Tuesday, September 04, 2012


I really want my game to have flavor when it comes to money and currency. We're all used to treasure in gold pieces and buying stuff by the hundreds of gp. I believe that putting some detail into the coin system really adds some flavor to the campaign. Put a story and name behind each coin. Maybe a nice design to it as well.

The coins I've come up with are based on the Roman Republic coins:

1 Aureus (gold)

2 Gold Quinarri

25 Denarius (silver)

50 Silver Quinarri

100 Sestertii (bronze)

400 Assarius (copper)

So far this is pretty D&Dish, b ut it doesn't stop there. If you research a bit into the coins of ancient Rome you'll see a great deal of things you're missing if you just stick to gold pieces. Coins were made thinner over time. Less metal in them, mmmmhhh? Inflation? Devaluation??

There were odd values too. The bes (2/3 of an assarius) and semis (1/2 of an assarius). Also some odd ones like the quincunx (5/12). Notice how small the fractions are. It's like paying with pennies. Everyday life went on with low value bronze and copper coins.

This got me thinking on the value of things in medieval settings and imagining what great things could be done with treasure. But that's stuff for another post.

Here's a summary of the fractional coins to an assarius (fractions of a Roman as, 280 BC)

bes (2/3)
semis (1/2) - 800 to an Aureus
quincunx (5/12)
triens (1/3)
quadrans (1/4) - 1600 to an Aureus
sextants (1/6)
uncia (1/12) - standard unit
semuncia (1/24)

Some costs during the third century AD. Do notice that a great deal of inflation had occurred since 280 BC when the lesser coins were used.

Farm laborer salary, with meals = 400 asses
Elementary teacher's salary, per boy = 800 asses
Barber's service price, per client = 32 asses
1 kg of pork = 380 asses (1 lb = 170 asses)
1 kg of grapes = 32 asses (1 lb = 15 asses)

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_(Roman_coin)
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