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


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



(Image credit: Bethesda)

Year: 2006
Developer: Bethesda

One of my favorite journeys in a game was when I rose the ranks of the Thieves’ Guild in The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. It was a slow but steady transformation from a raw pickpocket to a master thief through a series of increasingly longer and more complex missions.

I loved being a thief in Oblivion. It allowed me to do my two favorite things: avoid a lot of fights and spy on NPCs. The final mission culminated in the ultimate test: sneak into the Imperial Palace to steal a real Elder scroll. It was a thrill.

But my best stealing performance wouldn’t come until much later, and it was a completely different type of scroll.

Of course, I became a master thief in preparation for the Assassin’s Guild quests, and when the Mehrune’s Razor add-on came on, I was looking for one of the Dark Brotherhood’s fabled artifacts in a huge underground city.

At this point I was already an expert at hiding, sneaking and killing, so I worked my way through the ruins completely invisible. Eventually I came across a prisoner, a Morag Tong assassin, who was standing in a prison cell. A message from the prison guard nearby said that they had searched the prisoner but never found an assassination attempt, so they did not know who to kill there.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Curiously, I slipped over to the bars of the cell, stole the assassin myself, and then crept away. What I took from the prisoner was called a “dirty assassination attempt,” which listed his orders and purpose, but it took me a while to realize why it was dirty and what I had just accomplished. The guards had already searched it and found nothing.

Which meant the note I found was hidden … well, it was hidden in his ass.

(Image credit: Bethesda)

It’s one thing to search someone thoroughly and eventually find a note that got their butt stuffed up. Finding the note and removing it while reaching through the bars of a prison cell with one hand is quite a different matter. And it’s not that he stood naked and invited me to examine his bum – he was fully dressed in morag tong leather armor.

I thought about what exactly had happened when I was inside the pickpocket. I managed to slide my hand under his clothes and rummage around. In his bum. While he was still dressed. And then I pushed the note (out of his ass) and left, completely undetected the whole time.

In my career as a thief, I’ve stolen weapons, armor, magical items, enough gold and jewels to fill a wheelbarrow and a damned Elder Scroll. But that one smelly note is my most precious possession. How much more impressive could a theft be? Reaching through the bars of a prison cell under the clothes of a trained assassin and pulling a note out of his ass – without him even knowing I was ever there.

No raid has ever surpassed that. And no raid will ever do it.



Robert Dunfee