1. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Practical means of currency for dragons?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by rktho, May 3, 2017.

    Rundown on my dragons: they are about twice the size of humans, not accounting for the wings, tail, or horns. Average height of twelve feet tall. So that's about how big they are. You can judge for yourself how much it's feasible for them to carry.

    I need a method of currency trade for them. In my book, a drake named Daktarash is paid an exorbitant sum (enough to retire off of) and flies off with it. In the second instance, the protagonists are promised an even larger reward. What could they use for currency that would be practical to fly with in large amounts?

    (Side note, how much weight do you think they could carry in general? That would be helpful to know also for carrying things other than money.)
     
  2. Shattered Shields

    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

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    Their scales. Mayhaps they shed their scales at a fixed rate that determines the value of the scales themselves, and the scales reduce themselves to dust over time? This would prevent inflation, and might provide for a stable economy? I'm no economic expert, unfortunately.

    Or a viable equivalent that looks like their scales. Like plates of gold or silver. Or perhaps a lighter metal like aluminum. Flying creatures tend to be as weightless as possible (in their biology) so they can fly with the most efficiency, so weight of the currency would be an important factor
     
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  3. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    But how would poor people exist if they literally produced their own income?
     
  4. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    Tungsten! High melting point, unlikely to be destroyed by dragon fire. No idea how common it is in the earth though.
     
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  5. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Good, but what about weight and forgeability?
     
  6. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Contributor Contributor

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    Do they have to be paid in currency? I feel like if there isn't a widely-used banking system then large payments aren't usually done in cash, for precisely the problem that people can't carry that much cash around (a problem made even worse if money is made of something heavier than paper).

    And if there is a banking system, why not just write them a check?

    I'd find it more plausible, in the absence of banks, that a payment of this size was made in some other medium--perhaps land, or a guarantee of some kind of revenue/income (like a pension or an endowment).

    I should say that this is based solely on how things have worked historically on Earth, so if there's something else about your setting that makes this impossible feel free to ignore.
     
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  7. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Honestly I just might do that. Doesn't feel dragonlike to me, but realistically...
     
  8. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    When I read "Currency for dragons" the first feeling I get is obsidian.
     
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  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    There are also actual jewels--not currency, but jewels.

    Or if you want an object to admire and drool over, maybe the suggested land or endowment could be symbolized and transferred with something like a ring--the holder of the Ring of Whatsit owns the land.
     
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  10. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Hm, I like... What's the weight of a polished obsidian pebble half the size of a chicken egg?
     
  11. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    What if they're not trading for land though? Although rings as deeds to land sounds like a great concept, I think I'll use that.
     
  12. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    I'm not really sure, I guess around 40-50 grams, based on results of a few stones of Obsidian I found online, for currency you can use different kinds of currency tho, like 10x that is 1x that, 100x that and 10x that is 1x that if that makes sense... Gives a bit of depth to it.
     
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  13. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, that does sound good. A carat is .2 grams, so if each gem is no more than three carats they should be fairly lightweight.
     
  14. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    That's possible.

    By the way, something interesting you could take in mind, if they are double the height of humans, 12 feet like you said and assuming they have a similar body type to humans, with wings, tail, horns etc, they are also twice as wide. I assume the average human healthy human who is 6 ft, their weight is 70kg, multiply that to the power of 2 3 times (for all 3 dimensions, you end up on 520kg, not accounting tail, wings, horns etc, so your dragons would end up around 600kg if not more, applying my mediocre math skills. 10kg feels for me light to carry around, and I am not really a very strong person. Assuming I had wings I think I could fly with it. If you put that through the power of two three times again, your dragons could carry 80kg of currency if not more.

    Maybe that could make it a little bit easier.
     
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  15. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    That's actually really helpful! Just what I need! I think I'll go with the gemstones idea. So, what I need are hard stones that I can assign a value to based on rarity. Diamonds are actually common, so they could be a low denomination. A low carat diamond could denominate the basic unit while a higher carat diamond could denominate a 5 or a ten. Having that be the lowest point of the scale, I need some six other hard stones that correspond to 25, 50, 75, 100, 500, and 1000. Obsidian would be somewhere on that scale... What are some hard stones you can think of to fill these spaces?
     
  16. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    Are their hands similar to humans, such as the ability to make controlled gestures and hold tools?
     
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  17. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    Sapphire is extremely hard, very high melting point and is very rare. That could fit on the higher end of the scale, same goes for ruby. Emeralds are a bit softer, but also quite rare. Topaz is also an option. Same goes for Jade and Opal.

    A scale could be something like this:

    Obsidian, Opal, Jade, Topaz, Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire.

    Also keep in mind in a your world rarity doesn't have to be the same on earth. You could make gold extremely common, and a worthless metal because of the insane weight and softness. It's impossible (?) to build any structures with it, and your dragons can't fly with it that makes it a junk metal.
     
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  18. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Is there a reason you need precise denominations? Are you going to be using your dragons for math problems?
     
  19. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Yes, but instead of fingertips and nails they have claws, so there's a limitation there. They can't snap their fingers or peel things as easily as we do. Those are two limitations I can think of. They have four fingers and an opposable thumb like humans but their palms are every so slightly more narrow (in proportion) and their fingers are longer.
     
  20. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    It's faster to say "10 ingzai" than "five diamonds, one obsidian stone and twenty emeralds." Plus, denominations are required for exchange between types of currency, which is practical for obvious reasons. A hundred dollar bill is easier to carry than a thousand dimes.
     
  21. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Hmm, good idea with the gold. And the scale really helps. I think I'm unstuck now. Thanks for your help!
     
  22. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    But are you telling a story or making up a currency system? If you're telling a story, probably none of this is necessary. If you're making up a currency system you're going to run into all the same issues you ran into on the OTHER thread on dragon currency you started, with needing to understand the government and economic system of your world before your currency will make sense.
     
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  23. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    No problem!

    Wouldn't it be beneficial to make? I mean, it can help the story out. If he keeps it simple, I don't see a reason what's wrong with it.
     
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  24. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    Okay, I have a rough design for what might be useful as a currency.

    [​IMG]

    As can be seen, they're easy to stack, allowing multiple ones to be carried and stored in one hand. The lack of edges means it won't dig into the hands. And the fact that it's a refined means that people can't just cause mass deflation by mining them too quickly, while still allowing a steady increase in currency. However, all of this implies that there's some sort of state which uses the currency. If there's not that sort of structure in the world, then a barter based system is most likely.
     
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  25. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    It may or may not be beneficial... kinda depends on the writer, I guess? In this case we've had at least two threads and a lot of thought and time put into something that probably shouldn't ever make it into the story... if the writer's strong enough to realize that the details shouldn't be included in the story and were just discussed as a fun way to spend time, that's fine, but if the writer spends so much time on world-building that she can't stand the idea of not including every detail in the story, then... there's likely going to be an issue with the story. Assuming it's being written with the goal of entertaining others rather than just entertaining the author. And if the effort is spent on surface level stuff, like the exact appearance of the currency, rather than more meaningful stuff (like whether a society like this would even have rigid, exchangeable currency) then it feels like the effort is misplaced.

    But I've pointed this out before and it doesn't seem to have been absorbed, so I guess I'll just bow out. No more threads about dragons! That'll be my new rule.
     
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