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I've been reading through the core rule book, and there are references to money and skills related to money. However, I have been unable to find a section that talks about the monetary system of the realm.

What are the base units of money for the Ars Magica 5th edition setting?

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The Core rulebook, indeed, doesn't go into much detail about the economic working of Mythic Europe. Chapter 14, Mythic Europe, gives a broad overview of how medieval society works, in terms of feudalism, towns and merchants, but very few details.

To fill the blanks, assuming you don't intend on exploring the economic structure of Medieval Europe from actual historical textbooks (though there are some very good ones out there), you can peruse some of the expansion books:

  • City & Guild focuses on, well, cities and guilds. With subchapters like "Money and Investments" or "Improving Wealth and Social Status". It features details such as the costs (in money and labor) of craftsmen and artisans, means of travel and the Guild system.

  • Lords of Men focuses on the nobility, including details on vassalage and the of the economic aspects of the Feudal system.

  • Sourcebooks detailing specific tribunals will often have more details regarding the specific economy of that region.

I suggest keeping an eye out on the Bundle of Holding site, where every once on a while you can a good deal on a whole stack of ArM sourcebooks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I did intend to default to the historical literature on the economics of of medieval Europe, but it's not my first choice. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Feb 25 at 21:35
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Pretty much the same as it was.

Anything like a unified currency was a bit of a dream, so when "universal" prices are given (in City & Guild, which you should pick up if you're planning to do anything serious and long-term with money) they're given in mythic pounds. Of course, City & Guild also ends with: "you should not feel that you are doing anything wrong by inventing the prices of specific goods".

Still, when you do invent those prices, how do you denominate them? The mythic pound reflects a fairly common structure of money across Europe, based off of Charlemagne's silver standard, where "a pound" was an actual pound of silver, divided into 20 shillings of 12 pence each. Shillings and pounds go on the account books; significant trade is usually done in equal values of trade goods, which can themselves be cartloads of common staples or smaller quantities of dyes, spices, silks, or gemstones. To the extent a given grog will have coins to throw around, they'll be silver pence or pennies, accounted as "denarii" after the Roman coins but usually with some other local name, and there'll probably be a local attempt at a slightly larger silver coin of some description, because it's the actual weight of the silver that matters.

If you're near or regularly trade with the Byzantine empire or points further east, their gold coinage, bezants or denars, will also be in slightly rarefied circulation at half a pound - 10 shillings - apiece.

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City & Guild includes a Price list of common items on pg 144 and has a decent Bibliography on pg 6.

Not sure if it made it anywhere in 5th, but there used to be a "Mythic Pound" simplification for people who did not want to get into the Micro-Economics of Europe.

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