- Starting Money
- Equipment Lists
- Encumbrance (Optional Rule)
Although your character has some impressive abilities and skills, he really isn't going to be effective without the equipment necessary for adventuring. To get this equipment, he needs money. Not only does he need money to outfit himself, but your character also has to cover his living expenses.
Although there are many different types of coins and currencies in the world, all prices and treasures in the AD&D rules are given in standard coinage. Your DM may have specific names for different coins and may have different rates of exchange, but this is material particular to his campaign. He will tell you if there are differences from the coins listed here. The standard rate of exchange for each coin is given in this table.
- Standard Exchange Rates
Coin CP SP EP GP PP Copper Piece (CP) = 1 1/10 1/50 1/100 1/500 Silver Piece (SP) = 10 1 1/5 1/10 1/50 Electrum Piece (EP) = 50 5 1 ½ 1/10 Gold Piece (GP) = 100 10 2 1 1/5 Platinum Piece (PP) = 500 0 10 5 1
The basic coins are the copper piece (cp) and the silver piece (sp). These form the backbone of the monetary system and are the coins most frequently found in the hands of the common folk. Above these two coins is the much rarer gold piece (gp). This coin is seldom found in common use and mainly exists on paper as the standard money of account. This means it is used to measure the value of property and goods. Land values, ship cargoes, gemstones, and penalty bonds (royal court fines) are normally calculated in gold pieces, although payment of such vast sums normally takes other forms.
In addition to these coins, there are other unusual metals used in exchange. Most of these come from failed currencies. As such, they are viewed with skepticism by many honest folk. Principal among these coins are the electrum (ep) and platinum pieces (pp). These coins are rarely circulated, and most are hidden away in ancient treasure hoards.
However, remember that not all wealth is measured by coins. Wealth can take many forms—land, livestock, the right to collect taxes or customs, and jewelry are all measures of wealth. Coins have no guaranteed value. A gold piece can buy a lot in a small village but won't go very far in a large city. This makes other forms of wealth, land for instance, all the more valuable. Indeed, many a piece of jewelry is actually a way of carrying one's wealth. Silver armbands can be traded for goods, a golden brooch can buy a cow, etc. In your adventures, wealth and riches may take many different forms.
Furthermore, in your DM's campaign, there may be special situations or considerations to bear in mind. The Kingdom of Gonfli may be at war with the neighboring Principality of Boosk. Patriotic Gonflians might refuse Boosk coins (probably because they think the coins are worthless). Practical Booskites might accept the Gonfli florin at half normal value (so they can melt them down and mint new Boosk drachmas). Of course, both groups would send your character to the local money changer (if there is one), who would cheerfully convert your foreign coins to the local tender. He will, of course, charge a small commission (10-30%) for this service.
Situations such as these can affect the value of any coin. If your characters start flashing about a lot of gold, pumping it into the local economy, merchants will quickly raise prices. As another example, the local lord may commandeer most of the region's horses for his knights, making those left all that much more expensive.