- For other uses, see Thieves Guild.
The Thieves Guild is an organization of professional thieves based in Skyrim that provides mutual support for the illegal endeavors of its members and their clients. It is one of several factions that the Dragonborn can join in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Based in Skyrim and headquartered in The Ratway beneath the city of Riften, members of the Thieves Guild are renowned for causing trouble in the city and are held largely responsible for the corruption of the city's markets. Members of the guild specialize in stealing objects of varying value or loaning septims to potential entrepreneurs or to help someone pay off their debts, in hopes of a payback. Most citizens view them unfavorably; Mjoll the Lioness has made it her duty to maintain order in Riften and pledges to dismantle the guild. Maven Black-Briar, the affluent and unscrupulous owner of the popular Black-Briar Meadery, consorts with the guild in exchange for their financial aid and protection. The guild has an uncanny luck due to certain members striking up a deal with the Daedric Prince Nocturnal to serve as guardians to her temple.
The guild has a strong hold in politics and law enforcement due to their ability to bribe, intimidate, and extort the officials and guards of any hold by exploiting their greed or by threatening to reveal embarrassing and potentially damning secrets to the public.
Little is known about when and how the Thieves Guild of Skyrim was founded, but it is rumored to have been around as long as Riften has. As the Fourth Era continued, the Thieves Guild slipped further and further into obscurity and the members and regular clients began to leave (with the exception of Maven Black-Briar).
The guild was previously believed to be completely fictional; in Oblivion, if asked about the guild, guards would simply state that there was no such thing. However, the Thieves Guild has become well known and, in fact, well renowned for their thievery and exploitation.
The guild has some close association with the Dark Brotherhood which becomes apparent in "The Silence Has Been Broken" quest for the Dark Brotherhood, in which the Dragonborn must bring an amulet given by Amaund Motierre to Delvin Mallory, a member of the Thieves Guild, to be revised on its value to cover payment of Motierre's several contracts that culminate in the murder of Emperor Titus Mede II.
In 4E 176, which is twenty-five years before 4E 201, when the quests of the Thieves Guild in Skyrim take place, the Thieves Guild was in a golden age. Their headquarters was a palace, in which they had their own blacksmith, alchemist, traders, fences, and many associates throughout Skyrim. The Thieves Guild was very powerful and dominant and was feared and respected by most of Skyrim. Even with the Guild being in a Golden Age, the Guildmaster Gallus Desidenius was slowly and carefully organizing and planning long-term heists which included heists on museums, art galleries, stores, and government treasuries in an effort to continue and strengthen the Guild's presence in Skyrim. One of these heists included the heist of the Eyes of the Falmer, which required a deep understanding of the Falmer, their language, and their writing system.
By 4E 201, the Guild was on the brink of collapse, with the people of Skyrim becoming bolder and less fearful of the organization. The Guild had made plans to bring itself back to its former glory and establish itself as a major faction in Skyrim. A great number of small jobs were needed to be completed; this was followed by the completion of a contract by a notable person found in Whiterun, Solitude, Windhelm and Markarth respectively. A special request was not needed to be completed in Riften, because the Thieves Guild already had a major presence in the city and was preeminently dominant throughout the area, especially with their ties to Maven Black-Briar.
When the first group of Nightingales sought guidance from Nocturnal, she accepted, but in return, the Guild would have to keep the Skeleton Key safe in its chamber. However, when Mercer Frey secretly assassinated the current Guildmaster Gallus and took the key from its chamber, the Guild lost Nocturnal's favor. The curse was then activated, causing the Guild to go to a state of decay and ill-repute among their clients.
- Main article: Shadowmarks
One of the major aspects of the Thieves Guild in Skyrim is their use of a code the guild-members use to communicate with each other without speaking. This unique code is known as Shadowmarks. The code is composed of nine different symbols, each with their own meaning. These Shadowmarks are commonly placed on door-frames on the fronts of buildings which indicate to a Guild member if the building is safe, dangerous, contains important items or loot, houses another member of the Guild or another thief, as well as other important uses that could help a Guild member or other thieves.
Connection with the Dark Brotherhood
The Thieves Guild has a strong connection with the Dark Brotherhood, which is especially evident in the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild in Skyrim. Despite their differences in organization, purpose, and policies, the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood rely on each other for support. It is notable that Delvin Mallory and Astrid of the Brotherhood have had a good relationship, both as friends and as business associates.
To join the Thieves Guild the Dragonborn must enter Riften and speak to Brynjolf, a red-headed Nord male, who can be found during the day in the Riften Marketplace between 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m or in The Bee and Barb at night. During the day, once the Dragonborn is within proximity, Brynjolf will automatically attempt to strike up a conversation in which the Thieves Guild prerequisite quest "A Chance Arrangement" can be started. Alternatively, in the evenings past 8:00 p.m., the Dragonborn can encounter Brynjolf at The Bee and Barb inn, at which time he will tell the Dragonborn to speak with him during the day at his stall in the Riften Marketplace.
Brynjolf, when encountered during the daytime, will give the Dragonborn instructions to steal Madesi's Silver Ring from the strongbox located under his stall and then plant it inside of the pocket of Brand-Shei, the local general stall owner. He is identified as the only male Dunmer in the crowd. Brynjolf will start a distraction by calling everybody within the area to listen to the story of his latest product that he is selling, Falmerblood Elixir, which is obviously a ruse. During this time, carry out the plan as discussed with Brynjolf. Planting the ring will instantly end Brynjolf's tale he is telling to the crowd, thus dispersing it. He will now tell the Dragonborn to meet him in the Ragged Flagon down in the Ratway to discuss membership. Afterwards, a Riften Hold Guard will confront Brand-Shei, discover the planted ring, and arrest him, escorting him to the jail in Mistveil Keep where Brand-Shei will remain in lockup for the rest of the game.
Even if the Dragonborn fails to acquire the ring, joining the Guild is still possible because Brynjolf says he still believes the Dragonborn has what it takes, despite failure of the quest. However, it will initially make a few members of the guild treat the Dragonborn with more disdain.
- A Chance Arrangement
- Taking Care of Business
- Loud and Clear
- Dampened Spirits
- Scoundrel's Folly
- Speaking With Silence
- Hard Answers
- The Pursuit
- Trinity Restored
- Darkness Returns
- Under New Management
Delvin and Vex offer an unlimited number of radiant quests known as "jobs." The target item and location for each are generated randomly within Whiterun, Markarth, Windhelm, Solitude and Riften. Jobs can be accepted and denied at will. It is possible (and efficient) to run a job for Delvin and one for Vex simultaneously (the Tips section below has more information). The reward for each mission is leveled, between 50 and 800 . After performing five small jobs in a single city, excluding Riften, a special job will be unlocked for it, which upon completion will upgrade the appearances of both the Ragged Flagon and Cistern as the Thieves Guild regain their influence around Skyrim. Killing those crucial to the job results in a failure, and no payment is received. Since there are no count statistics provided for these jobs, the only ways to determine how many have been done are to go through the completed jobs in the quest log and read the objective for each, since they list the city in which the job was done, or to keep track manually.
With The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn installed, jobs such as "The Bedlam Job" can also be generated in Raven Rock on Solstheim, although there are no special jobs nor city influence quests on the island.
Delvin Mallory's jobs
- The Bedlam Job – Steal enough items to get a five hundred coin value within the assigned hold. Legally taking an item from a house may not count towards it.
- A very effective method is stealing an expensive item, going to a secluded location, then dropping it and picking it up a few times. Each time the item is picked up it counts as theft.
- An easy yet slightly rare method of reaching the required goal is to accept a "Sweep Job" from Vex at the same time, and then quit and retake the jobs until they are both in the same city. Alternatively to quitting, accept the quest from one, save before checking the other and reload if an undesired result comes up. When the sweep job is completed, the bedlam job will be done as well.
- If the Dragonborn has not yet collected all of the Stones of Barenziah, finding and stealing one is enough to reach the goal by itself.
- Another easy way is to steal from forges. 500 worth of something can easily be found.
- Yet another easy way is to raid the palaces of the Jarls.
- Depending on dragon attacks and what quests the Dragonborn has completed, there may be houses in each Hold which are no longer occupied due to NPC death. These houses will respawn loot. Example: Nepos' House is unoccupied after completing "The Forsworn Conspiracy," and contains enough loot to complete a bedlam job by itself.
- Pickpocketing items does not count.
- The Fishing Job – Pickpocket an item from a given target.
- Can be difficult, but the quest item has usually a higher success percentage for pickpocketing than is normal, hence it is great training for this skill.
- Saving before pickpocketing the item allows cases where the Dragonborn is caught to be forgotten.
- These are also good jobs to take to unlock the Thief achievement.
- A rather tricky fishing job is to steal Olava the Feeble's silver ruby ring, due to the fact that usually, when she is not asleep, she is sitting on a bench with almost no way to sneak up to steal her ring. However, one does not need to be completely hidden to successfully pickpocket.
- The Numbers Job – Modify the ledger book at a given business. This is the easiest of Delvin's three jobs to complete. Near the ledger book, there might be a business safe box containing some .
- The Burglary Job – Steal an item from a house.
- Can be done during the day or night easily; as the owner either sleeps or is at work
- The best time to do this sort of job is around 7:30 PM, as there is no one at home or on the street.
- The Heist Job – Steal an item from a business.
- If tried during the day the shop owner will most likely follow the Dragonborn around.
- The Shill Job – Plant a stolen item in a character's home.
- Similar to burglary. Relatively easy, considering that the only "illegal" part of the job is trespassing, and getting caught by the guards any time during it does not result in failure.
- The Sweep Job – Steal three specific items from a house.
City influence quests
After completing five small jobs in a city (with the exception of Riften and Raven Rock), Delvin will offer a special job to restore Thieves Guild influence in that city. These quests can be taken in any order. The city influence quests are necessary in order to complete "Under New Management" and assume the title of Guildmaster. When they are all completed, the guild can return to its former glory. (However, before completing them all, see the bugs reported for "Under New Management.") Becoming Guildmaster allows access to the Guild Master's Tribute Chest.
Each city influence quest that is completed will add a merchant stall to the Ragged Flagon. In addition, the gold available to fences throughout Skyrim gradually increases as these quests are completed, up to a maximum of 4,000 . The third and fourth city influence quests will each add a new recruit to the Guild as well: first Garthar, and then Ravyn Imyan. The Cistern will also be upgraded with new stuff as the city influence quests are completed, such as Thieves Guild banners, improved furniture, and other things.
|Imitation Amnesty||5 small jobs in Whiterun||Whiterun||One new merchant's stall.|
|Summerset Shadows||5 small jobs in Windhelm||Windhelm||Unlocks Niranye as a fence (if she did not act aggressive and was not killed when talked to during the quest).
One new merchant's stall.
|Silver Lining||5 small jobs in Markarth||Markarth||Unlocks Endon as a fence.
One new merchant's stall.
|The Dainty Sload||5 small jobs in Solitude||Solitude||One new merchant's stall.|
|Deliver Moon Sugar to Ri'saad||Complete 3 city influence quests.||N/A||Khajiit Caravans will offer a fence as well as a small gold reward from Tonilia|
While related, "Deliver Moon Sugar to Ri'saad" is not itself a city influence quest. It is given by Tonilia rather than Delvin Mallory, and is not a prerequisite for "Under New Management."
|Syndus||Fletcher and Blacksmith||After completing first city influence quest.|
|Herluin Lothaire||Alchemist and Enchanter||After completing second city influence quest.|
|Vanryth Gatharian||Fletcher and Blacksmith||After completing third city influence quest.|
|Arnskar Ember-Master||Blacksmith||After completing all four city influence quests.|
Although these unlocked merchants work for the guild, they do not act as fences and therefore do not buy goods marked as stolen. (Note: If the Windhelm quest is completed before all others, Herluin Lothaire may move instead of Syndus.)
The fastest possible method for completion is to disable automatic saves (on Travel, on Character Menu), take Numbers jobs from Delvin and take Burglary jobs from Vex. These are the two fastest respective job types to complete. Once one has factored in time lost from repeated saving and reloading the latter tip actually takes longer than speedrunning.
Alternatively, one can save before getting a new job, then ask for "Bedlam Jobs" from Delvin and "Sweep Jobs" from Vex (Hint: to avoid going through the conversation again, it is best to save once the dialogue is finished, but before the quest objective appears). As long as they are in the same city, once the Sweep Job is done, "The Bedlam Job" will be completed as well, essentially completing two tasks at once. If it is in a city whose influence quest has already been completed, quick loading and trying again is suggested.
Another way is to quit the job Delvin and/or Vex assigned, then ask for the job again. Generally, there are no negative repercussions for quitting jobs, excluding the multiple failed missions in the quest log and the short disapproving dialogue after each quit job. However, if the Dragonborn quits a "Sweep Job" in one place and then gets that job again later, they risk having difficulties stealing the items since the new/latest rendered item could spawn inside the old item that is left from the first job. For example, the Dragonborn could get a jeweled pitcher inside another jeweled pitcher. On PC this can be resolved by using the console and simply
disable the outer/old item from the previously quit job.
It is also very helpful to keep track of how many jobs have been done in each of the four holds that matter (Whiterun, Haafingar, Eastmarch, and the Reach). This makes it easier to choose the jobs to be kept or dumped to keep the relative numbers balanced. For example, if jobs are done in three holds, and yet all five jobs are left to do in the other hold, then it can be tedious to wait to be given jobs in that hold.
On PC, it is also possible to avoid doing the jobs altogether as city influence quests can be started using the
setstage console command. Each quest can be started by using the appropriate quest ID and setting the stage to 10.
Advantages to joining the Guild
- Access to the Thieves Guild headquarters.
- Two suits of Thieves Guild armor and, subsequently, the Guild Master's Armor.
- Nightingale Armor, the Nightingale Blade, and the Nightingale Bow after proceeding up the ranks.
- Three interchangeable unique powers once the Nightingale story arc is complete.
- Access to Chillrend.
- Fences who will buy both regular and stolen merchandise and can carry larger amounts of gold (4,000 after completing all four improvement quests; they have 1,000 initially).
- Chests ranging from novice to master for building up the Lockpicking skill.
- Free gold and lockpicks lying around the headquarters.
- Unlimited thievery radiant quests which reward gold.
- Master-level training in Lockpicking (Vex), Archery (Niruin), Pickpocket (Vipir the Fleet), and Sneak (Delvin Mallory).
- The Amulet of Articulation can be obtained once the main quest line and the guild improvement quests are completed.
- Dialogue option to avoid conflict with thieves encountered on the roads, later upgraded to thieves paying to the Dragonborn.
- Guards can be bribed even if the Dragonborn does not have the bribe perk.
- When confronted by a guard, the Dragonborn can pay half of the bounty in the current city, while keeping stolen goods, and the bounty is cleared. (Only if the city influence quest for that city is complete)
- The Skeleton Key, an unbreakable lockpick (temporary).
- The only way to learn one of the words of the Disarm shout is to complete the first six primary quests.
- Main article: Thieves Guild Trophies
Various unique items can be stolen during the Thieves Guild quests and sold to Delvin. As each is collected and sold to Delvin, they will be displayed on the shelves behind Mercer's Desk where they can freely be taken or left as decoration. By following the quest line, the items appear in the following order:
- Queen Bee Statue in Goldenglow Estate
- Honningbrew Decanter in Honningbrew Meadery
- East Empire Shipping Map in East Empire Company Warehouse
- Model Ship in Snow Veil Sanctum
- Dwemer Puzzle Cube in Calcelmo's Laboratory in the Dwemer Museum in Markarth
- Bust of the Gray Fox in Riftweald Manor in Riften
- Left Eye of the Falmer in Irkngthand
Trophies also appear for completing a certain number of jobs assigned by Vex and Delvin:
- Jeweled Candlestick appears after 5 jobs are completed.
- Ornate Drinking Horn appears after 15 jobs are completed.
- Golden Ship Model appears after 25 jobs are completed.
- Golden Urn appears after 35 jobs are completed.
- Jeweled Goblet appears after 45 jobs are completed.
- Jeweled Flagon appears after 55 jobs are completed. (May receive Pitcher instead of the Flagon)
- Jeweled Pitcher appears after 75 jobs are completed. (May receive Flagon instead of the Pitcher)
- A safe appears after 125 jobs are completed. It contains random loot and sometimes special thief potions that improve the Dragonborn's stealth skills.
- Mercer Frey – Guild Master, Nightingale.
- Brynjolf – Second-in-Command. Becomes a Nightingale along with the Dragonborn during the quest "Trinity Restored".
- Delvin Mallory – Senior Member. Gives Small Jobs and Special Jobs, Master Sneak Trainer, sells upgrades to Dawnstar Sanctuary
- Vex – Senior Member. Gives Small Jobs, Master Lockpicking Trainer
- Tonilia – Fence
- Sapphire – Appears around the Bee and Barb before "Speaking With Silence," wanders the Cistern after
- Cynric Endell – Former Jailbreaker
- Niruin – Master Archery Trainer
- Rune – Member
- Thrynn – Former Bandit
- Vipir the Fleet – Master Pickpocket Trainer
- Garthar – Joins after completing three Special Jobs for Delvin Mallory
- Ravyn Imyan – Joins after completing four Special Jobs for Delvin Mallory; former Morag Tong member
- Etienne Rarnis – Returns to the Ratway after the completion of the quest "Diplomatic Immunity" if he is freed from the Thalmor
- Molgrom Twice-Killed – Located in the Riften Jail; former member.
- Thief – Unnamed thieves in Riften and other various places, they attempt to steal items from one of the stalls, leading to their death at the hands of Hold Guards.
- Karliah – Nightingale
- Vekel the Man – Runs the Ragged Flagon
- Dirge – The Ragged Flagon's bouncer, the brother of Maul
- Syndus – Arrows and weapons merchant
- Herluin Lothaire – Alchemy merchant
- Arnskar Ember-Master – Blacksmith and armor and weapons merchant
- Vanryth Gatharian – Armor and weapons merchant
- Gulum-Ei – Fence, external associate of the Guild and "inside man" for the East Empire Company
- Enthir – Fence and external associate of the Guild
- Niranye – Fence and external associate of the Guild
- Endon – Fence and external associate of the Guild
- Mallus Maccius – Fence and external associate of the Guild
- Galathil – Face sculpter in the Ragged Flagon
- Athel Newberry – Associate
- Glover Mallory – Blacksmith of Raven Rock, Delvin Mallory's brother, Sapphire's biological father
- Erikur – Supporter of the Guild
- Cruel-Sea Clan – Supporters of the Guild
- Battle-Born Clan – Supporters of the Guild
- Black-Briar Family – A powerful and rich family centered in Riften; they have a dominant presence in Riften and throughout most of Skyrim. The matriarch of the Black-Briar Family, Maven Black-Briar, has ties with both the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild, as well as having a source of the power behind the political, economic, social, and cultural affairs of Riften. If the Imperial Legion takes over the Rift, she later becomes the Jarl of Riften, and with it, allows the corruption in Riften to stay and expand and allows the Thieves Guild to operate freely without prevention, and even going so far as to help them with their operations.
- Main article: Trainers (Skyrim)
- Delvin Mallory: Master Sneak trainer
- Niruin: Master Archery trainer
- Vex: Master Lockpicking trainer
- Vipir the Fleet: Master Pickpocket trainer
- Main article: Fence (Skyrim)
Fences buy stolen goods. There are a total of nine different fences throughout Skyrim, including each Khajiit caravan:
|Tonilia (Default)||The Ragged Flagon, Riften.||Upon completion of Taking Care of Business|
|Mallus Maccius||Honningbrew Meadery.||Upon completion of Dampened Spirits|
|Gulum-Ei||The Winking Skeever, Solitude.||Upon completion of Scoundrel's Folly|
|Enthir||Hall of Attainment, College of Winterhold.||Upon completion of Hard Answers|
|Niranye||Windhelm Marketplace, Windhelm.||Upon completion of Summerset Shadows|
|Endon||Silver-Blood Inn, Markarth||Upon completion of Silver Lining|
|Khajiit Caravans||Outside of cities, near their stables.||Upon completion of Deliver Moon Sugar to Ri'Saad|
- Gallus Desidenius – Previous Guildmaster
After completing various quests in the Thieves Guild questline, the Dragonborn can obtain five different armor sets.
- Thieves Guild Armor (Obtained after "Taking Care of Business")
- Guild Master's Armor Set (Obtained after "Under New Management")
- Nightingale Armor (Obtained during "Trinity Restored")
- Linwe's Armor Set (Obtained during "Summerset Shadows")
- Blackguard's Armor (Obtained after completing both of Glover Mallory's requests, only in Dragonborn)
- A full set of Thieves Guild Armor can be found on the shelves in the training room in the Cistern. The pieces of the set respawn over a period of time.
Expulsion from the guild
- Main article: Reparations
Thieves caught attacking other guild members or one of their associates are removed from the guild and none of the members speak to them. To rejoin the guild, speak to Vex, who will charge a fee of 1000 .
- Occasionally, after joining the Thieves Guild, a random event occurs where an unnamed thief will attempt to lockpick a door in any city. Guards will attack the thief until they are dead or escape. The thief will never attack the Dragonborn, and they can be killed without any repercussions.
- In the small training room in the Cistern, there are chests for each level of difficulty. These chests contain leveled loot, and will respawn after a few in-game days, providing the Dragonborn with a good source of money and training.
- A book written by Delvin Mallory can be found in the Ragged Flagon and the Cistern, called Shadowmarks. Shadowmarks are carvings into buildings near their main doorways, and are very handy in pointing out locations around cities that have good loot.
- Unlike some of the other factions, namely the Companions and the College of Winterhold, none of the Thieves Guild members can be married. This is also true with the Dark Brotherhood.
- Sometimes when wandering out in the woods, the Dragonborn might be confronted with a thief from the Thieves Guild, who will attempt to rob them. The Dragonborn can mention they are from the guild, making the thief sheath their weapons and say how they remember seeing them in and around the Flagon or if the Dragonborn is wearing the Nightingale Armor, the thief will proceed to recognize it and offer their "share" of the deal.
- In the small training room it is possible to find another complete set of Thieves Guild Armor scattered around the room. The only piece not in plain sight is the armor on top of the cupboard closest to the targets. The boots are on a shelf, the hood in the far left corner of the room on the end table, and the gloves can be located on the barrels behind the chest.
- No relationships in the guild are altered if the Dragonborn chooses to destroy the Dark Brotherhood. All characters within the guild will act normally towards the Dragonborn, including Delvin, who has a fond "history" with Astrid.
- M'aiq the Liar is classified as a member of this faction.
- Although being in a guild of thieves, due to their AI, nobody except Etienne Rarnis will ever commit a crime.
|Click to see the list of bugs encountered|
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls Online: Thieves Guild
- The Elder Scrolls: Blades
|Taking Care of Business|
Join the Thieves Guild
Complete "Darkness Returns"
|One with the Shadows|
Returned the Thieves Guild to its former glory
- Fall From Glory
- Dialogue with Mercer Frey
- Dialogue with Brynjolf
- Dialogue with Vex
- Dialogue with Delvin Mallory
- Dialogue with City Guards
- Dialogue with Karliah
- Dialogue with Enthir during the events of "Hard Answers"
- Events of "The Silence Has Been Broken"
- Events of "Where You Hang Your Enemy's Head"
- Dialogue with Brynjolf
- No Word Yet