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codyleaderbrand
2015-06-22, 08:49 AM
I feel like there is something wrong with players carrying around bags of gold as a standard for currency. I understand that there are coppers and silvers but let's be honest, they don't really amount to much in the hands of adventurers and even if they did won't stay relevant for long. Once the players hit around level 2-3 it's all about the gold and platinum and I think there is something wrong with these adventurers carrying around small fortunes in backpacks.

I feel like there is a better way to handle currency in roleplaying games, and I really like how Pillars of Eternity(RPG game on steam I highly suggest) handles their currency. If you're not privy, the base currency is copper. It seems much more appropriate than carrying bags of gold coins. Now I will say gold would still exist but it wouldn't be as common. Is this a true problem or am I hanging onto something that really isn't a problem? I would love to hear how everyone handles currencies in their games.

Good As Gold: The Peculiarities of Fantasy Economies (http://bit.ly/1BklGwt)

Flickerdart
2015-06-22, 09:03 AM
Simply saying that the base currency is now called "copper" instead of "gold" doesn't actually change anything.

Adventuring equipment is expensive - swords and heavy armor were not exactly commonplace, to say nothing of magic item equivalents. A knight's arms, armor, and warhorse represented a fortune, which is why looting on the battlefield was so common. Similarly, an adventurer will convert any gold they have into equipment as soon as possible, and there's nothing wrong with your average peasant not being able to afford that kind of stuff, because the game is not about peasants.

Anonymouswizard
2015-06-22, 09:22 AM
In D&D, it's more of a problem that realistically, nobody should be able to afford magical items. Either gold has been extremely devalued or you just aren't supposed to commonly have anything more than a masterwork blade or suit of armour. A +1 returning javelin or +1 flaming longsword shouldn't be a temporary weapon for the 'low levels', but something that most nobility can only dream of affording.

Now, I don't think having the GP as the basic unit of currency is a good idea, but if I was keeping money in a system I'd say that the copper piece (cp) is the basis of the economy, and you can buy food for 1 day on a couple of coppers, assuming that there's a surplus. I'd then say silver is the standard for professionals and adventurers quantity-wise, and list many costs for adventuring equipment in sp, as well as making most weapons available for less than 1 gp, but most of the time this isn't people giving each other silver, but either a bag of coppers or roughly equivalent goods. The farmboy wants a new spearhead to help defend his grain, and so gives the local blacksmith a bag of flour or two for forging the piece of metal (examples may not reflect actual value). The upper crust deals in silver, gold, or barter goods, as appropriate.

However, if your character's aren't moving around a lot, I'd suggest replacing coin-counting with two statistics: Resources and Influence. Resources represents lands you own, debts you are owed, as well as coins or trade goods. Influence represents pull with the people in power, favours owed, and the like. Most of the time when buying something you will take a hit to Resources, but good social skills or pulling in favours and the like (simplified as spending Influence) can reduce that or increase the bonus rewards give you.

codyleaderbrand
2015-06-22, 09:35 AM
In D&D, it's more of a problem that realistically, nobody should be able to afford magical items. Either gold has been extremely devalued or you just aren't supposed to commonly have anything more than a masterwork blade or suit of armour. A +1 returning javelin or +1 flaming longsword shouldn't be a temporary weapon for the 'low levels', but something that most nobility can only dream of affording.

Now, I don't think having the GP as the basic unit of currency is a good idea, but if I was keeping money in a system I'd say that the copper piece (cp) is the basis of the economy, and you can buy food for 1 day on a couple of coppers, assuming that there's a surplus. I'd then say silver is the standard for professionals and adventurers quantity-wise, and list many costs for adventuring equipment in sp, as well as making most weapons available for less than 1 gp, but most of the time this isn't people giving each other silver, but either a bag of coppers or roughly equivalent goods. The farmboy wants a new spearhead to help defend his grain, and so gives the local blacksmith a bag of flour or two for forging the piece of metal (examples may not reflect actual value). The upper crust deals in silver, gold, or barter goods, as appropriate.



This, I like this. For me, I want my games to feel realistic and for me it isn't realistic for people to be buying a days worth of food with gold. It's just an insane concept to me. It shouldn't cost more than a few coppers for a ration which is likely jerky, bread, and a piece of fruit. If they end up finding a hoard of gold coins, I want them to really cheer at the amount it is, not say "Well, we got 3,000 gold pieces to split among 5 players meh, could be better."

This along with the size of gold, I received fulfillment of a kickstarter for roleplaying coins (Fantasy Coins LLC) and the size and weight of 500 coins is nuts. I can't imagine carrying it around in a backpack or buying a set of armor with a 25lbs of metal.

Dart makes a good point though, with realism in mind, armor is only for the nobles and those well off. I really wanted to pick the brains of others who have changed how their currency is because Pathfinder does it all wrong. Currency shouldn't be a players second XP bar.

TheCountAlucard
2015-06-22, 09:40 AM
Most people in an archaic kind of setting, fantastical or otherwise, probably wouldn't deal in coins - the vast majority of day-to-day business in the vast majority of places would be handled in, essentially, IOUs being passed around.

Trading bits of metal for your food or iron or animals is for people that you can't or don't trust to make good on their debts. Outsiders and foreigners, those who engage in dangerous professions, people with a "bad credit rating," those are the people you want to have pay you up-front.

The basis of the economy isn't gold or silver - it's debt. The average peasant may earn "silver pieces" with his regular Profession checks, but the odds of his receiving them in actual honest-to-goodness minted coins of reasonably-pure argent is honestly not that high. That said, the blog post you linked is wrong; they still don't barter.

Segev
2015-06-22, 09:52 AM
There's a reason adventurers are considered awe-inspiring figures. By level 2-4, they've got +2 weapons or magic armor and weapons, and that does represent fortunes which mid-range nobility would hesitate to spend, and over which they would contend. A 20,000 gp purse in the royally-sponsored tourney will draw every level of nobility and scores of knights errant because it is such a princely sum. Showing up with more than a fifth of that in existing wealth in fighting gear (non-magical masterwork full plate, masterwork sword and shield, and a steed comes to just about 2000, maybe 2500 gp) is almost unheard-of, and is rightfully going to make you a favorite to win. Show up with a +2-equivalent sword, and you're already head and shoulders above most of the other contestants. Sure, their masterwork blades are also +1 to hit, but whatever additional magical property you've put on your blade is likely to be a game-changer to the 1-2 level knights errant.

Part of the trouble D&D poses in its presentation is that people assume that, when it's said "wizards are rare," it's a bit of narrative enforcement on something mechanics belie. After all, it's no harder to play a wizard than a rogue or a fighter, and rogues and fighters are a dime a dozen, right?

Wrong.

They are just as rare as wizards or sorcerers. An adventurer is rare, period. NPC classes really should be the norm. (Ideally, fighters and rogues really would be equally potent to wizards, too; that they aren't is a flaw in the system.) Adventurers are mighty, legendary, and impressive from the get-go. They carry panopolies of gear which could buy entire Baronies - in some cases, Dukedoms. By the time they're approaching level 10, they can easily ingratiate (or bully) their way to positions of power within kings' courts, and easily perform deeds the likes of which tend to get one the Standard Hero Reward (i.e. marriage to the most eligible heir(ess) to the throne). They have the capacity, by selling some of their gear, to hire literal armies and simply take over small kingdoms if they so desire, using their personal power. Offering their services or even one piece of gear to a lord's champion would represent an arms deal that could buy a great reward.

The trope of the "poor" adventurer doesn't work in D&D unless the adventurer is keeping all of his wealth in his gear down to what by then amounts to "pocket change." It can happen, but the adventurer in question is probably loaded down with so many "cheap" one-shots to eat up those last few hundred gold that he could easily be living a much easier life if he chose to do so.

But remember: adventurers are RARE. The wealth they carry really is that of small fiefdoms (or small kingdoms, later on).

codyleaderbrand
2015-06-22, 09:58 AM
In D&D, it's more of a problem that realistically, nobody should be able to afford magical items. Either gold has been extremely devalued or you just aren't supposed to commonly have anything more than a masterwork blade or suit of armour. A +1 returning javelin or +1 flaming longsword shouldn't be a temporary weapon for the 'low levels', but something that most nobility can only dream of affording.

Now, I don't think having the GP as the basic unit of currency is a good idea, but if I was keeping money in a system I'd say that the copper piece (cp) is the basis of the economy, and you can buy food for 1 day on a couple of coppers, assuming that there's a surplus. I'd then say silver is the standard for professionals and adventurers quantity-wise, and list many costs for adventuring equipment in sp, as well as making most weapons available for less than 1 gp, but most of the time this isn't people giving each other silver, but either a bag of coppers or roughly equivalent goods. The farmboy wants a new spearhead to help defend his grain, and so gives the local blacksmith a bag of flour or two for forging the piece of metal (examples may not reflect actual value). The upper crust deals in silver, gold, or barter goods, as appropriate.



This, I like this. For me, I want my games to feel realistic and for me it isn't realistic for people to be buying a days worth of food with gold. It's just an insane concept to me. It shouldn't cost more than a few coppers for a ration which is likely jerky, bread, and a piece of fruit. If they end up finding a hoard of gold coins, I want them to really cheer at the amount it is, not say "Well, we got 3,000 gold pieces to split among 5 players meh, could be better."

This along with the size of gold, I received fulfillment of a kickstarter for roleplaying coins (Fantasy Coins LLC) and the size and weight of 500 coins is nuts. I can't imagine carrying it around in a backpack or buying a set of armor with a 25lbs of metal.

Dart makes a good point though, with realism in mind, armor is only for the nobles and those well off. I really wanted to pick the brains of others who have changed how their currency is because Pathfinder does it all wrong. Currency shouldn't be a players second XP bar.

TheCountAlucard
2015-06-22, 10:07 AM
This, I like this. For me, I want my games to feel realistic and for me it isn't realistic for people to be buying a days worth of food with gold.If you're paying a gold piece, you're getting fleeced; trail rations are five silver pieces.


It shouldn't cost more than a few coppers for a ration which is likely jerky, bread, and a piece of fruit.Without supernatural or modern farming techniques, food really should be expensive. Additionally, it's not just "bread and a piece of fruit." It's food that keeps. Trail rations are the kind of foods you can wrap up and stuff in a backpack, travel around with, and then eat a week later.


This along with the size of gold, I received fulfillment of a kickstarter for roleplaying coins (Fantasy Coins LLC) and the size and weight of 500 coins is nuts. I can't imagine carrying it around in a backpack or buying a set of armor with a 25lbs of metal.Again, most people don't carry around their money in backpacks or throw down 25 lbs of metal for a suit of armor. Adventurers live weird and at times, inconvenient lives. In part, it's because of their bad credit rating; down payments and the like will not suffice if it's a legitimate concern for the armorsmith that you won't be around next week.

Segev
2015-06-22, 10:07 AM
This along with the size of gold, I received fulfillment of a kickstarter for roleplaying coins (Fantasy Coins LLC) and the size and weight of 500 coins is nuts. I can't imagine carrying it around in a backpack or buying a set of armor with a 25lbs of metal.


Well, there's a reason the loot tables include "art objects" and other "trade goods" which are worth far more than their material value. Makes it easier to carry large amounts of wealth around.

Add in that gems on loot tables go up to 5000 gp in value, and that the rules call for gems of 25k+ gp in value for certain things, and you have far more compact ways of carrying loot around than you might otherwise think. Gold and platinum pieces are still pretty inefficient, weight- and size-wise. Even if that 25 kgp diamond is the size of a man's fist, it's lighter and smaller than 2,500 pp. And those 6 5,000 gp paintings roll up really nicely together in a scroll case.

goto124
2015-06-22, 10:16 AM
Trading bits of metal for your food or iron or animals is for people that you can't or don't trust to make good on their debts. Outsiders and foreigners, those who engage in dangerous professions, people with a "bad credit rating," those are the people you want to have pay you up-front.

Don't adventurers fall under those categories, especially the bolded one? They could run off to another kingdom, get lost in the wilderness, get eaten by a pack of wolves, etc?

Anonymouswizard
2015-06-22, 10:16 AM
This, I like this. For me, I want my games to feel realistic and for me it isn't realistic for people to be buying a days worth of food with gold. It's just an insane concept to me. It shouldn't cost more than a few coppers for a ration which is likely jerky, bread, and a piece of fruit.

I'd argue with the fruit, possibly some sort of dry fruit, and I'd argue that there should be a few easy to carry vegetables in there. There's also going to be a difference between rations (stuff that you can store in your pack for weeks and not go off), rations (stuff that'll last a week or so, but give you a balanced diet), and 'rations' (basically the stuff needed to cook a meal, sans meat), and which an adventuring party has will depend entirely on their plans and circumstance. If I can hunt some game every couple of days I may just be carrying vegetables and bread, whereas if I'm adventuring into the unknown I'll carry some nice stuff but a lot of efficient, long lasting rations. The couple of coppers I quoted were for a peasant's daily meal (for the 'food is expensive' argument, this is living on the cheapest food available), but rations shouldn't cost a silver per day, so a handful of coppers sounds realistic for most cases.


If they end up finding a hoard of gold coins, I want them to really cheer at the amount it is, not say "Well, we got 3,000 gold pieces to split among 5 players meh, could be better."

This along with the size of gold, I received fulfillment of a kickstarter for roleplaying coins (Fantasy Coins LLC) and the size and weight of 500 coins is nuts. I can't imagine carrying it around in a backpack or buying a set of armor with a 25lbs of metal.

Coins would vary depending on the rarity of the metal and production method, but copper coins probably shouldn't weight much more than a British 2p coin, and if any weighed more than a £2 I'd be surprised. Gold and silver I can see weighing more, either due to impurities or due to the coins being naturally large and gold being quite heavy. But I can see gold as being lighter because it is rarer and the coins are smaller. To use a historical example, 500 English florins would have weighed about 3.5 kilograms, or a bit under 8lbs. I can carry a kilo in each hand, and have occasionally carried a kilo or two on my back, and so 500 gold coins would be portable, but not comfortable, and likely more than enough to buy anything you want (I think your coins may be heavier either due to weight or due to the metal used).

This is generally why I don't like to use coinage as loot. Adventurers wandering into a dungeon might come back with a bunch of spears, some cheap suits of armour, a pouch of gems, and a magic hammer. The party fighter keeps the hammer as his weapon, they give the equipment to the local lord's armoury in exchange for a boon, use a couple of the gems to stay in the town for a couple of days, and then go to a merchant city to exchange most of the gems for masterwork equipment. Then they leave, sixth level and ready to fight in the dungeon of the oxford comma.


Dart makes a good point though, with realism in mind, armor is only for the nobles and those well off. I really wanted to pick the brains of others who have changed how their currency is because Pathfinder does it all wrong. Currency shouldn't be a players second XP bar.

Realistic armour is a different issue. We should pick a firm century to really go into it, but:

Most people who fight either use armour or use padded armour. Padded armour was actually better at stopping blows than leather armour if my facts are right, but at this point leather armour likely isn't used.

Scale or mail armour is better, and depending on exactly where/when you are might be seen on career soldiers. The same with Lamellar as well. But most soldiers are still likely wearing padded armour.

Plate armour is basically for knights and other nobles, if we are at a point where it's worthwhile to make. Most soldiers aren't wearing this, but padded armour.

I think padded armour should be more common, and slightly more effective. Most fighters would probably begin with padded armour, a spear, a shield, and a dagger. A noble might have mail armour, a shield, a sword, a dagger, and another weapon. A trained soldier would likely be like most fighters, or swap out the spear and shield for a longbow or crossbow. Professional soldiers might have a halberd, bill, warhammer, or some other less common weapon, but they might still be using a spear. Knights would be like other nobles. Maces wouldn't just be for clerics, but also for knights. Warhammers as well if we are including plate armour (feel free to correct me on any of this).

Most people fighting would be using whatever weapon they can convert from the tools at hand, and probably something similar to cloth armour if they have any armour. Expect to see more spears, bows, converted scythes, and the like than swords.

TheCountAlucard
2015-06-22, 10:33 AM
Don't adventurers fall under those categories, especially the bolded one? They could run off to another kingdom, get lost in the wilderness, get eaten by a pack of wolves, etc?Of course, that's what I'm saying. Adventurers trade in bits of metal because most people won't take their checks; farmers don't have to, so most of their transactions will be on credit.

Flickerdart
2015-06-22, 10:34 AM
Also, high-level adventurers aren't carrying backpacks of gold to blacksmiths - they are dealing with genies, in astral diamonds.

Anonymouswizard
2015-06-22, 10:50 AM
Also, high-level adventurers aren't carrying backpacks of gold to blacksmiths - they are dealing with genies, in astral diamonds.

This depends on the setting. I like GURPS, where there is no expectation of incremental monetary rewards to increase power, and I'm reluctant to include magic weapons (you can get masterwork weapons for +1 skill, but these are the top 5% of their category, and the bottom 5% gives -1 skill). So when I finally get around to running a campaign with it, low level adventurers will be trading in coins and gems, whereas high level adventurers will be trading in favours, alliances, and expertise. If a high level adventurer needs a new sword they don't pay a blacksmith and have him make one, they ask the local authority for a sword, who gives them one in exchange for representing them in a peace council with the barbarian tribes or serving them as a champion. The authority then pays the blacksmith for a sword, who tells them he deals in horseshoes and to go and see a weaponsmith. The weaponsmith makes the sword for the authority and then returns to making spearheads and daggers for the local militia, and eats more meat for the next week or two.

Bare in mind here low level refers to about 150CP and a few weeks experience, whereas high level refers to 200CP and a year's experience or more. PCs are considered to do 'adventuring' jobs in downtime to pay for food, maintenance and personal projects, which equates to a few silver at the beginning of a new adventure as well as a favour or two.

codyleaderbrand
2015-06-22, 10:52 AM
I appreciate everyone who is commenting being very polite and informative in their arguments. A warm welcome from most forums.
I really enjoy everyones responses, it's shedding quite a bit of light on the matter.

I believe the coins I received are some sort of steel so the weight is hard to judge on, as well as overall size of the coin because they are quite big in diameter. Ultimately I agree, adventurers are better off given art/gems etc instead of lump sums of gold. And 9/10 they will convert those items ,whatever they may be into magical items because that's the most common form of item for adventurers.

For my games and games that I've played in I've always seen that favors are the biggest currency to adventurers. While having a +2 flaming whatever would be great, having the backing of a powerful figurehead is worth far more and generally leads to better story telling.

I also never really considered how much of a risk adventurers are in regards to selling them powerful items. I can now see where most merchants would want 100% up front as opposed to promises.

Flickerdart
2015-06-22, 11:01 AM
For my games and games that I've played in I've always seen that favors are the biggest currency to adventurers. While having a +2 flaming whatever would be great, having the backing of a powerful figurehead is worth far more and generally leads to better story telling.
While this is often true, favors are highly campaign-dependent. In a game where the PCs frequently travel to distant lands (or worse, operate entirely on the frontier) then the favor of a duke back in the capital city is going to be almost entirely window dressing. Meanwhile, you can ram your +2 flaming whatever into the guts of anyone you don't like from the Far Realms to Cimmeria. It also doesn't work in situations where the PCs are movers and shakers in their own right, and the duke doesn't have anything they can't themselves get.

Plus, players are compulsive hoarders and a favor is like a potion. You can't ever use it - what if you'll need it later?

You can help things a bit by giving PCs letters of recommendation and noble titles rather than abstract favors. A bunch of barons and counts - or even knights bearing a letter with the seal of a respected house - are welcome in courts far and wide, even those who might not directly deal with the original country in question, simply because nobs like to hobnob with other nobs.

Mark Hall
2015-06-22, 11:15 AM
There are a number of better ways to handle it.

In Hackmaster, everything is on the silver standard. Gold is rare and expensive, silver is common for transactions, and lots is handled in copper and trade coins (1/10th of a copper). But, as others point out, that only shifts the transaction a bit, and makes for white-shiny instead of yellow-shiny.

However, there's still ways to handle cash better. IMC, the temples of trade (Waukeen in the Forgotten Realms, the Landlord in Kalamar) tend to function as banks. Give us your money, and we'll give you a note that will let you withdraw money at other temple banks. You carry a piece of paper, which we've magically marked to prevent forgery. They also serve as "matchmakers" for investments... give us a bit of money and we'll help you find a venture to invest with.

SkipSandwich
2015-06-22, 11:20 AM
One of the reasons I'm partial to systems that abstract wealth is because either playing or DMing, I really don't care to have to keep track of every last copper and quartz gem, when I can just use a "Wealth bonus of +15" to describe my character's buying power at that moment.

codyleaderbrand
2015-06-22, 11:31 AM
I've never had an opportunity to play in a game that uses the wealth bonus concept however I've seen it used before. As someone who started in 3.5 and moved to Pathfinder it always seemed like a weird concept to me. It seems like more and more I'm hearing that GURPS or Palladium are easier and generally make more sense. Maybe ditching the little concepts like money tracking would allow me to focus on the real important part of the game which is a story worth telling.

I like the concept of notes, currently the one game I'm dming I'm running in Eberron so I'm able to use the banks of Kundarak to some degree. All in all, it seems like currency and money should be kept to a side note in the grand scheme of things unless that's what your story is focusing on.

Segev
2015-06-22, 12:09 PM
Er, Palladium absolutely uses a standard currency, at least in the setting I'm familiar with (Rifts). The CS Credit is the "gold standard" unit of currency, accepted everywhere in North America.

GURPS also has a cash unit; it's used to buy equipment, and is one of the easiest ways to break the system because buying a high enough Tech Level and enough wealth will get you an enormous conversion rate from CP to power in items.

SkipSandwich
2015-06-22, 12:50 PM
I've never had an opportunity to play in a game that uses the wealth bonus concept however I've seen it used before. As someone who started in 3.5 and moved to Pathfinder it always seemed like a weird concept to me. It seems like more and more I'm hearing that GURPS or Palladium are easier and generally make more sense. Maybe ditching the little concepts like money tracking would allow me to focus on the real important part of the game which is a story worth telling.

I like the concept of notes, currently the one game I'm dming I'm running in Eberron so I'm able to use the banks of Kundarak to some degree. All in all, it seems like currency and money should be kept to a side note in the grand scheme of things unless that's what your story is focusing on.

http://systemreferencedocuments.org/resources/systems/pennpaper/modern/smack/wealth.html

Here's a link to the d20Modern SRD Wealth Rules if you'd like to peruse them. True20 uses an almost identical system as well.

One thing that isn't explicitly mentioned anywhere in the rules is that each doubling of price is about +3 to the purchase DC, handy if a character wants to buy 20 tons of duct tape and you need a reason to say they cant afford to buy that much right now with just a +5 wealth bonus.

VoxRationis
2015-06-22, 01:34 PM
There are a number of ways to reconcile a realistic economy and adventuring, but it all depends on what you want to retain about the adventuring lifestyle.
Are they still getting rewarded for undertaking quests?
Are they still carrying around magic weapons and equipment?
Are these magic weapons and pieces of equipment still worth many thousands of high-value coins, whatever those might be?
Are these magic items still a thing available for sale in stores reliably found in large cities?

Of these, the last item is the first to go in any of my settings. Magical items are not something anyone makes often enough that they can be bought and sold in the same way munition armor or horseshoes are. They are rare and special, the province of wicked sorcerer-kings of fallen kingdoms and high elven enchantresses who dole out these items as gifts to their favored agents. Players can't use new magical equipment as a money sink to make their wealth more portable (though gems and jewelry are of course options to consider).
In general, I'd start eliminating items from that list, starting at the bottom. Magical equipment probably shouldn't have set market values—such items are worth dramatically different things to different people. A +1 sword won't get you 2000 gp, whatever the DMG tells you, because its performance is only marginally better than a regular sword and anyone trying to use it as one could better spend that money on things like armor or a crap-ton of mercenaries. However, if you sell it to a merchant or collector of historical items, it could potentially get far more, on account of its rarity alone.
Also, I think the barter system is overstated in a lot of discussions about rewriting the economic systems. Some people dealt in goods and services, rather than coin, but the Roman Empire, for example, forged coins of value useful to everyone (from the as to the aureus) and distributed them widely. Depending on the setting, it's not unreasonable to see a peasant or unskilled laborer getting paid in coin.

Flickerdart
2015-06-22, 02:03 PM
A +1 sword won't get you 2000 gp, whatever the DMG tells you, because its performance is only marginally better than a regular sword and anyone trying to use it as one could better spend that money on things like armor or a crap-ton of mercenaries.
A +1 sword is much better than a regular sword - not only is it 5% more accurate, it also deals a minimum of 2 damage (meaning that a basic commoner wielding it one-shots other basic commoners with 2hp from their d4 HDs), bypasses DR/magic (making your forces able to fight monsters), and is able to affect incorporeal creatures (meaning that one shadow won't mess up your entire army).

Anonymouswizard
2015-06-22, 02:30 PM
Also, I think the barter system is overstated in a lot of discussions about rewriting the economic systems. Some people dealt in goods and services, rather than coin, but the Roman Empire, for example, forged coins of value useful to everyone (from the as to the aureus) and distributed them widely. Depending on the setting, it's not unreasonable to see a peasant or unskilled laborer getting paid in coin.

This can depend on the area. The labourers of Capital city are more likely to be paid in coin than the villagers of the village of backwater.

EDIT:

A +1 sword is much better than a regular sword - not only is it 5% more accurate, it also deals a minimum of 2 damage (meaning that a basic commoner wielding it one-shots other basic commoners with 2hp from their d4 HDs), bypasses DR/magic (making your forces able to fight monsters), and is able to affect incorporeal creatures (meaning that one shadow won't mess up your entire army).

7/8 of the time they are oneshotting anyway, and monsters an incorporeal creatures depends on the setting.

Flickerdart
2015-06-22, 02:40 PM
7/8 of the time they are oneshotting anyway, and monsters an incorporeal creatures depends on the setting.
+1 swords depend on the setting as much as monsters do. The DMG assumes that both exist.

Vitruviansquid
2015-06-22, 02:42 PM
Are there better ways to handle fantasy currency?

Yes. Pretty much every system I've encountered that didn't entail counting individual coins or dollars you had have been better.

I've seen games where wealth is treated like a skill would be in DnD - if you want to purchase an item, you roll on your wealth skill to see whether you had the money to get it rather than see if you had enough gold coins. I don't see how you could bash this system into a DnD game, though, because DnD has relatively strict, established guidelines for how much money you are supposed to have at any given time.

I've seen games where you are just assumed to have wealth according to your level as you level up. DnD kind of already has this with wealth-by-level, and if you were a real stickler for realism, you could simply abstract all the treasure your party finds, and then represent the process of their sale whenever you level up. The abstraction in this system actually makes a more believable adventure because it renders pointless all the weird crap players do for money, like pick up every dirty broken orc sword after every battle, or haul around carts of garbage to sell.

I've seen games where you are just assumed to spend all the money that you have every once in a while. I think this might actually be the most realistic system of all to represent the finances of your typical DnD party.

Anonymouswizard
2015-06-22, 03:06 PM
+1 swords depend on the setting as much as monsters do. The DMG assumes that both exist.

But we never specified the D&D economy. My next setting assumes one copper farthing to twenty four silver stags to 7 golden dragons, giving:
168c=7s=1g*, and a broadsword costs about 3 dragons (500 farthings by the price table), whereas most weapons listed go for less than 2 stags. 10 farthings is a days pay for a labourer while a day's food and rent generally adds up to 8 farthings. 5 stags is a very good pay for beginning adventurers. A magic sword**, if it existed, would cost about 200 dragons, and most are heirlooms of noble families. Monsters are fairly rare, but I am using GURPS.

* other denominations exist, like the copper wolf and silver crow, but they aren't as common.
** most magic swords exist in legend only. Also one is a spear, another a knife, and there are at least three axes and one quarterstaff that are 'legendary swords'.

Flickerdart
2015-06-22, 03:07 PM
But we never specified the D&D economy.
Let me stop you right there. The post I quoted in my reply literally said "A +1 sword won't get you 2000 gp, whatever the DMG tells you" as its first sentence.

Why are you using the DMG in a game that isn't D&D?

VoxRationis
2015-06-22, 03:12 PM
Are there better ways to handle fantasy currency?

Yes. Pretty much every system I've encountered that didn't entail counting individual coins or dollars you had have been better.

I've seen games where wealth is treated like a skill would be in DnD - if you want to purchase an item, you roll on your wealth skill to see whether you had the money to get it rather than see if you had enough gold coins. I don't see how you could bash this system into a DnD game, though, because DnD has relatively strict, established guidelines for how much money you are supposed to have at any given time.

I've seen games where you are just assumed to have wealth according to your level as you level up. DnD kind of already has this with wealth-by-level, and if you were a real stickler for realism, you could simply abstract all the treasure your party finds, and then represent the process of their sale whenever you level up. The abstraction in this system actually makes a more believable adventure because it renders pointless all the weird crap players do for money, like pick up every dirty broken orc sword after every battle, or haul around carts of garbage to sell.

I've seen games where you are just assumed to spend all the money that you have every once in a while. I think this might actually be the most realistic system of all to represent the finances of your typical DnD party.

That's an approach that works very well for people who hate details. But wealth-as-skill systems fail in one critical way: they really assume that the character has a reliable source of income that they don't spend in excess of. This is not only an incorrect assumption for adventurers (who have irregular incomes that come in bursts of fixed amounts, by the simple nature of their profession), but also for many people as well (lots of people, especially those who think they have an indefinite supply of wealth, such as a lot of nobles throughout history, over-spend compared with their incomes).

SkipSandwich
2015-06-22, 03:26 PM
That's an approach that works very well for people who hate details. But wealth-as-skill systems fail in one critical way: they really assume that the character has a reliable source of income that they don't spend in excess of. This is not only an incorrect assumption for adventurers (who have irregular incomes that come in bursts of fixed amounts, by the simple nature of their profession), but also for many people as well (lots of people, especially those who think they have an indefinite supply of wealth, such as a lot of nobles throughout history, over-spend compared with their incomes).

This is why Modern's Wealth bonus is set up like it is. Purchasing items with a Purchase DC in excess of your Wealth bonus results in your wealth bonus permanently decreasing, and any purchase of DC 15 or higher reduces your wealth bonus afterwards regardless of how high it is.

A wealth bonus of +14 doesn't mean "I have 35gp", it means "I have enough cash/credit/favors owed/tradable goods that I can regularly make purchases of about 35gp without going into debt".

Vitruviansquid
2015-06-22, 03:35 PM
That's an approach that works very well for people who hate details. But wealth-as-skill systems fail in one critical way: they really assume that the character has a reliable source of income that they don't spend in excess of. This is not only an incorrect assumption for adventurers (who have irregular incomes that come in bursts of fixed amounts, by the simple nature of their profession), but also for many people as well (lots of people, especially those who think they have an indefinite supply of wealth, such as a lot of nobles throughout history, over-spend compared with their incomes).

Yeah, I figured I'd mention that approach for completeness to answer the original question. There are games out there that aren't DnD, and DnD games that don't have players being rootless adventurers.

Maglubiyet
2015-06-22, 03:55 PM
That's an approach that works very well for people who hate details. But wealth-as-skill systems fail in one critical way: they really assume that the character has a reliable source of income that they don't spend in excess of. This is not only an incorrect assumption for adventurers (who have irregular incomes that come in bursts of fixed amounts, by the simple nature of their profession), but also for many people as well (lots of people, especially those who think they have an indefinite supply of wealth, such as a lot of nobles throughout history, over-spend compared with their incomes).

Adventurers don't necessarily have irregular incomes, their profession could happen "off-camera". The actual adventuring time might only be a small fraction of their lives. Mostly they just do their work-a-day jobs and go dragon slaying on their holidays. The gaming part, however, is only focused on the adventuring, not the daily grind.

Also, there is such thing as residual income. Landed nobles who draw rent, merchants who are part owners of a sailing ship, shop owners -- none of those necessarily require 100% daily commitment to work.

And there are retainer fees and stipends. Rich and powerful patrons might pay PC's just to hang around. You never know when a master swordfighter or spellcaster will come in handy, but it pays to be prepared.

The Evil DM
2015-06-22, 04:04 PM
A little bit of research on metal values and production ratios in the modern world reveals some interesting bits.

Silver is produced at about 8 to 9 ounces to every gold ounce. A lot of gold and silver traders rely on this ratio to indicate when silver is tracking low relative to gold. But using that number means a ratio of 10 silver to 1 gold is not to far out of bounds for a fantasy game.

Copper is where things break down.

it takes about 6000-7000 ounces of copper to equal the value of one ounce of gold. Where as in the fantasy games we use 100 copper coins = 1 gold coin.

These value ratios are determined by weight so size and shape of coin is irrelevant but weight is important.

How I mange values and currencies in my campaign is through elimination of a set value standard and replacement with a unitless standard. A longsword is worth 15 units. Then I define for a particular kingdom or culture's currency a coinage and exchange rate relative to the unitless standard. My item data automatically updates price in terms of local currency through selection on a drop down menu. I also use a much lower value standard of 5000 copper coins = 1 gp, and reduce most items base value into copper equivalents. Essentially if something is 1gp in the PHB it is 100 base value units in my data. Which using standard currency = 100 coppers, or 1/5th of a silver.

Most trade is barter. Silver and gold are appropriately rare and a dragon hoard is a wondrous thing.

Anonymouswizard
2015-06-22, 04:14 PM
A little bit of research on metal values and production ratios in the modern world reveals some interesting bits.

Silver is produced at about 8 to 9 ounces to every gold ounce. A lot of gold and silver traders rely on this ratio to indicate when silver is tracking low relative to gold. But using that number means a ratio of 10 silver to 1 gold is not to far out of bounds for a fantasy game.

Copper is where things break down.

it takes about 6000-7000 ounces of copper to equal the value of one ounce of gold. Where as in the fantasy games we use 100 copper coins = 1 gold coin.

These value ratios are determined by weight so size and shape of coin is irrelevant but weight is important.

Well this is annoying. I want to at least quadruple the copper-gold ratio I was using to be realistic. Or I can just use the 'gold-ish' dodge to explain why the coins are lighter, that works.

The Evil DM
2015-06-22, 04:29 PM
Wrong.

They are just as rare as wizards or sorcerers. An adventurer is rare, period. NPC classes really should be the norm. (Ideally, fighters and rogues really would be equally potent to wizards, too; that they aren't is a flaw in the system.) Adventurers are mighty, legendary, and impressive from the get-go. They carry panopolies of gear which could buy entire Baronies - in some cases, Dukedoms. By the time they're approaching level 10, they can easily ingratiate (or bully) their way to positions of power within kings' courts, and easily perform deeds the likes of which tend to get one the Standard Hero Reward (i.e. marriage to the most eligible heir(ess) to the throne). They have the capacity, by selling some of their gear, to hire literal armies and simply take over small kingdoms if they so desire, using their personal power. Offering their services or even one piece of gear to a lord's champion would represent an arms deal that could buy a great reward.

The trope of the "poor" adventurer doesn't work in D&D unless the adventurer is keeping all of his wealth in his gear down to what by then amounts to "pocket change." It can happen, but the adventurer in question is probably loaded down with so many "cheap" one-shots to eat up those last few hundred gold that he could easily be living a much easier life if he chose to do so.

But remember: adventurers are RARE. The wealth they carry really is that of small fiefdoms (or small kingdoms, later on).

This is not absolute. Wealth formulation in 3.5 D&D - which is what I presume you are assuming here - is only one of many wealth examples and the fact that adventuring pc classes are special and more powerful is not an absolute. The game can be played where every mortal sentient being has some form of class level on par with the players. The game can be played with a scaled down wealth system, and magic rarity.

Personally I find the wealth system in 3.5 absurd.

VoxRationis
2015-06-22, 04:40 PM
This is why Modern's Wealth bonus is set up like it is. Purchasing items with a Purchase DC in excess of your Wealth bonus results in your wealth bonus permanently decreasing, and any purchase of DC 15 or higher reduces your wealth bonus afterwards regardless of how high it is.

A wealth bonus of +14 doesn't mean "I have 35gp", it means "I have enough cash/credit/favors owed/tradable goods that I can regularly make purchases of about 35gp without going into debt".

So I can throw money around buying all kinds of useless crap, so long as each individual item isn't more expensive than a certain threshold? How immersive.

ExLibrisMortis
2015-06-22, 04:42 PM
In a D&D 3.5 world, there is a very small sector of the economy that involves very large sums - the magic item sector. It's an elusive bit of the market, but otherwise functions like any market. It's just that the crafters and traders might be from the next plane over, and they can plane shift in for a custom item, because the cost of two spell slots is just peanuts compared to the cost of the items they craft.

That's something that occurs on Earth, as well. Look at doll houses. No, seriously, look at doll houses (https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/BK-NM-1010). Supposedly, that thing cost 30.000 guilders, at a time enough to buy a home - equivalent to approximately 300.000 euros today (2.2:1 conversion rate of 2002 guilders:euros).

In the same price category are premium (mechanical) watches, luxury cars, pet tigers (actually, no idea on this one) and talks by ex-presidents. Bigger yachts and private planes are at least an order of magnitude more expensive, and let's not talk about Picassos.

The point: the magic item sector is not all that special, in terms of price:modal wage* ratio, compared to Earth. Nobles will have magic items custom-made to show off their wealth, in addition to all the regular ways to show off wealth. Compare high-level adventurers to today's superstars, and you find that the high GP costs aren't impossible at all.

Oh, and I mentioned this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_economy#Currency_and_banking) before: "the central government rescued the market through a loan of 100 million HS [sestertii] made by the emperor Tiberius to the banks". Even in Roman times, amounts of (virtual, silver) coins in the dozens of millions weren't unheard of. Crassus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Licinius_Crassus) was said - by Pliny the Elder - to have had 200.000.000 sestertii worth of estates (modern estimates mention 170.000.000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wealthiest_historical_figures#Antique_hist orical_figures_and_legendary_wealth)). Don't underestimate the vast amount of (monetary) wealth getting around, even in ancient economies.


*The wage of an uneducated D&D 3.5 labourer is 1 sp/day - call it 300/year (note that basic food costs 365 sp/year, so this hypothetical labourer is doing some foraging). A +1 sword costs 2000 gp plus the sword, a +1 suit of armour costs 1000 gp plus the armour. A hundred years of minimum D&D wage buys you the enchantments on a +1 weapon and armour - a hundred years of minimum wage today (18.000 euros/year in the Netherlands) buys you ten humvees (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humvee) (unit cost: 220.000 USD for the 2011 version), which I consider a fair comparison to +1 weapons and armour, YMMV (especially in a humvee). B2 bombers are still about 1000 times more expensive, well outside level 20 WBL.

If 10 humvees seems too much for a +1 weapon and a +1 suit of armour, maybe try a different minimum wage (the Netherlands are on the high end), like Thailand or Bulgaria at ~3000 USD equivalent/year. A century's work there buys you only one humvee (and a half, but I suggest you use that money for fuel).

Anyway, my point is that the figures suggest that yes, magic items are hideously expensive, but no, they aren't too expensive, looking at both ancient and modern equivalents.

The Evil DM
2015-06-22, 05:23 PM
In a D&D world, there is a very small sector of the economy that involves very large sums - the magic item sector. It's an elusive bit of the market, but otherwise functions like any market. It's just that the crafters and traders might be from the next plane over, and they can plane shift in for a custom item, because the cost of two spell slots is just peanuts compared to the cost of the items they craft.

That's something that occurs on Earth, as well. Look at doll houses. No, seriously, look at doll houses (https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/BK-NM-1010). Supposedly, that thing cost 30.000 guilders, at a time enough to buy a home - equivalent to approximately 300.000 euros today (2.2:1 conversion rate of 2002 guilders:euros).

In the same price category are premium (mechanical) watches, luxury cars, pet tigers (actually, no idea on this one) and talks by ex-presidents. Bigger yachts and private planes are at least an order of magnitude more expensive, and let's not talk about Picassos.

The point: the magic item sector is not all that special, in terms of price:modal wage ratio, compared to Earth. Nobles will have magic items custom-made to show off their wealth, in addition to all the regular ways to show off wealth. Compare high-level adventurers to today's superstars, and you find that the high GP costs aren't impossible at all.

Oh, and I mentioned this (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_economy#Currency_and_banking) before: "the central government rescued the market through a loan of 100 million HS [sestertii] made by the emperor Tiberius to the banks". Even in Roman times, amounts of (virtual, silver) coins in the dozens of millions weren't unheard of. Crassus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Licinius_Crassus) was said - by Pliny the Elder - to have had 200.000.000 sestertii worth of estates (modern estimates mention 170.000.000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wealthiest_historical_figures#Antique_hist orical_figures_and_legendary_wealth)). Don't underestimate the vast amount of (monetary) wealth getting around, even in ancient economies.

Assuming this is directed at me...

I never said magic item costs are absurd. I do think they can be made to break here and there but in general not too far off.

Where I find it most absurd is through the formulaic application of "Wealth by Level" and the resulting rules lawyering I have seen result from it. The first player who said to me... I am 3rd level now and I should have 2700gp worth of cash and equipment. I added up my stuff an I only have 2500gp worth.

The player was asked to leave. - yes I can be a Richard.

Wealth is something that is relative. Sure a high level character may be some special rockstar but that doesn't guarantee wealth.

Also - make a few assumptions.

The world has 500,000,000 adult people, elves dwarves etc that all accumulate wealth.

50% of those are level 1 - regardless of PC class, or NPC class. Assume 150gp accumulated wealth.
Multiply the number of level 1's by 50% to get the number of level 2's and use WBL 900gp.
Multiply the number of level 2's by 50% to get the number of level 3's and use WBL 2700gp.

and so on.

If you do the math it results in 477 level 20 people world wide with less than .1% being level 11 or higher.

Multiply out all the wealth for all these people. Then assume that only 2% of their wealth is actual cash and the rest is land, art and other objects.

The amount of gold required to fulfill that 2% cash for total of all wealth is in excess of all gold mined on earth since we discovered how to mine and refine gold.

Now - I do subscribe to allowing fantasy realms have excessive amounts of gold relative to realism but then you devalue the gold in terms of ratio to other objects and your luxury magic item economy starts to break down.

ExLibrisMortis
2015-06-22, 05:26 PM
It wasn't directed at anyone in particular, I just wanted to write a bit about the relative value of high-end luxury or military items today and in fantasy worlds.

I like your analysis of the gold total. The devaluation problem may be partially solved by increased demand, for magical and hoarding applications. Now what's the effect of dragon hoarding on the gold standard?

The Evil DM
2015-06-22, 05:28 PM
It wasn't directed at anyone in particular, I just wanted to write a bit about the relative value of high-end luxury or military items today and in fantasy worlds.

No worries,

I agree with your point about realistic wealth. I disagree that wealth as presented in 3.5 works as a functional model and invites rules lawyer silliness.

-edit-

I do things the hard way. I am a wargames and conflict model simulations person. My setting is built on a simulation model and shared. Every item has a relative value assigned to it with no units. Currency systems are then defined relative to the local area and cash availability relative to a cash trade need. The lower the amount of cash in the local system the higher the trade value the cash commands.

When players find themselves a dragon they can handle and return with a large chunk of wealth. Assume here 5000gp I can input a perturbation into the cash flowing into the economy and watch prices change relative to the devaluation from a sudden increase in coinage available.

It is really not hard, just took time to build up.

noob
2015-06-22, 05:42 PM
Assuming this is directed at me...

I never said magic item costs are absurd. I do think they can be made to break here and there but in general not too far off.

Where I find it most absurd is through the formulaic application of "Wealth by Level" and the resulting rules lawyering I have seen result from it. The first player who said to me... I am 3rd level now and I should have 2700gp worth of cash and equipment. I added up my stuff an I only have 2500gp worth.

The player was asked to leave. - yes I can be a Richard.

Wealth is something that is relative. Sure a high level character may be some special rockstar but that doesn't guarantee wealth.

Also - make a few assumptions.

The world has 500,000,000 adult people, elves dwarves etc that all accumulate wealth.

50% of those are level 1 - regardless of PC class, or NPC class. Assume 150gp accumulated wealth.
Multiply the number of level 1's by 50% to get the number of level 2's and use WBL 900gp.
Multiply the number of level 2's by 50% to get the number of level 3's and use WBL 2700gp.

and so on.

If you do the math it results in 477 level 20 people world wide with less than .1% being level 11 or higher.

Multiply out all the wealth for all these people. Then assume that only 2% of their wealth is actual cash and the rest is land, art and other objects.

The amount of gold required to fulfill that 2% cash for total of all wealth is in excess of all gold mined on earth since we discovered how to mine and refine gold.

Now - I do subscribe to allowing fantasy realms have excessive amounts of gold relative to realism but then you devalue the gold in terms of ratio to other objects and your luxury magic item economy starts to break down.

Your assumptions looks realistic but do not forget it depends of the universes and some universes have a totally different management of the highest level people for example I remember of an universe where in a 50000 and more inhabitants the highest level person in each class is some random dice throw +12 and there is two person of the highest level -2 and so on and with that system you will get a completely different result: if you have some class with 1d8 bonus level(it is the case of thief) then you have one city on eight who have one person of level 20 or 20 and if we consider that we all spread inhabitants in cities of exactly 50000 inhabitants you have the ridiculous amount of 10000 level 20 characters and this distribution is used in some universes.
But we would also have an universe where people are all of a level higher than five because the harsh winter kill the inexperienced and that people are good at teaching and so on it is extremely variable depending of the universes.

The Evil DM
2015-06-22, 05:52 PM
Your assumptions looks realistic but do not forget it depends of the universes and some universes have a totally different management of the highest level people for example I remember of an universe where in a 50000 and more inhabitants the highest level person in each class is some random dice throw +12 and there is two person of the highest level -2 and so on and with that system you will get a completely different result: if you have some class with 1d8 bonus level(it is the case of thief) then you have one city on eight who have one person of level 20 or 20 and if we consider that we all spread inhabitants in cities of exactly 50000 inhabitants you have the ridiculous amount of 10000 level 20 characters and this distribution is used in some universes.
But we would also have an universe where people are all of a level higher than five because the harsh winter kill the inexperienced and that people are good at teaching and so on it is extremely variable depending of the universes.

Your example actually makes the numbers I ran worse.

But regardless, the big flaw of wealth in D&D - and what actually breaks the system is the underlying assumption that all coinage has a constant value when coinage is a commodity and its value is dependent on its scarcity.

Making that tweak and allowing the value of coinage to fluctuate creates interesting situations. Sure it leads to situations where a character might pay 10gp for a longsword one week and then 15gp for a longsword several weeks down the line but there are other possibilities as well.

About two years ago, a player group in my setting figured out that a particular commodity was worth more in one region than in another. They said hmmm and set into building a trade caravan. Pooled all their cash to buy wagons and carts hiring a few carters and guards. For four months (16 weekly game sessions) they ran that caravan back and forth between two empires. They dealt with bandits of various sorts, impatient border guards and mercantile guilds that didn't care for the competition. And they made some coin. The whole thing was their design based on their realization on how some pieces of the economic model worked.

Then after the four months they had gone up a level or two and had funded the construction of a small fortified manor house to use as a base of operations. They decided lets get out of the merchant business, sold off their asset and resumed more traditional adventuring.

Much harder to integrate that scenario and justify it with good verisimilitude using constant coin values.

noob
2015-06-22, 06:01 PM
I think that the way money is handled depends a lot about which kind of universe you create and if you want to create an universe where money is realistic you need multiple things:
1: A maximum level else you will have exponential wealth problem this maximum must be a hard roof nobody can go over
2: Adventurers should not fight ridiculous number of people for gaining levels until reaching maximum level because else they are going to have ridiculous money because if at each level you fight and loot tons of money because you kill thousands of people you will have the wealth of thousands of people and so give trouble to economy.
3: There should be taxes else there is still the problem of adventurers hoarding gold for ever.
4: Stuff you found from dead people does not sells as much you should have a huge loss like 50% because people does not like having the stolen sword of the captain of the guard or a spear still stained from the blood of dozens of orcs because they are not your legitimate possessions, have dark origins and it is often illegal to posses them or to sell them so you must go into black markets where people are going to buy your stuff for cheap.
5: Magic items must progressively wear off and such or else as they are infinite wealth sources they give trouble to realistic economies
6 Applying real life markets dynamics as you said.

VoxRationis
2015-06-22, 06:11 PM
4: Stuff you found from dead people does not sells as much you should have a huge loss like 50% because people does not like having the stolen sword of the captain of the guard or a spear still stained from the blood of dozens of orcs because they are not your legitimate possessions, have dark origins and it is often illegal to posses them or to sell them so you must go into black markets where people are going to buy your stuff for cheap.


Eh, I'd argue that most reasonable people would properly clean their bloody spears before trying to sell them. Now, some items could be argued to be worth less owing to wear and tear (particularly armor), but when that's not reflected in its actual mechanical usefulness (a used +1 shield is just as effective as one just forged), that tends to ring hollow. Similarly, many items are unlikely to have significant wear when found on the corpse of the latest villain (weapons made of adamantine, or anything small kept under clothing and armor), or its value is completely unrelated to how worn it is (a legendary sword or whatnot, which has value owing to its historic qualities), and merchants insisting a 50% discount on these are going to be scoffed at by reasonable sellers.
Also, things taken from beings not considered people by a culture are frequently not considered "stolen" by those cultures.

The Evil DM
2015-06-22, 06:14 PM
I try and avoid arbitrary rules that have little to no basis in something concrete. To that end I posit that WBL is arbitrary because it assigns a number that has no connection to other parts of the system beyond WBL. Since the WBL variables are independent any tweaks to the system can rapidly invalidate WBL.

So this:


I think that the way money is handled depends a lot about which kind of universe you create and if you want to create an universe where money is realistic you need multiple things:
1: A maximum level else you will have exponential wealth problem this maximum must be a hard roof nobody can go over

Is an arbitrary level cap being used to attempt to mitigate problems with an arbitrary system WBL.


2: Adventurers should not fight ridiculous number of people for gaining levels until reaching maximum level because else they are going to have ridiculous money because if at each level you fight and loot tons of money because you kill thousands of people you will have the wealth of thousands of people and so give trouble to economy.

This is an arbitrary condition that is based on the documented motivational flaws with the D&D xp system. D&D xp system incentivizes murdhobo behavior. My players look for their incentives through the setting model and find their own (as in the caravan example above)


3: There should be taxes else there is still the problem of adventurers hoarding gold for ever.
4: Stuff you found from dead people does not sells as much you should have a huge loss like 50% because people does not like having the stolen sword of the captain of the guard or a spear still stained from the blood of dozens of orcs because they are not your legitimate possessions, have dark origins and it is often illegal to posses them or to sell them so you must go into black markets where people are going to buy your stuff for cheap.
5: Magic items must progressively wear off and such or else as they are infinite wealth sources they give trouble to realistic economies
6 Applying real life markets dynamics as you said.

These are reasonable and non-arbitrary conditions that do work.

And guess what. In my campaigns there are toll bridges, taxes of various sorts, and if you own a castle there is upkeep and maintenance costs. Fencing stolen goods is always at a value cut and while there are some permanent magical items, most of the market is in consumables. Why would I, as a wizard, want to sell a permanent item that lets you do fireball 3x per day? When I can sell you that wand of fireball over and over.

SkipSandwich
2015-06-22, 06:56 PM
So I can throw money around buying all kinds of useless crap, so long as each individual item isn't more expensive than a certain threshold? How immersive.

In d20 Modern, your proposed scenario can only happen one of two ways, for this example, lets say the character wants to buy 500,000 rolls of duct tape;

1) He can buy each roll one at a time, going from store to store, hunting for deals, the purchase DC is just 2 for 1 roll so he doesn't need to make a check, but he DOES need to spend 2 hours in-game time per shopping trip (most of which is just planning which stores to go to, calling to check inventory, reserve stock, wasted time when stores don't have any rolls left, ect.). In the end, it would take a little over 114 in-game YEARS to amass that many rolls.

2) He can bite the bullet and just order 500,000 off a cargo ship, the purchase DC is 59, and arranging the purchase takes just under 3 days, his wealth takes a hit from the purchase being over his budget, but he has ALL the tape.

Mark Hall
2015-06-22, 07:58 PM
You know, I'm now thinking of Eclipse Phase, and how that game's reputation-based economy might play out in a fantasy setting.

You don't have cash, but rather trade on your reputation with different groups. You might be well known among Tribe A and able to get supplies and goods relatively easily, but less known among Tribe B, so they give things grudgingly. Getting things out of the Guilds means getting good reputation with them, and they trade favor amongst themselves, so getting in good with the Glassblowers might be a way to get the Masons on your side...

In some ways, its a formalization of the sidequest mania that runs CRPGs... I need X so you have to do Y quest to get Z to give to A to get B from C who will give you X.

Segev
2015-06-23, 09:56 AM
D&D is, at its core concept, designed not with economics but "dungeon delving" in mind. Its gold values are designed with that and game balance in mind.

If you're running a more simulationist game, then absolutely you want to have coin values (and other things) fluctuate with economic pressures. (Even in bog-standard D&D, plot can change prices; silver is suddenly 10x more expensive when it becomes known there's a werewolf about, or food is 20x more pricey because of the famine caused by the dracolich's curse, etc.)

From a mechanical standpoint, the only issue with fluctuating-value currency is that you have to instead define gems by weight or volume to determine their utility as magic components. Well, that, and the spells which can create wealth but only up to certain amounts (e.g. wish and its 25,000 gp limit) need to have some other definition to keep their creation-amount relatively constant.

But it's all doable! And can make for a fun game. If you like and care about those aspects of the game.

Oko and Qailee
2015-06-23, 10:09 AM
This, I like this. For me, I want my games to feel realistic and for me it isn't realistic for people to be buying a days worth of food with gold.

I don't understand why anyone finds this "unrealistic". Bill Gates has a net worth of $79.2 billion right now a level 20 adventurer by WBL has 760k worth of gear/gold, D&D says that 1gp ~= $100, so a lvl 20 adventurer has $76 million... That wealth is going to be most easily stored in the highest forms of currency (gold/platinum/magic items) and so high level adventurers are going to pay in highest levels of currency, similar to how rich billionaires often tip waiters/waitresses $100+ dollars for a $10 meal.

Hawkstar
2015-06-23, 11:40 AM
So I can throw money around buying all kinds of useless crap, so long as each individual item isn't more expensive than a certain threshold? How immersive.
... Considering how much I spent on LEGO just last month, and my dining habits... yes, yes it is. It works. AND, it cuts out a hell of a lot of bookkeeping than trying to track three bank accounts and two credit cards, model a credit rating, measure income from interest on said bank accounts, a handful of stocks, a patreon account, a kickstarter or two, royalties from a copyright(So, maybe a lot of these came out long after d20 Modern... but the point remains), tips from Paypal, a paycheck from an hourly part-time job, and my salary from a day job. Oh, yeah - can't forget my home equity loan.

And then there are expenses, such as car payments, storage rent, bills, taxes, LEGO, Groceries, Steam Sales,

Someone with even a +3 to wealth in d20 Modern is someone who's capable of easily making a DC 13 purchase at a significant cost, and, at great expense of time and financial standing, manage up to a big DC 23 purchase.

Anonymouswizard
2015-06-23, 11:52 AM
Someone with even a +3 to wealth in d20 Modern is someone who's capable of easily making a DC 13 purchase at a significant cost, and, at great expense of time and financial standing, manage up to a big DC 23 purchase.

I think there should be a difference between 'current' and 'standard' wealth rating. For example:

My standard wealth is +5, which determines what I can try to buy without taking a hit to current wealth. Current wealth begins equal to standard wealth, and moves back towards it at a rate of 1/time period.

Let's say that something with DC 15+ reduces my current wealth by 1, and something with a DC of 19+ reduces my standard wealth by 1.

I go out and buy a piano. Due to the system we are using this is DC 17, which I manage to make. I reduce my current wealth bonus to +4 because I have less money currently available, and continue my shopping.

After buying a pack of chicken breasts and some duct tape at DC 8 I look into buying a supercar. This is DC 23, but I decide to try and get one anyway, and roll a 19 on a d20. I can get it, but I have to mortgage my house to do so, with leaves me with less free money until I can pay of the mortgage (raise my standard wealth).

VoxRationis
2015-06-23, 12:05 PM
... Considering how much I spent on LEGO just last month, and my dining habits... yes, yes it is. It works. AND, it cuts out a hell of a lot of bookkeeping than trying to track three bank accounts and two credit cards, model a credit rating, measure income from interest on said bank accounts, a handful of stocks, a patreon account, a kickstarter or two, royalties from a copyright(So, maybe a lot of these came out long after d20 Modern... but the point remains), tips from Paypal, a paycheck from an hourly part-time job, and my salary from a day job. Oh, yeah - can't forget my home equity loan.

And then there are expenses, such as car payments, storage rent, bills, taxes, LEGO, Groceries, Steam Sales,

Someone with even a +3 to wealth in d20 Modern is someone who's capable of easily making a DC 13 purchase at a significant cost, and, at great expense of time and financial standing, manage up to a big DC 23 purchase.

Read the title, Hawkstar. People in fantasy* games don't have Paypal, and most of them don't have one bank account, let alone three.

*Well, unless it's urban fantasy.

EggKookoo
2015-06-23, 12:18 PM
So I can throw money around buying all kinds of useless crap, so long as each individual item isn't more expensive than a certain threshold? How immersive.

It's not entirely unrealistic, though. Adventurers are generally pretty wealthy when compared to commoners, and that disparity gets extreme at higher levels.

I have a salary right now that I would have fainted at two decades ago. Compared to 20-years-younger-me, I can pretty much endlessly buy "useless crap" without going into debt. Of course not literally -- I don't have infinite money -- but I can buy a lot of things without worrying about debt, where just one similar item back then would have required budgeting.

So if I could be considered a high-level PC compared to younger-me being a low-level PC or even an NPC commoner, a wealth stat really does kind of make sense. It works even better if you consider a PC's wealth not just as cash and material goods but influence, favors, renown, and other intangibles that he can can cash in on.

A 15th level PC is going to have people almost throwing money at him, at least in small amounts.

Maglubiyet
2015-06-23, 12:19 PM
So I can throw money around buying all kinds of useless crap, so long as each individual item isn't more expensive than a certain threshold? How immersive.

You're not necessarily buying them as much as acquiring them through the various resources available to you. These resources may include borrowing from family and friends, calling in favors and outstanding loans, opening lines of credit, renting, mortgaging properties or using collateral, drawing on your savings, pawning or trading old unused items, as well as just paying with your income.

I suppose if someone wanted to be a jerk and break this system they could, just like any other rules system. It's not perfect, but it frees you up to focus on adventuring instead of accounting. And really, what would be the point of buying one of every single item on an equipment list "just because I can"?

Hawkstar
2015-06-23, 12:29 PM
Read the title, Hawkstar. People in fantasy* games don't have Paypal, and most of them don't have one bank account, let alone three.

*Well, unless it's urban fantasy.

They do have credit, though. In fantasy/historical settings, a person's word could be worth even more than tons of gold.

EggKookoo
2015-06-23, 12:32 PM
They do have credit, though. In fantasy/historical settings, a person's word could be worth even more than tons of gold.

Agreed. My main problem with the "lug tons of gold coins around" image is that it's way too concrete for a game that relies so well on abstractions.

Anonymouswizard
2015-06-23, 12:37 PM
And really, what would be the point of buying one of every single item on an equipment list "just because I can"?

When you don't have that 10ft pole in the forcecage, you'll be sorry.

SkipSandwich
2015-06-23, 12:53 PM
I think there should be a difference between 'current' and 'standard' wealth rating. For example:

My standard wealth is +5, which determines what I can try to buy without taking a hit to current wealth. Current wealth begins equal to standard wealth, and moves back towards it at a rate of 1/time period.

Let's say that something with DC 15+ reduces my current wealth by 1, and something with a DC of 19+ reduces my standard wealth by 1.

I go out and buy a piano. Due to the system we are using this is DC 17, which I manage to make. I reduce my current wealth bonus to +4 because I have less money currently available, and continue my shopping.

After buying a pack of chicken breasts and some duct tape at DC 8 I look into buying a supercar. This is DC 23, but I decide to try and get one anyway, and roll a 19 on a d20. I can get it, but I have to mortgage my house to do so, with leaves me with less free money until I can pay of the mortgage (raise my standard wealth).

That's basically how the system works as written, except for PC's the period between wealth increases is "on level up or adventure end" and for NPC's its "why are you asking this the DM will just give them whatever they need anyway" (admittedly a weak point in the system RAW).

Slipperychicken
2015-06-23, 02:07 PM
You could try playing a game where PCs aren't required to have incredible sums of wealth. Also convert some of your money to gems or other valuables instead of heaving sacks of gold everywhere.


Unrelatedly, in 5th edition D&D, my DM decided to eliminate gold coins as currency and use silver instead. It makes the amounts feel more reasonable without messing with the economy or doing too much math (just add a zero to all the prices and call them silver instead of gold). It really makes a psychological difference to see a price of 1,000 silver instead of 100 gold.

The Evil DM
2015-06-23, 03:44 PM
D&D is, at its core concept, designed not with economics but "dungeon delving" in mind. Its gold values are designed with that and game balance in mind.

If you're running a more simulationist game, then absolutely you want to have coin values (and other things) fluctuate with economic pressures. (Even in bog-standard D&D, plot can change prices; silver is suddenly 10x more expensive when it becomes known there's a werewolf about, or food is 20x more pricey because of the famine caused by the dracolich's curse, etc.)

From a mechanical standpoint, the only issue with fluctuating-value currency is that you have to instead define gems by weight or volume to determine their utility as magic components. Well, that, and the spells which can create wealth but only up to certain amounts (e.g. wish and its 25,000 gp limit) need to have some other definition to keep their creation-amount relatively constant.

But it's all doable! And can make for a fun game. If you like and care about those aspects of the game.

(this is marginally off topic)

My objective is a simulationist setting, with a narrative game built on top of it.

I - as a GM and setting designer - enjoy developing the simulation that runs my setting. It also happens to be part of my day to day life for regular work. As much as I enjoy the simulation aspect I want to be able to accommodate the players that don't want to track their coins and encumbrance.

I would say the process started some 25 years ago or so when a player who had built a kingdom asked me, "How fast does the population in my kingdom grow?"

I answered, "I am not sure. Let's call it 2% annual for now, because that is what I learned in high school geography for most modern countries, and I will dig into it."

At that point I beginning to master linear algebra and I started building matricies to define that function in a campaign. After a few weeks I had a model for human population growth.

It uses data I research off of AMA websites on mortality rates by age and gender, pregnancy rates by age with modifier for frequency of copulation with respect to ratio of fertile time vs unfertile time with respect to the length of a human fertility cycle. I have manual inputs for emigration and immigration to and from regions. I have manual inputs for unnatural death's due to the progress of famine, plague or war.

I can run the model and it will project forward population growth for a region.

Then I took that model and thought about how it applies to goblins, dwarves, elves and so on and then added those races to the model. Now I have a population model for the major mortal species of my campaign world.

I extended the process to economics, weather, encounter systems based of preset frequencies for various world hexes.

None of this matters to a player. Players don't care how I generate an encounter, or how I determine that a sword is 12gp versus 10gp. Players don't necessarily want to work on logistics for their characters (some do) So I bridge this gap by supplying spreadsheets and macros to players that use my data.

All you have to do as a player is select the items you carry from dropdown lists on my spreadsheet. encumbrance, costs, values and all these other details are handled for you. Software handles the pieces I care about and lets the player focus on the character, the narrative and the adventure. If a player is interested in the economy of the game, they may find an opportunity to engage in trade. Or they may find an opportunity to build a kingdom in a site that is strategic within the engine driving the simulation.

Over the years as I have put more detail into the setting, it has become harder to use. I am at the beginning stages of a project to transition the setting to a web accessible server. I am trying to determine if I can scale it such that more than a couple GM's can use it.

The way the setting works changes some of the game dynamics. Orc's, Goblins and other humanoid types raid because of environmental pressures in the setting model. If players go and fight the orcs and goblins death's due to violence start to get logged into the system and it changes. The population model responds and future growth of those populations is hindered. Wealth is transferred from the orcs and goblins to the PCs at which point most of them spend a lot of it into the local economy and thus the economic model changes. Concentrated attacks on the orc's and goblins might trigger a migration because in general they are not suicide stupid. On top of it the social model I use to track relationships and conflict might see some alterations as animosity is generated between population groups.

TheCountAlucard
2015-06-23, 04:51 PM
Read the title, Hawkstar. People in fantasy games don't have Paypal, and most of them don't have one bank account, let alone three.
Yeah, it's not like banks are older than recorded history or something!

Oh wait they totally are.

ShaneMRoth
2015-06-23, 05:30 PM
Define "better".

One of the virtues of the default wealth mechanic that has survived every edition of D&D is that it performs the most basic economic function necessary for a currency. It provides a medium of exchange.

I've never seen a game session bog down because the players were dissatisfied with the gold-piece wealth mechanic. Not that they are perfectly happy with the wealth mechanic. It has more to do with the fact that players are usually worried about other mechanical issues that they deem more pressing.

Unless the wealth mechanic is materially interfering with your players' Willing Suspension of Disbelief, you might be fixing something that isn't really broken.

By the way, I'm calling it a "wealth mechanic" because it is in no way an "economic model".

The Modern d20 wealth mechanic is a substantially better model for a post-modern economy, such as the economy we experience IRL.

But this abstract wealth mechanic assumes such things as fiat currency, robust market regulation, modern infrastructure, international law, and... most importantly... credit.

And if you want your players' eyes to glaze over, try incorporating a sophisticated credit system into the game.

In my experience, players could not care less what their characters' FICO score might be.

D&D copes with the geometrically increased mass of Huge to Colossal creatures by way of Willing Suspension of Disbelief.

D&D copes with the measurably different mass of copper, silver and gold by way of Willing Suspension of Disbelief.

As a DM, you are well within your discretion to allow this same Willing Suspension of Disbelief to cope with the gold piece as an omni-versal medium of exchange.

The one major wealth-based house rule I impose consistently in my campaign is the Pawn Shop rule. If the players are in a hurry to liquidate a magic item in one day, they can reliably get 10% of its value. If they want the default 50% of base value, then they need to allow for at least a week. My players universally hate this house rule. But they live with it.

If an NPC is going to buy a "magic" sword today... from someone he has never met, then that NPC is assuming a lot of risk, including the possibility that the sword isn't magic at all. Including the possibility that it might not even be a sword. Not to mention the possibility that the sword might be cursed. One day, let alone one combat round, is just not enough time for a potential buyer of arcane merchandise to perform reasonable due diligence before making a purchase. The due diligence that is associated with trafficking in magic items is somewhere between an art auction and a major drug deal. It takes time.

If the sale has to happen the same day? 10% is the take-it-or-leave-it standard. And as to the notion of Diplomacy checks, the NPC has to have a Helpful attitude to even consider buying a magic item on the spot in the first place.

Milo v3
2015-06-23, 08:25 PM
D&D says that 1gp ~= $100
Actually WotC have put the value of 1 gp to about $20.

Mark Hall
2015-06-24, 07:59 AM
Actually WotC have put the value of 1 gp to about $20.

I go with 1 sp = $1, so 1gp = $20 (because 10sp = 1 ep, and 2 ep = 1 gp)

TheCountAlucard
2015-06-24, 08:06 AM
A mug of ale is four copper pieces; a case of Budweiser (bottled) is just over $20, making one bottle ~85¢.

Though to be fair, if you're buying the latter at a bar there's probably a significant markup. :smalltongue:

noob
2015-06-24, 08:09 AM
A chicken cost outrageously cheap even for today standards they cost 2 pc so 0.2 dollars since you need 10 pc for having 1 silver.
I think a silver piece costs a lot more than 1 dollar.

Anonymouswizard
2015-06-24, 08:11 AM
I go with 1 sp = $1, so 1gp = $20 (because 10sp = 1 ep, and 2 ep = 1 gp)

Realistically, 1 cp should be worth more than the modern penny (dollars or sterling), so this works alright unless you want a more realistic copper/silver exchange rate. If going for more than 50cp=1sp it becomes dodgy, but should generally work out.

lt_murgen
2015-06-24, 08:20 AM
For my D6 Fantasy game I am running, we are using the Funds mechanic.

The idea is even more abstract: Funds represents your ability to purchase things. You roll against the difficulty to acquire something.

Minor treasures, like the coins in the caravan guards' pockets, are ignored.
Major treasures, like the entire contents of the caravan's strongboxes, is listed as a bonus (say +10). These are temporary, use once and lose, bonuses.

Mark Hall
2015-06-24, 08:23 AM
A chicken cost outrageously cheap even for today standards they cost 2 pc so 0.2 dollars since you need 10 pc for having 1 silver.
I think a silver piece costs a lot more than 1 dollar.

And yet, setting 1sp = $1USD lets me estimate prices pretty easily. Looks like chicken legs are running about 1sp/per pound. (https://www.heb.com/weekly-ads/weekly-deals/630)

It makes the price lists in the game wrong, but I can pretty easily estimate what things should be, and it gives a reasonable economy based on that.

SkipSandwich
2015-06-25, 12:55 PM
And yet, setting 1sp = $1USD lets me estimate prices pretty easily. Looks like chicken legs are running about 1sp/per pound. (https://www.heb.com/weekly-ads/weekly-deals/630)

It makes the price lists in the game wrong, but I can pretty easily estimate what things should be, and it gives a reasonable economy based on that.

I usually use the 1sp = $1 conversion rate myself when converting 3.5 to the Wealth system, it puts the DC15 purchase breakpoint right around 20-35gp, which is the cost of a 1st level spell scroll.

Loxagn
2015-06-29, 04:03 PM
The amount of gold required to fulfill that 2% cash for total of all wealth is in excess of all gold mined on earth since we discovered how to mine and refine gold.

The problem, though, is that at level 20 most characters have entered the 'Wish Economy', the point at which such things as 'scarcity' become a thing of the past, since anybody and their mother can generate arbitrarily large amounts of whatever material they want.
GP comes from more than just the Prime Material as well. Elemental Earth is infinitely large, filled with caverns, veins of precious metals, and all manner of wonderful shinies. And any wizard worth his salt at that level isn't seriously worried about gold. They can literally just snap their fingers and PAO up a small mountain of gold, or ask one of their Solar buddies to grant them a nice, lovely quarter ton of the stuff.
To us, gold is precious and valuable because there's a finite amount of it. To adventurers, gold is dirt-cheap because the multiverse is literally incapable of running out of it.

The Evil DM
2015-07-02, 04:16 AM
The problem, though, is that at level 20 most characters have entered the 'Wish Economy', the point at which such things as 'scarcity' become a thing of the past, since anybody and their mother can generate arbitrarily large amounts of whatever material they want.
GP comes from more than just the Prime Material as well. Elemental Earth is infinitely large, filled with caverns, veins of precious metals, and all manner of wonderful shinies. And any wizard worth his salt at that level isn't seriously worried about gold. They can literally just snap their fingers and PAO up a small mountain of gold, or ask one of their Solar buddies to grant them a nice, lovely quarter ton of the stuff.
To us, gold is precious and valuable because there's a finite amount of it. To adventurers, gold is dirt-cheap because the multiverse is literally incapable of running out of it.

Assuming you play by RAW and don't limit the scarcity problem you now run into a secondary problem that makes WBL even more silly. If you live in a universe as described and there is no scarcity. Then nothing can have value beyond value artificially created. Gold is valuable because it is scarce. If gold is not scarce, why do the merchants want it. At which point this discussion crosses over into another thread on these forums about the impact of infinite manufacturing magic in a game world.

If I was the wizard selling magical items in that world I wouldn't charge for gold. You want that cloak of badassery I made. The price is your soul. Because your soul is unique. There is only one of your soul and it seems a fitting payment for me.

Storm_Of_Snow
2015-07-02, 05:21 AM
I agree with the earlier point that most people will deal with IOUs with people they know (although I'd throw in barter as well - for instance, one villager might own a plough, another might own an ox, and the rest either trade their crops or help the other two in their fields in exchange for their own fields getting ploughed each year, while all give crops to the blacksmith who sharpens the plough blade and the village herbalist who acts as vet to the Ox), and outsiders would have to deal in hard currency - and they may have to pay a premium for goods and services - remember, the guy changing their coins into gems or promisary notes for easier transport is going to take his cut, as is the guy at the other end.

If someone appears to be rich, they're going to get all sorts of attention - beggars, priests looking for donations to the poor, traders adding a significant markup and providing goods or services which don't fully meet that price (for instance, http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0122.html :smallwink: ), thieves, conmen, impoverished nobles looking to marry into money, people looking for investments (both legitmate and fraudulent) and so on, which can lead to the PCs losing their money or at the very least having to conceal their wealth.

The PCs could choose to invest their wealth anyway (I assume at least one or two want to eventually settle down with enough money to live out the rest of their days in relative comfort) - a moderate house in a city or a hold in the wilderness will need people to look after it while they're away, which is a small but constant drain on their finances, a merchant could take a large amount up front and only return a small percentage a year (but will do so every year). And while the caravan train in a previous post allowed the character to make a profit, there's no guarantee selling up will even allow the character to make their initial money back.

Some characters might get a big score, and blow the lot on carousing in a few days.

And the state's going to want their cut, which could be taxes (annual or a one-off windfall tax), or the king's steward saying "Yes, we promised you the princesses hand in marriage for killing the dragon. Your share of the hoard should just about cover the cost of the ceremony."


Assuming you play by RAW and don't limit the scarcity problem you now run into a secondary problem that makes WBL even more silly. If you live in a universe as described and there is no scarcity. Then nothing can have value beyond value artificially created. Gold is valuable because it is scarce. If gold is not scarce, why do the merchants want it.
Well, how many level 20 characters are there? If there's only 1 or 2, then, while their local effect could be massive, they won't have that much of an effect on the world. If there's more than that, then, while Bob the Mage can potentially summon up a quarter ton of gold, his rival Steve the Mage can stop it from being summoned, and the Merchants Guild probably have their own mages on retainer (assuming they're not actually the main investors in the first place) to keep things scarce.

And at that level, they've probably got more important things to worry about on a day-to-day basis than infinite wealth anyway - they're more likely involved in the "Gods and Monsters" level of conflict.

Straybow
2015-07-03, 10:31 AM
WBL is based on average number of encounters per level × average treasure per encounter at CR. The broken part of the system is how much wealth is being given out, not the assumptions behind WBL. Also, using gold as the base monetary unit is screwy.

The very first time I played D&D in 1976 I rolled up my first character (average Int and Wis = Fighter). The GM rolled some dice and said, "You have 90 gold pieces." At this point I only knew that 1 gp = 20 sp. I thought, "I'll be able to buy armor, a horse, maybe even hire a couple men at arms." Ha ha ha!

I knew that around 1900 "a dollar a day" was actually good money, many laborers didn't earn that much. Years of visiting battlefields and forts told me that Revolutionary War soldiers earned 20c/day, and Civil War soldiers about double that. Years of Sunday school taught me that 1 denarius/day was an average in Jesus' time, and the denarius was about half the weight of a dime.

So, I had this notion that one or two silver pieces a day was the typical earning power, so my 90gp was 3-6 years' income for a peasant. Then I saw the price list and I could only buy rations & gear, a sword, a wooden shield, and something called "ring mail" that nobody could tell me what it was.

When Gygax & company made gold the common medium of exchange, and then made it almost worthless, it broke the mental link with our natural expectation of the value of gold and silver. Even for people who don't know solid figures about historic wages.

Talakeal
2015-07-03, 12:59 PM
I like having gold be relatively common compared to real life because it allows you to have large treasure hoards like the stereotypical dragon laying on a bed of gold without breaking the game.

In my campaign world gold is a little more common than silver is in real life and most gemstones are roughly on par with new world amethysts.

I also have "orichalcum" which is more valuable than real life gold and is used when I want a single hugely valuable piece of jewelry or high level players want to be able to carry their wealth around with them.

Kami2awa
2015-07-04, 01:15 AM
One way to help this might actually be banks.

No, wait, don't run away!

Any overarching organisation can function as a bank, as long as it has secure branches in places where people want to trade. If it can create "letters of credit" that are hard to forge (magic would help there, just as much as it helps the forgers) then people can pay gold or other valuable stuff into them and withdraw equivalent amounts (minus a small fee...) at any of their branches by presenting their letter of credit. Churches used to do be the location of choice for this.

This to a large extent alleviates the problem of having to cart around vast quantities of gold, all the while risking getting it lost or stolen. Eventually, people will just start exchanging the letters of credit, creating the first paper money.

Of course, once you have banks, you have a new power structure, and an immensely weathly one at that. Once you have that, you have corruption. Once you have *that*, you have potential adventure hooks...

Meanwhile, why not bank with Neufenfers, the Bank You Can Trust*

*Subject to the following terms and conditions...

Straybow
2015-07-05, 06:45 PM
I like having gold be relatively common compared to real life because it allows you to have large treasure hoards like the stereotypical dragon laying on a bed of gold without breaking the game.

In my campaign world gold is a little more common than silver is in real life and most gemstones are roughly on par with new world amethysts.

I also have "orichalcum" which is more valuable than real life gold and is used when I want a single hugely valuable piece of jewelry or high level players want to be able to carry their wealth around with them. ...which is basically D&D gold value. AD&D changed the gp/gp/cp size from 50/lb to 10/lb. So plate mail (50 lb of steel) cost 400 gp (40 lb of gold). Henry VIII equipped a group of soldiers with the equivalent of plate mail for 2.35 lb of silver each. That puts AD&D gold at about 3x the value of copper in 16th cen England. In 3.5e plate mail sells for 600 gp (12 lb), which is still only 1/5 the value of silver in the Tudor England.