[[caption-width-right:300:[[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm This is what you think an Elder Scroll looks like.]]]]

->'' "Go ye now in peace. Let thy fate be written in [[TitleDrop The Elder Scrolls]]..." ''

A popular series of computer and console {{RPG}}s produced by [[{{Creator/Bethesda}} Bethesda Softworks]]. ''The Elder Scrolls'' games (or TES for short) 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 considerably smaller, they remain much larger and more finely-detailed than the typical RPG game world.

The principal games in the ''Elder Scrolls'' series are:

* ''[[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 minor noble (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 to restore the rightful Emperor. The game was originally going to be about, well, gladiatorial combat arenas, but that idea was scratched in favor of adapting the developers' home-brew [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons D&D setting]], Tamriel, into a computer game. The fast-paced gladiatorial combat style remained, though, and ''Arena'' was much more [[ActionRPG action-oriented]] than other {{RPG}}s of the time. The game was 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 [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins that Blight]] or [[Literature/TheWheelOfTime that]]). 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.[[/index]]
** ''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, all the while helping an Imperial mining colony to grow from literally nothing into a thriving frontier settlement.

* ''[[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, overdone LevelScaling, and simplified role-playing elements.[[/index]]
** ''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.[[/index]]
** ''Dawnguard'' (2012): The Dragonborn gets involved in a conflict between the newly reformed [[VampireHunter Dawnguard]] and a race of vampires in north-western Skyrim, who wish to fulfill an ancient prophecy and [[TheNightThatNeverEnds permanently blot out the Sun]].
** ''Hearthfire'' (2012): The Dragonborn [[HeroesGoneFishing gets into homebuilding and childrearing]].
** ''Dragonborn'' (2012): The Dragonborn visits [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Solstheim]] and faces off against the ''[[EvilCounterpart First]]'' [[EvilCounterpart Dragonborn]], an undead [[ReligionOfEvil Dragon-Priest]] named Miraak who, like the Dragons, is now seeking to return to life.

Bethesda has also produced several other games and media set in the ''Elder Scrolls'' universe:

* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsOnline'' (2014): An {{MMORPG}} prequel to the main ''Elder Scrolls'' series, set during the Second Era interregnum between the fall of the Akaviri Potentate and the rise of the Septim Dynasty. The PC has had their soul stolen by the Daedric Prince Molag Bal, and they must stop him as he attempts to take over Tamriel. Meanwhile, the Ruby Throne is empty, and three alliances vie for control of Cyrodiil and the Empire. Originally subscription based, it went "Buy to Play" in March 2015, meaning you only need to buy the game to play it.[[/index]]
* ''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.
* ''Legends'' (2015), a digital strategy card game for PC and tablet.
* ''Literature/TheElderScrollsInUniverseBooks'' covers the various {{In Game Novel}}s found in the games from ''Daggerfall'' on.
* ''[[Literature/TheElderScrolls The Elder Scrolls Novels]]'': ''The Infernal City'' and ''Lord of Souls'' by Greg Keyes. Set forty years after ''Oblivion'', they tell of the appearance of the floating city of Umbriel in Tamriel and the devastation it wrought.

Additionally, a "remake" of ''Oblivion'' was released for mobile phones. A PSP version was also planned and demonstrated, but is currently presumed cancelled.

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.

An Elder Scrolls Anthology was released in 2013 for the PC. It includes every game in the main series (Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim) along with all the addons and expansions for the most recent three.

''The Elder Scrolls'' has inspired many world-building projects, such as ''Franchise/TheUutakMythos''.

!!The Series as a whole provides examples of:

* TheElderScrolls/TropesAToC
* TheElderScrolls/TropesDToL
* TheElderScrolls/TropesMToR
* TheElderScrolls/TropesSToZ