5e Currency, Coinage, wealth & magic economy in dnd

5e Currency, Coinage, wealth & magic economy in dnd

Currency dnd 5e, wealth and magic economy

Coinage is the term for metal pieces that adventurers find as treasure. They can then be useful to buy goods and services. Although the standard currency in most Dungeons & Dragons worlds is gold (abbreviated gp), other currencies such as platinum, silver and copper can also be found as treasure. In this article, we will discuss currency dnd, 5e coinage & magic economy in the table top game.

Coinage 5e

There are many denominations for common coins. These vary based on their relative worth. The most popular coins are the silver piece (sp), the gold piece, and the copper piece.

A character can purchase a bedroll or 50 feet of rope with one gold coin. One gold piece can be earned per day by a skilled but not exceptional artisan. Even though the coin isn’t commonly used, the gold piece is the standard unit for wealth. Merchants will not exchange individual coins when discussing deals involving goods and services worth hundreds of thousands or even thousands of gold pieces. The gold piece is a standard measurement of value. The actual exchange takes place in gold bars, letters of credit or other valuable goods.

A gold coin is worth ten silver coins, which is the most common coin among commoners. A silver piece can buy a half-day’s labor, a flask full of lamp oil, and a night’s sleep in a poor hotel.

A silver piece is equal to ten copper pieces. These are very common among beggars and laborer. One copper piece can buy a candle, torch, or piece of chalk.

Treasure hoards may also contain rare coins made from other precious metals. The electrum piece (ep) and the platinum part (pp) are often suspicious and sceptical when used in transactions. A platinum piece is worth ten pieces of gold, while an electrum piece is worth five pieces of silver.

A standard coin weighs about 1/3 of an ounce, so fifty coins would weigh one pound.

Standard coinage

The Free City of Greyhawk, a world of Oerth, mints circular coins of five precious materials. Each weighs approximately one-third of an ounce or one-fiftieth of one pound. This standard is used across many worlds, whether by design or coincidence. The relative value of precious metals may vary.

Platinum piece (pp), A coin that is worth ten pieces of gold. Although rare, these ancient platinum coins can be found in dragon’s hoards. One platinum piece can buy one cow or one short steel sword. Platinum coins can be worth five times as much as gold in some worlds due to their rarity and size.

Gold piece (gp), The “gold standard” both literally and metaphorically, but still too valuable to be used every day by peasants. One gold piece can buy twenty arrows or a short spear. Faerun’s city Waterdeep produces gold pieces in a convex shape.

Electrum piece (ep), A half-gold piece that is a coin. Although many kingdoms do not use this coin, it can still be found in treasure boxes in forgotten dungeons. Some electrum coins are twice the value of their gold coins.

The silver piece (sp), a commonly-used coin, is worth one-tenth the value of a piece of gold. A pound of iron, a lamp or a full day’s work can be bought.

One-hundredth the value of a piece of gold is a copper piece (cp). A half loaf of bread, a piece or torch, and one-hundredth of a gold piece. They are often found in large numbers in dungeons, which can be a nuisance to adventurers due to their low weight. A copper piece can be worth up to one-fiftieth the price of a piece of gold. Common coinage is less common.

Read Maximum Epic Level 5e

Uncommon materials and denominations

One-tenth of the copper piece is worth a bronze piece (BZP). Or one-thousandth for a piece of gold. It is used in poor empires like the Empire of Iuz, Oerth, which mints a bronze dull bone coin.

Steel piece: This is a coin made on the world Krynn and worth fifty silver pieces because of its rarity.

One-hundredth of the price of a copper or one-tenth of a piece of gold is an iron piece (ip). Because it rusts, it was intentionally minted by oppressive empires. It makes it difficult for low-status people to accumulate wealth.

Fiat currency dnd 5e

Fiat currency in 5e d&d is a type of exchange in which the coinage has no intrinsic value but is arbitrarily determined by the government that produces it. These currencies often include measures to prevent counterfeiting.

Here are some examples of fiat currencies:

Bit, or ceramic coin, is minted in Athas. Each coin has an arbitrarily calculated value equal to one copper, silver or gold piece and weighs one-sixth of an ounce. 

The British pound is a currency created by the nation-state England in the technologically advanced world on Earth. It has an approximate value of PS155 for each gold piece. 

Read Sorlock 5e damage

Dnd 5e Currency in other forms

Sometimes large trade bars of precious metal can be useful to make large purchases. Promissory notes or other units are more practical for large trades such as those involving property worth thousands.

Collectors may pay a premium for rare coins such as those from fallen kingdoms and foreign lands. These coins can be worth 10% more than what their metal value would normally indicate.

Many gemstones are treasured in dungeons or used to hold large sums of wealth. Gemstones can be semiprecious, such as obsidian, worth approximately ten gold pieces, or rare diamonds worth around 5,000 GBP. Some rarer and more valuable gemstones, however, cannot be used as standard currency.

Read Starting Gold 5e

Table of Standard 5e Currency Exchange Rates in dnd

Coin Copper Silver Electrum Gold Platinum
Copper 1 10 50 100 1,000
Silver 1/10 1 5 10 100
Electrum 1/50 1/5 1 2 20
Gold 1/100 1/10 1/2 1 10
Platinum 1/1,000 1/100 1/20 1/10 1


D&D 5e Wealth and Money

Assume that a character has at least one set of normal clothes. Choose any of the following clothes outfits: entertainer’s, artisan, explorer, monk, scholar, traveller, or monks. Wealth Other than Coins in dnd 5e.

Merchants often exchange trade goods without having to use the currency in dnd. Below are some examples of trade goods.

Wealth other than coin

Cost Item
1 cp One pound of wheat
2 cp One pound of flour, or one chicken
1 sp One pound of iron
5 sp One pound of tobacco or copper
1 gp One pound of cinnamon, or one goat
2 gp One pound of ginger or pepper, or one sheep
3 gp One pig
4 gp One square yard of linen
5 gp One pound of salt or silver
10 gp One square yard of silk, or one cow
15 gp One pound of saffron or cloves, or one ox
50 gp One pound of gold
500 gp One pound of platinum

Loot for Sale

A character can generally sell for half of its list price.

Currency 5e dnd
currency 5e dnd

 What is gold without a magic economy in dnd 5e?

The “magic item economy”, which is based on gold, has nothing to do. The purpose of gold should be to help you achieve a meaningful goal. It should also serve as an incentive to go on adventures.

That goal MIGHT very well be a powerful magic item. Or maybe a player wants to build and run a theatre, create an army, or conduct high-level magical research. It may even be to travel to other planes, become a titled lord, destroy a godlike elemental, become the richest/strongest/most famous adventurer ever, or even search for their missing sister.

These goals are what drive players to search for gold. The role of the DM is to guide each player towards gold in a way that helps them reach their goals throughout a campaign.

Players without meaningful goals or players with little to no goals usually don’t care about material gain. Or they take too much money, and it won’t matter to them. These players aren’t incentivized not to desire/need gold beyond basic living expenses and hoarding.

Either the player is willing to join the rest of their party, or they aren’t. They might be incentivized to do something other than going along with the rest of the party. Perhaps they have powerful allies who could help them in their quest.

If your players aren’t interested in the gold, you can try to make the campaign more expensive by allowing them to pay 10,000gp to a spellcaster to cast Plane Shift. They must pay a high-priced tribute to a dragon, king, or other royal. They must purchase a highly valuable spell component or artefact. You can reward them with another item.

To give gold purpose, you don’t necessarily need to have a magic economy. It is up to the players to do this, using their characters‘ goals.

Although the obsession with gold is something we accept as a part of D&D since its inception, it’s not something that should be there anymore.

You could earn experience points for every coin that you find in some versions. Adventures were inevitably focused on finding the most loot possible. An example of this is when a DM explained to players that the MacGuffin was hidden behind the adamantine door. Players reacted by stealing the doors.

In the early editions, it was assumed that high-ranking characters would invariably build strongholds and recruit armies to protect them. It was the primary use of gold.

I am currently playing in sessions where gold is sometimes needed for a specific purpose. There never seems to be enough. Sometimes a character at low levels will require gold. A wizard may need gold to buy a suit of plate armor, and a copy of spells.

Read Cleric NPC 5e

It all depends on the DM’s and players’ desire for a game that requires you to count your money and figure out how much to spend. Although you can successfully run a business, most people don’t want to spend their time playing D&D as a business simulator. If you want to say that you have enough money/ currency in dnd 5e to cover your daily needs and not worry about gold, then that’s fine too.