Is there any way to fully clear a stormcloak/imperial camp?
Having completed the Civil War quest line for the imperials, it was mentioned in passing that I might meet Stormcloaks out in the wilderness and I should do my best to dispatch them.
However, the two Stormcloak camps that I have happened upon and assaulted have had immortal named NPCs in them (I assume quest-givers for “the other side”). I have killed all the foot soldiers in the camp (including the wounded in hospitals for good measure) and even emptied all the chests, however the named NPCs just refuse to get off their knees and die with dignity.
Is clearing the camps themselves an impossible task?
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If playing on the PC, installing the Unofficial Skyrim Patch (USKP) should fix that issue (it’s actually part of a quest that was not configured properly):
The quest built to deal with the essential civil war camp soldiers was not configured properly. The script intended to attach to aliases for Tullius and Ulfric was never attached because the aliases had never been created in the proper place. This should now be corrected and this quest will be started again if it’s not already running.
Imperial Legates and Stormcloak Commanders in camps throughout Skyrim will no longer remain unnecessarily essential after the Civil War questline is completed
USKP full changelog
You’re correct in assuming that the immortal NPCs are quest givers for the opposing faction. Unfortunately, even though you’ve already finished the Civil War quest line, those opposing NPCs are still immortal.
If you’re playing on the PC, you can use the console to remove their invulnerability: Press ` to open the console, click on the NPC, and type