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 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 centre 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 Imperial victory, Maven takes the position of Jarl, remarking it only as a title.
Despite the city's economic strength, it holds a darker side. The notorious home of the Thieve's 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 travellers 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 the Mistveil Keep .
PlanksideThe 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 Bee and Barb Inn are all located on Plankside; essentially Dryside is residence while Plankside is business. The buildings here 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 outcasted 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 recognised that "this is obviously a shakedown", the guard tells the Dragonborn to "keep this quiet", and go on ahead.
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.
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".
In 4E 98, Hosgunn Crossed-Daggers became the Jarl, which he ruled with an iron fist for forty years, until 4E 129, when the people of Riften began an uprising against his tyranny. Now, Riften's Jarl serves on the Stormcloaks' side of the civil war between the Empire and the Rebels (Stormcloaks). Riften also serves as a base for the infamous Thieves Guild, which live in the Ratways below the city.
- Aerin, the Man who saved Mjoll the Lioness' life.
- Asgeir Snow-Shod, a Maven Black-Briar's partner of the Meadery.
- Alessandra, a priestess of Arkay.
- Anuriel, an Bosmeri stewardess of Riften.
- Asbjorn Fire-Tamer, an apprentice blacksmith to Balimund.
- Balimund, a Blacksmith (marriageable).
- Bersi Honey-Hand, an Owner of The Pawned Prawn.
- Bolli, an 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.
- 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 angry Argonian in the dockside.
- Grelka, a Market merchant.
- Grelod the Kind, a Runner of Honorhall Orphanage.
- Haelga, a Runner of Haelga's Bunkhouse.
- Hafjorg, Elgrim's wife.
- Harrald, the Jarl Laila Law-Giver's son.
- Hemming Black-Briar, the Black-Briar's son.
- Hofgrir Horse-Crusher, an Owner of Riften Stables.
- Hroar, a Child at the Orphanage.
- Indaryn, a Manager of the Black-Briar Meadery.
- Ingun Black-Briar, the Black-Briar's daughter.
- Keerava, an Argonian female manager of the Bee and Barb.
- Laila Law-Giver, the Jarl of Riften.
- Louis Letrush, a Quest giver of Promises to Keep.
- Madesi, a Market merchant.
- Marise Aravel, a Market merchant.
- Maul, the right hand man of Maven Black-Briar.
- Maven Black-Briar, the Head of the Black-Briar.
- Mjoll the Lioness, a Warrior and City protector (marriageable).
- Maramal, a Priest of Mara.
- Marcurio, a Mercenary mage (marriageable).
- Molgrom Twice-Killed, a Prisoner.
- Niluva Hlaalu, a Worker of the Meadery.
- Nivenor, Bolli's wife.
- Nura Snow-Shod, Vulwulf Snow-Shod's wife.
- Romlyn Dreth, a Worker of the Meadery (marriageable).
- Runa Fair-Shield, a Child at the Orphanage.
- Saerlund Law-Giver, the Jarl Laila Law-Giver's youngest son.
- Samuel, a Child at the Orphanage.
- Shadr, an Assistant of Riften Stables.
- Sibbi Black-Briar, the Black-Briar's son.
- Snilf, a Beggar.
- Svana Far-Shield, Haelga's niece.
- Talen-Jei, a Servant at the Bee and Barb.
- Threki the Innocent, a Prisoner.
- Tythis Ulen, a Worker of Riften Fishery.
- Ungrien, a Bartender of the Meadery.
- Unmid Snow-Shod, the Jarl's Housecarl.
- Valindor, a Worker of Riften Fishery.
- Vulwulf Snow-Shod, The man who lost the daughter.
- Wujeeta, a Worker of Riften Fishery.
- Wylandriah, the Court Wizard of Riften.
- Arnskar Ember-Master, Blacksmith in the Ratways.
- Brynjolf, Second in command.
- Cynric Endell
- Delvin Mallory, Numbers, Fishing and Bedlam job giver. Stealth teacher.
- Dirge, Lookout.
- Mercer Frey, Guild Master.
- Niruin, Archery Teacher.
- Thrynn, Former bandit.
- Tonilia, Guild fence, lookout.
- Vekel the Man, Owner of the Ragged Flagon.
- Vex, Heist, Burglary, Shill and Sweep job giver. Lockpicking Teacher.
- Vipir the Fleet, Pickpocket Teacher.
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
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.
- A Chance Arrangement
- Distant Memories
- Forbidden Legend; started by reading the book Lost Legends in Black-Briar Manor.
- Help Wylandriah
- Ingun's Task
- Promises to Keep
- Taking care of Business
- The Book of Love
- Thieves Guild quests
- Skooma Trade
- Unfathomable Depths
- Talk to Sapphire about Shadr
- Deliver Mara's Warmth throughout Riften.
- Pick up Harrald's Sword from Balimund.
- Collect 10 Fire Salt for Balimund. Reward 1,250 and adds another 1,000 permanently to Balimund's inventory.
- Collect 5 Ice Wraith Teeth for Marise.
- Help Talen-Jei craft an Argonian Wedding Ring by bringing him three flawless amethysts.
- Bring Alessandra's Dagger to Andurs in Whiterun.
Notes on the city
- Riften bears a resemblance to the city of Bravil in Oblivion , due to the location on the shoreline of a body of water, the bridges and wooden architecture, and the decadent and seedy nature.
- Within the Riften Jail cell one 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 player. 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.
- "Riften" is the Danish, Norwegian word for "the Rift". Quite fitting as the hold bears the same name.
- The name "Riften" may also come from a contraction of "Rift Town", considering that certain real world cities like Boston have names with similar origins (Boston was originally named Botolph's Tun).
- Sometimes the player will experience severe FPS drops around Riften, particularly in the market area. The reason for this is unknown as of now (360, PS3 needs confirmation)
- Riften, 3 Spriggan's will be at the entrance with the Dragonborn. They are non-hostile and do not move. When entering
- If you attack them, the one you attack will cloak itself with invisibility, and then flee out the gate of Riften. You can chase after it out the gate, and if you are fast enough out the gate you will spawn out of the gate with the Spriggan. You can kill it, it still will not fight you. Repeat with the other 2 so you can collect their sap and/or root's. There is no penalty for killing the non-hostile Spriggans. The guards will not come to your aid, but while combating the Spriggan's avoid hitting the guards.
- Spriggan glitch was encountered right after retrieving the Quill of Gemination. After having retrieved it from the box in the lake, and then fast traveled to Riften, when spawned the screen was solid sky blue Spriggan's bee swarm buzzing noise could be heard. The above
- The Spriggans may follow you to other hold capitals when you fast travel. It is not know if they will follow you to other cities, or fast travel locations. If you killed any of them, the remaining number that escaped will be with you, to stop this from continuing you must kill all of them.
- If the Imperials gain control of Riften, it's 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 earn you a bounty. Fortunately neither will attack the citizenry, so you can simply sit back and watch until one or the other dies.
|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