I have a chest in Riverwood where I'll keep everything I can't carry I.e. Dragon bones, books etc. And lately I've noticed an abundance of theives running away from riverwood whenever I fast travel there. I manage to run them down but this never happens in any other town.


Should I be worried that they are stealing from me?

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    Do you own the chest you're storing stuff in? (use the isOwner command in the console to check) – Raven Dreamer Nov 29 '11 at 5:54

No, NPC thieves won't break into your chests, but yes, items you leave unattended in chests may expire. The only safe chests are ones in a house you own. You can buy a house in Whiterun for 5,000 gold.


Any container that doesn't belong to the player, IE is not in a player-owned house can be considered unsafe for storing gear. If you leave stuff in a container you don't own, chances are it'll vanish after a few game-days. No-one is stealing it, just the contents of most containers are refreshed every so often. The new contents are selected by the game from a predefined list. Anything not on that list wont appear in the container when the contents are refreshed. So say you stored a unique sword in a random barrel somewhere. The sword will most likely disappear after either 24 hours or 3 days (the standard pre-set refresh intervals). Next time you visit the barrel, there might only be apples in it. Sometimes your item might survive a refresh and still be there when you look back... but don't count on it.

Player-owned containers do not have their contents refreshed, hence the stuff you leave in it will stay there until you remove it yourself. If things are missing from a player-owned container, it's either because you forgot that you moved them somewhere else or due to a bug in one or more of your saved games.

As for NPC theives; Some people believe that NPCs exchange objects with containers as a matter of course. They don't. An NPC can only exchange items in & out of a container if they are specifically scripted to do so. 99% of NPCs are not scripted to do this. The remaining 1% constitutes quest-specific NPCs (who only exchange pre-defined items from pre-defined containers) and traders. Traders do not normally exchange items with containers that are visible in the game world. Most have their own special containers which are positioned outside of the bitmap where they can't be seen. Sometimes it is possible for the player character to enter "Blue Hell" (fall outside the bitmap), where if you search carefully, you might find one of these special trader chests. Take care what you steal from these chests if you ever find one. Anything you take will never appear in that traders barter menu again. This includes gold. If you steal all the gold from a traders secret chest he'll never have any to trade with, unless you put gold back in the chest again.

Regards to NPCs found in the players home; no, they are not stealing anything. If an NPC is speaking to you as you enter a door, they will often spawn into the new cell with you to finish speaking their line. Sometimes the game will have difficulty knowing where in the cell to spawn them, in which case you may find them... in your bedroom, say. Most times they will leave straight away. Some NPCs do wander in & out of buildings at random. Although player homes aren't strictly part of the AI wander package (the thing that controls where an NPC can & can't go), the thing with random generators is that they're random. An NPC with a random wander package can effectively go anywhere within the parameters defined by that package. For example, an NPC with a wander package specifically for "Whiterun, Dragonsreach" may enter unlocked cells within Dragonsreach only. An NPC with a wander package for "Whiterun" may enter any unlocked cells within Whiterun, including dragonsreach (and the players home). Wander packages do not negate locked doors, meaning that NPCs can't wander in & out of locked rooms or buildings unless or until the door is unlocked by the player or by a script.

When things in your house get strewn about the place... this isn't because an NPC wandered in and threw all your cabbages on the floor! It's just a glitch in the game. If things are missing they probably fell through the bitmap or were respawned outside of it thanks to a bug in your save game. When items fall through the bitmap they "C.O.W"... go to the Centre Of World. When this happens it's tough luck I'm afraid. You've lost that thing. Either learn the objectID and give it back to yourself using the command console or reload a saved game & hope the bug that caused the problem wasn't present when you saved it.

NPC theives? Yes, there are thief characters but no, they don't actually steal anything. Why they're appearing for you in Riverwood is anyone's guess. Random spawners, saved game bugs, who knows. These things happen!

Most recently, I entered my house in Whiterun to find Lydia and Uthgerd the barbarian stood either side of a seated Faendal. All three butt-ass naked, the cooking pot obscuring Faendal's bits... "Are you lost" says Lydia!

Erm... yes... I think I'll just go back outside now! No rhyme or reason for this happening. It just did. All part of what makes Skyrim great!

For those playing on a games console & wondering what the hell a "script" is, or an "AI package"... it's part of the program (game). You can't see it or edit it on a console though. You need a PC to do that!


In oblivion people would steal from containers you didnt own. The only way in THAT game to store something safely was to buy a house and store it in your house. I dont play skyrim so i cant say for sure, but being that its the sequel, id say its a safe bet that they work similarly.


Okay these guys have some of the info right. What they lack is a understanding of game engines and programming, second comment has a grasp, but clearly doesn't work with game engines. I have played Skyrim on ps3 for a few years now, pc has options for the game engine that are locked down in console version, I have no mods on my ps3. I have no downloaded content for Skyrim either, it is a pure original copy besides updates. So with that said I will explain the truth.

First off yes if you own the house no one can steal from you, that is not to say you won't find people in your home every now and then, but your stuff is safe no matter the container. As long as you own the house.

Second random places in the world to store your stuff is also correct in the statement "it is not safe", but no you can fix the re-spawning of object with in containers, when you find a location that did not have humanoid NPC's in it. (As even after you clear some of these locations the humanoid NPC's can re-populate the cave/whatever location, if you don't return to the location every day or so they will. Also it's not all of them at once, it is a slow gradual move in of thugs.)

Empty the chest of everything it had in it to start with, once all the objects have been removed the game engine will no longer re-spawning the objects into that said container, barrels and sacks will re-spawning no matter what. The you can store what ever you like in the said container and not have it go missing.

As for the thieves in Riverfront, well they like the Riverwood trader. I have found NPC's from the thieves guild in his store casing the place waiting for night time. He runs back and forth from upstairs to the opposite side on the ground floor during the day time. He also every now and then tries to pull out a dagger, when he dose the store owner says something about not doing that and the theft puts the dagger away. The thieves will steal from Riverfront trader, making that your home is not a great idea, buy a home in any of the holds (big cities) and you stuff is always guaranteed to be safe.

The reason they do steal from the Riverwood is because they are "scripted" (as one put it) to steal from him that is how the golden claw goes missing in the first place. Skyrim is built as if it is a virtual world the NPC's are programmed in such a way to respond to the environment (to some degree) this has been a president for all versions of elder scrolls since Morrowind.. That is not to say they will have random events, they are not AI but they do react to other NPC's and to the player. Random thieves in the field who try to rob you are a perfect example of this, if you have high stealth (best done with skill stealth at 100+) watch a theft when in stealth and fallow him, pick his pocket after he picks someone else's pocket you will see he did intact take a item from the other NPC's

  • 1
    Holy paragraphs, Batman. – Studoku Nov 9 '14 at 16:43

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