A Brief History of Eels

Ran across this and it seemed kinda useful:

Could be a good alternative to economy-destroying lumps of silver and gold.


Very interesting article. I have always been fascinated by pre-coinage economies.

When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense that medieval peasants would pay rent in such goods as are the result of their labor. Of course not equally, i.e. certain goods would be more suited for paying as rent. Interesting that eels are one such good I never would have thought.

It reminds me of a lecture I once saw (on youtube) on the economy of individual people in babylonia. They had a really strange hierarchy of items that were paid in kind.

Thanks that's really interesting. While I don't think I'll switch my game to an eel based economy, having eels to determine the relative costs of Houses/farm animals/eggs etc is really convenient.

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A&A has a spell to turn a muddy pool into its associated vermin ie eels - this allows a rego specialist to create eels with no vis usage. I've considered this in the past, simply because I like smoked eels and this was a cheap way of adding extra food sources for a remote covenant. If eels are a great bartering item, then all your basic needs can be met with a few muddy pools and a spell!

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That raises an interesting question about spontaneous generation - is there some property of the material the animals generate from which limits how many can form? There must be some limit, otherwise every river would be full of infinite eels, every field would be overrun with hordes of mice, the air would be filled with clouds of spiders and flies etc...

I don't remember ever reading anything to this effect (but maybe there is a source I've never read that does). If it's unclear then we have to extrapolate and you could take it either way: maybe the limit is on some random factor coming into alignment, or simply time, in which case Rego spells can be used endlessly. Alternatively maybe whatever the generative property is becomes depleted (like the fertility of a field) and must be replenished by waiting - in this case Rego spells can give you all the eels you would get over a season all at once, but not more eels than you could get by doing things the normal way (like using Rego to make a tree fruit out of season).

Kind of, but kind of not. In this case Rego can also allow you to harvest 100% of the eels that would generate where under normal circumstances a significant proportion of the generated eels (or whatever else) would most likely escape or for environmental reasons not form.

Rego would allow you to force a muddy pool to generate all its eels at once which you can exploit to harvest the eels while there is little or no water on top of the mud, making the harvest much easier and more efficient. Such as by standing ready or even by having dug a net down deep into the pool and the raising the net.

Brief notes on eels here: https://timothyferguson.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/cornwall-spontaneous-life-and-the-glass-eel/

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I have to admit, I'm glad I'm not paid in eels. Great information on the in kind economy!

This is pretty wild. Also might explain the modern collapse of the British eel population, though I'm not an marine biologist, nor a British one at that. :wink:

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I just so happen to be an animal biologist, and I can say with reasonable certainty that overfishing is the cause of the collapse of eel populations, and has been since before the industrial revolution. (this is true for most known populations of edible eels). (note that the term "eel" is not entirely consistent, electric eels for example, are not eels, despite what the name might suggest).