D&D General Does anyone else use a silver standard in their DND game?

pukunui

Legend
For costs, I didn't change the value, but do express it in SP, so something that costs 20GP I now say costs 200SP. When giving out treasure from prewritten modules, I step whatever the currency down one value, so if it says the monster was carrying 20GP, I say they were carrying 20SP. Also, I never actually use the terms SP or GP in game, but refer to them by the local name currency in the game setting, wherever the players happen to be. And if they have the wrong coinage, they have to go to a moneychanger...
This is pretty much what I did the one time I tried running a campaign with a silver standard. It certainly helped the campaign stand out as being a bit different to the norm, but it didn't really feel like it added enough to be worth continuing with in subsequent campaigns.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I've always liked the gold-piece standard, in that it truly separates the elites from the commons.

I've also never liked "metrification" of coinage systems, i.e. everything neatly divides by ten, because boring.

So, I use a variant of the old British system: 12 cp (pennies) to the sp (shilling), 20 sp to the gp (pound), with pp being 5 gp and electrum being half a gp. These are the coin types commonly found by adventurers.

I also, for the common folk, have farthings (bronze pieces; 4 to the penny), ha-pennies (2 to the penny), thrupenny bits (worth 3 cp) and sixpences (worth 6 cp); but these are rarely found in adventures.
This isn’t even a variant of the historical British system, it just is the system straight-up. And, hey, it’s a good system! 240 is a highly divisible number, so 240 pence to the pound is an extremely mathematically sound exchange rate… if everyone using it is familiar with it. And if you‘ve been playing this way for a few decades I imagine you are, but it’s much more challenging to make that change for a group that’s used to decimal currency.

It’s also more complex math to convert prices from the core rules and rewards from modules from a decimal system to a dozenal one. Which again, is not a problem if you have all your own equipment lists with your own pricing that you’ve been using for years and only ever run custom games rather than modules. But for folks who still use the equipment and price lists in the books and like to run the occasional module, it’s much more inconvenient than sticking with decimal.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This isn’t even a variant of the historical British system, it just is the system straight-up. And, hey, it’s a good system! 240 is a highly divisible number, so 240 pence to the pound is an extremely mathematically sound exchange rate… if everyone using it is familiar with it. And if you‘ve been playing this way for a few decades I imagine you are, but it’s much more challenging to make that change for a group that’s used to decimal currency.

It’s also more complex math to convert prices from the core rules and rewards from modules from a decimal system to a dozenal one. Which again, is not a problem if you have all your own equipment lists with your own pricing that you’ve been using for years and only ever run custom games rather than modules. But for folks who still use the equipment and price lists in the books and like to run the occasional module, it’s much more inconvenient than sticking with decimal.
I usually don't bother converting the treasure they find - if the module says they find 1500 silver pieces they find 1500 silver pieces; it's just worth a few less converted gp than it otherwise would be, and it's not like they don't find gobs of treasure. :)

I re-did the mundane equipment lists ages ago, not so much to convert the coin exchange (though I did a bit of that as well as I was in there anyway) but more to change some prices that didn't make sense and to add a bunch of things the original lists didn't cover. And as a gold piece is still a gold piece I didn't have to worry about converting magic item prices or prices for anything expensive.
 

Yes, well, if you are tyring to compare to real life... nobody makes everyday coins out of pure precious metals. So, it costs two pounds of coins, only some fraction of each coin is actually gold.
This really bugs the crap out of me, because it just turns coins into miniature trade bars. Trade bars are now worthless, since they can't be broken down, so why not just carry your as coins? I've solved this by simply doubling the value of trade bars, which are pure metal. This means that coins are admixtures, with their value based on the assumed purity and weight.

To the original question of "Should D&D be converted to a silver standard?"--I would like it if it were, and I'd happily play in a campaign where that was the case. However, from a DM perspective, it fails my test of "Is this important enough to make my players remember a house rule?"
I tried really hard to do a silver standard once, and people just forgetting the houserule. Even me as DM :blush:
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
This really bugs the crap out of me, because it just turns coins into miniature trade bars. Trade bars are now worthless, since they can't be broken down, so why not just carry your as coins?

If memory serves, standard coins are about a third of an ounce, so 50 coins weight a pound. So, 50 GP weight a pound.

Faerun's gold trade bars are 50gp value per pound - the same value per weight as coins. So they really are just another coin denomination. They are large, so they are good for transferring large sums - do you want to count (and check the stamp) on 10 big trade bars, or count 5000 individual coins of various minting?
 

I guess that gold silver and copper are all a lot more common in my world and therefore less valuable. It makes sense when you got dwarves (with an obsession for shiny stuff) and other races digging around in the earth for many millennia.

Luckily there are more rare/valuable minerals for those moments when you want to carry around insane wealth on your person without failing an encumbrance check.
 


NotAYakk

Legend
Gold/silver coins where pretty pure, at least in Greek/Roman times. Like 90%-95%.

One approach is to value all currency by weight. And have a coinweight, 1/100th of a pound, be a unit. Then different countries currencies can still exist.

Gold/Plat has about twice the density of Silver/Copper.

Using 500 g is 1 lbs (because lbs suck)

Based off density, this makes "coinweight" SP and CP be about nickle sized and GP/PP be about penny-sized.

(2.5 g for a penny, 5 g nickle, 6.3 g loonie, 7.5 g euro approx)

A 1 euro coin has the weight of 3 pennies. A Canadian "loonie" has the weight of 2.5 pennies.

(5 g for a penny, 10 g nickle, 12.5 g loonie, 15 g euro approx)

(The above assumes the same density)

Per pound:
CP/SP: 100 standard nickle, 200 pennies, 80 loonies, 66 euro-sized.
PP/GP: 100 standard penny, 50 nickles, 40 loonies, 33 euro-sized.

Using the 10 sp per gp, and 100 cp per sp means that prices in cp remain unchanged. Price in gp becomes price in sp, and price in sp is divided by 10.

In an existing module, you can replace any "100 gp" with "1 pound of silver coins". For treasure measured in sp, divide by 10 first.

The nice thing about this is that (a) it makes clear how heavy the coins weigh, by putting that first, and (b) it makes different currencies in your world, without making it awkward, because treasure is measured in pounds of specie.
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
1 Tin - Copper 10 - Silver 100 - Gold 1000.

iu
Tin, historically, was much more valuable than copper...
 



Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Gold/silver coins where pretty pure, at least in Greek/Roman times. Like 90%-95%.

One approach is to value all currency by weight. And have a coinweight, 1/100th of a pound, be a unit. Then different countries currencies can still exist.

Gold/Plat has about twice the density of Silver/Copper.

Using 500 g is 1 lbs (because lbs suck)

Based off density, this makes "coinweight" SP and CP be about nickle sized and GP/PP be about penny-sized.

(2.5 g for a penny, 5 g nickle, 6.3 g loonie, 7.5 g euro approx)

A 1 euro coin has the weight of 3 pennies. A Canadian "loonie" has the weight of 2.5 pennies.

(5 g for a penny, 10 g nickle, 12.5 g loonie, 15 g euro approx)

(The above assumes the same density)

Per pound:
CP/SP: 100 standard nickle, 200 pennies, 80 loonies, 66 euro-sized.
PP/GP: 100 standard penny, 50 nickles, 40 loonies, 33 euro-sized.

Using the 10 sp per gp, and 100 cp per sp means that prices in cp remain unchanged. Price in gp becomes price in sp, and price in sp is divided by 10.

In an existing module, you can replace any "100 gp" with "1 pound of silver coins". For treasure measured in sp, divide by 10 first.

The nice thing about this is that (a) it makes clear how heavy the coins weigh, by putting that first, and (b) it makes different currencies in your world, without making it awkward, because treasure is measured in pounds of specie.
I like this idea a lot, but I’m struggling to understand how it would look in play. What units would the players actually use under this system? Pounds? Coinweights? If a party of 4 PCs find “a pound of silver coins” in the dungeon, what does each player write on their character sheet, assuming they divide the loot evenly?
 


NotAYakk

Legend
I like this idea a lot, but I’m struggling to understand how it would look in play. What units would the players actually use under this system? Pounds? Coinweights? If a party of 4 PCs find “a pound of silver coins” in the dungeon, what does each player write on their character sheet, assuming they divide the loot evenly?
I'd keep it as pounds.

The standard coin is 0.01 pounds. Imperials are 3x, so 0.03 pounds (which means silver/copper imperials are beefy; gold imperials are euro-sized). Pennies, which only exist for Silver and Copper, are half sized coins (so 0.005 pounds). (technically the standard gp is a penny)

Use of pennies and imperials and standard coins should only occur when you want the flavour in game. You shouldn't ask players to track them.

I might go with (by weight)
100 copper = 1 silver
10 silver = 1 gold
3 gold = 1 platinum

but nobody except the ancients coined platinum, so platinum imperials are actually 9 gold (pennies) = 1 platinum (imperial). As coins are secondary to weight, this isn't that annoying.

A fun bit is that the "pound" becomes a standard unit of currency, as in pounds of silver. 1 pound of silver is 10 gold pennies or 1 platinum imperial.

Converting prices to pounds of silver becomes easy.

XX Book gp = 0.XX pounds of silver.
XX Book cp = 0.XX pounds of copper.
XX Book sp = X.X pounds of silver.
 
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Oofta

Legend
How often does this kind of stuff really come up in game play for y'all? I rarely care about miscellaneous expenses - we just use the "cost of living" guidelines if that. Most of the time miscellaneous expenses like getting lunch and drinks are just hand waved because the extra bookkeeping just isn't worth it for me.

There's nothing wrong with counting literal pennies, but is it something you really use on a regular basis?
 

NotAYakk

Legend
How often does this kind of stuff really come up in game play for y'all? I rarely care about miscellaneous expenses - we just use the "cost of living" guidelines if that. Most of the time miscellaneous expenses like getting lunch and drinks are just hand waved because the extra bookkeeping just isn't worth it for me.

There's nothing wrong with counting literal pennies, but is it something you really use on a regular basis?
Sure, but I'm talking about flavour and how you track wealth.

By tracking wealth by pounds of silver (each worth 100 "book" gp), it turns an abstract large number in a character sheet (how many gp) into something tangible.

They don't find 1732 gp, they find 1.3 pound of gold, 4.3 pounds of silver and 2 pounds of copper in a chest, all in ancient imperials.

The actual coinage they work with is flavour.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I'd keep it as pounds.

The standard coin is 0.01 pounds. Imperials are 3x, so 0.03 pounds (which means silver/copper imperials are beefy; gold imperials are euro-sized). Pennies, which only exist for Silver and Copper, are half sized coins (so 0.005 pounds). (technically the standard gp is a penny)

Use of pennies and imperials and standard coins should only occur when you want the flavour in game. You shouldn't ask players to track them.

I might go with (by weight)
100 copper = 1 silver
10 silver = 1 gold
3 gold = 1 platinum

but nobody except the ancients coined platinum, so platinum imperials are actually 9 gold (pennies) = 1 platinum (imperial). As coins are secondary to weight, this isn't that annoying.

A fun bit is that the "pound" becomes a standard unit of currency, as in pounds of silver. 1 pound of silver is 10 gold pennies or 1 platinum imperial.

Converting prices to pounds of silver becomes easy.

XX Book gp = 0.XX pounds of silver.
XX Book cp = 0.XX pounds of copper.
XX Book sp = X.X pounds of silver.
So, again, trying to put this in terms of what it would look like at the table, when the party of 4 finds a pound of silver coins in the dungeon and decides to split it evenly, what do they write on their character sheets? .25 lbs of silver? What does 10 days of rations cost? .05 lbs of silver?
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Tin, historically, was much more valuable than copper...
Indeed, but teenagers I'm running a game for thought brighter/shinier = better for the coins I have so switched it.

Tin was the rare part of bronze that came from BFE... actually, not from Egypt as that was a central hub of Bronze-Age trade.

If we were playing without the coins I would have switched it. Just transitioned to Dark Sun so not a problem now. :)
 

Lakesidefantasy

Adventurer
I'd keep it as pounds.

The standard coin is 0.01 pounds. Imperials are 3x, so 0.03 pounds (which means silver/copper imperials are beefy; gold imperials are euro-sized). Pennies, which only exist for Silver and Copper, are half sized coins (so 0.005 pounds). (technically the standard gp is a penny)

Use of pennies and imperials and standard coins should only occur when you want the flavour in game. You shouldn't ask players to track them.

I might go with (by weight)
100 copper = 1 silver
10 silver = 1 gold
3 gold = 1 platinum

but nobody except the ancients coined platinum, so platinum imperials are actually 9 gold (pennies) = 1 platinum (imperial). As coins are secondary to weight, this isn't that annoying.

A fun bit is that the "pound" becomes a standard unit of currency, as in pounds of silver. 1 pound of silver is 10 gold pennies or 1 platinum imperial.

Converting prices to pounds of silver becomes easy.

XX Book gp = 0.XX pounds of silver.
XX Book cp = 0.XX pounds of copper.
XX Book sp = X.X pounds of silver.

How often does this kind of stuff really come up in game play for y'all? I rarely care about miscellaneous expenses - we just use the "cost of living" guidelines if that. Most of the time miscellaneous expenses like getting lunch and drinks are just hand waved because the extra bookkeeping just isn't worth it for me.

There's nothing wrong with counting literal pennies, but is it something you really use on a regular basis?
We are of two minds and torn betwixt the two. Fantasy struggles with Reality.

It's like that saffron or fish sauce in the cupboard. Its full of flavor and we love flavor, but it's impractical to put it on everything.

Maybe I'll just tell my Players that this part of the world uses farthings, and there are 25 farthings to a penny (and of course there are 12 pennies to a pound sterling, which is a silver piece). But, we're not going to change anything. Don't convert your coins, don't even track them, just, you know, use your imagination.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
How often does this kind of stuff really come up in game play for y'all? I rarely care about miscellaneous expenses - we just use the "cost of living" guidelines if that. Most of the time miscellaneous expenses like getting lunch and drinks are just hand waved because the extra bookkeeping just isn't worth it for me.

There's nothing wrong with counting literal pennies, but is it something you really use on a regular basis?
This is a valid point, and I can tell from experience that too complex a coinage system is just not worth the bother, it's just annoying to most players. I think that the warhammer system, which was somewhat historical (1 gp = 20 sp = 240 cp) was complex enough.

If you want more complex but not make life hard on your players, I strongly urge the use of a "currency of account".

 

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