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Palace of the Kings Insignia

The banner of Windhelm and the Stormcloaks.

"Throw off the shackles of Imperial oppression. Do not bow to the yoke of a false emperor. Be true to your blood, to your homeland."
Nords Arise!

The Stormcloaks are a Faction featured in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Led by Ulfric Stormcloak and based in Windhelm, they oppose the Imperial Legion and their attempts to force the White-Gold Concordat into Skyrim, a peace treaty between the Thalmor and the Cyrodilic Empire. The Dragonborn has the option of joining the Stormcloaks after Alduin's assault on Helgen, regardless of whom the Dragonborn followed — Ralof or Hadvar.


The Stormcloaks believe Skyrim should secede from what they feel is a crumbling Empire. This stance came about due to the aftermath of the Great War and the imposition of the White-Gold Concordat by the Aldmeri Dominion. The Stormcloaks consider the Empire as just a puppet of the Thalmor because the Empire surrendered during the Great War and accepted the Elves' terms of surrender. These terms ban the worship of Talos, which most do not support. They believe that if they gain independence, times will be hard, but eventually the Kingdom of Skyrim will push through into a new age.


White-Gold Concordat

Amongst the terms of the Concordat was the outlawing of the worship of Talos, and, after the Markarth Incident, the Thalmor were given permission to enforce the ban. This angered many Nords, as Talos was highly revered among them and was considered to be their greatest leader, and that banning his worship was blasphemous.

The Markarth Incident

The Markarth Incident is considered to be the initial conception of the Stormcloak Rebellion. In 4E 176, Ulfric Stormcloak and his army retook the city of Markarth from the Forsworn invaders, under the agreement from Jarl of Markarth that Talos worship would be permitted. However, shortly after retaking Markarth, the Legion returned to Skyrim and were forced to accept free Talos Worship. The Legion soon broke the agreement due to pressure from the Aldmeri Dominion. Thus, Ulfric and his militia were arrested and incarcerated. During Ulfric's imprisonment, his father, the Jarl of Windhelm, died, and Ulfric was forced to deliver the eulogy by a letter he had smuggled out of prison. Upon his release, he returned to Windhelm, took up duties as Jarl, and began his rebellion in earnest.

High King Torygg

The event that triggered rebellion across Skyrim was the death of High King Torygg at the hands of Ulfric Stormcloak in 4E 201. After years of brewing resentment for what he believed was betrayal by the Empire, Ulfric, now Jarl of Eastmarch, challenged Torygg to a duel in order to take the throne.

Ulfric and his supporters claimed it was a formal duel in the "Old Nord Way". Many others in Skyrim, such as General Tullius, called it murder. After Torygg's death, Ulfric fled to Windhelm, and Skyrim was plunged into civil war. Using a combination of the outlawing of Talos worship and the Nords' strong sense of nationalism along with their mistrust of the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion, Ulfric successfully recruited a great many of Skyrim's populace to the rebellion. All of the hold governments of the four Old Holds declared for Ulfric, as well as many wanderers, workers, sellswords, warriors, soldiers and former soldiers.

War tactics

Stormcloaks Solitude2

Stormcloak Archers.

Stormcloak Soldiers follow mostly hit-and-run tactics to overwhelm the larger Imperial armies. They are mostly non-regimental, not relying entirely on rank as the Imperial Army does; instead relying on the talent of the powerful Nord warriors in their midst to achieve their goals. The Stormcloaks theoretically have weaker defensive, but stronger offensive capabilities than the Legion; their use of armor is lighter and thus not as tough, but the Stormcloaks use a wider variety of weapons to make up for this. It is suggest through dialogue with Irileth, that the Stormcloaks used assassins in an attempt to kill jarl Balgruuf the Greater.[1]


Stormcloak armor is basic light armor. It is the same armor set worn by Hold Guards, though there is an officer version decorated with many unique bear parts and motifs, a nod to Ulfric's banner.



Battle for Fort Hraggstad

Stormcloaks at The Battle for Fort Hraggstad.

Ralof invites the Dragonborn to join the Stormcloaks if he or she followed him through Helgen Keep during Alduin's destruction of the settlement during the quest Unbound. Likewise, randomly encountered soldiers might have also attempted to recruit the Dragonborn to their cause. Farmers met on their way to Windhelm to join with Ulfric can also start the process.

Introductory mission

To become a Stormcloak, the Dragonborn must venture to Windhelm, seat of Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak. There, his second-in-command — Galmar Stone-Fist — tests the Dragonborn to ensure both battle-worthiness and devotion to the Stormcloak cause. He asks the Dragonborn to travel to an island northeast of the College of Winterhold, where The Serpent Stone is located, and slay an Ice Wraith. After doing so, the Dragonborn returns, where it is revealed that slaying the Wraith was as much a test of prowess in battle as it was a test of loyalty, because finding the island and killing an Ice Wraith residing on it is dangerous and difficult. As a new member, the Dragonborn receives the customary Stormcloak Armor.

Once the Dragonborn has joined the Stormcloaks, only one more opportunity remains to switch sides, leaving the Stormcloaks for the Legion. When the Jagged Crown has been acquired, the Dragonborn can choose to travel to Solitude where they can give the crown to General Tullius instead. Tullius will then recognize them as an Imperial Soldier and immediately orders them to deliver an important message to Whiterun, while skipping the formalities of making the Dragonborn swear the Imperial Oath.


All new initiates to the Stormcloaks must recite the Oath:

"I do swear my blood and
honor to the service of Ulfric Stormcloak
Jarl of Windhelm and true High King of Skyrim.
As Talos is my witness, may this oath bind me
to death and beyond...
...even to my lord as to my fellow brothers
and sisters in arms.
All hail the Stormcloaks, the true sons
and daughters of Skyrim!"


There are 5 ranks that can be earned if the Stormcloaks are joined during the Civil War questline. Progress in rank occurs at the completion of key battles during the war.

Stormcloak camps

Stormcloak camps are located in the wilderness within each hold throughout Skyrim, with the exception of Eastmarch hold. These serve as outposts for the Stormcloaks and are instrumental in the ongoing civil war.

They are normally commanded by a Stormcloak Officer who can be found in his tent, and also have a Stormcloak Quartermaster working at a forge who will also serve as a merchant. The following is a list of every Stormcloak camp in Skyrim:

Post Civil War

Stormcloaks Solitude

Stormcloaks in Solitude, after Ulfric's speech.

After the conclusion of the civil war in favor of the Stormcloaks, the player will be told there are still Imperial camps out there to destroy. However, when visiting said camps, the commanders will still be flagged as essential and cannot be killed. Furthermore the Imperial soldiers at these camps will eventually respawn if killed. Additionally, citizens will still mention the war. Although the Stormcloaks have won the war, Thalmor and Imperial soldiers can be found with Stormcloak prisoners during random encounters.

A number of notable changes occur after completing the Stormcloak campaign:

  • Vignar Gray-Mane becomes Jarl of Whiterun.
  • Assuming that the Dragonborn gave Dawnstar and Riften to the Imperials in the negotiations, Skald the Elder is reinstalled as Jarl of Dawnstar, and Laila Law-Giver is reinstalled as Jarl of Riften.
  • Stormcloak soldiers replace the guards in all the previously-Imperial-controlled cities in Skyrim; Whiterun, Markarth, Falkreath, Morthal, and Solitude.
  • Jarls who have been removed from their throne due to the Stormcloaks take over are all kept down in the cellar of the Blue Palace in Solitude along with their housecarls, stewards, and a few other notable persons who support the Imperial Legion. Elisif the Fair, an Imperial supporter, remains a Jarl.
  • Forts scattered around Skyrim will become occupied by Stormcloak Soldiers, for example Fort Greymoor.
  • Stormcloak Soldiers aid the Dragonborn in battle, if they are attacked by a foe. However, they do not lend assistance if the Dragonborn initiated the fight.
  • Though never directly stated, Skyrim is now its own sovereign country in Tamriel, leaving the Empire comprising only of Cyrodiil and High Rock.
  • Forts that weren't attacked by the Stormcloaks will be abandoned and can be taken over by bandits.

Notable members

Galmar Stone-Fist

Galmar Stone-Fist, a Stormcloak officer.



Achievements and trophies

Image Name Points Trophy
Taking Sides (Achievement) Taking Sides 10 Gamer points
Bronze trophy
Join the Stormcloaks or the Imperial Legion
War Hero (Achievement) War Hero 10 Gamer points
Bronze trophy
Capture Fort Sungard or Fort Greenwall
Hero of Skyrim (Achievement) Hero of Skyrim 30 Gamer points
Silver trophy
Capture Solitude or Windhelm




  1. Dialogue with Irileth

Start a Discussion Discussions about Stormcloaks

  • Skyrim's civil war

    118 messages
    • Terawolf119 wrote: Sorry I forgot my manners, it was late and i forgot my password to my account. What i meant to say is when I was curren...
    • Blademaster Jauffre wrote: Terawolf119 wrote: Sorry I forgot my manners, it was late and i forgot my password to my account. What i meant to ...
  • Stormcloaks or Imperials

    8 messages
    • Agreed with all Ottoman said.  I'll add that while the Stormcloak side is the natural side for a freedom of religion kinda guy like me, over t...
    • Sports72Xtrm wrote: I too believe the Stormcloaks are right. The Imperials are fools. They think that accord with the Thalmor buys them t...

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