The Justice System was introduced to Elder Scrolls Online with Update 6 in March of 2015. It added crime and punishment to the game along with a new Skill Line called Legerdemain. This Skill Line allows the player to steal more effectively from NPCs and sell more stolen items to Fences per day.
The citizens of Tamriel and their belongings will no longer be protected from light-fingered ne’er-do-wells in Update 6. If you’re of a mind to appropriate items that do not belong to you, there’s nothing in your way besides a few pesky guards. Just don’t be seen!
NPCs have personal inventories and own items found in the world, such as the contents of their homes. If you target an item owned by someone, a red prompt will appear to let you know that picking up that item will be considered a crime. If no one sees you take it, though, it’s all yours with no one the wiser!
You can try to pickpocket items directly from NPCs, as well. When you crouch and approach your unsuspecting target directly from behind, a prompt appears to let you know when you’re in position and how likely it is you’ll succeed. You’ll need to be quite deft to obtain items this way, so be careful.
Most of the citizens of Tamriel are susceptible to attack—and assassination. Other citizens will react if you attack another townsperson unprovoked. Not every citizen reacts the same way, so you may end up with more than you bargained for if your crime is witnessed. If you go so far as to kill an NPC, you’ll be able to loot the body, but be ready to deal with the consequences, especially if the city guard noticed your disruption of the peace.
If someone notices your crime, the bounty on your character increases. If you want to avoid having a bounty on your head, make sure you’re completely undetected by using the eye reticule in stealth mode to determine whether or not you are hidden from view.
When you have a bounty, guards will attempt to bring down the heavy hand of the law upon you, making you pay a sum in gold for your transgressions. Your bounty level determines how guards react to your presence. There are three bounty levels:
- Disreputable – The guards will generally ignore you unless you approach them.
- Notorious – You’ll be chased down by the guards, who enlist other guards to assist in the pursuit.
- Fugitive – You are Kill On Sight to the guards. To lower your bounty at this level, you must either wait for it to decay over time or find a fence that can assist you in paying it off.
The items you steal from Tamriel’s inhabitants can only be sold to a fence. Luckily for all who choose to live beneath the law, outlaws refuges exist in major cities throughout the provinces. In an outlaws refuge, you’ll find fences that will buy your ill-gotten goods and a safe place to hide from the law. You can only sell so much to a fence per day—they don’t want to generate too much unnecessary attention.
Legerdemain Skills is a Skill Line one can acquire in Elder Scrolls Online by stealing an item from an NPC. This Skill Line was added in Update 6 as part of the Justice System. Players will rank up this Skill Line by stealing items and selling them to Fences and picking locks. You get 1, 2 or 4 points towards Legerdemain depending on the difficulty of the target. At level 1 you can only Fence 50 items per day and you gain 1 point towards Legerdemain per item Fenced no matter the quality. You gain 1 point for picking simple chests, 2 points for intermediate chests and 4 points for advanced chests. Silver Lock Boxes will contain the best loot, but are rather difficult to get to as NPCs regularly guard them.