I just got the skeleton key and I'm wondering if I should return it or hold on to it.

What are the benefits of keeping it? Is there a luck bonus?

What will I get if I return it?

  • 9
    The skeleton key is an unbreakable lockpick. So you want to ask yourself: "Self, do I often find myself running out of lockpicks because I have broken all of mine?" Nov 15, 2011 at 3:15
  • where did you find that? Nov 15, 2011 at 3:23
  • 1
    @TombstoneTwo It's part of the Thieve's Guild missions. It's not just in the wild like Oblivion... :(
    – Coomie
    Nov 15, 2011 at 3:25
  • well...thats too bad... Nov 15, 2011 at 4:09

3 Answers 3


As Raven Dreamer notes in the comments, the Skeleton Key is an unbreakable lockpick: that's pretty much its only purpose (and a fine purpose that is!).

However, if you want to continue on with the quest chain, you must return the key to complete the quest. But be sure to take out as many locks as you have before you do!

But however, what you can do is keep the Skeleton Key until you get Lockpicking to 100 and got the perk Unbreakable. This will allow lockpicks to not break when you're attempting to pick the lock. After you get the perk, return the Skeleton Key to Twilight Spechuler.

  • 1
    Whaaaaat?! No skeleton key for keeps unless you want to discontinue the thief guild quest line? I only ever took the time to get it in Oblivion once, but that was enough. It was my best friend when I had it... Spamming the auto-unlock key till it opened... Hmmm... I should look to see if there is an auto-unlock at all in Skyrim when I get home before I mourn too much over the loss of my friend :P
    – Aeo
    Nov 15, 2011 at 14:12
  • 7
    there is a perk in the lockpicking tree that makes regular lockpicks unbreakable.. so if you actually put points into lockpicking(there are a few good perks like extra gold and better items from chests) you wont need the skeleton key. also, i have no points in lockpicking and have 99+ lockpicks, so i dont plan on putting perks into that tree Nov 15, 2011 at 14:56
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    Unless I'm missing somthing, It seems there's almost no point in advancing the thieves guild storyline beyond this point. You already have the armor, the sword, the bow, and now an unbreakable lock pick. You don't get any amazing rewards for completing the questline, and not much, if anything, changes within the thieves guild.
    – user14443
    Nov 15, 2011 at 20:14
  • 1
    Can someone try returning it and then seeing if you can pickpocket/steal it back? I would make a comment but I don't have enough points here yet. Nov 15, 2011 at 21:24
  • 1
    I returned it. Just because I'm a stickler for finishing quests. I agree with @Skizzlefrits , I already have 99+ lockpicks and growing. I'm pretty awesome at lockpicking and can usually get master locks in 5 lockpicks. And if I really want unbreakable lockpicks I can always get the perk. PLUS now I can be invisible for 2 minutes a day!
    – Coomie
    Nov 16, 2011 at 3:16

There's no penalty for keeping the key, except that you can't continue the guild questline.

You don't get kicked out - rather, like most missions in Skyrim, you have virtually unlimited time to complete a quest. Nobody reacts to the fact that you're in possession of the key.

The things you end up missing if you keep it permanently are the rewards for the quest line. Completing the guild quest line gives you one of the three powers of Nocturnal, and allows you to complete the requirements to become the guild master. Getting a power can be useful, and being the guild master means you get access to the tribute chest and the guild master armor, if that's important to you.

Both of these also have achievements tied to them, if you're concerned about such things.

Keeping the Skeleton Key just gives you an unbreakable lockpick. You can get the same benefit from the "Unbreakable" perk in the Lockpicking skill tree at 100 skill.

You can always make a save before restoring the key to its rightful place, and play through the end of the guild questline to see if the rewards are "worth it" to you or not.

  • Would I be able to give it back to them and continue the questline if I wish?
    – David G
    Jun 29, 2012 at 15:45
  • @David, yes. The key is a quest item, and you can't drop it or lose it (except for the unlikely event of a game-breaking glitch), so the quest just stays open for as long as you possess the key. It's just like any quest-related item; this one just happens to have a tangible benefit attached.
    – agent86
    Jun 29, 2012 at 15:51
  • 4
    "except for the likely event of a game-breaking glitch" - fixed. Jun 29, 2012 at 16:54
  • 1
    We should probably merge this answer to the other question. It's much better than what's there. Jun 29, 2012 at 16:59

The skeleton key is an unbreakable key that you have to return in order to continue with the Thieves questline. However, you can keep the skeleton key until you get the unbreakable pick perk, then continue the Thieves questline.

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