The Best Mods for Thieves in Skyrim (2024)

Put some extra sneak into your attack.

Playing any kind of character in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is better with mods! With mods, you can truly make the game your own. Thief characters in particular can be fun to play with mods that expand upon the tools you have at your disposal, the places you can sneak around, and the loot you can steal. Let me walk you through the best mods for playing a thief in Skyrim.

Book of Shadows

This mod offers some very useful and well-implemented features for sneaky characters. You can wear identity-concealing masks, causing any bounties you acquire while it’s equipped to be attributed to your masked persona so long as no one witnesses you putting on or taking off your mask. There are also some nicely animated smoke bombs that work to disrupt the vision and movement of anyone caught in their radius, and can even cause them to cough.

The mod also adds fully animated takedowns, special sneak attacks that activate when you hit an enemy from behind while your right hand is unarmed. Your character will choke the enemy, knocking them out. Finally, to balance out all of the nifty tools this mod gives you, it also makes certain NPCs into sentries who carry a warhorn and will alert their allies to your presence.

Note that this mod requires SkyUI and Nemesis. If you’re looking for an alternative, Sneak Tools is an older mod with some similar features that doesn’t have those requirements.

Download: Nexus Mods

The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal

If you’ve played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, you may remember the Gray Cowl as a powerful thief artifact that was stolen from the Daedric Prince Nocturnal by the Gray Fox, leader of the Thieves Guild in Cyrodiil. This mod makes the item obtainable in Skyrim, but in order to get it, you’ll have to embark upon an epic quest that will take you to some truly impressive new locations across Cyrodiil and Hammerfell.

This fully voiced, DLC-sized mod is designed with stealth gameplay in mind. The beautiful new desert environment offers a nice change of pace from the forests and glaciers of Skyrim, and you’ll encounter some clever puzzles and challenging enemies along the way. This mod gives you a reason to use your thief skills, other than simply to pilfer everything in sight and sell it to a fence. For your trouble you’ll get some awesome rewards that will make you even better at what you do best.

Download: Nexus Mods

Skyrim Sewers

Skyrim is sadly lacking in seedy underground areas where you can utilize your stealth skills. While Riften obviously has the Ratway, the home of the Thieves Guild, none of the other cities in the game came with their own sewer system. You can see sewer grates on the ground in Solitude, but they were never connected to an actual location. This mod rectifies that, giving you a way to bypass the crowded streets and discover new dangers and hidden treasures.

The mod adds a full sewer system to each of the other closed cities in the game in addition to Riften – Markarth, Solitude, Whiterun, and Windhelm. Each city’s underground has a unique style. There are also sewage tunnels to explore at Fort Greenwall and Fort Sungard.

Download: Nexus Mods

Mods for Sneaking

Light Meter

This little mod adds a visual effect to indicate the amount of light your character is currently standing in. Since light affects your stealth level, that’s useful information for sneaking. Your vision will become bluer when you’re in darkness and yellower when you’re illuminated.

Download: Nexus Mods

No Furniture Activation When Sneaking

If you’ve ever accidentally sat down on a bench while sneaking in Skyrim, you’ll appreciate the usefulness of this mod. It simply stops you from being able to do that, preventing you from unintentionally breaking stealth.

Download: Nexus Mods

Better Stealth AI for Followers

Ever considered sacrificing one of your followers to Boethiah after they broke stealth at the wrong moment? This mod is a much less messy solution to that problem. With this installed, your followers will wait until you’ve been fully detected before they attack, and they won’t use torches while sneaking.

Download: Nexus Mods

Dynamic Weather and Time Based Detection

It’s a bit strange that NPCs have the same ability to detect you in the middle of a blizzard as they do on a sunny day. This mod fixes that, altering the audio and visual detection of NPCs based on the current weather and time of day.

Download: Nexus Mods

Realistic AI Detection (RAID)

NPCs are pretty oblivious in Skyrim by default. At high levels of Sneak, you can be right in front of them and they won’t see you. Who needs the Invisibility spell when you can just crouch? This mod makes them a bit smarter, which makes playing a thief a little more challenging – which in turn makes it feel more rewarding when you’re successful.

Download: Nexus Mods

Relaxed Sneak Animations

If you’re playing a thief character, you’ll be sneaking around a lot, so installing a mod that improves the look of the sneak animations makes a lot of sense.

Download: Nexus Mods

Mods for Stealing

BlockSteal Papyrus

This mod prevents accidental stealing by blocking the ability to pick up certain items if you’re not sneaking. Now you can be sure that if you’re going to rob someone, it will be on purpose.

Download: Nexus Mods

NARC – No Animals Report Crimes

In vanilla Skyrim, animals can report your crimes to the guards, causing you to gain a bounty even when you thought no one was looking. This mod fixes that oversight.

Download: Nexus Mods

Crime Overhaul

This mod overhauls the crime and bounty system, making it easier to atone for petty crimes but tougher to evade the law if you’ve been ransacking your way across the province.

Download: Nexus Mods

All Thieves Guild Jobs Concurrently

No more running back and forth to pick up jobs from the Thieves Guild! Now you can grab all seven types of jobs at once, and knock them all out before you pick up another set.

Download: Nexus Mods

Mods for Lockpicking

Security Overhaul SKSE – Lock Variations

At some point after picking yet another lock in your thief playthrough, you may start to wonder why every lock in Skyrim looks exactly the same. This mod changes that, dynamically detecting the object the lock is attached to and displaying a custom lockpicking interface to match.

Download: Nexus Mods

Take a Peek

Before you pick a lock and enter a door, you may want to get a look at what’s on the other side. This mod will allow you to peek through the keyhole and decide if it’s worth the trouble.

Download: Nexus Mods

Simply Knock

Why should you have to pick the lock when you can simply knock? Now you can do just that, and if someone is home, you’ll have a chance to convince them to let you inside.

Download: Nexus Mods

Destructible Display Cases

Sometimes picking the lock is just too much trouble. In those moments, it’s nice to be able to smash your way in instead.

Download: Nexus Mods

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