Empire Vs Stormcloaks: Pros & Cons

SPOILDERS: I know is is an old topic but Skyrim is still a very popular game and I still find this subject interesting. When most pepole ask me if I like playing as a Stormcloaks or the Imperial I'll normally answer Stormcloaks but that's mostly because there missions are more fun IMO but as for who actually prefer, and I know @dragonborn_ct agrees with me here, I'd say the Empire as the are actually the ones in the right. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each:

Stormcloak Pros:

  • They Are The "True Sons Of Skyrim"

All Stormcloaks are Nords and it is there claim that only Nords should be able to control the destiny of there land.

  • Ulfric Challenged The High King In Ancient Nord Tradition

When Ulfric killed the High King he did so by using the ancient Nordic traditions of single combat.

  • They Are The Underdogs

Being a rebel uprising of native sons, the Stormcloaks are automatic underdogs compared to the might of the Empire.

Stormcloak Cons:

  • Ulfric Stormcloak Is A War Criminal

When Ulfric took Markarth from the Reachmen (who are ironically the TRUE sons of the Reach not the Nords) he stopped short of genocide, it didn't matter if you where a Breton, Nord woman, child, farmer, blacksmith, if you didn't fight for the Stormcloaks cause Ulfric had you tortured then executed.

  • The Are Raciest

The Nords as a pepole are pretty xenophobic at the best of times but the Stormcloaks take it to a new level. In the Stormcloak stronghold of WIndhelm the other races are actually restricted to ghettos like the Gray Quarter and Argonian Assemblage.

  • They Are Tactically Inept

For the most part the Stormcloaks are a slightly more advanced Hold's Guard, they may have larger numbers but that's about it. If Ulfric is truly serious about driving the empire from Skyrim then his only chance is to fight a guerilla war (much like the Forsworn he created) but instead he equips young impressionable Nords with subpar gear to go and fight a highly advanced empire. Then again why fight the empire at all? His beef is with the Thalmor so why not declare war on them, sack the embassy and drive them from Skyrim? Not to mention he could have tried political solutions first.

  • Ufric Stormcloak Is A Thalmor Informer

What may be an answer to my last point is that in an dossier in the Thalmor Embassy Ulfric is revealed as actually being a sleeper agent, he is described as being somewhat uncooperative but direct contact has and will be made.

Empire Pros:

  • The Nords Support The Empire

All Stormcloaks are Nords but not all Nords are Stormcloaks. If you look at the maps in Skyrim before the Dragonborn get's involved with the civil war you will see that the Empire actually has more support by the pepole of Skyrim than what the Stormcloaks do

  • The Nords ARE the Empire

Ulfric says that only Nords should rule Skyrim but what he doesn't realise is that even with Skyrim being apart of the Empire, the Nords STILL rule. All of the Jarls are Nord and sure the Legion is comprised of everybody from Bretons to Orks to Redguards but the vast majority in Skyrim are actually Nords.

  • If The Empire Lose, We ALL Lose

The Empire is the only thing stopping the Aldmeri Dominion from sweeping across the continent and ruling all. If the Stormcloaks push the Empire out of Skyrim then that just leaves High Rock and Cyrodiil and that isn't enough to even slow the Elves.

  • Ulfric Challenged The High King In "Ancient Nord Tradition"

Just because something is an ancient tradition doesn't make it lawful or right. In the UK it was an ancient tradition to kill a Scotsman from the walls of York with a bow, if you tried that now you'd be sitting pretty in the nearest high security prison.

Empire Cons:

  • The Empire Cant Rule Everywhere

The Empire is pretty vast and covers over three different nation states, it's possible that with the main seat of government being in Cyrodiil it's to disconnected from Skyrim to be affective.

  • The Empire Banned The Worship Of Talos

Because of the massive pressure put on them by the Thalmor, the Empire was forced to ban the worship of Talos or risk another Great War that nether Skyrim nor the empire at large would walk away from.

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I think the Empire is the clear winner here. What about you guys?

40 Comments
40 Comments
Edited by Squares

Oh god, you guys don't pay attention to /tg, do you? There's long, sprawling, heated discussions about this all over the forums there.

Let's see...Ulfric is a power-grubbing agent of the Thalmor who cheated with 'magic' in an honorable nord duel-thing, the nords of Skyrim are ungrateful dicks for seceding from the empire after Cyrodiil fell, the Stormcloaks need to shut up and realize that giving up on Talos worship was a token sacrifice used to buy time for the Empire to rebuild (and that the Thalmor wasn't even paying attention to them until they started whining about having to pray quietly in private as opposed to loudly in public), and Skyrim under civil war is exactly what the Thalmor want because it will be easier to take that way. On the other hand, the Empire is practically gone, the only province who stands a chance against the Thalmor is Hammerfell (who were forced to secede after they told the Thalmor to go the hell away), the time to fight off a Thalmor invasion of Skyrim is technically now (at the time of the game, when they're still hurting from their battles elsewhere), and the nords need a charismatic leader to rally the smallfolk to the cause.

In conclusion, I don't know anywhere near enough of the lore to argue this convincingly, but I side with the Empire. Stupid Ulfric didn't even remember me from the execution...

Oh, and food for thought, the whole 'nords for Skyrim' thing is kind of stupid in the first place. Nords aren't FROM Skyrim, they're technically from Atmora, which is an entirely different continent. The Reachmen are the true native inhabitants of Skyrim.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
Posted by youmessinwithme

wow that was Biased...

Edited by silkyballfro94

Don't remember so I'll ask: Were the Nords in Windhelm always racist towards the Gray Quarter and Argonians or was it because of the whole Empire thing?

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
Posted by Dragonborn_CT

Agree on that mate, specially on the Empire accounts. I side with the Imperials because they are neither are happy with Talos worshipping being outlawed and they are just stalling for time to take up arms again with the Thalmor, but they need Skyrim's support if they ever hope to do this.

There is also a possibilitty of the Dragonborn becoming Emperor too:

Completing the Dark Brotherhood questline, killing Amaund Motierre after the Emperor to create a power vacuum right at the top; side with the Empire against the Stormcloaks so they still have some infrastructure to start with preparing for inevitable war with the Thalmor; either kill Paarthurnax to gain the support of the Blades (historically protectors of the Emperor) or simply declare him/herself to be Dragonborn (starting a new bloodline like Tiber Septim and all) with the Greybeards' blessing and swoop in.

Edited by Delphic

You know this is actually a pretty good look at both sides, and it helps me in a lot of ways since I've been working on a massive Skyrim fic since the game has been out. I've been trying to work in an Argonian Stormcloak for the longest, but it's been kind of difficult, and mostly for the reasons you just listed.

@squares said:

Oh god, you guys don't pay attention to /tg, do you? There's long, sprawling, heated discussions about this all over the forums there.

Let's see...Ulfric is a power-grubbing agent of the Thalmor who cheated with 'magic' in an honorable nord duel-thing, the nords of Skyrim are ungrateful dicks for seceding from the empire after Cyrodiil fell, the Stormcloaks need to shut up and realize that giving up on Talos worship was a token sacrifice used to buy time for the Empire to rebuild (and that the Thalmor wasn't even paying attention to them until they started whining about having to pray quietly in private as opposed to loudly in public), and Skyrim under civil war is exactly what the Thalmor want because it will be easier to take that way. On the other hand, the Empire is practically gone, the only province who stands a chance against the Thalmor is Hammerfell (who were forced to secede after they told the Thalmor to go the hell away), the time to fight off a Thalmor invasion of Skyrim is technically now (at the time of the game, when they're still hurting from their battles elsewhere), and the nords need a charismatic leader to rally the smallfolk to the cause.

In conclusion, I don't know anywhere near enough of the lore to argue this convincingly, but I side with the Empire. Stupid Ulfric didn't even remember me from the execution...

Oh, and food for thought, the whole 'nords for Skyrim' thing is kind of stupid in the first place. Nords aren't FROM Skyrim, they're technically from Atmora, which is an entirely different continent. The Reachmen are the true native inhabitants of Skyrim.

Speaking of Charismatic leaders, what do you think of Balgruuf? I think he's a good leader, and has his head on right, and his heart in the right place (which is his people). Do you think he would be a good leader or "High King", or would you say he's pretty much the "Ned Stark" of Skyrim, if you get the Game of Thrones reference.

Posted by Squares

@delphic: Glad to help. Balgruuf is arguably a capable ruler, I suppose comparing him to Eddard Stark is fairly accurate. But I don't know that he would be a good High King.

Don't remember so I'll ask: Were the Nords in Windhelm always racist towards the Gray Quarter and Argonians or was it because of the whole Empire thing?

Yes, they always were. The Nords and the Dunmer are ancient enemies, and most races hate the Argonians.

Edited by silkyballfro94

@jonny_anonymous: Well maybe because the Nords would've felt they had to unite and so they looked down on other races, since according to them they were the true sons of Skyrim. But Squares already answered my question BTW.

Edited by Squares

Agree on that mate, specially on the Empire accounts. I side with the Imperials because they are neither are happy with Talos worshipping being outlawed and they are just stalling for time to take up arms again with the Thalmor, but they need Skyrim's support if they ever hope to do this.

There is also a possibilitty of the Dragonborn becoming Emperor too:

Completing the Dark Brotherhood questline, killing Amaund Motierre after the Emperor to create a power vacuum right at the top; side with the Empire against the Stormcloaks so they still have some infrastructure to start with preparing for inevitable war with the Thalmor; either kill Paarthurnax to gain the support of the Blades (historically protectors of the Emperor) or simply declare him/herself to be Dragonborn (starting a new bloodline like Tiber Septim and all) with the Greybeards' blessing and swoop in.

Actually, I've seen people argue that Skyrim isn't really necessary to the Empire, that it's High Rock and Hammerfell that they need the support of.

Edited by Dragonborn_CT

@squares: Well, yes, High Rock still is part of the Empire. However, if you look at the map of Tamriel, High Rock doesn't have any borders with Cyrodill and the only way they can access it is through Hammerfell (that has severed ties with the Empire) and Skyrim (that is currently in civil war). If Skyrim becomes independent, then the Empire will loose ties with the Bretons as well, High Rock will become independent and the Empire of Cyrodill will essentially crumble. Skyrim's allegiance is still required for their survival.

Posted by Squares

@squares: Well, yes, High Rock still is part of the Empire. However, if you look at the map of Tamriel, High Rock doesn't have any borders with Cyrodill and the only way they can access it is through Hammerfell (that has severed ties with the Empire) and Skyrim (that is currently in civil war). If Skyrim becomes independent, then the Empire will loose ties with the Bretons as well, High Rock will become independent and the Empire of Cyrodill will essentially crumble. Skyrim's allegiance is still required for their survival.

Um, hello, High Rock has ships like you wouldn't believe. They're the only true threat to the Thalmor on their own ground by virtue of those ships. The Summerset Isles are islands.

Posted by Dragonborn_CT

@squares: Not exactly my point. What I was saying is that if Skyrim severs ties with the Empire, what is stopping High Rock from declaring independence from the Empire as well? Even if they can still transverse by sea, the fact High Rock is cut off by Cyrodill on the ground may push them into sever ties as well.

Posted by Samimista
Edited by Squares

@squares: Not exactly my point. What I was saying is that if Skyrim severs ties with the Empire, what is stopping High Rock from declaring independence from the Empire as well? Even if they can still transverse by sea, the fact High Rock is cut off by Cyrodill on the ground may push them into sever ties as well.

The fact that High Rock doesn't care about Skyrim (and vice versa) certainly helps. What's stopping them from seceding now?

Edited by Dragonborn_CT

@squares: They could figure that the Empire's cause is doomed and prefer to cut off all ties with them when the Thalmor comes to crush them.

Edited by Squares

@squares: They could figure that the Empire's cause is doomed and prefer to cut off all ties with them when the Thalmor comes to crush them.

That sounds...unlikely.

Posted by kgb725

If I knew about Ulfric I would have sided with the empire and shouted him to death

Posted by Dragonborn_CT

@squares: I admit that look like a lot of stretching in logic, but I am not sure if High Rock can provide the necessary support to the Empire against the Thalmor in case of Skyrim's independence.

Edited by Wolfrazer

@dragonborn_ct: Pfft they could just get the Argonians then. :P Yes I think the Argonians are the most bad*** race around, don't judge meh! But eh don't mind me, am just flapping my fingers(see...typing instead of speaking so there!).

Posted by Dragonborn_CT

@wolfrazer: They are too busy minding their own business and taking revenge on the Dunmer to have any impact in the world :P

Posted by Wolfrazer
Edited by AweSam

I side with neither. Serving the Empire means serving the Thalmor. Last I checked they're a bunch of assholes looking to wipe out mankind.

The Stormcloaks have a cause and a goal, but it leads no where. Send the Empire and Thalmor packing, but then what? They don't have the manpower or weaponry to take on an Imperial/Thalmor invasion.

Of course, I had to side with one or the other. I made two accounts and tried out both sides. I still choose to remain indifferent. I prefer to just sit back and watch as they crumble to the ground while I rebuild my Brotherhood and come up with my own evil plots. I prefer a Nord character over an Imperial, though.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@awesam: a well technically your helping the Thalmor no matter who you join

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@kgb725: it's easy to automatically see the Stormcloaks as the good guys when you first go in, especially with all the sob stories your told in the back of the wagon on th way to Helgan

Edited by Squares

@dragonborn_ct: Pfft they could just get the Argonians then. :P Yes I think the Argonians are the most bad*** race around, don't judge meh! But eh don't mind me, am just flapping my fingers(see...typing instead of speaking so there!).

Yeah, the Argonians are without a doubt badass, what with their elite army of trained super-soldiers, closing all the gates in Black Marsh during the Oblivion Crisis without any outside help, and doing something that no other race would have been able to do- conquer Morrowind. But they kind of have their hands full, and didn't many of those trained super-soldiers die during/because of the explosion of the Red Mountain? I don't really remember correctly.

@squares: I admit that look like a lot of stretching in logic, but I am not sure if High Rock can provide the necessary support to the Empire against the Thalmor in case of Skyrim's independence.

I did some double checking and it turns out I was completely wrong- Hammerfell is the province with all the ships, not High Rock. Sorry about that!

Posted by Squares

@awesam said:

I side with neither. Serving the Empire means serving the Thalmor. Last I checked they're a bunch of assholes looking to wipe out mankind.

The Stormcloaks have a cause and a goal, but it leads no where. Send the Empire and Thalmor packing, but then what? They don't have the manpower or weaponry to take on an Imperial/Thalmor invasion.

Of course, I had to side with one or the other. I made two accounts and tried out both sides. I still choose to remain indifferent. I prefer to just sit back and watch as they crumble to the ground while I rebuild my Brotherhood and come up with my own evil plots. I prefer a Nord character over an Imperial, though.

Actually, the Altmeri Dominion are ultimately trying to end all life on Nirn. Like, kill everyone. Something about wanting to become one with their gods and achieve ultimate transcendence, or something.

Silly Altmeri, all you need is Chim.

Posted by JediXMan

The first time I played, I picked the Stormcloaks.

... while with them I realized how much I disliked them. I much prefer the Empire to the Stormcloaks.

Moderator
Posted by MaccyD

You might as well end the empire, they lost three provinces to the dominion, two to the An-Xileel and one to independance. Ulfric is also attempting to ally with High rock so it'd be safer in Stormcloak hands than imperials.

Posted by The_Lunact_And_Manic

The first time I played.. I was like...

"Empire? Stormcloak? War? Pfft..

*Kills everyone*

Problem solved."

>_>

Posted by Dragonborn_CT

@squares: Its alright, I suppose. I was finding weird as I didn't recall High Rock having so much power, and it was Hammerfell that routed the Thalmor out of their lands.

Posted by kgb725

@jonny_anonymous: I never read the Ulfric dossier the thalmar had I just thought it was a resistance thing but I had multiple playthroughs and the time I chose imperials I couldn't cure kodlak because I did the war missions too early and re started so I just re joined the stormcloaks

Posted by Dragonborn_CT

@kgb725: You can find Ulfric's dossier in the Thalmor Embassy in the "Diplomatic Immunity" mission in the main quest.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@maccyd: the Stormcloaks can't even run there own Hold never mind a whole country

Posted by MaccyD
Posted by GhostRider2

Empire any time, i played stormcloaks once.

Posted by Oscuro

I kill thalmor at every available opportunity. the empire to me is like the government that i have no desire to be a part of and the stormcloaks are the rebels who have no chance of winning and fighting for a cause that isn't mine.

Posted by Squares

@oscuro said:

I kill thalmor at every available opportunity. the empire to me is like the government that i have no desire to be a part of and the stormcloaks are the rebels who have no chance of winning and fighting for a cause that isn't mine.

You must have loved rescuing that guy from the Thalmor stronghold, then.

Posted by Oscuro