Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Overcomplicating Coins (You're Welcome!)

Are you one of those guys or gals that likes it ... complicated?

If you answered "yes", then read on. If not ... read on anyways, you're already here.

What follows are some tables showing a variety of historical coinage that might appear in the next treasure horde you generate, if you're of the mind to permit them. Of course, you might want to attach some imaginary, fantasy kingdom name to them to make them campaign specific ("Ah! You've found 300 Cromarkian Groats and a small sack of gold doubloons from the Fraznak Empire!). You can use the table in two ways (and one of them might just piss off the players, so I know which one I'd use.)

1) Calculate the total value of the horde's coins, roll a random coin type for each metal (or two or three, whatever you like), and translate the value into the number of coins. I included three values, one for OD&D (10 coins per pound), one for d20 (50 coins to the pound) and one for a more realistic 100 coins to the pound.

Example: You generate 1,000 cp and you're playing OD&D (i.e. 10 coins to the pound). You roll up the Roman Sesertius as your historic copper coinage, which are worth 1/3 a copper piece each, thus the horde consists of 3,000 copper sesterius.

2) You roll up the number of coins, and then roll randomly to determine what kind of coin was found.

Example: You roll up 300 gold coins (gp) and then roll randomly to determine they are Italian ducats. You're playing d20, so 300 ducats is actually worth 1,200 sp, or 120 gp. See - your players will be pissed. On the other hand, if you'd rolled up Spanish escudos, the horde would be worth 1,500 gp.

Without further ado ... the tables.

If you want to annoy the players a bit more, you can roll to see how debased the coinage is ... but I wouldn't suggest it.

Of course, if you're using the notion that your fantasy world is built on the ruins of a "modern" world, then the ancient coinage would be made up of krugerrands, yen and buffalo nickels.


  1. Wow, very cool. Adding this to my page of stuff. Oh and I see you are about to hit 300 followers. Congrats.

  2. Yeah - at 300 followers I start getting paid to blog, right?

  3. No. At 300, there are certain qualitative minimums you have to meet or your blogging license will be suspended.

  4. Gratz!
    This table is cool, I'll have to revisit my own coinage...
    ... but where are the escudos? Am I blind?

    1. No - at the last minute, I realized that I had left off the doubloons, so I swapped them out instead of recalculating the table's percentages. No doubloons just seemed like a crime to me. If you'd like, treat 38% (I love strangely specific percentages) of doubloons as escudos, which are worth half a doubloon.

  5. Holy crap! I had enough problems trying to get my players' heads around old English pre-decimalization currency.

  6. Great list Matt, I can definitely see using this from time to time to make hordes of coins a bit more interesting.

  7. Yes!! Thank you so much for this. In my Castle Nicodemus game the players often travel back to historical Europe to buy things, and information like this is very valuable.

  8. Cool! I remember that in our old Greyhawk campaign, our DM used to roll, every time we found some coins, from which kingdoms they were. He then asked from where were the coins we were using, when we bought stuff, and always ended charging us some extra if they were from a different kingdom.


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