What Happens When You Go to Jail in Skyrim?

Ah, fellow Dragonborn! I remember the first time I got thrown into a Skyrim jail. There I was, just trying to… liberate… a sweet roll from Belethor’s shop in Whiterun when, out of nowhere, a pesky guard spotted me. I thought, “This is just a simple misunderstanding! A tiny misstep in my otherwise legendary adventure.” But alas, the cold, hard cell told me otherwise.

The despair, the chilling clinks of chains, and worst of all, the loss of my carefully hoarded loot. It was a low moment in my tale of heroism, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be epic if there was a step-by-step escape plan for times like these?” I reckon that’s something every adventurer – whether a stealthy Nightingale or a headstrong Companion – would find valuable. After all, the jails of Tamriel are as tricky as a Daedric puzzle cube.

So, what will this guide unlock for you?

  • What you’ll find when you go to jail
  • The art of acquiring a lockpick (and the best places to find them)
  • Tips on mastering that pesky lockpicking mini-game
  • The stealthiest ways to tiptoe past those pesky guards
  • How to reclaim your hard-earned (or… “borrowed”) loot
  • And, the ultimate prize: your ticket to freedom – the escape route!

Ready to level up your jailbreak skills? Keep on reading, and let’s turn that wanted level into just another epic questline!

Jail in Skyrim: What Bappens When You’re Thrown Behind Bars

Ah, so you’ve found yourself on the wrong side of the law in Tamriel, huh? Happens to the best of us. (Who hasn’t “accidentally” taken an item thinking it was free?) Let me break it down for you:

1. The Chase

So there you are, perusing the markets or maybe trying to stealthily pickpocket someone. But oops! Someone spotted you, or maybe you hit the wrong person. Now you’ve got guards on your tail. Depending on your crime and where you are, they might just shout warnings, or they might draw weapons. Pro tip: if you’re in Whiterun and you harm a chicken, expect the entire town to turn against you. Who knew chickens were so sacred?

2. Confrontation

If a guard gets close enough, they’ll stop you for a chat. You’ll usually hear the iconic, “Stop right there, criminal scum!” or some variant of it. Depending on your Speech skill, reputation, and past actions, you might have a few options:

  • Pay the Bounty: If you’ve got the coin, you can clear your name immediately. Your stolen items will be taken away, though. So if you “borrowed” that sweet-looking Elven sword, kiss it goodbye.
  • Resist Arrest: For the adventurers with a wild side. You’ll fight the guards, but be warned, they’re tough, and you might just accrue an even higher bounty.
  • Go to Jail: Ah, the noble choice. If you accept the arrest, you’ll be sent to the local jail. Which brings us to…

3. Life Behind Bars

Once in jail, you’ll find yourself in a cell, stripped of your belongings except for some raggedy prison clothes. But hey, Skyrim’s jails aren’t just for moping. There’s always a way out, aside from serving your time:

  • Serve Your Time: Use the bed in your cell and you’ll “sleep” for the duration of your sentence. When you wake up, you’re free to go. However, your skills will slightly degrade as a result of your inactivity. So if you were a master lock-picker before, you might find yourself a tad rustier afterwards.
  • Escape: Each jail has its own escape route. Maybe there’s a loose grate under a bed, or a hidden tunnel. And if you’ve got some lockpicks (or can manage to get some), you might just be able to pick your way out of your cell. But be stealthy! Getting caught will land you right back where you started.
  • Thieves’ Guild Members: If you’re part of this exclusive club, once in a while a guild member might visit and offer to pay off your bounty. Handy, right?

4. Getting Your Stuff Back

If you choose the escape route, remember to pick up your belongings from the evidence chest usually located within the jail before you dash off. If you serve your time or pay the fine, your non-stolen goods will be returned to you automatically.

So there you have it! While life in a Skyrim jail might not be the pinnacle of luxury, it sure beats an arrow to the knee. ? Just remember: if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime! Or, you know, just be sneakier next time.

How to Escape From Jail in Skyrim

Ah, plotting a daring escape from a Skyrim jail, are we? The thrill of sneaking past guards and breaking free from your confines can be quite the adventure. Let me guide you through the process:

1. Get a Lockpick

  • Sometimes, you can find a lockpick hidden in your cell or near your belongings.
  • If you’ve befriended certain NPCs, they might slip one to you.
  • Some jails have loose bricks or grates where you can find a lockpick stashed away.

2. Pick the Lock of Your Cell

  • Approach the cell door and engage with it to start the lockpicking mini-game.
  • Move the lockpick around while turning the lock. Listen and feel for the sweet spot where the lock gives way. If you’ve never picked a lock in Skyrim before, it can be a bit challenging, but with practice, you’ll get the hang of it.

3. Sneak Around

  • Crouch down to sneak. This will make you harder to detect.
  • Keep an eye on the eye icon; if it’s open, you’re being detected. If it’s closed, you’re hidden.
  • Move slowly and quietly, sticking to shadows when possible.

4. Retrieve Your Equipment

  • There’s typically an “evidence chest” somewhere in the jail where your confiscated items are stored. Make sure to get everything back. Don’t forget, there’s usually another chest labeled “prisoner’s belongings” where your non-stolen items are placed.

5. Find the Escape Route

  • Most jails have a secret exit or tunnel. Look for loose bricks, tunnels, or other escape routes. These aren’t always directly in the cells; they can sometimes be in other parts of the jail.

6. Avoid or Neutralize the Guards

  • You can sneak past guards, but if you’re detected, you’ll have to decide whether to run, hide, or fight. If you’ve retrieved your equipment, you’ll be in a better position to defend yourself.

7. Make Your Way Out

  • Once you’ve found the escape route, follow it to freedom. Some routes may have additional challenges, like more locks to pick or obstacles to navigate.

8. Lay Low

  • After your escape, you might want to steer clear of that particular hold for a while, as you’ll still have a bounty on your head. Either that or you can pay off your bounty if you want to clear your name.

Remember, each jail in Skyrim has its own unique layout and quirks. For example, the jail in Markarth is an entire underground ruin filled with challenges, while the jail in Whiterun is more straightforward. So, adapt your strategy based on where you find yourself incarcerated. And of course, once you’re out, be sure to regale bards with the tales of your daring escape!

Final Words and Summary

Ah, Dragonborn, it’s been quite the journey recalling that unfortunate incarceration in Whiterun. Yet, in adversity, we’ve found wisdom and camaraderie, haven’t we? Before you embark on your next epic adventure in the vast realm of Tamriel, let’s reminisce on the trusty tools and tactics we’ve uncovered:

  • The magical locations for stumbling upon a lockpick.
  • Conquering the lockpicking mini-game, making it as easy as snatching sweet rolls.
  • Sneaking around with the grace of a Khajiit on moon sugar.
  • Reclaiming your prized possessions with finesse.
  • Mastering your escape, leaving the guards scratching their helmed heads.
  • Embracing the freedom of Skyrim’s vast wilderness once more.

By Ysmir, I hope you never find yourself behind bars again! But if you do, these tools will ensure you’re not stuck for long. Eager for more escapades? Dive into the “What Next?” section!

What Next?

I always aim to offer you, dear reader, something actionable to grasp onto after our shared tales. So, after that thrilling escape, here’s your next quest list:

  • Practice Your Skills: Before trouble strikes, hone your lockpicking skills on unsuspecting chests.
  • Join the Thieves Guild: Their connections can be handy when you’re in a pinch.
  • Collect Amulets: Certain amulets can aid in speech, which might help talk your way out!
  • Stealthy Gear: Invest in gear that enhances your sneak skills. Those Dark Brotherhood boots look snazzy!
  • Bounty Payment: Always keep some gold aside. Sometimes, it’s just easier to pay off your bounty.


Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

Recent Posts