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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 

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.

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.
  • Does Not Like Men: The male Aureal are looked down upon (literally and figuratively) by the females.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Bling of War: Wear gold armor.
  • 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.


A type of 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.


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.

Mazken (AKA Dark Seducers)

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


Lesser Daedra in the service of Hermaeus Mora, who act as the guardians and caretakers of his realm, 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
  • Wild Card: Extremely unpredictable and just as likely to attack the summoner as they are to attack whatever they're being summoned against.


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

     Human Races 

The human races (Men) of Nirn.


The human inhabitants of High Rock.

  • Anti-Magic: Magic runs so much in their bloodline that they have an innate resistance to it in all forms.
  • Brains and Brawn: What they lack physically, they make for in arcane knowledge.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Their political intrigue is more cutthroat than is typical elsewhere in Tamriel, even after the Warp in The West.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Of Gaelic cultures.note  Their names are based on French, English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh ones.
  • 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. Some more elite noble families still have a slight point to their ears.
  • Jerkass/Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Deadpan Snarker: A lot of Breton NPCs fit one or more of these tropes. 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 
  • Magic Knight: Bretons are particularly adept at being Battlemages.
  • Magic Staff: Staffs are common weapons for the Bretons.
  • 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.


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.

  • 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 all of mainland Tamriel twice.
    • The Glory That Was Cyrodiil: Their military hierarchy and most of their gear closely resembles that of a Roman legion in Skyrim and Morrowind.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 all the other races; 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. As warriors, Imperials are outclassed by Nords, Redguards, and Orcs. As rogues, they're outclassed by Khajiit, Argonians, Bosmer, and Dunmer. As mages, they're outclassed by Altmer and Bretons. As far as cross-classing is concerned, Bretons and Dunmer are definitely superior in that category. However, the Imperials' ability to be good in all of those categories makes 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 strong mage build.
  • Melting Pot: All in all, Imperials are very cosmopolitan.
  • National Weapon: Imperial Swords. And thanks to the Akavir, 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 Soldier Race: The Colovians, who live primarily in western Cyrodiil. They make up the bulk of the Legions, and respect martial values and discipline.
  • Sigil Spam: The Imperial army have a tendency to display the Red Diamond or the Imperial Dragon on most of their equipment.


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 relatives.

  • 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.
  • Slave Race: To the Ayleids.
  • Slave Revolt: Against the Ayleids under Alessia, with the support of several gods and the Nordic Empire.


The human inhabitants of Skyrim.

  • 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: They're the most ferocious warriors in Tamriel and the physically strongest of the human races, as well.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 and their religion is also inspired by Norse paganism. But they used to mummify their dead much like ancient Egypt, though this has fallen out of practice. Modern Nordic culture is however, well, firmly Nordic.
  • 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.
  • 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 wildfire and all manner of natural hazards.
    • During the Merethic Era, the Ancient Nords who settled in Skyrim 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 has fallen on hard times, but believe that real honor means never abandoning an ally just because the going's gotten tough.
  • Horny Vikings: Culturally, they're Vikings with the serial numbers hacked off. But, unlike most other depictions of this trope, these guys have never once engaged in sea-born raiding.
  • 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.
  • Norse By Norsewest: Their culture and even physical appearance (facial structure, skin tones, etc) is basically fantasy northern-european.
  • 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 actually kill the enemy.
  • Warrior Poet: Like the medieval Norse, they have a great respect for their Skalds.
    • The Skaal, a Nordic offshoot native to Solstheim take this even further.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: 200 years after the Oblivion crisis, the proud sons of Skyrim had 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.

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

The human inhabitants of Hammerfell. Unlike the other human races who came from Atmoranote , the Redguards came from Yokuda. They have a long and proud tradition of sword mastery.

  • Badass: Have some of the best warriors on Tamriel.
  • 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.
  • 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, however.
  • 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. 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.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Very fast and agile, embodied by their sword-singers. But in comparison to the Nords and Orcs, they're more or less Fragile Speedster warriors.
  • No Sell: Redguards are the most resistant to poison out of any human race.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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.

  • 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.
  • Magical Native American: Including their speech patterns.

     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: The Altmer and Dunmer usually wear Elven or Glass armor, which is noted for being gold or emerald green in color, the Dwemer wore Dwarven armor, which was gold-colored, and the ancient Falmer wore platinum colored armor. The Orcs tend to wear more intimidating looking heavy armor.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Altmer (and presumably the ancient Aldmer) are gold skinned, Bosmer are reddish-brown skinned, Dunmer are dark-blue skinned, Orsimer are green-skinned, Falmer used to be snow-white skinned, and Maormer are chameleon skinned.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas
  • Our Gods Are Greater: The primary reason the Elves split apart was because of religion.
  • Our Mer Are Different: Starting with the name. Gets more specific as you get into the individual races.
  • Precursors: The Aldmer, the First Elves of Aldmeris.


The 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.

  • Altmer Soldiers get no Respect: At least among the mages, who are most likely upperclass. They do respect actual warriors, though, as noted blow.
  • Animal Motifs: Eagles, in Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online.
  • 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.
  • 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/Nietzsche Wannabe: 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 incomprihensible 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.
  • 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 armor 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.
  • Our Altmer Are Better: Something the Thalmor repeatedly emphasize. And despite how much they want to deny it, the Empire will admit that their science, philosophy, and language are all descended from the Altmer.
  • Our Altmer Are Different: Generally, they're snobbish at best and Omnicidal Fascists at worse.
  • Our Gods Are Greater: 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.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Non-Thalmor Altmer to 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 fighting with the bretons over most magical of any race. Two of the most famous mages in history, Vanus Galerion and Mannimarco, were Altmer.
  • You Are Number Six: 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.


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: Dear lord...
  • 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.
  • Our Ayleids Are Different: They're Jerkasses who enslaved and tormented humans. Leading to...
  • Screw You, Ayleids!: 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.


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.

  • The Beastmaster: Can calm hostile animals using their Beast Tongue ability.
  • 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 Bosmer Are Different: They're cannibals who live in cities composed of walking trees.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Bosmer women tower over the men. In Morrowind and Oblivion, at least. In Skyrim, there's not 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.
  • 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.


The Dark Elves of Morrowind. They were originally related to the Altmer, but were led by the prophet Veloth to become the Velothi people and worship their ancestors and Daedra rather than the Divines. They were also known more formally as the Chimer. They were unified under Nerevar to create the nation of Resdaynia and become known as the Resdayn people. After the Battle of Red Mountain, they 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 of them rallied around the new demi-gods, the Tribunal. Several tribes clung to the old ways in North Vvardenfell and became known as the Ashlanders. When Tiber Septim came to conquer all of them, Vivec traded to the Emperor the Numidium in exchange for special privileges.

After the Oblivion Crisis, the Ministry of Truth crashed down and Red Mountain erupted. The Argonians came to conquer what was left of South Morrowind. Now, the Dunmer people are scattered, many of them settling in Skyrim.

  • 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 Dumner have answered for their hubris and then some. One dark elf states that "We're all Ashlandersnote  now" to a Dark Elf player character in Skyrim.
  • The Clan: With the Great Houses.
  • Culture Clash: Strikingly in Morrowind.
  • The Exile: Most of the Dunmer were forced to flee Morrowind after the Oblivion Crisis.
  • 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.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They have comparisons from biblical Israelites/Jews, to Mesopotamia and Japan/China(in architecture with House Hlaalu and Indoril styles respectively) all the way to Mongolia(with the Ashlanders).
  • 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.
  • 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 Dunmer Are Different: They have dark skin and red eyes.
    • They also differ greatly from dark elves, particularly the Drow, not the least of which them being NOT Always Chaotic Evil
      • On the other hand, with their Fantastic Racism, propensity for slavery, their great houses, Chronic Backstabbing Disorder being firmly rooted in their culture, and their appearance being the (probable) result of a divine curse, they do have a few parallels with drow. They just don't live under ground, aren't particularly matriarchal, and, as mentioned, aren't always evil.
  • Our Gods Are Greater: Part of their split with the Altmer was because they preferred ancestor and Daedra worship.
  • 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.
  • 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.


The Deep Elves (also known as Dwarves) of all of North Tamriel, whose civilization once spanned from Hammerfell all the way to Morrowind. They spontaneously disappeared millennia ago after the battle of Red Mountain, but their ruins are still around.

  • Abusive Precursors: The Skyrim chapter, to the Falmer. No other cases of mass enslavement are known to have occured in any other part of Tamriel
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: One theory for their disappearance is that their efforts to become gods actually worked.
  • Bad Ass
  • Clock Punk/Steam Punk: Their technology has aspects of both.
  • The Dreaded: Said to be feared by the Nords, the Chimer and even the gods themselves.
  • Elves Versus 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 ancesters 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).
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: 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.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: 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. It's said that even the dullest of their kind was still a genius compared to a clever man. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Dwarven spiders,sphere guardians, and centurions.
  • 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 Dwemer Are All The Same: No they're not. They're Elves. "Dwarves" comes from a mistranslation of Dwemer.
    • To be more exact, the term "Deep Folk" didn't refer to physical deepness (Though Dwemer did tend to live underground), but to philosophical deepness.
  • 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.
  • These Are Things Mer Were Not Meant To Know: 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.


The Snow Elves of Skyrim and Morrowind. 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: Not a single friendly Falmer has been introduced. Until Dawnguard...where literally a single friendly Snow Elf was introduced, and his brother (the only other sentient Falmer) was a Manipulative Bastard Vampire.
  • 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: Formally 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".
  • The Morlocks
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: In Dawnguard, there is one still sane Falmer.
  • Our Falmer Are Different: They're not even sentient anymore.
  • 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 Mer: 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.
    • It Can Think: Though according to some scholars and Knight-Paraldin Gelebor, they may be regaining this, as they're beginning to venture above ground, developing rudimentary technology and demonstrating cunning and deductive reasoning in their battle tactics.
  • 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.


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, though the exact kind is unknown.
  • Our Maormer 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.


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, skill with weapons 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.

  • Asskicking Equals Authority / Authority Equals Asskicking: Malacath encourages tribal behaviour within Orc communities, with the best warriors acting as chieftains.
  • Badass
  • 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 Orsinium: 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 chieftan 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 Orsimer 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
  • 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 armour 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 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.

  • Art Evolution: In the first game Argonians looked very different, most character models resembled closer to zombies than lizards.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Comes with the territory of being a giant 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
  • 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.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Argonians can breathe water just as easily as air.
  • 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.


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


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 rumored to be formidable spellcasters, to the Pahmar, which are similar in size and appearance to a tiger.

  • 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 talking tigers to almost looking like a Bosmer (there's even rumours of talking, spell-casting house-cats).
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Khajiit have a reputation for being simple, but are very effective warriors.
    • This could be a case of careless writing on the part of Bethesda. It is explicitly stated in the canon that Khajiit are very intelligent. 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. 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.
  • Fantastic Drug: Moon Sugar, which is a key ingredient to Skooma, is a prized delicacy in Elsweyr.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Their caravans, nomadic lifestyle, and propensity for stealth recall medieval views of the Roma.
  • Impossible Thief: Rajhin, a thief-God of Khajiit culture, was said to have stolen a tattoo clean off the neck of the Empress Kintyra.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Khajiit Caravans.
  • Third-Person Person: When speaking in Tamrielic.


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's the best way for them to achieve their ends.

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


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.
  • Grim Up North: Their home is literally called "Snow Hell"

Ka Po' Tun

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

  • Achilles' Heel: They suck at sea warfare.
  • Arch-Enemy: To the Tsaesci
  • Berserk Button: Waged war against the Tsaecsi after they started to enslave and devour the dragons.
  • Cat Folk
  • God Emperor: Tosh Raka the tiger-dragon.
  • Scaled Up: To become a dragon is the ultimate goal of many Ka Po' Tun. The current emperor, Tosh Raka the tiger-dragon, is the only one known to have attained this goal.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Not themselves, since they haven't actually shown up yet, but the only real source of information on them 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.

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, 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, formerly the most powerful empire of Akavir and notably influenced Cyrodiilic Empire, particularly the creation of the Blades.

     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 and are descended from Akatosh. They have mastery over the Thu'um, the ability to channel magical energy into words.

  • Always Chaotic Evil: Within each Dragon is the desire to dominate and destroy others.
    • Heel-Face Turn: They can however suppress their desire and ally themselves with mortals, like Nafaalilargus and Paarthurnax.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Dragons strongly believe this.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Hunter Becomes The Hunted: When they attack the Dovahkiin.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: A staple of Dragon culture.
  • Language of Magic: Draconic.
  • 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 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".
    • Odahviing expresses this opinion of Alduin after he flees from a battle with the Dragonborn. Even if they know they are outmatched, a real Dragon would continue fighting until the bitter end!
      • In an odd case, it appears as though dragons lose no respect for one who yields to the enemy, as long as they don't run away after a loss.
  • Our Dov Are Different: Their power comes from the Thu'um.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 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

Ideal Masters

The malevolent inhabitants of the Soul Cairn, an unaligned plane of Oblivion populated mainly by the souls of those used in Black Soul Gems.

  • Blue and Orange Morality: Believe that by dooming souls to eternal undeath, they are giving them eternal peace. Terrifyingly, there is some evidence to support this.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Ideal Masters specialize in these, making deals with necromancers to summon powerful spirits in order to to ensnare their souls eventually.
  • Eldritch Location: Their plane of Oblivion, the Soul Cairn, which competes with the Deadlands and Coldharbour for the most hellish realm of Oblivion. That's right, folks, the Ideal Masters are up there with Mehrunes Dagon and Molag Bal.
  • Enemy Mine: Due to their displeasure with Mehrunes Dagon's forces using the Soul Cairn as a waystation while destroying their undead and plundering their treasure, they allied with the Hero of Battlespire and helped him escape the Soul Cairn.
  • Exact Words: They'll promise you great power, but they'll word it so as to get the maximum benefit for themselves while screwing the one who made the deal over as much as possible. Durnehviir learned that the hard way by promising to guard Valerica until she died... unaware she was a Vampire, and as such immortal.
  • Manipulative Bastards: Very much so. In addition to the Exact Words example above, they pulled something similar with Valerica. She wanted to stay in the Soul Cairn for safety, and struck a deal with the Masters: safety for souls. What they didn't tell her is that they wanted her soul.
  • Nonindicative Name: Malicious, double-crossing jerkasses, nobody thinks of them as ideal masters.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Anyone whose soul gets captured by a Black Soul Gem will end up in the Soul Cairn once they're used.
  • The Unseen: The Ideal Masters have never been actually seen, and use gems to communicate with other species (as well as capture their souls), so it has been theorized that they may actually have no physical form and are completely incorporeal.


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 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.
  • Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff": Spriggans are a type of goblin with Size Shifter powers in Cornish folklore. These...aren't.
  • Everything's Worse With Bees: Some Spriggans will attack you with a swarm of bees.
  • 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.

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