Money

Table of contents


What coinage exists in the world is an accident of circumstance: markers assigned value only because people believe they have worth. Originally, the coinage that now exists everywhere in the Turritella and sometimes on the surface was nothing more than a promise to the Frontiersmen. These coins, made of extremely high-grade Chitin and produced within the realm of the Estates, were used for rations and goods by the lawmen. They traded them to general stores, and those stores could take them back to the Aristocrats to claim something of equal value. Over the years, they began to pass through more hands. Instead of taking them back to their creators, general stores traded them to weapon makers, or restaurants, who in turn traded them on to healers and craftsmen. Value began to be assigned to these simple markers, and more and more left the realm of the Estates in the pockets of Frontiersmen. Now the coins saturate the market, especially popular in Kaipalu, the city where barter is less popular and having something solid to offer is much more useful.

Outside of the city, however, barter is the most common form of trade: exchanging goods for other goods or sometimes IOUs or favors, from people who are trustworthy or in a position of power.

Coinage

There are four primary values of coins [moons, hooves, stalks, and marks/bits], each with a different image raised on its surface, a different size, and in a slightly different hue of Chitin. It's easy to tell, at a glance or a touch, what sort of coin one is holding, and while there is no set number value to the markers, they fluctuate with the market and what one can generally buy with some sum of coins is usually about the same. Those who are skilled use the whims of the economy to turn a profit, while others just barely manage to keep things straight, or are satisfied so long as their coin buys them an ale.

Moons are a very unusual, pale, silvery shade of Chitin with shimmery blue undertones, small coins about half an inch in diameter. On one side of a moon a sliver crescent moon is shown raised off the surface, and on the other the word 'Moon', the name of the Aristocratic family that crafted it, with the date below. These coins are worth so much that they're stored in chests and homes or banks, out of sight, instead of constantly changing hands. The average person will never lay eyes on a moon, only the Aristocrats or the very, very wealthy.

Hooves are very blue Chitin, rich and vibrant, and larger than moons at about an inch in diameter. On one side of a hoof is the curve of a horseshoe raised off the surface, and on the other the word 'Hoof', the name of the Aristocratic family that crafted it, with the date below. One hoof is enough to buy something people save up for: a cheap horse, a quality weapon. It would probably make up most of a person's yearly pay.

Stalks are the next order of magnitude, and they are a Chitinous color that shines a radiant green under light, three quarters of an inch around. The image on the front of these coins is four stalks of grain, raised and overlapping, and on the back the word 'Grain', the name of the Aristocratic family that crafted it, with the date below. Stalks pass hands constantly, for specialty and luxury items. A night at the theater in a decent seat would probably cost a stalk, as would a nice dinner for two. They are almost never referred to as 'grains'.

The last level of coins, marks, are much bigger coins in a dull black Chitin an inch and a half around, scored along two central diameters. On the front of the coin, in each quarter is a dashed diagonal line like a tally mark, and on the back is the word 'Marker', the name of the Aristocratic family that crafted it, with the date below. Each mark can be broken into four smaller bits. Marks are the coins used the most often, for things like articles of clothing or simple, everyday items, while bits will generally pay for things like a drink or a bowl of stew in a saloon. Many shops will only tolerate whole marks, and reject broken coins or bits as mere scrap; others believe the unbroken disks should be considered doubly valuable. Only a towns-wife or merchant could hope to keep straight which shops accept what.

Barter

Among tradesmen, farmers, ranchers, and artisans [aka: anyone with a product they sell], the primary form of currency is in trade. Meats, produce, food, clothing, sweets, weapons: anything can be traded for something else, and value is determined by demand in the market. If there's a huge crop of blue maize, its worth will plummet. If a strain of cattle gets Blighted, somehow, then beef will become more valuable. The market balances itself out to accommodate changes in environment and demand.

Credit and Promissory notes

There is a lot of trade that exists solely in the realm of promises and contracts. Depending on how solid a person's word is, how wealthy they are, and how well-known their name is, these can range from simple IOUs scrawled on notes with a promise and a signature to a fully-fledged and witnessed contract with dates, payment schedules and stipulations. Banks will help draft these up, or individuals specializing in the fields.