Monday, July 20, 2015

Monvesian Culture: Dwarven Coinage

Humans are not the only race to influence the greater culture of Monvesia.   The concept of money, for instance, is a dwarven creation.  However, money isn't the only form of commerce in Monvesia.

Coinage of Monvesia

The human use of coins was borrowed from the dwarves and gnomes—though humans use fewer types of coins than their dwarven predecessors. For both cultures precious stones (but not semi-precious ones) are also a monetary commodity.

Coins are not referred to as “gold pieces,” “silver pieces,” etc. Instead, each region uses its own terms for the common coins; some examples are found below.  Game terms (gp, sp, cp) are used to note relative value of coins.
Every coin is approximately the same size: 3 - 5g of mass, and 1 finger (18 – 20 mm) in diameter (about the size of a penny, nickel, or dime). Approximately 100 coins, of any denomination, is equal to a pound in weight. Regardless of actual weight, a [small] belt pouch may hold no more than 200 coins.

Dwarven Coins

Dwarves have the largest variety of coins, using several different alloys to make half-value coins.  These coins are managed by the Keeperate, as commerce is considered a universal cultural tradition independent of any city state; expert-caste smiths are in particular cities hold warrants from the Keeperate to mint coins.  Outside of Dvergheim, dwarven coins are only valid currency in the Honderreich and the Tsarlands—and, even then, billon coins are rarely used.
Dwarves use a hybrid coin-system that accomodates all editions of D&D.
  • brinjao karibche ("bronze gate"), 1/2 cp
    • Bronze (or  brass) is an alloy of copper and any of a number of lesser metals (tin, nickel, etc.)
  • tsitel ghori ("red/copper boar), 1 cp
  • isperi mushti ("violet/billon fist"), 1/2 sp (or 5 cp)
    • Billon is an alloy of copper and silver 
  • vertskhli artsivi ("silver eagle"), 1 sp
  • tsvane kharis ("green/electrum bull"), 1/ ep (1/2 gp or 5 sp)
  • okro gveleshap ("golden dragon"), 1 gp
  • lurj datvi ("blue/rhodite bear"), 5 gp (1/2 pp)
    • Rhodite is an alloy of gold and any of the platinum family of metals
  • platin gvirgvin ("platinum crown"), 1 pp

Honderreicher Coins

While Kleimland, Geirland, and Vaserreich each mint their own coins in copper, silver, and gold; dwarven electrum and rhodite coins are re-struck as well.  Each nation prints their own images on the coins, but all are of relatively the same value.
The Honderreich uses the coins of Basic D&D & AD&D 2nd Edition.
  • penny (plural pence), 1 cp
    • Also the local name for the Imperial Denar in Waschbar & Zyrndy
  • shilling, 1 sp
    • Also the local name for the Imperial Soldo in Waschbar & Zyrndy
  • mark or crown, 1 ep (1/2 gp or 5 sp)
  • guilder, 1 gp
    • Also the local name for the Imperial Libra in Waschbar & Zyrndy
  • sovereign, 5 gp (1/2 pp)
    • In Waschbar & Zyrndy, the imperial ducat (1 pp) is used instead of the sovereign.

Tsarish Currency

As in the Honderreich, certain dwarven coins are re-stuck in the Tsardom of Voztok; particularly bronze/brass and electrum pieces. These are supplemental to the standard coins.
The Tsardom uses the coins of AD&D 1st Edition
  • degna, 1/2 cp
  • kopeck, 1/2 sp (5 cp)
  • poltinnik (plural poltinny), 1 ep (1/2 gp)
  • ruble, 1 gp
  • chervonets (plural chervonetsy), 5 gp (1/2 pp)

Cuorrian and Notopolitan Currency

To solidify their economic union, common coins are minted in all the nations of the Empire.  The same, decimal standard is also used in Montaigne and Ulvio-Sabbia (using Imperial names) as well as Notopoli (with Notopolitan names), which were once part of the Empire.
The Senarian Empire uses the coins of 3rd & 4th Edition.
  • denar (denari) or lepton, 1 cp
    • Denari bear the image of a local icon (bird, beast, or flora)
    • Leptons bear the image of the local city-state's iconic flora
  • soldo (soldi) or drachma (drachmae), 1 sp
    • Denari bear the image of the local sovereign (which may be an alternate image of the current Emperor)
    • Drachmae bear the image of the local city-state's ionic bird or fish
  • libra (librae) or stater, 1 gp
    • Librae bear the image of the current Pontiff (Empire) or local sovereign (Montaigne & Ulvio-Sabbia)
    • Staters bear the image of the local city-state's ionic beast or cattle
  • ducat or mina, 1 pp
    • Ducats bear the image of the current Emperor (Empire) or local sovereign (Montaigne & Ulvio-Sabbia)
    • Minas bear the image of one of the current Archons, according the the city-state's majority demonimation

The nations of the Lower Granitsa Mountains--Voztokan Volka and Cuorrian Mancare, Vanator, and Tristeren--do not mint their own coins.  These nations accept both Imperial and Tsarish coins equally.  Notopolitan and Honderreicher coins are rare here, but not unknown.

Veldi Currency

Veldistan uses a decimal standard similar to the Empire, but also employs electrum coins.
Veldistan uses the coins of 5th Edition.
  • dinar, 1 cp
  • sannar, 1 sp
  • naderi, 1 ep
  • kran, 1 gp
  • toman, 1 pp

Goliath Currency

As with humans, goliath coinage borrows heavily from the dwarven model--but without a pure platinum coin.

  • shiblon, 1/2 cp [square]
  • senum, 1 cp [square]
  • antion, 5 cp (1/2 sp) [square]
  • amnor, 1 sp [lozenge]
  • ezrom, 1 ep [lozenge]
  • onti, 1 gp [trapezoid]
  • limnah, 5 gp (1/2 pp) [trapezoid]

Non-Coinage-Based Commerce

Commerce in the Galt Kingdoms and Pridelands

The Galts and rakasta do not regularly use the coinage described above, though they do recognize its value to other nations, and often keep a store of them for trade purposes. These regions continue to use an older barter system—commodities (like cattle, grain or ale) being traded for good or services.  When paying for anything in the Galt Kingdoms or Pridelands with coins, the price is double the item’s value.

Dwarven brass and bronze coins are worthless. These coins are often melted down and hammered into bowls and plates. It is not uncommon to see individual “brass gates” as decorative feature on such cookware.

Elf Commerce

Elves do not typically have a cultural notion of ownership or trade, though elves that travel among other races find such concepts helpful. Among elf “communities,” an elf uses what he or she needs, when he or she needs it; and discards the object or passes it on when they are done. For the majority of elves, only items which can be carried are considered possessions.

Elves who explore beyond Sünnimaa often adopt local monetary traditions.

Gnome Commerce

Gnomes use whatever form of commerce is most convenient at the time, or accepted in the area in which they are currently travelling. They barter freely, and willingly accept coinage as well as precious and semi-precious stones.

See Also:
Human Calendar & Religion

Edited July 30, 2015; September 21, 2015.

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