Money is an important part of daily life, and fiction is no different. And fictional setting often use fictional currency.
Inventing a fictional currency helps establish a setting as unique, and when done well it builds immersion. Of course, when done poorly, it can have the opposite effect — having an unexpected or unexplained reference to a made-up word that means "money" can be confusing or distracting. Often, a fictional currency will be roughly equivalent in value to a real-life one; this saves the writer the effort of having to do conversion rates mentally. The most common targets for this treatment tend to be the dollar or the yen. This is occasionally explicit, as with the double dollar
or the nuyen
. The zeni (or zenny
) is a popular name for fictional currencies in Japanese media.
Compare Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp"
, though Justified
in that one generally expects
there to be different names for different currencies. Contrast Gold Silver Copper Standard
, where the money used isn't a currency at all, but precious metals are used instead; the two may overlap when different names are given to the appropriate coins. Compare and
contrast with Energy Economy
, where energy, either a real form, or fictional is used for currency. Examples are often a Global Currency
. We Will Spend Credits in the Future
is a Science Fiction
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Anime and Manga
- Bleach uses kan, which serves as Soul Society's official currency.
- Cowboy Bebop uses woolongs, which are roughly equal to yen. Its symbol (₩) is even similar to the yen symbol (Ą), with the Y replaced by a W — ₩ is incidentally also the currency symbol for the North Korean won and South Korean won.
- Dragon Ball uses zeni.
- Fairy Tail uses Jewels.
- Fullmetal Alchemist uses cenz.
- Hunter × Hunter uses jenny.
- Naruto uses ryō, which Wordof God states has a 10:1 exchange rate with yen.
- One Piece has Berries used throughout the ocean-going world.
- The sky islands the Straw Hats visit use Extols, which have a 10,000:1 exchange rate with Berries.
- Outlaw Star use wong.
- Trigun uses double dollars (and c-cents are mentioned once); as expected, they're generally equivalent to dollars.
- Calvin & Hobbes: The Series mentions that the planet Zok uses geekoids, froiks, and sandlumbs, which are implied to be akin to pennies, dollar bills, and hundred-dollar bills, respectively.
- Republic, (and later Imperial) credits in Star Wars and Druggats used on Tatooine.
- The unit of currency in The Sword and the Sorcerer is the Talon. Which coincidentally — or perhaps not coincidentally — is also the name of the movie's hero.
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, it's implied that "simoleons" are an actual Fictional Currency used in Toontown, rather it being just a slang term for dollars.
- New Yen in the Sprawl Trilogy
- In Harry Potter, wizarding Britain uses galleons, sickles and knuts; overlaps with Gold Silver Bronze Standard.
- Gor has Tarn Disks/Tarsks, which use the Gold Silver Copper Standard.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, a group of people have crash-landed on an uninhabited planet. They decide to adopt the leaf as their currency. The upside: Everyone immediately becomes fantastically rich. The downside: it costs approximately three entire forests to buy one peanut. The solution: burn down all the trees.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy also mentions a few galactic currencies, all of which have fallen into disfavor: The Altairian Dollar (due to inflation), the Flanian Pobble Bead (due to being only exchangeable with other Flanian Pobble Beads) and the Galactic Piu (due to being equal to 8 triangular rubber coins 6000 miles on a side that no one is rich enough to afford).
- A Song of Ice and Fire has gold, silver, and copper dragons and stagsnote after the Animal Motifs used by the former and current dynasties.
- The Wheel of Time has three terms for coinage: penny, mark and crown. However, these can be made of different materials, with a gold mark, say, being worth more than a silver crown. All told, because coppers are always pennies and golds never are, there are six different varieties of coin in use, with their exact relative values differing by country of origin.
- The Stormlight Archive has currency called "spheres", consisting of gemstones encased in glass. Value depends on the type and size of the gem (the spheres themselves are all the same size). The denominations (from lowest to highest) are "chips", "marks", and "broams", with emeralds being the most valuable stone and diamonds the least. Spheres infused with Stormlight (which makes them glow) are also more valuable because it's a guarantee that they're not counterfeit. (Infused spheres also make convenient sources of light.)
- The Kingkiller Chronicle makes Harry Potter's coinage look downright sane, with "marks," "talents," "drabs," "shims," "jots", "pennies" in both copper and iron, and more, getting mixed up in the main character's purse. This is what happens when there are multiple standardized currencies in your setting: it's realistic, but confusing as hell. External wiki link.
- In Vladimir Vasilyev's Antarctica Online, after the new Antarctic Republic is formed, the Antarcticans try to decide on the currency for their country. Those who originally came from Australia demand that a dollar be used, while Brits want a pound. Russians want a ruble, etc. Eventually, they settle for a currency that is no longer used in order to please everyone. Thus the Antarctic taler (the word "dollar" originally came from "taler") or antaler is born.
- The War Against the Chtorr has United Nations Federal Kilo-Calorie notes, or 'caseys'.
- The Discworld's Ankh-Morpork uses dollars, but coins less than that are shillings, pence, ha'pennies and even smaller fractions of a penny like elims (1/16th of a penny), which can apparently get you a small and mostly edible potato in some parts of the city.
- Robert A. Heinlein's books have several examples.
- In TimeEnoughForLove, Lazarus Long owns the bank, so he prints his own currency. It's tied to the price of wheat as a pseduo backing, which means sometimes he took a loss, but it meant the money was a stable system.
- It's mentioned that the unit of money on the Howard Family planet Secundus is the "crown."
- In Friday, the eponymous character mentions that the city-state of Las Vegas is the only "country" with a system of currency that is actually backed by gold. The general unit of currency in the greater part of the United States is called the "crown."
- In CitizenOfTheGalaxy, when Thorby is identified as the actual heir to his parent's fortune, the Corrupt Corporate Executive lawyer, who ran their estate while no heir was found, hands Thorby a Megabuck, which can be spent with thumbprint and is worth a milliion dollars, essentially the equivalent of a paper traveler's check. Whether this is just a huge value bill or is massive inflation is not made clear.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia, Narnian coins are Lions and Trees, which may correspond to "gold" and "silver" though this isn't specified. Calormen uses crescents and minims; one minim = 1/40 crescent.
- Bafflingly inverted in Discworld, where the seemingly universal currency is DOLLARS.
Live Action Tv
- Thanks to approved tie-in material, we know the currency for many of the alien nations on Babylon 5: Abbai use gy, nori and chuk, Brakiri use grull or credits, Drazi use tok, Grome use vorl, Hurr use fla, Llort use yat, heek and molat, Markab used galot and Yolu use ogo. Hyach and pak'ma'ra use a barter system instead. Gaim, being hive insects, never used money. The Centauri use ducats and the Humans use credits. No word on the Narn or Minbari.
- At least three million years in the past of Red Dwarf, humanity used the 'dollarpound' ('buckquid' for slang, and made up of 100 'pennycents'). Also an example of Coca-Pepsi, Inc..
- In the Star Trek universe, the Klingon Empire's currency is the darsek. The Bajorans use a currency called lita, and the Cardassian Union has the lek. The Karemma, part of the Dominion, use dirak. The Star Trek Novel Verse has added several others, including Tarkaelean notch-rocks, Gorn szeket, and Breen sakto. Humans on the other hand have no currency at all (though this is inconsistently depicted).
- Naturally, your local Ferengi currency exchanger is more than happy to turn all of this into gold-pressed latinum, in easy-to-handle denominations of slips, strips, bars, and bricks. Note that the gold is considered worthless, it's the liquid latinum inside that holds value.
- Both versions of Battlestar Galactica use the "cubit". Caprica shows that this currency was used on at least two of the Twelve Colonies (Caprica and Gemenon) before unification.
- Monopoly money may be the Trope Codifier. In some spinoff games like Monopoly City, it's denominated in "monos" (the symbol is a struck-through M; the name is a riff on Euros). In addition, some versions have used game-oriented names, like the pre-euro German "spielmark".
- Nuyen (Ą) in Shadowrun.
- Exalted features Jade (a magical material rather than real life jade). Jade scrip is most widely used in the Realm, but the Guild has managed to push a silver standard as an alternative currency in the last few decades. The denominations of different Jade coins is exhaustively detailed (including coins so large and valuable that they're almost exclusively used on paper rather than actually carried around). It's also implied that there are other minor currencies throughout the world.
- BattleTech's major houses each use a distinct national currency, colloquially known as D-bills, K-bills, S-bills, M-bills and L-billsnote , each also having an official name, for instance, the Capellan Commonwealth's "L-Bill" is officially the Yuan, while the Free Worlds League "M-Bill" is the Eagle. The most encountered and important currency in the Inner Sphere, however, is ComStar's C-Bill, which, officially, represents one unit of transmission on the Hyperpulse Generators that ComStar uses for FTL communication. However, said communication is seen as enough of a scarce and precious commodity that the bills have taken on a use as a currency and legal tender.
- While most settings of Dungeons & Dragons simply use the Gold Silver Copper Standard the novels for Eberron refer to the coins as Galifars, Sovereigns, Crowns, and platinum Dragons.
- Spore: The cell and creature stages use DNA points as currency, the tribal stage use food, and the civilization and space ages use Sporebucks symbolized with a §.
- Chrono Trigger calls its currency gold, although it seems to be a name rather than they actual metal. It is also spendable throughout the eras you travel, although shopkeepers in 2300 A.D. will poo-poo it at first before reluctantly accepting it, and shopkeepers in 65000000 B.C. refer to it as "shiny stone."
- Civilization: All nations use a currency called "Gold", although in 'IV', you can pass a UN resolution to have one global currency to help the economy, even though all the nations already use the same currency.
- Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri: Money is simply called Energy, and it is gained from energy producing facilities, or power plants.
- Starflight uses a currency called Monetary Units, the sequel uses a currency called Shyneum Pennies.
- Halo uses credits, which is symbolized as cR. While it was mentioned in the canon, it wasn't until Reach that the player could actually use them.
- The Western translations of the Pokémon games use "Pokémon Dollars" ("poké" or "pokéyen" in Fanon), the symbol of which looks like the yen symbol (Ą) with the Y replaced by a P. The Japanese version just uses yen, (even in the region based on New York), which is why costs seem so oddly high to non-Japanese players.
- The Final Fantasy franchise uses gil, in one of the most recognizable instances of this trope.
- The Kingdom Hearts spinoff games use munny instead, however. Strangely enough, instead of coins, it takes the forms of yellow octahedrons.
- In the video game BioShock Infinite, the floating city of Columbia uses coins known as "Silver Eagles". The United States actually made coins by that name, but these aren't like the ones featured in the game.
- The iPod tactical game Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes uses Luna.
- The Legend of Zelda franchise similarly uses rupees, which is oddly enough a real currency (used by India), though no one's quite sure if it's supposed to be a reference to that or a pun on the word "rubies", since Zelda's rupees look rather like absurdly large gemstones.
- The Shin Megami Tensei series, save for the Persona subseries, uses macca. It has some relevance as a power source for demons.
- It's not really until Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey that the idea of macca being a "power source" really took hold (though little-known spinoff Devil Children established demons could eat it). That explanation was used to justify purchasing items from the Matter Replicator with demon money. Earlier games had a third "currency" called Magnetite (not the same as the real mineral) which was a mystical substance found in living things that demons needed to incarnate in the human world - summoning your demons cost you Magnetite, as did keeping them around. You could gather it from slain demons, and demons could also feed their need by eating humans, the most abundant natural source of Magnetite in the real world.
- SimCity and The Sims both use the simoleon as their currency. In Sim City 2000, the currency symbol was just a $, but starting with Sim City 3000 the currency sign for the simoleon became a section sign (§).
- Suikoden games' currency is the potch.
- NetHack has zorkmids.
- Exit Fate has the arn.
- Zenny in the Breath of Fire series, as well as most other Capcom games: the symbol is generally a Z with vertical lines through it.
- Kingdom of Loathing uses meat as currency, while precious metals are Vendor Trash.
- The Elder Scrolls use gold coins officially called "Septims" after the imperial dynasty, but frequently called "drakes" after the symbol on one side.
- Phantasy Star uses meseta.
- Black Tiger, another Capcom game, also uses zenny.
- Legend of Mana uses "lucre", but not the rest of the World of Mana.
- FusionFall uses taro.
- Dragon Age uses sovereigns.
- Tales Series uses Gald.
- Star Ocean and its sequels use Fol.
- Subverted in the Mario RPGs Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi with the Coins. While coins are common in the real world, apparently they are their own currency in Mushroom Kingdom and any adjacent places.
- Ultima games usually have gold coins, but Ultima VII Part II takes place on another continent, where three city states have different coinage each. Warlike Monitor uses monetari (huge golden coins), beauty-fixated Fawn uses filari (small gems encased in glass), and magical Moonshade uses guilders (enchanted glowing chips). The exchange rates are fixed, but different moneychangers take different fee for exchange.
- Ultima VIII, which takes place on another world, uses obsidian coins.
- The Freddi Fish series has purple sea urchins. There are at least five variations, all of which are more valuable: red sea urchins (worth two purple ones), blue sea urchins (worth three purple ones), gold sea urchins (worth four purple ones), and orange sea urchins (worth more than four purple ones; exact value unknown).
- Pikmin 2 has the Poko as the currency of the planet Hocotate.
- The Oddworld series has "Moolah," the standard currency of the Glukkons.
- Sierra has this in several of their "Quest" series.
- While set pretty much in the real world, Endless Ocean Blue World uses the Pelago (P), same as the name of the commonwealth Nineball Island is in. To give you an idea of value, jukeboxes cost 200P, hammocks cost 440, haircuts are 1000 each, guitars cost 1900, swimwear runs you from 1200 to 3200, and telescopes cost 4700.
- Fallout most prominently uses caps (literally old Nuka-Cola bottle caps, backed by the water merchants of The Hub) as their post-apocalyptic currency, but the New California Republic also produces NCR dollars (gold coins in Fallout 2 and heavily devalued paper money in New Vegas). The Legion produces their own money, but it's directly based on two Ancient Roman coins: the aureus and denarius.
- Animal Crossing uses bells, and the prices of items in the games suggest they have a 1:1 exchange rate with the Japanese yen.
- Vampires Dawn has Filar. You need to sell silver or items in order to get them though.