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Great moments in PC gaming: Pickpocketing a note from an assassin's butt without him noticing

Oblivion
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.

Oblivion

Oblivion

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Year: 2006
Developer: Bethesda

One of my favorite journeys ever undertaken in a game was when I climbed the ranks of the Thieves Guild in The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. It was a slow but steady transformation from crude pickpocket to master thief through a series of increasingly lengthy, more elaborate missions.

I loved being a thief in Oblivion. It let me do my two favorite things: Avoid a lot of combat and spy on NPCs. The final mission culminated in the ultimate test: Sneaking into the Imperial Palace to steal an actual Elder Scroll. It was a thrill.

But my finest achievement in thievery wouldn't come until much later, and it involved a completely different kind of scroll. 

Naturally becoming a master thief primed me for the Assassin's Guild quests, and when the Mehrune's Razor add-on came along it sent me searching for one of the Dark Brotherhood's fabled artifacts in a massive underground city.

By that time I was already an expert at hiding, sneaking, and killing, so I worked my way through the ruins completely unseen. Eventually I came across a prisoner, a Morag Tong assassin standing in a jail cell.  A note nearby from the jailor said they'd searched the prisoner but never found a writ of assassination, so they didn't know who he was there to kill.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Curious, I slipped over to the bars of the cell and pickpocketed the assassin myself, then skulked away. What I took from the prisoner was labeled a 'soiled writ of assassination,' listing his orders and target, but it took me a little while to realize why it was soiled and what I had actually just accomplished. The guards had already searched him and found nothing. 

Which meant the note I'd found was hidden... well, it was hidden up his ass.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

It's one thing to thoroughly search someone and eventually find a note they've stuffed up their butt. It's quite another to find and remove the note while reaching through the bars of a prison cell with one hand. And it's not like he was standing there naked, inviting me to investigate his butt—he was fully dressed in a set of Morag Tong leather armor.

I thought about what exactly had happened while I was in the pickpocket menu. I'd managed to slide my hand under his clothing and root around. In his butt. While he was still dressed. And then I'd slid the note out (of his arse) and left, while remaining completely undetected the entire time.

In my career as a thief I've stolen weapons, armor, magic items, enough gold and jewels to fill a wheelbarrow, and a damn Elder Scroll. But this one stinky note is my most prized possession. How much more impressive could a theft be? Reaching through the bars of a jail cell, under the clothes of a trained assassin, and pulling a note from his actual ass—without him even knowing I was ever there. 

No heist has ever topped that. And no heist ever will.

Christopher Livingston

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.