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.
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.
Fireballs: While they prefer to attack with their teeth and claws, they've been known to use fireballs fired from their mouth.
You Keep Using That Word: "Deadroth" is actually the singular form of "Daedra", and technically refers to any Daedric entity from Oblivion, but in practice, it only refers to these specific creatures. So... the plural would be "Daedroths"?
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.
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?
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. Seeing as most lesser Daedra aren't civilised or sentient, they do have a point.
One-Gender Race: Dremora are 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.
This is no longer the case in The Elder Scrolls Online, as there are plenty of female Dremora NPCs, one of whom has a speaking role.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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 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.
Deadly Decadent Court: Their political intrigue is more cutthroat than is typical elsewhere in Tamriel, even after the Warp in The West.
Culture Chop Suey: Politically, they resemble medieval England and France turned Up to Eleven, with elements of various Celtic cultures.note "Breton" is the french word for the inhabitants of Brittany 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 Prime Skyrim examples include Delphine and Mercer Frey
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
"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 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 Revolt: Against the Ayleids under Alessia, with the support of several gods and the Nordic Empire.
"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 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).
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 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.
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 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: Aesthetically, they're heavily inspired by the popular Viking-image. 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 though it has been suggested that the old "out of Atmora" theory is Septim propaganda, with the Nedes actually being native to Cyrodiil, the Redguards came from Yokuda. They have a long and proud tradition of sword mastery.
Atlantis: Yokuda. Once the most advanced society of its time, the entire continent sank for still mysterious reasons.
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 was a bluff, and Cyrus did not know how to do it.. This technique is now forbidden, however.
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.
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.
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.
Granted, it's debatable whether the Dwemer really wore Dwarven armour or if it's just made out of the parts from their robots.
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.
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 of Aldmeris.
"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 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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
"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.
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.
And when said entrails began to rot, they ground them up and threw them into the slaves' food troughs.
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.
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.
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.
"Once, there was nothing but formlessness. The land held no shape, the trees did not harden into timber and bark, and the Elvesthemselves 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.
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.
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).
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 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 A nomadic sub-culture of the Dunmer now" to a Dark Elf player character in Skyrim.
Culture Chop Suey: 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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. 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
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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".
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 elven inhabitants of Yokuda, who fought a devastating war against the Yokudans that rendered them extinct.
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.
"We know not how Trinimac had been defeated, but it is said that after his defeat Boethiah had consumed him and tortured his spirit inher 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.Withhis 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, 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.
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).
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.
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.
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 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: Comes with being the series' resident Lizards.
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.
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.
"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 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.
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.'
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.
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.
"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.
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 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).
A race of vampiric snake-folk, formerly the most powerful empire of Akavir and notably influenced Cyrodiilic Empire, particularly the creation of the Blades.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.