Stormcloaks are too mainstream.

Recombinant

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This post is really long, so sorry about that, but this debate was just to fun and interesting to read to not make me want to contribute in some way. So here are some of my opinions and the arguments I use to support them, I hope it?s readable and contributes something to this wonderful discussion.

First to begin I?d like to use two good quotes I?ve heard again and again from various sources and in varied context. Those who keep silent consent and all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. The empire and those who support it are all complicit in every wrong perpetrated by the Thalmor against all the people they supposedly rule, thus their reign is unjust; furthermore, an evil act no matter if it is necessary is still evil. Taking away religious freedom can not be construed as anything else, even allowing the freedom to worship whatever you choose to be removed is evil and those who use or allow evil to support their rule are naturally tyrants and a tyrant?s rule is never just. So those who even indirectly support the continuation of such evil tyranny are as responsible for the suffering of the oppressed as the oppressors are themselves. It is the obligation of every citizen to overthrow his government if it should turn against its? citizens.

Secondly the white-gold concord was signed thirty years prior to the events in the game. So basically I as a Nord in the game am beholden to foreign hostile powers through no action of my own, because of a war someone, somewhere else lost, probably before I was even born.

Third my homeland has been overrun by refugees of different species, who threaten our very way of life by challenging our traditions and bringing their own. No matter that such sentiments are inherently bigoted and discriminatory, it is a legitimate concern of a citizen of any state to worry for the health and welfare of said state and the sudden influx of so many immigrants could do nothing, but strain an already tense and uneasy populous, especially considering how traditionalist Nordic culture is. The Stormcloak movement screams fervent nationalism and cultural pride to me and as in most fantasy settings those two things are intrinsically tied to race and species. So in my view it?s not so much that the Nords hate outsiders as it is that they want to preserve their way of life, which make no mistake is under very real threat from forces both internal and external, both hostile and benign.

Fourth Ulfric Stormcloak is the leader of the rebellion, but the rebellion is not Ulfric Stormcloak. Regardless of his intentions or motivations, which in my opinion are never anywhere near fully fleshed out, he is the figurehead to which the Nords have chosen to rally. Whether or not he is an evil douche bag extraordinaire is of virtually no importance whatsoever, leaders rise and fall, but a just cause is always worth fighting for.

Finally the Nords in Skyrim bear a strong resemblance to Klingons and other such fantasy warrior peoples and their ethos seems to revolve around strength, honor and tradition. Has the empire shown any of these attributes lately? It didn?t have the strength to fight off the Thalmor, nor did it have the honor to respect the beliefs and practices of the people it rules and their respect for tradition seems only to extend as far as their desire for ease and expedience(they stole the Jagged Crown simply so Ulfric couldn?t have it.) The empire as it is now acts more like a dying regime, fighting to hold on to its? power, waging a fruitless war to hold on to the last vestiges of past glories when it might very well be better served by diplomacy and negotiation. I think it is very telling that the empire attempted to seed parts of Hammerfell to the dominion to appease the invaders, entirely to save its? own skin and is now fighting a bitter war against half the population of another because its? people desire to control their own destiny, seems like history repeating itself and a prime example of why you shouldn?t try to force someone else to pay the price for your failures. Does an empire united stand a better chance against the dominion? Maybe, but if its leaders aren?t true to the people they govern you?re only going to face further rebellion down the line. It seems to me like the empire has confused what is right with what is convenient. In the face of en existential threat like the Thalmor whose presumed goal is the complete and utter annihilation of mankind, you could seemingly justify anything, but I like to think that you have to question the leadership of a government whose code of morals never seems to impede its? progress.
 

Recombinant

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In addendum to my previous post I'd like to add that those who argue that the Stormcloak?s rebellion weakens the empire and as such is unjust or morally and ethically unsupportable; are in my opinion arguing from a false premise. Arguing that, because the empire is the largest military power and any weakening of it constitutes an evil act because it reduces its? efficacy against the Thalmor, is the same as saying that might makes right and the ends justify the means, both positions which are morally and ethically, very difficult to support. Just because the empire has the best chance of defeating the Thalmor in no way gives them carte blanche to do whatever they please to protect their own power; that is the essence of tyranny. The only real argument I can see, is in regards as to to whether or not the Stormcloaks have a legitimate reason to rebel at all; which I believe they do and for my opinions as to why please see my lengthy post above.
 

Outcast107

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Recombinant said:
First off I want to say welcome to the Escapist. Second off a very nice post. I agree with most of what you said about the Empire and how they are acting like a tyrant (Who are also helping a bigger one. Though not by will.) Though it does confuse me a bit how people will say "stormcloaks are racist so their the bad guys" Yet seem pretty fine with the Empire letting the Thalmor kidnap people and kill them.

I'm sorry, I just can't see how letting your OWN people get killed off isn't as bad or in my opinion worst then petty racist nords. Sure, the Nords of Whiterun are racist a bit (We only seen the drunks and the dock owner) but do we see them kill them in public? No we don't. Do the StormCloaks drag them away from their houses and sent them to be torture and killed? No, they don't.

If you expect any person to warmly accept refugees into the town and give them a better home then your own civilians then I think you are sort of native. Yes, they shouldn't be treated that way, but when you don't trust outsiders (mostly elfs) What do you expect them to do? Also take a look at the one elf woman in the food marketplace at windhelm. She seem to be doing good even though she a elf (Though I'm not sure what kind. Seem like a high or wood elf.) Though just my 2-cents. I pick Stormcloaks cause even though they are racist (Some not all) at least they let their people get drag away from their homes to be kill by the Thalmor.
 

MADGator

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Shockolate said:
I don't play Skyrim, but the Stormcloaks is a badass name for a group.

Yes, I'm shallow.
Agreed.

As another non-Skyrim player I have to say I'm disappointed by this thread. I saw the title in the Hot Threads list and thought "Mainstream or not, I want to wear one of those." I was rather hoping the stormcloak was some sort of new foul weather gear available from thinkgeek,jinx, or the like. "Uh oh, looks like rain. Better put on my stormcloack!"
 

Brennon Wilson

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Stormcloak all the way!!! and id just like to bring up somthing im sure we all agree on. SKYRIM DESERVES GAME OF THE YEAR!!! if u agree head to the G4 death match battle for GOTY and vote round four to help Skyrim beat zelda:SS and win GOTY!
 

bismarck55

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Evil Top Hat said:
What if I'm playing a scheming Altmer supremacist working to "divide and conquer" for the dominion?

I've been wanting to play TES: summerset Isle since Morrowind.
 

ResonanceSD

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The empire tries to kill you. you should join them. According to zero punctuation, you've got the brain of a deckchair, OP.
 

shadu957

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I planned to go stormcloak till I actually got to windhelm and saw how the stormcloaks speak to non-nords and how they act to everybody else and well, they just seemed like racist scum tbh, so I turn around and went empire.
 

Mindlessidiots

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Evil Top Hat said:
1) The White-Gold concordat will surely be broken soon, and it will not be long before war with the Ald'meri Dominion resurfaces. If the Stormcloaks take hold of Skyrim, how can they even hope to defend themselves? The Ald'meri Dominion are an incredibly powerful force, how is a team of rag tag rebels ever going to defend Skyrim, especially after having just emerged from such a costly war?
I think your wrong for two possible reasons

Reason 1) The Thalmor are not as invincible as everyone tries to make them out to be. Seriously, there a bunch of Elven racists which means they can only recruit from the elves for there army (and I don't think they recruit dark elves to) plus from what Delphine said they carry out purges on the wood elves, which means they must mostly rely on the high elves for there army, which I doubt is strong enough to take over the entire world. Remember they got defeated badly enough by Hammerfell and the Redguards to seek a peace treaty with the Empire. I think a united Skyrim can defend it self against the Thalmor

Reason 2) They really are as powerful as everyone thinks they are, and ether way Skyrim is doomed, Imperial controlled or not. Think about it, An empire that has the combined might of at least High Rock, Hammerfell, Skyrim, and Cydroil can hardly hold them back, why could they do it now with that whole civil war in Skyrim draining there resources. Honestly just pick the side you like so it can be defeated later on.

2) Ulfric Stormcloak cannot run Skyrim. Have you seen Windhelm? The place is a total mess. The entire place is more like a stony slum than a city. The streets are filth ridden and the people are starving. Riften is even worse, the guard know exactly where the thieves guild are hiding, but apparently Ulfric doesn't want to waste reinforcements. He can't even manage his section of Skyrim well enough to eradicate a group of pick pockets. How will he ever run an entire continent of Tamriel?
I think that's being unfair, you try to run a medevil city that is judging by all the snow there is, is probably in one of the coldest parts of Skyrim. Also he is fighting war, which means some things get overlooked since they don't have the resources. Also Riften is not under his control, it's under the control of a women who keeps on insisting the Thieves Guild is contained, why would he send troops to something he keeps on being told is fine? Also why the hell would you send troops to root a group of "pick pockets" as you so accurately put them, when you have a war that needs those troops way more? What the hell is the thieves guild going to do that would undermine the war effort?

3) Ulfric is a total manchild, and only cares about power. Main story spoilers coming up.
During the peace treaty with the Imperials, he acted like a child. he kicked up a fuss because he didn't want to be in the same room as a Thalmore, and then proceeded to demand city after city to be surrendered to the Stormcloaks, whilst ranting away at the Imperials with his bile about "true sons of Skyrim". Even in the face of the total destruction of Skyrim, he continued to act like a child, and to further his own power.
I think Ulfric get's a bad rap, I have heard him say things that are very adult and wise. Does he get annoying with some times, yes, but it's not that different from Tullius ranting about how he want's the Stormcloaks and Ulfric executed like the "traitors they are".

4) Last, but not least, the Stormcloaks are racist nationalists, that think the fact that they are the "correct" race means that they should be allowed Skyrim, and that other races should not have authority or power, because they aren't the right race. Homeland or no homeland, these guys are basically the Skyrim equivalent of the BNP.
I don't think the Stormcloaks are that racist. All I have ever seen is a drunk and a beggar harass a dark elve and that the dark elves and the argonians get segregated from everyone else. That's really only a small step ahead of how every other city in Skyrim does not allow the Khajit to even enter the city. Sure, they are very nord first but what do you expect from a group that is all about a independent skyrim?
 

bismarck55

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Mindlessidiots said:
The Altmer use goblins (and goblins are pretty deadly in the Tribunal expansion, relative to other critters) and other unsavory creatures for their general troops.

I think you're seriously underestimating the High Elves. By lore, the Altmer are far more sophisticated in most respects than almost everyone else.

(By the way, I want to make it clear that I'm not some sort of elder scrolls elf fanboy. I mostly just like Morrowind and TES lore.)
 

Krois

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Haven't played much to know the internal politics of Elder Scroll... But I belong to the Thief Guild if that points to anything. You guys can fight it out, I'll just loot your corpses.
 

Char-Nobyl

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Evil Top Hat said:
It seems from the many polls that have been taken on the subject, that most Skyrim players seem to be going with the Stormcloaks, and I can't figure out why. In the following post, I will make four points, after reading, feel free to respond and argue with my points.
Ditto. I had no idea why people were siding with the Stormcloaks so...easily. I mean, I understand the initial reason (Imperials about to execute you and all), but everything beyond that?

Evil Top Hat said:
1) The White-Gold concordat will surely be broken soon, and it will not be long before war with the Ald'meri Dominion resurfaces. If the Stormcloaks take hold of Skyrim, how can they even hope to defend themselves? The Ald'meri Dominion are an incredibly powerful force, how is a team of rag tag rebels ever going to defend Skyrim, especially after having just emerged from such a costly war?
Costly in more than one way. They're going to be dividing their country more so by claiming control of it than they would be by allowing Imperial control. Ulfric is a former soldier...not an economist. Does he really think Skyrim is self sufficient? And besides that, he's laying siege to Skyrim's own cities. He'd better hope that his remaining Stormcloaks can fend off the Altmer, because nobody else is going to help.

Evil Top Hat said:
2) Ulfric Stormcloak cannot run Skyrim. Have you seen Windhelm? The place is a total mess. The entire place is more like a stony slum than a city. The streets are filth ridden and the people are starving. Riften is even worse, the guard know exactly where the thieves guild are hiding, but apparently Ulfric doesn't want to waste reinforcements. He can't even manage his section of Skyrim well enough to eradicate a group of pick pockets. How will he ever run an entire continent of Tamriel?
You forgot about the serial killer running wild in Windhelm. And considering that said serial killer is targeting Nords, Ulfric is pretty bad at protecting Nords, too.

Evil Top Hat said:
3) Ulfric is a total manchild, and only cares about power. Main story spoilers coming up.
During the peace treaty with the Imperials, he acted like a child. he kicked up a fuss because he didn't want to be in the same room as a Thalmore, and then proceeded to demand city after city to be surrendered to the Stormcloaks, whilst ranting away at the Imperials with his bile about "true sons of Skyrim". Even in the face of the total destruction of Skyrim, he continued to act like a child, and to furhter his own power.
And then there's "The Bear of Markarth." That was a wonderful little read, and it explained quite a bit why the Foresworn are as savage as they are by the time the game is taking place.

Evil Top Hat said:
4) Last, but not least, the Stormcloaks are racist nationalists, that think the fact that they are the "correct" race means that they should be allowed Skyrim, and that other races should not have authority or power, because they aren't the right race. Homeland or no homeland, these guys are basically the Skyrim equivalent of the BNP.
Yep. Pretty much.

It also helped that any and all 'crimes' the Empire appeared guilty of were almost instantly absolved when I looked at the situation though a broad lens. The Empire literally saved the entire world while taking near-fatal damage to its heartland in the Oblivion crisis, and what happens? Blackmarsh secedes, Morrrowind explodes, and the Aldmeri Dominion invades. The second is just plain bad luck, and the first is a bit of a dick move, but the third? Jesus Christ. The actual Nazis had a stronger sense of honor than the Elf-Nazis do.

Then, already stretched thin and barely out of a bloody war with the aforementioned ungrateful Elf-Nazis, the Empire is attacked from within by Ulfric. The Empire troops in Skyrim are essentially in the frozen-wasteland equivalent of Vietnam: a bloody guerrilla war that they want nothing to do with, but in this case, have no choice. Ulfric has already proven himself to be a ruthless monster, but also to be a charismatic one. Even if the Empire didn't want to hold Skyrim for logical reasons, they practically had a moral obligation to protect it from this madman.

Seriously, folks, read The Bear of Markarth [http://elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/The_Bear_of_Markarth]. Its events are even confirmed by the Aldmeri, of all people. And now imagine what Ulfric did in Markarth on a Skyrim-wide scale.

Still want to support the Stormcloaks? And to be honest, it might be a badass name for an organization, but it's also an evil badass name.
 

=Frost=

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I'd say one of the only reasons I sided with the Stormcloaks with my Nord is that I wanted to Roleplay a man who truly was a Nord in every way. Taking talos from the Nords is like taking Thor or Oden away from the true nords. Good or evil doesn't really concern my nord, he just wants to see Skyrim either live as free Nords, or feast in Sovengarde as free Nords.
 

ACman

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Was going to go with the Stormcloaks if only because it seemed daft to join a faction that at one point was going to execute you.

But then I talked to Ulfric and he was, shall we say, a bit of a douche. And, it seems, a touch racist.

It's like how I was happily murdering Forsworn until I realised that they were more of a freedom-fighter group of Britons who were in Skyrim before the Nords. A freedom fighter group with a bit of a free attitude to murdering anybody who came near with no explanation them but a freedom fighter group no the less.

About the only unambiguously "bad guys" that I can find in Skyrim are the Thalmore who come off like religious zealots.

So I'm going at it like this:

My Nord Character with his big axe is a simple "Syrim for the Nords" guy. Lawful Stupid Good

My Imperial character is a destruction magic using spy for the empire who was going to get executed in a bureaucratic stuff up. Classic Practical Lawful Neutral

My Breton character is a duplicitous sneak thief and hedge enchanter out for herself who shoots people in the back of the head to take their shit, break it down and turn it into new stuff to sell it on. Classic Chaotic Neutral.
 

Kinguendo

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Hate the Stormcloaks, hate Ulfric. Did that questline just to get it out of the way.

Khajiit for life! Dont like it? You can go Elsweyr! Thats right, go to Elsweyr the homeland of the Khajiit because we dont discriminate or care about your petty concept of private ownership... BITCHES! Moon sugar for my homies, because Khajiit appreciate the finer things!
 

crepesack

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The question is also the fact that if you side with the Stormcloaks and oust the empire from Skyrim, cyrodil becomes much weaker and you imperil the lives of many many more people.
 

Lordpils

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Speaking as an imperial supporter it's worth noting that one of the Stormcloak replaced Jarls has a housecarl who is an argonian (Teeba-Ei) that sounds surprisingly progressive, but that obviously doesn't alleviate concerns of racism within the Stormcloaks.
 

KabutoGodTier420

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I sided with the Stormcloaks since I didn't like the idea of a non-Septim Empire. For those unaware, the current Empire is not the successor to the one seen in Oblivion. Rather the Septim Empire was overthrown by a brief invasion of Imperial City shortly after the Oblivion Crisis.

I also did not like how I was sent to the headman's chopping block for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a fact that even the imperial captain knew of. The fact she was promoted to such a position speaks in volume of how broken their system is. Perhaps even General Tullius knew of this injustice but he never stepped in.

When his time came, I gladly approached him from behind and pwned him with a German suplex, while wearing the imperial captain's armour which I ganked after proceeding to have sex with her dead, charred corpse.

I hold grudges for decades...
 

White Lightning

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I went with Stormcloaks.

I don't buy the whole "DAS RACIST!" thing. I mean, the first thing you see when you walk in Windhelm "You eat our food and pollute our city with your stink (I personally agree that's a bit rude) and you refuse to help the Stormcloaks!" "But we haven't taken a side because it's not our fight." Oh really? Not your fight? Last time I checked you're living in Skyrim, it's YOUR home. You're telling me the fight for YOUR home isn't YOUR fight?

Later, you meet the the Dark Elves in the bar. "Yeah there's some murders, but what do I care they haven't killed a Dunmer." (Or something like that). To me, it seems there are a few racist Nords, and a few prejudice fitting Dunmer in Windhelm. The other Elves in Windhelm who worked hard aren't complaining and are well treated simply because they worked hard.

Same with the Argonians. One of them is a Skooma addict and another one blatently admits to stealing Cargo, and yet they wonder why they aren't trusted? Sure there are some nice Argonians, and I helped them because they are being good trust worthy people.

Ulfric explains why Windhelm is so rundown and shitty, so that's that.

Another thing is I really don't think the Thalmor are as tough as they let on, I think most of it is blind arrogance. Just like how alot of people out there are all talk and no action, I think the Thalmor are the same. They were fought to a stand still in the war and were kicked out of Hammerfall (or whatever the Redguard home is called).

The Thalmor also have free range in Empire territory. If the Empire is kicked out of Skyrim the Thalmor no longer have a foot hold there and Skyrim can go about it's buisness without the Thalmor spying on them.