Mistel's Economy and Thievery Guide
Jun 4th, 2017
- Skyrim's economy is a joke. After clearing your first dungeon, most players have enough money to never really have to worry about it again. Buying a property make take a little saving, but it's still not a particularly difficult goal to meet. How ridiculous is it that most players have to hop from vendor to vendor selling off their loot because stores simply don't have enough gold to buy it all? Tired of swimming in overpowered gear from the moment you start the game? Me too.
- And being a thief blows, too. Not only is there barely anything worth stealing, if you DO find something good, you're gonna have a hell of a time trying to find a fence to sell it to, unless you're a member of the Guild. Even then, you've only got Tonilia, who has a limited gold supply, unless you've gone through the extremely tedious special Thieves' Guild quests.
- The most glaring problems with both of these systems have the same root cause: money is horribly broken. There's simultaneously too much of it, and not enough of it. We're going to fix the economy, and we're going to fix all the aspects of being a thief. And we're going to start with money.
- Skyrim's economic systems have two major problems: the player can get too much money far too quickly, and then they have nothing to spend it on. We're gonna need a couple of mods to fix this mess.
- Morrowloot Ultimate http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/66105/?
- You should really already have this one. If you don't, I'm telling you now. Install it. It semi-delevels loot and enemies, then hand-places artifacts and powerful equipment. No matter what your level is, you're not going to be tripping over bandits with enchanted daedric gear. In fact, you'll rarely see bandits with much better than iron or steel equipment. And when you do find some sweet loot, it's all the sweeter.
- Scarcity http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/49496/?
- This goes well with Morrowloot. In a nutshell, this mod reduces the rarity and amount of shit you'll find in chests, and the rarity and amount of shit you'll find at stores. This servers a similar purpose here as Morrowloot Ultimate: less loot means a smaller income. It also means that great loot is even more exciting. I personally use the 4x Merchant Item Rarity and 6x Loot Rarity plugins, that way merchants generally have a bit better equipment than what you'll find in some random-ass chest in a bandit cave. But, since we also have Morrowloot installed, it means we'll have to be on the look out for the very best stuff.
- Reduced Gold Rewards for Quests http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/16231/?
- This simple mod reduces the amount of gold you get from quests. You're not longer going get a huge windfall because you carried some mundane item across town. Unfortunately, this mod won't work for any quests added by mods.
- SkyTweak http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/33395/?
- This is another mod you should probably already have. If not, get it. You can tweak just about every value in the game to your liking. There's an absolutely massive amount of things you can do with SkyTweak, but we're concerned with one thing right now: carry weight. By default. you start the game with 300 carry weight. That's absolutely insane! With that much carry weight, it's absolutely trivial to stroll into a dungeon and walk out with damn near everything that isn't bolted down. And then sell it off, make loads of money, and never really think about cash again. By reducing base carry weight, we get a load of cool results. For starters, income is going to be drastically reduced. You simply can't carry as much random shit to sell. Beyond that, it means that perks that increase carry weight are actually desirable. It means backpacks have a purpose beyond aesthetics. It means strength potions are more than vendor trash. It means you'll need to make choices about what you want to snag from dungeons. You can change your base carry weight in the Actor Values section of SkyTweak's MCM. I personally use a base carry weight of 50. That might be a bit too extreme for you, so feel free to experiment.
- Trade and Barter https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/34612/
- This bad boy is a godsend. It gives you a huge amount of control of the way buying and selling items works. In main MCM menu for the mod, you'll see the primary settings. I use an fBarterMax of 7.5 and an fBarterMin of 3.5. These will make items sell for less, but cost more to buy than vanilla. You can also add some static adjustments to buying prices (how much it costs to buy things from NPCs) and selling prices (how much you get for your loot). I have these both set to 0%, but feel free to experiment. You can also use Trade and Barter to make merchant gold values fluctuate randomly, as well as adjusting buy and sell prices independently for different settlements. For example, you'll be able to but things a bit cheaper in Whiterun, since it's a huge trading hub and there's loads of competition. Buying things in Solitude will be a bit more expensive--but they'll also be a bit more willing to buy what you're selling. It also lets you change the penalty for selling to a fence.
- Now we've brought our income down to sane levels. You'll no longer be tripping over incredible loot, and you won't be wealthier than half the merchants in Skyrim after a single dungeon run. But none of that matters if you can just keep accumulating that wealth. We've already made shops a bit more expensive, but it's not going to be enough. Next we need to create some gold sinks.
- Honed Metal http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/51024/?
- This right here is probably the best gold sink you're going to find. It adds blacksmithing and enchanting services to the game. Smiths will be able to craft gear for you, or temper existing gear. Wizards will enchant or recharge your equipment--for a fee. It all integrates extremely well. If you want your super duper sword of +1 rapemurder, you're going to need to talk to extremely skills smiths, and those services don't come cheap. Want to temper your sword with and incredible enchantment? That also requires a great deal of skill, which means the price is going to go up. All in all, it pretty much works exactly as you'd expect. You can even use the MCM to flag modded NPCs as blacksmiths/enchanters and set their skill level. Anyway, the default prices are probably fine, but it's very customizable.
- Loot and Degradation http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/55677/?
- This pairs extremely well with Honed Metal. Essentially, your equipment's tempering wears down over time, eventually returning your equipment to its base state. If you want to keep your equipment in peak condition, you'll have to put out the cash to get it fixed up once in a while. We're primarily interested in this mod for its degradation feature, but it also have a few other features. It adds a tempering and smithing service for NPCs, and you'll want to make sure to disable it in favor of Honed Metal. It allows NPCs to have tempered gear, which is cool. It also adds a chance for NPCs to have enchanted equipment, which you can disable if you want. Lastly, there's a feature that allows NPCs to loot nearby fallen comrades or enemies, which is also configurable.
- Investment Price Config http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/58963/?
- This gem lets you configure the price of a couple different things in the game. Primarily property cost, but also the price of things like horses and hiring mercenaries. I have everything set to 5x, and I think that works well. A horse is a serious investment, but still one that's feasible early-game. Property becomes a bit of a late game thing. If that's not to your liking, you can customize everything individually.
- Realistic Room Rental http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/25029/?
- Ever notice how renting a room costs the same as two or three apples? Ever notice how a night at the best inn in Solitude costs the same as a night at some run-down podunk in bumfuck nowhere? This fixes that. It also has a version with improved inns, if that's your thing.
- If you want a more reasonable, more challenging, but also more rewarding economy, you should be good to go. By doing this, we've solved a lot of problems with thievery in Skyrim as well. But, we can do a little more to make it even better.
- We've corrected a bunch of problems already with the mods above. Morrowloot and Scarcity have already made it so that dungeons aren't quite as lucrative, but unique loot can be found in cities and palaces. Let's improve a little more.
- Immersive Jewelry http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/64283/?
- This is, in my opinion, a must-have. It adds a whole huge range of new shinies for you to nab, as well as changing the value of golden and silver items. You know those silver bowls and goblets you see in rich people's houses? They're worth something now. Jewelry is generally more expensive across the board, meaning that the rich are even more rewarding to rob. Precious ingots are heavy, but extremely value-dense, making them a wonderful target. Get this mod.
- Exchange Currency http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/67504/?
- Even if your not a thief, Immersive Jewelry is nice to have. However, IJ also adds weight to septims, and we've already reduced carry weight. Exchange Currency allows you to exchange your weighty septims for much lighter bank notes. There's not much else to say. You probably want this.
- Inconsequential NPCs http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/36334/?
- "Why is an NPC mod on this list?" I hear you ask. Because it adds fences, plain and simple. They're not immediately obvious, and you'll have to seek them out in each city. They also tend to only be active at certain times of day (or night), which means they're pretty inconvenient to use. Still, that's by design. Doing the Thieves' Guild and getting some reliable fences is still a goal, but these guys mean you'll at least have SOMEWHERE to sell your ill-gotten gains.
- Better Stealing http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/75296/?
- This nifty little SKSE plugin simply unmarks low-value items when you steal them. Grabbed a tomato from Belethor's shop? Think it's dumb that you can't sell it off, even though there's no way to reliably identify it as stolen, and no one would give a shit that you stole a tomato in the first place? This is the mod for you. As long as the item you stole is below the price threshold, it'll be come not-stolen, and you can sell it wherever. The price threshold is configurable, but the default (500 gold) is fine in my opinion. You may wish to set it lower.
- Castles and Palaces Enhanced http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/79746/?
- This mod completely revamps the palaces in all the major holds. It's neat because it adds restricted areas, and gives these palaces the wealth they deserve. Which, coincidentally, happens to be the loot you don't deserve, but want anyway. With this, you'll be able to sneak into these palaces, if you're good enough, and rob them blind. There's even a little mini-quest. It's a nice mod.
- With all that out of the way, stealing shit should be fun. But stealing shit isn't all there is to being a thief. We've got a few things left to spruce up.
- =THE OTHER STUFF=
- Ordinator http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/68425/?
- SPERG http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/24445/?
- SPERG-Ordinator http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/70159/?
- These are all perk mods. You should have one already. You need one. They're all good. I personally just use Ordinator, but a lot of people have a lot of different opinions. I'm not gonna tell you which one to use, just check 'em out and pick your poison.
- SkyTweak http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/33395/?
- We're coming back to this for one reason: sneak attacks. They're hilariously broken in the vanilla game, even moreso with perk mods. https://www.reddit.com/r/skyrimmods/comments/47ea59/elite5472s_smug_guide_to_skytweaking_and_hard_but/ This reddit post goes into detail on some of SkyTweak's sneak attack settings, and I highly recommend his changes. SkyTweak also has a bunch of options for other stealth settings, like enemy view cone radius and pickpocket chance. I don't mess with any of the AI settings, but I definitely recommend setting the Max Pickpocket Chance to AT LEAST something like 98% or 99%, if not 100%. It's ridiculous that a master thief can get caught stealing mundane shit from someone who's a sleep. Come on. You might also want to change Illusion settings. In the vanilla game, your illusion skill level affects the maximum level of enemies you can affect with your spells. The problem is that you can encounter enemies far above your theoretical maximum... meaning your spells will be completely useless against end-game enemies. SkyTweak has two ways to deal with this. Under "Tweaks", you can enable Illusion Scale Target Level, which makes your Illusion spells immediately effective against enemies of ALL levels, but scales the duration of the effect with their level. Alternatively, under "Magic", you can change Illusion so that the magnitude at Illusion level 100 is much higher. Your choice. Oh, for the love of god make sure you go into "NPC" and change that cancerous AI Dodge Chance to 0.
- Ultimate Combat http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/36006/?
- While it is an excellent mod in its own right, it also comes with a "Hardcore Stealth" option that I like. However, if you're playing as a thief, more tactical combat is probably something you want anyway. While this won't completely fix Skyrim's combat (that's outside the scope of this guide), it's a step in the right direction.
- Archery Gameplay Overhaul http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/69033?
- Revamps a lot of Skyrim's archery mechanics. I'm not gonna waste time repeating exactly what the mod page says, so just go read it.
- Nock To Tip http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/65317/?
- Gives you ways to create bows and arrows without becoming a blacksmith. Pretty nice.
- Arrow and Bolt Tweaks http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/11941/?
- A few tweaks to arrow and bolt physics.
- Complete Alchemy and Cooking Overhaul http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/69306/?
- Great mod, rebalances vanilla alchemical ingredients and adds a whole boatload more. Mixed potions, with both potion effects and poison effects, are no longer the most profitable potions in the game. Stronger potions require rarer ingredients. Unfortunately, most of CACO's new ingredients can't be found in the wild, since the author is a lazy git. Still, hunting around alchemy shops for that one rare ingredient can be pretty fun. Make sure you check the compatibility patches, especially for your perk mod.
- Thieves' Guild Requirements http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/14157/?
- If you want to do the Thieves' Guild, this mod is a must-have. It lets you tweak the skill levels required for each step of the questline. Most importantly, it lets you reduce the number of god-awful radiant quests you need to do in each hold to become Guild Master.
- Thieves' Guild Former Glory Enhancement http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/57143/?
- Neat little mod that lets you fill the Guild vault back up. Not particularly useful, but nice for aesthetics and roleplaying.
- Higher Bounties for Crimes http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/11862/?
- Tired of murder being a slap on the wrist and a teensie little fine? Here you go. Prepare to get bled dry if you get caught, criminal scum.
- And that's it. Hope you got something out of this.
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