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Bounty (Skyrim)

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Eastmarch Hold Guard Skyrim

One of the guards that are posted in the holds of Skyrim.

Bounty is a game mechanic in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Bounty tracks the number and severity of crimes committed and converts it to a GoldIcon amount.

Compared with previous releases

Separated by hold

Unlike The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, where bounty was tracked and upheld across the cities of Cyrodiil, bounty in Skyrim is kept separate by Hold. For instance, when a crime is committed in Falkreath Hold, guards in Winterhold will not arrest criminals based on their Falkreath Bounty.

Evading bounty

Traditionally, three options for resolving a bounty exist across games: paying the bounty off in gold, resisting arrest, or sitting in prison. Skyrim introduces a fourth option: evading bounty by flaunting a title. Jarls of Skyrim can grant the title of Thane to citizens, which allows the individual's menial crimes to be overlooked. Crimes such as murder or assault may not be overlooked, however it should be noted that evasion of a bounty via Thanehood can only be used once per hold. However, there is also another option for the Dragonborn if he/she is part of the Thieves Guild, in which you pay more septims (bribing the guard) but do not lose stolen goods in your inventory.

Stolen items

As with other releases, all stolen items are removed when bounties are resolved.

Dealing with a bounty

When any bounty is accumulated, guards in Holds or cities stop the offender, forcing them to halt and engage in dialogue. Four options exist for resolving the bounty (five for Thieves Guild members).

Paying the fine

If GoldIcon is paid, the guards leave and GoldIcon is automatically subtracted from the inventory. If arrest is resisted, all guards in the immediate area, including some bystanders and citizens, draw weapons and attempt to slay the criminal -- only upon the criminal's escape or the criminal's death do they relent. During combat, the criminal can choose to make the guard "yield" their attacks by initiating dialogue. This brings the criminal back to choice menu, in which they can choose to pay off the bounty or serve jail time. If the criminal's bounty is high enough, Jarls employ Bounty Collectors to chase down criminals and attack them. They can appear in any hold or location, randomly.

Serving jail time

Criminals can choose to spend time in jail for accumulated bounty. When selecting this option, the criminal is stripped of all items, weapons, and armor and placed in a cell. To wait the duration of the sentence, sleep in the bed. Upon release, all items are returned. If the criminal chooses to escape, bounty is removed, but their items must be manually obtained from an evidence locker somewhere in the prison. If caught, they will receive a new bounty.

PETTY CRIMES

If the Dragonborn steals a low value object then some of the lower class may send hired thugs. For lower level characters they may be tough opponents.

Special circumstances

Thane

Upon becoming Thane of a Hold, small bounties can be overlooked simply by stating one's title as Thane. Bounties exceeding 1,000 GoldIcon cannot be forgiven using this method. This can only be done once per hold though.

Markarth

In Markarth, citizens are sent to Cidhna Mine to pay off bounties. The sentence is served by mining ore or escaping. Being imprisoned in the mine is part of the quest No One Escapes Cidhna Mine.

Thieves Guild

After completing Special jobs for the Thieves Guild in Riften, criminals gain the option of bribing guards to allow them to keep stolen items.

Bribery

The "Bribery" Perk in the Speech skill tree allows criminals to persuade guards out of arresting or fining them. This method does not remove bounty, simply the guard who attempted to collect on the bounty ignores it. Other guards may still respond to the bounty.

Pacify

In the Illusion school of Magicka, a spell called Pacify calms hostile targets. Coupled with the "Kindred Mage" perk from the same skill tree, the spell has the potential of calming guards, when a criminal acquires a bounty, causing them to forget the bounty temporarily and walk away. This option allows criminals to run or Fast Travel to a safer location.

Killing witnesses

If in a remote or enclosed location, murdering witnesses to a theft, murder, or another crime annuls the bounty one acquires automatically for committing the crime. Alternatively, if no one witnesses the crime and the criminal is properly stealthed while committing it, a bounty may not even be acquired.

Taking a Hold

During the Skyrim Civil War, whenever a hold is taken by the Imperial Legion or Stormcloaks, a criminal's bounty is reset.

Stolen items

Storing stolen items in chests and containers or simply dropping may remove the bounty altogether. This is especially useful when items are accidentally picked up in shops or guild headquarters.

The owner of the item that witnesses the theft may simple take the item you picked up. In this case, you might not receive bounty.

Achievements

Master Criminal (Achievement)
Master Criminal
Bounty of 1000 gold in all nine holds
Points 20 Game points
Trophy
Bronze trophy

Bugs

This section contains bugs related to Bounty (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Confirm all bugs with other editors on the talk page before adding them below.
  2. Always try reloading an old save first, before asking for assistance.
  3. Do not discuss possible bug fixes or origins. Leave those and all other first-person-anecdotes on the talk page, not the article.
  4. Always add  360  ,  PS3  , and  PC   to clarify which system the bug appears on.
  • Individuals launched off cliffs by the Unrelenting Force shouts do not accrue a bounty for murder even if the target dies upon impact. However, the Dragonborn will still receive a bounty for assault.
  • Bounties can be accrued even if witnesses are not present. Sometimes chickens, dogs, and other wild animals can be witnesses to a crime as they are considered entities.
  • Guards may attack criminals without giving them the option to pay their bounty or yield.
  • Guards will sometimes attack criminals even if the crime was unseen and no bounty was placed. They will not give the option of yielding.
  • Sometimes, only a few guards will attack, while the rest go about their normal business.
  •  PC   Guards may still attack you after you paid of your bounty, and don't give the option of yielding.
  •  PC   Sometimes, the player may have a non-existent bounty to pay in a hold that the player has never entered or even discovered. No known reason for this.
  •  PC   During the quest Contract: Kill Beitild, the Dragonborn may be attacked almost immediately by all the guards in Dawnstar even when the player has no bounty whatsoever. No known reason for this.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Bounty (Skyrim)

  • My Right To Due Process Violated! D:

    6 messages
    • It's discrimination, I say.  The guards have no mercy for the Dragonborn if someone stole their sweetroll.
    • Similar to killing chickens, people misunderstand guards and bounty. If you just got a bounty, guards will probably attack you because you en...
  • Bounty Game Freeze

    9 messages
    • it does it for me everytime i pay my bounty or go to jail i also play on xbox
    • Does the same for me (xbox) the only solution i can get is to bribe the gurds but sometimes that option isnt avalible, any more tips to help?

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