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The Forsworn are a group of barbarians and savages in the video game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. They are usually found within the Reach and will stop at nothing to retake it and it's capital, the city of Markarth.


The Forsworn have a long history, dating back to Red Eagle's time in the First Era. In 1E 1055, Empress Hestra of Cyrodiil attempted an invasion of the Reach. The old kings, however resisted. Some were killed while others were bribed to fall under the banner of the Alessian Empire. Her legions eventually arrived and envoys were sent to bargain for their surrender. Red Eagle refused to yield the freedom of his own people, but the elders who were afraid of being executed expelled him, and gladly accepted the Imperial yoke.

Despite being expelled from Sundered Hills, Red Eagle believed that the Reach should be free from Imperial oppression, and gathered an army of Reachmen loyal to himself. Under his command, they formed a resistance and successfully carried out multiple raids on Imperial forts and patrols throughout the Reach, including the Reachmen who betrayed them.

One night however, a cloaked stranger appeared and revealed herself to be a Hagraven. She approached Red Eagle and made him an offering to grant him great power. Her offering was to have him sacrifice his heart, will, and humanity to become a Briarheart. He gladly accepted, but it made him a spirit of vengeance, pitiless beyond remorse. It paid off however, as his Reachmen resistance increased in size and strength, and no one could stop them. Within 2 years, they successfully drove the Empire away from the Reach.

Unfortunately, despite his initial victory, Empress Hestra returned to the Reach, this time with an army even bigger than before. For 2 weeks, her generals laid siege to Red Eagle's stronghold until Red Eagle himself emerged. He armed himself with a fire-enchanted sword and slaughtered 1,000 Imperial soldiers before they eventually executed him.

Following the collapse of the Reman Empire, and the beginning of the Interregnum, the Reach was receded from the Empire. In the Second Era however, Hjalti Early-Beard (known as Tiber Septim) led a group of men and conquered Hroldan from the barbarians of the Reach in 2E 852. Later, he conquered the remainder of the Reach and founded the Septim Empire. The Third Era began shortly afterwards, and upon his death in 3E 38, he became Talos, the Ninth Divine.

When the Empire went to war against the Aldmeri Dominion in the Fourth Era, the Reachmen rebelled in the city of Markarth in 4E 174 and successfully drove the Nords out. For 2 whole years, they successfully ruled over the Reach as a peaceful independent kingdom.

Unfortunately, when the Great War ended in 4E 175, the Empire was forced by the Dominion to outlaw Talos worship. Ulfric Stormcloak heavily opposed this, and was desperate to re-gain control of the Reach. Hrolfdir, the Jarl of Markarth at the time, gladly accepted the aid of a Nord militia to re-gain Markarth in exchange for free Talos worship in the hopes that the Dominion wouldn't know about it. Ulfric led an assault on Markarth, and successfully re-took it.

Despite him successfully re-gaining full control over Markarth, some remaining Reachmen, outraged by the destruction of their kingdom and betrayal by the local Nords, fled into the surrounding hillsides and became the Forsworn, calling the event "The Markarth Incident". In addition, the Aldmeri Dominion found out about the offer for free Talos worship in Markarth and forced the Empire to have Ulfric Stormcloak and his men arrested, and they obeyed without question. According to Jarl Igmund, it was the founding day for the Stormcloak rebellion and where Skyrim's Civil War really began as well.


The Forsworn typically live in caves and outdoor camps. Some can even be found in Nordic Draugr ruins. Their armor usually has human skulls on the front and their weapons usually have jagged blades. Their helmets usually have horns sticking out, and their boots usually have feathers. Some members will dual-wield their weapons, while others will use magic instead. Their weapons and armor are unique, as they appear to have been made from bones and feathers, rather than metal. Their ranks include Foragers, Archers, Looters, Pillagers, Barbarians, Ravagers, Warlords, Shamans (women only), and Briarhearts (men only). They can also summon an Atronach or Hagraven to fight for them. A Briarheart will replace his own heart with a Briar Heart (potion ingredient). A summoning ritual can be seen at Bard's Leap Summit. If it is pickpocketed, then he will immediately die. If it is looted from his corpse, then his body will slightly increase in size. It occupies 0.5 carry weight, restores Magicka when eaten, and has a base value of 20 gold. It can also temporarily fortify Magicka, fortify damage reflected by blocking, and paralyze enemies. If the Dragonborn strikes it, then it will result in dealing extra damage. Their hideouts usually have walls with spikes sticking out on top.

Combat Tactics

The Forsworn will typically attack in groups, rather than only one member at a time. The soldiers will typically dual-wield their weapons and use power attacks when available. They can swing their weapons from side to side quickly, and can rotate themselves in the process if desired. The archers are accurate and aggressive, and can fire their bows quickly. The mages will summon an Atronach or bind a Hagraven should they feel the need to do so, and can heal themselves if their health is low. They can also cast Ward and Cloak spells for extra protection if necessary, and can cast deadly Destruction spells. All of this can prove to be extremely dangerous, especially if multiple enemies are present. Lower-level Forsworn are usually on par with Bandits and Necromancers, and can be taken down relatively easily. Higher-level Forsworn however, especially Briarhearts, are extremely dangerous opponents; the soldiers can usually make quick work of their enemies at close range and are usually leveled with the Dragonborn. The mages can cast use various spells of fire, ice, or lighting, depending on the preferred element. They can be very difficult to face at longer ranges, and they can run backwards if chased, making them harder to hit with melee weapons. While the Forsworn's equipment may be weaker than the Dragonborn's, they can outnumber and overwhelm the Dragonborn quickly, which can result in extremely dangerous situations, especially if higher-level enemies are present.


The Forsworn have their own set of weapons and armor, which they typically use in combat.


Weapon Type: One-Handed/Archery
Upgrade Material: Steel Ingot (Steel Smithing perk doubles the improvement)

  • Forsworn Axe

Base Damage: 11 points
Carry Weight: 15
Base Value: 90 gold

  • Forsworn Bow

Base damage: 12 points
Carry Weight: 11
Base Value: 145 gold

  • Forsworn Sword

Base Damage: 10 points
Carry Weight: 13
Base Value: 70 gold

  • Forsworn Arrow (unupgradeable)

Base Damage: 7 points
Carry Weight: 0
Base Value: 1 gold


Armor Type: Light Armor
Upgrade Material: Leather

  • Forsworn Armor

Base Armor Rating: 26 points
Carry Weight: 6
Base Value: 100 gold

  • Forsworn Boots

Base Armor Rating: 7 points
Carry Weight: 2
Base Value: 20 gold

  • Forsworn Gauntlets

Base Armor Rating: 7 points
Carry Weight: 2
Base Value: 20 gold

  • Forsworn Headdress (Helmet)

Base Armor Rating: 12 points
Carry Weight: 2
Base Value: 50 gold Note: The helmet's appearance will vary, based on the Dragonborn's gender. Other than that however, the statistics will be the same.

Magic Weapons

Weapon Type: Staffs

  • Forsworn Staff (unupgradeable)

Base Damage: 0 points
Carry Weight: 8
Base Value: 183 gold
Effect: Flame gout that does 8 fire damage per second (targets on fire will take extra damage)

  • Staff of Hag's Wrath (unupgradeable)

Base Damage: 0 points
Carry Weight: 8
Base Value: 1310 gold
Effect: Wall of fire that does 50 points of fire damage per second when sprayed on the ground

  • Eye of Melka (unupgradeable)

Base Damage: 0 points
Carry Weight: 8
Base Value: 1234 gold
Effect: Fiery explosion that does 40 points of damage within a 15 foot radius (targets on fire will take extra damage)

Magic Armor

Armor Type: Light Armor
Upgrade Material: Leather (Arcane Blacksmith perk required)

  • Armor of the Old Gods

Base Armor Rating: 24 points
Carry Weight: 3
Base Value: 611 gold
Effect: Destruction magic costs 15% less Magicka to cast

  • Boots of the Old Gods

Base Armor Rating: 7 points
Carry Weight: 1.5
Base Value: 1104 gold
Effect: Sneaking is 20% better

  • Gauntlets of the Old Gods

Base Armor Rating: 7 points
Carry Weight: 0.5
Base Value: 592 gold
Effect: Bows do 20% more damage

  • Helmet of the Old Gods

Base Armor Rating: 12 points
Carry Weight: 1
Base Value: 345 gold
Effect: Maximum Magicka is increased by 30 points

Note: The helmet's appearance will vary based on the Dragonborn's gender. Other than that however, the statistics will be the same.

  • Unlike most weapon and armor sets, the Forsworn set does not include a dagger, mace, or a shield. In addition, it does not include Two-Handed weapons or Heavy Armor.


The Forsworn can be found in several locations across the Reach. Some are even in the Haafingar Hold.

  • Bard's Leap Summit
  • Bleakwind Bluff
  • Blind Cliff Cave
  • Bruca's Leap Redoubt
  • Broken Tower Redoubt
  • Cidhna Mine (Markarth prison)
  • Dead Crone Rock
  • Deepwood Redoubt
  • Dragon Bridge Overlook (the town of Dragon Bridge is just north of here)
  • Dragontooth Crater (until completion of the quest "Dragon Rising"; after that, a dragon will be found here instead)
  • Druadach Redoubt (if the Dragonborn helps Madanach's men escape Cidhna Mine, this location will be their new headquarters)
  • Fort Sungard (until the Dragonborn takes sides in the Civil War)
  • Hag Rock Redoubt
  • Karthspire Camp (Sky Haven Temple can be found just inside the nearby cave)
  • Kolskeggr Mine
  • Lost Valley Redoubt
  • Red Eagle Redoubt
  • Serpent's Bluff Redoubt (the town of Rorikstead is northeast of here)
  • Sundered Towers

Unmarked Locations

The Forsworn can be found in these locations as well, but they won't be marked on the map, making them impossible to be discovered or fast traveled to.

  • Forsworn Ambush Camp (North of Deepwood Redoubt and southwest of Volskygge)
  • Forsworn Camp: Bthardamz Outskirts (Southwest of Bthardamz)
  • Forsworn Camp: Gloomreach (East of Dushnikh Yal and south of Rorikstead, on a small road leading up to Valthume)
  • Forsworn Camp: Reachwater River (West of Reachwater Rock)
  • Incautious Bather (Northwest of Shrine to Peryite)
  • Reachmen's Altar: Red Eagle Redoubt (East of Red Eagle Redoubt)

Locations That Don't Feature Forsworn

These locations within the Reach do not feature Forsworn.

  • Arkngthamz (Dwemer Automatons; DLC Dawnguard required)
  • Bthardamz (Dwemer Automatons/Afflicted)
  • Bilegulch Mine (Bandits)
  • Chillwind Depths (Falmer)
  • Cliffside Retreat (Hunter's Shack)
  • Cradle Stone Tower (Hagraven)
  • Darkfall Cave (Frostbite Spiders; DLC Dawnguard required)
  • Deep Folk Crossing (Dwemer Landmark)
  • Dragontooth Crater (after completion of "Dragon Rising"; until then, Forsworn will spawn here)
  • Dushnik Yal (Orc Stronghold)
  • Fort Sungard (if the Dragonborn chooses sides in the Civil War)
  • Four Skull Lookout (Bandits)
  • Gloomreach (Falmer)
  • Hag's End (Witches; east of Deepwood Redoubt)
  • Harmugstahl (Frostbite Spiders)
  • Left Hand Mine
  • Liar's Retreat (Falmer)
  • Moldering Ruins (Vampires; DLC Dawnguard required)
  • Mor Khazgur (Orc Stronghold)
  • Old Hroldan Inn (rentable inn; Tiber Septim's tale of the Battle of Old Hroldan is mentioned here, however)
  • Purewater Run (Slaughterfish)
  • Ragnvald (Draugr)
  • Reachcliff Cave (Draugr)
  • Reachwater Rock (Draugr)
  • Reachwind Eyrie (Dwemer Tower)
  • Reach Stormcloak Camp (Stormcloak Headquarters for the Reach)
  • Salivus Farm
  • Shrine to Peryite (Daedric Shrine)
  • Sky Haven Temple (Blades Headquarters)
  • Soljund's Sinkhole (Draugr)
  • The Lover Stone (Standing Stone)
  • Valthume (Draugr)


A fair number of books, journals, notes, and letters can be found mentioning the Forsworn.


  • The Arcturian Hersey
  • The Bear of Markarth
  • The Legend of Red Eagle
  • The "Madmen" of the Reach
  • The City of Stone
  • Lost Legends
  • Nepos' Journal
  • Thonar Silver-Blood's Journal
  • Thalmor Dossier: Ulfric Stormcloak


  • Forsworn Note
  • Forsworn Missive
  • Dryston's Note
  • Bounty (The Reach; Forsworn)


The Forsworn will reclaim what is rightfully ours!
~ Forsworn in combat.
First you... then all of the Reach!
~ Forsworn in combat.
Come. Come and face the Forsworn...
~ Forsworn in combat.
Forsworn forever!
~ Forsworn in combat.
It all started here. This rebellion. When the Empire lost the Reach during the Great War, we became desperate. When the Aldmeri Dominion invaded the Imperial City, the Legion all but turned a blind eye to the other provinces. Many of the disgruntled natives of the Reach used the opportunity to depose the Empire, and founded what they called an independent kingdom. It was little more than a chaotic uprising, but the Reach was removed from Imperial authority for 2 years before we reclaimed it. But the leaders of the uprising refused our offers of peace. They fled into the hills, and became the Forsworn.
~ Jarl Igmund of Markarth.
The Forsworn have been spotted to the north, near Bruca's Leap Redoubt.
~ Markarth Guard.
Beware the region northeast, across the river. Forsworn have taken refuge in Broken Tower Redoubt and Red Eagle Redoubt.
~ Markarth Guard.
Lots of nasty holes in the Reach, and Blind Cliff Cave is one of them. A filthy Hagraven nest, northeast of here.
~ Markarth Guard.
Gods damn those Forsworn. So many dead...
~ Markarth Guard.
The Forsworn know every corner of the Reach. We'll have to wait them out.
~ Raerek, uncle and steward to Igmund.
Igmund's father was killed by Forsworn. I won't rest until they've paid with their blood.
~ Faleen, housecarl to Igmund.
It was the Forsworn, wasn't it? I lose dozens of shipments to those barbarians every season. Now they're in the city? Gods help us.
~ Lisbet of Arnleif & Sons Trading Company.
Every other day, one of the laborers runs off to the hills, saying that he'll join the Forsworn. You don't like the Nords? Fine. But pledging your whole life to killing them? That's just dumb.
~ Mulush gro-Shugurz.
My family has owned Karthwasten for generations. Rare for anyone in the Reach who isn't a Nord. Not that it does me any good. Nords think I'm working for the Forsworn. Forsworn think I'm working for the Nords.
~ Ainethach, leader of Sarnach Mine in Karthwasten.
You can't handle a group of Forsworn by yourself. If their axes don't get you, their magic will.
~ Skaggi Scar-Face, leader of Left Hand Mine.
The Reach is wild country these days. The Forsworn are everywhere.
~ Delphine to the Dragonborn during "Alduin's Wall"
That's right. In the Second Era, Tiber Septim himself led the army that conquered Old Hroldan from the barbarians of the Reach. Septim would later found the Empire that united Tamriel, but his first known battle and victory was right here. And this inn has the very bed the great general slept in on his first night as Old Hroldan's liberator. As good as it was hundreds of years ago.
~ Eydis, innkeeper of Old Hroldan when asked about Tiber Septim's room.
I'm a Breton from High Rock, and I refuse to be mistaken for a filthy native. I don't care if we share the same ancestors, these people are savages. Half of them are Forsworn barbarians, and have you seen what they eat?
~ Anton Virane, Understone Keep's head chef.
They just call themselves the people of the Reach. Lot of common blood with the Bretons, by the looks of them. Used to have their own kingdom 'till the Nords came. Now, they're at the bottom of the hay pile. Whole group of the natives called the Forsworn rose up against the Nords. Drove them out. Then Ulfric Stormcloak came with his militia. That must've been a sight to see, him shouting folks to death. You'd think that'd be the end of it, but those Forsworn are still in the hills, and they're as wild as wolves.
~ Kibell, the carriage driver stationed at Markarth Stables.
Stay clear of the Forsworn. Bloodthirsty savages.
~ Thongvor Silver-Blood.
I fought by your side. To take back the Reach from the savages.
~ Ghost of Old Hroldan.



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