I'm thinking of playing an Outlaw challenge game, with the following rules:

1) as soon as you escape Helgen, visit each Hold and get 1000+ bounty in each, making guards hunt you down on sight

2) never get rid of the bounty (i.e. no paying it, no serving jailtime etc.)

I'm wondering how much of the game can be completed while being a wanted outlaw. In particular, can you finish the main storyline that way? I understand that I will often have to fight my way through towns, but is it possible in principle? Or would storyline NPCs be hostile?


Yes, it is possible to finish main quest.
No NPC except guards will be hostile to you, but it will be almost impossible to chat with main quest NPC, because guards will attack you while you are chatting.
NOTICE: it may be impossible without calm spells because if you attack a guard, a main quest NPC may and will attack you!

Example: when you enter Dragonsreach to talk to the jarl, there will be about 2-3 guards near the door, and about 10 more in the rest of the palace. When they will attack you you will have no choice but to fight back, when you will fight back ALL of the people in the palace will be hostile to you, even the jarl!

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  • out of interest, what are 'clam spells'? – Alex Feb 23 '12 at 9:52
  • @Alex I think he meant "calm". Edited accordingly... although I'd like to see some clam spells in the game too! – bummzack Feb 23 '12 at 11:47
  • Ooooohhhh yes. That makes sense, unlike whatever it was I was thinking of :D – Alex Feb 23 '12 at 14:56
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    Apparently it is possible even without calm spells. When you "kill" the hostile jarl, he will kneel and when he reverts back to full health, he will no longer be hostile. So, for example in Dragonsreach you need to kill all guards first, then time the killing of all essential NPCs so they all become incapacitated and revert to friendly state simultaneously. – ramirami Feb 27 '12 at 9:42
  • @ramirami there are about 3 people at the jarls palace, which you cant kill. but first you need to kill the guards ALL of the guards, and that will be pretty hard if your'e playing on Expert or Master difficulty. – IrishPersonality Mar 1 '12 at 5:46

If your bounty is not excessively high (In the neighborhood of 5 thousand gold, I think), guard will not be immediately hostile, rather they will recognize you and, if you talk to them, give the usual options of paying the fine, going to jail, resisting arrest, etc. So if you only wish to have a bounty of 1000 gold, you will likely be able to slink by most guards.

If a confrontation is unavoidable, daggers and bows make no noise (save for a few bugged bows), so you should be able to eliminate particularly eager guards without attracting attention, if you have the perks and the inclination.

Calm spells of the Illusion school of magic are also useful to buy yourself some time, however if that is your choice you would do well to get the main quest over with in short order, as the guards' level scaling with yours will make them harder to calm without spending a lot of time increasing your Illusion skill and getting the high level spells. Muffle and Invisibility will also prove useful for eluding their attention.

Some quests and questlines, however, will become impossible to complete, notably the Imperial route of the Civil War questline, during the Battle for Whiterun battle you will be required to speak to an imperial general, who will try to arrest you if you have a bounty. The Stormcloaks storyline is likely to have a similar encounter.

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