So, you've got a fantasy kingdom that has had the better part of its treasury stolen by a dragon. They tracked the dragon back to its lair and trapped it permanently inside... but the dragon refuses to die from thirst, starvation or old age. Going in after it would be a suicide mission, so how to get the gold back?
The kingdom hits on the idea of using the dragon's lair as a means of capital punishment (I cribbed this off of an old dungeon-crawling game called Dungeon Siege) where condemned prisoners are sent into the lair and told:
"If you bring us back (X) amount of gold, your death sentence will be reduced to life slavery. If you bring us back (Y) amount of gold, you get to go free. If you KILL the dragon, somehow, you get to go free and keep as much of the treasure as you can carry."
So, my question is, what would be appropriate values for (X) and (Y)?
This is a setting that I'm using to run a tabletop RPG in, so for convenience I'm using copper, silver and gold coins. As a reference, I told my players that a copper coin is worth about 5 dollars, a silver coin is worth about 100 dollars, and a gold coin is worth about 1000 dollars. I understand that dollar values don't exactly map hundreds of years back in time, but it gives a rough reference for value. Another way to think about it is that a copper coin will buy you a hot meal and a drink, a hard-working laborer can earn a silver coin in a day, and two gold coins will buy you a good sword (steel is more plentiful and easier to work with here than it has been historically in the real world).