Friday, October 22, 2010

Dungeons of Saedom: Coinage and Monetary Exchange

The world in which Saedom is set has seen many political upheavals in past centuries. The city and region have had many masters: tieflings, dragonborn, and humans. Furthermore, the thanedoms of the Dwarfen Deeps have, at times, held great sway over the settlements and cities of the Ivory Coast. The current ruler of Saedom is King Alaric II, a descendant of Osric the Usurper: conqueror of Saedom. Osric and his armies hailed from Sarmacia, a land of warriors and traders. In fact, the Osirian kings still claim nominal hegemony over the lands of Sarmacia.

Sarmacian kroene, which are minted in Saedom as well as in Sarmacia, can be found throughout the Shattered Seas: a direct result of the paths that Sarmacian fighters and merchants still tramp throughout the region. Sarmacian coins have even made it as far as the Northlands, beyond the Wyrmspire Mountains. 

Arkhosian, now Tyrian, shekels were for over a thousand years the universally accepted medium of exchange in the region. The dominance of the Arkhosian Empire meant that the shekel was the only acceptable coin along most of the Ivory Coast. With the fall of the Arkhosian Empire, Tyre has continued to circulate shekels. Tyre now mints its own Shekels, though ancient Arkhosian shekels are still legal tender within Tyre's limits. Tyrian dominance along the Ivory Coast has meant that Tyrian shekels can be easily found in most settlements in the region.

The thanedoms of the Dwarfen Deeps have for over a thousand years minted their own currency: Dwarfen marks. Dwarfen marks have become quite a commodity in the region. The desire for Dwarfen marks stems from two sources: the insistence among most dwarf merchants that their customers pay only in Dwarfen coin and the common belief that Dwarfen marks are guaranteed to be made of the purest metals. 

Northmen raiders and mercenaries have plagued the Shattered Seas for generations. With them the Northmen have brought their own crude system of exchange: hack. Hack gold, silver, and copper pieces are generally cast into strips which are wrapped around the owners' arms like bracelets. When the hack is required to make an exchange, the appropriate value is literally hacked from the larger piece with an axe or sword and then given over as payment. Often, smaller pieces are hammered out into rough coins and collected in purses, or strung together and worn like charms. Like rough coins (see below) one can never be sure of the hack's value when taking hack as payment, unless it is appraised and weighed.

Finally, one can find many sizes and shapes of coins which do not belong to any of the monetary systems above being traded in the Shattered Seas. For gaming purposes, these will be called rough coins. Many merchants are loath to take rough coinage. Without knowing the source of a coin, it makes it nearly impossible for a seller to be sure that the coin which he is receiving is pure or that it is even of the correct weight.

Though this system of exchange is designed primarily to bring flavor and character to the Saedom campaign, there are some game mechanics which will accompany it. First, each type of coin has a gp, sp, and cp equivalent, all of which are roughly equal to one another. Generally, when dealing with any of the types of coin, if a seller demands payment of a specific type, the buyer will have to pay with the appropriate coins. Though, sometimes a seller might be willing to take other coinage, but at a discount (usually 10%). Likewise, to exchange one coin for another will usually require a payment of 10%. In Saedom, moneychangers can be found in many of the city's temples, all of which are located along the Street of the Gods.



Gold Mark(s)/Silver Mark(s)/Copper Mark(s)-gp/sp/cp

Hack and Rough Coins:


  1. i usually don't start a dungeon crawl without an ample supply of camel cash.

  2. Good plan. Smoking pays! What about Marlboro Bux?