Ash has played "Skyrim" for several years now and enjoys writing about it and her various Dovahkiin.
Keep in mind that this article is about the roleplay aspects of playing a thief, not leveling and gameplay mechanics.
In the years that I've been playing Skyrim, I have mostly taken pleasure in making up different character builds to roleplay. While most of my characters seek to defy the in-game stereotypes for my own personal amusement, the Khajiit thief is actually one of the stereotypes I enjoy embracing.
So here is how I roleplay a Khajiit thief.
- Main Quests
- Mods Used in the Opening Pic
1. Personality: Selfish And Arrogant
The Dragonborn has the soul of a dragon. This is, therefore, a person I imagine would kill, steal, and cause mayhem all for the sheer pleasure of it. Dragons revel in carnage, love treasure, and (rightfully) believe themselves to be literal gods.
The nice thing about Skyrim is that it gives you leeway to roleplay either way. You can roleplay a Dovahkiin who is basically as bad as Alduin but only stops him for selfish reasons (why should they let him destroy their playground?) or you can roleplay a Dovahkinn who is a good "reformed" dragon like Paarthurnax.
The choice is yours. But since Skyrim doesn't give you an option to be a noble thief (Not that I care. Just stating facts), it makes sense to play someone who is a giant asshole and enjoys being rich for the sake of being rich. Because, let's be honest: there's no real reason to be rich in Skyrim.
As a Thief Dovahkiin, I feel it makes sense to steal, kill, loot, and horde as much as possible, all for the sake of gaining power and dominance over Skyrim. Dragons are all about dominance, and by the "end" of one playthrough, the Dragonborn could have possibly conquered every faction and hold, wielding enough power to be the real seat of the throne from the shadows.
2. Appearance: Bling, Bling
Like all thieves, your Khajiit loves gold, so they should be using dwarven weapons where possible. They should also be decked out in jewelry: necklaces, rings, and gold rings in their kitty ears.
You'd also be wearing light armor with a hood constantly up to hide your face. You are a thief, after all. You rob people. Hiding your identity should be pretty damn important. For this reason, you only take your hood and scarf off when at home or when a quest demands it.
3. Faction: The Thieves Guild
This one should be obvious.
If you want to get the most out of thieving—and if you want to be rich—it makes sense to join the Thieves Guild. I find the Guild Master armor and the Nightingale Armor (which I like to mismatch) to be worth it.
Sure, all the characters are insufferable assholes, but if you're an insufferable asshole too, it makes sense to join them.
I also enjoy joining the Dark Brotherhood on a Guild Master character, since my thieves are usually assassins too—and since the two guilds seem to have connections.
4. Follower: Jenassa
I praise Jenassa a lot but not nearly enough.
Jenassa's only downside is that she doesn't level high, and that can easily be fixed with a mod. Found in the Drunken Huntsman, she is the perfect vanilla follower for a sneaky character, in that she actually knows how to sneak, doesn't trigger traps (as far as I can remember), and wields dual blades like a boss.
What's more, Jenassa is one of the few non-housecarl followers that will allow you to commit crime, any crime. So steal all you want in front of her. Slap children. Stab old women. Jenassa does not give one crap.
She can also be married, allowing you to get the Lover's Comfort perk while out thieving on the road.
The one reason I don't like Jenassa as a follower? She is not essential. And because she wears light armor, she can die easily should you accidentally hit her. I shot her a couple of times on my recent Khajiit thief character and was very sad before proceeding to reload.
If Jenassa were essential, she'd be perfect. As it is, though, it's probably best for a thief not to have a follower anyway. Especially a thief-assassin.
5. Spouse: Mjoll the Lioness
I recommend Mjoll as a spouse—not a follower—for the sheer sake of the irony. When you arrive in Riften, Mjoll is immediately presented as the only person in town trying to do something about the horrible Thieves Guild. She hates them and wants to see every last one of them caught and thrown in jail.
What's hilarious is that you can lie to Mjoll's face about being Gulid Master and then proceed to marry her. So much thought was put into Mjoll's background . . . and yet that one huge thing was ignored. Bethesda has since updated their followers to actually react to your choices with games like Fallout 4. But still . . . nothing tickles me more than marrying Mjoll as Guild Master
I say Mjoll is a better spouse than a follower because she will leave your party if you commit crimes while she's following you. She also never shuts the hell up and loves talking about the same crap over and over.
No misogynistic "Women, amirite?" cracks, so help me god.
Spouse Option 2: Ysolda
Ysolda was the first Skyrim character I ever married.
I married her because I was playing a Khajiit, and she seemed to really admire and respect the Khajiit caravans. She was also kind to my Khajiit character, who felt weird and out of place, being the only Khajiit ever around.
Nothing amused me more than finding out Ysolda was actually a drug dealer. My wicked Khajiit thief then married her, and I proceeded to have lovely head canons of how they raised their two daughters to eventually run their drug empire.
6. House: Honeyside
As much as I loath most of the characters in Riften, the house in Honeyside is actually my favorite. When you max it out, you can have a pretty nice alchemy lab on the lower floor. This is good for poisoners and assassins, especially given that you can steal fish from the nearby fishery for your poisons.
You can also enter your house from the docks without having to go through the city gates, and given that the Thieves Guild is only a few feet away, being close to your work is convenient.
It's a pretty great house and only requires you to complete a very short quest, then help three to five people in Riften's hold. Not bad.
The only thing Honeyside needs is more bookshelves. And possibly a toilet.
7. Main Quests
Depending on the way you're roleplaying, you may or may not complete certain main quests. For my thieves, I always complete: the civil war, the main quest, and the Dawnguard DLC.
It makes sense for a thief to help the Imperials win because keeping the Imperials in charge of Skyrim reopens trade routes and means more money. It also gives Maven Black Briar, insufferable creature that she is, more power. This is good for a Guild Master who depends on her Imperial connections to keep the coins flowing.
Finishing the main quest as a thief also makes sense. Thief Dovahkiin doesn't want the world to end. They want to preserve it so they can go on killing and stealing. Those activities are just too fun to let Alduin ruin.
Finally, I recommend that a thief character finish Dawnguard so they can get crossbow schematics. I find crossbows superior to bows for a sneaky character in every way—while a bow is superior to a crossbow for a combat archer. Having a sneaky thief who uses a dwarven crossbow is pretty great.
8. Mods Used
That's about it. The point of this article was to help you more deeply immerse yourself in the role of Khajiit Thief. You could even take things a step farther and have your character be a skooma addict, a food poisoner, you name it. There are mods out there galore!
Speaking of which, here are the mods I used in the pictures of my Khajiit, as promised:
- Maru Mask is a bit overpowered, but I feel like it's something that should have been included in the vanilla game, the kind of reward an assassin or a thief would break their neck going after. It's basically a mask that is enchanted to let you breathe underwater (good for escaping after an assassination or robbery), while also making pricing with merchants better, upping poison resistance, and a number of other great things.
- Bandolier – Bags and Pouches is pretty much a lifesaver for a thief character. Early on in the game, you are not going to be wearing enchanted armor that allows you to carry more, nor are you going to be inclined to have a loud, annoying follower who ruins your sneak. This mod allows you to craft pouches and bags that are very immersive, don't clip, and allow you to carry more without a follower.
- Better Claws and Gauntlets basically lets your Khajiit character actually have long, awesome-looking nails when wearing vanilla gauntlets. It's pretty great when you're in first-person to see those sharp babies.
- Kinoko Pose is how I've taken most of my screenshots over the years. For a long time, I was invested in "Skyrim photography" and enjoyed posing my awesome characters and taking shots of them. Kinoko is full of fun poses just for that.
© 2018 Ash