Rodorsceaft: Pillar of Heaven
Currency and Trade
Metal is scarce in the Branchlands. Any item made substantively out of metal (e.g. swords, metal armor) has its base cost increased by a factor of ten. Any item made partially out of metal (e.g. spears, axes, studded leather) has its base cost increased by a factor of five. This does not affect any additions for masterwork or magical enhancements.
Gems are also very rare. Any gem of up to 100gp base value will command and fetch ten times its base price. Any gem of up to 500gp base value will bring fifty times its base price, and any gem more expensive than this will bring one hundred times its base price. Please note that since spell components speak of gems of a particular value, the local interpretation is that it is size that matters and not actual cost. Therefore, spells which use gems as material components have their costs increased accordingly.
The common currency system in the world dates back, as do many things, to the time of the Solarian Empire. Iron being a very valuable commodity owing to its rarity, the Solarian standard of currency was tied to iron. All other denominations, smaller and larger, were valued based on this standard, known as the pound Caspagium. Pounds Caspagium were minted throughout the time of the Empire, and had a standardized shape and weight (roughly the size of a nickel, circular, with milled edges, 50 to a lb). They were crafted out of bronze and generally had a likeness of the current Radiant Emperor printed on them, though this varied from mint to mint. Each pound, as it was known in the argot, stood for the value of one pound of pure Caspagium iron (valued at 1g rather than 1s; see above).
For transactions requiring a lot of money to change hands, larger denomination coins existed. The most common “business” unit in the Solarian Empire was the Sovereign, an inch-and-a-half diameter silver coin minted with the likeness of Samael. Each Sovereign was valued at 144 pounds.
Smaller denominations, in use amongst the plebians and serfs, also saw common use. However, the expense of metal meant that these coins were generally minted either out of cheap lead and tin, or stamped out of wood and ivory. These two denominations were the solidus, worth 1/12 a pound, and the denarius, worth 1/12 a solidus. The standard rate for labor throughout the Empire was 40 solidi a month; soldiers earned roughly three times this.
Table of Solarian Coinage
When the Mysidian Empire took over the areas previously controlled by the Solarians, the Maximus decreed that the old money system would be overhauled. Rather than continuing the Solarian penchant for twelves, the Mysidian currency would be reckoned by factors of ten, still holding the pound at the center of the system.
Solarian coinage would be revalued based on the new system, such that solidi and denarii would be worth 1/10 and 1/100 a pound, rather than their previous values. This change to the “fiat” vastly increased the wealth of the peasantry, who held mostly small coin. At the same time, Solarian Sovereigns would now be recognized as worth only 100 pounds, significantly reducing the relative wealth of the nobility. Though there was grumbling, the overwhelming support of the peasantry helped the change stick, and Solarian coins can still be traded at the new values within Mysidium.
The Empire did issue new coins, however. The “lancet,” a new quarter-sized silver coin worth 10 pounds, was issued primarily for use by adventurers. The Sovereign was retired in favor of the Imperium, a thumb-sized engraved silver bar, worth 100 pounds. The schilling, a penny-sized tin coin, replaced the solidus, and the pence, a dime-sized coin made from a lead/tin alloy, replaced the denarus. Several denominational-multiple coins are also minted, providing two-pence through five-pence, two-shilling and five-shilling, and half-lancet (five-pound) amounts.
Table of Mysidian Coinage
Elsewhere in the world, a wide variety of coinage with all kinds of strange names can be found. In trade cities, moneychangers can be found without too much difficulty; in more remote areas, the currency of the realm holds sway and coinage becomes worth only its weight in base metal (usually only a tiny fraction of its actual value, if it can be traded at all). Would-be travelers are strongly advised to convert their stock of Gnomish florins, Dwarven knuts and Syrexian rupis into common coin or goods before trading in the hinterlands.
Among the more civilized peoples, notes of credit may be encountered. These notes are always signed by the issuer, the issuee and several witnesses at the very least to certify their validity, and will almost always bear one or more wax seals upon them to further legitimize them. These notes of credit always spell out exactly what they can be exchanged for (more often a hard quantity of a recognized trade good rather than coin; 100 lbs of gold has a more stable value than, say, 500 Mysidian Imperiums); it is considered extremely bad form to extend multiple letters of credit against the same asset.
Trade notes are fragile, and as such are usually carefully protected by their bearers. Their primary use is in issuing loans or securing advance payments; the economy of the world is insufficiently advanced to allow for fiat currency.