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[Nobilis] Noble Economics

Rand Brittain

Go on until you're stopped.
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So, I was discussing some monetary Anchors when I was reminded that I don't really understand the currencies that are mentioned in the third edition manual. There's the udi, and the izikel, and the buddhitanka, and a number of other things.

Some are deflationary, and some are inflationary. Some can theoretically be created by certain Powers. Some of it is sentient money from another planet!

Would anybody with an economics turn of mind care to explain to me how this works in practice? I'm especially interested in how udi, which are tied to the value of a dream, are going to work for the Power of Dreams, one of my PCs.
 

Ratoslov

Exploding Murderer
Validated User
That's my take on it too.

Generally speaking, money isn't a problem, unless suddenly it is and you need to pay the mortgage on the Chancel. (And murder the underlings so stupid as to mortgage their universe.)
 

Lord Darkview

Registered User
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If money ever becomes a concern as a Noble, you are probably doing something quite wrong. On the off chance this is not the case, then you are instead doing something quite right.
 

katechon

Now 100% less Attic
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I don't know ... it seems like a set of specifically Noble currencies makes sense to the extent that you want to play up the trading of favors and covenants in Noble society. If those favors are numerous enough and various in kind enough, a simple barter economy might not be enough.

Otherwise, can't imagine why any kind of money would matter.
 

four willows

en faire tout un flan
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Would anybody with an economics turn of mind care to explain to me how this works in practice? I'm especially interested in how udi, which are tied to the value of a dream, are going to work for the Power of Dreams, one of my PCs.
Well, I'm guessing that (for some reason) udi originate from some locale where dreams are a scarce resource rather than here where (to our perception) dreams are not economically relevant since the supply of and demand for dreams exactly matches and there's no question of distribution.

Now if any of those factors changes then you've just made yourself into the Power of Making Amounts of Money That May Be Large.

- If supply outstrips demand for conventional dream uses then you can use the surplus for...whatever...but I'm not sure that the psychological surplus market is really a thing.
- If demand outstrips supply then you, having Creations at the ready, can start selling your stuff for meaningful profits which increase as the demand/supply ratio rises.
- If there becomes a question of distribution then you can control the value of dreams directly by just deciding where they are at any given moment.

But I mean the whole idea that it's a physical currency tied to metaphysical assets or possibly events means that it probably works in a way that is different than the precious-metal-based currencies of IRL yesteryear or modern fiat currencies.

Possibly it's something like a futures market, and "dreams" is a polite way of saying "times that a given person is able to sleep" or in other words "the projected quality of life ~ lifespan of a given person," so you can play the market by buying huge amounts of udi and then committing mass murder.

Really when you get right down to it, I'm pretty sure you can game nearly all those currencies by committing mass murder.
 

four willows

en faire tout un flan
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τὸ κατέχον;13705488 said:
I don't know ... it seems like a set of specifically Noble currencies makes sense to the extent that you want to play up the trading of favors and covenants in Noble society. If those favors are numerous enough and various in kind enough, a simple barter economy might not be enough.

Otherwise, can't imagine why any kind of money would matter.
Well, also like if the Power of Pants just knows how to make miraculously sexy pants and you want some of those pants, that's not really a favor. You're just buying a product.
 

Gorgoo

Active member
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I kind of imagined that they could theoretically be redeemed for whatever they're priced against, just like money that's priced on the gold standard can theoretically be traded for that much gold.

Obviously it doesn't work in practice all the time, but basically, someone with a lot of udis could give them to the appropriate spirits as a trade for a particularly valuable dream (maybe a prophetic one, but depending on the circumstances, it could just be an uplifiting one). Likewise, an izikel might be traded to a similar spirit in exchange for their destroying a bushel of enemies.

Presumably, the currencies are important to some person, type of things, or organizations, and people trade them only so that, should they need to at some time, they can get whatever they're worth.

So the Power of Dreams might have some use for udis (or they just enjoy colorful mostly-discs), and so declare that he/she will give people dreams of a value proportionate to the amount of udis they give him/her. Or maybe not. Maybe some creature or spirit found somewhere in Creation likes them instead, and has the ability to create dreams. In that case, the Power of Dreams doesn't have such a direct connection with the currency, but can definitely make some dramatic changes to the market with a few well-placed miracles.

Normal, fiat currency obviously doesn't hold much appeal to the Nobilis, when they can obtain most of what they need through miraculous means. So it makes sense that they use things that can be directly redeemed for something useful (if not to them, then to whomever they're trading it with). Which makes the mercantile world Ofeili pretty impressive, if their money is one of the standard currencies of the Nobilis.
 
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PhoenixRed

New member
I kind of imagined that they could theoretically be redeemed for whatever they're priced against, just like money that's priced on the gold standard can theoretically be traded for that much gold.
IANAE, but:

This is also my reading of it -- that a specific currency is directly convertible to a task or object. Specifically, the udi, izikel, ur-um, buddhitankha, and takkarash may be backed by some Power or coalition of Powers, who ensure that the expected value of what you could hypothetically trade those currencies for stays, well... expected. Possibly these expectations are bound up in some kind of res.

The OTC seems similar to how we conceive of money in the mundane world, and Merits and Legends may be something like Yap stone money ("Everybody knows who owns that stone at the bottom of the sea, so we don't actually need to physically trade anything") or perhaps URVs ("We all know how much a favor from a Noble is worth, so all we need to do is constantly track values of all other currencies versus one favor").
 

SlyBen

Bard of Mind
Well, the way I see it:

If I've got a "debased" takkarash, well, it's like any "normal" currency: it has the value we assign to it by social custom, yeah? Which happens to be "proportional to the cost of a nasty bump on the head." So if I would do X to avoid a nasty bump on the head, I'd also, reasonably, do X to get a takkarash. And I can reasonably expect most other powers to do the same, which means that a takkarash would have value to me even if I wasn't expecting bumps on the head in the near future. A non-debased Takkarash would, in addition, have some wondrous or perhaps miraculous ability to transform into avoiding the consequences of a nasty bump on the head, sort of like a gold-standard-backed dollar bill that you could transform into an equivalent value of solid gold if you said the right words or folded it the right way or something.

Counterfeiting is a problem, but one that you get for all currencies, noble and otherwise, and with similar solutions.

Udi, in particular, I kind of envision as being like... honestly, a bit like trading in movie tickets. Assuming they're "redeemable" and not debased, they're good for a show from your subconscious: possibly just entertainingly strange, possibly inspirational, possibly revelatory, and possibly a few brief moments in which the impossible is possible and all your heart's desires feel fulfilled, before you wake up. So a few of them would probably be worth a simple miracle from another Noble, but nobody would bend over backwards and break their back for just one.

As the power of Dreams in question, how I see him creating Udi is actually a conditional Lesser Sacrifice of Dreams: while normally you don't get exact control (outside of a general intention) over what your estate turns into when you perform a sacrifice, he's got a Bond saying he's got a lot of practice in aiming for taking it out of "dreams" and into "coins", and furthermore making it a conditional miracle by which the coin can be reverted into a dream if you, say, lie down and close your eyes with it resting on your forehead. (Technically the ability to make miracles conditional like that was only explicitly supported in the Dynamic rules, but if it only works because I've got a bond, that's cool as well.)

He's probably not the only source of Udi, though. There's probably at least a few powers out there with Numismatic-related estates, or even gifts, that can apply them to transform dreams (or other abstract concepts for that matter) into currency.
 
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