- For the rebellion of a similar name, see Forsworn Rebellion.
- "That is who we are. The Forsworn. Criminals in our own lands. And we will cut a bloody hole into the Reach until we are free."
- ―Madanach, the Forsworn King in Rags[src]
In 4E 174, the Third Empire was engaged with the Third Aldmeri Dominion in a conflict known as the Great War, in which Cyrodiil and Hammerfell were the main provinces involved. During this war, the Empire all but turned a blind eye to the other Imperial provinces. As a result, the Reach was drained of its Imperial garrison, which was conscripted to fight in the War. As a result, the native Reachmen took up arms and conquered the Reach, forming the Forsworn Kingdom in 4E 174. The Reachmen were said to have been generally fair rulers, despite commiting crimes against former Nord landowners, especially the ones who had mistreated the natives prior. During this time, Hagravens are implied to have been able to walk around freely in Markarth.
The Reachmen would continue to rule their lands until 4E 176, when Ulfric Stormcloak reclaimed the Reach at the request of Jarl Hrolfdir. With his militia, and the power of his Thu'um, Ulfric reclaimed the city of Markarth from the natives in battle. After the conflict, however, both Jarl Hrolfdir and Ulfric were said to have been merciless against the people within the city. Ulfric was said to have killed any who did not take up arms against the Forsworn, and even those who had only spoken to the King of the Reachmen, Madanach, were scheduled for execution by the Jarl. King Madanach himself was also scheduled for execution, but was ultimately spared by the request of Thonar Silver-Blood, who would use Madanach's influence for his personal gains. Those who did not run were executed, excluding Madanach and a handful of others. Ulfric Stormcloak and his men chased the rest of them out of the city.
Post 4E 176
Since the Markarth Incident, the Forsworn have made travel in the Reach perilous and dangerous, the Imperial Legion considers the Forsworn as little more than brigands based on their frequent raids and ambushes within the Hold. The Forsworn, likewise, consider the Empire an enemy, and do not hesitate to attacks its Legionnaires when encountered in the wild. Back when communnications with the Forsworn were possible, Jarl Hrolfdir attempted to negotiate for peace with their leaders, but was killed by the Forsworn instead. The Forsworn were bold enough in 4E 201 to actually take over the gold mine known as Kolskeggr Mine from the miners working the location, resulting in fear at Left Hand Mine for a similar attack. A similar raid occured at Karthwasten, resulting in Silver-Blood Mercenaries being sent out to the site in an attempt to force the owner, the Reachman Ainethach, to sell the mine to the Silver-Blood family.
Jarl Igmund also frequently places bounties on the heads of Forsworn leaders, which are commonly used by mercenaries as a means of income in the Reach. Ambushes by the Reachmen are common within the Reach, though large sums of gold are often left behind by the Forsworn. Many seek death in battle over capture by their enemies. At the same time, traders and caravans are ambushed by the Forsworn, and goods are taken after the raid. The Forsworn are also known to kidnap people.
Since the Markarth Incident, the Forsworn no longer function as a unified force, instead having each tribe govern itself. Communications between the tribes does occur, but there is no solidified Forsworn force. Conflict exists between the Forsworn in regards as to how they should fight. Even their revered Hagravens have conflicts, resulting in the Forsworn getting involved in the mix. Due to a lack of a centralized body, the Forsworn struggle to organize assaults. Despite holding the eastern slopes of the Reach, and only needing to take over Fort Sungard to solidify their position, some Forsworn refuse to act and summon the tribes to cut off the retreat of their enemies. Other tribes are ready to fight, having trained and inspired themselves for battle, but refuse to engage in combat without the approval of their matriarch.
Within Markarth, Madanach sent out orders to one of his allies, Nepos the Nose. Madanach gave passion to the downtrodden within Markarth, directing them to kill the enemies of the Forsworn in their name. Such attacks were frequently organised to target the enemies of Thonar Silver-Blood, however, such as the attack on an Imperial agent named Margret. The garrison stationed within the Reach is barely able to keep the Forsworn in check, and has to rely on further Imperial Legion support to keep the trade lanes with the other Holds open. The Forsworn not only engage with Legion soldiers in the wilderness, however, as Orc Hunters are also often fought by the natives.
- "When at last our lands are free, we shall return, your sword of victory in hand. Then arise, O great one, from your honored tomb! Reclaim thy stolen throne! Rule over us, High Lord of the Reach, forevermore!"
The Forsworn also made attempts to return the glory of Red Eagle. Red Eagle, also known as Faolan, was a King of the Reach around 1E 1030. At this time, the Reach was ruled by ten kings, and Faolan was destined to unite the ten kings under one banner, a journey he would slowly aim to complete. Then the Alessian Legions under Empress Hestra arived, and either through conquest or bargains, took over more and more of the Reach, until coming to Sundered Hills, the home of Faolan. Faolan would lose his lands due to being betrayed by his elders, and with a number of Reachmen he continued the fight, even collaborating with a Hagraven who had come to join him.
Faolan would fight thousands of the Alessian invaders, but when they had routed, he too fell. His followers prepared a tomb for him, which would house Faolan until being awoken so he may lead the Reachmen once more.
The Forsworn at Sundered Towers held copies of the book, The Legend of Red Eagle, but their Briarheart also held Red Eagle's Rite and Red Eagle's Fury, the sword of Faolan, aiming to use its power to advance the Forsworn cause.
Several members of the Forsworn, including Madanach, were imprisoned in Cidhna Mine. In 4E 201, they attempted a breakout from the prison. It is unknown if they were successful or not, but if they were, they established a camp at Druadach Redoubt, from where Madanach aimed to unify the Forsworn into a single force, reclaim the Reach, and bring peace to the land. Expecting it to take years, Madanach believed no place would be safe from the Forsworn until that time, as they aimed to cut a bloody swath in the Reach until they were free.
Religion and culture
The Forsworn, largely, venerate and protect the Hagravens, providing trinkets at small altars with soul gems for these beings. Both the spirits and the hagravens within the Reach are said to largely support the Forsworn cause. This faith of the Forsworn is largely considered to be old and heretical by both Imperial and Nord standards, and were therefore forbidden by the Nords. Since their uprising was crushed, the Nords have forbidden the native Reachmen from following their own culture and venerating their own gods once more. Which Gods the Forsworn venerate is never specified, though it is implied that they worship both Daedra and Aedra. Times under the rule of the Reachmen had been both good and bad. The Forsworn follow the old ways, though some consider some of those ways to be best forgotten, as they include blood sacrifices and communing with Daedra.
- "Kill one of us, and three more will take their place. The Forsworn are unstoppable."
- ―Members of the Forsworn[src]
Support for the Forsworn varies per person. Some believe that life was better under the rule of the Reachmen, opposing the laws and ways of the Nords. Others joined the Forsworn due to injustices faced at the hands of the Nords. Some do support the Forsworn cause, but do not join them, stating that their "crusade" against the Nords has failed. Among the most deadly of the Forsworn are the Forsworn Briarhearts. These members of the Forsworn have their own hearts replaced by a Briar Heart with the aid of the Hagravens, providing them with great power. This feat is seen by the Forsworn as an act of a "true Reachman".
Others sympathize with the Forsworn, but do not support them, as the deaths they caused were in attempts to rebuild a past which was over long ago.
- Nana Ildene
- Nepos the Nose
Weapons and armor
Forsworn equipment is distinguished by its use of bone, fur, and feathers. It is of a primitive, albeit effective, design and is surprisingly valuable. According to their fighting techniques and equipment, Forsworn prefer to use dual-wielded weapons with unmatched skill. Their bows are especially powerful for their weight.
- Armor of the Old Gods, a unique set of armor, imbued with the magicks of the old gods of the Reach.
- Forsworn Axe
- Forsworn Bow
- Forsworn Sword
- Forsworn Staff (unique version: Staff of Hag's Wrath, Eye of Melka)
- Forsworn Headdress
- Forsworn Armor
- Forsworn Gauntlets
- Forsworn Boots
- Forsworn Arrow
- "The Forsworn will reclaim what is rightfully ours!"
- ―Forsworn Members in combat[src]
The units used by the Forsworn in their uprising vary greatly. The classifications are as follows: Forsworn, Forsworn Forager, Forsworn Looter, Forsworn Pillager, Forsworn Ravager, Forsworn Shaman and Forsworn Briarheart. Of these units, the Forsworn Briarhearts are the strongest of the units, with both the best experience in melee combat as well as magical capabilities.
- Deepwood Vale
- Dragon Bridge Overlook
- Druadach Redoubt
- Karthspire Camp
- Red Eagle Redoubt
- Serpent's Bluff Redoubt
- Despite the Last Dragonborn "becoming a Forsworn" after following Madanach in "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine," Forsworn found anywhere except Druadach Redoubt will still attack the Dragonborn on sight.
- The Great War
- Dialogue with Igmund
- The Bear of Markarth
- The Keepers of the Razor
- Dialogue with Thongvor Silver-Blood
- Dialogue with Kibell
- Dialogue with Braig during "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine"
- Thonar's Journal
- Dialogue with Nepos the Nose during "The Forsworn Conspiracy"
- Dialogue with Eltrys during "The Forsworn Conspiracy"
- An Explorer's Guide to Skyrim
- The Madmen of the Reach
- The Holds of Skyrim
- Dialogue with Igmund during "Recover Hrolfdir's Shield"
- Events of "Kolskeggr Mine"
- Dialogue with Skaggi Scar-Face
- Conversation between Daighre and Skaggi Scar-Face
- Dialogue with Sosia Tremellia
- Events of "Sanuarach Mine"
- The City of Stone
- Events of "Bounty: Forsworn"
- Random Encounters in Skyrim
- Events of "Lisbet's Missing Shipment"
- Dialogue with Lisbet
- Conversation between Imedhnain and ]Lisbet
- Conversation between Cosnach and Kleppr
- Conversations between Raerek, Kaleen, and Igmund
- Events of "The House of Horrors"
- Events of "The Heart of Dibella"
- Forsworn Missive
- Events of "The Affairs of Hagravens"
- Forsworn Note at Serpent's Bluff Redoubt
- Forsworn Note at Deepwood Redoubt
- Dialogue with Thonar Silver-Blood during "The Forsworn Conspiracy"
- Weylin's Note
- The Legend of Red Eagle
- Events of "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine"
- Dialogue with Madanach during "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine"
- Herbane's Bestiary: Hagravens
- Dialogue with Cedran
- Dialogue with Uraccen during "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine"
- Dialogue with Braig during "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine"
- Dialogue with Odvan during "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine"
- Dialogue with Omluag
- Ritual of the Hagravens at Lost Valley Redoubt
- Overheard conversation between Forsworn members at Lost Valley Redoubt
- Dialogue with Bothela