New coinage system?

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There was talk that the 4e designers are moving towards a "centimal" system of coinage; i.e. 100 of something being worth 1 of something else.

This strikes me as being entirely unecessary. The current "decimal" system of coinage can be expressed the same way that we do with USD.

1234.56 gp = 123 platinum, 4 gold, 5 silver, 6 copper. Or 120 platinum, 30 gold, 45 silver, 6 copper.

It also fails to take into account the concept of the "money changer." This is the guy who makes change, converting foreign currency to the currency of the realm/local kingdom. He's also the guy you go to when you have a lot of silver and want to convert it to gold; he does that for you, but charges you a fee of the silver, usually somewhere between 5% and 10%. That's a great way to get money out of the PC's hands.

Now, if there's another reason for this, say to create something more along the lines of a "real" economy, making copper and silver more valuable, well that's fine. But right now it doesn't look that way... right now it just looks like a "change for the sake of change."
. . . But right now it doesn't look that way... right now it just looks like a "change for the sake of change."

I agree. Change is fine, but only if there's a good reason for that change in the first place.
There's talk that the 4e designers are moving towards a "centennial" system of coinage; i.e. 100 of something being worth 1 of something else.

This strikes me as being entirely unecessary. The current "decimal" system of coinage can be expressed the same way that we do with USD.

1234.56 gp = 123 platinum, 4 gold, 5 silver, 6 copper. Or 120 platinum, 30 gold, 45 silver, 6 copper.

The apparent failure to realize that the game system can be abstracted this way is another strike against my confidence in the development team.

It also fails to take into account the concept of the "money changer." This is the guy who makes change, converting foreign currency to the currency of the realm/local kingdom. He's also the guy you go to when you have a lot of silver and want to convert it to gold; he does that for you, but charges you a fee of the silver, usually somewhere between 5% and 10%. That's a great way to get money out of the PC's hands.

Now, if there's another reason for this, say to create something more along the lines of a "real" economy, making copper and silver more valuable, well that's fine. But right now it doesn't look that way... right now it just looks like a "change for the sake of change."

They stated in the podcast that they looked at it, but it only made silver and copper matter for a few more levels before gold overrode them and they became useless again, so I don't expect to see a centimal system in 4E.
Another thing the current system does is force the player characters to buy small, easily transportable art objects, jewelry, and gems.

At 50 coins to the pound, large amounts of cash become unwieldly, especially if you enforce the encumberance rules.

The new system, if it goes this route by changing the relative value of gold and platinum, makes it much easier to carry large amounts of cash.

50 gp in the base (current) setting is 5000 copper. 50 gp in the 'centimal' system is 500,000 copper. (1 gold = 100 silver = 1,000 copper).
They stated in the podcast that they looked at it, but it only made silver and copper matter for a few more levels before gold overrode them and they became useless again, so I don't expect to see a centennial system in 4E.

Ah, thanks for the clarification! I hadn't realized that it was part of the podcast.
50 gp in the base (current) setting is 5000 copper. 50 gp in the 'centennial' system is 50,000 copper. (1 gold = 100 silver = 1,000 copper).

Um, that would be 500,000 copper (1 gold = 100 silver = 10,000 copper) if 100 copper equal 1 silver.

Unless they really lowered the price of everything there wouldn't be much point, but on the plus side dragons could actually afford a pile of coins to sleep on (assuming they were mostly copper and silver).

One advantage of the decimal system is that it is much closer to the value of coins historically.
One advantage of the decimal system is that it is much closer to the value of coins historically.

Are you sure about that? Even though I am a history major, I am not exactly certain how much a coin was worth historically. For one, it varied quite a bit from country top country and accross time. However, I am generally under the impression that gold coins are not as valuable in D&D as they were historically. I would need to check my sources, but I think that a centimal coinage system would be more historically accurate.
I'd try to keep the monetary system a simple gold value for core and allow campaign settings to do the complex/intersting money stuff. A generic but non-mundane transaction system would be nice; perhaps exchangable experience points, or meta-magic gemstones, blood-essence.
I do like the idea of 100 copper = 1 silver, 100 silver = 1 gold, and 100 gold = 1 platinum, instead of it going up by 10. It makes a bit more sense to me
Please use a centimal system. While it hardly fixes ANYTHING with the economy, it does make the math a bit simpler.

Plus, I'll be sure to change all my gold into plat before "converting" to 4th Ed. :D
As has been stated elsewhere on the board, in 3.5, a +3 greatsword is worth your weight in gold. Not its weight, your weight in gold. That's 2350G if you're paying market price or 187 pounds using the standard rules. Even using platinum, while it helps, only works so much. A +5 vorpal greatsword would cost 4007 pounds in gold or 400.7 pounds in platinum. Ow.
Are you sure about that? Even though I am a history major, I am not exactly certain how much a coin was worth historically. For one, it varied quite a bit from country top country and accross time. However, I am generally under the impression that gold coins are not as valuable in D&D as they were historically. I would need to check my sources, but I think that a centimal coinage system would be more historically accurate.

Well, based on Wikipedia's entry on Roman currency; the gold aureus was worth 25 silver denarii. A denarius was worth 10 copper (bronze) asses. Of course they weren't equivalent weight. The as was huge (324 g) compared to the denarius (4.5 g) and aureus (8 g).
As has been stated elsewhere on the board, in 3.5, a +3 greatsword is worth your weight in gold.

Now that's something worth remembering.:D
Well, based on Wikipedia's entry on Roman currency; the gold aureus was worth 25 silver denarii. A denarius was worth 10 copper (bronze) asses. Of course they weren't equivalent weight. The as was huge (324 g) compared to the denarius (4.5 g) and aureus (8 g).

Actually, I was refering to the purchasing power of gold coins. I wish I had my books so that I could double check, but in Medieval times, gold coins were extremely valuable. A single gold coin could buy about an acre of decent farmland, if I recall. Most villagers probably never owned any gold coins at all. So 10 gold pieces for a weapon seems rather expensive to me.
Someone did an analysis recently on the actual buying power of a typical "peasant" family in 3e. I can't remember whether the discussion was on these boards or over at ENWorld.

Using the Profession rules, and assuming that the farmer took "Profession: Farmer" and maxed it out with a few (3? 5?)levels of Expert, and that the wife had a couple of Craft skills she'd maxed out, and that their son had reached 1st level Expert and was assisting... ended up, after taking about 1/3rd away for taxes and most of the rest for living expenses, saving about 10 gp per year.

The Profession system of earning income works for the most part.

It breaks down with the nobility, in that the Profession system doesn't take into account Rents, Estates, or income from Taxes.

Only the completely unskilled have trouble earning a living.
As much as I hate to say it the only reason that I could see for changing the current monetary system would be to appeal to players of WoW and other MMOs in which such as system can be found.

There are plenty of ways that the development team can balance out the economy in D&D that wouldn't require nonsensical and unrealistic ways of dealing with money. But 10,000 coppers for one gold? The idea is a bit ridiculous and I'm kind of amazed that it even made it to the development table.
Well a reasonable change would be to drop the over all value so that copper has more value then is has now.
That means if a loaf of bread in D&D costs 1cp it would cost relatively more in new setting bringing it to a price of 1sp.
Coins would still be copper not silver but the impact would be that mundane items wouldn't ne something you can just ignore when you loot that 1 gold coin from that orc in the woods.

also geeral prising of items should make more sense let's take the rope ladders for example if you buy those they cost 15gp but if you buy that rope separately and a rope only costs 15s so if you make them your self from the rope they only cost you 15x3s=45s (2 "poles" and diagonal "poles") someone count the profits on that...
Above means every farmer would be making rope ladders for adventurers pretty soon.
I think the real issue in the D&D economy, and one that we are still grappling with, is the enormity of price disparity between the low and high level. A high level's sword might be worth his weight in gold, an epic level's might be an elephant's weight in gold, but that first sword isn't even close to that. In the end it becomes a progression point.

Likewise, we can discuss a 'living wage' for a farmer, and maybe that has to make sense, but our real at the table interactions are between DM and Adventurer-who-has-as-much-gold-as-we-put-in-the-game.

I think the real question boils down to: how much do we want to charge an adventurer of any given level for access to the gear he should have then, how do we keep lower levels from getting access to it too quickly, etc without having silly things like 10 mule teams carrying coins when a very high level character goes to pick up his shiny new enchanted shield.
QUOTE ELH (form memory):'if I pool all my money together I have a chunk of gold the size of the moon.....'

The big problem with the present system (the same system used since before 1.ed) is that one gold piece is not worth very much. Take for instance a rapier. You will need more than a pound of gold to buy one. And don't get me started on MW items. Or if you want to buy a full plate you need 42 kg gold (that's almost 20 kg more than the armor weighs!)

For the love of God!!! IT'S GOLD!!! Prices for precious metal today is

Au 701,60 USD/Oz
Pt 1298,00 USD/Oz
Ag 12,56 USD/Oz


And you can hardly buy a meal in a tavern for 1 Oz gold in most D&D settings!!!!

The best solution (in my opinion) and one I've used with succes is:'

1) Divide all gold prices with 10 and convert all prices not divisable by 10 to siilver so a long sword now costs 150 sp and a full plate costs 150 GP

2) Make 1 GP = 100 SP, 1 PP = 100 GP and 1 SP = 10 CP. Now the same longsword costs 1 gold and 50 silver.


This solves a few things:

a) it makes it possible for the str 7 wizard to carry enough money to scribe a new spell into his spellbook. and generally for characters to carry their money around.

b) More happiness when the characters find GP and PP (anyone ever played Darksun?)

c) more realism..... (fat chance in a fantasy world )
Maybe the solution is to reintroduce the Electrum piece, between gold and silver, but keep the same 1/10 ratio, and move all the GP prices down to EP.

oh, and carrying around gems instead of GP also cuts down a lot on the weight carried, even if it's not as easily converted.
Maybe the solution is to reintroduce the Electrum piece, between gold and silver, but keep the same 1/10 ratio, and move all the GP prices down to EP.

oh, and carrying around gems instead of GP also cuts down a lot on the weight carried, even if it's not as easily converted.

ooooh the old electrum pieces...

First encountered them in OD&D red boxed set and IIRC they were worth ½GP...

Those were the days. ;)
only way to make silver and copper coins used more
would be something like

1000 copper coins = 1 silver coin
1000 silver coins = 1 gold coin

then maybe people would use mostly copper in 'heroics'
and then silver in 'paragon' and then gold in 'epic'
There was talk that the 4e designers are moving towards a "centimal" system of coinage; i.e. 100 of something being worth 1 of something else.

I think it's just a rumour. There is indeed not much difference, so I agree it's not really needed.

I wouldn't actually mind to even see a shrinkage of the price range for magic items, to simplify accounting a bit. Commoners still wouldn't be able to buy stuff that costs hundreds or thousands of Gp, even if all prices for magic items were cut down to 1/10.

Now, if there's another reason for this, say to create something more along the lines of a "real" economy, making copper and silver more valuable, well that's fine. But right now it doesn't look that way... right now it just looks like a "change for the sake of change."

I really really think that rules for more realistic economies should not be included in the core game but only in a specific supplement. I would definitely like to try playing in a game where the DM handles these kinds of things realistically, but as a DM I would be in trouble :D So better be strictly optional for me really...

Based on some digging through wikipedia pages on livres & pounds, and lists like this one or this one, I'd advocate keeping the copper piece right where it is, and putting a silver piece at 100cp. Prices previously expressed in silver pieces are multiplied by 10 and become copper; prices expressed in gold pieces are now expressed in silver. So, a labourer makes 10cp a day, and warhorse costs 400sp. The medieval period saw little use for gold (as opposed to antiquity or the renaissance), thus I can't really recommend a silver/gold rate using the same standard. 1/10 would be more accurate than 1/100, though.


If one would want to keep the 1/10 scale going, upsize the cp by 10, and drop in a bronze coin at the current cp price point. Which would basically boil down to decimating all prices, and reverting to a silver standard. It wouldn't solve an adventurer's encumbrance problems, however (even worse, silver is almost twice as voluminous as gold is). Though, platinum becomes 10 times more economical to transport wealth in...

Eywa ngahu
Oh, for the love of some non-Greyhawk higher power, please, oh please, do not put an economy into D&D. Yes, the current system is not an economy. As the podcast stated, it's a reward system. Just about every RPG computer game has used this model. It works in most cases. It's simple and relatively fair. There is nothing particularly fun about an economy. And if you think economies are fun, make up your own.

Not to be too hypocritical, I think there was one time as a DM where the PCs came into a great deal of wealth. I did tell them they would cause massive inflation at the first village they came to if they started unloading their coin too fast. Other times a vendor might stop buying short swords at the going rate after you've sold him 15. But I think that's the extent of meddling that needs to be done, and reasonably intelligent gamers can figure this stuff out on their own.

Personally, I think either money weighs too much...or stuff costs too much. Yes, I'm sure its historically accurate, but after about 9th level, you are pretty much required to carry a bag of holding for your money (or exchange for gems and art, which is just a PITA). Personally, I don't pay attention to the weight of money. It doesn't make the game more fun, it just becomes a burden of bookkeeping. I play games to have fun, not figure out what percentage of money I give to money changer or how encumbered I am after the exchange.
Maybe the solution is to reintroduce the Electrum piece, between gold and silver, but keep the same 1/10 ratio, and move all the GP prices down to EP.

oh, and carrying around gems instead of GP also cuts down a lot on the weight carried, even if it's not as easily converted.

There could be way more coins. In a thing I saw for another game, there were dwarven coins which were metal with a gem center. So the coins could be a little more like:
1 Iron Piece
10 Copper Piece
100 Silver Piece
1,000 Electrum Piece
10,000 Gold Piece
100,000 Platinum Piece
1,000,000 Corundum(ruby/sapphire) piece(maybe also emerald)
10,000,000 Diamond piece(white, black, pink, yellow)
In my own campaign i have a sort of hybrid system that uses mainly a decimal system with a few more expensive rare coins at the top end to make carrying vast amounts of money around easier, by way of example here is the way money goes in my Orkarthel campaign.

The Currency of Orkarthel is as follows.
10 gold crowns are worth 1 silver tael
10 silver taels are worth 1 mithril shilling
10 mithril shillings are worth 1 adamantine trid
50 adamantine trids are worth 1 arcanite rod


Another way i get round it is my adventurers work for the state and are issued with a line of credit up to there treasure per level limit they can spend it as credit or convert it to carry around funds.

As for 4e converting to centidecimal i agree with the podcast that it wouldnt be better and therefore shouldnt be used.
I agree with previous posters that the podcast issue of money was not with particular numbers.

DnD has traditionally been a semi-approved method of mugging. It is okay to rob and kill the monsters and take their loot because they took it from someone else in the first place. I mean, when was the last time that a party you were with killed the big bad ogre that had been raiding the town and took all the money and stuff collected by the ogre and returned it to the town people?

Normal adventuring contracts are go to X, kill Y, keep Z you find and when you return we will give you a bonus reward.

The trouble is always giving a fitting reason for adventurers to go and risk getting killed to get the monsters loot verses the safer life of staying in town and doing a trade.

Money has only a few real points in a character's life.

The first point is creation. Creation is a big point because it determines how much gear/toys the GM has allowed you to have to get started. This money is usually an assumption that you have relatives or a kindly master that trained and gave you a few tools to get your life started.

Success of first adventures can often hang on a few well used bits of gear. Clever rogues and mages quickly learn how to supplement their meagre skills with a few good choices. Fighters make the tough choices of armour, missile weapons, and melee weapons. Feats and talents are meaninless without the tools to maximize these items.

Being poor at creation is often the first motivation to take those first dodgy contracts when you have barely enough money to afford a week of rations and maybe a night or two in the inn.

A couple of dungeon/adventure runs later and the state of the story usually changes. Somewhere between levels 3 to 5.

This is the second stage of gaming. Players usually have enough money that they can pretty much by any regular item on the lists of the PHB and they don't need to be worrying if they will starve before they find a new contract/adventure. If the player cashed in their loot and equipment at this point they could probably live okay for thirty to fifty years. Small farm or shop style of life.

Gold is still a reason to travel on an adventure but most adventurers can go months without an adventure just living in inns ( 100gp can go along way towards paying for life in a town ). Most players at this point are more concerned with the prize at the bottom of the cereal box. A decent magic item that will boost your abilities is the reason to take on trouble.

Players can not simply be told their is gold as a reward because they already have their basic needs covered. They will eat their cereal but they want something that money can not buy.

An interesting thing of this change in the game is that many of the cheap shot tricks like caltrops, burning oil, animal grease that are a staple of level 1 to 3 start to fade away because their are no better gear/toy choices really ( Spys get better toys in their stories. Why don't adventurers? ). A priest that paid 25gp for their holy symbol is still using the same holy symbol ( why upgrade? ) and the thief as the same climber's kit and thieves tools. The fighter has found all the tools that the fighter needs. The mage is probably the only poor person as the mage is often trading every coin they can get their fingers on into scrolls to copy into their spell book or the ocasional expensive ingredient ( There should be a limit to the number of pearls that a poor mage can swig down without causing some sort of problems with their internals :> ).

This phase is a fairly long phase because when the adventurers have enough money to live from month to month and they have bought pretty much all the standard items in the PHB then there is no more real reason to go to town but to play around being rich for a bit till you find the next adventure lead/hook. Often this will get the GM sorta through to around level 12 to 15.

Previous to this, players were mostly happy mugging creatures to get the loot. Adventures and dungeon runs were often rated on the ratio of risk to quality of loot. They might have a bit of extra cash to get the occasional one use potion style item but for the most part they felt that they could always get something better down the road.

Things change at this level as players now often have small fortunes ( enough to live as minor nobles often for the rest of their lives if human ). Mages even have saved some extra cash that they did not need to purchase new spells ( desires to have a spell book containing all the first and second level spells have faded now that more powerful spells are available ). This is when players are not usually happy with regular loot and want custom loot. 'The +3 Greatsword sounds nice but does it come with Holy damage?', becomes the concern as players have funds to be discriminating in what they want.

Players on adventures will still pick up 90% of what is not nailed to the floor (ahh, bags of holding, what would we do without you?) but that is so it can be traded for the custom item that is really wanted. Who needs another +1 weapon when you have six already sitting on a rack back home. You want that special weapon which is going to complete your character concept.

This stage is actually the best chance a GM has to relieve players of mountains of treasure as the players cash in their playing chips to get the items that they really always wanted but could never afford till now. For fighters, this is kinda of the trade in stage of the SUV/Minivan that they had to have because everyone needed it to getting the custom built top of the line jag that they always wanted but could never convince anyone that the money really was being well spent.

Party mages with crafting feats can expect to burn some xp as they equip everyone with their favourite custome toys.

This stage ends usually when the players have pretty much the best that money can reasonably afford.

This starts to occur around level 18 when money has bought you the best and you have raided a dragon horde to look for the top end items.

Now, nothing less then an epic item is going to get you interested as a character. We are talking litteraly one of a kind items that you can not order in any part of the kingdom to be made. Players at this level don't walk to dungeons. They don't ride griffens because they are traveling on dragons.

Gold is not even in the picture at this point. Most players could be told that the great wyrm has a mountain of gold and the players would only want to know if the dragon had any unique magical items. 'Does the dragon have a staff of power or the magic?', is the phrase or better yet, 'Which artifact part does this dragon have?'

My view on coinage is really looking at these four sections of the game and trying to better make the stuff in the PHB be exciting past the first three levels.

Looking at the current PHB, at what level did you stop worrying what was listed on the equipment tables?
The only reason I can see for changing the coinage system is that coins are really damned unwieldy. Changes to the magic item system might change that—maybe. But in any case, having to convert between coin and more lightweight valuables (gems) is pretty annoying when you have to do it so very quickly. D&D coins weight one pound per 50 coins. That means that if you allocate 5 pounds of your carrying capacity to coinage, you can carry at most 2500gp of value on you (250pp). That’s a lot, yes? But is it a lot to an adventurer? What if you consider that you won’t be able to get change for a single pp in a village, so you need to carry a mix of denominations?

What if your character has a low-ish strength score—or is small (and probably also has a low-ish strength score)—which reduces your carrying capacity?

How much of your wealth do you want to take with you when you travel across a continent and need to be able to have adequate funds when you arrive in order to purchase specialized magical supplies to fight the BBEG?


Some of this can be written off to flavor—and that is a nice thing. But after a while, it just becomes a book-keeping headache. Eberron got around it a bit by having letters of credit, but that would be inappropriate for the Points Of Light⁚ setting. As would trying to get change for a 250gp gem when you need to buy a meal.

So, I believe coins need to be reconsidered a bit—just because of encumbrance issues.
Right, New coinage system.
Three silver should buy a private room and a basic meal at a normal inn.
Five gold crowns should buy a MASTERWORK Sword.

1 Gold Crown = 20 Silver Shillings
1 Silver Shilling = 12 Copper Pennies

Advanced Coinage
1 Platinum Imperial = 8 Gold Crowns
1 Mithril Ryal = 16 Platinum Imperials
1 Electrum Half-Crown = 1/2 Gold Crown, OR 10 Silver Shillings


Decimal Money is Okay, but lacks flavor... :P
Brew'N Games: A Homebrewing Blog, Both Games and Beer. "The Sky is Falling Like a Sock of Cocaine in the Ministry of Information..." - Man Man, Black Mission Goggles

Right, New coinage system.

1 Gold Crown = 20 Silver Shillings
1 Silver Shilling = 12 Copper Pennies

Advanced Coinage
1 Platinum Imperial = 8 Gold Crowns
1 Mithril Ryal = 16 Platinum Imperials
1 Electrum Half-Crown = 1/2 Gold Crown, OR 10 Silver Shillings

Good (excellent!) start, but another crucial part of coinage systems is the weight (and therefore, the size) of the coins. With only one coin per metal, no deductions about these can be made from your system (something that could be considered a benefit), but I'm curious how heavy you'd make these coins.

Note that copper & silver can be presumed to be of equal density X, whereas gold and platinum are more or less 2X, while mithril probably X/2 (titanium) or X/3 (aluminium). Electrum comes in at ~ 3X/2.


As a baseline to work off, British silver pennies, as well as French silver deniers weighed exactly 1/240 pounds (first roman, then tower, then troy for the pennies; roman to troy for the deniers), resulting in pretty small coins (13.7mm diameter @ 1mm thickness, which is fairly thick for medieval coins).

Eywa ngahu
Good (excellent!) start, but another crucial part of coinage systems is the weight (and therefore, the size) of the coins. With only one coin per metal, no deductions about these can be made from your system (something that could be considered a benefit), but I'm curious how heavy you'd make these coins.

Note that copper & silver can be presumed to be of equal density X, whereas gold and platinum are more or less 2X, while mithril probably X/2 (titanium) or X/3 (aluminium). Electrum comes in at ~ 3X/2.

As a baseline to work off, British silver pennies, as well as French silver deniers weighed exactly 1/240 pounds (first roman, then tower, then troy for the pennies; roman to troy for the deniers), resulting in pretty small coins (13.7mm diameter @ 1mm thickness, which is fairly thick for medieval coins).

So, of coarse things will need modification but some rough ideas.

Plat - 1/2 troy oz
Gold - 1 troy oz
Silver - Same size as the gold, obviously less weight.
Electrum - Same size as the silver and gold.
Copper - roughly same size as the gold, but thinner.
Mithril - Same size as a Platinum, but increadibly light. I assume Mithril weighs about the same as Titanium.

Note that these wouldn't produce values that match modern values for these metals, but modern values are created by modern mining methods and modern demand on materials.
Brew'N Games: A Homebrewing Blog, Both Games and Beer. "The Sky is Falling Like a Sock of Cocaine in the Ministry of Information..." - Man Man, Black Mission Goggles

Plat - 1/2 troy oz
Gold - 1 troy oz Silver - Same size as the gold, obviously less weight.
Electrum - Same size as the silver and gold.
Copper - roughly same size as the gold, but thinner.
Mithril - Same size as a Platinum, but increadibly light. I assume Mithril weighs about the same as Titanium.

Those are some heavy gold and silver coins...

Your silver coin would be 10 times the mass of the British silver penny, 1.7 times the mass of the current D&D silver piece, and 1.9 times the mass of a silver dollar. Your gold coin would be the same mass as a 1 oz gold eagle, but that's 3.4 times the mass of the current D&D gold piece, and 4-7 times as massive as typical ancient or medieval gold coins.


It also puts the gold/silver (by weight) ratio at some 1/10, which is not bad, but 1/12 would be better Imho, it needs a little work, especially the absolute weights.

Eywa ngahu
Something I seem to need to keep bringing up because people keep forgetting or ignoring it:

You can buy gems and jewelry. These items are the most compact and portable form of non-magical wealth. These items don't weigh very much. You can keep tens of thousands of GP value in something that weighs only as much as a single gold coin.

All you need to do is find a jeweler/gemcutter who will sell you the gems. And get the money there to pay for it, which is another excuse for encounters along the way and roleplaying.

You don't have to keep all of your wealth in the form of cash and magic items.
I figured they'd need some adjustment.

I've never ACTUALLY handled a gold coin. I have no objective idea of what a troy oz. actually weighs.

So, let's say this
Gold - 1/4 th a Troy Ounce, Set the Diameter x Thickness of this coin as being DT1. Saying a coin is DT1 means the same diameter and thickness. Saying a coin is DT 1/2 would be Half the volume.

Mithril - DT 1/2, Roughly 1/34th Troy?
Platinum - DT 1/2, Roughly 1/8th Troy
Silver - DT1, roughly 1/8th troy?
Electrum - DT1, 3/16th Troy?
Copper - 1/16th troy, DT1
Brew'N Games: A Homebrewing Blog, Both Games and Beer. "The Sky is Falling Like a Sock of Cocaine in the Ministry of Information..." - Man Man, Black Mission Goggles

Something I seem to need to keep bringing up because people keep forgetting or ignoring it:

You can buy gems and jewelry. These items are the most compact and portable form of non-magical wealth. These items don't weigh very much. You can keep tens of thousands of GP value in something that weighs only as much as a single gold coin.


All you need to do is find a jeweler/gemcutter who will sell you the gems. And get the money there to pay for it, which is another excuse for encounters along the way and roleplaying.


You don't have to keep all of your wealth in the form of cash and magic items.


The entire point of currency is to have items with widely-known, well-established, and standardised value. Gems don't qualify, because one needs a jeweler/gemcutter to find out what a gem is worth. And once you do consult an expert, you're still stuck, since the merchant around the corner has no way of determining whether your claim —that that amethyst you're trying to use to pay him, is worth 500gp— is true or not.

It might be possible to introduce gems as currency, but you'd need modern and impartial valueing mechanisms, and a trustworthy and easily recognisable certification method to do it. All that probably takes an institution the size of e.g. De Beers to do it (parallel to the Royal Mint). With those kinds of additional expenses from the gouverment's point of view, they might as well go straight to paper money.

Eywa ngahu
I really liked Aexalon's historical price lists. If we assume silver is appropriately priced... 5 gp = £1, 2.5 sp = 1 s, and 2 cp = 1 p.

Hmm, up to 400 gp for a warhorse, but more like 12.5 gp to 25 gp. Mail for 25 gp in the 12th century, but a breastplate cost 5 gp in the 15th.

And a thatcher earns about 1 sp a day. Hey that one's right. Then why does a sword only cost 12 freaking copper!

I really liked Aexalon's historical price lists.

Just sharing the info.

If we assume silver is appropriately priced... 5 gp = £1, 2.5 sp = 1 s, and 2 cp = 1 p.

Hmm, up to 400 gp for a warhorse, but more like 12.5 gp to 25 gp. Mail for 25 gp in the 12th century, but a breastplate cost 5 gp in the 15th.


And a thatcher earns about 1 sp a day. Hey that one's right. Then why does a sword only cost 12 freaking copper!


That 6d/day rate is almost post-Columbus ... I'd aim more for the 1300s rate of 2.5d/day, and that's for mid-skilled work. The mate was getting more like the typical unskilled wage, 1d/day. If we go with your ratios (which aren't bad), the thatcher's making 5cp/day, and the mate 2cp. If you consider marginal subsistence to cost around 2-3cp/day as well, that thatcher would take about a year saving every non-essential penny (and some essential pennies) to come up with enough money to buy that warhorse. At which point he'd go bankrupt for not being able to afford to feed it ;)

As for the peasant's sword, 12 copper for a sharpened metal rod isn't that cheap. The same list also mentions a weeks armourer's pay (6s, or 1.5gp) for a vaguely decent sword. Again, several months of wages for that thatcher. Anything vaguely fancy makes for an instant heirloom, and the stuff of legends (masterwork, a.k.a. Damascus Steel) is out of the reach of anything but wealthy nobles who're into that sort of thing.

Eywa ngahu
I use Trade Bars (modeled after FR currency). They come in silver or gold and have different (higher) values (from 10 to 5000 gp). They are issued by countries/cities and rich merchants group. It solved the problem for me.
As for the peasant's sword, 12 copper for a sharpened metal rod isn't that cheap. The same list also mentions a weeks armourer's pay (6s, or 1.5gp) for a vaguely decent sword. Again, several months of wages for that thatcher. Anything vaguely fancy makes for an instant heirloom, and the stuff of legends (masterwork, a.k.a. Damascus Steel) is out of the reach of anything but wealthy nobles who're into that sort of thing.

It does show that adventures' gear is severely overpriced. Lower prices would go far towards fixing the money-hardly-worth-the-weight problem.

I use Trade Bars (modeled after FR currency). They come in silver or gold and have different (higher) values (from 10 to 5000 gp). They are issued by countries/cities and rich merchants group. It solved the problem for me.

Trade bars do nothing to fix the weight of money problem: A 5000 gp trade bar weighs in at a hefty 100 lbs, unless you are using metals more valuable than gold.

Letters of credit drawn on prominent merchant coasters is one potential solution, but the players still have to haul their treasure back to town.
Trade bars do nothing to fix the weight of money problem: A 5000 gp trade bar weighs in at a hefty 100 lbs, unless you are using metals more valuable than gold.

I said 'modeled after FR currency' - I removed the weight and 'made of' parts of the system. All my trade bar are between 1 and 5 pounds, and made of (common metals plated with) silver or gold, they are stamped with different values (a la modern coin). A cute house rule to get rid of 'the weight of money problem' in my little world.

Great little mini adventure - the thief's guild started a counterfeit ring. :D