The Elder Scrolls / The Elder Scrolls Race Tropes

Here are lists of tropes applying to various races in The Elder Scrolls.

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    Lesser Daedra 

Daedra are vaguely demonic extra-dimensional beings that reside in a plane called "Oblivion". The strongest Daedra are called the Daedric Princes, who have their own folder on the Divine Beings character page. The vast majority of Daedra are not Princes, but lesser races of varying levels of sapience and intelligence. Like the Princes, they can't truly die but only be "banished". Their bodies are significantly easier to ruin than a Prince's, however. Typically, lesser Daedra on a racial basis swear fealty to one particular prince, but there are exceptions.


Elementally aligned Daedra that have no particular race-wide fealty to any prince. Favored summons for Conjurers.

  • Elemental Embodiment: The Flame, Frost, and Storm Atronachs appear as creatures made of fire, ice, and lightning mixed with stones respectively.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: The Iron Atronachs.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three most common Atronachs follow this. There are other varieties, like the Flesh Atronach and the Iron Atronarch.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Since Oblivion, Flame Atronachs appear to be feminine figures made of fire and glowing hot pieces of armor.
  • No Sell: Immune to magic of their respective types.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Flesh Atronachs are notably the only type of Atronach that requires creation, since they're literally sewn together from corpses and reanimated.

Aureal (AKA Golden Saints)

A gold-skinned, gold-armored race of Lesser Daedra predominantly taking feminine forms, most well-known for their service to their lord Sheogorath.

  • Amazon Brigade: As a race, they're primarily this.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Morrowind, the Golden Saints were essentially magical females with extremely powerful spells, weapons, and shields at their disposal, with no real depth to their history or background apart from being Daedra of Sheogorath. It's not until Shivering Isles that they're established to be a man-hating Proud Warrior Race of Amazonian warriors. Also, Morrowind makes them out to be even stronger than the Dremora, even to the point of having higher-leveled souls.
  • Does Not Like Men: The male Aureal are looked down upon (literally and figuratively) by the females. This trope even extends to the males of other races. Although it could perhaps be excused by the fact that male Aureals are both physically and statistically inferior to their female counterparts.
  • Dumb Blonde: To an extent. Though unlike most examples of this trope, they're portrayed as "dumb" in the Dumb Muscle or Dumb Jock sense rather than being The Ditz. Although they're still capable of speaking in coherent sentences, they don't often think things through, as shown several times in Shivering Isles, since their actions sometimes required the Hero of Kvatch to bail them out of a tight spot.
  • Fantastic Slur: "Dog", for both their own race and the Mazken. This is likely due to their adamant loyalty towards Sheogorath.
  • Jerkass: In Shivering Isles, they show this in spades, always turning their nose up at the Player.
  • Light is Not Good: As befitting servants of Sheogorath, the Golden Saints who maintain bright, happy Mania are rather unlikable and rude.
  • More Deadly Than the Male. "Male" Aureal are significantly weaker in stats than females.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: The females are considerably taller than the males.


A race of Lesser Daedra in the service of Meridia. They were summoned to help Umaril the Unfeathered to fight off the Alessian Revolt.

  • An Axe to Grind: Their main weapon.
  • Bling of War: Wear gold armor.
  • Faceless Goons: All of them wear helmets that conceal their faces.
  • Light is Not Good: They dress in gold armor and serve Meridia, but were used by Umaril to try and put down the Alessian Revolt and keep the ancient Cyrodiilic people slaves to the Ayleids.


A bestial, crocodile-like race of Daedra said to be in the service of Molag Bal, but also seen in the service of other Daedric Princes like Mehrunes Dagon. They're among the more animalistic Daedra, lacking what mortals would recognize as civilization and they may not even be sentient.


Dinosaur-like Lesser Daedra that resemble lizards with ceratopsid frills. While they are associated with Mehrunes Dagon, they are seen throughout the various planes of Oblivion. Like the Deadroth, they seem to be little more than animals.


A type of human-like Lesser Daedra in the service of various Daedric Princes, such as Mehrunes Dagon and Sanguine. Out of all the Daedra, they seem to have the closest thing to a society on par with the inhabitants of Nirn.

  • Art Evolution: The Dremora in Morrowind were no bigger than Dunmer or Imperials, and were even dwarfed by Nords and Altmer. This would be changed though in Oblivion, where they were equal in height to the Altmer race. Also, they were originally very grotesque in terms of facial features. By Skyrim, though, they've started to look more like heavily-tattooed (though still horned) Dunmer.
  • Blood Knight: Dremora love combat and killing.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: They don't die when you kill them and harvest their hearts.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Being immortal, they have great difficulty comprehending the mindset of mortal races. How can a creature, faced with the knowledge that its own existence will be finite, continue existing without succumbing to despair?
  • Evil Sounds Deep: They all speak with deep, distorted voices.
  • Facial Markings: In Morrowind and Skyrim, they have red symbols on their faces.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Divided into soldiers, officers, and nobles, with each caste having at least two sub-castes.
  • Horned Humanoid: Have two or four horns on their head.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Every Dremora sees himself as a huntsman, with mortals as his prey.
  • Jerkass: They tend to look down on the mortal Tamrielic races, and even on the other lesser Daedra.
  • Large Ham: An entire race of them, as shown in Oblivion and especially Skyrim.
  • Master Race: Believe themselves to be above the other Daedra species. They even go so far as to refer to themselves as "The Kyn" (see My Name Is Not Durwood below). Seeing as most lesser Daedra aren't civilized or sentient, they do have a point. However, it is unknown what their view is on the other lesser Daedra that are sentient, such as the Dark Seducers and Golden Saints, despite interacting with both races to some extent in Battlespire and Morrowind, respectively.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Though they are commonly referred to as Dremora, they prefer to identify themselves as "The Kyn", which translates to "The People" in the Daedric language. This is because they consider themselves superior and more intelligent than the other lesser Daedra, which they see as little more than mindless beasts.
  • One-Gender Race: Until The Elder Scolls Online Dremora were all male. There are rare female Dremora in Oblivion, but seeing as they only appear in one caste and don't have spoken lines, this was probably a mistake. Although it's possible that they're simply the Spear Counterpart to the Dark Seducers and Golden Saints mentioned above, and have strong Stay in the Kitchen attitudes.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Valkynaz are this to Mehrunes Dagon.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Dremora are constantly obsessed with honor through combat. However, some are hinted to have joined the mortals and pursued material wealth.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Wear Daedric armour, which features this most prominently in Oblivion and especially Skyrim.
  • "Uh-Oh" Eyes: Curiously, their eye color is different in each game, but it's always one of these.
    • In Morrowind they have red eyes.
    • In Oblivion their eyes are gold.
    • In Skyrim their eyes are black.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: It's a series tradition that only the high-level Dremora drop the Daedric armor they wear, probably to avoid a Disk One Nuke situation, as Daedric armor is always the best regular set of heavy armor in the game. Possibly because the armor is part of their bodies, as Daedric armor can be summoned by the player, literally summoning a Daedric spirit in the form of a piece of armor.
  • The Usual Adversaries: In Oblivion, except for Kathutet, anyway.
  • Worthy Opponent: Typically dismissive of the mortal races, but those who perform well in battle against them can earn their respect.


Horned Deadra under the service of both Mehrunes Dagon and Hircine.


Lesser Daedra in the service of Boethiah, they attack with claws, spells, and their tongue.

Knights of Order

Lesser Daedra in the service of Jyggalag.

  • Evil Is Sterile: They are said to have absolutely no original thoughts whatsoever, and show as much by tending not to use spells.
  • Knight Templar: Work to bring order by destroying the Shivering Isles.


A species of Lesser Deadra in the service of Hermaeus Mora native to Apocrypha's waters, who often guard Black Books.

  • Breath Weapon: Can spit acid from their mouths.
  • Combat Tentacles: Both in the form of a stream of tentacles coming from their mouths and a stomp that causes poisonous tentacles to appear.
  • Giant Mook: Lurkers stand at an intimidating nine-ten feet tall, roughly as tall as giants, on average.
  • Fish People: They appear to based on the Deep Ones.
  • Healing Factor: Can quickly regain their health after being struck.

Mazken (AKA Dark Seducers)

A species of Lesser Daedra that serve Sheogorath much like the Aureals.

Morphoid Daedra

  • Horned Humanoid: Have horns like the Hernes, but are far more bestial in appearance.


Lesser Daedra in the service of Malacath.

  • Dumb Muscle: Ogrim are generally not very bright.
  • Giant Mook: Are among the largest of all Lesser Deadra, with more body mass than the taller Lurkers.
  • Healing Factor: Can quickly heal from most injuries.
  • No Sell: Are immune to normal attacks.


Small Lesser Daedra generally in the service of Mehrunes Dagon.

  • Evil Smells Bad: Scamps are well known and hated for their terrible smell. The quest "Whom Gods Annoy" has a Leyawiin resident cursed with Sheogorath's "Staff of Everscamp" o stink up her home and annoy the hell out of her.
  • The Goomba: Are the weakest of all Lesser Deadra.
  • Zerg Rush: They attack in large packs to lessen their height disadvantage.


Lesser Daedra in the service of Hermaeus Mora, who act as the guardians and caretakers of his realm, Apocrypha.

  • Badass Bookworm: Typically found reading if there aren't any intruders in Apocrypha for them to attack.
  • Cthulhumanoid: Their design evokes Cthulhu.
  • Homing Projectile: They use these to flush out those who try to sneak through Apocrypha undetected.
  • Scary Librarian: Squidlike ones that will attack anything that enters Apocrypha.

Spider Daedra

A species of lesser Daedra that have a humanoid torso with a spider's lower body and legs. Commonly associated with Mephala, although Mephala's worshippers rarely summon them due to their unpredictability.

  • Magic Knight: Equally formidable with melee attacks and destruction magic.
  • Spider People: Humanoid torso, spider legs and lower body.
  • Wild Card: Extremely unpredictable and just as likely to attack the summoner as they are to attack whatever they're being summoned against.


Aggressive, blind Lesser Daedra in the service of Mehrunes Dagon.

Winged Twilight

Lesser Daedra generally in the service of Azura.


A species of tall humanoid Daedra that generally swear allegiance to Mehrunes Dagon.

  • Giant Mook: They can get even taller than Dremora.
  • Horned Humanoid: Have horns like Dremora.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: They fight with weapons that a human would require two hands to wield effectively, such as claymores and warhammers. Due to their size and strength, they can treat these weapons as though they were one-handed.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: They go topless all the time.

     Human Races 

The human races (Men) of Nirn.


"Its various peoples are called Bretons for the sake of convenience only, as the endless multitude of city-states, principalities, baronies, duchies, and kingdoms that make up High Rock has, until recently, resisted all attempts at centralization into a single culture or government."
Pocket Guide to the Empire and its Environs, First Edition

The Bretons are the human descendants of the Aldmeri-Nedic "Manmer" and the current inhabitants of High Rock. Pale-skinned and slight of build, the Bretons may be somewhat frail compared to the other humans of Tamriel, but they do benefit greatly from the elven blood flowing in their veins; many Bretons retain faint signs of their highborn ancestry, such as high cheekbones, lean eyebrows and even slight points to their ears (especially among their nobility). Intelligent, eccentric, passionate, flamboyant, witty and resourceful, the Bretons are inventive craftsmen, shrewd merchants, creative artists, exquisite chefs, and exceptional wizards and battlemages.

  • Anti-Magic: Magic runs so much in their bloodline that they have an innate resistance to it in all forms.
  • Brains and Brawn: They are physically the weakest of the human races, but are the most skilled with magic.
  • Breeding Slave: The Bretons' earliest human ancestors were Nedes used as concubines by the Direnni Altmer.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Politically, they resemble medieval England and France turned Up to Eleven, with elements of various Celtic cultures.note  Their names are mostly Anglo-Franc, with some Scottish, Irish or Welsh ones mixed in as well.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Their political intrigue is more cutthroat than is typical elsewhere in Tamriel, even after the Warp in The West.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A lot of Breton NPCs fit this and either Jerkass or Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Point is, if a character that you don't know welcomes you with a smile and open arms, chances are s/he isn't a Breton.note 
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The result of an ancient Aldmeri eugenics program which mated Nedes with elves. They are occasionally referred to as the 'Manmer', a name which acknowledges their elf/human ancestry. The word "Breton" itself is derived from the Ehlnofex word "beratu," or "half." Some more elite noble families still have a slight point to their ears.
  • In-Series Nickname: Sometimes called 'Manmer' because of their mixed ancestry.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Outside of High Rock they're more known for their magical potential, but the Bretons actually have a strong chivalric tradition and most city states have their own knightly order to that end. Due to High Rock's cutthroat politics, how noble these knights actually are can vary.
  • Mage Killer: Bretons are very magic-resistant, bordering on immunity with their racial power, especially against the Altmer, who bias towards Destruction Magic.
  • Magic Knight: Bretons are particularly adept at being Battlemages.
  • Magic Staff: Staffs are common weapons for the Bretons.
  • Theme Naming: Bretons typically have names that we could consider in real life to be Anglo-Franc in etymology.
  • The Order: Most of High Rock's city states have their own knightly orders. For example, Daggerfall has the Knights of the Dragon, while Wayrest has the Knights of the Rose.
  • Supreme Chef: The best cooks are said to come from High Rock. If you play as a Breton in Skyrim, when you have to impersonate "the Gourmet", someone even mentions that having the Gourmet be a Breton is "too obvious". Combine this trope and the aforementioned Jerkass tendencies of Bretons and you get the Elder Scrolls equivalent of a French Jerk.
  • Uneven Hybrid: Most Bretons these days are more man than mer.
  • Witch Species: Probably the most powerful race of humans in magic, and on par with the Altmer in terms of natural magical talent.


"Cyrodiil, Dragon Empire, Starry Heart of Nirn, and Seat of Sundered Kings... Indeed, if the history of the Nords is the history of humans on Tamriel, then Cyrodiil is the throne from which they will decide their destiny."
Pocket Guide to the Empire and its Environs, First Edition

The human inhabitants of Cyrodiil. Split into two distinct sub-groups, the Colovians and the Nibenese. The Colovians occupy mainly in western Cyrodiil and are hearty highland folk that may have more in common culturally with Nords than the Nibenese. The Nibenese are cosmopolitan heartlanders who live mainly in central and southern Cyrodiil around the Niben River system. Imperials are renowned across the continent as diplomats, statesmen and traders, and while they don't have the same strength or prowess of the Nords or Redguards, they are still disciplined and reliable soldiers.

  • Animal Motifs: Dragons, dating back to St. Alessia of the first empire who was "blessed" by Akatosh, the Dragon-God of Time. Later, Tiber Septim employed a dragon by the name of Nafaalilargus to aid in the conquest of Tamriel, further driving the connection home.
  • Badass Army: Imperials make up for their lack of individual strength by having a more regimented and collective martial prowess. Cyrodiilic armies managed to conquer most or all of mainland Tamriel twice.
  • Boring, but Practical: Not great at magic, not great at stealth, not great at combat, yet these guys managed to conquer all of Tamriel.
  • Born Lucky: In Skyrim, the Imperial Luck trait allows them to find more gold when searching containers.
  • Canis Latinicus: Their names.
  • Charm Person: Their Voice of the Emperor power lets them calm enemies for a while.
  • Cool Starship: The Mothships, which were built during the Reman Dynasty in a space-race with the Altmer, and left them the Royal Imperial Mananauts. Yes, really.
  • Cultural Posturing: Particularly prone to this in Oblivion and Skyrim, particularly towards the Nords.
  • The Empire: They created four of them which spanned most or all of Tamriel at different points.
  • Facial Markings: Before the late Third Era, Nibenese Cyrodiils would often tattoo themselves.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Earlier games gave them two cultures with different influences. The Colovians (the west) were primarily based on Rome, while the Nibenese (the Imperial City, as well as the eastern and southern portions) had Chinese, Japanese, and Mesoamerican influence, but this was all but dropped by Oblivion. Since then, they've been Medieval Europe meets Rome. By Skyrim, they're based on Rome, with a smattering of Italy.
  • Hegemonic Empire: In the 3rd era, where they managed to unify all of Tamriel for the first time in history.
  • Humans Are Leaders: Imperials have been at the epicenter of Tamrielic politics since St. Alessia, and have founded four empires (the Alessian, Cyrodiilic, Septim, and Mede) from their home of Cyrodiil.
  • Humans Are Average: They fit this trope moreso than the other races of men; also see Jack-of-All-Stats below.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Which makes their clash with the Nords rather ironic, seeing as they're Not So Different. They're both, for instance, responsible for the destruction of an entire race of elves (Falmer for Nords; Ayleids for Imperials).
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Shows up in how Imperials are built in the series. They are outclassed in pure Combat, Magic, and Stealth abilities by at 2-4 other races each. However, the Imperials' lack any real deficiency in these categories, making them a very diverse and accessible race to play as. Their Speechcraft bonus (prior to Skyrim, anyway) makes them a good fit for stealth, their minor armor and weapons bonuses (not as large as some of the more specialized races) makes them decent warriors, and their small boosts to destruction and restoration make them good for a fairly strong mage build. These combine to make them a strong fit for cross-class builds and are in competition with the Dunmer for the most balanced of all.
  • National Weapon: Imperial Swords, modeled after the Roman Gladius. And thanks to the influence of the Akaviri, Daikatanas.
  • Proud Merchant Race: They get bonuses to Speechcraft. The Nibenese were also famous for this in-lore, with the Imperial City and eastern Cyrodiil being famous for their merchant-nobility, but this died out by the end of the Septim Empire.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Colovians, who live primarily in western Cyrodiil. They make up the bulk of the Legions, and respect martial values and discipline.
  • Rising Empire: In the 1st and 2nd eras, where they built the foundation for their eventual dominance of Tamriel.
  • Sigil Spam: The Imperial army have a tendency to display the Red Diamond or the Imperial Dragon on most of their equipment.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: They're the soldiers to the Nord and Redguard warriors, being highly disciplined while Nords and Redguards are individually superior warriors.
  • Theme Naming: Before Skyrim, Imperials typically had Roman-sounding names. In Skyrim, some Italian-like names are thrown into the mix.
  • Vestigial Empire: In the 4th era, where most of the provinces of the 3rd Era empire have been lost, and those that remain are in a very fragile place.


"Perrif's original tribe is unknown, but she grew up in Sard, anon Sardarvar Leed, where the Ayleids herded in men from across all the Niben: kothri, nede, al-gemha, men-of-'kreath (though these were later known to be imported from the North), keptu, men-of-ge (who were eventually destroyed when the Flower King Nilichi made great sacrifice to an insect god named [lost]), al-hared, men-of-ket, others; but this was Cyrod, the heart of the imperatum saliache, where men knew no freedom, even to keep family, or choice of name except in secret, and so to their alien masters all of these designations were irrelevant."
The Adabal-a

According to early propaganda of the Septim Empire, the human ancestors of Bretons, Imperials, and Nords. According to Septim's scholars, they are believed to hail from Atmora, though some accounts suggest that they were among Tamriel's many indigenous human tribes. The Nibenese Imperials are believed to be their closest living relatives.

  • The Dog Bites Back: They ended up driving the Ayleids to extinction as a unique race. That may seem harsh, but the Ayleids were so needlessly vile in their dog kicking that it's hard to blame them.
  • Horny Vikings: According to Septim propaganda. It's been suggested that their relationship to the Nords has been exaggerated in order to make the Nords supportive of the empire.
  • Precursors: To Bretons, Imperials, and possibly Nords. Culturally, they had some influence on the Redguards after they arrived in Tamriel.
  • Racial Remnant: The last group that identified as "Nedes" survived deep into the First Era in the deserts of modern day Hammerfell. They were wiped out when the Redguards invaded and claimed the land.
  • Slave Race: To the Ayleids.
  • Slave Revolt: Against the Ayleids under Alessia, with the support of several gods and the Nordic Empire. They went on to found the first empire of men out of Cyrodiil, the Alessian.


"Nords consider themselves to be the children of the sky. They call Skyrim the Throat of the World, because it is where the sky
exhaled on the land and formed them."
Children of the Sky

The Nords are a race of tall and fair-haired humans from the cold and wild province of Skyrim, known for their resistance to natural and magical frost and for being fierce warriors and unruly mercenaries. This reputation is unfortunate, as the Nords are in reality more than merely the bloodthirsty barbarians Tamriel claim them to be; the Nords are lovers of battle, true, but they are also lovers of music and mead, skilled sailors, fine weaponsmiths and armourers, and a deeply spiritual and traditional people with a strong sense of honour.

  • Aerith and Bob: While the Nords typically take their names from their Scandinavian Counterpart Culture, this comes into play with the real world time periods the names are drawn from. You can see Nords with perfectly modern names like Jon and Harold living side by side with Nords who have more classic medieval Norse names like Ulfgar and Ragnar.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Jarls and Thanes are expected to be this, but how many actually are varies as realistically as it would in any other Tamrielic culture. But Nords have had a tradition that if a their High King is challenged in combat and slain, the victorious warrior would be crowned King. This was an old tradition, however, and centuries of Imperial culture slowly filtering into Skyrim has somewhat caused it to be forgotten among the Western portion of Skyrim (where the Empire has most of its influence).
  • An Axe to Grind: Popular among the Nords. If you send a Nord your axe, how he responds will determine if you have business to address.
  • Braids of Barbarism: Nords do love their braids.
  • Brains and Brawn: The brawniest race of Men in Tamriel.
  • Badass Beard: Nords are serious about their beards.
  • Badass Normal: The least magically inclined people on Tamriel, and yet these guys are basically the reason why Mankind even exists on Tamriel and established the first continent spanning empire, which was only torn apart due to a succession crisis.
  • Barbarian Hero: A common depiction of Nords by their allies.
    • Barbarian Tribe / The Horde: A common depiction of them by Elves (who have been in conflict with them for generations) and Imperials by the time Skyrim takes place. The Nords themselves don't seem particularly offended by this image.
  • Berserk Button: The White-Gold Concordat outlawing the worship of Talos isn't popular amongst the Nords, to say the least. It's also a good idea not to call a Nord a "milk-drinker."
  • The Big Guy: Nord soldiers have filled this role in the Imperial Legion for centuries, along with the Orcs.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: A staple of their culture is feasting, fighting and closeness to family.
  • Blood Knight: Nords excel in all forms of combat and are some of the finest warriors in Tamriel.
  • Civil War: In Skyrim.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Their ancient culture in particular. They believe (or at least used to, before adopting the Imperial religion) in cyclic time (called kalpas), which is loosely inspired by Hinduism. Their names and aesthetic comes from the Medieval Norse. But they used to mummify their dead much like ancient Egypt, and their religion is heavily influenced by both Norse pagan and Egyptian traditions. though this has fallen out of practice. Modern Nord culture is firmly Norse with Celtic undertones.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Modern Nords, as a rule of thumb, have an inherent distrust of magic and those who practise it, though they will make an exception for practitioners of Restoration (since Skyrim could use more healers), Enchanting (using magic to make weapons and armor more useful), and Thu'um (The Magic of the Voice, of which early Nords were the first human practitioners). Averted in Ancient Nordic culture; magic was known as the "Clever Craft" and held in high regard, and several prominent Nordic heroes of legend were Magic Knights.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: The Ancient Nords were the first (mortal) race in Tamriel to master the Thu'um, which they used to drive the Dragons into near-extinction and carve out an empire for themselves during the Merethic Era.
  • Facial Markings: Many Nord warriors typically adorn themselves with warpaint.
  • Fantastic Racism: Have been distrustful of Elves ever since the war between Ysgramor's companions and the Falmer, and the recent conflict between the Empire and the Thalmor has only made these feelings worse. Nords are stubborn to accept other races at best and nationalist bigots at worst.
  • Had To Be Sharp: Part of the reason the Nords are so hardy is because Skyrim is such an unforgiving land with an unpredictable climate, filled to the brim with all manner of hostile wildlife and all manner of natural hazards. Even to claim Skyrim during the Merethic Era, the Ancient Nords who settled there had to contend with Snow Elves and Dragons; the former native to the land and the latter who maintained their base of power and cults there.
  • Honour Before Reason: One of the core reasons for the Skyrim Civil War. The Stormcloaks believe that the Empire lost its honor when it accepted the Thalmor's terms and outlawed the worship of Talos. On the other hand, Imperial sympathizers among Nords accept that the Empire (which was founded by Talos) has fallen on hard times, but believe that real honor means never abandoning an ally just because the going's gotten tough.
  • Horny Vikings:
    • Aesthetically, they're heavily inspired by the popular Viking-image. But, unlike most other depictions of this trope, sea-born raiding was never a major part of their culture. It is present a little (Reavers and, in the past, such as their First Era raids of Morrowind,) but never prominent.
    • How the rest of Tamriel, particularly the races of Mer, see the Nords. The truth is a bit more complex, however, and Skyrim is quite dedicated to Deconstructing the trope as it relates to the Nords in terms of behavior; showing them as a thoroughly civilized, proud warrior race with a strong bardic element, who greatly value honour, family and tradition.
  • Humans Are Warriors: A thesis they lectured on the Falmer rather effectively. And their proficiency on it is basically why Man has come to dominate Tamriel. They're now lecturing the Altmer and Imperials on this, as well. Though unlike other examples of this trope, the Nords are actually the physical superiors of their non-human adversaries and the more skilled individual fighters. To illustrate this further, it took a mere army of 500 of their finest to conquer an entire land and wipe out an entire race.
  • In-Series Nickname: In Oblivion, other races derogatorily refer to Nords as "Snow-men".
    • Sons of Skyrim and Sons of the Snow are also used.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Nord ability bonuses basically make them the best race to take on this role. They have the best adjustment scores for light armour and two handed weaponry. Coupled with their physical endurance, it makes them able to hit extremely hard, endure a great amount of damage and quickly move around the battlefield.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Of all the races, the Nords have the greatest average affinity to the Thu'um.
  • Norse by Norsewest: Their culture and even physical appearance (facial structure, skin tones, etc) is basically fantasy northern-european.
  • Not So Different: The Nords and the Altmer have some shocking similarities despite their rivalries, especially by the time of Skyrim. Both races follow the mainstream Nine Divines but there is a huge minority of their original religion as well, both of them have a very haughty attitude towards any professions they frown upon (magic in the Nord's case) as well as any other races (Mers for the Nords although Skyrim has recently shown that they are starting to look down upon their fellow men as well) to the point of showing overt racism, and finally, both believe that they are the rightful heirs to Tamriel.
  • Odd Friendship: Oddly enough with the Orsimer, who the Nords get on with surprisingly well for a Mer species, as shown by the numerous Orc strongholds dotted across Skyrim. Both races apparently bond over their mutual respect for strong leaders, affinity for smithing and love of fighting.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite their tempestuous relationship with Elves, when the Dunmer were driven from Morrowind after the destruction of Red Mountain, the High King of Skyrim formally offered them the island of Solstheim to resettle on. To quote from the declaration:
    ''"Untithed to any thane or hold, and self-governed, with free worship, with no compensation to Skyrim or the Empire except as writ in the armistice of old wheresoever those might still apply, and henceforth let no man or mer say that the Sons and Daughters of Kyne are without mercy or honor."
    • As a rather cynical old Dunmer once noted, Solstheim was always a barren rock that no one has ever particularly cared about outside its ebony and stalhrim deposits, and was theoretically already claimed by Morrowind even if no one there wanted it. Refugees were already pouring in after the Red Year; the Nords would have had a hard fight against desperate people on their hands if they wanted to keep the island.
  • The Paragon: Talos, Ysgramor and the Dragonborn are often held up as the ultimate examples of what a Nord should aspire to be.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: They're the fiercest warriors in Tamriel. In fact, being a great fighter is even at the heart of their religion.
  • Real Men Love Talos: Out of all the races of Tamriel, they were the most upset when the White Gold Concordat between the Aldmeri Dominion and the Empire outlawed the worship of Talos as a god. The Nords deeply venerate Talos as a national hero, one of the legendary Dragonborn and for founding the Empire that covered Tamriel.
  • Rebellious Rebel: During the Skyrim Civil War. While there are Nords in Skyrim who genuinely support the Empire, many other Imperial-aligned Nords suggest that this is done out of a sense of tradition, a belief that independence would be disastrous for their homeland and outright distrust for the nationalistic and Humanity Is Superior attitude held by Jarl Ulfric and his Stormcloak army.
  • Red Baron: The Sons of Skyrim, Sons of the Snow.
  • Screaming Warrior:
    • Their Battle Cry special ability causes enemies to run in fear.
    • They were also the first race in Tamriel to master the tongue of Dragons, which takes this trope to its logical conclusion by having the screaming be capable of directly inflicting harm.
  • Shocking Defeat Legacy: For all of their many victories, it was a Nord defeat that had perhaps the most profound impact on Tamriellic history. After centuries of domination and expansion out of Skyrim, their army, led by the Tongues (masters of the Thu'um,) was annihilated at Red Mountain in Morrowind by a coalition of Dwemer and Chimer forces. This marked the farthest expanse of the Nordic empire and led to a drop-off in the use of the Thu'um as a weapon after Jurgen Windcaller, one of the defeated Tongues, created the Way of the Voice to use the Thu'um only to honor the gods. The after effects of the loss at Red Mountain could still be felt in the storylines to both Morrowind and Skyrim.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: They and the Redguards are warriors to the soldier of the Imperial, being far superior individual combatants.
  • Theme Naming: True to their northern european stylings all over elsewhere, the Nords have a Scandinavian name motif.
  • Warrior Poet: Like the medieval Norse, they have a great respect for their Skalds.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: 200 years after the Oblivion crisis, the proud sons of Skyrim (at least mainly in the eastern parts) have become bitter, distant and angry towards everyone but themselves. Any northern human that didn't join the mentality that Skyrim belongs to the Nords is insulted and denied of being known as a true Nord.


"Thus was stolen by the foreign invaders: his land, his people, his very name. In the years that followed, Red Eagle became known as the untamed spirit of the Reach, unbowed, unbroken, stained by the blood of his foes. He gathered loyal Reachmen to himself, those who clung to the old ways, who yearned for freedom, and forged a new nation. Together, they fell upon the occupiers and the traitors by night, disappearing into the cliffs and caves each morn, evading capture."
The Legend of Red Eagle

Also known as "Witchmen," Reachmen inhabit the area along the border of High Rock and Skyrim known as "The Reach." Though primarily Breton in in terms of race, they do not consider themselves culturally Breton. They are a primitive and tribal people, led by shamans, who practice elements of nature and Daedra worship, primarily Hircine. They also revere Hagravens as "matrons." From the time of the Alessian Empire to the Fourth era, they've maintained an insurgency, warring against any outside conquerors attempting to claim the Reach for themselves.

  • Barbarian Tribe: A group primitive in dress and technology who practices the closest thing to a "pagan" religion in Tamriel and is violently hostile to outsiders.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Their warriors may choose to become "Briarhearts." A Hagraven will remove the warrior's heart and replace it with a Briar Heart, a magical organic object which looks something like a pine cone. The Briarhearts receive a massive power upgrade at the cost of free will and thought. They also pick up the Weaksauce Weakness that if the Briar Heart is stolen (say, by a skilled pickpocket) or damaged (say, by a skilled archer), they will fall dead instantly.
  • Druid: Their "hedge magic" is in this vein.
  • Fantastic Racism: They specifically like to target any non-Bretons attempting to settle in the Reach.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Celts of the classical through medieval eras, with the Imperials, Bretons, and Nords in the roles of the Romans, Anglo-Normans, and Vikings toward them, respectively.
  • Fur Bikini: Both men and women wear relatively little clothing, and what they do wear is primarily fur or hide.
  • The Mole: They have agents living among the population of major cities within or near the Reach who act as spies and assassins.
  • Occupiers out of Our Country: No matter what foreign occupier attempts to claim the reach and no matter how powerful they are, the Reachmen will resist.
  • Rebel Leader: Red Eagle was the first to unify the people of the Reach during the era of the Alessian Empire. Madanach is the leader of the 4th era "Forsworn" group of Reachmen.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: They have no reservations about using open warfare and public murder of civilians to get what they want. They've been known to sack caravans, leaving no survivors but also taking no loot, in order to send a message.
  • Rock Beats Laser: They eschew metal in their weapons and armor, favoring wood, stone, fur, feathers, bone, and antler. Despite this, they are able fight evenly against better equipped adversaries through use of guerilla tactics and their druidic "hedge magic."
  • Spark of the Rebellion: During the Third Era Septim Empire and into the early Fourth Era, they begrudgingly accepted Nord rule rather than risk the wrath of the Empire. When the Empire was devastated after Great War, the Forsworn rose up and captured the city of Markarth. Though the Nords would drive them out, they hold strong in the countryside of the Reach with their numbers swelling.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: They see themselves as fighting for the freedom of their ancestral homeland. Those they fight against see them as savages.

Redguard (a.k.a. Ra'Gada)

"To know Satakal, consider a river. As a snake sheds its skin and lives on, so a river sheds its water into the sea, yet is reborn at the source."
Knowing Satakal

The human inhabitants of Hammerfell. Unlike the other human races who came from Atmoranote , the Redguards came from Yokuda and have no ties to the other races of men on Tamriel. Dark-skinned and wiry-haired with gaunt frames and fine muscle tone, Redguards are athletic warriors with a particular cultural affinity for swordplay, though their fierce and independent spirits make them more suitable as free-ranging heroes and adventurers than rank-and-file soldiers. Redguards are also excellent seafarers.

  • Atlantis: Yokuda. Once the most advanced society of its time, the entire continent sank for still mysterious reasons.
  • Born Under the Sail: While Redguards are primarily known for being warriors, they are secondarily famous for being masters of sail, to the point that Hammerfell itself is referred to as "the Land of Sword and Sail".
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Redguard society has traditionally been divided into two sociopolitical groups: The Crowns, descended from Redguard nobility, hold Yokudan tradition in high regard and dislike foreigners, while the Forebears, descended from the warriors who conquered Hammerfell, are more comfortable with incorporating aspects of Breton and Imperial culture into their way of life. A third political movement, the Lhotunics, emerged after the Warp in the West, who espouse both the cosmopolitan values of the Forebears and the sense of tradition and respect for the past of the Crowns, and are generally held in contempt by both sides.
  • Cool Sword: The Ra'ga place a high amount of value in swords, due to their warrior culture.
    Every guard in Skyrim: Did you see those warriors from Hammerfell? They've got curved swords. Curved. Swords.
  • Does Not Like Magic: On two counts; since they have a Proud Warrior Race culture, they regard magic as a tool for avoiding a 'real' fight, and since many parts of Hammerfell (especially those controlled by the Crowns) are socially conservative and somewhat xenophobic, magic is seen as a dangerous foreign influence. Conjurers are especially likely to earn a Redguard's dislike, since they tamper with souls, create undead and traffick with demons.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Primarily the Middle East, particularly the Moors, their naming conventions are somewhat reminiscent of Arabic, also. However, the value they place on skill in battle and their tradition of a noble caste of warriors is similar to the samurai of feudal Japan.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Using the Pankratosword, the very best of their warriors could "cut the atomos." They claim this is how Yokuda sank, and it is dangerous enough that even Vivec backed down when Cyrus threatened to use itnote . This technique is now forbidden, and quite possibly lost to history as a result.
  • Humans Are Warriors: As those who stood in their way, past and present, have found out.
  • Informed Attribute: Being the most skilled warriors in Tamriel, in terms of gameplay. Overall, the Redguards only have ability scores that allow them to excel in one-handed weapon fighting styles, and are thoroughly outclassed in terms of brute force and strength by Nords and in terms of endurance by Orcs. They are also fairly average in the usage of other weapons in comparison to the Nord's specialization with two-handers and the Orcs' skill with using heavy armour. That said, their descriptions do state that where Redguards truly excel is in guerrilla warfare and as individual light skirmishers. At the time of Skyrim they are fighting alone against the Aldmeri Dominion, which brought the Empire to its knees, but they are able to hold their own.
  • No Sell: Redguards are the most resistant to poison out of any human race.
  • Master Swordsman: The Redguard hat is that they're as a whole the most skilled swordsmen in Tamriel.
  • Odd Job Gods: They have a few. One particularly interesting one is Hoon Ding, the "Make Way" god. He is said to manifest himself as a great leader whenever the Redguards need to "make way" for their people. Cyrus the Restless, hero of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, is said to be one such manifestation.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Redguards have the finest warriors on Tamriel. So much so that in the late Second Era, the Old Thalmor considered Hammerfell to be the biggest threat to Tiber Septim's empire.
  • Scary Black Man: How other races often regard them, particularly Cyrodiils and Nords due to their numerous wars against them.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The Redguards who arrived in Tamriel made a conscious decision to settle the Alik'r Desert, one of the most inhospitable environments Tamriel had to offer, because in Redguard culture, anything that can be obtained without effort is not worth obtaining in the first place.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: They and the Nords are warriors to the Imperial soldier, as they tend to be the superior individual combatants, while Imperials are more disciplined.
  • Theme Naming: Redguards usually have names that elicit an Arabic or North African style.


The Skaal are a tribe related to the Nords, residing on the island of Solstheim. They worship the All-Maker and seek to live in harmony with nature.

  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Aside from those they share with the Nords, they have some Inuit and other Native American influences as well.
  • In Harmony with Nature: The path of the All-Maker. Whatever that is taken from the All-Maker must be repaid somehow. For example, their hunters only kill when absolutely necessary as part of the cycle of life, and never for sport. They only harvest firewood from fallen trees, never cutting down live trees for it.
  • Magical Native American: Including their speech patterns.
  • Warrior Poet: Like their Nord cousins, but taken even farther. Epic, primarily oral poetry is a big part of their culture.

     Elvish races 

The Elvish races (or Mer in their language) of Nirn.

General Elvish tropes

  • Atlantis: They have their own version called Aldmeris. Where it is, if it still exists, and even if it was another name for a pre-Mannish Tamriel is unknown.
  • Bling of War: Most races of Mer have an iconic armor type which fits. The Altmer have the popular Elven armor, which is gold in color. The Dunmer have the high quality Glass armor, which is emerald green in color. "Dwarven" armor originally worn by the Dwemer is bronze/gold in color. The ancient Falmer wore platinum colored armor. Orcs are masters at crafting with Orichalcum, which, while a dull gray in color, they craft into intimidating looking heavy armor. The Bosmer avert it by specializing in light armor or no armor at all.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Altmer (and presumably the ancient Aldmer) are gold skinned, Bosmer are reddish-brown skinned, Dunmer are ash-gray skinned, Orsimer are green-skinned, Falmer used to be snow-white skinned, and Maormer are chameleon skinned.
  • Immortality Begins at 20: Implied to be the case from a few examples in the lore. Mer children seem to age similarly to human children until they reach adulthood, at which point it slows down.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: While longer lived than their human counterparts, parings are less likely to produce offspring. It is also implied that there may even be a cap in the total amount of children an Elven woman can have, with few ever having more than 3.
  • Long Lived: The races of Mer are implied to have longer natural lifespans than the races of Men, who have lifespans along the lines of real life humans. Exactly how much longer is never made clear, however, and largely inconsistent. Even without counting the magically enhanced lifespans of certain specific Mer, there are examples living naturally for centuries. Barenziah is approaching 500 in her appearance in Tribunal, and though noticeably aged, she is appears no worse for the wear than a 60 or so year old human. In the backstory, Nerevar is in his 200s by the time of The Battle of Red Mountain and still acting as a Frontline General.
  • Our Gods Are Different: The primary reason the Elves split apart was because of religion.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Starting with having the endonym of Mer. Gets more specific as you get into the individual races.
  • Precursors: The Aldmer, the First Elves who came to Tamriel from Aldmeris, are the common ancestor of all the races of Mer in Tamriel. The Altmer are their closet living relative.


"As he entered every aspect of Anuiel, Lorkhan would plant an idea that was almost wholly based on limitation. He outlined a plan to create a soul for the Aurbis, a place where the aspects of aspects might even be allowed to self-reflect. He gained many followers; even Auriel, when told he would become the king of the new world, agreed to help Lorkhan. So they created the Mundus, where their own aspects might live, and became the et'Ada.
But this was a trick. As Lorkhan knew, this world contained more limitations than not and was therefore hardly a thing of Anu at all.
Mundus was the House of Sithis. As their aspects began to die off, many of the et'Ada vanished completely. Some escaped, like Magnus, and that is why there are no limitations to magic. Others, like Y'ffre, transformed themselves into the Ehlnofey, the Earthbones, so that the whole world might not die. Some had to marry and make children just to last. Each generation was weaker than the last, and soon there were Aldmer.
Darkness caved in. Lorkhan made armies out of the weakest souls and named them Men, and they brought Sithis into every quarter."
The Monomyth

The tall and golden-skinned High Elves of Summerset Isle. They are the primary descendants of the Aldmer, the first race of Mer, and determining when Aldmer history ended and where Altmer history began is nigh impossible. They led a mighty empire named the Aldmeri Dominion ruled by a mighty Queen, but it was crushed by Tiber Septim's big stompy Dwemer-designed robot, the Numidium. Once the Septim Dynasty fell from the Oblivion Crisis, the Aldmeri Dominion rose again, now ruled by the Thalmor. Though human scholars are loathe to admit, the truth is that Tamriel owes much of its art, science, philosophy, language and religion to the Altmer, who are also the most magically-gifted of all races. However, Altmer are seen as haughty and snobbish.

  • Animal Motifs: Eagles, based off of Auri-El, the golden eagle god off of whom Akatosh was based in the Imperial pantheon.
  • Blatant Lies: The Thalmor took credit for ending the Oblivion Crisis within their homeland, garnering them enough political support to take over the Altmeri government and reestablish the ancient Aldmeri Dominion. Later, they took credit for restoring the moons to the sky which gained them great favor with the Khajiit, getting them to join the Dominion peacefully as vassals.
  • Break the Haughty: The Altmer were delivered a massive blow to their collective ego when Tiber Septim used the Numidium to destroy their armies and sack their capital city of Alinor in less than one hour of fighting. This was the first time in their thousands of years of history that the Altmer had been conquered by an outside force.note  Severely weakened, many of the most extremist Altmer groups (including the Thalmor) were content to wait out Septim's 3rd Empire and then rose again once it fell completely apart.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Their buildings are frequently made of glass or crystal, with tall towers, vine-like buildings and swirling walls. And they are definitely advanced.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: They were handed one by Tiber Septim's legions with the aid of The Numidium. Their army was crushed and their capital city was sacked in less than an hour, bringing the Altmer under the rule of men by conquest for the first time in history. This only exacerbated their hatred of humanity and, when the opportunity arose following the Oblivion Crisis, they struck back hard under the leadership of the Thalmor.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Altmer have an extremely rigid caste system, as noted in the Third Pocket Guide:
    "A hierarchy of classes began to form, which is still largely enforced in Summerset to this day. At the top are the Wise, teachers and priests, followed by the Artists, Princes, Warriors, Landowners, Merchants, and Workers."
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence/Straw Nihilist: According to Altmer beliefs, the creation of Mundus was seen as an act of malevolence as it caused mortal suffering and removed the Elves from a place of pre-creation divinity.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Meta. During Morrowind development, it was suggested that Altmer be written as completely incomprehensible to humans. There are theories that the Thalmor are, or want to be, and consider the fact that the Altmer are not as evidence of this trope.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Altmer soldiers are disrespected, at least among the mages, who are most likely upperclass. They do respect actual warriors, though, as noted below.
  • Light is Not Good: Thalmor footsoldiers wear shining golden armor, but they are no less dark than their wizard counterparts.
  • Magic Knight: As the most magically talented race that inhabits Tamriel each and every soldier, whether they be a mage or otherwise, uses magic in combat in addition to armour and weaponry.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Many Non-Thalmor Altmer are disgusted by the Thalmor, especially the Psijic Order and Imperial Archmage Ocato. Unsurprisingly, the Thalmor do not consider them true Altmer.
  • Not So Different: The Nords and the Altmer have some shocking similarities despite their rivalries, especially by the time of Skyrim. Both races follow the mainstream Nine Divines but there is a huge minority of their original religion as well, both of them have a very haughty attitude towards any professions they frown upon (soldiers, especially those that don't practice magic in the Altmer's case) as well as any other races (Men for the Altmers although they have looked down on their Bosmer, Dunmer, and Orc cousins from time to time) to the point of showing overt racism, and finally, both believe that they are the rightful heirs to Tamriel.
  • Odd Friendship: Downplayed with the Khajiit. For all their "I'm better than you" attitude towards just about every other race on Tamriel, the Altmer have historically had a more benevolent relationship with the Khajiit. Both the ancient Aldmeri Dominion and the modern version have preferred to get the Khajiit to join as vassals by aiding them to develop trust rather than through conquest. Of course, there are self-serving aspects for the Altmer with this arrangement, and in the modern version of the Dominion at least, they either exaggerated or blatantly lied about certain accomplishments in order to appeal to the Khajiit. Additionally, how much of the friendship is benevolence on the part of the Altmer and how much is the Altmer wanting to avoid the wrath of a race widely considered the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass of Tamriel is up for reasonable debate.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Something the Thalmor repeatedly emphasise, and there is some truth to it. The Altmer laid the foundation down for all of the races who preceded them, they are the only people in Tamriel who come anywhere close to rivalling the ancient Dwemer, and they do still take the lead in most cultural and scientific pursuits. They don't have to be dicks about it, though.
  • Our Gods Are Different: The primary reasons the other Elvish races split from the Altmer were over worship, with the Altmer worshiping the Aedra.
  • Shining City: Alinor, their capital, is described as being made of glass or insect wings.
  • Squishy Wizard: They are the most physically frail race on average, but also have the highest natural talents for magic.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Non-Thalmor Altmer to the Thalmor.
  • Stronger with Age: Inverted, in terms of their religious philosophy. They believe that the races of Men and "lesser" Mer are the result of "degeneration" over the ages, with each generation being weaker than the last as they are one more removed from their Aedric/Ehlnofey ancestors. The Altmer actively try to breed themselves back into their ideal, which includes killing undesirable progeny. (In their minds, they are releasing the soul so it has a chance to be reincarnated in a better form.)
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: "The Beautiful," a terrorist organization comprised of young Altmer, which uses public assassinations and general mayhem as a means to promote modernity and oppose the other branch of Altmer extremism represented by the Thalmor.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Many Altmer were always haughty, but the Thalmor take this to outright racism. Many non-Thalmor Altmer are disgusted by the Thalmor.
  • The Tower: The Crystal Tower of Alinor, destroyed during the Oblivion Crisis.
  • Witch Species: The most magically inclined of all the elven races, and arguably over most magical of any race (although the Bretons might disagree). Two of the most famous mages in history, Vanus Galerion and Mannimarco, were Altmer.
  • You Are Number 6: The Pocket Guide to The Empire (a work of debatable accuracy) suggests that Altmer in Summerset don't bother to give themselves names. When they greet, they address one another with a long combination of numbers that sounds like a name if you aren't fluent in their language.


"In the caverns of lore, ugly and obscure, shines the gold of truth."
Ayleid Transcriptions and Their Translations

The Wild Elves of Cyrodiil, relatives of the Altmer who enslaved the ancestors of the Imperials. They were devastated by the Alessian Revolt, with the few survivors mixing into the other Mer.

  • Abusive Precursors: They kept humans as slaves, and some of their more horrific mistreatment of their slaves included forcing them all to work naked, force-feeding them hallucinogenic drugs and watching their reactions, creating sculptures out of their bones and gardens out of their entrails, and setting human children on fire and setting hungry animals on them. The humans eventually rose up against their masters, overthrew them, ruled over Cyrodiil (with a few Ayleid lords that had joined the human rebellion being left in place) and then a while later picked up crazy religion and ruthlessly hunted down all vestiges of the Ayleid civilisation, exterminating the ones who didn't flee Cyrodiil.
  • Animal Motifs: Birds
  • Folk Hero: The Last King of the Ayleids, Laloriaran Dynar, who died at the Battle of Glenumbra Moors alongside the Direnni of High Rock.
  • Kick the Dog: Their actions included and were not limited to:
    • Forcing all human slaves to be naked.
    • Creating sculptures out of human bones.
    • Creating gardens out of human entrails.
    • Setting human children on fire and then loosing wild animals against them.
    • Skinning runaways alive and making their skin into blankets for the human children and babies.
  • Lost Technology: The Ayleids created many useful magical items during the golden years of their Empire, none of which have been replicated by the time of the games, forcing players to search Ayleid ruins in order to get their hands on them. Their magic items included Welkend Stones which restore lost magika, Varla stones which can restore enchantments to weapons, and Ayleid wells which also restore lost magika. The catch? The stones disappear after being used, and the wells need time to recharge.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: There were actually a number of Ayleids who were disgusted by the atrocities committed against the slaves. Mostly they were the ones who continued worshiping the Aedra and refused to worship the Daedra.
  • Our Elves Are Different: They're Jerkasses who enslaved and tormented humans.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Their split with the Altmer was to get around the Aedra worshiping Altmer's laws against Daedra worship. Ayleids actually worshiped both the Aedra and Daedra because both granted them powerful magic. This ended up contributing to their downfall since, unlike the Chimer, the Ayleids worship included some of the traditionally "evil" Daedric Princes. This led to some of the darker practices elsewhere on this list, which led to a loss of divine favor with the Aedra who supported the slave uprising against the Ayleids.
  • Racial Remnant: Possibly. It is rumored that Ayleids still live in the untamed wilds across Tamriel, but the odd unconfirmed sighting is the only evidence for it. By the Fourth Era, centuries have gone by without a reliable sighting.
  • Screw You, Elves!: A combination of major political infighting, loss of divine favor, a slave revolt, and predations of their northern neighbors in collusion with the revolting slaves spelled the end of the Ayleids.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Rebel Ayleid lords were amongst Alessia's most important supporters and were allowed to keep their lands as vassals of her empire. Or, at least until the monkey prophet Marukh took over and made the First Empire become rabidly anti-elven.
  • Written by the Winners: They are the "losers" in this case to Alessia and the Imperial's "winners." While there is plenty of evidence that the Ayleids committed atrocities against their human slaves, there has almost certainly been some exaggeration of the centuries since. Even though several rebel Ayleid lords supported Alessia and were permitted to keep their lands and culture after the war, even they would be demonized once the monkey prophet Maruhk came to power. In addition to the persecution of any elves within the empire, he also destroyed any records and cultural artifacts of the Ayleids that could be found. Eventually, only the (almost certainly heavily biased) Imperial records of the Alessian Revolt remained.


"Once, there was nothing but formlessness. The land held no shape, the trees did not harden into timber and bark, and the Elves themselves shifted from form to form. This formlessness was called the Ooze.

But Y'ffre took the Ooze and ordered it. First, she told of the Green, the forest and all the plant life in it. She gave the Green the
power to shape itself as it willed, for it was her first tale.

The Elves were Y'ffre's second tale. As Y'ffre spun the story, the Elves took the form they have today. Y'ffre gave them the power
to tell stories, but warned them against trying to shape themselves or the Green. Shifting and the destruction of the forest were
The Ooze: A Fable

The Wood Elves of Valenwood. They have an agreement with Y'ffre, the Forest God of Valenwood, known as the Green Pact; in exchange for Y'ffre's patronage, they have sworn never to harm any plantlife in Valenwood (though they can import timber from other regions of Tamriel when necessary), and must live on an almost exclusively carnivorous diet. Bosmer are shorter and darker-skinned than their Altmer kin, nimble and quick and excellent scouts, thieves and hunters. The Bosmer are considered the finest archers in all Tamriel - some say they were the inventors of the bow.

  • The Beastmaster: Can calm hostile animals using their Beast Tongue ability.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Monomyth suggests that early in their history the Aldmer who became the Bosmer "soiled Time's line" by "taking Mannish wives", making them a more elven version of the Breton's hybridization. It is worth noting that out of all the elves the Bosmer are the ones who look closest to humans.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Since Bosmer are bound by the Green Pact to live on a diet of meat, they hold no taboos about eating sentient beings. In fact, Bosmer culture requires warriors to starve themselves for a few days if they are anticipating battle, so they can eat the remains of whatever enemies they kill (though this rule seems to be relaxed for Bosmer who live outside Valenwood).
  • Noble Savage: They're seen as the barbaric form of Elves, but on the whole they're good people.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Bosmer are cannibals who live in cities composed of walking trees and within Valenwood only eat things made from animals.
  • Really Gets Around: Out of all the mer the Bosmer are known as the most amorous, and as a result they're the most numerous race of elves on Tamriel.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Bosmer women towered over the men in Morrowind and Oblivion. Bosmer men were the shortest characters in the game, while the women were the same size as Imperials. As of Skyrim, there's no longer much of a size discrepancy (females are still taller, but not by enough to qualify for this trope).
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Bosmer were originally supposed to have all the women beautiful and all the men gonk. This has been mostly forgotten by the time of Oblivion.
  • Uneven Hybrid: Despite their past history, overall Bosmer are more mer than man.
  • The Wild Hunt: In Tamriel, the phrase 'Wild Hunt' refers to a ritual in which a number of Bosmer transform themselves into nightmarish beasts, and then rampage through Valenwood destroying their enemies. Because there is no known way to reverse the transformation, the ritual is considered a taboo subject by Bosmer and is sanctioned for use only in dire circumstances.


"Resdaynia was no more. It had been redeemed of all the iniquities of the foolish. The ALMSIVI drew nets from the Beginning Place
and captured the ash of Red Mountain, which they knew was the Blight of the Dwemer and that would serve only to infect the whole of the middle world, and ate it. ALTADOON DUNMERI!"
The Thirty-Six Lessons of Vivec

The Dark Elves of Morrowind. They were originally the Chimer, close relatives of the Altmer with pale gold skin, but were led by the prophet Veloth to become the Velothi people and worship their ancestors and Daedra rather than the Divines. They were later unified under Nerevar to create the nation of Resdaynia and become known as the Resdayn people.

Early in the First Era, their alliance with the Dwemer (originally formed to defeat the invading Nords) fell apart when the Chimer learned that the Dwemer had found the Heart of Lorkhan (the dead creator god) and were planning to tap into it. Seeing this as blasphemy toward their gods (the Daedra), the Chimer attacked the Dwemer stronghold at Red Mountain. Exactly what happened next is recounted differently by all those involved, but the Dwemer vanished, three of Nerevar's closest allies (as well as a former ally turned enemy) became demi-gods, Nerevar died, and the Chimer became ash-skinned with glowing red eyes, and Azura told them that it was their fault (or Vivec's fault). Thusly, they became the Dunmer people.

Most rallied around the new demi-gods, the Tribunal (Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil). Several tribes clung to the old ways in the ashy barrens of Vvardenfell and became known as the Ashlanders. For 4000 years, this was the way of life for the Dunmer. When Tiber Septim came to conquer Morrowind, Vivec allowed Morrowind to become a Voluntary Vassal and traded to the Emperor the (Dwemer-crafted, Dunmer-seized) Numidium in exchange for special privileges (such as continuing to allow slavery). After the Oblivion Crisis, the Ministry of Truth crashed down and Red Mountain erupted. The Argonians then came to conquer what was left of South Morrowind. Now, the Dunmer people are scattered, with many of them settling in Solstheim and Skyrim.

The Dunmer possess both strong physiques and keen intellects, which make them highly adaptable and equally skilled as warriors or sorcerers, but Dunmer tend to be grim, aloof and disdainful of other races.

  • Anti-Magic: They have an innate resistance to fire and fire-based magic.
  • Badass Normal: As the Chimer. Despite lacking the magical might of the Altmer, the technological skill of the Dwemer, and pure brute force of the Nords, they managed to hold their own in conflicts against each thanks to their Jack-of-All-Stats balance. They stopped qualifying after the Battle of Red Mountain, when they became the Dunmer and gained three Physical Gods who helped to defend Morrowind from outside threats for nearly 4000 years.
  • Ban on Magic: They have a strong cultural dislike for necromancy, and considered it punishable by death under the Tribunal Temple. This is rooted in their religious beliefs which include significant ancestor worship.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Their traditional dwellings range from hollowed-out giant crab shells to magically grown mushroom towers. The ancient Daedric ruins built by the ancient Chimer are also designed in some truly impossible ways. One of their holy sites was the Ministry of Truth, a hollowed out moon which they turned into The Alcatraz for heretics and blasphemers.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Many aspects of Dunmer culture can appear barbaric or plain alien to those not familiar with Morrowind.
  • Break the Haughty: Between the triple threat of Dagoth Ur, Almalexia and Hircine, the eruption of Red Mountain, and the invasion and subsequent occupation of southern Morrowind by Argonians, the Dunmer have answered for their hubris and then some. One Dunmer states that "We're all Ashlandersnote  now" to a Dark Elf player character in Skyrim.
  • Church Militant: At the height of Tribunal worship, the Tribunal Temple was a powerful military force. Special mention to the Buoyant Armigers, elite special forces hand-picked by Vivec himself, often decked out in high quality glass armor, who primarily operated inside the Ghostfence.
  • Church Police: The Ordinators are this for the Tribunal Temple. They serve as inquisitors, guards for Temple holdings and holy sites, and hunt down unholy threats like Daedra worshippers, vampires, necromancers, and people who wear their holy armor. Because of this, they also make for a shining example of Knights Templar.
  • The Clan: The Great Houses. Originally family based, they are now a combination of blood relatives and adopted members. They've expanded over time to allow outsiders to join freely, though few ever rise to the highest ranks. Those with ties to the original families are considered the equivalent of Dunmer nobility, and are fast-tracked for leadership positions.
  • Colony Drop: Sheogorath attempted this by hurling the rogue moon Baar Dau at Vivec City. Vivec, the Tribunal deity, froze it in place above the city. It would later be hollowed out for use by the Tribunal Temple as the Ministry of Truth. Vivec tells his followers that it is held in place by his people's love for him, and that should they stop loving him, it would fall. As a result of the Nerevarine's actions, Vivec disappears following the events of the game. The stop-gap measure implemented by the Temple to keep it in orbit is destroyed, so the moon resumes its fall as though it had never stopped. Vivec (the city) is destroyed, Red Mountain erupts, the mainland of Morrowind is devastated by tsunamis, and, even some 200 years later, the crater/bay that lies where Vivec used to be still has its waters boiling.
  • Corrupt Church: What the Tribunal Temple had become around the time of Morrowind. Curiously, in the early days when the Tribunal gods consistently lived and worked among their people, it was much better. Since they retreated into their own seclusion thanks to no longer being able to replenish their divine power with the Heart of Lorkhan and instead having to conserve their power (by the time of the player's arrival, Vivec has been maintaining the entire Ghostfence on his own for centuries) to protect Tamriel from Dagoth Ur. It was only after mortals took over the running of things that everything started to go to hell.
  • Cultural Posturing: They were one of the haughtiest cultures in all of Tamriel. The events of Morrowind, Tribunal, the Oblivion Crisis, the Red Year, and finally the Argonian invasion seem to have humbled them by the time of Skyrim, however.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Where to start...
    • Biblical Israelites/Hebrews/Jews: Led to Morrowind via mass exodus by the prophet Veloth, who shares aspects of Abraham and Moses. Practice a comparitively unusual religion for the setting (Tribunal/Ancestor worship vs. the worship of the Divines,) similar to the Israelite's monotheism vs. the polytheism popular in the region at the time. Struggling against a powerful foreign empire occupying their homeland (Cyrodiilic Empire, Roman Empire.) Had a long rivalry with the Dwemer, who have some appropriately Babylonian influences.
    • Ancient Mesopotamia: Particularly the ancient Chimer. The names of many people and places sound like they're straight out of The Epic of Gilgamesh.
    • Mongolia: The Ashlanders combine this with Mesopotamia mentioned above. Nomadic and "barbaric" (at least from the point of view of the Great House Dunmer.)
    • Japan/China: Building aesthetics, especially House Hlaalu and Indoril styles.
  • Culture Clash: Strikingly in Morrowind. They are a very alien people and culture, which does not make progressing as an outlander easy.
  • End of an Age: The Tribunal exerted great influence over the affairs of the Dunmer for some 4000 years. That all comes to an end following the events of Morrowind, Tribunal, the Oblivion Crisis, the Red Year, and the Argonian invasion. It leaves the Dunmer way of life shattered with their people cast from their ancestral homeland and searching for their place in the world, both literally and figuratively.
  • Evil Sorcerer: House Telvanni. You don't have to be evil to join, but they tend to thrive within the house as it is a Magocracy where Might Makes Right and Klingon Promotion are official policies.
  • The Exile: Most of the Dunmer were forced to flee Morrowind after the Oblivion Crisis.
  • Fantastic Honorifics: A slight variation on the gender-neutral "ser" version: The Dunmer use "sera", "muthsera" and "serjo", in increasing order of politeness.
  • Fantastic Racism: Are famously xenophopic, especially against the beast races. By Skyrim, they've had the tables turned on them, but have at least learned a little humility from the experience.
  • Founder of the Kingdom: Lord Indoril Nerevar is treated as this by the Dunmer people as the great unificator of Morrowind. The Tribunal rule in his name (even though they very likely may be responsible for his death) and he is revered as a saint in the Tribunal Temple.
  • Fungus Humongous: Tree-sized mushrooms are a common sight in Morrowind. Telvanni settlements consist almost exclusively of mushroom houses, and many homes (there and elsewhere) have potted mushrooms as decoration.
  • God-Emperor: While they don't legally count themselves as the emperors, the Dunmer worship the Tribunal, a trio of living, flesh and blood gods. They exert great influence, and each has a royal title, but they aren't officially the government - there's a separate King of Morrowind, who reports to the Emperor. Additionally, the Great Houses retain much of their autonomy as a result of favorable terms in the armistice signed between Morrowind and the Empire.
  • Great Offscreen War: Much of what made the Dunmer what they are can be traced back to the War of the First Council detailed on the trope page.
  • Guttural Growler: Male Dunmer in Morrowind all spoke in a very low and gravelly voice. In contrast to the guards in Oblivion and Skyrim, Dunmer guards in Morrowind actually sounded quite intimidating because of it.
  • Hypocrite: They used to be. They were xenophobic and didn't like outlanders settling to Morrowind, but they had no problem invading other nations in order to kidnap their inhabitants as slaves. Additionally, the Tribunal Temple outlawed necromancy and made it punishable by death despite it being legal (with certain limitations) elsewhere in the empire. However, the Temple faithful would summon the spirits of their ancestors or reanimate their corpses to serve as guards for their tombs and other holy sites. This was considered a holy act in reverence of their ancestors, with any other forms of necromancy being a sacrilege.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Of the Mer races, and in competition with the Imperials for the most balanced overall. They are equally proficient in various Combat, Magic, and Stealth classes. They are highly adaptable and make for good cross-class builds as well, especially offensively oriented ones. With efficient leveling, they can reach Master of All territory.
  • Living Gasbag: Netch are a giant, leathery, jellyfish-looking creature native to Morrowind that the Dunmer farm for their hides.
  • Murder, Inc.: The Morag Tong is a guild of assassins officially sanctioned by the Dunmer government. To put it lightly, the Dunmer Great Houses don't get along very well, and since open warring between the Great Houses would weaken the Dunmer overall, the Morag Tong was sanctioned as the solution. Whenever someone with a enough wealth to hire the Morag Tong wants someone dead, an "Honorable Writ of Execution" will be created for that person and a Tong assassin will be dispatched to kill them.
  • Noble Savage: Played straight by the more peaceful Ashlander tribes. Averted by the Erabenimsum tribe under it's "war" leadership and the various "rogue" Ashlanders.
  • Oop North: In Skyrim they tend towards Northern English accents, presumably due to the connotations of cynicism and general working-class-ness, although there are a few Cockney voice actors in there for the same reason. Taken to a surreal extreme with Raven Rock's Lancastrian guard captain.
  • Our Elves Are Different: They have dark skin and red eyes. They also differ from most depictions from "dark elves," particularly the Drow, primarily by being NOT Always Chaotic Evil. They do share some elements such as Fantastic Racism, a propensity for slavery, their Great Houses as the form of government, and their appearance being the (probable) result of a divine curse, so they do have a few parallels with drow. However, they do not live under ground, aren't particularly matriarchal, and, as mentioned, aren't always evil.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Part of their split with the Altmer was because they preferred ancestor and Daedra worship. Later, they come to worship the Tribunal. Following the disappearance of the Tribunal and the events of the Red Year, the "New Temple" reformed and returned to their traditional ancestor worship and veneration of the "three good Daedra:" Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala. They also revere the Tribunal as saints rather than gods.
  • Pardon My Klingon: They have a fondness of calling those they dislike S'wits, Fetchers or N'wahs. N'wah appears to be a highly racist way of saying "foreigner", but the others are unexplained. For all intents and purposes, those three words correlate in that they are, respectively, the S-word, F-word, and N-word of Dunmeri culture.
  • Physical God: They worshiped the Tribunal, three mortals (Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil) who ascended to godhood by tapping into the Heart of Lorkhan.
  • Proud Merchant Race: House Hlaalu. It is the most "imperialized" house, with strong ties to the Empire, and thus all of the trade opportunities that provides. Corrupt Corporate Executive-type leaders thrive in the house and Chronic Backstabbing is common.
  • Proud Warrior Race: House Redoran. They aren't called the "Warrior House" for nothing. They are the Dunmer's first line of defense and even the Imperial Legions recognize the Redorans as a Badass Army. In the backstory, when Tiber Septim was threatening to invade Morrowind, House Redoran was preparing to defend Morrowind on their own while the other Great Houses chose to remain neutral or to accommodate the empire before the armistice was signed.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Actually, they just have red eyes; they may typically be dour and cynical, but they aren't inherently evil. However, their eyes are indeed meant to be indicative of a curse.
  • Religious Bruiser: House Indoril and the Ordinators particularly so, all of them very religious and capable of kicking your ass.
  • The Remnant: Dunmer-ruled Morrowind is reduced to this following the Red Year and the subsequent Argonian invasion.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The core of their conflict thousands of years ago with the Dwemer boils down to this. The Dwemer are certainly aware of the existence of the Daedra the Chimer worship, but are steadfast in their belief that the Daedra are not gods; so much so that Vivec facetiously commented that the Dwemer instead worshiped "their Gods of Reason and Logic."
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: Inverted by the native Camonna Tong, which is essentially the Dunmer mafia. They are extremely brutal as they run Morrowind's illegal drug, slave, and smuggling industries.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: Quite a few of the native Dunmer styles of armor fit such as Chitin, Glass, Bonemold, Dreugh, and Indoril. Each possess spikes and oversized shoulders.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Bonemold is an iconic armor type of the Dunmer people. Exactly what type of bones it is molded from is never made clear. Additionally, Chitin is a type of light armor crafted from the shells of Morrowind's giant insects and favored by the Ashlanders, though "civilized" Dunmer will use it as well.
  • Slave Liberation: This is the goal of the Twin Lamps, an organization (led by the daughter of the Duke of Vvardenfell) dedicated to freeing slaves and returning them to their homelands. Some time after the events of Morrowind, it happens on a national scale which upsets quite a few traditionalist Dunmer. Any remaining illegal slaves are finally freed when the Argonians invade.
  • The Theocracy: House Indoril and the Tribunal Temple held significant influence over the affairs of the Dunmer, even after the Empire took over. Downplayed after the Red Year, though the "New Temple" is still prominent in the lives of the surviving Dunmer.
  • Values Dissonance: Their religion casts Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala as "good" daedra and Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath, as "bad" daedra. While they have a point regarding Azura (most of the time), Mehrunes Dagon, and especially Molag Bal, an objective look at Boethiah and Mephala shows that they're among the nastier of the Princes, and while neither Malacath or Sheogorath aren't particularly nice, they do have distinct positive qualities (albeit in Malacath's case, these aren't directed towards the Dunmer).
  • Voluntary Vassal: How Morrowind came to join the Septim Empire. Vivec, having recently lost two of the tools Kagrenac to Dagoth Ur and thus, the ability for the Tribunal to recharge their divinity, negotiated this status with Tiber Septim when Septim's forces threatened to invade. Vivec also offered the Numidium in trade, allowing Morrowind to keep many of its pre-Imperial privileges (including slavery, which was illegal elsewhere in the Empire).


"A Dwemer of eight can create a golem, but an eight of Dwemer can become one."

The Deep Elves (also known as Dwarves) of all of North Tamriel, whose civilization once spanned from Hammerfell all the way to Morrowind. According to what little is known of them, they were industrious, intelligent and technologically advanced, but also cruel, arrogant and dogmatic. The Dwemer terrorised the other races and dominated the continent until they all mysteriously vanished in the First Era, some time after the Battle of Red Mountain. Only the ruins of their civilization remain, though these are still protected by deadly traps and mechanical guardians, making them very dangerous places to visit.

  • Abusive Precursors: The Skyrim chapter, to the Falmer.
  • A.I. is a Crapshoot: Exactly what powers and controls their various "animunculi" remains a mystery, but they must be programmed with some sort of rudimentary A.I. Various attempts to control the mechas have been made in the millennia since the Dwemer vanished, often ending with the machines going berserk.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: One theory for their disappearance is that their efforts to become gods actually worked.
  • Culture Chop Suey: While the most distinctive aspect of their culture is their heavy use of Steampunk, the Dwemer themselves dressed and wore their beards in a manner akin to Mesopotamian cultures, such as the Babylonians. In Skyrim, their armor and weaponry tend to have a very Bronze Age Mediterranean influence.
  • The Dreaded: Said to be feared by the Nords, the Chimer and even the gods themselves.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Even though the Dwemer were a subrace of elves, they didn't much care for the other elven races. They were frequently at war with the Chimer, the ancestors of the Dunmer, over religious differences (though they did form an Enemy Mine alliance with them when both races were threatened by the Nords), and were distrustful of the Falmer even after the latter swore fealty to them (see Kick the Dog below).
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Specifically, the "refusal to accept their divinity" part. The split with the Altmer was over religion and magic versus science and reason, with the Altmer choosing the former and the Dwemer choosing the latter. They were said to summon Daedra in order to put their divinity to the test.
    • Though this skepticism extended to all of existence, even themselves.
  • For Science!: As stated above, the Dwemer were a very science-focused race. They summoned Daedra just to test their divinity, were capable of creating complex mechanisms, and even created scientific devices to safely read Elder Scrolls. They were also ruthless, amoral and arrogant, often hostile to any other race they encountered and not at all above using living beings for experimentation and slave labor.
  • Genius Bruiser: The most technologically advanced race known to have ever walked Tamriel. It's said that even the dullest of their kind was still a genius compared to a clever man, and that even a Dwemer child was capable of building a mechanical golem. The only military force in history that really challenged them was a Nord army led by masters of the Thu'um, and even then, the Dwemer crushed them after joining forces with the Chimer.
  • Humongous Mecha: They seemed to enjoy creating them. The Numidium is the most famous example, and the parts of unfinished giant mechas can be found in various ruins.
  • Kick the Dog: When Falmer refugees begged the Skyrim-Dwemer to save their race from genocide, the Dwemer forced them to blind themselves, made them their servants (eventually slaves) and probably caused them to mutate into the beasts they are today.
  • Last of His Kind: One surviving Dwemer is encountered during the main quest of Morrowind. He was in an undescribed "outer realm" outside of time when the calamity that that wiped out his people occurred and returned to find them gone. He caught the Corprus disease soon after and ended up in the Corprusarium. His body is badly bloated from the disease and it's clear his mind is not what it once was either.
  • Light is Not Good: Their architecture and machines usually have a lot of gold to them. Doesn't change that they were generally incomprehensible and cruel to other races.
  • Loophole Abuse: In this case, loopholes in the laws of physics, nature, reality itself...they even devised a means to read an Elder Scroll without all of the nasty side effects (blindness, madness, etc.)
  • Magitek Along with Steam Punk and Clock Punk, many of their creations were made with judicious use of magical enchantments. They were said to be the most skilled enchanters in all of Tamriel during their time.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Dwarven spiders, sphere guardians, and centurions.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: In the final days of their known existence, it's said that many Dwemer didn't agree with the general idea to unmake themselves and become immortal godlike beings. Not because it was blasphemous or anything like that, just because they thought it would end poorly for every Dwarf on Nirn. Which it probably did.
  • Nay-Theist: There is no denying the existence of god-like beings in the Aedra and Daedra, but the Dwemer held them in no special regard.
  • Never Found the Body: The Dwemer vanished millennia ago. No one knows what happened to them.
  • Nonindicative Name: They weren't any smaller than other races. The term "dwarf" was given to them by the giants.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played with. On the one hand, the Dwemer are actually a kind of elf, whose name, the "Deep Ones", refers to their philosophical depth. They were roughly human-sized, and are only called "dwarves" because they were given that name by *giants* - and yet, they also lived in underground fortresses, grew luxurious beards, and had technology far in advance of any of the other peoples of Tamriel.
  • Poor Communication Kills: According to some tellings of their final days, Dumac, the Dwemer king, did not know what Kagrenac was planning to do with the Heart of Lorkhan, and had he known, would have stopped Kagrenac.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Dwemer artifacts are still up and running thousands of years later. Their most prevalently used metal is some sort of completely tarnish-proof alloy whose formula was lost with the Dwemer themselves. Also dwarven constructs are designed to repair themselves.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • No one has figured out what happened to the Dwemer. Their fate is one of the largest running mysteries in the entire series, alongside the various mysteries of the Elder Scrolls themselves.
    • In-Universe, the mystery deepened by the time of Skyrim since much of what was known about the Dwemer was again lost in the 200 years following the Oblivion Crisis and the eruption of Red Mountain (which wiped away a great number of Dwemeri ruins in Vvardenfell, the epicenter of Dwemer culture prior to their disappearance). Even one of the greatest experts on the Dwemer, Calcelmo, knows less about the Dwemer than some amateur archeologists in Vvardenfell during the time of Morrowind.
  • Schizo Tech: One of Marobar Sul's "Ancient Tales of the Dwemer" claims that the Dwemer invented their famous automatons, and perfected them as weapons of war, before they had the idea to dress their flesh-and-blood soldiers in platemail armor. (The Publisher's Note says that this was possibly a misunderstanding by the Chimer, who wouldn't have been used to seeing full platemail armor as it was rare among the races of Mer, and may have mistaken armored Dwemer soldiers for machines all the long.)
  • Telepathy: The Dwemer were said to have an ability known as "The Calling" which allowed them a "silent and magickal" means of communicating with one another, even over vast distances.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Or rather, mer. One theory about the vanishing of the Dwemer states that they started trying to elevate themselves to a higher plane, up to becoming gods. It backfired, causing the entire Dwemer race to just vanish, across Tamriel, all in one day. They were also evidently capable of creating technological devices capable of reading Elder Scrolls, which are practically a form of Tome of Eldritch Lore.
  • Transhuman: Another possible theory is that, rather than ascending successfully, the Dwemer instead attempted to manipulate the "Earthbones", the fallen remnants of the Aedra, to break themselves down into the base elements and then reforge themselves. Naturally they got the reforging step of the process wrong.
  • The Unreveal: Despite plenty of theories (in-universe and out) as well as bits of evidence here and there, we still don't know for sure what happened to the Dwemer.


The Snow Elves of Skyrim and Solstheim. They were nearly driven to extinction by Ysgramor after the sack of Saarthal, and were taken in by the Dwemer, who turned them into debased creatures who dwell underground.

  • Always Chaotic Evil: Exactly one Falmer has been seen in the entire series who isn't a barbaric scrounger. And that's only because he wasn't affected by the corruption that afflicts the rest of the race. He says there were more like him before, but his brother, a Vampire, destroyed their order.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: At one point, they had a society on par with the Altmer.
  • Eyeless Face: Though they still technically have eyes the Falmer now have a layer of skin covering their eyes after centuries of living underground. Has gameplay connotations as well: They are completely incapable of light-based detection against sneakers, but have keen sound-based detection. You could walk right in front of them around a fire if silent enough.
  • Freudian Excuse: Being betrayed by the Dwemer and abused for years has instilled the Falmer with a xenophobic hatred of all civilized races. However, in Dawnguard Knight-Paladin Gelebor, one of the few pure Snow Elves, explained that the Falmer chose to blind themselves to avoid extinction and submitted to the Dwemer by their own volition, and that how they devolved into the Falmer of today didn't happen because of that but for other reasons.
  • Future Primitive: Formerly graceful elves that looked something like the Altmer, they're now a blind cave-dwelling race of Morlock-like monsters.
  • Insistent Terminology: In Dawnguard, Knight-Paladin Gelebor prefers to be called a Snow-Elf, since the name Falmer has become stigmatised due to the actions of their debased kin, who he refers to as "The Betrayed".
  • It Can Think: Though they give the impression of mindless monsters, they clearly have some semblance of intelligence. They corral and breed chaurus, craft weapons and armor, brew crude poisons from fungi, and in Dawnguard they've built impressive networks of bridges and ledges throughout the Forgotten Vale to host their settlements on. According to some scholars and Knight-Paraldin Gelebor, they're beginning to venture above ground, and demonstrate cunning and deductive reasoning in their battle tactics.
  • The Morlocks: They lurk underground preying on the humanoid races and have devolved into monsters.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: In Dawnguard, there is one still sane Falmer. He pities the Falmer and uses the above Insistent Terminology to distinguish himself from them.
  • Our Elves Are Different: They're not even sentient anymore. In a lot of ways, they're closer to Tolkien's original orcs.
  • Sadistic Choice: Either die at the hands of Nords and face extinction, or blind yourselves by the Dwemer. This of course led to...
  • Take a Third Option: The Chantry of Auri-El was isolated enough that its presence remained unknown to the Nords, so the Snow Elves living there were able to survive without the Dwemer's "aid".
  • Was Once a Man: Whatever happened to the Falmer, it caused them to possess white souls. In other words souls of animals. That's right, the Falmer are no longer even sentient.
  • Worthy Opponent: Despite nearly driving the Falmer to extinction, Ysgramor and the Atmorans/Nords respected their leader, the Snow Prince, so they gave him a proper burial and guarded his tomb from grave robbers.

Lefthanded Elves

The elven inhabitants of Yokuda, also known as the Sinistral Mer, who fought a devastating war against the Yokudans that rendered them extinct.

  • Arch-Enemy: To the Yokudans, who rendered them extinct.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Their hat was that at least the majority if not all of their species was lefthanded, though it's suggested that they may have some sort of connection to the Maormer.
  • The Southpaw: Their entire race was lefthanded.
  • Unperson: The Redguards do not speak about them for talking about them tends to darken their days.


The Sea Elves of Pyandonea, a jungle continent to the south of Tamriel. They have battled with the Altmer for centuries, control sea serpents, and have an undying wizard king by the name of Orgnum.

  • Arch-Enemy: To the Altmer, and one of their oldest.
  • The Beastmaster: They use "snake-like" magic to control sea serpents.
  • Immortality: Their leader Orgnum is known as an undying wizard king, though the exact kind he has is unknown.
  • Our Elves Are Different: According to lore they have blank eyes and chameleon-like skin, can tame sea serpents, and are lead by an undying wizard.
  • The Unseen: Have yet to be encountered within a main series Elder Scrolls game, though they are making an appearance in The Elder Scrolls Online.


"We know not how Trinimac had been defeated, but it is said that after his defeat Boethiah had consumed him and tortured his spirit in her belly. When Boethiah grew bored of Trinimac's torture, she released him from his prison and later exiled him to a plane of choking ash. This torture and dishonor left Trinimac twisted and enraged. Trinimac faded and was reborn as Mauloch, the God of Curses. With his mind bent on revenge, his most devout followers changed to match him and became the Orsimer, cursed to wander in exile, a people without a place.
The Fall of Trinimac

The Pariah Elves of Orsinium, in the Wrothgarian Mountains, commonly known as Orcs. The first orcs were created when Boethiah devoured the Aldmeri spirit Trinimac; Trinimac's followers were transformed, gaining green skin and a somewhat bestial appearance, and Trinimac's remains became the Daedra Malacath, who became the Orc's patron deity and the central figure in Orcish religion. The Orcs are some of the finest heavy infantry in all Nirn, immensely strong and courageous in battle and terrible in their famous berserk fury. Orcs are also unflinching in hardships and very talented smiths, particularly in working the rare metal Orichalcum. Most outsiders see Orcs as savages; that their lives are short and filled with violence and misery. Orsinium has been razed and rebuilt more than once - the former as recently as the Fourth Era in fact - leaving many Orcs to eke out a living in destitute, dilapidated "strongholds" on the edges of society.

  • Asskicking Equals Authority/Authority Equals Asskicking: Malacath encourages tribal behaviour within Orc communities, with the best warriors acting as chieftains.
  • The Blacksmith: From a young age they are taught to mine and smith, and are masters of the craft.
  • The Berserker: Orcs are natural berserkers.
  • Blood Knight: Due to their strong warrior culture.
  • Butt Monkey: As of the Fourth Era, the Bretons and Redguards have forced them to abandon Orsinium and become slaves in all but name to High Rock. Those that refused are forced to live in woefully maintained "strongholds".
    • Iron Butt Monkey: They do take it all in their stride, though, as Malacath teaches "strength through adversity".
  • Death Seeker: Similar to the Nords, Orc culture sees glory in dying in battle. Unlike Nord culture though, dying in battle isn't just seen as a nice thing to have happen, but something an Orc is actively encouraged to seek out. Once an Orc elder feels that he is starting to weaken with age, they will often seek out someone (either within the tribe or outside of it) worthy enough to kill them in combat. Most Orc chieftans hope to die by the hands of a stronger successor, rather than old age (see Klingon Promotion below).
  • Fantastic Racism: While they've been canonically established as a subrace of elves, most elves and humans would rather believe they're one of the beastman races due to their perceived savagery. Strangely, this attitude has worked out in the Orc's favor; the rise of the Thalmor has led to an increase in anti-elf prejudice throughout Tamriel, but orcs are generally exempt from it and no worse off than they would be otherwise.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: Unlike other playable races, they don't have a lasting homeland. Orsinium was destroyed twice by Bretons and Redguards.
  • Klingon Promotion: A Orc becomes chieftain by killing the current chieftain in ritual combat. This isn't primarily due to evil ambition, though. Orcs are encouraged to kill their chieftain if he is too old or too weak to continue to lead, thus ensuring that whoever leads is stronger than the last leader and strong enough to lead the tribe.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Leans toward the Blizzard orc archetype since they are still a subrace of Mer. Due to their Mer heritage despite their brutish appearance and tribal customs, in term of brute strength the Nords are still physically stronger than Orcs (Though Orcs are more durable and can enter a berserker rage, doubling their strength). However, the Orcs make up for it with being an incredibly skilled weapon/armor crafter (they gain bonuses for Smithing and Enchanting).
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Something that makes them Not So Different from Nords and Redguards.
  • Stone Wall: Not as physically strong as the Nords or skilled with oversized weapons. But the Orcs are without doubt the best users of heavy armor in the setting and get the highest bonuses to their heavy armour skill. Thus, they are able to endure a level of punishment that would have killed anyone else dozens of times over.
  • Unstoppable Rage: They have an innate ability to trigger a berserker rage, increasing their skill in melee combat.

     Beast Races 

The beast races (collectively known as Betmer) of Nirn that are neither Men or Mer.


"The Hist were many, and they were one. Their roots buried deep beneath the black soul and soft white stone of Black Marsh, connecting them all, and thus connecting all Saxhleel, all Argonians. The Hist gave his people life, form, purpose."
The Infernal City

The reptilian race of Black Marsh (which they call Argonia). They are known in their own tongue as the 'Saxhleel', 'the people of the root', a name which reflects the bond they feel with the Hist trees that grow in their native lands. Argonians are resistant to disease and capable of breathing underwater through small gills, slow to trust and hard to know, but incredibly loyal to those they call friends, as well as cunning and resourceful fighters - Black Marsh has never been wholly occupied by an invading force, as the Argonians are masters of exploiting the swampy terrain of their home and they are famous for the Shadowscales, Argonians taken at birth by the Dark Brotherhood to be trained in the arts of stealth and assassination. They are also unfortunately (perhaps along with the Orcs) the most vilified and misunderstood of all the races, and for much of their history the Argonians were slaves to the Dunmer.

  • Art Evolution: In the first game Argonians looked very different, most character models resembled closer to zombies than lizards. Since Skyrim, they now resemble crocodiles and some dinosaurs than they do lizards.
  • Badass Army: Between their formidable appearance in Online, their vital role in defeating the Akaviri, The Assault of Oblivion, and the Invasion of Morrowind, the Argonians are gradually proving themselves to be one of the strongest fighting forces on Nirn.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Comes with the territory of being a humanoid tree-worshipping lizard, although this does vary wildly depending on the individual and how long they've been living out of Black Marsh.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Usually depicted as being at the very least marginally Cloud Cuckoolander in their tendencies. Seemingly named after unique traits they display while still hatchlings, so you get Argonians walking around called things like Hides-His-Eyes, Scouts-Many-Marshes, and Nine-Toes. Offscreen events recorded in the in-game books make it clear they're masters of Viet Cong style guerilla warfare, and their invasion of Morrowind (and, therefore, its rich ebony deposits) is speculated to have made them one of the only nations still capable of standing against the Aldmeri Dominion. They were also the only force in all of Tamriel that not only held off the Dremora in the Oblivion Crisis, but actually forced the Dremora to close their gates because the Argonians were invading Oblivion!
  • The Dog Bites Back: In Arena, the Argonians were slaves to the Dunmer. Fast forward to Skyrim, the Argonians have conquered southern Morrowind and turned the tables on the Dunmer.
  • Fantastic Drug: If an Argonian licks the sap of Hist trees, the Hist can communicate with them through visions. If a non-Argonian tries this, or if the sap is somehow tainted, it can result in extreme hallucinations and intense bloodlust.
  • Healing Factor: Their Histskin ability allows them to improve their restoration spells. And they have a much stronger resistance to diseases than most other races.
  • Lizard Folk: Comes with being the series' resident Lizards.
  • No Sell: Extremely resistant to disease, and sometimes poison depending on the game. This makes a lot of sense, considering their native home is a seemingly endless swamp full of venomous and disease-carrying predators.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The An-Xileel, who rule Argonia by the time of Skyrim appear to be this.
  • The Rival: Species-wide example with the Khajiit.
  • The Stoic: Subverted. Everyone thinks they're this, since they lack the facial muscles for most expressions. Anybody who pays attention to their voices can quickly deduce this is simply not true. Even those who barely understand the languages of Men and Mer can have strong emotion in their voices.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Argonians can breathe water just as easily as air. They are known to use this as a guerrilla tactic, dragging their foes underwater and drowning them.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The entire race following the Oblivion Crisis. The Hist, whose sap the Argonians drink to grow, began to change the Argonians, making them stronger and more aggressive to prepare for the coming chaos and wars following the crisis. It also serves to justify their changing appearance throughout the series. Further, it has been implied that the new An-Xileel regime in charge of Argonia at the time of Skyrim is one of the only two remaining factions that are capable of fending off a Dominion invasion (the other faction being Hammerfell).
  • Tyke Bomb: Shadowscales, who are Argonians born under the Shadow Sign and trained from childhood in assassination by the Dark Brotherhood. By Skyrim, only one remains.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Landstrider" to non-Argonian races.
  • Zany Scheme: Argonians have a knack for coming up with these. Likely linked to their less-than average thought processes.


"The Great Apes, or Imga, are native beastfolk of Valenwood. They see the High Elves as their lords and masters, and as a portrait of an ideal, civilized society."
Pocket Guide to the Empire and its Environs, First Edition

The Great Apes of Valenwood. They are known for their reverence of the Altmer.

  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: They're ape people.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Consider humans to be beneath them and pretend to find their smell offensive.
    • Though ironically, the most famous Imga was Marukh, the founder of the Alessian Order—a human-supremacist theocratic order that took over the First Empire via coup and carried out the genocide of all the remaining elves in Cyrodiil.
  • Guttural Growler: The Imga are described as speaking with very gravelly, baritone voices.
  • Pimped-Out Cape: Wear fancy capes in an attempt to ape the Altmer.
  • The Unseen: Haven't actually appeared in any of the games.


"And Fadomai said, "When Nirni is filled with her children, take one of them and change them. Make the fastest, cleverest, most
beautiful people, and call them Khajiit."
Words of Clan Mother Ahnissi to Her Favored Daughter

The feline race of Elsweyr. There are 17 different sub-species of Khajiit, and what sub-species a Khajiit cub will grow into is decided by the alignment of Tamriel's moons at the time of its birth. Most of these species are humanoid with feline features, but they can vary wildly, from the Alfiq, which are almost indistinguishable from housecats but possess great intelligence and are rumoured to be formidable spellcasters, to the Pahmar, which are similar in size and appearance to a tiger.

The variety most commonly seen in the games, the Suthay-raht, are excellent thieves and acrobats, but their attraction to piracy and skooma often see them becoming sailors. Khajiit are fond of cakes, puddings and candies of all kinds, stemming from their love of the highly addictive Moon Sugar. Khajiit are also deadly in unarmed combat due to their excellent reflexes and retractable claws. Their foreign appearance and unusual behaviour makes them common targets for racism.

  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Khajiit typically come across as incredibly self-confident in their abilities.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Their claws give them an edge over the other races in bare-handed martial arts.
  • Beast of Battle: Member of the Senche and Senche-raht subspecies will allow their kinsmen to use them as steeds in times of war. This has led to Imperial soldiers who have faced them in battle giving them the nickname 'battlecats.'
  • Catch Phrase: "May your road lead you to warm sands."
  • Cat Folk: To different degrees in each game. Justified by the phases of the moons deciding which subrace a Khajiit grows up to be, from resembling tigers (Pahmar) to almost looking like a Bosmer (Ohmes). There are even Khajiit known as Alfiq who are very similar to house cats, but are capable of understanding language and casting spells.
  • Cat Ninja: Khajiit are naturally inclined toward stealth, and can often be found as assassins, spies, and thieves in other provinces.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Khajiit have a reputation for being simple, but are very effective warriors.
    • This could be a case of the series' famous intentionally contradictory lore. Most sources indicate that Khajiit are no less intelligent than any other race. To support this, most Khajiit you meet in most of the games or literature are actually quite clever, just more… morally ambiguous and, as Most Writers Are Human, don’t get as much characterization as the more human-looking races in-universe. Much of the “dim-witted” stereotype comes from their drug use, fantastic racism regarding their bestial appearance, and being third-person people. There are several high ranking Khajiit in the Mages Guild and the (Morrowind) Thieves Guild.
  • Culture Clash: Khajiit culture has a somewhat loose view of what constitutes personal property. Naturally, this leads to conflicts outside of Elsweyr where this behavior constitutes "theft."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Name one Khajiit you ever meet without his moments.
  • Exotic Equipment: The genitals of male Suthay-Raht and Cathay-Raht Khajiit are covered in tiny barbs, similar to those of real-life cats.
  • Expy: They are the Katta from the Quest for Glory series with the serial numbers filed off. A race of sun-loving feline humanoids known for merchants and thieves that originate from a desert?
  • Fantastic Drug: Moon Sugar, which is a key ingredient to Skooma, is a prized delicacy in Elsweyr.
  • Fantastic Fightingstyle: Are said to have many forms with colorful names like Goutfang, Whispering Claw, Two-Moons-Dance, and Rawlith Khaj (translated as "Raining Sand").
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: They have single names with prefixes and a Punctuation Shaker, for example Ra'Virr, Dro'Zel. Sometimes no prefixes.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Their caravans, nomadic lifestyle, and propensity for stealth recall medieval views of the Roma. Like the Redguard, they also take a lot of cues from various north African and Middle-Eastern cultures.
  • Impossible Theft: Rajhin, a thief-God of Khajiit culture, was said to have stolen a tattoo clean off the neck of the Empress Kintyra and used his knife to cut off a merchant's shadow.
  • Language Equals Thought: Ta'agra, the language of the Khajiit, has no word for "rules". The closest equivalent translates to "foolish concepts".
  • Little Bit Beastly: The Ohmes and Ohmes-Raht subspecies have light fur and a tail, but are otherwise completely humanoid. So much so that they're often mistaken for Bosmer.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: They seem stupid and simple at first glance, but once you meet enough, they are clearly a very intelligent species. Makes you wonder why they fell for the Thalmor's tricks and joined the Thalmor...
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Khajiit Caravans.
  • The Rival: Species-wide example with the Argonians.
  • Sweet Tooth: Somewhat amusingly, since Real Life felines can't taste sugar at all.
  • Third-Person Person: When speaking in Tamrielic.


"Cautious. They have no word in their language for adventure. The closest equivalent means 'tragic disaster'. All their heroic myths
are about individuals who sit around and think for years and years, consulting cautiously with wise Sload, until finally they act -
always deliberately, always successfully. All their mythic villains act quickly, and always fail."
Pocket Guide to the Empire and its Environs, First Edition

The slugmen of Thras, the coral kingdom off the coast of Summerset Isle in the Abecean Sea. They are ancient enemies of the Altmer, though their attacks on the Altmer have sometimes spread to all of Tamriel.

  • Always Chaotic Evil: Always described as evil, and the only Sload to have appeared within a TES game was a villain.
  • Arch-Enemy: To the Altmer, and to all Tamriel in general, to the point that Sload are often killed on sight.
  • The Chessmaster: Sload culture holds those representing this trope in high regard. All Sload heroes spend years planning and consulting with other Sload before acting against their adversaries, whereas their villains are rash and always fail as a result.
  • Escape Rope: All adult Sload have knowledge of the Recall spell in order to get themselves back home.
  • Fat Bastard: As they grow, Sload become more and more corpulent, to the point that only magic or water prevents them from being crushed under their own weight.
  • Graceful Loser: Sload are known to express cheerful affinity toward anyone that does manage to defeat or outwit them.
  • Lack of Empathy: Sload are described as not feeling the same emotions other races do, but are capable of acting like they do.
  • Nay-Theist: Are generally non-religious, though they have no problem making pacts with Daedric Princes if it suits them.
  • Necromancer: The Sload are well known for their knowledge of necromancy.
  • Photographic Memory: They have perfect recall of everything they see or hear.
  • The Unfettered: Are utterly ruthless in the pursuit of their goals, with even genocide being on the table if it helps them achieve their ends.


An extinct race of fox people that once inhabited the Black Marsh. They may have a relation with the ancient city of Lilmoth.

  • Arch-Enemy: To the Argonian, possibly. They are rumored to have been driven out of Black Marsh by the Argonians, but it is far from confirmed.
  • Noble Savage: Not much is known about them, but we do know that they were a primitive, tribal society. If they were more "noble" or more "savage" remains unknown, however.
  • Not So Extinct: There is a mod for the PC version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that invokes this trope by letting you play as a Lilmothiit.
  • Petting Zoo People: Just like the Khajiit and, to a lesser degree, the Argonian.
  • The Unseen: They are mentioned a couple times in the games, but you never actually see them. Justified, as they are heavily implied to have been driven into extinction either by the Argonians or by a deadly disease known as the Knahaten Flu during the Second Era.

    Akaviri Races 
A collective name for the races that hail from the land of Akavir, also known as "Dragon Land".

Akaviri Races in General

  • Unreliable Expositor: Not themselves, since none have actually shown up yet in-game, but the only real source of information on most of the races is Mysterious Akavir, a book that even if it were accurate when written (which is not a given), is over two hundred years out of date by Skyrim.
  • Wutai: Akavir itself has considerable Asian influences, and seems to play the role of Asia to Tamriel's Europe.


A race of snow demons that frequently attack Tang Mo during the summer when they thaw out from the winter.

  • Failure Is the Only Option: Not even once have they succeed in defeating Tang Mo. And when they attacked Tamriel, their invasion came to a stop at Morrowind.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Possibly of the Mongols.
  • Grim Up North: Their home is literally called "Snow Hell"
  • Human Popsicle: They freeze and thaw every year.
  • Vicious Cycle: Freeze, thaw out, attack the Tang Mo, freeze, thaw out... The one time it was broken was to attack Tamriel instead, and it also failed.

Ka Po' Tun

The feline race of Akavir, said to be the most powerful empire in Akavir.

Men of Akavir

The Men of Akavir (also known as the Akaviri) were a race of mysterious humans who lived in Akavir. They died out millennia ago, but what happened to them is a mystery (theories that they intermingled with other men, were eaten by the Tsaesci, or may have been the ancestors of the Tsaesci).

Tang Mo

A race of monkeyfolk known for their bravery and insanity.


A race of vampiric snake-folk (though other sources state that they are men little different from those in Tamriel), formerly the most powerful empire of Akavir and notably influenced Cyrodiilic Empire, particularly the creation of the Blades.

  • Anti-Magic: The Imperial Battlemages who accompanied Uriel V during his failed invasion of Akavir claim to have been "abnormally weak" while there. It is speculated that the Tsaesci had something to do with it.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: Initially to the Reman Dynsasty emperors of Tamriel, and influenced the Blades who came after them.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Tried to invade Tamriel, but were defeated by Reman Cyrodiil and the surviving armies migrated into Cyrodiil serving as advisors and guards, becoming a great cultural influence on the Empire.
  • Dual Wielding: As they have a cultural aversion to shields (detailed below), they were known to wield a katana in their dominant hand and a wakizashi in their off hand as a favored fighting style.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Possibly of Japan, where the weapons and armor attributed to them are very Japanese in design.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Sources actually radically differ on whether they are serpentine at all. Some of the books in Skyrim outright state that they are humans little different from the men of Tamriel. The most recent (and probably most reliable) account, Uriel V's campaign report from the Third Era, do not describe them as snake-like at all.
  • Long Lived: While descriptions vary from "men just like those found in Tamriel" to "snake vampires," they are apparently longer lived than that typical men of Tamriel. The two Akaviri Potentates, who ruled Tamriel in a continuation of the Reman Empire early in the 2nd Era, ruled for 323 years and 106 years, respectively.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They are snakes for one.
  • Precursors: Their Dragonguard spawned and heavily influenced the Blades.
  • Shields Are Useless: Tsaesci have a cultural aversion to shields, and are confused by human warriors who rely on a 'sword-and-board' fighting style. In Tsaesci martial arts, if you don't want your opponent to hit you, you get out of the way.
  • Snake People: They are supposedly very snake-like, right down to having serpentine lower bodies, but some accounts suggest a slightly more humanoid appearance.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods / You Sexy Beast: Snakes or not, they did leave descendants and are considered "beautiful, if frightening". Best not to delve too much into that.
  • Weather Manipulation: Uriel V's invasion of Akavir was absolutely plagued by seemingly supernatural bad weather. The Akaviri winter was far longer and more intense than his intelligence reports indicated it would be. Further, it was plagued by a sudden and mysterious drought. Finally, severe storms along the oceanic supply lines sank many of his ships traveling between Akavir and Tamriel. Magical manipulation by the Tsaesci is speculated to be the cause in all cases.

     Other Races 

Those races who do not belong to Men, Mer, Beast, Daedra or Akaviri.


The Dov (singular Dovah) are beasts originally hailing from Akavir (though other sources point to Atmora as well) and are descended from Akatosh. They have mastery over the Thu'um, the ability to channel magical energy into words.

  • The Ageless: Though their physical forms still experience wear and tear (as can be seen with Paarthurnax), they never effectively die of old age, and in most cases, get Stronger with Age.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Within each Dragon is the desire to dominate and destroy others.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Dragons strongly believe this. If there's a question of pecking order, a fight ensues until one dragon either wins, submits, or dies.
  • Breath Weapon: Subverted. While it might look like they have the ability to breathe fire and ice, they're actually using Thu'um to conjure fire and ice into existence.
  • Deader Than Dead: To fully kill a dragon, you must first destroy its body and then absorb its soul. While anyone of sufficient ability can do the former, only another dragon (or a dragonborn) is capable of the latter.
  • Death Is Cheap: If a Dragon is killed by a mortal, it is entirely possible for another Dragon to resurrect it at a later point. The only way to permanently kill a dragon is to absorb its soul. Akatosh created the Dovahkiin to serve as a natural predator for the Dragons.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Historically, Dragons never had much of a presence in Morrowind. Why? Because they were driven away by Cliff Racers - small, weak and hideously annoying native creatures - through sheer numbers and persistence.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: Dragons are creatures of aggression and domination, and it's in their blood to be cruel and contemptuous. Even the protagonist, the Dragonborn, is a mortal with a dragon's soul and is no exception. However, they can fight against their baser nature as seen by Paarthurnax.
  • Dragons Are Divine: Since they descend from Akatosh, they are considered lesser Aedra and therefore divine by default.
  • Heel–Face Turn: They can however suppress their desire and ally themselves with mortals, like Nafaalilargus and Paarthurnax.
  • Honor Before Reason: Dragons have a strong sense of honor which influences the actions they take. For example, when in a fight and faced with overwhelming odds, a dragon is expected to Face Death with Dignity and will almost never consider retreat.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: When they attack the Dovahkiin.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: A staple of Dragon culture.
  • I Know Your True Name: Downplayed. Shouting a dragon's true name does not place it under your control, but it will treat it as a challenge and will usually seek out whoever made the shout, due to a combination of curiosity and honor.
  • Language Equals Thought: In the Draconic language, no distinction is made between "debating" and "fighting" - two dragons breathing fire at each other are just having a particularly heated argument. Furthermore, dragons' thoughts when voiced are able to alter reality, so when they Shout they are not merely casting a spell, but willing fire into existence with a word. Language equals Thought Equals Being, in other words.
  • Language of Magic: Draconic, when spoken by a Dragon or one trained in the Thu'um, allows forces and elements to be willed into existence.
  • Luke Nounverber: Their names, when translated from Draconic, sound this way.
  • Might Makes Right: To the draconic way of thinking, being right and being powerful are one and the same.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Language is so intrinsic to the Dragons that a fight between two Dov... is actually a deadly verbal debate.
  • No True Dovah: Dialogue with certain Dragons imply they view the Dragonborn as an abomination for their ability to devour Dragon-souls and are deeply insulted that the Dragonborn has the audacity to call itself a "Dovah".
  • Our Dov Are Different: In this case, quasi-angelic beings with immortal Aedric souls who use their language, the Thu'um, to warp reality.
  • Poirot Speak: Dragons frequently slip back into Draconic when talking.
  • Pride: Repeatedly demonstrated to be their Fatal Flaw.
  • Reality Warper: Due to the Thu'um, which they can use to literally command things into existence.
  • Rise from Your Grave: The Dragons aren't just coming back to Skyrim. They're coming back to life.
  • Soul Eating: Dragons and those with dragon souls can consume other dragon souls to a) boost their own souls' power and b) destroy the other soul permanently (the only way to destroy the otherwise immortal dragons).
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Dragons and their Dragon Cult originated in Atmora, homeland of the proto-Nords. There, the men worshipped the Dragons, and the priests demanded tribute, as well as set down laws so Dragons and men could live together peacefully. The Cult in Tamriel was not nearly as benevolent, ruling men with an iron fist, eventually enslaving them. No one really knows why the Cult changed, though it is hinted that is was the result of Alduin's desire to rule the world instead of end it.
  • A Wizard Did It: How are they able to fly in spite of their bulk and unaerodynamic shape? How are they able to speak despite not having lips? Magic.


The Giants of Skyrim and High Rock. They tend to the colder regions, and are known to herd mammoths. According to Online, they can breed with humans.

  • Carry a Big Stick: That can send you into low orbit with one hit.
  • Enemy Mine: In Skyrim, Giants can join the Dragonborn in fighting errant Dragons if their herd's been threatened. Or potentially escalate into a Mêlée à Trois between some of Skyrim's heaviest hitters.
  • Gentle Giant: So long as you keep your distance, and don't touch their mammoths, they're perfectly content to leave you be. Wandering giants kick it up a notch in Skyrim, and will only fight if attacked first; you can get within arm's length and they'll keep walking. Usually.
  • Heroic Neutral: On the whole, if you leave them alone, they leave you alone. If you attack them or their mammoths, well, be prepared to fight it out. Though exceptions do exist; in the Rift, Giants are seen attacking an orc stronghold without provocation, and they likewise overran the local shrine to Malacath, driving the orcs out there. However, this is heavily implied to be due to divine intervention — Malacath considered the current chieftan a coward and the crisis would either wipe out the tribe or force him to man up and protect his people.
  • Kill It with Fire: At some of their camps you can see the charred remains of a humanoid tied to a spit over the campfire. Whether this was just their method of killing the poor sod or dinner preparations is unclear.
  • Off Screen Villainy: We're told they raid farms and apparently they're enough of a threat for the Jarls to put bounties out on them at times. Aside from their attacks on the orc stronghold of Largashbur and one attacking a farm defended by the Companions outside Whiterun, we don't see any overt hostilities from them so long as they're allowed respectable breathing space.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: And stand at ten feet on average.


A type of green-skinned, primitive, and violent humanoid found across Tamriel and Akavir. They have a primitive language and social system, and worship a god called "Muluk," who is theorized to be Malacath.

  • Always Chaotic Evil: Unless they're being controlled by more intelligent masters.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: They train Durzogs, a sort of reptilian dog, for combat and protection.
  • Giant Mook: Giant Goblins inhabited Hammerfell before the Redguards came to the area and drove them to extinction.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Pretty much follow the standard fantasy version to a "T."
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: They are known to farm Tamriel's Rodents of Unusual Size as a food source.
  • Slave Mook: Various cultures in Tamriel have enslaved Goblins from time to time throughout history. The Tsaesci of Akavir reportedly brought goblins along during their invasion of Tamriel as servants and Cannon Fodder. The Altmer similarly employ Goblins in this fashion.
  • You No Take Candle: Those that do speak words in Tamriellic tend to do so in this fashion.
  • Zerg Rush: Most are not adept fighters on their own, but they make up for it by attacking in greater numbers.


A group of bestial, bird like witches. Formerly mortal women, they became Hagravens to gain great power. Where ever that magic comes from, it is the same source that is worshiped by the Forsworn, and the two are frequently allied with each other.

  • Arch-Enemy: Spriggans, given that their lairs are frequently dotted with Spriggan heads.
  • Deal with the Devil: They'll occasionally make a deal with a Forsworn warrior by replacing their heart with a briar heart, making the warrior much stronger but basically destroying his free will.
    • A coven of Hagravens called the Glenmoril Witches were also responsible for forming a pact between the Daedra Prince Hircine and The Companions of Whiterun, giving the latter the ability to voluntarily shapeshift into werewolves in exchange for Hircine claiming their souls after death.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: Except the Forsworn.
  • Evil Matriarch: Forsworn camps will often refer to a Hagraven as their Matriarch.
  • Evil Mentor: To Witches, who eventually become Hagravens themselves.
  • Feathered Fiend
  • Femme Fatalons: Have literal bird talons for fingers.
  • Harping on About Harpies: A flightless varient of this trope.
  • Human Sacrifice: Part of the ritual of becoming a Hagraven requires sacrificing someone, though they're not so picky as demanding an actual human (Elves or Beast folk will suffice).
  • Was Once A Woman

The Hist

"The Hist tree is the main form of worship among the scaled peoples of these dark swales. Others have hypothesized that the trees are apperceptive, with a deep knowledge and unfathomable secrets from the times before all the races of Man and Mer."
Myths and Legends of the Hist

The Hist are a race of ancient, sentient, giant spore-trees native to Black Marsh. They are worshiped by the Argonians who drink the sap of the Hist to grow, and can communicate with the Hist via visions transmitted in the sap.

  • The Omniscient: Through an unknown means, they are able to see into the future. Sensing the upcoming Oblivion Crisis and the trials that would follow, they recalled most of the Argonians in Tamriel to the Black Marsh to combat these threats and, through their sap, changed the Argonians physically to better prepare them as weapons of war.
  • Power of the Void: They are said to "acknowledge" Sithis as the original creator of the universe. This would also help explain the Shadowscales, Argonians born under the sign of the Shadow who are given to the Dark Brotherhood to train as assassins, since the Brotherhood operates in direct service to Sithis.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: They are believed to possess "unfathomable" knowledge from the Dawn Era, before the time of Men and Mer.
  • Time Abyss: Said to be the oldest beings on Tamriel, older than any Man or Mer, and were around to see the wars of the Ehlnofey during the Dawn Era, before linear time had even been conceived of as a concept.
  • When Trees Attack: Subverted. Though sentient and capable of communicating with each other and the Argonians, they are otherwise entirely tree-like - stationary and defenseless on their own. However, they can incite the Argonians to attack on their behalf.
  • Wise Tree: They are believed to have some sort of prophetic knowledge of things to come, and communicate with each other via connected roots and with the Argonians by having them drink their sap. The An-Xileel are a chamber of the government in Argonia who hold almost absolute power simply because they consult with the Hist; through the visions of the Hist, they managed to recall almost all Argonians in Tamriel because the Hist foresaw the events of the Oblivion Crisis, and managed to force Mehrunes Dagon into a retreat from Black Marsh, and then to entirely wipe out the Empire's presence in the province as they declared independence.


A type of nature spirit that appears in the form of a beautiful naked, long-haired young woman. They're capable of draining stamina and can only be harmed by silver and other magical weaponry.

  • Anything That Moves: Averted, while nymphs are often stereotyped as being little more than "beautiful, naked women who skip along tra-la-la and like to have indisciminate sex", they are actually quite shy.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: They attack while stark naked.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Averted, nymph sprites have very distinct nipples.


A species of blue-skinned humanoid creatures native to Solstheim, somewhat resembling ice goblins.

  • Art Evolution: A major case from Bloodmoon, where they more closely resemble small blue humans to Dragonborn, where they are much more primitive and bestial looking.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears are a favored weapon of theirs.
  • Cargo Cult: They can be seen worshipping some of their detritus in Dragonborn.
  • Horse of a Different Color: They ride Tusked Bristlebacks (wild boars) as mounts.
  • Trash of the Titans: They are known to hoard random items, from useless Vendor Trash to weapons and armor.
  • You No Take Candle: They have a primitive language and those who speak do so in this fashion. The Riekling Chief is one exception.
  • Zerg Rush: They are rarely found alone and tend to attack in groups.


A mysterious, plant like race which is found in secluded groves, and will attack any who trespass on their domain.

  • Arch-Enemy: Hagravens, given that the Hagravens will frequently dot their lairs with Spriggan heads.
  • The Beastmaster: Spriggans can control animals to attack you with.
  • Bee Afraid: Some Spriggans will attack you with a swarm of bees.
  • Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff": Spriggans are a type of goblin with Size Shifter powers in Cornish folklore. These Spriggans are more akin to violent Dryads.
  • Extra Lives: In earlier games, they would have to be killed three times before they stopped coming back to fight you some more. They haven't done this since Bloodmoon, however.
    • In Skyrim, Spriggans instead have a rapid Healing Factor when their health drops to critically low levels.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: They're frequently referred to as "Nature's Guardian".
  • Kill It with Fire: They're very vulnerable to fire.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Spriggans are generally an unfriendly group of nature spirits.
  • Plant People: Particularly in Skyrim, where they have an even more tree-like appearance than previous depictions.