One of the few surviving relics of the pre-Devastor period is found in the monetary systems of the Jadiwan continent. Most human nations employ a variant on the currency that was used almost universally hundreds of years ago. It is a decimal system that was once based on coin weights, but modern economics has retained only the relationship between the basic values.

The names of the coins may vary, but the proportions are generally the same:

100 copper = 1 silver
10 silver = 1 gold

(The silver is equal to ten standard GURPS dollars.)

This is a simplification, though. Most nations have a number of different (and frequently confusing) denominations. As an example, the Kironar Empire uses the following:

Kironese Coinage

Coin Value GURPS $ Value
penny 1 copper $0.10
bit 10 copper $1.00
duc 25 copper $2.50
half-throne 50 copper $5.00
throne 1 silver $10.00
mark 5 silver $50.00
angel 1 gold $100.00
crown 5 gold $500.00

In addition to its coinage, the Empire also has a system of paper scrip, with bills ranging from 1 throne to 100 crowns and higher. Unlike modern paper money, though, Kironese scrip is only issued upon the deposit of coin or other valuta with the Imperial Treasury (which has begun evolving into a crude central banking system). Kironese scrip is thus more like a cashier's check or bearer bond than modern currency, and is usually only used by merchants and other individuals who need to transport large quantities of buying power without hiring a pack train to carry all that gold. Still, so many persons make use of it that the bills are mass-produced (with various magical protections against counterfeiting) instead of being hand-written as needed.

Outside of the Empire, travelers will find that other nations normally have far less baroque systems, using the classic copper, silver and gold coins for all purposes, and a few employ platinum for extremely high-denomination coins. Others implement intermediate values using varying sizes, alloys, or both. A few nations are following the Empire's lead with their own paper scrip.

Non-Human Nations

The Sidhai have their own currency, based solely on silver, as copper and gold are too useful for both decorative work and for electrical contacts to waste as money. (The elves also refuse to issue paper money; it is probably no coincidence that they have the most solid economy on the continent.)

Reportedly the Yadhai employ carved gemstone tokens and small ingots of precious metals as money, but non-Yadhai witnesses to their use have been rare and not often in a position to learn any specifics.

Little is known about dwarven currency, as they use barter for all outside trade. Visitors to Bukkaazmur have reported that among themselves the dwarves seem to use beautifully-carved stone tablets as a medium of exchange, but report much strange about their use. The exact mechanism by which these work is unclear, as the tablets are apparently not marked with any denominations, and that their value often seems arbitrary or even symbolic. Each dwarf carries only one such tablet on him, and some experts speculate that it somehow represents the dwarf's entire personal worth. When he wishes to make a purchase, the dwarf will simply show the tablet to a merchant, who acknowledges the transaction with a receipt.

The orcish nation of Arakund has only recently implemented a national currency, based also on a gold standard but using enamelled copper plates.

Pre-Devastor Currency

Observers have noted that despite the alleged prosperity of the "Golden Age", it seems like nearly everyone everywhere worried enough about their financial futures to have stashed a cache of money in a cellar or cave against future need. As a result, coins from prior to Devastor, while not common, are found in sufficient quantities all over the Jadiwan to be worth little more than their face/weight values. Particularly fine and unworn Pre-Devastor coinage might be worth as much as five times their face value to the right collector, but in general the average five-hundred-year-old gold piece is worth no more than its base value as a precious metal. (And sometimes less -- many nations tax uncovered hoards heavily to prevent the disruptive effects they can have on a small economy.)

This page was created on October 22, 1997.
Last modified March 12, 2011.