Skyrim: Here’s How To Stop Guards From Attacking You

how to stop the guards from attacking you in Skyrim

By order of the Jarl, stop right there! These are the dreaded words we hear occasionally while playing Skyrim. No matter whether you’ve simply stolen an item from the marketplace or accidentally killed a chicken you will not be able to escape the wrath of Skyrim’s peacekeepers. If your bounty is low enough you might be able to talk the guards into letting you go, but what happens when your bounty is record-high and involves several thousands of septims? This is exactly the question we’re going to deal with today, having a high bounty will lead most guards to attack you on sight, and to make matters even worse this is notoriously hard to stop. Due to that, we put together this guide on how to stop the issue of guards attacking you on sight constantly.  

  • Article Breakdown:
  • You can stop the guards from attacking you by yielding, escaping the area, waiting for a few days, using a pacifying spell on them, or simply using the console commands.
  • However, it’s important to note that guards will not stop pursuing you unless you deal with your exorbitant fine. 

Why do guards turn hostile toward you in Skyrim? 

Guards turn hostile toward you when you ignore to deal with your incurred bounty. No matter how low your bounty is the guards will attack you if you decide to ignore them while they are trying to force you to face justice usually the guards attack for the following reasons 

  1. You’ve existed the dialogue when they were trying to interact with you. This can happen on purpose or accidentally, in any case, the guards will register this as if you’ve decided to resist arrest. 
  2. Guards will turn extremely hostile as soon as you resist arrest. Even though this is an option added to the game it almost never works in your favor and sooner or later you will have to deal with that bounty. Resisting arrest in the middle of a major city will result in numerous deaths and your bounty only skyrocketing even higher. 
  3. Sometimes, the guards might attack you because you’ve turned into a Werewolf or Vampire Lord. Being a Werewolf or Vampire Lord is not a crime in itself but if you transform in the middle of a populated area with NPCs present this will add a 1000 gold bounty and some NPCs including guards will attack you on sight. 
  4. If your bounty is high enough in any given hold, this might result in guards attacking you on sight as well. We’re talking about multiple murders per hold. In this scenario, it’s hard to yield and this is exactly the issue we will be dealing with today. 
  5. The guards will attack you on sight as well if you’re wearing the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal. 
Hostile guards
Once a single guard becomes hostile toward you, all of the guards in range will soon follow


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How to stop guards from being hostile toward you in Skyrim? 

We’ve mentioned several reasons for guards turning hostile in Skyrim and likewise, there are several approaches to this problem as well. The solutions range from simply waiting it out to using console commands. The following are ways through which you can avoid combat with guards in Skyrim: 

  1. Try yielding 
  2. Leave the hold wait a few days and then try returning to that hold 
  3. Use the “calm” spell from Illusion School 
  4. Commit another crime while guards are attacking you 
  5. Wait for a bounty collector to find you 
  6. Try using player.scaonactor or paycrimegold 0 0 <HoldID>

This is just a short explanation and in the rest of this post, we’re going to address every single one of those solutions. 

1. Try yielding to stop the guards from attacking you 

yielding to a guard

This is the most straightforward solution to your problems and it’s the usual way of dealing with aggressive guards. If you are by any chance attacked by guards, sheathe your weapons or spells and attempt to interact with the guard again. In most cases, they will cease their attacks and you will get a chance to pay a bounty, go to jail, or resist arrest yet again. 

2. Leave the hold wait a few days and then try returning to that hold 

Skyrim guard unagressive

If yielding doesn’t work for you, you will need to leave the hold immediately before you are overwhelmed by the sheer number of guards that will soon swarm you. Run away from the guards until you leave the border of a hold once there, wait for a few days, and then attempt to return and interact with the guards as usual. Most likely you will not be able to even enter the city since the guards posted at the gates will attempt to arrest you upon arrival. 

3. Use the “calm” spell from Illusion School 

calm and pacify

Mage-oriented characters have one more weapon at their disposal calming spells. Calming spells are used to pacify aggressive creatures and NPCs. If you’re having trouble yielding to guards you might try your luck with several spells depending on the level you’re at.

For NPCs up to level 0 use the “Calm” spell, for NPCs up to level 20 use the “Pacify” spell. Both spells. Both spells can appear as random loot and Pacify can be bought from Drevis Neloren at the College of Winterhold. 

4. Commit another crime while guards are attacking you 

This seems counterintuitive but it works. If you have trouble yielding to guards committing another crime might help. Simply attack another NPC or steal something which will cause your bounty to go up. This refreshes the interactions that the guards have with you and you might be able to interact with them. 

5. Wait for a bounty collector to find you 

bounty hunter

Waiting for a bounty collector will take some time and it’s the least convenient solution, for this reason, I recommend this be your “last option” since it depends on luck. If your bounty is high (1000 gold or above) you may randomly be approached by a bounty collector. Bounty collectors can approach you in a different hold than the one where you have a bounty in.


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Once approached he will give you the option of paying off your crimes you will pay a full bounty + 20 % of his fee. In theory, once you pay him, your bounty will be cleared and you will be able to return to the hold in question. Sometimes, however, the bounty sticks even after paying the bounty hunter.

6. Use console commands in order for guards to stop attacking you 

Good old console commands always come to the rescue. If none of the above solutions work for you and you don’t want to take your chances with bounty hunters, you can always cheat your way out of a bounty. 

There are two commands helpful in this scenario and we’re going to explain both of them. 

  1. player.scaonactor causes all NPCs involved in combat with you to stop attacking. This is an instant solution to your troubles and you can do it as many times as you like. This command will stop the guards from attacking you but it will not resolve your bounty and erase your past crimes. 
  2. paycrimegold 0 0 <HoldID>  however will stop the guards from attacking and erase your bounty. You will need to replace the <HoldID> with the ID number for the specific hold’s crime faction. For example, if I want to deal with my bounty in Winterhold I’m going to type paycrimegold 0 0 0002816F. This will cause all your law-related troubles across Winterhold to simply disappear. 

And that’s about it, everything you need to know about clearing your bounty. Before you attempt to use any of these solutions, however, make sure you’re not wearing The Gray Cowl of Nocturnal, while the item is equipped none of the solutions might work, except maybe the console commands. Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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