History VideoGame / TheElderScrolls

18th Oct '12 4:05:58 PM Aiguille
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[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elderscroll_7680.jpg]] [[caption-width-right:300:[[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm This is what you think an Elder Scroll looks like.]]]] [[quoteright:250:~~VideoGame, WesternRPG~~]] Popular series of computer and console {{RPG}}s produced by Bethesda Softworks. ''The Elder Scrolls'' games are set in Tamriel, a landmass roughly the size of Africa. The games are renowned for their [[WideOpenSandbox open-ended]] style of gameplay, allowing the player to play as a heroic or diabolical character, to pursue the main quest with vigor or to ignore it entirely, and to gain prowess and fame through working for guilds, military legions, and the like. The games are also noted for the largeness of the game world -- ''Daggerfall'' in particular has a game world roughly the size of Great Britain, with approximately 750,000 {{NPC}}s to interact with. Though later games in the series are notably smaller, they remain much larger and more finely-detailed than the typical RPG game world. The principal games in the ''Elder Scrolls'' series are: [[index]] * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena Arena]]'' (1994). [[TheEmperor The benevolent Emperor]] of Tamriel, Uriel Septim VII, is secretly overthrown by his own [[MagicKnight Battlemage]] Jagar Tharn, who traps him in Oblivion, assumes his appearance, and reigns in his stead. However, the ghost of his late apprentice Ria Silmane teams up with a loyal Imperial guardsman (the PlayerCharacter) to fight the usurper. Together, they travel through all provinces of Tamriel to [[GottaCatchThemAll collect all pieces]] of the [[DismantledMacGuffin Staff of Chaos]], which the PC then uses to kill Tharn and restore the rightful Emperor. The game was originally going to be about, well, arenas, but that idea was scratched in favor of adapting the developers' home-brew [[DungeonsAndDragons D&D setting]], Tamriel, into a computer game. The fast-paced gladiatorial combat style remained, though, and ''Arena'' was much more action-oriented than other {{RPG}}s of the time. The game met with lackluster sales, but developed a strong enough cult fanbase to warrant a sequel. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'' (1996). The PC, a personal acquaintance of Uriel Septim VII, is sent to the Western province of High Rock to investigate the ghost of its former King Lysandus, who now haunts the city of Daggerfall. Cooperating with the [[SecretPolice Emperor's Blades]], the PC uncovers a sinister plot to reactivate the LostSuperweapon Numidium, which was originally used to forge the Third Tamrielic Empire. Several factions in the region enter the fight for controlling the Numidium, and it depends on the PC who wins it. Also of note is the emphasis on side-quests--after seeing how much time ''Arena'' players spent on them, the designers decided to put them in the spotlight. ''Daggerfall'' featured several different factions for the player to join outside of the Main Quest, all of which will give players hundreds of hours of side-questing. It also had positively HUGE [[RandomlyGeneratedLevels randomly generated dungeons]], often "designed" [[RuinsForRuinsSake in the silliest ways possible]]. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'' (2002). A convict from the Imperial City Prison (the PC) is released in the North-Eastern province of Morrowind on the Emperor's direct orders. Guided by the Blades, the PC fulfills countless local prophecies and is acknowledged as the ChosenOne who will save the land from [[ThePlague the Blight]] (no, not [[DragonAge that Blight]]). Tracing the Blight to the evil god Dagoth-Ur, the PC destroys the source of his (and other local gods') {{immortality}} and kills him, bringing relative peace to the province. The game was significantly smaller in scope than its predecessor (a "mere" 18 square miles as opposed to hundreds, and a non-infinite number of side-quests), but managed to come off as much more epic anyway due to the quality of the writing and the [[SceneryPorn diverse, exotic landscapes]]. It's also notable for being much, much weirder than the rest of the franchise, being set in an alien landscape populated by Dunmer, dinosaurs, giant bugs, and tiny Cthulhu lookalikes. ** ''Tribunal'' (2002). An attack by the [[MurderInc Dark Brotherhood]] brings the PC to Morrowind's capital of Mournhold. After a while, the PC finds themselves at odds with the local deities and has to [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu kill them]], now that their immortality is lost. ** ''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. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' (2006). Emperor Uriel Septim VII is assassinated by the [[ReligionOfEvil Mythic Dawn]], but not before seemingly accidentally freeing yet another convict from the Imperial City Prison (the PC). The PC then joins the Blades in their search for the last remaining heir to the Empire, Martin Septim, against the backdrop of [[DuringTheWar an ongoing invasion]] from [[TheLegionsofHell Oblivion]] by the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon, whom the Mythic Dawn worships. Eventually, the PC, Martin, and the Blades manage to repel the Daedra but... [[BittersweetEnding at a price]]. This was the first big-name RPG for the 7th generation of consoles, and made full use of the Xbox 360's and Playstation 3's technical abilities. However, some complained that it had been dumbed-down for casual gamers, what with arrows pointing to your objectives and simplified role-playing elements. ** ''Knights of the Nine'' (2006). The PC investigates a [[BloodstainedGlassWindows brutal attack on the local chapel]] to discover that an EvilSorcerer plans to destroy Cyrodiil and only certain artifacts can defeat him. [[OrderReborn Reestablishing the order]] of eponymous Knights of the Nine, the PC recovers all artifacts and kills the evil wizard. ** ''Shivering Isles'' (2007). The PC is summoned by the Daedric Prince [[TheMadHatter Sheogorath]] to help prevent the [[EternalRecurrence regular destruction]] of his Oblivion realm. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' (2011) Set 200 years after the Oblivion crisis when the empire Tiber Septim founded is in bad shape, being slowly picked apart by the fascistic [[ScrewYouElves Aldmeri Dominion]] through means of subterfuge, imposing treaty terms, or outright war. The PC barely survives crossing over to Skyrim after Alduin, the Nordic aspect of Akatosh, decimates a village the PC was planned to be executed at. Now with dragons appearing all over Skyrim, the PC discovers that they're the Dovahkiin (Dragonborn) and the only one able to stop Alduin from ushering TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, all in the midst of a civil war. ** ''Dawnguard'' (2012) The Dragonborn gets involved in a conflict between an Order known as the Dawnguard and a race of vampires who wish to blot out the sun. ** ''Hearthfire'' (2012) The Dragonborn gets into homebuilding and childrearing. * ''TheElderScrollsInUniverseBooks'' covers the various [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin In Universe Books]] found in the games from Daggerfall on. [[/index]] Bethesda has also produced several other games set in the ''Elder Scrolls'' universe which are not [=RPGs=]: * ''The Elder Scrolls Legends: Battlespire'' (1997), basically a long, [[MushroomSamba trippy]] dungeon-crawl. Set during the time of ''Arena'', and originally planned as an expansion pack for ''Daggerfall''. A WizardingSchool for Imperial Battlemages is attacked by Mehrunes Dagon, who aims to use it as a conduit for invading Tamriel. A single graduate (the PC) has to fight their way to Dagon through Oblivion, defeat him, and [[ItsPersonal free their partner]]. It is the only game in the series to include multiplayer, though that addition proved a [[MisbegottenMultiplayerMode spectacular failure]] and Bethesda never tried it again. A good chunk of the information of the things known about the Daedra originate in this game. * ''The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard'' (1998), an action-adventure game with very few RPG elements. Some 400 years before ''Arena'', a Redguard by the name of Cyrus travels home to find his sister missing and himself embroiled in a web of political intrigue. It was well received by critics and fans, but due to the cost of production and being built on outdated technology, it was a financial flop. The [[{{Feelies}} Pocket Guide to the Empire]] is the origin of most of the background lore on Tamriel. * ''Dawnstar'' (2003) * ''Stormhold'' (2004) * ''Shadowkey'' (2004) ** These last three were released for mobile phones. Generally, only ''Shadowkey'' is considered canon. Additionally, a "remake" of ''Oblivion'' was released for mobile phones. A PSP version was also planned and demonstrated, but is currently presumed cancelled. There are two novels set in this universe, taking place forty years after ''Oblivion''. The first is entitled ''The Infernal City.'' See ''TheElderScrollsNovels''. In 2004, Bethesda released the original version of ''Arena'' as a freeware download. In 2009, it was joined by ''Daggerfall''. In 2011, a rewrite of ''Daggerfall's'' game engine, known as [[http://xlengine.com/ DaggerXL]], started development under an independent programmer. Both ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' run quite nicely under [[http://www.dosbox.com/ DOSBox]], though, so grab them [[http://www.elderscrolls.com/arena/ here]] and [[http://www.elderscrolls.com/daggerfall/ here]] and enjoy. Bethesda has announced a new TES MMORPG set during the Second Era, ''[[{{VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline}} The Elder Scrolls Online]].'' ---- !!Provides examples of: * AbusivePrecursors: The Ayleids were [[CompleteMonster not]] very nice people, to put it lightly. * AdamSmithHatesYourGuts: Even when the player is famous, what he pays still largely depends on his skills. Even members of a guild a player is in will still usually charge unfair prices, though this is probably justified in that the guild has to make money somehow. But the biggest example is in the Thieves' Den DLC for ''Oblivion'', where the player's fellow pirate underlings will give the player gold from the plunderings he didn't even participate in, but won't give up a bit of their equipment without charging more than 1.5x its value. ** Prices are offset by disposition, though how much depends on the game. ** Through a quirk in the coding (specifically, they lack disposition and skills, including Mercantile), creature merchants in ''Morrowind'' buy and sell items at their base value. ** Averted if your Personality stat and Mercentile skill are high enough: then you can buy items from a vendor, and sell them back to him for more than you bought them for. Repeatedly. Until they have no money left. Which, in later games, is impossible. * AffablyEvil: Dagoth Ur of Morrowind. He will talk and explain all his actions before battle, and waits for the player to strike first in battle. One of his underlings will offer you a glass of fine ancient brandy and a friendly chat before the battle. ** Most of the inhabitants in the Dark Brotherhood Cheydinhal Sanctuary in ''Oblivion'' can be quite charming. --->"Hey, I don't know who the Night Mother is, but she pays me to kill people. My own mother never loved me so much!" * AHomeownerIsYou: Except in ''Arena'', all games of the main series allow you to either buy or build homes. ''Morrowind'' uses them as rewards for climbing up in the hierarchy of certain factions; ''Daggerfall'' and ''Oblivion'' lets you buy them if you have enough money. ''Skyrim'' is a bit of both--Gain a good reputation with a town, and the ruler will allow you to buy a house there. * AGodAmI: Dagoth Ur. --> What a fool you are. I'm a god! How can you kill a god?! What a grand and intoxicating innocence! ** Almalexia is like this too (something Vivec himself notes). Jarring in Vivec's case who is renowned to be the one ''least'' prone to those, but will give such a spiel if you confront on him on what the Tribunal has done, asking you who you are to question a god. * AGodIsYou: [[spoiler:Specifically, at the end of ''Shivering Isles'', Sheogorath Is You.]] ** Notably averted in ''Morrowind''. The entire plot revolves around [[spoiler:obtaining the tools with which it's possible to achieve godhood and getting them to the source from which said godhood can be obtained]]. But there's no way to actually do so, the only option is to [[spoiler:use them to release it]]. ** In ''Skyrim'', the protagonist is the Dragonborn, a rare mortal gifted with the blood and soul of an Aedric Dragon. * AboveGoodAndEvil: Admittedly the series tends to GrayAndGreyMorality, but special mention goes to the spirits and deities of the series; while considered variously good or evil depending on where you are and who you ask in a case of in-Universe mass AlternateCharacterInterpretation (see also AllMythsAreTrue), most in-'verse scholars claim [[BlueAndOrangeMorality they are simply above human understanding and therefore human conceptions of moral actions.]] Also, see the Vivec example from the above AGodAmI. * TheAgeless: The Nerevarine becomes this, as a consequence of [[spoiler: having Corprus but getting negative effects cured.]] If brought to sufficient heights of power, they can also gain enough regenerative power to leave this trope and [[FromASingleCell enter another.]] * AlienSky: Two moons and a sky full of nebulae. The two moons are the rotting corpse of a god's divinity, the nebulae are "un-stars," and the stars themselves are holes poked into the Aetherius. It may also be a case of YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm. * AllDesertsHaveCacti: Hammerfell. ** Well, other than some places that are desert-like but aren't what we ''think'' of deserts. * AllMythsAreTrue: All myths in Tamriel's tradition, that is. * AllTrollsAreDifferent: Huge, hairy three-eyed simians that [[HealingFactor regenerate]] remarkably quickly. * AlwaysChaoticEvil: Goblins, Ogres, Minotaurs... Dremora seem to be Always LawfulEvil. ** Falmer in ''Skyrim'', due to a combination of the original Snow Elves being brutally driven out of Skyrim and underground by Ysgramor, and then being enslaved by the Dwemer and turned blind by being forced to eat a poisonous fungus and ''then'' being biologically altered into relying on said fungus to survive. The Falmer have since been twisted into hateful monsters who want to kill and eat anyone who isn't Falmer. ** Basically, they're {{Mole People}} * AlwaysOverTheShoulder: When in third person. * AnachronismStew: One of the Daedra wears a pocket watch, and Sotha Sil has an entire clockwork ''city'' thanks to the Dwemer's fascination with mechanisms. ** Designs for architecture, fashion, armor, weapons and other items mixes elements from the Antiquity to the late Renaissance. Generally justified. * AncientConspiracy: House Dagoth, the Mythic Dawn. * AngelsDevilsAndSquid: The Aedra, the Daedra, and Sithis, respectively. * AnInteriorDesignerIsYou: The move to full 3D for ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' allowed the player to place and move items in houses. ** And the [[WreakingHavok wonky physics system]] in ''Oblivion'' made it outright impossible to place more than one item anywhere in a room without knocking everything else about. Thankfully, [[GameMod modders]] came to the rescue creating mods specifically to make decorating your house easier. ** Partially averted in ''Skyrim'', since houses now include wall mounts and weapon racks, both of which are can be activated to display your equipped weapon- the bookcases also allow the player to stack books somewhat neatly. * AnnouncerChatter: In the Imperial City's Arena in ''Oblivion''. * AnnoyingArrows: Kind of justified from a game mechanic standpoint, as everyone has health points to take damage from. Doesn't stop it from seeming odd when a particularly powerful enemy's still attacking you with 20 arrows jutting out of his chest. * ArtificialAtmosphericActions: Present in ''{{Oblivion}}''. Less so in ''{{Morrowind}}'', but ''still'' there since the AI wasn't programmed to do many specific things. Many times the wandering AI will get stuck on something or try attacking you when their friend is in their way. Can also lead to a FunnyMoment or two... or three. ** It's worth mentioning that in ''Morrowind'', people's greetings to you would change depending on their affection to you. This sometimes leads to people breaking character. ** Potentially [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in the Shivering Isles, where everyone's insane. * ArtificialStupidity: -->"[[WelcomeToCorneria I saw a mud crab the other day]]."\\ "Horrible creatures, I steer well clear of them."\\ "Farewell." [Turns away from other NPC and walks face-first into a wall.] ** "Kvatch is under attack!" [Runs back in the direction of Kvatch.] ** Non-player characters will often walk into each other, walk into walls, or walk into objects you place on the ground. In the case of the latter, they never, ever consider ''jumping'' or going around the object. ** There's something wrong when two people are staying entirely still in one place and one of them is repeatedly saying "I don't know you, and I don't care to know you!" over and over and over. If he doesn't want to know him, why does he keep bugging him about it instead of just walking away? ** [[SelectiveEnforcement Apparently, 99.999% of Tamriel is above the law.]] Guards will regularly ignore anyone who is trying to kill you and only fight back about enemies who attack ''them''. (They do enforce assault laws in ''Oblivion'' though, gotta give them that.) Oh, and apparently, sleeping in public is a bad thing... but only if ''you'' do it. ** Hearing "Hmm... body's still warm. Looks like there's a killer about", from a guard, in reference to the bandit/marauder/etc. ''That he just killed himself''. ** If you were popular enough among the masses, the citizens will rise to defend you if the guard attacks you. If the guard accepts a yield, he has a chance to attack another guard to defend the citizens. ** In ''Oblivion''[='s=] woods, you'll occasionally encounter two Imperial Legion Foresters attempting to kill one another and failing miserably. Lord only knows how that got started... *** That would be because Foresters are programmed to sometimes hunt deer. Shame that deer are friendly towards soldiers, so the other sees it as an assault... * ArtifactOfDoom: Umbra, the Mantella and [[InformedAbility supposedly]] the Mysterium Xarxes. * BarrierMaiden: Martin in ''Oblivion'' is a male example. Also Vivec, Sotha Sil, and Almalexia, who power and maintain the ghost gate. Vivec (who at the time of the story is the only one actually powering the gate) is one twice, since his power also keeps the Ministry of Truth from crashing into Vvardenfall. * BecomingTheMask: Both played straight and inverted thanks to the act of "mantling." Not only can one become like a historical figure or god, the reverse can also happen! * BindingAncientTreaty: The Bosmer and their "Green Pact". * BittersweetEnding: In ''Oblivion'' [[spoiler: Mehrunes Dagon and the Mythic Dawn cult that worships him are both defeated for good, and the gates of Oblivion are sealed forever, preventing any kind of Daedra invasion of the mortal world from ever happening again. The main hero is rejoiced across Cyrodiil as its savior and everyone rejoices. However, the disappearance of Martin Septim, Uriel Septim's bastard son, leaves the Septim line without an heir to assume the throne. [[strike:Though the Elder Council may be able to keep the Empire together, it is heavily implied that the Empire is far from out of the woods.]] The Empire falls, Morrowind especially being mostly destroyed by Vvardenfell's eruption and wars with Skyrim and Black Marsh.]] * BlackAndGrayMorality: ''Daggerfall'' is quite 'black-gray'. Daggerfall's king [[spoiler: [[WildMassGuessing may have]] helped sell-out his own father to a power-hungry lord from Wayrest]], Sentinel's king and queen [[spoiler: [[CompleteMonster killed their firstborn son (by burying him alive)]] because he A) was constantly ill, and B) preferred scholarly pursuits over swordcraft]], and Wayrest... just Wayrest. Oh, yeah, there's a quest where [[spoiler: you kill a kid]] to cure yourself of Lycanthropy. ** The series as a whole tends towards a mix of GreyAndGrayMorality and BlueAndOrangeMorality, but the blue and orange can wind up looking awfully black from our perspective. * BlindSeer: Blindness and prophecy are two of the side effects associated with reading the titular scrolls. * BloodKnight: Hircine. [[spoiler:The entire plot of ''Bloodmoon'' turns out to be a plot for him to find a worthy foe.]] * BlueAndOrangeMorality: The Aedra, Daedra, and any mortal that ascends (Tiber Septim, the Tribunal, Mannimarco, et al). ** It's revealed in ''Skyrim'' that the Falmer, losing ground to the Nords fast, pleaded with the Dwemer for help. The Dwemer proceeded to feed them a fungus which made them blind, engineer their biology so they depended on the fungus to survive, and then keep them around as a slave race. The slaves rebelled, fighting an endless underground war against the Dwemer until they disappeared, leaving the Falmer as blind cave-dwelling beasts. ** The Thalmor, who for complicated theological reasons see [[spoiler: their [[OmnicidalManiac Omnicidal Mania]]]] as a ''moral imperative''. * BringIt: The ogres in ''Oblivion''. * CainAndAbel: Orvas and Vedam Dren in ''Morrowind.'' * TheCaligula: Pelagius the Mad certainly lived up to his name. He had extreme weight fluctuations and tried to hang himself at the end of a royal ball, among other things. When it was determined that he was no longer fit to rule, he was institutionalized, and, shortly before he died, he declared that dying would be illegal. * CallASmeerpARabbit: A metal used since ''Morrowind'' for high-quality heavy armor is called ebony, with no relation to the real-world wood. ** Similarly, Skyrim features a ''solid'' metal called "quicksilver", and corundum ore is refined into metal ingots. * CardCarryingVillain: Egregiously so in ''Oblivion''. ''Morrowind'' was much more morally ambiguous, with even the local assassins' guild operating within legal framework and according to [[EvenEvilHasStandards a strict honor code]]. There was also less of the trope in ''Skyrim'' -- Alduin is an example, but the secondary conflict of the civil war is [[GrayAndGrayMorality much, much more ambiguous]]. ** The Daedra can look like this at times -- their BlueAndOrangeMorality tends to focus on whatever their Sphere is... meaning Boethiah is a card-carrying betrayer, Mehrunes Dagon is a card-carrying destroyer, Molag Bal is a card-carrying enslaver/corruptor of mortals... * CatFolk: Khajiit. ** Actually zigzagged at first. In ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'', the playable Khajiit where a subspecies known as Ohmes-Raht Khajiit, which were basically humans with a few vague feline features. From ''Morrowind'' onwards, the dominant Khajiit sub-species has been the Suthay-Raht, which are your standard CatFolk. * ChaosArchitecture: Geography and city layouts vary greatly between ''Arena'' and its sequels. * CharmPerson: Several useful and valuable spells have this effect. * ChekhovsVolcano: Averted in that the Red Mountain from ''Morrowind'' never erupts, but instead simply keeps spewing ash, which in the world serves an entirely different purpose [[spoiler:until the book]]. Probably explains why the people of Morrowind have probably never seen a Pastel in their life, or anything that wasn't [[RealIsBrown smeared brown]]. ** By the time ''Skyrim'' rolls around, the Red Mountain has erupted, destroying most of Vvardenfell in the process, which does make the entirety of Morrowind seem like a bit of a ShaggyDogStory. Oh, and it's implied the eruption was indirectly caused by [[NiceJobBreakingItHero the player's actions in ''Tribunal''.]] * ChivalrousPervert: "Oh, why I am just certain that Crassius Curio counts, dumpling, but it is sooooo nice to hear you say so yourself." * ChoiceOfTwoWeapons: Too many different combinations possible. * CityOfCanals: The city of Vivec from ''Morrowind''. * ConspiracyTheorist: A side quest in ''TheElderScrolls IV: Oblivion'' concerns a Bosmer named Glarthir who is convinced that several people in town are involved in a conspiracy against him, and wants the player to help him find proof. ** This is apparently a VERY common trait with the Dukes and Duchesses of Dementia. * ContemptibleCover: The promo and cover art for ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' had [[RobLiefeld Rob Liefeld-esque]] female warriors dressed in outfits that consisted solely of a few black leather straps. The modern ''Elder Scrolls'' games from Morrowind onwards have been more sensible in that regard. * CorruptChurch: The Tribunal Temple. ** ReligionOfEvil: Dagoth Ur's Sixth House, The Mythic Dawn. * CosmicRetcon: The Warp of the West, most famously. Due to all of the different possible endings in Daggerfall which depended on the player's choices, the developers decided that, due to [[DeusExMachina divine interference]], ''all'' of the possible endings happened at once, ''within the same timeline''. Needless to say, the world became a bit messy after that. ** A less blatant example is the [[TimeyWimeyBall "Dragon Break" phenomenon]] where time goes all screwy for a bit, implied to account for some of the [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness differences between the earlier and later games in the series.]] * CrapsackWorld: Alas, what Tamriel has essentially become after the conclusion of the ''Oblivion'' storyline. Pretty much ''everyone'' has shared a miserable fate. * CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Maybe. It ''is'' possible the Khajiit have a subrace looking like common housecats. That are quite powerful spellcasters. However, the book that mentions this notes that the source of the claim is [[UnreliableNarrator notorious for being unreliable with the truth]], and that he personally doesn't believe it. * CulturalPosturing: the Altmer and Dunmer are particularly fond of this. ** As of Skyrim, the Altmer have taken this up several notches. Even to other Altmer. * CursedWithAwesome / BlessedWithSuck/ BeneficialDisease: Corprus disease renders you permanently immune to all other diseases, boosts your strength, and stops you from ever aging. On the downside, it's also TheVirus, and eventually turns you into an EldritchAbomination. ** Vampirism. It grants players with increased speed, health, damage, etc and the ability to suck blood from people but makes them take damage it out in the sun, and so ugly that people (including quest givers) will not talk to you. *** ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' seem to handle vampirism in different ways. While in ''Morrowind'', you'll definitely get ostracized by virtually everybody (except the Telvanni, where you pretty much count as normal) no matter when you fed last, this is not the case in ''Oblivion''. There, you'll just get ostracized if you haven't fed for a few days, else you usually pass for human... or at least mortal. **** A book lampshades this, in the form of a story about a man who sought advice on how to handle vampires of different sorts; a mysteriously helpful source would educate him as to the special traits of vampires in different areas, and the man would then go destroy those vampire clans. He later gets eaten by his source, who reveals, in order, that some clans of vampires could pass for human, and then that he, himself, was one such vampire and hadn't fed in a ''long'' time. **** The province of Morrowind has a very strong cultural bias against vampires, so no matter how human they look, they will still refuse to do anything with them. *** ''Daggerfall'' has different vampires too. Canon justifies these discrepancies by having different types of vampires, depending on the location. There's even an in-game book on the subject, entitled ''Immortal Blood'', and in which the plot involves surprising a vampire hunter who thought he knew enough. ** Lycanthropy, once a night you turn into a several hundred pounds of flesh, fur, claws and teeth capable of killing even the most powerful creatures, but have to at least kill (devouring is optional depending on the game) a sentient humanoid every night or suffer crippling withdrawals when you return to normal. Skyrim also revealed that Werewolves, upon death, are kidnapped to Hircine's realm, even if they don't want to, for an eternity at Hircine's side as one of his pack hounds (which, if you're fine with all of the above, probably won't be an issue for you). *** In addition to not receiving the well-rested bonus upon sleeping in your own bed. * DamnYouMuscleMemory: Go from any installment to ''any other'' installment and you'll run into this problem, guaranteed. ** Worst off is probably ''Skyrim'' (on the PC at least)--the Z key was the button used to pick up and move objects around in ''Oblivion'', but was in this case remapped to trigger a shout--so there's a good chance you'll accidentally FUS RO DAH while trying to decorate your house, sending items flying every which way. ** This was the same on the PS3 which used the R2 key to move items, also remapped to use shouts. Coupled with natural lag on the PS3 at higher levels, and the lag brought on from processing the bytes that make up the items flying around the room, this can be incredibly agonizing. * DangerousForbiddenTechnique: The Pankratosword technique, which is said to be why Yokuda (the place the Redguards used to live) is now a desolate uninhabitable wasteland. * DarkerAndEdgier: ''Battlespire'' is possibly the darkest ES game, despite being only a spinoff. Unlike virtually every other game, you're utterly alone, trapped in a horrific [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Oblivion Realm]] filled with equally horrific monsters just waiting to tear you to pieces. Throughout the game, you are subjected to various nightmarish imagery, forced to fight against seemingly impossible odds as the BigBad viciously taunts you the entire time. * DeaderThanDead: In ''Knights of the Nine'', where you must kill Umaril twice, first his body and then his soul. That's ''after'' he was [[SealedEvilInACan trapped in another dimension for centuries]]. * DeadStarWalking: Uriel Septim VII, voiced by PatrickStewart in ''Oblivion''. * DeathOfAThousandCuts - Cliff Racers drove the ''dragons'' out of Morrowind despite being small annoying things that die quickly. * DefeatingTheUndefeatable: The Gray Prince in ''Oblivion''. Alduin in Skyrim. * DeityOfHumanOrigin: The ALMSIVI and Talos of Atmora/Tiber Septim. Cyrodiilic legends have Arkay be one, but that ''[[UnreliableNarrator probably]]'' is a misinterpretation of the actual situation. ** Sheogorath heavily implies in ''Skyrim'' to have once been [[spoiler: The Champion of Cyrodiil]]. *** Which makes perfect sense, given the events of the ''Shivering Isles'' expansion to ''Oblivion''. * DeliberateValuesDissonance: This is sometimes seen in the in-universe writings, as well as character interaction. * DeusExHomine - An attempt by the Dwemer to do this is how they met their end. [[UnreliableExpositor It could also have been]] [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence a success]] or one of the many JerkassGod in the setting killing them for their attempts. * DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Minor Daedra are fought and killed as regular enemies, especially in ''Battlespire'' and ''Oblivion''. There are also several times when you get to fight and kill a physical incarnation of one of the Daedra Lords, i.e. Mehrunes Dagon in ''Oblivion'', Hircine in the Bloodmoon expansion to ''Morrowind'' ([[ILetYouWin but he is going easy on you]]), and Jyggalag in the Shivering Isles expansion to ''Oblivion''. ** Averted at the end of the main storyline in ''Oblivion'' when Mehrunes Dagon himself (not an [[{{Avatar}} avatar]], ''[[PhysicalGod the real bloody thing]]'') appears in the Imperial City. You can fight him, but your attacks are so utterly ineffective that he doesn't even bother countering. Cue CrowningMomentOfAwesome from Martin. ** Also averted with Sheogorath, [[spoiler: who any attempt to attack leads to a rather spectacular and untimely death. ]] ** Averted again in ''Battlespire'', where any attempt to attack Mehrunes Dagon results in instant death. Although you do banish him by striking him (once) with a sword, that's only the last of a chain of actions resulting in him getting banished (not killed). ** Probably averted with Jyggalag, as you had the powers of Sheogorath by that point. ** More or less played straight with Alduin in ''Skyrim'', as he is truly supposed to be unkillable. Although by the time you fight him properly [[spoiler:you have the heroes who banished him in the first place helping you out]], so perhaps it makes sense. *** Well, technically you [[spoiler: don't actually kill him, his soul escapes to places unknown instead of getting absorbed by you, so even if you destroy his body, he is not truly dead]]. * DisproportionateRetribution: In the opposite direction. Azura's response to the government of a certain tribe of elves snubbing her? Give them all dark skin, strangely shaped cheekbones, and red eyes. [[SarcasmMode That'll teach 'em to ignore the warnings of a Goddess]]... Weaksauce. ** She later leads to the fall of the Tribunal, which in turn leads to the destruction of Morrowind... * DroppedABridgeOnHim: The fate of various characters/places from ''Morrowind'' during the Daedric invasion of Tamriel in ''Oblivion''. Particularly annoying since it's only mentioned in a few throwaway lines from random characters. * DrugsAreBad: Skooma and Greenmote. Inverted somewhat in that alcohol is worse and of negligible value, alchemic or otherwise, and the illegal drugs are very useful for alchemy. ** In the one quest involving Felldew, it's much, much worse than alcohol. Finishing that quest renders you largely immune to it, though. * EldritchAbomination: The Sixth House, and also some of the Daedra, Hermaeus Mora in particular. But especially Sithis, who is the primal Is Not according to the Dark Brotherhood. * ElementalCrafting * ElvesVsDwarves: In this universe, however, "dwarves" (Dwemer) are actually an extinct sub-species of elves (mer), the name "dwarf" being an [[UnreliableNarrator archaeological misnomer]]. ** Played horribly straight with the Dwemer and the Snow Elves [[spoiler: The Dwemer offered the Snow Elves sanctuary from the Ancient Nords, only to enslave them, mutilate their bodes, slowly transforming them into the subterranean Falmer]]. * TheEmpire: PlayedWith, frequently and mercilessly. The Third Tamrielic Empire is constantly trying to centralize authority in Cyrodiil and to force Cyrodiilic law and culture on the provinces, but in many cases the "traditional customs" they're wiping away were really just an excuse for the locals to be oppressive and xenophobic. The conflict is especially played up in ''Morrowind'' and ''Skyrim''. ''Oblivion'' presents the Empire as unambiguously good, while ''Redguard'' presents it as evil (though not entirely unambigously, given that the game ends with the main character brokering a treaty with better terms for Hammerfell's inclusion in the Empire). On the other hand, the Empire's main rival, the Aldmeri Dominion, plays the trope straight. * EmptyLevels: In ''Oblivion'', you can only level up three stats a level, so you'd better make sure you're getting a lot from them. That or just [[LevelGrinding never go to sleep]]. * EscortMission: A large number of them are in ''Morrowind''. The escort usually runs about as fast as you walk, and can barely defend themselves. And the reward is usually chump change. ** ''Oblivion'' had two of these as part of its main quest. Fortunately the escort characters were unkillable. * EvenEvilHasStandards: Although the Morag Tong in ''Morrowind'' is a guild of assassins, those assassins have very strict rules as to whom you can or cannot murder. ** Most "evil" Guilds (such as the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood) have some sort of comradery or kinship that maintains you uphold a certain level of honor. The BigBad of the Thieves Guild in ''Skyrim'' mocks this, as he sees no point to honor amongst thieves. *** The Thieves Guild of Morrowind come out looking as ''good'' guys, thanks to being led by a somewhat Robin Hood-esque figure (with his own subset of 'steal this and give to this needy person' quests) and fighting against the native Camonna Tong (who are xenophobic racists as well as more murder-happy). *** In Skyrim its revealed the Dark Brotherhood used to have standards but has degraded in that regard. The only rule they have now is if you kill a fellow guild member, you pay a 500 gold piece fine. They had even gotten in the habit of taking any jobs given to them as opposed to waiting for the Night Mother (since no one could hear her.) * EverybodyHatesHades: Depends on the culture. Arkay is the Cycle of Life and Death; he is one of the Divines, and rather popular in other cultures. However, the Nords vilify him as Orkey, or "Old Knocker." * EverythingsBetterWithRainbows: According to the [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/pocket-guide-empire-first-edition-aldmeri-dominion First Pocket Guide]], Alinor has towers that are "designed to catch the light of the sun and break it to its component colors." * EvilCounterpart: The Camonna Tong to the Thieves Guild in ''Morrowind''. ** Amusingly, [[AxCrazy the Dark Brotherhood]] [[ThereCanBeOnlyOne to the]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards Morag Tong]] in the same game. ''[[EvilerThanThou Both of which are assassin guilds]]''. Only the Morag Tong is playable, however, because the Dark Brotherhood is trying to kill you. ** Mannimarco and his Order of the Black Worm are pretty much the EvilCounterpart for Necromancers in general. No wonder Necromancy's been banned with psychos like them around... *** As well as to the Mages' Guild in general. ** Also, the Aldmeri Dominion to the Cyrodillic Empire, by the time ''{{Skyrim}}'' starts. * EvilSorcerer: Many, many examples. Jagar Tharn from the first game, being the most cliche example. Members of House Telvanni are encouraged to be Evil Sorcerers due to its rules about MightMakesRight and KlingonPromotion. * FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Supplemental material reveals that Black Marsh and Elsweyr, the homelands of Argonians and Khajiit, respectively, betrayed the Empire shortly after the events of ''Oblivion'' and are now openly at war with every other race.]] ** Elsweyr is politically chaotic at its core (and actually fares better for it). Black Marsh's inhabitants, on the other hand, are deservedly distrustful to other races (and why not, after being enslaved). Technically, both Elsweyr and Black Marsh only seceded (the latter focusing on attacking the Dunmer), leaving the Empire open to a conflict with the Aldmeri Dominion made up by Bosmers and Altmers. *** According to the Novels and Skyrim lore, the Argonians got much stronger by the will and leadership of their deities/creators, the Hist, to resist the Oblivion Crisis. They actually managed to drive back Mehrunes Dagon's armies back to Oblivion and close the portals. After Red Mountain's eruption the Aldmeri Dominion influenced the Argonians to attack Morrowind and get revenge over centuries of slavery and to free the remaining illegal slaves there. Their profit was the further weakening of the Empire by losing two more provinces (Elseweyr was lost some time before this) in preparation for their invasion of Cyrodiil and Hammerfell. * FantasticDrug: Moon Sugar and its derivative, Skooma. * FantasticNuke: An interesting example is implied in the background lore. Apparently the Redguard's original home Yokuda was destroyed by swordsmen so good they could cut atoms using their mindblades, [[UnreliableNarrator or the cause of Yokuda's death was natural, or the Redguards could have just been leaving a corrupt government]]. * FantasticRacism: Practically ''all'' of the major races of Tamriel hate (or are hated by) at least one other race, usually one from a neighbouring province. During the first four games, however, they were all ruled by one big, liberal empire, which kept the worst of it at bay. The Argonians and Khajiit were among the worst victims, being enslaved by the Dunmer even though slavery in the Empire is illegal outside of Morrowind. The Empire's ongoing collapse as of ''Skyrim'' has brought it all to the fore. Now, it's the exiled Dunmer getting the short end of the stick, suffering discrimination and abuse from nationalist Nords who blame all elves for the tyranny of the Thalmor. * FantasticRankSystem: There's a set of ranks for each faction. The ranks for Imperial Legion and House Redoran in ''Morrowind'' are explicitly military, and they are nothing like real-world ranks, medieval or not. The Redoran ranks are, in fact, Dunmer titles of nobility, and they are also fantastic. * FantasyCounterpartCulture: Changing depending on the game and/or point in history: ** Cyrodiil, in the first Pocket Guide to the Empire and ''Morrowind'' was a mix of Rome, Japan, and possibly China, with a bit of Venice (or Tenochtitlan) added to the Imperial City. In ''Oblivion'', they turned into a MedievalEuropeanFantasy with only a trace amount of Latin influence remaining. In ''Skyrim'', they are a mix of Italy (many of them having Italian names) and the Roman Empire. ** The Nords have much Norse influence, along with a vaguely Scottish axis of politics, and some Saxon organization of nobility. Their ancient culture also has a lot of ancient Egyptian influence, with sarcophagus and mummies. *** Norse culture in particular seems to be a primary source of inspiration for much of the series' mythology. Parallels can be drawn between the dragon Alduin in Skyrim and the snake Jörmungandr in Norse mythology, both of whom act as heralds for the prophesied destruction of the world. Likewise, both Talos and Thor are similar in that they are both god-protectors of mankind, and are represented by a hammer-like symbol. ** High Rock, depending on the region, either has feudal French or English influence. In ''Skyrim'', a tribal Celtic angle has been introduced in the form of the Forsworn, whose cultural origins predate the current Breton norms. ** Morrowind is Mesopotamia with a hodgepodge of other influences sprinkled in, with the Ashlanders having some Mongolian influence. ** The Blades are an interesting cross between Japanese samurai and medieval knights. On the Japanese side, they use katanas, and Cloud Ruler Temple has some very Japanese architecture. However, their language and organization has much more in common with European knights. Their armor is based off of the Roman Lorica Segmentata, with a Greek Illyrian helm. * FantasyGunControl: The Dwemer had HumongousMecha [[RagnarokProofing durable enough to function after 3,000 years of neglect]] and the power to [[NiceJobBreakingItHero mess up the fabric of reality]], but never invented the musket. ** Gunpowder and cannons exists canonically (or is it [[IncrediblyLamePun cannonically]]?) but have only been used in-game once, by the East Empire Company against a band of pirates in ''{{Skyrim}}''. * FeelingOppressedByTheirExistence: The Thalmor believe that not just the existence of mankind, but the existence of the possibility of mankind, keeps the mer trapped in the normal world. ** To the point that they're attempting to destroy the ENTIRE mortal plane. * FictionalDocument: Hundreds of them, most all of which the player can read in-game. All of them are also written by authors of varying (non-zero) bias and knowledge levels. * FinalDeath: Apparently, Tamriel has every form of magic ''except'' resurrection. ** The gods do seem to reserve the right to reincarnate anyone at any time though. ** And death is meaningless to ruling kings; [[PaintingTheFourthWall their death is merely a map back to the waking world]]. * FlavorText: Each games offers a lot of it, and in many forms. * {{Foreshadowing}}: In ''Morrowind'', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWuNf4gxwuM the first thing you hear]], even before the main menu appears, is the deep rumble of a beating heart. The rhythm continues throughout the whole piece, and, as the music plays during regular gameplay, permeates the entire island of Vvardenfell. * {{Freeware Games}}: ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' have been released as freeware on the Bethesda website - despite being glitchy and having the devs deny it would ever be re-released. They're still unplayable on modern systems without Dosbox (which is included in most of the file bundles), however. * FungusHumongous: Vvardenfell and the Shivering Isles are covered in giant mushrooms. The Telvanni wizards live in giant mushrooms and other plants. ** In Skyrim, there is a gigantic underground dwarven city named Blackreach that is lit up partially by giant, glowing mushooms. * GameMod: Literally thousands of them are available on the internet. ** ''Morrowind'' in particular has an extremely active modding community, which has improved on every facet of the game and quintupled the content of an average copy. Up to and including ''fixes to the GameEngine itself''. ** ''Oblivion'' has an even larger one; there are no less than FOUR overhaul mods for the game, and there are well over 15000 mods on the net. *** To expand this to even further ridiculous levels, there is a mod that actually combines the above four overhauls into one single mega-overhaul mod. Yes, ''Oblivion'' has mods for mods. ** Even ''Daggerfall'' had some surprisingly large mods back in the day, and you can still find some of them floating around on some of the older ''Elder Scrolls'' sites. ** Don't forget ''Skyrim''. Bethesda even teamed up with Valve to create a mod distribution system on Steam. * GameplayAndStorySegregation: Some of the in-game books describe situations that contradict how things work in the game. In some cases the books are "in-world" fictional, so this may simply be a case of simulated research failure. In other cases the books ''did'' present situations that [[GameplayAndStoryIntegration worked as they would in-game]]... for the game when it was first written, even as relevant game-mechanics were changed for the sequels. * GenderBender: A couple of Daedra Lords seem to have trouble having only one gender, and PhysicalGod Vivec is both a male and a female. Once he even had kids with a rapist god (the tale of this includes a part where they compare the size of their "spears".) ** It's {{lampshaded}} by the Dissident Priests in ''Morrowind'' that Vivec just made most of that stuff up in order to appear more divine than "Some guy who stole his Godhood while betraying his friend". There are even some holes in his story, such as the aforementioned "Having kids with Molag Bal" as Daedra ''can't create life''. *** As if the story wasn't (purposefully) ambiguous enough, you can be sent on a quest by Molag Bal himself to banish a ''daughter'' of his back to his realm. ** Also, the Argonians. They're sequential hermaphrodites, meaning they can switch genders (Supposedly. The evidence is very loose and small). The time spent as either male or female is called a "life-phase". * GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The first two games in the series, ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'', had no censorship issue at all. ''Daggerfall'' had a surprisingly high amount of soft nudity in the game, even by 1996-97 standards, and even had a biography with an extremely graphic sex scene. (The "star" of said scene has a quest for you to steal the manuscript from this particular book of the series to prevent it from being published. You will not find it anywhere else. In ''Morrowind'', the book can be found but with the scene removed and a comment explaining it was edited at the behest of the Temple.) One of the (optional) Wayrest plotlines has you blackmail a prominent local lord with a letter showing that he's [[BrotherSisterIncest VERY CLOSE]] to his sister. [[YourCheatingHeart Who's married]]. However, with computer games becoming more scrutinized, the supposedly libertine Dunmer, according to ''Daggerfall'' books, became very prudish in ''Morrowind''. But censorship doesn't get everything. ** Metaphysical mumbo-jumbo is boring, right? Nobody will ever read the obscure and confusing ''Lessons of Vivec''. Sermon 14 of the series describe an orgy that happened when Vivec decided to teach "the ways of belly-magic" to the "King of Rape". There was much "biting of spears" and "piercing of the second aperture". ** One alchemist in ''Oblivion'' asks you about the punishment for necrophilia in Cyrodiil. "No reason, just curious." She'll be very happy if you tell her it's just a fine, even for repeated offenses. (Note that the alchemist was a Dunmer from Vvardenfell, where religious law gives ''any'' tampering with the remains of the deceased an ''extremely'' harsh sentence.) ** Moon Sugar and Skooma are {{Fantastic Drug}}s. 95% of ''Morrowind's'' vendors would not even deal with you if you had them in your inventory (although [[FridgeLogic you could simply drop it on the floor and nobody would say anything).]] ** It's quite obvious what Mirabelle Monet in Anvil gets up to behind closed doors. She even says that the beds in her inn are [[IncrediblyLamePun reserved for seamen]]. ** And of course, everyone's favorite play, "The Lusty Argonian Maid". *** And now Skyrim adds "The Lusty Argonian Maid, v2" in addition to the original still in the game. * GoMadFromTheRevelation: [[spoiler:Almalexia does ''not'' take the loss of her godhood well in ''Tribunal.'']] ** Those who are able to read the eponymous Elder Scrolls the way they were meant to be read, but lack the special mental training to keep things under control [[spoiler:or who lack some special trait like being the Dovahkiin and thus having a soul outside time]], will go quite mad. Another effect is being struck blind; training just decides when and how long it persists (and it can be permanent). It's said that even people who study the ''nature'' of the Scrolls, not the Scrolls themselves, go insane with almost monotonous regularity. ** The Moth Priests, who ''do'' have both the reading skills and mental control, are still a little bit off. Every one of them loses their sight with time. * GravityBarrier: Attempted in ''Oblivion,'' but imperfect because of all the glitches that game had. There was a back-up InvisibleWall behind the barrier. * GrayAndGrayMorality: Every game has various factions struggling against each other, but there is almost never a "right" side in any conflict. You can usually choose a side or remain neutral. * TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: Poor Martin. [[spoiler: His sacrifice will be a footnote.]] * GreenHillZone: The Ascadian Isles in ''Morrowind'', with no real enemies other than sick animals at most; also subverted in the monster-ridden, Daedric ruin-dotted Grazelands. * GuardingThePortal: The ''Oblivion'' gates. * HalfHumanHybrid: Averted. Almost all the major races descend from one ancient race from the Dawn era, so they're largely compatible with each other genetically. In fact, one race of Men, the Bretons, are descended from a host of human/elf mongrels born to Elven lords and human concubines, and eventually outpopulated the purebreds in the region. ** Also, in most cases, it's the race of the mother that determines what the child will be. * {{Hammerspace}}: The Bound Item spells basically consist on pulling an InfinityPlusOneSword (or axe or mace or bow or dagger or suit of armour) from Hammerspace. ** The only real limit on what you can carry is your Strength attribute. The PC can also carry multiple heavy weapons, suits of armour, literally enough food to feed an army, a library's worth of books and magic scrolls, millions of (effectively weightless) separate coins, hundreds of arrows, bolts, throwing knives and ammunition, dozens and dozens of sets of clothing, hundreds of potions, and many, many more items. * HandicappedBadass: The Moth Priests, who are blind from reading the Elder Scrolls but are all the more powerful for it. * HealingShiv: The Dagger of Friendship and Truncheon of Submission. * HegemonicEmpire: Tamriel, while initially forged with the iron fists of Imperial Legions, is held together only through massive schemes of the last Emperor. It finally falls apart prior to the fifth game. * HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Martin]] in ''Oblivion''. * HeyItsThatVoice: LyndaCarter has been a regular VA since ''Morrowind''. * HideYourChildren: Every installment except for ''Daggerfall'' and ''Skyrim''. ''Daggerfall'' also provided the image on the HideYourChildren page. * TheHighQueen: Azura and Almalexia, both heavily deconstructed. ** Even before those two, it was heavily subverted and deconstructed in Barenziah's unofficial biography. * HitAndRunTactics: On the highest difficulty, this is possibly your best bet in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Screw the heavy armour and sword, normal clothes, a bow and high speed and athletics stat are your best bet for survival. Oh, and spells, for the mages out there. Of course, you then have to worry about archers and spell casters, but its better than certain death at the hands of overpowering melee opponents. * HumansAreAverage: Averted, the three human races all are noticeably tilted to physical or magical abilities. JackOfAllStats are the Dunmer. ** Imperials come closest to it, though. While their primary slant is social skills/swordsmanship, they don't have any particularly deficient attributes and can be perfectly functional in a nice variety of builds. * HumongousMecha: The Dwemer ruins often have SteamPunk mechas. There's a huge ''thing'' that serves as the sub-boss of Tribunal. ** Numidium, the entire point of ''Daggerfall'', though it's a PhysicalGod. * HundredPercentHeroismRating * HyperspaceArsenal: You can carry enough to supply an army. * IncrediblyLamePun: In ''Morrowind'', the [[spoiler:Boots of Blinding Speed]], of course! ** In ''Oblivion'', the [[spoiler:Ring of Burden]]. * InfinityPlusOneSword: In ''Morrowind'', it is possible to upgrade Goldbrand - which is itself one of the hardest items to get in the game, to a superpowered version called Eltonbrand. The method of getting it is so circuitous and involved, and there are [[GuideDangIt no clues to figure it out on your own - you need to look it up online]]. But it's DEFINITELY well worth having. ** Then there's Trueflame and Hopesfire in ''Tribunal''. They're fast, light, durable, capable of immense amounts of damage with minimal effort on your part, and did we mention that [[IncendiaryExponent they're on FIRE]]? * InstantArmor: The 'Bound Armor' spells allows you to summon a full suit of Daedric Armor, to quickly de-squishify your SquishyWizard. ** Particularly noticeable in ''Oblivion'', where the Daedric Cult you spend most of the main quest-line fighting, makes heavy use of Bound-spells - usually appearing as fully-armored monsters, and then disintegrating into cloaked corpses when you take them down. * ItGotWorse: Oblivion leaves the Empire [[spoiler:without an heir and the entire future uncertain.]] Between the events of Oblivion and Skyrim, [[spoiler: the province of Morrowind is destroyed and conquered by the Argonians, the Empire collapses and a reborn unified nation of the Altmer and Bosmer ascends in opposition to what remains, a large amount of Black Marsh is ravaged by Umbriel and its undead army, the nascent nation of Orsinium is sacked by the Bretons and Redguards (AGAIN).]] And most of this is in the first FORTY YEARS. There's another HUNDRED AND SIXTY until Skyrim takes place. A couple of decades before ''{{Skyrim}}'' takes place, the Empire is slammed by the Great War with the Aldmeri Dominion, which ends with Hammerfell forced to secede from the Empire and the worship of Talos being banned, which leads directly to the civil war in Skyrim which threatens to shatter the entire Empire. And then in Skyrim you can weaken the Empire further (by siding with the Stormcloaks in the civil war) and/or by assassinating the current Emperor. * ItsProbablyNothing: For something hyped so much, the AI in ''Oblivion'' is pretty stupid, dismissing arrows stuck in them as the wind. ** This remains in Skyrim. * InfoDump: ''Morrowind'' has serious problems with this. * JustBetweenYouAndMe - [[spoiler:Almalexia]] at the end of ''Tribunal''. * KatanasAreJustBetter: Katanas in ''Morrowind'' are only surpassed by claymores; the Orcish armour also looks very Japanese, and it's the best medium armour in the game. ** Mostly subverted in ''Oblivion'', though. Orcish armour now looks like stuff out of a gladiator movie, and Akaviri Katanas and Dai-Katanas are excellent starting weapons but nowhere near the cream of the crop. That said, one of the best obtainable weapons, Goldbrand, is an enchanted katana won from a Daedra Lord's quest. It's not QUITE an InfinityPlusOneSword, but it's close. * LastOfHisKind: There is one [[spoiler:Dwemer to be found]] in Morrowind, but he's [[spoiler:been horribly mutated by corprus disease and has had his lower body replaced by a mechanical spider-like contraption.]] ** An Argonian in Skyrim's Dark Brotherhood is the last of the Shadowscales, Argonians born under the sign of The Shadow who are sent to the Dark Brotherhood. ** ''Dawnguard'''s main quest ultimately leads you to the last [[spoiler: true Snow Elf, who avoided his race's gradual transformation into the Falmer]]. * LevelGrinding: Often, skills outside of the standard combat abilities require major level grinding or obscene amounts of gold in order to increase. ** Taken to a new extreme in Skyrim, where one can make a couple thousand "hide" items to increase their Smithing skill to 100 easily. * LawfulStupid: The Imperial Guard can be outright ''vicious'', even for minor infractions. Mostly due to [[ArtificialStupidity AI limitations]], though. The town guards of Skyrim are more lax, and will merely note "Wait, I know you" if you've committed minor crimes. Also, if you're with the Thieves Guild, [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney you can bribe them to look the other way]]. * TheLawOfConservationOfDetail: The five major games are a shining example of this trope. ''Arena'' has a ludicrously humongous world the size of Europe, but most of the villages that are not major or plot-significant are automatically generated. ''Daggerfall'' later limted the world to only part of two provinces, Hammerfell and High Rock, but made the world way more detailed and less repetitive, ''Morrowind'' then scaled further down to part of the eponymous province while making every single village significant and adding all sorts of detailed features to the terrain. ''Oblivion'', while ''slightly'' bigger by raw space than Morrowind, is less detailed, as everything not related to geography is randomly generated outside of towns. ''Skyrim'' is about the same size as ''Oblivion'', but the level of detail is noticeably higher -- the majority of locations, even random, out-of-the-way dungeons, will probably have some unique features or a quest. * LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: Making a class's specialization "Combat" (and Stealth in Morrowind) wastes a good number of skills (as there is no point in multiple weapon types, making the bonus wasted), while "magic" specialization has none of the skills contradict. * LizardFolk: The Argonians. ''Arena'' also had lizard men deemed too brutish to be related to the Argonians, but they have not appeared in later games. * LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Each game has hundreds of unique (in the [[FlatCharacter loosest]] [[OnlySixFaces sense]]), individual characters to interact with, plus dozens more in the back story. * LostTechnology: Dwemer SteamPunk. * MadGod: Sheogorath. * 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. * MagicIsMental * MagicalSociety: The Mage's Guild, which players can join. Skyrim also has the College of Winterhold. * 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!'' * MassMonsterSlaughterSidequest * 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 The Art of War. * MetafictionalTitle: The series as a whole. * 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''.]] * MultipleEndings: ''Daggerfall'' had seven possible endings depending on your actions in the game; ''Morrowind'' takes at least five of them as {{canon}} through some very weird {{retcon}}ning. 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 god, 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). * NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: The ''Shivering Isles'' expansion. * 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/{{Skyrim}}'') every 10 ranks (so you could become quite high level by doing nothing but sneaking, smithing and [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath learning to talk really well]]). * 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. * ObviousBeta: ''Daggerfall'', even though several games were shipped with design flaws or glitches, ''Daggerfall'' was the worst. How bad? You could at ''least'' complete the main quest in the other games without a bug making the game unwinnable. ** ''Daggerfall'' was also the game where one of the patches included an official tool entitled FIXSAVE.EXE which as its name implies was meant to repair errors in savegame files. Because they were too common to tell all affected players to restart the game. They also ended up publicizing some cheats, such as a dungeon teleportation spell, because the glitchy collision system in the engine tended to let people slip between the world geometry and into the void where they'd fall forever otherwise. * 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. * 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. * 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]]. * OppositeSexClone: Divayth Fyr's "daughters" in ''Morrowind''. ** They're also his [[ScrewYourself wives.]] * OurElvesAreBetter * 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 are snobbish jerks at best and genocidal Nazis at worst, our Orcs (Orismer) 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 EldritchAbominations 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 we 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 [[CharacterDevelopment 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, werecrocodiles, werelions, werebears, and even weresharks. ** 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. * 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. * PathOfInspiration: The Sixth House. * 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, fox people/lilmothiit and slugmen/Sloads, 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: ALMSIVI, and Dagoth Ur as well. The Daedric Lords to a certain extent. Also, [[spoiler:the player at the end of Shivering Isle]]. * PietaPlagiarism: A large statue in the town of Chorrol in ''Oblivion''. * PlantPerson: Dryads and Spriggans. * 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. * PlayableEpilogue: These games do not really end until you get bored of exploring. * 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. ** The Nords may also count, if not for the fact that they're less ProudWarriorRace and more ''Drunken'' Warrior Race. *** The Nords of Skyrim will actually ridicule most magic users. ** 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 Yokunda). * PrisonEpisode: These games tend to involve prison settings early on. * TheRashomon: The Tribunal Temple's gospels versus the Ashlanders' apocrypha versus the firsthand accounts of Vivec and Dagoth Ur... * RealIsBrown: Morrowind, which has a plague in the story which has robbed the countryside of all colour and replacing it with a depressing brown. ** As with everything in Morrowind, there's a [[GameMod mod]] for that. * 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 possible [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] in which one of them goes charging straight into a deathtrap. * 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 (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 MookRush 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. * RunningGag: Most of the games begin with the player character imprisoned. * SceneryPorn: ''Arena'' not so much, but starting at ''Morrowind'', but improving more in ''Oblivion'', which replaces the Chocolate-stained backgrounds with lots and lots of green. ** ''Daggerfall'' is actually pretty decent in this department by itself, using 1996-97 standards (though ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' obviously outclass it). Using the most recent versions of DaggerXL, however (which disables the distance fog and adds Bloom), you can sit on a sand dune outside of Sentinel and watch the glowing window lights of the sprawling city. It definitely gives the game an updated look. ** ''Skyrim'' definitely ups the ante from ''Obivion''. * 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}}. * ScrewYouElves: Happened thousands of years before the time of the games, when an enslaved human population rebelled against their Elven masters and eventually formed their own Empire. 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 Mur are pretty pissed off with the Thalmor. [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch Even a great deal of Altmer despise them]]. * SerratedBladeOfPain: Daedric weapons. * ShopliftAndDie: Any shopkeeper in the franchise fits. ** Although with how the game is programmed and the [[SarcasmMode extremely convenient locations]] of stealable items, it's more like "accidentally pick up a random object when trying to access the shopkeeper and die". * 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. * 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. ** ''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. * 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. * 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.) * SpontaneousWeaponCreation: You can use the "Bind [weapon]" spells to summon the most powerful generic equipment in the game for a while. * 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 can only train you 5 times. If you ask for training when you're too high level then they'll say something to the effect of this trope. * TakeThat: M'aiq the Liar in ''Oblivion'': "People always enjoy a good {{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 once]]. Filthy things." * TalkingIsAFreeAction: In most of the games talking, lockpicking, looting and checking your inventory freezes time. ** {{Lampshaded}} by a couple Redguard characters who say "Talk is free" in ''Morrowind''. ** Subverted 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. * TalkingToHimself: The voice actors hired have no range, and generally, two characters of the same race and gender will have the exact same voice. This can lead to something literally sounding like someone talking to himself. This can cause a pretty sharp decline in gameplay enjoyment if you're into immersion. ** 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 ''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. * 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, or ''what'' Sithis really is. ** [[MindScrew Sithis Is Not.]] * 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. * TinyGuyHugeGirl: The [[OurElvesAreBetter wood elves]]. Female bosmer are as tall as Imperials, while the males are [[OneHeadTaller nearly a full head-height shorter]]. ** 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 ''[[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''. * TokenEvilTeammate: Mehrunes Dagon is the only Daedric Prince 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 Battelspire 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." * TomeOfEldritchLore: The Mysterium Xarxes, The Oghma Infinium. ** The eponymous Elder Scrolls themselves are these in part. Read them the right way, and you can know the future- but it will cost you your sight. *** If you really study them closely, you'll [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/etada-eight-aedra-eat-dreamer evaporate.]] * TrainingDummy: In the Fighter's Guild quarters. * UniqueEnemy: These are liberally sprinkled throughout the games. In ''Oblivion'' there's the unicorn, the giant mudcrab, and the painted trolls who inhabit their own unique little pocket dimension that looks nothing like the rest of the game. * 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. * {{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. * UnwittingPawn: The plot of Morrowind 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. ** Unless, of course, you perceive what happens AFTER Morrowind as her revenge on the Dunmer for abandoning her. ** Also pretty much the whole Main Quest of Tribunal. Though the player can be pretty aware of what he's doing, he 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 [[LegacyOfKain another game series]] summed it up perfectly: "What game is this, where every player on the board claims the same pawn?" * 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. * 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 was added in ''Oblivion'' and ''Skyrim,'' it seems WarpWhistle has gone the way of the dodo. * WeaponsKitchenSink: You can find dealers selling claymores, longswords and wakizashis at the same time. ** Justified in that 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. ** Also justified in a gameplay sense, as it wouldn't make sense to program 14 different NPC's to sell each type of weapon, per city. * 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!]]" --> "[[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Stop right there, criminal scum!]]" --> "[[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion I saw a mudcrab the other day.]]" -->"[[TheElderScrollsVSkyrim I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow to the knee.]]" * WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic: The 36 Lessons of Vivec, from Morrowind. They are a series of 36 books, supposedly penned by the man-god himself, which are written by Michael Kirkbride. In them, he uses oodles of biblical imagery to make sure that, if you take it seriously, there is ''no way'' a person could see Vivec as anything less than the absolute god of ''The Elder Scrolls'' universe (which, of course, isn't necessarily true). Doubles with {{Anvilicious}}. Also with TropesAreNotBad. And don't forget GettingCrapPastTheRadar since some lessons are loaded with obvious innuendo. Finally, there's a dose of InJoke too, with glitches in the ''Redguard'' engine fictionalized as natural wonders. * WideOpenSandbox * 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: 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 decent 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) . * XanatosRoulette: Almalexia's plot in ''Tribunal''. * 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.
28th Sep '12 5:38:05 PM rmctagg09
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28th Sep '12 5:22:20 PM rmctagg09
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[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elderscroll_7680.jpg]] [[caption-width-right:300:[[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm This is what you think an Elder Scroll looks like.]]]] [[quoteright:250:~~VideoGame, WesternRPG~~]] Popular series of computer and console {{RPG}}s produced by Bethesda Softworks. ''The Elder Scrolls'' games are set in Tamriel, a landmass roughly the size of Africa. The games are renowned for their [[WideOpenSandbox open-ended]] style of gameplay, allowing the player to play as a heroic or diabolical character, to pursue the main quest with vigor or to ignore it entirely, and to gain prowess and fame through working for guilds, military legions, and the like. The games are also noted for the largeness of the game world -- ''Daggerfall'' in particular has a game world roughly the size of Great Britain, with approximately 750,000 {{NPC}}s to interact with. Though later games in the series are notably smaller, they remain much larger and more finely-detailed than the typical RPG game world. The principal games in the ''Elder Scrolls'' series are: [[index]] * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena Arena]]'' (1994). [[TheEmperor The benevolent Emperor]] of Tamriel, Uriel Septim VII, is secretly overthrown by his own [[MagicKnight Battlemage]] Jagar Tharn, who traps him in Oblivion, assumes his appearance, and reigns in his stead. However, the ghost of his late apprentice Ria Silmane teams up with a loyal Imperial guardsman (the PlayerCharacter) to fight the usurper. Together, they travel through all provinces of Tamriel to [[GottaCatchThemAll collect all pieces]] of the [[DismantledMacGuffin Staff of Chaos]], which the PC then uses to kill Tharn and restore the rightful Emperor. The game was originally going to be about, well, arenas, but that idea was scratched in favor of adapting the developers' home-brew [[DungeonsAndDragons D&D setting]], Tamriel, into a computer game. The fast-paced gladiatorial combat style remained, though, and ''Arena'' was much more action-oriented than other {{RPG}}s of the time. The game met with lackluster sales, but developed a strong enough cult fanbase to warrant a sequel. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'' (1996). The PC, a personal acquaintance of Uriel Septim VII, is sent to the Western province of High Rock to investigate the ghost of its former King Lysandus, who now haunts the city of Daggerfall. Cooperating with the [[SecretPolice Emperor's Blades]], the PC uncovers a sinister plot to reactivate the LostSuperweapon Numidium, which was originally used to forge the Third Tamrielic Empire. Several factions in the region enter the fight for controlling the Numidium, and it depends on the PC who wins it. Also of note is the emphasis on side-quests--after seeing how much time ''Arena'' players spent on them, the designers decided to put them in the spotlight. ''Daggerfall'' featured several different factions for the player to join outside of the Main Quest, all of which will give players hundreds of hours of side-questing. It also had positively HUGE [[RandomlyGeneratedLevels randomly generated dungeons]], often "designed" [[RuinsForRuinsSake in the silliest ways possible]]. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'' (2002). A convict from the Imperial City Prison (the PC) is released in the North-Eastern province of Morrowind on the Emperor's direct orders. Guided by the Blades, the PC fulfills countless local prophecies and is acknowledged as the ChosenOne who will save the land from [[ThePlague the Blight]] (no, not [[DragonAge that Blight]]). Tracing the Blight to the evil god Dagoth-Ur, the PC destroys the source of his (and other local gods') {{immortality}} and kills him, bringing relative peace to the province. The game was significantly smaller in scope than its predecessor (a "mere" 18 square miles as opposed to hundreds, and a non-infinite number of side-quests), but managed to come off as much more epic anyway due to the quality of the writing and the [[SceneryPorn diverse, exotic landscapes]]. It's also notable for being much, much weirder than the rest of the franchise, being set in an alien landscape populated by Dunmer, dinosaurs, giant bugs, and tiny Cthulhu lookalikes. ** ''Tribunal'' (2002). An attack by the [[MurderInc Dark Brotherhood]] brings the PC to Morrowind's capital of Mournhold. After a while, the PC finds themselves at odds with the local deities and has to [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu kill them]], now that their immortality is lost. ** ''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. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' (2006). Emperor Uriel Septim VII is assassinated by the [[ReligionOfEvil Mythic Dawn]], but not before seemingly accidentally freeing yet another convict from the Imperial City Prison (the PC). The PC then joins the Blades in their search for the last remaining heir to the Empire, Martin Septim, against the backdrop of [[DuringTheWar an ongoing invasion]] from [[TheLegionsofHell Oblivion]] by the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon, whom the Mythic Dawn worships. Eventually, the PC, Martin, and the Blades manage to repel the Daedra but... [[BittersweetEnding at a price]]. This was the first big-name RPG for the 7th generation of consoles, and made full use of the Xbox 360's and Playstation 3's technical abilities. However, some complained that it had been dumbed-down for casual gamers, what with arrows pointing to your objectives and simplified role-playing elements. ** ''Knights of the Nine'' (2006). The PC investigates a [[BloodstainedGlassWindows brutal attack on the local chapel]] to discover that an EvilSorcerer plans to destroy Cyrodiil and only certain artifacts can defeat him. [[OrderReborn Reestablishing the order]] of eponymous Knights of the Nine, the PC recovers all artifacts and kills the evil wizard. ** ''Shivering Isles'' (2007). The PC is summoned by the Daedric Prince [[TheMadHatter Sheogorath]] to help prevent the [[EternalRecurrence regular destruction]] of his Oblivion realm. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' (2011) Set 200 years after the Oblivion crisis when the empire Tiber Septim founded is in bad shape, being slowly picked apart by the fascistic [[ScrewYouElves Aldmeri Dominion]] through means of subterfuge, imposing treaty terms, or outright war. The PC barely survives crossing over to Skyrim after Alduin, the Nordic aspect of Akatosh, decimates a village the PC was planned to be executed at. Now with dragons appearing all over Skyrim, the PC discovers that they're the Dovahkiin (Dragonborn) and the only one able to stop Alduin from ushering TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, all in the midst of a civil war. ** ''Dawnguard'' (2012) The Dragonborn gets involved in a conflict between an Order known as the Dawnguard and a race of vampires who wish to blot out the sun. ** ''Hearthfire'' (2012) The Dragonborn gets into homebuilding and childrearing. * ''TheElderScrollsInUniverseBooks'' covers the various [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin In Universe Books]] found in the games from Daggerfall on. [[/index]] Bethesda has also produced several other games set in the ''Elder Scrolls'' universe which are not [=RPGs=]: * ''The Elder Scrolls Legends: Battlespire'' (1997), basically a long, [[MushroomSamba trippy]] dungeon-crawl. Set during the time of ''Arena'', and originally planned as an expansion pack for ''Daggerfall''. A WizardingSchool for Imperial Battlemages is attacked by Mehrunes Dagon, who aims to use it as a conduit for invading Tamriel. A single graduate (the PC) has to fight their way to Dagon through Oblivion, defeat him, and [[ItsPersonal free their partner]]. It is the only game in the series to include multiplayer, though that addition proved a [[MisbegottenMultiplayerMode spectacular failure]] and Bethesda never tried it again. A good chunk of the information of the things known about the Daedra originate in this game. * ''The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard'' (1998), an action-adventure game with very few RPG elements. Some 400 years before ''Arena'', a Redguard by the name of Cyrus travels home to find his sister missing and himself embroiled in a web of political intrigue. It was well received by critics and fans, but due to the cost of production and being built on outdated technology, it was a financial flop. The [[{{Feelies}} Pocket Guide to the Empire]] is the origin of most of the background lore on Tamriel. * ''Dawnstar'' (2003) * ''Stormhold'' (2004) * ''Shadowkey'' (2004) ** These last three were released for mobile phones. Generally, only ''Shadowkey'' is considered canon. Additionally, a "remake" of ''Oblivion'' was released for mobile phones. A PSP version was also planned and demonstrated, but is currently presumed cancelled. There are two novels set in this universe, taking place forty years after ''Oblivion''. The first is entitled ''The Infernal City.'' See ''TheElderScrollsNovels''. In 2004, Bethesda released the original version of ''Arena'' as a freeware download. In 2009, it was joined by ''Daggerfall''. In 2011, a rewrite of ''Daggerfall's'' game engine, known as [[http://xlengine.com/ DaggerXL]], started development under an independent programmer. Both ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' run quite nicely under [[http://www.dosbox.com/ DOSBox]], though, so grab them [[http://www.elderscrolls.com/arena/ here]] and [[http://www.elderscrolls.com/daggerfall/ here]] and enjoy. Bethesda has announced a new TES MMORPG set during the Second Era, ''[[{{VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline}} The Elder Scrolls Online]].'' ---- !!Provides examples of: * AbusivePrecursors: The Ayleids were [[CompleteMonster not]] very nice people, to put it lightly. * AdamSmithHatesYourGuts: Even when the player is famous, what he pays still largely depends on his skills. Even members of a guild a player is in will still usually charge unfair prices, though this is probably justified in that the guild has to make money somehow. But the biggest example is in the Thieves' Den DLC for ''Oblivion'', where the player's fellow pirate underlings will give the player gold from the plunderings he didn't even participate in, but won't give up a bit of their equipment without charging more than 1.5x its value. ** Prices are offset by disposition, though how much depends on the game. ** Through a quirk in the coding (specifically, they lack disposition and skills, including Mercantile), creature merchants in ''Morrowind'' buy and sell items at their base value. ** Averted if your Personality stat and Mercentile skill are high enough: then you can buy items from a vendor, and sell them back to him for more than you bought them for. Repeatedly. Until they have no money left. Which, in later games, is impossible. * AffablyEvil: Dagoth Ur of Morrowind. He will talk and explain all his actions before battle, and waits for the player to strike first in battle. One of his underlings will offer you a glass of fine ancient brandy and a friendly chat before the battle. ** Most of the inhabitants in the Dark Brotherhood Cheydinhal Sanctuary in ''Oblivion'' can be quite charming. --->"Hey, I don't know who the Night Mother is, but she pays me to kill people. My own mother never loved me so much!" * AHomeownerIsYou: Except in ''Arena'', all games of the main series allow you to either buy or build homes. ''Morrowind'' uses them as rewards for climbing up in the hierarchy of certain factions; ''Daggerfall'' and ''Oblivion'' lets you buy them if you have enough money. ''Skyrim'' is a bit of both--Gain a good reputation with a town, and the ruler will allow you to buy a house there. * AGodAmI: Dagoth Ur. --> What a fool you are. I'm a god! How can you kill a god?! What a grand and intoxicating innocence! ** Almalexia is like this too (something Vivec himself notes). Jarring in Vivec's case who is renowned to be the one ''least'' prone to those, but will give such a spiel if you confront on him on what the Tribunal has done, asking you who you are to question a god. * AGodIsYou: [[spoiler:Specifically, at the end of ''Shivering Isles'', Sheogorath Is You.]] ** Notably averted in ''Morrowind''. The entire plot revolves around [[spoiler:obtaining the tools with which it's possible to achieve godhood and getting them to the source from which said godhood can be obtained]]. But there's no way to actually do so, the only option is to [[spoiler:use them to release it]]. ** In ''Skyrim'', the protagonist is the Dragonborn, a rare mortal gifted with the blood and soul of an Aedric Dragon. * AboveGoodAndEvil: Admittedly the series tends to GrayAndGreyMorality, but special mention goes to the spirits and deities of the series; while considered variously good or evil depending on where you are and who you ask in a case of in-Universe mass AlternateCharacterInterpretation (see also AllMythsAreTrue), most in-'verse scholars claim [[BlueAndOrangeMorality they are simply above human understanding and therefore human conceptions of moral actions.]] Also, see the Vivec example from the above AGodAmI. * TheAgeless: The Nerevarine becomes this, as a consequence of [[spoiler: having Corprus but getting negative effects cured.]] If brought to sufficient heights of power, they can also gain enough regenerative power to leave this trope and [[FromASingleCell enter another.]] * AlienSky: Two moons and a sky full of nebulae. The two moons are the rotting corpse of a god's divinity, the nebulae are "un-stars," and the stars themselves are holes poked into the Aetherius. It may also be a case of YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm. * AllDesertsHaveCacti: Hammerfell. ** Well, other than some places that are desert-like but aren't what we ''think'' of deserts. * AllMythsAreTrue: All myths in Tamriel's tradition, that is. * AllTrollsAreDifferent: Huge, hairy three-eyed simians that [[HealingFactor regenerate]] remarkably quickly. * AlwaysChaoticEvil: Goblins, Ogres, Minotaurs... Dremora seem to be Always LawfulEvil. ** Falmer in ''Skyrim'', due to a combination of the original Snow Elves being brutally driven out of Skyrim and underground by Ysgramor, and then being enslaved by the Dwemer and turned blind by being forced to eat a poisonous fungus and ''then'' being biologically altered into relying on said fungus to survive. The Falmer have since been twisted into hateful monsters who want to kill and eat anyone who isn't Falmer. ** Basically, they're {{Mole People}} * AlwaysOverTheShoulder: When in third person. * AnachronismStew: One of the Daedra wears a pocket watch, and Sotha Sil has an entire clockwork ''city'' thanks to the Dwemer's fascination with mechanisms. ** Designs for architecture, fashion, armor, weapons and other items mixes elements from the Antiquity to the late Renaissance. Generally justified. * AncientConspiracy: House Dagoth, the Mythic Dawn. * AngelsDevilsAndSquid: The Aedra, the Daedra, and Sithis, respectively. * AnInteriorDesignerIsYou: The move to full 3D for ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' allowed the player to place and move items in houses. ** And the [[WreakingHavok wonky physics system]] in ''Oblivion'' made it outright impossible to place more than one item anywhere in a room without knocking everything else about. Thankfully, [[GameMod modders]] came to the rescue creating mods specifically to make decorating your house easier. ** Partially averted in ''Skyrim'', since houses now include wall mounts and weapon racks, both of which are can be activated to display your equipped weapon- the bookcases also allow the player to stack books somewhat neatly. * AnnouncerChatter: In the Imperial City's Arena in ''Oblivion''. * AnnoyingArrows: Kind of justified from a game mechanic standpoint, as everyone has health points to take damage from. Doesn't stop it from seeming odd when a particularly powerful enemy's still attacking you with 20 arrows jutting out of his chest. * ArtificialAtmosphericActions: Present in ''{{Oblivion}}''. Less so in ''{{Morrowind}}'', but ''still'' there since the AI wasn't programmed to do many specific things. Many times the wandering AI will get stuck on something or try attacking you when their friend is in their way. Can also lead to a FunnyMoment or two... or three. ** It's worth mentioning that in ''Morrowind'', people's greetings to you would change depending on their affection to you. This sometimes leads to people breaking character. ** Potentially [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in the Shivering Isles, where everyone's insane. * ArtificialStupidity: -->"[[WelcomeToCorneria I saw a mud crab the other day]]."\\ "Horrible creatures, I steer well clear of them."\\ "Farewell." [Turns away from other NPC and walks face-first into a wall.] ** "Kvatch is under attack!" [Runs back in the direction of Kvatch.] ** Non-player characters will often walk into each other, walk into walls, or walk into objects you place on the ground. In the case of the latter, they never, ever consider ''jumping'' or going around the object. ** There's something wrong when two people are staying entirely still in one place and one of them is repeatedly saying "I don't know you, and I don't care to know you!" over and over and over. If he doesn't want to know him, why does he keep bugging him about it instead of just walking away? ** [[SelectiveEnforcement Apparently, 99.999% of Tamriel is above the law.]] Guards will regularly ignore anyone who is trying to kill you and only fight back about enemies who attack ''them''. (They do enforce assault laws in ''Oblivion'' though, gotta give them that.) Oh, and apparently, sleeping in public is a bad thing... but only if ''you'' do it. ** Hearing "Hmm... body's still warm. Looks like there's a killer about", from a guard, in reference to the bandit/marauder/etc. ''That he just killed himself''. ** If you were popular enough among the masses, the citizens will rise to defend you if the guard attacks you. If the guard accepts a yield, he has a chance to attack another guard to defend the citizens. ** In ''Oblivion''[='s=] woods, you'll occasionally encounter two Imperial Legion Foresters attempting to kill one another and failing miserably. Lord only knows how that got started... *** That would be because Foresters are programmed to sometimes hunt deer. Shame that deer are friendly towards soldiers, so the other sees it as an assault... * ArtifactOfDoom: Umbra, the Mantella and [[InformedAbility supposedly]] the Mysterium Xarxes. * BarrierMaiden: Martin in ''Oblivion'' is a male example. Also Vivec, Sotha Sil, and Almalexia, who power and maintain the ghost gate. Vivec (who at the time of the story is the only one actually powering the gate) is one twice, since his power also keeps the Ministry of Truth from crashing into Vvardenfall. * BecomingTheMask: Both played straight and inverted thanks to the act of "mantling." Not only can one become like a historical figure or god, the reverse can also happen! * BindingAncientTreaty: The Bosmer and their "Green Pact". * BittersweetEnding: In ''Oblivion'' [[spoiler: Mehrunes Dagon and the Mythic Dawn cult that worships him are both defeated for good, and the gates of Oblivion are sealed forever, preventing any kind of Daedra invasion of the mortal world from ever happening again. The main hero is rejoiced across Cyrodiil as its savior and everyone rejoices. However, the disappearance of Martin Septim, Uriel Septim's bastard son, leaves the Septim line without an heir to assume the throne. [[strike:Though the Elder Council may be able to keep the Empire together, it is heavily implied that the Empire is far from out of the woods.]] The Empire falls, Morrowind especially being mostly destroyed by Vvardenfell's eruption and wars with Skyrim and Black Marsh.]] * BlackAndGrayMorality: ''Daggerfall'' is quite 'black-gray'. Daggerfall's king [[spoiler: [[WildMassGuessing may have]] helped sell-out his own father to a power-hungry lord from Wayrest]], Sentinel's king and queen [[spoiler: [[CompleteMonster killed their firstborn son (by burying him alive)]] because he A) was constantly ill, and B) preferred scholarly pursuits over swordcraft]], and Wayrest... just Wayrest. Oh, yeah, there's a quest where [[spoiler: you kill a kid]] to cure yourself of Lycanthropy. ** The series as a whole tends towards a mix of GreyAndGrayMorality and BlueAndOrangeMorality, but the blue and orange can wind up looking awfully black from our perspective. * BlindSeer: Blindness and prophecy are two of the side effects associated with reading the titular scrolls. * BloodKnight: Hircine. [[spoiler:The entire plot of ''Bloodmoon'' turns out to be a plot for him to find a worthy foe.]] * BlueAndOrangeMorality: The Aedra, Daedra, and any mortal that ascends (Tiber Septim, the Tribunal, Mannimarco, et al). ** It's revealed in ''Skyrim'' that the Falmer, losing ground to the Nords fast, pleaded with the Dwemer for help. The Dwemer proceeded to feed them a fungus which made them blind, engineer their biology so they depended on the fungus to survive, and then keep them around as a slave race. The slaves rebelled, fighting an endless underground war against the Dwemer until they disappeared, leaving the Falmer as blind cave-dwelling beasts. ** The Thalmor, who for complicated theological reasons see [[spoiler: their [[OmnicidalManiac Omnicidal Mania]]]] as a ''moral imperative''. * BringIt: The ogres in ''Oblivion''. * CainAndAbel: Orvas and Vedam Dren in ''Morrowind.'' * TheCaligula: Pelagius the Mad certainly lived up to his name. He had extreme weight fluctuations and tried to hang himself at the end of a royal ball, among other things. When it was determined that he was no longer fit to rule, he was institutionalized, and, shortly before he died, he declared that dying would be illegal. * CallASmeerpARabbit: A metal used since ''Morrowind'' for high-quality heavy armor is called ebony, with no relation to the real-world wood. ** Similarly, Skyrim features a ''solid'' metal called "quicksilver", and corundum ore is refined into metal ingots. * CardCarryingVillain: Egregiously so in ''Oblivion''. ''Morrowind'' was much more morally ambiguous, with even the local assassins' guild operating within legal framework and according to [[EvenEvilHasStandards a strict honor code]]. There was also less of the trope in ''Skyrim'' -- Alduin is an example, but the secondary conflict of the civil war is [[GrayAndGrayMorality much, much more ambiguous]]. ** The Daedra can look like this at times -- their BlueAndOrangeMorality tends to focus on whatever their Sphere is... meaning Boethiah is a card-carrying betrayer, Mehrunes Dagon is a card-carrying destroyer, Molag Bal is a card-carrying enslaver/corruptor of mortals... * CatFolk: Khajiit. ** Actually zigzagged at first. In ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'', the playable Khajiit where a subspecies known as Ohmes-Raht Khajiit, which were basically humans with a few vague feline features. From ''Morrowind'' onwards, the dominant Khajiit sub-species has been the Suthay-Raht, which are your standard CatFolk. * ChaosArchitecture: Geography and city layouts vary greatly between ''Arena'' and its sequels. * CharmPerson: Several useful and valuable spells have this effect. * ChekhovsVolcano: Averted in that the Red Mountain from ''Morrowind'' never erupts, but instead simply keeps spewing ash, which in the world serves an entirely different purpose [[spoiler:until the book]]. Probably explains why the people of Morrowind have probably never seen a Pastel in their life, or anything that wasn't [[RealIsBrown smeared brown]]. ** By the time ''Skyrim'' rolls around, the Red Mountain has erupted, destroying most of Vvardenfell in the process, which does make the entirety of Morrowind seem like a bit of a ShaggyDogStory. Oh, and it's implied the eruption was indirectly caused by [[NiceJobBreakingItHero the player's actions in ''Tribunal''.]] * ChivalrousPervert: "Oh, why I am just certain that Crassius Curio counts, dumpling, but it is sooooo nice to hear you say so yourself." * ChoiceOfTwoWeapons: Too many different combinations possible. * CityOfCanals: The city of Vivec from ''Morrowind''. * ConspiracyTheorist: A side quest in ''TheElderScrolls IV: Oblivion'' concerns a Bosmer named Glarthir who is convinced that several people in town are involved in a conspiracy against him, and wants the player to help him find proof. ** This is apparently a VERY common trait with the Dukes and Duchesses of Dementia. * ContemptibleCover: The promo and cover art for ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' had [[RobLiefeld Rob Liefeld-esque]] female warriors dressed in outfits that consisted solely of a few black leather straps. The modern ''Elder Scrolls'' games from Morrowind onwards have been more sensible in that regard. * CorruptChurch: The Tribunal Temple. ** ReligionOfEvil: Dagoth Ur's Sixth House, The Mythic Dawn. * CosmicRetcon: The Warp of the West, most famously. Due to all of the different possible endings in Daggerfall which depended on the player's choices, the developers decided that, due to [[DeusExMachina divine interference]], ''all'' of the possible endings happened at once, ''within the same timeline''. Needless to say, the world became a bit messy after that. ** A less blatant example is the [[TimeyWimeyBall "Dragon Break" phenomenon]] where time goes all screwy for a bit, implied to account for some of the [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness differences between the earlier and later games in the series.]] * CrapsackWorld: Alas, what Tamriel has essentially become after the conclusion of the ''Oblivion'' storyline. Pretty much ''everyone'' has shared a miserable fate. * CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Maybe. It ''is'' possible the Khajiit have a subrace looking like common housecats. That are quite powerful spellcasters. However, the book that mentions this notes that the source of the claim is [[UnreliableNarrator notorious for being unreliable with the truth]], and that he personally doesn't believe it. * CulturalPosturing: the Altmer and Dunmer are particularly fond of this. ** As of Skyrim, the Altmer have taken this up several notches. Even to other Altmer. * CursedWithAwesome / BlessedWithSuck/ BeneficialDisease: Corprus disease renders you permanently immune to all other diseases, boosts your strength, and stops you from ever aging. On the downside, it's also TheVirus, and eventually turns you into an EldritchAbomination. ** Vampirism. It grants players with increased speed, health, damage, etc and the ability to suck blood from people but makes them take damage it out in the sun, and so ugly that people (including quest givers) will not talk to you. *** ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' seem to handle vampirism in different ways. While in ''Morrowind'', you'll definitely get ostracized by virtually everybody (except the Telvanni, where you pretty much count as normal) no matter when you fed last, this is not the case in ''Oblivion''. There, you'll just get ostracized if you haven't fed for a few days, else you usually pass for human... or at least mortal. **** A book lampshades this, in the form of a story about a man who sought advice on how to handle vampires of different sorts; a mysteriously helpful source would educate him as to the special traits of vampires in different areas, and the man would then go destroy those vampire clans. He later gets eaten by his source, who reveals, in order, that some clans of vampires could pass for human, and then that he, himself, was one such vampire and hadn't fed in a ''long'' time. **** The province of Morrowind has a very strong cultural bias against vampires, so no matter how human they look, they will still refuse to do anything with them. *** ''Daggerfall'' has different vampires too. Canon justifies these discrepancies by having different types of vampires, depending on the location. There's even an in-game book on the subject, entitled ''Immortal Blood'', and in which the plot involves surprising a vampire hunter who thought he knew enough. ** Lycanthropy, once a night you turn into a several hundred pounds of flesh, fur, claws and teeth capable of killing even the most powerful creatures, but have to at least kill (devouring is optional depending on the game) a sentient humanoid every night or suffer crippling withdrawals when you return to normal. Skyrim also revealed that Werewolves, upon death, are kidnapped to Hircine's realm, even if they don't want to, for an eternity at Hircine's side as one of his pack hounds (which, if you're fine with all of the above, probably won't be an issue for you). *** In addition to not receiving the well-rested bonus upon sleeping in your own bed. * DamnYouMuscleMemory: Go from any installment to ''any other'' installment and you'll run into this problem, guaranteed. ** Worst off is probably ''Skyrim'' (on the PC at least)--the Z key was the button used to pick up and move objects around in ''Oblivion'', but was in this case remapped to trigger a shout--so there's a good chance you'll accidentally FUS RO DAH while trying to decorate your house, sending items flying every which way. ** This was the same on the PS3 which used the R2 key to move items, also remapped to use shouts. Coupled with natural lag on the PS3 at higher levels, and the lag brought on from processing the bytes that make up the items flying around the room, this can be incredibly agonizing. * DangerousForbiddenTechnique: The Pankratosword technique, which is said to be why Yokuda (the place the Redguards used to live) is now a desolate uninhabitable wasteland. * DarkerAndEdgier: ''Battlespire'' is possibly the darkest ES game, despite being only a spinoff. Unlike virtually every other game, you're utterly alone, trapped in a horrific [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Oblivion Realm]] filled with equally horrific monsters just waiting to tear you to pieces. Throughout the game, you are subjected to various nightmarish imagery, forced to fight against seemingly impossible odds as the BigBad viciously taunts you the entire time. * DeaderThanDead: In ''Knights of the Nine'', where you must kill Umaril twice, first his body and then his soul. That's ''after'' he was [[SealedEvilInACan trapped in another dimension for centuries]]. * DeadStarWalking: Uriel Septim VII, voiced by PatrickStewart in ''Oblivion''. * DeathOfAThousandCuts - Cliff Racers drove the ''dragons'' out of Morrowind despite being small annoying things that die quickly. * DefeatingTheUndefeatable: The Gray Prince in ''Oblivion''. Alduin in Skyrim. * DeityOfHumanOrigin: The ALMSIVI and Talos of Atmora/Tiber Septim. Cyrodiilic legends have Arkay be one, but that ''[[UnreliableNarrator probably]]'' is a misinterpretation of the actual situation. ** Sheogorath heavily implies in ''Skyrim'' to have once been [[spoiler: The Champion of Cyrodiil]]. *** Which makes perfect sense, given the events of the ''Shivering Isles'' expansion to ''Oblivion''. * DeliberateValuesDissonance: This is sometimes seen in the in-universe writings, as well as character interaction. * DeusExHomine - An attempt by the Dwemer to do this is how they met their end. [[UnreliableExpositor It could also have been]] [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence a success]] or one of the many JerkassGod in the setting killing them for their attempts. * DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Minor Daedra are fought and killed as regular enemies, especially in ''Battlespire'' and ''Oblivion''. There are also several times when you get to fight and kill a physical incarnation of one of the Daedra Lords, i.e. Mehrunes Dagon in ''Oblivion'', Hircine in the Bloodmoon expansion to ''Morrowind'' ([[ILetYouWin but he is going easy on you]]), and Jyggalag in the Shivering Isles expansion to ''Oblivion''. ** Averted at the end of the main storyline in ''Oblivion'' when Mehrunes Dagon himself (not an [[{{Avatar}} avatar]], ''[[PhysicalGod the real bloody thing]]'') appears in the Imperial City. You can fight him, but your attacks are so utterly ineffective that he doesn't even bother countering. Cue CrowningMomentOfAwesome from Martin. ** Also averted with Sheogorath, [[spoiler: who any attempt to attack leads to a rather spectacular and untimely death. ]] ** Averted again in ''Battlespire'', where any attempt to attack Mehrunes Dagon results in instant death. Although you do banish him by striking him (once) with a sword, that's only the last of a chain of actions resulting in him getting banished (not killed). ** Probably averted with Jyggalag, as you had the powers of Sheogorath by that point. ** More or less played straight with Alduin in ''Skyrim'', as he is truly supposed to be unkillable. Although by the time you fight him properly [[spoiler:you have the heroes who banished him in the first place helping you out]], so perhaps it makes sense. *** Well, technically you [[spoiler: don't actually kill him, his soul escapes to places unknown instead of getting absorbed by you, so even if you destroy his body, he is not truly dead]]. * DisproportionateRetribution: In the opposite direction. Azura's response to the government of a certain tribe of elves snubbing her? Give them all dark skin, strangely shaped cheekbones, and red eyes. [[SarcasmMode That'll teach 'em to ignore the warnings of a Goddess]]... Weaksauce. ** She later leads to the fall of the Tribunal, which in turn leads to the destruction of Morrowind... * DroppedABridgeOnHim: The fate of various characters/places from ''Morrowind'' during the Daedric invasion of Tamriel in ''Oblivion''. Particularly annoying since it's only mentioned in a few throwaway lines from random characters. * DrugsAreBad: Skooma and Greenmote. Inverted somewhat in that alcohol is worse and of negligible value, alchemic or otherwise, and the illegal drugs are very useful for alchemy. ** In the one quest involving Felldew, it's much, much worse than alcohol. Finishing that quest renders you largely immune to it, though. * EldritchAbomination: The Sixth House, and also some of the Daedra, Hermaeus Mora in particular. But especially Sithis, who is the primal Is Not according to the Dark Brotherhood. * ElementalCrafting * ElvesVsDwarves: In this universe, however, "dwarves" (Dwemer) are actually an extinct sub-species of elves (mer), the name "dwarf" being an [[UnreliableNarrator archaeological misnomer]]. ** Played horribly straight with the Dwemer and the Snow Elves [[spoiler: The Dwemer offered the Snow Elves sanctuary from the Ancient Nords, only to enslave them, mutilate their bodes, slowly transforming them into the subterranean Falmer]]. * TheEmpire: PlayedWith, frequently and mercilessly. The Third Tamrielic Empire is constantly trying to centralize authority in Cyrodiil and to force Cyrodiilic law and culture on the provinces, but in many cases the "traditional customs" they're wiping away were really just an excuse for the locals to be oppressive and xenophobic. The conflict is especially played up in ''Morrowind'' and ''Skyrim''. ''Oblivion'' presents the Empire as unambiguously good, while ''Redguard'' presents it as evil (though not entirely unambigously, given that the game ends with the main character brokering a treaty with better terms for Hammerfell's inclusion in the Empire). On the other hand, the Empire's main rival, the Aldmeri Dominion, plays the trope straight. * EmptyLevels: In ''Oblivion'', you can only level up three stats a level, so you'd better make sure you're getting a lot from them. That or just [[LevelGrinding never go to sleep]]. * EscortMission: A large number of them are in ''Morrowind''. The escort usually runs about as fast as you walk, and can barely defend themselves. And the reward is usually chump change. ** ''Oblivion'' had two of these as part of its main quest. Fortunately the escort characters were unkillable. * EvenEvilHasStandards: Although the Morag Tong in ''Morrowind'' is a guild of assassins, those assassins have very strict rules as to whom you can or cannot murder. ** Most "evil" Guilds (such as the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood) have some sort of comradery or kinship that maintains you uphold a certain level of honor. The BigBad of the Thieves Guild in ''Skyrim'' mocks this, as he sees no point to honor amongst thieves. *** The Thieves Guild of Morrowind come out looking as ''good'' guys, thanks to being led by a somewhat Robin Hood-esque figure (with his own subset of 'steal this and give to this needy person' quests) and fighting against the native Camonna Tong (who are xenophobic racists as well as more murder-happy). *** In Skyrim its revealed the Dark Brotherhood used to have standards but has degraded in that regard. The only rule they have now is if you kill a fellow guild member, you pay a 500 gold piece fine. They had even gotten in the habit of taking any jobs given to them as opposed to waiting for the Night Mother (since no one could hear her.) * EverybodyHatesHades: Depends on the culture. Arkay is the Cycle of Life and Death; he is one of the Divines, and rather popular in other cultures. However, the Nords vilify him as Orkey, or "Old Knocker." * EverythingsBetterWithRainbows: According to the [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/pocket-guide-empire-first-edition-aldmeri-dominion First Pocket Guide]], Alinor has towers that are "designed to catch the light of the sun and break it to its component colors." * EvilCounterpart: The Camonna Tong to the Thieves Guild in ''Morrowind''. ** Amusingly, [[AxCrazy the Dark Brotherhood]] [[ThereCanBeOnlyOne to the]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards Morag Tong]] in the same game. ''[[EvilerThanThou Both of which are assassin guilds]]''. Only the Morag Tong is playable, however, because the Dark Brotherhood is trying to kill you. ** Mannimarco and his Order of the Black Worm are pretty much the EvilCounterpart for Necromancers in general. No wonder Necromancy's been banned with psychos like them around... *** As well as to the Mages' Guild in general. ** Also, the Aldmeri Dominion to the Cyrodillic Empire, by the time ''{{Skyrim}}'' starts. * EvilSorcerer: Many, many examples. Jagar Tharn from the first game, being the most cliche example. Members of House Telvanni are encouraged to be Evil Sorcerers due to its rules about MightMakesRight and KlingonPromotion. * FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Supplemental material reveals that Black Marsh and Elsweyr, the homelands of Argonians and Khajiit, respectively, betrayed the Empire shortly after the events of ''Oblivion'' and are now openly at war with every other race.]] ** Elsweyr is politically chaotic at its core (and actually fares better for it). Black Marsh's inhabitants, on the other hand, are deservedly distrustful to other races (and why not, after being enslaved). Technically, both Elsweyr and Black Marsh only seceded (the latter focusing on attacking the Dunmer), leaving the Empire open to a conflict with the Aldmeri Dominion made up by Bosmers and Altmers. *** According to the Novels and Skyrim lore, the Argonians got much stronger by the will and leadership of their deities/creators, the Hist, to resist the Oblivion Crisis. They actually managed to drive back Mehrunes Dagon's armies back to Oblivion and close the portals. After Red Mountain's eruption the Aldmeri Dominion influenced the Argonians to attack Morrowind and get revenge over centuries of slavery and to free the remaining illegal slaves there. Their profit was the further weakening of the Empire by losing two more provinces (Elseweyr was lost some time before this) in preparation for their invasion of Cyrodiil and Hammerfell. * FantasticDrug: Moon Sugar and its derivative, Skooma. * FantasticNuke: An interesting example is implied in the background lore. Apparently the Redguard's original home Yokuda was destroyed by swordsmen so good they could cut atoms using their mindblades, [[UnreliableNarrator or the cause of Yokuda's death was natural, or the Redguards could have just been leaving a corrupt government]]. * FantasticRacism: Practically ''all'' of the major races of Tamriel hate (or are hated by) at least one other race, usually one from a neighbouring province. During the first four games, however, they were all ruled by one big, liberal empire, which kept the worst of it at bay. The Argonians and Khajiit were among the worst victims, being enslaved by the Dunmer even though slavery in the Empire is illegal outside of Morrowind. The Empire's ongoing collapse as of ''Skyrim'' has brought it all to the fore. Now, it's the exiled Dunmer getting the short end of the stick, suffering discrimination and abuse from nationalist Nords who blame all elves for the tyranny of the Thalmor. * FantasticRankSystem: There's a set of ranks for each faction. The ranks for Imperial Legion and House Redoran in ''Morrowind'' are explicitly military, and they are nothing like real-world ranks, medieval or not. The Redoran ranks are, in fact, Dunmer titles of nobility, and they are also fantastic. * FantasyCounterpartCulture: Changing depending on the game and/or point in history: ** Cyrodiil, in the first Pocket Guide to the Empire and ''Morrowind'' was a mix of Rome, Japan, and possibly China, with a bit of Venice (or Tenochtitlan) added to the Imperial City. In ''Oblivion'', they turned into a MedievalEuropeanFantasy with only a trace amount of Latin influence remaining. In ''Skyrim'', they are a mix of Italy (many of them having Italian names) and the Roman Empire. ** The Nords have much Norse influence, along with a vaguely Scottish axis of politics, and some Saxon organization of nobility. Their ancient culture also has a lot of ancient Egyptian influence, with sarcophagus and mummies. *** Norse culture in particular seems to be a primary source of inspiration for much of the series' mythology. Parallels can be drawn between the dragon Alduin in Skyrim and the snake Jörmungandr in Norse mythology, both of whom act as heralds for the prophesied destruction of the world. Likewise, both Talos and Thor are similar in that they are both god-protectors of mankind, and are represented by a hammer-like symbol. ** High Rock, depending on the region, either has feudal French or English influence. In ''Skyrim'', a tribal Celtic angle has been introduced in the form of the Forsworn, whose cultural origins predate the current Breton norms. ** Morrowind is Mesopotamia with a hodgepodge of other influences sprinkled in, with the Ashlanders having some Mongolian influence. ** The Blades are an interesting cross between Japanese samurai and medieval knights. On the Japanese side, they use katanas, and Cloud Ruler Temple has some very Japanese architecture. However, their language and organization has much more in common with European knights. Their armor is based off of the Roman Lorica Segmentata, with a Greek Illyrian helm. * FantasyGunControl: The Dwemer had HumongousMecha [[RagnarokProofing durable enough to function after 3,000 years of neglect]] and the power to [[NiceJobBreakingItHero mess up the fabric of reality]], but never invented the musket. ** Gunpowder and cannons exists canonically (or is it [[IncrediblyLamePun cannonically]]?) but have only been used in-game once, by the East Empire Company against a band of pirates in ''{{Skyrim}}''. * FeelingOppressedByTheirExistence: The Thalmor believe that not just the existence of mankind, but the existence of the possibility of mankind, keeps the mer trapped in the normal world. ** To the point that they're attempting to destroy the ENTIRE mortal plane. * FictionalDocument: Hundreds of them, most all of which the player can read in-game. All of them are also written by authors of varying (non-zero) bias and knowledge levels. * FinalDeath: Apparently, Tamriel has every form of magic ''except'' resurrection. ** The gods do seem to reserve the right to reincarnate anyone at any time though. ** And death is meaningless to ruling kings; [[PaintingTheFourthWall their death is merely a map back to the waking world]]. * FlavorText: Each games offers a lot of it, and in many forms. * {{Foreshadowing}}: In ''Morrowind'', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWuNf4gxwuM the first thing you hear]], even before the main menu appears, is the deep rumble of a beating heart. The rhythm continues throughout the whole piece, and, as the music plays during regular gameplay, permeates the entire island of Vvardenfell. * {{Freeware Games}}: ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' have been released as freeware on the Bethesda website - despite being glitchy and having the devs deny it would ever be re-released. They're still unplayable on modern systems without Dosbox (which is included in most of the file bundles), however. * FungusHumongous: Vvardenfell and the Shivering Isles are covered in giant mushrooms. The Telvanni wizards live in giant mushrooms and other plants. ** In Skyrim, there is a gigantic underground dwarven city named Blackreach that is lit up partially by giant, glowing mushooms. * GameMod: Literally thousands of them are available on the internet. ** ''Morrowind'' in particular has an extremely active modding community, which has improved on every facet of the game and quintupled the content of an average copy. Up to and including ''fixes to the GameEngine itself''. ** ''Oblivion'' has an even larger one; there are no less than FOUR overhaul mods for the game, and there are well over 15000 mods on the net. *** To expand this to even further ridiculous levels, there is a mod that actually combines the above four overhauls into one single mega-overhaul mod. Yes, ''Oblivion'' has mods for mods. ** Even ''Daggerfall'' had some surprisingly large mods back in the day, and you can still find some of them floating around on some of the older ''Elder Scrolls'' sites. ** Don't forget ''Skyrim''. Bethesda even teamed up with Valve to create a mod distribution system on Steam. * GameplayAndStorySegregation: Some of the in-game books describe situations that contradict how things work in the game. In some cases the books are "in-world" fictional, so this may simply be a case of simulated research failure. In other cases the books ''did'' present situations that [[GameplayAndStoryIntegration worked as they would in-game]]... for the game when it was first written, even as relevant game-mechanics were changed for the sequels. * GenderBender: A couple of Daedra Lords seem to have trouble having only one gender, and PhysicalGod Vivec is both a male and a female. Once he even had kids with a rapist god (the tale of this includes a part where they compare the size of their "spears".) ** It's {{lampshaded}} by the Dissident Priests in ''Morrowind'' that Vivec just made most of that stuff up in order to appear more divine than "Some guy who stole his Godhood while betraying his friend". There are even some holes in his story, such as the aforementioned "Having kids with Molag Bal" as Daedra ''can't create life''. *** As if the story wasn't (purposefully) ambiguous enough, you can be sent on a quest by Molag Bal himself to banish a ''daughter'' of his back to his realm. ** Also, the Argonians. They're sequential hermaphrodites, meaning they can switch genders (Supposedly. The evidence is very loose and small). The time spent as either male or female is called a "life-phase". * GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The first two games in the series, ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'', had no censorship issue at all. ''Daggerfall'' had a surprisingly high amount of soft nudity in the game, even by 1996-97 standards, and even had a biography with an extremely graphic sex scene. (The "star" of said scene has a quest for you to steal the manuscript from this particular book of the series to prevent it from being published. You will not find it anywhere else. In ''Morrowind'', the book can be found but with the scene removed and a comment explaining it was edited at the behest of the Temple.) One of the (optional) Wayrest plotlines has you blackmail a prominent local lord with a letter showing that he's [[BrotherSisterIncest VERY CLOSE]] to his sister. [[YourCheatingHeart Who's married]]. However, with computer games becoming more scrutinized, the supposedly libertine Dunmer, according to ''Daggerfall'' books, became very prudish in ''Morrowind''. But censorship doesn't get everything. ** Metaphysical mumbo-jumbo is boring, right? Nobody will ever read the obscure and confusing ''Lessons of Vivec''. Sermon 14 of the series describe an orgy that happened when Vivec decided to teach "the ways of belly-magic" to the "King of Rape". There was much "biting of spears" and "piercing of the second aperture". ** One alchemist in ''Oblivion'' asks you about the punishment for necrophilia in Cyrodiil. "No reason, just curious." She'll be very happy if you tell her it's just a fine, even for repeated offenses. (Note that the alchemist was a Dunmer from Vvardenfell, where religious law gives ''any'' tampering with the remains of the deceased an ''extremely'' harsh sentence.) ** Moon Sugar and Skooma are {{Fantastic Drug}}s. 95% of ''Morrowind's'' vendors would not even deal with you if you had them in your inventory (although [[FridgeLogic you could simply drop it on the floor and nobody would say anything).]] ** It's quite obvious what Mirabelle Monet in Anvil gets up to behind closed doors. She even says that the beds in her inn are [[IncrediblyLamePun reserved for seamen]]. ** And of course, everyone's favorite play, "The Lusty Argonian Maid". *** And now Skyrim adds "The Lusty Argonian Maid, v2" in addition to the original still in the game. * GoMadFromTheRevelation: [[spoiler:Almalexia does ''not'' take the loss of her godhood well in ''Tribunal.'']] ** Those who are able to read the eponymous Elder Scrolls the way they were meant to be read, but lack the special mental training to keep things under control [[spoiler:or who lack some special trait like being the Dovahkiin and thus having a soul outside time]], will go quite mad. Another effect is being struck blind; training just decides when and how long it persists (and it can be permanent). It's said that even people who study the ''nature'' of the Scrolls, not the Scrolls themselves, go insane with almost monotonous regularity. ** The Moth Priests, who ''do'' have both the reading skills and mental control, are still a little bit off. Every one of them loses their sight with time. * GravityBarrier: Attempted in ''Oblivion,'' but imperfect because of all the glitches that game had. There was a back-up InvisibleWall behind the barrier. * GrayAndGrayMorality: Every game has various factions struggling against each other, but there is almost never a "right" side in any conflict. You can usually choose a side or remain neutral. * TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: Poor Martin. [[spoiler: His sacrifice will be a footnote.]] * GreenHillZone: The Ascadian Isles in ''Morrowind'', with no real enemies other than sick animals at most; also subverted in the monster-ridden, Daedric ruin-dotted Grazelands. * GuardingThePortal: The ''Oblivion'' gates. * HalfHumanHybrid: Averted. Almost all the major races descend from one ancient race from the Dawn era, so they're largely compatible with each other genetically. In fact, one race of Men, the Bretons, are descended from a host of human/elf mongrels born to Elven lords and human concubines, and eventually outpopulated the purebreds in the region. ** Also, in most cases, it's the race of the mother that determines what the child will be. * {{Hammerspace}}: The Bound Item spells basically consist on pulling an InfinityPlusOneSword (or axe or mace or bow or dagger or suit of armour) from Hammerspace. ** The only real limit on what you can carry is your Strength attribute. The PC can also carry multiple heavy weapons, suits of armour, literally enough food to feed an army, a library's worth of books and magic scrolls, millions of (effectively weightless) separate coins, hundreds of arrows, bolts, throwing knives and ammunition, dozens and dozens of sets of clothing, hundreds of potions, and many, many more items. * HandicappedBadass: The Moth Priests, who are blind from reading the Elder Scrolls but are all the more powerful for it. * HealingShiv: The Dagger of Friendship and Truncheon of Submission. * HegemonicEmpire: Tamriel, while initially forged with the iron fists of Imperial Legions, is held together only through massive schemes of the last Emperor. It finally falls apart prior to the fifth game. * HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Martin]] in ''Oblivion''. * HeyItsThatVoice: LyndaCarter has been a regular VA since ''Morrowind''. * HideYourChildren: Every installment except for ''Daggerfall'' and ''Skyrim''. ''Daggerfall'' also provided the image on the HideYourChildren page. * TheHighQueen: Azura and Almalexia, both heavily deconstructed. ** Even before those two, it was heavily subverted and deconstructed in Barenziah's unofficial biography. * HitAndRunTactics: On the highest difficulty, this is possibly your best bet in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Screw the heavy armour and sword, normal clothes, a bow and high speed and athletics stat are your best bet for survival. Oh, and spells, for the mages out there. Of course, you then have to worry about archers and spell casters, but its better than certain death at the hands of overpowering melee opponents. * HumansAreAverage: Averted, the three human races all are noticeably tilted to physical or magical abilities. JackOfAllStats are the Dunmer. ** Imperials come closest to it, though. While their primary slant is social skills/swordsmanship, they don't have any particularly deficient attributes and can be perfectly functional in a nice variety of builds. * HumongousMecha: The Dwemer ruins often have SteamPunk mechas. There's a huge ''thing'' that serves as the sub-boss of Tribunal. ** Numidium, the entire point of ''Daggerfall'', though it's a PhysicalGod. * HundredPercentHeroismRating * HyperspaceArsenal: You can carry enough to supply an army. * IncrediblyLamePun: In ''Morrowind'', the [[spoiler:Boots of Blinding Speed]], of course! ** In ''Oblivion'', the [[spoiler:Ring of Burden]]. * InfinityPlusOneSword: In ''Morrowind'', it is possible to upgrade Goldbrand - which is itself one of the hardest items to get in the game, to a superpowered version called Eltonbrand. The method of getting it is so circuitous and involved, and there are [[GuideDangIt no clues to figure it out on your own - you need to look it up online]]. But it's DEFINITELY well worth having. ** Then there's Trueflame and Hopesfire in ''Tribunal''. They're fast, light, durable, capable of immense amounts of damage with minimal effort on your part, and did we mention that [[IncendiaryExponent they're on FIRE]]? * InstantArmor: The 'Bound Armor' spells allows you to summon a full suit of Daedric Armor, to quickly de-squishify your SquishyWizard. ** Particularly noticeable in ''Oblivion'', where the Daedric Cult you spend most of the main quest-line fighting, makes heavy use of Bound-spells - usually appearing as fully-armored monsters, and then disintegrating into cloaked corpses when you take them down. * ItGotWorse: Oblivion leaves the Empire [[spoiler:without an heir and the entire future uncertain.]] Between the events of Oblivion and Skyrim, [[spoiler: the province of Morrowind is destroyed and conquered by the Argonians, the Empire collapses and a reborn unified nation of the Altmer and Bosmer ascends in opposition to what remains, a large amount of Black Marsh is ravaged by Umbriel and its undead army, the nascent nation of Orsinium is sacked by the Bretons and Redguards (AGAIN).]] And most of this is in the first FORTY YEARS. There's another HUNDRED AND SIXTY until Skyrim takes place. A couple of decades before ''{{Skyrim}}'' takes place, the Empire is slammed by the Great War with the Aldmeri Dominion, which ends with Hammerfell forced to secede from the Empire and the worship of Talos being banned, which leads directly to the civil war in Skyrim which threatens to shatter the entire Empire. And then in Skyrim you can weaken the Empire further (by siding with the Stormcloaks in the civil war) and/or by assassinating the current Emperor. * ItsProbablyNothing: For something hyped so much, the AI in ''Oblivion'' is pretty stupid, dismissing arrows stuck in them as the wind. ** This remains in Skyrim. * InfoDump: ''Morrowind'' has serious problems with this. * JustBetweenYouAndMe - [[spoiler:Almalexia]] at the end of ''Tribunal''. * KatanasAreJustBetter: Katanas in ''Morrowind'' are only surpassed by claymores; the Orcish armour also looks very Japanese, and it's the best medium armour in the game. ** Mostly subverted in ''Oblivion'', though. Orcish armour now looks like stuff out of a gladiator movie, and Akaviri Katanas and Dai-Katanas are excellent starting weapons but nowhere near the cream of the crop. That said, one of the best obtainable weapons, Goldbrand, is an enchanted katana won from a Daedra Lord's quest. It's not QUITE an InfinityPlusOneSword, but it's close. * LastOfHisKind: There is one [[spoiler:Dwemer to be found]] in Morrowind, but he's [[spoiler:been horribly mutated by corprus disease and has had his lower body replaced by a mechanical spider-like contraption.]] ** An Argonian in Skyrim's Dark Brotherhood is the last of the Shadowscales, Argonians born under the sign of The Shadow who are sent to the Dark Brotherhood. ** ''Dawnguard'''s main quest ultimately leads you to the last [[spoiler: true Snow Elf, who avoided his race's gradual transformation into the Falmer]]. * LevelGrinding: Often, skills outside of the standard combat abilities require major level grinding or obscene amounts of gold in order to increase. ** Taken to a new extreme in Skyrim, where one can make a couple thousand "hide" items to increase their Smithing skill to 100 easily. * LawfulStupid: The Imperial Guard can be outright ''vicious'', even for minor infractions. Mostly due to [[ArtificialStupidity AI limitations]], though. The town guards of Skyrim are more lax, and will merely note "Wait, I know you" if you've committed minor crimes. Also, if you're with the Thieves Guild, [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney you can bribe them to look the other way]]. * TheLawOfConservationOfDetail: The five major games are a shining example of this trope. ''Arena'' has a ludicrously humongous world the size of Europe, but most of the villages that are not major or plot-significant are automatically generated. ''Daggerfall'' later limted the world to only part of two provinces, Hammerfell and High Rock, but made the world way more detailed and less repetitive, ''Morrowind'' then scaled further down to part of the eponymous province while making every single village significant and adding all sorts of detailed features to the terrain. ''Oblivion'', while ''slightly'' bigger by raw space than Morrowind, is less detailed, as everything not related to geography is randomly generated outside of towns. ''Skyrim'' is about the same size as ''Oblivion'', but the level of detail is noticeably higher -- the majority of locations, even random, out-of-the-way dungeons, will probably have some unique features or a quest. * LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: Making a class's specialization "Combat" (and Stealth in Morrowind) wastes a good number of skills (as there is no point in multiple weapon types, making the bonus wasted), while "magic" specialization has none of the skills contradict. * LizardFolk: The Argonians. ''Arena'' also had lizard men deemed too brutish to be related to the Argonians, but they have not appeared in later games. * LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Each game has hundreds of unique (in the [[FlatCharacter loosest]] [[OnlySixFaces sense]]), individual characters to interact with, plus dozens more in the back story. * LostTechnology: Dwemer SteamPunk. * MadGod: Sheogorath. * 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. * MagicIsMental * MagicalSociety: The Mage's Guild, which players can join. Skyrim also has the College of Winterhold. * 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!'' * MassMonsterSlaughterSidequest * 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 The Art of War. * MetafictionalTitle: The series as a whole. * 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''.]] * MultipleEndings: ''Daggerfall'' had seven possible endings depending on your actions in the game; ''Morrowind'' takes at least five of them as {{canon}} through some very weird {{retcon}}ning. 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 god, 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). * NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: The ''Shivering Isles'' expansion. * 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/{{Skyrim}}'') every 10 ranks (so you could become quite high level by doing nothing but sneaking, smithing and [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath learning to talk really well]]). * 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. * ObviousBeta: ''Daggerfall'', even though several games were shipped with design flaws or glitches, ''Daggerfall'' was the worst. How bad? You could at ''least'' complete the main quest in the other games without a bug making the game unwinnable. ** ''Daggerfall'' was also the game where one of the patches included an official tool entitled FIXSAVE.EXE which as its name implies was meant to repair errors in savegame files. Because they were too common to tell all affected players to restart the game. They also ended up publicizing some cheats, such as a dungeon teleportation spell, because the glitchy collision system in the engine tended to let people slip between the world geometry and into the void where they'd fall forever otherwise. * 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. * 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. * 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]]. * OppositeSexClone: Divayth Fyr's "daughters" in ''Morrowind''. ** They're also his [[ScrewYourself wives.]] * OurElvesAreBetter * 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 are snobbish jerks at best and genocidal Nazis at worst, our Orcs (Orismer) 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 EldritchAbominations 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 we 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 [[CharacterDevelopment 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, werecrocodiles, werelions, werebears, and even weresharks. ** 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. * 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. * PathOfInspiration: The Sixth House. * 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, fox people/lilmothiit and slugmen/Sloads, 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: ALMSIVI, and Dagoth Ur as well. The Daedric Lords to a certain extent. Also, [[spoiler:the player at the end of Shivering Isle]]. * PietaPlagiarism: A large statue in the town of Chorrol in ''Oblivion''. * PlantPerson: Dryads and Spriggans. * 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. * PlayableEpilogue: These games do not really end until you get bored of exploring. * 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. ** The Nords may also count, if not for the fact that they're less ProudWarriorRace and more ''Drunken'' Warrior Race. *** The Nords of Skyrim will actually ridicule most magic users. ** 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 Yokunda). * PrisonEpisode: These games tend to involve prison settings early on. * TheRashomon: The Tribunal Temple's gospels versus the Ashlanders' apocrypha versus the firsthand accounts of Vivec and Dagoth Ur... * RealIsBrown: Morrowind, which has a plague in the story which has robbed the countryside of all colour and replacing it with a depressing brown. ** As with everything in Morrowind, there's a [[GameMod mod]] for that. * 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 possible [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] in which one of them goes charging straight into a deathtrap. * 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 (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 MookRush 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. * RunningGag: Most of the games begin with the player character imprisoned. * SceneryPorn: ''Arena'' not so much, but starting at ''Morrowind'', but improving more in ''Oblivion'', which replaces the Chocolate-stained backgrounds with lots and lots of green. ** ''Daggerfall'' is actually pretty decent in this department by itself, using 1996-97 standards (though ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' obviously outclass it). Using the most recent versions of DaggerXL, however (which disables the distance fog and adds Bloom), you can sit on a sand dune outside of Sentinel and watch the glowing window lights of the sprawling city. It definitely gives the game an updated look. ** ''Skyrim'' definitely ups the ante from ''Obivion''. * 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}}. * ScrewYouElves: Happened thousands of years before the time of the games, when an enslaved human population rebelled against their Elven masters and eventually formed their own Empire. 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 Mur are pretty pissed off with the Thalmor. [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch Even a great deal of Altmer despise them]]. * SerratedBladeOfPain: Daedric weapons. * ShopliftAndDie: Any shopkeeper in the franchise fits. ** Although with how the game is programmed and the [[SarcasmMode extremely convenient locations]] of stealable items, it's more like "accidentally pick up a random object when trying to access the shopkeeper and die". * 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. * 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. ** ''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. * 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. * 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.) * SpontaneousWeaponCreation: You can use the "Bind [weapon]" spells to summon the most powerful generic equipment in the game for a while. * 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 can only train you 5 times. If you ask for training when you're too high level then they'll say something to the effect of this trope. * TakeThat: M'aiq the Liar in ''Oblivion'': "People always enjoy a good {{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 once]]. Filthy things." * TalkingIsAFreeAction: In most of the games talking, lockpicking, looting and checking your inventory freezes time. ** {{Lampshaded}} by a couple Redguard characters who say "Talk is free" in ''Morrowind''. ** Subverted 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. * TalkingToHimself: The voice actors hired have no range, and generally, two characters of the same race and gender will have the exact same voice. This can lead to something literally sounding like someone talking to himself. This can cause a pretty sharp decline in gameplay enjoyment if you're into immersion. ** 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 ''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. * 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, or ''what'' Sithis really is. ** [[MindScrew Sithis Is Not.]] * 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. * TinyGuyHugeGirl: The [[OurElvesAreBetter wood elves]]. Female bosmer are as tall as Imperials, while the males are [[OneHeadTaller nearly a full head-height shorter]]. ** 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 ''[[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''. * TokenEvilTeammate: Mehrunes Dagon is the only Daedric Prince 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 Battelspire 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." * TomeOfEldritchLore: The Mysterium Xarxes, The Oghma Infinium. ** The eponymous Elder Scrolls themselves are these in part. Read them the right way, and you can know the future- but it will cost you your sight. *** If you really study them closely, you'll [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/etada-eight-aedra-eat-dreamer evaporate.]] * TrainingDummy: In the Fighter's Guild quarters. * UniqueEnemy: These are liberally sprinkled throughout the games. In ''Oblivion'' there's the unicorn, the giant mudcrab, and the painted trolls who inhabit their own unique little pocket dimension that looks nothing like the rest of the game. * 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. * {{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. * UnwittingPawn: The plot of Morrowind 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. ** Unless, of course, you perceive what happens AFTER Morrowind as her revenge on the Dunmer for abandoning her. ** Also pretty much the whole Main Quest of Tribunal. Though the player can be pretty aware of what he's doing, he 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 [[LegacyOfKain another game series]] summed it up perfectly: "What game is this, where every player on the board claims the same pawn?" * 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. * 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 was added in ''Oblivion'' and ''Skyrim,'' it seems WarpWhistle has gone the way of the dodo. * WeaponsKitchenSink: You can find dealers selling claymores, longswords and wakizashis at the same time. ** Justified in that 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. ** Also justified in a gameplay sense, as it wouldn't make sense to program 14 different NPC's to sell each type of weapon, per city. * 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!]]" --> "[[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Stop right there, criminal scum!]]" --> "[[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion I saw a mudcrab the other day.]]" -->"[[TheElderScrollsVSkyrim I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow to the knee.]]" * WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic: The 36 Lessons of Vivec, from Morrowind. They are a series of 36 books, supposedly penned by the man-god himself, which are written by Michael Kirkbride. In them, he uses oodles of biblical imagery to make sure that, if you take it seriously, there is ''no way'' a person could see Vivec as anything less than the absolute god of ''The Elder Scrolls'' universe (which, of course, isn't necessarily true). Doubles with {{Anvilicious}}. Also with TropesAreNotBad. And don't forget GettingCrapPastTheRadar since some lessons are loaded with obvious innuendo. Finally, there's a dose of InJoke too, with glitches in the ''Redguard'' engine fictionalized as natural wonders. * WideOpenSandbox * 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: 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 decent 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) . * XanatosRoulette: Almalexia's plot in ''Tribunal''. * 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. ----
28th Sep '12 5:22:05 PM rmctagg09
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[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elderscroll_7680.jpg]] [[caption-width-right:300:[[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm This is what you think an Elder Scroll looks like.]]]] [[quoteright:250:~~VideoGame, WesternRPG~~]] Popular series of computer and console {{RPG}}s produced by Bethesda Softworks. ''The Elder Scrolls'' games are set in Tamriel, a landmass roughly the size of Africa. The games are renowned for their [[WideOpenSandbox open-ended]] style of gameplay, allowing the player to play as a heroic or diabolical character, to pursue the main quest with vigor or to ignore it entirely, and to gain prowess and fame through working for guilds, military legions, and the like. The games are also noted for the largeness of the game world -- ''Daggerfall'' in particular has a game world roughly the size of Great Britain, with approximately 750,000 {{NPC}}s to interact with. Though later games in the series are notably smaller, they remain much larger and more finely-detailed than the typical RPG game world. The principal games in the ''Elder Scrolls'' series are: [[index]] * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena Arena]]'' (1994). [[TheEmperor The benevolent Emperor]] of Tamriel, Uriel Septim VII, is secretly overthrown by his own [[MagicKnight Battlemage]] Jagar Tharn, who traps him in Oblivion, assumes his appearance, and reigns in his stead. However, the ghost of his late apprentice Ria Silmane teams up with a loyal Imperial guardsman (the PlayerCharacter) to fight the usurper. Together, they travel through all provinces of Tamriel to [[GottaCatchThemAll collect all pieces]] of the [[DismantledMacGuffin Staff of Chaos]], which the PC then uses to kill Tharn and restore the rightful Emperor. The game was originally going to be about, well, arenas, but that idea was scratched in favor of adapting the developers' home-brew [[DungeonsAndDragons D&D setting]], Tamriel, into a computer game. The fast-paced gladiatorial combat style remained, though, and ''Arena'' was much more action-oriented than other {{RPG}}s of the time. The game met with lackluster sales, but developed a strong enough cult fanbase to warrant a sequel. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall Daggerfall]]'' (1996). The PC, a personal acquaintance of Uriel Septim VII, is sent to the Western province of High Rock to investigate the ghost of its former King Lysandus, who now haunts the city of Daggerfall. Cooperating with the [[SecretPolice Emperor's Blades]], the PC uncovers a sinister plot to reactivate the LostSuperweapon Numidium, which was originally used to forge the Third Tamrielic Empire. Several factions in the region enter the fight for controlling the Numidium, and it depends on the PC who wins it. Also of note is the emphasis on side-quests--after seeing how much time ''Arena'' players spent on them, the designers decided to put them in the spotlight. ''Daggerfall'' featured several different factions for the player to join outside of the Main Quest, all of which will give players hundreds of hours of side-questing. It also had positively HUGE [[RandomlyGeneratedLevels randomly generated dungeons]], often "designed" [[RuinsForRuinsSake in the silliest ways possible]]. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'' (2002). A convict from the Imperial City Prison (the PC) is released in the North-Eastern province of Morrowind on the Emperor's direct orders. Guided by the Blades, the PC fulfills countless local prophecies and is acknowledged as the ChosenOne who will save the land from [[ThePlague the Blight]] (no, not [[DragonAge that Blight]]). Tracing the Blight to the evil god Dagoth-Ur, the PC destroys the source of his (and other local gods') {{immortality}} and kills him, bringing relative peace to the province. The game was significantly smaller in scope than its predecessor (a "mere" 18 square miles as opposed to hundreds, and a non-infinite number of side-quests), but managed to come off as much more epic anyway due to the quality of the writing and the [[SceneryPorn diverse, exotic landscapes]]. It's also notable for being much, much weirder than the rest of the franchise, being set in an alien landscape populated by Dunmer, dinosaurs, giant bugs, and tiny Cthulhu lookalikes. ** ''Tribunal'' (2002). An attack by the [[MurderInc Dark Brotherhood]] brings the PC to Morrowind's capital of Mournhold. After a while, the PC finds themselves at odds with the local deities and has to [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu kill them]], now that their immortality is lost. ** ''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. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' (2006). Emperor Uriel Septim VII is assassinated by the [[ReligionOfEvil Mythic Dawn]], but not before seemingly accidentally freeing yet another convict from the Imperial City Prison (the PC). The PC then joins the Blades in their search for the last remaining heir to the Empire, Martin Septim, against the backdrop of [[DuringTheWar an ongoing invasion]] from [[TheLegionsofHell Oblivion]] by the Daedric Prince Mehrunes Dagon, whom the Mythic Dawn worships. Eventually, the PC, Martin, and the Blades manage to repel the Daedra but... [[BittersweetEnding at a price]]. This was the first big-name RPG for the 7th generation of consoles, and made full use of the Xbox 360's and Playstation 3's technical abilities. However, some complained that it had been dumbed-down for casual gamers, what with arrows pointing to your objectives and simplified role-playing elements. ** ''Knights of the Nine'' (2006). The PC investigates a [[BloodstainedGlassWindows brutal attack on the local chapel]] to discover that an EvilSorcerer plans to destroy Cyrodiil and only certain artifacts can defeat him. [[OrderReborn Reestablishing the order]] of eponymous Knights of the Nine, the PC recovers all artifacts and kills the evil wizard. ** ''Shivering Isles'' (2007). The PC is summoned by the Daedric Prince [[TheMadHatter Sheogorath]] to help prevent the [[EternalRecurrence regular destruction]] of his Oblivion realm. * ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' (2011) Set 200 years after the Oblivion crisis when the empire Tiber Septim founded is in bad shape, being slowly picked apart by the fascistic [[ScrewYouElves Aldmeri Dominion]] through means of subterfuge, imposing treaty terms, or outright war. The PC barely survives crossing over to Skyrim after Alduin, the Nordic aspect of Akatosh, decimates a village the PC was planned to be executed at. Now with dragons appearing all over Skyrim, the PC discovers that they're the Dovahkiin (Dragonborn) and the only one able to stop Alduin from ushering TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, all in the midst of a civil war. ** ''Dawnguard'' (2012) The Dragonborn gets involved in a conflict between an Order known as the Dawnguard and a race of vampires who wish to blot out the sun. ** ''Hearthfire'' (2012) The Dragonborn gets into homebuilding and childrearing. * ''TheElderScrollsInUniverseBooks'' covers the various [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin In Universe Books]] found in the games from Daggerfall on. [[/index]] Bethesda has also produced several other games set in the ''Elder Scrolls'' universe which are not [=RPGs=]: * ''The Elder Scrolls Legends: Battlespire'' (1997), basically a long, [[MushroomSamba trippy]] dungeon-crawl. Set during the time of ''Arena'', and originally planned as an expansion pack for ''Daggerfall''. A WizardingSchool for Imperial Battlemages is attacked by Mehrunes Dagon, who aims to use it as a conduit for invading Tamriel. A single graduate (the PC) has to fight their way to Dagon through Oblivion, defeat him, and [[ItsPersonal free their partner]]. It is the only game in the series to include multiplayer, though that addition proved a [[MisbegottenMultiplayerMode spectacular failure]] and Bethesda never tried it again. A good chunk of the information of the things known about the Daedra originate in this game. * ''The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard'' (1998), an action-adventure game with very few RPG elements. Some 400 years before ''Arena'', a Redguard by the name of Cyrus travels home to find his sister missing and himself embroiled in a web of political intrigue. It was well received by critics and fans, but due to the cost of production and being built on outdated technology, it was a financial flop. The [[{{Feelies}} Pocket Guide to the Empire]] is the origin of most of the background lore on Tamriel. * ''Dawnstar'' (2003) * ''Stormhold'' (2004) * ''Shadowkey'' (2004) ** These last three were released for mobile phones. Generally, only ''Shadowkey'' is considered canon. Additionally, a "remake" of ''Oblivion'' was released for mobile phones. A PSP version was also planned and demonstrated, but is currently presumed cancelled. There are two novels set in this universe, taking place forty years after ''Oblivion''. The first is entitled ''The Infernal City.'' See ''TheElderScrollsNovels''. In 2004, Bethesda released the original version of ''Arena'' as a freeware download. In 2009, it was joined by ''Daggerfall''. In 2011, a rewrite of ''Daggerfall's'' game engine, known as [[http://xlengine.com/ DaggerXL]], started development under an independent programmer. Both ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' run quite nicely under [[http://www.dosbox.com/ DOSBox]], though, so grab them [[http://www.elderscrolls.com/arena/ here]] and [[http://www.elderscrolls.com/daggerfall/ here]] and enjoy. Bethesda has announced a new TES MMORPG set during the Second Era, ''[[{{VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline}} The Elder Scrolls Online]].'' ---- !!Provides examples of: * AbusivePrecursors: The Ayleids were [[CompleteMonster not]] very nice people, to put it lightly. * AdamSmithHatesYourGuts: Even when the player is famous, what he pays still largely depends on his skills. Even members of a guild a player is in will still usually charge unfair prices, though this is probably justified in that the guild has to make money somehow. But the biggest example is in the Thieves' Den DLC for ''Oblivion'', where the player's fellow pirate underlings will give the player gold from the plunderings he didn't even participate in, but won't give up a bit of their equipment without charging more than 1.5x its value. ** Prices are offset by disposition, though how much depends on the game. ** Through a quirk in the coding (specifically, they lack disposition and skills, including Mercantile), creature merchants in ''Morrowind'' buy and sell items at their base value. ** Averted if your Personality stat and Mercentile skill are high enough: then you can buy items from a vendor, and sell them back to him for more than you bought them for. Repeatedly. Until they have no money left. Which, in later games, is impossible. * AffablyEvil: Dagoth Ur of Morrowind. He will talk and explain all his actions before battle, and waits for the player to strike first in battle. One of his underlings will offer you a glass of fine ancient brandy and a friendly chat before the battle. ** Most of the inhabitants in the Dark Brotherhood Cheydinhal Sanctuary in ''Oblivion'' can be quite charming. --->"Hey, I don't know who the Night Mother is, but she pays me to kill people. My own mother never loved me so much!" * AHomeownerIsYou: Except in ''Arena'', all games of the main series allow you to either buy or build homes. ''Morrowind'' uses them as rewards for climbing up in the hierarchy of certain factions; ''Daggerfall'' and ''Oblivion'' lets you buy them if you have enough money. ''Skyrim'' is a bit of both--Gain a good reputation with a town, and the ruler will allow you to buy a house there. * AGodAmI: Dagoth Ur. --> What a fool you are. I'm a god! How can you kill a god?! What a grand and intoxicating innocence! ** Almalexia is like this too (something Vivec himself notes). Jarring in Vivec's case who is renowned to be the one ''least'' prone to those, but will give such a spiel if you confront on him on what the Tribunal has done, asking you who you are to question a god. * AGodIsYou: [[spoiler:Specifically, at the end of ''Shivering Isles'', Sheogorath Is You.]] ** Notably averted in ''Morrowind''. The entire plot revolves around [[spoiler:obtaining the tools with which it's possible to achieve godhood and getting them to the source from which said godhood can be obtained]]. But there's no way to actually do so, the only option is to [[spoiler:use them to release it]]. ** In ''Skyrim'', the protagonist is the Dragonborn, a rare mortal gifted with the blood and soul of an Aedric Dragon. * AboveGoodAndEvil: Admittedly the series tends to GrayAndGreyMorality, but special mention goes to the spirits and deities of the series; while considered variously good or evil depending on where you are and who you ask in a case of in-Universe mass AlternateCharacterInterpretation (see also AllMythsAreTrue), most in-'verse scholars claim [[BlueAndOrangeMorality they are simply above human understanding and therefore human conceptions of moral actions.]] Also, see the Vivec example from the above AGodAmI. * TheAgeless: The Nerevarine becomes this, as a consequence of [[spoiler: having Corprus but getting negative effects cured.]] If brought to sufficient heights of power, they can also gain enough regenerative power to leave this trope and [[FromASingleCell enter another.]] * AlienSky: Two moons and a sky full of nebulae. The two moons are the rotting corpse of a god's divinity, the nebulae are "un-stars," and the stars themselves are holes poked into the Aetherius. It may also be a case of YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm. * AllDesertsHaveCacti: Hammerfell. ** Well, other than some places that are desert-like but aren't what we ''think'' of deserts. * AllMythsAreTrue: All myths in Tamriel's tradition, that is. * AllTrollsAreDifferent: Huge, hairy three-eyed simians that [[HealingFactor regenerate]] remarkably quickly. * AlwaysChaoticEvil: Goblins, Ogres, Minotaurs... Dremora seem to be Always LawfulEvil. ** Falmer in ''Skyrim'', due to a combination of the original Snow Elves being brutally driven out of Skyrim and underground by Ysgramor, and then being enslaved by the Dwemer and turned blind by being forced to eat a poisonous fungus and ''then'' being biologically altered into relying on said fungus to survive. The Falmer have since been twisted into hateful monsters who want to kill and eat anyone who isn't Falmer. ** Basically, they're {{Mole People}} * AlwaysOverTheShoulder: When in third person. * AnachronismStew: One of the Daedra wears a pocket watch, and Sotha Sil has an entire clockwork ''city'' thanks to the Dwemer's fascination with mechanisms. ** Designs for architecture, fashion, armor, weapons and other items mixes elements from the Antiquity to the late Renaissance. Generally justified. * AncientConspiracy: House Dagoth, the Mythic Dawn. * AngelsDevilsAndSquid: The Aedra, the Daedra, and Sithis, respectively. * AnInteriorDesignerIsYou: The move to full 3D for ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' allowed the player to place and move items in houses. ** And the [[WreakingHavok wonky physics system]] in ''Oblivion'' made it outright impossible to place more than one item anywhere in a room without knocking everything else about. Thankfully, [[GameMod modders]] came to the rescue creating mods specifically to make decorating your house easier. ** Partially averted in ''Skyrim'', since houses now include wall mounts and weapon racks, both of which are can be activated to display your equipped weapon- the bookcases also allow the player to stack books somewhat neatly. * AnnouncerChatter: In the Imperial City's Arena in ''Oblivion''. * AnnoyingArrows: Kind of justified from a game mechanic standpoint, as everyone has health points to take damage from. Doesn't stop it from seeming odd when a particularly powerful enemy's still attacking you with 20 arrows jutting out of his chest. * ArtificialAtmosphericActions: Present in ''{{Oblivion}}''. Less so in ''{{Morrowind}}'', but ''still'' there since the AI wasn't programmed to do many specific things. Many times the wandering AI will get stuck on something or try attacking you when their friend is in their way. Can also lead to a FunnyMoment or two... or three. ** It's worth mentioning that in ''Morrowind'', people's greetings to you would change depending on their affection to you. This sometimes leads to people breaking character. ** Potentially [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in the Shivering Isles, where everyone's insane. * ArtificialStupidity: -->"[[WelcomeToCorneria I saw a mud crab the other day]]."\\ "Horrible creatures, I steer well clear of them."\\ "Farewell." [Turns away from other NPC and walks face-first into a wall.] ** "Kvatch is under attack!" [Runs back in the direction of Kvatch.] ** Non-player characters will often walk into each other, walk into walls, or walk into objects you place on the ground. In the case of the latter, they never, ever consider ''jumping'' or going around the object. ** There's something wrong when two people are staying entirely still in one place and one of them is repeatedly saying "I don't know you, and I don't care to know you!" over and over and over. If he doesn't want to know him, why does he keep bugging him about it instead of just walking away? ** [[SelectiveEnforcement Apparently, 99.999% of Tamriel is above the law.]] Guards will regularly ignore anyone who is trying to kill you and only fight back about enemies who attack ''them''. (They do enforce assault laws in ''Oblivion'' though, gotta give them that.) Oh, and apparently, sleeping in public is a bad thing... but only if ''you'' do it. ** Hearing "Hmm... body's still warm. Looks like there's a killer about", from a guard, in reference to the bandit/marauder/etc. ''That he just killed himself''. ** If you were popular enough among the masses, the citizens will rise to defend you if the guard attacks you. If the guard accepts a yield, he has a chance to attack another guard to defend the citizens. ** In ''Oblivion''[='s=] woods, you'll occasionally encounter two Imperial Legion Foresters attempting to kill one another and failing miserably. Lord only knows how that got started... *** That would be because Foresters are programmed to sometimes hunt deer. Shame that deer are friendly towards soldiers, so the other sees it as an assault... * ArtifactOfDoom: Umbra, the Mantella and [[InformedAbility supposedly]] the Mysterium Xarxes. * BarrierMaiden: Martin in ''Oblivion'' is a male example. Also Vivec, Sotha Sil, and Almalexia, who power and maintain the ghost gate. Vivec (who at the time of the story is the only one actually powering the gate) is one twice, since his power also keeps the Ministry of Truth from crashing into Vvardenfall. * BecomingTheMask: Both played straight and inverted thanks to the act of "mantling." Not only can one become like a historical figure or god, the reverse can also happen! * BindingAncientTreaty: The Bosmer and their "Green Pact". * BittersweetEnding: In ''Oblivion'' [[spoiler: Mehrunes Dagon and the Mythic Dawn cult that worships him are both defeated for good, and the gates of Oblivion are sealed forever, preventing any kind of Daedra invasion of the mortal world from ever happening again. The main hero is rejoiced across Cyrodiil as its savior and everyone rejoices. However, the disappearance of Martin Septim, Uriel Septim's bastard son, leaves the Septim line without an heir to assume the throne. [[strike:Though the Elder Council may be able to keep the Empire together, it is heavily implied that the Empire is far from out of the woods.]] The Empire falls, Morrowind especially being mostly destroyed by Vvardenfell's eruption and wars with Skyrim and Black Marsh.]] * BlackAndGrayMorality: ''Daggerfall'' is quite 'black-gray'. Daggerfall's king [[spoiler: [[WildMassGuessing may have]] helped sell-out his own father to a power-hungry lord from Wayrest]], Sentinel's king and queen [[spoiler: [[CompleteMonster killed their firstborn son (by burying him alive)]] because he A) was constantly ill, and B) preferred scholarly pursuits over swordcraft]], and Wayrest... just Wayrest. Oh, yeah, there's a quest where [[spoiler: you kill a kid]] to cure yourself of Lycanthropy. ** The series as a whole tends towards a mix of GreyAndGrayMorality and BlueAndOrangeMorality, but the blue and orange can wind up looking awfully black from our perspective. * BlindSeer: Blindness and prophecy are two of the side effects associated with reading the titular scrolls. * BloodKnight: Hircine. [[spoiler:The entire plot of ''Bloodmoon'' turns out to be a plot for him to find a worthy foe.]] * BlueAndOrangeMorality: The Aedra, Daedra, and any mortal that ascends (Tiber Septim, the Tribunal, Mannimarco, et al). ** It's revealed in ''Skyrim'' that the Falmer, losing ground to the Nords fast, pleaded with the Dwemer for help. The Dwemer proceeded to feed them a fungus which made them blind, engineer their biology so they depended on the fungus to survive, and then keep them around as a slave race. The slaves rebelled, fighting an endless underground war against the Dwemer until they disappeared, leaving the Falmer as blind cave-dwelling beasts. ** The Thalmor, who for complicated theological reasons see [[spoiler: their [[OmnicidalManiac Omnicidal Mania]]]] as a ''moral imperative''. * BringIt: The ogres in ''Oblivion''. * CainAndAbel: Orvas and Vedam Dren in ''Morrowind.'' * TheCaligula: Pelagius the Mad certainly lived up to his name. He had extreme weight fluctuations and tried to hang himself at the end of a royal ball, among other things. When it was determined that he was no longer fit to rule, he was institutionalized, and, shortly before he died, he declared that dying would be illegal. * CallASmeerpARabbit: A metal used since ''Morrowind'' for high-quality heavy armor is called ebony, with no relation to the real-world wood. ** Similarly, Skyrim features a ''solid'' metal called "quicksilver", and corundum ore is refined into metal ingots. * CardCarryingVillain: Egregiously so in ''Oblivion''. ''Morrowind'' was much more morally ambiguous, with even the local assassins' guild operating within legal framework and according to [[EvenEvilHasStandards a strict honor code]]. There was also less of the trope in ''Skyrim'' -- Alduin is an example, but the secondary conflict of the civil war is [[GrayAndGrayMorality much, much more ambiguous]]. ** The Daedra can look like this at times -- their BlueAndOrangeMorality tends to focus on whatever their Sphere is... meaning Boethiah is a card-carrying betrayer, Mehrunes Dagon is a card-carrying destroyer, Molag Bal is a card-carrying enslaver/corruptor of mortals... * CatFolk: Khajiit. ** Actually zigzagged at first. In ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'', the playable Khajiit where a subspecies known as Ohmes-Raht Khajiit, which were basically humans with a few vague feline features. From ''Morrowind'' onwards, the dominant Khajiit sub-species has been the Suthay-Raht, which are your standard CatFolk. * ChaosArchitecture: Geography and city layouts vary greatly between ''Arena'' and its sequels. * CharmPerson: Several useful and valuable spells have this effect. * ChekhovsVolcano: Averted in that the Red Mountain from ''Morrowind'' never erupts, but instead simply keeps spewing ash, which in the world serves an entirely different purpose [[spoiler:until the book]]. Probably explains why the people of Morrowind have probably never seen a Pastel in their life, or anything that wasn't [[RealIsBrown smeared brown]]. ** By the time ''Skyrim'' rolls around, the Red Mountain has erupted, destroying most of Vvardenfell in the process, which does make the entirety of Morrowind seem like a bit of a ShaggyDogStory. Oh, and it's implied the eruption was indirectly caused by [[NiceJobBreakingItHero the player's actions in ''Tribunal''.]] * ChivalrousPervert: "Oh, why I am just certain that Crassius Curio counts, dumpling, but it is sooooo nice to hear you say so yourself." * ChoiceOfTwoWeapons: Too many different combinations possible. * CityOfCanals: The city of Vivec from ''Morrowind''. * ConspiracyTheorist: A side quest in ''TheElderScrolls IV: Oblivion'' concerns a Bosmer named Glarthir who is convinced that several people in town are involved in a conspiracy against him, and wants the player to help him find proof. ** This is apparently a VERY common trait with the Dukes and Duchesses of Dementia. * ContemptibleCover: The promo and cover art for ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' had [[RobLiefeld Rob Liefeld-esque]] female warriors dressed in outfits that consisted solely of a few black leather straps. The modern ''Elder Scrolls'' games from Morrowind onwards have been more sensible in that regard. * CorruptChurch: The Tribunal Temple. ** ReligionOfEvil: Dagoth Ur's Sixth House, The Mythic Dawn. * CosmicRetcon: The Warp of the West, most famously. Due to all of the different possible endings in Daggerfall which depended on the player's choices, the developers decided that, due to [[DeusExMachina divine interference]], ''all'' of the possible endings happened at once, ''within the same timeline''. Needless to say, the world became a bit messy after that. ** A less blatant example is the [[TimeyWimeyBall "Dragon Break" phenomenon]] where time goes all screwy for a bit, implied to account for some of the [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness differences between the earlier and later games in the series.]] * CrapsackWorld: Alas, what Tamriel has essentially become after the conclusion of the ''Oblivion'' storyline. Pretty much ''everyone'' has shared a miserable fate. * CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Maybe. It ''is'' possible the Khajiit have a subrace looking like common housecats. That are quite powerful spellcasters. However, the book that mentions this notes that the source of the claim is [[UnreliableNarrator notorious for being unreliable with the truth]], and that he personally doesn't believe it. * CulturalPosturing: the Altmer and Dunmer are particularly fond of this. ** As of Skyrim, the Altmer have taken this up several notches. Even to other Altmer. * CursedWithAwesome / BlessedWithSuck/ BeneficialDisease: Corprus disease renders you permanently immune to all other diseases, boosts your strength, and stops you from ever aging. On the downside, it's also TheVirus, and eventually turns you into an EldritchAbomination. ** Vampirism. It grants players with increased speed, health, damage, etc and the ability to suck blood from people but makes them take damage it out in the sun, and so ugly that people (including quest givers) will not talk to you. *** ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' seem to handle vampirism in different ways. While in ''Morrowind'', you'll definitely get ostracized by virtually everybody (except the Telvanni, where you pretty much count as normal) no matter when you fed last, this is not the case in ''Oblivion''. There, you'll just get ostracized if you haven't fed for a few days, else you usually pass for human... or at least mortal. **** A book lampshades this, in the form of a story about a man who sought advice on how to handle vampires of different sorts; a mysteriously helpful source would educate him as to the special traits of vampires in different areas, and the man would then go destroy those vampire clans. He later gets eaten by his source, who reveals, in order, that some clans of vampires could pass for human, and then that he, himself, was one such vampire and hadn't fed in a ''long'' time. **** The province of Morrowind has a very strong cultural bias against vampires, so no matter how human they look, they will still refuse to do anything with them. *** ''Daggerfall'' has different vampires too. Canon justifies these discrepancies by having different types of vampires, depending on the location. There's even an in-game book on the subject, entitled ''Immortal Blood'', and in which the plot involves surprising a vampire hunter who thought he knew enough. ** Lycanthropy, once a night you turn into a several hundred pounds of flesh, fur, claws and teeth capable of killing even the most powerful creatures, but have to at least kill (devouring is optional depending on the game) a sentient humanoid every night or suffer crippling withdrawals when you return to normal. Skyrim also revealed that Werewolves, upon death, are kidnapped to Hircine's realm, even if they don't want to, for an eternity at Hircine's side as one of his pack hounds (which, if you're fine with all of the above, probably won't be an issue for you). *** In addition to not receiving the well-rested bonus upon sleeping in your own bed. * DamnYouMuscleMemory: Go from any installment to ''any other'' installment and you'll run into this problem, guaranteed. ** Worst off is probably ''Skyrim'' (on the PC at least)--the Z key was the button used to pick up and move objects around in ''Oblivion'', but was in this case remapped to trigger a shout--so there's a good chance you'll accidentally FUS RO DAH while trying to decorate your house, sending items flying every which way. ** This was the same on the PS3 which used the R2 key to move items, also remapped to use shouts. Coupled with natural lag on the PS3 at higher levels, and the lag brought on from processing the bytes that make up the items flying around the room, this can be incredibly agonizing. * DangerousForbiddenTechnique: The Pankratosword technique, which is said to be why Yokuda (the place the Redguards used to live) is now a desolate uninhabitable wasteland. * DarkerAndEdgier: ''Battlespire'' is possibly the darkest ES game, despite being only a spinoff. Unlike virtually every other game, you're utterly alone, trapped in a horrific [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Oblivion Realm]] filled with equally horrific monsters just waiting to tear you to pieces. Throughout the game, you are subjected to various nightmarish imagery, forced to fight against seemingly impossible odds as the BigBad viciously taunts you the entire time. * DeaderThanDead: In ''Knights of the Nine'', where you must kill Umaril twice, first his body and then his soul. That's ''after'' he was [[SealedEvilInACan trapped in another dimension for centuries]]. * DeadStarWalking: Uriel Septim VII, voiced by PatrickStewart in ''Oblivion''. * DeathOfAThousandCuts - Cliff Racers drove the ''dragons'' out of Morrowind despite being small annoying things that die quickly. * DefeatingTheUndefeatable: The Gray Prince in ''Oblivion''. Alduin in Skyrim. * DeityOfHumanOrigin: The ALMSIVI and Talos of Atmora/Tiber Septim. Cyrodiilic legends have Arkay be one, but that ''[[UnreliableNarrator probably]]'' is a misinterpretation of the actual situation. ** Sheogorath heavily implies in ''Skyrim'' to have once been [[spoiler: The Champion of Cyrodiil]]. *** Which makes perfect sense, given the events of the ''Shivering Isles'' expansion to ''Oblivion''. * DeliberateValuesDissonance: This is sometimes seen in the in-universe writings, as well as character interaction. * DeusExHomine - An attempt by the Dwemer to do this is how they met their end. [[UnreliableExpositor It could also have been]] [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence a success]] or one of the many JerkassGod in the setting killing them for their attempts. * DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Minor Daedra are fought and killed as regular enemies, especially in ''Battlespire'' and ''Oblivion''. There are also several times when you get to fight and kill a physical incarnation of one of the Daedra Lords, i.e. Mehrunes Dagon in ''Oblivion'', Hircine in the Bloodmoon expansion to ''Morrowind'' ([[ILetYouWin but he is going easy on you]]), and Jyggalag in the Shivering Isles expansion to ''Oblivion''. ** Averted at the end of the main storyline in ''Oblivion'' when Mehrunes Dagon himself (not an [[{{Avatar}} avatar]], ''[[PhysicalGod the real bloody thing]]'') appears in the Imperial City. You can fight him, but your attacks are so utterly ineffective that he doesn't even bother countering. Cue CrowningMomentOfAwesome from Martin. ** Also averted with Sheogorath, [[spoiler: who any attempt to attack leads to a rather spectacular and untimely death. ]] ** Averted again in ''Battlespire'', where any attempt to attack Mehrunes Dagon results in instant death. Although you do banish him by striking him (once) with a sword, that's only the last of a chain of actions resulting in him getting banished (not killed). ** Probably averted with Jyggalag, as you had the powers of Sheogorath by that point. ** More or less played straight with Alduin in ''Skyrim'', as he is truly supposed to be unkillable. Although by the time you fight him properly [[spoiler:you have the heroes who banished him in the first place helping you out]], so perhaps it makes sense. *** Well, technically you [[spoiler: don't actually kill him, his soul escapes to places unknown instead of getting absorbed by you, so even if you destroy his body, he is not truly dead]]. * DisproportionateRetribution: In the opposite direction. Azura's response to the government of a certain tribe of elves snubbing her? Give them all dark skin, strangely shaped cheekbones, and red eyes. [[SarcasmMode That'll teach 'em to ignore the warnings of a Goddess]]... Weaksauce. ** She later leads to the fall of the Tribunal, which in turn leads to the destruction of Morrowind... * DroppedABridgeOnHim: The fate of various characters/places from ''Morrowind'' during the Daedric invasion of Tamriel in ''Oblivion''. Particularly annoying since it's only mentioned in a few throwaway lines from random characters. * DrugsAreBad: Skooma and Greenmote. Inverted somewhat in that alcohol is worse and of negligible value, alchemic or otherwise, and the illegal drugs are very useful for alchemy. ** In the one quest involving Felldew, it's much, much worse than alcohol. Finishing that quest renders you largely immune to it, though. * EldritchAbomination: The Sixth House, and also some of the Daedra, Hermaeus Mora in particular. But especially Sithis, who is the primal Is Not according to the Dark Brotherhood. * ElementalCrafting * ElvesVsDwarves: In this universe, however, "dwarves" (Dwemer) are actually an extinct sub-species of elves (mer), the name "dwarf" being an [[UnreliableNarrator archaeological misnomer]]. ** Played horribly straight with the Dwemer and the Snow Elves [[spoiler: The Dwemer offered the Snow Elves sanctuary from the Ancient Nords, only to enslave them, mutilate their bodes, slowly transforming them into the subterranean Falmer]]. * TheEmpire: PlayedWith, frequently and mercilessly. The Third Tamrielic Empire is constantly trying to centralize authority in Cyrodiil and to force Cyrodiilic law and culture on the provinces, but in many cases the "traditional customs" they're wiping away were really just an excuse for the locals to be oppressive and xenophobic. The conflict is especially played up in ''Morrowind'' and ''Skyrim''. ''Oblivion'' presents the Empire as unambiguously good, while ''Redguard'' presents it as evil (though not entirely unambigously, given that the game ends with the main character brokering a treaty with better terms for Hammerfell's inclusion in the Empire). On the other hand, the Empire's main rival, the Aldmeri Dominion, plays the trope straight. * EmptyLevels: In ''Oblivion'', you can only level up three stats a level, so you'd better make sure you're getting a lot from them. That or just [[LevelGrinding never go to sleep]]. * EscortMission: A large number of them are in ''Morrowind''. The escort usually runs about as fast as you walk, and can barely defend themselves. And the reward is usually chump change. ** ''Oblivion'' had two of these as part of its main quest. Fortunately the escort characters were unkillable. * EvenEvilHasStandards: Although the Morag Tong in ''Morrowind'' is a guild of assassins, those assassins have very strict rules as to whom you can or cannot murder. ** Most "evil" Guilds (such as the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood) have some sort of comradery or kinship that maintains you uphold a certain level of honor. The BigBad of the Thieves Guild in ''Skyrim'' mocks this, as he sees no point to honor amongst thieves. *** The Thieves Guild of Morrowind come out looking as ''good'' guys, thanks to being led by a somewhat Robin Hood-esque figure (with his own subset of 'steal this and give to this needy person' quests) and fighting against the native Camonna Tong (who are xenophobic racists as well as more murder-happy). *** In Skyrim its revealed the Dark Brotherhood used to have standards but has degraded in that regard. The only rule they have now is if you kill a fellow guild member, you pay a 500 gold piece fine. They had even gotten in the habit of taking any jobs given to them as opposed to waiting for the Night Mother (since no one could hear her.) * EverybodyHatesHades: Depends on the culture. Arkay is the Cycle of Life and Death; he is one of the Divines, and rather popular in other cultures. However, the Nords vilify him as Orkey, or "Old Knocker." * EverythingsBetterWithRainbows: According to the [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/pocket-guide-empire-first-edition-aldmeri-dominion First Pocket Guide]], Alinor has towers that are "designed to catch the light of the sun and break it to its component colors." * EvilCounterpart: The Camonna Tong to the Thieves Guild in ''Morrowind''. ** Amusingly, [[AxCrazy the Dark Brotherhood]] [[ThereCanBeOnlyOne to the]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards Morag Tong]] in the same game. ''[[EvilerThanThou Both of which are assassin guilds]]''. Only the Morag Tong is playable, however, because the Dark Brotherhood is trying to kill you. ** Mannimarco and his Order of the Black Worm are pretty much the EvilCounterpart for Necromancers in general. No wonder Necromancy's been banned with psychos like them around... *** As well as to the Mages' Guild in general. ** Also, the Aldmeri Dominion to the Cyrodillic Empire, by the time ''{{Skyrim}}'' starts. * EvilSorcerer: Many, many examples. Jagar Tharn from the first game, being the most cliche example. Members of House Telvanni are encouraged to be Evil Sorcerers due to its rules about MightMakesRight and KlingonPromotion. * FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Supplemental material reveals that Black Marsh and Elsweyr, the homelands of Argonians and Khajiit, respectively, betrayed the Empire shortly after the events of ''Oblivion'' and are now openly at war with every other race.]] ** Elsweyr is politically chaotic at its core (and actually fares better for it). Black Marsh's inhabitants, on the other hand, are deservedly distrustful to other races (and why not, after being enslaved). Technically, both Elsweyr and Black Marsh only seceded (the latter focusing on attacking the Dunmer), leaving the Empire open to a conflict with the Aldmeri Dominion made up by Bosmers and Altmers. *** According to the Novels and Skyrim lore, the Argonians got much stronger by the will and leadership of their deities/creators, the Hist, to resist the Oblivion Crisis. They actually managed to drive back Mehrunes Dagon's armies back to Oblivion and close the portals. After Red Mountain's eruption the Aldmeri Dominion influenced the Argonians to attack Morrowind and get revenge over centuries of slavery and to free the remaining illegal slaves there. Their profit was the further weakening of the Empire by losing two more provinces (Elseweyr was lost some time before this) in preparation for their invasion of Cyrodiil and Hammerfell. * FantasticDrug: Moon Sugar and its derivative, Skooma. * FantasticNuke: An interesting example is implied in the background lore. Apparently the Redguard's original home Yokuda was destroyed by swordsmen so good they could cut atoms using their mindblades, [[UnreliableNarrator or the cause of Yokuda's death was natural, or the Redguards could have just been leaving a corrupt government]]. * FantasticRacism: Practically ''all'' of the major races of Tamriel hate (or are hated by) at least one other race, usually one from a neighbouring province. During the first four games, however, they were all ruled by one big, liberal empire, which kept the worst of it at bay. The Argonians and Khajiit were among the worst victims, being enslaved by the Dunmer even though slavery in the Empire is illegal outside of Morrowind. The Empire's ongoing collapse as of ''Skyrim'' has brought it all to the fore. Now, it's the exiled Dunmer getting the short end of the stick, suffering discrimination and abuse from nationalist Nords who blame all elves for the tyranny of the Thalmor. * FantasticRankSystem: There's a set of ranks for each faction. The ranks for Imperial Legion and House Redoran in ''Morrowind'' are explicitly military, and they are nothing like real-world ranks, medieval or not. The Redoran ranks are, in fact, Dunmer titles of nobility, and they are also fantastic. * FantasyCounterpartCulture: Changing depending on the game and/or point in history: ** Cyrodiil, in the first Pocket Guide to the Empire and ''Morrowind'' was a mix of Rome, Japan, and possibly China, with a bit of Venice (or Tenochtitlan) added to the Imperial City. In ''Oblivion'', they turned into a MedievalEuropeanFantasy with only a trace amount of Latin influence remaining. In ''Skyrim'', they are a mix of Italy (many of them having Italian names) and the Roman Empire. ** The Nords have much Norse influence, along with a vaguely Scottish axis of politics, and some Saxon organization of nobility. Their ancient culture also has a lot of ancient Egyptian influence, with sarcophagus and mummies. *** Norse culture in particular seems to be a primary source of inspiration for much of the series' mythology. Parallels can be drawn between the dragon Alduin in Skyrim and the snake Jörmungandr in Norse mythology, both of whom act as heralds for the prophesied destruction of the world. Likewise, both Talos and Thor are similar in that they are both god-protectors of mankind, and are represented by a hammer-like symbol. ** High Rock, depending on the region, either has feudal French or English influence. In ''Skyrim'', a tribal Celtic angle has been introduced in the form of the Forsworn, whose cultural origins predate the current Breton norms. ** Morrowind is Mesopotamia with a hodgepodge of other influences sprinkled in, with the Ashlanders having some Mongolian influence. ** The Blades are an interesting cross between Japanese samurai and medieval knights. On the Japanese side, they use katanas, and Cloud Ruler Temple has some very Japanese architecture. However, their language and organization has much more in common with European knights. Their armor is based off of the Roman Lorica Segmentata, with a Greek Illyrian helm. * FantasyGunControl: The Dwemer had HumongousMecha [[RagnarokProofing durable enough to function after 3,000 years of neglect]] and the power to [[NiceJobBreakingItHero mess up the fabric of reality]], but never invented the musket. ** Gunpowder and cannons exists canonically (or is it [[IncrediblyLamePun cannonically]]?) but have only been used in-game once, by the East Empire Company against a band of pirates in ''{{Skyrim}}''. * FeelingOppressedByTheirExistence: The Thalmor believe that not just the existence of mankind, but the existence of the possibility of mankind, keeps the mer trapped in the normal world. ** To the point that they're attempting to destroy the ENTIRE mortal plane. * FictionalDocument: Hundreds of them, most all of which the player can read in-game. All of them are also written by authors of varying (non-zero) bias and knowledge levels. * FinalDeath: Apparently, Tamriel has every form of magic ''except'' resurrection. ** The gods do seem to reserve the right to reincarnate anyone at any time though. ** And death is meaningless to ruling kings; [[PaintingTheFourthWall their death is merely a map back to the waking world]]. * FlavorText: Each games offers a lot of it, and in many forms. * {{Foreshadowing}}: In ''Morrowind'', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWuNf4gxwuM the first thing you hear]], even before the main menu appears, is the deep rumble of a beating heart. The rhythm continues throughout the whole piece, and, as the music plays during regular gameplay, permeates the entire island of Vvardenfell. * {{Freeware Games}}: ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'' have been released as freeware on the Bethesda website - despite being glitchy and having the devs deny it would ever be re-released. They're still unplayable on modern systems without Dosbox (which is included in most of the file bundles), however. * FungusHumongous: Vvardenfell and the Shivering Isles are covered in giant mushrooms. The Telvanni wizards live in giant mushrooms and other plants. ** In Skyrim, there is a gigantic underground dwarven city named Blackreach that is lit up partially by giant, glowing mushooms. * GameMod: Literally thousands of them are available on the internet. ** ''Morrowind'' in particular has an extremely active modding community, which has improved on every facet of the game and quintupled the content of an average copy. Up to and including ''fixes to the GameEngine itself''. ** ''Oblivion'' has an even larger one; there are no less than FOUR overhaul mods for the game, and there are well over 15000 mods on the net. *** To expand this to even further ridiculous levels, there is a mod that actually combines the above four overhauls into one single mega-overhaul mod. Yes, ''Oblivion'' has mods for mods. ** Even ''Daggerfall'' had some surprisingly large mods back in the day, and you can still find some of them floating around on some of the older ''Elder Scrolls'' sites. ** Don't forget ''Skyrim''. Bethesda even teamed up with Valve to create a mod distribution system on Steam. * GameplayAndStorySegregation: Some of the in-game books describe situations that contradict how things work in the game. In some cases the books are "in-world" fictional, so this may simply be a case of simulated research failure. In other cases the books ''did'' present situations that [[GameplayAndStoryIntegration worked as they would in-game]]... for the game when it was first written, even as relevant game-mechanics were changed for the sequels. * GenderBender: A couple of Daedra Lords seem to have trouble having only one gender, and PhysicalGod Vivec is both a male and a female. Once he even had kids with a rapist god (the tale of this includes a part where they compare the size of their "spears".) ** It's {{lampshaded}} by the Dissident Priests in ''Morrowind'' that Vivec just made most of that stuff up in order to appear more divine than "Some guy who stole his Godhood while betraying his friend". There are even some holes in his story, such as the aforementioned "Having kids with Molag Bal" as Daedra ''can't create life''. *** As if the story wasn't (purposefully) ambiguous enough, you can be sent on a quest by Molag Bal himself to banish a ''daughter'' of his back to his realm. ** Also, the Argonians. They're sequential hermaphrodites, meaning they can switch genders (Supposedly. The evidence is very loose and small). The time spent as either male or female is called a "life-phase". * GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The first two games in the series, ''Arena'' and ''Daggerfall'', had no censorship issue at all. ''Daggerfall'' had a surprisingly high amount of soft nudity in the game, even by 1996-97 standards, and even had a biography with an extremely graphic sex scene. (The "star" of said scene has a quest for you to steal the manuscript from this particular book of the series to prevent it from being published. You will not find it anywhere else. In ''Morrowind'', the book can be found but with the scene removed and a comment explaining it was edited at the behest of the Temple.) One of the (optional) Wayrest plotlines has you blackmail a prominent local lord with a letter showing that he's [[BrotherSisterIncest VERY CLOSE]] to his sister. [[YourCheatingHeart Who's married]]. However, with computer games becoming more scrutinized, the supposedly libertine Dunmer, according to ''Daggerfall'' books, became very prudish in ''Morrowind''. But censorship doesn't get everything. ** Metaphysical mumbo-jumbo is boring, right? Nobody will ever read the obscure and confusing ''Lessons of Vivec''. Sermon 14 of the series describe an orgy that happened when Vivec decided to teach "the ways of belly-magic" to the "King of Rape". There was much "biting of spears" and "piercing of the second aperture". ** One alchemist in ''Oblivion'' asks you about the punishment for necrophilia in Cyrodiil. "No reason, just curious." She'll be very happy if you tell her it's just a fine, even for repeated offenses. (Note that the alchemist was a Dunmer from Vvardenfell, where religious law gives ''any'' tampering with the remains of the deceased an ''extremely'' harsh sentence.) ** Moon Sugar and Skooma are {{Fantastic Drug}}s. 95% of ''Morrowind's'' vendors would not even deal with you if you had them in your inventory (although [[FridgeLogic you could simply drop it on the floor and nobody would say anything).]] ** It's quite obvious what Mirabelle Monet in Anvil gets up to behind closed doors. She even says that the beds in her inn are [[IncrediblyLamePun reserved for seamen]]. ** And of course, everyone's favorite play, "The Lusty Argonian Maid". *** And now Skyrim adds "The Lusty Argonian Maid, v2" in addition to the original still in the game. * GoMadFromTheRevelation: [[spoiler:Almalexia does ''not'' take the loss of her godhood well in ''Tribunal.'']] ** Those who are able to read the eponymous Elder Scrolls the way they were meant to be read, but lack the special mental training to keep things under control [[spoiler:or who lack some special trait like being the Dovahkiin and thus having a soul outside time]], will go quite mad. Another effect is being struck blind; training just decides when and how long it persists (and it can be permanent). It's said that even people who study the ''nature'' of the Scrolls, not the Scrolls themselves, go insane with almost monotonous regularity. ** The Moth Priests, who ''do'' have both the reading skills and mental control, are still a little bit off. Every one of them loses their sight with time. * GravityBarrier: Attempted in ''Oblivion,'' but imperfect because of all the glitches that game had. There was a back-up InvisibleWall behind the barrier. * GrayAndGrayMorality: Every game has various factions struggling against each other, but there is almost never a "right" side in any conflict. You can usually choose a side or remain neutral. * TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: Poor Martin. [[spoiler: His sacrifice will be a footnote.]] * GreenHillZone: The Ascadian Isles in ''Morrowind'', with no real enemies other than sick animals at most; also subverted in the monster-ridden, Daedric ruin-dotted Grazelands. * GuardingThePortal: The ''Oblivion'' gates. * HalfHumanHybrid: Averted. Almost all the major races descend from one ancient race from the Dawn era, so they're largely compatible with each other genetically. In fact, one race of Men, the Bretons, are descended from a host of human/elf mongrels born to Elven lords and human concubines, and eventually outpopulated the purebreds in the region. ** Also, in most cases, it's the race of the mother that determines what the child will be. * {{Hammerspace}}: The Bound Item spells basically consist on pulling an InfinityPlusOneSword (or axe or mace or bow or dagger or suit of armour) from Hammerspace. ** The only real limit on what you can carry is your Strength attribute. The PC can also carry multiple heavy weapons, suits of armour, literally enough food to feed an army, a library's worth of books and magic scrolls, millions of (effectively weightless) separate coins, hundreds of arrows, bolts, throwing knives and ammunition, dozens and dozens of sets of clothing, hundreds of potions, and many, many more items. * HandicappedBadass: The Moth Priests, who are blind from reading the Elder Scrolls but are all the more powerful for it. * HealingShiv: The Dagger of Friendship and Truncheon of Submission. * HegemonicEmpire: Tamriel, while initially forged with the iron fists of Imperial Legions, is held together only through massive schemes of the last Emperor. It finally falls apart prior to the fifth game. * HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Martin]] in ''Oblivion''. * HeyItsThatVoice: LyndaCarter has been a regular VA since ''Morrowind''. * HideYourChildren: Every installment except for ''Daggerfall'' and ''Skyrim''. ''Daggerfall'' also provided the image on the HideYourChildren page. * TheHighQueen: Azura and Almalexia, both heavily deconstructed. ** Even before those two, it was heavily subverted and deconstructed in Barenziah's unofficial biography. * HitAndRunTactics: On the highest difficulty, this is possibly your best bet in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Screw the heavy armour and sword, normal clothes, a bow and high speed and athletics stat are your best bet for survival. Oh, and spells, for the mages out there. Of course, you then have to worry about archers and spell casters, but its better than certain death at the hands of overpowering melee opponents. * HumansAreAverage: Averted, the three human races all are noticeably tilted to physical or magical abilities. JackOfAllStats are the Dunmer. ** Imperials come closest to it, though. While their primary slant is social skills/swordsmanship, they don't have any particularly deficient attributes and can be perfectly functional in a nice variety of builds. * HumongousMecha: The Dwemer ruins often have SteamPunk mechas. There's a huge ''thing'' that serves as the sub-boss of Tribunal. ** Numidium, the entire point of ''Daggerfall'', though it's a PhysicalGod. * HundredPercentHeroismRating * HyperspaceArsenal: You can carry enough to supply an army. * IncrediblyLamePun: In ''Morrowind'', the [[spoiler:Boots of Blinding Speed]], of course! ** In ''Oblivion'', the [[spoiler:Ring of Burden]]. * InfinityPlusOneSword: In ''Morrowind'', it is possible to upgrade Goldbrand - which is itself one of the hardest items to get in the game, to a superpowered version called Eltonbrand. The method of getting it is so circuitous and involved, and there are [[GuideDangIt no clues to figure it out on your own - you need to look it up online]]. But it's DEFINITELY well worth having. ** Then there's Trueflame and Hopesfire in ''Tribunal''. They're fast, light, durable, capable of immense amounts of damage with minimal effort on your part, and did we mention that [[IncendiaryExponent they're on FIRE]]? * InstantArmor: The 'Bound Armor' spells allows you to summon a full suit of Daedric Armor, to quickly de-squishify your SquishyWizard. ** Particularly noticeable in ''Oblivion'', where the Daedric Cult you spend most of the main quest-line fighting, makes heavy use of Bound-spells - usually appearing as fully-armored monsters, and then disintegrating into cloaked corpses when you take them down. * ItGotWorse: Oblivion leaves the Empire [[spoiler:without an heir and the entire future uncertain.]] Between the events of Oblivion and Skyrim, [[spoiler: the province of Morrowind is destroyed and conquered by the Argonians, the Empire collapses and a reborn unified nation of the Altmer and Bosmer ascends in opposition to what remains, a large amount of Black Marsh is ravaged by Umbriel and its undead army, the nascent nation of Orsinium is sacked by the Bretons and Redguards (AGAIN).]] And most of this is in the first FORTY YEARS. There's another HUNDRED AND SIXTY until Skyrim takes place. A couple of decades before ''{{Skyrim}}'' takes place, the Empire is slammed by the Great War with the Aldmeri Dominion, which ends with Hammerfell forced to secede from the Empire and the worship of Talos being banned, which leads directly to the civil war in Skyrim which threatens to shatter the entire Empire. And then in Skyrim you can weaken the Empire further (by siding with the Stormcloaks in the civil war) and/or by assassinating the current Emperor. * ItsProbablyNothing: For something hyped so much, the AI in ''Oblivion'' is pretty stupid, dismissing arrows stuck in them as the wind. ** This remains in Skyrim. * InfoDump: ''Morrowind'' has serious problems with this. * JustBetweenYouAndMe - [[spoiler:Almalexia]] at the end of ''Tribunal''. * KatanasAreJustBetter: Katanas in ''Morrowind'' are only surpassed by claymores; the Orcish armour also looks very Japanese, and it's the best medium armour in the game. ** Mostly subverted in ''Oblivion'', though. Orcish armour now looks like stuff out of a gladiator movie, and Akaviri Katanas and Dai-Katanas are excellent starting weapons but nowhere near the cream of the crop. That said, one of the best obtainable weapons, Goldbrand, is an enchanted katana won from a Daedra Lord's quest. It's not QUITE an InfinityPlusOneSword, but it's close. * LastOfHisKind: There is one [[spoiler:Dwemer to be found]] in Morrowind, but he's [[spoiler:been horribly mutated by corprus disease and has had his lower body replaced by a mechanical spider-like contraption.]] ** An Argonian in Skyrim's Dark Brotherhood is the last of the Shadowscales, Argonians born under the sign of The Shadow who are sent to the Dark Brotherhood. ** ''Dawnguard'''s main quest ultimately leads you to the last [[spoiler: true Snow Elf, who avoided his race's gradual transformation into the Falmer]]. * LevelGrinding: Often, skills outside of the standard combat abilities require major level grinding or obscene amounts of gold in order to increase. ** Taken to a new extreme in Skyrim, where one can make a couple thousand "hide" items to increase their Smithing skill to 100 easily. * LawfulStupid: The Imperial Guard can be outright ''vicious'', even for minor infractions. Mostly due to [[ArtificialStupidity AI limitations]], though. The town guards of Skyrim are more lax, and will merely note "Wait, I know you" if you've committed minor crimes. Also, if you're with the Thieves Guild, [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney you can bribe them to look the other way]]. * TheLawOfConservationOfDetail: The five major games are a shining example of this trope. ''Arena'' has a ludicrously humongous world the size of Europe, but most of the villages that are not major or plot-significant are automatically generated. ''Daggerfall'' later limted the world to only part of two provinces, Hammerfell and High Rock, but made the world way more detailed and less repetitive, ''Morrowind'' then scaled further down to part of the eponymous province while making every single village significant and adding all sorts of detailed features to the terrain. ''Oblivion'', while ''slightly'' bigger by raw space than Morrowind, is less detailed, as everything not related to geography is randomly generated outside of towns. ''Skyrim'' is about the same size as ''Oblivion'', but the level of detail is noticeably higher -- the majority of locations, even random, out-of-the-way dungeons, will probably have some unique features or a quest. * LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: Making a class's specialization "Combat" (and Stealth in Morrowind) wastes a good number of skills (as there is no point in multiple weapon types, making the bonus wasted), while "magic" specialization has none of the skills contradict. * LizardFolk: The Argonians. ''Arena'' also had lizard men deemed too brutish to be related to the Argonians, but they have not appeared in later games. * LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Each game has hundreds of unique (in the [[FlatCharacter loosest]] [[OnlySixFaces sense]]), individual characters to interact with, plus dozens more in the back story. * LostTechnology: Dwemer SteamPunk. * MadGod: Sheogorath. * 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. * MagicIsMental * MagicalSociety: The Mage's Guild, which players can join. Skyrim also has the College of Winterhold. * 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!'' * MassMonsterSlaughterSidequest * 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 The Art of War. * MetafictionalTitle: The series as a whole. * 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''.]] * MultipleEndings: ''Daggerfall'' had seven possible endings depending on your actions in the game; ''Morrowind'' takes at least five of them as {{canon}} through some very weird {{retcon}}ning. 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 god, 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). * NeedleInAStackOfNeedles: The ''Shivering Isles'' expansion. * 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/{{Skyrim}}'') every 10 ranks (so you could become quite high level by doing nothing but sneaking, smithing and [[TalkingTheMonsterToDeath learning to talk really well]]). * 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. * ObviousBeta: ''Daggerfall'', even though several games were shipped with design flaws or glitches, ''Daggerfall'' was the worst. How bad? You could at ''least'' complete the main quest in the other games without a bug making the game unwinnable. ** ''Daggerfall'' was also the game where one of the patches included an official tool entitled FIXSAVE.EXE which as its name implies was meant to repair errors in savegame files. Because they were too common to tell all affected players to restart the game. They also ended up publicizing some cheats, such as a dungeon teleportation spell, because the glitchy collision system in the engine tended to let people slip between the world geometry and into the void where they'd fall forever otherwise. * 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. * 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. * 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]]. * OppositeSexClone: Divayth Fyr's "daughters" in ''Morrowind''. ** They're also his [[ScrewYourself wives.]] * OurElvesAreBetter * 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 are snobbish jerks at best and genocidal Nazis at worst, our Orcs (Orismer) 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 EldritchAbominations 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 we 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 [[CharacterDevelopment 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, werecrocodiles, werelions, werebears, and even weresharks. ** 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. * 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. * PathOfInspiration: The Sixth House. * 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, fox people/lilmothiit and slugmen/Sloads, 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: ALMSIVI, and Dagoth Ur as well. The Daedric Lords to a certain extent. Also, [[spoiler:the player at the end of Shivering Isle]]. * PietaPlagiarism: A large statue in the town of Chorrol in ''Oblivion''. * PlantPerson: Dryads and Spriggans. * 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. * PlayableEpilogue: These games do not really end until you get bored of exploring. * 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. ** The Nords may also count, if not for the fact that they're less ProudWarriorRace and more ''Drunken'' Warrior Race. *** The Nords of Skyrim will actually ridicule most magic users. ** 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 Yokunda). * PrisonEpisode: These games tend to involve prison settings early on. * TheRashomon: The Tribunal Temple's gospels versus the Ashlanders' apocrypha versus the firsthand accounts of Vivec and Dagoth Ur... * RealIsBrown: Morrowind, which has a plague in the story which has robbed the countryside of all colour and replacing it with a depressing brown. ** As with everything in Morrowind, there's a [[GameMod mod]] for that. * 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 possible [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] in which one of them goes charging straight into a deathtrap. * 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 (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 MookRush 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. * RunningGag: Most of the games begin with the player character imprisoned. * SceneryPorn: ''Arena'' not so much, but starting at ''Morrowind'', but improving more in ''Oblivion'', which replaces the Chocolate-stained backgrounds with lots and lots of green. ** ''Daggerfall'' is actually pretty decent in this department by itself, using 1996-97 standards (though ''Morrowind'' and ''Oblivion'' obviously outclass it). Using the most recent versions of DaggerXL, however (which disables the distance fog and adds Bloom), you can sit on a sand dune outside of Sentinel and watch the glowing window lights of the sprawling city. It definitely gives the game an updated look. ** ''Skyrim'' definitely ups the ante from ''Obivion''. * 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}}. * ScrewYouElves: Happened thousands of years before the time of the games, when an enslaved human population rebelled against their Elven masters and eventually formed their own Empire. 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 Mur are pretty pissed off with the Thalmor. [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch Even a great deal of Altmer despise them]]. * SerratedBladeOfPain: Daedric weapons. * ShopliftAndDie: Any shopkeeper in the franchise fits. ** Although with how the game is programmed and the [[SarcasmMode extremely convenient locations]] of stealable items, it's more like "accidentally pick up a random object when trying to access the shopkeeper and die". * 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. * 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. ** ''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. * 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. * 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.) * SpontaneousWeaponCreation: You can use the "Bind [weapon]" spells to summon the most powerful generic equipment in the game for a while. * 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 can only train you 5 times. If you ask for training when you're too high level then they'll say something to the effect of this trope. * TakeThat: M'aiq the Liar in ''Oblivion'': "People always enjoy a good {{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 once]]. Filthy things." * TalkingIsAFreeAction: In most of the games talking, lockpicking, looting and checking your inventory freezes time. ** {{Lampshaded}} by a couple Redguard characters who say "Talk is free" in ''Morrowind''. ** Subverted 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. * TalkingToHimself: The voice actors hired have no range, and generally, two characters of the same race and gender will have the exact same voice. This can lead to something literally sounding like someone talking to himself. This can cause a pretty sharp decline in gameplay enjoyment if you're into immersion. ** 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 ''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. * 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, or ''what'' Sithis really is. ** [[MindScrew Sithis Is Not.]] * 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. * TinyGuyHugeGirl: The [[OurElvesAreBetter wood elves]]. Female bosmer are as tall as Imperials, while the males are [[OneHeadTaller nearly a full head-height shorter]]. ** 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 ''[[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''. * TokenEvilTeammate: Mehrunes Dagon is the only Daedric Prince 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 Battelspire 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." * TomeOfEldritchLore: The Mysterium Xarxes, The Oghma Infinium. ** The eponymous Elder Scrolls themselves are these in part. Read them the right way, and you can know the future- but it will cost you your sight. *** If you really study them closely, you'll [[http://www.imperial-library.info/content/etada-eight-aedra-eat-dreamer evaporate.]] * TrainingDummy: In the Fighter's Guild quarters. * UniqueEnemy: These are liberally sprinkled throughout the games. In ''Oblivion'' there's the unicorn, the giant mudcrab, and the painted trolls who inhabit their own unique little pocket dimension that looks nothing like the rest of the game. * 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. * {{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. * UnwittingPawn: The plot of Morrowind 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. ** Unless, of course, you perceive what happens AFTER Morrowind as her revenge on the Dunmer for abandoning her. ** Also pretty much the whole Main Quest of Tribunal. Though the player can be pretty aware of what he's doing, he 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 [[LegacyOfKain another game series]] summed it up perfectly: "What game is this, where every player on the board claims the same pawn?" * 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. * 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 was added in ''Oblivion'' and ''Skyrim,'' it seems WarpWhistle has gone the way of the dodo. * WeaponsKitchenSink: You can find dealers selling claymores, longswords and wakizashis at the same time. ** Justified in that 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. ** Also justified in a gameplay sense, as it wouldn't make sense to program 14 different NPC's to sell each type of weapon, per city. * 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!]]" --> "[[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Stop right there, criminal scum!]]" --> "[[TheElderScrollsIVOblivion I saw a mudcrab the other day.]]" -->"[[TheElderScrollsVSkyrim I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow to the knee.]]" * WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic: The 36 Lessons of Vivec, from Morrowind. They are a series of 36 books, supposedly penned by the man-god himself, which are written by Michael Kirkbride. In them, he uses oodles of biblical imagery to make sure that, if you take it seriously, there is ''no way'' a person could see Vivec as anything less than the absolute god of ''The Elder Scrolls'' universe (which, of course, isn't necessarily true). Doubles with {{Anvilicious}}. Also with TropesAreNotBad. And don't forget GettingCrapPastTheRadar since some lessons are loaded with obvious innuendo. Finally, there's a dose of InJoke too, with glitches in the ''Redguard'' engine fictionalized as natural wonders. * WideOpenSandbox * 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: 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 decent 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) . * XanatosRoulette: Almalexia's plot in ''Tribunal''. * 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. ----
25th Sep '12 12:12:03 PM DracMonster
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* VestigialEmpire: The Tamrielic Empire, as of ''Skyrim''.
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* 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.
21st Sep '12 10:43:09 AM Sifr1889
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** Played horribly straight with the Dwemer and the Snow Elves [[spoiler: The Dwemer offered the Snow Elves sanctuary from the Ancient Nords, only to enslave them, mutilate their bodes, transform them into the subterreanean Falmer]].
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** Played horribly straight with the Dwemer and the Snow Elves [[spoiler: The Dwemer offered the Snow Elves sanctuary from the Ancient Nords, only to enslave them, mutilate their bodes, transform slowly transforming them into the subterreanean subterranean Falmer]].
21st Sep '12 10:41:49 AM Sifr1889
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** Played horribly straight with the Dwemer and the Snow Elves [[spoiler: The Dwemer offered the Snow Elves sanctuary from the Ancient Nords, only to enslave them, mutilate their bodes, transform them into the subterreanean Falmer]].
21st Sep '12 10:35:54 AM Sifr1889
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** In ''Skyrim'', the protagonist is the Dragonborn, a rare mortal gifted with the blood and soul of an Aedric Dragon, essentially making them a form of [[PhysicalGod Demi-God]].
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** In ''Skyrim'', the protagonist is the Dragonborn, a rare mortal gifted with the blood and soul of an Aedric Dragon, essentially making them a form of [[PhysicalGod Demi-God]].Dragon.
21st Sep '12 10:35:00 AM Sifr1889
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** In Skyrim you are a Dragonborn, which basically means you are born with the soul of a dragon. Dragons are the children of Akatosh, an aedra god, so you are actually one of the lower aedra. This means you are actually a demi-god in mortal form.
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** In Skyrim you are a ''Skyrim'', the protagonist is the Dragonborn, which basically means you are born a rare mortal gifted with the blood and soul of an Aedric Dragon, essentially making them a dragon. Dragons are the children form of Akatosh, an aedra god, so you are actually one of the lower aedra. This means you are actually a demi-god in mortal form.[[PhysicalGod Demi-God]].
20th Sep '12 4:11:36 PM Galle
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** The series as a whole tends towards a mix of GreyAndGrayMorality and BlueAndOrangeMorality, but the blue and orange can wind up looking awfully black from our perspective.

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** The Thalmor, who for complicated theological reasons see [[spoiler: their [[OmnicidalManiac Omnicidal Mania]]]] as a ''moral imperative''.
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