Skyrim Civil War: What Happens If You Choose The Stormcloaks

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim allows players to choose between the Imperials and Stormcloaks in Skyrim's Civil War, with each choice drastically changing the in-game world. The leadership of different locations will change, and depending on the side taken, wandering NPCs in Skyrim's wilds will become hostile. The progression of the Civil War will also have a profound impact on the state of various holds. Whiterun, Solitude, and Windhelm are all liable to become damaged from battles, depending on how far players progress in the Civil War questline.

Ulfric Stormcloak leads the Stormcloaks alongside Galmar Stone-Fist. Skyrim's civil war stems from The Great War between the Tamrielic Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion. After the Empire's defeat, the Aldmeri forced them to sign the White-Gold Concordat. The Concordat caused Skyrim much strife, banning Talos worship and enabling the Aldmeri Dominion to secure a presence within its borders. Ulfric, a veteran of the Great War, rallied his allies and began Skyrim's civil war to secure his country's freedom. Players who side with the Stormcloaks will serve under Ulfric and fight against the Imperial Legion.

Related: Skyrim Side Quests You Can Just Ignore

Both of Skyrim's civil war questlines require players to raid opposing Holds and Forts. Depending on when the quest occurs, Stormcloak aligned players will need to attack Whiterun, Fort Sungard in the Reach, Fort Snowhawk in Hjaalmarch, Fort Hraggstead near Solitude, and finally Solitude itself. Each successful battle will earn the Dragonborn a new title, and they will continue to gain the respect of Stormcloak characters like Ulfric and Galmar.

After the Stormcloaks defeat the Imperial Legion, Ulfric will place Skyrim's Holds under the rule of different Jarls. Jarls initially allied with the Stormcloaks maintain their power, while Imperial Jarls move beneath Solitude's Blue Palace as essential Skyrim characters. Siding with the Stormcloaks results in Vignar Grey-Mane becoming the new Jarl of Whiterun, Laila Law-Giver reclaiming her position as the Jarl of Riften, and Skald the Elder retaking his role as Jarl of Dawnstar. Additionally, Stormcloak soldiers will occupy cities and towns previously under Imperial control, including Whiterun, Falkreath, Morthal, Markarth, and Solitude. Elisif the Fair is the only former Imperial supporter who retains her power.

A Stormcloak victory in the civil war leads to Ulfric becoming High King of Skyrim and declaring the country's independence. This leaves the Tamrielic Empire with only the Cyrodiil and High Rock territories, alongside several smaller provinces. Imperial soldiers are expelled from Skyrim (except for the respawning Imperial camps and essential Commanders), alongside the population of Aldmeri Dominion agents. Imperial and Aldmeri patrols can still be encountered as random events, however. After the war, the Dragonborn's efforts are noted, leading nearby Stormcloaks to defend them in battle.

It's unknown how Skyrim's civil war could affect Elder Scrolls 6, as the Tamrielic Empire has been severely damaged and will likely not be able to stand against the Dominion for much longer. Unfortunately, Bethesda has released little to no information concerning the next Elder Scrolls game, meaning fans of the franchise will have to wait a bit longer before their next adventure. Nevertheless, the Civil War's outcome changes Tamriel forever, no matter which side claims victory in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Next: Why Skyrim's Blades Wanted Paarthurnax Killed (But Not All Dragons)

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