LGtC:Faction: Thieves Guild

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"I'm a thief. Now, don't get me wrong. I ain't saying this out of pride, but I ain't ashamed of my occupation neither. Thieves got a perfect right to exist in the Empire. People say we're dishonest. Of course, those people are usually either merchants or priests, which really slays me. Sort of the snake calling the worm legless"

—Anonymous, Confessions of a Thief

A means to organize theft was introduced as the Thieves Guild ages ago. The guild values professionalism and skill in its members, and is highly notorious for putting those feats to use when it comes to robbing, burgling, and stealing the riches off of the people of Tamriel. One of its greatest feats is the ability to exist while convincing the general public that it doesn’t. Many rumors roam the provinces about this shadowy group of thieves, but the guild itself prefers to stick to the shadows and live in secrecy. Because of this talent, only history truly knows when and where a guild prevailed, but even this knowledge is spotty at best. Many centuries have passed with no official record of a Thieves Guild existing in certain parts of the Empire. Whether one existed or not is lost to myth. While bands of thieves can endure anywhere, the idea of the Thieves Guild is somewhat unique to the Empire. Tolerated by Imperial Law, the guild has been given the right to exist and operate as a crime regulator. Thieves within the guild protect each other and punish the clumsy and the greedy. Those who rule over others depend on the guild to keep the amateurs, bandits, and codeless thieves out of business. This doesn’t make them immune to the force of law, however, nor does it protect them from others who refuse to turn a blind eye to their deeds. The guild still needs to look out for their own. They are simply organized in their desire to grow rich through unlawful measures, and the members of the Thieves Guild will work to earn their right to survive.

Inside the Thieves Guild

There have been many different chapters of the Thieves Guild, all operating under slightly different conditions, with different sets of rules and beliefs, set and enforced by the local Guildmaster. Within this organization filled with robbers, bandits, and crooks, is a surprisingly strict code of honor that makes sure that the guild will both survive and thrive. Not only does the guild possess its own set of rules, it also has an organized hierarchy to guide its members.

Most of the time, the guild has members that have been given more responsibility as part of another function. These include the guild’s various fences throughout Tamriel, its trainers, and those that oversee the communication with third parties. The Guildmaster is a figure whose task it is to inspire their members and showcase exemplary behavior, fitting for a master thief. Underneath the Guildmaster is the Doyen. A Doyen acts as the hands and eyes of the Guildmaster and oversees the distribution of jobs among the members within the guild. Unlike many of the other guilds of the Empire, the Thieves Guild doesn’t have outright Guild Halls. But thieves like to be where their friends are. The local cornerclub, tradehouse, tavern, or inn. Because of this, the guild may seem unorganized at first glance, but it proves itself to be quite adept at maintaining order. In some chapters, thieves might hide in plain sight, while remaining far enough away from prying eyes. These places might be called Outlaw’s Refuges or Thieves’ Dens, and can be found in city sewers, natural caverns, or in the back rooms of otherwise upstanding businesses. Sometimes, the guild is even known to worship the Daedric Prince Nocturnal in order to benefit from the boons of the Lady of Shadows. Thieves, like many criminals, are superstitious more so than merely reverent. To many, worship of Nocturnal is more akin to insurance of success than faith.

Honor Among Thieves

While each location has the right to create their own codes and ethics, they each operate under a set of guidelines. Here is an example of what that might look like: First, never steal from another member of the guild. Second, never kill anyone on the job. This is not the Dark Brotherhood. Animals and monsters can be slain if necessary. Third, don't steal from the poor. The peasants and beggars are under the personal protection of the Guildmaster. Breaking any of the three rules means expulsion from the Thieves Guild. If you commit murder, you must pay the blood price to rejoin the guild. Blood price is for each person slain. You can pay any of this to the guild Doyen.

GOALS OF THE THIEVES GUILD

Crime in moderation is good for the economy. The trick is to keep it at a good, even pace with a well timed lull and a minor wave to keep the fat bottoms from becoming complacent. Of course, undisciplined, but talented thieves will keep stealing, empty their pockets, and steal some more. This is not good for anyone. That's where the guild comes in. The Thieves Guild does it’s best to keep its side of the deal with the Empire and regulate crime. To do this, the guild enforces a set of rules that all members must learn to live by. Thieves that refuse to join the guild, or refuse to follow the rules, typically find themselves unable to continue on with their preferred career—it’s hard to steal with a pair of broken arms. Moderating crime is also a good way to keep hidden. Most citizens of Tamriel would believe that if a Thieves Guild exists, it would create rampant crime that would be impossible to hide. The smart Guildmasters know that the best way to stay out of the spotlight of the law is to remain invisible to everyone. Each member steals at their own discretion. The guild neither helps nor hinders with a burglary. However, hiding their crimes and protecting their own is a high priority for the guild, but the guild also knows when to cut loose reckless thieves as a means of self preservation. The riches stockpiled by the Thieves Guild are not set aside solely for their own enjoyment. Making sure that the poor and the needy are taken care of is important. By sharing their fortune with the beggars and downtrodden of Tamriel, they can recruit essential allies that become their eyes and ears among the people. This allows the Thieves Guild to gather information about prospective new jobs, possible guard raids, or other events that might change their plans. This allows the guild to work as a loose network of informants and spies that would rival any espionage otherwise seen in Tamriel.

Thieves Guild Characters

Alignment: Mostly chaotic, neutral, or even evil.
Suggested Classes: Bard, rogue, thief
You might enjoy playing a character who is a member of the Thieves Guild if one or more of the following statements are true:
◈ You love to put your skills to the test.
◈ You are excited by high stakes with high rewards.
◈ You want to connect with a network of like- minded criminals.

JOINING THE THIEVES GUILD

You began your career with the Thieves Guild in one of two ways: you found them, or they found you. Perhaps after robbing a noble blind you were contacted by a member who asked you to join. Or you followed a friend, who unknowingly led you straight into the guilds hideout, and you wanted in. Regardless, you were recognized for your skills as a capable thief that can follow orders and were invited to join the organization. Inside the guild, you were trained, taught, and kept out of prison. You have been given protection when you needed it, and have given protection when it’s been asked of you. You’ve honed your skills in stealth, spying, forgery, and more, while bringing your own talents to the guild. You listen to the Doyen. You take your orders from them. You get your favors from them. They can pay off the Imperial judges to remove your crimes if you get caught. If you are a thief from any archetype, you will use the skills and abilities you have that set you apart from other thieves. You will likely play a key role in the guild as a burglar or pickpocket. Rogues can have similar talents, but might find themselves as enforcers, spies, or infiltrators. You’ve probably broken a few bones over the years. If you are a bard, nightblade, or mage (perhaps from the school of illusion), you use magic to enhance your ability to sneak about. Becoming invisible, using disembodied limbs to distract or pinch for you, or even stealing in broad view and then changing the memories of your marks. Your role in the guild is the same as any other thief, but your methods are truly unique.

HOW DO I FIT IN?

Working for the Thieves guild is generally what one would expect from the name. You are a thief, a spy, enforcer, or operative. Your duties are usually simple. Steal without getting caught. But the guild sometimes works with high-profile clients, stealing secrets, rather than goods, or artifacts instead of gold. These instances might turn the tide of war, unseat kings, and change the course of Tamriel for an era. In any case, it is paramount that the guild stays hidden and much of your actions are dealt with on your own to help keep it secret. You often speak in code, known as thieves cant, to keep your intentions unknown, and you have learned to keep an eye out for shadowmarks, ciphers intended to convey simple messages. Like any good thief, you know about security—locks, traps, and how to get around them. You also know how to defend yourself, either through evasion or assault. When you are on the move, you travel light and fast, often preferring light arms like daggers and shortswords, and light armor, like leather or hide. Keeping a distance is even better, avoiding a slugging match means you have less of a chance of being slowed down. Wielding arrows, bolts, throwing stars, darts, or even spells can keep you moving fast.

A THIEVES GUILD PARTY

The guild might send an adventuring party to infiltrate a renowned nobles’ mansion or to rob a kingdom’s treasury. These larger heists require unmatched stealth and subterfuge, with a team consisting mainly of thieves, rogues, and monks. A nightblade or mage would provide subtle spells, but equipment and healing potions might be relied on for additional support.

Rank and Renown

As you gain renown with the Thieves Guild, you will be rewarded with missions of greater importance and difficulty. To advance through the ranks, you must meet the requirements. Some chapters measure your worth in gold stolen and property sold to the guild fences. Regardless, the Doyen or Guildmaster determine those conditions. Each time you rise in rank, you are given more important jobs that are more difficult, but they are also more rewarding.

THIEVES GUILD SPELLS

Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Night Magic class feature

For you, the spells on the Thieves Guild Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class. (If you are a multiclass character with multiple spell lists, these spells are added to all of them.)

Thieves Guild Spells
Spell Level Spells
Cantrip mage hand, message
1st disguise self, feather fall
2nd blindness/deafness, silence
3rd nondetection, sending
4th arcane eye, dimension door
5th mislead, modify memory

RANK 1: SCHEMER

Prerequisite: Renown 3 or higher with the Thieves Guild

The guild takes care of its own. When you have proven yourself to be an asset to the guild, you are given the title of schemer. You call a particular safe house home where you can sell stolen merchandise to a fence and have confidential meetings with the Doyen. You gain access to general supplies and services that you can buy, depending on the type of safehouse you’ve claimed. This could be a standard general store, armory, or apothecary, where you will have ample access to general goods, weaponry, or potions. This could also be a tavern or inn. Regardless, the goods and services offered here are sold to you at a 10% discount.

RANK 2: SPYMASTER

Prerequisite: Rank 1 and Renown 10 or higher with the Thieves Guild

You have emptied many pockets, safes, and purses, to the point where you see most petty missions as child’s play. You have learned how to pay attention to subtle hints and clues, which gives you insight into the world around you. This heightened awareness has granted you the title of spymaster. By getting to this rank, you’ve uncovered a few secrets, with one important secret in particular. Work with your GM to determine what that secret is. The secret typically involves an influential person or organization. Perhaps regarding a hidden past or potential future. You should determine the general source or type of secret, but the GM ultimately decides the details.

RANK 3: DOYEN

Prerequisite: Rank 2 and Renown 25 or higher with the Thieves Guild

You have made a name for yourself within the guild and are recognized by the Guildmaster, who promotes you to Doyen. There are no set amount of Doyens in each chapter, so you do not need to wait for this position to become vacant. As Doyen, you gain a significant amount of independence over the jobs you conduct for the guild— even more so than usual. You also gain control over what types of jobs everyone else takes on, as you are now in charge of distributing the assignments decided by the Guildmaster. With this new position comes extra clout, which can be used when dealing with guards and judges. You gain advantage on Personality (Persuasion) checks made to reduce the sentencing or the cost of a bounty on yourself or a member of the guild, though you can only use this influence once each day. On a successful check, the sentence or bounty is reduced by half. In this role, you can maintain a comfortable lifestyle between adventures.

SPECIAL ROLE: NIGHTINGALE

Prerequisite: Renown 25 or higher with the Thieves Guild, 10th level or higher

Only the highest skilled thieves can join the Nightingale Trinity, and you have caught the eye of Nocturnal, the Mistress of Shadows. As the name suggests, there can only ever be three Nightingales at a time, and this position won’t be presented to you until it is available. Once you gain the role, you join a special order of thieves, hand selected by Nocturnal, to serve her and take on the Oath. You are required to guard the Twilight Sepulcher, the Temple of Nocturnal,

against all threats. You also must ensure the Skeleton Key, her prized artifact, is kept in the Sepulcher, retrieving it when necessary. In return, and in time, Nocturnal may grant you special boons intended for her faithful. You also reserve your spirit to the Evergloam, where upon death, you will become one with the shadows itself.

RANK 4: GUILDMASTER

Prerequisite: Rank 3 and Renown 50 or higher with the Thieves Guild

Having stolen more than many of the others thieves combined, you have gained the respect of the entire guild. You are now eligible to become Guildmaster, though each chapter can only have one Guildmaster, so you must wait until the position becomes vacant and earn the approval among the majority of the guild. As Guildmaster you take full control over how the guild operates. You determine the codes and ethics that guild follows and what type of jobs the guild agrees to take on. You can rely on 6d10 bandits, 6d6 scouts, and 1d6 + 1 spies to independently complete guild missions, which you can rally for special missions of your own devising. Between adventures you can now maintain a wealthy lifestyle.

ENEMIES AND ALLIES

Thieves know little to no allies among ordinary, law- abiding citizens or townsfolk. Nor do they seek to gain their trust, as it is better to remain hidden without their help, than be known and hindered. With chapters throughout all of the Empire, the guild’s presence is always something that upstanding citizens are wary of, regardless if they know for certain a guild operates nearby or not. The guild finds allies in all walks of life. Beggars and vagabonds are seen as the best source of information, since they have eyes and ears everywhere and cost little to keep their cooperation. On the opposite end, officials or nobles can be corrupted and are always in need of the guild’s skills and services. Even local authorities endure the Thieves Guild as they see it as a crime regulator, making crime less chaotic altogether. You might even find cooperation with the other guilds, such as the Gold Coast Trading Company, who might make use of the Thieves Guild, resulting in a fruitful partnership. But for the most part, working alongside other guilds might be a one sided operation, preferably with the other not knowing who exactly is working with them.