Category Archives: The Shape of the World

Secrets: Currencies in the Four Corners World

Years ago, I did a tiny, impromptu reading in Stevens Point. I announced it on facebook about 20 minutes before the fact, and there were only 6-7 people there.

When I asked for questions, (because I love doing Q&A) someone asked, “How does the currency system work? You’ve got pennies and jots and shims. How does it all fit together?”

“Oh,” I said, waving my hands. “It’s really complicated. You don’t want me to get started.”

“I’m really curious,” she said. “I’d love to hear the details.”

“There really isn’t a simple answer,” I said. “There are, like, six currency systems, and I’ve put a ridiculous amount of thought into how they work, where they come from. All that. It would take me half an hour to explain it all.”

“I’m fine with that,” she said.

“Well, fair enough,” I said. “You might be interested, and I might be interested. But the other folks here probably don’t want to sit through a spontaneous lecture about Four Corners economic history.”

“Actually, I’m really curious too,” one of the other audience members said.

“Okay,” I said, “How about this? If *everyone* here is curious, I’ll explain it.”

And, much to my surprise, everyone there *was* interested. So I sat down and talked about the currency systems. (It actually took closer to 40 minutes.)

Since then, I’ve probably had a hundred people ask me how money works in the Four Corners, both in person and in e-mail. But I’ve never really had the time and opportunity to give them a detailed answer.

But now, as a way of saying thanks for people chipping in to Worldbuilders, I’ve got a cool widget you can play with that will answer a lot of your questions about the different currency systems in my world.

It will also let you do conversions between the different currencies, with or without the Cealdim taking their cut.

What’s more, certain elements of it are clickable. So if you hunt around, you’ll be able to learn more about the history and the currencies themselves. Again, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m a geek for this stuff. But I’m well aware that not everyone is. That’s why I’ve kept most of it out of the books.

When we re-design the website. The widget will probably have its own page where you can wander over and convert to your geeky heart’s content. But for now, you’ll have to click here to see it.

Here’s the link to the Widget.

I’ll probably tweak it more in the future. Maybe get Brett or Nate to draw some of the coins so you can get a better idea of how some of them would look. Stuff like that.

Special thanks go to Jason “Kuma” Brinkerhoff without whom there would be no widget.

You know he’s one of us, because when I asked him for a picture he sent this one where he’s wearing, and I quote: “my Browncoat Ball finery.”

Jason, put up with my vaguely obsessive tendencies and long e-mail silences to put the widget together. Without him, the currency explanation would be nothing but a big texty mass and some ugly conversion tables. Instead, we have something fun we can actually play with.

As a gesture of gratitude, I offer him my heartfelt thanks, and have sent him a set of gold talent pipes. Because he’s awesome.

Lastly, just out of curiosity, if we were to make coins based on the currency in my world. Nice coins, not crappy cheap ones. Would y’all be interested in that?

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I’d love to do it. But I’m not sure people would be interested in buying something like that from The Tinker’s Packs.

So… any interest?


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