1) Long ago a city state sought to gain prestige and economic stability. The first step in this process was to ensure the stability of their coinage. The Priests of their Benevolent God stepped in, and they ensured the value of each coin by using divine intervention to guarantee purity and prevent the coin from being shaved or melted down for bullion. The gold coins of this city state are indestructible.
2) Over time the city grew rich, strong and crowded. In living memory political and economic strife gripped the now large city state. Conflict between land holding nobles and wealthy merchants lead to a power struggle within the city government. To stabilize the city and cement a central identity that the merchants and land holders could share, a charismatic leader combined the religious, economic and military authority into a single office. The uncorrupted leader created an new identity built around a religious-historical ideal of the city being the home of the blessed, benevolent and wealthy. The economic strife was pushed aside through 'Holy Price Fixing' and the gold standard.
3) Less than year ago the Divine Order of Martial Bullion Seekers (DOMBS) tracked and destroyed a great dragon. They brought the entire horde of gold back to the city. Inspired by the Benevolent God and believing in the intrinsic value of gold coins, they turned the entire Horde into Blessed Coins. Then they distributed the new coins to the unwashed masses of the great city.
4) Today, the shelves in the city shops are bare. In the first weeks following the distribution of the new gold coins many merchants were ruined when their inventory was bought out completely. They are unable to raise prices. Values fixed to the silver standard, such as the Holy bounty of Kobolds have become premier earners. A black market has taken over and items like flour and seed are literally worth their weight in gold. Taxes revenue has collapsed. The new holder of the high office in the city and his/her advisors are struggling to find a way to divorce themselves for the divine aspect of the gold coin.
This will be a fun way to mess with your PCs. Drop your coin counting, ridiculously rich PCs with their Scrooge McDuck-like bags of holding into this city. Most adult players will take it in stride and move on to the quest but the ones that live and breath the manual as a substitute for reality (you know at least one) will have their minds blown. 'But it says a Long Sword cost 10 gp?!?'
I would also have fun with this from a purely absurdist stand point: thieves refusing gold, people playing checkers with coins, doors propped open with sacks of gold coins, and gold coins just lying in the street.
That other player you know, the one that loves to game the system, he/she is going to exploit the potential for an advantageous currency exchange. It will make that player feel smart. As a GM you want your players to feel clever, like they won something or got one over on you.
The efreet can fulfill wishes. There is a limit to the power of the wish that can be fulfilled. Say it caps out at 1000gp, and a particular city has gotten a hold of a large number of efreet. Then, suddenly, everything in the city that costs less than 1000gp is free. Boom. Economy destroyed, and the new currency is based entirely off of things worth more than 1000gp (massive gems or magic items). This is more extreme, to be sure.
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? Responses (5)-5
Too much gold can cause trouble.
Interesting, demonstrates the potential that PCs have in disrupting a local economy. A good dungeon raid could make the PCs wealthy and their first stop at a town could seriously cause problems.
And the vote
'checkers with coins'! Great visual when PCs walk into a tavern and go 'huh?'
Nicely conceived RP scenario with nary a swinging sword. Always looking for these.
Excellent real-world effect that demonstrates economical consequences and forces characters to think about their influence on local societies. There are also plenty of real-world examples that can be used for inspiration.