Numismatics

From: Nick Brooke (100270.337@compuserve.com)
Date: Fri 19 May 1995 - 00:03:49 EEST




Ville unlurks to ask about currency. From memory and imagination (i.e. there may be mistakes):

SILVER
"Lunar" is the generic term for silver coinage, after the dominant economic
power in central Genertela. Ironically, the only place the silver coins minted by the Lunar Empire aren't called "Lunars" is within the Empire itself: there, they're called "Imperials". Lunars claim that they pioneered the use of silver coin, but this is claptrap: they have, however, a more developed economy than most regions of Glorantha, and thus far more low-value coins in circulation.

The Kings of Sartar minted silver "Sovereigns" of equivalent value. Patriotic Sartarites will call a Lunar a Sovereign, though it shows Moonson's head and not Salinarg's: the political effects of this linguistic laxity have been carefully calculated by the Lunar College of Magic's financial wizards. Sartar had a pretty good trading economy, too -- at least in the cities. Out in the boonies we still reckon by cows.

The townsfolk of Pavis and some other places have "Guilders," likewise silver coins of equivalent value to the almighty Lunar.

The wacky Amazon unicorn women who worship Yelorna call silver coinage "Stars", and this may also be a pious Dara Happan tendency (though the origins of the Yelorna cult are dubious).

GOLD
"Wheels" are big gold coins, twice the size of Lunars, and worth 20 silvers
each. Sun-worshipping Dara Happans, Yelmalions and the like try to run a gold-based economy; although this is obviously clunky, it does result in inadvertent acts of largesse and collective responsibility by Yelmic leaders (who cannot spend a single clack to buy a drink, but must treat the whole bar to a round in order to buy anything!). Lokarnos merchants have a spell to make a new-minted gold coin drop out of a lump of gold, described in "Gods of Glorantha". Allegedly, such coins began their life as tokens of imperial favour, awarded as passports and diplomatic credentials: only later were they traded for more mundane needs. They may have originated as either gifts from, or corpses of, the mysterious race of Sun-Wheel Dancers.

LEAD
"Bolgs" are lead coins. To Trolls, a bolg is worth the same as a Lunar. To
humans, they're pretty much worthless dead-weight (and you'd be lucky to find anyone who'd accept them). Though they do make good slingstones, if you don't mind throwing your money away. (If you're a troll, and can chew a bunch of them together into a solid lead shot, that is).

OTHER I'm pretty convinced that Seshnela and contiguous Western lands (including Heortland, nowadays) would call silver coins "Shillings" (recte: "Seshnelans").

Safelster in Ralios probably runs off Florins and Ducats and the like, for flavour.

It seems likely that Esrolia, if it uses coins, would use heavy square copper ones worth a coupla clacks apiece (perhaps with holes in the middle to string them together?).

I'd propose "Sickles" as a Lunar name for copper coinage: sounds like shekels, which can only be a good thing. Lunar coinage would tend to be debased toward the low mid-point of each Wane, and purer at the high points.

EXCHANGE RATES 1 Wheel = 20 Lunars = 200 Clacks = more bolgs than you can easily carry.

Coined metal is worth twice as much as raw metal (by weight, per the rules).

I doubt there are formal "exchange rates" between different national currencies/coinages, any more than there were in the ancient or mediaeval world. I doubt much MGF comes from messing about with weights and measures of different coins. Ancient high finance tended to be by sheer weight of metal, ignoring other considerations. Archimedes' "Eureka" was the discovery of a way to work out if metal had been debased, so don't get cocky...

Anyway: when in doubt, just reckon by sheep and cows. You can see what you're dealing with, then.



Nick


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 10 Oct 2003 - 01:51:30 EEST