Coins are symbols used on game maps to represent the presence of commercial, financial and fiscal activity that occurs within a given civilised hex. The number of coins possessed by a hex is determined by the hex type, which in turn is a product of infrastructure. Hex types range from 1 to 8, with a "1" indicating a highly civilised hex and an "8" indicating uncivilised wilderness. Thus, type-1 and type-2 hexes possess many coins, while type-7 and type-8 hexes may have none at all.
|8 or 7||0||0||0|
Maps in which coins appear come from hexes with three designations: "cultivated," "mined" and "oasis." Cultivated hexes are primarily farm and pasture land, from which grow villages, towns and cities. Mined hexes exploit isolated areas for their mineral wealth. Type-5 to type-7 hexes that occur in mountains and other rocky places that are plainly non-arable are designated as mined. Any type of hex from 1 to 7, that appears in a well-watered valleys, hills or plains, is considered cultivated, with the exception of oasis. Oasis hexes can only occur in specific desert places where one or more isolated water sources are surrounded by desert.
In addition to the coins added by type, an additional +1 coin is awarded if the hex is located on a body of water that's at least four square miles in area, AND if the hex is a type 1 to 6 hex. The amount of land on the hex must also equal at least 4 square miles. Thus, lakeshores and coastal hexes collect more coins, thus having more active economies than inland hexes. Water-borne trade brings many more customers and is much more interesting as a place to invest.
A +1 coin is also given for each settlement a hex includes. This means a cultivated type-7 hex might have one coin gained from a settlement, but cannot gain a coin from it's location on water. A cultivated type-6 hex on a sea or lake, and with a settlement in it, might have 2 coins, neither of which was gained from its type.
Economics and Wealth
The presence of coins don't describe quantity of wealth as much as they describe the activity of wealth. Money is measured by the "velocity" with which it's exchanged ... the more coins symbolised in a given hex, the more rapidly a single gold, silver or copper coin moves from person to person. A single coin demonstrates a very low rate of exchange ... and consequently, opportunities for profit-making, trade and investment are non-existent. The table below seeks to explain how much financial or commercial activity, and what kind, can be expected to take place in a hex as dictated by the number of coin symbols it has.
The table should be read so that a given hex type and number of coins would include everything to the left and above that entry. For example, a type-5 hex with 2 coins would not only provide for baronetcy, debt slavery and tolls, but would include those social elements listed under type-5 with 1 coin ... and ALSO all the elements appearing in the type-6 and type-7 columns up to two coins ... a total of 17 different elements all told. Thus, a type-1 hex with 7 coins would have every element on the table.
Some considerable amount of work is needed to complete the description of these various facilities and their influence over game play in the campaign. Ultimately, the desire would be to compel players to seek out specific places in the game world for the social elements that might intercede with the players' actions. I have general ideas for how these things would function, but as yet I haven't applied these specific ideas to the source material. For the present, the first step is to have the work to be done organised. As the links on the table populate, my general sense of how these things can adjust and enhance D&D should become evident.