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    Crime/Punishment FAQ by BassDX

    Version: 2.0 | Updated: 03/30/07 | Printable Version | Search This Guide

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    Crime and Punishment FAQ
    By Alex Goodman
    alejandronator(at)gmail(dot)com
    
    History:
    v1.0-Began this guide as of 7/17/06
    
    v1.1-Added a note about pick-pocketting and email. 8/1/06
    
    v1.5-E-mail is working again and added a new section containing new info
    sent to me by readers via email, an update on healing altars, and about the
    Thieves Den Fence. Thanks! 8/12/06
    
    v2.0-A whole bunch of emails got sent, added a few more notes certain crimes.
    
    v2.5-Cleaned up the guide and added new info pertaining to the newly released
    expansion: Shivering Isles and Knights of the Nine. 3/30/07
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Table of Contents...........................................................|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    
    1.00 What is a crime?
         1.10 Tresspassing
         1.20 Stealing/Pickpocketting
         1.30 Assault
         1.40 Murder
         1.50 Other notes about crimes
    2.00 Punishment
         2.10 Your Bounty
         2.20 Getting caught
       	  2.21 Go To Jail
       	  2.22 Resist Arrest
       	  2.23 Pay Gold
         2.30 Fame/Imfamy
    3.00 The tools of committing a crime
         3.10 Before commiting a crime
         3.20 Lockpicking
         3.30 Sneaking
         3.40 Illusion
         3.50 Other tips for not getting caught
    4.00 Miscellaneous Tips/Tricks
         4.10 Returning confiscated goods
         4.20 Fencing
         4.30 Paying off your bounty
         4.40 Helpful Equipment
              4.41 The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal
              4.42 Skeleton Key
    5.00 Shivering Isles Differences
              5.10 Your Bounty
    	  5.20 Guards
              5.30 Getting Arrested
              5.40 Other Differences
    6.00 Tips From The Readers
    7.00 Credits
    8.00 Contacting Me
    9.00 Copyright
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |What is a crime?......................................................[1.00]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    You probably know that in real life there is a consequence for every action
    you do. The Elder Scrolls IV comes complete with an entire legal system, you
    have the ability to commit crimes in this game, which is basically doing
    anything
    against the law in this game. There are four basic things that are considered
    a crime in this game. Each will be listed in rank of severity.
    
    The most sure-fire way to tell when committing a crime is to check the color
    of your cursor (first-person only). When it is read, it means the action
    pending is an illegal one that will result in an arrest if you are caught. For
    example, opening a door marked red means you are tresspassing, picking up an
    item that is marked red is stealing, and so on.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Tresspassing..........................................................[1.10]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Tresspassing is simply being in a place where you are not supposed be in at
    the given time. To know that you are tresspassing, you can press select to
    wait, if you are tresspassing, you won't be able to wait. Usually this happens
    when entering a room that was guarded by a locked door of some sort. Some
    areas are restricted only at certain times of the day, like the civilians'
    quarters, or some are always restricted like the count's quarters in a castle.
    Another example is entering an area and an NPC there asks you to leave. If you
    leave you are not guilty of a crime of tresspassing but if you refuse, that
    NPC will call the guards to deal with you.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Stealing/Pick-pocketting..............................................[1.20]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    The next crime, more severe than tresspassing, is stealing. To commit this
    crime, simply press A on an object that doesn't belong to you. It is only
    considered stealing if the option says "steal" and your cursor shows a red
    hand when you put it over the item in question. Usually any item you
    try to take when tresspassing is stealing as well. You can also steal items
    from shops that are on the counter (and likely get caught) or go into
    another person's house, and pick up their items. However, in these situations,
    stealing isn't worth it, as you will only find cheap decorations and sometimes
    a decent weapon. Now lets talk real stealing, pickpocketting. To pick an NPC's
    pocket, go up to them while in sneak mode (press the left stick down) and
    press A. There is a higher chance of finding better stuff stealing this way,
    but it is easier to get caught. Whether you are caught or not is determined by
    your luck skill and sneak skill, as well as the weight of the item you steal,
    and whether you can be detected (if your curser is dimmed while sneaking).
    Get caught doing it once though, and if you aren't arrested yet, you won't be
    able to do it again. Stolen items are marked with a red hand in your
    inventory. You cannot sell these items to regular merchants, but you can to
    Thieves Guild fences.
    
    *Note: If you are caught pickpocketting, you won't obtain the goods you have
    attempted to steal from the pocket.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Assault...............................................................[1.30]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    This is when you hurt (but not kill) an innocent person. To commit this crime,
    you can simply get out your weapon and hit an NPC with it once. Now if you do
    so, a variety of things may happen. If you do this to an  ally in the middle
    of a fight, it was probably by accident, so your ally will complain and tell
    you to stop. Doing it more than twice in that situation will result in your
    ally trying to attack you! You can press A on him while blocking to get him or
    her to yield, and he or she will stop. Any other situation and it is a crime
    right off the bat.
    
    Note: Assaulting your horse is a crime. If you use Shadowmere as a training
    dummy, do it away from any NPC.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Murder................................................................[1.40]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Murder is the intentional killing of another person and is the most severe
    crime by far. You will be killing many people in the game, so it is only a
    crime if you kill an innocent person. That includes guards if you are in the
    middle of a fight with them. So basically all you have to do is kill an
    innocent person. There are some characters in the game that cannot be killed,
    if you try, they will be knocked out for about 15 seconds. Every time you do
    this, it is considered assault each time. Not to mention the dead NPC is gone
    for the rest of the game, so it is best to avoid murdering when possible.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Notes about crimes....................................................[1.50]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    There are a few other things you may need to know about crimes:
    
    1. You are not arrested if you aren't caught:
    This means that if nodody catches  you in the act of breaking a law, it is not
    considered a true crime. So if you killed someone in a closed room while they
    sleep, you won't get caught, and thus not arrested. In a new revelation by
    Chris S, You can get caught though if the sleeping person wakes up.
    
    2. Being caught in an attempt of commiting a crime IS a crime itself:
    For example, if you attempt to lockpick someone's door and a guard sees you,
    arrested. Pick a pocket even if you don't actuallly take anything but get
    caught, arrested. This doesn't apply to assault.
    
    3. If you get caught and a guard doesn't pursue you, talking to a guard will
    get you arrested.
    
    4. If you kill anyone, looting the corpse is not a crime:
    Meaning unlke with pickpocketting, if you search a dead-body and take their
    items, they are not considered stolen. It still isn't worth it to kill someone
    in an effort to nab their loot just because you suck at pickpocketting. The
    consequences for murder are far greater than that of stealing.
    
    5. In the case of servants in the downloadable content, their crimes are not
    considered your crimes.
    
    6. Don't assume you'll always get away with crimes while you commit them in
    the wilderness or small villages/settlements outside the main cities:
    There are actually Imperial Legion Soldiers patrolling near any area outside
    big cities such as inns. Although there is usually only one soldier on patrol
    at a time, they are tougher than regular guards and more will come to help
    if you resist arrest. When you get arrested by a legion soldier, you'll be
    sent to the jail in the nearest city.
    
    7. Raising a guards disposition over 95 will allow the guards to pay off the
    fine for you, if the crime is not an assault or murder. Note this does not
    work against the guards in Shivering Isles.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Punishment............................................................[2.00]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Every crime in Oblivion has a consequence, Bethesda claims Oblivion has a
    legal system. It is not too complex but your punishment depends on the
    severity of your crime.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Your Bounty...........................................................[2.10]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Each time you are caught doing a crime, your bounty will increase. Again, the
    bounty will depend on the severity of your crime. Now bounty will only matter
    numerically if you pay the fine for a crime, more on that later. Here are the
    bounties for each crime:
    
    Tresspassing: 5 Gold
    Stealing: 1 or more Gold, depending on value of stolen merchandise
    Assault: 40 Gold
    Murder: 1000 Gold
    Pickpocket attempt: 25
    Horse Theft: 250
    Other: Bounty may vary in special quests
    
    Bounty is cummulative until you get arrested. So If I got caught stealing and
    then killed the owner of the house, my bounty is 1005. You can see your bounty
    the moment you get arrested or by pressing B, and head to the stats tab.
    
    Bounty plays a role in a few other things though, such as not being able to
    join the fighter's guild (And getting expelled). Bounty only increases if you
    get caught.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Getting Caught........................................................[2.20]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    So you finally committed a crime, eh? Well if you do, to know if you were
    caught, you can press select and if you can't wait, the guards are coming.
    However, this is not only the case, if a guard doesn't catch you but an NPC
    does, that is still a crime and it will accumulate on your bounty. But most
    likely guards will come after you, attempt to arrest you, and you will have
    one of the following choices.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Go to Jail............................................................[2.21]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Ah, this one is classic. You simply decide to give up and go to jail. When you
    do so, the guards will take away your entire inventory (including gold) and
    will only leave you one lockpick if you have any (skeleton key doesn't count).
    
    In Oblivion, you cannot wait in jail, you can only serve your sentence by
    going to bed in the cell. When that happens though, some of your skills
    decreases by one for every day of your sentence at random, sneak and security
    may increase but that is rare. Your sentence lasts one day per 100 gold on
    your bounty.
    
    You can escape jail, however, if you fail to lockpick the cell (probably will)
    then you can wait for a guard to walk by, and you can quickly pickpocket the
    key. If he doesn't catch you, you can escape, but then you will have to sneak
    past the other guards and the jailer, then manage to unlock your evidence
    chest which is also hard. Even if you pull it all off, your bounty will simply
    increase. Try not having to go to jail, it hurts your skills badly. Don't try
    to use jail so you can make it easier to level up, because enemies will level
    up with you and make the game harder.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Resist Arrest.........................................................[2.22]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    This option basically means you refuse to repent for your crimes. In this case
    the guards will draw out their weapons. The guards are usually a 10 levels
    ahead of you in every situation, so they will be very tough to defeat, much
    tougher than normal enemies. You may have a chance of killing one guard at a
    time, but you'll rarely be that lucky, as most of the guards in the entire
    area will gang up on you making it almost impossible to take them down. If you
    do manage to kill a guard, try to take their key and their armor and even
    their weapon if you are at a low level. You will probably never be able to
    kill all the guards. Even then it is not recommendable because your bounty
    goes up by 1000 for each guard killed. If you decide to surrender, press A and
    the guard will yield to you, giving you the three options again. You should
    only choose this option if you cannot pay the gold, or you are bloodthirsty.
    If you attempt to run away from the guards, they will keep chasing you, even
    if you leave the city. The only reason you should run away is if you can
    go talk to someone in the Thieves Guild that will pay your bounty or fence.
    Occasionally, civilians may help the guards, so be careful. Also if you do
    escape the guards and travel to another town, talking to the guards in that
    town still trigger arrest.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Pay Gold..............................................................[2.23]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Every time you will get arrested, you will be given the option to pay the fine
    if you have enough gold. Since the amount of gold you must pay is equal to
    your bounty, you will usually be able to afford it as long as it isn't a
    murdermaking this the best option after getting arrested in most situations.
    However there is a catch. You get taken to the castle
    (bastion in imperial city) and the guards will confiscate any stolen goods in
    your inventory. Ack! That just removed the entire purpose of the crime! There
    are ways to get around this which will be explained later. You can also talk
    to the Doyen of the thieves guild and they will pay off your bounty if you pay
    half price.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Fame/Imfamy...........................................................[2.30]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Your Fame and Infamy are ratings that are scores that accumulate each time you
    complete certain deeds. They can be found in your stats log by your bounty.
    Fame will accumulate each time you complete a good deed, usually a quest that
    involves helping people, this can include closing Oblivion gates or doing some
    NPC's favors. Infamy is the opposite, you gain Imfamy points by doing a quest
    that requires you to commit a crime or after getting arrested.
    
    This score is irrelevent for the most part. However it can effect certain
    things. The most important note is your difference betweem your Fame and
    Infamy. If you have more Infamy than Fame, you can't heal at chapels. This
    especially sucks when you have Vampirism, as in order to cure yourself,
    you'll have to go through a tedious quest or pay $1.89 for the Vile Layer
    expansion AND pay a ton of additional gold. People will also have a lowered
    disposition when talking to you while having a higher Infamy score.
    
    Nevertheless, Downloading the Vile Layer gives you access to the Shrine of
    Sithis which works for characters with Infamy higher than fame and you get
    some temporary attribute bonuses, 1200 seconds worth! PC users have a mod that
    will add two additional "evil" altars.
    
    Still, you won't have to worry about this if you repent your crimes by doing
    quests like the fighters guild to increase your Fame score, or not get caught
    in the act of a crime at all!
    
    Update: From what I observed, only murder raises infamy, not 100% confirmed.
    
    New Update: Thanks to the Knights of the Nine add-on, there is a way to remove
    all of your infamy. You must complete the pilgramage quest given by the
    prophet, which is basically visiting each shrine of the gods (not daedra) in
    specific locations. Completing this reduced your infamy to zero and it can be
    done a repeated number of times.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |The tools of committing a crime.......................................[3.00]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    There will be some points in the game, like it or not, that will require you
    to commit a crime to complete. Other times you may want to successfully commit
    a crime because it is an easy way to get good items and money. But if you want
    to commit a crime right, then you have to know a few things.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Before committing a crime.............................................[3.10]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    First of all if you want to commit a crime, ask yourself these questions:
    Note: If you are doing the Dark Brotherhood or Theive's guild quest, you will
    have to commit a crime so disregard these questions when doing so.
    
    1. Is commiting this crime worth it?
    Meaning you shouldn't try to steal a useless/worthless item or kill without a
    reason.
    
    2. Can I do it without getting caught?
    If there are guards that can see you, don't do it.
    
    3. Am I prepared?
    Many crimes will require some thought and some equipment to aid you. I will
    explain later.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Lockpicking...........................................................[3.20]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Many worthwhile crimes will require you to unlock a door. You will either need
    a key (which you can pickpocket off the designated NPC) or more likely some
    lockpicks. Most people who barter have at least one, and you can buy several
    from a few select merchants.
    
    Anyway, you probably will have to lockpick and it may be very hard to do. You
    should search youtube for lockpicking tutorials. Anyway, the way it works
    is that you have five tumblers. You push up on the control stick under the
    tumbler to push it up then press A to lock the tumber in place. If your timing
    is off, all tumblers will fall down and you lose a lockpick. How many tumblers
    fall depends on your security skill. If you watch the video, you'll know that
    you should only try to lock a tumbler in place if you here the "double ping".
    This is still quite tricky to master even with the video. The other option is
    auto-attempting by pressing X, you can keep pressing X until the lock is
    automatically picked. Pressing X will break a lock pick each time and the
    success rate of auto-attempts depend on your security skill. You should only
    pick locks when you are undetected, go into sneak mode to find out and stay in
    sneak mode.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Sneaking..............................................................[3.30]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Sneaking is probably the most important component to any successful crime. You
    are not only less likely to be caugh but there are a few other bonuses to
    sneaking.
    
    To begin sneaking, press down on the left analog stick. You'll croutch and
    your cursor is an eye. When it is bright, someone around you can detect you.
    Sneaking is the only time you can pick pockets. In addition to that, you can
    attack for 6x damage while sneaking behind someone if your sneak skill is high
    enough. When pulling off a heist, you should always be sneaking period. If you
    know you are detected, move away from whomever is detecting you and wait until
    it is safe to go, then continue.
    
    Sneak success depends on your sneak skill, luck attribute, whether you carry
    any lights, what type of boots you where (at lower sneak skill) and your speed
    (at lower sneak skill). For more on sneaking, check the stealth FAQ.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Illusion..............................................................[3.40]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    If there is one magic school that is essential for crimes, it would be the art
    of Illusion. The reason is because Illusion has spells that are helpful to any
    criminal.
    
    One spell is charm, which is helpful because it temporarily will
    increase your target's disposition, and given that most criminals have a high
    infamy, it will help you complete quests without losing gold or wasting your
    time conversing. It can even be used to raise a guard's disposition above 90
    and prevent you from being arrested.
    
    The next two important spells are chameleon and invisibility. Invisibility
    makes you completely undetectable, but interacting with any object will end
    your invisibility status. Chameleon, on the other hand, does not have that
    same weakness, but only renders you partially invisible and thus you can still
    be detected. You can enchant armor with chameleon all the way up to 100% if
    you enchant 20% chameleon to five pieces and become permanently invisble, but
    doing so makes the game too easy.
    
    Overall, it is recommendable to learn some sort of illusion spells and it is a
    pretty easy skill to master.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Other tips for not getting caught.....................................[3.50]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Just because you manage to steal something or kill someone while sneaking does
    not mean you won't get caught. There are a few other things you can do to help
    your skills:
    
    1. Sneak in front of a sleeping person and keep running in the wall:
    This is an easy way to get your sneak skill up.
    
    2. Don't just rely on sneak to determine if you are detectable:
    It is like driving a car, you can't rely on your mirrors, you actually need to
    look behind you too. Same thing with crimes. If you try to lockpick a door,
    make sure no guards will be coming first.
    
    3. If you must kill, do so in a secure location, and quickly:
    You need to be in sneak mode, make sure you aren't detected and make a fast
    kill with a sneak attack. I stress you must make haste with each kill to not
    get caught and you must do it in the most secure location. Killing someone
    while sleeping with their room closed is safer for example. If there is a door
    that will lead you outside in the city, that room isn't safe.
    
    4. Save, save, pretty please SAVE. Even if you are sneaking, you just might
    get caught anyway. If that happens, remember to save before attemtping a crime
    and wait for people to leave if there are any.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Miscellaneous Tips/Tricks.............................................[4.00]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Although the above information should always be followed when committing a
    crime, there are several items and mechanics in the game that make crimes a
    bit easier to do as well as not getting caught.
    
    Before I'll go indeph on the specific items, I would urge you to complete the
    Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild quests. You'll earn a lot of money, you'll
    get a lot of practice for committing all types of crimes, and completing them
    both entitles you to several bonuses that make it that much easier to commit
    a crime and even not get caught.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Returning confiscated goods...........................................[4.10]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    You'll probably come to a situation where you get arrested and you pay gold.
    You are probably wondering what was the purpose of the crime if the guards
    confiscate your stolen goods every time. Make no mistake it is not impossible
    to get your stolen goods back, the steps required to get them back seem hard
    at first, but once you complete the required tasks, getting your items back
    will be a cinch.
    
    You'll start off in front of the castle or bastion and your stolen goods have
    been taken. Go back into the dungeon or jail and search for a chest titled
    "evidence." Some of the town dungeons have guards that will ask you to leave.
    In either case, when you enter the dungeon or bastion, sneak past the guard
    and find the evidence chest. It will be locked, and the difficulty of the lock
    depends on which city you are in. It's wise if the guard doesn't see you but
    once you pick the lock, it doesn't matter. Once the lock is picked, open the
    the chest and a message will say "You get all items confiscated by the guards"
    and you can keep going to that chest from now on when you need your items back
    but you if you are caught it is considered stealing.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Fencing...............................................................[4.20]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    One of the benefits to joining the Thieves guild is having access to a fence.
    Most merchants won't buy stolen goods (how they know which of your goods are
    stolen I have no idea of) but members of the Thieves Guild called fences will
    buy them off you. Although you really should only steal worthwhile goods, this
    gives you an option if you want to get rid of some stolen goods off your back.
    When you rank higher in the guild, you get newer fences that will buy your
    goods at a higher price.
    
    You don't need to join the guild for a fence if you download the Thieves Den.
    Completing the quest gives access to a fence (which costs 1000 gold) that has
    1500 gold. Refer to the quest log for details.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Paying your bounty....................................................[4.30]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Another benefit for being in the Thieves Guild is the two Doyen, Armand
    Cristophe at the Imperial city Waterfront at midnnight and S'krivva in her
    house in Bravil. Ask them about "pay off my bouunty". These two have some
    connections with judges from all over the empire and can bribe them to pay off
    your bounty. This isn't free, they require you to pay them in gold equal to
    half your bounty. Sad it is not free but it is much better than paying the
    fine; not only you save gold but you won't lose your stolen items either.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Helpful Equipment.....................................................[4.40]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    A criminal is only as good as the equipment he/she uses. Last section I showed
    some important skills a criminal should have in Oblivion. However, there
    are several items in the game that will enhance the skills listed above and
    make life as a criminal that much easier.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal............................................[4.41]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Stats:
    Feather 200 Points on self: Allows you to run much faster and increases your
    weight capacity. Basically you can carry more witout being overencumbered.
    
    Detect life 120 ft from self: You can see anyone that is 120 ft away from you
    even when they are behind obstacles, marked in a purple cloud.
    
    Fortify Sneak 25 points on self: Increases your sneak skill (Temporarily).
    
    This mask was stolen from Nocturnal by the famous thief Daerloth. However,the
    curse was that while he had it on, he became known as the Gray Fox, master of
    the Thieves Guild, and so shall his descendents. After the last descendent,
    (the Gray Fox you know of) breaks the curse of the cowl, he gives it to you.
    The reward for completing the Thieves Guild quests (see the other FAQ),
    is to get the cowl. In addition to the above effects, the most important one
    ofthe Cowl is that you are now the Gray Fox, as long as you wear it. The main
    advantage to this is that you can commit crimes as the Gray Fox, and even if
    you get caught, your bounty with the cowl off will not be affected and thus
    you can get away with any crime with the cowl on. There are some down sides
    though. First of all if any guard DETECTS you, they will come running towards
    you and arrest you. When this happens your only option is resist arrest, and
    your bounty is around 500 at the start (which is irrelevent). You cannot use
    the Doyen to pay off your bounty either. The cowl also automatically raises
    your Imfamy level. Merchants may even refuse to barter with you. If you are
    detected by guards with the cowl on, hold block, take the cowl off, and
    press A on the guards to get them to yield. They won't even notice that you
    took the cowl off and will continue on as if you didn't do anything. Because
    of this, you can go on a massive killing spree with the cowl on and get away
    with it as long as you don't have a bounty on your head with the cowl off. But
    you should only do crimes with the cowl when no guards can detect you, and the
    enchantments help a lot. The enchantmentss may help you enough that you can
    not even get caught in the first place thanks to the hefty sneak upgrade.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Skeleton Key..........................................................[4.42]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Stats:
    Fortify Security 40 points on self: Increases your security skill (Permanent).
    
    Unbreakable lockpick: See below.
    
    This is yet another item that we have to thank Nocturnal for. You get this
    item by completing the Nocturnal shrine quest.
    
    The skeleton key increases your security skill by 40. That is irrelevent
    because it is an unbreakable lockpick. Essentially, you can keep pressing X to
    auto-attempt and eventually break a lock of any difficulty level. However in
    jail, the skeleton key will be confiscated despite being a lockpick and those
    unpickable locks will still require the designated key. This is still a better
    alternative to the standard lockpick and should be obtained as soon as you are
    at level 10.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Shivering Isles differences...........................................[5.00]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    On March 26, 2007, Bethesda released the first (and last) official expansion
    for this game: Shivering Isles. After downloading, you can gain entry to the
    isles by waiting three days and finding it on your map (Your marker will point
    to Niben Bay). You will see a guard and a portal upon arrival. After watching
    a psycho come out of the portal, you will be able to enter. Once you enter,
    you are in Sheogorath's realm of Oblivion (Sheogorath is the Daedric Prince of
    madness). It is a quarter of the size of Cyrodiil and you won't have access to
    New Sheoth, the capital city, right away. Once you do you will notice some
    differences, particularly in the legal system. It is the same as in Tamriel
    for the most part. Still, Sheogorath is the prince of madness and he has put a
    few twists in the legal system. They are important to know because the main
    quest will require you to commit many crimes. Here is how the system works:
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Your Bounty...........................................................[5.10]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    For the most part, bounty works the exact same way in the Shivering Isles as
    it does in Cyrodiil. However, your bounty on Shivering Isles and Cyrodiil are
    separated. That means crimes in one of the respective realms does not effect
    the other. You can press B and head to the stats tab and find "Bounty" and
    "Shivering Isles Bounty".
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Guards................................................................[5.20]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Old Sheogorath has to contend with many of the crazy residents of his realm
    and uses the aid of his guards. Since the isles (and new Sheoth) are splitted
    into Mania in the north (full of warm but crazy individuals) and Dementia in
    the south (full of paranoid and demented individuals), there are two types of
    guards. Dementia is lead by the Dark Seducers (Mazken) and Mania is led by the
    Golden Saints (Aureals). They are both female, daedric races dressed in very
    skimpy armor. As daedra though they are very proud and have a superiority
    complex over Shoegorath's mortal subjects (especially males). They are also
    even tougher than your typical imperial guards, they have leveled weapons and
    spells and have a high spell absorption enchantment. They also won't yield so
    easily, and they will always arrest you no matter what their disposition is.
    You don't even have the option to persuade them when speaking to them. As in
    Cyrodiil, you should expect to find them patrolling the wilderness as well.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Getting Arrested......................................................[5.30]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Getting arrested in the Shivering Isles is also similar to being arrested in
    Cyrodiil. One option is paying the fine, equal to your Shivering Isles bounty,
    though the Dark Seducers/Golden Saints will mock you for your cowardice and
    confiscate your stolen goods. Perhaps you may want to prove them wrong by
    resisting arrest, but just as in Cyrodiil, it is not recommended because the
    guards are 10 levels above you and will always outnumber you.
    
    The last option and most significantly different is going to jail. When you
    select this option, you will not be locked up in the castle but instead be
    sent to the bottom of a dungeon far away from New Sheoth. You will be stripped
    of your items as you would be in Cyrodiil but you are not confined in a cell
    to serve your time. Your goal is to escape the dungeon alive and get your gear
    from the evidence chest at the entrance (the chest is not locked). This is
    tough because there are tons of creatures between you and the exit as well as
    a jailer guarding the chest. This is not that bad if you are adept in magic
    because you can still blast your enemies with magic or even better, run past
    them using invisibility. You do not have to kill any of the enemies at all.
    Best of all, if you do manage to escape with your items, your bounty does not
    go up but instead your entire crime is forgiven and you even keep your stolen
    goods. Perhaps this is because the Saints and Seducers think it is an honor or
    because Sheogorath is just crazy.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Other Differences.....................................................[5.40]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    With the above said, there are still a few other, though more minor
    differences in the Shivering Isles:
    
    1. The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal does not make you immune to crimes:
    Perhaps the effect of losing yout identity wears off in a daedric realm, or
    maybe it is because the Gray Fox doesn't have a Shivering Isles bounty. IT
    is good because you can make full use of the nice enchantments of the cowl,
    but you no longer have a cheap way to get away with any crime in this realm.
    
    2. Even if you complete the questline and become Madgod, you must still follow
    the law:
    But you don't have to worry about going to jail. Instead, you are given the
    option to leave New Sheoth, but your bounty is not payed off.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Tips from the readers.................................................[6.00]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    As you may know, help is appreciated as explained in my contact section. If
    your tips are not already in this guide and if they are confirmed by either me
    or by the message board, your tips will be posted word for word.
    
    
    8/10/06
    -------
    
    From from aeroa123456: "if you get guards to like you enough they will pay
    off your fine for you(ive only tried this with small crimes like pickpocketing
    and stuff). how i figured this out i beat the fighters guild quests and got
    the weirdo bear head helmet. im pretty sure it makes everyone like you alot
    more cuase when i talked to a guard with it on he said he would pay it for
    me...did anouther crime took the helmet off and he told me to pay it.if you
    dont want to beat the fighters guild quests just get the guards liking of you
    to 95(thats what mines at when i was wearing helm) and he should pay it for
    you. =D thanks for listening(reading whatever)"
    
    My confirmation/additional notes: This is very true and can be a useful fact
    if you use it correctly. However, getting a guard's disposition to 95 is tough
    without a high speechcraft skill or a lot of money. I also noticed that the
    maximum disposition for my character with a personality score of 43 and a net
    fame of 46 has a max disposition of 79. There is a small solution for this, it
    is possible to buy or make some charm spells (or use your power if you are an
    imperial) and temporarily charm each guard nearby before committing a crime.
    Also this does not work if your crime was a murder.
    
    8/26/06
    -------
    
    From Vince Stepan:
    
    "Hello,
         I don't know if you are still taking info for you FAQ, but I've found
    something out a lil while ago but that I don't hear anything about, so I
    thought I'd  tell you and maybe it'd help you FAQ. Anyhow, when committing a
    crime and getting caught, you lose all the things you've just stolen, and all
     the things you've previously succesfully stolen. Well  that sucks. But I've
    found that if you resist arrest, your bounty nor infamy go up, so unless you
    kill someone or go on to commit other criems and can get away alive, there is
    no real downside to resisting arrest. However, I don't like having a bounty or
     not being able to talk to guards, sooooo, when you get caugh, simply resist
    arrest and run to the nearest container laying around, a box, a barrel, a bag,
     anything. Open it up and instead of taking things out, put things in. Put in
     all your stolen goods. Then nicely turn around and pay your bounty and get
    hauled off the jail;  yare are then free to go back and get all your items
    from wherever you deposited them! No one will touch them. So there you go.
    I hope this info is of some help or interest. Thx for the FAQ, as well.
    
    Response: A good idea if you can't pick the evidence chest.
    
                                        ---
    
    From Winston Walker:
    
    "i noticed you made a crime guide on gamefaqs.com for oblivion.  Just
    thought you should know (if you didn't have it in your guide to begin
    with, i wasn't too thorough).  If you make an illusion spell that
    makes people like you at a magnitude of 100 for at least 4 seconds ( i
    recomend at 4 because it can get a little high in the magic cost)
    then you can get out of most crimes.  here's how it works:
    
    after you commit crimes the guards run after you, use the spell on one
    and do that block and press a thing to yeild the fight.  he will say
    "well we're friends, i'll take care of it for you" or something like
    that.  however i've noticed if you have too high a bounty it won't
    work. but it's pretty usefull in a pinch"
    
    Response: I was going to add this to the guide, I got lazy, but yes,
    this is a useful tip. I also think this requires an illusion skill
    of 25-50, this makes speechcraft a useless skill
    
                                        ---
    From Timothy W.:
    "Hey Alejandro,
    I was just reading your Oblivion Crimes FAQ, and I have something to add to
    the lock picking section.  I found a book in some monastery somewhere in the
    north country (sorry I can't remember its precise location) but anyways, the
    book describes the fact that locks are sensitive to heat, and that a warm lock
    is easier to pick.  Well I tried it, and its true, holding a torch while
    picking a lock will make the tumblers fall in even intervals making for much
    easier pickings!"
    
    Response: Again, this is true too. But it is not necessary once you have the
    skeleton key.
    
                                        ---
    
    From Chris S: A few factual innaccuracies and tips
    
    "Hey, thanks for reading this. You're probably busy/lazy so I'll make it
    quick:
    
    1. Under "Assault", yielding to an attacking ally requires how to block and
    then talk to them. I think it'll work if you don't actually have a shield
    and your weapon is sheathed and you're really just pressing the block
    button. Also, it depends on disposition, so if you've gotten 'em really
    pissed, they won't stop attacking. :P
    
    2. It's worth noting that if you try to kill somebody in your sleep, but
    they wake up and start yelling, this WILL attract guards even if you kill
    them right after they start calling for help. On the off-chance that the
    guards don't hear it, your bounty will still go up because somebody (the
    victim) knew they were being assaulted. I'm not entirely sure if you'll get
    the fine for assault AND murder, just assault.
    
    3. When you have a low bounty, talking to a guard will get you arrested. If
    it's nice and high (at least 1k or higher, I dunno for sure) then the guards
    will chase you and go through the "I'm arresting you lolol" spiel on sight.
    See, you gain status when you murder people. Sometimes if it's really
    frigging high (got it to 60k once), then you can't pay the fine even if you
    have the money.
    
    4. Going to jail only lowers your stats for the first 10 days or so.
    However, you WILL still be in there for however long it takes to pay your
    bounty off.
    
    5. Regarding fame and infamy... I don't know if this is dependent on bounty
    or infamy, but sometimes when a guard catches you when either one of those
    is REALLY high, he'll say something like, "I know your face! You're that
    famous criminal!" It's cool. :P They're surprised if you decide to turn
    yourself in, too.
    
    6. You only get the sneak attack bonus for hitting a character that hasn't
    seen you yet while in sneak mode using a ONE-handed weapon. It doesn't work
    with two-handers, even if the guy's asleep. Also, you said that sneak
    attacks do 6x damage. That's only if you have a high enough sneak rating.
    Normally it's only 4x.
    
    7. You didn't mention how to make items "un-stolen". Either sell it to a
    fence and buy it back or enchant it.
    
    8. I have a really cool method for killing guards. I don't know if I heard
    this somewhere or came up with it, I've honestly forgotten. Maybe I
    assembled it out of bits and pieces, who knows. Annnnnyway.
    
    Get yourself far enough down the Dark Brotherhood questline that you're able
    to acquire Poison Apples. Having access to the guild vendor is enough, but
    these things are EXPENSIVE. I recommend waiting until you get into
    Lachance's hideout right before he starts sending you dead drop letters.
    There's a barrel there that spawns 10 apples every 3 days (or something like
    that; the point is they respawn). It MAY be possible to make them, but I
    don't know how. Got your apples? Good.
    
    This is the tricky part: go to your local guardhouse (or one of the several
    in the Imperial City) and watch the guards carefully at mealtime. This takes
    some patience. You know how there's always food at tables in this game, but
    people always eat out of their hands? That's because the food is only
    decoration. That's not what they're eating. But they ARE eating. They always
    get their food from a certain container if they don't already have food in
    their inventory. You should see the guards crouching in front of a sack or
    barrel on the ground, kind of going through a "picking something up"
    animation, then sitting down and eating. THIS is where they get their food.
    Take all of the food out of it by sneaking or when they aren't around, and
    fill it with poison apples. You'll have to wait a long time, but they'll
    drop like flies. =D And yes, it is technically possible to deplete an entire
    town's garrison of guards this way. I don't believe they regenerate, they
    just switch posts, so it might seem like they do. Anarchy, anyone?
    
    Paraphrase this as you like. You don't have to use the whole thing if you
    don't want to, maybe you just want to put my last little tidbit in the guest
    section and do what you want with the rest. It's up to you. Hope to hear
    from you. :P"
    
    Response: What an e-mail man, see folks, FAQ writers could use more people
    like Chris here. Anyway, in light of this e-mail as it is true, I have made
    some updates to this guide. He even formatted the email to 79 characters per
    line, making my job easier.
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Credits...............................................................[7.00]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    I would like to thank:
    
    The current FAQ contributors to this game, your work and help have inspired me
    to make my own FAQ for this game
    
    My friends for encouraging me to get the game
    
    The message board for helping me calculate bounty
    
    Bethesda for making the game
    
    GameFaqs for doing a wonderful service to the gaming community with this site.
    
    Any readers who contributed (listed in section 5.00)
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Contact...............................................................[8.00]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    My email is: alejandronator(at)gmail(dot)com
    (Gmail account is back again, use this one)
    
    When you contact me, please, pretty prety please with sugar on top label your
    subject. Otherwise I may not read it. Second please don't send spam or send me
    male that wastes my time. FAQ only. If you want to talk to me, you can ask for
    my IM via email. Again label your subject. Keep in mind I may get lazy, but
    I respect tips for my guide any day.
    
    Emergency Email: Alxgoody(at)aol(dot)com:
    
    
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    |Copyright.............................................................[9.00]|
    +----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    This guide is copyright(c) Alex Goodman all rights reserved.
    
    You may print this guide, but may not redistribute copies for profit.
    
    Only gamefaqs.com can host this guide as of July 26, 2006.
    
    ~fin.