The Golden Wastes
Hell Coins are gold, silver, and other treasures that come from the Underworld. When souls pass into death, they are weighed on a great scale of judgment. While their results determine their destination, it also determines the worth of their soul. This is often their position in society at death – great men are worth more than peasants, but it is adjusted for a variety of reasons. Greatness of character and bravery of deeds makes souls worth very much, while the weak hearted, miserly, and cowardly are worth little. These coins end up int he hands of whoever possesses the soul in the afterlife. The Immortals and Asuras pack such coins into a great vault that no mortal may open, and protect the souls in their care. However, those who serve evil in life became the possessions of the daevas. The coins that come into the possession of the various demon princes and their minions serve as a means of trade within hell. To some degree, if you own the coin, you own the soul. Collecting these coins is a major pursuit of demon lords.
These coins remain in circulation even after the soul passes out of hell to be reborn into their next turn on the wheel of reincarnation, or if the truly wicked begin their torturous descent into the abyssal hierarchy.
Each coin in Hell is impressed with the image its linked soul possessed in life. In addition, there is either Celestial (Immortal), Infernal (Asura), or Abyssal (Daeva) writing that contains the name of the lord who owns or protect the soul, depending on whether they are in the Celestial Garden, the Thousand Hells, or in the Pit.
Most such coins remain in the extraplanar realms, but sometimes they pass into mortal hands. Occassionally, their possessers gives gifts of such wealth to others, whether they be other gods, their priests, or to lure mortals into their worship.
Hell Coins cannot be melted down except by supernaturally intense heat such as dragon breath, forges of the Elemental Plane of Fire, or the volcanic hearths of the fire giants. Their metal is often prized for making magic items, such as the forging of magical weapons.
Hell Coins are considered acceptable legal tender – they are gold and silver after all. Very often, they are used for donations to the temples of the Immortals in the hopes the clerics can somehow redeem souls punished in the Thousand Hells, or at least make best use out of them. Some people collect Hell Coins out of morbid interest, spiritual curiousity, or in the hopes it will give them power.
Various legends exist about Hell Coins. Some say they are unlucky to those who hold them. That they can be used as a focus with speaking to their linked soul, or that it can be used to animate the previous body of the coin’s soul.