Last updated at 17:27, 27 Feb 2013 Uploaded at 14:02, 1 May 2012
Once upon a time, I slew a dragon, and claimed my bounty of 100 gold pieces from the Jarl. Then I retired to the local inn, and bumped into a chap called Thadgeir, who asked me to take some ashes to a priest called Runil. As it happened, the guy in question was sat on the other side of the inn, so I wandered over. He thanked me, and gave me some coin for my trouble. How much coin, you wonder?
Wow, I thought, killing dragons doesn't pay. I should become a courier.
Whys and wherefores
The economy in Skyrim is broken, as the story above illustrates. Yes, that's an exceptional case, because I was very high level when I went to Falkreath for the first time, and both parties were sat in the same room. But the least you can be paid for doing that quest, at level 1, is 250 gold. Which also happens to be approximately the gold you receive for killing a level 21 Draugr boss. And by way of comparison, carrying Adrianne's sword to her father in Whiterun nets you a fixed 20 gold. You get far too much gold reward for such radiant favour quests, and it only gets worse as you increase in level.
There are a couple of mods which address this issue by making things more expensive such as Expensive Investments or Cutthroat Merchants. This mod aims to reduce the amount of gold you receive. If you want a really hard time of things, install this mod along side either, or both, of those.
The mod drastically reduces the amount of gold you receive from quests. I haven't touched the quests themselves, but only the leveled lists they refer to. Taking that sword quest in Whiterun as a basis, the lowest level (simplest) of such quests nets you 20 gold at level 1, increasing slowly until level 40, when you receive 40 gold. The next level of such 'favour' quest will reward 40 gold at level 1, increasing to 80 at level 40.
In the default game, these favour quests refer to the same leveled lists as other a number of other quests. Some of these look like favour quests, while others are completely different - most of Nazir's Dark Brotherhood quests, for example. Such 'proper' quests now no longer use the same lists as favour quests, and should net you about twice (or more) the amount of gold. The easiest quests earn 40 gold at level 1, and 80 at level 40; the highest quests can go up to 320 gold (they used to earn 1,800).
As far as Nazir is concerned, that means you might earn as little as 40 gold for killing Narfi, for example. What can I say? Life is cheap in Skyrim.
Clearly, the main aim of the mod is to make gold more scarce. These quests are still unbalanced with bounty quests such as dragons, which always earn 100 gold; but I could only change those quests by editing the quest directly, and I didn't want to do that.
Getting less gold from quests should hopefully have a couple of side effects. Firstly, other rewards such as weapons or armor should be (relatively) more useful. You might even be able to sell them for more than a cash reward.
Secondly, it should increase realism and so immersion. Who, exactly, is going to pay 700 gold for you to kill Narfi? There probably isn't that much gold in the whole of Ivarstead. Likewise, 700 gold would buy you a room in an inn for 70 days. That's a pretty high work /leisure ratio, if you think about it.
Thirdly, crime should be much more rewarding. What's the point of picking Runil's pocket and risking imprisonment if you can just accept those blasted ashes and earn ten times as much? Well, to boost your pickpocketing skill. Can you spell grind? Related to that, the punishment for crimes are much more severe, relatively speaking.
Perhaps most importantly, being nice to people and carrying out their Fed-Ex quests will not matter as much. If you want to tell Thadgeir to shove it, you aren't going to jeopardize a heap of cash by doing so. Since you don't gain experience by completing quests (this is Skyrim after all) you actually should lose very little by role-playing an antisocial jerk. And how many of us truly enjoy playing an Orc beserker who only wants to crush everyone in his way, but still has to accept a quest to carry dog meat to the Jarl?
My Other Mods
Khajiit Speak - Complete Dialogue Overhaul
Improved Race Descriptions
Skyforge Wolf Armor - Improved Stats