Currency


General Discussion

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Depends, perhaps fuel as currency does fine if there are reasons that the ship has to keep moving, or if the ship and it's fuel aren't yours to sell. Perhaps you're a team hired on behalf of someone else. Sure, you could sell the fuel and the ship. But then you're probably going to be hunted down and killed.

You could also have it the setup that despite being able to accommodate a large amount of fuel, you definitely don't have to start with it. You might need to buy that fuel in the first place, which would come out of the groups wealth.

Liberty's Edge

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Galactic Pound will work for me :-)

Stellar Pound is ok, I guess.

Pangalactical Pound is great.

Core Pound is mediocre at best.

Liberty's Edge

I'd prefer it to be abstract, cuz in advanced societies with economic systems there's gonna be loans and interest rates and stuff like that and I'd rather keep it all background. I also don't want to adventure to seek out neosheckels. Traveller is dull because of the trading and stuff.


Wish and Miracle scrolls, Rings of Wishes, and other magic items that are derived from similar magics would make a good base currency.

One Wish spell could be broken into hundredths, thousandths, or ten-thousandths of a scroll, like shares in stock. There might be a corporation who does nothing but manufacture them and sells ownership in them, and has acquired a legal monopoly on their possession.

A Wish scroll is worth at least 3825 to 4050 gp. A ring of three wishes is worth at least 120 thousand gp. A Manual or Tome is worth between 27.5 and 137.5 thousand gp if not more. If you divide the market value of such items into more manageable pieces you can build an unofficial currency system out of it. There is no reason why a polity must necessarily claim a monopoly on issuing currency, if megacorporations trade, buy, and sell stock to customers and other companies all the time. If anything such transactions will become more common than it is in the real world today, along with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and dogecoin.

In a magic-capable future-verse, it makes good business sense to sell off partial ownership of expensive equipment, just like corporations are public entities whose ownership is farmed out to many shareholders (some as common stockholders, others as preferred/elite owners), who all jointly reap the dividends of that corporation's profits.

If you can accumulate enough shares to equal a single item, you can trade in your stock for any of the actual Wish/Miracle/etc items they have in inventory, to be used or hoarded however you see fit.

Most citizens may never own one of these outright but selling shares of them gives them hope that they may one day collect enough to acquire one for themselves or for their descendants as an heirloom. A fairly wealthy family may acquire several such items to aid in the personal improvement of a favored scion.

Liberty's Edge

Coridan wrote:
I'd prefer it to be abstract, cuz in advanced societies with economic systems there's gonna be loans and interest rates and stuff like that and I'd rather keep it all background. I also don't want to adventure to seek out neosheckels. Traveller is dull because of the trading and stuff.

Those have existed since before antiquity IRL. Yet they have not dulled PFRPG ;-)

Liberty's Edge

Coridan wrote:
I'd prefer it to be abstract, cuz in advanced societies with economic systems there's gonna be loans and interest rates and stuff like that and I'd rather keep it all background. I also don't want to adventure to seek out neosheckels. Traveller is dull because of the trading and stuff.

G!#*#%n it, man, I want to line my pockets with space bucks! =p


Traveller had Imperial Credits backed by an Imperium so solid that even the other empires would use it's currency.

Star Trek had gold pressed latinum, which if you think about it has got to be the most worthless currency when you compare it's value (which tended to range like a yo-yo) to it's bulk and weight.

But if an economy is under stress and there is no common value of exchange, things may fall back to plain old barter.


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You don't need a common language to trade in...

FIREPOWER


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The value of a fiat currency (including cryptocurrencies) is only as good as the trust in the body (government, bank) that backs it. It's almost impossible to have a universal, non-fluctuating standard currency in a space setting - unless - you have a very stable, dominant power, or a trusted, nearly omnipresent money exchange system (a galactic PayPal, if you will).

None of this helps if your space game is about exploring the universe and encountering strange things, who will regard your digital money as junk.

The nice thing about plain old gold coins is that gold is useful and will be regarded as valuable by any technological society. Who minted it is irrelevant when you can test for weight and purity trivially (any technologically advanced society).


If Abadar is still around, maybe gold is still valued as currency because a god says it is.


Helic wrote:

The value of a fiat currency (including cryptocurrencies) is only as good as the trust in the body (government, bank) that backs it. It's almost impossible to have a universal, non-fluctuating standard currency in a space setting - unless - you have a very stable, dominant power, or a trusted, nearly omnipresent money exchange system (a galactic PayPal, if you will).

None of this helps if your space game is about exploring the universe and encountering strange things, who will regard your digital money as junk.

The nice thing about plain old gold coins is that gold is useful and will be regarded as valuable by any technological society. Who minted it is irrelevant when you can test for weight and purity trivially (any technologically advanced society).

+1

Gold is pretty much perfect, it is compact, rare, difficult to make, chemically stable and best of all polishes nicely, ooh shiny!

To improve efficiency the banks could hold most of the physical gold and record who owns what electronically, at least for transactions within the one economy. The physical transfer of gold could be reserved for inter bank transfers and trades between different economies.


Let's not forget good old trade goods! Do you know how much they'd pay for a bolt of silk on a world without silkworms or spiders?


Boomerang Nebula wrote:

To improve efficiency the banks could hold most of the physical gold and record who owns what electronically, at least for transactions within the one economy. The physical transfer of gold could be reserved for inter bank transfers and trades between different economies.

Most economies probably have more 'money' in circulation than there is existing gold, but if you're bipping around in space, you carry your hard cash with you.

Gold therefore is an accepted inter-economy currency, as well as (likely) an accepted currency inside a particular economy. The gold piece becomes universally useful to the star adventurer - he can spend it anywhere - while the dirtsiders probably use the local fiat currency (credits, if you will) because it's not as heavy as gold.

It gets a bit more difficult when the adventurer wants to sell an item locally - he'll get credits which he has to turn into gold pieces, but any decent star port will have services for that.


@ Helic

That makes perfect sense.

I read in an investment newsletter that the price for gold would have to increase from around $1,300 to $20,000+ U.S. dollars per ounce in order for it to provide backing for the money currently in circulation and even then it would only account for about 40% of the total global economy.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

One idea, if they go the credits route, for non-standard currency, do it kind of like plunder from skull and shackles. Like a trade good. Trade it for credits. Then have a table indicating what would be worth each point of plunder (call it cargo even). Since the 2 currencies won't jive, just deal in cargo points till you need to cash them in.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

In homage to Christopher Stasheff (Escape Velocity, The Warlock in Spite of Himself, etc.), units of energy could work pretty well as a "universal currency" standard for a futuristic setting. Since pretty much all technology (and "life," as well) runs on some form of energy, it can work as a basis for almost anything.


XLordxErebusX wrote:
Malwing wrote:
Gold is useful as conductors for electronics.
im not 100% sure, but I think copper is worth more as a construction material than gold is, for it has a wider application of uses. I could be wrong, though.

It is and it isn't. More applications, but gold has a higher conductivity than copper, and silver about the same. The difference is silver has a longer half life, so it degrades slower that gold does and can hold a stronger charge much longer.

Creative Director, Starfinder Team

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In our new grimdark universe, the economy is totally just dwarf parts. "Gimme five teeth for an ear," you'll hear someone say.

Spoiler:

Okay, maybe not. Actually, I'm really happy with our idea for the futuristic currency—I think we've figured out a cool way to have it be both physical *and* digital (and plausible) while avoiding some of the pitfalls of either alone. Dunno when we'll be revealing it, but I'm excited to share with y'all!


Utils. Economists finally got their way.


Gold never runs out of value. It's also a great untraceable currency.


The Raven Black wrote:

Galactic Pound will work for me :-)

Stellar Pound is ok, I guess.

Pangalactical Pound is great.

Core Pound is mediocre at best.

Something as archaic as the weight of a precious metal sounds less scifi. So don't think the pound will cut it.

Maybe something like latin solidus, from which the french Sou, the spanish sueldo (which also means salary) and which is tied to the value of a soldier's work.

Unless a pound is the price of a pound of melange spice. Then I'm totally pro it


James Sutter wrote:

In our new grimdark universe, the economy is totally just dwarf parts. "Gimme five teeth for an ear," you'll hear someone say.

** spoiler omitted **

I am intrigued by this spoiler... did you create a currency where gold and silver pieces are embedded with electronic currency? :P


James Sutter wrote:

In our new grimdark universe, the economy is totally just dwarf parts. "Gimme five teeth for an ear," you'll hear someone say.

** spoiler omitted **

Here's my main question. Pathfinder's economic system inherits it's legacy from Gary Gaygax's original design of gold pieces equals experience points with every intention of ignoring the fact that D+D's economy made no realistic sense, because that it was designed for gaming purposes, not economic simulation.

Is Starfinder going to repressent a departure from that design model?


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Experience itself is currency?


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Experience itself is currency?

Actually the other way around. In AD+D, the bulk of the experience you gained was from items sold. If you obtained a magic item and sold it for 10,000 gold, that would become 10,000 experience points divided among the party. Gygax designed the adventurer economy to generate big numbers, and created big expenses to drain that wealth away.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Experience itself is currency?
Actually the other way around. In AD&D, the bulk of the experience you gained was from items sold. If you obtained a magic item and sold it for 10,000 gold, that would become 10,000 experience points divided among the party. Gygax designed the adventurer economy to generate big numbers, and created big expenses to drain that wealth away.

Bolding mine.

That would be true in a Monty Haul style game, in a "normal" game, if memory serves, XP was mostly for killing things, then roleplaying, and lastly each GP of treasure equaled 1 XP. Then you only got at most 50% the value of treasure you sold, but could get less.

That was why we never left any loot behind, and sometimes even striped the furnishings and fixtures out of dungeons, every copper was worth 1/480 XP!

(Or something like that):P


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Now I'm envisioning parting out captured space ships and selling their gutted out remains for the scrap value. It'd be like digging out the stone blocks that make up a dungeon and selling them too.

(I've done that to a few dungeon walls, but never the whole dungeon.)


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Queen Moragan wrote:
That would be true in a Monty Haul style game, in a "normal" game, if memory serves, XP was mostly for killing things, then roleplaying, and lastly each GP of treasure equaled 1 XP. Then you only got at most 50% the value of treasure you sold, but could get less.

No... that was standard game assumption. Monty Haul games were those where ludicrous amounts of prizes were given for comparatively little effort or risk.

The economy distortion came about because Gygax felt that players needed large numbers to get excited about treasure, but he didn't want them becoming too rich, so he modeled his economy on "Gold Rush California" as adventurer norm. He also included things such as massive training costs and time for each level rise.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

No... that was standard game assumption. Monty Haul games were those where ludicrous amounts of prizes were given for comparatively little effort or risk.

The economy distortion came about because Gygax felt that players needed large numbers to get excited about treasure, but he didn't want them becoming too rich, so he modeled his economy on "Gold Rush California" as adventurer norm. He also included things such as massive training costs and time for each level rise.

Gygax wanted rich prizes and treasure to entice adventurers to adventure, he wanted them to be a free-wheeling and high-living lot, with all sorts of costs of living, duties, excises, fees, tariffs, taxes, tithes, and tolls that they should pay.

Yes, also a gold-rush inflationary economy, outright NPC thievery of the adventure's valuables, and additional expenses for level advancement, NPC followers, strongholds, research, bribes, additional entertainment and whatnot.

All designed to drain off that PC wealth, but the actual XP value of treasure taken was dependant upon the difficulty of taking the treasure with a maximum of 1GP = 1XP after all the loot had been converted to a gold piece value.

Meaning after all the items had been sold for what they could be sold for, which is after you've been taxed to death getting the loot to town to sell.

So simply gaining a treasure worth 10,000GPs did not mean it was worth 10,000XPs. Whatever your characters take home pay from that 10,000GP treasure was then divided into the difficulty it took the party to gain that treasure in the first place. So it was not uncommon for each player to get only 10% or less the GP value in XPs!

If the bulk of your XPs are coming from selling magic items then you are getting too many magic items! That means you are getting too much treasure! Having too much treasure, having too many magic items, such a game is too easy, that is a Monty Haul game!

That's where I disagree with you, the XPs gained from selling loot being the greatest source of XP, I've always seen it as the least source of XP.


No Absalomian Space Sheckels, huh? I blame the shorthand.


Doge Coin, or maybe Souls and Blood. Souls and Blood forged into Doge Coins?


How about Aroden Bits?


Maybe someone could invent a process that allowed longevity (Vitas) to be siphoned off a (usually willing) donor, where it could become a consumable and tradable commodity. That is, if you were to buy one year's worth of Vitas and then 'consume' it, your max age goes up by one year. Basically like a certain sci-fi movie where wealthy folks are able to remain immortal at the cost of everyone else.

One issue with this is the existence of Vitas would be anathema to one or more deities. I can imagine Pharasma going nuts over it. Other deities may not care so much. Asmodeus might like it a great deal, as it would give him an asset with which to tempt mortals into his service. Criminals might be enticed (or coerced) into surrendering Vitas as a punishment or condition of parole. Adventurers might sell off Vitas as a mystical version of selling your own blood or a kidney for money. "We might not live that long--so why not make some cash? And if we strike it rich, we can buy someone else's!" An imaginative thief's or wizard's or adventurer's guild may buy from their members at a seeming premium, say 125% the going rate ... While contracting with them to sell it back for 250% of cost.

Now a year to an elf is not the same as a year for an orc ... Elf or Dragon Vitas might be traded in denominations of twenty, fifty, or one hundred, while it would be extremely rare to come across a fifty- or hundred-year "pack" of Vitas. (That is, if we assume separate 'donations' cannot be metaphysically melded or combined prior to consumption or sale.)

Vitas might be designed as race-specific. Elf Vitas might only work or elves (and half-elves) if actually 'consumed', but could be traded by anyone. Human Vitas would work for any human or halfsie as well. Vitas collected from an uncommon or rare race would have a heightened value to them and little to anyone else.


They would have, I imagine, what most modern societies tend toward having: A fiat currency.

Basically, the currency has value because the government says it does, and people accept that. Generally only works in societies with a powerful central government.

If that's not the case, then I imagine the currency would not be made of a valuable material, but would serve as an exchange scrip for something that has value.

I imagine that, were it not electronic, it would be a small, complicated, hard-to-replicate token that could be altered by the government to represent a variable amount of currency as necessary. Alternatively, the money tokens could be a composite, where they 'attach' to each other to form bigger tokens, which represent that increased value but are just as recognizable. Think 'pieces of eight', but instead of chopping them up, you combine them to bigger pieces or twist them a certain way to break them down again.

As it's a futuristic setting, the material it is based on that serve as as the exchange would have to meet several criteria. You'd have to have something that is useful for advanced technology, durable, doesn't decay or get consumed, but is actually necessary to put into things rather than have massive stockpiles of it around.

Thus, it would probably best be a metal not used for armor, but pliable and ductile. Good in conductivity, not very reactive, and capable of using in tiny amounts to achieve a goal but in such a way as that there are massive amounts of it needed due to the size of the advanced society. It should be instantly recognizable even to untrained eyes, fairly easy to find on a large level without going through unnecessary efforts (so, say, material normally found on random meteorites that only occasionally enter a planet's atmosphere is right out), but not so common as for it to be devalued. It should probably be as low as possible on the periodic table as to fit these requirements as well.

There's only one material that comes in mind that fits these criteria perfectly.

Gold.

Thus, I think these recombining 'pieces' of currency would be backed by 'gold', and could be described by the government that issues them as the "Gold Piece".

So... inherently valueless "Credits" or the "Gold Piece" seem like the most likely choices.


The best currency is clearly in handshakes and pats on the back for a good trade.


I think it depends how the universe is.

If you have an utopia world like star trek then classic currencies are more or less worthless because you can replicate them easily.

So we need something that is not easily produced and also has limited availability.

And i think there will be different currencies all over the galaxy.

I remember the scene from star wars part 1 when qui gon tried to buy parts with credits and the vendor does not accept them....

I personally would prefer some kind of valuable non reproducable element that is only founs on some few planets in a rare matter.
On the other hand in a future universe the most interesting thing may be energy. So maybe some energy cristals that serve as fuel for space ships and as energy for weapons. You work and get payed with crystals. You can trade them for goods you need or use them to power your technology.


Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
The best currency is clearly in handshakes and pats on the back for a good trade.

I'll give you one firm handshake and two half smiles to further elaborate this idea.


i feel BOOMARANG NEBULA and HELIC are on the path to how it should be. different planets will have different energies and materials to exploit or even almost none. also do not forget asteroid farming and gas farming. there may be other stations and cargo ports not part of a planet but is a refueling stop or galactic leyline or cargo hub, etc. you need a flat trusted economy and currency in space and at least up to the starport on a planet. there you can exchange for local currency and probably at banks in large cities, unless this planet is really underdeveloped. a highly developed planet might use the space currency.
this will help allow story telling to have issues of your monies are no good here yet allow trade and a way around that.
also a planet could have loads of gold and flood the market devauling creds. also if it is based off of a numbr of valued goods then floods and draughts of some goods will not spike the markets.

Grand Lodge

I'm just here to say that Gold Pressed Latinum (Or GPL) needs more love.

How else are we to pay our bribe in the Divine Treasury if you do not implement?

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