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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    I've actually done that before, but in a very limited fashion.

    Basically: there were two main regions, let's call them A and B. A was loosely modelled on the HRE, with a lot of semi-independent states. Those states all minted their own coins, but they were roughly worth the same and stood in for silver. THere was also the Imperial Pound, issued by the Emperor, but rarely seen because it was ridiculously valuable. Those were platinum coins. WEll, actually, more like large gold goins. The neighboring region mostly used copper pennies for the common folk and gold... I forgot what they were called. Gold pieces, anyway. Alternatively, there were also letters of credit from the large banks.

    So basically, they were still called copper, silver, gold and platinum, but each had a name and a bit of story behind it.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Question Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    I'm going back and forth on this thread, but it's clarifying my thinking.

    The usual approach is fine, everyone is used to it. You have some "unnecessary bookkeeping" as the loot-keeper player diligently writes down quantities of a half-dozen valuables, then the party sells it all in town and buys whatever.

    You could just skip the evocative-description part and tell the party "you find treasure worth XX,000 gp and put it in the Bag(s) of Holding."

    Or you make treasures be adventure hooks in themselves. The statue of the ancient Dwarven King Tilgath Hammerfist is worth a fortune, but only to one of the current Dwarven Kings, and it's not easy to move.

    The party could get word to one of the dwarven kings, collect a small (by kingly standards) reward, and let the king figure out the transportation logistics--possibly hiring the party as security and expert knowledge of the location.

    Or the party could do the transporting themselves, and negotiate with various dwarven kings, for quite a kingly reward indeed.

    EDIT: And with different currencies, a chest with 12,000 Silver Florins presents the same sort of decision. Sell it to a local merchant for 1200 gp (local), find a caravan that will pay 6000 gp, or take a trip to Florin City and go on a shopping spree.
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2019-09-07 at 09:43 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    I've run a lot of historical campaigns (in GURPS), which usually involving travel around the world, so I've had to deal with multiple currencies. Some players seem to like it: I've found detailed notes indicating the number and type of coins that the player's character has. Others just converted everything to one currency in their notes. If there were many currencies to deal with, I would usually pass out a conversion chart. That said, my campaigns didn't typically focus on the acquisition and spending of money, and I was always ready with the local conversion to tell the players how much something would cost in the currency they are most familiar with.

    As others have pointed out, when your money is in metal, then usually it doesn't matter where you go, it will be accepted by weight. It doesn't matter what form the gold is in -- gold coins, gold bars, dust, jewelry -- it will have the same value by weight, and will usually be accepted as such. Most serious merchants will have scales and will accept just about anything, trying to bribe a street urchin with an unfamiliar foreign coin might not go so easily. But even then if it's silver, it's silver.

    On the hand if the currency is fiat, or paper, then you will have other issues. Often it will need to be exchanged, and then it will typically be discounted depending upon how far the merchant would have to travel to have it exchanged. Sometimes it may be rejected outright.

    I think it could make things more interesting if currencies from different places had different names and values. As long as conversion is just mathematical it's not much of an issue. Occasionally having a town or country that doesn't accept foreign currency (or does so at a discount) might prove interesting, but if it happened everywhere it would probably get frustrating.

    You should try designing a system and talking to your players about it. If they're on board then give it a try.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    One thing I have done before that may be applicable to this thread is antique/unique currency. For ease of use, most currency in the games I run is pretty much based on the weight of the precious metals involved. If you amass a lot of money, then converting some of it to gemstones cuts down on transportation weight, and I tend to treat them as currency if group wealth has grown that high. But adventurers tend to end up dealing with ruins of past civilizations, and may end up with coin that is made of the right metals, may or may not be of similar weights/shapes/sizes to whatever is current in the campaign's day, and may or may not have a stamp design that could include gemstone(s).

    I tend to use this sort of thing as if it can be spent right away for the base value of the metal, with maybe a little allowance for gems if any, because the tinker who is banging your cooking gear back into shape after that accident with the pack mule really isn't interested in debating the historical value of your coin. On the other hand, if you can get it into the hands of some sort of broker somewhere that knows various parties interested in rare collectibles and historical items, then you can get more for it. Basically, instead of "your haul from that last outing is worth X gold", it changes to "your haul from that last outing is worth X gold if spent now, but worth Y gold if allowed to be traded over time". The amount of value increase obviously would be up to the DM and could depend on the availability of divination magic that could use the coin/treasure to look back and get glimpses of the civilization that created it. If your world does, it makes for an obvious adventure if someone wants guided back to where you found this stuff as a scholarly/research expedition.

    Another thing I have thought about doing, but haven't (due to laziness) is to map out trade routes, and figure out a rough schedule of various traders. My thought behind this being that the traders prefer guards that have some coin to invest in goods to be traded along the route (with advice from the traders so they don't buy the wrong type/amount of trade goods), so that those guarding actually have a small interest in getting everything to it's destination. That would mean that unless they were traveling totally on their own, they always have raw goods (cloth, leather, spices, etc.) that can be traded for local finished goods or coin. But this is another thing that would take the right group, and wouldn't work for long if you are playing in a world where adventurers can teleport everywhere.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gallowglass View Post
    This^

    Much to my chagrin, I've found very few players who want to play "economic simulator" with me, not matter how much I enjoy the world building aspects of coming up with more realistic and detailed rules around economics or currency.

    The parts of the game that are simplified are simplified for a reason.

    For the last several years, no matter how detailed I make the treasure horde it still ends up like this:

    "Okay, in the ogre's den you find *detailed descriptions of different coinage, gems with unique cuts, paintings, ornate rugs, artistic carvings, rare wines and cheeses*"

    "How much is it all worth?"

    "Sigh" *give GP value for all the treasure.*

    "Great, thats 1237 gp for each of us with another share to the party coffer."

    Well, that's not so much as economic simulator as the PCs might not have a vested interest in what the treasure is other than its value because they might be spending a lot of time travelling and adventuring? PCs need to be able to have a place where they might want to hang up those paintings, with rooms to have ornate rugs in. If they're just travelling around...? No one wants to carry around framed paintings and ornate rugs on the road.

    One of our campaigns did get about 8 pages worth of fancy loot at some point (yes there was gold and magic items too, but these pages were all things like clothes, furniture, decorations, statues, artwork, etc), and since all of those PCs have domains and homes that they spend a lot of time in, we actually spent time outside of the game session and about a session of gaming as well to divide up the loot. Some of the artwork was given as gifts to NPCs and things like that later. Not only is this group huge sucker for "spending time on decorating my fictional character and home"-type of players though, but again, the key component was that all the PCs had time and opportunity to bring these treasures to a home.
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  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    While I fully understand that it's done for the sake of simplicity, that's not really how world economy works.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lapak View Post
    The OP is not objecting to gold pieces; they are questioning why Country A's gold piece is worth exactly the same as Country Z. And that is a legitimate question, not just between countries but within a country from ruler to ruler; go to a good numismatics museum that covers a European country's currency history and you will often see "[crowns/ducats/whatever] minted under King Economist were pure metal and valued well, but three kings later the economy was tanking and they were tied up in three wars so King Makeitwork debased the [coin] with lead and other countries started giving Country's money a side-eye in trading. Then fifty years later King FixThings came into power, opened a new silver mine, and the same [Coin] minted during his reign is 99% pure."

    Which is a lot to manage in a game, so we do tend to elide a lot of the issues involved here for ease of play, but it is a fine thing to question.
    It's a fine question but the in-universe answer is extremely simple - D&D settings have pretty powerful gods whose literal lifeblood depends on ease of trade and commerce. The fewer barriers in the way of that, the better for their existence. When you've got heavy-hitters like Abadar, Waukeen, and Shinare who are welcome in just about every nation and whose primary mandate to their respective churches is to keep currency moving, standardization of currency and pricing across those nations becomes at once much more feasible and much more credible.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    Well, that's not so much as economic simulator as the PCs might not have a vested interest in what the treasure is other than its value because they might be spending a lot of time travelling and adventuring?.[SNIP].....-type of players though, but again, the key component was that all the PCs had time and opportunity to bring these treasures to a home.
    Yeah I'm just quoting this for truth....the more the players have time/places to show off their weird loot the more they will and the more weird loot they will want. Toss out the stronghold builders guide to keep players with free hands busy during other people's rounds to see them starting to dream stuff up. So in a similar vein if you can give a good reason WHY the characters would value having a bunch of different currencies (wants a trading coaster? wants to gets a ton o cash and will set up a new Rothchild's multi-city bank with each PC running a branch? wants to become the grand money-changer of Waukeen?) then your players will make it worth your time.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Multiple currencies are very much the kind of thing where I'm willing to firmly hold onto my suspension of disbelief. I generally prefer abstract wealth systems (like Storyteller's resource dots) to counting every coin. But even if I am counting every coin, I'm entirely fine with them mysteriously having the same value everywhere I go. I just don't see it particularly enriching the game, other than adding more numbers to crunch. I find dealing with resources and equipment annoying enough to begin with.
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  9. - Top - End - #39
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    One of our campaigns did get about 8 pages worth of fancy loot at some point (yes there was gold and magic items too, but these pages were all things like clothes, furniture, decorations, statues, artwork, etc), and since all of those PCs have domains and homes that they spend a lot of time in, we actually spent time outside of the game session and about a session of gaming as well to divide up the loot. Some of the artwork was given as gifts to NPCs and things like that later. Not only is this group huge sucker for "spending time on decorating my fictional character and home"-type of players though, but again, the key component was that all the PCs had time and opportunity to bring these treasures to a home.
    Another important part of this is to not just say "jewelry worth X, artwork worth y" but to detail it. It's not just a 200 gp painting, it's "portrait of a noble woman with A type clothes, from painter B of region C from D years ago' . They aren't just a set of goblets worth 1000 gp, they are 'silver goblets with ivy filigree around the rim and base, with 4 small emeralds set around a coat of arms that looks like E'.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    I'm currently running a campaign where there's another currency in play: Trade Bars.

    That's because the economy of this one little area is dominated by a group who controls basically all the food production and manufacturing (in a ruined city). They'll trade TB for gold at a 1:1 rate, but only so much per week. And they'll only sell food/items for TB. These TB are worthless, except that they're stamped so you can buy stuff from the Khaimal with them. Most neutral factions deal mostly in TB when they need currency, as it's guaranteed to be accepted.

    The in-universe intent is to suppress the efforts of anyone else in the city to organize and to monopolize trade, keeping everyone dependent on the Khaimal (until they wipe out/enslave/eject everyone else).

    The party knows they're only there for a while, so they have to decide. Trade in the gold and treasure found in the city for TB that may not be useful later, or keep it for later (but not be able to buy anything major).

    I wouldn't want to do it more than this one area...it's too much of a pain. But it works in general.

    The other nations where the party is from have made a trade pact to accept each other's currency (as well as the older currency of the previous nations) at weight, at least from adventurers. They're part of an international group that backstops the exchanges. It's also why adventurers have fixed prices--it's part of the deal. The merchants sell/buy at the fixed rate and the shortfall (if any) is made up by the Guild.
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  11. - Top - End - #41
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    Another important part of this is to not just say "jewelry worth X, artwork worth y" but to detail it. It's not just a 200 gp painting, it's "portrait of a noble woman with A type clothes, from painter B of region C from D years ago' . They aren't just a set of goblets worth 1000 gp, they are 'silver goblets with ivy filigree around the rim and base, with 4 small emeralds set around a coat of arms that looks like E'.
    Except--why do the characters care, in character? Why do the players care?

    The answer is usually, because they can turn the "'silver goblets with ivy filigree around the rim and base, with 4 small emeralds set around a coat of arms that looks like E" into equipment upgrades, or consumables. Less often, it's a clue object about a plot-relevant family with a coat of arms that looks like E.

    In the real world, luxury items like that lose value at a rapid pace. Set yourself a google news alert for "star sells mansion", and they're selling at a loss because even if Ariana Grande wants Paula Abdul's old mansion, she doesn't want expensive tilework with PA monograms everywhere.

    *Maybe* you have the spellbinding storytelling chops to entrance your players with a rich description of a luxury good, to the point where they vicariously experience the luxury. But probably not.

    It's either loot, with a GP value to be discovered.* Or it's a plot hook, like the goblets with the fabulously rich family's crest on them.

    * Discovered, or determined through negotiation. Those 1000 gp goblets are worth maybe 100 gp to put on a shelf and class up a tavern, but 10,000 gp to the family with the E crest. There may not be anyone in the campaign world itching to pay full price for some other family's monogrammed goblets.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    So, a strange thought that I had not too long ago:
    One of the things that is kinda odd about D&D is that almost every single nation in every setting has a single type of currency: platinum, gold, silver, and copper coins
    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    One thought that I had was that PCs could store most of their spoils as trade items that each nation recognized as an intermediate form of wealth, such as bars of precious metal or gemstones.
    The reason platinum, gold, silver, and copper are used as currency is that they are precious metals and thus have intrinsic value. Coins are supposed to be weighted so that 50 gold pieces weigh 1 pound, and the value of 1 pound of gold is set at 50 gold pieces. The same rule applies for copper, silver, and platinum, of course.
    Say a player has 1200 gold pieces and exchanges or for solid gold before going traveling, then exchanges it for gold coins minted in the next nation. Essentially, that player is trading 24 pounds of gold for 24 pounds of gold to take on the road, then trading that 24 pounds of gold for 24 pounds of gold to take to the market. There is no need for an intermediate form of wealth because it would essentially be identical to the money itself.
    When you kill a dragon and loot its hoard it's likely that it'll have different forms of coins. Different styles and different designs from different places and different times. That's all well and good for flavor and worldbuilding. But it's unlikely that one nation will decline another nation's currency using these materials because, at the end of the day, those coins are still made of precious metals and are still quite literally worth their weight in gold... Or silver, or copper, or platinum, as it were. Nations having their own unique forms of currency shouldn't result in a major mechanical impact on the game.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Once more, thank you for your input on this topic, especially those that mentioned PCs having permanent homes where they could hang their spoils, as that hadn't actually crossed my mind.
    While I in no way intended to make this a discussion about economics on more than a cosmetic/lore/worldbuilding level, there is one small wrinkle that only just occurred to me, and that isn't being discussed: nations inhabited by tribals.
    Now, I in no way mean this as a bad thing, however there are worlds where portions of the map are inhabited by civilizations that do have a less advanced level of technology than the kingdom that's been standing for a thousand years. Wild portions of the map existed well into the 20th century, and still do, in our world, and all things considered, there is no feasible way the war chief is going to accept precious metals as a payment.
    As such, if the group intends to venture into these lands for an extended period of time, it would be perfectly reasonable to convert some wealth into a more acceptable form of payment, such as livestock or spices, in order to function within this region.
    It would probably be fully within reason to exchange several bars of gold for bricks of salt, pigs, tanned hides, or even living pigs when dealing with groups that don't have an established economy based on gold and silver.
    I'm fully aware these situations are rare, but they do happen. Similarly, underwater nations would probably have a different currency made of something that doesn't corrode, such as pearls or seashells, in order to fit the environment.

    It's just a small point worth considering.
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  14. - Top - End - #44
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    This thread has actually got me thinking in the opposite direction--making wealth entirely abstract, there are no GP SP CP, art, gems, etc. Everything the PCs are just going to sell for cash anyway is just cash with weight.

    Is it really "fun" to pretend to haggle over selling art and gems, before you haggle to buy equipment/magic items? Or should we just go ahead and abstract that process as much as possible, just like we abstract exactly what food the PCs are ordering at the tavern?
    I like wealth checks more then money for this reason. It includes things like people giving access to rare items due to fame, loans, etc. "Killing the dragon gave you a large increase in wealth and prestige. Gain +5 to your wealth score and +10 on your first purchase."
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  15. - Top - End - #45
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    Now, I in no way mean this as a bad thing, however there are worlds where portions of the map are inhabited by civilizations that do have a less advanced level of technology than the kingdom that's been standing for a thousand years. Wild portions of the map existed well into the 20th century, and still do, in our world, and all things considered, there is no feasible way the war chief is going to accept precious metals as a payment.
    As such, if the group intends to venture into these lands for an extended period of time, it would be perfectly reasonable to convert some wealth into a more acceptable form of payment, such as livestock or spices, in order to function within this region.
    Depends upon how much trading they do with cultures that use/value currency, and wether or not their culture values certain materials. Columbus found many of the indigenous peoples he encountered wearing gold jewelry, even though those islands were relatively poor in gold. Gold was still considered valuable by their societies, even if it wasn't currency, and I'm sure you could certainly trade for it.

    Only if the "barbarians" are very isolated from the "civilized" world will they not find money useful, and even then they *may* value the base material. However, cultural significance can lead societies to placing higher value on materials that others do not value so much (like jade for example).

  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    Once more, thank you for your input on this topic, especially those that mentioned PCs having permanent homes where they could hang their spoils, as that hadn't actually crossed my mind.
    While I in no way intended to make this a discussion about economics on more than a cosmetic/lore/worldbuilding level, there is one small wrinkle that only just occurred to me, and that isn't being discussed: nations inhabited by tribals.
    Now, I in no way mean this as a bad thing, however there are worlds where portions of the map are inhabited by civilizations that do have a less advanced level of technology than the kingdom that's been standing for a thousand years. Wild portions of the map existed well into the 20th century, and still do, in our world, and all things considered, there is no feasible way the war chief is going to accept precious metals as a payment.
    As such, if the group intends to venture into these lands for an extended period of time, it would be perfectly reasonable to convert some wealth into a more acceptable form of payment, such as livestock or spices, in order to function within this region.
    It would probably be fully within reason to exchange several bars of gold for bricks of salt, pigs, tanned hides, or even living pigs when dealing with groups that don't have an established economy based on gold and silver.
    I'm fully aware these situations are rare, but they do happen. Similarly, underwater nations would probably have a different currency made of something that doesn't corrode, such as pearls or seashells, in order to fit the environment.

    It's just a small point worth considering.
    Precious metals have become currency in most of the world at some point. Because they are at least somewhat rare everywhere. Because they are easily to identify. Because they don't spoil and thus can be stockpiled. Because you can still convert them into useful things like jewelry or silverware and convert them back. And because they are easy to move given the value the rarity implies.
    This is why nearly every civilisation that traded with another using them adopted them as well. They do make very good currencies.

    In standard fantasy i would assume that everyone that has enough contact to understand Common has enough trade to use gold and silver.

    Also they are called noble metals for a reason. Gold does not corrode and even corrosion of silver and copper is somewhat limited. All those are exactly the kind of metals an underwater nation could use.

  17. - Top - End - #47
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    Except--why do the characters care, in character? Why do the players care?

    The answer is usually, because they can turn the "'silver goblets with ivy filigree around the rim and base, with 4 small emeralds set around a coat of arms that looks like E" into equipment upgrades, or consumables. Less often, it's a clue object about a plot-relevant family with a coat of arms that looks like E.
    Or maybe they just like shiny stuff. You know, like lots of real world people.


    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post

    *Maybe* you have the spellbinding storytelling chops to entrance your players with a rich description of a luxury good, to the point where they vicariously experience the luxury. But probably not.
    Except, experience tells me otherwise. If PCs have a place to hoard stuff, then they tend to hoard. Heck, I've had players who draw floor plans of their houses and list what is where in which room.
    Some players are indeed interested in nothing but turning treasure into usable magic items, but once you give PCs a home and a reason to be interested in something beyond combat power most players I know will start collecting treasure and playing Pimp my Imaginary Crib

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    It gets more fun where exchange rates are arbitrarily unequal for chances at arbitrage. If you can exchange 14 of Coin A for 17 Coin B or 5 Coin C, but can exchange 5 of Coin C for 14 Coin A or 18 Coin B, you have a chance to make money if you buy 5 of Coin C to buy Coin B with instead of buying Coin B with Coin A. It's like playing Math: The Game while you play Math: the Game, but the DM doesn't have to do any actual work.
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    In the real world, luxury items like that lose value at a rapid pace.
    Pretty sure artwork generally gains value over time.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Pretty sure artwork generally gains value over time.
    Most artwork loses value (or has none to begin with). Artwork from famous artists can gain value, but only in inconsistent and faddish ways.
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by BWR View Post
    Except, experience tells me otherwise. If PCs have a place to hoard stuff, then they tend to hoard. Heck, I've had players who draw floor plans of their houses and list what is where in which room.
    Some players are indeed interested in nothing but turning treasure into usable magic items, but once you give PCs a home and a reason to be interested in something beyond combat power most players I know will start collecting treasure and playing Pimp my Imaginary Crib
    I like these discussions because they help me clarify thinking sometimes. What you're describing isn't so much "treasure" as "trophies." That dwarvencraft barrel made of darkoak isn't important to the PCs because it's a store of wealth, it's important because it's a trophy from the PCs adventure in Moria and triumph over the Witch-King of Angar. If they came across one in a marketplace, they probably wouldn't be interested--unless of course the player is a dwarf with a brewing background or ancestry etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Pretty sure artwork generally gains value over time.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Most artwork loses value (or has none to begin with). Artwork from famous artists can gain value, but only in inconsistent and faddish ways.
    Mostly what PhoenixPhyre said--most artwork loses value. To be specific, most finely-crafted items lose value. They have the most value to the person or persons who commissioned them in the first place, paying large sums of money to have the precious thing they want in exactly the way they want.

    The secondary market for such items is pretty brutal. The people with the money for those sorts of things commission new ones. The only ones with any residual value are ones with pedigree value. You can get used diamond rings for pretty reasonable prices--but ahh, THIS diamond ring was worn by Marilyn Monroe and is worth a fortune.

    Similarly, artwork gains value if it has pedigree. An Andy Warhol original is worth a lot. An exact duplicate by one of his students is worth less than the glass frame it's in.

    Art objects from the Elven Ashwood Empire period have value if the Ashwood Empire's artistic reputation is having a revival, and there are avid Ashwood collectors out there in the campaign world.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    Snip
    That is, unless, these are relics form hundreds of years ago, in which case they could be considered relics or artifacts and are sought after by museums (doesn't always apply to most game worlds, but it's worth mentioning).
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  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    That is, unless, these are relics form hundreds of years ago, in which case they could be considered relics or artifacts and are sought after by museums (doesn't always apply to most game worlds, but it's worth mentioning).
    Or even scholars depending on what types of divination magics might be available in the game.

  24. - Top - End - #54
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    That is, unless, these are relics form hundreds of years ago, in which case they could be considered relics or artifacts and are sought after by museums (doesn't always apply to most game worlds, but it's worth mentioning).
    Quote Originally Posted by Kraynic View Post
    Or even scholars depending on what types of divination magics might be available in the game.
    Or nobles/other wealthy folks, if that particular type of relic from that particular period is considered fashionable.

  25. - Top - End - #55
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    I like these discussions because they help me clarify thinking sometimes. What you're describing isn't so much "treasure" as "trophies." That dwarvencraft barrel made of darkoak isn't important to the PCs because it's a store of wealth, it's important because it's a trophy from the PCs adventure in Moria and triumph over the Witch-King of Angar. If they came across one in a marketplace, they probably wouldn't be interested--unless of course the player is a dwarf with a brewing background or ancestry etc.

    To an extent but don't underestimate the appeal of bling. People in general like pretty things, and having tons of pretty things around is pleasing. The height of expensive luxury is rarely because of it is a trophy, it's because people like pretty stuff and want to flaunt their wealth. Most players I've come across fall prey to this to one degree or another, and some PCs certainly do.

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    My two cents: Including multiple currencies is only needed in two cases:
    1. Your players love financial scheming, and genuinely enjoy haggling with NPCs, breaking out calculators and scamming their way to wealth.
    2. The difference in coins plays a significant role in the story.
    If neither is present, then introducing it as a mechanic is unnecessary bookkeeping, and introducing it as a handwave "As you arrive, you exchange your money" is not actually introducing it.

  27. - Top - End - #57
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    I could see currency playing a role in a campaign. Merchant approaches the party. "Prince X is trying to fight the terrible financial situation his state is in by issuing new coins of higher purity. I need you to go to these six banks and buy up all the silver ingots they have by tonight, without anyone realizing you are doing it." or "We are going to water down this nation's currency to ruin them. What I need you to do is break into the mint and swap all their gold bars for this gilded lead, without being seen."
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    You know, I actually used something like that in a campaign once.

    There was a wasteland of an orc nation next to a human nation. One of the plotlines that the party investigated was the rumor of a fortune in a witch-haunted woods. The basis of the fortune was this: a thousand years ago, the Orcs (who used mostly a trade economy) were starting to emerge as an economy and trading with the human nations. So they realized they would need coins to be able to interact with the human markets. But they didn't understand that the human "gold piece" was mostly lesser metals with a small amount of gold mixed in. So they minted their own coins that were pure gold. So each Orcan gold piece was actually worth like 100 gp from pure gold content.

    After minting a bunch of the coins, the orcs had shipped the coins under heavy guard to the human lands where their embassy was only the caravan was lost in the witch haunted woods. So the players went looking for the lost treasure.
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  29. - Top - End - #59
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Which is exactly what Forgotten Realms has. In Sembia they use square iron coins instead of the literal copper piece. In Waterdeep there is a local currency in the taol (worth 2GP in the city, worthless else where) and the harbor moon 50GP in Waterdeep, and some lesser amount in other places. The Cormyrian gold coin, locally stamped with a lion, is considered such high quality and purity that "golden lions" are a common name for gold coins well outside of Cormyr.

    Another option is to use trade bars. Rather than a bag of loose coin worth X gold piece, you have a stack of silver bars worth the same and stamped with a mark from the issuer. That way they're worth their weight in silver quite literally.
    Forgotten Realms Adventures goes into this a lot, and it's kinda fun and weird.

    Like, the Sembian steelpense? It was supposed to replace silver, which Sembia would then hoard. But they overproduced it, so it was watered down to being worth a copper.

    Somewhere produced paper notes, called Bela, that were supposed to serve as currency, but aren't accepted widely enough to be useful, so "trading steelpense for bela" is something people will say to note you're being stupid with money.

    The Gond church? It has a special currency which is a bell.

    They talk about coins which have so badly degraded they're only worth their metal value.
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    Default Re: A campaign with multiple currencies...

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroGear View Post
    While I fully understand that it's done for the sake of simplicity, that's not really how world economy works.
    I first heard this idea in 1975. It sounded cool to me then. It still sounds cool.

    Yes, you're right. It would be more authentic.

    But breaking it down to its actual effect, you're adding complexity for no increase in fun.

    The best possible result is that the players quickly learn how to convert each kind of currency into some universal system, which they will probably call gold pieces, silver pieces, and copper pieces. Any other result will be additional bookkeeping which will slow down the action and annoy the players.

    Don't aim at making things more authentic. Aim at making them more fun.

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