Stormcloaks or Imperials Pros and Cons!

A huge part of Skyrim is deciding whether you join the Stormcloaks and support the rebellion led by Ulfric, or the Imperials and fight on behalf of the Empire. So sure, you may be wondering which is the best to choose and what are the differences? Here we take you through our Stormcloaks or Imperials pros and cons! 


In the state that Skyrim is in when you enter the game, the Imperials are those currently running the Empire.

Imperial Lore:

The Empire signed the White-Gold Concordat (treaty agreement that ended the Great War) with the Aldmeri Dominion (powerful union established by the Thalmor – Altmer/High Elf supremacists) after the Great War which binds the Empire to Thalmor demands. This includes the outlawing of Talos Worship. The Imperials, who have dominance over Tamriel, believe that as a province of the Empire, Skyrim should abide by its Laws and Customs. The Stormcloaks disagree. The Imperial Legion see the Stormcloaks as traitors for wishing to secede from the Empire and Ulfric’s killing of High King Torygg. Jarls and Skyrim Leaders were given chests of gold as an incentive to support the White-Gold Concordat. 

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1. Best Interest For Skyrim 

A lot of Skyrim’s culture was lost with the signing of the agreement. If they hadn’t signed it they most likely would have lost the war. Skyrim was in no state to fight the well-equipped, well-funded, and well-trained High Elves. 

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2. Value The People 

The Imperials only wanted to keep Tamriel at peace. They were unfortunately forced to abolish the worship of Talos in the process. There’s nothing in particular that suggests that they wanted to get rid of it. They felt that they had to in order to prevent more deaths and a more damaging and lengthy war. 

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3. Extra Coin

You receive a lot of really good weapons and armour while on quests and when joining the legion that you can sell for quite a hefty bounty. 

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4. You’re Welcome Everywhere… Mostly

As an Imperial in an Empire led by those of the same beliefs, you’ll find much less hostility and more welcoming strangers. You may also find that guards and Imperial soldiers bother you less when you enter a city. 

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1. Questionable Morals

In order to support the Imperials, you have to deny the right to worship and the original culture of Skyrim. If you struggle with bending your moral compass this may be an issue. 

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2. Are We The Bad Guys? 

Although you’ll find it much easier in most places to receive hospitality and access, in the Anti-Imperial locations, they’ll be much harsher. For example, try not to need the Khajiit much, it’ll be considerably harder to get their help as an Imperial. 

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3. Under The Thalmor Thumb 

You’ll have to support the running of Tamriel under a High Elf belief system and therefore support their morals and laws. The Thalmor aren’t particularly nice, so this is something to be aware of before choosing. 

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When you enter the game, Ulfric Stormcloak has recently killed the King and you are in a cart with him, Ralof, and Lokir ready to be beheaded. 

Stormcloak Lore:

The Stormcloaks believe that the Empire betrayed Skyrim by signing the agreement that ended the Great War. They believe that due to the White-Gold Concordat, the Thalmor have too much influence over the Empire, including ridding it of it’s Nordic religion and culture. According to the rebels, the Empire is corrupted by the Aldmeri Dominion and is therefore a threat to the Nordic way of life. When the Jarls and Leaders received chests of gold in order to support the treaty, the Stormcloaks viewed the Nord Imperial supporters as bought by the Empire and traitors to Skyrim. 

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1. Moral Righteousness 

You can certainly argue that fighting for the rights of the Nordic members of Skyrim is a morally-sound adventure. After having their right to religion and true culture taken away, siding with those looking to reestablish that could certainly help your chances of getting to Sovngarde (Nordic afterlife). 

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2. Freedom! 

If you see the true playout after the civil war, siding with the Stormcloaks could very well result in freedom for those in Tamriel from the Empire. This would also mean no longer being bound by the rules of the Thalmor. 

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3. They didn’t try to behead you…

At the beginning of the game, you’re in a cart with Ulfric, Lokir, and Ralof, waiting to be beheaded by the Imperials. You were trying to cross the border when you walked into an Imperial ambush, leading to your subsequent death. It’s probably good not to side with those who tried to kill you for nothing.

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1. Is This Racism?

The main idea of the Stormcloaks is that they want to have Skyrim back under the control of the Nords. This could definitely be seen as some type of racism… It’s certainly not helped that you often see them attempting to bully other races out of Skyrim. 

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2. No More Guard Buddies

Pretty much every major city will have Guards patrolling the grounds and they obviously aren’t fans of the Stormcloaks. As they walk past you they’ll typically say something demeaning, such as calling you “rebel scum”. 

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3. There’s Not As Much Money

The Stormcloaks are still just rebels at the end of the day so they don’t have a lot of funds supporting them like the Imperials do. This usually means the rewards at the end of quests aren’t as good either. 

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4. You’ll have to destroy Whiterun 

Towards the end of the civil war, Whiterun sides with the Imperials and depending on which side you take, you’ll either have to defend Whiterun (Imperials) or attack it (Stormcloaks). So if you’re a fan of Whiterun, don’t pick Stormcloaks. 

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Made Your Mind Up?

That’s it for our Stormcloaks or Imperials Pros and Cons break down. Admittedly, most of these are based on the lore and what you feel morally obligated to do, but that’s because it doesn’t massively affect any of the in-game experience. So don’t feel too pressured on which to pick.

Which do you think you’ll side with next time? Who do you usually side with and why? Let us know in the comments below.

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