Whilst the economic game is often a huge part of fest LARPs, so much so that Profound Decisions own Empire system has incorporated it as a distinct ‘section’ of the game, it is a much more difficult thing to apply to smaller systems.
Small player numbers generally means a low IC cash threshold. Unless specifically plotted in, the players are unlikely to come across large sums of cash at all – and if there are IC items for sale then they will be priced accordingly. Either items are low cost to go with low cash levels, or high cost to go with high cash levels – so devaluing the currency.
These items, then are usually of low importance – arbitrary items with little relevance to the plot or mechanics. Important items would necessarily cost more, and therefore out of reach to the players, or ignored in favour of more immediately helpful things.
When big cash sums are granted to players in otherwise low-cash systems, it is usually in relation to a big-value item that are not necessarily directly accessible IC; means of transport during the down-time, guarantees of survival and so on. The in-game economy stays balanced as big cash pools are immediately sunk into the big cash prize.
Small items, then, are most likely arbitrary in nature. Food, drink, trinkets and other knickknacks. Players will most likely pay what they think is fair (“What is that in relation to a pint?”) and the economy flows relatively naturally. Accompanied by mundane but important items – bullets or bandages – and there are economic targets to work towards.
Items like these, and the currency used to buy them, are more like a form of set dressing. They add to the immersion of the setting rather than trying to shoehorn in an economic game on-top of the existing plotlines.
Obviously, never expect the players to buy into all this. Hoarding is second nature to both dragons and LARPers.