What do you all think about this as a guideline?Written by Axel Widén, on March 29th 2017. roughly translated by Telephalsion.
A general guideline would be to base it (bribes) on reputation for the NPC that is being bribed. Like:
Rep 1-2: 1-100 Birr
Fitting bonuses: Food, Kohol, Arrash, a place to sleep.
Fitting threats: Violence, the law, local criminals
Rep 3-4: 100-1000 Birr
Fitting bonuses: Buying at a marked up price, a favorable deal, protection
Fitting threats: Violence, spreading rumors, threat to friends & family
Rep. 5-6: 1000-100 000 Birr
Fitting bonuses: An exclusive favor, shares in a company, real-estate
Fitting threats: Sabotaged business, spreading rumors, threat to friends & family
Rep 7-8 At least 1 000 000 Birr
Fitting bonuses: Rights to resource extraction or trade rights, fraction secrets, ship(s)
Fitting threats: Loss of status, catastrophic scandals, revealed secrets
Rep. 9-10: Birr is meaningless
Fitting bonuses: Territories, entire companies, marriages, completely exclusive experiences.
Fitting threats: War, trade war
Most likely the players will mostly be dealing with bribes towards NPC with reputations 1-6 så perhaps more work could be done there. If there is room in the story I would also prefer that the NPCs want something other than just money that they think that the players can get. If the plot needs advancing I would instead pick a sum according to the above list and let it be affected by players and NPC's manipulation rolls, done, moving on.
I have encountered plenty of systems that gauge bribe amounts to salaries. often times a weeks salary is a "regular bribe". And if the receiver faces only mild punishment if caught this would be enough. If the risk to the receiver is greater then manipulation and/or a larger bribe is needed. Increased bribes often work better on the lower end of the payscale and for unskilled labor. For artisans that risk their entire livelyhood and reputation, bribes might be more expensive or even impossible.