Coin and Commerce
The dragons of Devanand don’t really have commerce. They don’t make goods so they have no need to trade among themselves and there is no need for an economy. Dragons claim, develop, and defend a territory which provides all they need. Commerce and trade are concepts developed by the “lesser” races for the purpose of redistributing goods and providing services. These concepts, and corresponding technologies such as smelting and smith craft, are the foundations upon which their modern society is built. The dragons neither understand nor acknowledge this.
Paradoxically, the dragons are attracted to valuable metals, precious gems, and well-crafted items. Some of this attraction may be attributed to the natural magical properties of these items. Some of it may stem from biological drives compelling the dragons to acquire these items, much the same as ravens adding shiny things to their nests.
The base value of most items is based on three factors: the rarity of the raw materials; the difficulty in obtaining said raw materials; and the magical properties inherent in the materials and the finished goods. In some places, such as Lalika, a high magical factor will actually decrease the value because of the danger in possessing such an item.
Most people will never see a gold or platinum piece. The majority of daily commerce is conducted through barter or with copper coins, and the copper coins are often cut in half, or into quarters. Coins vary in shape, size, weight, and purity depending on where they are minted, and the standards imposed by the authorized agency. Coins in Jarayu are minted in Nishad. They are hexagonal, with a small hole in the center, and have a depiction of Bhanu stamped on the obverse side, with the date and value stamped on the reverse.
In general, 10 copper coins will equal 1 silver. Fifty silver equal 1 gold, and 10 gold equal 1 platinum. A quarter (of a copper) can buy a cup of wine, a pint of ale, or a meal. In the north, a draught horse may cost 10-20 silver. In Jarayu a camel will cost the same. A war horse may cost as much as 2 gold.
As a game master, I was trying to create a world where a handful of coppers would be a significant find, and a single gold coin was both a windfall and a problem. It meant the characters could carry fewer coins and still have decent buying power, and that high-end treasures would be rarer and far more precious.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.