Pinewatch is northeast of Falkreath, about halfway between Falkreath and the Guardian Stones along the main road. An easy way to get to Pinewatch is to head directly west from Helgen. There is a bandit watchtower with a double rock fall trap just to the south of the house. It is also near Lakeview Manor.HF
On first inspection, Pinewatch appears to be an ordinary farmhouse with crops growing out back. The door is locked and, surprisingly, it is untouched by all the bandit activity in the area. The house itself is typical Nordic style, with a single large room and stairs leading to the basement. There is a secret passage in the basement that is opened by pressing a button to the right of the empty bookshelf on the lower level of the building. If the Dragonborn bribes Rhorlak in this farmhouse during the "Silver Lining" quest, he will reveal the location of the button.
The secret passageway opens into a tunnel leading to a series of connected caverns. The cave system is comprised of ancient Nordic tombs and what appears to be an excavation site. Close to a dozen bandits inhabit this area in a series of chambers. It seems that a crew of bandits have slain a family of woodcutters and are using their home to ambush Khajiit caravans (their corpses can be found in a corner on the bottom level of the first cavern laying atop a trap door/disposal chute). The first few chambers are piled high with crates, barrels and boxes from the caravans the bandits have robbed.
There are several locked doors with potions and other items behind them and chests (some locked) to open. The first is on the upper level of the first cavern. The Dragonborn will find several notes mentioning "Rigel's" well-protected treasure room.
Pinewatch Bandit's Sanctuary
The sanctuary is the living quarters of the bandits. There are more tombs and caverns that have been converted into a sleeping area, kitchen/dining area and the bandit leader's room. The bandits have cleared this portion of the tomb by killing the draugr, the remains of which litter the area. One of the locked doors here guards an Unusual Gem and a trapped chest (novice).
In the hall leading to the dining area, a warning note is stuck to the wall. The note warns the bandits to not try to sneak into the treasure room and is signed Rigel Strong-Arm.
After clearing the area of more bandits the Dragonborn will make their way into Rigel's room. There are multiple bone alarms hanging around the room to alert the leader of any intrusion. The bandit leader will come out to attack, the infamous Rigel Strong-Arm. Be sure to loot her for the Pinewatch Key and Pinewatch Treasure Room Key. There is also a workbench here.
One can also sneak past her entirely and pick the master-level lock to the treasure room.
The treasure room is guarded by a master-locked door (which can be opened using Rigel's key). The next few areas are filled with multiple traps prepared for an unwary thief. The "bridge" has a dart trap, followed by a hallway with a swinging blades trap, then a battering ram trap to catch anyone running through the swing blades. Further down the hall is the treasure room door which is protected by a flail trap. In front of the treasure is a less-than-subtle pressure plate, which will trigger a spear trap for those not careful. The treasure room contains an altar loaded with jewels, ingots, valuable ore, coins, two silver candlesticks and the silver mold. There is also a chest with random leveled loot nearby.
- Curious Silver Mold – Quest item found during the Thieves' Guild quest Silver Lining.
- Two Silver Candlesticks – Found next to the silver mold at the end.
- Stone of Barenziah – Behind a locked door to the northwest side of the room with the dead draugrs.
- The Red Kitchen Reader (Sneak Skill book) – The book's location is randomly generated. Possible locations may include the house, the sanctuary's kitchen or a shelf next to the doorway when entering the first cavern.
- Grindstone – In the excavation room
- Tanning Rack – Outside the house
- Workbench – In Rigel's room
- Wood Chopping Block – Outside the house
- If Rhorlak is successfully bribed during the quest, "Silver Lining," it is possible to pickpocket the back from him, as well as a few extra that he may have already been carrying.
- The bandit name mentioned in Roras's Letter is "Roras"; however, the name in the warning written by Rigel Strong-Arm is "Roars." This is possibly due to Rigel being, according to Roras's Letter, "as dumb as a mammoth."
- The quest "Silver Lining" does not need to have begun in order to obtain the silver mold. It can be handed to Delvin Mallory right after accepting the quest. However, since the silver mold is a quest item it cannot be sold or dropped. As a quest item, it is weightless, despite what the inventory indicates.
- This is a good place to harvest Altmer, Dunmer, and Orc blood for the quest "Discerning the Transmundane." Immediately after entering the secret cavern, turn left, and there will be a dead female High Elf on the ground, and in the Sanctuary there is a Dunmer and Orc seated at a table with an Imperial.
- Everything in this area will be reset after one or both of the quests related to its location have been completed.
- One does not have to join the Thieves Guild in order to access the farmhouse and adjoining cave complex; the button still works to open the passageway, and all bandits and Rigel still appear in within the cave system.
- In the Pinewatch Bandit's Sanctuary, where the beds are located, is a good place to level Sneak, as there will always be one bandit sleeping there, regardless of the time of day. Moving back and forth to the bandit and the tunnel entrance will level the Sneak skill quickly, as long as one is not detected by the bandit and the four in the bar in the next room.
- If sneaking and undetected, one can overhear a conversation between three bandits seated at a table:
Bandit 1 "I tried to tell him that he wouldn't get past the traps, but he wouldn't listen..."
Bandit 2 "It was a stupid plan, and now Rigel's so mad she won't even let us cut him down from there!"
Bandit 3 "Aye, and she's added more traps as well... A moment of silence for our fallen friend..."
- The three bandits seated at the table (the one in the room with the Expert-locked chest) are always a female Dunmer, a male Orc and male Imperial. They are also scripted to always sit at said table; this can easily be seen by alerting them (via Throw Voice or shooting an arrow into a corner) and when they no longer are suspicious, they will sit down at the table again.
- There is a texture glitch in the tunnel behind the shelf that causes a plummet into the great void. It may be prudent to save before trying to leave.
- There is a glitched pressure plate on the upper bridge in the main room of the bandit sanctuary that activates even if the Dragonborn has the Light Foot perk in the Sneak skill tree.
- Fast-traveling to Pinewatch, or from it, can cause the game to seize up and freeze after taking a few steps away from the location's fast travel point.
- There is a gap in the first room near the exiting door under the cottage that the Dragonborn can get stuck in.
- The potions in the first room behind the door with an expert lock may turn invisible.
- The Stone of Barenziah may not appear.
- Random occurrences may trigger once the Dragonborn exits Pinewatch:
- A female Dunmer spawns and drops dead.
- A lone skeever waiting on the road.
- A skeleton lying on the ground.