Dungeons & Dragons Online

Silver Standard: thoughts and musings

Content of the article: "Silver Standard: thoughts and musings"

I've been thinking about the silver standard a lot. This post shares some of those thoughts and asks for your own, since I'd like to know your opinions. This isn't about whether or not to implement a silver standard, its merits or its drawbacks, but about how to actually do it.

For anyone out of the loop, the silver standard is basically changing the value of coinage so that silver, instead of gold, is the standard coin. What costed 50gp now costs 50sp. A 1gp/day lifestyle now costs 1sp/day. This is done for some reasons, mainly revolving role-playing: * A more down-to-earth economy. The amounts of gold handled in D&D are astronomical compared to its prevalence on Earth. * A medieval/pseudo-historic feel. Silver coinage was the most common across ages and cultures. * Making gold attractive and special. When gold is not only very valuable but also rare, the only mention of gold is enough to make players much more interested and know they're playing big leagues. * It makes other coins relevant. In standard play, copper is basically junk and silver is too from level 4.

Just to be clear, I'm already sold on this idea. I'm not discussing whether it's good, bad, it's worth or not. I want to talk about the best way to do the rest of stuff and coins.

1 silver piece = 1 old gold piece is the common thread. Now we have different options:

10cp = 1sp; 10sp = 1gp

  • Pros: This keeps the standard ratio, just changes the value. Every coin is 10x more valuable.
  • Cons: Gold is more valuable, but maybe not enough to make this change worth it. Players will be dealing in the thousands soon, and changing it to hundreds doesn't feel like much. Besides, everything below 1cp now costs 1cp, or needs to be bought in packs or through bartering. But this doesn't feel like a big problem.
  • Option: Add a new tier under copper, say iron, to keep cheaper items on check. But that's one more denomination to track and it becomes the new junk.
Read:  Got a question I would really like a opinion on.

100cp = 1sp: 100sp = 1gp.

  • Pros: Decimal is good. Gold now it's 100x more valuable, which attains the desired goal pretty well. Definitely the best feel for gold. Cp keep their original value so the cheaper items in the list don't require fiddling.
  • Cons: 100 coins to the next tier feels like a lot. I really dislike the idea of a purse full of hundreds of copper just from getting change. It feels like junk but you can't just disregard it. I don't want to start thinking about encumbrance. Also it feels videogamey.

10cp = 1sp; 100sp = 1gp

  • Pros: A comfortable in-between. Decimal is good. Gold feels important. Copper is still relevant without being cumbersome.
  • Cons: the 10/100 ratio might irk the most obsessive of us. It isn't irregular enough to feel realistic, and it isn't symmetric enough to feel like an abstraction. Also stuff below copper still need to be adapted, but again, it doesn't come up often enough so it feels like a problem.

50cp = 1sp; 50sp = 1gp

  • Pros: Another in-between. Gold feels important. The problem of items below 1cp is almost insignificant now. The ratio, while not the most convenient, at least feels somewhat historical. 50 coins is a pound in 5e, so that's neat.
  • Lots of coins again. I don't like that. The ratio isn't the most cumbersome but it still requires an extra mental step.
  • Variant 1: 20cp = 1sp; 20sp = 1gp. Similar issues, but less coin and slightly easier math. Gold less relevant but still important. Copper doesn't feel like junk but it's close. Old school.
  • Variant 2: 20cp = 1sp; 50sp = 1gp. Less coin, gold feels important. The irregular ratio feels realistic and historical, but it starts to become a pain.
Read:  The time my party killed a lighthouse (or rather, a fighthouse).

Other issues:


If you keep the price in gold of the gems, they become much more valuable and rare. But if you translate it to silver, many gems become as valuable as the new gold, meaning their value as a convenient way to carry wealth and the sense of superior worth is lost. They're just colorful gold.


Many of us disregard them, but let's talk about those.

Platinum becomes incredibly rare and valuable, kinda like gems or an almost legendary metal. Maybe it's worth considering doing away with it, since the new gold already covers that "high-value coin" space, or equating/merging it with adamantine

Electrum is weird. Is it 5 silver? Feels exotic, like a regional/racial coin. Half a gold, whatever its new value is? Maybe convenient but less usable day-to-day. At this point maybe it's better to fill the space between silver and gold with ad-hoc coins specific to the campaign.

That's what I'm considering. I'm kind of partial towards the third one. Do you do something similar? What worked/would work better for you? I'd like to know your opinions!

Source: reddit.com

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