The Bandit Chief is the strongest variant of a bandit found in Skyrim. They also contain the most valuable loot among a group of bandits. More often than not, bandit chiefs are Orcs. However, other races compose their ranks, such as Nords, Imperials, and Redguards. Other Elf and beast races do not appear as bandit chiefs nearly as often.
Bandit chiefs also wear heavy armor and tend to brandish a sword and shield combo, but some may also wield two handed weapons as well. They are located near the end of the dungeon or at the furthest point inside a camp or hold, and are usually accompanied with at least one or two weaker bandit variants. They can be very tricky to kill, as they are known to often wield a powerful enchanted weapon, and reside in small places, where backing off is hard. Several can spawn near Dragontooth Crater, along with weaker variants.
- Bandit chiefs will continue to get stronger until level 50, unlike usual bandits that just send stronger variations.
- Around level 15+, they start to use steel plate armor. They never use Dwarven (unless it is a shield), Daedric, Orcish, ebony armor, (with the exception of the bandit chief that the Dragonborn is ordered to kill in Boethiah's Calling), or dragonplate/dragonscale armor.
- With the addition of Dragonborn, they will progress to Nordic carved armor after steel plate.