Roggvir was standing guard at the time of High King Torygg's death at the hands of Ulfric Stormcloak. Immediately after the incident, Roggvir opened the city gates and allowed Ulfric to escape. For this, he was branded a traitor and sentenced to death.
Upon entering Solitude for the first time, the Dragonborn witnesses Roggvir's execution. Before death, he exclaims that Ulfric challenged Torygg in single combat, and won honorably. As such, it was the way of the Nords to allow Ulfric to leave, as he had done nothing wrong.
Despite his claimed innocence, Roggvir is still executed for treason. If the Dragonborn tries to stop the execution, whether by attacking the guards or simply walking onto the execution platform, Roggvir will make a run for it. If the guards are distracted long enough, he can escape. However, he will either disappear or drop dead if the Dragonborn attempts to speak with him, and all NPCs still comment as if he were executed. Attacking Roggvir before he is killed will cause the guards to become hostile, but will accrue no bounty. If saved, Roggvir will sometimes go to the Grindstone near his planned execution site and work on a blade. He will not leave the grindstone unless the Dragonborn attempts to use it (the game will still act as though he's been slain however.).
Entering Solitude for the first time through the side gate will cause the Dragonborn to miss the execution. However, dialog options with NPCs will still be as if the Dragonborn had witnessed the execution. (Note: After taking over the city of Solitude with the Stormcloaks, the guards talk about how it's 'too bad they couldn't have gotten here in time to save Roggvir'.)
Speaking to Svari, the daughter of Roggvir's sister Greta, about her mother starts a miscellaneous quest to convince Greta to return to the Temple of the Divines. This entails recovering Roggvir's Amulet of Talos off of his body and giving it to Greta. In the catacombs, the amulet is in the stone coffin to the left of the entrance in the second alcove.
- Solitude Catacombs will cause the quest to malfunction. Greta will say the dialogue about going to Temple, and mentions giving the player a reward, but she never does and the Amulet of Talos is never removed. The body is moved as soon as the Dragonborn agrees to retrieve the amulet for Greta.
Acquiring Roggvir's Amulet of Talos before his body is moved to the
- Not always true; this user recovered the amulet from Roggvir's corpse at the execution grounds after beginning the quest. (360, latest patch as of Jan 6, 12)
- Looting Roggvir's Amulet from his body at the execution before speaking to Svari did not result in it becoming stuck in inventory. It was listed as a non-removable quest item but could be equipped and unequiped and after speaking to Svari and visiting Geta, although the quest malfunctioned and no reward was given nor the amulet returned, it was no longer listed as a quest item and could be dropped or sold. (PS3, Patch 1.4)
- A potential fix for this bug is to enter the catacombs through the hall of the dead and emerge on the other side in Solitude. Then you can initiate the quest dialog with Svari.
- Trying to give Roggvir's Amulet of Talos to Greta while holding multiple Amulets of Talos will cause the quest to malfunction.
- If you try to resurrect Roggvir with a spell like Raise Zombie or Reanimate Corpse, will cause any nearby guards, usually Captain Aldis, will attack you and Roggvir will not be resurrected.
- If you talk to Roggvir just before he is killed, he will carry on talking, even after he is killed.
- After being decapitated Roggvir will still be alive for a few seconds. His eyes will be open and he will blink twice then he closes them
- Might not be a bug - in reality severed heads are capable of mouthing words and blinking for several seconds after death.