The Thieves Guild Banner
"Our access to those bits of luck are what separates us from common bandits."
Gallus Desidenius[src]
For this faction in other games, see Thieves Guild.

The Thieves Guild is an organized group of thieves based in Skyrim of Tamriel that provides mutual support for the criminal endeavors of its members. It is one of several joinable factions that appear 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. Members of the guild specialize in stealing objects of varying value or loaning septims. 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 owner of the popular Black-Briar Meadery, consorts with the guild in exchange for their aid. The guild has an uncanny luck due to certain members striking up a deal with the Daedric Prince, Nocturnal, to serve as her guardians.


The Ragged Flagon - Cistern, home of the Thieves Guild


Little is known about when and how the Thieves Guild was founded, but it is rumored to have been around as long as Riften has. [1] 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).[1][2][3][4][5] 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. [6]

The guild has some close association with the Dark Brotherhood which becomes apparent in The Silence Has Been Broken, where the player must bring an amulet given by Amaund Motierre to Delvin Mallory, a member of the Thieves Guild.

Fourth Era

Second Century

In 4E 176, which is twenty-five years [7] before 4E 201, when the quests of the Thieves Guild in Skyrim takes 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 by most of Skyrim. [4] 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 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 and their language and writing system.[8]

Third Century

By 4E 201, the Guild was in havoc and was falling apart, 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. 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.

Nocturnal's Curse

When the first group of Nightingales sought guidance from Nocturnal, she accepted, but in return the Guild would have to keep the Skeleton's Key safe in its chamber. However, when Mercer Frey assassinated the current Guildmaster Gallus and abducted the key from its chamber, he activated the curse causing the Guild to go to a state of decay.


Main article: Shadowmarks (Marks)

One of the major aspects of the Thieves Guild in Skyrim was their use of a code that the members of the Guild used to communicate with each other without speaking. This unique code is known as Shadowmarks. The code was composed of nine different symbols each with their own meaning. These Shadowmarks were commonly placed on door-frames on the fronts of buildings which indicated to a Guild member if the building was safe, dangerous, contained important items or loot, housed another member of the Guild or another thief, as well as other important uses that could help a Guild member or other thieves. [9]

Connection with the Dark Brotherhood

The Thieves Guild has a strong connection with the Dark Brotherhood, and this is especially evident with 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.[10][11] It is notable that Delvin Mallory and Astrid of the Brotherhood have had a good relationship, both as friends and as business associates.[5][12]


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. 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 player 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's selling, 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.

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. It will however make a few members of the guild treat the Dragonborn with more disdain, initially.


Main quests

  1. A Chance Arrangement
  2. Taking Care of Business
  3. Loud and Clear
  4. Dampened Spirits
  5. Scoundrel's Folly
  6. Speaking With Silence
  7. Hard Answers
  8. The Pursuit
  9. Trinity Restored
  10. Blindsighted
  11. Darkness Returns
  12. Under New Management

Small jobs

Delvin and Vex offer an unlimited number of radiant quests known as "jobs." The target item and location for each are generated randomly. Jobs can be accepted and quit 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 800Gold. After performing five small jobs in any of Whiterun, Markarth, Windhelm, or Solitude, a special job will be unlocked for each. 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 way to determine how many have been done is 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.

Delvin Mallory, member of the Thieves Guild and master sneak trainer

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. 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.
  • 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's 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 Gold.

Vex, member of the Thieves Guild and Master Lockpicking Trainer

Vex's jobs

  • 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 doesn't 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), Delvin Mallory 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. (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 4000. The third and fourth city influence quests will each add a new recruit to the Guild as well: first Garthar, and then Ravyn Imyan.

Quest Prerequisite City Reward
Imitation Amnesty

5 small jobs in that city

Whiterun One new merchant's stall.
Summerset Shadows 5 small jobs in that city Windhelm

Unlocks Niranye as a fence (if she didn't act aggressive and wasn't killed when talked to during the quest).

One new merchant's stall.

Silver Lining 5 small jobs in that city Markarth

Unlocks Endon as a fence.

One new merchant's stall.

The Dainty Sload 5 small jobs in that city 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.


Name Service Available
Syndus Arrows and weapons merchant After completing first city influence quest
Herluin Lothaire Alchemist After completing second city influence quest
Vanryth Gatharian Weapons and armor merchant 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, Herlium Lothaire may move instead of Syndus.)


To complete these city quests as fast as possible, the best way is to 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.

Other quests

Advantages to joining

  • Access to the Thieves Guild headquarters.
  • A suit of Thieves Guild Armor and later 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 stolen as well as regular goods and can carry larger amounts of gold (4,000 after completing all four improvement quests; they have 1,000 gold 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 the Dragonborn tributes. (This appears in the Thieves Guild Master's tribute chest directly in front of the desk located in the Cistern).
  • 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, stolen goods are kept, and the bounty is cleared.
  • 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.

Trophy cases

Main article: Thieves Guild Trophies

All unique items including the Crown of Barenziah and Bust of the Grey Fox.

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 questline, the items appear in the following order:

Trophies also appear for completing a certain number of jobs assigned by Vex and Delvin:

Finally, the Crown of Barenziah is placed on the bust between shelves upon completion of the mission No Stone Unturned.





Main article: Trainer (Skyrim)


Main article: Fence (Skyrim)

Fences buy stolen goods. There are a total of nine different fences throughout Skyrim, including each Khajiit caravan:

Fence Location Unlocked
Tonilia (Default)

The Ragged Flagon, Riften.

Upon completion of Taking Care of Business
Mallus Maccius

Honningbrew Meadery.

Upon completion of Dampened Spirits

The Winking Skeever, Solitude.

Upon completion of Scoundrel's Folly

Hall of Attainment, College of Winterhold.

Upon completion of Hard Answers

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

Armor sets

TESV Nightingale Armor Male.png134px

Nightingale Armor and Guild Master's Armor Set

When completing quests in the Thieves guild questline, the player can obtain five different armor sets.

Expulsion from the guild

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, for a fee of 1,000 Gold, the guild can be rejoined. 


  • Guards will occasionally mention that they know the Dragonborn is a member of the guild.
  • 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 he or she is dead or escapes. The thief will never attack the Dragonborn, and he or she 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 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 him or her. The Dragonborn can mention he is from the guild, making the thief sheath his weapons and say how he remembers seeing him in the around the Flagon or if the Dragonborn is wearing the Nightingale Armor, the thief will proceed to recognize it and offer his "share" of the deal.
  • If the Dragonborn gets rid of the Thieves Guild Armor that is obtained when entering the guild, then Tonilia will be lost as a fence when it comes time for her to upgrade the guild armor.
  • 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, which is unusual as the two factions are rather closely associated. All NPC's within the guild will act normally towards the Dragonborn even if this is what he/she chooses to do.
  • M'aiq the Liar is classified as a member of this faction.
  • In the Ragged Flagon right outside the door to the Ratway Warrens, there are two wine bottles. These can be collected and will respawn over time, thus creating an infinite wine source. 


This section contains bugs related to Thieves Guild (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  ,  NX  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.



Taking Care of Business
Join the Thieves Guild
Points 10 Gamer points.svg
Bronze trophy

Darkness Returns
Complete "Darkness Returns"
Points 10 Gamer points.svg
Bronze trophy

One with the Shadows
Returned the Thieves Guild to its former glory
Points 30 Gamer points.svg
Silver trophy



  1. 1.0 1.1 Fall From Glory
  2. Dialogue with Mercer Frey
  3. Dialogue with Brynjolf
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dialogue with Vex
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dialogue with Delvin Mallory
  6. Dialogue with City Guards
  7. Dialogue with Karliah
  8. Dialogue with Enthir during the events of Hard Answers
  9. Shadowmarks
  10. Events of The Silence Has Been Broken
  11. Events of Where You Hang Your Enemy's Head
  12. Letter of Credit
  13. Dialogue with Brynjolf
  14. No Word Yet
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