For my Catamaran game I've been working with a lot of ideas of how to do a fun adventuring reward system in a setting with no functioning currency system and little in the way of portable wealth (gems, precious metals, etc). The resource system below is the product of that thought process so far.
ResourcesThe economy in the Sea of Keruna is not currency based. Indeed as yet there is no currency widely accepted throughout the islands, though specific island may have currency they use within the bounds of their island. Without precious metals or an abundance of gems, there is not an inherently valuable, easily transportable form of wealth in the region. Those islands that do have currency generally have some sort of marker that can be traded for goods at a central trading post, effectively backing the value of the currency with the stock in the trading post, but such currency rapidly declines in value the further you get from the trading post.
Resources are the generalized system of goods and barter used to represent this non-coin based economy. Resources in the Sea of Keruna come in in lots, each of which weighs about one pound and is made of miscellaneous stuff appropriate to the value of the type of resource. Thus wealth can be represented by a large, difficult to transport number of lower value goods, or a small number of higher value goods. The types of goods available are listed below.
- Subsistence Goods: Rations, small bits of leather, small pieces of cloth, etc. Equivalent to 1 sp.
- Resource Goods: Lumber, herbs, obsidian, etc. Equivalent to 1 gp.
- Trade Goods: Rope, sails, tools, medicines, etc. Equivalent to 10 gp.
- Luxury Goods: Silks, high quality wood, metal, etc. Equivalent to 1 pp (100 gp).
- Splendorous Goods: God fragments, bones of mythical beasts, dragonhide, etc. EQuivalent to 10 pp (1000 gp).
Each day each character must consume one unit of goods to represent the food, water, clothes, etc, they need to survive. A character can consume any type of goods to do this, but consuming something more valuable than subsistence goods gets the character an additional hit die of healing until they take a long rest. Subsistence goods can be generated using Survival, but go bad if not consumed that day.
Making items, such as alchemy, requires one resource good per gp of components needed. Higher quality goods can be used, but still at one good to one gp of components needed, though they goods produced may be of higher quality at DM discretion. Sometimes specific goods or items may be needed as well, such as needing saltpeter to make thunderpowder.
Sailing a boat consumes some number of trade goods each day the boat is at sea, usually equal to it’s hull rating. Sitting at dock consumes the same number of trade goods each week.