Is it possible to kill all of the guards in a town? Ideally, I'd like to do this secretly so the entire town doesn't see my deeds and put a bounty on my head.

Edit: I was questing in Markarth and was told by a guard to back off and stop being nosy. I didn't and when I went to the Shrine of Talos I was set upon by a bunch of guards. Now I have a huge bounty and I had to sneak/kill my way out of the city. Every time I killed a group of guards the bounty was reduced by $1000, but I still have a $30,000 bounty.

I haven't even been through 1/3 of the city yet and know there has to be a lot of quests, so what do I do? The only solution seems to kill every single guard (and inhabitant).

  • 3
    I've used the push shout to knock guards off a cliff and no one gave a damn. That guard never got back up.
    – Zeno
    Nov 30, 2011 at 15:35
  • It is nice to be the Thane too. I haven't tried killing all the guards as Thane but most of the time you can tell the guard who would normally arrest you "I'm the Thane. Go away." and they will let you continue to do whatever less than reputable deed you were doing.
    – Bravo840
    Nov 30, 2011 at 15:57
  • 1
    Or, you could give in and do some jail time..
    – DrFish
    Nov 30, 2011 at 18:43
  • 3
    The thane card only works once though.
    – kotekzot
    Feb 14, 2012 at 23:37
  • @Bora while the link in itself is interesting, the context somehow makes the whole thing rather hilarious. Thx for the laugh.
    – Nigralbus
    Aug 16, 2012 at 16:50

7 Answers 7


So, this is a classic case of asking the wrong question. Guards will respawn, and unless you want to give up on the Reach for good, you'll need to resolve this. You can't slaughter your way out of this one. Well, at least not without letting them haul you in first.

After finishing The Forsworn Conspiracy quest, being arrested is the only real resolution. This triggers the quest No One Escapes From Cidnha Mine, which is short, offers some great rewards, and will clear your bounty in Markarth.

If guards in Markarth will no longer accept a yield, your best bet will be to reload a save prior to the wholesale slaughter of innocent militiamen.

  • 1
    ok.. well that explains it. getting arrested is part of the quest line. I wondered the heck I did wrong.. thanks!
    – Avien
    Nov 30, 2011 at 19:40

Yes, you can. Just sneak attack kill them in one hit with no one around to see or hear -- or reverse pickpocket poisons onto them with the "Poisoned" Pickpocketing perk.

However, the guards will respawn, so the "unguarded" condition of the town is only temporary.

  • I suck at pick-pocketing
    – Avien
    Nov 30, 2011 at 19:48
  • 1
    Please try to give all the relevant info when you first ask your question -- I thought it was a general "can I kill all the guards" question.
    – agf
    Dec 1, 2011 at 5:41
  • 1
    I did update the question
    – Avien
    Dec 1, 2011 at 13:40

If you are more concerned with lowering your bounty you can use the console to do this. The console command is:

player.setcrimegold 0

  • 1
    How does that work with their being nine different holds that each track your bounty separately?
    – agf
    Dec 1, 2011 at 14:08
  • 1
    Right... first you need to get the faction's ID use : help "city name" 4 to get that, then put the ID at the end Dec 2, 2011 at 13:56

Yes and no. You can kill all the guards, but they eventually respawn. Mine took about a month in game to respawn. You should reload a previous save, or try to talk and serve your jail time.


What I would do is get your Speech up to level 100, and then you can "persuade" the guards. It's hard to get them to talk, but I just took out my weapon and then sheathed it, and then they talked to me. I then persuaded them. It worked out well.

Also, killing every guard will not work.You still have to worry about the jarl (but this was only in Whiterun).

  • I did that once. I persuaded a guard into thinking that I didn't kill anyone. But yes the guards are imposible to kill but I think the yarl's the one who keeps bringing guards in. If you beat the campaign, I think he's not an ncp anymore. Oct 7, 2012 at 15:03

I killed all the guards in Whiterun. It's been about two weeks normal time and they haven't come back. I can get away with anything I want!


You can, but like everyone else said its temporary. I actually ran into a point in markarth where I can yield, and have no older save file to turn back to, so I kill every guard i find and then go about my business. Its surprising how no one cares after you kill all guards

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .