Currency in Apocalypse Worlds

  • 20 Replies
  • 10842 Views
Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« on: October 22, 2010, 09:51:28 AM »
What do your games use as currency?  Lots of AP write-ups include that info, but I haven't seen a collection of ideas.

I just had this idea for a hold/world where rolls of duct tape were the official currency and started wondering about what other stuff people came up with.

*

Bret

  • 285
Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2010, 10:26:34 AM »
In my one campaign it was plastic jewelery. Plastic beads and hair accessories, stuff like that.

It's been pretty ill-defined in the other games I've been in. Worms and bullets and medical supplies. Whatever is needed.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2010, 11:23:06 AM »
I usually assume, unless it's otherwise stated, that my Apocalypse Worlds have three currencies: bullets, food (including clean water), and gasoline. The three things everybody could always use more of.

But a lot of the time, I like to make it actual barter, too. "You want me to fix your bikes? Dude named Rolfball's got a box I need. Metal, about yay big, some funny stickers with symbols you wouldn't recognize on it. Go get it from him, I don't care how, but be careful with it when bringing it back. And I'll make all your bikes better than before, even."

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2010, 11:49:40 AM »
Last time I ran, it was pretty much like Ben's setup. However, there was a special importance placed on clean water since the game was set in a desert with arsenic poisoned soil. (As a side note, it was based on a real town in a South American desert I visited that was so apocalyptic looking I had to set my game there. And yes, their water was actually poisoned by the arsenic soaked bedrock.)

There was also a pretty strong trade in booze and peyote, as well as a large stash of canned peaches that someone got their hands on.

If there was anything they handed out like pocket change, it was cans of peaches.

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2010, 11:53:30 AM »
It's usually been pretty loose in my games, but one angel character used cigarettes for barter, a habit he picked hp growing up in a prison-turned-hold, and justified by the ease of making "change" (individual cigarettes vs packs or cartons)

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2010, 12:49:47 PM »
My hold has a vague gasoline based currency, but it gets used less than half the time.  Mostly people have stuff, you know.  1-Barter might be a rusty spade, a baseball cap, some jerky, and five shoelaces.  We don't usually work that all out, but that's how I describe it.  The things you can get for 1-Barter are pretty significant things, so you cobble that much value together out of whatever you've got.  Anything worth less than that isn't captured in the system because it isn't narrative relevant.  (Although giving someone a shoelace might be described.)

The gasoline currency isn't completely trusted.  Plus there's tons of scrounged usefuls around.

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2010, 08:04:26 PM »
Birth-control pills, batteries, bullets.

Clean water, pain-killers, bandages.

Condiment packs (especially hot sauce), coffee, booze.

*

Carl

  • 26
Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2010, 10:34:21 PM »
In my Ozarks Ghostwood setting (1919 flu was much worse, 50 years later labor is still scarce and the forest is full of ghosts and danger) barter is typically moonshine (I figure about 4 gallons is 1 barter, or 1 pint for a day's food and shelter), salt, tobacco (smoke keeps ghosts away), black powder, or bullets.

In a Road Warrior-esque setting we (somewhat tongue in cheek) used as currency those shiny silver discs the ancients seemed so fond of, whose purpose was lost in the mists of the golden age. We joked about someone stumbling across a Netflix warehouse and riches unimaginable, and all the trouble that would come from that.

In the movie The Book of Eli water was very scarce, so he traded those little foil-wrapped cleaning packs from KFC for a recharge of his iPod.  Not that they would still be good after 30 years, but Apocrypha is the cousin of Apocalyptica, so whatever suits.

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2010, 01:23:04 AM »
The Windmill mints the metal bits that are the preferred currency of the region - too bad their machine busted in tonight's game.

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2010, 04:48:30 AM »
In the game we've just started, it's S&H Green Stamps.  100 stamps is 1 barter in the hardholds, so a page with 50 stamps on each side is worth 1 barter.

Exactly how this came to pass is yet to be explored.

*

noofy

  • 777
Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2010, 07:26:48 AM »
Um, bottlecaps? Or just caps....

Though we have uncovered a rather disturbing trade going on in Sunken Sydney - Human Slaves. Somewhat like livestock, your average adult fetches at least 5 Barter. Creepy, especially as MC looking at your player's wealth through crosshairs. The whole concept turns our stomach, yet for all its repugnance is strangely understandable given the scarcity and fear of ApocWorld.

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2010, 08:02:09 PM »
Everyone sort of defines their own barter. To date:

  • Old-world currency
  • Real beef jerky, water, gas, etc
  • Antique coins
  • Scrap metal
  • Bike parts
  • Drugs

Someone also had a bottle of real whisky which fluctuated in value. In the bigger holds I was willing to make a shot or two worth one barter; in the smaller, more desperate holds the whole bottle might not be worth even one barter.

I stick to the fiction informing the mechanics and vice-versa. The bottle of whisky was a color item, but the player used it a few times and established it as something vitally important to his character, so when he decided to convert some of it to barter I was more than happy to oblige.

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 03:52:53 PM »
I must be in a pedantic mood today.  I don't think you can really call things like "food, gasoline, and bullets" a "currency."  A "currency", according to the definition I just looked up is a "medium of exchange."  "Medium" means that it's intermediate, so directly exchanging the shit that people actually want and need doesn't really count.

But whatever.  Cool to see that a lot of people are just doing straight up bartering.  I kind of wanted to do that in my game, but I brought up the issue during character creation, and my friends were all more interested or felt more comfortable with their being some kind of "money."  We decided one of the things the then-current hardholder had set up was a currency of bottle caps, ala Fallout.  Different kinds of caps were worth more or less than others.

Though, I just realized... that hardholder is gone, and he was probably, essentially, the "bank" of the area.  They may have economic and trading problems coming about because of that...  interesting...

*

DannyK

  • 157
Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2010, 07:19:33 PM »
If you sell stuff for bullets and then buy other stuff with those same bullets, it's a currency, even if you are going to use some of the bullets to shoot at people later on. 

In my online game, the Maestro D' runs a fighting establishment with serious betting going on, and the poker chips have become a defacto currency among the locals since you just have to wait for the next fight night to cash them in.  I guess somebody could come from the dead city with a truck full of poker chips and devalue the currency. 

When the PC's rob somebody or trade, usually I'll describe some oddments and stuff and then say how much they're worth.  Sometimes the details lead to interesting developments -- jewelry to give a friend or tech that can be useful. 

Also, one of the threats in the game is new drug and vials of that are also becoming a valuable commodity in town.  Eventually that will become an economic threat to the poker-chip standard, if everybody lives that long.

Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2010, 10:20:17 PM »
If you sell stuff for bullets and then buy other stuff with those same bullets, it's a currency, even if you are going to use some of the bullets to shoot at people later on.

An awesome realworld example of this sort of thing, for people who are interested in this topic:

http://www.albany.edu/~mirer/eco110/pow.html