Coin (monetary unit)

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Coins are small, flat pieces of metal, minted with images, numerals and text. Standardized in weight, materials and value, they are issues by numerous monarchs and republics. The study of coins is numismatics.

For game playability, by will of the gods, every coin of each type — gold, silver or copper — has the same dimensions and value, though they may have different images on the actual coin. While anachronistic, attempts in the past to create individualised coinage, with multiple values that must be exchanged when moving from one kingdom to the next, proved possible but offered no meaningful contribution to the game's play. After testing this variable system for two years, with no appreciable results, the current system was adopted.


Copper coins or pieces (c.p.) are made of an alloy of copper, nickel and silver. Each copper coin weighs 0.8 oz., or about 23 grams. 10 c.p. weighs ½ a pound. It requires 12 c.p. to equal 1 silver piece.

Silver coins or pieces (s.p.) are made of an alloy of silver and nickel. Each silver coin weighs 0.6 oz., or about 17 grams. 10 s.p. weighs ⅜ of a pound. It requires 16 s.p. to equal 1 gold piece.

Coin Exchanges
Coin c.p. s.p. g.p.
c.p. 1 1/12 1/192
s.p. 12 1 1/16
g.p. 192 16 1

Gold coins or pieces (g.p.) are made of an alloy of gold, nickel and silver. Each gold coin weighs 0.4 oz., or nearly 12 grams, of which 8.715 grams is officially gold. 10 g.p. weighs ¼ of a pound.

The inconvenient ratios shown are deliberate. Medieval and Renaissance precedents disregarded the convenience of exchange that a decimal system offered. The intent was to approximate the actual value of the one coin in comparison with the actual value of another. One silver coin is deemed to be 1/16th as valuable as one gold coin on the world market — in which the value of coins is an immutable, unchanging principle in the determination of all trade prices.

This doesn't have to "make sense" in accordance with any historical model of trade or exchange. D&D is a game, and a game is ruled by it's playability, not its capacity to accurately simulate numismatics.


Experience points (x.p.) are given when coins are earned through plunder and theft, actions which forcefully redirect the accumulation of wealth from others into the players' possession. Experience is not gained from "exchange" of money for goods — as the player's wealth isn't actually increased — nor through gambling, in which wealth increases for one person at the expense of another, but only because the adjustment was agreed upon by both parties. Therefore, gambling is not "force," and coin or wealth gained through gambling is not translated into experience.

Since all goods have a monetary value, all items that are plundered or stolen may have their value calculated in coins — and therefore the value of goods may be granted as experience.

Calculating X.P.

1 g.p. = 1 experience point. Experience is received by whomever coins are awarded, when dividing up treasure — in whatever form it comes — as the players wish.

For example, if Claude, Dalton and Edmond divide up 60 g.p. evenly between them, they each receive 20 x.p. But if the three decide that Edmond's actions are worthy of greater recognition, they may choose to give Claude 15 g.p., Dalton 15 g.p. and Edmond 30 g.p. Experience is then received appropriately.

Therefore, equipment and other treasure items that cannot be divided — like gems, jewellery, armour & weapons, vials, magical items and so on — must be awarded to single characters when dividing up plunder, on the basis of worthiness, chance or as compensation for not having received an equal amount of some other treasure. It is not the purview of the DM to decide how treasure is divided!


The weight of coins definitely count against the character's encumbrance, so that large amounts of coin will slow down characters. Since coins don't have much useful application when adventuring, it's best if a character considers where a great many coins can be stored, alleviating the character of having to hoist about their weight. The worry is, of course, that separating the character from his or her money is a risk, since a trusted person might rob the character, or a hidden cache might be found, or the fees might be expensive if the coin is deposited in a bank.

This encourages some players to translate their heavy metals into lighter materials of greater value, such as jewellery which can be worn or gems which take much less space. The difficulty is that while one can easily pay 1,000 g.p. for a necklace, it's hard to get 1,000 g.p. back when it comes time to sell same.


As well, coins must be carried. There are various bags and sacks that will serve this purpose, not to mention boxes, chests and coffers. These latter may be of any size, but there are some standards. Possible means of carrying and storing coinage are described below. In calculating how many coins will go in each, remember that 1 lb. = 16 oz., and that copper, silver and gold pieces require ½, ⅜ and ¼ of a pound against an item's capacity.

Backpack: strengthened cowhide sleeve with two 5 lb. capacity pockets; 14 in. wide by 10 in. opening; 23 in. deep; total 80 lb. capacity.
Canvas pack: made for strength, with four 3 lb. capacity pockets; with 10 in. by 10 in. opening, 32 in. deep; total 55 lb. capacity.
Captain's chest: curved-lidded box with hornbeam boards & iron pieces; 30 in. long by 18 high & deep; 150 lb. capacity.
Carryall: heavy cotton bag hung over one shoulder; 11 by 20 in.; open along length and laced closed; 25 lb. capacity.
Cloth coin pouch: thick fabric bag; 3 in. deep; 1½ lb. capacity.
Coin sack: canvas bag with hemp drawstring; 8 by 14 in.; 50 lb. capacity.
Doublet breast pocket: typically 1 lb. capacity.
Grain sack: strong burlap bag, tightly woven to ensure containment; 18 by 24 in.; 40 lb. capacity.
Large pouch: cowhide poke for carrying coins, with drawstring to close; 10 in. deep; 6¼ lb. capacity.
Mate's chest: flat-lidded box of hornbeam slats & iron pieces; 18 in. long by 12 high & deep; 54 lb. capacity
Money belt: soft calfskin belt for concealment beneath loose clothing; 4 in. width; 5 compartments, each with 2¼ lb. capacity.
Sandbag: military burlap sack, 14 by 26 in.; 30 lb. capacity.
Small pouch: cowhide bag for coins; 4 in. deep; 2 lb. capacity.

In each case, coins can be interspersed with other items, and scattered around the body, though the player's expected to know how many coins and of which type are located in which places.

See also,
The Adventure