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Sun Dome Temples as centres of banking and finance


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The Sun Dome Temples' insistence that all exchanges are denominated in gold ("the gold standard") is an indication of their less well-known but important roles as centres of banking and finance (and as secure, neutral treasuries for surrounding folk). Even the Sun Dome Temple in Prax. The vaults there contain various treasures from the Praxian tribes, some for safe-keeping, away from the covetous hands of other tribes, some as collateral for loans. Duke Raus of Rone also lodged the deeds to Weis Domain there, taking a large loan to hire mercenaries when the Lunar governor told him he no longer had any troops to spare for such an unimportant, far-flung outpost. (Raus's family heirloom the Wand of the Seven Phases is also said to be in the vault as further surety).

(I wrote this in response to post about Gloranthan economics on Facebook, so I figured I'd post here too - less ephemeral than FB if I ever want to come back to it)

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While the Sun Dome is definitely rich, they can't give change in silver, plus they are a completely legitimate military target, as they are a military organization.  Only Lokarnos merchants would be required to accept such an arrangement.

Smarter money invests with the Temple of Chalana Arroy.  Your money becomes collateral on any healing you might need.   The healers also have contact with the more plentiful Issaries and even Etyries merchants, who are more numerous than the trickle of Lokarnos Merchants.  This would lend to the potential for investing and dispensing monies far more efficiently, especially when somebody has died and their holdings need to be passed to their kin. Also, nobody much really wants to attack Chalana Arroy temples, as it is nearly a universal excommunication offense.  That is a huge protection.  If Darkness cultists like Zorak Zoran show up, they are met with Storm Bull guards with whom they are pretty friendly.  If Chaos cultists show up, well, again, Storm Bull Cultists, but with heavy healer support.  Chaos no like.  

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50 minutes ago, Darius West said:

While the Sun Dome is definitely rich, they can't give change in silver, plus they are a completely legitimate military target, as they are a military organization.  Only Lokarnos merchants would be required to accept such an arrangement.

Smarter money invests with the Temple of Chalana Arroy.  Your money becomes collateral on any healing you might need.   The healers also have contact with the more plentiful Issaries and even Etyries merchants, who are more numerous than the trickle of Lokarnos Merchants.  This would lend to the potential for investing and dispensing monies far more efficiently, especially when somebody has died and their holdings need to be passed to their kin. Also, nobody much really wants to attack Chalana Arroy temples, as it is nearly a universal excommunication offense.  That is a huge protection.  If Darkness cultists like Zorak Zoran show up, they are met with Storm Bull guards with whom they are pretty friendly.  If Chaos cultists show up, well, again, Storm Bull Cultists, but with heavy healer support.  Chaos no like.  

Each Sun Dome Temple has an attached Chalana Arroy Hospital for ethical investors.

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I could be wrong, but doesn't this mean that Glorantha is incredibly more financially and economically advanced than RW iron age/classical societies? 

We partly already knew this due to the widespread availability of coinage, admittedly, but the potential for a banking system spanning the entirety of Central Genertela raises a lot of potential. 

That being said: do different Sun Dome Temples accept securities/warrants on an intra-Temple scale? Ie. if someone deposits coinage or bullion in one temple, then gets a writ or seal of warranty, can they then go to another temple and have it withdrawn (with some fees, one assumes)? Or is their banking practices limited to each temple's local area?

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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21 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

That being said: do different Sun Dome Temples accept securities/warrants on an intra-Temple scale? Ie. if someone deposits coinage or bullion in one temple, then gets a writ or seal of warranty, can they then go to another temple and have it withdrawn (with some fees, one assumes)? 

Yes. And there is a special secondary use of the Seek Sun Dome spell that vouches for the bona fides of such arrangements.

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5 hours ago, MOB said:

Each Sun Dome Temple has an attached Chalana Arroy Hospital for ethical investors.

I think that's a qualified tax demon offset as well in some provinces but check with your local diviner for confirmation, we can't be responsible if the demon eats you anyway.

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The beauty of a Wheel is that it may be cut along the spoke lines, avoiding the use of silver as change. 

If you want a realistic Bronze Age economic system, you have no coinage but rather tokens indicating value (Bank note precursors) regulated by strict 'command economies'. No shops, but goods regulated and/or disbursed by the government. 

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1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

The beauty of a Wheel is that it may be cut along the spoke lines, avoiding the use of silver as change. 

If you want a realistic Bronze Age economic system, you have no coinage but rather tokens indicating value (Bank note precursors) regulated by strict 'command economies'. No shops, but goods regulated and/or disbursed by the government. 

Glorantha is overall more like the classical world in economic regards (with maybe some medieval stuff in there - although that might be too Eurocentric), is my impression, although I freely admit that my economic history knowledge is fairly shoddy and mostly related to Early Modern market development and onwards.

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1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

The beauty of a Wheel is that it may be cut along the spoke lines, avoiding the use of silver as change. 

Given that it takes Rune Magic to mint a Wheel, and that the Wheel is going to be worth well over the gold value of it, this seems a poor practice.

One of the points of the Wheel is that’s a magically trustworthy currency. This fails if you start breaking the Wheel apart.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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59 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

One of the points of the Wheel is that’s a magically trustworthy currency. This fails if you start breaking the Wheel apart.

I don't see why that is necessarily the case. With the Coin Wheel spell you can put a whole lot of the spokes back together again to make whole coins too.

1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Didn't Yelornans have stars, which were small silver coins? Or were they small gold coins? I can't remember.

Yelornan stars are made from silver. We now see the true and secret purpose of the Yelorna temple/coining operation in the Big Rubble; breaking the Sun Dome/Lokarnos banking cartel.

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7 hours ago, MOB said:

I don't see why that is necessarily the case. With the Coin Wheel spell you can put a whole lot of the spokes back together again to make whole coins too.

Yes, but even under the new rules, Rune Magic is a non-trivial expenditure, so a cost is incurred. A Wheel is a magical coin of guaranteed authenticity. A part of a Wheel is just a chunk of gold.

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1 hour ago, Akhôrahil said:

Yes, but even under the new rules, Rune Magic is a non-trivial expenditure, so a cost is incurred. A Wheel is a magical coin of guaranteed authenticity. A part of a Wheel is just a chunk of gold.

Yet the portions of a 'Piece of Eight' retained their value when cut from the original. Presumably due to the magical powers of the Spanish Hapsburgs. 

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Just now, Ali the Helering said:

Yet the portions of a 'Piece of Eight' retained their value when cut from the original. Presumably due to the magical powers of the Spanish Hapsburgs. 

It might be argued that those were not magical and perfectly round in the first place, not sure.

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5 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

It might be argued that those were not magical and perfectly round in the first place, not sure.

How long a piece of such a soft substance would retain perfect circularity I leave to your imagination and any metallurgist handy! 

Any Wheels from the First Age might resemble a Bolg, unless an active magic constantly returns it to original form. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

How long a piece of such a soft substance would retain perfect circularity I leave to your imagination and any metallurgist handy! 

That kind of corruption only applies to imperfect things. What is perfect stays perfect.

Or something like that...

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2 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Yes, but even under the new rules, Rune Magic is a non-trivial expenditure, so a cost is incurred. A Wheel is a magical coin of guaranteed authenticity. A part of a Wheel is just a chunk of gold.

Might depend on who does the splitting. If a genuine Lokarnos priest does it, the pieces are perfectly weighted and even, with smooth edges. They retain their full value (1/8th of a Wheel). Others try to make such clean slices, and attempt to pass off their spokes as genuine Lokarnos. 

10 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

How long a piece of such a soft substance would retain perfect circularity I leave to your imagination and any metallurgist handy! 

Any Wheels from the First Age might resemble a Bolg, unless an active magic constantly returns it to original form. 

The Coin Wheel spell does just that.

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15 minutes ago, MOB said:

The Coin Wheel spell does just that.

That's what I play. Wheels stay as they are and don't naturally degrade. Of course, someone could clip them, but then they aren't wheels and I play they are visibly ruined.

16 minutes ago, MOB said:

Might depend on who does the splitting. If a genuine Lokarnos priest does it, the pieces are perfectly weighted and even, with smooth edges. They retain their full value (1/8th of a Wheel).

I would just let Lokarnos cultists use the Coin Wheel spell to split already-created Wheels into their spokes. So, you can use the same number of Wheels as the spell would normally create.

17 minutes ago, MOB said:

Others try to make such clean slices, and attempt to pass off their spokes as genuine Lokarnos. 

As with clipping, above, I play that this would just look wrong, so nobody would accept them.

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1 hour ago, Ali the Helering said:

How long a piece of such a soft substance would retain perfect circularity I leave to your imagination and any metallurgist handy! 

The rules (at least RQ2) say that all coins are alloys, not (hermetically) pure rune metals. (Hermetically pure rune metals used to act similar to iron in how they interfere with your magic, although they may boost or attract certain types of magic.)

I wonder what the dies (dice?) for stamping those Gloranthan coins are made of. Bronze isn't that much harder than silver or copper, and probably not enough to make those sharp and precised incisions that create legible imagery or inscriptions. Enchanted metal (especially enchanted copper, as that increases in its armor value) may have enough durability to leave its impression on a (possibly heated) lump of metal stamped with it.

 

Edited by Joerg
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During the Time of Two Counts, a monetary innovation was introduced. Count-in-exile Belvani, after being driven out of the Old Sun Dome, established his rival court in Suntown, New Pavis. There he plotted his return to Sun County.

Among other upheavals, the end of Lunar rule in Prax lead to a critical lack of coinage in New Pavis, stifling trade, taxation, and tribute. With his eyes on conquests of his own back in Dragon Pass, King Argrath required Belvani to pay him a huge sum to be recognised as the legitimate count of Sun County. Lacking the tax base of Sun County or access to its treasury, and not yet secure as the leader in Suntown, Belvani hit upon a curious innovation to raise this amount. He ordered his Lokarnos priest Thandren Clubfoot to gather together all the gold coinage in Sun Town for a special blessing, with the promise that the funds would be returned "in full" to their rightful owners.

On the Lokarnos holy day in Fire Season, 1626 Thandren Clubfoot enacted a strange new iteration of the Coin Wheel ritual in the forecourt of the Sun Dome Temple in Pavis. Before him was heaped an enormous stash of the gold coins. One-by-one, a hole was punched in the centre of each gold Wheel. The resulting centre coin was then stamped with a sunburst on one side and Belvani's visage on the other.

By the end of the day there stood two piles of coins: the centre pieces, and the outer rims. Although each now had a perfectly round hole in their middle, Belvani decreed that the value of these mutilated Wheels remained the same as before (worth 20 silvers). These coins were returned to their owners. There was some discontent at this, but Belvani called upon Yelmalio to rebuke him if he did wrong, and the heavens were silent. Because of the blessing, or more probably because of what they looked like, these coins became known as Holy/Holey Wheels. (They were not accepted in Sun County itself; Countess Vega ordered all such coins found there to be confiscated and melted down, with no compensation.)

The centre coins Belvani gathered up and were used to pay his tribute to King Argrath, presenting them to him in an ostentatious ceremony where he was indeed recognised as the true ruler of Sun County. It appears Argrath took these coins to Dragon Pass with him and probably had them melted down for bullion. A gold 'Belvani' is ostensibly worth 13 silvers. However, as they did not enter general circulation and as such are extremely rare, they are considerably more valuable than that to a discerning numismatist. 

Edited by MOB
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30 minutes ago, MOB said:

On the Lokarnos holy day in Fire Season, 1626 Thandren Clubfoot enacted a strange new iteration of the Coin Wheel ritual in the forecourt of the Sun Dome Temple in Pavis. Before him was heaped an enormous stash of the gold coins. One-by-one, a hole was punched in the centre of each gold Wheel. The resulting centre coin was then stamped with a sunburst on one side and Belvani's visage on the other.

HeroQuesting at its finest.

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