Monetary System

So which do I choose Forgotten Realms money or Rolemaster money? Do I want platinum, gold, electrum, silver and copper or what is more familiar to me of mithril, gold, silver, bronze, copper and tin?

I am going to choose the Rolemaster monetary system for two reasons. Firstly my players are more familiar with the rolemaster system than the DnD standard and secondly I want to use as much of the rolemaster rules as possible and that includes the equipment lists and price lists.

That is not a s simple a choice as you would think. There are things for sale in the RM price lists that simply do not exist in the DnD world. the prime example being blank rune paper. No one in DnD wants a scroll of nothing and when you use  scroll in DnD that is it the thing is gone and if of no use any more. In RM the rune paper is able to be reused adn that ability is only a 3rd level spell. Additionally herbs are such a massive part of a Rolemaster characters armoury that there is a definite direction of travel if you were going to convert all the prices over one way or another.

So here is the direct comparison chart to use in any of my games.

DnD Coin RM coin(s)
10 Platinum Pieces 1 Mitheril Piece
1  Platinum Piece 1 Gold Piece
1 Gold Piece 1 Silver Piece
1 Electrum Piece 5 Bronze Pieces
1 Silver Piece 1 Copper Piece
1 Copper Piece 2 Tin Pieces

If you are not familiar with Rolemaster money the basic system is metric with 10tp equals 1cp, 10cp = 1bp, 10bp = 1sp, 10sp = 1gp and 10gp = 1mp. The only one that really varies in value is the mitheril piece where in some places there is one  Mitheril piece equals 100gp and in others it si down to one Mitheril equal just 5gp but in my world it is 10 to one.

So how much do you tip your armourer?

In one of the the rolemaster source books, I forget which it suggests that a peasant earns about 2gp a year mostly in kind rather than in coin. If we were to take the UK national minimum wage of approximately £10,000 a year as an equivelant amount then one gold piece equals £5000 and the other cash values become.

RM Coin GBP Value
1 Mitheril Piece £50,000
1 Gold Piece £5,000
1 Silver Piece £500
1 Bronze Piece £50
1 Copper Piece £5
1 Tin Pieces 50p

So a tin piece is worth about ¢75 USD or ¢40 EUR. This means that a handfull of tin left on your tavern table as a tip for the waitress is acceptable. Bribing a town guard is probably going to take a couple of bronze if not a silver piece.

Many years ago I read an article in either White Dwarf or Dragon magazine which used the beer standard to calculate the value of a DnD gold piece and it came out at £200 back in about 1984. So accounting for inflation the today value of £500 is not that far off being consistent.

The only thing you cannot do is set prices on a one to one basis. The means of production today are so automated and on such a massive scale that there are different economic pressures on prices that prevent comparison.

If you are going to play in my game then you should be able to use this guide to get an idea of how wealthy your character really isbeing ripped of in the market or souk.

2 Replies to “Monetary System”

  1. Excellent post, very sensible.

    I run a MERP campaign set in TA 1640, but using more Rolemaster rules than MERP.

  2. Not sure if my post got through, please delete if a duplicate:

    Excellent post, very sensible.

    I run a MERP campaign set in TA 1640, but using more Rolemaster rules than MERP.

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