bank of tiamat

I created the Bank of Tiamat for my D&D campaign, and it’s also a part of the Mearls sidebar game. I had two independent thoughts which came together to create the Bank:

  • I’ve long wanted to make Shadowrun- or Oceans Eleven-style heists available in my game. That means offering a well-protected, well-known, and rich target. Security procedures must be elaborate and, importantly, pre-planned by the DM. If the DM is to play fair, he shouldn’t be able to rewrite the existing security in response to the PCs’ plans. Furthermore, since robbery might cause ethical problems for some alignments, the adventure will be more accessible if the organization is morally shady, or worse.
  • It would be nice for the PCs to have somewhere absolutely safe to put their money. What if there were a bank in the game world? By putting their money in the bank, players are saying, “OK, DM, none of your sneaky tricks with pickpockets or thieves robbing the inn. I expect this money to be here next time I check.” And the flip side: if you choose not to use the bank when it’s offered, then the DM can consider your money fair game.

    Maybe there should be a cost to using the bank so that it’s an interesting choice. I don’t want to deal with assessing taxes or bank fees. What if the cost were entirely plot and flavor, like the money might be used to fund evil rituals?

    Put those together and you’ve got the Bank of Tiamat.

    There’s a branch in every major city, and they all have access to your account balance. That’s the major reason banks were invented: not so that your coins could be stored in a vault, but so that you could deposit some money in London and withdraw the same amount in Amsterdam.

    Each branch has access to the highest-level protection in the game: divination spells, traps, guards, passwords. Each bank has a bunch of money on site so if the PCs pull off a heist, it’ll be worth their while. On the other hand, if there’s a bank robbery, a PC with money in the bank won’t lose anything. That’s the beauty of the Bank of Tiamat. Your money’s not locked up in a vault, it’s out in the community: lent at exorbitant interest to a desperate nobleman’s son; putting knives in the hands of evil cultists; hiring mercenaries to overthrow the rightful king.

    I don’t want to deal with interest calculations, so that’s not what the Bank of Tiamat is about. The Bank just provides you portability, financial peace of mind, and maybe some light money laundering. All profits go to Tiamat herself. After all, there’s not a lot of inflation in D&D: a longsword has cost 15 GP for five editions.

  • 5 Responses to “bank of tiamat”

    1. Michael (Gronan) Mornard says:

      You should read up on actual medieval banking. The adventures, they write themselves.

    2. 1d30 says:

      Yeah but the GP have gotten smaller.

      If a longsword in 1E cost 1.5 pounds of gold (1/10 lb coins), the same longsword in 3E costs 0.6 lbs of gold (1/25 lb coins), and in 4E it costs 0.375 lbs of gold (1/40 lb coins).

      Which is to say, if a 1E adventurer stashed 1500 GP in a chest (trapped with a poison needle of course) he could have bought 100 longswords with it, but after he dies gruesomely it’s later found by a 4E adventurer who can buy 400 of them. The coins are, after all, four times heavier than modern 4E currency and thus contain more precious gold, so every 1E coin is worth four 4E coins.

      This means a 1E adventurer depositing in the Bank of Tiamat needs to get his deposit recorded in gold weight instead of number of coins, else his 4E descendent will withdraw only 1500 GP instead of the 6000 (smaller) GP he should have.

    3. Sean Holland says:

      Reminds me of the bank of the Black Monks of St Herod (from Blackadder II) “Service with a Smile and a Stab”. Good luck to any who tries to rob the vaults.

    4. Rowboat says:

      Oceans Elven sounds like a pretty good idea for a campaign, really.

    5. Xaos says:

      actually, I’m curious, if all profits go to Tiamat, wouldn’t that lead to DEFLATION?

      I mean, I know that no small amount of gold came from raiding tombs and stealing from monsters, but there’s bound to be only so much gold on the plane, and sending the profits to Tiamat implies literally sending it all to hell.

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