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I am playing a stealthy thief. When I sneak up to someone, before killing them, I try to pick their pockets to level Pickpocketing.

A lot of people when I browse their inventory have 3 or 7 Gold in their inventory. So I choose to not take the gold, but something else valuable.

After killing them stealthily, when I raid their corpse, the gold level is at about 20 gold.

I also tried pickpocketing their 3 or 7 gold, and their corpse still yields 13-15 gold.

People with higher gold levels like bosses, might carry 50-100 gold, and once pickpocketed, upon death their corpse does not yield any more gold.

I would like to know out of curiosity where this extra gold is coming from and why does it not show when I am browsing their pockets?

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That gold is generated by the dissipation of their life force. You kill them, which creates gold, which you can then pick up. You've heard the phrase "life is cheap", right? Well, now you know exactly how cheap. About 13 gold. Well, in that particular world/reality/game anyway. Exact amounts vary by game, but it's definitely a common play mechanic. Thug: "What's yer life worth?" Victim: "Oh, about 13 gold last time I checked." – Task Jan 5 '12 at 16:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Maybe Skyrim inhabitants are in the habit of carrying a small amount of gold in their pockets, but keeping their main gold stash in a location from which it is much harder to steal, e.g. in their boots, hidden pockets sewn into clothes, in their underwear etc. Once they are dead it would be possible to retrieve this gold by doing a thorough search.

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According to RPG lore, this would be a cool thing that Skyrim introduces. I am picking your answer for this open question. – ヴァイシャリ Feb 10 '12 at 14:33

Are you an Imperial by any chance? It might be that your "Imperial Luck" ability works on corpses, but not on the pockets of the living. I don't know that anyone has ever looked into this, as the piddling amount of extra gold you get is pretty much insignificant.

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I'm not imperial and I can confirm I see similar things. The 'loot' gold found on a body is based on your level and possibly other attributes which doesn't come into play until the target is dead.

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