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There are several ways to join the Stormcloaks. A miscellaneous quest to join the Stormcloaks can be obtained by following Ralof during "Unbound". Upon entering with Ralof, the quest is automatically received after leaving the keep. The quest also can be activated either by going to Windhelm and talking to Ulfric Stormcloak or by talking to traveling farmers or Stormcloak soldiers.
After receiving the quest, it's necessary to travel to Windhelm and the Palace of the Kings to speak to Ulfric. Upon entering the Palace, Ulfric and Galmar will be in a heated discussion about the ongoing Civil War discussion shown below:
Galmar: "Balgruuf won't give us a straight answer."
Ulfric: "He's a true Nord. He'll come around."
Galmar: "Don't be so sure of that. We've intercepted couriers from Solitude. The Empire's putting a great deal of pressure on Whiterun."
Ulfric: "And what would you have me do?"
Galmar: "If he's not with us, he's against us."
Ulfric: "He knows that. They all know that."
Galmar: "How long are you going to wait?"
Ulfric: "You think I need to send Balgruuf a stronger message."
Galmar: "If by message you mean shoving a sword through his gullet."
Ulfric: "Taking his city and leaving him in disgrace would make a more powerful statement, don't you think?"
Galmar: "So we're ready to start this war in earnest then?"
Galmar: "I still say you should take them all out like you did Deadking Torygg."
Ulfric: "Torygg was merely a message to the other Jarls. Whoever we replace them with will need the support of our armies."
Galmar: "We're ready when you are."
Ulfric: "Things hinge on Whiterun. If we can take the city without bloodshed all the better. But if not..."
Galmar: "The people are behind you."
Ulfric: "Many I fear still need convincing."
Galmar: "Then let them die with their false kings."
Ulfric: "We've been soldiers a long time. We know the price of freedom. The people are still weighing things in their hearts."
Galmar: "What's left of Skyrim to wager?"
Ulfric: "They have families to think of."
Galmar: "How many of their sons and daughters follow your banner? We are their families."
Ulfric: "Well put, friend. Tell me, Galmar, why do you fight for me?"
Galmar: "I'd follow you into the depths of Oblivion, you know that."
Ulfric: "Yes, but why do you fight? If not for me, what then?"
Galmar: "I'll die before elves dictate the fates of men. Are we not one in this?"
Ulfric: "I fight for the men I've held in my arms, dying on foreign soil. I fight for their wives and children, who's names I heard whispered in their last breaths. I fight for we few who did come home, only to find our country full of strangers wearing familiar faces. I fight for my people impoverished to pay the debts of an Empire too weak to rule them, yet brands them criminals for wanting to rule themselves! I fight so that all the fighting I've already done hasn't been for nothing. I fight... because I must."'
Galmar: "Your words give voice to what we all feel, Ulfric. And that's why you will be High King. But the day words are enough, will be the day when soldiers like us are no longer needed."
Ulfric: "I would gladly retire from the world were such a day to dawn."
Galmar: "Aye. But in the meantime, we have a war to plan."
After speaking to Ulfric, he tells the Dragonborn to speak to Galmar Stone-Fist. Galmar asks that the Dragonborn prove his or her worth by traveling to The Serpent Stone and killing an Ice Wraith. This completes the miscellaneous quest and begins the full quest of the same name.
- Travel to The Serpent Stone.
- Kill an Ice Wraith.
- Take the Stormcloak oath.
After leaving the palace and traveling north, the Serpent Stone is found amidst floating icebergs in the middle of the sea near the edge of the map, north of Windhelm and east of Winterhold. The stone is on top of a hill that can only be climbed from the north side. After the ice wraith is found and killed, upon reporting back to Galmar, he will administer the oath to become a Stormcloak. This completes the quest and begins the next, "The Jagged Crown".
- Stormcloak outfit ("You're a Stormcloak now - you might as well look the part"):
To prove myself worthy of becoming a Stormcloak, Galmar Stone-Fist has sent me to kill an Ice Wraith at Serpentstone Isle
- Completing either this quest or "Joining the Legion" unlocks the "Taking Sides" achievement.
- Completion of this quest will cause the Stormcloaks to refer to the Dragonborn as "Unblooded."
- Completing this quest immediately fails the "Joining the Legion" quest; however, the Imperials can still be joined by turning the Jagged Crown in to General Tullius instead of Ulfric Stormcloak during the quest "The Jagged Crown".
- The Legion's version of this quest, "Joining the Legion," is actually harder than the Stormcloak's version; the Legion's quest has the player character clearing out an entire fort occupied by bandits, whilst the Stormcloak's version only pits the player against one Ice Wraith.
This section contains bugs related to Joining the Stormcloaks. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- Sometimes after killing the Ice Wraith and reporting back to Galmar Stone-Fist, he still behaves in the same manner as before the Ice Wraith was killed, resulting in having to do this portion of the quest again.
- Occasionally, when the quest is given by Ulfric Stormcloak, the quest doesn't start.