If thievery was bad in Skyrim, why are locks so easy to pick? Why are sweet rolls so easy to steal? And why is the Thieves Guild handing out invitations like a crumbling college? With so many thievery opportunities around, it’s like Skyrim wants the players to be shady individuals. It’s by far the most direct way to earn some Septims in the game.
Of course, not just any thief will cut it. In order to not get pestered by the guards and to be slicker than members of the Thieves Guild, one has commit to certain skills. These skills will immensely improve your thieving ways well enough for the player to pickpocket a character down to their underwear.
10 Speech Lets Players Talk Their Way Through Situations
When players aren’t stealing Soul Gems and potions, they ought to be stealing hearts—figuratively. How does one do that in Skyrim? By jacking up the Speech skill as much as possible. It’s essentially a get-out-of-jail-free card and works well with both merchants and town guards.
Players who are proficient in their Speech skill easily charm the local townsfolk and even the Jarls. More importantly, having good Speech is an easy way to make some money or even wiggle out of combat when cornered.
9 Conjuration Acts As A Failsafe
Then again, not all combat situations in Skyrim have pacifistic options. For example, some Nords belong to Skyrim a little too hardily, and might let some racist slurs fly. For those troublesome individuals and other aggressors, conjuring up a distraction or a meat shield can provide a ticket for escape. That’s possible with the Conjuration skill.
Familiars and even undead fodder are useful in this regard. When all else fails and players need a big stick to deal with a sneaking situation gone awry, they can easily summon some bound weapons. Think of Conjuration spells as panic buttons for magically-inclined thieves.
8 Alchemy Earns Heaps Of Gold
Small thieveries are not enough, and one has to have it all by doing daylight robbery as well. Cornering the potion market is a good way to go about it. One of the easiest ways of making tons of gold through potions in Skyrim is with Alchemy.
Potion ingredients are easy enough to come by—more so for thieves, as the whole world is their personal veggie garden. Craft them and then sell them to the merchants with an augment to the Speech skill in order to get higher selling prices, robbing them blind of their nest eggs. Or maybe just keep the Invisibility potions too.
7 Light Armor Provides Discreet Protection
As far as clothing goes for thieves and assassins alike, Light Armor is the best choice. Not just any light armor, but those tailored for stealing or for shanking someone below the ribcage for maximum organ damage. The Thieves Guild and even the Dark Brotherhood offer some tailored options and players can’t go wrong with either.
Players can further enhance the benefit of these armor sets by committing to the Light Armor tree. It’s best if they can grab the Unhindered perk, which reduces all movement penalties from Light Armor. The defensive bonuses are pretty irrelevant.
6 Pickpocket Lets Players Lift Valuable Items
Pickpocket and Thief are almost synonymous, so the skill tree is a no-brainer. It’s an automatic pick for anyone wanting to go down the Thieves Guild career path. It’s also a good way to grab some valuables to fence or gold that the NPCs definitely don’t need. Probably.
Players might want to limit how much they commit to being a pickpocket, though. It’s generally good to stop at the Cutpurse perk, as all other perks have diminishing returns and aren’t very practical.
5 Archery Eliminates Enemies From The Shadows
While thieves actively avoid combat in favor of increasing their levels by being kleptomaniacs, what’s stopping them from stealing lives? Come to think of it, the Dark Brotherhood are just thieves as well, with a fixation for a different kind of “treasure.”
Being proficient in a weapon is beneficial even to Thief archetypes. Bows are the safest option, since they’re both silent and have a sneak attack bonus. Lining up headshots and thinning out the herd is a viable tactic and will probably decrease the need for Illusion and Conjuration as backup skills.
4 One-Handed Is Great For Close-Quarters Attacks
Bows are safe, but their damage doesn’t quite compare to a dagger to the neck. It’s more direct and more intimate (hail Sithis!). One-Handed is a nice skill to augment if you decide to go the assassin path.
Daggers are the best weapon of choice for that play style, but dual swords can do fine as well. To that end, being selective with the One-Handed skill tree is crucial for Thieves. Armsman and Bladesman should be priorities, as well as perks that increase backstab damage. Everything else is not required.
3 Illusion Works As A Magical Stealth Boost
The Illusion skill tree is a massive boost for a Thief archetype in Skyrim due to the nature of the A.I., considering how stealth runs can sometimes result in hilarious failures. For such circumstances, Conjuration simply won’t cut it as a panic button especially when sneaking in a fort or populated camp.
Being able to cause all enemies to fight one another or calm them down and make them inactive is too valuable to pass up. Meanwhile, the Invisibility spell is also one of the most alluring benefits of being skilled in Illusion school of magic.
2 Lockpicking Opens All Kinds Of Doors
Lockpicking is one skill in Skyrim that can open up both doors of opportunity and literal doors for players. In fact, Thieves and other stealthy types can easily skip much of the game’s more tedious content with the right amount of Lockpicking skill.
For some, this is an easy skill to max out simply because the final perk makes lockpicks indestructible, eliminating the need for a Skeleton Key. No player should go around thieving around without this skill.
1 Sneak Is The Foundation Of Any Good Thief
Finally, the most vital skill for any Thief worth their salt: Sneak. It’s what most thieves or assassins will be doing 90 percent of the time in Skyrim. Sneak is also arguably the most fun skill tree in the game. Each perk is substantial and has more noticeable in-game effects compared to other skills.
When picking the Thief play style, always opt to level this one to 100 as soon as possible. Once it’s set up, players are pretty much invisible to NPCs throughout the entire game.