View Full Version : Coins

06-19-2011, 05:52 PM
So I was playing with an idea of coins (trying to tie together magic and the economy system) Anyways the idea here is to have small coins much like the USA coinage, as a money system in my fantasy world. The coins themselves contain a special gem inside, that only come in 3 sizes and shapes. They are indestructible (at least to the world I'm creating they are =D) Anyways they can be infused with magic which will end up being 6 different infusions and 1 blacked or non infused Gem. The 3 different Gem sizes would indicate rarity and power (bigger the better and the rarer). I haven't decided if the 6 different powers are all common, or if some are more rare then others as well...

Now that I got the basic idea out. I want an opinion on how to tie these with an economy. Where I get stuck is I got all these different infusions that all would produce a different color within the gem, and then the 3 sizes of the Gems, also possible rarity of the infusion. What would be the best way to possibly condense it down to a more simple "system" of money? Instead of having like 54 different coins.... What I was thinking of was having the Size of the Gem matter, along with the clumping the infusions/rarity of infusions together. So for instance have 3 Sizes x 2 Groups (common infusions, and rare infusions)...

Anyways ideas welcome! I haven't entirely put a ton of thought into it, I just needed something to focus on besides maps... So here are the examples of the coins, and the standardization of the coins happened, meaning that yes you can have the gem alone but if its not encased in a coin its practically worthless etc etc.

p.s. I noticed my "borrom view" mistake, oh well haha

06-19-2011, 06:21 PM
The immediate problem is that you'd be forcing yourself to hand out to commoners items of magical powers. I don't know if you want that to be the case, but as Lord Such-and-Such I don't think I'd like to be handing out rare magical gemstones to Jimbo the Fishmonger.
It might be easier to create a two-tier currency, where these magical coins are used for the top-level transactions.
Also realise that you're now potentially setting up a world-level economy, which we don't even have now in the modern age(we just have a "we'll accept it everywhere" currency of USD, but how long that may last is debatable).

06-20-2011, 01:24 AM
I like these a lot in concept, and the designs are very nice. I'd be okay with the "magical items in commoners' hands" thing, depending on the magical level of the world. I don't think they even need to be a global currency, just the coins issued by The Magical Nation of Whoever (which might end up being more widely accepted by merchants from other nations).

However, I have a different problem, and that's that these don't seem practical for every day use. The gem in the middle makes them completely non-stackable. A pocket full of these would be awkward. Anyone trying to count them (bankers, gamblers, dragons, etc) is going to have a hard time.

I think they'd work well as an "upper tier" of currency, as Juggernaut suggests; something like platinum pieces or astral diamonds that would be rarely used in every day transactions.

I'm interested in what you had in mind for the infusions, though. Can these infusions be released, like a potion or scroll? Or were they just meant to indicate a different denomination of the same base coin?

06-20-2011, 02:18 AM
Well to clear up a few things I guess, I was under the idea of the smaller coins to be very very common, that the powers within drew only a small amount of reserve of magical power, and that (still working it out) most people were able to perform a small amount of magic. So in reality the larger coins even if infused most people couldn't "tap" into them, however the larger ones held a much larger portion of power. Along those same lines, for the sake of argument, lets say 4 out of the 6 are common powers, and the other 2 are rare powers. And each common person was attune to 1 of the "common" powers. Making the rest of the common coins worthless to them, but if the other 3 coins were the same value then what did it matter to them value wise.... With that problem the people would only care for the coin they could use... However I wanted the idea that if one had a drained coin, they can be infused with Any of the other types of power.

hmm thats brings up another scale of thought, if the larger ones can't be easily infused, then most will be dark... Could open up another variable...

Also I said they were standardize, and I say that because the continent this whole idea is attached to, was once united and used a this standard coinage. Now that it is broken up each place follows the same standard with simple variances I guess you could say (maybe the pattern of the coin, etc).

As for stacking, never thought of that... hmmm I'll have to think on this some more.... Maybe introduce a non-Gem Coin, making it a 4 coin base....

Anyways the basic idea, is to have these gems be mined out, found in special veins of ore, pristinely shaped in the 3 sizes when dug out. They are cut out as a non infused gem. They are taken to, I call them Star-Chasers, who infuse the gems based upon, I guess Stars is the best description, for a certain fee... (Sorry don't want to give away too much =D) Then anyone can draw the power from the coin, most just pull the power out of the gem, but there are other uses as well, some can be combined to produce other effects etc. A real magic user would appreciate it not being in a coin form, makes it easier to hold in a pouch etc...

But still fleshing this out, I was just wondering if it would even be feasible to do this...

06-20-2011, 02:40 AM
Another question would be why people are bothering with the metal if the gems are already sufficient as currency. Perhaps make the gems generally smaller: you have now a reason for the coins (it is easier to fetch a metal disk form the purse than a tiny gem) and you could make them stackable.

06-20-2011, 03:32 AM
See on one hand you have them as currency, and on the other hand they are some kind of power source for magic...
Either they will end up useless as currency (because people will hoarde them or splurge them recklessly depending on their magic value) or they will end up useless as a magic-power-item (because people will hoarde them or splurge them recklessly because they are useless as coinage).

Trying to make it a doubly-useful object (by incorporating magic items) seems like you're going to destine it to fail as the other.

I'm all for arcane counterfeit protection, for magical formation of currency or even the use of currency within magic... but I don't see a merging of the two aspects into a "magical power coin" being very feasible in a larger world.

06-20-2011, 04:15 AM
I don't think the two (magic power source and currency) are mutually exclusive.

If you've got a sufficiently magical society, it could easily be the case that how rich and powerful you are is based on how much magic power you have... which is represented by how many of these coins you have lying around. Currencies are/were based on some standard, and using the value of some quantum of magical power seems as good as basing it on the value of a pound of silver.

This then raises questions like whether there is a finite amount of magical power, why the star-chasers are the only ones who can tap into it to put it into the coins, and why constantly making new coins doesn't lead to inflation if the existing ones are indestructible and rechargeable (not sure if they were still valuable when they were discharged).

Not insurmountable questions, but something to think about.

06-20-2011, 12:53 PM
I only got a few min, but these are all great! This is why I brought it here, to beat out all these things I never would of thought of. I only argue against your questions (in favor of the idea) so I can provoke more questions, I still don't know if I want the Gem/Coin, it would be way exciting to get it to fit but we'll see!

For the Metal, the Kingdom that created them in the first place, inscribed certain patterns along the coins, that would be recognized as a symbol. The symbol would be in connection with a natural force, lets say fire for example. One of the other powers of the gem was to create beings of that natural force. So for our example the leaders and those who knew how to use these other powers, could now run around without anyone really knowing how these things of legend (beings of fire) were being created because they held these coins that everyone had. Theres a bit more to that, but thats the basic idea...

Now onto the whole splurging or hoarding idea, it would be perfect for the Star-Chasers to regulate how much is actually out there, if people Hoard them, then they can have an high exchange rate to get them back or something, I'm sure there can be other ways to regulate but just a thought.

290blue, that was the premise I was going on, those who could control stronger amounts of the Gem, or even 2 different infusions of the Gems would be the nobility of this area. The world will always have an abundance of the magical power, but people have a finite amount of power they can draw out of the gems, that amount can be increased based on several things though. The Star-Chasers are the only ones who have the ability to draw power into the Gems (haven't decided how that ability is received though)

But I guess I should clarify the Gems are indestructible not the Coins themselves, but inflation was another issue I thought of, but still don't have a real answer for, other then the regulations I mentioned above from the Star-Chasers (the continents currency society haha)...

06-20-2011, 06:13 PM
Okay so do we have:
1. an 'infinite pool of magic in the world' that can only be accessed by owning gemstones of a certain kind?
2. an 'infinite pool of magic in the world' that can only be accessed by excessive wizard-like training OR gemstones of a certain kind?
3. an 'infinite pool of magic in the world' and any Tom Deacon-Harry can become the next Dark Lord if he has a really big vault of magic coins?

It really messes with how magic and your economy works depending on which one you choose.
Oh and when I said hoarding, I meant good old "Scrooge McDuck" or "Red Dragon of Coin Pile" kind of hoarding where nobody at all is ever, ever allowed to have any of them and people kill each other just to get the coins. That sort of thing doesn't quite lead to inflation of the coin's own value, paticularly since in this technological age the value of the coins is the material contained within them.

06-22-2011, 01:18 AM
Well hmm, maybe thats part of the issue...

The magic of the world can only be accessed through the gem stones, one who is capable puts the magic into the gem for use, otherwise its untappable. Anyone and their dog can use Level 1, or the small coins to do simple things, like parlor tricks, or alternating somethings color etc, mostly a nuisance in most cases. Level 2 or the medium coins are for those that are gifted, or the trained wizards who are able to do more powerful things, then Level 3 or the Large coins, are only used by the trained Gifted who can perform amazing things with the power. So if the Hoard is filled with small coins, well it might be a small fortune and a person can become a none magical noble for it, but if they were to have medium or large coins (and were able to tap into them) they could be the next "dark lord" with infinite or seemingly infinite power.

So based on the (standard) they understand that the larger coins are worth more ( like a gold flake compared to a gold nugget, just know its worth more even though its the same thing) the Majority of the people don't know the use for the larger coins, or even most of the smaller ones, only the trained and those fluke people know they can use magic with the gem alone (if infused).

Does that answer or help what your asking??

06-22-2011, 08:12 PM
So you can't be a wizard without coins, but you need to be a wizard to MAKE the coins... there's a circular loop here that needs a start.

Once you are a wizard, you then need to monopolise the world market on 'special coins', so it is worth going on elaborate assassinations to steal other people's pile of coins. And once Insert Bad Guy Here gains such a stockpile that it cannot be effectively matched by any one person or any group of people... they get to kill everyone who has coins, become super powerful and take over the world.

Just a thought... :P

06-22-2011, 09:12 PM
Except that the coins have a subtle interaction that causes a critical mass effect. Too many and the whole area goes "boom" or drains out all the magic from all the coins or something that encourages hoarding but discourages excessive greed.

06-23-2011, 04:20 AM
Anything with this much practical value may make a good barter item, but it cannot stand as a currency. The practical value will trump the financial use. Much better to use things like gold or a type of shell, with no value except the belief that they are valuable.

If the magic is discharged by use, and recharging is anything but trivial, value would fluctuate wildly, with high-magic-use periods (war, say, or plagues if you have healing spells) causing massive inflationary pressures on charged coins and devaluing discharged coins.

06-23-2011, 05:57 AM
Except that the coins have a subtle interaction that causes a critical mass effect. Too many and the whole area goes "boom" or drains out all the magic from all the coins or something that encourages hoarding but discourages excessive greed.

So they can exist in great veins worth mining deep in the earth but can't be stored in a vault?

06-23-2011, 12:12 PM
haha yeah I was thinking the same when I was heading to bed, but then I thought... Well the gems are #1 not infused while in the ore, but #2 whos to say the special ore isn't like a "containment field" for a large group of them when infused... so you can have a good size amount, but once beyond that point all hell breaks loose... seems like a fun idea =P

06-23-2011, 02:51 PM
So if it's just a container, where does the magic come from? Why would they store it in a container rather than access it from the source?