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Total posts: [31]
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Unclear Description: Cheap Gold Coins get usage counts

The description is a mess. By paragraph:

In summary, I cannot find a clear definition from this mess. Lack of a Laconic page isn't helping. What does this mean?

edited 4th Sep '12 12:38:58 AM by spacemarine50

 
 2 Another Duck, Tue, 4th Sep '12 1:35:10 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
I don't see a significant problem with the trope.

A laconic would be something like what the title is. "Gold coins are cheap."

Gold coins are generally used as a currency in fantasy, where modern currencies don't exist. However, with a lack of research about how much a gold coin at that age would actually be worth, most creators use equivalent numerical values for whatever currency exists in their own country. That means they will use a higher number than what they would if they used the actual value of goldnote . It's not really more complicated than that.

One justification could be that gold is simply much more common in that world, but that's rarely the actual case.
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  1. Gold as an investment is irrelevant to this trope. The only relevant bit is gold as currency.
  2. Yes, that it the point of the page. Gold is worth a lot if Real Life but it used as small currency in games.
  3. Correct - delete the irrelevant links to Ridiculous Future Inflation and Worthless Yellow Rocks.

 4 Another Duck, Tue, 4th Sep '12 2:50:44 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
I think Ridiculous Future Inflation is related. This is about an implied "inflation" of the past gold value. Not exactly an inflation, but it's a related concept.

Worthless Yellow Rocks is much more tangentally related, since at most it's a similar concept Up to Eleven, but has more to do with ignorance or simply explicitly different values (both cultural and material).
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 5 Ghilz, Tue, 4th Sep '12 3:46:49 AM from The Moon. Or Canada. Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight It Out!
The main issue I see with the page, and it's a minor one, is that several examples compare with Real Life gold costs when the setting is explicitly not real life. Like the Dungeons & Dragons example.

A simple dagger costs two gold pieces. According to the Player's Handbook v.3.5 gold pieces are a third of an ounce. The current price of gold is over $1600 per ounce, which means that a simple dagger is worth about a grand.

Yeah... but your talking of a world where gold isn't nearly the most precious thing around, magic exists (including transmutation magic), and dollars do not. So whats the point?

I agree, that sort of detail is bad. The point of the trope is that a piece of gold is (surprisingly) worth half the price of a dagger, not that a dagger is worth a grand.

 7 Another Duck, Tue, 4th Sep '12 5:43:38 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
As I mentioned before, albeit just in a note, the actual price has varied a lot over the ages. In Fantasy, this is likely to vary a lot more. It is, however, rarely justified to the extent that a a gold piece would only be worth half as much as a dagger. Unless it was a Finely Crafted Dagger.

The actual current price of gold is irrelevant, and quite likely wrong in the context of the example.

Edit: I made a few small edits to the examples regarding this.

edited 4th Sep '12 6:03:17 AM by AnotherDuck

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Trope creator here, I wrote the page because in real life when gold was used as a currency it was almost always high denomination coins, the average peasant would hardly even see one in their life, and they were rarely pure gold.

When an example is justified in-universe I tried to make sure it was listed. But in many cases such as Dungeons & Dragons it wasn't, yes, player characters often pour dragon hoards of gold into the economy at once but where did the dragons get all that gold in the first place? Yes, it's possible to transmute lead into gold but it's a mid-level spell that costs several hundred gold when bought as a service.

Maybe gold really is more common in these worlds. Then it would be justified.
Fuhrmann, es kostet dir noch dein Leben
If any work states that gold is a common metal, than yes, it would be a Justified Trope.

Well, if we're looking at D&D, the economy is all screwed up to start with.

Off the top of my head, if I recall correctly, a day's wage for a common laborer is a silver piece, and it's ten silver to the gold. So a basic dagger is worth three weeks of basic labor.

But a day's trail rations also costs a silver, which seems high since a laborer should be able to feed his family on his wage, and making it portable shouldn't add THAT much to the cost.

And even base-level emergency magical healing (like a potion of cure light wounds) is entirely out of reach of any commoner at 50 gp (equivalent to a year and a half of laborer wages).
 
Oh, and during the YKTTW some people insisted I find realistic prices for stuff and compare the in-universe price.

Guess you can't please everyone.

That could work well in the intro, just not in individual examples. And the conclusion should be "look how comparatively cheap gold coins are in this world" not "look how expensive items are."

I think the existing description tells that already.

Picky, picky, picky. Just forget the whole thing already, most of spacemarine50's points were irrelevant anyways.

I'll just add a laconic

edited 4th Sep '12 8:04:16 AM by zarpaulus

 15 Ghilz, Tue, 4th Sep '12 2:18:55 PM from The Moon. Or Canada. Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight It Out!
@escher

And a normal 10ft chain is worth 5 gp more than a spiked 10ft chain. And a 10 foot pole cost more than a 10 foot wooden ladder made of 2 such poles. Leading to the much laughed scheme of players disassembling ladders for a profit.

Yeah, D&D economy is all sorts of fucked up. But that's beside the point, it still was an example of the trope. Just that the RL disgression is kind of meaningless.

(As for the feeding thing. 1 lb of wheat or a chicken is worth 1/10 of a silver (A copper). Meaning a laborer feeds himself and his family by making bread. (Then one wonders why a chicken is worth as much as a much lesser amount of grain than the one needed to raise said chicken, but that's another story).)

Though back on the example, it looks much better now.

edited 4th Sep '12 2:21:46 PM by Ghilz

even older skool
It strikes me that this may frequently be a form of Artistic License – Economics as well as perhaps The Coconut Effect. Gold-as-currency is a rather common aspect of the Standard Fantasy Setting (although not mentioned on that page), and it seems plausible that this is largely a result of writers that simply expect the audience to equate "gold = currency". Perhaps a sentence or two to this effect in the description could smooth over some of the issues with the page? The examples don't seem overly problematic, beyond perhaps a little arbitrary nitpicking and selective use of real-world history to blow things out of proportion.

 17 shimaspawn, Wed, 5th Sep '12 8:20:31 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Yeah, I think Gold Standard might be a better title for what this is. It's a fantasy convention that their economies are based on gold. To what degree this differs from real life economies depends. Discworld for instance uses a gold standard but almost no one actually sees gold very often. It's a realistic economy. It just happens to be based on the same core trope as D&D and Harry Potter.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 18 Another Duck, Thu, 6th Sep '12 9:47:38 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
What would be a cause for renaming it, then? I don't think that name would increase the usage, which is probably the worst problem the trope has now. Properly crosswicking would do a lot more for its visibility. And it's not really misused in a way that the trope name would be to blame.
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 19 Septimus Heap, Thu, 6th Sep '12 9:50:36 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
There are very little work examples, so crosswicking is definitively an issue. A rename won't help, methinks. It's rather straightforward, I think.

 20 peccantis, Thu, 6th Sep '12 11:19:53 AM Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
the flies will find you
(As for the feeding thing. 1 lb of wheat or a chicken is worth 1/10 of a silver (A copper). Meaning a laborer feeds himself and his family by making bread. (Then one wonders why a chicken is worth as much as a much lesser amount of grain than the one needed to raise said chicken, but that's another story).)
Obviously they don't grow chickens all year on valuable human food, but rather scraps, weeds from the garden, and whatever bugs and small animals they can catch in their pen/in the yard.

edited 6th Sep '12 11:21:34 AM by peccantis

before the darkness arrives
that's true

 22 shimaspawn, Sat, 8th Sep '12 3:42:13 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Because the name is inaccurate for the actual trope. The trope is "Fantasy worlds use gold as currency." The fact that most writers aren't economists is secondary to the actual trope.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 23 Septimus Heap, Sat, 8th Sep '12 3:43:49 PM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
If that is the definition of the trope, it surely needs a rewrite - the current definition doesn't look like Fantastic Gold Standard at all.

 24 shimaspawn, Sat, 8th Sep '12 3:50:45 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
No, the current definition is a rant written by someone who hates the trope and is complaining about it.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
Is the trope the gold is used as Fictional Currency most of the time? And can I cut the bad parts of the description? Also, from Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: For settings where transactions are done almost exclusively in gold, see Cheap Gold Coins. This trope doesn't sound like that right now.

edited 8th Sep '12 4:14:05 PM by spacemarine50

 
Total posts: 31
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