Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Imperial Legion vs Storm Cloaks

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I’ve been really into playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim lately. Like way more than I’m into playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. Mainly just because I played the same level or section of the game like ten times, and it made me really annoyed. So I’m taking a break to refind my love of the game. So in the meantime I’m playing Skyrim. Which I’ve only ever completed using speedrun tactics, and I’m trying not to do that this time and I’ve definitely gotten into it. And wanted to write a few posts about it. For today’s post as you can tell from the title, I wanted to focus on Imperial Legion vs. Stormcloaks. More so just comparing the two main groups in the civil war over Skyrim. There are several clans that fall on either side of the rebellion (Battle-born and Gray-Mane being located in Whiterun, Black-Briars of Riften, and Silver-Bloods of Markarth).

And you can join either Imperial Legion or Stormcloaks, regardless of who you followed in the beginning of the game when escaping Helgen. Ralof being part of Stormcloaks and Hadvar being part of the Imperial Legion.

Imperial Legion

Lead by General Tullius in Solitude, they oppose the Stormcloak rebellion after their attempt to secede Skyrim from the Third Empire. They believe that Skyrim must abide by the laws and customs of the empire including the White-Gold Concordat to preserve peace between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion. Though they support the alliance with the Aldmeri Dominion, the Empire has little love for it but do this so they can fend off another war. And thus believe killing Ulfric Stormcloak is needed in order to maintain the peace of the Empire.

Add on that they believe Ulfric Stormcloak murdered the High King rather than won a formal duel, and you can see why they have a strong sense of justice and that Ulfric must pay for the death of their king.

The Imperial Legion is compromised of local militia many of Nord and Imperial legionnaires, though there are a few Breton and Redguard legionnaries and Altmer, Dunmer, and Breton Legates. But many in the Empire view them as being corrupt and decaying, thanks to the near annihilation of the Blades and the rise of the Aldmeri Dominion.

Due to this they are at odds with the influential family in Whiterun, Gray-Mane, but have the support of the other clan in Whiterun known as Battle-Born and Black-Briars of Riften.

You can join the Legion by talking to General Tullius in Castle Dour where you take on the quest Joining the Legion, and in the end take an oath and be officially inducted into the Imperial Army. But you do have the opportunity to switch sides if you’ve changed your mind by giving the Jagged Crown to Ulfric Stormcloak instead of bringing it to the Legion.

Oath of the Legion:

“Upon my honor I do swear undying loyalty to the Emperor, Titus Mede II, (or simply “The Emperor” if Mede has been killed in the Dark Brotherhood questline) and unwavering obedience to the officers of his great Empire. May those above judge me, and those below take me, if I fail in my duty. Long live the Emperor! Long live the Empire!”

There are five ranks the Dragonborn can become within the Legion:

  • Auxiliary (Recruit) – complete “Joining the Legion.
  • Quaestor (Sergeant) – complete “Battle for Whiterun.”
  • Praefect (Lieutenant) – complete “The Battle for Fort Dunstad.”
  • Tribune (Captain) – complete “The Battle for Fort Greenwall.”
  • Legate (Commander) – complete “Rescue from Fort Kastav.”


Lead by Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak in Windhelm. Their name originally was first used to belittle their cause but they gladly accept it as they believe Ulfric Stormcloak is the true High King of Skyrim. And they believe they Skyrim should secede from the what they feel is a corrupt and crumbling Empire. Since they accepted the White-Gold Concordat, that makes them a puppy of the Thalmor and bans the worship of Talos. Which Nords do not support in any way as they highly revered Talos and considered them to be their greatest leader. They also believe the empire is only maintaining it’s power in Skyrim by propping up loyalist Jarls.

The Imperial Legion enforced the rules of the Empire/Aldmeri Dominion, which spared the Markarth Incident as Ulfric Stormcloak was still worshipping Talos within his city. Ulfric demanded the agreement to be broken but the Legion disagreed and arrested him. When Ulfric escaped he went to Windhelm to take up duties of Jarl after his father’s passing. Then he murdered High Kind Torygg during a formal duel, this was a tradition of the Nordic people and why the Stormcloaks believe Ulfric is the true High King.

One thing that really sets apart the Stormcloaks, is they are comprised mainly of Nords. And many members look or talk down to other species or races of Skyhold. But they won’t turn down a Dragonborn that is of another race. And the notable or influential families that support the Stormcloaks are: Gray-Mane in Whiterun and Silver-Bloods of Markarth.

To join the Stormcloaks, you need to go to Windhelm and prove battle-worthiness by slaying a ice wraith. And similar to the Imperial Legion, you can switch sides by delivering the Jagged Crown to General Tullius in Solitude rather than giving it to Ulfric.

Oath of the Stormcloaks:

“I do swear my blood and honor to the service of Ulfric Stormcloak Jarl of Windhelm and true High King of Skyrim. As Talos is my witness, may this oath bind me to death and beyond… even to my lord as to my fellow brothers and sisters in arms. All hail the Stormcloaks, the true sons and daughters of Skyrim!”

Titles the Dragonborn can become within the Stormcloaks:

  • Unblooded – Complete “Joining the Stormcloaks”
  • Ice-Veins – Complete “Battle for Whiterun”
  • Bone-Breaker – Complete “Rescue from Fort Neugrad”
  • Snow-Hammer – Complete “The Battle for Fort Sungard”
  • Stormblade – Complete “The Battle for Fort Snowhawk”

Which side in the Skyrim civil war do you fall on?

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