I am doing the 'Battle for Windhelm' war quest; I am sided on the Imperials.

I am killing Stormcloaks, but when I do it gives me +1000 bounty in the city.

This does not seem how it should be working. What causes this and how can I fix it?

I understand there are commands to set my bounty or skip this quest stage, but I'd rather not do either; would rather not get the bounty in the first place. That's how it normally acts.

  • 1
    Did you accidently kill an imperial? I ran into that problem on some early fort clearings, I'd wade to kill stormcloaks and the imperials would get right in front of me and I'd drop 1-2 of them for every 1 stormcloak I killed. Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 14:11
  • Nope, I checked the corpse; it was a Stormcloak.
    – Zeno
    Commented Feb 2, 2012 at 15:18
  • I got a weird similar situation. quest marker says make the jarl of whiterun surrender. So I run up to him and hack him... instant bounty. Yet it's no problem if others attack him and he eventually goes down (which leads to the surrender). So I just hid in a corner and waited for the fighting to be over. I'd write it off to poor programming/bug... if you don't want to 'cheat' with a console you can prolly work around it by just waiting it out.
    – CreeDorofl
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 18:45
  • There's suppose to be a dialogue scene with the Jarl for you, before anyone attacks him.
    – Zeno
    Commented Feb 3, 2012 at 19:09
  • It's a bug. If your character is any good with bows and sneaking, I would suggest sniping them from the walls. You may need to install a mod that disables autoaim to hit NPCs not moving directly at you.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


This seems like one of the hundreds of typically quirky bugs in the line of Elder Scrolls games... Your best bet is probably to either play through it using invis/sneaking/etc and pay off the bounty, or possibly completing another quest first.

Think about what open quests you have, maybe one of them is causing your factions to act screwy.

You might also try doing something minor to get a bounty in the city before the mission, then paying it off before you try the mission again.

Unfortunately sometimes these bugs are gamesave ruiners; you might try reverting to an older save before you picked a side, or before you took a certain action. That might also help.

Since you're using the PC version you could always cheat, which is nice. These bugs are terrible and sometimes irreversible on the 360 version.

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