Generally, lands near each other, sharing a common group of people or a common language have very similar economies. The countries of medieval Europe traded with each other regularly and so developed very similar coins and values. Kingdoms also tend to imitate the economy of the most powerful country in the region. The Byzantine Empire had a stable gold currency, and its coins were the model for rulers from Baghdad to Denmark.

The value of a foreign coin was based on the weight of the coin, but also on the power of the issuer. The Byzantine besant was not only limited by other lands, but it was highly valued in trade. An English merchant would accept these coins from a Venetian trader because he knew their value. His price might increase if the trader paid him in Persian dinars. To the merchant, the dinar was simply not as valuable as the besant.

You can add color to your campaign by choosing to have different systems of trade in different lands. By creating different currencies and ways of trading, you make your players aware of the different kingdoms in your fantasy campaign. This makes them pay attention and learn about your world. A traveling merchant who trades in besants becomes a wealthy trader from the rich lands of Byzantium, while one who deals in hacksilver is a northerner from the cold shores of Scandinavia. These names and places create images, images more compelling and exciting than those created by the plain words "merchant'' or "trader."

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