Royal Mint

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The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint in Britain is the sole facility for the authorized manufacture of coinage in Britannia. It operated for several centuries - from before the time of Ultima VI until its eventual loss during the course of Ultima VII Part Two.

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] Age of Enlightenment

Prior to Ultima VI, coins appeared to have been crafted by individual artisans in the hire of the crown, such as the famed Sir Arbuthnot - known for having eventually carved the magic coin responsible for the Avatar's return during Blackthorn's oppressive regime. Sometime prior to the gargoyle wars, however, an institution was founded for this purpose, as the demand for currency had most likely exceeded what individual craftsmen could supply during the age of relative prosperity following the fall of the Oppression.

During the hero's first dealings with the mint in Ultima VI, the teller at the institution was Terri, a flirtatious young woman eager to explain the differences between denominations of coinage in circulation. She also would exchange raw gold nuggets for spendable currency, waiving the standard ten percent taxation in light of the Avatar's legendary status.[1]

[edit] Age of Armageddon

Over the next two centuries, the tasks associated with the mint increased, as the formation of the Britannian Tax Council created a larger bureaucracy for the handling of the kingdom's finances, with taxes now going to fund farm subsidies in light of the seven year drought and medical research to counteract the disturbances in traditional magic.[2] Terri's successor after many generations, Cynthia, would still perform exchanges of unprocessed gold for the returned Avatar, although it is unclear as to whether or not such transactions were still untaxed. Britannia's economy had changed much over the decades, and the widening economic gap between classes had made taxation a contentious issue for many unable to afford the various levies the BTC issued.

Although it seems likely that the problem of uneven taxation would have been addressed during the numerous reforms enacted in the Reconstruction following the Fellowship's dismantling, the calamities of the Imbalance eventually superseded such concerns. Some time after the Avatar's voyage to the legendary Serpent Isle, a magical teleport storm transposed the Royal Mint with the Great Lighthouse near the New Sosarian settlement of Fawn, causing confusion and havoc for both afflicted cities. Serendipitously, this transfer of buildings proved a boon to the Britannian hero's quest in the foreign land, as the wandering Avatar had need of a quantity of gold bars to secure the ransom of Captain Hawk, that they might sail for the mage-ruled city of Moonshade.

This chance piece of luck notwithstanding, it appears that the Britannian financial system never fully recovered from the loss of the building - and by the time of the Avatar's last journey to Britannia in Ultima IX, no such institutions as the Royal Mint or the Britannian Tax Council could be found, with the kingdom appearing to have returned to a more primitive form of administrative government.

[edit] Trivia

The Royal Mint in Ultima VI
  • The mint is a frequent target for less-than-virtuous players in search of quick party funds, and a number of ways have been found to rob it of its riches. In Ultima VI, the most direct means of accomplishing this is to open the locked door to the facility at night (powder kegs are quite efficient for this task) and to apply the Ex Por spell to the magically locked chests. In Ultima VII, the solution is somewhat more complex, as it involves murdering Cynthia to obtain her set of keys. This rather comically puts the Avatar in the position of having to resurrect Cynthia in order to exchange their ill-gotten loot.
  • In Ultima VII Part Two, the ruined Mint has been booby-trapped by Selina with a series of confusing teleportation traps, making it difficult to obtain the gold bars within.

[edit] References

  1. TerriUnderworld Dragon's Ultima II TranscriptUltima VI. "coin, exchange, made, mint, official, trade".
  2. CynthiaUnderworld Dragon's Ultima VII TranscriptUltima VII. "health, farms, Royal Mint".
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