Justice System Legerdemain Guide

Justice system part one is now on the Public Test Server (PTS) for the upcoming release of 1.6.  I wanted to come out with a quick introduction guide for phase one, the Legerdemain skill line.  Huge thanks to  @Rockma in game for testing and sharing his information.  Without him, this wouldn’t be possible.  Welcome to our Justice System Legerdemain Guide for the Elder Scrolls Online.


Official ZOS post on the Justice System phase one here.

Table of Content



Getting Started

What is the Justice System?

The first iteration into ESO’s Justice System is the thieving side of a system that allows you to steal, kill, and create havoc with the None Playable Characters (NPCs) of Tamriel.  For those that love to sneak and steal, this update is for you.  Part two (which isn’t out) will be adding a PvP elemental allowing players to be guards and enforce the law (that will be me).

You can steal almost anything like previous Elder Scrolls games.  You won’t be able to kill quest givers or anything that blocks your progress like Morrowind.  You will have to pay for your crimes and develop a “heat” meter which determines your bounty and threat to the public.  At a certain level, you’ll be killed on sight.  And believe me, those guards are near impossible to take down.

How do you Start?

Only after your first successful pickpocket will you unlock the skill line.  Sneak up on an unsuspecting NPC and hit the loot button “E” by default on the PC.  Depending on your chances, you’ll either steal something or become detected.  It may take a few attempts but keep at it and you’ll pickpocket something in no time.

Screenshot_20150208_120141 The first picture here shows me looting an NPC.  You’ll notice red text and a low percentage chance to successfully pickpocket.  This is when you want to remain hidden and wait for a better time to strike.





Screenshot_20150208_120145  In this picture you’ll see green text and a higher chance at pickpocketing.  This is the opportune time to snack that bag for some “hot” loot!





Hopefully with a few attempts you’ll now have the Legerdemain skill line unlocked and some “hot” or stole loot.  Keep it as I’ll show you how to make a profit selling stolen goods.  But first, let’s check out that new skill line we unlocked and work towards becoming a master thief (thank god I rolled a Khajiit Nightblade).

The outline red and the hand shows that it's stolen

The outline red and the hand shows that it’s stolen

Skill Line

ESO Legerdemain Skill Line

Leveling Legerdemain Picture

The Legerdemain skill line is solely dedicated to helping you successful steal, rob and be a overall bad a** thief.  The Improved Hiding passive is the only one that will help your character outside of the Justice System and offers a decent incentive for everyone to progress this skill line.  The nice thing is, you can begin leveling and enjoying the system regardless of level.  As soon as you see an NPC, try pick pocketing.  In order to progress through the 10 ranks in Legerdemain, you’ll need to steal and sell goods.  I’ll explain how to do this later through selling goods to Fences and Laundering items.  Keep in mind, people CAN reach rank 10 within a week if you take every opportunity to level up.  While some may spend months on it.


ESO Improved Hiding Passive

Improved Hiding – Reduces the stamina cost of sneaking by 10% (available at level 1)


2 Light Fingers

Light Fingers – Increases your chance of successfully pickpocketing by 10% (available at rank two in legerdemain).


3 Trafficker

Trafficker – Increases the number of fence interactions you can use each day by 120% (available at rank three in legerdemain).


4 Locksmith

Locksmith – Improves your chances of forcing locks by 10% (available at rank five in legerdemain).


5 Kickback

Kickback – Reduces bounties you willingly pay to guard and fences by 10% (available at rank six in legerdemain).




Heat Meter for Justice SystemNow running around endless stealing and sell good sounds fun, but it has consequences if you get caught.  They created a User Interface “heat” meter that shows you bounty, level of threat to society in Tamriel and how recently you’ve been active.


  • The red on the meter indicates you’ve done something (and were witnessed) recently.  This goes away fairly quickly but indicates how aggressive guards will react to you.
  • White indicates overall reputation or  threat to citizens.  This dissipates slowly and will dissipate while offline in the current PTS patch 1.6.1.
  • Three levels – Upstanding Citizen (no threat), Notorious (Guards will approach you) and Fugitive from Justice (Kill on Sight)
  • Gold in the lower middle indicates what you have to pay to remove your heat and go back to normal (paid to guard or Fencer) though it has to be in your bag.


Justice System Guard Enforcers – Tamriel Guard’s currently enforce the law which will change to a PvP element later in the game.  The are nearly impossible to kill so don’t try unless you brought a lot of friends.

Petty Crimes (small increase in heat) – such as pickpocketing, breaking and entering, killing of livestock.

Major Crimes – Murder and Assault.



ESO Outlaws Refuge

After you steal something one of two things happens, you caught or not.  If you’re not caught, you can continue thieving.  If you’re caught by someone (guard or citizen) you earn some heat.  Guards will then approach you with two options, pay your crime or flee (20 seconds to respond).  If you flee, the guards will chase you and try their best to kill you.  You can only escape to a Outlaw Refuge which have been added to major cities (more on that below).  In a Refuge you can pay off your bounty, sell stolen items and more.  You can also hang out here in a safe place to lessen your heat.

Eventually you’ll probably be caught and killed by guards.  They will remove all stolen items from your bags and gold for your bounty.  After that, your heat will return to normal (still in testing not final).  The whole idea behind this system is to be sneaky and get away with thieving.  You can actually make quiet a bit of good as you progress and learn more about the system.  But you’ll need to find your local friendly Fence before that!

Selling Goods


What I think is the “coolest” part of this system is the Fencers and the Outlaw Refuge.  They truly feel Thief’s guildish.  Just look at those pictures in the background, totally reminds me of Skyrim.  Besides my fanboy ramblings, they do server a purpose.

Fencing Items in ESO  Laundrying items in ESO

Starting off, you can sell 50 items and launder 50 per day (Tamriel day is roughly 20 hours).  The difference between selling and laundering is laundered items you can keep without threat of confiscation.  You can also sell these laundered items for top dollar to merchants. So you have a daily limit as to how much you can sell and or launder.  To maximize profits, work on laundering items when you have heat.  If not, sell them.  You can do both launder and sell to maximize the experience gain per day.  From patch 1.6 to 1.6.1, it seems heat has undergo significant changes so remember, this is the “final” way the system works and I’ll update this guide upon official 1.6 release.

Leveling and Builds

Finally my Khajiit’s passives have some usefulness.  If you’re building a specific character for this or tuning one to be successful here are some times.

Medium Armor – As a full medium armor wearing Khajiit my sneak skills is through the roof.  I highly recommend wearing medium and maximizing the Improved Sneak passive. With seven pieces I have 35% detection area decrease and 49% sneak cost reduction.

Race Matters – The Stealthy racial passive that Khajiits and Wood Elf (Bosmer) possess are meant for the Justice System.  Decreases stealth radius by 3 meters and increases damage done while stealthed (if a NPC needs to go to “sleep”).

Gear or Vampire – Having either gear or Vampire passive Dark Stalker that removes speed penalty while sneaking is very important.  I went with the Night Silence set which is easy to craft and get equipped and the end game PvP set Shadow Walker.

I can’t wait for this to launch and update the guide with more depth strategies including making a heap of gold.  I think this is a great system and I look forward to the next PvP element and I plan on being a guard.  I hope you enjoyed this introduction to the Justice System and specifically the Legerdemain skill line.


  1. SteveD on February 9, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Hey Deltia,

    I’ve been trying out a Khajiit NB as a Vamp (increase sneak speed) using Way of Air (4 pieces improve detection radius) and Nightshade (3 pieces improve detection radius and improve sneak cost) 7 medium-armour sets, while slotting Concealed Weapons (improve sneak speed).

    Catch me if you can….

    BTW – Once you have the Thieves Guild Skill line (sorry I mean Legerdemain) you can go off to Kennarth Roost and go up and down the coast unlocking loads of treasure chests, as right now on PTS this is levelling up the skill (but not sure if this is a bug or intended).

  2. John on February 9, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Very nice. Looking forward to this being released. I have not tried it on the PTS but might give it a try now. Thank you

  3. Edyn on February 10, 2015 at 11:35 am

    You might want to reread and go through a spellchecker/turn off your autocorrect. One example that keeps standing out is element being corrected to Elemental.

    As for the rest, I’m curious to see how it turns out on live.

  4. Vendrath on February 10, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    How high does legerdemain go? In your article you talk about 10 ranks, but you have an image on your page that shows the next level of a skill unlocking at legerdemain 11

    • Deltia on February 10, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      I could have sworn 10.

      • Vendrath on February 10, 2015 at 9:30 pm

        Considering that there are four levels to each skill and those level ups don’t even start for until level 6 for improved hiding and level 10 for kickback, I have a feeling it will go up to level 20 if progression continues in a linear fashion every 5 levels which it appears to with Improved hiding at 1/6/11/16(?). That would put kickback’s 4th level at legerdemain level 20.

  5. RexMoonD on February 18, 2015 at 3:45 am

    Yo, NPC stands for non-player character…

  6. Canni on March 3, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    So is race/gear all that matters in this game for sneak?, im debating between a NB and templar for healing, would rather go templar but also want to strongly focus on sneak for gameplay plus this justice system….if i can gear a templar for sneak that would be great, im just confused how sneak mechanics work.

    Does the NB get anything class specific to help with pickpocketing?

  7. The Specter - Nightblade Build on March 12, 2015 at 12:38 am

    […] Legerdemain […]

  8. Recro on April 1, 2015 at 6:14 am

    I’ve heard of people making 12k gold every 15 mins just by thieving around… and I kinda doubt it’s possible? But it’d be nice to see some numbers soon, I really wanna know how efficient THIS can be for gold making, specially considering you don’t really need such a high leveled character to make it work properly.

    • Deltia on April 3, 2015 at 11:48 am

      You can, but I don’t spend my time in gaming doing that.

      • Recro on April 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm

        Seems easier than farming and selling stuff, specially when you can’t even get into a decent trading guild. And well, it’s also necessary if you’re as poor as me, lol. But yeah, thanks for the heads up c:

    • Vendrath on April 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      You can only fence 160 items a day if you have 4 points in the skill that raises the amount you can fence per day.

      So while you might be able to make that much in 15 minutes, you can’t keep it up for hours.

      Green stolen items typically sell for ~100 gold so if you only sell green stolen items then you can make 16K per day.

      Blues and purples do sell for a lot more but they are also much much more rare and you’re going to spend an huge amount of time pickpocketing if you plan to only sell blues and purples.

  9. Jeramiah on June 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Is it recommended to level up to a certain level before starting to steal/murder…etc?
    I feel like you would be missing required skills to be successful at this if you started right off the boat.

    • Deltia on June 23, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      You can do it early and I suggest getting started early as a way to make money. Don’t just go nuking NPCs to rack up a huge bounty and you’ll be fine.

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