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 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 himrob them, scare him off, or fight him. If the Dragonborn is a member of the Thieves Guild, they also have the option of notifying the thief of this, who will then 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 the Dragonborn. Instead, they will give them a sum of gold, recognizing the Dragonborn as a Nightingale once greeting them by: "Hail Nightingale! Luck has shined down on me and made me a rich man. Here is your cut, as promised." However, 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 around the house silently. Killing this thief will not result in a bounty.
  • 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 the Dragonborn's cut. However, 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 one takes 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)

  • Attracting a thief

    2 messages
    • Is there any way to attract a thief? Or make a thief encounter more likely?
    • There's no way to attract them, but to me, they spawn very often when I just wander along the roads (well, at least once per character, I mean).
  • 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...

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