Saturday, July 25, 2009


Feel free to call me an idiot but I have a question I can't answer: when did electrum and platinum pieces first make their appearance in D&D? They don't seem to be in the LBBs at all and I can't see any clear references to them in the supplements either. Were they introduced in AD&D?


  1. Um, Monsters & Treasure, page 39? I noted it in my "Missing Rules" doc, along with the observation that copper was originally 5 pieces to the silver rather than 10.

  2. I do believe, though, that EP weren't in Holmes basic (my firstr D&D). I remember being confused by them when I switched to AD&D.

  3. I just checked my copy of Holmes, and yep, EP and PP are there.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Disregard. I, too, am an idiot. :-)

  6. I'm sorry but we have decided to revoke your Grognard Card, please forward it to PO Box 756 forthwith.

  7. Historically, Electrium (gold-silver alloy) has been with us sicne the ancient Egypt, as the first kind of gold that was worked by mankind into coin and jewelry. Ancient Greeks also used electrium, while Persians and Indians were fond of the gold-copper alloy (pink gold), the most expensive modern gold coin, the British Sovereign, is minted with gold and a touch of copper to make it a "Pink" gold coin of the beautiful coppery tinge.

    With regards to Platinum, it was known to Spaniards in the new World, who called it "little silver", ancient vikings made jewelry out of it, but the problem with it was that platinum ore was found among silver ore, but its melting point was a lot higher than that of silver, so, platinum has not been refined until the
    1920s and has been used by the ancients in the form of unsmelted or half-smelted pieces of ore. In the 1920s Platinum jewelry became expensive and chic among the Art Deco set, platinum being the hi-tech gold of the time.

    In my campaign, there is both pink and white gold coinage as wella s traditional gold coins. But in addition, there is a Witch Gold and Witch Silver. Witch gold is a 100% pure gold coin minted by the Evil Bad Guy Dark Overlord (hmm actually a transplanted Lich from another universe) for his henchmen. This coin is produced by soe unknown magic and is worth its weight in gold (hmmm) especially to jewers, who prize the pure metal. Despite being pure gold, with its unique yellow lustre, the coin is hard as titanium and can not be cut or shaved. It can be melted, but then it turns into ordinary gold and loses its wickedness.

    The second coin of great wealth is Witch Silver. It's your typical AD&D platinum piece. Just as in our own mundane world, Platinum is an important catalyst to wizards and alchemists in my D&D game. Because of that, and because Platinum is so rare, a provincial wizard will be willing to part with a lot more than mere D&D exchange rate of 1pp=5gp. How about couple a hundred gp to a wizard in a pinch needign to cast an obscure spell requiring platinum as one of its material components?

    That said, Witch Silver comes in two varieties: Platinum coins made by high lever wizard and the true Witch Silver made by the Lich Overlord: His is unique in that his Platinum coins are somehow polished to a mirror like metallic finish that never loses its lustre. I don't have Drow or Dwarves in my campaign, but if i did, they'd probably be coining Mithril and Adamantine pieces. I analyzed the weight and price of armor made of these materials as given in the AD&D 2nd Edition, nd game up wih the exchange rate of 1:400gp for each of these unique coins.

    Tolkien's idea of evil is a hooded ring wraith swiging a sword. Boring. My idea of evil is a tattoed wizard dude dressed as vagabond, with a poisoned stiletto in bis boot, grinning psychopathically as he throws Witch gold coin on the village inn counter, scaring the villagers and offering a witch silver piece as a pocket vanity mirror (all you dark age aficionadoes, mirror, take note) to a blushing serving wench (Frodo's girlfriend), that he is going to seduce...

    Hope this adds color to your treasure troves...