Boil and Bubble: Money On My Magic and Magic On My Money

So Matt Riggsby’s “GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Treasures: Glittering Prizes” came out recently (I was one of the playtesters) and it’s useful for worldbuilders in general, not just those who play Dungeon Fantasy. (See here for Matt’s Designer’s Notes.) One of the things he included there was a cool little throwaway line:

“For example, if mystical techniques can easily store, combine, and subdivide magical energy – expressed as Fatigue Points rather than as weights of metal – that might from the basis for a currency in a highly magical society.”

Anders (who is forever asking interesting questions) asked the following in this post:

“So suppose there was a magicratic civilization that used materialized FP as currency. How much would 1 FP be worth?”

To which there were numerous replies by everyone, including myself. (there was even a whole new post started here). So I got to thinking…how would you create a FP-based currency? First, let’s just assume that this “mana money” can be tapped to restore your lost FP or to cast a spell right then (not your power item or someone else’s, though see the notes on Lend Energy at the bottom). Actually tapping the FP contained in the currency takes two seconds: one to remove it from your money pouch and another to make a Will roll to actually get the energy from it. Alternatively, if using the mana money to power a spell immediately vs. just restoring your own lost FP, make a Will-based spell roll instead. You may pull multiple FP from large amounts of mana money at once, but no more than your (Will + Casting Talent) /2 per minute. Lend Energy is the only way to help another person “tap” into mana money.
Using Paut as a base (since it’s already described as “liquid mana”), 1 FP is worth $33.75. For sake of play let’s just round that to $33 per 1 FP. Break that down further into coinage (using regular DF coin weights)  and you might have something like:
Copperfield ($11/coin) (diameter: 0.589″) (-12 SM) (weight: 0.01598351 lbs.)
Prospero ($33/coin) (diameter: 0.559”) (‑12 SM) (weight: 0.003990367 lbs.)
Merlin ($135/coin) (diameter: 0.456”) (‑12 SM) (weight: 0.003990367 lbs.)
Thus it takes 3 Copperfields to make a Prospero and (about) 4 Prosperos to make a Merlin.
Posted in Boil and Bubble and tagged , , , .


  1. While my mind rebels at the thought of currency that doesn't divide evenly my 2, 5 or 10 I see the appeal. It would neatly solve the conjured gold problem. 1 cubic yard of any metal would only be worth 2 Merlins.

  2. While this would play merry-mayhem with the economics of jewelry (the price of precious metals just crashed) and powerstones (either 1,000,000 carat stones are dirt cheap or barely hold 1 FP) the fantasy-medieval economy is not terribly impacted due to most of the cost of manufactured goods is labor. Conjured food is still more expensive than regular food, same for a number of other resources. However, there might be crazy inflation if an ordinary person can crystalize or sell their FP in some manner. That's $200/hour or 6 Prospero per hour of mostly resting. A very interesting economy

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