Defenders of Aylanae
The empire has several forms of different currencies.
Letters of Credit
Both great houses of Rahseld and guilds of Ronen write out letters of credit, which are essentially IOUs to a given person, though they may be signed away to another and thus used as a form of payment. It is also possible for any noble to give out personal letters of credit, of course, these are only as good as the person backing them.
Letters of credit cannot be broken up. A letter worth 4000 gold coins must be traded for its full value. Of course it is possible for the person receiving a letter of credit to write out another letter of credit as ‘change’, but the second letter is from them not the original issuer and is thus not nearly as reliable.
There is no crime for refusing to pay on a letter of credit, though it does cost a significant amount of reputation to not back a letter you wrote (and of course it’s likely you’ll end up the target of a murder plot).
Favors in Makoro
Makoro does not have the large stores of coin that Ronen and Rahseld do. While the common people trade in base coinage, the daimyos tend to deal more heavily in favors owed, or goods, such as ships, land, etc. It is considered a grievous dishonor not to pay ones owed favors, and debts stick with a family, not an individual. Two families may have debts that stretch back several generations.
Since currency must be backed by real precious metals, inflation tends not to get out of control, except in the case of an especially prolific mine, in which care must be taken, especially with Ronen, to avoid flooding the markets. The Templar generally use their influence to try to watch over such situations and preventing them from destabilizing the empire. Though the empire is already rather wealthy so it would take a significant influx of wealth to devalue the gold coins significantly enough to destabilize the empire.
Each of the great guilds maintains at least one bank, which gives out loans, stores money and issues (reputable) letters of credit and exchanges them for currency. Banks do not exist in Rahseld and Makoro, instead relying on deals with the nobility.
Profits and Taxation
Each faction gets its money separately, and those means are discussed here, generally on a kingdom by kingdom basis.
In Rahseld, each lord gets money from his personal holdings, such as castles, cities, farms, etc. The serfs who run the farms get paid next to nothing and profits from crops not used are given in trade. Further tradesman in the employ of the lord have their wares (and any profits from sales) go to the lord.
In cities, property and shops are taxed every month and this goes to the lord of the city. As one might expect, the lords of cities tend to get the largest profits. Mines of course, are the most valuable.
Each vassal also pays a tax to his liege, this is usually 10% of his total income (before expenses), though each liege can set the tax according to his liking. Vassals can try to cheat their liege by lying about their profits, though this is highly frowned upon, and the liege is entitled to be compensated if he detects the fraud.
Every landowner of Ronen is given a property tax, based on a percentage of the value of the property. In addition, the government requires all manner of permits, which cost money. Nearly everyone requires some manner of permit for whatever their job may require to certify them for work. These permits cost money of course and must be renewed every 1-5 years. Ownership of any kind of vehicles also incurs an annual tax.
Imbued are generally exempt from the majority of taxes and permit requirements such as permits to carry weapons, and so forth, but not from the basic property taxes.
Makoro operates much as Rahseld does.
The clans of Yt do not formally deal in gold as a currency amongst each other, preferring the barter system when trade does occur. However they have learned the value of gold. Generally gold is considered a universal resource by a clan or tribe, and used by the chieftain, rather than being the possession of an individual. There is as such, no taxation, though all property is considered to be shared by the tribe and may be taken by the chieftain in times of emergency.
The Templar gain wealth as individuals and not as an organization, with the majority of wealth being held by the Grand Templar, mostly due to gifts in exchange for votes on the Grand Council. Individual Templars also have their own individual money making endeavors and it is not uncommon for Templar to become corrupted in the search for money. The Grand Templar generally does bankroll any Templar related expenses his followers may have.