The most common currency is nutrient pills, which are traded by the satchel-full. (So currency and rations are now the same thing, most of the time. The implication is that starvation is not a major risk in the setting--it's not gritty. And, anyway, they'll still need to seek water sources, if you want to employ that risk, so there is still the risk/reward implicit in "should we drink the water from the softly glowing spring?")
The other currency is Scriven Neo-Shekels.
The War of the Newborn
Once there was a giant, planet-sized organism called Corpulum. It floated through the stars like a fat plum, teeming with life. It was pregnant with a million potentials, and it's embryos were pregnant, and its embryos' embryos.
It birthed a moon called Screed, so called because of the prophetic laws it uttered shortly after birth. Screed quickly became covered with civilizations of its own.
Then they fought a war.
Now, Corpulum is dead. Or at least, the planet is. Flaccid sphicters a mile wide leak pyrolis into the sky. Maggot trains delivery wage slaves to the marrow mines. Winged interlocutors tend to the whorling masses of the senatorial worm-mind that burrows through the churning caverns of what was Corpulum's secondary slave-mind (the non-astral one), inheriting the wisdom of the planet as well as its madnesses. Boneyard razorgirls haunt the saloons and butcher-rooms, looking for enough mercenary work to fund a final exodus from this dying place.
And Screed isn't much better. It's dying, poisoned by vitrified absence and the ill will of a million spiteful old men, who choked on their own bile before being rendered into a toxin.
The Scriven Empire is ruled by fleshcrafters, who sustain the planet using their bright arts. They are the only reason it has not yet died. Some say that the planet is sustained by sacrifices of children. Others say that the planet has already died, and that the flesh wizards have only sustained it by making it vampiric.
When we found the spider-rats eating our nutrient pills, we killed them all. We killed every spider and every rat that we came across. But that was a fuckin' mistake. We didn't even know that the damned things could talk until we found them tattling on us, whispering in the ear of a Unicorn Cult Angeleater 5000.
Once upon a time, the Empire of the Unicorn used both spiders and rats as spies. The two tiny animals fought their tiny wars and eventually interbred, creating a new and disgusting race of tiny tattletales.
Spider-rats are endemic to both Corpulum and it's moon, Screed. They are pests, and occupy all of the ecological niches that spiders and rats previously did. Some resemble spiders, some resemble rats, but most of them resemble a cross between the two.
They infest the scapular arcologies; they fill the peristaltic sewers of Glugg. They are crushed underfoot by most citizens without a thought, and yet--they are as clever as children (but with much worse impulse control and much less education). They are the spies of the empire, and every neighborhood has a Spidermaster Ratlord, to whom they report.
Spidermaster Ratlords are recognizable by their crown, which is a Rat King (a cluster of live rats, woven together by their tails) and their black, poisonous fingernail lacquer.
Mystery of the Unicorn
Every part of the unicorn has euphoric, curative, and addictive properties. This is strongest in the horn and blood, but even unicorn hair and dung has traces of the same.
Once, the mystery (cult) of the unicorn was a pathetic group of travelling mendicants, clad only in oxhair pants and fleas. They begged in the cities whenever they weren't following the unicorn herds through the faerie woods of the Shell Rosette.
When a faction of the Cult rose to prominence, empowered by unicorn blood and spiral incantata. It hid from, warred with, eventually conquered the Blithering Cities of Screed. And after defeating their oppressors, they quickly made themselves indistinguishable from them. After a generation, the only difference for the commoners is that the statues changed. The pedestals in the town square no longer held representations of the square-jawed, occultate warlords, but instead the bizarre equimorphs of Screed's magocracy of inbred fleshcrafters.
Unicorns are no longer revered, and while many still cling to the old ways of the Mystery of the Unicorn, they are mostly discarded remnants of a dying religion. All the juicy bits of the Mystery were gobbled up the flesh mages. The Mystery has reverted to groups of hair-clad beggars wandering the wilderness with unicorn dung on their breath.
Flesh Vats of the Unicorn Kings
The first thing they did was to interbreed with their creations. They are the rulers of Screed and Corpulum, both. You'll recognized them by the spiral phalluses emerging from their foreheads.
Unicorns are their hammers and their swords, but they are also their canvases. Their warbeasts that shovel their way through the earth with spiral tusks were once unicorns. The quivering masses of flesh beneath their spiral citadels were once unicorns.
They are vivimancers, who nurture life beyond life, and beyond death. They have quashed the necromancers of the Tessuract. They have killed death. Within their courts, pleasure domes, and torture tunnels, nothing dies without their permission.
They have won their crowns through flesh crafting, blood, milk, and spirals.
Everything is a spiral, the circle that decays.