In Dungeon World, "coin" is the base currency with everything else listed in terms of it. 100 coins have 1 weight. Many items are worth more than 100 coins, making the carrying of coins very heavy if you wish to buy something nice or sell something nice; you cannot use coins as you cannot carry enough for large transactions.

I've had to introduce a concept of gem-trading with exchange fees (gems cost no weight per the rules.) But then that is a little onerous to track the value of individual gems and exchange fees on coins <-> gems isn't really a fun principle of a game. I'm very close to just removing the weight cost of coins, but am very hesitant to alter a rule of the game as written.

What is a more rule-abiding pattern for respecting the coin weight while also allowing serious purchases/sales that is fun?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @JeffZeitlin We do not support answers in comments because comments do not support features like proper voting and the wiki-style editing that allow us to vet, correct, and improve the content. Please only use answer posts for answers. (See the above link for more details.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, the challenge is, how to make paying currency exchange fees fun? Clarify if I'm missing something... \$\endgroup\$
    – Tim Grant
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimGrant That is correct, or at least, why are coins given weight if the designers didn't intend for some kind of game balance in accruing wealth on-person. I think the big piece here that is missing is that most of this campaign has led itself into urban settings for which stores/banks are commonly nearby so it never occurred to me that the weight cost ought to be waived unless you're in a dungeon because the dungeons have been cities in our game. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ What fun things are the players buying when they could be adventuring? \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 2:26

2 Answers 2


To abide by the rules we should understand, or at least guess what their purpose is. So, why do coins have weight? It is a limit on how many of them you can carry. But this limit will not come into play all the time. Encumbrance is mostly an issue in dungeons or the wilderness where lugging it around is not trivial. (Have you ever checked how much a single PC can carry when shopping in a town?)

Thus we want coins to limit how much other loot and equipment you can carry in a dungeon, but we do not care about it as much when you reach a city. I propose two options, which mostly differ in flavor.

  1. Higher value coins

    In a city the PC-s can exchange the coins they find for higher denominations. While we do not track it, we assume the existence of "10 coin" and "100 coin" coins. We can ignore the weight of these, as it is 2 orders of magnitude under what they usually carry. Thus they will have to track only 2 numbers: exchanged money (weightless) and coins.

  2. Banks

    We introduce a bank that has offices in all major cities and the PC-s can open accounts. When you open an account you get a magical doodad that you can use to identify yourself in any other office of theirs and withraw or deposit to the same account. The outcome is similar to #1, you only have to track deposited money (weightless) and coins.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Higher-value coins is effectively the "gems" option but without tracking the exact value of various gems, which is almost my current state. Banks are also a solution I'm moving toward as much of this campaign has been urban so far. +1 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 18:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have never played dungeon world, but eliminating the need to transport large amounts of heavy money was one of the reasons checks developed in the real world. If this sounds like the same as the bank option, note that checks long predate banks in any sense of what we would recognize as a bank. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ How would banks actually work in a world of magic and mysticism? How could they be trustworthy? \$\endgroup\$
    – Octopus
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ One "fridge logic" consequence of positing higher value coins, though, is wondering why the treasure hordes in the wilderness dungeons always contain only "1 coin" coins, and never contain any "10 coin" or "100 coin" coins. -- Promissory notes from a bank (aka #2) might be a better bet there, as paper/parchment degrades faster than coins (especially with creatures possibly eating them), and eldrich horrors tend to be unbanked in the first place.. \$\endgroup\$
    – R.M.
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Octopus That's a moot point, I think. In Dungeon World it's trivial for PCs to magically manufacture Coins if they really want to — the question is “what is the consequence?” and the native Dungeon-World-style answer to that is “let's find out!” or “ask the expert PC.” So a player asking “but how can banks work?” is supposed to result in the GM responding “good question. Hey Wizard, what prevents magical forgery of this bank's promissory notes?” \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:40

DW coins have weight so it's awkward to carry large amounts of them. Yet it has rules to streamline purchasing to a background task.

The solution is basically BlackVegetables's own, minus the onerous parts. In civilisation, coin can be freely converted to and from gems as a background task that requires no play time. Thus a character carries (say) 4321 coins worth of coin and gems, and no-one cares about the distribution.

If the desire is for a treasure to be part of a logistical puzzle, the Dragon's hoard of 130,000 coin is just that. If it isn't, then it's 130,000 coins worth of coins and gems.

(Magical) bank solutions can work, but don't fit in all settings.


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