Was flipping through the January issue of National Geographic when I noticed this:
In all of history, only 161,000 tons of gold have been mined, barely enough to fill two Olympic pools.
On the one hand, 161 thousand tons is quite a bit. That’s 3,220,000,000 gold pieces at 10 per pound. Gonna need at least several Tenser’s Floating Discs to get all that back to town…
On the other hand, though, given the piles of treasure, golden statues, and gilded whatnot present in the typical fantasy adventure game, the amount doesn’t seem quite so big. Particularly if you consider this:
More than half has been extracted in the past 50 years.
So without the conveniences of modern excavating equipment, transportation and logistics, and advanced prospecting technology (not to mention the skyrocketing demand due to rich and wealthy societies) only one Olympic pool of gold existed in use in our world in 1960. This seems to me to indicate that gold is far more common and accessible in RPG land than in our world.
And that all those dwarves have been busy.