History Franchise / TheElderScrolls

27th Jun '17 9:46:47 AM BeerBaron
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* [[TheElderScrolls/TheElderScrollsRaceTropes The Elder Scrolls Race Tropes]]
16th Jun '17 9:11:20 PM jormis29
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* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline'' (2014): An {{MMORPG}} prequel to the main ''Elder Scrolls'' series, set during the Second Era interregnum between the fall of the Akaviri Potentate and the rise of the Septim Dynasty. The PC has had their soul stolen by the Daedric Prince Molag Bal, and they must stop him as he attempts to take over Tamriel. Meanwhile, the Ruby Throne is empty, and three alliances vie for control of Cyrodiil and the Empire. Originally subscription based, it went "Buy to Play" in March 2015, meaning you only need to buy the game to play it.


* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline'' (2014): An {{MMORPG}} prequel to the main ''Elder Scrolls'' series, set during the Second Era interregnum between the fall of the Akaviri Potentate and the rise of the Septim Dynasty. The PC has had their soul stolen by the Daedric Prince Molag Bal, and they must stop him as he attempts to take over Tamriel. Meanwhile, the Ruby Throne is empty, and three alliances vie for control of Cyrodiil and the Empire. Originally subscription based, it went "Buy to Play" in March 2015, meaning you only need to buy the game to play it.[[/index]]
13th Jun '17 7:12:53 AM Koveras
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** ''Dawnguard'' (2012): The Dragonborn gets involved in a conflict between the newly reformed [[VampireHunter Dawnguard]] and a race of vampires in Eastern Skyrim, who wish to fulfill an ancient prophecy and [[TheNightThatNeverEnds permanently blot out the Sun]].


** ''Dawnguard'' (2012): The Dragonborn gets involved in a conflict between the newly reformed [[VampireHunter Dawnguard]] and a race of vampires in Eastern north-western Skyrim, who wish to fulfill an ancient prophecy and [[TheNightThatNeverEnds permanently blot out the Sun]].
13th Jun '17 7:09:43 AM Koveras
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** ''Bloodmoon'' (2003): Arriving on a Northern island of Solstheim, the PC runs into ravaging [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolves]] and is soon embroiled in a ritual conducted by the Daedric Prince [[TheWildHunt Hircine]] to determine the strongest fighter on the island. Naturally, the PC has to participate.


** ''Bloodmoon'' (2003): Arriving on a Northern island of Solstheim, the PC runs into ravaging [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolves]] and is soon embroiled in a ritual conducted by the Daedric Prince [[TheWildHunt Hircine]] to determine the strongest fighter on the island. Naturally, the PC has to participate.
participate, all the while helping an Imperial mining colony to grow from literally nothing into a thriving frontier settlement.
3rd Nov '16 12:12:08 PM BeerBaron
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3rd Nov '16 12:11:13 PM BeerBaron
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* [[[[TheElderScrolls/TheElderScrollsRaceTropes The Elder Scrolls Race Tropes]]


* [[[[TheElderScrolls/TheElderScrollsRaceTropes [[TheElderScrolls/TheElderScrollsRaceTropes The Elder Scrolls Race Tropes]]
3rd Nov '16 12:10:55 PM BeerBaron
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Has a page listing the [[TheElderScrolls/TheElderScrollsRaceTropes Tropes applicable to each race]].



* [[[[TheElderScrolls/TheElderScrollsRaceTropes The Elder Scrolls Race Tropes]]
3rd Nov '16 12:06:09 PM BeerBaron
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!!Provides examples of:


!!Provides !!The Series as a whole provides examples of:
3rd Nov '16 11:46:03 AM BeerBaron
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3rd Nov '16 11:43:58 AM BeerBaron
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* MadGod:
** Sheogorath is ''the'' Daedric Prince of Madness. In other words, he's not just ''a'' Mad God, he is ''the'' god of madness, and the insane are his subjects.
** It is suggested by Azura that this will be the fate of all those who tapped into the Heart of Lorkhan to gain divinity. Dagoth Ur was far less restrained in his consumption of power from the heart, driving him to madness the first, and is explicitly called "a Mad God" by Vivec. Almalexia seems to be finally driven to madness when she ''loses'' her divine powers.
* MadScientist: Wizards and sorcerers take on this this role in the setting, and there is certainly no shortage of them in each game. Special mention goes to the Dwemer, who combined their incredible ability as enchanters with SteamPunk technology. The sophistication of their creations is still unmatched by the other races of Tamriel despite them having vanished thousands of years ago. (Even their disappearance is thought to be a result of their experimentation gone awry in some way.)
* MadnessTropes: Too many of those appear in ''Shivering Isles'' (which conveniently takes place in the realm of the Mad God) to list them here individually.
* MageMarksman: A perfectly viable character build throughout the series. The most popular form is the "Witch Hunter" build which combines boosts to Marksmanship with Conjuration, Alchemy, and Enchantment. Summon a "Bound Bow," summon a couple of meat-shield mooks, and use poisoned arrows to strike down foes quickly. Or enchant a standard bow for extra magical damage. The "Nightblade" build boots Marksmanship and Illusion, allowing you to turn invisible to sneak up on foes for critical hits or to safely retreat to a safe distance once the fighting has begun.
* MageTower: Extremely popular with the magical communities across Tamriel.
* MagicAIsMagicA:
** Anyone can practice magic in their spare time, but it is also the subject of substantial research by magical and scholarly communities across Tamriel. There are also some very clear rules: to enchant an item, you must know the spell you'll burn in the item, you need a soul gem with a soul inside, and clothes and accessories can hold much more magic than weapons. While enchanting is consistent within each game, the exact mechanics tends to vary wildly throughout the series as a whole.
** There are many esoteric rules that are referenced throughout the series but don't appear in actual gameplay. For example, some magic requires "rituals" to perform, such as necromancy or permenant conjuration, which explains why the player can't use them in-game. "Daedric magic" is mentioned as a quick way for eager mages to get their hands on volatile power, though this isn't elaborated upon.
** Finally, it appears some, most, or maybe even all rules of magic can be stretched, if not necessarily broken; Ancotar states that permanent invisibility would "violate the Conservation of Perception," but has created a spell that can keep a whole village invisible for at least a year.
* MagicIsMental: Throughout much of the series, the schools of magic were always tied to "mental" attributes (Intelligence, Willpower, Personality.) Additionally, the Mages Guild (or local equivalent) always doubles as the guild for scholars.
* MagicalSociety: Several flavors.
** The Mage's Guild, which players can join.
** ''Skyrim'' also has a local equivalent of the Mages Guild in the College of Winterhold.
** The Psijic Order is a much more mysterious example. They're an ancient order of magic users based on the island of Artaeum in the Summerset Isles. The island has a habit of disappearing for centuries at a time, with the Psijics themselves giving no explanation of where it was while it was gone. They acted as advisers to various rulers in the past, but became much more secretive over the centuries. About 100 years before the events of ''Skyrim'', the island and the order disappeared once again (rumored to be related to the Thalmor taking over the Altmeri government,) with a few members (namely Quaranir and Nerien) briefly re-emerging to [[TheWorldIsNotReady confiscate the Eye of Magnus]].
* MagicalUnderpinningsOfReality: Present in spades. Time? Really only exists in the normal world, and even then it gets screwy because it's actually a god and can be tampered with by mortals. Space? Same thing, really. The Sun and stars? Instead of balls of gas and plasma, they are white holes leading to the realm of magic, created when one god and its followers bailed on creation. The planets are dead gods instead of balls of rock and gas while the moons are the pieces of a god after the others tore him apart. Gravity, the seasons, and other earthly properties? Caused by the will of the dead spirits that make up the mortal world.
* MagicKnight: Most games include a few player classes that mix both martial and magical skill specializations. The best example is probably the Battlemage, a heavily-armored warrior equally comfortable with spells and blades.
** There's an entire ''organisation'' of these in the Imperial Legion Battlemages: fully armed and armoured Legion soldiers with training to cast offensive and support spells. Also very much a speciality of the Bretons, due to a combination of their [[WitchSpecies innate magical potency]] and their [[KnightInShiningArmour strong chivalric traditions]], and most Thalmor troops are this as they wear full elven armour but also summon bound swords and use fire magic. Lastly, the Dragonborn, even if he happens to be a giant, bearded Nord clad in plate armour and with a [[{{BFS}} sword as long as he is tall]], will be able to use the Thu'um to use magical abilities.
* MagikarpPower: Magic and Stealth based builds usually have a much tougher going early in the games than their Combat oriented counterparts. However, after some leveling up and improvements in equipment/spell quality, these builds can reach massive levels of power. While the Combat oriented character is trading blows with enemy mooks, you can have killed them all already with ''x30 damage'' sneak attacks or hit them with a spell that paralyzes them all for 10 seconds while your powerful summoned creatures tear them apart. However, as seen under LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards, you can still find yourself at a disadvantage if you're forced to fight an enemy you can't sneak up on or who is immune to your spells, so it is wise to have a Plan B.
* {{Magitek}}: A specialty of the Dwemer, who combined their skills as master enchanters with their propensity toward SteamPunk.
* TheManBehindTheMan: Mehrunes Dagon, Daedra of Destruction, is usually the one ultimately behind the {{Big Bad}}'s various hijinks threatening the mortal world in the various games. Specifically ''Arena'', ''Battlespire'' and ''Oblivion''. There's also some evidence to suggest that [[TheManBehindTheMan Man Behind The Divine Eldritch Abomination Embodiment Of Destruction Mehrunes Dagon]] himself is Akatosh, ''Chief God of the Imperial Pantheon!''
* MartyrdomCulture:
** Nords: "May you die with a sword in your hands" is a ''perfectly normal'' way to say goodbye to someone. Dying in battle is, in fact, the only way to get into Sovngarde, the preferred Nordic afterlife.
** Orcs: The Orcs take it to an even greater extreme; Nords just think dying in battle is a nice thing to happen to you, but many Orcs ''actively look for ways to die in battle''. They feel that it pleases their patron deity, Malacath, for them to die in battle.
* MassiveRaceSelection: Eight racial options in the first two games, up to 10 starting with ''Morrowind''.
* MassMonsterSlaughterSidequest: Pops up on occasion. Frequently crosses over with TwentyBearAsses as you aren't simply killing the monsters, but collecting their OrganDrops for the quest giver.
* MasterOfNone: Medium Armor in ''Morrowind'' is the worst armor type, having few obtainable sets and nothing comparable to the best options for light and heavy.
** At least partially fixed in Tribunal, with the addition of Adamantium armor. But the sheer difficulty in obtaining a full set - you are forced to scrounge in dungeons for various 'veins' of ore surrounded by high-level monsters and then are forced to pay out the nose for each individual piece to even be made - means that its still not as easy to obtain as, say, Glass armor, the best light armor set. Or you could commit, you know, ''murder''.
* MayflyDecemberRomance: Just about any relationship between mer and man would count, but the relationship between Barenziah and Tiber Septim is a canon example (also a MayDecemberRomance, incidentally).
* MeaningfulName: Zurin Arctus' The ''Art of War Magic'' is, naturally, written in a style reminscient of Sun Tzu's ''TheArtOfWar''.
* MedievalEuropeanFantasy: Every game other than ''Oblivion'' subverts this to some degree, some more than others. ''Skyrim'' zig-zags it a bit by being a ''Northern'' European Fantasy. ''Morrowind'', easily the most alien game in the series, invokes this a little with its Imperial settlements, but they exist largely to contrast just how different the rest of Vvardenfell is in comparison.
* MedievalStasis: Technological progress seems to be completely nonexistent in that universe. The games span ''centuries'' of history, and none include an engineer, inventor or scholar that is not a mage or an alchemist. And [[CrapsackWorld unlike some other fantasy settings]], that universe has known significant periods of peace, prosperity and development, and has its share of daring merchants, crafty blacksmiths, visionary scholars, and other people that usually make progress happen just by existing and meeting. And the whole thing is especially weird considering the abundance of partly functional LostTechnology (Dwemer, Ayleid, etc.) everywhere you go; there is no explication why at least part of it could not be studied and eventually replicated. (You can meet a few people studying it -- mostly mages -- but they never come up with anything really interesting, except of course the occasional PointlessDoomsdayDevice.)
* MergingTheBranches: Done at the end of Daggerfall in regards to The Warp in the West, making all but one out of Daggerfall's seven endings canon at the same time, regardless of contradiction.
* MetafictionalTitle: The series as a whole.
* MilitaryMage: The office of Imperial Battlemage is both [[CourtMage a high-ranking adviser to the Emperor]] and a MagicKnight who usually specializes in the Destruction school, implying that they can be deployed as artillery. More generally, "battlemage" is both a character class in most games and an in-universe term for a mage focused on combat, many of whom are enlisted in the Imperial Legion. Averting the SquishyWizard archetype, they usually use full plate armor.
* MindScrew: The Elder Scrolls cosmology is ''very'' hard to wrap one's head around. This information may be incorrect, but so far the structure seems to be:
** At the top level, ''everything ever'' exists only as a dream within some utterly unknowable entity called the Godhead. Within the Godhead, there exist multiple ''sub-dreams'' known as Amaranths, each separate, but connected in some ways.
** Between each Amaranth is the Dreamsleeve. This is basically a roiling foam of pure information. When someone dies in the Elder Scrolls universe (and their soul is not otherwise claimed by a Daedra or something) their soul - or rather, the information that makes up their identity - returns to the Dreamsleeve and is broken up and returned back to the chaotic mass it came from. Eventually, Anu (or another Amaranth) will combine bits and pieces into a new identity, attach it to a soul, and send it back to be reborn into a new person.
** Back to the Amaranth. Within the one we care about, there was Anu and Padomay, which are the actual ''concepts'' of stasis and change, respectively. Their derived souls, Anui-El and Sithis were a bit more active, and the interplay between them created the Aurbis (aka, the Universe.)
** The Aurbis is divided into Aetherius, Oblivion, and Mundus. Aetherius is basically pure magicka, and also where the first immortal souls that would become the gods, Daedra, mortals, etc. came from.
** Within Aetherius are Mundus and Oblivion. Oblivion is where the Daedra (who refused to be part of creation) hang out. They each carved out infinite plane(t)s within the void that they rule over completely.
** Mundus is where things get a tiny bit more [[IncrediblyLamePun mundane]]. Mundus is where the spirit Lorkhan convinced (or tricked; Elves and Men [[BrokenBase have their own opinion]]) other spirits (called et'Ada) into giving up their power to create the mortal world, Nirn. These spirits became the Aedra, and eight of them are currently worshiped by the Empire. Some of the et'Ada said [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere "screw this"]] and bailed, punching holes within the inner sphere of Mundus, which created the sun and stars. Others gave up all their power and became the Ehlnofey, or Earthbones (aka the laws of nature/physics, such as they exist.) At some point Lorkhan was killed and his heart was thrown to Nirn, where it landed in Tamriel and became Red Mountain, [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind but that's a story for another time]].
** And of course at the bottom, you have the planet Nirn, which contains Tamriel. As seen in the games, this is the most ''normal'' place in the universe (at least if you don't dig far enough into the lore.) A group of Elves (the Thalmor) is rather mad that their once immortal spirits were duped by Lorkhan and forced to wear stupid mortal flesh suits though, [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim so they're looking to fix that issue by ending the world]].
** More information can (hopefully) be found by reading [[https://www.reddit.com/r/teslore/comments/21c4yy/a_model_of_the_godhead_and_its_contents_wherein_a/ this post]] on the [=TESLore=] subreddit.
* MisbegottenMultiplayerMode: Attempted with ''Battlespire'' and never attempted again outside of the MMO ''ES Online'' game due to the massive failure there.
* MisplacedVegetation: Evidently Tamriel's a hybrid of Europe and America, because they not only have cacti, but nightshades growing amongst the edible ones like potatoes and tomatoes, and corn amongst other things. See AllDesertsHaveCacti.
* TheMole: [[spoiler:The leader of the Fighters Guild to the Camonna Tong in ''Morrowind''.]]
* MoneyForNothing: In general, it is usually quite easy to acquire far more money than you'd realistically be able to spend. Most of the best items and equipment are found or given as rewards rather than purchased. High level enchantments, custom magic spells, and high level training for skills can be quite costly, but the price is still easily covered by doing a dungeon dive or two. Expect to see many players running around with hundreds of thousands or even millions of gold yet nothing to spend it on.
* MoneySink: Player houses are almost always one of the most expensive things you can buy in the games that they appear. Really, all they are is a glorified TrophyRoom with a safe place to rest. However, this doesn't stop them from being incredibly popular with players, to the point where you can buy multiple houses all across the game world.
* MoneySpider: Generally averted, as most creatures drop bits of VendorTrash or alchemical ingredients which you'll need to sell for money. Rarely, you may find a wolf or bear or ''dragon'' with some coins, jewelry, or gems. One can presume that these were ingested when the creature in question at a person carrying them.
* MonsterProgenitor: Lamae Beolfag, as chronicled in the book Opusculus Lamae Bal. Created through a traumatic rape by Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Enslavement, Lamae became the first recorded vampire, dubbed "Blood Mother". It is believed that all Vampires descend from her, upsetting the balance of death and rebirth normally administered by the Aedric God Arkay.
* MontyHaul: Usually averted by the quests in the games themselves. Even quests which promise vast riches rarely provide much than just doing a generic dungeon dive would provide. However, these are extremely popular in GameMods which tend to shower the player in strong equipment and valuable items.
* MoralityChain: Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Wishes and Deals, is fond of making deals that often screw over foolish mortals. His hound Barbas is the manifestation of his conscience who tries his best to keep his master from ruining too many lives.
* MouthOfSauron: The Listener of the Dark Brotherhood serves in this role, receiving contracts from the Night Mother. Without a Listener, they can't receive any contracts the normal way, which forces the Brotherhood to rely on word-of-mouth to hear if anyone has performed the Black Sacrament (the ritual prayer for an assassination heard by the Night Mother and spoken to the Listener).
* MrExposition: Each game has ''at least'' one, and usually several, characters that fill this role. Unusually for the trope, they sometimes act as [[UnreliableNarrator Unreliable Narrators]] who contradict one another, falsify information, or leave out certain details in order to further their own ends. ''Morrowind'' has the most extreme case of this, and at the end, you still don't know what the actual truth is (though you can certainly rule a few things out by that point).
* MultiArmedAndDangerous: Mehrunes Dagon, Daedric Prince of Destruction, is always depicted with four arms, each usually holding a different type of weapon.
* MulticulturalAlienPlanet: Men and Mer are not two single races, but four extant races each with enough similarities to to fit within the category, but many differences as well. Even within those races, there are various distinct cultures. Unfortunately, the beast races of LizardFolk Argonians and CatFolk Khajiit get the PlanetOfHats treatment, at least for those we see in the games themselves. The background lore has them with varied cultures as well.
* MultipleEndings: ''Daggerfall'' had seven possible endings depending on your actions in the game; ''Morrowind'' takes at least five of them as {{canon}} through a CosmicRetcon known as a "Dragon Break." The entire region ''Daggerfall'' takes place in experienced the "Warp in the West" and in the course of three days, 44 citystates become four, someone became a lich, a god and a man at the same time causing all three to exist, orcs joined the Empire, the Underking was laid to rest, and the Hero (you) died.
* {{Murder Inc}}: A considerable number of organizations qualify, including the Morag Tong (a government-sanctioned assassin's guild in Morrowind Province) and the Dark Brotherhood (a fully criminal offshoot of the former who expanded throughout the rest of Tamriel).
* MysteriousAntarctica: Nirn's version is Atmora, which is in the north rather than the south. It once had a human civilization, distant ancestors to the Nords, until it froze over and became utterly uninhabitable.
* NamedWeapons: Extremely popular throughout the series. You can also rename any weapon that you enchant to whatever you want.
* NayTheist: The Dwemer certainly acknowledged the existence of god-like beings such as the Daedra, but held them in no special regard and certainly did not worship them. In fact, they would even summon these beings to put their divinity to the test.
* NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: The ''Shivering Isles'' expansion.
* NeverFoundTheBody: The entire race of Dwemer. Theories abound, both in-universe and out, with bits of evidence here and there, but to date, no one knows for sure what happened to them.
* NoArcInArchery: Played straight in the games which did not have a physics engine. Averted afterwards, but the arrows will still fly unrealistically far before dropping.
* NoBiologicalSex: Daedric princes, technically. When they do take physical form, they can choose to alter it however they wish. As a result there are several who are referred to as male at certain times and female at others—sometimes in the same sentence.
* NonCombatEXP: The series uses a levelling system which gives the player experience for doing a given task (so you level up in sneak if you sneak, destruction magic for killing things with magic and so on) and awards levels (with respective stat increases, as well as perks in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'') every 10 ranks (so you could become quite high level by doing nothing but sneaking, smithing and [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath learning to talk really well]]).
* NoobCave:
** Each main series game either starts the player out in one, or has one accessible shortly after character creation. Usually, it includes a tutorial and give the player his/her first set of equipment.
** Morrowind downplays this, as there is no tutorial dungeon, though there is a cave close by the starting town where you can practice fighting and such, but it is completely optional.
** Skyrim has two! One you have to go through, and another which is basically an easy version of a normal dungeon. It can be found on the way to the next main plot point.
* NoodleIncident: The Republic of Hahd was this for the Summerset Isles and the Septim Empire.
* NumericalHard: Changing the difficulty slider in ''Oblivion'' only changes your damage multiplier against your enemies and your enemies' damage multiplier against you. This allows for an engine exploit on 100% difficulty, as even though you do only one-sixth base damage to your enemies and they do six times base damage to you, allies and summoned creatures do not suffer from this.
* OddJobGods: Among the many ones in the pantheons you can find Stuhn (God of Ransom) and Malacath (Patron of the Spurned and Ostracised) and Peryite (The Daedric Taskmaster, who essentially makes sure everything that doesn't have a place in Oblivion is taken care of).
** Malacath also happens to be the patron deity of the orcs, historically one of the most oppressed peoples in Tamriel. Additionally, as Trinimac, he was a major player in the creation of the Mundus, severing the Heart of Lorkhan. This is [[{{AllThereInTheManual}} All In The Manual]], of course.
* OlderIsBetter: Ancient Elven and Dwemer gear is better than modern gear. Dwemer were known to tinker with the laws of reality in order to make their creations last a really, really long time.
* OmnicidalManiac: Mannimarco, Dagoth Ur, Mehrunes Dagon... let's just say it has its fair share and leave it at that.
* OnceAnEpisode:
** Every game except ''Daggerfall'' begins with the PC as a prisoner, and ''Daggerfall'' still has a starter dungeon.
** Once the games moved away from RandomlyGeneratedLevels, each has had an early faction quest [[PlayingWithATrope Playing With]] the RatStomp trope. (''Morrowind'' plays it straight with the first Fighters Guild quest, ''Oblivion'' subverts it with the first Fighters Guild quest, and ''Skyrim'' plays it straight with a [[WakeUpCallBoss nasty surprise]] early in the Thieves Guild quest line.)
** [[EasterEgg M'aiq the Liar]] has appeared in every game starting with ''Morrowind'', dispensing TakeThatAudience and TakeThatUs shots.
* OneStatToRuleThemAll: Before ''Skyrim'' did away with attributes, Endurance was this because it determined your starting health and your health gain per level. Unless you wanted a really [[SquishyWizard squishy character]], it was essential. The official game guide for ''Morrowind'' even suggested making Endurance one of your primary attributes (which gave it a big bonus at the start of the game) regardless of your race or class. This also made "The Lady" a very popular birthsign in ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' since it gave an additional bonus to Endurance in those games.
* OnlySaneMan: Sheogorath's Chamberlain, Haskill, seems to literally be the only sane man in the ''Shivering Isles'', although his straight-laced demeanour is an aberration in itself. There is also an NPC named Uungor in Bliss who insists he is not insane, [[HeWhoFightsMonsters but is so obsessed with proving this and so paranoid that the other residents of the Isles are trying to drive him insane that it counts as insanity]].
* OpeningTheSandbox: Happens ''very'' early on compared to most series. Usually happens right after character creation and escaping the NoobCave, which can be mere minutes into the game.
* OppositeSexClone: Divayth Fyr's "daughters" in ''Morrowind''. They're also his [[ScrewYourself wives.]]
* OrwellianEditor: The name and address of the ''RPG Codex'', one of the bigger sources of criticism of ''Oblivion'', cannot be posted on the official forums, as the auto censor treats it as a swear word.
* OtherworldlyAndSexuallyAmbiguous: While all of the Daedra princes (a loose analog of DemonLordsAndArchdevils, only with BlueAndOrangeMorality) lack a default sex, most do appear consistently as one specific sex. Exceptions are Boethiah, who seems switch between genders at will, and Mephala, who has been described as being a hermaphrodite (as was her "anticipation" in ''Morrowind'', Vivec.)
* OurElvesAreBetter: They certainly seem to think so. And each race of elves seems to think of itself as better than the rest, ''especially'' the Altmer (high elves.)
* OurElvesAreDifferent: First off, they refer to themselves collectively as Mer. More specifically, our Wood Elves (Bosmer) are cannibals, our Dark Elves (Dunmer) aren't particularly evil, our High Elves (Altmer) are snobbish jerks at best and genocidal Nazis at worst, our Orcs (Orsimer) are a sub-breed of Elves and aren't wholly evil, our Snow Elves (Falmer) used to be really advanced but were driven to barbarism, and see {{Our Dwarves Are Different}} below.
* OurDemonsAreDifferent: Daedra. Scholars in-universe don't even like the label demon, since they're really all {{Eldritch Abomination}}s with BlueAndOrangeMorality. The things actually ''called'' demons are a race native to Akavir.
* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: Subverted rather ingeniously. TES Dwarves (Dwemer, a race of Elves) actually ''are'' very dwarfy - they're reclusive, they live in underground strongholds carved into the mountains, they're superb metalsmiths and engineers, they don't get along with the (other) mer, and they have big, long beards. Bethsoft managed to keep the archetype almost completely intact, yet the way in which a simple change of the visual portrayal makes it new and unique and exciting again is quite remarkable.
** And they're also as extinct as the dinosaurs. Despite being so much more technologically advanced than everyone else in the world, for some mysterious unexplained reason they all died out, and all the Dwemer are officially dead and gone by the time the Elder Scrolls games take place. The prevailing theory is that they essentially [[BrownNote Brown-Noted]] themselves out of existence. That's what happens when you start [[AllMythsAreTrue screwing with the fabric of reality]], especially when that reality includes {{Physical God}}s to be offended by your hubris. Another theory is that they succeeded in [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascending to a higher plane of existence]]. (How could the mortals left behind tell the difference?)
** Their size is also ingeniously subverted. According to historical evidence, they were no smaller than the average Mer. The reason for their "Dwarf" name was due to giants interacting with them and viewing them as short. This eventually made it into common knowledge of all of Tamriel.
* OurOrcsAreDifferent: They started out as [[Creator/JRRTolkien Tolkien]] Orcs, but [[CharacterisationMarchesOn evolved into Blizzard Orcs]] later on.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Vampire characteristics vary between games, but each are consistently unique in some way.
** More specifically, Vampire characteristics vary between region to region. To list a few, vampires in Skyrim have dens under frozen lakes, and attack their victims from under the ice (without breaking it), vampires in Black Marsh capture victims alive and keep them in a magicka-induced coma, and vampires in Valenwood, depending on the tribe, disintegrate into mist, eat people whole, prey on children, take their place and then kill the whole family, or are indistinguishable from normal people unless seen in candlelight.
* OurWerebeastsAreDifferent: Features a variety of therianthropic creatures, including werewolves, wereboars, werebears, werecrocodiles, werelions, werevultures and even weresharks; though only the first three have ever made an appearance in the games (the others are only mentioned in game lore), and werewolves are the only type of lycanthrope the player can ever become.
** OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: In ''Daggerfall'', werewolves transform once a month. In ''Morrowind'' (or rather ''Bloodmoon''), they transform every night. Both varieties have to feed (i.e. kill a sentient NPC) at least once per transformation or gradually lose health. In ''Skyrim'', werewolves may transform once a day, and stay transformed as long as they eat [=NPCs=]. This comes at the cost of magic, healing, and the inventory system in general, while in wolf form.
* TheOverworld: The series boast some of the largest Overworlds in gaming
** In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'', the Vvardenfell island is a single continuous explorable location, dotted with countless entrances to smaller dungeon and indoors levels.
** ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'' is similar to ''Morrowind'', except that entire cities are also rendered as smaller sub-levels accessible from the overworld.
* PassionIsEvil: You have deities called the Aedra and Daedra. The Aedra represent aspects such as Time, Life, Beauty, Commerce and Air--all natural things which have little to do with emotions. The Daedra, however, represent things like Deceit, Desires, Knowledge, Competition, The Spurned, Ambition, Manipulation, Madness, Domination, etc--or things sparked or perpetuated by emotions.
* PathOfInspiration: The Sixth House.
* PayingInCoins: In The Elder Scrolls series, this seems to crop up when you buy more expensive items (such as houses in ''Oblivion'' and ''Skyrim''). Since there is no higher integer to the currency than the septim [gold coin], you would be dumping at least 5000 coins in the lap of the local steward just to get a foot on the property ladder.
* PettingZooPeople: Argonians and Khajiit, LizardFolk and CatFolk respectively. There's also a few other "animal" races in the lore, such as the ape people/Imga, monkey people/Tang Mo, slugmen/Sloads, and the extinct fox people/Lilmothiit, but only the Argonians and Khajiit have appeared in the main series, and the only one of the others to appear in ''any'' game are the Sloads (one can be found in ''Redguard'', as a villain).
* PhysicalGod: Almost too many to count. Some of the more prominent examples:
** Any of the Daedric Princes when they appear as an avatar in Mundus. Some of the more powerful lesser-Daedra may also qualify.
** Dagoth Ur and the Tribunal, who were mortals who ascended to godhood by tapping into the Heart of Lorkhan.
** Tiber Septim (possibly by [[BecomingTheMask mantling]] Lorkhan/Shor/Shezzar) ascended to become the god Talos upon his death.
** [[spoiler: The [[PlayerCharacter Player Characters]] from ''Morrowind'', ''Oblivion'', and ''Skyrim'' all acquire or are born with attributes fitting the trope by the end of their games. See GodInHumanForm above for more.]]
* PietaPlagiarism: A large statue in the town of Chorrol in ''Oblivion''.
* PlantPerson: Dryads and Spriggans.
* PlayableEpilogue: These games do not really end until you get bored of exploring.
* PotionBrewingMechanic:
** Alchemy minigames are an essential part of ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series and usually revolve around harvesting plants and dead monster parts for ingredients, figuring out which four harmful or beneficial magical effects each of them has, and mixing two or more ingredients with a certain effect to produce a potion of that effect. The Alchemy SkillScore usually determines the potency of the potion.
** In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'', you also need alchemical tools (such as pestles, mortars, retorts, etc.) and their quality has impact upon different aspects of the resulting potions (e.g. effects duration and magnitude). Additionally, your Intelligence {{stat|s}} affects the effects of the potions, so many a GameBreaker has been produced by repeatedly mixing and imbibing potions that buff it.
** In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', you can no longer mix potions anywhere, because the alchemy labs are now stationary level props. They also don't differ in quality any more, so your Alchemy skill (and the associated perks) is the only factor in the potions' potency.
* PowerOfTheVoid: Sithis. A deity neither Aedra nor Daedra, who is said to represent the primordial chaos of the universe. He is worshiped by the Dark Brotherhood, who mention serving him in "the Void" after death.
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: Depending on how empathic you are, normal Soul Gems can qualify for this seeing as how they use a monster's soul to power magical items. Black Soul Gems certainly fit the trope, being that they use the souls of mortal races to power magical items. Mortal souls count as Grand Souls, which can make the most powerful enchantments.
* PowersThatBe: The Daedra & The Nine Divines, Sithis may qualify too.
** It was alluded too in Skyrim by Boethiah, a Daedra, that this may not be the case.
* PragmaticVillainy: With only a few exceptions, the Thieves Guild doesn't allow killing... It's bad for business.
* ProudWarriorRace: The Orcs/Orsimer, as well as the Redguards, although to a slightly lesser extent. Redguards usually dislike magic, with a Redguard Mage in ''Oblivion'' claiming that its common belief that "If you use magic, you're either Weak, or Wicked" in Hammerfell... There is an exception for Destruction magic though, they're a warrior culture who happens to think that more damage is a GOOD thing regardless of the source.
** This is rather true in Daggerfall, which takes in place Hammerfell and Highrock, as if you join the Mages Guild, your reputation with every other faction plummets.
** The Nords of Skyrim may also count, if not for the fact that they're less ProudWarriorRace and more ''Drunken'' Warrior Race, they'll actually ridicule [[KlingonScientistsGetNoRespect most magic users]]. This wasn't always the case, but they've come to distrust magic over time.
** The [[HornedHumanoid Dremora]] are a Daedric race that focuses on [[BloodKnight combat]], crafting powerful weapons and [[SpikesOfVillainy fearsome]] [[ScaryImpracticalArmor armor]], [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and being]] [[ChewingTheScenery exceptionally]] [[LargeHam hammy]] [[EvilIsHammy warriors]].
* {{Precursors}}: The Ehlnofey for every race ''except'' the Argonians, which are descended from ancient sentient trees called Hist.
** In addition to those, we have the Aldmer (the First Elves) of Aldmeris, who are the ancestors of all the modern Elvish races (particularly the Altmer), and the Nedes of Atmora, who are the ancestor race of the humans except the Redguard (who come from Yokuda).
* PrimordialChaos: The universe started out as this, with "The Void." While the exact details of creation vary from culture to culture, there are a few consistent elements. Two forces would enter this void ("Anu/Stasis" and "Padomay/Chaos.") The two forces would come into conflict over "Creation," with their spilled blood becoming the Aedra and the Daedra.
* PrisonEpisode: These games tend to involve prison settings early on.
* PurelyAestheticGender: For about 99% of each game, gender is completely aesthetic. In the pre-''Skyrim'' games with character attributes, the starting attributes were slightly different between genders of the same race, and there is the occasional quest (or set of quests) only available to (or is slightly different for) one gender, but these are only a very small minority. Really, the gaming experience is the same regardless of your character's gender. Taken UpToEleven in Skryim, where (thanks to EveryoneIsBi) every single marriageable character can be married regardless of your character's gender.
* RandomlyGeneratedLoot: Subverted. Equipment appears to follow the "X weapon of Y" naming format [[note]][craftsmanship] weapon of [adjective corresponding to a power level]ous [enchantment effect]]ing, to be exact.[[/note]], however it only RandomlyDrops and has its enchantment scaled to the player's level.
** ''Morrowind'' averts it with loot outside of containers, which is hand placed and never changes. Savvy veteran players can find extremely high level loot well before it will start being randomly generated in containers this way.
* TheRashomon:
** The entire creation mythology in the ''Elder Scrolls'' universe is significantly different between cultures, but all follow a very similar pattern.
** In ''Morrowind'', The Tribunal Temple, Vivec (giving a different account than the Temple which worships him,) Azura, Dagoth Ur, the Ashlanders, and the Dissident Priests all recount Nerevar's final days and death at Red Mountain in different, highly contradictory ways. The Dissident Priests alone have several differing accounts — that is, one of the things they criticize the Temple for is being so sensitive about different accounts of the events at Red Mountain, so they've taken it upon themselves to gather as many different accounts as they can. They don't make any claim to know which account is true, though they phrase things in a way that make clear that they find something off about the Temple's story.
* RealIsBrown: ''Morrowind'', which has a plague in the story which has robbed the countryside of all colour and replaced it with a depressing brown. As with everything in ''Morrowind'', there's a [[GameMod mod]] for that.
** ''Skyrim'' is somewhat similar, though Real Is Grey might be a more appropriate description. Especially notable when comparing weapons and armor (except dwemer) to the previous games. Steel blades no longer shine like in ''Oblivion'', Elven gear is dark brown-greenish rather than gold-greenish, the shiny mithril and adamantium are nowhere to be found, glass is dark blue-greenish rather than neon, ebony now has grey details rather than yellow and daedric armor notably has far less red detailing than it did in ''Morrowind''.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Response to some of the criticisms of the [[LizardFolk Argonians]] being plantigrade in ''Daggerfall'', ''Oblivion'' and ''Skyrim''. Actually... ''Morrowind'' is the most unrealistic, seeing as reptilians and amphibians walk plantigrade in real life.
** For those of us without a medical degree, plantigrade is walking with the foot flat against the ground as opposed to walking on the toes with the heel raised (digitgrade). The latter is used in ''Morrowind''.
* RecklessSidekick, LeeroyJenkins: The [=NPCs=] in {{Escort Mission}}s, including a [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] in which one of them goes charging straight into a deathtrap. Also the various Guild sidekicks in ''Oblivion''.
** The Dark Brotherhood sidekicks in ''Oblivion'' deserve a special mention - considering they're all highly-skilled ''assassins'', they have a remarkably poor understanding of stealth and tend to charge headlong into battle as soon as they spot an enemy. Sensible players kill their DB sidekicks right away to save time (and loot the bodies).
* RecurringRiff: Starting with ''Morrowind'', the "Elder Scrolls theme". Dun dun dun, dun dun dun, dun dun dun, da da dun dun dun...
* RedSkyTakeWarning:
** The Deadlands of Mehrunes Dagon (the realm of Oblivion) in ''Oblivion.''
** Also the skies over Red Mountain in ''Morrowind'', especially during a particularly nasty ash storm.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: Possible to avert, but difficult... Eldamil in ''Oblivion'' makes a HeelFaceTurn just in time for a [[ZergRush Mook Rush]] followed by a battle with TheDragon.
* RegeneratingMana
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: The Argonians, despite being no worse than the other playable races in general, are long-standing victims of FantasticRacism. This trope is also [[InvokedTrope invoked]] to emphasize the average Tamrielic denizen's fear and hatred of the Akaviri snake-men/Tsaesci.
* RockMonster: Storm Atronach are conglomerations of floating boulders in a more-or-less humanoid shape.
* RuleThirtyFourCreatorReactions: InUniverse with ''The Real Barenziah'', a novelized biography of the Queen Mother of Morrowind that in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'' had a notorious case of {{Getting|CrapPastTheRadar}} IKEAErotica [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar Past the Radar]] (namely, Barenziah having sex with a Khajiit so he'd induct her into the ThievesGuild). In later games the Tribunal Temple had it censored, but by some reports Barenziah herself actually enjoyed the books and is friends with the author.
* RunningGag: Most of the games begin with the player character imprisoned. And your sweetrolls keep getting stolen (The Sweetroll reference has been in almost every game in the series, usually seen in the Questionnaire at the start, but it's more of a Bethesda running gag since they even snuck it into ''{{VideoGame/Fallout3}}'')
** Starting with the move to 3D environments and hand-placed items in ''Morrowind'', the devs like to put items with rather...''[[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything suggestive]]'' uses into NPC bedrooms. Potions of Restore Endurance and items of a [[FreudWasRight certain size and shape]] (like a horker tusk with a strip of leather) are favorites.

* SacredBowAndArrows: Auriel's Bow, wielded by the god of the same name.
* SceneryPorn: A staple of the series. Each game tends to have some of the best scenery graphics by the standards of when it was released, and each new one significantly ups the ante from the previous. The modding community further contributes with their own graphics upgrades, such as Dagger XL and the Morrowind Graphics Extender.
* ScrewDestiny: People meant to be heroes are able to do this, up to and including out and out defying the futures predicted by the Elder Scrolls themselves.
** The Elder Scrolls tend to write themselves as prophecied heroes left their mark on the world. Before being fixed, they're blank or ever-changing. There's also the idea that it's not so much the hero that fulfills the prophecy, but that it's the one that fulfills the prophecy that becomes the hero. ''Morrowind'' features a crypt for failed attempts.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: You are able to murder people all you want and just pay a fine for it. You can literally steal something, pay the guard to leave you alone, murder the shopkeeper, pay a fine, kill the guard (if you're lucky), pay the fine, then murder a random person on the street, pay the fine, take a nap on said street next to their corpse, then pay the fine....
** However, you can't murder people who're important to the story: in ''Morrowind'', you receive a message that says "You've doomed the world" and have made the game {{Unwinnable}}.
** Technically, you can still win, it's just difficult and you'll probably need to look it up online to figure out how.
* ScrewYouElves: Much of Tamriel's history can be summed up as "elves and men fighting," or sometimes "elves fighting other elves." The first empire of the races of men actually got its start as a rebellion against their elven masters. Relations between the Human and Elven races were better, but still somewhat strained during the Third Era. By the Fourth Era, the Altmer have taken over much of Tamriel and are doing their best to restore the pre-Empire human/elf dynamic. Needless to say, the humans are pretty pissed about this.
** Not just Man but also Argonian, Khajiit and other Mer are pretty pissed off with the Thalmor. [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch Even a great deal of Altmer despise them]].
* SeriousBusiness: In [[GameMod modding]] scene, [[StopHavingFunGuys some people]] treat lore accuracy in mods as this. If they encounter a mod that does not fit into the style of the gameworld and established lore, like for example anime or Star Wars based mods, they will surely post a comment to let everyone know how this mod is complete trash and an offense to the entire Elder Scrolls franchise. Instead of, you know, simply choosing not to use the mod and moving on to mods they do like.
* SerratedBladeOfPain: Daedric weapons are this in Skyrim.
* ShopliftAndDie: Any shopkeeper in the franchise fits, although with the way the game is programmed and the inconvenient locations of stealable items, it's more like "accidentally pick up a random object when trying to access the shopkeeper and die".
** This is extremely prominent in Arena, as the guards will kill you on sight for just failing to pick a lock. While in Daggerfall it's much much more lenient as you actually go to trial and can defend yourself, depending on how high your personality skill is. Though if you're in The Dark Brotherhood or Thieves guild, they can intimidate the judge into letting you go.
* SidequestSidestory: The games typically have the main quest, the standalone sidequests, and major story arcs consisting of sidequests for each big faction in the setting (Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, Thieves Guild, etc.). The latter are often almost as expansive as the main quest.
* SilverHasMysticPowers: Weapons made of silver are one of the few ways to hurt ghosts. Depending on the game, silver weapons are also more effective against other supernatural entities as well (daedra, undead, vampires, werewolves, etc.)
* TheSingularity:
** An amusing side effect of a GameBreaker in ''Morrowind'' is the ability to turn yourself into a one-man Singularity. Craft intelligence-enhancing potion. Use intelligence boost to craft better intelligence-enhancing potion. Repeat until intelligent enough to craft a weapon capable of killing the final boss in one hit. It was also possible to make spells that did this - hike up the damage and other stats enough and the mana cost became so stupidly high it ran full circle and you could have a low-level mage chucking out magical nukes like they were Spark.
** ''Skyrim'' lets you do the same, though this requires ''two'' skills: alchemy and enchanting. Craft alchemy potion to improve enchanting. Use that to enchant gloves and helmet and rings and necklaces to boost alchemy. Rinse and repeat until satisfied, then use both ridiculously-boosted skills to enchant equipment to improve smithing and brew smithing-boosting potions. Go visit a blacksmith and forge an iron dagger that can one-shot the final boss.
** ''Skyrim'' also lets you do the same much faster with the infamous Fortify Restoration exploit. Make a set of clothing (head/gloves/ring/necklace) with Fortify Alchemy and equip it. Make a Fortify Restoration potion. Drink it, and un- and re-equip your gear, then make another Fortify Restoration potion and repeat several times. Once you have [[http://cloud-2.steampowered.com/ugc/884106516298709611/83C005F518F6288FB05708BFEC55BF2E0A8DDCB6/ sufficiently high numbers]] (which with the right Alchemy perks only takes a few iterations), make Fortify Smithing and [[http://cloud-4.steampowered.com/ugc/884106516298735321/43DC5A4548BC95E8BCBE0D4D350DE0B3CC6902DC/ Fortify Enchanting]] potions, which can now be used to enchant gear that [[http://cloud-2.steampowered.com/ugc/884106516298881581/3E707070A5A3ABDB65CDE1091BB936FE712447B8/ completely negates magicka cost]]/gives you millions of HP/instant hit point or [[http://cloud-4.steampowered.com/ugc/884106516308428553/1318D8CC60413CD12F4784593266A90F3DB4656B/ magicka regeneration]]/complete immunity to certain types of damage, and to improve said gear and weapons to the point that even Alduin dies in one hit... or just plain ''crashes the game''.
* SkeletonKey: The Skeleton Key artifact, an unbreakable lockpick that fortifies your "security" skill, has appeared in every main game of ''The Elder Scrolls'' series so far, as an artifact primarily associated with the Daedric Prince Nocturnal.
* SomethingNauts: The Imperial Mananauts explored Aetherius during the First Era's Reman Dynasty.
* SomewhereAnEquestrianIsCrying: Tamriel's horses can take quite a bit of abuse from the player with almost no ill effects, although most horses will eventually die.
* SoulEating: Creatures with dragon souls can consume other dragon souls to a) boost their own souls' power and b) destroy the other soul permanently (the only way to destroy the otherwise immortal dragons). Apart from dragons themselves, history knew a handful of humans and humanoid creatures born with dragon souls [[spoiler:as a result of manipulations by the Daedric Prince Haermeus Mora]], known as "Dragonborn", who can also do that. In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', the PlayerCharacter is a Dragonborn and devours the souls of the dragons they slay.
* SpaceCompression: Averted in ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall''. The other games in the series, however, use this trope for good reason. (''Daggerfall'' also has a fast travel mode... and unless you want to go crazy, you'll have to use it to get everywhere.)
* SpectralWeaponCopy: The conjuration school of magic usually has spells which can summon daedric weapons (the most powerful basic weapon type) and armour for a short time. ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' takes this further, by having summoned weapons actually appear ghostly (in previous games they used the same models/sprites as more permanent versions of the weapons).
* SpiritualSuccessor: To the ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' series, having the same set of guilds, character upgrade system, and multiple paths for progression.
* SpontaneousWeaponCreation: You can use the "Bind [weapon]" spells to summon the most powerful generic equipment in the game for a while.
* StealingFromTheHotel: Your character can do this. Prior to ''Skyrim'', no repercussions result; in ''Skyrim'', the innkeeper can send a few hired goons after you if you do so.
* SteamPunk: The Dwemer ruins.
* StylisticSuck: [[EnsembleDarkhorse Crassius Curio]]'s plays.
* SuddenlyVoiced: The Dremora you encounter in ''Oblivion'' and ''Skyrim'' can talk in English. [[EvilIsHammy And they make up for their previous voicelessness with some great lines,]] [[ChewingTheScenery uttered in the most over-the-top manner possible]].
** The Golden Saints also fall under this trope, since they were all silent during their debut in ''Morrowind'', and began speaking in the ''Shivering Isles'' expansion of ''Oblivion''.
* SurpassedTheTeacher: You can find trainers who can automatically increase your skills for money (rather than grinding). However, each skill has a trainer for each rank of experience in that skill and, starting with ''Oblivion'', can only train you 5 times per level. If you ask for training once you've exceeded their skill level, they'll say something to the effect of this trope.
* TakeThat: M'aiq the Liar in ''Oblivion'': "People always enjoy a good VideoGame/{{fable}}. M'aiq has yet to find one, though. Perhaps one day."
** M'aig returns in ''Skyrim'', still delivering these to devs and players alike.
* TakeThatAudience: The ''Daggerfall'' manual has this line "People who play role-playing games need more than some pretty graphics and nonstop action to whet their claymores; they want depth and character and wit and drama. They want the thickest, most involving novel that they've ever read translated to their 15" screen, with themselves as the hero. That's what I love about people who play role-playing games. [[UnpleasableFanbase They're so reasonable]]."
** M'aiq, even before ''Oblivion'', was basically telling people asking for all sorts of features to implement the game to just can it.
* TakeThatUs: M'aiq [[RunningGag again]], in ''Skyrim''. "[[WelcomeToCorneria M'aiq saw a mudcrab the other day]]. Horrible creatures."
* TalkingIsAFreeAction: In most of the games talking, lockpicking, looting and checking your inventory freezes time.
** Particularly noticeable in the ''Oblivion'' main quest when a character stops to have a conversation with you ''while being chased by assassins.'' He even says "I think they're behind me!" [[FailedASpotCheck with his assailant clearly visible, frozen in place, behind him.]]
** Averted only in ''Skyrim'' - talking does not pause the world around you. Feel free to chat about the Civil War while a dragon burns everything around you. Although enough chaos and battle happening nearby will usually distract [=NPCs=] and automatically end the conversation.
** The problem was present in ''Morrowind'', but minimized since there was so little voice acting--mostly you got sick of [[WelcomeToCorneria the same few snippets of dialogue]]. Things are much worse in ''Oblivion'', as there's much more voiced dialogue, and to save money the number of voice actors for the 20 race/gender combinations was halved to ten.
*** One of the more amusing examples is an old man who asks you to find his sons and help them fight off goblins. His sons, naturally, are both males of the same race, and when you first meet them they begin holding a conversation with each other that you can listen in on. Since they're the same race and gender, they sound identical, and this is made even more strange by the fact that, unlike most [=NPCs=] (who simply have random conversations using stock greetings and responses when they run into each other), this example of an actor TalkingToHimself was ''fully scripted.''
** As noted by ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'', in ''Oblivion'' a single character will sometimes have two completely different voice actors. An old beggar woman on the street croaking at you for coins will switch to a far younger and less infirm woman when you actually stop to talk to her.
*** The beggars are definitely the most {{egregious}} example, mainly because they forgot to record and/or actually implement beggar-specific versions of certain generic NPC dialogue. [[HiddenDepths Or you might think that the Beggars just ham it up with the infirm voice to get more money.]]
** There's one Priest you can talk to who lapses into a completely different voice unlike any other found in the game for just one line, but you can still tell it's the same voice actor who does Imperial males. This gives the impression that initially, certain [=NPCs=] were supposed to have slightly different accents or pitches, but the idea was scrapped early on.
** The entire problem was thankfully averted in ''Skyrim'', for the most part. There are now more like four or five voice actors for each gender of each race, so you're much less likely to hear two [=NPCs=] conversing in the same voice. Nearly all of the plot-important characters also have their own voice actors whose other roles are minimal.
*** There's still a fairly limited pool (much bigger than ''Oblivion'', but still). It's just that instead of being assigned by race and gender, they're more closely tied to age and social standing. It's also helped by the fact that there are no more random conversations, all instances of NPC chatter are scripted events that come off as more natural. Though it is noticeable that orcs, Khajiit, and Argonians are still limited to one voice actor per gender, though this is probably because they're the least common races in the game.
*** Particularly, players will soon get used to Generic Nord Male, Suspect Sounding Shopkeeper, and Ah-nold Impersonator among the male voices.
* TechDemoGame: Both ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' were the ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}'' of their eras.
** Even ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' were this when they came out - both of their graphical capabilities were beyond their time. It may not seem like it since they're obviously way outdated now, but they're really great by early-mid 90's standards. (''Daggerfall'' was a ''little'' dated, though. The developers even put in a TakeThat at fancy graphics in the readme.)
* TheSpymaster: Caius Cosades in ''Morrowind'', Jauffre in ''Oblivion''.
* TheUnreveal: We never find out exactly who the Night Mother really is (sort of, her origins are a minor point in the ''36 Lessons of Vivec''), or ''what'' Sithis really is.
** [[MindScrew Sithis Is Not.]] ([[UnreliableNarrator At least according to some sources]].)
** Also, exactly what did happen to the Dwemer? It was never revealed in-game explicitly (but hints were there) and had to be explained by one of the writers: [[spoiler:They became the skin of Numidium.]]
* TheyCallHimSword: The powerful sword Umbra is cursed and tends to possess its owners, resulting in them becoming obsessed with the sword and adopting its name as their own.
* ThievesGuild: In ''Daggerfall'', ''Morrowind'', ''Oblivion'', and ''Skyrim''.
** ''Morrowind'' has two, though the second one, the Cammona Tong, isn't joinable (they are a bunch of xenophobes, and you're a foreigner).
** Mentioned by random characters in ''Arena,'' but not actually shown.
* ThirdPersonPerson: Most of the Khajiit speak this way. Argonians also occasionally slip into this. Where it gets weird is when the Khajiit don't deign to reveal their own name: they just say "Khajiit," like a nameless merchant's guard saying "Khajiit is just a guard and has no wares to sell."
* ThrivingGhostTown: The Imperial City and Vivec are each home to ''maybe'' 200 unique [=NPCs=], while settlements like Gnaar Mok have an apparent population of about ''five''.
** This trope is averted in ''Daggerfall'', where settlements are realistically sized and have appropriate populations. Of course, they're also randomly generated... with multiple citizens who are virtually ''clones'' of each other. And let's be frank - most of them aren't useful in the least bit.
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: How the Snow Prince was finally slain. (By a 12 year old girl, no less.)
* TimeCrash: Happen during events known as "Dragon Breaks," with a dash of RealityBreakingParadox also thrown in. They're known as "Dragon Breaks" because the dragon-god of time, known by many names but most prominently as Akatosh, is "tampered with" so to speak. A few prominent prominent examples of this happening:
** In the first era, a remnant of a once-powerful organization of [[FantasticRacism anti-elf inquisitors]] carried out a ritual in attempt to purge Akatosh of the elven aspects of the mythological basis that Akatosh was based on, the elven golden eagle god Auri-El. The effort proceeded to break Time for a period of a bit over 1000 years, from 1E1200-1E2208. People gave birth to their own parents, some texts mention wars which never happened according to other sources, the sun changed colour depending on the witness and the gods either walked among the mortals or they didn't. How could they measure how long that period was? The Khajiit, a cat-like race on Tamriel whose mythology was heavily steeped in the two moons, used those as a basis for time, despite time otherwise being non-linear through this event's duration. (The moons are the "rotting corpse" of the dead creator god of the ES universe, and thus were unaffected.)
** The Numidium, a [[HumongousMecha giant brass golem]] built by the Dwemer and powered by the Heart of Lorkhan, the dead creator god, was essentially their refutation of the gods made material. Because of this, it frequently caused these when activated, such as the temporal toxic waste dump in Elsweyr where Tiber Septim's mages tried to figure it out after the Dunmer Tribunal gave it to him as a tribute, or the Warp In The West, where all the endings in Daggerfall essentially simultaneously happened and the temporal paradox was so straining on reality that a nuclear-like explosion occurred. Oh, and, during one part of the process, the Dwemer did... something that apparently pissed off reality, ending with their entire raced completely wiped from existence while keeping everything else intact.
** The Scrolls themselves can cause a mild version of this depending on who reads them. Someone who is completely untrained in the history and nature of the Scrolls just sees the page picture for the main Elder Scrolls page. Someone with slight training is struck blind immediately. People with great training (e.g. members of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth) gradually go blind as they read more of the scrolls. Then we have the Dovahkiin in Skyrim. Dragonborn are mortals with the soul of a dragon, and dragons exist outside of time. Reading the Scroll you obtain as part of Skyrim's main quest results in being momentarily blinded, then recovering.
* TinyGuyHugeGirl: The [[OurElvesAreBetter wood elves]]. Female bosmer are as tall as Imperials, while the males are [[OneHeadTaller nearly a full head-height shorter]]. Though this is averted as of ''Skyrim'', where there's no notable height disparity between male and female wood elves (females are still taller, but not by nearly as much).
** Male Golden Saints and Dark Seducers are the same height as Imperials, whereas the females are as tall as Altmer and Dremora, which are the tallest races (playable or otherwise) in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''.
* TokenEvilTeammate: Mehrunes Dagon is one of the few Daedric Princes that can be considered pure evil, or at least comes the closest to being pure evil. Naturally, he's the main antagonist of several games, including ''Battlespire'' and ''Oblivion''. A few others are extremely not-nice like Molag Bal (whose deal is "Domination," and often "rape") or the ones that see humans more as playthings than people, but the rest can be chalked up to "an elemental force of will that's not inherently good or evil on its own."
** Even Mehrunes Dagon has some positive features; aside from being the god of destruction, he's also the god of change and rebellion- this is in contrast to Boethiah, who is very specifically the god of ''unlawful'' overthrow of authority, despite being considered one of the "good" daedra by the dunmer. Molag Bal, however, is generally agreed to have no positive qualities at all.
* TomeOfEldritchLore: Several.
** The eponymous Elder Scrolls. Frequently referred to as "fragments of creation," they are completely irrefutable recordings of history/alternate history; what did happen, what could have happened, what might happen. Even the falsehoods in them are true. ''Especially'' the falsehoods, as is pointed out several times in the series. Reading them completely untrained will yield just some weird chart that looks like it has constellations on it, with odd glyphs printed over (or under?) the chart. An incompletely trained reader (knows just enough to hurt themselves) will end up getting something out of it but likely useless, and their eyesight is gone. A well-trained reader can glean much and eventually regain their eyesight... for a finite number of times before their sight is gone for good. Even those who merely study the scrolls, never actually using them, are driven to complete madness with alarming regularity.
*** The power of the Elder Scrolls is so great, their truths so irrefutable, that not even the machinations of a daedric prince can overcome them; that's how [[spoiler: the curse on the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal is broken in the Thieves' Guild quest]] in ''Oblivion''. In ''Skyrim'', [[spoiler: you get to read one yourself to gain knowledge of a dragon shout lost to time; it turns out you don't read the scroll, you see events happen as if the scroll was a window to another (possibly alternate) time. Trying to read the scroll outside of the Time-Wound temporarily robs you of vision — and the reason you only suffer that much is because you have the soul of a being that exists partially outside of time, not unlike the Elder Scroll itself. Even the Dragons like Paarthurnax and Alduin himself fear the Elder Scrolls' power. Turns out that they don't just reveal events, they can alter reality as well; with no recourse left, the ancient Nordic heroes who faced Alduin invoked the power of an Elder Scroll to "cast Alduin out of time", postponing his reckoning until the age where Skyrim (the game, not the province) takes place. The residue from that event was the Time-Wound mentioned above.]]
** The Mysterium Xarxes, an artifact of Mehrunes Dagon. The ''Oblivion'' script notes actually call for Martin, the most knowledgeable major character on the subject, to react as if given "a handful of glowing plutonium" when he receives the Xarxes. It's just that sort of book.
** The Oghma Infinium, which means "infinite wisdom," is bound in skin and is owned by Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric prince of fate and forbidden knowledge.
* TookALevelInBadass: The entire Argonian race goes through one following the events of the Oblivion Crisis. The Argonians worship the Hist, sentient trees native to the Black Marsh, and drink sap from this Hist which can cause physical and mental changes in the Argonians. Following the crisis, the Hist began making the Argonians stronger and more aggressive, preparing them for the wars to come. This also works to justify their change in appearance throughout the series, especially from ''Morrowind'' (where they looked more like dopey iguanas) to the LizardFolk of ''Oblivion'', and then to the Velociraptor Folk of ''Skyrim''.
* TooAwesomeToUse: For archers, the higher level arrows (Ebony, Daedric), mainly before ''Skyrim'''s DLC, Dawnguard where you can make your own, can be this. Because they're in short supply where you can maybe find them being carried by the odd Dwemer Sentinel they're very rare and best saved for bosses instead of random enemies.
* TooStupidToLive: Anyone who has ever thought it would be a good idea to betray a Daedric Prince. In ''Skyrim'' alone there are three or four.
** One example is a nameless female thief in the in-game book "Purrloined Shadows" She spies on a witch coven summoning the Daedric Prince Nocturnal. Why? To mug her of course? She is shown to be shocked by the nature of the mission she was given, and it turns out [[spoiler: she was set up to get caught from the very beginning]] so when someone says "Hey let's rob a Daedric Prince while surrounded by her coven of worshipers" don't listen.
** Also a special mention to the priest who is not only stupid enough to worship Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of treachery who has a habit of murdering his worshippers for kicks, but in the process desecrates the altar of [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Molag Bal]], Daedric Prince of enslavement and domination. Needless to say, he comes to a bad end.
* TrainingDummy: In the Fighter's Guild quarters.
* TrivialTitle: The eponymous artifacts are only a background element in the [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena first]] [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall three]] [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind games]] and play only a small role in one side questline in [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion the fourth]]. However ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' has one as an important piece of the puzzle in the main quest: [[spoiler:it allows you to travel back in time to learn the [[BrownNote Dragonrend]] Shout]].
* UnidentifiedItems: A low Alchemy skill prevents the player from determining the properties of alchemical ingredients. In some games, such as ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', ingredients that the player has not used in experiments always have unknown properties. However, tasting the ingredients exposes the player to diluted version of their powers -- as opposed to the stronger powers of potions brewed from these ingredients -- so it's almost always safe to taste them. The worst that might happen is having your health drained by a sliver for five seconds... in a game where you have RegeneratingHealth.
* UniqueEnemy: These are liberally sprinkled throughout the games. In ''Oblivion'' there's the unicorn, the giant mudcrab, the giant slaughterfish and the painted trolls who inhabit their own unique little pocket dimension that looks nothing like the rest of the game.
* UniqueItems: Daedric artefacts are the most obvious, but there are multiple examples of quest rewards and unique NPC equipment, many of which have their own textures. [[http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Main_Page The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages]] maintains a list of unique items for each game.
* UnreliableCanon: In ''The Elder Scrolls'' universe, canon is an almost meaningless concept. Bethesda refuses to invalidate your choices about [[FeaturelessProtagonist who your character is]] and [[WideOpenSandbox what he/she does]]. Therefore, there is no definitive version of the Nerevarine/Champion/Dragonborn, etc. and very few canonized events (the main quest line usually being an exception.) Additionally, all in-game information, books, and historical records are [[UnreliableNarrator biased]] or otherwise unreliable or contradictory, with the implication that AllMythsAreTrue and everyone is right in spite of the contradictions. From a meta-perspective, canon is complicated by the fact that the majority of the lore that elucidates the nature of the world of Tamriel comes from the work of an ex-dev and were written in an unofficial capacity after he left the studio. Many lore-scholars within the fandom actually consider his work ‘more’ canon than the published games themselves, and the fact that the games reference and quote these works (due in part to said ex-dev still doing some freelance contract work on the series) adds to the confusion. Rather than become frustrated, fans tend to embrace this ambiguity as one of the more fascinating elements of the series.
* UnreliableNarrator: Most of the series lore is based on this, for several reasons.
** The character is given a limited perspective of events before talking to the player character. An example would be someone like the Fighter's Guild Grandmaster in ''Oblivion'', or most of the random {{NPC}}s in ''Morrowind''.
** The in-game book was written by a limited-perspective character. This is the most common, but also easiest to spot. For example, most accounts of Nerevar's death in ''Morrowind'', the ''Commentaries'' in ''Oblivion'', or also from ''Oblivion'' the "Guide to City X" books.
** Widespread propaganda, such as Biography of Barenziah, History of the Empire, and the Tribunal's account of what happened to Nerevar.
** Deliberate lies and half-truths. Vivec embodies this one.
** Even the player characters have been said to be this by a developer.
* {{Unwinnable}}: Both forms. You could kill important [=NPCs=] and get a message saying it's unwinnable; quests could be made unwinnable due to glitches, and ''Daggerfall'' could be made ''completely'' unwinnable due to glitches that would make the main quest unwinnable.
** Heck in ''Daggerfall'' every main quest you get, you have an option to decline it. Which if you do you can't get the request again thus can't advance the game (Why did they put that option in again...?) and in at least two main quests, if you don't finish them within a certain amount of days they become void and you cannot advance.
* UnwittingPawn:
** The plot of ''Morrowind'' and the events immediately following it is possibly Azura trying to get back at the Tribunal by having the Nerevarine destroy the source of their power. Not exactly a villainous example, but still.
** Also pretty much the whole Main Quest of ''Tribunal''. Though the player can be pretty aware of what he's doing, he [[ButThouMust has no choice but to go along with it]].
** ''Anyone'' who is (mis)fortunate enough to catch the attention of a Daedra, a dragon, Sithis, or any other deity. Heck, even the player character is not immune, as the Daedric Princes will typically use you to play their hands against each other and their enemies. In fact, the hero of [[VideoGame/LegacyOfKain another game series]] summed it up perfectly: "What game is this, where every player on the board claims the same pawn?"
* UpdatedReRelease: Skyrim is getting one in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. In addition to the base game and all of its DLC content, the game will be put into [[VideoGame/Fallout4 Fallout 4's]] engine to improve the graphical, lighting, and texture quality of the base game as well as adding mod support on consoles.
* UselessItem: The decorative clutter which can't even be sold in unmoded ''Oblivion'' and obviously serves this purpose. ''Morrowind'' has the Feather/Burden effects, which do what they say they do (reduce/add weight carried), except that Fortify/Damage Strength is easier to obtain the basic effect for, costs the same, is more effective (5 times as much), and modifies melee damage and jumping on top of that; ''Oblivion'' tries to rectify it with premade spells being more effective in Feather's favor and basing movement speed on weight carried instead of percent of encumbrance, but while no longer useless, isn't exactly useful.
* UtilityMagic: "Alteration" magic is mostly this. Spells that let you levitate, spells to make your weight limit go up, spells to open locks, provide light or walk on water; it's basically all about enhancing your mobility and your ability to explore.
* VerbalTic: The Argonians tend to refer to other races as 'prey', going so far as to greet you by saying things like 'the prey approaches'.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Used in-universe. [[spoiler:In the immediate aftermath of the main quest, talking to Nords or Orcs reveals that there's already a novel chronicling you and Martin's adventure in production called The Fall of Dagon.]]
* VestigialEmpire: The Tamrielic Empire, as of ''Skyrim''. Jagar Tharn's kidnapping of the Emperor in ''Arena'' set off a political chain reaction that has been gradually unraveling TheEmpire over the course of the sequels.
* VoluntaryVassal: Morrowind joined the Septims' Tamrielic Empire voluntarily. To be more precise, the god-kings of Morrowind decided to spare the lives of their people and stop the war with the Cyrodiil conquerors, which threatened to desolate the country. For this, Morrowind was allowed to keep many of its pre-Imperial laws (including slavery, which was illegal elsewhere in the Empire).
* WarpWhistle: Many different types in ''Morrowind''. The two most common are spells/scrolls that teleport you to either the nearest Nine Divines temple or the nearest Tribunal-worshipping temple. Since Fast Travel returned to ''Oblivion'' and ''Skyrim,'' from the first two games, it seems WarpWhistle has gone the way of the dodo.
* WeaponsKitchenSink: You can find dealers selling claymores, longswords and wakizashis at the same time. These weapons are actually used by a number of different cultures throughout Tamriel. Nords and Orcs tend to like Claymores, Redguards use longswords, and Wakizashi come from Akavir. There are many exceptions, but odds are SOMEONE wants to buy that Orcish Longsword and Akavir Katana.
* WeirdnessCensor: People get stuck trying to walk through each other. Guards ignore people trying to punch you out, but when/if you do it, they immediately report your crime. Guards walk away after you pay them money to go away after you murdered someone on the streets. You stick a knife into peoples' back and they just walk around like nothing happened. Guards try to murder ''each other'' and they don't mind. You wake up and there's a zombie inside your room and the person you're bunking with doesn't mind.
* WelcomeToCorneria:
--> "[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Halt!]]"
--> "[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind We're watching you, scum...]]"
--> "[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Stop right there, criminal scum!]]"
--> "[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion I saw a mudcrab the other day.]]"
--> "[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow to the knee.]]"
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: The Medusa enemies from the original game were never used or mentioned again. Which is rather tragic, as they would have looked awesome in Skyrim (Figuratively)
* WideOpenSandbox: The openness of the games is one of the series greatest and most famous attributes. Usually, shortly after character creation, you are free to go wherever you want and do whatever you want. It is possible in each game to play for hundreds of hours just exploring and doing side quests without even starting the main quest.
* WillOTheWisp:
** A mid-level monster encounter in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion''. They're incorporeal like ghosts (meaning they can only be hurt with magic, weapons made of [[SilverHasMysticPowers silver]] or [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs magic weapons]]) and have lightning based magic.
** In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' and ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline'', there are glowing hostile creatures called Wisps, which are found near feminine, ghostlike beings called Wispmothers. Unlike the Will-o-the-Wisps in ''Oblivion'', these can be hurt by any kind of weapon. Killing a Wispmother disperses the Wisps surrounding her.
* WithThisHerring: One quest in ''Morrowind'' has you dispatched by Sheogorath to kill a giant bull netch using the "Fork of Horripilation", which, despite its grandiose (sounding - it means goosebumps) name, is merely [[strike:''a dinner fork'']] a '''''cursed''''' ''dinner fork''.
** Mentioned again in ''Oblivion'', in a quest where you must get the fork back from a bunch of zealots who've stolen the deified eating utensil.
* WizardingSchool: The Arcane University, The College of Winterhold, and, to a lesser extent, the Mages Guild in general. The Battlespire counted too, until the events of the eponymous game.
* WordOfDante / WordOfSaintPaul: Bethesda Software developers have posted a number of [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/obscure-texts "obscure texts"]] on the forums which don't appear in-game but are generally accepted as canon (or at least as canon in-universe texts).
* WreakingHavok: ''Oblivion''.
* {{Wutai}}: Though it's never shown in any of the games, Akavir, in at least architecture and art style, seems to be one with tiger people, snake people, monkey people and [[OneOfTheseThingsIsNotLikeTheOthers Ice Demons]] that are apparently the origin of the Katana style blades in the various games. Bizarrely the ''Redguards'' (who look like Earth Humans of African descent and have a civilization reminiscent of the Middle East) had a samurai-esque class (Sword singers) that at one point had the ownership of swords restricted to them (with the really skilled even having the title "Sword Saint") on their original homeland of Yokuda (which [[UnreliableNarrator may]] have been destroyed by rogue sword saints splitting an atom with their swords).
* YouAllMeetInACell: All the games in the main series, with the exception of ''Daggerfall'', start with the player character as a prisoner. In ''Skyrim'', you are about to be executed when [[VillainousRescue a dragon shows up]].
* You CantArgueWithElves and ScrewYouElves: Because of the way the story is delivered, it could go either way. Watch for FanDumb if you say one or the other, because the other side will come down on you.
** Considering the actions of the Thalmor in ''Skyrim'', many players are taking joy in attacking Altmer on sight.
* YourSoulIsMine: Part of the enchanting system.
* YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters: Some Daedra are generally seen as 'good' (for example, Azura), some are generally seen as 'bad' (for example, Mehrunes Dagon). The difference lies mainly in how compatible their specific BlueAndOrangeMorality is with the survival and prosperity of man and mer civilization.
** An obvious example in ''Skyrim'', what with the Empire viewing the Stormcloaks as vicious extremists and their leader Ulfric as a dishonorable kingslayer. The Stormcloak supporters see Ulfric as a hero, defending the Nord way of life and deserving to rule Skyrim.
*** There's also the Forsworn, who the Nords think of as wild madmen but who see themselves as fighting for the freedom of the Reach.
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