Sometimes to get ahead in the Settled Systems you need to do a little Starfield pickpocketing, scoring credits and weapons in the process.
If you’re playing a stealthy character or a social build, then you might want to engage in a bit of Starfield pickpocketing. This long-running Bethesda mechanic is back, with a few changes to make stealing even riskier. Still, the core experience is much the same, so you can embrace your inner cat burglar while exploring the breadth of the Settled Systems.
If pickpocketing goes awry, you can take off and clear your bounty with our Starfield bounty guide. Or, if you’re looking for populated locations where you can easily steal a few useful items, check out our Starfield map hub. From there, you can find interactive versions of the New Atlantis Map, Akila City Map, Cydonia map, and more.
What is Starfield pickpocketing?
Every NPC in Starfield has an inventory containing several randomly generated items selected from specific item pools that are suitable for that NPC. As an example, hostile enemies are more likely to have weapons on them, while civilians are more likely to have miscellaneous items. You can often find civilians holding a Med Pack or a Digipick, so they’re a good source of consumables if you’re lacking in credits.
However, unlike in previous Bethesda games, pickpocketing isn’t an option from the start. First, you need the Theft skill. Each of the Starfield skills has four Ranks, with the first Rank unlocking the mechanic while the fourth turns you into a regular silent-footed thief. While crouched behind any NPC, you can open their inventory by pressing the A button if you’re using an Xbox controller, or with your preferred interaction key on PC. You’re then shown what you can steal, along with a probability percentage to tell you how likely you’ll be caught in the act.
Also unlike previous Bethesda titles, time doesn’t freeze once you’ve opened an NPC’s inventory, so you need to be quick and snatch what you need before you’re caught.
Starfield pickpocketing gone wrong
If you’re caught with your fingers in someone’s pocket, expect the offended NPC to be none too pleased, and quite possibly attack you immediately. If you’re in a more civilized and regulated environment like one of Starfield’s cities, expect to receive a bounty on your head, which the local police force will hunt down enthusiastically.
You can always pay off your bounty, but you might prefer to hop aboard one of your ships and chart a course to a remote system somewhere. From there, you can either head to a Bounty Clearance Kiosk to pay off your debts or load up on Weapons to return in a blaze of gunfire.
Best Starfield pickpocketing approach
If you want to give yourself the best chance at pickpocketing in Starfield, you’ll want to take the Theft and Stealth skills. Being harder to detect makes it much easier to pull off a Starfield heist, especially if there are a number of eyewitnesses in the area. There are plenty of Starfield backgrounds that start you off with one of two of those skills, like the Cyber Runner and Gangster, and you can check out our database to see which is more suited to your overall style of play.
There you have it, our guide to Starfield pickpocketing. To get away in a flash, check out our guide to the Starfield boost pack mechanics.