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Since restarting my D&D passion this fall with a group of awesome friends learning 5e, I've been hankering to buy a set of Campaign Coins.

My group is casual - twice a month for 3-5 hours. We've only just arrived in Phandalin at level 2. I've already noticed that the often mundane task of "splitting up the loot" will actually provide us with some laughs and opportunities for story telling between characters. But I have no experience using real world props to make it more real.

So how should I spend up to $60.00 USD on fantasy coppers, silvers, and gold pieces to give us that run-through the fingers, hand 'em over the counter, slip them out of a slit corrupt official's purse feeling?


Specific Math Question Follows:

"The Lost Mine of Phandelver" awards treasure in a single adventuring day that maxes out at something like this:

  • 600cp
  • 400sp
  • 250gp

Constraints:

  1. If there's extra of anything, it should be extra GP.
  2. I should have at least a few coins worth 1 in each denomination
  3. No need for Platinum or Electrum.

The Campaign Coin Sets are sold in two ways:

10 coin pack costing $8.00 in denominations of:

  • 1
  • 2
  • 5
  • 10
  • 20
  • 50
  • 100
  • 1000

And

12 Coin Mixed Packs costing $12.00. Each pack has 4 of each denomination

  • Copper (1, 2, 5)
  • Copper (10, 50, 100)
  • Silver (1, 2, 5)
  • Silver (10, 50, 100)
  • Gold (1, 2, 5)
  • Gold (10, 50, 100)

I want to spend no more than $60.00 with this initial purchase.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I've removed the system-agnostic tag from this question - this varies greatly between different systems. You're free to revert the edit if you choose, of course. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Oct 21 '14 at 23:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, Miniman. Hey I Can Chan - of course there's plastic alternatives, but these things are beautiful. To each their own investment, or in my case Christmas wish list. \$\endgroup\$ – JoeAnglican Oct 21 '14 at 23:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ There must be a math question in here somewhere. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 22 '14 at 3:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Guys... I don't think this is really on topic here. As an opinion question it's Bad Subjective and as a pure math question it's off topic, like "if I had 5 goblins and killed 3 goblins how many goblins would I have left" would be. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 22 '14 at 19:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel pretty sure this is on topic. It takes having played D&D 5e to know what coins you're going to need, and whether investing in any amount of copper or silver is remotely worth it, and whether the gold coins in question could measure up to the scale of spending involved. An experience-based answer would talk about which coins were used often in the author's games, which were almost entirely neglected or not worth dealing with, which coins they sorely needed more of, and so on - and how situations may have varied. That won't come out of a mathematician with no at-the-table experience. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 23 '14 at 3:48
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Introduction

The answers will be based mostly on the needs and wants you have described in your question, but also on my experience with DnD.

Lingo I'll be using a improvised shorthand for some expressions and term in order to speed things up. List follows:

  • CURRENCY(-IES): a type of coin, either copper, silver or gold
  • GOLD: Gold coin(s)
  • SILVER: Silver Coin(s)
  • COPPER: Copper coin(s)
  • ONE: A coin of any CURRENCY, value of 1. [Same is applied for all numerical denominations].
  • VALUE: Numerical denonimation (e.g. 1, 2, 5 and so on)
  • 12SET: The set of twelve coins
  • 10SET: The set of ten coins
  • COST: Money spent on certain combination
  • COUNT: The total number of coins received for a given combination
  • MAXLOOT: The maximum loot per adventure as stated by the questioner
  • WORTH: The total value of all combined coins.

Base

Since you mention that you would like a few ONEs of all CURRENCIES, we'll start of with the different options for this.

Option 1 (BASE1):

  • 1x 12SET COPPER (ONE, TWO, FIVE)
  • 1x 12SET SILVER (ONE, TWO, FIVE)
  • 1x 12SET GOLD (ONE, TWO, FIVE)

  • COST: $36

  • COUNT: 36

Pros: You receive a few ONEs of each CURRENCY, like requested, while also getting some other quite useful coins.

Cons: High cost-to-coin ratio. Perhaps too few ONEs.

Option 2 (BASE2):

  • 1x 10SET COPPER ONE
  • 1x 10SET SILVER ONE
  • 1x 10SET GOLD ONE

  • COST: $24

  • COUNT: 30

Pros: Lowest possible cost-to-coin ratio. You receive quite a few ONEs of each CURRENCY.

Cons: No additional coins, perhaps too many ONEs.

Suggestion

Calculating MAXLOOT, we get a total value of 296 GOLD and this suggestion will take this into some consideration.

As pointed out in another answer, 10 COPPER = 1 SILVER and 10 SILVER = 1 GOLD. Given this, and the aforementioned usability concern, this suggestion rules out any VALUE of TEN or above for COPPER and SILVER.

While both BASE1 and BASE2 are viable here, BASE2 will be used for its lower cost-to-coin ratio.


Coins:

  • 10x ONE COPPER
  • 10x ONE SILVER
  • 10x ONE GOLD

Metadata:

  • COUNT: 30
  • WORTH: 11.1 GOLD
  • COST: $24

We add:

  • 1x 10SET COPPER (FIVE)
  • 1x 10SET SILVER (FIVE)
  • 1x 10SET GOLD (FIVE)
  • 1x 12SET GOLD (TEN, FIFTY, HUNDRED)

Combined, this gives us the following:


Coins:

  • 10x ONE COPPER
  • 10x FIVE COPPER
  • 10x ONE SILVER
  • 10x FIVE SILVER
  • 10x ONE GOLD
  • 10x FIVE GOLD
  • 4x TEN GOLD
  • 4x FIFTY GOLD
  • 4x HUNDRED GOLD

Metadata:

  • COUNT: 72
  • WORTH: 706.6 GOLD
  • COST: $60

This suggestions gives you a wide spread of coins, while maintaining usability. TWOs of all CURRENCIES are not included as I feel that you could just as well use 2 ONEs, and TWOs would just bloat your coin pool unnecessarily.

The higher GOLD (FIFTY, HUNDRED) could be eliminated in exchange for smaller GOLD values, but I think the feeling of holding (or offering, stealing, finding) a HUNDRED GOLD would be highly appreciated by a lot of players.

Finally, using BASE1 instead of BASE2 would also work splendidly. It would increase the WORTH of the pool, but decrease the amount of ONEs. It would, however, exceed the budget of $60.

Final notes

During my calculations, I started working a spreadsheet for calculating the various outputs. In it current stage, it's very user-unfriendly, but I'd be happy to share it (after I've revamped it a bit, that is). Let me know.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I can handle messy spreadsheets! Beauty of an answer, thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – JoeAnglican Oct 23 '14 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alrighty, then. :) I'll add the link to the answer (or if you prefer, in a message) in a couple of hours, or so. \$\endgroup\$ – Gunnar Södergren Oct 24 '14 at 6:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Here's the link to the spreadsheet. I'll consider putting in the answer once I've had another go at it. docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/… \$\endgroup\$ – Gunnar Södergren Oct 24 '14 at 14:58
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5e has five standard coin denominations, with copper being the smallest denomination, silver being worth 10 copper, electrum worth 5 silver, gold worth 10 silver, and platinum being worth 10 gold. Gold bars and other valuables are used in deals upwards of hundreds of gold pieces. Page 43 of the Basic Rules v2 and page 143 of the Player's Handbook both discuss the coinage and have a table breaking down the exchange rates. The Player's handbook also has a nice bit of artwork of examples of coinage. The image shows an electrum (silver-gold alloy) piece being closer to the color of silver. Since 5e's default setting is the Forgotten Realms, looking at the information available regarding FR currency can also be useful.

With that in mind, and looking over the Campaign Coins' listings, I'd say that the 1-Copper, 1-Silver, 5-Silver, 1-Gold and 1-Platinum coin packs are closest to the the coinage, while larger amounts would be served by the Trade Bar packs.

Crunching the numbers, 1 of each of the 1-cp, 1-sp, 5-sp, 1-gp and 1-pp coins, and 1 of the 100, 500, 1000 Trade Bar packs would come out to about $55, have each of the denominations with trade bars represented and have a in-game value of 6,616.1 gp. If the electrum (5-sp) and platinum pieces (1-pp) were taken out, and a 10, 20, 50 Trade Bar pack put in, it would cost $53, be closer to trading instead of dungeon delves and be worth 6,831.1 gp.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't really answer the "please use experience to tell me which coins get used/neglected in actual gameplay" part of the question, which to me was really the meat and bones of the OP. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Oct 23 '14 at 11:51

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