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Chapter 9: Money and Equipment

9.1 Determining Values

This chapter contains some lists of equipment, along with suggested costs. Since Avatar can be used with any World, the values given are for scale only: they do not represent actual values, but relative values. However, for simplicity, Gamesmasters can simply declare the equipment lists to be stated in whichever currency is being used, and hence avoid the complication of converting all the values into new units.

Note that the values given will probably deviate between countries. In a country which is a rich agricultural nation, food and livestock will be cheap whereas metals and metallic products may be notably more expensive. The details of such regional variation are left to the GM's discretion.

9.2 Trade and Money

In any one World, there may be any number of financial systems in operation. The simplest system is barter. In a barter system, trade is conducted on the basis of a certain amount of goods being traded for a certain amount of another commodity, with the value of the traded goods being approximately equal (or with one side, perhaps, making a `profit'). In a barter system it is natural to haggle with your trading partner, to insure the best possible deal. Barter systems tend to exist in isolated communities, where the concept of money is either unheard of or unrealistic because of the small number of people in the area. It also exists in communities that are basically self-supporting, as people will exchange some of what they make for what they need from someone else.

More advanced than simple barter is a quasi-barter system. This is similar to barter in that supposedly equal values in goods are exchanged, but here there is something to scale that trade. For example, the value of any one object may be given in cows. You would not normally use a cow as a unit of currency but, by evaluating an item's worth against a common scale, it is (in theory) a fairer system. If one item is worth three cows, and another worth one cow, you expect to exchange three of the latter for one of the former.

Hard currency is a simple progression of the quasi-barter system where the rating scale is something which is readily portable such as metals. In a basic money system, the value of an item is usually expressed by a certain weight in (valuable) metals. It is then common for the metal to be moulded into disks, or rectangular platters. These are easy to carry, and aid in calculating value, because each is of a particular size and hence weight. Whilst metal was very common in our history, there is no reason why a rare wood, stone, gem or other substance could not be used as a coin.

Regional currency is the next step, where a country produces tokens to represent value but the tokens have a higher value than the materials they are made from. These tokens may be stone, wood, paper or metal, and of practically any shape (although round, round with a central hole, and rectangular are most common), but must be sufficiently intricate that forgery is at least difficult. Once finances have reached this degree of abstraction, it often becomes difficult to use one form of currency outside of its country of origin. Money exchangers often exist to change from one currency to another, taking a cut of the amount exchanged. For regional currency to come into widespread use, a strong legal system is also required.

Finally, credit takes the abstraction one step further. Here the tokens themselves have become abstract. A person's financial status is recorded somewhere, but does not exist in a tangible form. Whilst this is the state of modern finances (more or less), most fantasy games will not have to deal with the abstracts of credit and commerce.

9.3 Starting Funds

It is expected that beginning characters will already possess a certain amount of equipment and money. Avatar provides no rules for determining how much a person owns, as this will depend on who the character is and what world they are in. As a result, players are at liberty to choose any equipment they consider appropriate for themselves (at the GM's discretion). Similarly, the GM should decide in each individual case how much money the character has.

9.4 Equipment

The following pages contain a list of suggested prices for various items of equipment which characters might want. GM's are encouraged to alter these prices as they wish. It is assumed that all characters begin with a full set of clothing. The clothing list is provided for the purpose of reference, and for when a character wishes to buy clothing later in their career.

9.5 Equipment Cards (Optional)

To aid in keeping track of the locations of equipment, it is suggested that every item of equipment is written onto a piece of paper or cardboard, with containers such as saddle bags and back packs, being represented by labelled envelopes. This system makes it easy to determine where equipment is at any one time.

Items which are being held in the person's hands are visible at all times. This in itself helps to prevent any ridiculous situations, such as a person armed with a long sword and a shield who is also holding a lantern.

Whilst this system requires a certain investment of time and energy, it does add to game play, and also lends a more tangible dimension to the concept of equipment than a simple list does. There are also other benefits, which become evident during play, such as concealment of a person's possessions from the rest of the group.

Table 54: Weaponry
Table 54: Weaponry
Type Weapon Cost Type Weapon Cost Type Weapon Cost
Axe Cleaver 5 Clubs Tool Hammer 10 Polearms Military Fork 30
Stone Axe 15 Blackjack 10 War Scythe 45
War Pick 20 Cudgel 10 Awl Pike 45
Mattock 25 War Club 25 Pike 50
Hand Axe 40 Hammer 30 Glaive 50
War Axe 45 Light Mace 30 Halberd 80
Throwing Axe 50 Throw. Hammer 40 Lance 40
Battle Axe 60 Warhammer 40 Staves Stave 5
Great Axe 80 Mace 40 Quarterstaff 10
Blades Sickle 15 Great Hammer 50 Iron Staff 15
Knife 10 Great Mace 50 Whips Cat-o-Nine tails 20
Punch Knife 15 Gauntlet 100 Whip 30
Throwing Knife 20 Spiked Gauntlet 120 Threshing Flail 30
Long Knife 20 Flails Chain 10 Ranged Hand dart 1
Claws 20 Nunchaka 30 Sling1 5
Short Sword 25 Morning Star 50 Blowgun2 5
Falchion 40 War Flail 55 Sling Staff 15
Scimitar 40 Flail 60 Short Bow3 100
Rapier 40 Spears Spear 30 Light Crossbow4 250
Broadsword 45 Light Trident 35 Hvy Crossbow4 500
Bastard Sword 50 Javelin 40 Composite Bow3 200
Long Sword 60 Long Spear 40 Long Bow3 400
Great Sword 80 Trident 45
1 Sling stones cost nothing, whilst sling bullets cost 5 per dozen.
2 Blowgun darts cost 5 per dozen.
3 Arrows cost 10 per dozen.
4 Crossbow bolts cost 20 per dozen.

Table 55: Armour and Shields
Armour Cost1 Armour Cost1
Cloth 2 Wooden armour 50
Furs 3 Chain mail 75
Padded/Quilted 5 Banded mail 100
Soft Leather 10 Splint mail 150
Hard Leather 15 Bronze Plate Mail 150
Studded Leather 20 Plate Mail 200
Ring mail 30 Bronze Field Plate 350
Hide armour 30 Field Plate 500
Brigandine 50 Bronze Full Plate 700
Scale mail 50 Full Plate 1000
Shield Cost Helm Cost
Buckler 10 Leather Hood 10
Target shield 25 Helm 20
Heater 50 Coif 50
Tower 100 Great Helm 200
1 These costs are per Armour Area (Torso, Arms and Legs).

Table 56: Clothing
Clothing Cost Clothing Cost
Baldric 5 Jacket, Padded 50
Belt 3 Loincloth 1
Boots, Cloth 10 Robe, Cloth 30
Boots, Leather 20 Robe, Hooded 40
Boots, Riding 30 Sandals 10
Breeches 10 Sash 1
Cap 5 Scarf 5
Cloak, Cloth 20 Sheath, Knife 10
Cloak, Fur 80 Sheath, Sword 20
Cloak, Hooded 30 Shirt 15
Dress 30 Skirt 10
Feather, Exotic 5 Strap, Weapon 8
Gloves, Cloth 10 Surcoat 20
Gloves, Leather 20 Tabard 20
Hat, Short brim 20 Tattoo, Simple 10
Hat, Wide brim 30 Tattoo, Exotic 50
Hose 5 Toga 3
Jacket, Cloth 10 Tunic 25
Jacket, Fur 80 Vest 15
Jacket, Leather 40

Silk items costs around three times the cost of cloth items.
More elaborate, intricate or impressive clothing can cost up to five times as much.

Baldric:
A leather sword belt.
Breeches:
Short trousers, often fastened at the knee.
Hose:
Lightly constructed trousers.
Surcoat:
Loose robe worn over armour.
Tabard:
An official coat emblazoned with the arms of a sovereign.
Toga:
Loose flowing outer garment.
Tunic:
Close-fitting short coat.
Table 57: Living Costs
Item Cost
Ale (pint) 3
Banquet (per person) 50
Beer (pint) 4
Bread 2
Cheese 6
Fish (one meal) 4
Fruit (one meal) 1
Grain and Stabling (per day) 5
Inn, Common (per day) 5
Inn, Common (per week) 20
Inn, Poor (per day) 1
Inn, Poor (per week) 5
Living costs, Cheap (week in city) 50
Living costs, Average (week in city) 100
Living costs, Expensive (week in city) 200
Mead (pint) 2
Meal, Average 10
Meal, Good 20
Meal, Poor 5
Meat, Unprepared (one meal) 5
Prostitute, Cheap (per night) 20
Prostitute, Average (per night) 50
Prostitute, Good (per night) 100
Rations (per week) 100
Room, Common (per month) 50
Room, Poor (per month) 10
Spirits (goblet) 20
Tobacco 5
Vegetables (one meal) 1
Weapon sharpening 1
Wine, Good (bottle) 10
Wine, Poor (bottle) 6

Table 58: Tools and Materials
Item Cost Item Cost Item Cost
Animal trap, Small 20 Ink (per 100g) 20 Pipe 5
Animal trap, Large 50 Ladder (3 metres) 30 Pitons (per dozen) 10
Bell 10 Lodestone 20 Poker 5
Book (100 sheets) 150 Lock and Key 100 Quill 10
Brush 10 Lock picks 200 Rope (per 10 metres) 10
Caltrops (per dozen) 20 Mirror 100 Rope ladder (per 10 m) 50
Chain (per metre) 10 Magnifying glass 500 Scales 20
Chalk 1 Mallet/Maul 10 Shovel 25
Compass 50 Manacles 20 Signet ring 50
Crampons 40 Mattock 25 Skewer (per dozen) 5
Cylinder seal 30 Needles (per dozen) 10 Soap (per 500g) 2
Fishing line (per metre) 3 Net, Fishing 5 Spyglass 1000
Fish hooks (per dozen) 10 Net, Animal 15 Thread (per metre) 1
Flag 30 Net, Man-sized 30 Twine (per metre) 1
Grappling hook 25 Paint (per litre) 10 Wax (per 500g) 4
Hair brush 20 Paper (per dozen sheets) 20 Whetstone 10
Hammer 10 Papyrus (per dozen sheets) 5 Whistle 5
Hourglass 100 Parchment (per dozen) 10 Wire (per metre) 3

Animal trap, Small:
Small metallic snare which does damage at -2 to the foot if trodden on.
Animal trap, Large:
Relatively large metallic snare which does damage at +0 to the foot if trodden on.
Caltrops:
Tetrahedral spikes, thrown on the ground to discourage pursuit or to injure peoples feet. If trodden on, these cause a wound at -4.
Crampons:
An iron plate with spikes, attached to the feet to improve traction in ice and snow.
Cylinder seal:
A small barrel-shaped object made of stone or clay with a symbolic inscription, used for leaving a seal mark on documents in wax.
Grappling hook:
A heavy barbed hook attached to rope, intended to be used for climbing by snaring something solid.
Hourglass:
Reversible device with two interconnected bulbs of sand, designed so that it takes one hour for the sand to pass from one bulb to the other.
Lodestone:
A piece of magnetite on a cord, used as a crude compass by letting it move freely, and observing the direction in which it points.
Mattock:
A pick-axe, used in excavation and digging.
Pitons:
Metal pegs or spikes, driven into cracks whilst climbing to use as a safe hand or foot hold.
Quill:
A pen made from a feather.
Signet ring:
A ring with a seal carved into it, for leaving a seal on documents with wax.
Spyglass:
Small telescope, likely to be rare in most worlds.
Whetstone:
Tapered stone, used with water to sharpen weapons.
Table 59: Containers
Containers Cost Containers Cost Containers Cost
Back pack 20 Jar (litre) 5 Saddle bag 20
Bottle (litre) 5 Jug (5 litre) 10 Scroll case 5
Bowl 3 Kettle 5 Vial, Clay (half litre) 5
Bucket, Metal (20 litre) 8 Pot/Pan, Earthenware 5 Vial, Glass (half litre) 10
Bucket, Wood (20 litre) 5 Pot/Pan, Metal 10 Water skin, (5 litre) 20
Cask, Wooden (50 litre) 20 Pouch 5 Water skin, (litre) 5
Chest 50 Purse 1 Wooden box, Large 15
Cup/Mug 1 Quiver 5 Wooden box, Small 5
Glass 3 Sack, Large 10
Goblet 5 Sack, Small 5


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Last Updated: April 16th, 1999