Swords and Deviltry in Lankhmar
Currency in Nehwon
In a city filled with merchants and thieves, the acquisition of money is a subject dear to the hearts of many Lankhmarts. Traders and businesses will take coinage from across the length and breadth of Nehwon but the land of Lankhmar uses the following currency:
- Iron Tik: the smallest coin in both value and size, Iron Tiks are sometimes referred to as ‘pennies.’ These are thumbnail-sized square shards of iron, usually cheaply minted with the imprint of the Guild of Grain Merchants symbol on one side and the minting date on the other. It is not unusual for even poor characters to have a pocket rattling half-full of Iron Tiks. Tiks are used mainly to buy cheap drinks, to hand over to beggars and to spend on anything else of almost no value. Ten Iron Tiks make up a single Bronze Agol.
- Bronze Agol: the first coin of any real value in Lankhmar’s currency, the Bronze Agol is a large round coin with a hole in the center. The coin is imprinted with a view of the city’s walls on one side and the minting date on the other. Agols are used primarily for cheap services such as hiring porters, paying for shoddy equipment or accommodation, average-quality meals and inexpensive drinks. Ten Bronze Agols make up a single Silver Smerduk.
- Silver Smerduk: The Silver Smerduk is the backbone of Lankhmarese industry, used to buy services and make purchases from across the board. Most tradesmen and workers within the city, as well as hirelings, adventurers and mercenaries who generally work outside the city, are paid in Smerduks. The coins are smallish and round, marked by the previous Overlord’s face on one side (as a post-mortem honor) and a view of one of the four city walls on the other. The wall on the back of the coins changes every year, from the Grand Gate of the south wall round to the Royal Docks of the north wall. Ten Silver Smerduks make a single Gold Rilk.
- Gold Rilk: The standard coin of Lankhmar’s prosperous elite (or most adept thieves) is the Gold Rilk. These coins are smaller than Smerducks and Agols and are close to the Tik in size but are obviously worth a great deal more than either. They are minted with the face of the current overlord on one side and that of his wife on the other. The overlord’s face appears on both sides if the ruler is unmarried. One hundred Gold Rilks make a single Diamond in Amber Gluditch.
- Diamond in Amber Gluditch: These coins almost never fall into the palms of most Lankhmarts, due to their rarity and value. Diamond is common enough to be used as trade currency in the largest deals and purchases but the tiny chips of diamond necessary would be easily lost. Centuries ago, a previous overlord had the insight and creativity to demand that a new (relatively) common currency take advantage of Lankhmar’s bevy of diamond mines by encasing minute shards of the gemstones in small pellets of amber approximately the size of a fingertip. These coins are stored in vaults and counting houses rather than carried around in pockets like metal coins.
Lankhmarts have a saying, often related to watered-down beer, skinny wenches or cheap bed sheets: Thin as a hundred-year old coin. This is born from the wear that soft metal coins such as Tiks, Smerduks and Rilks tend to show after a few years. Lankhmar coinage is based on weight, which means that as coins start to wear out from years of changing hands and rubbing against each other on the inside of pockets, they can lose value. Every few years the Overlord’s counting houses recall old coins, which are melted down and re-minted. This is the primary reason Lankhmarese coins are dated.