Elder Scrolls

Thief (Character)

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For other uses, see Thief.

After joining the Thieves Guild, unnamed thieves in Riften and other various places, such as Riverwood, may attempt to steal items from one of the stalls, leading to their swift death at the hands of the guards. The Dragonborn can loot and kill them in full view of guards without fear of being arrested, despite the fact their loot is likely stolen. They are lightly armed and carry assorted gems and gold, but their armor cannot be looted.

Another type of thief can be found anywhere without joining the Thieves Guild. This type of thief will try to rob the Dragonborn with a dagger. One can choose to let him, scare him off, or fight him. If the Dragonborn is a member of the Thieves Guild they can tell the thief and he will walk away.

Another encounter that is possible after joining the Thieves Guild, is that a Thief NPC may run up to the Dragonborn in the wilds and state "Hail brother. I saw you there and thought you might need these," after which they will hand the Dragonborn items. This is only confirmed with The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard enabled while wearing a piece of Thieves Guild Armor (5 lockpicks were received).

However, once becoming a Nightingale, thieves encountered randomly among Skyrim will not attempt to rob you. Instead, they will give you a sum of gold, recognizing the Dragonborn as a Nightingale once greeting you by: "Hail Nightingale! Luck has shined down on me and made me a rich man. Here is your cut, as promised." Although, this encounter is only possible if at least a single piece of Nightingale Armor is worn.


  • Sometimes, if the Dragonborn walks into someone's house in Riften a thief will be inside. If the thief sees the Dragonborn, he will start running all around the house not saying a word. Killing this thief won't put a bounty on you.
  • Interestingly, items in a thief's inventory are never marked as stolen.
  • If a thief is stopped in Riften during the night then Talen-Jei may be seen the next day wearing an alternate form of his clothing that depicts a dragon on the back of it.
  • If the Dragonborn is a Nightingale and a female thief engages conversation with them, she will say "This job has made me a very rich woman.", then hand over "your" cut. But, the subtitles will still refer to the thief as a male. ("This job has made me a very rich man.")


  • Alright, hand over your valuables, or I'll gut you like a fish! (When encountered)
  • Of course! I remember seeing you at the Flagon, my mistake. (When the Dragonborn says they are also part of the Guild)
  • Of course! I remember seeing you at the Flagon, my mistake. Good luck out there! (Variation of the line above)
  • Yes, you look like you're very lousy with gold. (On failed persuasion)
  • Nice try, but you don't scare me. I'm not going to ask again. (failed intimidation)
  • Don't you walk away from me! (if the Dragonborn says "I don't have time for this" or if the Dragonborn backs out of the conversation)


This section contains bugs related to Thief (Character). 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.
  •  360   PS3   Multiple thieves may spawn in one location.
  •  360   PS3   If you take everything a Thief has by selecting "take all," then the Thief's clothes may be taken, but no clothes go into the Dragonborn's inventory.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Thief (Character)

  • Thief became citizen

    2 messages
    • So.. a thief tried to rob the Riverwood Trader, me and the Valariuses or whatever caught him, and beat him. But he got back up, and now he ha...
    • The area reset might remove him after a while, some people have said occasionally those thieves will oddly spawn protected or essential (gua...
  • Friendly Thief?

    3 messages
    • Your other thread said you had joined the Guild, if your in the Thieves Guild the Random Thief will be friendly i vaguely remember when i fin...
    • AzuraKnight wrote:Your other thread said you had joined the Guild, if your in the Thieves Guild the Random Thief will be friendly i vagu...

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