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Hold Guard (Skyrim)

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"You have committed crimes against Skyrim and her people, what say you in your defense?"
―Hold Guard[src]

Every Hold in Skyrim has its own Guard. These guards protect the capital cities of each hold, and any other settlements within.

All hold guards wear very similar armor sets; differences are  just the color of the sash and material of the undershirt used, either scaled or quilted. They also wear the same model helmet.  However, the colors vary depending on the hold.

Hold guards also carry a round shield which varies in color and typically displays the symbol of the hold across the front.

Hold guards can be permanently replaced by either Imperial or Stormcloak soldiers during the Civil War, depending on which side the Dragonborn joins. They will perform the same duties and have the same dialogue (although they may also have additional faction-based dialogue) as regular guards. The victorious faction will keep their guards> However, those that are not loyal will be replaced.

The guards are led by a captain and local Imperial Legate or Stormcloak Commander who reports to the local Jarl. Their duty is to uphold peace and order throughout the city and the hold, as well as ensuring justice is upheld in the event of a crime. Additionally, they are the last line of defense of their city in the event of assault or invasion.

Only Stormcloak controlled Holds have female guards.

Level

Hold Guards level with the Dragonborn until around level 50. This means that at level 50+, the Hold Guards are rather powerful, and have no problem fighting even a dragon.

Notably, Hold Guards continue to level up to match the Dragonborn's level, while regular characters (including Followers) are locked at the level in which they are first spawned.

Guards

Falkreath Hold Guard

Falkreath Guard
A Falkreath Hold guard.
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These guards patrol Falkreath and Falkreath Hold.

They wear the dark blue version of the guard armor. This armor is a leather scaled vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they wear fur boots.

These guards carry a round, blue, wooden shield with a painted motif of a stag's head on it.

During the course of the civil war, the Stormcloaks may occupy Falkreath and replace these guards.

Hjaalmarch Hold Guard

Hjaalmarch Guard
A Hjaalmarch guard.
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These guards patrol Hjaalmarch and Morthal

They wear a pale green version of the guard armor. The armor is a quilted vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear fur boots.

The guards also carry a round, green and gray wooden shield with a painted spiral motif.

During the course of the civil war, the Stormcloaks may occupy Morthal and replace these guards.

The Reach Guard

The Reach Guard
A Reach guard.
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These guards patrol The Reach and Markarth.

They wear the green cloth version of the guard armor. The armor is a quilted vest with a bronze chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear fur gauntlets and fur boots.

The guards also carry a round, green, wooden shield with a painted motif of a stylized ram's head.

During the course of the civil war, the Stormcloaks may occupy Markarth and replace these guards, although the one guarding Soljund's Sinkhole will remain a Reach Hold Guard.

The Pale Guard

The Pale Guard
A Pale guard.
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These guards patrol The Pale and Dawnstar.

They wear a pale, cream cloth version of the guard armor. The armor is a scaled vest with a bronze chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear fur gauntlets and fur boots.

The guards also carry a round, gray, wooden shield with a painted motif of a four point star.

During the course of the civil war, the Imperial Legion or Stormcloaks may occupy Dawnstar and replace these guards, despite Dawnstar's Jarl Skald siding with the Stormcloaks.

The Rift Guard

The Rift Guard
A Rift guard.
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These guards patrol The Rift and Riften.

They wear a purple cloth version of the guard armor. The armor is a scaled vest with a bronze chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear fur boots.

The guards also carry a round, lavender, wooden shield with a painted motif of two crossed swords.

Ivarstead and Shor's Stone are a part of The Rift, but their guards are slightly different and are named "Ivarstead Guard". The Armor, Helmet and Shield will still be considered as Riften Armor however.

During the course of the civil war, the Imperial Legion may occupy Riften and replace these guards.

Haafingar Hold Guard

Solitude Guard
A Haafingar guard.
BödvarAdded by Bödvar

These guards patrol Haafingar Hold and Solitude.

They wear a red cloth version of the guard armor. The armor is a scaled vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. Also it should be noted that Haafingar Hold Guards' helmets are dark brown on the crown, rather than the bronze color that is on every other "guard" helmet in the game. In addition, as Solitude is the Capital of Skyrim and under Imperial Legion control, the guards also wear Imperial bracers and Imperial boots.

The guards also carry a round, red, wooden shield with a painted motif of a wolf.

The guards around Castle Dour are Imperial soldiers and wear full Imperial Armor, though they are still named Solitude Guard.

During the course of the civil war, the Stormcloaks may occupy Solitude and replace these guards.

Whiterun Guard

Whiterun Guard
A Whiterun guard.
BödvarAdded by Bödvar
These guards are possibly the most well known hold guards in Skyrim and the first/closest to often be found in the game, they patrol Whiterun Hold and Whiterun. Commander Caius serves as commander of the Whiterun Guard.

They wear a yellow cloth version of the guard armor. The armor is a scaled vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear fur boots, but most guards wear no gauntlets.

The guards also carry a round, yellow, wooden shield with a painted motif of a horse's head.

During the course of the civil war, the Stormcloaks may occupy Whiterun and replace these guards. Commander Caius will also be removed from his post and replaced with Sinmir. The detachment of guards that was sent to Riverwood during Dragon Rising will remain.

Eastmarch Hold Guard

WindhelmGuard
An Eastmarch guard.
BödvarAdded by Bödvar

These guards patrol Eastmarch and Windhelm. They are Stormcloak soldiers and share their speech options.

They wear a blue cloth Stormcloak uniform. The armor is a quilted vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear Fur Gauntlets and Fur Boots.

The guards also carry a round, blue, wooden shield with a painted motif of a bear's head.

During the course of the civil war, the Imperial Legion may occupy Windhelm and replace these guards.

Winterhold Guard

Winterhold Guard
A Winterhold guard.
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Only two guards patrol the city of Winterhold at any one time, while a third is in the Jarl's Longhouse. Only one additional Winterhold Hold guard can be found elsewhere in the hold at the Whistling Mine, located to the south-east of Winterhold proper. This guard is the holder of the only known Winterhold guard shield.

They wear a white cloth version of the guard armor. The armor is a scaled vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear Fur Boots.

During the course of the civil war, the Imperial Legion may occupy Winterhold and replace these guards.

Imperial Guard

TESV Alethius
An Imperial Guard.
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These guards patrol Holds and Hold capitals that were previously allied to the Stormcloaks. They are Imperial soldiers and share their speech options.

They wear full Imperial light armor, and are the only guards who wear a completely different type of armor then the rest of the guards. They also carry an Imperial shield, which is standard for all Imperial soldiers.

They only appear if the Dragonborn sided with the Empire during the civil war.

Stormcloak Guard

WindhelmGuard
A Stormcloak guard.
BödvarAdded by Bödvar

These guards patrol Holds and Hold capitals that were previously allied to the Empire. They are Stormcloak soldiers and share their speech options.

They wear a blue cloth Stormcloak uniform. The armor is a quilted vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear Fur Gauntlets and Fur Boots.

They also carry a round, blue, wooden shield with a painted motif of a bear's head. This was, and is only prevalent in Eastmarch, as the guards posted at other holds does not usually carry shields, preferring two-handed weaponry instead.

They only appear as guards outside of Eastmarch if the Dragonborn sided with the Stormcloaks during the civil war.

Bounties

Main article: Bounty (Skyrim)

Bounties in each hold are treated separately. For example, the Dragonborn can obtain a bounty in Whiterun, and Riften will not recognize it.

Normally all guards can be bribed if the Dragonborn is a member of the Thieves Guild with the exception of the guards of Markarth after the completion of The Forsworn Conspiracy and No One Escapes Cidhna Mine. These guards will not accept bribes and the Dragonborn has no choice but to fight. There is the option to go to jail, and after selecting that option the guard will have dialogue. Cancel out the conversation and the guard will ignore the Dragonborn.

It is possible to kill guards without gaining a bounty, as long as one is sneaking. Slain guards will respawn three days after their death. They can also be killed if they are hit by an unrelenting force shout and pushed off a cliff, or sometimes even down the stairs. The Dragonborn does not get a bounty unless he/she has shouted at quite a few guards beforehand.

Guard dialogue

Gallery

Trivia

  • Guards saying "Let me guess, someone stole your sweetroll" is a reference to several other Bethesda games where the theft of a sweetroll is treated as an ongoing joke.
  • All guards encountered during the quest No One Escapes Cidhna Mine cannot be bribed, persuaded or intimidated. The chosen option(s) will always fail no matter how high the Dragonborn's Speech skill level is and the only viable course of action is to engage in combat or give in to the arrest.
  • Sometimes if Guards see a dead body and the Dragonborn happens to be next to it, they will ask if they know about it. A bad choice of dialogue options can lead the Guards to throw the Dragonborn in jail if they refuse to co-operate.
  • Bretons are the only race that the guards won't make racial comments to.
  • Sometimes, if the Dragonborn eats consumable items in a barrel and a guard happens to be nearby, they will wonder why they are digging through it, but no bounty will be placed.
  • Guards are not fooled by the invisibility spell when attempting an arrest.
  • Guards are not fooled by non-guards wearing guard armor, regardless of reputation, skills, or armor faction.
  • Guards are not affected by either Calm, Fury, or Fear spells even if they are master-leveled. They are, however, affected by Courage spells, which can make a dragon fight easier.
  • During The Forsworn Conspiracy, a Reach Hold Guard may warn the Dragonborn to stop asking questions to the residents.
  • If the Dragonborn has a small bounty, a guard may say "Wait, I know you..." Instead of replying "You're making a mistake.", the conversation can be backed out of and he will not pursue the matter any further.
  • Guards will recognize the Dragonborn's race even if their face is concealed.
  • If a guard wearing the Hold Guard helmet (that conceals their face) is decapitated, their head will be invisible until the helmet is looted off of them.
  • The guards say "Guard might get nervous, a man approaches with his weapon drawn..." even if the Dragonborn is using their fists.
  • If you use shouts near a guard, they will come to you and ask you to stop, because you're "making people nervous". They won't do anything if you refuse.
  • Sometimes, the guard might say "Favor the bow eh? I'm a sword man myself.", even if you don't have a bow equipped and if you don't have high Archery skill.
  • Guards will sometimes say they favor one handed weapons over two handed even if they're carrying a two handed weapon.
  • The "Arrow in the knee" quote has become a popular internet meme.
  • If the Dragonborn drops a weapon infront of a Guard, they will say, "You shouldn't leave weapons lying around. Someone could get hurt. And if I see it again, that someone will be you. Do I make myself clear?" The Dragonborn can then respond with, "I'm sorry." or, "You have, but I don't care."

Bugs

Appearances

Start a Discussion Discussions about Hold Guard (Skyrim)

  • The guard are kind of... Tolerant?

    20 messages
    • Guard: "You're the one who casts those illusions... Impressive." Me: "Yeah, thanks, magic is a pretty difficult sk-...Wait, what?" Guard: "I...
    • "Don't supose you could enchant my dull sword?" Main reason my pick poket level is as high as it is. But still "Go cast your fancy magic somewh...
  • Retrieving uniforms

    28 messages
    • If so, You can get one at the Barracks in Solitude.
    • Murder. Just do the crime and serve the time, simple as that.
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