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bdcharles

Currency

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I have one story where people mine magical crystals that glow in the dark and are used as lights. They wear off over time, so they need to be replaced every now and then. The society doesn't have an actual currency, most stuff is worked out in countertrade economy, but the crystals sort of serve as a kind of inofficial currency.

 

My other projects either don't pay much attention to currencies due to being set in a generic fantasy setting or are set in the modern world.

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I love that one, Manu!

 

Gold is used as a currency in Swania, for the simple reason that it's a little more common than silver in that world, and because silver tarnishes.  Both are valued more for their use in magic than anything else.  However, the vast majority of transactions are carried out using smaller bronze coins and notes.  The currency is called the Mew, or more correctly the God Mew, after a small animal that lives in the region.

 

Swanian experts can't agree on why it's known as this.  It's actually derived from the Pound Sterling.  Of a time a "mew" was slang for a unit of weight roughly equivalent to a pound; as such Pounds were known as Mews.

 

Later on in the history, the lack of a working currency, and the use of magical crystals in place of one, tells us that economic crisis and hyperinflation have occurred  ;D

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I haven't even delved into currency or economics in my world.  I'm sure I'm going to get to it though.  But I do know that the going rate for the loan of a soul is onyx.

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The region of my setting that the story takes place in is just now beginning to wrestle with the concept of banks, so promissory notes are increasingly a stand in for actual physical money. That said, they also have a graduated system of metallic coins. Gold, electrum, silver, and copper.

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In my new WIP the people use paper money, like we do today. The reason is simply because metals are too expensive to be used as a basic currency.

My world is pretty uncommon, in that it is a tree and the people live on a layer of soil  on top of the massive branches. Which means there is no natural rock or ore to mine. The metal in use, is extracted from the ground water using plants (Hyperaccumulators) but the quantity is much lower than that of a typical mine.
Wood in contrast, is a pretty common material and paper is therefore not a big step. And thanks to the printing press, producing a large number of paper bills isn't such a problem.

Funny thing is, that article was handy, as i was just thinking about a fitting name for my currency.

Edited by MagicMagor
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Since I write urban fantasy, financial issues are pretty much the same as in the real world.  I have developed my own currency system, as follows:

  • FEN and SHEN: The currency of Viria, fen being the larger units and shen being the smaller ones.
  • LIVATI: Widely used throughout mainland Varathusia by Carpathians, Varahs and Par-Varahs alike.
  • RYNDII: Varagan currency. Although many Varagan traders will deal in livati, they still keep their own separate currency, especially on the Varago Islands.
  • SHEKELS: Sartorian currency. Tribal Sartorians prefer to barter goods and services rather than using money. Shekels are only used in the settled areas of the planet.
  • CREDITS: Virtual currency used widely on Mondias, Yttria, Varathusia and Malvania by means of an electronic chip. There are such things as credit coins but these are only used in smaller, more primitive communities on Malvania.
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This is what a one livati coin looks like.  I haven't designed any other of my currencies yet.

livati coin.jpg

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I keep losing track of my currency. I have to make sure that what one young person pays for, say, a train ticket, isn't the same as what a wealthy guildmaster pays for a royal bribe.

 

I have a list. Slightly worryingly I may have lost it...

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This is a worldbuilding topic I definitely keep avoiding. I'm thinking there will be some sort of trade currency, but that barter of god-blessed export items will be highly important. Potions made from herbs grown by the followers of the Goddess of Herbs will be much more valuable than your everyday plant found in the forest. Swords exported by the city of the Smith god never lose their edge, and can be traded with the followers of the goddess of pottery, whose storage containers are blessed so that the contents never rot. So on and so forth. But a trade currency common to all cities would be useful. Maybe a precious metal, coins ARE easiest. I'll see where I end up at the end of worldbuilding.

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