Criminally oversized Skyrim mod expands the Thieves Guild, lets you romance a thief

Brynjolf bathing in the mod Brynjolf and the Riften Guild - Birthright
(Image credit: Elizabeth Jackson Hall / Bethesda)
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Normally you slog through Skyrim's underwhelming Thieves Guild questline, inevitably replace the guildmaster, and feel a hit of ennui strong enough to make you question the hundreds of hours you spent playing Bethesda's RPG. Or maybe that's just me.

You do score a suit of armor, a magic amulet, and the key to a tribute chest that occasionally fills up with loot, but your life as a crime lord just sort of tapers off. Even your second-in-command Brynjolf, who recruited you back in the Riften Marketplace at the start of the questline, apologizes and says, "I've got important things to do," when you try to interact with him from then on. The rude wanker.

That wasn't good enough for Elizabeth Jackson Hall, who created a mod called Brynjolf Has Time For You (opens in new tab) to insure the business-like criminal would still want to talk once you replace his boss. That was four years ago, and I guess it still wasn't enough for Hall, who has now released a more significant, fully voiced quest mod called Brynjolf and the Riften Guild – Birthright (opens in new tab) to expand the expansion even further.

This mod includes four dungeons, thousands of lines of additional dialogue (including over 2,000 lines for Brynjolf alone made by editing his existing dialogue, plus seven brand new NPCs voiced by volunteers), and multiple quests. Yes, one of those quests lets you romance Brynjolf.

Brynjolf and the Riften Guild – Birthright also includes a questline to let you finally figure out what's going on with Rune, an amnesiac member of the guild who survived a shipwreck but lost his memories. Previously you could promise Rune that you'd "keep an eye out" for things related to his past, but the plot thread never went anywhere. Now it does. You can also unlock the guild's Vault, make Brynjolf your follower, bathe in the waters of the guild's hideout, give Brynjolf some soap to encourage him to join you, and explore some extra forsworn crypts and dwemer ruins.  

To install the mod you'll first need to install the Skyrim Script Extender (opens in new tab) if you haven't already, then grab the file from Nexus Mods where it's available to download for both Skyrim Special Edition (opens in new tab) and Oldrim (opens in new tab). To begin the mod you'll need to have done the Thieves Guild storyline up to completing the climactic Darkness Returns quest, then check out the red journal that's been added on a bookshelf near the entrance to the guild's Cistern headquarters.

To start the questline involving Rune you'll need to chat to Vekel, the bartender of secret thief pub, the Ragged Flagon. To open the Vault talk to your regular questgiver Delvin, and if you want to be more than just friends with Brynjolf you'll need to wear an Amulet of Mara, one of the necklaces that signal your eligibility for marriage in Skyrim.

Here are more of the best Skyrim mods and the best Skyrim Special Edition mods. Have a look at Sneak Tools to add thiefy options like water arrows, throat-slitting, and blackjacking, as well as Ars Metallica – Smithing Enhancement if you'd like to be able to craft your own lockpicks and arrows.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.