There’s a fun, Diablo style, free dungeon crawler for the PC on Steam. It’s called Path of Exile. In it you’re a prisoner. The ship gets wrecked. You land on a really horrible island where the dead from the boat rise up and try to eat you. Obviously, being the pious individual you are, you put them to rest. Permanently.
However, as I went to the store, something struck me. I sold off my items which were meant for a medium armor level, but I wasn’t seeing the amount of coin I received for my goods. I just saw that she was giving me some fragments and scrolls. “What’s this?” I thought to myself in utter amazement. So I checked how I buy things. Surely this is some strange bug. But indeed, I purchase with those same fragments and scrolls she gave to me. Why?
If you try to wrap your head around the beginning, you should naturally see why this happened. An immensely hostile island is sucking people to it, where they eek out a meager living despite numerous obstacles. How would they get money? Where would they mint their coin? And truly, on this island, what use is coin? The fragments can be used to improve my items. The scrolls are used to check what magical loot is capable of. They mean something and I can use them for gain.
In your own world, watch out for the currency. If there isn’t a kingdom, there likely isn’t a mint. If the people are scraping by, chances are they’re trading. Money is a worthless thing in most of the civilizations throughout history. By no means the major ones, but in the majority.
How have you used currency? How have you seen others use it in a way that made you stop and think, but it made sense?