The nonlinear gameplay traditional in the Elder Scrolls series is incorporated in Skyrim. The player can explore the open world of Skyrim on foot or on horse, and fast-travel to cities, towns, and dungeons after they have been discovered. Quests are given to the player by non-player characters (NPCs) in the world, and through the Radiant Story system, the quests can be dynamically altered to accommodate for player actions which may influence the quest's characters and objectives. The Radiant Story then further directs the player's interaction with the world by setting unexplored dungeons as quest locations. When not completing quests, the player can interact with NPCs through conversation, and they may request favors or training in skills from the player. In addition to scripted quests certain ones will be dynamically generated, providing a limitless number to the player.Some NPCs can become companions to the player to aid in combat. The player may choose to join factions, which are organized groups of NPCs such as the Dark Brotherhood, a band of assassins. Each of the factions has a headquarters, and they have their own quest paths which the player can progress through. The economy of cities and towns can be stimulated by completing jobs such as farming and mining, or spending large amounts of gold in the stores. Alternatively, the economy may be harmed by forging business ledgers and robbing the safes of stores.
A garrison town on the northern coast of Skyrim. Capital City of The Pale It was after the destruction of a fortress in Dawnstar during 2E 283 that Potentate Versidue-Shaie declared martial law, leading to one of the most brutal and bloody periods in the history of Tamriel. Dawnstar is one of the northern most cities in Skyrim along with Solitude and Winterhold.
A city in south-western Skyrim, Capital of Falkreath Hold. Close to the border with both and Hammerfell. Just across the border in Hammerfell lies the town of Elinhir. Falkreath is known for its cemetery, which dominates the southern part of the town.
A city in west-central Skyrim, the capital city of The Reach. Notable for possessing the Imperial College of the Voice, which was founded by Tiber Septim to restore the Voice to the art of warfare. Half of the town is controlled by a wealth family known as the Silver-Bloods, and violence runs rampant throughout most of the city because of the Forsworn.
A town in west-central Skyrim, capital city of Hjaalmarch, close to both Dragon Bridge, and Solitude. The mage, Falion, who can cure Vampirism, is located there. The current Jarl in Morthal is Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone.
Also known as Rifton, Capital of The Rift this town is located in south-eastern Skyrim, close to the province's borders with both Cyrodiil and Morrowind. Home to the Skyrim Thieves' Guild, it was in Riften that Barenziah joined the Guild during her return to Morrowind from exile in Skyrim. Maven Black-Briar is the most influential person in Riften, and has both the Riften Guard and the Jarl in her pocket, as well as connections in both the Thieves Guild and The Dark Brotherhood.
Solitude is the center of Imperial influence within Skyrim and capital city of Haafingar . Castle Dour is located there, from which General Tullius runs the Imperial Legion. The royalty are housed within the Blue Palace. Solitude is located far northwest of the center of the map. The home of the famous Bards' College, Haafingar is also one of Skyrim's few natural harbors and chief ports; ships from up and down the coast can be found at her crowded quays loading timber and salted cod for the markets of Wayrest, Anvil, and Senchal. Founded during Skyrim's long Alessian flirtation, the Bards' College continues to flaunt a heretical streak, and its students are famous carousers, fittingly enough for their chosen trade. Students yearly invade the marketplace for a week of revelry, the climax of which is the burning of "King Olaf" in effigy, possibly a now-forgotten contender in the War of Succession. Graduates have no trouble finding employment in noble households across Tamriel, including the restored Imperial Court in Cyrodiil, but many still choose to follow in the wandering footsteps of illustrious alumni such as Callisos and Morachellis.
A city in central Skyrim and capital of Whiterun Hold. It is the trade hub of Skyrim. The young Barenziah, during her escape, took shelter here for a week with a young lover during her return to Mournhold. This hold contains Whiterun and High Hrothgar and was once referred to as the "Imperial City of Skyrim" before it underwent several acts of chaos including a dynastic feud, attacks by Hörme bandits and frost trolls and a series of annihilating winters of alternating floods, droughts, and fires. A self-proclaimed priestess of Lorkhan, Jsashe the Witch-Queen, controls the county and the local witches' coven. It is interesting to note that the local giant population seems to use the tundra outside Whiterun as a pasture of sorts for their mammoth herds, and a place to set camp, like Bleakwind Basin.
The capital city of Winterhold Once a wealthy and influential city and county in north-eastern Skyrim, Winterhold is heavily affected by Dunmer ways and ideas, being close to the border. It contains the Ysmir Collective and the well known College of Winterhold. Winterhold's current Jarl is Jarl Korir. Due to the Great Collapse, most of the historic city sank into the ocean two hundred years prior to the dragon attacks. It is arguably the smallest hold capitol, with only a tavern, the Jarl's Longhouse and the College of Winterhold.
Once the capital of the First Empire, current capital city of Eastmarch. The palace of the Ysgramor dynasty still dominates the center of the Old City. Windhelm was sacked during the War of Succession, and again by the Akaviri army of Ada'Soon Dir-Kamal; the Palace of the Kings is one of the few First Empire buildings that remain. Today, Windhelm remains the only sizable city in the otherwise determinedly rural Hold of Eastmarch, and serves as a base for Imperial troops guarding the Dunmeth Pass into Morrowind.