(C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 31 Dec 2014 21:27

How is this then?
I am now deciding to change the scale to 0-200-400
The southernmost "pinnacle" is considered the Urheimat region, but the ruling city where the Emperor resides is the western-most point of the hexagon in the middle.
Also should note that these dots represent cities. There are probably towns and smaller settlements pockmarked all over the place.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Egerius » 31 Dec 2014 22:12

[quote="Ahzoh"]How is this then?
Looks OK to me.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 07 Jan 2015 13:56

The plausibility of using obsidian or onyx coins as currency?
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 07 Jan 2015 15:41

Ahzoh wrote:The plausibility of using obsidian or onyx coins as currency?
Isn't obsidian too fragile? I admit I don't know for sure; I just had that impression.
Onyx is definitely not fragile -- anything but.

But either one would have to be carved. Coins should (ideally) be made out of something that can be cast or molded.

They also (like all currency) should be made out of something "infinitely" divisible; both obsidian and onyx qualify, as do olive oil and petroleum (which have been used as currencies, but you can't coin something that's liquid at room temperatures), and also cocaine, which has also been used as currency although I don't think that has ever been coined.

Clearly some substances have in fact been historically used for currency that are less-than-ideal for currency; including cattle and women (probably not a good idea even in fiction).
So having coinage made out of something that's not malleable or fusible is not IMO completely implausible; just less than ideal.

In Scotland at one time, according to Adam Smith, people used nails instead of coins for "pocket change".

In MesoAmerica people used knives; knives were made out of either obsidian or stingray-blades. So it's been done historically, and therefore it must be plausible.

But these knifeblades, like the nails in Scotland, didn't have any patterns struck on them or milled around the edges, didn't have any special shapes (like ovals or heptagons or even just round disks) or any special-shaped holes (like the round or square holes that allowed coins to be strung together in some countries' coins). For that the material has to be malleable and fusible (and maybe, also, ductile?). Something is a metal if it's
  1. fusible,
  2. malleable,
  3. ductile,
  4. lustrous,
  5. opaque,
  6. heat-conductive,
  7. and electricity-conductive.
Your conpeople probably would know nothing about electricity. For coinage purposes they'd probably not care a fig about heat-conductivity. People have used precious stones as currency (haven't they?), and some of them are transparent rather than opaque. All other things being equal people probably like coins that are lustrous better than coins that are not lustrous, (but all other things aren't always equal). "Fusible" goes great with "infinitely divisible". In order to put a pattern on a coin it helps to be able either to cast it (which requires it be fusible) or stamp it with a die (which requires it be malleable). All of this means once your people start using metals they'll probably switch from any other kind of currency to metal currency. Naturally this doesn't have to happen all at once; initially metal will be rare enough that only the rich have any. So for a while there'll probably be metal high-value coins and other-substance medium-value coins.

Does any of that help?

I wanna see this conculture when you've got their coinage worked out!

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 07 Jan 2015 16:30

Well, it is more than likely that Vrkhazhian coinage would be made of bronze or silver, since tin, copper, iron and silver are abundant metals from the mountains.

I might instead a weight-based currency, where rounded obsidian might represent a weight value from which to give a value to other objects...
Example, if an obsidian coin weighs 100g, then a 600g jar of peanut butter is worth six of those obsidian coins.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » 07 Jan 2015 19:12

Ahzoh wrote:I might instead a weight-based currency, where rounded obsidian might represent a weight value from which to give a value to other objects...
Example, if an obsidian coin weighs 100g, then a 600g jar of peanut butter is worth six of those obsidian coins.
Would that necessarily work well, though?

So say you've got your standard 100g obsidian coin which forms a kind of standard weight. If everything equal to that weight then has equal value, i.e. anything weighing 100g is then worth one of those 100g obsidian coins, then things like 100g of iron, 100g of silver, 100g of gold, 100g of milk, 100g of water, 100g of coal, 100g of wood, 100g of bread, 100g of brick, etc., would, if I understand you correctly, have the same value, which, to me, seems a little off.

If you take just rarity and labour into account, then 100g of milk and 100g of bread, which might likely quite common and typically require relatively little in the way of labour, would then be of equal value to 100g of gold or silver, which might likely be rare and require relatively more in the way of labour.

Additionally, if weight were the basis of value, then lower and higher quality versions of the same goods would be of equal value if their weights were identical. So 100g of incredibly dry bread containing tiny pieces of stone from grinding on a quern-stone would be of equal value to 100g of less dry, stone-free bread.

I can't, I don't think, take this line of thought any further, but IIRC, Sal seems to be quite good at explaining economic stuff.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 07 Jan 2015 19:38

sangi39 wrote:
Ahzoh wrote:I might instead a weight-based currency, where rounded obsidian might represent a weight value from which to give a value to other objects...
Example, if an obsidian coin weighs 100g, then a 600g jar of peanut butter is worth six of those obsidian coins.
Would that necessarily work well, though?

So say you've got your standard 100g obsidian coin which forms a kind of standard weight. If everything equal to that weight then has equal value, i.e. anything weighing 100g is then worth one of those 100g obsidian coins, then things like 100g of iron, 100g of silver, 100g of gold, 100g of milk, 100g of water, 100g of coal, 100g of wood, 100g of bread, 100g of brick, etc., would, if I understand you correctly, have the same value, which, to me, seems a little off.

If you take just rarity and labour into account, then 100g of milk and 100g of bread, which might likely quite common and typically require relatively little in the way of labour, would then be of equal value to 100g of gold or silver, which might likely be rare and require relatively more in the way of labour.

Additionally, if weight were the basis of value, then lower and higher quality versions of the same goods would be of equal value if their weights were identical. So 100g of incredibly dry bread containing tiny pieces of stone from grinding on a quern-stone would be of equal value to 100g of less dry, stone-free bread.

I can't, I don't think, take this line of thought any further, but IIRC, Sal seems to be quite good at explaining economic stuff.
Then I have absolutely no idea what is meant by "weight-based currency" like shekel...
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by alynnidalar » 07 Jan 2015 20:21

It's the weight of the currency, not the weight of what you're buying with it.

Let me give you some examples with American currency that might make it more clear. An American penny is worth one cent. What's actually in the penny is irrelevant--originally, it was 100% copper, in 1856 it changed to 88% copper/12% nickel, in 1864 it changed to 95% copper/5% tin and zinc... now it's currently either 95% copper/5% zinc or 97.5% zinc coated with 2.5% copper. What makes a penny worth one cent is that the government says a coin with that particular design, if it's minted by the government, is worth one cent. The composition is totally irrelevant.

But if America had a weight-based currency, then what would make a penny worth one cent would be what it was composed of and how much it weighed. Let's go back to the original American penny: 13.48 grams of pure copper. If we all agreed that 13.48 grams of copper was worth one cent--or that it was worth a single penny candy, or whatever--then it doesn't matter what form those 13.48 grams of copper take. They could be in the shape of a coin. They could be in a pretty shiny ball. They could be in the form of wire. Because the design and shape are totally irrelevant--only the weight matters.

(yes, I'm oversimplifying things. You can have coins and still have a weight-based system. The point is that with American currency, you can change the composition of a penny and it's still a penny. A penny that's zinc-coated copper is worth the exact same as a penny that's 95% copper, because they're both pennies. But in a weight-based system, they wouldn't be worth the same, because their composition is different.)

Does this make any more sense?

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 09 Jan 2015 06:41

Still not sure, could you maybe give an example of how a transaction is done with such?

Also, what are the most vital/important vegetation in arid and semi-arid climate? In tropical climates?
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by alynnidalar » 09 Jan 2015 16:55

I want to buy a cow. The woman who owns the cow goes, "OK, I'll trade it to you for a snibblefizz of copper." ("snibblefizz" being some unit of measuring weight.) I give her a chunk of copper. She puts it on one side of a scale, puts a weight that is known to weigh 1 snibblefizz on the other side, and when it's determined that my copper really does weigh one snibblefizz, she gives me the cow.

As for the second, it would depend on the arid/semi-arid climate; the vegetation from the Mojave Desert is dramatically different from that of the Gobi Desert. Generally you'd find small, scrubby plants that are capable of storing water and/or living for long periods of time without a lot of water, though. Anywhere that there is water, you'd have an explosion of vegetation and potentially trees taking advantage of it (this is also where the animal life would be clustered).

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 09 Jan 2015 17:30

This new diet really works! I lost 15 snibblefizzes in one month, and you can too!

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 09 Jan 2015 17:34

I was looking for specific species of plants... Like myrrh and aloe and stuff.
Also what the important crops to a desert culture like wheat and barley, but don't know what else.
And the kind of climate at north is BWh and also like Egypt.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by alynnidalar » 09 Jan 2015 18:34

Ahzoh wrote:I was looking for specific species of plants... Like myrrh and aloe and stuff.
That's what I meant, though--myrrh grows in arid climates, it's true, but it doesn't grow in all arid climates. I don't think there's anything really universal here as far as specific species goes.

My suggestion, if you don't want to come up with an entire new ecosystem yourself, which would be a lot of work, would be to pick a specific arid/semiarid area on Earth to base yours off of. Then you could just research information about that specific area as opposed to trying to generalize something based on all of them. So if you'd like it to have an Egyptian sort of feel, then you could look up the vegetation of the Eastern/Western Deserts specifically.

As for crops, same things apply. If we're talking the American Southwest, then rather than wheat and barley, you're going to see corn, beans, and squash. It all depends on what sort of a desert we're talking about.

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 09 Jan 2015 19:09

Well what factors contribute to these plant differences.
Why does one plant exist in one arid climate and not another?
Is it latitude?

If I showed you a map of the area, could you determine what plants species might grow there (assuming there is a factor(s) that determines which plant species grow in which arid climates)? I don't want to have an artistic license on biology.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » 10 Jan 2015 00:51

alynnidalar wrote:I want to buy a cow. The woman who owns the cow goes, "OK, I'll trade it to you for a snibblefizz of copper." ("snibblefizz" being some unit of measuring weight.) I give her a chunk of copper. She puts it on one side of a scale, puts a weight that is known to weigh 1 snibblefizz on the other side, and when it's determined that my copper really does weigh one snibblefizz, she gives me the cow.
In a nutshell, yes -- the problems with weight based currency of this sort are improper weights, improper scales and improper alloys of metal. Counterfeiting certainly wasn't invented in the 20th century -- back on those days an enterprising cheat might, if he thought he could get away with it, use an altered set of weights, or a scale that weighs just a little light. And then she'd have the nerve to scold you for bringing in an underweight snibblefizz saying you'd produce the right amount or else she's going to send for the Watch, and they'll beat the extra copper out of you and no mistake! The nerve of some people coming in to an honest merchant's place of business only to sully the whole transaction with their underweight snibblefizzes!

On the other hand, from the other side of things, a similarly dishonest customer might try to use a snibblefizz that's been cored out and filled with a lead slug, thus making it overweight, all in the hopes of getting not only the cow but also a couple trinnifizz back in change! He might also try to bluff the merchant, complaining that her scales are bad and threaten to call in the temple authorities to settle matters -- and everyone knows what bastards they can be when it comes to the near blasphemous act of shortchanging not only the buying public but also the temple of its taxation revenues! All of these things keep the temple scale-judges and metal-purity-judges quite busy!

Hence the advent of fixed value currencies (like the old gold and silver US dollars you mentioned before). While these eliminate the problems of weighing randomly sized dumps of metal, there are other problems that arise. Some common practices, probably right up through the 1960s in the US, were "sweating" and "clipping" of precious metal coins. Sweating is where you throw a couple lumps of a hard substance into a bag with a bunch of silver coins and jingle em around for a while. Little tiny specks of metal are dinged off the coins, which are later washed out of the cloth of the bag and melted down for the metal. Clipping was a much more obvious tactic of simply taking a tin snips to the edge of a coin and snipping a little bit off. This is why coins came to have reeded edges -- which many still do -- in order to determine at a glance if they've been altered.

Now the problem becomes counterfeiting -- illegally making an object that looks like a coin in order to deceive someone else as to its value. A counterfeit would generally be made of a base metal and plated with a precious metal, or it might be made from a low grade alloy or from underweight blanks. Once paper money comes into play, those will become counterfeited as well, and of course, coins and notes are still being counterfeited -- sometimes by individuals in order to make some quick money by laundering the fakes, other times by a government to destabilise a rival's economy (take a look at Germany's Operation Bernhard, which produced some of the most perfect counterfeits ever made anywhere).

Just some more food for thought!

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 10 Jan 2015 04:32

elemtilas wrote:
alynnidalar wrote:I want to buy a cow. The woman who owns the cow goes, "OK, I'll trade it to you for a snibblefizz of copper." ("snibblefizz" being some unit of measuring weight.) I give her a chunk of copper. She puts it on one side of a scale, puts a weight that is known to weigh 1 snibblefizz on the other side, and when it's determined that my copper really does weigh one snibblefizz, she gives me the cow.
In a nutshell, yes -- the problems with weight based currency of this sort are improper weights, improper scales and improper alloys of metal. Counterfeiting certainly wasn't invented in the 20th century -- back on those days an enterprising cheat might, if he thought he could get away with it, use an altered set of weights, or a scale that weighs just a little light. And then she'd have the nerve to scold you for bringing in an underweight snibblefizz saying you'd produce the right amount or else she's going to send for the Watch, and they'll beat the extra copper out of you and no mistake! The nerve of some people coming in to an honest merchant's place of business only to sully the whole transaction with their underweight snibblefizzes!

On the other hand, from the other side of things, a similarly dishonest customer might try to use a snibblefizz that's been cored out and filled with a lead slug, thus making it overweight, all in the hopes of getting not only the cow but also a couple trinnifizz back in change! He might also try to bluff the merchant, complaining that her scales are bad and threaten to call in the temple authorities to settle matters -- and everyone knows what bastards they can be when it comes to the near blasphemous act of shortchanging not only the buying public but also the temple of its taxation revenues! All of these things keep the temple scale-judges and metal-purity-judges quite busy!

Hence the advent of fixed value currencies (like the old gold and silver US dollars you mentioned before). While these eliminate the problems of weighing randomly sized dumps of metal, there are other problems that arise. Some common practices, probably right up through the 1960s in the US, were "sweating" and "clipping" of precious metal coins. Sweating is where you throw a couple lumps of a hard substance into a bag with a bunch of silver coins and jingle em around for a while. Little tiny specks of metal are dinged off the coins, which are later washed out of the cloth of the bag and melted down for the metal. Clipping was a much more obvious tactic of simply taking a tin snips to the edge of a coin and snipping a little bit off. This is why coins came to have reeded edges -- which many still do -- in order to determine at a glance if they've been altered.

Now the problem becomes counterfeiting -- illegally making an object that looks like a coin in order to deceive someone else as to its value. A counterfeit would generally be made of a base metal and plated with a precious metal, or it might be made from a low grade alloy or from underweight blanks. Once paper money comes into play, those will become counterfeited as well, and of course, coins and notes are still being counterfeited -- sometimes by individuals in order to make some quick money by laundering the fakes, other times by a government to destabilise a rival's economy (take a look at Germany's Operation Bernhard, which produced some of the most perfect counterfeits ever made anywhere).

Just some more food for thought!

elemtilas
The problem is on how to reduce the chance of improper weights, improper scales and improper alloys of metal.
My thought was that merchants have to be certified by the Vrkhazhian empire before they be allowed to conduct business, and I think it is rather difficult to hollow out obsidian without it shattering.
Another thing would be that the making and processing of the obsidian tokkuls would be strictly controlled. Only the Vrkhazhian officials have access to the obsidian mines.
It also stands to reason that you can alternatively pay in sacks of grain. Though, tokkuls are worth 10 times their weight in sacks of grain (that is 120g tokkul = 1200g sack of grain).
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 10 Jan 2015 12:36

Ahzoh wrote:...tokkul
"Borrowing" terms from Runescape now?
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » 10 Jan 2015 15:55

Ahzoh wrote:The problem is on how to reduce the chance of improper weights, improper scales and improper alloys of metal.
My thought was that merchants have to be certified by the Vrkhazhian empire before they be allowed to conduct business, and I think it is rather difficult to hollow out obsidian without it shattering.
Another thing would be that the making and processing of the obsidian tokkuls would be strictly controlled. Only the Vrkhazhian officials have access to the obsidian mines.
It also stands to reason that you can alternatively pay in sacks of grain. Though, tokkuls are worth 10 times their weight in sacks of grain (that is 120g tokkul = 1200g sack of grain).
Right. Hence the idea of "temple scale-judges" and "metal-purity-judges" -- whatever governing authority exists among your people, one of their tasks will eventually be the regulation of trade. And that will quite naturally involve seeing to it that merchants and buyers alike are all using fair weights and properly functioning scales and so forth. Just like *here* and *now*. Next time you're in a petrol station (especially if you're in the US) or even in a grocery store -- take a close look at the gas pump or the scales at the register. You will see a government regulation sticker that certifies the scale weighs correctly or that the pump dispenses the appropriate volume of petrol.

Some kind of imperial certification is likely, and it will be interesting to see what you come up with along those lines.

Anything can be counterfeited / immitated. I'm sure even obsidian. A clever stonesmith could certainly find a way of boring a hole in the obsidian, a good jeweler ought to be able to cut a crafty plug for the hole and a halfway decent alchemist ought to know how to conceal the seam around where the bore hole was sealed up!

I would note that if obsidian shatters so easily, it probably will not be used in trade purposes.

And yes, payment in kind -- paying with things of value other than ordinary money -- is certainly an ancient and valid way of doing things. And of course still happens in many places.

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 10 Jan 2015 17:49

Thrice Xandvii wrote:
Ahzoh wrote:...tokkul
"Borrowing" terms from Runescape now?
Is that a problem, sir?
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Keenir » 13 Jan 2015 16:04

Ahzoh wrote:Well what factors contribute to these plant differences.
Why does one plant exist in one arid climate and not another?
Is it latitude?
if we're still talking about crops, the factor is the farmers: if they bring corn and grapes with them, then you'll get dry-adapted corn and oasis-concentrated grapes being grown.
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