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

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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?
At low level, absolutely. Every copper matters, when you don't have any. :)

At higher level, when the PCs have become rich (or died trying) the minutae tend to be handwaved a bit more.
 

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Oofta

Legend
At low level, absolutely. Every copper matters, when you don't have any. :)

At higher level, when the PCs have become rich (or died trying) the minutae tend to be handwaved a bit more.
I guess I've never wanted to play "Dungeons and Spreadsheets". ;)

There's nothing wrong with counting every penny, it's just not my style. I don't emphasize the monetary/treasure aspect of the game all that much, it's more "there's some treasure, I'll let you know at the end of the session how much you got". When it comes to pocket change, that's why PCs still have day jobs when they're low level.

But there's nothing wrong with different emphasis or styles. I was just curious because I don't remember the last time we ever bothered tracking anything less than a GP in games I've played.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I think it's just more fun when finding gold is something amazing rather than spare change you find under the couch.
This!

When I started my last campaign, I instituted a "silver standard" but I kinda did it on the sly...it's mostly just vocabulary. I stopped referring to money as "gold-pieces" and "silver-pieces," and started calling them by their in-game name, and it's made a huge difference in the game assumptions of what money is and how much it's worth.

Copper pieces are called "coppers" or "marks," and they are the preferred currency of commoners and laborers. In present-day American money, a copper would be the cash equivalent of a $1 bill.

Silver pieces are called "crowns," because they have an image of a crown on one side. They are the preferred currency of skilled laborers and tradesmen. They're roughly the cash equivalent of a $10 bill in present-day money.

Gold pieces are called "sovereigns" because they have an image of the king on one side. They are the preferred currency of nobles and the ruling class. (They are comparable to a $100 bill.)

Electrum pieces aren't used, because I couldn't find a use for them other than "because they're in the book."

Platinum pieces are extremely rare, and are called "Guilders" because they are used almost exclusively by the trade guilds to move large amounts of money from one place to another. They aren't widely circulated, and most locals haven't even seen one. (They are comparable to a present-day $1000-dollar bill.)

Whenever the party haggles for goods and services, or purchases items from local merchants, I always quote the price in terms of Crowns or Sovereigns, depending on whom they are doing business with. After a couple of gaming sessions of "wait a minute, what's a crown again?" everyone has gotten the hang of it.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Whenever the party haggles for goods and services, or purchases items from local merchants, I always quote the price in terms of Crowns or Sovereigns, depending on whom they are doing business with. After a couple of gaming sessions of "wait a minute, what's a crown again?" everyone has gotten the hang of it.
Fo rmy current campaign I originally intended to do the same thing but it went by the boards within the first session or two; I'd read s.p. or g.p. or whatever and just say "silver piece" or "gold piece", rather than doing the quick conversion in my head and saying the coin name.

The renaming of some classic monsters went much better. :)
 

NotAYakk

Legend
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?
Sure, if you are buying supplies off-screen or out of the book. 1 gp price in book is 0.01 lbs of silver.

If you are roleplaying the exchange, you talk about coins. But exact coins matter as much as "500 gp in misc gems" does in many games.

Maybe "0.25 lbs of silver albion crowns". In case that matters. ;)
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Sure, if you are buying supplies off-screen or out of the book. 1 gp price in book is 0.01 lbs of silver.

If you are roleplaying the exchange, you talk about coins. But exact coins matter as much as "500 gp in misc gems" does in many games.

Maybe "0.25 lbs of silver albion crowns". In case that matters. ;)
But if you’re tracking what kind of coin “in case it matters,” doesn’t that kind of defeat the point of working in terms of weight?
 

NotAYakk

Legend
But if you’re tracking what kind of coin “in case it matters,” doesn’t that kind of defeat the point of working in terms of weight?
The point of weight is a few things.

1) It means coins magically start having mass. If you don't track coin weight, 1000 gp is a number. It doesn't sound like 10 pounds of gold. And 10,000 gp is suddenly 100 pounds of gold (!)

2) It often doesn't matter. Much like how gems can be converted to coins to sell stuff, their GP value matters.

3) When it matters, it can be fun. If you are doing a bit about going into a foreign country, for example. When it does matter, you let the players know to track it. When it doesn't, you just use it as flavor when distributing it.

Most of your coins are going to be local, or for tome raiders from ancient times. As a DM you can invent what coins they have if they don't want to track it. If they track it, they get to know.

If someone is going from Albion to the Holy Arkosian Empire, the assumption that your coins are all a mixture of Bael Turath and Albion is something you can do something with. They might start tracking what kind of coins they have in pounds.

At the same time, tracking the exact number of imperials (which are worth 3 normal gold pieces) is annoying, because you have to do multiplication and know the exchange rate. Pounds are pounds, it makes the exchange rate relatively transparent.
 

Edgar Ironpelt

Explorer
I've played tricks to make gold etc. more valuable in D&D while keeping nominal prices for most things the same. The effect is much like going to a silver standard in terms of the physical weight of gold (or silver) needed to buy an item, but without the need to do a mental shift of gp -> sp all the time.

See: Golden Gold
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I tried using the silver standard, but there just wasn't enough silver.

I blame the Hunt Brothers!


(Yeah, it's deep cut Sunday!)
 

Properly speaking, in my setting, a copper standard is probably the most likely base coinage. 10 gp (or rather, 10 dinars) is a week's unskilled, mundane labor (porters, cleaners, servers, that sort of thing), meaning a week's rent can't possibly be more than about half that for a middling-cheap place to live, and mundane goods and services still less. It would thus make a lot more sense if this translated to 1000 fulus (singular fals), copper coins, possibly with half- or even quarter-penny denominations for small things (e.g. a quarter-fals bag of candy for a child). Bigger-scale prices might use silver dirhams, e.g. a carriage-ride across the city might be 2 dirhams, while a basic afternoon meal is probably 1 dirham. A full dinar will get you a quality meal at a mid-range restaurant, and 10 dinars will get you fine dining at a posh restaurant.

Ordinary folk live by these numbers. Adventurers aren't ordinary folk. To them, throwing around 100 dinars--the equivalent of over two months' pay for a day-laborer--is par for the course. They carry treasure worth hundreds of dinars, and that makes them a target...but after you've fended off a thief or two, word gets around, especially if you're friends with a Robin Hood-type "noble" prince of thieves. Doubly so when you're generous with the funds you bring in and take on jobs for no pay to help poor folk.

And even with the players being pretty damn rich by ordinary folks' standards? They're still small potatoes compared to the bigwig merchant princes, who can throw down a thousand dinars on a bet and not even sweat if they lose it. Sure, that might be 8%, 10% of their current liquid wealth, but they lose amounts like that on ordinary business ventures. (One merchant in particular paid something like 15,000 dinars for a priceless gem, the Desert Rose ruby; that tapped out most of his liquid finances, but he owns half the alchemy shops in town and basically all the paper-makers and printers in a city teeming with scholars and wizards. He's not gonna miss 15,000 dinars even though that's easily five times the total combined accumulated wealth of the entire party, or nearly 30 years of day labor without spending a dime on anything else.)

It's all a matter of scale. Being an adventurer is insanely dangerous and tends to get people killed. It's also quite profitable if you can pull it off. Our party has done so with aplomb. But it's also nowhere near as profitable as the long, mercantile game. The party could retire in indolence if they wished, investing their money and becoming effectively landed gentry; they've met a former adventurer who did exactly that. (He bestowed his old adventuring coat on the party Bard; it's a leather duster that has tiny, enchanted, feather-light plates sown between the leather and the silk lining, making it unnaturally durable and damage-resistant for leather.)
 
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I realized long ago that the gold standard was for adventurer only. The vast majority of folks never see/own a gold piece in their entire life.

So, if we assume that the gold standard is for characters only; the current system makes a lot of sense. If we assume that the system is for everyone, then the silver standard makes much more sense.

Both approaches are OK. I really feel that this is very much table dependant.
 

payn

Legend
Back in 3E we were so rich we had trouble with the weight of the coins. We just converted them into spyglasses which are worth 1K gold and only weigh a pound each. We could always see whats coming as a bonus.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Back in 3E we were so rich we had trouble with the weight of the coins. We just converted them into spyglasses which are worth 1K gold and only weigh a pound each. We could always see whats coming as a bonus.

Why not gems ? Why would spyglasses be available in such quantities and gemstones not ?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I guess I've never wanted to play "Dungeons and Spreadsheets". ;)

Was literally just looking the shared spreadsheet my player use to keep track of coins and other treasure. It was their idea, not mine - but as someone who loves spreadsheets (as long as they are not work related), I did not complain.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Was literally just looking the shared spreadsheet my player use to keep track of coins and other treasure. It was their idea, not mine - but as someone who loves spreadsheets (as long as they are not work related), I did not complain.

In 3e where the amount of wealth was linked to the survivability of encounters, we actually had a database who parsed the PCGen character sheets to ascertain the wealth of adventurers, so that we could track them (in a graph). It was important because it was a multi-DMs campaign and we wanted to be fair to everyone...
 

payn

Legend
Why not gems ? Why would spyglasses be available in such quantities and gemstones not ?
This is an old joke, I should have used an emoji my apologies. In 3E rulebook items range from a few coppers to a few gold, then you have this weird stand out of spyglasses at 1,000 gold... Which is why my default is to handwave economies because I have not seen an edition yet that makes any economical sense.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
For my upcoming campaign, I plan to use the default conversion rates, but to express prices in terms of silver. So a Greatsword costs 500 sp instead of 50 gp. Same actual value, but expressed in terms of the base unit of currency. Listing the price in gold feels a bit like charging five $10 bills instead of charging $50.
 

fba827

Adventurer
In my campaign, the big cities use gold for quoting prices etc. in the smaller towns and villages however they work in silver pricing and if you try to use gold and ask for change the poorer folks will feel like you’re giving them currency that they can’t make change for and will have a hard time spending for their basic daily goods to feed their family (and buying food for a week just means half is going to be spoiled before eaten)
 
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Lyxen

Great Old One
This is an old joke, I should have used an emoji my apologies. In 3E rulebook items range from a few coppers to a few gold, then you have this weird stand out of spyglasses at 1,000 gold... Which is why my default is to handwave economies because I have not seen an edition yet that makes any economical sense.

That makes much more sense indeed, thanks for the clarification. I remember that price of 1000 gp, which was not that odd for a complex piece of precision optics in a "medieval world", and I remember that it really gave bonuses to perception, which was cool as well.

That being said, I agree, D&D is really made for economics, especially for adventurers, it does not make sense and then, on the other hand, why would it need to ?
 

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