Currency Of Oerth
“That clinking clanking sound, can make the world go ’round.”
When bartering for goods and services no longer meets the needs of commerce, the sentient beings of the Flanaess turn to using items with a more universal value, namely precious metals, gems, and some minerals. Metals are rarely found in their pure form in nature and require significant energy and effort to refine and purify them. In general, the rarity and the amount of effort it takes to produce a given metal determines its worth. Sometimes this formula is modified by a particular property of the metal, or by a widespread use (and therefore greater demand). The penalty for counterfeiting is death in most places because cities, kingdoms, and nations rely on the acceptance and trust of their currency.
Coins come in a bewildering variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, minted all over the world. Because such a variety of coins are in circulation, most people simply use whatever coinage passes by. A coin’s value is expressed in the weight of the precious metal of which it is made. The current standard is:
Copper coins are known as coppers, copper pieces, or, in Onnwal ducks.
Silver coins are known as silvers and silver pieces. In Onnwal they are called geese.
Electrum coins are not as popular as gold, silver, and copper, but do exist and are commonly called blues. In Onnwal they are called waders.
Gold coins are the most common coin used by adventurers and are often called gold pieces, while in Onnwal they are known as gulls.
Platinum coins often called plats, are not too common. While in Onnwal they are known as sea eagles.
Coins are not the only form of hard currency. Many merchants prefer to use trade bars, which are ingots of precious metals and alloys stamped or graven with the symbol of the trading coster or government that crafted them. A one-pound trade bar of gold is valued at 50 gp, and heavier bars are worth proportionately more.
Gems are even rarer than metals and require great skill in mining, cutting, and polishing. Gems have great value because people desire them for their beauty and often wear them in jewelry. The arcane Arts also require certain gems as spell components which increases their rarity even more as they are consumed in the casting of powerful spells.
On a few occasions, coins minted of other alloys are known to have existed.