Money, money, money, MOOOONNEY!
It makes the world go round.
This is Mark from Amazing Gaming Productions.
Today’s blog is all about economies for world building.
One of the most important aspects of any civilization is trade. Despite what ‘educators’ say, no person can do everything. Some people are good at writing, others at hunting, others at farming, others at metal work, others at selling things at the market.
Every culture is born from expertise. People perfecting their crafts, which improve their lives and the lives of their communities.
You need to recognize that important fact to ensure your world has an economy. And not one economy, it needs to be wide and varied.
Economies have everything to do with the regions cities are located in. You may want to re-read the geography/geology blog before you continue further.
And there is much more than that. What kind of currency do they use? Is it monetary or physical currency like gold? Is it electronic? Is there a common currency for everyone? Is there any currency at all?
What industries does the kingdom/city engage in? What is the pecking order for different industries? Are arts consider an industry, or do people tell others to do something real with their life? Do artists get paid for their work? Do artists do it for free to better those around them?
There are so many questions you need to think about. You need to think about them for every major city in your story. They start the normal world at the beginning of your work.
Industry can be so different when it comes to speculative fiction.
Imagine how kingdoms would seek the greatest of the dwarven smiths. Their works last for centuries – and they’re so enchantable, a novice could create a weapon of legend!
Or, how would an economy be built around magic? Magic items like TVs, radios, computers – magical systems so wondrous that they rival our technology and more.
It could also be mundane industries – leather craft, black smithy, weapon and armour making, fishing, farming, forestry, scribing.
Every major city in your world should should be the masters of one industry, which is their stake for trade. Delve deep into what you want to explore.
Once you decide what each major city is creating, you can start thinking trade. Each city, kingdom and empire will have exports and imports. As one group/city becomes amazing at an industry other kingdoms and cities will want to trade with that city to get their products.
Hence, why humans may trade all kinds of cattle and crops for tools and weapons from the dwarves. They’re the best at their craft and they can’t grow as much food as they would like underground.
Kingdoms and empires build alliances or destroy them because of trade!
Imagine what kinds of stories you can tell. Trade is a huge part of this. It could be a story about someone whose adventuring career starts with protecting caravans from bandits.
But what if those bandits are being paid by a rival kingdom who doesn’t want to pay the hefty price tag for certain products? Bandits are cheaper, so they pay them, and the bandits then give them what the kingdom wanted. That way the kingdom doesn’t get its hands dirty!
Another could be a government who is trading faulty weapons as a precursor to an invasion. Look at the Falkland Islands. Britain disabled all their plane missiles, because they provided the missiles.
What if it is far more subtle, trade of media. That way your empire can subvert another empire’s culture. After a few generations, the culture is so identical to yours, you’ve conquered them anyways.
In the Orc World, they are experts leather and fur workers. The kingdoms around their lands will trade, knowing their fur and leather clothing is better than anything for hundreds of miles. The kingdoms trade with the Orcs because they know their quilts, fur blankets and clothing can help people survive harsh winters.
The Orcs will receive much better smithed tools and weapons for hunting, which they accept.
After you come up with trading, you need to come up with currency, a means to exchange wealth and labour. What is that wealth? Does it have a representation of a king/monarch/leader on it? What are the different exchange rates for these currencies? Is the currency magical? Is it technological?
Imagine having a scroll that has the amount of gold you have and you pay from something. The gold is then transferred from your secured location to theirs – all because the magic of the scroll.
In Tales from Trinity City, the currencies are all underground. And they are completely digital. The city itself doesn’t ‘pay’ anyone, they get all their food, lodging and recreation provided to them by the city. So, different organizations have created a digital currency for ‘illegal’ trade and commerce in the city. Of course, some currencies are more valuable than others, such as the Network’s and the Alliance’s.
Could you have a currency war? One kingdom/country trying to monopolize the monetary system of all other kingdoms. Are other kingdoms okay with this and what are they trying to do about it?
You need to think about the economics of your world. What does different cities/cultures race bring as industries? What kinds of trade networks and alliances are being forged? Are there trade wars? What kinds of currencies do citizens use?
These are important questions and can bring a whole level of depth to your stories – or even help you tell a story all together!
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Have a great day!