Sinai Player Guide v5.0: 6.0 Money, Trade and Economy

Sinai Player Guide v5.0

6.0 Money, Trade and Economy
  • 6.1 Shekels
  • 6.2 Income from Typical Jobs
  • 6.3 Costs of Typical Things
  • 6.3.1 Common Expenses
  • 6.3.2 Luxury Expenses
  • 6.4 Trade
  • 6.5 The Iron Crash
  • 6.6 Handling Money in Role-Play

  • 6.1 Shekels

    As metals are rare on Sinai, coins are made from bone, ivory, or ceramic, with metal coins being on a level with gems and jewelry. The standard trade unit is the Rephidim ceramic shekel -- one shekel is equivalent to US$1 or one pound of grain, and half-shekels and quarter-shekels are used for change.

    Many tribes use carved bone and ivory coins -- the exchange rates for these coins vary, usually five shekels to a simple bone token, but ancient or intricately designed coins are worth a good deal to coin collectors.

    The standard Rephidim shekel is a ceramic piece inscribed with the face of the present Astromancer and the date the coin was minted.

    There are ceramic shekels with metal wire rims, in denominations of five (wire-edged), ten (thick wire-edged), twenty (copper wire), and fifty (silver wire).

    Iron coins were worth 500 shekels before the "Iron Crash", and then dropped to about 50, but presently they're pretty much worthless except as curios. "Don't let him pay you in iron" has become roughly akin to "Don't take any wooden nickels".

    Copper coins are worth 100 shekels.

    Silver coins are worth 1000 shekels.

    Gold coins are worth 5000 shekels.

    6.2 Income from Typical Jobs

    The average person probably makes 20-30 shekels a day in a low-paying job, 30-50 if they're highly trained crafters -- each of those ivory craftings probably represents at least five days of work, not including materials.

    6.3 Costs of Typical Things

    An average apartment rents for 20 shekels/day or 7300 shekels/year, seven silver and three coppers.

    Food for one person is 8 shekels/day for good food, or 2920 shekels -- three silvers per year.

    Families wind up sharing rooms and being packed in fairly tightly.

    6.3.1 Common Expenses

  • A horse or similar riding beast - 3-4 silvers
  • A sword (chitin or steel) - 2-3 silvers
  • A chitin breastplate - 2-3 silvers
  • Full chitin plate/chain - 1-1.5 gold
  • Night at an inn - 4-7 shekels for one bed in cramped quarters
  • Meals - 2-5 shekels varying with quality and amount of food
  • Drinks - 1-3 shekels
  • A mug of watered ale - .5 to 0.75 shekels
  • Basic camping stuff - between 15-50 shekels for each item

  • 6.3.2 Luxury Expenses

  • Exile processing - 1 gold
  • Jewelry is generally worth twice its weight in gold, and gold is in the form of four-ounce coins.
  • Journeyman Mage's College training - 50 gold
  • A shop - 4-8 gold for property and building
  • A large house - 5-10 gold for property, building, and furnishing

  • 6.4 Trade

    Surface nations are largely self-sufficient but export their surpluses to other nations in exchange for resources they find needful. These include wood, food of various types, unique crafts, metals and gems from mines, and medicines and spices grown only in certain areas. For instance, the equatorial lands grow a great deal of xocholatl (a chocolate-like substance, mildly poisonous to some species but still in high demand for taste) and mateh (a general stimulant drink).

    6.5 The Iron Crash

    Not all that long ago, iron was an especially rare and valuable commodity, comparable to the value of gold on Earth. However, with the "Boomer" incident in Himar, the Red Cliffs came into existence, having a large number of wrecked metal machines littered on the top of the red plateau. Iron prospectors raided the area for whatever they could grab, and a "ripple" effect caused iron's value to drop drastically in the immediate vicinity, and then gradually outward, as trade spread out the supply.

    This was repeated with the discovery of the Gateway Tower, and when contact was made with the iron-rich world of Abaddon. Abaddonians were literally trading iron scrap for dirt (fertile soil, that is), and while many entrepreneurs were made wealthy by being in the right place at the right time, there were just as many formerly wealthy people who suddenly found their stocks of iron to be nearly worthless in comparison to their previous value.

    At the present time, the value of iron has "levelled out", for the most part. Iron shekels are no longer in use as currency, since even though the Temple has tried to enforce the face value, other coinage is preferred, since other metals still retain their value. Now, iron shekels are little more than curios. Even with the massive influx of iron, though, it is still a metal of considerable utility and relative rarity, so chitin and other materials are still in wide usage.

    6.6 Handling Money in Role-Play

    In actual role-play, exactly how much money a PC has on hand plays very little importance. A PC's wealth gives a rough idea of how well off they are, and how likely they are to be motivated by the need for income. Wealth tends to determine how much "spending money" the PC is likely to have on a regular basis, regardless of how regularly the PC plays and/or spends money. It gives an abstract measure of how much a PC should be able to spend at any given time, so if a PC gets stuck in the Bazaar and wishes to buy something, and gets told that it will cost 10 shekels, then it will mean a bit more if the PC knows that he only has 5 shekels to spare.

    The "shekels" global can be used by a GM to keep track of shekels this way. It really doesn't matter for the most part whether the PC has money left over at the end of the log -- at the next session, the amount of money the PC has will probably be reset to normal. It's assumed that mundane everyday purchases required for the PC are handled "off camera", unless the PC wishes to be doing some sort of chore or errand for the sake of "color" -- and an excuse to be at the particular location the role-play is taking place at.

    On occasion, though, a GM may assign a PC so many coins to spend -- such as, say, 1 gold for the duration of a journey. It is unlikely that book-keeping will be required for all the mundane little purchases required during such a journey, but it may be necessary to keep track of major purchases, lest the PC get overly extravagant. (It may be a plot point that the PC has to choose between spending money on helping someone in need, or buying a goodie for oneself, for instance.)

    If you aren't clear about how the GM is handling finances, be sure to ask your GM! The "rules" may change from GM to GM, and plot to plot.