In the absence of a king, the holds have effectively split apart from one another, and some holds are even actively at war with each other. One consequence for the player is that guards in each hold only care about crimes you have committed within that hold: any bounties you acquire are tied to a specific hold.
Many of the holds have distinct climates, such as The Rift being a birch forest, Falkreath Hold being a pine forest, and Eastmarch being tundra. Snowy mountain environments are also found in part of most holds.
- Eastmarch — A hold in eastern Skyrim, with its capital in Windhelm.
- Falkreath Hold — A hold in southern Skyrim, with its capital in Falkreath.
- Haafingar — A hold in northwest Skyrim, containing the provincial capital Solitude.
- Hjaalmarch — A hold in northern Skyrim, with its capital in Morthal.
- The Pale — A hold in northern Skyrim, with its capital in Dawnstar.
- The Reach — A hold in western Skyrim, with its capital in Markarth.
- The Rift — A hold in southeast Skyrim, with its capital in Riften.
- Whiterun Hold — A hold in central Skyrim, with its capital in Whiterun.
- Winterhold — A hold in northeast Skyrim, with its capital in the city of Winterhold.