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Where can I find out what things actually cost in the Middle Ages, using medieval money?

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elderbrain's picture
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Where can I find out what things actually cost in the Middle Ages, using medieval money?

The D&D game uses gold, silver and copper coins which all have real-life counterparts, but the prices for things sure don't seem to match from what little I have discovered concerning actual medieval prices for goods. Is there a site or book somewhere that lists items with their real-life prices rather than the inaccurate D&D ones? Is there a way to convert D&D prices to actual prices? Obviously this would only cover normal items like cows, lanterns and longswords, not magic items, but I would like to know if at all possible.

elderbrain's picture
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Re: Where can I find out what things actually cost in the ...

RATS! Didn't mean to post this multiple times...

atomicb's picture
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Re: Where can I find out what things actually cost in the ...

elderbrain wrote:
Obviously this would only cover normal items like cows, lanterns and longswords, not magic items, but I would like to know if at all possible.

Ha! At first glance I read "cows, latrines, and longswords" and got momentarily a bit fearful of your homebrew rules. Sorry to be no actual help here.

Zimrazim's picture
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Re: Where can I find out what things actually cost in the ...

elderbrain wrote:
The D&D game uses gold, silver and copper coins which all have real-life counterparts, but the prices for things sure don't seem to match from what little I have discovered concerning actual medieval prices for goods. Is there a site or book somewhere that lists items with their real-life prices rather than the inaccurate D&D ones? Is there a way to convert D&D prices to actual prices? Obviously this would only cover normal items like cows, lanterns and longswords, not magic items, but I would like to know if at all possible.

Hello, Planewalker! I live! Eye-wink

This list is new to me, but a quick web search on 'medieval price list' found this:

http://medieval.ucdavis.edu/120D/Money.html

While not medieval, you also might want to check out Diocletian's edict (late Roman period): http://ancientcoinsforeducation.org/content/view/79/98/

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elderbrain's picture
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Re: Where can I find out what things actually cost in the ...

Thank you, Zimrazim. I have discovered that there is a book written by Vicomte G. D'Avenel which apparently has an exhaustive list of all that is known about the costs of things in Medieval Europe, but unfortunately he wrote it back in the 1800s and it is out of print (I was shocked even to find it listed on Amazon, but apparently it was reprinted at one point.) I will check out your sites and poke around the net...

elderbrain's picture
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Re: Where can I find out what things actually cost in the ...

(P.S. I happened to be browsing my old 2nd edition DMG and discovered that in Chapter 6: Money and Equipment, they actually discuss real-world coinage, suggesting a value of "about one Gold Piece" for an English Pound, and 1/2 a Silver Piece for a Shilling. Based on that I calculated that a Copper Piece would equal 2.4 Pence. I will have to check and see how these figures stack up against actual medieval prices!)

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