1. Nanna S. Nielsen
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    Nanna S. Nielsen New Member

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    Currency (fantasy)

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Nanna S. Nielsen, Sep 9, 2015.

    Hi everyone! I'm new here, but I have a question. A tiny problem that is sort of keeping me from writing right now. Hope someone will help :)

    I'm writing this Fantasy novel and there is two worlds. Our own contemporary world and then a fantasy dimension within our world. That's where the fantasy creatures lives.
    And, I have this idea that one of the main characters, of the fantasy species, should be from a very wealthy family, but then I came to realize that I don't have a currency in mind for that world, and I have a hard time coming up with something.
    Would you say that it is a necessity to have a currency to be able to have a wealthy family?
    If so, how do you make something like that up? Is it as simple as giving it a name? Or would I have to create an economic system and everything?? :)

    Thanks. And have a good day!
     
  2. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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  3. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    An interesting unit of currency that's not around any more is the Deutsche Mark, used in Germany until they switched to the Euro in 1999. Your world could also have Marks, possibly with a different prefix.

    Another olde unit of currency is the Crown, used in the UK until 1971. Phased out at the same time was the Shilling - there's plenty of obscure old words out there you could use.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
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  4. Nanna S. Nielsen
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    Nanna S. Nielsen New Member

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    I'm acutally from Denmark - I remember the Mark, oddly enough! :D But you are right, old currencies could be a great idea to make up a fictional one, if it comes to that.
    But the problem is, that I'd really rather not have to create a system or a currency. I just felt like it was weird calling someone wealthy when I don't even know what currency they would be wealthy in, if you know what I mean? :) Maybe I can just refer to them as "Upper-class". That might give somewhat the same idea, right? :D
    I guess I was mostly looking for answers to back me up in my idea that it would NOT be necessary to have a currency just in order to call someone wealthy! lol.
    But it's nice that responses are so quick here! :)
     
  5. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I don't think you need currency per se to indicate wealth. In its truest sense, land ownage indicates wealth.

    Control of tech, precious metals or gems or skilled artisans can all avail an air of wealth without the need for a monetary currency.
     
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  6. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think if you did have a currency that doesn't necessarily entail having to come up with much explanation. It's fairly common in the fantasy genre to have coins floating around with little in the way of explanation for who minted them and how they get circulated into the general population. I've never thought to question it.

    You can always have a barter system and have the family rich in land, livestock, merchandise etc. Nothing wrong with that at all, though you could end up hinting at more of the economy to get that concept across, not less.
     
  7. Nanna S. Nielsen
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    Nanna S. Nielsen New Member

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    Thank you both - that's what I was thinking too. And I hope it will work fine out without an actual currency :)
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Aaron hits the nail square on the head. Money, as we know it, is a metaphor of sorts. It's a representation of something else. It's the reason that its value can fluctuate or events can cause it to be completely devalued. Control of land(s), especially where that land contains useful resources, is the least arbitrary display of wealth you're likely to find.
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most of us were too poor - we could only afford half-crowns!

    Seriously, the Crown wasn't used as a means of exchange for a very long time - in the 20th century it was only minted on special occasions, and kept as a keepsake of that occasion (I used to have one from the death of Winston Churchill).

    Although several countries (Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden...) still use the crown as their currency.
     
  10. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    You could also have the family be of noble birth; it may not necessarily indicate wealth but it'll certainly give them some kind of social leverage.
     
  11. Burnistine
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    Burnistine Active Member

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    Instead of currency, why not make their wealth be based on their longevity. Maybe certain sects are part of a genetic pool that allows them to live longer than others . . . and perhaps be more beautiful.
     
  12. Burnistine
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    Burnistine Active Member

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    Yes, but who minted the coin could be your main passage way to solve the problem, and thereby create great conflict for your story. Have the minted coin be a source of contention--to rid themselves from the rule of so and so.
     
  13. Burnistine
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    Burnistine Active Member

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    Don't be afraid to delve into the "fountain of youth" concept. Just "don't" call it that. And make it obscure.
     
  14. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    If you want to name a base currency ("it'll cost you 50 **** to rent a room...") you could name it after whatever image is stamped on the coin. Think of what sort of symbols are prevalent in your culture. A tree (fifty maples, please), a celestial body (that'll be ten solars), etc. You could use a permutation of a word connected with silver or gold: gilders, orins, argats...
     
  15. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    Yes and no. You could have them just be major landowners. Especially in the middle ages, land was a true measure of wealth as opposed to gold since there was little currency. I mean think about it, if there was a shortage of food (like there was often enough) what would gold benefit you? Land was the real reason people colonized America. Even today, many wealthy families have their money tied up in real estate and investments as opposed to actual cash.

    Still, a currency system couldn't hurt. I'm lazy, so I just based mine off the Gulden from the Holy Roman empire.
     
  16. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    If you do not have an economic system then you are just shuffling characters from scene A to B without a solid idea of communities. At the very least, understand why currency is a viable and essential aspect in a complex functioning society by understanding how the use of currency developed.
     
  17. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I think its a good idea before you even start writing to go ahead and get an idea of how detailed you plan on making your story. Fantasy is great and you can do so many things with it and you can also insinuate things and leave the rest to the imagination or based on real world.

    An example would be the currency "Gil" from the Final Fantasy series. I played Final Fantasies 4, 7, 8, 9, Tactics, Advance, 10, 10-2, and 12. For all of those games, each set in a fictional world, all I knew was that Gil was the currency.

    All I'm saying (pleading, rather) is don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because you make one thing, you have to flesh out all the details of how it ever came into existence. You don't have to. I don't recommend trying to build out a whole economy this early if you haven't gotten the fantasy world itself fleshed out. And you would be surprised at how easy it is to add in all those minutiae and details in later after you've got yourself a story.

    It also depends on what kind of story you are writing. If you're building a full-fledged economy with a history just to tell the audience that a particular character is wealthy ... there are better (simpler) ways to do it.
     
  18. Shattered Shields
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    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

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    There was the denarii, in roman times. Theres the ruble, I think its still used today. I would recommend just slapping some fancy name on them, denaros, sables, silvers, coppers, or something rather odd sounding, like knuts from HP. Just make it simple and quick.
     
  19. Australis
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    Australis Active Member

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    Don't want to be fancy, then don't. Just pick an obsolete form of currency, and be done with it.
     

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