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I'm a Khajiit character in Skyrim. I just created the character and have decided to join the Thieves Guild. The first quest I have to do (Taking Care of Business) is collect the debt from three people.

However, as a Khajiit, whenever I initiate a brawl, I end up doing lethal damage (yes, with my fists), and everybody around me starts trying to kill me with daggers. I always end up killing the target with my hands rather than just knocking him to the ground.

Whenever I'm attacked, the target and everyone around me attacks as well. Any help would be appreciated.

I'm wearing all Imperial armor and a Novice Mage Hood. I had the Gloves of the Pugilist on, but then I tried using them and thought they were the problem, so I took them off. The same problem persisted. I'm using mods, though I don't think they are relevant to brawls. I'm using the following mods: Dragon Diversity, Archery Gameplay Overload, Enhanced First Person View, Moonpath to Elsweyr, Elemental Arrows, FNIS, Apocalypse Spells, and VioLens.

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  • Looking around. Saw this thread: forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3235004. What equipment are you wearing?
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 21:34
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    ^ What DCShannon said. Make sure you don't have anything on with enchantments that increase damage in unarmed combat. Do you have any followers with you? Make sure you dismiss them before starting a brawl. Are you using any mods?
    – pushasha
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 21:49
  • If you play on PC, I generally suggest installing the Unofficial Patch (If you don't have legendary edition, there's separate mods for the base game and every DLC, too). These patches contain a huge amount of fixes that Bethesda never bothered to do themselves. It might solve your issue as well. Make sure to post it as an answer if it does.
    – MrLemon
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 22:33
  • @DCShannon I HAD the Pugilists on, but then I tried using them and I thought they were the problem so I took them off and same problem.
    – RainMaker
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 1:00
  • @pushasha Yeah, I'm using mods though I don't think they are relevant to brawls, I'm using Dragon Diversity, Archery Gameplay Overload, Enhanced First Person View, Moonpath to Elsweyr, Elemental Arrows, FNIS, Apocalypse Spells, and VioLens.
    – RainMaker
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 1:03

4 Answers 4

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You can complete the quest without needing to brawl with anyone

Assuming you are talking about the Thieves Guild quest "Taking Care of Business", you should be able to collect each debt without having to resort to brawls (unless you want to brawl for roleplay reasons or something, in which case my answer isn't going to be very useful).

I have completed this quest in this way many times, but I will refer to this UESP page that originally taught me how.

For Keerava, talk to her mate for some personal secrets to threaten her with:

Find Talen-Jei, another Argonian in the tavern, who is Keerava's lover. He will be suspicious of you, but if you tell him to talk some sense into her, he will say, "With the rumors going around about how poorly your Guild's been doing, she's become much too bold. I'm not that foolish. The last thing I want is a war with your people." If you ask for his cooperation, you will have it. "Look, I'm only telling you this because I care for her. Don't mistake this as acceptance for what you do. Keerava has some family at a farm just inside of Morrowind. If you mention you know about it, she might just listen to you. Just please, don't harm anyone. I couldn't bear the thought." Return to Keerava and she will give up the money, petrified with fear.

For Bersi, smash up his favourite urn:

If you're not up to fisticuffs with him, though, you can always duke it out with the urn. It's across from Bersi, ready for the smashing. Take out your weapon or spell (it will take a few hits to break it, so you may not want to use a bow) and get to it. Bersi and his wife Drifa will yell out as you do, but once the urn is shattered beyond repair Bersi will say "No! That urn was priceless!" Ask him if he wants you to break anything else, and he will pay you: "All right! I get it. I'll pay on time from now on. Just don't smash anything else. Here, take your gold and leave me in peace."

For Haelga, steal her Dibella statue and ransom it back to her:

Around the corner to the east is a set of drawers, upon which sits a golden statue of Dibella, Divine of beauty, to whom Haelga is devoted. Swipe it and go back to Haelga. Threaten to drop the statue down a well and she will crack: "Not Lady Dibella? No, please! I can't lose her! I get the message. Here, take your gold. I hope you choke on it!"

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The issue you're experiencing is likely due to the infamous "Brawl Bug" in Skyrim, which affects several quests throughout the game.

Brawls in Skyrim are notoriously poorly implemented. Any magic effects applied to either participant can cancel the brawl and potentially cause your opponent to draw their weapon. Depending on your mod load order, you might encounter the "Brawl Bug," which can prevent you from completing any brawls at all.

To avoid these bugs and other unwanted issues with brawling, you might want to consider installing the Modern Brawl Bug Fix mod. It's available for various versions of the game:

This mod updates the brawl-related scripts in Skyrim. In the vanilla game, brawls (and certain other controlled combat scenarios) are cancelled when either participant is struck by any magic effect.

This mod improves the situation by updating these events to trigger only under specific circumstances. Now, a brawl will only be interrupted when a participant is struck by a weapon (except fists), a hostile spell, shout, or scroll, or when the player casts a spell, uses an ingredient, or drinks a potion during the brawl.

By installing this mod, you should be able to complete the Thieves Guild debt collection quest without your fists causing lethal damage in brawls. This should allow you to knock your opponents to the ground without accidentally killing them or triggering hostility from nearby NPCs.

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Quick and dirty solution: Change your race:

  • Open the console with the ` key (next to the 1 key), then type: showracemenu. This will show the initial character creation menu.
  • Change your race from Khajiit to something else.
  • Complete the quest without scratching your opponent with your cat's claws.
  • Repeat to change your race back.

Side note

I had a minor issue with changing race: I've changed from Khajiit to Dwemer, but after each change to Werewolf form and back, the game was resetting my race to Khajiit (forcing me to manually change it back again). But since you want your character to stay with its original race this shouldn't be an issue.

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You could try increasing the difficulty of the game for these quests - This will lower the amount of damage you will deal (and increase the amount of damage you receive). This should let you bring your target to low health without killing him.

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    I don't think the problem is that the asker is killing the enemy, it's that their damage isn't registered as non-lethal, so everyone turns on them for attacking the guy unprovoked.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 23:02

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