Sunday, June 19, 2016


The ancient city-state Sansalem is ruled by many courts. Each court funds itself and its activities by minting coins. In theory, this prevents any one court from holding total power, as the more costly their activities, the more they inevitably devalue their currency. For example, the military funds wars with its own coins, marked by a vulture clutching a bundle of arrows, while the state religion uses coins whittled from wood. Crowns, minted by the king, can only be exchanged for other coins, not used to purchase things in and of themselves, and are used by the king to influence the value of other coins.

The islanders of the Cayenna archipelago use the shells of a certain species of beetle. The beetle filters numerous metals out of the ground to make its shells, resulting in concave disks of nickle, iron, silver and gold. Since trade with the outside world began, every village maintains at least one colony of them, still sticking to traditional barter internally. Several trading companies have bought live beetles and attempted to breed them back home, but they can be delicate, and none have survived the journey.

Ammandu is an isolated land of ancient and deeply held superstitions, among them, a dislike of all forms of money. Recently, however, they were conquered by the Empire of Thunder, and as part of their assimilation, they were required to adopt a provincial currency. They followed the letter of the law, while flaunting its spirit. All their coins have prime values (eg 3, 7, 13, 19, 29...) so that making exact change is as difficult as possible. They are now developing a new set of superstitions, on who receives the extra change.

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