Thieving is all about breaking into NPCs houses and stealing every container in site, sometimes the NPCs themselves, and maybe killing them too. It is a great way to make gold, be it by having the RNG powers by your side and getting some expensive furnishings, or making do of the treasures you loot.


Each day you have a number of fence interactions you can do, and when you have max legerdemain you have 140 slots to sell and 140 to launder. Green and white treasures are the most common you will find. Greens are 100g, so if you get 140 greens, it’s 14k g, but the price increases with one of the Thieves Guild passive. Of course you won’t get 140 greens, some whites (40g) will be in the mix but also some blue ones, that are fairly common too, and blues are 250g, and less common are the purple ones, 1500g. By my experience, you will get 5 to 10 purples, so that’s a 7500 to 15k margin. Together with treasures and furnishings, you will also get a lot of food ingredients and style stones, but the ONLY things you should sell for the fencers are treasures, either launder the ingredients and materials, or just destroy it. So that’s around 20k min per 140 treasures, it’s a lot RNG based of course but you always get at least 18k plus.

Now, the REAL money really comes from the furnishings plans you will get, with some worth literally millions of gold on guild traders, like purple dwarven furnishings. Alternatively you can always use the furnishings plans to sell the furnishings itself on guild traders, if you are into housing and crafting, this is more gold on the long run, but it can be a bit slow, while selling the plans will give you a more immediate gold. Both ways are really profitable, so that’s up to you on how to approach this.

While thieving you want to tackle every type of container, dressers, vases, urns, as everything have a chance to have treasures and furnishings in it, especially Safeboxes and NPCs. The higher the level of a safebox, the better the chance to have a better treasure or furnishing in it. Sacks and baskets always have crafting mats on it, but that’s a chance to get decorative wax, which is valuable in traders.


  • Dwarven Furnishings: Western Skyrim (Solitude), The Reach (Markarth), Blackreach Cavern on both zones
  • Vampiric Furnishings: Western Skyrim (Solitude), The Reach (Markarth)
  • Clockwork Furnishings: Clockwork City (Brass Fortress)
  • Alinor Furnishings: Summerset (Alinor)
  • Hlaalu Furnishings: Vvanderfell (Vivec City and Sadrith Mora)
  • Elsweyr: Northern Elsweyr (Rimmen) Southern Elsweyr (Senchal)



There are 3 main skill lines that you need to know about for thieving, Legerdemain, Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood. Legerdemain is essential, the base for thieving, and its a base game skill line that shows up for the first time when you pick a lock. The other two skill lines are not required, they help, but if you don’t have it you still gonna be fine. Thieves Guild is good for the thieving aspect… Obviously… Lowering your bounty with time, if you get caught doing something you shouldn’t, and increasing the price of treasures, and the Dark Brotherhood helps with the murders… Obviously… And that’s good for thieving. I’ll explain.


The Legerdemain Skill Line is about the Fencers, Lockpicking and pickpocketing NPCs. There are 5 passive skills on this line and 20 levels. To level this skill line you want launder or fence items (1 point), steal from NPCs (1 point for easy targets, 2 for medium and 4 for hard), and by lockpicking (1 point for simple locks, 2 for intermediate, 4 for advanced and 8 for master). The passive skills on this line are:​

  • Improved Hiding: Reduces the (stamina) cost of sneak
  • Light Fingers: Increase the chances of successfully pickpocketing
  • Trafficker: Increase the number of fence interactions each day
  • Locksmith: Increase the chances of forcing a lock
  • Kickback: Reduces bounties you willingly pay to guards and fences​

At every new Legerdemain level, you want to get the new passive or passive level that unlocks. Leveling this skill line can be a pain, but here it is…

Thieving & Legerdemain Leveling


You want to go to Belkarth, main city of Craglorn, and go to the docks region. There you will get apples, yes, apples. There is a TON of apple baskets, like, REALLY a lot. And to level legerdemain it doesn’t matter the price of the item, each item always is worth 1 point, so you will get from 30 to even 80 points per run you do there since you will get 30-80 apples (it’s usually around 50). So the first time you do this, and if you are level 1 in legerdemain, you will get 100 points, 50 by selling and 50 by laundering, and that will put you in level 3, and the first trafficker point you use will get your interaction limit on 110 already. So you just follow that route, the green is approximately where there’s a apple baskets (The map doesn’t show every construction), the blue is where there’s barrels and crates where you can get other ingredients and sometimes treasures)

Having stolen every apple from there, you go to the outlaws refugee really close by and sell it there, when you get out every apple basket and barrel and crate will be refilled (Not all of them because its RNG, but most of it will so you can route it again)

One guard patrols that area, so be careful with that, and there’s a farmer taking care of the apple trees, and you can rob him, he has a really high change of stealing, and he nets treasure too, rarely even purple treasures, so it’s a bit of gold. If you have the dark brotherhood blade of woe, rob him twice and KILL him on the third try. Every NPC has a timer to respawn when killed, and his is VERY low, usually when you get in the refugee and get out again, he’s already respawned, so you can rob it again. Killing him is way faster than robbing him, he gets empty after the third time it takes a while for the items he carries to respawn. Also, if you get caught stealing by him, killing him is also faster than waiting for the suspicious state to go away. The blue dots are barrels, where there is crafting materials, and the green dots are apple baskets.


The Thieves Guild Skill Line is also only passive skills and has 10 levels, they are not required, but it helps a lot. The skills are:

  • Finders Keepers: Allows you to open thieves troves, you unlock it automatically
  • Swiftly Forgotten: Bounty and Heat decreases faster
  • Haggling: Stolen items sold at a fence is worth more
  • Clemency: When a guard accosts you, you may use Clemency once per day. If used, the Guard will not arrest you or take your money and the items you have stolen
  • Timely Scape: When you have Bounty and are in combat, you have a chance to spot a Footpad in a town with a Refuge. Interacting with the Footpad will teleport you into the nearest Refuge
  • Veil of Shadows: Decrease the detection range of Guards and Witness by 10%

​Most of the Thieves Guild Skills are really useful for thieving, you WILL get caught stealing things, so Swiftly Forgotten is a really nice skill to have, Haggling is also nice, it’s not game changing, so it’s up to you if you want to spend skill points on it. Clemency is really convenient for when your inventory is full and you have a bounty, you are close to a refugee but then a guard gets you, it is basically a get out of jail monopoly card, pick it. Pick Timely Scape only if you do not use invisibility potions or if you are not a Nightblade. Veil of Shadows is another nice skill to have. Mainly to level up this skill line you must do the main Thieves Guild quests and Thieves Guild dailies.


The Dark Brotherhood Skill Line revolves around the Blade of Woe passive skill, that allows you to insta kill most NPCs. The Skill Line have 10 levels, here are the skills:​

Blade of Woe: Call the weapon of the Dark Brotherhood to your hand and deliver a killing blow to an unsuspecting target. Experience from this target is reduced by 75%. This ability does not work on players or difficult targets

  • Scales of Pitiless Justice: Bounty and Heat resulting from a witnessed Murder or Assault is reduced
  • Padomaic Sprint: Grants Major Expedition, increasing your Movement Speed for 6/8/10/12 seconds after killing an enemy with Blade of Woe
  • Shadow Purifier: A contact from the Brotherhood provides beneficial items once per day. This contact is located in Outlaw Refuges, the Gold Coast Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, and the Hew’s Bane Thieves Den
  • Shadow Rider: Aggression radius from hostile monsters is decreased by 50% while mounted
  • Spectral Assassin: 15% chance to shroud you when using the Blade of Woe, shielding you from being witnessed and receiving a Bounty

Again, this skill line is not necessary, but it is good to have because being able to kill a NPC with the Blade of Woe is really good, it shortens the items respawn time and it gives you the third stolen item basically for free. Padomaic Sprint can be useful, Shadow Purifier is really fun, Shadow Rider is good for when you are running around in the open farming materials and Spectral Assassins is also really convenient. Overall, this skill line is even more optional than the Thieves Guild, with the main thing being the Blade of Woe that really adds value. The way to level this skill line is also by doing the Dark Brotherhood main quest line and the dailies.


With the new CP system, there’s new stars that are made specifically for aspiring thieves! They are in the green tree, right at the bottom left. There are a total of 5 slotabble stars that directly influence thieving and murdering, but only 4 slots, so you can choose whatever fits your style. You also have Fortune’s Favor, it increases the gold from chests and safeboxes and it doesn’t need to be slotted, so pick it up.

  • Friends in low places: Pick it only if your bounty gets high regularly.
  • Fade away: Really good for guards to stop trying to kill you on site.
  • Cutpurse’s art: A MUST HAVE.
  • Shadowstrike: Good if you have the Dark Brotherhood DLC and kills the NPC’s after the second pickpocket, helps a lot.
  • Infamous: ALSO A MUST HAVE.


Non-DLC Leveling


Sometimes when you get into a house, the NPCs will notice you and ask you to leave. If you hide, be it using the Shadow Cloak from the Nightblades, or a invisibility potion, or just crouch at a corner, they will still look at you even if you are hidden, but after a while they kinda forget about you, so you can go steal their safeboxes and dressers and their pockets.

You can steal 3 times from NPCs before their inventory gets empty, and each time you do it, the chance of successfully stealing again decreases by a bit, so even in a easy NPC there is a chance they will notice you at the third time, so that’s when the Blade of Woe comes handy. You just kill them after the second time and loot their corpse. This is also good because the NPC respawn time is lower than the items respawn time, so when it respawn the inventory will be full again.

Using Medium Armor is good for thieving because of the Improved Sneak passive, that decreases the stamina cost of sneak and reduces the size of your detection area.

Vesture of Darloc Brae set is also good for the 4 and 5 piece bonus. The 4 piece bonus Reduces the radius you can be detected while Sneaking by 2 meters. Reduces the cost of Sneak by 10%. And While crouching and not blocking, you restore 670 Magicka and Stamina and heal for 670 Health every second for the 5 piece bonus, basically you can never run out of stamina that way.

Using the Ring of Wild Hunt helps a lot to move around and escape guards, and overall is really nice to use.

Khajiit have a bonus passive useful for thieving, Cutpurse passive increases the chance of successfully pickpocketing by 5% and Feline Ambush decreases your detection radius when in stealth.

Nightblade is the optimal class for thieving, with the Shadow Cloak/Shadowy Disguise granting you invisibility for 3 seconds.







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