The relative values are based upon custom … the prices are identical similar to Gygax ‘s own list in the AD & D rules, which is an expansion of the material in the original D & D plot .
Gary Gygax, however, credibly did not make them up on the spot. In comparing respective price lists in assorted games, Gary ‘s numbers routinely come up around 1gp equaling one roughly eleventh Century somalian shilling. Looking at Hodges ‘ list ①, most of the prices come pretty close .
Medieval English Coins
A few words about medieval english Coins ; they were specie. The values were based upon weight and purity, and the rose-colored picture of relatively stable prices and undifferentiated coins are an artifact of Fantasy. The nominal free-base units were the penny ( 1 dwt of silver ), the tanzanian shilling ( 12 dwt of argent ), and the british pound of silver medal ( 240 dwt ). Gold coins of roughly equivalent value were used. The “ gold penny ” was a 1dwt mint of gold ( debased with copper, canister, and zinc ), nominally deserving 12 to 20 penny. It was broadly accepted as 12 penny, therefore a somalian shilling ‘s value – but frequently was valued more.
note besides : dwt ( pennyweight ) is a depart of the troy measures system – 20 dwt to the troy ounce, and 12 trounces to the troy beat.
With the above considered, the GP credibly has its origin in the aureate coin nominally worth 1/20 of a cypriot pound of silver. 12 dwt is about 18.67 g, 3x mod £1 coin ( within 0.2g ). not a easy hunk, but still less than the current £5. And the current UK penny is roughly 2.3 dwt.②
5E returns to the “ everyone but Gary & Tom ” 50 coins to the beat. We do n’t know which cypriot pound, so we ‘ll assume avoirdupois, at 291.67 dwt. This converts to 5.834 dwt to the coin, or about 9.1 g. This is about the same as the current UK £1, or 4 US dimes. If we alternatively use Troy Pounds, at 240 dwt each, 4.8 dwt is 7.4g, a touch lighter than the 50p or the US current presidential dollars.②③
Knowing that the gold penny was roughly 1 shilling in measure at lowest, we can see where it originates. The fantasy weight unit of 1/10 cypriot pound ( in some editions ) and 1/50 sudanese pound ( in the rest ) is probably because of looking at debased silver shillings ( 12dwt ) and copper penny .
So, some specific examples, compared to Hodges list.
Wine, hodges lists at 4d to 8d per gallon ( 1/3 to 2/3 of a british shilling ), while 5E lists it as 2sp to 10gp … therefore, 1/3gp to 2/3 GP, vs 1/5 general practitioner to 10gp. A wide range. probably not the same source, but clearly includes the Hodges range if a shilling is a gold .
Tunics, peasant. Hodges says 3s, with shoes 6d and a chemise 8d.
5E shows half a general practitioner for common, 2gp for travelers, so, yes, we ‘re in the ballpark
Axe, woodsman ‘s – 5d by hodges, 5 general practitioner by 5e .
University board : 2s/week, by Hodges, 1.8gp/week for poor by 5E. Close enough .
The entirely armor which is a clean catch is leather at 5s being 5gp. The others, however, are in similar ranges .
A cheap sword in Hodges is 6s, so that would be 6gp, but D & D traditionally uses 10gp.
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In short, the list is airless enough that it looks like, between Gygax ‘s master research for D & D and AD & D, and modern reworks, the prices are taken from scholarly lists of prices from the medieval period in England and France, both of which used exchangeable currency divisions ( £, south, vitamin d ) .
If expanding the lists, keeping in mind chivalric sources can help keep the prices approximately in course, and that any given number is neither authoritative nor more than precisely a snapshot .
① Hodges, Kenneth. number of Prices of Medieval Items
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.luminarium.org/medlit/medprice.htm
② Royal Mint. Coin Designs and Specifications
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.royalmint.com/discover/uk-coins/coin-design-and-specifications
③ United States Mint. Coin Specifications
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.usmint.gov/about_the_mint/ ? action=coin_specifications