DragonQuest Rules

October 15, 2016

Monetary Matters (repost)

Filed under: Uncategorized — rthorm @ 11:08 pm

The old 7-400 Monetary Matters article link seems to be gone.  Fortunately, there was a backup on my hard drive, so I’m reposting this, particularly in response to the recent DragonQuest Economics post by Phergus.  The two seem more complementary than contradictory, and maybe a combination of the two would make a good replacement Monetary Matters rule section for Open DQ.

Somewhere along the way, this got renumbered from 7-400 to 7-810.  This numbering is from a proposed system that would allow category numbering and flexibility, in order to allow new rules to be added, and have like sections and subject areas able to be kept in proximity to one another.  But, for now, it is only notional, so it doesn’t matter that much.


The GM needs to maintain a balanced economy to provide an interesting environment for adventure. The following table provides an outline for the range of income levels and costs of living for various social classes:

Class *** Annual Income *** Monthly Upkeep
Peasant *** <500 Sp *** n/a
Subsistence *** 1000 Sp *** 100 Sp
Yeoman *** 1500 Sp *** 125 Sp
Soldier/Mercenary *** 4000 Sp *** 200 Sp
Tradesman *** 7500 Sp *** 300 Sp
Adventurer/Merchant *** 10000 Sp *** 500 Sp
Hero/Lesser Noble *** 50000 Sp *** 1000 Sp
Greater Noble/Royalty *** 100000 Sp *** 1500 Sp
Merch Prince *** 200000 Sp *** 2000 Sp

The upkeep listed for each class is the amount needed for a moderate lifestyle for that level. Typical income levels and monthy upkeep costs for Mercenary, Adventurer, and Hero level characters are also noted.

Monthly upkeep includes the costs for food and drink, shelter, clothing and other ordinary expenses. Costs for training, ability improvement, and the like are not included in these expenses. The included costs needed to maintain a Skill are also not included in upkeep costs (with some exceptions as noted below). All adventuring gear should be calculated separately from the upkeep costs. Likewise, the costs for the purchase of any specific item should be treated separately from upkeep costs.

Some characters may apply a portion of the cost of maintaining their skills towards their monthly upkeep costs. A Merchant can credit the value of one week per month of their appearance upkeep cost towards upgrading their lifestyle above the base level of moderate. Half of a Courtesan’s annual upkeep can be credited towards monthly upkeep and upgrading lifestyle.

[7-810.a] The Silver Penny (Sp) is the standard unit of money, with copper, gold, and truesilver currency also in circulation.

Coin Abbrev. Value Weight
Truesilver Guinea TsG =21 GS 1/2oz 14.2g
Gold Shilling GS =12 Sp 1/4oz 7.1g
Silver Penny Sp =4 cf 1/6oz 4.7g
Copper Farthing cf 1/8oz 3.5g

A Platinum Shilling (PS =1.5 GS or 18 Sp and weighing 1/4oz) may be found in some areas. There are also coins such as the ha’-penny (=2 cf; 1/12oz), threepence (=3 Sp; 1/2oz), and sixpence (=6 Sp; 1 oz). Cut coins are also commonly found in some areas, while in other regions, they are prohibited by law. Weights and values for these other coins can be extrapolated from the list above.

[7-810.b] The Adventurer’s Guild provides safe storage of valuables among their range of services for their members. Non-members typically will have to pay double the listed rate for any Guild service.

Safekeeping of money or valuables — 1 Sp/mo for up to 500oz (31.25 pounds)
Banking/letter of credit — 1 Sp/mo for up to 36000 Sp
Postal service (delivery to Guildhouse) — 1 Sp up to 500 miles
Guild preparation of contract — 10-100 Sp
Guild arbitration of contract — 50 Sp/hour

[7-810.c] Improved Basic Goods List (table)

1 Poor Trash = Peasant
2 Impoverished Gentlefolk = Subsistence
4 Burgher or Farmer = Yeoman
6 Merchant
10 Merchant Prince
5 Craftsman or Adventurer = Tradesman or Adventurer
8 Bandit or Pirate
5 Lesser Nobility
10 Greater Nobility

Note, also, that not every character will necessarily be living at the specified level their class normally affords. There are plenty of individuals of noble birth who are living at more modest levels than their station may call for.

Alternate text: “A comfortable lifestyle is 1.5 times the base cost. An expensive lifestyle is double the base cost, and an extravagant lifestyle is triple the base cost (or more).”

For reference and comparison, here is some information on ancient Roman coinage (looking at the silver denarius as a close approximation of the silver penny). Also, for comparison, information on current US coinage is included. Canadian coinage is close
enough in size to US coinage to serve as an example, too.

Roman Coinage
Gold Aureus 7.75g
Silver Denarius 4.5g
Silver Quinarius 2.25g
Silver Sestertius 1.125g
Brass Sestertius (2.5g)

1 aureus was equal to 25 denarii in value. The quinarius was worth half of a denarius. The sestertius was worth a quarter denarius.

US (and Canadian) Coinage
Quarter 5.675g
Dime 2.25g
Nickel 5g
Penny 2.5g

And remember that 28.35g = 1oz

A very interesting site (Historical Coinage Cheatsheet) for some additional reference information:


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