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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Why are there really bags of gold?

    Today, I was cursing my ATM because it tried to eat my debit card and I thought to myself "Why aren't there similar items/objects in a D&D environment?"

    It seems that in a fantasy world with a fair amount of magic then some sort of magical debit card or similar object could exist and reduce the amount of gold/platinum/etc. pieces that individuals would have to carry around with them. Obviously this would only be implemented by the most evil of DMs as it would possibly remove a large section of loot to be found by adventurers but other than the removal of the 'fun' wouldn't this make at least some sense? And has it been implemented in a game or world (RPG, book, etc.) already?

    Just me wondering. And if this is the wrong forum, let me know that too but it seemed to make more sense here than elsewhere.

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    It might have to do with the tendency for dangerous hobos to gallivant around and rob any place where they think they can find loot, though. Put your gold in a bank, and crazed PC #1 will rob said bank. Safer to always make sure you have your gold at someplace that has less gold than a dragon's hoard (which is kept for reasons relating to psychosis as opposed to any rational reason).

    On a more serious note the Epic Level Handbook talks about Favors, effectively checks, given out by an interplanar merchants' guild, these were fairly big checks (10000 or 100000 GP each, I forget). Another explanation is in the 2e DMG or PHB which says that once the world was far richer but now most of the wealth from that time is hidden in old, dank, musty dungeons, doesn't offer a real explanation for that though. There would also be the expense in setting up the magical withdrawal and deposit system, and then protecting the money as there would be inevitable attempts at bank robbery. Very simply it could be that people figure it is safer not to trust your wealth to something dispellable (assuming it would function under trap rules), or put it with a lot of other people's making it an even bigger target for thieves.

    Edit: I know some fantasy books have had medieval style banking supported by merchants, but I don't know about actual magical ATMs.
    Last edited by Zaydos; 2010-08-13 at 12:18 AM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    I think the closest I've seen to this are mage coins in Monte Cook's Ptolus setting. Each coin is magical and worth 100 gp. Once you touch them, you can leave them anywhere, say, inside a safe, and with a thought you can conjure them to your hand. However it's only one way. You can't send them back afterwards.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    I think Eberron has a system of banks and bank notes, as befitting it's Victorian theme.
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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    The simple truth is that better than 90% of the population lives in such crushing poverty that they hardly ever have two gold coins(in some cases two silvers) to rub together. Rich people like nobles and adventurers either have their own vaults or bags of holding. When transporting large sums of currency through non-magical means, armored wagons in armed convoy's do the trick nicely. There isn't really much call for a bank system.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Wide wealth disparity, conflict between most nations and groups, and magic rarely is used for mere convenience. I see the cost to create or accept a "card" as being too high for the vast, vast majority of people and shop owners as one issue; I'll get to the cost momentarily. As well, while the wealth itself would be represented with a material which is, in the gaming world, universally accepted, the material still needs to be transferred which somewhat calls into question the purpose of the "card". Finally, we are talking about a "card" which reads a specified account which updates automatically from a central authority as well as the ability to move a material between accounts or to people or businesses in a timely and trustworthy manner, which means a huge expenditure of magic so people don't have to carry around so much gold. This last part translates to the cost of getting such a "card" and account, and anyone sufficiently wealthy to truly concern themselves doesn't carry the money around themselves.

    Create a middle-class and make sending and receiving messages and maintaining data a rather minimal magical investment enough to cover a huge population without so much concern, and you could.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Aside from magic, more realistic systems -- credit notes, fiat currency, and other such "trade in non-valuables" -- can exist, but require everyone to accept and trust a common system. Any setting can have a system of IOUs passed between merchants in the same country, but anyone who sets foot outside that country will find that their "money" is no good here.

    In game mechanic terms, the other problem is that nobody takes the Forgery skill, which is necessary in order to detect a faked credit note...

    (Which is why, in my setting where merchants on the "Trade Coast" frequently exchange letters of credit rather than coin or valuables, merchants do in fact take Forgery ranks. )
    Last edited by Peregrine; 2010-08-13 at 01:21 AM.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Short of specific world constructs, I think the idea of a magical ATM would be unneeded. In most fantasy settings, living in a city is the exception, not the rule. Now, depending on the society, you might have tradesmen who needed to keep money in a bank, but that would be for purposes of savings, not as a store for their everyday "walking around" money, as we often do with checking accounts.

    On the concept of banking in general, though, banks, and even insurance interests, have existed in our world since at least the third millennium BC. Archeologists have found records of loans made in the 18th century BC. The use of depository banks and bank notes would not be out of place, therefore, in your typical high fantasy setting.

    In one game I played in, an operative from a warring nation established a Ponzi scheme in the city that was our base of operations and ruined the local economy. We, as adventurers, found out who he worked for, but because of the wealth he was "generating" for people, no one would believe us. This was enabled because we were in a roman-level society that heavily relied on bank notes and loans to underwrite everything from building construction to trade. It seems sort of dry material, but banking and insurance concepts can lead to some pretty fun moments, though it does make it hard to maintain separation between your OOC understanding of economics and what your character knows!
    Last edited by DMGreg; 2010-08-13 at 08:37 AM.

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    It begs the question: Why isn't there a purse of holding?


    Given the size and bulk of coinage and the wealth of those who adventure, you'd have thought that there'd be a 'coins and gems only' variant of the classic bag of holding somewhere.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Those magic summoning coins sound awesome.

    I like crystals and gems, so in my game I made all gems alchemically tinted diamonds.

    Diamond is inherently magical (hence why it is used for ressurections).

    Diamonds of various sizes glow when you channel energy into them (as use magic device, but can be done untrained).

    The glow fades quickly, but takes longer to fade as the gem gets larger, with a sharp increase at 100gp worth, where it does not fade at all and begins shimmering.

    Much wealth is transferred in this form, as it is more expensive to fake this effect well than just to spend the real gems. Beings of great wealth and power (magi, dragons, djinn, etc) often hoard and trade a more advanced type of gem.

    The next step up from diamond alchemically, 1000gp worth of spellgem provides the power to cast an extra spell (pearl of power 1). They are commonly found in higher denominations as well (3k - level 2, 9k - level 3, 27k = level 4, etc) although only very powerful entities can verify their value (by using them).

    This sort of thing is really only needed for high powered games, or if you assume widespread magic (if casting any spell is a service that costs hundreds of gold pieces, either casters are so rare that finding one is the hard part, or wealth of society is significant).

    I also like how this makes wealth much more portable, and also useful. A dragon alchemically transforms much of his horde into spellgems allowing him much expanded use of magic. Any caster may keep a good amount of spellgems, trading them later for other items, or holding onto them for their intrinsic usefullness.
    Last edited by sdream; 2010-08-13 at 09:02 AM.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    House Kundark(sp?) in Eberron essentially has a bank & debit card type system, I know one or more of the Eberron books describes some of the safeguards they have on the money.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    In Star Wars (not saga edition) they have the credit chit which works the same way as a debit card except you can do P2P transfers on it as well, something I'm waiting for our society to catch up to.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Historically, while banking and loans are old concepts, fluid credit as we use it today is a relatively new idea. In part, it depends on a more stable valuation of goods, particularly gold (money). While there is no reason it couldn't work, the average person wouldn't even conceive of it and would prefer to have their coppers to hand.
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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    It really depends on what magic is capable of. If the magic for credit cards exists and its cheap to use, yes, there will be magical credit cards. The same could be said about any piece of technology. Why not have magical computers? Magical airplanes? Magical elevators? If magic can accomplish the same as modern technology, you will have the devices of modern technology.
    Generally in DnD magic is expensive, rare, and hard to produce on a mass scale. But magic is whatever you want it to be. If you want magic factories making magical iphones, that's totally doable.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Yeah, and after you hit the magic ATM you can drive your magic SUV to the magic mall to buy magic tee shirts at Magicrombie and Fitch.

    Or just, you know, play in a modern setting.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    I think Shamus Young summed it up pretty well in his commentary to this strip:

    "On one hand, it makes no sense for the monsters and encounter areas of the gameworld to come pre-stocked with loot. It also makes no sense for feral beasts and the shambling undead to walk around carrying fabulous cash prizes.

    On the other hand, gold coins are shiny and make a fun jingling sound when you have lots of them."
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    I've been gently coming up with a wealth system based on tokens that represent volumes of water, for a desert-world setting. The supply of tokens (and storage of water) is controlled by a hive-minded insect race. They can stay almost completely separate from most politicking between nations or factions simply because nobody wants to piss them off and then suddenly find that they can't access the water supplies (water=life). In theory, a character can present a token at any hive anywhere and receive that volume of water, or exchange a large number of small-volume tokens for one or two large-volume ones. Tokens can also be used as regular coins for the purposes of trading.

    (Clearly, I also need a better word for them than "token". Hey, maybe Vols!)

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    For the most part i find the usefulness of this in game to be questionable unless your running a slightly more advanced game than i'm typically involved in.

    But I like the idea of the miniature portable hole for all my banking needs. it's just big enough to fit your hand into and can hold ALOT of money. . .i consider it a specialized magic item and it only holds money or valuables such as gems and gold bars.
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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amazon warrior View Post
    I've been gently coming up with a wealth system based on tokens that represent volumes of water, for a desert-world setting. The supply of tokens (and storage of water) is controlled by a hive-minded insect race. They can stay almost completely separate from most politicking between nations or factions simply because nobody wants to piss them off and then suddenly find that they can't access the water supplies (water=life). In theory, a character can present a token at any hive anywhere and receive that volume of water, or exchange a large number of small-volume tokens for one or two large-volume ones. Tokens can also be used as regular coins for the purposes of trading.

    (Clearly, I also need a better word for them than "token". Hey, maybe Vols!)
    Just wanted to compliment you on an awesome idea. Of course, the water should be produced in some utterly disgusting way, like extruded from a worker drone's abdomen glands. But it's not like there's any other option so even if people found out there's nothing they can do.

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amazon warrior View Post
    I've been gently coming up with a wealth system based on tokens that represent volumes of water, for a desert-world setting. The supply of tokens (and storage of water) is controlled by a hive-minded insect race. They can stay almost completely separate from most politicking between nations or factions simply because nobody wants to piss them off and then suddenly find that they can't access the water supplies (water=life). In theory, a character can present a token at any hive anywhere and receive that volume of water, or exchange a large number of small-volume tokens for one or two large-volume ones. Tokens can also be used as regular coins for the purposes of trading.

    (Clearly, I also need a better word for them than "token". Hey, maybe Vols!)
    Also remember to get rid of Create Water. You don't want an orison that undermines your entire economy.
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    I once wantend to make a beholder run bank system. We'll watch it for you was their moto.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaydos View Post
    Also remember to get rid of Create Water. You don't want an orison that undermines your entire economy.
    Well, it depends how common magic is. A level one cleric could create six gallons a day if they employ all their 0 level spell slots for Create Water. If there's only one cleric per five hundred people, those six gallons aren't going to go very far. Even if a few people can magically create a little water here and there you'd still need the insects to provide the overwhelming majority of it.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amazon warrior View Post
    I've been gently coming up with a wealth system based on tokens that represent volumes of water, for a desert-world setting.
    If you've not read it, you should read Frank Herbert's Dune. You may be able to pull some inspiration from it. In Dune, the Fremen, desert people, have rights to a volume of water represented by tokens they can wear like beads on a necklace. They don't use it as a currency per se but it's an important aspect of their society.

    Edit: Man, I really need to reread that book myself! They *were* used as a form of currency. See*:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fremen#Water_conservation
    http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Water_Rings

    *It's a wiki source, so don't take it as gospel, but it might still give you some ideas
    Last edited by DMGreg; 2010-08-13 at 12:02 PM. Reason: Correction

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urpriest View Post
    I think Eberron has a system of banks and bank notes, as befitting it's Victorian theme.
    Eberron does have a crude renaissance style banking system indeed. It includes notes of credit, and I believe the 3e published adventures had some as rewards.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tetrasodium View Post
    House Kundark(sp?) in Eberron essentially has a bank & debit card type system, I know one or more of the Eberron books describes some of the safeguards they have on the money.
    House Kundarak's safeguards are piles and piles of heavily armed dwarves, and more magic (developed by House Cannith I believe) that you can shake a very expensive stick at. In essence the Kundarak banks are more akin to massive safe deposit boxes, at least from the perspective of anybody that isn't a country, another Dragonmarked House or insanely wealth.
    Last edited by Beleriphon; 2010-08-13 at 12:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    There used to be a banking system, but all the money they had in their deposits was lost to dungeons over 500 years ago, when the banks fell.
    Last edited by Mongoose87; 2010-08-13 at 12:16 PM.
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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    There's actually a simple technology people developed IRL to not have to carry gold around with them everywhere. Dollar bills. What's simpler, paying wizards to create hundreds of thousands of magical devices, or printing paper with tiny pictures and numbers on it? Currently we have fiat currency which isn't backed by anything but the government's power, but originally money was meant to represent gold held in a vault somewhere.

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    There's actually a simple technology people developed IRL to not have to carry gold around with them everywhere. Dollar bills. What's simpler, paying wizards to create hundreds of thousands of magical devices, or printing paper with tiny pictures and numbers on it? Currently we have fiat currency which isn't backed by anything but the government's power, but originally money was meant to represent gold held in a vault somewhere.
    Who really wants to encounter a dragon lying on a pile of paper bills? He might burn them!
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Ring of Evasion means never playing a monk with monk levels again. There is just no reason to dip that stuff. I know we're all about using every part of the buffalo here, but can we just admit that it's inedible?

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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Eberron does have a crude renaissance style banking system indeed. It includes notes of credit, and I believe the 3e published adventures had some as rewards.
    Yeah, Eberron is rather document-focused, just to ensure that the life of a changeling rogue is 'vaguely challenging' as opposed to 'dead easy.'

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    House Kundarak's safeguards are piles and piles of heavily armed dwarves, and more magic (developed by House Cannith I believe) that you can shake a very expensive stick at. In essence the Kundarak banks are more akin to massive safe deposit boxes, at least from the perspective of anybody that isn't a country, another Dragonmarked House or insanely wealth.
    The most important feature of House Kundarak's banking system is a series of safety deposit boxes that deposit goods in an extradimensional space which can be accessed from any of their branch banks, which would, in essence, function as an ATM (although less common).
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    There's actually a simple technology people developed IRL to not have to carry gold around with them everywhere. Dollar bills. What's simpler, paying wizards to create hundreds of thousands of magical devices, or printing paper with tiny pictures and numbers on it? Currently we have fiat currency which isn't backed by anything but the government's power, but originally money was meant to represent gold held in a vault somewhere.
    To a certain degree, D&D already has the different currencies based on the value of the metal used. The next step up from pieces are bars are such. For the average person, their wealth is manageable that using the actual valuable substance, instead of paper in place of it, is secure enough for them.

    Anyway, Problem with paper currency starts with forgery. At least in forging metal coins, you have to use some amount of the same substance. If the paper isn't difficult enough to print, then not only can several skilled people forge notes, but magic could probably make wizards very rich. If you are either using a way to print very very complicated notes, or magically protecting or identifying them, you might make the process more expensive than what the money is worth.
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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why are there really bags of gold?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pink View Post
    Anyway, Problem with paper currency starts with forgery. At least in forging metal coins, you have to use some amount of the same substance. If the paper isn't difficult enough to print, then not only can several skilled people forge notes, but magic could probably make wizards very rich. If you are either using a way to print very very complicated notes, or magically protecting or identifying them, you might make the process more expensive than what the money is worth.
    I like the way Eberron gets around this issue. House Sivis notarizes everything of import, like letters of credit. That way only one group has the skill and ability to mark documents as true. It doesn't prevent forgeries, or a rogue member doing it, but those people tend to get murderized pretty fast, and it makes for fun plots.

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