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5E New Campaign Help

Yaarel

Explorer
The Renaissance pigment from lapis lazuli is ultramarine. It was more precious than gold (upto 4 times its value) and pretty much only used for precious sacred objects, usually the blue robes for the Virgin Mary.

Lapis lazuli is actually the stone that is called ‘sapphire’ in the Bible.

When the Renaissance used the pigment for blue stained glass windows, they began to think of ‘sapphire’ as a color for glass. When they came across the transparent corundum gem of that color, it reminded them of the windows, and they called it the ‘sapphire (colored)’ gem. Whence what we think of as a sapphire today.

But really, lapis lazuli is the sapphire.
 
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Zardnaar

Adventurer
Yeah ultramarine isn't 40k lol.

It's a beautiful rock, used on King Tuts mask.

Porphery also has interesting stories around it. That's more Byzantium though.

I didn't really understand the 1E semi precious stones list, I do now.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
Egyptian-esque Currency

For Egypt-esque flavor never actually use money. Always trade one item or service for an other item or service.



Reallife Egyptian currency is something like the following.

Normally, people simply trade a good or service directly, in an adhoc bartering system. They go to a public marketing area, weekly and seasonally, and exchange things they have or can do for other things they need or need done.

However, loaves of bread and ceramic jars of beer can come in standard sizes that can work like coins. The beer is made from baked beer-bread of wheat/barley, soaked and mashed in water to brew with dates, honey, and spices. A ‘beer jar’ is roughly 2 liters (half gallon) depending on the standard of the place and time. Beer and bread are the staple of the Egyptian diet. So, one could either eat the money or trade it for goods or services of an equivalent value.

For bartering costly items, the wealthy (royalty, priesthoods, technological crafters, merchants) measure the value of a costly item in terms of how much gold it would be worth. But they never actually use the gold itself as money. Instead, they would trade the costly item in exchange for one or more goods or services that would total the worth of about the same amount of gold.

Gold was the standard unit of value, but never actually used as money. There are standard units of weight for gold. About 7.5 grams of gold is called a Shat. Twelve Shats being about 90 grams of gold is called a Duben. There is also mention of using these same units of weight to weigh copper (Senyu 7.5 g and Dubenture 90g). Gold is worth about 166 times the same amount of copper, during Dynasty 18 and 19, and about 120 times later on. Silver is worth roughly half as much as gold. The Duben of gold comes to be the main standard of measurement.

1 copper Senyu is worth roughly about 76.8 liters of barley flour, say something like 100 loaves of bread.

Archeologists speculate that Egyptians never actually used money because gold was divine, magically imbuing immortality and indestructibility, thus was too holy for profane people to touch. Meanwhile, silver was also holy, but too rare anyway.

Actual coins dont come into existence in Egypt until the Classical Age, from the Persian Period onward. And from the Hellenistic Period onward is moreorless identical with Greek and Roman currency, except Egyptians would still tend to use units of grain as the currency locally.



For an Egypt-esque game.

Measure the worth of daily stuff in terms of how many bread loaves it is worth. Measure costly stuff in terms of how much gold it is worth.

Copper is listed here because the bronze tools, weapons and armors are made out of copper (alloyed with tin).

In other words, D&D player characters can know how much a magic item is worth in gold. Each 10 gp (or platinum piece) is a Duben, the standard amount of gold. Nevertheless, an item can only be exchanged for an other magic item of equal worth, or else for a combination of items, jobs, or a quest whose total is of equal worth.

Most gold is actually electrum, so treat gold and electrum as the same thing, but during Dynasties 18 thru 20, pure silver is worth about half as much as gold.



Egyptian-esque commodity ≈ D&D gp

• gold standard (Duben) ≈ 1 pp
• gold standard (Shat) ≈ 1 gp

• copper standard (Dubenture) ≈ 1 sp
• copper standard (Senyu) ≈ 1 cp

• beer jar ≈ 0.10 cp
• bread loaf ≈ 0.01 cp

For Egypt-esque flavor never actually use money. Always trade one item or service for an other item or service.
 
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Zardnaar

Adventurer
Egyptian-esque Currency

It might be useful to simplify the Egyptian-esque economy to three units:

• "gold" ≈ Duben ≈ 1000 gp
• "copper" ≈ Senyu ≈ 1 gp
• "loaf" ≈ 1 cp

But for Egypt-esque flavor never actually use money. Always trade one item or service for an other item or service.



Reallife Egyptian currency is something like the following.

Normally, people simply trade a good or service directly, in an adhoc bartering system. They go to a public marketing area, weekly and seasonally, and exchange things they have or can do for other things they need or need done.

However, loaves of bread and ceramic jars of beer can come in standard sizes that can work like coins. The beer is made from baked beer-bread of wheat/barley, soaked and mashed in water to brew with dates, honey, and spices. A ‘beer jar’ is roughly 2 liters (half gallon) depending on the standard of the place and time. Beer and bread are the staple of the Egyptian diet. So, one could either eat the money or trade it for goods or services of an equivalent value.

For bartering costly items, the wealthy (royalty, priesthoods, technological crafters, merchants) measure the value of a costly item in terms of how much gold it would be worth. But they never actually use the gold itself as money. Instead, they would trade the costly item in exchange for one or more goods or services that would total the worth of about the same amount of gold.

Gold was the standard unit of value, but never actually used as money. There are standard units of weight for gold. About 7.5 grams of gold is called a Shat. Twelve Shats being about 90 grams of gold is called a Duben. There is also mention of using these same units of weight to weigh copper (Senyu 7.5 g and Dubenture 90g). Gold is worth about 166 times the same amount of copper, during Dynasty 18 and 19, and about 120 times later on. Silver is worth roughly twice as much. The Duben of gold comes to be the main standard of measurement.

Archeologists speculate that Egyptians never actually used money because gold was divine, magically imbuing immortality and indestructibility, thus was too holy for profane people to touch. Meanwhile, silver was also holy, but too rare anyway.

Actual coins dont come into existence in Egypt until the Classical Age, from the Persian Period onward. And from the Hellenistic Period onward is moreorless identical with Greek and Roman currency, except Egyptians would still tend to use units of grain as the currency locally.



For an Egypt-esque game.

Measure the worth of daily stuff in terms of how many bread loaves it is worth. Measure costly stuff in terms of how much gold it is worth.

Copper is never used for money or a unit of value, but is listed here because the bronze tools, weapons and armors are made out of copper (alloyed with tin).

In other words, D&D player characters can know how much a magic item is worth in gold. Each 1000 gp is a Duben, the standard amount of gold. Nevertheless, an item can only be exchanged for an other magic item of equal worth, or else for a combination of items, jobs, or a quest whose total is of equal worth.

Most gold is actually electrum, so treat gold and electrum as the same thing, but during Dynasties 18 thru 20, pure silver is worth about half as much as gold.



Egyptian-esque commodity ≈ D&D gp

• gold standard (Duben) ≈ 1000 gp
• gold standard (Shat) ≈ 100 gp

• copper standard (Dubenture) ≈ 10 gp
• copper standard (Senyu) ≈ 1 gp

• beer jar ≈ 10 cp
• bread loaf ≈ 1 cp



It might be useful to simplify everything down to three units:

• "gold" ≈ Duben ≈ 1000 gp
• "copper" ≈ Senyu ≈ 1 gp
• "loaf" ≈ 1 cp

For Egypt-esque flavor never actually use money. Always trade one item or service for an other item or service.
I know money wasn't invented until around the 7th century bc in southern Turkey.

It's still fantasy Egypt though and I have seen attempts at a more realistic money system but it just complicates things.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
It's still fantasy Egypt though and I have seen attempts at a more realistic money system but it just complicates things.
Use the Players Handbook. Use the gp and cp cost as-is. (Convert pp into gp. Convert ep and sp into cp.)



The D&D economy is so wonky, it is difficult to match with Ancient Egypt.

I was able to track down a recent archeological paper that deals with how much copper is worth, during to the 18th dynasty, from 1550 BCE onward, during the Late Bronze Age. Probably, this is time you want to focus on for themes and tropes.

Using very rough numbers to approximate the Egyptian units of weight, the result is something like:

1 gold ≈ 2 silver
1 gold ≈ 100 copper

So, conveniently:

• 1 Duben of gold ≈ 1 pp
• 1 Shat of gold ≈ 1 gp
• 1 Dubenture of copper ≈ 1 sp
• 1 Senya of copper ≈ 1 cp

The standard is the Duben.

So, far so good.

The difficulty comes because 1 copper can purchase something like 100 liters of grain. Or 100 loaves of bread. This is where the wierd D&D economy fails to match up.



In the end, I think its ok to just use the Players Handbook, but convert all prices into either gp or cp.

• prices in gold pieces
• prices in copper pieces

And remember there is no money. Just trade one item or job for an other item or job of equal value.
 
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Zardnaar

Adventurer
In Midgard they use coins. It's not a historic Egypt and they've been around for 5000 years so yeah.

It's hard enough from settings that rename gp, sp, etc. It's not really worth putting in the effort as players either don't care or get confused.
 

PabloM

Explorer
Hey! you really need a society of archaeologists, maybe they are part or work for some university or magic school.
Possible names:
Institute of Ancient Research
University of the Exotic
Unearthed Arcana
 

Mull Ponders

Explorer
Cats, cats are important. There will be cat cemeteries, cat embalmers, cat coffin makers. There is some indication that all cats were called the same thing (meow), and they didn't have individual names because they were basically splinters of the deity. Putting cats in danger would be a great distraction, if you don't get caught.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
Hey! you really need a society of archaeologists, maybe they are part or work for some university or magic school.
Possible names:
Institute of Ancient Research
University of the Exotic
Unearthed Arcana
That's kinda what the guardians and seekers are.
The seekers want to exploit stuff they find the guardians want to hide it.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
Cats, cats are important. There will be cat cemeteries, cat embalmers, cat coffin makers. There is some indication that all cats were called the same thing (meow), and they didn't have individual names because they were basically splinters of the deity. Putting cats in danger would be a great distraction, if you don't get caught.
Per Bastet is the xatvfity, her faith is the main one. Werelions exist and I'll add in Tabaxi.

I'm allowing most anthromorphic races and there's a few thousand Gnolls as well so catfolk, Tabaxi, werelions, minotaurs, ratfolk, ravenfolk, Yuan Ti are all allowed and are around.
Theres even a sub race of Dwarves that build pyramids and Excel ad engineering.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
Check out this website.

touregypt.net/ancientegypt

As far as I can tell, the site is for a travel agency to Egypt, or something like that. But the information is pretty good. And with exploration in mind, the site seems to have evocative ideas, themes, and tropes for a great setting.



Update:

Actually, the site has alot of great content, but it isnt obvious how to navigate to it. Maybe do a Google or Bing search entering

• site:touregypt.net

plus add any keywords in mind.
 
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Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
 

Yaarel

Explorer
One thing useful would be a map of a ruined city perhaps half buried in sand.
Here are maps of Giza pyramids, and the tombs and temples at Saqqara, Thebes, and Luxor.



Giza Pyramids



Saqqara (pyramids, necropolis, and temples)




Thebes (Tomb of Ramses the Great)




Luxor (necropolis and temples west of Thebes) (Medinat Habu relates to the woman Pharaoh Hatshepsut)
 
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