@ Mark & Telyn:
The thing to remember is "you" are not a typical wage earner; you are an adventurer/knight/whatever, so your income is going to be much, much higher than the average person. However, based on the value of rewards you get for early fighters/mages guild quests, I'd guess an average wage in Cyrodiil is between 50-100 gold a day. Which means it take ~4 days for an "average" person to earn enough for a medium quality weapon.
Comments on the historical style of Oblivion, and a few notes to give you a feel for the medieval period in England/Europe:
Economy: The wages above would be way over-the-top for a medieval-ish real life setup - typically a skilled craftsman was on 3-5 copper coins (pennies) a day, of which maybe a copper's worth was food and drink for the day. At that earning rate, plus paying for replacement stuff for your job, it would take months to save for a semi-decent sword. That's one reason most people had a general purpose small dagger/knife as their main weapon. Also that explains the appeal of weapons such as a quarterstaff (cut down length of hard wood) or a simple bow (split and shaped yew, gut for a bowstring, straight pointed sticks with feathers for arrows). Of course, the cost of items was tied to wages too - a blacksmith would take a day to make (say) 100 horseshoe nails, so they would cost around a days wages for him - 3 coppers. There's no simple equation for seeing how prices have changed as so much these days is automated, but you could probably get some idea of prices from time taken. A farmer has to trade his crop, less enough for his family to eat from, for enough to buy next year's seed supply, so that's going to trade at (say) 500 coppers or 50 silver or 5 gold for a year's work. That level of wages would be enough to encourage characters into dungeon exploring in the hope of finding even a silver coin or two (equivalent of 10 coppers or so), let alone gold. Of course, that would mean that anything you found which was actually WORTH having would be out of the price range of most itinerant and low-class merchants - you'd be relying on those who supplied the middle/upper classes to be able to trade in gold.
Character ages: While there were a few exceptions, especially among the rich and the upper clergy, the typical maximum age for a human in the 13-1400's was 45. An "adult" population would be mostly in the 18-30 age bracket, which is why it's actually not unrealistic to run a mod which makes most of the characters younger than you might expect.You'd expect beggers to be young too though, but either injured (lost hands/fingers/eyesight/whatever) or diseased to prevent them being forced to work at the menial jobs like gongscouring (mucking out the guarderobes or sewers). Veteran soldiers wouldn't be begging unless they were too badly injured to be of use. The only exception to this might be mental disability, but even then menial labour would be more likely than begging.
People and animals: Generally, humans were shorter in the Medieval period - typically a male would be well under 5' 6" (1.65m) tall, horses were smaller (until the breeding programs that created the destriers and the like for knights to use) and cattle were MUCH smaller - maybe half the size of modern domestic breeds. Sheep were still uncommon - the move over to sheep farming came around the time of the Black Death, and whole villages were cleared of people where it became more economical to turn the land over to sheep farming for the wool. You probably wouldn't want to try and arm-wrestle with a swordsman though - unless you are a blacksmith you probably wouldn't have the sheer muscle bulk that someone training to swing a broadsword since age 11-12 would have built up. Crushing handshakes were probably the norm then, just because they expected other people to be a fit and strong as they were. Fighters tended to be bulky with muscle, traders were probably sometimes a little on the well padded side, and the lower classes were lean and stringy due to lots of work and not much to eat.
Buildings and structures: The churches in Oblivion are somewhat Gothic in style, the pointed arches being a later development than the more simple arches seen in a lot of the human buildings around the game. This would be somewhat anachronistic in a medieval setting, as the gothic style came in later. The ships are also not shaped like medieval cogs, but are more like Elizabethan or later styles - in fact considerably later given how top-heavy ships such as the Mary Rose were.
To make a little more sense of the setup in Oblivion, it's probably more Tudor in style than medieval. Post Black Death, the economy changed a lot as people became a valuable resource, and typical wages rose somewhat. The old class structures were revamped and people generally became richer. Wool brought in more money from overseas, boosting the economy too. Weaponry moved towards the longbow and crossbow, and heavily armoured knights, so horses were bred to be bigger and heavier. The beginnings of industrial processes for things like forging were creeping in, and things like swords became cheaper in real terms. Maybe a comparison with the time of Henry 8th or Elizabeth 1st is a better basis for any "real feel" mods, maybe even later.
@David Brasher - most of the information is culled from the book I recommended to Telyn a few posts back - it's just a very boiled-down version of a few chapter summaries. The rest comes from watching history- and archaeology-related programmes on TV - mostly Channel 4's "Time Team" and Tony Robinson's "Worst Jobs in History" series, plus reading a few well-researched historical series like Ellis Peter's "Cadfael" novels.
History is fascinating stuff, but not always directly applicable to something like Oblivion. Because there's no "cause and effect" in the game world, there are some very odd happenings - like why are there sewers but no drains for storm water or toilets? Where does the sewer water COME from? All you can do when thinking about a mod, and aiming for realism, is which aspects of the approximate time period are relevant, and which just get in the way.
In many ways, Nehrim is far closer to a "real feel" for the RPG world. Probably because it IS a total conversion mod, and the choices have been based a little more on realism and less on console-based hack-and-slash. I'm just hoping that Skyrim allows a more realistic feel to the game world, without wrecking the gameplay or story in the process.
One has to understand that Oblivion actually covers a lot of different cultures/time periods. Here's what I see:
Government: Pre-Christian Rome/Victorian England/Gregorian British North America.
Architecture: Mid-17'th Century Germany
Social Infrastructure: Late 19th/ Early 20th Century England. (Well, London to be more accurate)
Economy: Mid 19th Century England
Fashion: Mid 19th Century England, with some Italian and German influence.
Armor/Weapons: 18th Century France/Germany with some Viking.
Religion: Pre-Christian Greece/Rome
Great post up there MarkinMKUK. I hope to have that book in my hands soon at which point I am going to try to incorporate as much as possible into the economy and see how it plays out.
The mix is clearly due to market pressures. They had to satisfy the needs of fans of several hot genres. If there had been a recent dinosaur fad, it would have a dinosaur DLC, too. It's amazing they meshed all the genres together as well as they did.
I think you may do better looking at the Tudor period for a representative economy - other than the Legion, almost everything else fits better as 15/16th century or a little later. Elizabethan/Shakesperean England would probably be a lot easier to research too, given we have so many more records regarding that time.
There are a couple of TV series you might want to look for as well - "Tony Robinson's Crime and Punishment" looks at the historical foundation of the English legal system from the Romans onwards, and "What the Tudors did for Us" looks at the impact the Tudors had on modern life, which is a good way to see which items may be anachronistic and which are just unexpected.
One thing that may take a little tinkering in the Oblivion engine is coins, and getting the correct "change" in the minimum number of gold, silver and copper coins. Also exchanging coins for higher or lower denomination with no profit or loss on the trade - unless it's "foreign" coins (do Elsweyr/Morrowind/Skyrim coins have a different value and need an exchange rate, hence buying and selling at different costs?)
However, if you DO decide on a medieval setting, I'll certainly give it a try - the economic changes and challenges would be interesting to say the least. I'd also love to try and play a Cadfael-type character - an ex-warrior cleric puttering about his herb garden, but also doing detective-type stuff on quests, which a medieval background would be FAR better for than the later setting. Maybe I'll have to learn modding myself...
I thought about Tudor. There are a few drawbacks for me. First, there is a very strong ancient Roman theme going on with the Imperials, and it's a bit easier for me to deal with Roman traditions in a medieval setting than a Tudorlike setting. The technology level is a mix of eras, some even later than Tudor, but the production of goods seems more medieval to me than Tudor. It's complex, because it's hard to imagine how real magic might have changed Tudor society had it been a pervasive as is the case in Oblivion. The thing is, the astrology thing fits nicely, but it's not a big influence on the economy. The magic items in Oblivion are a huge part of the economy, and I have difficulty here working the flavor of them into Tudor. Oblivion has a polytheistic faith, an emphasis on nature, etc. Everyone in Oblivion believes in magic and almost everyone practices it to some degree. It's not formally scholarly. Originally some animals in Oblivion were meant to have spells. It does have some of the trappings of later practices, such as the alchemical tools. Hourglass wasn't common until late medieval, but alembics and mortar/pestle are much older. This is an example of Elizabethan era magic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dee
So there we do have alchemy, and astronomy, and summoning. However, the alchemy was a philosophical/spiritual endeavor and Oblivion alchemy doesn't seem to have much of that. It's less abstract and symbolic. In terms of economy, only the alchemy has a major impact, and magic weapons and armor have at least as much. I think that's why I am leaning to loose medieval here. You may be right though, it might turn out to be much more workable to go with a later era.
Love Cadfael. The character I am playing most right now does mostly putter around in an herb garden and occasionally solve mysteries, though she apparently also feels it is her duty to do the religious type quests. I am not really fond of the main quest at this point, but this character is insisting.
I guess I will just play with pricing and see where it goes. Once I have a better idea how it plays in game, everything I am currently thinking of doing will probably change. The Local Economy feature in Enhanced Economy might simulate the exchange rates you're wanting, indirectly. http://www.tesnexus....le.php?id=25078
For the economy stuff, having a quiet word with TheNiceOne will probably pay dividends - he might already have worked out how to add in smaller value coins.
The clothing we have is late 1300's leading into 1400s at it's earliest - the sleeve as a separate part of clothing didn't come in til nearly 1400.
Housing is timber or half-timber in many of the rural areas - but not a bay-type construction very often, so it's a later developed style than about 1650. Before then you'd have a series of cross-sections joined into one structure, each one being raised separately and fixed on with wooden pegs. Thatch is a very early development, so the roofing could be any time. The fittings on doors would appear to be some very solid wrought iron, so could easily be earlier than 1400. Glass blowing for the alchemical stuff would be rather later though, to get the quality of glass shown - Renaissance era maybe?
Pick and choose, I guess
Edited by MarkInMKUK, 14 April 2011 - 03:38 PM.