Otherwise known as "How much loot can we carry?"

The discussion on EV over on the TLG forums got me thinking about how money is treated in C&C and other fantasy games. For a long time there has been a general hand wave of 10 coins per pound carried, but what is the weight really? Or rather, what would be a more appropriate weight...given that a character can only carry so much and many run their equipment right up to the limit on that without the use of pack animals.

C&C PHB notes that coins are 1 oz. each or 16 coins per pound. That may simplify things for weight but it doesn't work for volume due to the inherent variations in coin sizes generated....it also throws off the 16 coins per pound as well for the same reason since smaller coins by weight results in a different volume and mass to void ratio. Going by equivalent weight of metal with a uniform size is actually going to prove more accurate. Holding to the 10 lbs of coins = 1 EV given in the PHB will fold things back into the BtB EV calculations in a much more consistent and intuitive manner as well though it will completely bugger the EV capacities listed for chests, bags, and the like since the number of coins per metal type will have varying weights. In that instance, volume should supercede mass in terms of figuring the number of coins stored within. The other issue with 1 oz per coin is that metals are measured in troy ounces, not standard ounces which are about 10% lighter than a troy ounce. (A 100 troy ounce silver bar for instance weights in at 6.85 lbs versus a 100 ounce bar which would only be 6.25 lbs.) Thus the weights would be off in addition to number of coins per volume.

So I looked things up. A solid cubic foot of iron, copper, silver, gold, and platinum respectively weigh in at 491lbs, 559 lbs, 655 lbs,1206 lbs, 1340.5 lbs respectively. (per weights of metal - wiki)

Assuming a coin size of just over one inch in diameter with a 1/10 inch thickness, you can get approximately 7 coins per cubic inch. (per treasure hoard rules in the Draconomicon 3.5 ed).

Assuming an optimal stacking pattern within a theoretical container, approximately 30% of the volume ends up void space between coins and stacks.

Therefore; (ignoring iron for now) a cubic foot of copper, silver, gold, and platinum would weigh in at 391.3 lbs, 458.5 lbs, 844.2 lbs, 938.3 lbs respectively.

There are 1728 cubic inches in a cubic foot, therefore a cubic foot container holds approximately 12096 coins. (1728 x 7)

Dividing the weight per cubic foot per metal type by number of coins we find that the approximate weight per coin type is;

10 coppers = 0.3 lbs : 100 coppers = 3 lbs : 1000 coppers = 30 lbs : 10000 coppers = 300 lbs

10 silvers = 0.4 lbs : 100 silvers = 4 lbs : 1000 silvers = 40 lbs : 10000 silvers = 400 lbs

10 gold = 0.7 lbs : 100 gold = 7 lbs : 1000 gold = 70 lbs : 10000 gold = 700 lbs

10 platinum = 0.8 lbs : 100 platinum = 8 lbs : 1000 platinum = 80 lbs : 10000 platinum = 800 lbs

Volume-wise (approx.): 10 coins = 2 cu in. : 100 coins = 14 cu in : 1000 coins = 143 cu in (or an approx. 5"x5"x6" coffer) : 10000 coins = 1429 cu in (or an approx. 12"x10"x12" chest)

Which means that the PCs are unlikely to be able to haul away any sizable hoard of coins in its entirety unless they have multiple pack animals in their company, each of which is likely to also have a fair amount of equipment already carried.

Something to keep in mind next time the PCs start running amuck in some evil big bad's treasure room.

One of my house rules is "Five coins per ounce, 80 per pound, roughly the size of a US 25 cent piece." Some historic accuracy to this by the way.

My whole point was that metals have different weights for equal size. Then again, if you want to bring the coins into a more realistic portrayal, the purity of the coin minted by the various countries was a form of economic and political power also. The higher the purity, the more economic buying power the coin had giving the country that minted it more influence (ie. political capital as well as its economic effect) over others. A strong currency could wreck the country with a weaker one. The more impure the coin the lighter it will be in weight, so 80 gold coins from Frankum will be lighter than the gold coins from Gundark that have fewer impurities...and have a higher buying power by X percentage.

The level of detail to which you do so many things is at least amazing and more likely magical in nature. I fully understand metal and density but its a level of detail I usually do not worry about.. I would assume since weight and not volumn are normally key for coins in a pouch (I don't give out much coin or magic items). For simplicity I would assume coins of lower density are bigger so mass stays constant.. why not, its "my world"... if I ever get someone playing with your attention to detail.. I'll make them high general in charge of minting the world over.. great detail... but I have trouble with half my PC actually writing up their PC fully or even bringing it to the game!

A US quarter is really close to a one inch in diameter. But it is 1/16" thick (0.062"). So modeling on a US quater would be about 62% of your above weights.

A US quarter is really close to a one inch in diameter. But it is 1/16" thick (0.062"). So modeling on a US quater would be about 62% of your above weights.

It's because I read so dang much Cap. lol If your campaign is dealing with one country...then the single type of coin is fine...but if you're dealing multiple city-states or countries...even different continents with a totally different culture...then not looking at the subtle differences causes things to appear more two-dimensional and such. What really got me going on thinking about this stuff was back around 2010 when I watched Spice and Wolf (an entire anime series revolving around currency and trade). You cannot expect many modern coins in treasures hidden for centuries. Currencies change, adapt, and all that as countries come and go, rulers change, or markets expand and shrink....even wars will cause currency shifts when the invader comes in and imposes their currency over the losing side's as another form of dominance. I don't know if I am particularly looking at minutae as much as I am looking at the overall picture and how things interrelate. (chuckle) In this case, it was simply something said that sparked a thought and this is where I ended up.

Volume-wise (approx.): 10 coins = 2 cu in. : 100 coins = 14 cu in : 1000 coins = 143 cu in (or an approx. 5"x5"x6" coffer) : 10000 coins = 1429 cu in (or an approx. 12"x10"x12" chest)..

100 coin is 30-80#... that sounds like what most folks have in a small belt pouch...which is a 2.4" cube.. seems like the right size and about what folks would carry around a mix of about 100 coin... but the weight is too high.

Volume-wise (approx.): 10 coins = 2 cu in. : 100 coins = 14 cu in : 1000 coins = 143 cu in (or an approx. 5"x5"x6" coffer) : 10000 coins = 1429 cu in (or an approx. 12"x10"x12" chest)..

100 coin is 30-80#... that sounds like what most folks have in a small belt pouch...which is a 2.4" cube.. seems like the right size and about what folks would carry around a mix of about 100 coin... but the weight is too high.

Depends on what type of metal the coin is for the weight. Generally you would find a mix of 45% copper, a like amount of silver, and 10% gold since most day to day expenses are priced in coppers with silver being the main coin for day to day trade and use. Gold being reserved for major purchases such as land or slaves. Though RPG games use more of the gold standard than the silver so that gets skewed a bit. For 100 mixed coins that would break down to, without breaking out the calculator, 1.25 lb of copper, 1.65 lbs of silver, and 0.7 lbs of gold...or around 3.5 lbs give or take. Not that heavy at all. If all gold, then yeah. 7 lbs it is.

Also...keep in mind that a standard 400 oz (25 pounds wt) gold trade bar is only 24.5 cm (9.6") long x 8.45 cm (3.3") wide x 4 cm (1.6") thick. (about 50.6 cubic inches)

I don't visit these forums much, so I'm always late to the party.

The problem is that the coin weights have always been off, and it started all the way back at the beginning. The entire reason for coins being one ounce in weight was to make sure you couldn't take it all with you. Actually, I think it had to do with using coins to determine encumbrance, but the size of coins is way out of whack. Even my house rules get it wrong. The reality of the situation is that coins are going to be far smaller. In the Roman Republic for example, around 200BCE you would have the following coins.

Aureus:Gold, 7g, 20mm (0.247 oz., 0.8"), 65 aurei per poundDenarius:Silver, 3g, 19mm ( 0.105 oz., 0.75"), 152 denarii per poundAs:Bronze, 9 - 12g, 27mm (0.317 - 0.423 oz., 1.062"), 51 - 38 assēs per poundTo switch to more realistic coinage, I need to rework the rule that says the EV of coins is 1 per 10. It actually needs to be a figure determined by the weights of the coins in question. By the book, EV of coins is 1 per 10 carried, and since each coin by the book is 1 ounce, EV1 of coins is equal to 10 ounces. Doing some simple math I get the following.

Aureus:1 per 40Denarius:1 per 95As:1 per 32 or 1 per 24Sounds good, right? Not so fast. I have problems I have to resolve before this coinage can be used in game. The first problem is the as. It has a range of weights, which leads to a range of results for the number of coins per pound as well as the EV value. The second is some of the numbers not ending in numbers one can calculate in their head.

The first problem can be resolved simply by using the lightest weight for the as. The second problem can be solved by rounding up or down to the nearest 0 or 5. While personal preference, rounding this way makes the math a little easier for game purposes. The final results for the coins would then be as follows.

Aureus:Gold, 7g, 20mm (0.247 oz., 0.8"), 65 aurei per pound, EV 1 per 40Denarius:Silver, 3g, 19mm (0.105 oz., 0.75"), 150 denarii per pound, EV 1 per 95As:Bronze, 9g, 27mm (0.317 oz., 1.062"), 50 assēs per pound, EV 1 per 30-------------------------------

For my game, given that I've done the work I should be using this for my coinage system. However, I also use a tin coin, so I need to find a historic example of a tin coin and use that as a basis. Fortunately, there is one. From 1684-1692 a tin farthing replaced the copper coin; the change in metal was intended to but failed to bolster the tin industry. These coins all contained a tiny plug of copper in the center, ostensibly to prevent counterfeiting. The particulars for the tin farthing are below.

Farthing:Tin, 5.4 - 6.0g, 23 or 24mm (0.190 - 0.211 oz., 0.905 - 0.944"), 85 - 76 farthings per poundThe tin farthing has a similar problem to the as, in that there are a range of weights and diameters available for the coin. The solution to the problem is almost identical to the as, in that I use the lightest weight. For the variation in diameter, I ended up using the smaller diameter. From there, I determined the number of coins that would equal EV1 (1 per 53), round that number to the nearest 0 or 5, and then had to figure out what to rename the coin, since "farthing" doesn't sound right when paired with "aureus", "denarius", and "as". For renaming the coin Wikipedia provided a handy answer. Greek versions of some biblical texts mention a "kodrantes". The term is a Greek translation of "quadrans", a Roman coin valued at 1/4 of an as. In English translations, this translates into "farthing", though in at least one verse in the bible, the Greek term "assarion", a translation of "assēs" - the plural of "as" - is also translated into "farthing". Since my tin piece is the lowest value in my coinage, "assarion", although it sounds better, just doesn't fit since it's referring to a more valuable coin. Thus, I'll use "quadrans".

Quadrans:Tin, 5.4g, 23mm (0.190 oz., 0.905"), 85 quadrans per pound, EV 1 per 55Okay. That's some pretty cool stuff. Nice add.