Stormcloak Prisoners are one of many random encounters that occur along roads. They will spawn with an Imperial vanguard and when activated will present the Dragonborn with 3 options: leave them alone, free them, or free them and trade weapons/armor with them. Doing either of the latter actions will cause the guards escorting said prisoner to become hostile. If they are not given any equipment, they are likely to die. It appears there are no actual advantages to assisting these NPCs, even if following the Stormcloaks storyline. If the Dragonborn chooses to escort them once the NPC reaches the gates of Windhelm they will go inside and despawn (they cannot be found inside Windhelm).
- If the Dragonborn kills the Stormcloak prisoner undetected and then reanimates the corpse with a sufficient conjuration spell, scroll or staff, the small Imperial Legion detail will follow the prisoner wherever he goes. Summarily, for the duration of the reanimate corpse spell, they will get four followers. This can be useful if the Dragonborn is nearing hostile territory or Forsworn strongholds as the Legionnaires will respond aggressively to hostile members of other factions. Conversely, if the Dragonborn lands a sneak attack on the prisoner without killing them, and the prisoner becomes hostile towards the Dragonborn, the Legionnaires will kill the prisoner.
- If given items, they will use any weapons given. However, they will not use any armor given to them.
- If the vanguard is attacked by a hostile being such as a wolf, the prisoner will become unbound and will attack the enemy. However, if the prisoner survives the attack, they will still be unbound and will continue to walk with the soldiers. The Dragonborn can still choose to free the prisoner even though they are unbound.