While playing through The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim's main story, players will be tasked with traveling to a variety of different locations, in which they can pursue side quests. Upon traveling to Riften, they can begin the Thieves Guild questline and eventually become the Guild Master if they meet the requirements.
Becoming the Master of the Thieves Guild can be a little confusing, however, as Skyrim never explicitly states how to do so. If players complete the "Darkness Returns" quest, the Guild will still need some help reclaiming its former glory; if the Dragonborn offers to help out, they will eventually be made Master of the Thieves Guild.
How To Join The Thieves Guild
To become the Master of the Thieves Guild, players must find a way to join the guild itself. Thankfully, the process is pretty straightforward and can be begun during the Dragonborn's first visit to Riften.
In Riften, the player must seek out an NPC named Brynjolf and speak to him. Upon doing so, the "A Chance Arrangement" quest will begin; once the quest has been completed, the Dragonborn will gain access to The Ragged Flagon, the Thieves Guild's hidden hideout in The Ratway, where they can begin the next quest in the Thieves Guild questline.
Once players have completed the "Darkness Restored" quest, they will need to complete twenty Radiant quests in order to unlock the "Under New Management" quest. Completing this quest will reward the Dragonborn with the "Master of the Thieves Guild" title.
How To Complete Radiant Quests For The Thieves Guild
Before the Dragonborn can be crowned the Master of the Thieves Guild, they must first restore the Thieves Guild to its former glory. To begin this process, players must speak to Vex or Delvin Mallory in The Ragged Flagon and select the "I'm ready for some extra work" option. Whoever the Dragonborn is speaking to will then ask the player what job they wish to complete. All the quests these NPCs offer contribute to the Thieves Guild's improvement, but only if they are done in the correct locations.
To become Master of the Thieves Guild, players must complete five jobs each in the cities of Whiterun, Windhelm, Solitude, and Markarth. Upon doing five quests in one city, a new quest will become available and must be completed to restore said city's faith in the Thieves Guild.
How To Become Master Of The Thieves Guild
Once players have completed the twenty Radiant quests and the four additional quests that are unlocked through them, they can return to The Ragged Flagon to receive the title of Guild Master. To do this, players must speak to Brynjolf, who will tell the Dragonborn to meet him in the center of the Cistern room. Once there, Brynjolf will officially crown the Dragonborn as Master of the Thieves Guild.
Speaking to Brynjolf once more, he will tell the Dragonborn to speak to Tonilia, who will provide them with the Guild Master Armor set. He will also give the Dragonborn the Tribute Chest Key, which can be used to unlock the Guild Master's Tribute Chest in the Cistern.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is available for PS3, PS4, PS5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.