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A player successfully picking an NPC's pocket

Pickpocketing is a skill available to any player the moment they create their character, and no skill points are needed to pickpocket. Pickpocketing is considered a crime and will grant access to the Legerdemain skill line the first time it is performed. Successfully picking an NPC's pocket will reward a random Contraband item, while failing will result in a bounty. If the NPC is a guard, they will immediately attempt to arrest you when you fail. (Pickpocketing guards is the only reliable way to acquire Polished Shillings, which are the crafting material for the Abah's Watch Style motif.)

Related Quests[edit]

  • The Cutpurse's CraftThieves Guild: Prove to the Guild that you know your way around other people's pockets.Crown Store
  • Repeatable Idle HandsThieves Guild: Send laborers a gentle reminder to pay their protection dues.Crown Store
  • Repeatable Plucking FingersThieves Guild: Remind entertainers that they don't work without the Guild's permission.Crown Store
  • Repeatable Under Our ThumbThieves Guild: 'Encourage' law-abiding citizens to mind their own business.Crown Store


Finding Your Mark[edit]

Only Justice Neutral NPCs can be pickpocketed, and these appear in-game as NPCs with yellow health bars and white glows. Once you have selected your target, crouch behind them and wait till you are completely hidden. The NPC difficulty and the chance of success will be displayed in white. Waiting a few moments will cause the chance to increase by 20%; this is the "sweet spot" that players should wait for before pressing the pickpocket button. You will hear a tone and the number will turn green to show when you are in the sweet spot. Ensure that no other witnesses are looking at you when you pickpocket, otherwise you may get a bounty even if you are successful. Your chance of successfully pickpocketing increases if the NPC is moving rather than stationary.[verification needed] After you successfully pickpocket an item, you will be unable to try again on the same NPC for a few seconds, as they are "suspicious". If you fail an attempt, the NPC will be "suspicious" for far longer.

NPCs only carry three items; any further attempts to pickpocket the same target will display the "Empty" prompt. This resets when the NPC respawns, which can be expedited through murder if necessary.

Pickpocket Difficulties[edit]

NPCs come in three difficulties: Easy, Medium and Hard. Harder difficulty NPCs have lower chances of a successful pickpocket. Consecutive attempts on the same NPC will also lower the chance of success, as shown below:

Easy Medium Hard
First Attempt 50% 30% 20%
Second Attempt 45% 20% 5%
Third Attempt 40% 10% 0%

The default chance can be improved by putting points in the Light Fingers perk in the Legerdemain skill tree, for a bonus of [10 / 20 / 35 / 50]%. Additionally, the Khajiit racial passive Cutpurse increases your chance to successfully pickpocket by 5%.


There are several achievements associated with pickpocketing.

Achievement Points Description Reward
ON-icon-achievement-Pocket Pilferer.png Pocket Pilferer 5 Successfully pickpocket any citizen of Tamriel.
ON-icon-achievement-Purse Snatcher.png Purse Snatcher 10 Successfully pickpocket one hundred citizens of Tamriel.
ON-icon-achievement-Sneak Thief Extraordinaire.png Sneak Thief Extraordinaire 15 Successfully pickpocket one thousand citizens of Tamriel. Forest Footpad GreenForest Footpad Green
ON-icon-achievement-Five Finger Discount.png Five Finger Discount 5 Successfully pick pockets at each of the four most popular shops in Abah's Landing.