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Using letters of credit in a fantasy setting rather than coins

Delgarde

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That's why good and honest people prefer the horde banking system run by the metallic dragons. They know where every single coin of their hordes are.

( Note, the dragons hordes don't serve as direct banking. They run the interchange between financial institutions, in exchange for extra protection and payment of a distributed horde. Too many... accidents about money flowing out. )
That really does make a sort of sense, dragons as bankers. As you say, they're renowned for sitting on large stockpiles of wealth, and a canny dragon might well favour investment as a means to increase a hoard, rather than the traditional burning and pillaging. I had some ideas along those lines some years back, but never ended up doing anything with them...
 

harlokin

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That really does make a sort of sense, dragons as bankers. As you say, they're renowned for sitting on large stockpiles of wealth, and a canny dragon might well favour investment as a means to increase a hoard, rather than the traditional burning and pillaging. I had some ideas along those lines some years back, but never ended up doing anything with them...
I like the idea too, although I feel that adding the "metallic" prefix sucks the potential fun out of it. That said, I do find the goody two-shoes metallic dragons utterly meh conceptually.
 
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Curtis Cook

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In the MERP campaign we ran for several years there was a limited banking system in the Dunedain west with branches in every Gondorian and Arnorian provincial capital, plus Fornost, Pelargir, Khazad-Dum (replaced later by Erebor), Mithlond, and even Laketown and a couple in Dorwinrim.

Our adventuring party set up a mostly joint account at the branch in Annuminas, in which any of them could put money in, but only five or more showing up at once could withdraw. Every fall just before the snows set in they'd make a flying trip up to the capital to deposit the year's earnings and receive what we called a letter of credit that reflected their current balance. Not everyone participated. The character who alerted everyone else to the existence of the banking system kept an individual account, and three of the characters didn't trust the bank and kept their money on or near their persons. This turned out to be convenient, as they would make small loans to the bank clients throughout the year, then settle the accounts just before the deposits were made in the fall.

Totally aside, we also had a very strict taxation system, with the Gondorian, Cardolani and Arthedain governments each claiming 50% of the money earned within their borders. This encouraged the characters to adventure outside of the settled lands, since treasure 'found' in the wilderness was untaxed… although if you brought 'items' (as opposed to coin) back to civilization and sold them, half of the proceeds would be scooped up by The Tax Man. You could always try selling 'items' in the wilderness, but good luck finding a buyer.

In our old Gloranthan Runequest game, any deity knew what its priests and rune lords were up to, especially in anything ritual. The temples of the main local god of trade and communication, Issaries, would do some "funds transfer"; you hand over a lot of cash to a priest, he listens to your terms and conditions, takes the god's cut, and you can draw on funds at other Issaries temples. His temples weren't everywhere, and very rare outside of Dragon Pass and the Holy Country ... but still easier than hauling around clacks, lunars, wheels, bolgs, guilders, etc.

The 'cut' taken by the god/temple was 5% for members of most Lightbringer cults (Orlanth, Chalanna Arroy, etc. -- the same pantheon as Issaries), at least 10% for people in friendly or neutral pantheons. No financial services for cultural or religious enemies, though! And any given temple of Issaries might not have a gazillion coins on hand, any given day.

Speaking of their financial services, they also performed currency verification and exchange (for a fee of course), and money-lending (rarely to adventurers, and always at high interest rates).
This is lovely! Logical, useful and genre-consistent. I intend to steal this idea.

I like the idea too, although I feel that adding the "metallic" prefix sucks the potential fun out of it. That said, I do find the goody two-shoes metallic dragons utterly meh conceptually.
Chinese dragons were almost universally lawful and rarely evil. Granted, most were lawful bureaucratic-neutral, but a fair number would've qualified as lawful good. The bureaucratic-neutral ones would've made wonderful bankers.
 

JohnBiles

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In the D&D World of Mystara, in the nation of Darokin, Certified Letters of Credit (CLOCs) are issued by the government, the major merchant houses and some guilds. They are bought with cash, paying a 5% fee, and can be transferred to others by a combination of signature and seal. Fraudulent letters of credit are a crime. They function as a form of paper money. They're also used in loans. They're typically used for high end transactions.
 

Dalillama

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I like the idea too, although I feel that adding the "metallic" prefix sucks the potential fun out of it. That said, I do find the goody two-shoes metallic dragons utterly meh conceptually.
Metallic dragons give better interest rates. Chromatic dragons don't ask intrusive questions about why you need a loan sufficient to hire and equip a siege train and an assassin school.
 

Amberpup

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Metallic dragons give better interest rates. Chromatic dragons don't ask intrusive questions about why you need a loan sufficient to hire and equip a siege train and an assassin school.
And Black Dragons are like the mafia, sky high interest rates and they will break legs if one misses a single payment.
 
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