Saturday, June 15, 2019

Economy in the Land of the Ten Clans

One of the things I find fascinating about Chinese history is that it was a copper based economy and were very early adopters of paper money. I am not going to delve into the complications that a paper money economy would bring to a fantasy world, so I am going to stick to that unappreciated and much maligned copper piece. Gold was never minted and never widely used as a currency (except for the upper echelons of society) and silver normally showed up in ingots, not coins.

While hardly accurate, here is my attempt at translating the normal D&D coinage system into something like an ancient Chinese copper-based economy:

1 cp = 1 copper coin
1 sp = 1 “ring” of 10 copper coins
1 gp = 1 “string” of 100 copper coins
1 pp = 1 silver ingot

What follows is a very basic breakdown of the primary trade goods that are present in Land of the Ten Clans, broken down by region:

Beongae (Lightning)

Livestock: Pig/Boar
Grain: Rice
Crop: Cucumbers
Raw Material: Wood
Premium Finished Good: Music Instruments/Bells
Inferior Finished Good: Textiles

Doku (Poison)

Livestock: Poltry
Grain: Green Millet
Crop: Oranges
Raw Material: Clay
Premium Finished Good: Bone China
Inferior Finished Good: Tea (Green)/Rice Wine (Green)

Huo (Fire)

Livestock: Dog
Grain: Wheat
Crop: Pomelos
Raw Material: Cotton
Premium Finished Good: Tea (Red)/Rice Wine (Red)
Inferior Finished Good: Armor & Weapons

Korudo (Cold)

Livestock: Crab
Grain: Sorghum
Crop: Chesnuts
Raw Material: Feldspar & Quartz
Premium Finished Good: Armor & Weapons
Inferior Finished Good: Musical Instruments/Bells

Suan (Acid)

Livestock: Fish
Grain: Black Millet
Crop: Dates
Raw Material: Ore
Premium Finished Good: Silk
Inferior Finished Good: Porcelain

Note: a Premium Finished Good refers to the highest quality version of that product in the land whereas Inferior Finished Good refers to the most common and affordable version of the product.


AdventureMaterials said...

Interesting read! Would there be any functional reason for using rings/strings or myriads ( others than as a measure of trade? There would obviously be no weight savings. I imagine they'd have a greater use in bookkeeping/math than in one's day-to-day life.

FrDave said...

The Chinese took advantage of the hole through the center of the coin to make counting/measuring coin value easier, especially since large numbers were necessary since copper has such a low relative value.

David B. said...

Greetings Father. I don't know exactly where to post this but I had question for you regarding the cosmological portion of your universe. I'm running a West Marches game type since last year and, I'll be honest, I stole your three main divinity when I read about them (Frumos, Arta and Tizan). I think it's great.

I'm playing with friends used to D&D and such so it's all good. But I was wondering about the long-term: my wife and I will have children, and I want to use D&D as a game and an educational tool. What would be the thing to do regarding the world and the cosmology of it ?

Pseudo-historical RPG set in Christian kingdom/mpire ? Analogical/allegorical like yours ? Or straight up remote to create a form of mythopoesis like Tolkien ?

Which one do you think has more value ? The goal is not to teach the creed through the game, that I understand very well, but mostly to make sure that the background imagination landscape, so to speak, it cohesive with the whole of education. What do you think ?

Thank you.