Outside of Castle Dour Ulfric will begin his rousing speech:
"This is it men! It's time to make this city ours! We come to this moment carried by the sacrifices and the courage of our fellows. Those who have fallen. And those still bearing the shields to our right.
On this day, our enemy will witness the fullness of our determination, the true depth of our anger and the exhalted righteousness of our cause. The gods are watching. The spirits of our ancestors are stirring. And the men under suns yet to dawn will be transformed by what we do here today. Fear neither pain, nor darkness.
For Sovngarde awaits those who die with weapons in their hands, and courage in their hearts. We now fight our way to Castle Dour to cut the head off the legion itself! And in that moment, the gods will look down and see Skyrim as she was meant to be. Full of Nords who are mighty, powerful, and free! Ready now! Everyone, with me! For the sons and daughters of Skyrim!
Move on into the city, break through the barricades and head left. More Imperials will spawn, here. Moving on, work through more barricades, until arriving at the door that General Tullius is found behind.
Inside, head to General Tullius and Legate Rikke. Fight until Tullius surrenders to Ulfric and Galmar. After the conversation, Ulfric will ask if the Dragonborn would prefer to be the one to end Tullius' life. Optionally, the Dragonborn may elect to have Ulfric do the killing. Ulfric will give you his Sword of Devouring (in v1.9 a Daedric Sword of the Vampire), which absorbs enemy health when struck. The statistics of this weapon are entirely level dependent.
Ulfric invites the Dragonborn to join him, while he addresses his people. Head outside, to find the Stormcloaks and Jarl Elisif gathered. Here, Ulfric will make his speech, to enthusiastic applause.
Note: It is entirely possible to "grind" skills, with this battle. As long as the Dragonborn does not kill the archers on top of the roofs just before the General is encountered, Imperial soldiers will continue to spawn in the courtyard. This can be quite useful to level combat skills. However, do not accidentally attack Ulfric or Galmar too many times, as this will cause them to become hostile. (Remember that when you grind levels fast, the game does as well, so all the NPCs and monsters you face will be harder.)
Transforming into werewolf form will also cause the Stormcloak soldiers to become hostile.
You can also use Odahviing as heavy firepower against the Imperials and the Stormcloaks will not be hostille towards him.
It is hinted that Ulfric had some respect for Rikke as he tried to reason with her and gave her the opportunity to walk away, which she declined. As Rikke is a Nord, her heritage may have been another reason why Ulfric tried to talk her out of fighting him.
If you enter the Blue Palace During the battle Bolgeir Bearclaw with have his weapon drawn and Elisif the fair will be in her quarters and you will be unable to speak to her
This quest has reported to have many bugs by many different players. The reason for most of these bugs might be the large amount of characters in this quest.
Note: It is wise to create a separate save prior to entering Solitude, in the event where any of the following occur.
When the player reaches the inside of Castle Dour, instead of a scripted confrontation between Ulfric and Rikke, the player will enter to have his weapon forcibly sheathed. Neither Ulfric nor Galmar will spawn inside, making the quest impossible to continue.
Dragon Armor may cause the scripted confrontation to glitch. If prompted with "key required", one may be obtained from a Companion.
Some Penitus Oculatus Agents may be present during the battle. They may or may not be hostile, and the player still gets the standard murder bounty if they are killed. Sometimes, their dead bodies remain on the ground, even after the quest is complete.
During the battle, Jaree-Ra may be present. He is listed as an essential character and cannot be killed. He may or may not be hostile toward the Dragonborn.
During the conversation with Legate Rikke, Legate Adventus Caesennius may become hostile and continue to attack the player. He is listed as an essential character and cannot be killed. He will follow the player and continue to attack after the execution of General Tullius and Jarl Ulfric's Speech.
360 PS3 After General Tullius dies and Ulfric asks if you want to be a part of his speech, Ulfric and Galmar may freeze with their weapons drawn and they will not walk to the courtyard.
If you have a bounty from a previous engagement with the Solitude guards and pay the bounty, the player will bypass the battle entirely. However, after the speech is done and the player moves on to other quests, he/she may find Ulfric and his soldiers waiting outside Solitudes walls with nothing to fight. The door to the city will remain locked and the fast travel point deleted (Console).
After Ulfric's speech before entering Solitude, the door may be locked and require a key. This can be fixed by confronting a guard of the hold and getting yourself thrown in jail. Once in jail the player can break out of jail and find his or her equipment. This requires the player to pick an adept lock and an expert lock with one pick, so save wisely. Once the player is geared up again he or she can pick the evidence chest to get the last of his or her items. Now the player can head out to the castle area. When the player gets there he or she should look to the left to see the general and his bodyguard. Kill them and the quest will be completed as if you helped to take the city.
360 PS3 After the conversation between Ulfric, Galmar, and Rikke; Ulfric and Galmar sheath their weapons and become passive towards Rikke and General Tullius while Rikke herself remains an essential character, meaning that she can't be killed. The result is that the quest becomes impossible to complete, and the player is unable to leave Castle Dour due to all doors being locked and requiring a key to unlock. The PS3 bug differs slightly in that Ulfric and Galmar will have their weapons drawn but will not engage. Tullius becomes impossible to speak with, thus preventing the quest's end. Rikke also returns to her post at the room's forward door.
Confirmed on 360 , needs confirmation for PS3 : In case you have the Main Questline incomplete, finish it ENTIRELY and then take your orders from Galmar Stone-Fist normally. It should fix the battle among Rikkie, Ulfric and Galmar at the end of the quest.
After completing the quest, and after Ulfric's speech, Solitude and the Blue Palace may disappear from the map, and fast travel to it isn't possible any more. The Blue Palace will also get an expert lock that can be picked. (Confirmed fixed on PC by going to Windhelm and waiting a few days)
Your follower may disappear when entering the city. They may or may not respond after you leave Castle Dour (After you kill General Tullius).
PC 360 After the completion of this quest, the Blue Palace in Solitude may remain locked, as it was during the battle. A skilled player may either use the console command "unlock" by clicking on the entrance door then typing in the code, or he/she might try unlock it either via lockpicking or via magic in order to increase his or her skill.
360 Both Whiterun and Solitude may remain blocked off and wrecked, even after the questline.
After Ulfric's speech, the stormcloaks will not enter the city, rendering the quest unplayable
When inside Solitude the barricade to the second and third areas of the battle may be unbreakable, this can be fixed by pressing the ~ key, clicking the barricade, and typing disable.
After liberating Solitude, Elisif may disappear from the game entirely and the Stormcloak guard replacements may never spawn, leaving the city virtually defenseless.