Blood money: The Oldest Currency Tradition / Ritual in Expedition Demeter | World Anvil

Blood money: The Oldest Currency

Our city trades in blood, not like the Vigor Economies of humanity. I mean true blood. Every drop has a price. the more exotic the blood, the higher the value, and the more buyers you have to stretch your profit.
— Nocturna Merchant
Arkysalem is known for its sprawling economy. They have always been a hub of trade, and leading up to the efforts of Expedition Demeter, the city state stood as the only connection between civilized nations. Anything of value has a home in Arkysalem's market. Nestled along The Harrow Mountains, the city does not trade in coin or precious gems like other nations. They trade in literal blood.

A Matter of Culture

Blood is important for Nocturna. They once drank it as their main supply of food. The nocturna would consume blood and pick out genetic elements of their prey, evolving those traits as they feed. They are so old and so well evolved now that they don't even need to eat. They learned to appreciate its finer flavors along with the unique shades that it appears in when it oxidizes. They call to the corners of the earth in search of more. The rarest and most exotic being that which is most In demand. Art is common in Arkysalem. Just as many members of the nocturna are known for their art as well as their trade. The blood is used in all mediums, as a paint, a pigment, an ink. Statues and canvas alike are accented with each colorful coat.   The main difference between this economic system and other economies is that their is no restriction nor standardized system in place for what value blood has. Different shades and consistency can be more valuable to one, and less to another. It is a pure capitalist economy based heavily on personal taste.  

Blood Magic

Mages are few in Arkysalem, but those that exist primarily focus in Arcana Sanguis. They have little to no knowledge of the genre's source, The Red Maiden, who remains a uniquely human deity. The College of Blood is the only Bardic College within many miles, and considered a outlier in bardic culture, though still recognized officially by universities. The college pioneered the unique aesthetic of several elements of culture, particularly the arts, in Arkysalem.

Leaving the market

Many merchants who come to Arkysalem find they are forced to stay. Their assets are only liquid in Arkysalem and its often difficult to explain why one has gallons of blood of various qualities stashed away in their Wagon. Leaving the economy usually involves going out the way you came in. Solidification of assets is essential when moving on to a new market.

Exchange system and monetary values

There is no firm exchange rate, but shrewd merchants and the customers who deal with them often settle on a general method of exchange.
Elements of Value General Demand Equivalent
Tinge(color) Tinge is the second most crucial element as most use the blood for art and finding a creature with a color that is just right can be difficult. varies
State(solid, liquid, gas) State is a minor element, and up to preference but usually means the one who wants it has a need for it. its usually of high value. changing the state of blood can earn a wealthy living in Arkysalem, but its not quite retirement money.
Age( wet, dry, brittle, firm, stale, fresh) Age is a minor element that entirely up to preference. Some prefer dried and brittle blood to wet and fresh. Varies
Source (where the blood came from) The source is the most important as it can reveal unique qualities of the blood or warn of potential issues that come from handling it. Creatures never heard of carry the most value. A never before seen strain of blood could be as valuable as one's home to the right person.

Entering the market

Merchant who come to Arkysalem looking to gain wealth in their market often find it an uphil battle. They uproot their lives and sell everything for coin and arrive in a place where the coin means nothing. The first steps to being a player in the economic field is gaining some liquidity. Selling wares for the proper currency and exchanging the worthless currency they once cherished is critical. They may then attempt to buy wares and resell them doing what they can to maintain a rotating stock. This could be weapons, art, artifacts, armor, curiosities from other nations, and more.

Bring us what you can gather. You will be well paid. I'm looking for a pale green like Disean jade, if you happen to find it. Sterilize your steel. You must preserve what you spill. Spoiled blood taints the medium.

Cover image: by Virginia Magat


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