DF Campaign Coinage

 What currency to use in my DF campaign?

 DFRPG has a suggested default of a copper coin being worth $1, a silver being worth $20, and a gold coin as worth $400. Each of those coins are 50 to the pound. A bar of silver weighing 1 lb is worth $1000, and a bar of gold of that weight is a whopping $20000. GURPS Dungeon Fantasy (the "big brother" and precursor to DFRPG) uses different default coin sizes, but keeps the ratio of metal value for silver and gold the same.

 The standard set by D&D is decimal: 1 gold piece = 10 silver pieces = 100 copper pieces. This is of practical convenience for the players at the table, but it doesn't feel particularly evocative. Why mention D&D? It is likely that the World of Jordoba, although written to be systemless, 
would inherit that assumption when used in an OSR/D&D game. There is certainly a practical consideration for the DM there, in that whatever their chosen incarnation of the D&D rules, the equipment price list is probably written for those relative coinage values. Changing that would mean a fair bit of work for the DM.

 Equipment lists in GURPS (even fantasy ones), are priced in US dollars ($), and Dungeon Fantasy is no exception. This has the benefit of abstracting the value of objects away from in-game currency considerations, which in turn makes it easier for the GM to play around with coin values.


 I decided to use the DFRPG default for the currency in the Kingdom of Ioscany, which is the starting location of the campaign. This was simplest when using the starter adventure in the DFRPG box, along with the sequel. That doesn't mean that all nations and cultures should use the same coin values though. For other countries and city-states, I may mix up some or all of the individual coin types, while keeping the relative value of the precious metals the same across the setting.

Ioscany copper piece: $1 each. 50 coins to the pound.

Ioscany silver shilling: $20 each. 50 coins to the pound.
Ioscany gold crown: $400 each. 50 coins to the pound.

 Gold crowns are often cut in half for smaller transactions. The other coins not so much. Here are some older coins from past empires that the party has come across.

Ancient Te-Minoan silver penny: $5 each. 200 coins to the pound.
Old Vycenaean silver denarius: $10 each. 100 coins to the pound. 

 Of course that is nowhere near as convoluted as actual ancient or medieval currency, but it is complex enough to add a little more variety and verisimilitude without getting too bogged down in exchange rates. There will be other coin types in ancient hordes, as well as from neighbouring countries that have collapsed under barbarian invasion or been overrun by monsters (or both!).This includes rarer alloyed metals such as billon or electrum coins.

 The Nordlond setting uses the DFRPG coin values/sizes as is, but I would change this if I do integrate that setting into the current campaign.

Comments

  1. I use the D&D standard of 1-10-100 in my DF game. I used DF Treasure 1 - Glittering PrizeS to determine size and weight for the new values and ended it up with
    1 copper dragonfly $1, 125 coins to 1kg (2.205 pounds)
    1 silver archer, $10, 200 coins to 1kg
    1 golden king, $100, 400 coins to 1kg.
    So I assume it would be approximately 56 copper coins to the pound, $63
    90 silver coins to the pound, $1000
    181 gold coins to the pound, $20000, if I convert them from metric system to imperial system.

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    Replies
    1. Ah yes, metric is an eminently more practical system. Did you convert the weight of the whole equipment list for your game, or do you just recalculate on the fly?

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    2. Most of my players don't speak English, so when I translate to Brazilian Portuguese I also convert to metric units. In Brazil we have only the Basic Set in Portuguese, and it has some errors, so I always check with the original anyway.

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