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Skyrim: Dark Brotherhood or Thieves Guild, Which Is Best?

In Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, players progress through the world of Tamriel and collect the souls of slain dragons. They will come across a lot of different factions and guilds that will provide them with unique storylines to follow, as well as weapons and armor that can’t be acquired by playing the main story. There are many guilds to seek out in Skyrim; however, the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood are probably the two most sought-after. Even for those longtime fans who’ve already completed the game, there’s always the question of which guild is the best.

The Thieves Guild is exactly what it sounds like: a guild of thieves. This guild is located underneath Riften, the city at the bottom right on the map of Tamriel, in a place called the Ragged Flagon. The guild is perfect for those role-playing as stealth-oriented characters who love to pickpocket and steal. However, the Thieves Guild’s number one rule in Skyrim is no killing unless necessary, because the dead don’t pay.

Within the Ragged Flagon, gamers will find the guild’s members either at the bar, or training in the cistern. Two of these guild members, Delvin and Vex, will be the main crew members that give side quests in order for the player to restore the guild to what it once was. Side-quests are extra ways to make money in Skyrim, and how the Dragonborn can become the Guild’s new master. Delvin will give jobs involving forging business ledgers, stealing goods from a specific target, and stealing goods from specific Holds without being noticed or killing anybody. Vex will give jobs that entail stealing from wealthier mansions, homes, and stores, as well as planting false evidence into homes of people the guild wants to get rid of. There are a variety of jobs to take under the Thieves Guild, but like any repeatable side-quests, they can get repetitive.

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim’s Thieves Guild Explained

Beyond the basics of what the Thieves Guild is about, the Dragonborn will also be thrust into the realm of lies and deception as they must uncover the mystery of bad luck that has befallen the guild in recent years. Low on funds and bodies, the Thieves Guild sets players out to discover the secrets that were buried long ago by the guild’s previous masters. Doing so will result in multiple new gear sets each with its own thief-based enchantments. Completing the storyline will also grant access to the sword, bow, and armor of the Nightingales. The Nightingale gear comes with unique enchantments that set them apart from the normal guild gear.

With the Nightingale armor, the Dragonborn will receive a lot of boons to stats like lockpicking. As for the weapons, the Nightingale sword is one of the most unique looking and best swords in the game with an enchantment to absorb health and stamina on every hit. Players will also receive the Nightingale bow, another good weapon on par with a Deadric bow. Overall, it may be wise to wait on the Thieves Guild questline until level 46 in order to make all the gear more worthwhile, since the armor scales to the player’s level. If heists and stealth mode are in the player’s style of choice, they should check out the Thieves Guild. It’s also nice to have the added option to pay off guards when caught doing illegal extra-curricular activities.

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood Explained

The Dark Brotherhood is a group of assassins that accept contracts through what is called The Black Sacrament. The group serves the deities Sithis and The Night Mother. They carry out contracts on anybody, and there is no exception. They do still have rules, like no senseless killing of random people, only the contracts set before them. Some people may have to cross lines they may not be comfortable with. However, these contracts don’t vary; find the target, and eliminate them in any way the player deems fit. While this allows for freedom of play, these side-quests may begin to get stale as they drag the player all across Skyrim only to fast-travel right back to the Sanctuary.

The brotherhood resides in a place called The Sanctuary, near Falkreath. It’s hidden in the hillside by a single door with a skull on it to mark the entrance. Eventually, access to the Dawnstar Sanctuary will be available too as players continue the storyline. To join the Brotherhood, the Dragonborn must take the contract from Aventis Aretino in Windhelm. After its completion, the next time they take a rest, the Dark Brotherhood will kidnap them in their sleep. This will send the player headfirst into the dark and chaotic world of assassins as they try to bring the Dark Brotherhood back to its former glory.

To do so, the brotherhood embarks on a quest to fulfill the contract presented before them of slaying the current Emperor of Skyrim. Infiltration and dressing in disguises will play a big role in the main storyline. Upon acceptance into the Dark Brotherhood, the Dragonborn will receive the guild’s Shrouded Armor set. Eventually, the player will be able to go on a quest to obtain the Ancient Shrouded Armor, which gives muffled movement, 100% poison resistance, 35% damage with bows, and double the sneak attack with any one-handed weapon. The Dragonborn will also receive the Blade of Woe, a dagger on par with a Dragonbone dagger that absorbs 10 points of health. Eventually, the player will also receive Shadowmere, an invincible horse with glowing red eyes.

Elder Scrolls: Which Skyrim Guild Is Best & Why

Unlike the Thieves Guild gear, the Dark Brotherhood gear has no level requirements, meaning the questline can be completed at any time. If lurking in the shadows and waiting for the best time to eliminate a target in whatever method that comes to mind sounds fun, the Dark Brotherhood is the guild to seek out first, especially if those rewards sound better.

Ultimately, the best guild to join in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is up to the player themselves. The unique items from each guild suit different playstyles. Each storyline is filled with twists and turns to keep the player interested while also expanding on the lore of Skyrim. While the Thieves Guild’s side quests have more variants, the Dark Brotherhood allows for the player to handle side quests however they’d like. Even for those fans doing another playthrough, there are plenty of secret pieces of gear to discover and different ways to finish quests.