How to Pay Bounty in Skyrim: A Guide to Settling Your Criminal Score

Skyrim, a vast mythical realm known for its breathtaking landscapes, legendary adventures, and intricate lore, offers players a rich and immersive gaming experience. Whether you are a noble hero fighting for justice or an opportunistic thief looking for quick riches, there is no shortage of excitement to be found in this ancient land. However, like every world, Skyrim has its own set of laws, with consequences awaiting those who dare to venture outside their boundaries. For those unfortunate enough to find themselves on the wrong side of the law, a bounty is placed upon their heads, ensuring that justice will be pursued with relentless determination. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of paying bounties in Skyrim, providing you with a comprehensive guide to settling your criminal score.

Serving as a reminder that even courageous adventurers are not above the law, bounties are a constant reminder of the consequences of illicit actions. Whether it be a cheeky act of thievery or a heated brawl gone awry, Skyrim’s law enforcement will not turn a blind eye to wrongdoing. As a result, characters find themselves burdened by the weight of their transgressions, restricted in their ability to roam freely and marked as criminals. For those seeking redemption or freedom from the shadows, paying off your bounty becomes a pressing matter, and understanding the systems in place becomes essential in navigating the consequences of your actions. From the sprawling cities to the smallest villages, every hold in Skyrim has its own regulations and unique pathways to resolving criminal scores.

Understanding Bounties in Skyrim

In order to navigate the criminal justice system of Skyrim, it is important to have a clear understanding of bounties. In the game, a bounty is the amount of gold you must pay to settle your criminal score after committing a crime or engaging in aggressive actions.

Explanation of What a Bounty Is

A bounty is essentially a form of punishment for breaking the law in Skyrim. It serves as a financial penalty that must be paid in order to regain the trust and favor of the local authorities. Without paying your bounty, guards will be on the lookout for you and may attack you on sight.

How Bounties are Acquired

Bounties are acquired through various criminal activities. These can include stealing items, attacking innocent NPCs, trespassing, or even murder. The severity of the crime will determine the amount of the bounty. For instance, a simple theft will likely result in a lower bounty compared to the murder of an important NPC.

IFinding Out Your Bounty Status

Before you can pay off your bounty, you need to know your current status. There are a few different methods to check your bounty amount and determine if the guards are actively pursuing you.

Checking Your Current Bounty Amount and Status

One way to check your bounty is by interacting with a guard. When in their presence, attempt to speak to them and inquire about your criminal status. They will reveal the amount of your bounty and whether they are actively pursuing you.

Determining If Guards Are Pursuing You

If you suspect that guards may be looking for you, there are signs to watch out for. Guards will often approach you and initiate dialogue if they are aware of your criminal status. Additionally, they may attempt to arrest you on sight if your bounty is significant.

Overall, understanding bounties and staying updated on your status is crucial when it comes to paying off your criminal score in Skyrim. In the next section, we will delve into the various methods you can use to settle these bounties and maintain a clean record in the game.

Finding out Your Bounty Status

How to check your current bounty amount and status

To effectively manage your criminal score in Skyrim, it is crucial to stay informed about your current bounty amount and status. There are a few ways to check this information and ensure you are aware of the consequences you may face.

The most straightforward method to determine your bounty status is to open your inventory and navigate to the “General Stats” tab. This will display various information about your character, including your current bounty and whether or not guards are pursuing you. Keep in mind that this method only provides a general overview and does not provide specific details about the crimes you have committed.

Another way to find out your bounty status is by listening to rumors spread by NPCs in the game. Some NPCs may mention your crimes, the bounty on your head, or even the guards actively looking for you. Paying attention to these rumors can give you an idea of the severity of your crimes and if you need to take immediate action to settle your bounty.

Methods to determine if guards are pursuing you

Knowing if guards are pursuing you is crucial as it determines the level of threat you face and the urgency to pay off your bounty. There are a few indicators that can help you determine if guards are on your trail.

One clear sign that guards are after you is their direct approach and attempt to engage you in combat. When guards spot you, they may shout phrases such as “Halt! You’ve committed crimes against Skyrim and her people!” or “Stop right there, criminal scum!” This immediate confrontation signifies that your bounty has reached a considerable level and requires immediate attention.

Additionally, if you notice guards approaching you in a hostile manner as you enter a city or a hold, it is a strong indication that they are actively pursuing you. Take note of their behavior and listen closely to what they say, as this information can assist you in understanding the severity of your criminal status.

In some cases, your actions may not be severe enough to trigger an immediate confrontation with guards. However, be cautious of guards eyeing you suspiciously or giving you disapproving looks. This can be an early warning sign that your bounty has been noticed, and further actions will be taken if you do not settle your debts.

By regularly checking your bounty amount and paying attention to guards’ behavior, you can effectively manage your criminal record in Skyrim. Staying proactive and settling your bounties promptly will ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey through the game without the constant threat of the law breathing down your neck.

Paying Your Bounty

Overview of the Different Ways to Pay off Your Bounty

In the vast world of Skyrim, it’s easy to find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Whether it’s a minor theft or a more serious crime, bounties can quickly accumulate and tarnish your reputation. However, paying off your bounty is essential to maintaining a clean record and avoiding the ire of guards and other NPCs. Fortunately, Skyrim provides various methods to settle your criminal score and redeem yourself in the eyes of the law.

Visiting a Guard to Initiate the Payment Process

The most straightforward way to pay off your bounty is by visiting a guard. Guards can be found in every city, standing watch or patrolling the streets. Approach a guard and initiate a conversation. Look for the dialogue option regarding your bounty, and the guard will provide you with information about its amount. Once you have the details, you can choose to pay off your bounty immediately. Be prepared to part ways with a significant amount of gold, as the cost depends on the severity of your crimes.

Paying at a Guard’s Barracks

Alternatively, you can head to a guard’s barracks to settle your bounty. Guard barracks are usually located within or near cities and are identifiable by their unique architecture and the presence of guards. When inside the barracks, approach a guard and engage them in conversation. Inquire about your bounty and express your intention to pay it off. The guard will guide you through the payment process and accept your payment. This method provides a more private and secure location for resolving your bounty, away from prying eyes.

Paying at a Thieves Guild Fence

For those who have found their calling within the Thieves Guild, an alternative option presents itself. Thieves Guild fences, such as Tonilia in Riften, offer a discreet way to pay off your bounty. Locate a Thieves Guild fence, usually positioned in the Ratway beneath Riften, and approach them. Engage in conversation and inquire about settling your bounty. The fence will gladly assist you in clearing your record, as long as you remain in good standing with the guild.

Paying at a Jarl’s Steward

If you find yourself in the presence of royalty, paying off your bounty directly to a Jarl’s steward is a possibility. Make your way to the Jarl’s palace in the respective Hold capital, and seek out the steward. The steward can usually be found in a central area within the palace. Engage in conversation and express your desire to pay off your bounty. The steward will guide you through the process and ensure that your payment is made. This method adds a touch of grandeur to your bounty settlement.

Paying off your bounty in Skyrim is essential for maintaining a clean record and avoiding unwanted encounters with guards. Whether you choose to visit a guard, utilize a Thieves Guild fence, or interact with a Jarl’s steward, the process is straightforward. Select the method that best suits your situation and bask in the freedom of a cleared criminal slate. Remember, in the vast expanse of Skyrim, it always pays to be on the right side of the law.

Paying at a Guard’s Barracks

How and where to locate guard barracks

Paying off your bounty at a guard’s barracks is one of the most straightforward methods. Guard barracks can be found in every major city in Skyrim. They are usually located near the city gates or the Jarl’s palace. If you are having trouble finding a guard barracks, asking a guard or a local citizen for directions is always a reliable option.

Step-by-step process of paying off your bounty at a barracks

Once you have located a guard’s barracks, follow these steps to pay off your bounty and clear your record:

Step 1: Approach a guard – Inside the barracks, you will find several guards. Approach one of them and initiate a conversation.

Step 2: Select the “I want to pay my bounty” option – When speaking to the guard, select the dialogue option that indicates your intention to pay off your bounty. This will trigger a dialogue specific to bounty payments.

Step 3: Pay the full amount or ask for a reduction – The guard will inform you of the total amount you owe for your crimes. You have the option to eTher pay the full amount or negotiate a reduction.

Step 4: Negotiating a reduction – If you choose to negotiate a reduction, the guard may ask you to perform a service or complete a quest to lower your bounty. This is an alternative method for those who wish to save some septims.

Step 5: Pay the reduced amount or the agreed-upon service – After negotiating a reduction or deciding to pay the full amount, proceed with the payment. Open your inventory and ensure you have enough gold to cover the cost. Hand over the gold to the guard, and your bounty will be paid off.

Step 6: Verify your cleared status – Once the payment is made, the guard will acknowledge that your bounty has been settled. You can check your criminal status by using the journal or asking the guard directly.

Paying off your bounty at a guard’s barracks is a reliable and straightforward method. It allows you to maintain a clean criminal record, ensuring that you can freely explore Skyrim without the constant fear of being pursued by guards. Remember, paying bounties promptly and responsibly is crucial for a hassle-free gaming experience in the vast world of Skyrim.

Paying at a Thieves Guild Fence

Alternative method of paying bounties for members of the Thieves Guild

As a member of the infamous Thieves Guild in Skyrim, you have access to a unique option for paying off your bounties. Instead of going through the traditional routes, you can make use of the Thieves Guild fences to settle your criminal scores discreetly. This method offers a convenient and efficient way to maintain a clean record while continuing your illicit activities.

Finding a Thieves Guild fence and paying off your bounty through them

To find a Thieves Guild fence, you must first become a member of the guild by completing their initiation questline. Once you have successfully joined the ranks of the guild, you gain access to their hidden guild headquarters located in Riften, known as the Ragged Flagon.

Within the Ragged Flagon, you will find various individuals who can serve as fences for your stolen goods and help you manage your bounties. Speak to any of these fences, such as Tonilia or Vex, and inquire about paying off your bounties.

The fences will gladly offer their services, but keep in mind that they will charge you a fee for their assistance. The fee will depend on the size of your bounty, so be prepared to part with a portion of your hard-earned gold.

Once you agree to the terms, the fence will take care of settling your bounty on your behalf. They have connections in various cities and can make arrangements with guards to wipe your slate clean discreetly. This allows you to avoid the trouble of dealing with guards directly and potentially facing additional consequences.

However, it’s important to note that this method is exclusively available to members of the Thieves Guild. If you are not a member, you will need to explore other options such as paying at a guard’s barracks or a Jarl’s steward.

In conclusion, if you find yourself in the midst of a bounty and happen to be a member of the Thieves Guild, utilizing the services of a fence is an excellent option. It provides a convenient and incognito way to settle your criminal scores, allowing you to maintain a clean record while continuing your illicit endeavors in Skyrim. Just remember to always abide by the guild’s code and keep your activities low-profile to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

Paying at a Jarl’s Steward

How to pay bounties directly to a Jarl’s steward

In Skyrim, the law can be harsh, and even the noblest heroes can find themselves on the wrong side of it. When your criminal activities have caught up with you and a bounty is placed on your head, it’s essential to settle your dues to maintain a clean record and avoid further trouble. While paying a bounty may seem daunting, there are multiple avenues available to resolve the issue. One such method is paying the bounty at a Jarl’s steward.

To pay your bounty through a Jarl’s steward, you will first need to find the Jarl’s palace. Each of the nine holds in Skyrim has its own Jarl and palace. These palaces are usually located in the central part of the hold’s capital city. Once you arrive at the Jarl’s palace, you can begin the process of settling your bounty.

Upon entering the palace, you will need to locate the Jarl’s steward. The steward is typically found near the Jarl and can usually be distinguished by their authoritative attire. Engage in conversation with the steward and inquire about paying off your bounty. They will guide you through the necessary steps to settle your debts.

The steward will ask you to hand over the specified amount of gold to clear your bounty. It’s important to note that the exact sum required will depend on the severity of your crimes. Once you pay the designated sum, your bounty will be wiped clean, and you can continue your adventures with a clean slate.

It’s worth mentioning that dealing with the Jarl’s steward can often be more convenient than visiting a guard’s barracks, especially if you are already in the hold’s capital city. However, if you have bounties in multiple holds, it may be more practical to visit the relevant guard barracks instead.

Remember, paying off your bounty is essential for reputation management and ensuring a trouble-free journey throughout Skyrim. Failing to settle your debts may result in guards attacking or arresting you on sight. So, be sure to make use of the various methods available to pay off your bounties promptly and maintain a clean criminal record.

Using the “Wait” Feature to Reduce Bounty Cost

Explanation of how utilizing the “Wait” function can lower your bounty expenses

In the vast world of Skyrim, finding yourself with a hefty bounty can be a common occurrence, whether it’s due to a momentary lapse in judgment or an accident. However, fear not, as there are various methods to settle these bounties without breaking the bank. One clever tactic is to take advantage of the “Wait” feature, which can significantly reduce the cost of paying off your criminal record.

When utilizing the “Wait” function, time passes in the game world as you wait at a specific location. Peculiarly, this mechanism can lead to a reduction in your bounty cost. By waiting for an extended period, the authorities may gradually lose interest in your misdeeds, resulting in a decreased payment requirement. With each hour that passes, a small percentage of your total bounty is forgiven.

Timing and strategy for getting the best reduction on bounty payments

To maximize the benefit of the “Wait” feature, it’s essential to time your wait strategically. Choosing an appropriate location is crucial, as certain regions or settlements may have different forgiveness rates. It is recommended to find a secluded spot away from prying eyes, such as an empty house or a discreet campsite.

Once you have settled on a location, you can engage the “Wait” feature by accessing the in-game menu. Proceed to the “Wait” option and select the desired duration. Note that the longer you wait, the more substantial the reduction in your bounty will be.

However, it’s vital to exercise caution and avoid waiting for an extended period, as your actions may still be remembered. Guards may decide to pursue you again if you reenter the area while the crime is still relatively fresh. To reduce this risk, it’s advisable to “Wait” for 24 in-game hours to ensure the authorities have ample time to forget your transgressions.

It is worth noting that waiting for more than 24 in-game hours does not provide any additional benefit in reducing your bounty. Therefore, it is best to be patient and avoid unnecessary waiting if you’re not in dire need of an immediate reduction.

By utilizing the strategic “Wait” technique and carefully timing your wait, you can significantly reduce the expenses associated with paying off your bounties in Skyrim. However, always remember that prevention is better than the cure. It is still wise to avoid getting bounties in the first place by refraining from criminal activities and maintaining a clean record. So venture forth wisely, avoid trouble, and enjoy your time in the remarkable world of Skyrim.

Paying Through Service or Jail Time

Explanation of options to work off bounties through service or imprisonment

In the vast world of Skyrim, there are multiple ways to settle your criminal score and pay off your hard-earned bounties. Aside from the conventional methods of paying off your bounties, such as visiting a guard’s barracks or a Thieves Guild fence, there are alternative options available for those looking to take a different approach. This section will explore the possibilities of working off your bounties through service or spending time behind bars.

One option to settle your criminal score is by offering your services to the city in which you committed the crimes. This involves performing various tasks or quests assigned to you by the officials, guards, or citizens of that city. By completing these tasks, you can gradually reduce the amount owed on your bounty. The tasks may include simple fetch quests, hunting down criminals or creatures, clearing out dangerous areas, or even assisting with civil matters. It is important to note that the severity of your crimes and the resulting bounty will determine the amount of service required to fully settle your score.

Alternatively, the option of serving jail time is also available. This entails surrendering yourself to the guards and spending a designated period in the local jail. The amount of time required will depend on the value of your bounty. While spending time in jail may not be the most glamorous option, it allows you to avoid any further consequences from the guards or bounty hunters. Upon completing your sentence, your bounty will be cleared, and you can resume your adventuring with a clean slate.

Pros and cons of each method and how to choose the right one

There are pros and cons to each method of working off your bounties, and the choice ultimately depends on your preferred playstyle and in-game circumstances. Opting to provide service to the city allows you to continue your journey while simultaneously reducing your bounty, providing a sense of progression. This option also grants you the opportunity to explore different areas and interact with various NPCs, potentially uncovering unique quests along the way. However, it should be noted that it may take some time and effort to fully settle larger bounties through this method.

On the other hand, serving jail time offers a quicker resolution to your criminal activities. It eliminates the need to complete tasks or quests, allowing you to swiftly wipe the slate clean and resume your adventure. However, this method may result in missed opportunities for questing or exploration, as your time will be spent confined in a cell.

When choosing between the two options, consider the severity of your crimes and your goals within the game. If you wish to maintain a clean record and swiftly continue your journey, jail time may be the preferred route. However, if you are looking for an immersive experience and have the time to engage in additional quests, offering your services might prove to be the more fulfilling and rewarding option.

By understanding the various methods available to pay off your bounties in Skyrim, you can effectively manage your criminal record and maintain a positive reputation throughout your adventures in Tamriel. Remember, the choice is ultimately yours, and the path you take will shape the outcome of your character’s story. Choose wisely, and may your future travels be free from the consequences of your past actions.

Tips and Tricks for Bounty Management

Avoiding Bounties

When exploring the vast world of Skyrim, it is important to know how to avoid bounties in the first place, keeping your criminal record clean and your reputation intact.

One effective strategy is to refrain from committing crimes in heavily populated areas. The more witnesses there are to your unlawful actions, the higher the chances of acquiring a bounty. Instead, consider carrying out your mischievous activities in isolated locations where there are limited witnesses.

Additionally, make use of stealth skills to avoid detection. Sneaking and remaining undetected can significantly reduce the possibility of acquiring a bounty. Be mindful of your surroundings, keeping an eye out for patrolling guards, and taking cover when necessary.

Minimizing Bounty Accumulation

Despite your best efforts, there may still be instances where you unintentionally find yourself in a sticky situation. Here are some effective strategies to minimize bounty accumulation and manage your criminal score.

Firstly, consider investing in certain perks and abilities that can aid in bounty management. For example, the Light Foot perk in the Sneak skill tree allows you to avoid pressure plates that trigger alarms, minimizing the chance of raising a bounty.

Furthermore, utilizing non-lethal methods to incapacitate your enemies can help prevent bounties. Instead of resorting to murder or assault, consider using spells or techniques that temporarily render your adversaries unconscious.

Lastly, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the specific laws and regulations of each hold in Skyrim. Some holds may enforce stricter penalties for certain crimes, while others may be more lenient. By understanding the rules of each hold, you can make more informed decisions and minimize the risk of acquiring unnecessary bounties.

Maintaining a Clean Record

To ensure you always maintain a clean criminal record while venturing through Skyrim, remember the following:

Regularly check your bounty status using the methods outlined earlier. It is important to stay informed about any outstanding bounties you may have acquired.

If you do find yourself with a bounty, it is essential to promptly address it. Leaving bounties unpaid for extended periods will only increase your chances of encountering hostile guards and potentially more severe consequences.

By taking proactive measures to pay off your bounties, utilizing the various methods discussed in this guide, you can avoid unnecessary trouble and maintain a positive reputation in the realm of Skyrim.


In conclusion, managing and paying off bounties is an integral part of maintaining a clean criminal record in Skyrim. By understanding bounties, finding out your bounty status, and utilizing the different payment methods available, you can settle your criminal score and avoid unnecessary complications. Additionally, adopting effective strategies to minimize bounty accumulation and actively avoiding criminal activities will help keep your reputation untarnished. Remember, a clean criminal record not only allows for hassle-free travels throughout Skyrim but also instills a sense of honor and righteousness in your adventures. So, pay off those bounties, stay vigilant, and always strive to be the law-abiding hero that Skyrim needs.

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