Crassus, slaver, mine owner, and real estate magnate who would come to form the first Triumvirate; Harkhuf, whose trade deals would see a great expansion of the Egyptian empire; and Steve Jobs, famous turtleneck wearer. Of course you are not bound by nation, and Harkhuf may spontaneously arise in China, Jobs might become a Mongol trader, and Crassus might become a prominent figure in The Mighty Republic of Snotmire.
Did you keep the receipt for all those cool merchants you saw in today’s list? I’d make sure they didn’t overcharge you in the process, as this collection of fat cats and wannabe money-makers are sure to have done you over. Whilst we collect ourselves and put down our many bags of goods we’ve just been made to buy, it’s time to consider what list we’ll have enough expenditure for next week.
That’s it for another list, thank you very much for joining us once again – You’ve been amazing. Don’t forget to use Discount Code GEEKOUT20, which is not a real or valid discount code right now on any wesite, but you never know – We may use it one day? Did we remember the best of the best merchants, or did we forget one? Was our list right? Is Stan STILL trying to sell you previously owned vessels?! Leave your comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.