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There are four major factions in Redguard, which feature prominently in the background and story. Some of the people you meet on Stros M'Kai are aligned with these factions, while many others will offer their opinions but are not openly loyal to any. You cannot freely join them like other games, but later in the story, Cyrus joins the Restless League. However, this offers no benefits in terms of gameplay.
The four major factions are:
- Crowns — Redguard nationalists who want Hammerfell to remain independent. Rivals to the Forebears.
- Empire — The forces of Tiber Septim, who has conquered Hammerfell following a civil war between Crowns and Forebears. Allied with the Forebears to defeat the Crowns.
- Forebears — Redguards who have accepted the Emperor's rule. They are rivals to the Crowns and allied with the Empire, but gained little at the end of the civil war.
- Restless League — A group of pirates based out of Stros M'Kai with a secret connection to the Crowns. They have weakened the Empire through raids and piracy.
Other minor factions that cannot be joined include:
- Brothers of Arkay — The priests at the Temple of Arkay: Nidal and his initiate Kithral.
- Laborer's Guild — A group of contractors, represented by Kotaro.
- Mage's Guild — Mages associated with the guildhall in the town square: Archmage Jaganvir, Apprentice Falicia, arrested Acolyte Joto, retired member Avik, and former Archmage Voa.
- Yokudans — Those who still follow the ancient traditions of Yokuda: Saban, Coyle, and their murdered son/brother Hayle.