Two separate currencies flow through the economies of the known world. The currency minted in Akathia is divided into silver dinars, in denominations of one and five, and gold riyals, in denominations of one, five, and ten. A gold riyal is worth ten silver dinars, by law. These coins are made of glass stamped with silver or gold. In the Principalities, the Emperor’s mints turn out silver towers and gold crowns. Silver towers come in denominations of one and five, and ten towers are worth one crown. Gold crowns are minted in denominations of one, five, and ten. These coins are made of redwood painted with gold or silver foil. Both currencies hold their value more because of the strength of the governments backing them than because of the value of the metal included in the coins. Coins of one currency can be exchanged for coins of the other at 1:1; most moneychangers charge between five and ten percent on their transactions.
Athral Isle and Gaunt unified under a king long after the Principalities had established the tower and the crown as stable currencies. Following some pressure from the guilds of the Hulder, the Couraine Kings and House Voluspa accepted Verdien currency as legal tender. Though Oresund was a unified country long before the establishment of the Principalities, it operated primarily as a barter economy, with some trade in precious metals by weight, until Verdien currency came into widespread use there several centuries ago. Tarsikka uses Akathian and Verdien currency with equal frequency, but they also trade in silver ore by weight; the country is famous for requiring commoners to pay taxes in silver ore.
Two days of a farmer’s labor is typically valued at one silver coin in either currency, though this value is fixed by tradition rather than law, and particularly wealthy areas show considerable inflation. Most commoners have a small savings of silver, between ten and fifty silver in total; they have considerably more wealth in goods, such as their tools and animals. Guild tradesmen and minor lords might have twenty to sixty gold coins tucked away, in addition to property of some value. A cache of five hundred gold coins or more is a towering amount of wealth for an individual, sufficient to equip a force of ten warriors with armor, weapons, and shields, and keep them hired for several months.
The trade hubs of the known world are, in descending order of prominence, the Free City of the Hulder in the Principalities, Bazmel in the Caliphate, Luzerne City in the Principalities, Atyuren in Tarsikka, Seastone Deeps in Athral Isle, Vastervik in Gaunt, and Dunaldur in Oresund. Seastone Deeps once ranked considerably higher in this hierarchy, but its prestige waned during the Gauntish war of conquest. Audleberg in Oresund is growing quickly thanks to the presence of trade guilds from the Hulder, and may soon join this distinguished list. Bazmel’s strength seems likely to wane, as its traditional trading partners have become refugees.
The practice of banking is in its infancy, practiced only by the Brotherhood of Ledgers in the Hulder, the scribes of Khaldun, and the little-known group called the Malachim Order, which operates across all borders. The Brotherhood of Ledgers, with the support of the Imperial Scribes, maintains and backs paper scrip for very large transactions between the guilds and noblemen.
Mystic Materials and Gems
The five natually occurring Mystic Materials are particularly valued by Alchemists and Forge Mages. Ivory comes from walruses in Oresund, and narwhals caught by Gauntish and Oresunder fishermen. Legendary creatures called "elephants" are believed to have once lived south and east of the Sultanate of Khodar-i-Gesh, but that territory has been consumed by the Wasteland. Amber comes from mines in Athral Isle, Gaunt, and Tarsikka. Fire Coral comes from Seastone Deeps in Athral Isle and the waters south of the Emirate. Thunderstruck Oak comes from the Principalities of Verdien, Athral Isle, and (chiefly) from Tarsikka. Black Pearl comes from western coast of the Principalities and certain lakes in Tarsikka.
Various gemstones are used and traded as portable wealth. As most gems are not useful in either smithing or alchemy, they are not accepted currency for production; however, merchants typically buy them at rates determined by current appraisal values.
Images of all money, materials, and gemstones are available here