Let Me Hear the Money Talk
Hello everyone, this week I want to discuss a portion of the game that frankly doesn’t get a lot of attention Banks and Loans.
Now this isn’t for everyone’s campaign, I know there are many people out there who simply hand wave this and will continue to do so as they feel it will bog down play. I have no problem with that, and in fact I used to do the same thing. However I got to a point where I became more interested in building my cities and figuring out how things functioned on a larger scale. Then I reread something on page 30 of the Player Handbook that I had always just kind of skimmed over.
“Large sums of lower value coins can be changed to a smaller number of
larger value coins, and vice versa, at a relatively small cost – typically 3%
of the transaction. This is done at the money changer‘s. The money
changer will also score as a banker, keeping funds and giving a marker to
vouch for the amount
Note that bankers will not usually give any interest.
Bankers will give loans according to the reliability, renown, status, and
material possessions of the individual. An unknown and low-level
character is unlikely to get a loan without giving security for the value of
the amount borrowed. Furthermore, the interest rate will be high –
typically 10% per month or even 5% per week.”
This got me thinking, with the amount of treasure PC’s gain and their notoriety they would become an easy target for thieves. Before I had always just simplified it as “the money is in the bank”, but when I started fleshing out my world, the politics, and how things working I created banking systems for my homebrew world.
Now when doing this I tried to create an easy to control version of real world style banking, but at the same time wanted to incorporate magic since it plays a large part in AD&D. This led me to actually create two separate systems both of which are used in my world. The first is a more general banking system available to everyone, the second is more selective on who has access to it. Also, in the fine tradition of AD&D I use this as an excuse to drain some funds from my players.
Method 1: The Money Changers
Just about every city and good size village has at least one person (cities normally have several) who runs a business specializing in handling currency.
Changing Coins: This is exchanging the coin of one realm for the coin of another and the fee is 3%. So if the party finds a pile of gold from some long forgotten kingdom, then for it to be generally usable in the kingdom they reside in they must exchange it for coin of the realm.
Loans: Those merchants just starting out or new adventurers who need a little coin to get started need somewhere to go to get that initial money. Loans from the Money Changers are a risky proposition, they have high interest rates and not paying on time can be dangerous as they generally have a large number of seasoned guards who also serve as collectors. The interest rate ranges from 20-30% per month based on how much collateral a borrower puts down (less than 25% collateral means 30% interest, less than 50% collateral means 25% interest, 50% or more collateral means 20% interest). The minimum amount of collateral needed for a loan is 10%, so if a character wants a 10,000 gp loan they must have 1,000 gp worth of collateral in the form of items (gems, jewelry, gold, magic item, etc.) This collateral must be left with the money lender until the load is repaid in full. Those who default on loans will be hunted down, often beaten and have their life threatened, and eventually if they do not pay end up in debtors prison with all of their things seized. It is common for these money lenders to pay special “fees” and “taxes” to the local ruler to get special consideration and help from the guard, so unscrupulous collection tactics are simply overlooked.
Banking: The part of the business of most interest to adventurers. These money lenders have large vaults in the city guarded by men and magic and will store your gold for a fee of 3% on any deposit. Once the characters money is stored they will be given a voucher with their amount. The money lenders work as a network in the large cities so the voucher can be used among them. A voucher issued in city A can be redeemed in City B, however this is only good in the larger cities where the lenders can be sure to have plenty of men and magic to protect their vaults.
Method 2: The Church
I also decided to include a special system based around one of the deities I use. In my campaign Laksmi is the goddess of wealth and merchants. So I created a system controlled by the church of Lakshmi that incorporates magic from the goddess to insure security.
Changing Coins: Like the money changers the church will exchange coin of the realm for non realm currency for anyone at a 3% fee. However for followers of Lakshmi they lower the fee to 2%.
Loans: As advisors to merchants and experts in mercantilism the church offers loans. Their loans generally have lower interest rates and they do not stoop to strong arm tactics if there is a default. However their loan standards are much higher, otherwise no one would ever take a loan with the money changers.
To get a loan from the church you must first have a solid standing within the community, this excludes most starting adventurers as they have yet to build a reputation for themselves. In addition the borrower must be able to put down collateral equal to 50% of the loan amount. This collateral must be left with the church until the loan is fully repaid. For those who default on the loan there is no fear of physical violence from representatives of the church, however they will pursue with the local lord full punishment for debtors under the law, whatever that may be. Loan rates are generally 10% per month making them far preferable to the rates charges by money changers.
Banking: This is what the church specializes in and where the magic of their goddess comes into play. Each temple of Laksmi has a specialty priest referred to as a Handler, and this priests sole purpose is banking. These priests do not render any other priestly functions or have any other duties, and they are the only ones who know the special prayers to allow them to do the banking functions.
Whenever someone deposits money with the church they are given a credit stick, a small two inch smooth piece of obsidian. This credit stick contains the persons name, pass phrase, and amount they have deposited. The stick appears solid black, and only a special prayer (spell) known to the handlers will reveal the information from the stick to their eyes. This stick can be used at any shrine of Lakshmi to withdraw money from the owners account. The money itself is stored in a special pocket dimension created by the goddess herself, and only handlers are able to safely enter this pocket dimension. Anyone else who managed to find the dimension and tried would be instantly teleported to the abyss, this guarantees the safety of the deposit. In return for this safety the church charges a 5% fee on each deposit made.
While I know none of this is necessary, I find it adds something different to my campaign and gives it a little flavor. For those of you who have a banking system of your own, let us know how you do it.
The Looking Glass
For the last few weeks I was running a creature contest where the winning creature would be placed in the upcoming module I am working on. I didn’t receive as many entries as I had hoped, but thank you to everyone who did enter. So without further ado I would like to announce the winner.
By: Chuck Gilmour
Number Appearing: 1-3 (3-12)
Treasure Type: I
Armor Class: 3 (abdomen 8 )
Hit Dice: 1+2, 2+3, 3+4
% in Lair: 95%
# of Attacks: 2
Damage/Attack: 1-6/1-6 (2-8/2-8)
Special Attack: Nil
Special Defense: Nil
Magic Resistance: Standard
Psionic Ability: Nil
The Chasm Crab dwells in dark, humid, underground caverns and corridors. They do not have a shell of their own and use the natural cracks and crevices found in the walls, ceilings and floors of natural caverns. Because they remain hidden in cracks and crevices until they attack their prey, chasm crabs have a 4 in 6 chance of surprise.
The Chasm Crab will back into the crack and anchor itself within to protect its highly vulnerable abdomen. The crabs lie in wait for hapless creatures to walk by and then strike with their claws. If successful the crab will attempt to draw its victim into the crack it calls home and devour it. If the chasm crab has a successful hit with both claws on a victim then it has latched on. The victim will take 1d6 damage each round until the crab is forced to let go, there is no attack roll necessary for this, however the chasm crab cannot attack any other target while it is latched onto a victim. Once the victim is dead the chasm crab will begin to devour him.
Once a Chasm Crab has latched on to an object they are very difficult to dislodge. It requires a successful lift gates check or the death of the crab to release the grip. For each person who attempts to force open a claw beyond the first add 5% bonus to the roll.
Early in the life of a Chasm Crab they will gather in small numbers and use the smallest of cracks to live in. Sometimes even doubling up in a crack if there are not enough available. As they grow, and they do not grow very fast, they leave the smaller crevices and seek out more roomy openings to inhabit. During this time it is not uncommon for the crabs to battle over the best homes. This leads to a very common outcome. Crabs reside in less and less numbers as the grow older due to a reduction of available habitation and attrition from deadly battles over the best spots. Rumors sometimes surface of a truly gigantic specimen residing deep in the underdark, but the largest know examples are only about five feet long, and weigh in around 400 pounds.
The digestive tract of the Chasm Crab is moderately corrosive. This allows the creature to digest nearly every organic morsel it manages to swallow. Any non-organic material that is swallowed is, eventually, deposited below the crab, in the chasm, covered in its feces.