Generally you should assume that adventurers have enough money for their immediate needs, without being too specific about their exact expenses. When characters are generated make a note of their approximate wealth, but don’t waste too much time on precise details. Having said that, sooner or later they will probably want to buy things or bribe someone.
Usually the precise cost of things needn’t be considered; “an expensive meal” or “a quart of cheap beer” may be all the description needed. But there are times when the details of a purchase become important – for example, if you want to make it clear that something is unusually cheap or expensive, or have a reason to leave characters short of cash, or have a player who insists on tracking every penny.
We know relatively little about prices in Tiamath, except that it is implied that an inheritance of 8,000 crowns is not an enormous fortune or a particularly good dowry. A ballpark figure of a crown being worth about £10 at modern values, considerably less at Victorian values, seems plausible. What we see of farming etc. suggests that meat and other agricultural products are relatively cheap, while products requiring fine workmanship (such as watches and other small mechanical devices) must be Yarge made and presumably imported. The prices that follow are based very roughly on these indicators. Add 25% - 50% to all prices in Irieth.
Beeve carcass 5 cr. Swine carcass 2 cr. Muttonwooll carcass 1½ cr. Goat carcass 1 cr. Rabbit carcass ½ cr. Chicken carcass ¼ cr. Beer, quart 5 pc. Beer, gallon 15 pc. Beer, 48-gallon cask ½ cr. Good restaurant meal 2 cr. Cheap meal 1 cr. Train fare (10 miles) 1 cr. Cart hire, mile 5 pc. Drafter hire, mile 10 pc. Steamship, 100 miles 15 cr. Cargo, 100 miles, ton 5 cr. Letter, per oz. * ¼ cr. Parcel, per lb. * ¾ cr. Courier, per mile 50 pc. * Most routes in Tiamath – double prices for especially long routes or international postage. Hat, dragon 1-3 cr. Hat, dragoness 2-5 cr. Magazine / journal ½-¾ cr. Book, leather binding 2 cr. Newspaper ¼ cr. Theatre performance 1-2 cr. Music hall / vaudeville ½-¾ cr. Rifle for dragon 20 cr. Pistol for dragon 10 cr. Shotgun for dragon 15 cr. Percussion caps, 50 1 cr. Powder cartridges ** 5 cr. Rifle bullets, 50 7½ cr. Pistol balls, 100 5 cr. Birdshot, 50 bags 6 cr. Watch (Yarge made) 10 cr. Daily wage, clerk ½ cr. Civil servant, per day 1 cr. Lawyer, per hour 10-30 cr. ** Gunpowder in paper tube. 50 for pistol, 30 for rifle or shotgun.
Tiamath's currency is based on the gold Crown, which has been in use for approximately 2500 years. Prior to that at least a dozen different Yarge coinages were in use, some of them long forgotten elsewhere.
Eventually financial confusion was so widespread that the Noble Assembly appointed the Majestic Thidris, whose sole responsibility was to resolve the mess. A new coin, the Crown, was designed and minted, with an agreed weight and metallic content; the other currencies could still be used, but only for their assayed value as gold. Today they are only found in the oldest hoards, with any oddities tending to be cashed in when an estate changes hands, and the Tiamath Crown is the hardest and most stable currency in the known world.
Unfortunately currency reform was not popular at the time, and Thidris was assassinated with his work only half-done. While the Crown and the smaller gold coins derived from it (the half-Crown, quarter-Crown, and eighth-Crown) were completely standardised, silver and copper coins remained in a hugely complicated mess. Things were made worse by the devaluation of silver when the mines of Tolga were first discovered; the value of silver coins plummeted compared to copper and gold, and remains unstable to this day. Silver is typically sold abroad.
For the last 850 years the value of the copper penny has been set at a nominal 1/1000th Crown; theoretically a half-Crown is thus worth 500 pence, a quarter-Crown 250 pence, an eighth-Crown 125 pence. In practice all banks charge a commission, typically 3%, when changing copper for gold. So, for example, a dragon paying an eighth-crown for something costing 50 pence will be given 75 pence change, but an eighth-crown piece will cost 125 pence plus the conversion fee, rounded up to 129 pence. For this reason most Dragon merchants are very happy to give small change, less eager to take it, and only the cheapest goods are priced in pence.
Would "Coinage" be a better heading for the sidebar than "Currency"?