Riften, referred to as Rifton in earlier records, is a city situated in the southeastern corner of The Rift, at the eastern end of Lake Honrich, with a good portion of the city actually spilling over the water atop large wooden piers. It is the southernmost and easternmost of all the cities in Skyrim.
The entire city is bisected by a large canal that used to serve as access for small cargo boats, but lately has fallen into disrepair, decay and stagnation thanks to the lack of trade during the Civil War. Despite this, Riften remains a bustling center of commerce; the Black-Briar Meadery has a near monopoly on the sale and distribution of a Nord's favorite pastime: drinking.
The city is located in the beautiful Autumnal Forest region of Skyrim, and that beauty has encroached upon the city, in the form of wondrous foliage and generally pleasant, if not sometimes overcast weather. But most of Riften's structures are wooden, and the city gives off an old and run-down feeling, which often takes visitors by surprise. Not that this bothers the residents, who see Riften for what it truly is—a bustling, energetic city with a strong economy fueled by hard-working fishermen and mead makers. Despite the fact that the current Jarl in office is Laila Law-Giver, the residents understand that the city is, for all intents and purposes, actually owned and operated by Maven Black-Briar, and in order to survive and thrive, one needs to adhere to her rules. Maven's hold over the city is so great, that in the event of an Imperial victory, Maven takes the position of Jarl and remarks that it is only as a title.
Despite the city's economic strength, it holds a darker side. The home of the notorious Thieves Guild in Skyrim, Riften also sees much corruption in the form of Maven Black-Briar, especially when dealing with rivals. Many poor residents frequent the less desirable areas, and thieves both Guild and freelance take advantage of the frequent mist, dark alleys and the Canal, preying on travelers and citizens alike. Such conditions reflect on the city; deaths are common, and people will often fight in the street over dropped items.
The northern, eastern and southern edges of the city, built on the shore of Lake Honrich, are called Dryside. The bulk of the town's residence sits on Dryside, and is split from the western edge known as Plankside, by the Riften canal. Most of the more affluent homes are located on the eastern edge of Dryside, as well as the Temple of Mara, while the southern portion of the city holds the Honorhall Orphanage and Mistveil Keep.
The western edge of the city is known as Plankside, built on the waters of Lake Honrich, and serves as the city's business district. The market, shops, meadery, fish hatchery, and the Bee and Barb Inn are all located on Plankside; essentially Dryside is residence while Plankside is business. The buildings on Plankside have been built atop of wooden docks, and the district is old and ramshackle. There are three main docks projecting from Plankside onto the lake, one owned completely by the Black-Briar Meadery and the other two used for commerce and fishery.
The Riften Canal is the lower level of the city; small residences and an alchemy shop are built into the moisture ridden stone. Dark and traversed only along rickety catwalks, the canal is avoided by the more affluent citizens of Riften, as it is a common place for muggings and foul play. It also contains the entrance to The Ratway, the city under the city.
Riften is notorious for being the home of the Thieves Guild, and residents urge travelers away from the sprawling tunnel system. If successfully navigated, one might find The Ragged Flagon, the headquarters of the Guild. However, that would mean crossing the dark and tight tunnels, and avoiding those too dangerous or outcast not to warrant residency in Riften proper or membership in the Guild.
Upon approaching the city gates, the Riften guards attempt to make the Dragonborn pay a "visitor's tax," which varies according to level. With a high enough Speech skill, however, they can persuade or intimidate the guard. If recognized that "this is obviously a shakedown," the guard tells the Dragonborn to "keep this quiet," and go on ahead. It is, however, possible to get into the city without using the main gate, by using the entrance of Black-Briar Meadery on the docks, then going through the meadery into Riften.
These guards are suspected to be accomplices of Brynjolf, as he later addresses the Dragonborn with full knowledge of the scam call out. To avoid the situation entirely, one can have themselves arrested and jailed in Riften, or sneak in through the meadery, or by pickpocketing the guard's gate key. Also, if a dragon attacks while talking with the guards, they will run to attack the dragon and the Dragonborn can get inside after the fight while the guards are walking back to their post.
There are also town guards guarding the docks. These guards cannot be persuaded or even bribed to be let in, directing the player to the north gate.
After entering the city, the Dragonborn will be greeted by Maul, who will say "I don't know you, you in Riften lookin' for trouble?" If the Dragonborn replies with "I'm not scared of you," Maul will tell them "That's the wrong answer," followed by instructions to keep out of the Black-Briar business.
- Arnskar Ember-Master – Blacksmith in the Ratways
- Brynjolf – second-in-command
- Cynric Endell
- Delvin Mallory – Numbers, Fishing, and Bedlam job giver, Sneak trainer
- Dirge – Lookout
- Mercer Frey – Guild Master
- Niruin – Archery trainer
- Sapphire – daughter of Glover Mallory
- Thrynn – former bandit
- Tonilia – Guild fence, lookout
- Vekel the Man – owner of the Ragged Flagon
- Vex – Heist, Burglary, Shill, and Sweep job giver, Lockpicking trainer
- Vipir the Fleet – Pickpocket trainer
Points of interest
- Aerin's House
- Beggar's Row
- Black-Briar Manor
- Bolli's House
- Haelga's Bunkhouse
- Honeyside (For Sale)
- Marise Aravel's House
- Riftweald Manor
- Romlyn Dreth's House
- Snow-Shod Manor
- Valindor's House
Outside the City
The house in Riften (Honeyside) costs 8000 and can be bought from the steward, Anuriel, after Jarl Laila or Maven Black-Briar approves. This approval is gained by performing deeds for Riften's citizens.
- Aerin – the man who saved Mjoll the Lioness' life
- Asgeir Snow-Shod – Maven Black-Briar's partner of the Meadery
- Alessandra – a priestess of Arkay
- Anuriel – a Bosmeri stewardess of Riften
- Asbjorn Fire-Tamer – an apprentice blacksmith to Balimund
- Balimund – a blacksmith (marriageable)
- Bersi Honey-Hand – owner of The Pawned Prawn
- Bolli – owner of Riften Fishery
- Brand-Shei – a market merchant
- Briehl – a priest of Mara
- Constance Michel – an assistant of the Orphanage
- Dinya Balu – a priestess of Mara and Maramal's wife
- Drifa – Bersi Honey-Hand's wife
- Edda – a beggar
- Elgrim – an alchemist and owner of Elgrim's Elixirs
- Francois Beaufort – a child at the orphanage
- From-Deepest-Fathoms – an anxious Argonian in the dockside
- Grelka – a market armor merchant
- Grelod the Kind – the headmistress of Honorhall Orphanage
- Haelga – the runner of Haelga's Bunkhouse
- Hafjorg – Elgrim's wife
- Harrald – Jarl Laila Law-Giver's older son
- Hemming Black-Briar – the Black-Briar's son
- Hofgrir Horse-Crusher – owner of Riften Stables
- Hroar – a child at the orphanage
- Indaryn – manager of the Black-Briar Meadery
- Ingun Black-Briar – the Black-Briar's daughter
- Keerava – manager of the Bee and Barb
- Laila Law-Giver – the Jarl of Riften
- Louis Letrush – quest giver (Promises to Keep)
- Madesi – a market jewelry merchant
- Marise Aravel – a market food merchant
- Maul – the right-hand man of Maven Black-Briar
- Maven Black-Briar – the head of the Black-Briars
- Mjoll the Lioness – a warrior and city protector (marriageable)
- Maramal – a priest of Mara and Dinya's husband
- Marcurio – a mercenary mage (marriageable)
- Molgrom Twice-Killed – a prisoner
- Niluva Hlaalu – a worker at the Meadery
- Nivenor – Bolli's wife
- Nura Snow-Shod – Vulwulf Snow-Shod's wife
- Romlyn Dreth – a worker at the Meadery (marriageable)
- Runa Fair-Shield – a child at the orphanage
- Saerlund Law-Giver – Jarl Laila Law-Giver's youngest son
- Samuel – a child at the orphanage
- Shadr – an assistant at Riften Stables
- Sibbi Black-Briar – the Black-Briar's son
- Snilf – a beggar
- Svana Far-Shield – Haelga's niece and maid at Haelga's Bunkhouse
- Talen-Jei – a waiter at the Bee and Barb
- Threki the Innocent – a prisoner
- Tythis Ulen – a worker at Riften Fishery
- Ungrien – a bartender at the Meadery
- Unmid Snow-Shod – the Jarl' Laila Law-Giver's Housecarl
- Valindor – a worker at Riften Fishery
- Vulwulf Snow-Shod – the man who lost his daughter in the Civil War
- Wujeeta – a worker at Riften Fishery
- Wylandriah – the Court Wizard of Riften
- I Done Got Thaned! – Become Thane of The Rift
- Supply and Demand
- The Raid
- The Book of Love
- Unfathomable Depths
Thieves Guild quests
- Bring It! – Pick up Harrald's Sword from Balimund.
- Distant Memories – Help find a clue about Brand-Shei's past.
- Few and Far Between – Find twenty deathbell, twenty nightshade and twenty nirnroot for Ingun Black-Briar.
- Forbidden Legend – Started by reading the book Lost Legends in Black-Briar Manor.
- Grimsever's Return – Retrieve a sword Mjoll the Lioness lost in Mzinchaleft.
- Hunt and Gather – Retrive items for Wylandriah.
- Ice Cold – Collect five ice wraith teeth for Marise.
- Pilgrimage – Bring Alessandra's Dagger to Andurs in Whiterun.
- Ringmaker – Find gold ore, two flawless sapphires, and a mammoth tusk for Madesi.
- Sealing the Deal – Help Talen-Jei craft an Argonian Wedding Ring by bringing him three flawless amethysts.
- Special Delivery – Deliver the purchase agreement to Kleppr in Markarth.
- Spread the Love – Deliver Mara's Warmth throughout Riften.
- Stabilized – Talk to Sapphire about Shadr's debt.
- Stoking the Flames – Collect ten fire salts for Balimund.
- The Lover's Requital – Find Sibbi Black-Briar's ex-fiancée.
- Truth Ore Consequences – Bring an ore sample to Hafjorg at Elgrim's Elixirs.
- Although it may seem easy, going into the lake surrounding Riften is actually impossible by attempting to jump over the walls. Unlike the other cities, an invisible barrier is blocking the player from jumping the walls.
- Within the jail cell the Dragonborn is taken to upon arrest, there is an "escape route" Shadowmark, of a bisected circle with a triangle underneath; to the left of this is the interaction "Activate, Broken Shackle," which causes the guards to attack the Dragonborn. This was fixed in Patch 1.5. The shackle now opens an escape route.
- One of the gates to Riften is boarded up, for seemingly no reason. A path leads from the boarded gate to the Morrowind border, although the border gate is not traversable. Although according to the official game guide, that gate was boarded up due to a large amount of casualties from bandit attacks that happened right outside that gate. See Riften, in the official paper guide for Skyrim, original edition.
- Riften is the only walled city in Skyrim that has three entrances from the open world.
- Even after/if Riften is under Imperial control, there still will be a Statue of Talos and representing Shrine of Talos near the graveyard.
- Due to the abundance of characters in localized areas of the city, it is possible for many of them to die due to friendly fire from other characters during dragon, thief and vampire attacks. The problem is exacerbated if the Ebony Warrior is present as well, who might become hostile to anyone if someone hits him by mistake. It is advised to dispatch any enemies in the game as quickly as possible to avoid this. All four events can happen simultaneously.
This section contains bugs related to Riften (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Spriggans will be at the entrance with the Dragonborn. They are non-hostile and do not move.
When entering Riften, three
- Quill of Gemination. After having retrieved it from the box in the lake, and then fast traveling to Riften, when spawned, the screen was solid sky blue, and Spriggans and bee swarm buzzing noises can be heard. The above spriggan glitch was encountered right after retrieving the
- The Spriggans may follow the Dragonborn to other hold capitals when fast travelling. It is not known if they will follow the Dragonborn to other cities, or fast travel locations. If any of them are killed, the remaining number that escaped will remain with the Dragonborn.
- Fix: Killing all the spriggans.
- Fix: If the Dragonborn attacks them, the one they attack will cloak itself with invisibility, and then flee out the gate of Riften. One can chase after it out the gate, and if they are fast enough, they will spawn out of the gate with the Spriggan. They can kill it; it still will not fight. There is no penalty for killing the non-hostile Spriggans.
- If the Imperials gain control of Riften, it is possible for Riften guards to spawn even with Imperial troops garrisoning the town. This results in the guards fighting the Imperial troops. Helping either one however, will cause a bounty to be added.
- It is possible to encounter, when having fast traveled to the city, a thief battling civilians in the marketplace. The thief is vampiric and may have a death hound at its side. Saving back has not been proven to fix this. It is advisable to kill the thief as fast as possible so no characters, specifically quest bearing ones, perish.
|Cities||Dawnstar • Falkreath • Markarth • Morthal • Riften • Solitude • Whiterun • Windhelm • Winterhold|
|Holds||Eastmarch • Falkreath Hold • Haafingar • Hjaalmarch • The Pale|
The Reach • The Rift • Winterhold Hold • Whiterun Hold