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The Silver Standard

I’m not onboard with the “silver standard” that parts of the D&D community promoted a few years ago.

Our dinar (GP) / dirham (SP) prices are pretty close to the historical prices, mesh well with how money is used in the original Arabian Nights stories, and is compatible out of the box with everything TSR/WotC.

Except for weights; we use the WotC weights, where a coin is much lighter than a B/X coin. A B/X / 1e coin weigh five times as much as a 3.x/4E/5e coin.

Because of this difference in the weight of metal, the “silver standard” prices aren’t ahistorical either, they just have heavier coins. And more boring.

The idea is that you have silver in your day to day life and then you go into the dungeon and you find… gold! Exciting! Adventure! A rare and special treasure! Except that they then also often put silver in their dungeons after all. 🤦🏻‍♀️

It makes complete sense to me that the working class or adventuring class or bars etc would more normally use silver and copper pieces. I wish the adventuring gear list didn’t always use the “most optimal metal” but instead used the metal more common for that class. For example, in 5e, a lantern is 5 gp. That should’ve been “50 sp”, that would’ve been much better. The silver standard “solution” is to make the lantern 5 sp instead, i.e. that you shift the values of all coins by ten. I don’t want that.

This is not a slag on the ten coins to a pound weight system of B/X and 1e, using coin encumbrance is a one-stop solution, single-unit no conversion, to encumbrance. You just keep a running tally of everything you’re carrying, just like you keep track of HP and XP. My own inventory system instead has various “item sizes” to fiddle with, and that approach has pros and cons.

The only thing I’m criticizing is the “let’s refer to GP as silver pieces in our game” shenanigans.