I just bought Luke Gearing’s Wolves Upon The Coast campaign which includes a draft of his forthcoming supplement &&&&& Treasure. This is a series of tables for generating treasure hordes, and alongside the expected entries for potions, wands, artefacts, etc, there is a “coins” table. I’ve written before about my dissatisfaction with the way money is conceived of in RPGs. So Luke’s table brought a smile to my face, as it presents coinage as something much more than just some ubiquitous anonymous token used for earning experience, resurrecting old buddies, and building mansions.
Coins taken from pockets with grubby fingers will be of mixed modern types, and usable as tender unless a
polity is actively enforcing its own coinage. Coins discovered in hoards will tie to the time of their origin … accumulative hoards as gathered by certain types of inhuman monsters (ogres, bankers etc) will mostly be of local, modern types (as dictated by geography) but may (20% chance) have one of the below Special Coins. Special Coins can be used as normal coinage or sold to historians, scholars and collectors.
So “special” coins may be used as a stand-in for modern coins. But most have other uses too, and will be far more valuable if sold to a collector rather than used as a “modern” coin (see noisms post about finding suitable collectors who buy rare artefacts).
- Monster parts as coinage (e.g. dragon scales: one dragon = HP x 500 coins equivalent)
- Coins tainted with magic
- Rubber coins that squeak when you’re hit in combat, fall down a trap, etc
- Coins made from radioactive substances which decay and damage the carrier if not spent rapidly
- Coins which change their design according to, e.g., the weather, or the mood of the region’s ruler
- Propaganda coins (for inspiration, see the early 20th Century German medals designed by Karl Goetz – this one being the most notorious – content warning: explicit racism; naked woman; unfeasibly large penis; doubled-up exclamation marks!!)
- Interlocking coins. What do they make? And where can you find the missing piece of the jigsaw? Don’t say that bloody dragon’s got it!
- Translucent coins which show looped footage of glories from long ago
- Coins which weigh so much as to be effectively worthless
- Coins which weigh so little as to float away if uncontained
- Cowrie shells et al
- Ectoplasmic currency