The Thieves Guild is dedicated to the gathering and training of those who are stealthy and shadowy in nature. Although criminal by its very definition, for untold years, local authorities in places throughout Tamriel have tolerated the existence of the guild for its role as "crime regulator," as it does not tolerate competition or egregious conduct from its members (not to mention the personal financial benefits for authorities who play nice). It is usually considered to be a distinctly Imperial entity, though of course other organizations of the Empire do not officially condone their actions.
Like any trade guild, the Thieves Guild is an organization of professionals, except that in this case the professionals are burglars, robbers, pickpockets, smugglers, and other enterprising operators. They typically don't have public guild halls, but sometimes have safe-houses, and members tend to gather at a single location in large towns, such as at a cornerclub, inn, or tavern. Typically, members are bound not to rob each other, kill anyone while thieving, or rob the poor. The Thieves Guild usually has the resources to bribe officials, establish a black market of stolen goods, and maintain a network of informants. The Thieves Guild in Cyrodiil is a much more covert organization than the one in Morrowind. It is run by the mysterious Gray Fox, believed by some to be a supernatural being. In order to find it, you are either going to have to do some investigative work or spend some time in jail.
Unlike the other, "official" guilds, the Thieves Guild will only offer you special tasks (quests) based on how much stolen loot you've sold to a fence. This is pretty easy to achieve, with the first task becoming available after having fenced 50 gold, then 100, and so on. See more on Independent Thievery.
For historical information about the Thieves Guild, see the Lore article.
There are three ways to find out about the existence of the Thieves Guild; the first is simply by accident, the second involves some detective work, and the third is by casual conversation. See Finding the Thieves Guild for more information.
Being a member of the Thieves Guild provides you with a number of advantages and useful contacts and allows you to sell stolen goods.
Members of the Thieves Guild are assisted by a designated handler called a Doyen. A Doyen is a lieutenant of the Thieves Guild who will:
- Allocate quests in the form of "special jobs".
- Promote your character after completing quests.
- Identify and enable access to fences.
- Remove any active bounty amounts for half the accrued price and without your stolen goods being confiscated. For example, you have a current bounty of 100 gold; you can pay this off as 50 gold to a Doyen.
This will help you avoid attracting unwanted attention from guards, preventing you from having to go to jail, thereby losing any stolen items you have in your inventory.
|Armand Christophe||Imperial City Waterfront|
The first and main advantage is access to fences for selling all your ill-gotten gains! Even if you're not really playing a thief, you'll gradually accumulate items that legitimate merchants won't buy. Fences will deal with all kinds of items as well, a bonus if your Mercantile skill is below 50. Fences also "launder" stolen goods; if you sell an item to a fence and buy it back, the red hand mark disappears.
You will gain access to fences in a set order as you progress in rank within the Thieves Guild by completing "special jobs" offered to you by your Doyen. If you are not a member of the Thieves Guild, and select the barter option with a fence, they will claim that they do not know what you are talking about, and will not buy, or sell items.
|Ongar the World-Weary||Bruma||600||60||Pickpocket|
|Luciana Galena||Bravil||1000||80||Cat Burglar|
|Fathis Ules||Imperial City/Chorrol||1500||100||Master Thief|
All fences and doyens have supplies of lockpicks that you can buy, making them one of the better places to stock up.
In addition, there are a couple of unique items that you can only acquire by completing Thieves Guild quests:
- Boots of Springheel Jak: after the quest Boots of Springheel Jak
- Gray Cowl of Nocturnal: after The Ultimate Heist
Like any other Guild in Cyrodiil, there are unwritten rules to follow. Once you have joined, Armand Christophe and S’krivva will lay out the three basic rules for you:
- "First, never steal from another member of the guild." This obviously includes all ranked members of the Thieves Guild.
- "Second, never kill anyone on the job. This is not the Dark Brotherhood. Animals and monsters can be slain if necessary." If you kill innocent victims on a job, the Doyens will demand a Blood Price of 1000 gold before they accept the job as completed. All quests have a special list of ‘involved NPCs’ that must be kept alive; see the ‘Blood Price’ sections on the individual quest pages for details.
- "Third, don't steal from the poor. The peasants and beggars are under the personal protection of the Gray Fox, particularly here on the Waterfront." This rule applies to most of the Waterfront residents, specifically the members of this faction. It also includes each and every beggar in Cyrodiil.
Once you join the guild, the ongoing quest Independent Thievery will be added, which keeps track of the value of the stolen goods that you have fenced to date. Once you have fenced enough items, each of the "special jobs" will be triggered. The number after each of the following quests is the amount that must be fenced before it is triggered.
 Armand Christophe's Quests
- Finding the Thieves Guild: So you want to join the Thieves Guild? Don't you know it doesn't even exist?
- May the Best Thief Win: You want to join, but are you a good enough thief?
- Untaxing the Poor: Steal the tax records for the Waterfront residents. (50 gold fenced)
- The Elven Maiden: Steal a statuette for a mystery buyer. (100 gold fenced)
- Ahdarji's Heirloom: Recover a ring stolen by a freelance thief. (200 gold fenced)
- Misdirection: Help the Thieves Guild get the waterfront back to normal. (300 gold fenced)
- Lost Histories: Finish a job from which a guildmate has not returned. (400 gold fenced)
- Taking Care of Lex: Get Hieronymus Lex reassigned. (500 gold fenced)
- Turning a Blind Eye: Steal a stone for The Gray Fox. (600 gold fenced)
- Arrow of Extrication: Steal an arrow for The Gray Fox. (700 gold fenced)
- Boots of Springheel Jak: Find out where Springheel Jak is buried and retrieve a pair of magical boots for The Gray Fox. (800 gold fenced)
- The Ultimate Heist: Steal an Elder Scroll for the Gray Fox, and for glory! (1000 gold fenced)
 Other Quests
- Independent Thievery: Steal as much as you can, and sell it to a Thieves Guild Fence.
- Cast out of the Thieves Guild: Regain your honor amongst thieves.
|Rank||Completed quests or other requirements|
|Pickpocket||Completed May The Best Thief Win|
|Footpad||Completed Untaxing the Poor|
|Bandit||Completed The Elven Maiden|
|Prowler||Completed Ahdarji's Heirloom|
|Cat Burglar||Completed Misdirection|
|Shadowfoot||Completed Taking Care of Lex|
|Master Thief||Completed Arrow of Extrication|
|Gray Fox||Completed The Ultimate Heist|
 Player Tips
- The shrouded armor obtained from joining the Dark Brotherhood provides a +10 bonus to sneak. This may be useful to any thieves experiencing difficulty with the early Thieves Guild quests. If a greater (+15) bonus is needed, a Black Hand Robe and Black Hand Hood can be stolen from the locked barrel on the lower level of J'Ghasta's house in Bruma, or alternatively in Alval Uvani's house in Leyawiin, on the 2nd floor east there is both a Black Hand Robe and Black Hand Hood in a Hidden Wall safe.
- There is a lot of lockpicking involved. The Skeleton Key or Open spells will decrease the difficulty of certain aspects of the Thieves Guild quests.
 Other Fences
- Even though several loading screen tips will say that guild fences are the only merchants that will buy stolen goods, there are actually a few other merchants who will accept stolen goods, but their services will not progress you in the Independent Thievery quest:
- Manheim Maulhand, the merchant at the Inn of Ill Omen.
- Completing the Dark Brotherhood questline will allow you to fence items with one of the Dark Brotherhood Murderers.
- The Shivering Isles expansion adds Raven Biter (limited use since he only buys alchemical ingredients and only has 3 gold).
- The Thieves Den official plug-in adds Jak Silver and Khafiz. Khafiz is unique in that selling him items does contribute towards the Independent Thievery quest.
- If you fence enough money to acquire the next special job after Untaxing the Poor, wait for the Independent Thievery quest to update after talking to Armand Christophe before starting The Elven Maiden quest. Because if you speak to him too quickly and accept the quest then he will never reappear after going into hiding, since the game hasn't registered that you completed this part of independent thievery it will completely halt the questline.
- A serious bug involving Amusei can prevent you from joining the Thieves Guild and destroy the entire questline. If you visit Castle Leyawiin and pick the lock of the last cell in the Dungeon before having joined the Guild, Amusei will relocate to the dungeon and be forever stuck, preventing you from starting the May the Best Thief Win quest. If you pick the lock later on (e.g if you feel sorry for him during Ahdarji's Heirloom), the bug will not destroy the questline but will ruin Amusei’s entire schedule, as he will travel back to the dungeon in sneak mode every time he finishes his involvement in the many quests, at times causing problems when he is supposed to deliver messages from the Gray Fox.
(More info here).
- Do not have The Elven Maiden quest and the An Unexpected Voyage quest active at the same time as a major bug will trigger, possibly preventing you from completing the Thieves Guild.
(more info here).
- Do not steal the Boots of Springheel Jak before the related quest, This will cause the quest to update and the Gray Fox to appear in Ganredhel's house. It will also break prerequisite quests in several ways and will prevent you from completing the quest line.
(more info here).
- Do not explore the Temple of the Ancestor Moths before initiating Turning a Blind Eye. This can cause a serious bug and will cause the quest line to break during the final cut-scene of The Ultimate Heist.
(more info here, here and here).
- Do not talk to the beggars after returning Savilla's Stone to the Gray Fox during Turning a Blind Eye. Amusei may never come for the next quest and you may not be able to do quests for the Thieves Guild ever again.
(more info here).
- Do not ask the Gray Fox about the Diary of Springheel Jak or the Imbel Genealogy before turning in the Boots. This will cause the quest line to break.
(more info here).
- - all bugs fixed by the Unofficial Oblivion Patch
- - none of the bugs can be fixed in the console versions and the only solution is loading an earlier save.
- This is a complete list of all known Thieves Guild operatives.
*Amusei joins the Thieves Guild after you complete the quest Lost Histories.