Elder Scrolls

The Ragged Flagon - Cistern

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The Ragged Flagon Cistern is a location found in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is reached by going through a rigged cupboard in The Ragged Flagon, just before the entrance leading to The Ratway Vaults. After the Dragonborn becomes a full member of the Thieves Guild, it can then also be accessed through a hidden entry under a small tomb next to the chapel. After using this entrance for the first time, it will be marked on the city map, to the immediate right of Riften's marker, as "Thieves Guild."

The Ragged Flagon Cistern is the Thieves Guild's headquarters, and Brynjolf and other Guild members can often be located here throughout the Thieves Guild quest-lines.


  • There is a side room (opposite the ladder/Secret entrance. Left upon entering from the Ragged Flagon) with a master, adept, expert, apprentice and novice chest. These are for practice, and their locks may be picked repeatedly to improve the lock picking skill.


  • Upon joining the guild, the Dragonborn can use this location as a home.
  • Upon completion of the Thieves Guild questline, a Shrine of Nocturnal will appear in the cistern.
  • For every special job the Dragonborn completes for Delvin Mallory, the Cistern will receive upgrades such as banners, tables with food and ingredients, and new members.
  • If the Dragonborn pickpockets the Steel Arrows that most of the guild archers use and replaces them with a type of arrow preferred, the archers will shoot those. So if Daedric Arrows are put in their inventories, they will shoot an infinite quantity of Daedric Arrows.
  • It might be possible to enter the Cistern without starting the Thieves Guild questline; If the Dragonborn goes in and begins beating on the members present in the Ragged Flagon, one will occasionally flee through the 'strange door' and lead the Dragonborn into the Cistern.
  • If you have a high bounty you can fast travel to the Thieves Guild, avoiding the guards. If any get in before you "close" the coffin entrance and the other thieves will attack and kill them. There have been cases of at least 10 guards getting into the cistern, so be careful when trying to do this. Most of the guild members are essentials, with some exceptions like Sapphire, so they are not in danger. You can then just keep out of the fight while the other thieves do the job for you.
  • If you assassinate one of the Thieves Guild members and quickly hide, the other members may open the vault while searching for you.
  • After you speak with Sapphire concerning Shadr's debt, it is possible to follow Sapphire into the Cistern. The door appears to stay open for some time and you are considered a trespasser.
  • Items you gained from Guild Chests in Cistern are level-dependent and will never respawn once looted. So the later Dragonborn joined the Thieves Guild, the better items will spawn inside all chests. For example, joining at level 1 through 10 will yield small amount of septims, weak potions, iron arrows, etc. And it's possible to get Daedric Arrows or weapons, some precious gems, and high leveled potions if joined at level 40 and above.


This section contains bugs related to The Ragged Flagon - Cistern. 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  , 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.
  • In the training room, if the Dragonborn tries to pick the lock on a chest while someone else is in the room but fails the first attempt, they will be scolded for attempting to unlock the chest and will have to restart the process. However, this can be avoided if you have the lock picking perk that allows you to go undetected.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Entering through the secret entrance in the chapel graveyard can (rarely) cause the game to crash.
  • On rare occasions the people inside will attack the Dragonborn as though they were trespassing, even after they have been accepted into the Thieves Guild.
  • At the end table next to the cupboard at the secret entrance, there are two pieces of paper, probably letters beneath the end table. The second one can be seen by the help of the tfc console command.
  • If the Dragonborn attacks Etienne Rarnis until his health is very low, he will retreat into the vault, unlocking it. However, the vault key is not in his inventory (unknown if this is intentional, or a bug).
  • The treasury room iron doors will sometimes be open when first entering the Cistern.
  • When entering through The Ragged Flagon the game will sometimes crash.


Start a Discussion Discussions about The Ragged Flagon - Cistern

  • Trophy shelf

    2 messages
    • I accidentally used the Storm Call shout while in the Cistern and it caused every item on the trophy shelf, as well as the desk, to fly off...
    • Leave the area for over ten in-game days, if it will clean itself up that should trigger it (but the trophy shelf is pretty buggy sometimes).
  • Training chest respawns.

    2 messages
    • When exactly do the chests in the cistern reset? I've heard several bits of conflicting information and wanted to get a solid answer.
    • The area reset time is ten in-game days, it won't happen while your there and the counter will go back up to ten if return before its finis...

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