Whether players side with the Empire or the Stormcloaks in The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, they have their work cut out for them. Defending Whiterun tips the balance in the Empire's favor, but there are still plenty of holds that players will need to help liberate.
Assuming players don't trade for control of the Pale during the Skyrim main quest "Season Unending," the next Imperial Legion quest after the Battle for Whiterun is "A False Front." The objectives of the quest are simple enough, but players may run into problems when trying to complete them.
Finding the Courier
The quest begins when General Tullius sends the Dragonborn to the Imperial Camp in the Pale, the northern hold that centers around Dawnstar. Legate Rikke is already there, and she has a plan to prevent the enemy from reinforcing their position. She orders the Dragonborn to find a courier who travels between Windhelm and Nightgate Inn, a remote inn that sits on the road between Windhelm and Dawnstar.
Rikke suggests talking to the innkeepers at Nightgate or Candlehearth Hall in Windhelm to get the courier's location, and this is the best option. Specifically, players should head to Nightgate since killing the courier in the middle of Windhelm can get players in trouble. Either way, players must pass a Persuade, Intimidate, or Bribe check to get the information. Both innkeepers are equally hard to persuade, but players will always succeed at intimidating them.
Getting the information from an innkeeper will move the objective marker onto the courier himself. The courier is constantly running between the two inns, stopping for only a moment at each one, so the best way for players to encounter him is to walk along the road between the two locations. Players can also find the courier this way without speaking to the innkeepers, since he's the only Stormcloak soldier who actively runs along this route.
If players speak to the courier, only one dialog option will appear and it automatically starts a fight. Players can avoid this by attacking the courier by surprise or by pickpocketing the documents off him while he's staying at an inn. Even if the courier starts the fight, killing him counts as murder, so players should do so on the road where there are no witnesses.
Once players have the documents, they should return to Legate Rikke. She'll alter them and send the player to Frorkmar Banner-Torn, the Stormcloak leader in Dawnstar. Players can claim a set of Stormcloak armor from the courier if they want to look the part, but even if they don't Frorkmar will accept the documents.
The Battle for Fort Dunstad
To complete the Imperial takeover of the Pale, players must assist the Legion in "The Battle for Fort Dunstad." This is the easy part, because Imperial Legion soldiers will constantly spawn in to assault the fort, and they're all slightly tougher than the Stormcloak soldiers inside the fort. Once around 50 to 60 enemy soldiers fall, the rest will flee the fort.
Stormcloak soldiers are each armed with a bow and a melee weapon, and they'll use their bow until an enemy runs up to them. Since players get a constant supply of Legion soldiers to back them up, any strategy or build will work in this fight. In fact, players can hide behind the front gate of the fort and wait for the Legion to finish the battle for them. The only bad idea is to run too far ahead of the Legion and end up in a space where all the Stormcloak soldiers can focus on the player.
Once the battle is over, players can head back to General Tullius to get a promotion, a magic shield, and the next assignment for the larger quest "The Reunification of Skyrim."
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is available now on PC, PS3, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.