Every Hold in Skyrim has its own Guard. These Guards protect the capital cities of each Hold and any other villages or settlements within.
All hold guards wear very similar armor sets, differences are normally just the color of the sash and material of the undershirt used, either scaled or quilted. They also wear the same model of helmet, however the colors vary depending on the Hold.
Hold guards can be permanently replaced by either Imperial or Stormcloak soldiers during the Civil War, depending on which faction the player joins. They will perform the same duties and have the same dialogue (although they may also have additional faction-based dialogue) as regular guards. Holds that are loyal to the victorious faction will keep their guards, however those that are not loyal will be replaced.
Hold guards also carry a round shield which varies in color, and typically displays the symbol of the hold across the front.
Only Stormcloak-controlled Holds have female guards.
Hold Guards level with the Dragonborn until around level 50. This means that at level 50+, the Hold's Guards can become rather powerful, and have no problem fighting even a Dragon.
Notably, Hold Guards continue to level up to match the Dragonborn's level, while regular named NPCs (including Followers) are locked at the level in which they are first spawned.
The guards also carry a round, red, wooden shield with a painted motif of a wolf.
The guards around Castle Dour are Imperial soldiers and will wear full Imperial Armor, though they are still named Solitude Guard.
During the course of the civil war, the Stormcloaks may occupy Solitude and replace these guards.
Whiterun Hold Guard
These guards patrol Whiterun Hold and Whiterun. Commander Caius serves as commander of the Whiterun Guard.
They wear a yellow cloth version of the guard armor. The armor is a scaled vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear Fur Boots, but most guards wear no gauntlets.
The guards also carry a round, yellow, wooden shield with a painted motif of a horse's head.
During the course of the civil war, the Stormcloaks may occupy Whiterun and replace these guards. Commander Caius will also be removed from his post and replaced with Sinmir. The detachment of guards that was sent to Riverwood during Dragon Rising will remain.
Eastmarch Hold Guard
These guards patrol Eastmarch and Windhelm. They are Stormcloak soldiers and share their speech options.
They wear a blue cloth Stormcloak uniform. The armor is a quilted vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear Fur Gauntlets and Fur Boots.
The guards also carry a round, blue, wooden shield with a painted motif of a bear's head
During the course of the civil war, the Imperial Legion may occupy Windhelm and replace these guards.
Only three guards patrol the city of Winterhold at any one time, while a fourth is in the Jarl's Longhouse. Only one additional Winterhold Hold guard can be found elsewhere in the hold at the Whistling Mine, located to the south-east of Winterhold proper. This guard is the holder of the only known Winterhold guard shield.
They wear a white cloth version of the guard armor. The armor is a quilted vest with a chainmail shirt underneath. In addition, they also wear Fur Boots.
During the course of the civil war, the Imperial Legion may occupy Winterhold and replace these guards.
Bounties in each hold are treated separately. For example, the player can obtain a bounty in Whiterun, and Riften will not recognize it.
Normally all guards can be bribed if the player is a member of the Thieves Guild with the exception of the guards of Markarth after the completion of The Forsworn Conspiracy and No One Escapes Cidhna Mine. These guards will not accept bribes and the player will have no choice but to fight. There is the option to go to jail, and after selecting that option the guard will have dialogue. Cancel out the conversation and the guard will ignore the player.
It is possible to kill guards without gaining a bounty, as long as one is sneaking. Slain guards will respawn three days after their death. They can also be killed if they are hit by an unrelenting force shout and pushed off a cliff, or sometimes even down the stairs. The player does not get a bounty unless he has shouted at quite a few guards beforehand.
Another way to kill guards without gaining a bounty is to use a follower. Whilst the player is hidden, command the follower to attack the guard. Other guards close by will attack the follower, but not the player. This is a good way to aquire every Hold's Guard Armor.
Click for a full list of Guard dialogue
"I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee..."
"The guards have been talking about you."
"Let me guess, someone stole your sweetroll."
"Gotta keep my eyes open. Damn dragons could swoop down at any time."
"My cousin is out fighting dragons, and what do I get? Guard duty."
"I can handle the occasional drunk or bandit. I don't know about dragon."
"Disrespect the law, and you disrespect me."
"Watch the skies, traveler."
"They say Ulfric Stormcloak murdered the High King... With his voice! Shouted him apart!"
"I'd be a lot warmer and a lot happier with a bellyful of mead."
"Got me thinking... Maybe I'm the Dragonborn! And I just don't know it yet!"
"I have to wonder, what does the Dragonborn do once he's been summoned by the Greybeards?"
"Seen those warriors from Hammerfell? They've got curved swords. Curved. Swords."
"I mostly deal with petty thievery and druken brawls. Been too long since we've had a good bandit raid."
"What is it?"
"What is it? Dragons?"
"Fancy yourself an alchemist, hmm?...never could get the hang of that."
Guards are not fooled by the invisiblity spell when attempting an arrest.
Guards are not fooled by non-guards wearing guard armor, regardless of reputation, skills, or armor faction.
During The Forsworn Conspiracy, a Reach Hold Guard may warn the Dragonborn to stop asking questions to the residents.
When the Dragonborn has a small bounty, a guard may say "Wait, I know you...". Instead of replying "You're making a mistake." the conversation can be backed out of and he will not pursue the matter any further.
If all Solitude Guards are slain at once there is a possible bug where guards will not respawn.
There is a bug when the guards arrest the player, and the player says that he/she is the Thane of the Hold, the bounty will get cleared but the guards will still attack the player, without any choice but to fight, getting the player another bounty which makes the Thane dialogue useless.
Template:360 PS3 There is a possible bug when getting caught and having to pay bounty in Solitude, the game might glitch and put you under the city. This can be avoided simply by walking to the exit doors.
Template:360 there is a bug where if you pickpocket someone in the Whiterun hold, tell the guard you'd rather die than fight, and return to Whiterun and enter Breezehome, the guards will attack you once you come out and will not let you surrender. This can be fixed by running away from the city to Riverwood and sheathing your weapon in front of a guard.
There is a bug (so far only confirmed in Whiterun) where everytime you enter the city the guard at the main gate will start attacking you for an unknown reason. You just have to sheathe your weapon, or if you don't have a weapon out: take a weapon out then sheathe it.
In the Whiterun Dungeon the guards are invisible
Template:360 Currently, even if you have gone through the Purity questline, curing your own lycanthropy, guards will still make remarks as if you were a werewolf, such as, "Is that fur... coming out of your ears?"
Even after you've become the Harbinger, the guards still say that you're the "new member of the Companions."
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