I see your point as well, with regard to XP/treasure, but a copper statue that is ancient can be assigned a different worth (gp or otherwise) in either system. The logistic issue still exists in size with regard to pounds=pieces if the ancient craftsmen made one platinum statue and one copper statue (each of the same size and worth, but one can be put in a bag and the other requires 100 henchmen with ropes to lift off the ground). So, to make things feasible, XP=worth assignment, and ENC=weight to coin ratio.
If my math is correct (large chance it isn’t). A gold “platter” the size of a 11x8 1/2 sheet of graph paper (2500 squares) is roughly 1000x larger than a a copper “piece” of a little less than 4 squares. Slightly smaller than a penny. A silver peice 1/10th the size of the 11x8.5 sheet of paper is 15 squares x 15 squares.
Platinum peices then could be the same size as a gold piece (8.5x11), but be thicker (and therefore heavier). Just thinking out loud. Take a piece of graph paper and take a look.
Perhaps, that’s why d&d went with “encumbrance” and not “pounds”. A large sized gold piece doesn’t actually have to be 1000x heavier than a copper piece, only some mixture of larger and heavier. Perhaps my problem lies in trying to match XP to pounds and not XP to enc.
Yeah, I agree that’s what at issue here, is that the terminology of “pounds,” “worth,” “experience,” “size,” “coin,” “piece,” and “encumbrance,” often have different yet similar connotations, and in the game all correlate to XP in some way. Ultimately, I think we agree that we’re looking for a smooth and standardized way to dole out XP, based on treasure generated, and that the exchange system work within that standard, AND that the weight/size of different precious metals make mathematical and logistical sense.
That’s why I think weight-to-coin ratio (100 coins=1lb.) is a good standard.
As long as a dragons treasure fits in that cart
In Tavis’ whitebox game, some of the most entertaining discussions have been around the logistics of getting a large amount of gold past the avatar of a vengeful death god, out of the tomb, and the three days back to town through the wilderness. This may not be true for every group, but the engineering-type thinking that came out of the group, to solve the problem of how to maximize the amount of booty retrieved while minimizing risk was pretty impressive. (it became a bit like a narrative form of roulette, where the party had to see how long they could press their luck before Tavis brought the hammer down and had something happen where all the treasure was lost.)
So that was what I was thinking of when I commented that bulky treasure can be interesting. Nerd-types love debating the best way to solve an intractable problem, whether it’s killing a lich, programming a database, or building a barn.
After much internal discussion, we are going to change the weight of the coins to 1 pound per 100 coins. GMs who want to have lavish piles of treasure can do so by making silver and copper more common. Copper is actually already very common in the Treasure Type results, so this might mean PCs will actually loot it sometimes.
There has been some talk that the game should switch from a “gold standard” to a “silver standard,” but this is unnecessary. The game prices are already on a silver standard. The historical price correlations I’ve used have the D&D silver piece as effectively around 1 silver penny, or, in ancient coin, 1 drachma or denarius.
Consider, for example, that a Roman legionary earned 225 denarii per year. At 1 sp = 1 denarius, 225sp per year equals 18gp per month. That’s in line with the prices for infantry mercenaries in ACKS (12-24gp per month).
Or consider a 14th century knight earning 2 shillings per day. 2 shillings = 24 pence; at 1 pence = 1 sp, that’s 24sp per day, or 720sp per month. 720sp per month is 72gp per month, not far from ACKS’ 60gp per month for heavy cavalry mercenaries.
So, for those of you who care about such things:
- Copper pieces are approximately Greek copper obolus, Roman copper asses, English copper farthings;
- Silver pieces are approximately Greek drachma, Roman silver denarii, or English silver pennies
- Electrum pieces are approximately Greek silver tetradrachm
- Gold pieces are approximately Roman gold quinarii (half-aureus) or English shillings
- Platinum pieces are approximately English crowns (5 shillings)
So in this context, if a DM has his players find a sack of D&D style fat ancient 1.6 oz. coins, they could be traded for 10x that many ‘modern’ coins. (10 ‘fat’ gold coins = 1 lb. of gold = 100 ‘modern’ gold coins.)
I like the 1 to 100 standardization as well, and agree with Jedo it makes it easy to still have oversized dungeon gold for the same value. like Alex said, if you still want logistics challenges, just load the dungeon with silver.