Letters from the Flaming Crab: Coins & Credit (PFRPG) PDF

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Letters from the Flaming Crab is a monthly series of Pathfinder Rolelaying Game-compatible supplements. Each Letter focuses on exploring a different topic to give gamemasters and players new, exciting options that can be dropped into any campaign.

Within Coins and Credit (our biggest Letter, yet!), we cover the topic of money and how to make it fit in your campaign (and your bag of holding).

The first part of our 8th Letter is all about coins. We cover mundane and magical currency crafting, counterfeiting, coin size, exchange rates, and transportation of coins. Slaying the dragon is great and all, but how many coins can you fit in a leather bag? And is the party barbarian strong enough to carry the whole hoard?

Part two is on banks. Surely you don't want to lug around all that gold? Even if you got it converted to mithral pieces, tens of thousands of metal coins is a lot for our heroes! We cover the different types of banks, account types, loans, account tiers, the likelihood of finding banks in different settlements, and example banks!

Finally, part three covers credit. Don't worry if your head is still spinning from tax season. We make things simple for you and your adventuring party! We cover tabs, letters of credit, promissory notes, banknotes, and magic items to assist in the transfer of wealth!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Flaming Crab Games' oddball Letters-series that deals with unconventional topics clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Coins. Money. Gold or the Euro or the American Dollar. The stuff that binds civilization together and makes completely foreign nations that would otherwise hate each other engage in trade. Coinage has a role as important to our development as a species as few other inventions - and it is EVERYWHERE in our games. The dragon's hoard. The orc's pocket. Heck, it could be argued that from a certain 3-adventure arc in Kalamar to RotRL or the legendary Halls of the Mountain King, coins and money play a pivotal role in gaming. It is then quite amazing to realize that we don't really have any supplements depicting the peculiarities of currency exchange and details in gaming...in spite of Abadar's inquisitors being called archbankers (which is awesome).

This pdf sets out to fill this gaping hole - after all, even for most adventurers, it's all about the bling. After a general introduction and notes on bimetallic and mixed coins, we begin with the DC'd tables to hand-craft coins and how to make them - sample DCs for Craft (minting) provided. Similarly, dies, which are used to press currency, do come with their own table and processes of making coins, from stamps to presses and magical crafting are provided. Coin dies sooner or later break and deteriorate and thus, depending on the metal they're crafted from, we get different uses before they wear down; similarly, coin blanks, screw presses and stamps are introduced as items with properly codified rules. The pdf also introduces a magical solution to the problem of making coins - the minter's rod, which creates exactly ONE type of coins from the raw material instantaneously. It also works basically immediately...so why not go for it? Well, as magic is wont to be, it is simply less reliable: It requires a Craft (minting) check to use and on a failure, it produces coins unfit for circulation, basically ruining them. This allows for quick influxes of currency when needed, but at the same time retains the need for specialists proficient in wielding the tool properly - the magic complements mundane solution rather than undercutting them - love it!

Now, for as long as there has been money, there has been counterfeiting - the mundane aspects of which are already evident from the above; however, in a fantastic realm, the note on permanent image's ambiguity, illusions and fabricate are noted as well. Here, a note - there is an exploit left in the Craft rules and the fabricate spell that has been there since the 3.X days of yore, though in reduced severity in PFRPG. This pdf reads the spell's wording correctly: The spell uses the singular: "You convert material of one sort into a product that is of the same material." ONE. This means fabricate can make exactly one coin per casting. Yes, this level of detail and close reading are something I wholeheartedly appreciate.

Beyond this, the pdf contains the anatomy of coins, based on avoirdupois system of measurement - in case you wondered, the system is based on a pound of 16 ounces (or 7000 grains) and originated in the 13th century and was used for wool trade historically...but I digress. Dimensions, denomination, etc. are all covered (note: The more valuable a coin, the smaller it is) and maximum coin holding for pouches, backpack, etc. (and the weight if they're stuffed to the brim!) are provided for our convenience and generate a mischievous grin on my face. One adventure my players still talk about featured a slain dragon. They were happy about all the loot...then I asked them how they'd transport the coins. Figuring out magic logistics was an amazing trip indeed. And before you ask, maximum capacities for bags of holding can be found...and there are two new coins introduces: Mithral and Adamantine pieces.

After this, we dive into the nit and grit of foreign and ancient coins and the pdf features notes on how to handle multiple currency in e.g. metropolises like Absalom or Freeport and thereafter, we tap into the types of banks that exist (and yes, you *should* have banks in your game - think of all the cool heist/anti-heist adventures you could run!) - banks are codified as private, government, religious or illegal and the pdf does feature notes on the stigmatization of usury in certain religious contexts. Beyond that, 2 account types are discussed - transactional and investment types are featured and a note of cost and charges similarly helps. Loans, thus, similarly are talked about and codified and the pdf does note account tiers for different clients. A handy table of percentile chances to find banks in a given settlement helps and finding loan sharks willing to gouge those in need also can be found.

Beyond this massive array of qualification and quantification, we get 9 different, unique banks provided in their own fluffy write-ups, with notes on account costs - from the Iron Vault to the Great Tree Bank owned by elves, these are unique and intriguing. The pdf also contains a new monster, the CR 3 bank gremlin, who enjoys eating metal. You do the math. Cool! There would also be vault satchels banks loan to trusted clients to transport coins directly to their vaults.

The second aspect herein features credit and secured/unsecured tabs, with GP multiplier rates and NPC attitudes included and forgery/sidequest-notes talking about the adventuring potential here. Letters of Credit and Promissory notes, as two crucial means of handling currency are similarly depicted with notes on forgery provided for our convenience and yes, banknotes are part of the deal. The pdf then concludes with two magical items that tie in well together - the bonded ledger of credit and the bonded letter of credit, which basically can work as a kind of magical credit card-y system in a magical context.


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to Flaming Crab Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf provides neat, original b/w-artworks I enjoyed. The pdf comes with full, nested and detailed bookmarks, making navigation easy indeed.

Matthew Carroll, J Gray, Lucus Palosaari and Jeffrey Swank deliver one amazing, humble pdf here. This is an unpretentious and yet so NEEDED little pdf that is a must-buy for simulationalist GMs. Even for GMs who don't like micromanaging the details, there is so much adventure-fodder in this little pdf, it retains its value even when you don't want to track teh details. Beyond that, this pdf managed to actually be educational and well-researched, both in historic details and in the reading of rules...and, in addition, its takes on adding the fantastic to coins and credit, it does not devalue the mundane components, using magic as complementary options that enhance the game rather than replacing the nonmagic options. This humble pdf covers its subject matter perfectly -and thus deserves a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. Amazing and well worth the fair asking price!

Endzeitgeist out.

Lots of great ideas and interesting information


I wasn't sure how needed this Letter was, but reading it was quite enjoyable. As always, Letters From the Flaming Crab takes things to a whole new level with great concepts and expanded ideas. The mix and meld of real world information and fantasy setting is impressive. This product is obviously well researched, and explores a lot of great ideas:

- How much do all those coins weigh and how do you transport them? And how many can you fit in a bag of holding?
- What's the bank like? And who runs it?
- How hard is it to find a bank?
- How do you set up a tab at a local establishment, and how big is the tab?
- How do you use letters of credit?

Plus I love the idea of coins from one country potentially being illegal to carry in another (there are lots of great things like this in there).

I noticed a few minor editing issues, but nothing too major.

All in all, I'd say this is a great product and I whole heartily recommend picking it up.

Useful Mechanics for Creating a More In-Depth World


Disclaimer : I received a free copy of this PDF

This short but very interesting read contains a good deal of information relating to the history of currency as well as the mechanics for everything from creating currency, detecting counterfeits, and establishing a system for credit. I get it, most campaigns probably wouldn't get much from this, but this could be used to create added depth to the setting or as a potential start for different plots.

The first section goes over the crafting of currency, the crafting of dies, costs for presses and stamps, and the most expensive way to make currency; the minter's rod. Even though the rod can make it quickly, you still need to be sufficiently skilled minter to create the coins properly. Counterfeiting is covered next, with the appropriate notes about how it is made and how illusions can help. Of course, depending on what the money is made of, counterfeiting may be a nearly impossible feat to accomplish profitably. Towards the end of this section, it discusses the fine details of coins, their size and weight, as well as how many coins different containers can hold. It even has a little table for your Bags of Holding and a note for the Handy Haversack.

The next section covers Banks. Banks come in a few different types: Private, Government, Religious, Illegal. Private banks are usually owned by a wealthy individual but could also be run by a company or similar enterprise. Government banks are usually run locally but are part of a national entity and backed by a treasury. Religious banks offer the lowest interest rates, cheaper services, but also expect tithes... but who would want to steal from this bank and earn the ire of a god. Illegal banks are criminal organizations, have very high interest rates and are definitely something you would want to stay paid up on or you might get knee-capped. After the banks you get to types of accounts, loans, account tiers (whose values you might want to adjust if NPCs are ever expected to use a bank), and a few examples.

The last section has a new creature that would love to eat all your metal stuff (Not rust it... eat it), a magic item to access your vault from anywhere, as well as a section on establishing credit, be it through tabs, promissory notes and letters of credit. I'll leave some of this for you to discover on your own though.

While the normal campaign might not get a whole lot out of this, you could definitely create depth in a setting, establish a system of banking and currency different from the normal, and even create some elements of a campaign around counterfeiting operations.

EDIT: Now that I've had some time to use it in world-building, this is even more valuable than I thought. Moved up to 5 stars.

Good Intro and Tools for In-Game


DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this in PDF format.

Aelryinth's review is a great summary of the product and I concur with the sentiment.

I was surprised by the history lesson content but found it interesting none-the-less. Though I don't think I will be able to use 85% of the content in my existing campaign, it does give me some thoughts for when my party gets out of the wilderness and back into a major locale.

I am happy to have some outlines of banking institutions I can use in various community structures and I like the idea of some of the paper credits I can institute into the game.

Overall, I like this PDF. As an ancillary product I like the ideas it puts forth and gives me a few tools I can implement into my campaign where money is concerned. I just hope my party can accepts a slightly different way to operate.

Review of Coins and Credit


I promised a review of Coins and Credit if I received a copy of it, much of my interest having to do with degrees in Finance and Economics.

Coins and Credit is a 20 page pdf, with 15 pages of crunch, one of the flaming crab backstory, and titles and OGL compliance making up the other 4.

Editing was good, no obvious typos on my pass through, and the artwork was relevant and appropriate without being dominating or distracting.

Coins and Credit aims at being sort of a primer on coins and the banking system of the past, a niche product, and hits the goal satisfactorily. If you wish to add more realism to your game in the form of financial tools, it is worth picking up.

The book starts with an overview of coinage, with an amusing dissertation on the fact all coins weigh the same, meaning more valuable coins are generally smaller then cheaper ones. They also introduce the idea of mithril and adamantine coins, which deviate substantially from the presumed past value of those metals in order to keep with the standard x10 value progression for coinage that is standard in the game.

References are given for skill checks to forge coins for the intrepid criminally minded, costs for equipment to make coins, and alternatives, as well as later on to forge letters of credit, banknotes, and similar unscrupulous activities.

A magic item is introduced that can make many coins at one time, but operates on the presumed basis that Fabricate can only make one coin at a time, instead of a set. This kind of presumption should be noted in a sidebar, as it is akin to saying you can't use Fabricate to make a suit of armor, you have to make all the individual pieces to it. Likewise, the item is extremely expensive, despite its restrictions on use, although this is not a bad thing.

Discussion is made of how you might want to alter the cashing in of various sorts of coinage, since the issuance of money was historically a contentious topic, and moneychangers existed for a reason in older days. Again, this puts a more realistic tone to your campaign, and if you are all for speed and convenience hand-waving, it may not be for you.

The PDF then also touches on loans, interest, banks and bank types, and personal IOU's of various sorts. The magic items are basically low key, although the satchel that allows you to access your account in a bank vault should be more clearly defined. As written, it allows basically unlimited amount of access to monetary goods, allowing the easy transport of huge sums simply by depositing such into your convenient vault regardless of distance...so, like, say, dragon hoards.

There's a convenient note of how much coinage various containers can hold by size, which was informative (Type IV bags of holding, 75,000 coins!) which notably left off that mainstay of hoard gathering, the Portable Hole (update coming?). Also, I personally like to use Plentiful Quivers, with poles and rods hollowed out to store coins for two of the compartments. Alternate methods of transporting coins are basically relegated to the promissory note section.

The 'account types' at the banks probably needs some editing. A 'preferred account' requires you to have 60,000 gp...enough money to buy a castle, and equal to level 10 WBL for a PC...and level 17 for an NPC. A Premium Account is technically impossible for an NPC to own at 180,000 gp. Even a 'standard account' requires 10k to be on deposit...the entire WBL of a level 10 NPC. Such requirements should probably be downtoned to reflect appropriate levels of NPC wealth.

I would also like to note that historically interest rates, until the advent of paper money, were slim to none except on tremendous amounts of money, eaten up by costs of running the bank and higher default rates on loans then in the modern day. With even higher security problems in a magical realm, I personally wouldn't expect much in the way of interest earnings at all, but YMMV.

This PDF is based much more around historical practices then re-interpreting much of how the system would work with magic available. It does NOT attempt to justify prices, the discrepancy in various forms of jobs, pay, prices, or refer to business running alternate rules, consolidating the economics of which would consume far more space then this PDF.

It explains the nuts and bolts of the financial system with a historical bias to past practices, gives you some excellent and realistic ideas for additional forms of money, credit and banking to add to your game world, and hits that target. If you are of the authorial bent, it could prove an interesting resource of the topic if your knowledge is not very in-depth.

The PDF aims for a niche and hits it quite well. The only true downside is the limited use of it in more hand-wavey, action-oriented campaigns. Useful as a reference tool. Expounding on magical changes to past systems could occupy MUCH more pagecount, but would force raising of the price.

3-4 Stars, depending on the campaign.


Community Manager

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Now available! The first ten posters in this thread will receive a free copy of the PDF, courtesy of Flaming Crab Games.

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Liz Courts wrote:
Now available! The first ten posters in this thread will receive a free copy of the PDF, courtesy of Flaming Crab Games.

Woot! Thanks, Liz!

We hope you all love this book as much as we do! Matthew Carroll, J Gray, Lucus Palosaari, and Jeffrey Swank did a fantastic job!

As always, any and all reviews are greatly appreciated :)

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber

I would like to receive the free PDF, please

Now that's mighthy generous of Flaming Crab Games! I too would like to receive the free PDF. :)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I'd definitely like a copy. Thanks much.

May I have a copy?
Thank you!

:) :) :) :) Hehe, I would like a copy, thank you.

Sounds interesting. I'd be interested in a copy if more are available. Like previously, I'll try to get a review up promptly.

I'd love to have a read of a Letter from a Flaming Crab if any are still available :)

Grand Lodge

Count me in as interested in a copy.

Oooh, and this just reminded me to put in a review for the copy of The Dragon's Hoard: Rings, Rods, and Staves that I got.

Liberty's Edge

I'd like to get this please!

I hope I am one of the first ten to comment.

This looks like fun. All kinds of discussions to be had in and out of game for this. If I get a free copy, I'll post a thorough review.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

Just missed it.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

Hope everyone enjoys this!

Community Manager

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PDFs granted—please enjoy, and I'm sure Flaming Crab would appreciate a review. ^_^

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you Liz!

Folks, I know this one seems like a strange subject but hopefully it is a compelling one. If anyone has questions as to the content of the book to help them decide if it is for them, please let me know. I'll be glad to answer any and all questions.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Is anybody else able to get theirs to download? Mine's always stuck at Personalizing.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Just logged in and saw this. I've an economics and finance degree, so this is of interest to me, but I'm also currently unemployed. If I can get a free copy, I will read and promptly post a review.

Best of luck! :)


Check your downloads Aelryinth. I can't check it out yet since I am at work, but hopefully you have a minute to check it out.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Got the notice on my phone. I have downloaded it, but it's late, so I'll post a review after I read it, which hopefully should be tomorrow.

Thank you!


RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Review posted! Thanks again for the PDF!


Good review Aelryinth. Thank you for your thoughts. Some very good insights. The accounts, btw, were calculated with PC wealth progression in mind. A sidebar explaining how most NPCs never earn enough to see the inside of a bank vault was intended but ended up on the cutting room floor.

I've made one pass through it so far. Interestingly enough the bag to let you access your bank vault is one such thing I thought about creating for my players in a campaign that will continue after we finish RotRL.

Everything I saw so far looks good, the account values seemed rather high but I figured it was based off the expected PC Wealth by Level. Thanks for the confirmation on that J.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

JGray wrote:
Good review Aelryinth. Thank you for your thoughts. Some very good insights. The accounts, btw, were calculated with PC wealth progression in mind. A sidebar explaining how most NPCs never earn enough to see the inside of a bank vault was intended but ended up on the cutting room floor.

I can understand that reasoning, but it's about 'accounts', and PC's are 'rare creatures'. You're basically saying that nobody has these accounts except the PC's, while 2-5k of gold is still a tremendous amount of money to most people...and if hundreds of people have that much, certainly enough to establish a bank.

It also doesn't call into play agglomerated wealth, such as noble fortunes, merchant houses, guild treasuries, and the like...but you also didn't introduce any rules for those, so it's kind of hand-wavey.

I mean, consider a major landlord who owns like a hundred residences for rent, and charges 5 silver a month. That's like 50 gold, a very good revenue stream, and a very wealthy man. He doesn't qualify for anything beyond the most basic account, despite being that wealthy.

Of course, the huge variation in monthly income would have to be reconciled in the rules, and you definitely weren't going to touch THAT mess.

You just might want to establish a 'standard level' of income, and price the accounts to match. Remember that banks make money with the people who take loans from them. Getting capital is actually the easiest part of the job. A huge depositer who never takes out a loan is useful, but businesses who take out loans and pay interest are customers, whereas a depositer is someone the bank owes money to.

i.e. the reason you treat a big depositer well is so he doesn't take his money away, so you can loan that money out. You treat someone who keeps paying you money by borrowing well, so that they keep doing business (and paying you more money) in the future.


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All true and good points, though a bit beyond the scope of the book. As it was, we ended up 4,000 words over "budget". Thanks for the review and the thoughtful ideas.

Thanks for the reviews, Wraithguard and lacker!!

Thanks a bunch for the review, Kelly P!

Now is a better time than any to pick up Coins & Credit or any other of our books! Everything is 40% off!

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Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and tabletoplibrary.com.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks again Endz for the kind words and great review!

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