[Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

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GeniusCodeMonkey
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[Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by GeniusCodeMonkey »

Here are my thoughts. Tharkold is a high Social cosm with domination as a theme. People would be rated on the worth they bring to their demon lord by their skills, attitude and what resources they can bring into the pride. This does not mean money. In a high social setting items would be freely given depending on their need within a pride (although the Law of Domination would skew this).

Moreover in a post apocalyptic society, money has no meaning, you can't eat it, it won't stop a bullet, it doesn't show what you're worth to the survival of society or the pride. Only what you can provide to the pride will show what you're worth.

So I can understand money is used when dealing for items between lower social cosms, but it would be seen as something that is quaint or cute and has no real meaning to Tharkold denizens.

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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Count Thalim »

Overall I'd agree. At the top levels the combination of high social and tech axioms mean that your worth could be automatically tracked, a Tharkold 'social credit' score as it were. Higher level demons, and the Russian government possibly, would be able to tell from a glance who you belonged to and how valuable you were to them.

Whilst at the lower levels you may not even be in the system and so trade is the only way to get items you need to survive. I can see a vigorous black market where certain items have value. A bottle of clean water is going to hold its value and can be used as a trade item almost anywhere after all.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by astraeus »

I think the current system in place in the rules already handles the concept of value quite well. We can see that a Thav-9 has the same effective worth as an impact hammer (barring situational modifiers). With the rules in mind you don't really need to spend time looking at money as a concept.

That said, I see a 'wait and see' mentality for determining if there will be a currency in Tharkold. The reason I say this is in the previous edition there was a little bit of background on the Free Nations of the Race. Five major nations were covered with information on their political/military parties and what equivalent Earth countries were covered by the Free Nations. If the new setting for the Tharkold includes similar material, then the realm isn't entirely a Mad Max or Terminator type of setting. And multiple nations might imply a unified currency traded between them.

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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Ashtagon »

(Disclaimer: This is based on oTORG)

I think it should have "money", but not as we know it.

The main thing that makes money valuable (ie acceptable as a medium of exchange) is that it a) is hard to duplicate, b) has significant repercussions if duplicated c) is backed by the might of a large organisation (historically, merchant-bankers; nowadays, nation-states), d) is used within the reach of its backer's area of influence/control, and e) is at least as portable as equivalent value barter goods.

Under those terms, what might currency look like?

Those human communities that are vestiges of actual nation-states will almost certainly have currency. It's physical form would probably be either in electronic accounting (eg credit/debit cards) or "paper" banknotes (assuming some way to get past CAD/CAM forging techniques can be found). They would only be valuable within the bounds of the state's area of control, and would likely be different for each human community. The rate of exchange between them would be highly uncertain.

"Refugee" human communities would essentially live on barter economics, as there isn't anyone strong enough to back a currency (who wouldn't also use the refugees as "playthings").

Tharkoldu houses might use money - if it amuses the alpha to do so. This would be backed by the power of the alpha (who would doubtless delegate the actual minting process for physical currency to one of his subordinates). Again, it would only be of value within the area that alpha controls. Currency exchange would be near-impossible, as other alphas would see the use of another alpha's currency in their area as a threat to their power (as even a currency exchange would be tacit acknowledgement of the power it represents). If the local alpha doesn't want to use currency, then the tribe most likely operates either on a barter economy of some variant on gift economies. As with human communities, the physical form will likely be either bank cards with a banking account database or paper money.

Oddly enough, the Law of Domination actually encourages having a currency, as using a given currency is in effect acknowledging that the currency's backer is the top alpha in the region. However, this also makes it a lot harder to have anything that amounts to a currency exchange.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by GeniusCodeMonkey »

There isn't much space in the new books for that kind of background I would imagine. They tend to concentrate on what is going on in Earth and not the original cosm.

With Tharkold being the highest social Axiom, and the Law of Domination being in effect, this almost enforces the fact that money shouldn't exist in Tharkold as Astraeus states, the current value chart gives a equivalence of worth for items +/- for need.
I could see that CE would have to give Gold or other precious metals for high tech items so it can then be used to produce more high tech items.

Ashtagon, I'm not so sure.. a nation state does back its currency but that is backed by its gold reserves or the payments it makes on its debts. But as everyone knows if the USA had to pay all its debts in one go (or even a good portion of them) tomorrow, it couldn't; it doesn't have the money or the gold reserves. Producing more money doesn't mean it has more money, it just devalues what it already has.

Tharkold would have resolved this problem centuries ago, or never had the issue to begin with because Pride A only trades in physical goods that are useful to Pride B OR a complicated system of favours between prides and/or Alphas would be created as well. This would also create a highly politicized and sub/dom system between Tharkoldu on what favours one could bring to the table.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Ashtagon »

"Money is valuable because it is rare" is the classic phrase, and one I really should have included. And you correctly note that all modern currencies are essentially fiat currencies, which trade based on the reputation of their backers, rather than being backed by actual gold (or other valuables). That doesn't mean a currency won't be developed, simply that they need to acknowledge that economics is complicated. I wouldn't actually expect Tharkoldu alphas to insist on currency backed by valuables, as that would diminish their ability to increase its value to the alpha by virtue of the Law of Dominance. (if its backed by gold, the citizens know they can exchange it for gold, but if it is fiat, then the alpha's personal dominance of the community will be magnified simply by using the currency as they will implicitly acknowledge the alpha's power and position in the community.)

It is quite likely that a given Tharkoldu tribe's currency would only be of value within the extent of the great alpha's geographical sphere of influence. That's functionally equivalent to a unique currency for each and every city-state, kind of the situation in HRE-era Germany or mediaeval Italy. Between Tharkoldu tribes, barter, or force, would be the likely mediums of exchange, rather than currency.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Count Thalim »

astraeus wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:37 am
I think the current system in place in the rules already handles the concept of value quite well. We can see that a Thav-9 has the same effective worth as an impact hammer (barring situational modifiers). With the rules in mind you don't really need to spend time looking at money as a concept.
Mechanically the rules need to have a money value against everything to have a comparison between equipment and gear as you say. Even the Living Land has $ values against things like Bola, which is just 2-3 rocks tied together.

I think what GCMonkey was talking about was the non-mechanical background, how things work for when players turn up. Plenty of RP opportunity when they can't just hand over the Credit Card and buy the widget they need.
Do they trade for it, take it by force or do they need to arrange something with the local smugglers who may need foreign currency and so on.


As for the interesting discussion on currency the gold standard was broken a long time ago. Very few countries, if any, back their currency with gold. The economies are just too big to be backed by what is in Fort Knox & the Swiss vaults.
America could get away with expanding the monetary supply as so many countries want to buy dollars. The UK, less so...
As long as there are people/countries will to buy the dollars then each dollar will maintain it's value. It is when supply outstrips demand that you have problems. (Paging Venezuela...)
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Istrian »

Combining everything that's been said, since there are head honchos powerful enough to impose their will (Kranod and Volkov come to mind), there should probably be Volkovrubles and Kranodbucks. Volkovrubles would be mostly used by humans and Kranodbucks, the ultimate currency, for technodemons only. Kranodbucks could be exchanged for Volkovrubles but the reverse might not be true.

Weaker (splinter) groups would probably accept these two currencies, because their alphas reocgnize (or fear) one of the main leaders.

It becomes a lot more interesting when you remove Kranodbucks and add Jezraelguilders and Thratchencoins into the mix :-)

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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by GeniusCodeMonkey »

Which comes back to why have money? Tharkold is a Social Axiom 25 which from my perspective means they are getting into Star Trek territory for social sciences where the need of goods are predicted (axiom 24) but more so. At a tech 25 and magic 12, any goods would be freely created and given as physical resources become less an issue. Meaning that free people can advance themselves for the betterment of the Federation Pride.

But, it doesn't really matter for game mechanics, only for roleplay and background in the cosm.

A post-apocalyptic setting, mad max style doesn't have money, it would use barter.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Istrian »

GeniusCodeMonkey wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:40 pm
Which comes back to why have money? Tharkold is a Social Axiom 25 which from my perspective means they are getting into Star Trek territory for social sciences where the need of goods are predicted (axiom 24) but more so. At a tech 25 and magic 12, any goods would be freely created and given as physical resources become less an issue. Meaning that free people can advance themselves for the betterment of the Federation Pride.
Why? "Because I said so, mortal!" Kranod has been portrayed so far as being lazy, so he could just do it to remind everyone he's still the one in charge. At least until he gets replaced.

Of course isolated communities far from domineering Tharkoldu could actually have everyone producing more than they need and giving the excess away just because they can set aside personal gain for the betterment of the group.
GeniusCodeMonkey wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:40 pm
A post-apocalyptic setting, mad max style doesn't have money, it would use barter.
I agree, but I think the mad max part is the Blasted Land, not proper Tharkoldu Russia. In Tharkoldu Russia, money owns You.

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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Ashtagon »

Well yeah. CAD/CAM technology exists, and so in a sense, to the extent that those machines can gather raw materials, it is a post-scarcity economy. But it isn't one governed by Star Trek Federation style ethics, which makes a huge difference. Just because the knowledge that it is possible to make a post-scarcity society exists, it doesn't mean that knowledge is being implemented. And from what we know of that cosm, it plainly isn't being implemented, regardless of what the axiom level is. After all, if an alpha gives a pride member everything they need, what need then does that pride member have for the alpha?

It may be worth noting that even though I am saying that a lot of societies in the cosm will have currency, it likely won't be something an adventuring party will have access to. When entering hostile (or at least, "foreign") territory, they won't be part of that society/pride, so will be excluded from using that local currency, and be forced to barter, to the extent that "shopping" is possible at all. The only Tharkoldu currency they would naturally be able to make use of would be the currency of their home pride or free-nation-state, and only while within the territory of that government. Even when free race from one society is visiting another (perhaps a Marco Polo style emissary expedition), they won't be able to find a currency exchange to swap their Aurioch shekels for Helfei lira, simply because there isn't enough regular contact or trade for there to be a stable rate of exchange (how were the native Americans supposed to know those glass beads were basically worthless? Same principle applies, since Aurioch doesn't know whether Helfei is desperately under siege [more than usual] and devaluing its currency).
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by GeniusCodeMonkey »

Of course we are looking at a social 25 society through social 23 lenses.

I agree that the Tharkoldu society probably works under a lower social axiom but the free human nations (if there are any) probably don't (hence why they are so good at Psionics).

I would imagine that Tharkoldu also trade in pain.. what they can inflict on others or what they can sense from slaves.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by ZorValachan »

If we are talking about the realm, and not the cosm. Remember Russia Asia is in CE, not Tharkold. This includes their 3rd largest city. To keep Russia running under 2 realities, Volkov is going to have to keep money.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Wakshaani »

Tharkold will have to have SOME kind of wealth system, if only so that demons can measure against one another and, more tellingly, make wagers.

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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by GeniusCodeMonkey »

Pain as currency.. #justsaying.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Count Thalim »

Earning money does feel like torture at times...
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Fuzzy »

Money has these characteristics:
  • Store of value
  • Unit of account
  • Medium of exchange
To serve this effectively, it needs to be:
  • Scarce, in the sense it cannot be created (by most people) but must be acquired by trade
  • Fungible (to solve the barter problem)
  • Divisible with ease
The primary efficiency benefits of money in the economy (if you work out the math) comes down to two things:
  • Incentives (incentivizing the right behavior)
  • Information (in the sense that market-clearing price embodies value and signals to producers to make more/less and consumers the cost of consumption)
At Social 25 (instead of 23), it's entirely possible there are other ways to achieve all of these things than money, many of which solve some of the major problems of money (like the fact that money supply/demand is exogenously affected by non-productive factors that can radically change the value of money due to "panics", thus requiring central management). For example, the influx of Gold to Spain via the new world in the 16th century.

Doing this in a really cool way might make a very interesting world... but what is COOL?

Well, it might start with making a unit of account that is different... see next post.

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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Fuzzy »

The "currency" of Tharkold: Pain...

For example:

1 Torture = 10 Agonies = 100 Torments = 1000 Hurts

The interesting thing about this is that the currency is self-providing. You can "create it" just like someone manufactures bitcoin, but to do that you need to suffer... Or get others to suffer. The pain has actual, tangible value, and the social axiom allows everyone to accept the value of that suffering without a central authority to dictate what something is worth.

For simplicity in the Torg system just set a Pain/Dollar exchange rate, and abstract away from it. The terrible, awful thing of Tharkold however is that whenever you buy something in Tharkold, you are contributing (in one way or another) to the Pain Economy.

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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Ashtagon »

"Pain" as a unit of currency fails the scarcity test. It can be created by literally anyone in vast quantities more or less on a whim. While bitcoin can be created by anyone too, the rules of its creation (requiring large amounts off computer cycles) force a strict limit on how much can be created. There's also the problem that "pain" is transient. Because it cannot be stored, it is not possible to save it and become "wealthy".
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by GeniusCodeMonkey »

Ashtagon wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:14 pm
"Pain" as a unit of currency fails the scarcity test. It can be created by literally anyone in vast quantities more or less on a whim. While bitcoin can be created by anyone too, the rules of its creation (requiring large amounts off computer cycles) force a strict limit on how much can be created. There's also the problem that "pain" is transient. Because it cannot be stored, it is not possible to save it and become "wealthy".
Vril batteries that store pain.

Anyone can cause or recieve pain, but intensity matters and the survival rates aren't pretty on the type of torture needed to create Vril batteries.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Ashtagon »

I had always thought that vril batteries weren't storing pain, but using technomagic to convert intense pain into energy. If they weren't storing actual energy (and not just pain), then they wouldn't be useable inside human-made devices; my understanding (based on oTORG) is that they will work even in human-made devices from other cosms. That wouldn't be possible if they were literally storing pain.
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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by Anuga42 »

I just think the perfect analogy for Tharkhold in this regard -which i only just thought of- is Monsters Inc. but with pain.

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Re: [Tharkold] Should Tharkold have money?

Post by QuarrelBlue »

GeniusCodeMonkey wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:47 pm
Pain as currency.. #justsaying.
"The people of this world speak many languages, some strange to our ears. But all understand pain - it is our meat, our currency, our faith, the structure on which our pride system is based." - oTorg: The High Lords' Guide to the Possibility Wars p.85 THARKOLD Player Handout

...OK, metaphor aside, with the advanced Social Axiom of Tharkold, I think Tharkoldu pride society may have some kind of reputation currency, based upon the ability to inflict pain and dominate others.
(Race may still have a different currency, since "Social structures seamlessly incorporate factions and societies even of a completely alien nature." is Social 26 feature, still beyond Tharkold reality with Social 25.)

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