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Videogame: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
I was born 87 years ago. For 65 years I've ruled as Tamriel's emperor, but for all these years, I've never been the ruler of my own dreams. I have seen the gates of Oblivion, beyond which no waking eyes may see. Behold! In darkness, a doom sweeps the land. This is the 27th of Last Seed, the Year of Akatosh 433. These are the closing days of the Third Era... and the final hours of my life.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a Role-Playing Game developed by Bethesda Softworks and released in 2006 for PC and Xbox 360 and one year later for the PlayStation 3.

The game places you in the role of a prisoner, convicted of an unknown crime and incarcerated in the dungeons of the Imperial City. Your imprisonment is cut short by the arrival of Emperor Uriel Septim (played by Patrick Stewart) and his bodyguards, the Blades, fleeing assassins who are trying to eliminate the royal family. Their escape route just happens to lead through your cell.

What follows is a lengthy quest to save the province of Cyrodiil, heart land of the Empire which spans the whole continent of Tamriel, from destruction at the hands of Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric prince of destruction.

The game boasts a huge open world with sixteen square miles of terrain to explore, hundreds of dungeons, eight cities filled with NPCs that have their own daily routine and enough quests to fill hundreds of hours of play time.

The player has the opportunity to join several factions, such as the Fighter’s Guild, and all have their own storylines spanning several quests.

The game received a universally positive critical response, the PC and Xbox 360 versions holding Metacritic scores of 94. The response from players was also generally positive, but the opinions of long-time fans of the series was more mixed, as many of them thought the game was too simplified compared to the previous installment in the franchise, Morrowind.

The game has spawned a huge and dedicated modding community that still continues to churn out content rapidly. These mods range from new items to complete overhauls of the game.

The game launched during a turning point in the medium, and served as a guinea pig of sorts for the Xbox Live Marketplace and Downloadable Content, receiving a significant amount of new content, ranging from player homes, to a whole new story arc in the form of Knights of the Nine, which was eventually released on PC as well. The game also received full expansion called Shivering Isles, dealing with Sheogorath, the Daedric prince of madness, in 2007.


This video game provides examples of:

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  • A Load of Bull: Minotaurs can be encountered in several places.
  • Abandoned Mine: The Player Character can enter several of these around Cyrodiil, including the Abandoned Mine.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • In the vicinity of the Black Horse Courier offices, you are given the new topic "Do you need couriers?", which was obviously part of an intended quest. However, the question never appears in your dialogue options.
    • There is also a cave that can't be explored as a door is locked and there is no key in the game. Dialog indicates there was to be a quest involving a Red Queen and Black Queen- the Black Queen was to live in the cave. Cheating your way through- either by using the console to unlock the door, clipping through, or using paintbrushes to get through the secondary entrance- reveals a cave that's completed but not quite finished in terms of final content.
    • The game quickly dispenses with plot points which had been set up in Morrowind and its expansion packs. Uriel Septim either recovered from his illness, or it hadn't progressed to a critical stage before he was assassinated. The Succession Crisis among his sons that was implied didn't end up being an issue, as the Mythic Dawn cult killed all of them before the game even began.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Imperial Capital is built over the ruins of an Ayleid city, so in this case it's actually justified.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse:
    • The Drunken Dragon Inn.
    • The Gray Mare Inn in Chorrol.
  • Adoring the Pests: One of the first Fighter's Guild quests sends you to help out a woman who has a 'rat problem' in her basement. Turns out she actually likes having the rats down there; the problem is the mountain lions that keep killing them.
    • It's also a reference to Morrowind, as a woman with a similar name asks you to kill a few rats for the first fighter's guild quest.
  • Affably Evil
    • Mankar Camoran. He seems to have some respect for the player at times.
    • Most people you meet in the Dark Brotherhood as well. They're murderous, bloodthirsty sociopaths, but they're also very charming and chummy. Somewhat ironically, the only one of this cabal of assassins who openly dislikes you is the resident merchant.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Several examples.
    • Vampires. Since vampirism takes three days to fully take hold, and a very simple spell (or common potion) is all that's needed to arrest it, the majority of Tamrielic vampires wanted to turn into cannibalistic horrors.
    • The Mythic Dawn. Killing the Emperor, worshipping Mehrunes Dagon, and plotting to summon him isn't a good indicator for... well, good.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Shivering Isles are policed by two of them, no less, the Golden Saints (Auriel) and Dark Seducers (Mazken). There are males...but they're rare, subservient to the females, and statistically weaker. Additionally, due to a scripting error when you become Duke or Duchess of Mania/Dementia the two groups will greet or refer to you only in the feminine. It's "fixed" in the Unofficial Patch, for those that don't find it entertaining.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Or perhaps Ambiguously Blue, in this case. There are a few NPCs running around which either had their races incorrectly flagged in the CS, or are showing signs of mixed heritage. One noteworthy example is a guard seen in Anvil (who guards the chapel and warns people of the scene inside with KOTN installed) who is definitely a Redguard in skin tone and appearance but has an Imperial voice. Cutter, the emo Dementia blacksmith in Shivering Isles, looks to be a Dunmer, but has yellow eyes(the CS lists her race as Bosmer). There are also two female Dementia residents, both Imperial, who have blue skin tones.
  • An Axe to Grind: For some reason, governed by the Blunt skill. The official explanation is that the act of swinging an axe is more akin to using a club than a sword.
  • And I Must Scream: A Wizard stole from Vaermina the Daedric Prince of Nightmares. Now he's trapped within nightmares for all eternity.
    • One merchant in Crucible also suggests doing this to you via Chronomancy- trapping your body in time while keeping their mind in tact. Thankfully, you can't accept his offer.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: several quests. Notably completing the central plotline, awards you a custom suit of Imperial Dragon armor, which by that point is probably considerably weaker than what you are already wearing.
  • Anime Hair: Several elven NPCs have magnificent gravity-defying 'dos. For example, Umbacano, the Adoring Fan, and Modryn Oreyn.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: With the construction set.
  • Announcer Chatter: Sometimes the mysterious announcer guy in the Arena can do this.
  • Annoying Arrows: After taking a few arrows to the gut, you'll resemble a living pincushion but can still move around perfectly normally. Even with an arrow right through your crotch. If you shoot someone in the head and they don't die or see you, they'll just walk back to where they were with the arrow still sticking out of their heads. Because it "must have been the wind."
  • Anti-Hero: You can potentially be one, if you gain a lot of infamy points by doing evil things and generally be a dick, at the same time that you're saving the empire. You can also go right past this, straight into Villain Protagonist. The game is sometimes criticized for allowing players to be the Thieves', Mages', Dark Brotherhood's, AND Fighters' guild leader while also being a vampire, god of madness, hunter of Vampires, Arena Champion, Hero of the Imperium, AND the man who serves food to prisoners for 5 gold a week. Skyrim went out of it's way to make it impossible to play both sides.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The Mythic Dawn seek to summon Mehrunes Dagon, the daedric prince of destruction in order to "purify" Tamriel. To do that, they are trying to break down the barriers between Nirn and Oblivion by murdering the Emperor and all his heirs, who are essential to keeping the barriers in place.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • The Gray Fox's "Wanted" poster lists the charges against him as "Theft, embezzlement, forgery, pickpocketing, counterfeiting, burglary, conspiracy to commit theft, grand larceny, tax evasion, slander, fraud, perfidy and impertinence".
    • Can also apply to the player, if you stole a pear from someone's table and got seen doing it expect that to show up on your list of charges even if you've also killed a dozen guys.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Vilena Donton gives you one of these when you complete the last mission for the Fighter's Guild.
  • Artifact Title: Averted... in a manner of speaking. It is the first Elder Scrolls game since Arena where the actual Elder Scrolls are seen, but they still don't play a part in the Main Quest, but rather in the Thieves Guild quest line. You get to steal one!
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Oh so much. In particular, procedurally generated NPC conversation can be a bit vapid.
    "Hello."
    "Hi."
    "I'm through talking to you."
    "Goodbye."
    "Bye."
    • An especially amusing one can randomly occur while sneaking around in Bandit lairs. After the main quest is completed, there's a random chance that certain of the bandits might start singing a song in your honor. That won't stop them from trying to kill you once you're spotted. Lampshaded by some of the idle dialogue (which unfortunately you never hear due to an oversight. A mod that fixes that can be found here)
    ''"Everyone is talking, but no one has anything to say."
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The Radiant AI system is commendably ambitious, but it does fall flat very frequently and very visibly. Part of the problem is that NPC behavior is driven by motivations. One quest involving vampire hunters can be botched if the vampire hunters get too jealous of each other's inventory items, whereupon they'll start pickpocketing one another until they're all angry enough to draw weapons. In some cases "good" characters will murder unarmed innocents simply because they've been blocked into a corner.
    • NPCs who are following you have a terrible tendency to get in your way during combat, which often results in your accidentally killing them. Which could result in other NPCs turning hostile on you, or failing a quest, if the outcome depends on a particular NPC's survival. Cue Cluster F-Bomb.
    • Some characters have a bad habit of forgetting they need to unlock a store's front door in the morning, even if they have the appropriate key and locked it the night before. Others will end up trying to pick fights with daedra who just spawned from an Oblivion portal.
    • Start a fight with one NPC in the marketplace or resist arrest for picking up an apple. In a matter of seconds the whole market district will erupt into one giant gang war, with Citizens attacking guards, citizens attacking each other, and guards slaughtering citizens and each other left and right.
    • In the Caught in the Hunt dungeon, there's a pit that drops you onto a bed of spikes. If you survive, you can make your way back up into the same corridor. You can also trick enemies into chasing you and falling into this pit...and then doing it again...until they die.
    • After a certain point in the main quest, the members of the covert Mythic Dawn cult who assassinated the Emperor have low enough disposition to attack you on sight... in broad daylight, in a city, with dozens of guards around.
    • Sometimes if a guard ends up killing a citizen or someone else, that same guard will comment that since the body is warm, the killer must be nearby.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence:
    • Martin's fate after becoming an avatar of Akatosh to defeat Dagon.
    • This also happens to members of the Mythic Dawn who are killed in the mortal world. Rather than actually dying, their souls are transported to Mankar Camoran's realm of Paradise where they become immortal. Of course, once you destroy Paradise near the end of the main quest, then they all die for real.
    • At the end of Shivering Isles you become Sheogorath and eventually rule his realm of Oblivion. Though the transformation doesn't take it's full permanent form until you meet him in Skyrim.
  • Art Shift: Cyrodiil goes from "Romans in a Rain Forest" from the last games to rather normal middle age Europe (then back to Romans for Skyrim).
    • Also, due to the game's vibrant colors, Dunmer are suddenly not just gray-skinned, they are light blue-gray.
  • Artistic License - Biology: Mudcrabs bleed red blood, and clams contain pearls.
  • Automaton Horses: Partially averted by the fact that horses have a finite amount of health and can be killed. But, they still don't need to eat or sleep.
  • Autosave: The game automatically saves your progress each time you enter a new location, with a small "Autosaving" notification on the upper left of the screen.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • The Orc in the Dark Brotherhood.
    "I don't know who the Night Mother is, but she pays me to kill people! My own mother never loved me so much."
    "What's with all this sneaking about? I'd much rather look my target in the eye and say something scary like, 'I am the deliverer of death!' and hit them with a hammer."
    "Once, I had a contract to kill a little Nord girl at her birthday party. She asked me if I was the jester, so I replied: "No. I am a messenger of death". Ha! You should've seen the look on her face! She won't be reaching age six!"
    • If you refuse to help Glarthir, he takes matters into his own hands, and starts attacking people in the street with a battleaxe! Not only that, but if you try to convince him that no-one is spying on him, he'll convince himself that you're part of the conspiracy and attack you! Big mistake.
    • Most of the worshippers at Sheogorath's shrine.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The unicorn, which is supremely cool to ride around on but has such a high aggression that it will attack anyone it sees with drawn steel, including you.
    • That said, if your total fame is above fifty (that is, is fame - infamy = 50, specifically), the unicorn won't attack you.
    • Several leveled spells also count. Said spells are still fairly useful at lower levels even though they're weaker. When obtained at higher levels they become much stronger, but in turn they also cost so much magicka to use that they become extremely impractical.
    • This includes the summonable lich, which has an area of effect spell that can demolish the player character if an enemy gets too close.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • The player, at the end "Knights of the Nine." You think that merely getting hit repeatedly with a magic sword and lightning bolts, then falling thousands of feet onto the ground, and being proclaimed dead by all his friends who personally saw his mangled body can keep the Divine Crusader down? Bah!
    • In Camoran's Paradise you'll probably notice that everyone there pops up again if you kill them. Created to be a paradise for his followers, there is no lasting death there. Of course, for many of them there is a sting there.
  • Badass Boast: Lucien Lachance. "My friend, I do not spread rumors...I create them."
  • Badass Grandpa: Jauffre.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: If you try this while your block skill is less than 24, it will hurt like hell. Played straight once you reach apprentice level.
  • Barrier Maiden: Martin Septim is a male example.
  • Beating A Dead Player: Averted. Once you die, you can briefly see that enemies immediately stop attacking. They sheathe their weapons and walk away.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Most of the city guards around Cyrodiil are actually a really, really nice and friendly bunch of guys - but break any law, even by accidentally picking something up off a shopkeeper's table, and they'll immediately go nuts and kill you without hesitation. You can, however, yield to them by blocking long enough. The Guards actually do a pretty good job of keeping things running smoothly, an entire guild of professional thieves has a hard time operating in the imperial city as a result (Not that it stops the Player and the Grey Fox from stealing an Elder Scroll right out from under their noses.)
      • The guards are so determined to hunt you down to face justice that there was even an account of one chasing you into an Oblivion gate. That is dedication!
    "You won't go to jail for that apple you stole? THEN PAY WITH YOUR BLOOD!"
    • Melus Petilius, a retired paladin, has sworn off violence, but will recant his oath if you attack him at his 'sacred place', the grave of his wife.
  • Betting Mini-Game: Betting at the Arena.
  • BFS: Claymores, and the Akaviri Dai-katana.
  • Big Bad:
    • Mehrunes Dagon.
    • Also, Umaril in Knights of the Nine, Jyggalag in Shivering Isles, Mannimarco in the Mages Guild questline, Ri'Zakar in the Fighters Guild questline, Hieronymus Lex for most of the Thieves Guild questline and Mathieu Bellamont in the Dark Brotherhood questline.
  • Bi the Way: Mirabelle Monet, a promiscuous innkeeper in Anvil, sleeps with each of her patrons on different nights of the week, including the one female tenant. However, the player can't rent a room from her, as she reserves her beds for seamen.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mehrunes Dagon is defeated, but the Empire now has no heir. It's clear the Empire's not out of the woods yet and this will likely lead to an interesting future.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: The more feral of the vampires, as well as the Dark Seducers featured in the Shivering Isles expansion pack. Subverted in the latter case: the Seducers are actually pretty nice.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: In the Shivering Isles expansion, we have the Gatekeeper, a sizeable Frankenstein-like monster guarding the entrance to the Isles. One of his arms is a giant blade. After killing the monster, we are tasked later on with putting him back together, using various body parts. For his arm, we can choose between the exact same blade and also an axe and a mace. The cut content suggests that there was also a regular fist to be included too...
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers:
    • Sheogorath's classic line: "Wonderful, time for a celebration! Cheese for everyone!"
    • "Uuras the Shepherd sure takes care of his sheep. And boy, does he like cheese! I mean, he really likes cheese."
  • Blood Stained Glass Windows: A sort of off-screen version occurs at the beginning of the "Knights Of The Nine" questline where the cathedral in Anvil is attacked and everyone inside is slaughtered. A bit more straight example would be Cadlew Chapel where the player is forced to fight necromancers who slaughtered everyone there to use as combat fodder. Really though, with all of the churches in the game, the player can invoke this dozens of times if they get bored and don't care where they pick a fight at.
  • Blown Across the Room: Sneak attacks with a bow can send enemies flying in a ludicrous ragdoll-ballet of death.
  • Body Horror: Worm thralls.
    • Also the flesh pods and "the Punished" through the portals.
    • On a more mundane side, the final fate of Lucien Lachance. What's more disturbing than a skinless mutilated corpse? How about a very fresh one? Oh, and he's completely innocent of what they killed him for. (That may be the only thing he's innocent of.)
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Most Orcs and Nords play into this trope.
  • Bonus Boss: This game has a few of these, and finding each one of them generally is a Guide Dang It moment.
    • Erandur-Vangaril (a lich). He can only be found in a specific cave that none of the game's quests lead you to, and can only be fought there once your character reaches a certain level.
    • The giant slaughterfish, who shows up in one of the dungeons you explore in the Thieves Guild questline, but chances are you won't ever see this one if you don't fully explore the place.
    • There's also the Uderfrykte Matron at Dive Rock.
  • Booze-Based Buff: All over the place. Ale, mead, beer, wine... there are over a dozen alcoholic items for the player to drink, each with different stat buffs and debuffs. Probably the most interesting of these is Shadowbanish Wine, a special rare vintage that can only be found in a handful of forts. It grants the player a special ability when drunk, but its quest involves turning in six bottles to an innkeeper instead of actually drinking them. (There are more than enough to do the quest and have some left over, but because the wine is so hard to find many people don't bother once they reach the limit to turn in and get their reward.)
    • Actually, the chests in the forts where you find the Shadowbanish Wine will regenerate said item after a few in-game days have passed, so you can just keep going back again and again and pick up two bottles on each visit. Fort Grief is the easiest, as it's the only one where the chest with the wine is outside the fort.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Once you've contracted vampirism, you can only feed on sleeping people. You can find bums sleeping around outside or you break in to homes and hope the psychic guards don't catch you with your fangs in a neck.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: quite a few of the DLCs are borderline cheat mods. (A quick and easy way of curing vampirism, a garden that supplies almost every rare ingredient, etc...)
  • Bring Help Back: You can do this by getting reinforcements from the other cities when Bruma is besieged by a Great Gate (but only after you close the gates threatening their cities, naturally). It's an optional quest, though, so you can just do it all yourself instead, if you prefer.
  • Bring It: Attempt to/Fight an ogre with your bare hands and it may make this gesture.
  • Bury Your Gays: There's one gay character in the game. You find this out shortly after you find his decaying corpse. Viranus Donton, the son of the Fighters Guild's grandmaster.
    • Shivering Isles possibly adds a second gay character. Mania blacksmith Dumag gro-Bonk barely tries to hide it.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Mogens Wind-Shifter killed Ra'Vindra, Mazoga the Orc swore to become a knight so she could avenge her friend. Mogens doesn't remember any of this when you and Mazoga kill him.
  • But Not Too Black: Oblivion's faces suffer from the "different skin tone but same mold" problem, with races lacking distinct facial structures as they did in previous titles.
  • But Thou Must: One quest in Anvil involves investigating a series of robberies for the town watch. A group of women have been luring men to a remote cabin with promises of a good time, only to take all their possessions once the men have removed their gear. If you go to a local inn soon afterwards, you will meet the women. If the player character is male, they will attempt to lure him to the cabin with the aforementioned promises. If the PC is female, however, they will offer her a place in their gang. That evening, the quest calls for you to join them at the cabin. No matter whether the PC is male or female, your only dialogue options involve revealing your status as a mole, then taking out the whole gang by yourself in combat. As a female character (who may even be a member of the Thieves Guild and/or Dark Brotherhood and whose railroaded behavior therefore makes little sense), this seems like a waste of a good plot.
    • An even worse example comes in the final stages of the Dark Brotherhood missions, after becoming a Silencer. Your orders are delivered to you via dead drops, giving your the location and name of your target(s). After the first two, there's a noticable change in the sound of the writing, from Lucien's professional but polite tone to outright glee and creepy familiarity. Also, the orders start giving the player explanations of the targets' "crimes" and details of personal lives, things that Lucien had never done prior unless it had relevance in the mission (ie, a hit was placed on a necromancer who he was trying to become a lich, making conventional killing methods difficult). But the worst parts? There's a massively obvious change in the handwriting of the orders, and you can even find Dark Brotherhood robes in the possession of your newest 'targets.' It'd be one thing for the game to put evidence in front of you and let you act on it, but you have no choice but to carry out six of these clearly forged orders before being confronted by Lucien and having already served as an accessory to the conspiracy that would get him killed.
    • There's quite a lot of this in the game. Other examples feature a prank that Volanaro wants you to play on Jeanne Frasoric, the head of the Bruma Mages Guild, where the game doesn't give you the option to tell Jeanne about the prank; and a mission that the Blackwood Company undertakes to slaughter goblins when it's really obvious that the goblins are actually innocent humans and there's no way to stop them from being cut down in their own home once the quest begins.
      • Though if you run far enough away, it will also complete the mission.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": They're not "magic" points, they're "magicka" points!
  • Captain Obvious: There's a burglar on the loose!
    • "By the 9 divines... This person is dead!"
    • Rarely, guards who helped you kill someone may go to the corpse and state that "The body is still warm... The murderer cannot be far away."
    • When you're given the quest to kill the Black Bow Bandits, you're told the gang is called that because they use black bows.
  • Catch Phrase: The Thieves' Guild is fond of "shadow hide you".
    • The Gray Fox is fond of "Capital!".
    • For the Dark Brotherhood, we have, among others, "May the Night Mother wrap you in her loving embrace."
  • Citadel City: Imperial City.
  • City Guards: The embodiment of this trope.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Averted with some of the female armors, but played straight with others.
    • If you put an actual chainmail shirt on a female character it turns into a Minidress of Power.
  • The Chessmaster: Mankar Camoran. To A lesser degree, The Gray Fox.
  • Chekhov's Skill: J'skar, the lovable Khajiit prankster of the Bruma Mages Guildhall, is shown to only be really good at invisibility. When Mannimarco attacks Bruma's guildhall, his invisibility mastery is what makes him the sole survivor.
    • Or maybe not. His comments after you kill the necromancer looking for him sound like Mannimarco let him live to send a message to the rest of the guild.
  • Clever Crows: This game features Corvus Umbranox, the Grey Fox, leader of the Thieves Guild, and former Count of Anvil. Fellow gets around. He's clever and dark-haired.
  • Closed Circle: The quest "Whodunit?" is a classic textbook example, except you're the killer.
  • Code Name: All of the brigands aboard "The Bloated Float" inn-boat during the quest "An Unexpected Voyage".
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The infamous psychic guards, who will come to arrest you even if your crime could not possibly be noticed (such as attacking an NPC in a place with no one to see or hear you do it, then killing them).
  • Continuity Nod: The "Hero of Daggerfall" and Jagar Tharn are mentioned in passing many times, in both in-game books and by a few certain characters. The province of Morrowind has abolished slavery (according to NPC chatter). These examples are notable because most content in Oblivion is self-contained (though this is by no means an exhaustive list).
    • Also, the Utherfrykte Matron. The Utherfrykte was an obscure Bonus Boss in the "Bloodmoon" expansion for Morrowind. In relation to this is an NPC from Bloodmoon, the foxy Svenja Snow-Song, who became your character's second in command at the Solstheim Mead Hall. In Oblivion, you can find her husband's journal at Dive Rock, detailing numerous nightmares she had regarding the creatures. Having enough of it, the two decided to venture to Cyrodiil to slay their Matron, only for Svenja to get eaten alive by the creature before getting off a shot. Her husband watches in horror, and is mortally wounded soon after, being able to make it back to their nearby camp to finish writing. You can find the husband's body and journal at the camp, and can also slay the Matron once and for all. Inside its body is Svenja's bow.....along with her mostly digested corpse.
    • One off hand but memorable downer instance of this is an NPC in the Imperial Capital who was at Raven's Rock, the ebony mining settlement from Morrowind's expansion. He left when the money dried up, meaning that the settlement canonically fails, though not entirely, as it's still (barely) populated by the time the events of Dragonborn roll around.
    • A snippet of info you get from a random loading screen says "No one has escaped from the Imperial Prison in over 40 years, since the days of Jagar Tharn and the Imperial Simulacrum". The Eternal Champion escaped from the Imperial Prison during the late Imperial Simulacrum, just under 40 years ago.
    • Another couple of Morrowind examples: You can overhear two Elven NPCs talking about the Nerevarine having left on an expedition to Akavir. You can also over hear mention of "St. Jiub, who drove all the cliff racers from Morrowind."
  • Convection Schmonvection: Possibly deliberately done. The areas of Oblivion you go to seem to be small islands in an ocean of lava, yet one NPC points out that while he'd expect it to be hot, all he feels is a deathly chill.
  • Cosmic Retcon/Hand Wave/A Wizard Did It: Behold the kingdom of the Red King once jungled! Apparently, a god decided that Cyrodiil should be a deciduous forest rather than a rainforest like in previous installments of the series.
    • And that Uriel Septim should have a head of long, flowing silver hair, rather than the perfectly smooth and hairless scalp he sported in Daggerfall(Ironically looking more like Patrick Stewart than the version he played.) However, at least he has the possible justification he lost his hair due to the stress of the time and later regrew it.
    • Not to forget, Ocato, who also sported a smooth scalp and a badass posture in Daggerfall, suddenly turned into an Altmer in Oblivion.
    • It is implied that the dungeon in Oblivion is supposed to be the same one as in Arena. Both games take place in sewers underneath the palace (Though in Oblivion it's only the very last area) not counting the one zombie in Oblivion and the "Random Thieves" in Arena. All the enemies are rats and goblins. And the mentioned thieves only appear if you stand in one place too long, where do they come from? They come out of hidden doors in the walls, which the Mythic Dawn used when assassinating the Emperor.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • If you attack Sheogorath at any time during Shivering Isles, he will paralyse you with magic, then teleport you to thousands of feet above ground out in the wilderness and let gravity do the work for him.
    • Transformation into Worm Thrall, the fate of The Mole within the Necromancers, Mucianus Allias. You are expected (but not required) to Mercy Kill them.
    • The many corpses seen strung up in the realm of Oblivion, along with the sacks of skin simply labelled "The Punished" have their fates left to the player's imagination, but they were no doubt very painful deaths.
    • Near the end of The Dark Brotherhood Questline, Lucien Lachance is cornered by members of the Black Hand and killed for his treachery... except he didn't do it. All that's left of him is a strung up husk, with its mouth ripped out. If you talk to one of the culprits, she will mention eating his intestines.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: In the Mehrunes' Razor DLC, the "normal" way to finish the final puzzle and get the Razor is by eating a still living man's heart, getting you a massive infamy penalty. The only others options are to either force the gate (which requires a near maxed out strength stat), or fight That One Boss.
    • Alternately, you can take the heart, not eat it, and try to force the gate. This will weaken the aforementioned boss significantly without the negative effects of eating the heart, which include contracting Porphyric Hemophilia (the disease that turns you into a vampire) and Cannibal's Prion. Additionally, if you keep the heart, you can make a potion that turns you into a vampire with maxed Alchemy.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Oddly enough, the Nine Divines, considering how previous games depicted the religion (particularly in Daggerfall) as very polytheistic Greco-Roman religion.
    • This was also hit the hardest with the Nibenese-Cyrodiil (The Imperials who live in the east), in a very bizzare form of cultural Flanderization. Previously, the Nibenese where described as an esoteric and philosophizing, with elaborate customs and devote to various religions, cults, and ancestor worship. By the time of Oblivion though, they were described as simply chapel-going and doing religious services on Sundays, complementing the now christianity-based worshipping of Nine Divines.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Oblivion is set in a predominantly European Fantasy Counterpart Culture. However, Cloud Ruler Temple is a Buddhist temple outside, complete with upturned roof corners. Inside, we're back in fantasy Europe. This is pointed out and explained in game: at one time, the empire was ruled by a series of Akaviri (Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan) stewards after a failed invasion on their part (long story). The Blades were formed, and Cloud Ruler Temple built, during this time, hence the Akaviri influences on their armor, weapons and architecture.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Vampirism.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: This can be seen a lot in outdoor areas.
  • Cute But Psycho: Cutter, the blacksmith in Dementia is definitely cute, but tells you she tests the weapons she makes on herself, and relishes the though of you using them on others.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: At several points in the game, the script forces your character to freeze while you have to watch an enemy character butcher a friendly NPC.
  • Damsel in Distress: A few, but most prominently Dar-Ma in A Shadow Over Hackdirt.
  • Darkest Hour: Once you're far enough into the main quest, not only to members of the Mythic Dawn start openly attacking people in the city streets, but Oblivion Gates open right outside each major city.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Dark Seducers in Shivering Isles are generally friendlier than their counterparts, the Golden Saints.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Vampires can day-walk if they are well-fed, but burn otherwise.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Prophet from Knights of The Nine, believe it or not.
    Player: Yes, I am the hero of Kvatch.
    Prophet: Well then, "Hail, Hero of Kvatch!" Let me add one more voice to the neverending chorus of praise. I'm sure one of your many devotees will able to guide you on your way to find the Crusader's Relics.
    • This lovely dialogue option sadly does not appear due to a bug (but there are bugfix mods for the PC, thank goodness):
      Player: Yes, I am the Arena Grand Champion.
      Prophet: Oh my, the Grand Champion of all of Cyrodiil! By Azura indeed! Surely there can be no better preparation for becoming a holy knight than a career spent slaughtering for the public's entertainment.
    • Haskill, Chamberlain of Lord Sheogorath the Prince of Madness. "What a surprise. I'm summoned. Your skill in repetition is truly astounding."
    • Kathutet, the Dremora guarding the entrance to the Forbidden Grotto, is this in contrast to the rest of the Dremora you encounter in the game.
  • Dead Star Walking: Patrick Stewart as the doomed Emperor. There's even a mod that replaces Uriel Septim's head with Stewart's.
  • Defeat Means Respect: Your characters' role in the Battle of Kvatch earns them respect from the Dremora who were besieging the town.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The climax of Shivering Isles pits you against Jyggalag, the Deadric Prince of Order.
  • Disc One Nuke: One of the common complaints is that level scaling produces a lack of these (and Beef Gate), though some can still be found. OOO, as a result of removing level scaling, has many more, particularly if you understand the lock picking minigame enough to open very hard chests and steal them.
    • It's relatively minor, but in the tutorial dungeon, after Blades Captain Renault is killed by some Mythic Dawn assassins, you can loot her body for her personal sword, a steel Akaviri katana. While by no means an incredibly impressive weapon, it's still an extremely good weapon for a level one character and can make mincemeat out of pretty much all the enemies in the dungeon, and could serve you well for the first few levels (and is also better than the other weapon she was holding, a steel short sword). Except that after the Emperor's death, when you talk to Baurus, he will thank you for keeping the sword and take it from you so it can be returned to Cloud Ruler Temple. And no, you can't just drop it before Baurus talks to you, because once the conversation is over, the sword simply disappears, meaning there really is no way to hold onto it.
  • Doomed Hometown: Martin's hometown of Kvatch is destroyed by Daedra at the beginning of the main quest. Unusual because it's not the player character with the Doomed Hometown.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Thieves love to attempt to steal things from Nocturnal, the daedric goddess of the night (and therefore, a crucial part of their jobs), Two thieves suceed, and the player recovers the artifact, the Grey Fox exists because of this, and one in a book has a fate that's not elaborated on when she gets caught past being consumed by an angry Nocturnal's shadows.
  • Drop the Hammer
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: The Necromancers.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: Between the mortal realm and the realm of Oblivion.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Even if you're already the Champion of Cyrodiil, the guilds will still make you do petty tasks before they let you advance. And highwaymen will still try to rob you. And nearly every boss-type character you defeat will use his last words to tell you what an unworthy opponent you are.
    • It's even worse when you've beaten the Shivering Isles and become the new Sheogorath. Everyone and their mother still treats you the same in Cyrodiil and in Oblivion, including certain types who should know what you are now. Mankar Cameron especially should know, and if not him, certainly the Dremora. However, this would have required much more extra dialog recording and time to implement and would have heavily altered much of the game as a result, which no doubt would have pushed the expansion beyond the deadline.
    • Voranil. In the words of the UESP Wiki: He throws the best parties every weekend, and anybody who's anybody in the city goes there. Unfortunately, that doesn't include you, and it never will. It doesn't matter if you're the Grand Champion of the Arena, the Arch-Mage of the Mages Guild, and head of every other faction in the game. It doesn't matter if you own the nicest, most beautifully-furnished house in the city, or in Cyrodiil for that matter.
  • Dummied Out: The Lock spell, mainly so as to not break NPC's scripts and such.
    • A city, Sutch, appeared in early versions of the game's map, but does not appear in the actual game. Fort Sutch, the unmarked "Attack on Fort Sutch" quest, and a handful of leftover text are all that remain of it in the released game. It would have been located just north-west of Kvatch, and likely would have contained the Chapel of Kynareth, which is also absent in the game.
      • But as with much anything, there's a mod that adds Sutch into the game as it was originally planned.
  • Dungeon Bypass: In many forts and Ayleid ruins, the final door, after the boss mob and reward chest, leads to a ledge overlooking the entrance, so that you can jump down and leave immediately rather than have to backtrack through an empty dungeon. With sufficient Acrobatics skill (it can be fortified over 200 if necessary), you can jump up to the ledge and work backwards, surprising the boss from behind, and immediately claiming the most lucrative loot.
    • A different but significantly easier one is at Fort Farragut, a.k.a. where Lucien Lachance makes his hideout. Don't want to hack through all those skeletons? Just go to the big, hollow tree on the northeastern side of the fort to drop straight down on top of Lucien himself.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Most aren't given any background story, but several character's pasts are implied to be this. Most notably with members of the Dark Brotherhood (which is fitting because it explains how they became psychopaths to begin with).
    • Skingrad. The blacksmith's an alcoholic, the town trader's in a loveless common-law marriage with his maid, one alchemist's a necrophiliac, the other hasn't been outside for years, and there's a paranoid wood elf convinced that half the city's population is trying to kill him. Then there's the Count and his right-hand man... Yet despite everything, Skingrad is noted as being one of the most prosperous counties in Cyrodiil.

    E-N 
  • Easing Into the Adventure: The point of the tutorial dungeon.
  • Element Number Five: An alchemist in Shivering Isles theorizes that each of the four classical elements corresponds to a part of the body (fire is meat, earth is bone, water is blood and air is breath), and that these elements when brought together, along with the fifth: light, create the sixth element, Flesh.
  • Emo: Dementia blacksmith Cutter from Shivering Isles almost plays this straight. She's halfway between emo and psycho, with serious self-esteem issues and a self-cutting habit, but she also seems to like wounding others and tests all her weapons "personally". There's always fresh blood on her work floor.
  • Empty Levels: Leveling up in a manner that is remotely intuitive - say, by choosing your main skills as those you expect to use often and leveling up when you have the option on the assumption that gaining a level will make you stronger - will result in a character's abilities increasing minutely while the enemies around you transform from annoyances to nightmares. Many people just bypass the whole aggravating "leveling up" process by never sleeping.
  • End of an Age: The end of the Cyrodillic Empire to be exact. The Septim bloodline is gone and the empire itself in a weakened state. NP Cs in the game already talk about the High Elves planning to go against the empire and, after finishing the main quest, some of the provinces plan on seceding. Turns out that in Skyrim, the High Elves formed their own Empire, slowly picking away territory. And, like the NPC's said, 2 of the other provinces did indeed secede. By the time Skyrim's story starts, the Empire is only a shadow of its former self.
  • Enemy Chatter: Nothing special, but occasionally if you're quiet and just stand around and listen, you will hear enemy NPC's talking amongst themselves (Necromancers, bandits, marauders, vampires, guards, etc).
  • Escort Mission: A few, but by far the most annoying one is the quest The Wayward Knight. Farwil Indarys, your escortee and complete Leeroy, will run into battle against enemies far stronger than he, and even worse will completely ignore environmental dangers. He'll even follow enemies off cliffs!
    • The higher your level, the worse these become, to the point of Fake Difficulty. While monsters will level, and even get replaced by classes of newer and more powerful monsters, the people you escort... don't.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Dark Brotherhood might kill almost anyone, but even they seem to draw the line at the thought of killing the Emperor himself... though this might be because his death is actually quite bad as far as keeping the barriers to Oblivion in place.
    • Even Insanity Has Standards: In the Shivering Isles, addiction to a poisonous drug and Cold-Blooded Torture are perfectly fine, but the duke of Mania and duchess of Dementia having an affair? Unthinkable!
    • Some horrible person did the unspeakable crime of growing a beard. He was executed for his heinous crime.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep:
    • The Prophet in Knights of the Nine.
    • The Stranger in Anvil.
      • Justified due to the fact that he's the Gray Fox and the curse of the cowl he wears strikes the wearer's identity from history. In fact he even tells you his name a few times but thanks to the curse you still only know him as a stranger.
    • The Adoring Fan.
    • The player character is referred to in various ways, usually related to their prior accomplishments (Grand Champion of the Arena, Hero of Kvatch, Champion of Cyrodiil, etc.). When fighting in the Arena proper, they are allowed to select a nickname, though.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Dementia blacksmith Cutter will become a bit flirty with your character upon becoming Sheogorath, regardless of gender.
  • Everything Fades: Without mods or using console cheats, as long as you don't leave the area corpses never disappear; even if you do leave, it takes three in-game days for the cell to reset. Can be rather troublesome since the developers didn't give the ability to remove corpses like they did in Morrowind.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Order of the Black Worm, to Necromancy in general. The Blackwood Company is essentially what the Fighters Guild would be like if they didn't have a shred of morality or decency.
  • Evil Weapon: Dawn/Duskfang, which grows in power for every 12 enemies it kills, although this has to be done every day and night and only affects it after dawn or dusk, hence the name.
    • This weapon is actually four weapons in one, two of which are upgraded or "superior" versions of the "base weapons" (Dawnfang and Duskfang). The sword "morphs" into a form appropriate for the current time of day, and if you've slaughtered enough enemies before that point, it will morph into the superior version of its counterpart. For example, Dawnfang will morph into Superior Duskfang at night.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: There's a shop called Rindir's Staffs. It's owned by Rindir. He sells magical staffs. Imagine that.
  • Face-Heel Turn: As the plot of Shivering Isles progresses, several citizens defect to the Forces of Order, including one of the two Dukes of Madness. Schrödinger's Gun: You implicitly pick which duke or duchess defects. Whether you assassinate the Duke of Mania or the Duchess of Dementia, the other, surviving ruler will defect.
  • Faceless Goons: Dremora, Aurorans, and Knights of Order tend to wear face-concealing helmets.
  • Fake Difficulty: Dependent on the difficulty you're playing on.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Raynil Dralas, who killed his old adventuring partners for a magical amulet and covered it up by planting evidence suggesting they were vampires.
  • False Innocence Trick: In one quest you can buy a house, only to find that it's haunted. Investigation reveals the corpse of a lich (imprisoned for being evil) who claims he's turned good after having time to reflect on his crimes. Unfortunately Stupidity Is the Only Option if you want to complete the quest.
  • Fan Disservice: The Goblin Shamans show way too much veiny cleavage than is necessary.
  • Fantastic Racism: There actually isn't too much of this in Cyrodiil; it's a very racially diverse place and most folks are very accepting. Although you do get the occasional negative comment directed towards your character's race. The bottom of this page shows that character's base disposition towards you is partly based upon what race you play. Everyone hates the poor Dunmer and the poor Orcs.
    • Countess Alessia Caro despises the beast races. Her speech towards you if you play a Khajit or Argonian barely even tries to disguise this. She also has a secret Torture Cellar made specifically for Argonians. Which makes it so much fun to kill her over and over again.
    • One minor NPC has a hobby of fostering discord between Argonians and Khajit. If you talk to him and you happen to belong to one of those two races, he'll tell you a member of the other race insulted you behind your back.
    • Interesting variation in the quest Whodunit, where you're locked in a mansion with five people of various races you have to kill them, including a Breton, a Nord, a Redguard, a Dark Elf, and an Imperial. The Breton is racist against the Dark Elf, but the most extreme racism is displayed by the Redguard towards the Nord; which is to say that the worst hatred isn't between the fantasy races, but between the humans.
    • The town of Leyawiin is actually quite racist between the Khajits and Argonians, who will actually tell racist jokes about each other. This makes sense, since the town lies directly between the borders of the respective races' homelands.
    • The first character you meet in the game, Valen Dreth, has a different set of insults for you depending on the race you've chosen.
      • In other words he's basically racist against everyone. So it's probably not surprising that someone put a hit on him.
      • Even if you're a dark elf like him, he either promises to sleep with your wife (if you're male) or propositions you (if you're female). So the racism probably comes from just being a Jerkass.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Elder Scrolls loves this trope.
    • The Nords are the obvious example. They're inspired by the Scandinavian peoples of northern Europe.
    • The Redguards are Africans.
      • Their Proud Warrior Race status and physical appearance were probably original inspired by the Masai, but the way their culture interacts with the Empire resembles the Sikhs' relationship with 19th-century imperial Britain.
    • The Imperials are mostly based on Romans (They have an Emperor, their armies are organised into Legions, their capital has a gladiator arena etc.).
    • Bretons are French/Celts.
    • Although we never see Akavir, it's apparently based on China and Japan.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Imps, unicorns, spirits, demons, vampires...
    • Cyrodiil itself is primarily medieval Europe, owing a lot to Arthurian legend. The Empire and the Imperial Legion mix together the ancient Roman Empire with kings and knights. Asian influences exist thanks to the Akaviri. However, many of the towns and cities better resemble the Americas from the early colonial period to the 1800s, with cobblestone paved streets and raised sidewalks. Clothing also heavily mixes ancient and modern styles, from medieval clothing to things that may have been worn in the 1700s.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: The act of resting allows the player to skip any amount of hours in-game.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Relmyna's experiments, whom she kills over and over to get her methods just right. She does bring "the worthy ones" back to life for good at the end, but how traumatized must they be?
    • Camoran's Paradise, where his followers are killed by daedra, reborn, and killed again.
  • Fetch Quest: there aren't too many of these, thankfully. However, the Cheydinhal Mages' Guild quest is rather an egregious example: you are sent to retrieve something from a well just outside the building. When you return, less than a minute later, you are informed that a heated argument took place and the guild leader abandoned his post. (It Makes Sense in Context, though.)
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Mehrunes Dagon's realm of Oblivion, the Deadlands, is this in all but name.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Zigzagged with Else God-Hater in Skingrad. Her involvement with the Mythic Dawn might make this seem like a subversion, but she does mention that she has no trouble believing the Daedric Princes exist, on the grounds that "they do things. Bad things, mostly, but things you can see." Yet she isn't convinced by the actions of the Nine Divines despite the consistent and measurable magical effects caused by praying at altars.
  • Foreboding Architecture: See that giant black tower in the distance, with spikes sticking out of the top? Oh yes. You just know that whatever is in there, it will want to kill you on sight.
    • See that smaller tower right next to you? It wants to kill you too. And it doesn't care if it sees you.
  • Foreshadowing: Some people will talk about unrest in Summerset about an Aldmeri uprising. Skyrim expands on this with the Aldmeri Dominion.
    • Don't forget Umbacano, who was going to gain the power of an ancient Ayleid king, solely to restore his own kind to power and subjugate everyone else... all while getting you to do all the hard work for him! It was already hinted at pretty strongly that a few Altmer wanted the old ways back.
    • There is a piece of rather heavy foreshadowing that is possible to miss during the Dark Brotherhood Questline. If you unlock a barrel in J'Ghasta's house, you will find a set of Black Hand robes and a copy of The Five Tenets. This is an early indicator that you are being set up to kill the members of the Black Hand.
  • Forest Ranger: The Imperial Legion has rangers roaming through the woods. Also, apparently the Bosmer are really good at this sorta thing.
  • Forged Letter: In the Thieves Guild questline, the you are tasked to forge a letter of recommendation, in order to get rid of the troublesome Watch Captain.
  • Free-Love Future: The Khajiit bandits, the Renrijra Krin, want this kind of future.
    "Life is short. If you have not made love recently, please, put down this book, and take care of that with all haste. Find a wanton lass or a frisky lad, or several, in whatever combination your wise loins direct, and do not under any circumstances play hard to get. Our struggle against the colossal forces of oppression can wait.
    "Good. Welcome back."
  • Fresh Clue: Upon finding a corpse, guards will sometimes say "the body's still warm... The murderer cannot be far away." They will do this even when they are the one who killed the victim, or when you killed him in front of them.
  • Freudian Excuse: Bellamont, the assassin who betrays the Dark Brotherhood has one in the form of his dead mother. It's a bit more justified than most Freudian excuses simply because it was, in fact, the Dark Brotherhood who killed his mother.
  • Game Mod: Enough of them to build several whole new games. In fact, several mods are there for just that purpose. Sadly, Sturgeon's Law is in effect for many of them.
    • Nehrim: At Fate’s Edge by SureAI is one of the better ones, expansive enough to warrant its own page here.
    • Some of the more renowned mods include Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul (removes leveled enemies in favor of hand placed, as well as other tweaks), Deadly Reflex (A complex combat overhaul), Martigan's Monster Mod (adds literally hundreds of new monsters, many of which are hand made) and The Lost Spires (Lengthy quest mod with a complex story about the ancient history of Tamriel).
    • Oblivion XP replaces the skill leveling system with more traditional experience points(earned by killing monsters, completing quests, discovering locations, etc), and eliminates increasing attributes based on skills in favor of simply allocating points at every level however the player sees fit.
    • The most recent major mod is Knights Of The Nine: Revelation, which serves as a sequel to the original KOTN, building hevaily on more. You will eventually be sent back to the first era to assist in the fall of White Gold Tower, meeting St. Allesia and Pelinal Whitestrake. And, if just to add more fuel to the guessing, you get to chat with the severed head of Pelinal Whitestrake... as if Sheogorath's "a severed head" line in Skyrim didn't need even more fuel to confuse matters...
    • Don't forget Kvatch Rebuilt, which sees the burnt town restored and, well, rebuilt. Trade And Commerce lets the player own a shop to sell goods through rather than having to sell everything to stores. Then there are mods which completely rewrite lore, such as A Path Of Dawn which lets the player join the Mythic Dawn, and many, many mods which expand on the Dark Brotherhood. Player homes, armor display mannequins, weapons and armor and even tweaks to the crime system, merchant system... beautification mods, mods to make the game run better on lower-end systems, level uncappers... if you can ask for it, there's a good chance a mod exists for it.
    • Morroblivion which successfully converted the entire Morrowind game to the Oblivion. They've just started Skywind which will again update Morrowind to Skyrim.
    • Integration: The Stranded Light, a sprawling quest mod larger than all the DLCs combined, involving helping guild full of friendly (and not so friendly) daedra, Khajiit sufferage, stamping out (or aiding) the notorious Renrijra Krin, building a mushroom city, and a romance with a daedra seducer, just to scratch the very surface.
  • Game Over: If the timer runs out on the giant daedric siege machine bearing down on Bruma, the game just has you reload. This is unusual, as most events like this in a Bethesda game would allow Bruma to be destroyed, like how you can destroy Megaton in Fallout 3.
  • Gate Guardian: The Gatekeeper in the expansion The Shivering Isles is a giant monster created by Relmyna Verenim out of the flesh of the dead to guard the exit from the Fringe out into the rest of the Shivering Isles. The player kills it to gain access to the rest of the realm, but is later tasked by Sheogorath to create a new Gatekeeper with Relmyna's help.
  • Genre Savvy: During "An Unexpected Voyage", if you convince Selene that you know a lot about her operation and tell her that you killed her compatriots, she'll see that she's outmatched and surrender peacefully.
  • Get Into Jail Free: A sidequest involves getting yourself imprisoned to gain the trust of an inmate, who you are told has hidden a stash of treasure somewhere.
  • Giant Mook: The Xivilai, massive daedra who wield battle axes and warhammers in one hand.
    • The Knights of the Nine expansion also adds Aurorans, humanoid Daedra associated with Meridia, that wear golden armor and feature the same hulking body structure as the Xivilai. They act as Umaril's personal army of Smash Mooks, and wield Ayleid Battle-Axes in combat.
  • Gladiator Subquest: The Arena.
  • Godiva Hair: The mermaid statue in Anvil.
  • God Was My Copilot: It's strongly implied in Knights of the Nine that the Prophet is, in fact, Tiber Septim (Talos). He even looks like Uriel and Martin Septim.
  • Gonk: It's evident that the developers tweaked the face generator a little far to produce Kalthar and the inhabitants of Hackdirt.
    • A justified use. (Read H.P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" for details.)
  • Hacking Minigame: The improved lock-picking system. The Speechcraft system as well, raising some interesting existential questions.
  • Hammerspace Police Force
  • The Heavy: Mankar Camoran, despite only being The Dragon, is the villains' main driving force for most of the game.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Eldamil, a Mythic Dawn member in Mankar Camoran's Paradise who helps the player out of regret over his role in the emperor's assassination and the siege of Kvatch.
  • Hellgate: The Oblivon Gates.
  • Hero Antagonist: Naturally, there are a few of these in the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood quest lines.
  • Heroic Bastard: Martin is the bastard son of dear old Emperor Uriel, which is the reason why the assassins weren't as quick to get to him, so you had time to save his life. Yet despite the fact that almost nobody knew of his existence until now (even he wasn't aware that he was the Emperor's son until you told him), when everyone finds out they immediately kneel before him and treat him with total respect as their Emperor.
    • It probably helps that all the other candidates are dead, and without an Emperor on the throne the world is (literally) going to hell.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Hannibal Traven commits suicide by trapping his own soul inside of the colossal black soul gem, so the player can defeat the King of Worms.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: There's actually nothing stopping you from going out and killing everyone that can be killed, leaving Cyrodill a desolate wasteland populated by a handfull of people before Mehrunes Dagon is even mentioned.
  • Hide Your Children
  • High Fantasy: Very much so.
  • Honey Trap: Like their mythological namesake, the Sirens in Anvil use one. They rob men by flirting with them, getting them to come out to a farmhouse in the middle of the night and take their clothes off, and taking everything they have while they're defenseless.
  • The Horde: Mehrunes Dagon's army of Daedra during the assaults on Bruma and the Imperial City.
  • Horned Humanoid: The Dremora.
  • Horny Devils: The Dark Seducers' name implies this, but it really isn't true. " Seductive" they sure as heck ain't.
  • 100% Heroism Rating: You have to settle for the occasional compliment ("You're the one who closed the demon gate! The Hero of Kvatch!"). Although you get these based on your actions regardless of your fame or infamy. NPCs' disposition towards you also increases as your fame rating increases.
    • Oh, and you do get a statue of your character built (it's essentially a copy of your character model at the time the quest was completed but stone textured).
      • Which is modeled with the most valuable items you have with you when you do this. There is a very nice and thus valuable dagger you get from the Brotherhood, which will take precedence. It just looks silly - full regalia, big armour, giant shield, ramming a 3 inch dagger into the sky...
      • Although, apparently, if you have enough torches in your inventory at the time of completion, your weapon will be on fire!
    • Oblivion tracks fame and infamy separately so you can be greeted heartily when you approach a guard and then be chastised for being a thief when you talk to him.
  • Hungry Weapon: the warrior Umbra holes up in an Ayleid ruin mostly to isolate her sword (also called Umbra) from the souls it lusts for. Of course, you, the bastard that you are, will kill her and take this evil thing for yourself.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The quest "Caught in the Hunt".
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: While you're not able to carry an infinite amount of stuff, you can pack several hundred pounds worth of stuff into an invisible pocket. Each item has a weight value, and based on your Strength stat, you can carry so much stuff(1 point of Strength = 5 pounds of encumbrance). Warriors who raise strength can carry more things(up to 500 pounds with a max 100 strength), and spells/effects such as Feather exist to lighten your load even further. Also, being highly skilled(Expert or Master rank) in either of the Light or Heavy armor attributes decreases the weight of armor you have equipped- at Master skill rank, heavy type armor will weigh nothing when worn. It's possible to actually have more items in your inventory than you can carry, but you will not be able to move, and negative effects such as Burden or Drain/Damage Strength can lower encumbrance. The only visible items in your total inventory are whatever you have equipped at the time.
    • But this largely seems to affect the player only. NPCs usually only carry a limited stock of goods and rarely pick up anything, and even Burden spells are rarely effective to keep them in place.
    • This is taken to extremes due to a bug that effects the Duelists in the Shivering Isles. Each one carries up to several thousand copies of their weapon in inventory with no ill effects, though trying to take all those weapons for yourself(pickpocketing/character death) can either leave you over-encumbered, or glitch the game severely. The Unofficial Patch fixes this.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: The plot that is presented to us at the beginning of the game plays out this trope to a tee. With the Amulet of Kings being the MacGuffin.
  • Idle Animation: If your character is equipped with a one-handed weapon and is standing still, on rare occasion you can see him/her reach for the weapon and check if it's properly attached to their waist.
  • Ignored Confession: During a Dark Brotherhood quest where you are required to kill 5 people in a Closed Circle ala Agatha Christie, you can straight up tell the person who greets you that you are an assassin, sent to kill everyone. She'll laugh, praise your sense of humour, and her disposition will rocket to full.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: The Grey Prince invokes this on himself.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: The final step to being initiated into the Mythic Dawn is to murder a prisoner as as sacrifice to Mehrunes Dagon. If you try to infiltrate them, you'll be presented with an Argonian they've captured. It's up to you if you want to save him and blow your cover, or kill him to keep the ruse.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Both the Paranoia quest in Skingrad and being the Duchess of Dementia's "Grand Inquisitor" in the Shivering Isles.
  • Impossible Item Drop: Sometimes common enemies carry random valuable loot.
  • Impossible Thief: The Dark Brotherhood agent that asks if you want to join will always appear when you rest, even if this rest will take you into a dream world that needs a special amulet to enter.
    • If you're in the Shivering Isles, an entire alternate plane of Oblivon, he'll appear, smile, and say "I HAVE NO GREETING." Good luck joining if you're not on the PC and therefore can't force the quest to advance.
  • Indestructible Edible: Many of the places you visit, from caves to ancient dungeons that have been abandoned for hundreds of years, will have perfectly edible food stashed away in containers. Then again, this is a world that seems to lack any stort of refridgeration or food preservation yet all foods you find will be perfectly fresh, even stuff found on the floor.
  • Infinity–1 Sword: Umbra. Not quite as spectacular as the Plus Ones, but is the best one-handed weapon in terms of damage and can Soul Trap, and you can get it even if you're fresh out of the tutorial... of course, killing Umbra to get her sword and gear will be nigh impossible unless you're well prepared.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Several, as befits the series. Some examples:
    • Umaril's Sword: A ridiculously powerful two-handed sword that can be looted from the final boss of Knights Of the Nine. twice, if you're fast enough.
    • And, of course, the trademark Daedra Prince Artifacts (Azura's Star, Wabbajack, etc) are available upon completing their Prince's quest.
  • Informed Ability:
    • The main quest contains many claims the empire is in chaos with the Emperor's assassination. The game fails to show any actual chaos outside of Kvatch.
    • An advertisement for the Red Diamond says it has the best guards, but it in fact has no guards. In fact, it's one of the easiest and most profitable places to rob, as it's the only store with inventory of any value that respawns (due to being in containers that are easily opened with the easily stolen key).
  • I Owe You My Life: Seed-Neeus and Dar-Ma, the General Trader in Chorrol and her daughter, respectively, both say this after you save Dar-Ma from the Lovecraft-esque town of Hackdirt. It even comes with maxed out disposition in both women, some free Merchantile training from Seed-Neeus, and Dar-Ma will occasionally welcome you with "My hero!" if you talk to her afterwards.
  • Ironic Echo: "You're going to die in here!" and "All of Tamreil will know my name"elaborate .
  • Irony:
    • It is revealed that Gaiden Shinji, whose "The best techniques are passed down by the survivors." quote started Arena, was not a survivor. People still think he's amazing though.
    • During A Shadow Over Hackdirt, the villagers plan to sacrifice Seed-Neeus' daughter, Dar-Ma, an Argonian. Given the story that inspired the quest, and the fact that the Argonians are a mix between Lizard Folk and Fish People, someone on the writing team had a sense of humour.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Lord Lovidicus, an Imperial nobleman, and Luktuv gro-Malog, an Orsimer (aka Orc) woman.
    • A few others if you count the human/ Bosmer couple in Anvil and the Fo'c'sle.
    "I reserve my beds for seamen."
  • Jerkass:
    • Valen Dreth, the prisoner in the Imperial dungeons you meet in the prologue. No matter what race or gender you are, Dreth will mock and insult you and assure you're going to end your days in prison. When you return to the prison, he can also be heard hurling ineffectual insults at the guards.
    • Glenroy the Blade, also met in the prologue. He's very distrustful and rude of the player and at one point suggests killing you just in case you are working with the assassins.
    • Alval Uvani, who brushes off every attempt to speak with him by saying: "I have no time for your pathetic attempts at small talk. Now walk away, before I get nasty!"
    • The entire skooma-dealing Orum gang in Cheydinhal save for Borba.
    • M'raaj-Dar, the Khajiit merchant in the Cheydinhal Dark Brotherhood sanctuary is extremely rude and hostile torwards the player... but he apologizes torwards you just in time for the mission that demands that you kill him.
    • Voranil, as mentioned under Dude, Where's My Respect?. Cheydinhal seems to attract these guys.
    • Mazoga the Orc, at least when you first meet her. She takes an exceptionally rude and peremptory manner with you and Weebam-Na, and insists that you address her with her self-given style of "Sir Mazoga".
    • The Yellow Team Champion from the Arena, who seems to delight in coming up with a new insult everytime you advance in rank. Later, she seems determined to be the one to personally kill you.
  • Jerkass Gods: A few of the Daedra Lords, namely Mehrunes Dagon, Boethiah, Jyggalag, and Molag Bal. However, not all of them: most of them are just really weird rather than evil, and some like Azura and Meridia actually seem nice.
  • Karmic Death: In one ending of the Umbacano questline, Umbacano is killed by the evil Ayleid powers he sought to control. In the other, you kill him.
  • Kill 'em All: There are lots of scripted NPC deaths in the game. Let's leave it at that.
    • Played straight in the Who Dun It quest.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Optional for the player, but not profitable unless you either a.) join the Thieves Guild, b) have the Thieves' Den DLC installed and have bought yourself the fence at Dunbarrow Cove, or c.) use stolen ingredients to manufacture potions.
  • Knight Templar: Jyggalag and his Forces of Order.
  • In-Game Novel: Tons. Most of them aren't full length novels, but some are.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Defaults to "one ingame hour is equivalent to two real life minutes". Can be changed with console commands in PC version.
  • Irrelevant Importance: Once you get your hands on them, quest items are eternally stuck in your inventory. The game will never ever let you dump quest items. Even if they've already served their purpose and the said quest has been completed.
    • But considering that quest items typically have a weight value of 0, it's not really a big deal anyway
    • This isn't always true. Most quest items have their quest flag turned off (allowing them to be dropped and also giving them weight) when they are no longer vital to their relevant quest, but occasionally the scripting isn't set properly. One or two items that aren't ever vital to a quest are incorrectly set with the flag, making them undroppable and weightless as soon as they're given.
  • It's Up to You: Yes, that's right, player. The Emperor even said so himself. You alone must figure out how to stop an army of demons and batshit insane mortals from destroying the world.
  • Lady Land: The Shivering Isles' Daedric population is almost entirely female. Male Aureal/Mazken are a rare sight.
    • Inverted with the Deadlands' population of Dremora, which are almost exclusively male, with only a few females existing anywhere (they are found as archers of the Markynaz rank) in the entire game.
  • Large Ham:
    • Sheogorath is quite a captivating one.
    • Nords and Orcs are whole races of hams.
    • Imperial Guards. You know you're a ham when upon seeing someone swipe a grape, you shout, "Stop right there, criminal scum!"
    • The Arena announcer is made of this trope, although in his line of work it's sort of expected.
    • The male Dremora, in addition to being fierce warriors, are exceptionally hammy when it comes to their various battle-cries. It certainly helps that they're voiced by the same actor as the Imperial males. Averted with the rare female Dremora, which due to an oversight in the game's development, are completely silent. Unsurprisingly, all of the above, except the Nords and Orcs, are voiced by the same actor, Wes Johnson.
  • Late to the Tragedy: When the player arrives at Kvatch and finds the city completely destroyed. And when the player arrives at the Bruma Mage's guildhall and finds almost everyone murdered and the place in ruins.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Pretty much every NPC in the game, but most notably the one in the Mages' Guild quest who tells you to follow him and runs straight into a deathtrap not 30 seconds after meeting.
    • There's also the son of the Count of Cheydinhal, who blindly ran into an Oblivion gate and got most of his men killed.
    • The Bruma Guard in the Main Quest are guilty of this. Why can’t you LIVE? Burd survives only because the game deems him necessary.
    • When fightng in the arena, the best strategy is to stay in the starting area and pick off your enemies with a bow and arrow as they run directly toward you instead of, say, hiding behind one of the many pillars in the arena.
    • Kathutet invokes this on the Player if he/she chooses to fight him for the Bands of the Chosen instead of doing his task.
    Player:"I'll take this key from your corpse."
    Kathutet:"Your mind follows the simple path ... the choice of an animal. You see an enemy and you attack it, unthinking. But you have courage, at least. To slay a bold animal like you is not without glory."
  • Lethal Lava Land: Inside the Oblivion Gates.
  • Let's Play: The Freelance Astronauts took a crack at one, featuring the adventures of dark elf Dongs REO Speedwagon. Thrill as a butterfly-winged assassin bludgeons victims to death with a fish, the main quest is abandoned due to lack of interest, Cyrodiil is plunged into carnage and mayhem unrelated to the Oblivion Crisis, and the game shudders itself apart due to dozens of variable-quality mods.
  • Level Editor: Dear god. With the Construction Set and a bit of imagination, the possibilities are endless.
  • Level Scaling: Oblivion's system has you constantly Min-Maxing just to survive. Needless to say, it's not well liked.
  • Light Is Not Good: Umaril and the Aurorans in Knights of the Nine. Also, Sheogorath's Golden Saints.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Rich merchants and members of the nobility have a choice of about three distinct outfits, which somehow magically take a gender-appropriate form for the wearer.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Some can experience issues with this, particularly on lower-end systems. Especially if one has a lot of mods in their game.
  • Locked Door: Probably the most egregious example is with barrels. Just how do you lock a barrel? And even so, why can't you just take a mace to it?
  • Locked Room Mystery: The quest A Brush With Death is one: the painter Rythe Lythandas entered his study, his wife, possessor of the only extra key, opening the door after he failed to emerge for several days to find him gone... despite the door remaining locked the whole time. As it turns out, he was still in the room.
  • Lockpicking Minigame: You are shown the one to five pins inside the lock (depending on its complexity) and must use your lockpick to push each one up in succession, then try to set it with a button press before it falls down. The speed at which pins fall back varies, and if you're too slow, your pick breaks and some of the already set pins fall (how many depends on your Security skill). Alternatively, you can Auto Attempt to pick the lock, which either opens it or breaks the lockpick instantly, with the success chance determined by your Security skill.
  • Lord British Postulate: Mehrunes Dagon is actually killable, he just has a ridiculous amount of health and regeneration. If you can figure out how to hit over 10000 (see GameBreaker.The Elder Scrolls), you can actually one-hit kill him.
    • Alternatively, use Wabbajack, then wail on the poor Daedric Prince. Cue melting god.
      • By "melting god" the refer to the fact that the Mehrunes Dagon character has no proper death animation programmed, and as a result of dying, the skeleton literally gives way and the 3D character model simply collapses to the ground. This will effectively happen with anything that has no proper skeleton installed, but is quite visible here just because Dagon is so damn BIG.
  • Low-Level Advantage: Many players despise the leveling system used for enemies, firstly since it prevents any real advancement and secondly because it can actually cause a character to become weaker as they level "up". At higher levels, the later effect can cause enemies to become overpowered. The same mechanic can be exploited to become a Game Breaker. note . Thankfully there is a difficulty slider if the game mechanic goes pathalogical.
    • A popular mod, "Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul", replaces this system with objective levels for enemies and loot, making player leveling meaningful.
  • Luck Stat: The Luck attribute.
  • Magic Is Mental
  • MacGuffin: While there are certainly more, the Amulet of kings is the most obvious one.
  • Mad Oracle: Dagail.
  • Mad Scientist: Relmyna Verenim is of the "monster expert" variety.
  • Magical Society: The Mages Guild, of course. The Altmeri society in the Summerset Isles is also said to be this, because the Altmer have a strong association with magic.
  • Magical Accessory: The Amulet of Kings.
  • Magic Wand: Mage staffs.
  • Magitek: The DLC player home Frostcrag Spire is a prime example of this.
    • Also Xedilian, the order-obelesk powered adventure trapper dungeon in the Shivering Isles.
    • Ayleid Ruins and Daedric Realms are rife with Magitek as well.
  • The Magocracy: Pyandonea, the home of the mysterious Maormer (neither of which have been seen in any games to date). Also, Summerset Isle.
  • Malaproper: Lord Rogdumph.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Most prevalent inside of Oblivion Gates, but can also be seen quite a lot inside of Ayleid ruins and forts around Tamriel.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Mehrunes Dagon behind Mankar Camoran. Justified: the former is a god worshipped by the latter, who's trying to shape civilization to the tenets of his religion.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Umbacano, Seridur and Mathieu Bellamont.
  • Meaningful Echo: An oddly effective combination with Welcome to Corneria: " The Emperor is dead, and so are his heirs. We're a Legion without a leader. The Blades were entrusted with our Lord's protection... and they failed." It starts out as a pedestrian bit of atmospheric worldbuilding, but begins sounding more and more like a well-aimed personal accusation in two ways: gradually, and then suddenly.
  • Milkman Conspiracy: All the beggars of Cyrodiil are in collusion with the Thieves Guild.
  • Mirror Match: One of the bosses in Shivering Isles is a shadow clone of your character with all your attributes, skills, and spells.
  • Mole in Charge: The vampire hunter organization The Order of the Virtuous Blood's own leader is a vampire using it to deflect suspicion off of himself.
  • Money Spider: Sometimes generic enemies (rats, mudcrabs, imps, wolves) will be carrying a small amount gold.
  • Monster Closet: Happens in Ayleid Ruins, though this is at least handwaved by the fact that Ayleid ruins are notorious for being booby-trapped.
  • Moral Guardians: There was a huge controversy shortly after the game was released when a nude mod was released that used textures present on the game's DVD. This prompted the ESRB to re-examine the game and re-rate it from T to M, though the nude mod was not the reason for it; they apparently missed some of the prominently displayed burning hanging corpses and other images they deemed "disturbing." Remembering how Take-Two suffered from Hot Coffee, it's surprising they didn't take measures to prevent. note 
  • Mordor: The appropriately named Deadlands, Mehrunes Dagon's realm of Oblivion.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Relmyna Verenim.
  • Morally Unpleasant Overlord - Mehrunes Dagon.
  • Murder, Inc./Professional Killers: the Dark Brotherhood.
  • My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: When you first join the arena, the Blademaster tells your character that his grandma could beat you. And she's dead.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Count Janus Hassildor is pretty much the only vampire that doesn't want to kill you and drink your blood.
    • Kathutet, who you meet in Mankar Camoran's Paradise, is the friendliest (well, the least aggressive) Dremora in the game. In reality, he's just as rude towards mortals as any other Daedra, but he sees the player as a Worthy Opponent for defeating his comrades in the siege of Kvatch, and even agrees to provide you with the means to move on through the related quest, should you agree to do a favor for him. of course, you can just kill him, and carry on like normal.
      • Considering his "favor" involves releasing an Ax-Crazy, insanely brutal Xivilai and letting him butcher countless innocent civilians who had just managed to seal him in the first place, killing him may be the preferred option.
      • "Innocent" may be subjective there though... after all, they ARE Mythic Dawn members, who will often be bragging about killing the Emperor and how they think it's great that Mehrunes Dagon will soon be invading Tamriel. Standing by and listening to their conversations may very well be reason enough to unleash the horrible monster upon them.
  • Mythology Gag: Jiub, the Dunmer who wakes you up on the prison ship at the start of Morrowind and is promptly taken to parts unknown, has been made a saint... for wiping out cliff racers.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast:
    • Mehrunes Dagon, Malacath, Molag Bal...
    • There is a side quest about investigating a gang of women who seduce and rob men. One of them is called Signy Home-Wrecker. The clue is in the name, chaps!
  • Never My Fault: After the Fighters Guild guildmaster's son is murdered, she spends up until the very end of the questline putting the blame entirely on you and Oreyn.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: During roughly the first half of the Fighter's Guild questline, you and another, high ranking guildmate help the Guildmaster's timid son grow in confidence to prepare him for when he inherits the guild. The good news is that it works, the bad news is that he becomes a little too confident, boldly charges into a cave full of trolls, and gets slaughtered when he gets mixed up in a fight between the trolls and a group Blackwood Company mercenaries under the effects of Hist. The Guildmaster is not pleased by this.
    • An earlier quest has another cave full of trolls that will probably get him (and you) knocked out instantly. It's considered a better idea to go into the cave beforehand and kill them one by one first.
    • In the "Where Spirits Have Lease" quest, you end up playing right into the monster of the sidequest's hands. Thankfully, you're able to correct your error immediately afterwards.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the immensely popular mod "The Lost Spires", Kal Rythor could very well have succeeded in summoning Zyyr if he hadn't given his pendant to the PC in exchange for one of the Plot Coupons.
  • No Ending: Aside from the fact you can continue playing after the game is over, the fact that the Uriel Septim line has ended, the game finishes with a major question unresolved. Who will be Emperor?
  • No-Gear Level: Happens during Sanguine's shrine quest, where you cast a spell on the Countess of Leyawiin and her company that causes them all to be stripped naked. It also causes the player to lose their equipment and entire inventory, so you've got to face the guards unarmored and unarmed.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: NPC's that are flagged as essential will only be knocked unconscious if their health is reduced to zero, rather than killed, to prevent the player from making quests Unwinnable.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The lizard people, Argonians.
    • The females of the three Daedric races (Dremora, Golden Saint, and Dark Seducer) and other lesser Daedra (Flame Atronachs, Spider Daedra) have breasts, despite the fact that Daedra cannot produce life.
  • Noodle Implements: At his shrine, Sheogorath asks for an offering of a lesser soul gem, a head of lettuce and some yarn.
  • Noodle Incident: We never find out what exactly happened to Archmage Traven to make him hate necromancy so much.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In-universe literary example: "Vralla, go give your parents a big hug."
  • The Nudifier: In Oblivion, there is a quest for the Daedric Prince Sanguine which requires the Player Character to cast the spell "Stark Reality" at a dinner party. The spell strips everyone in the vicinity to their undergarments. The Ring of Disrobing in Shivering Isles has a similar effect.

    O-Z 
  • Obvious Beta: Despite being an overwhelming success, this game is plagued by many, many, many major bugs, glitches and serious technical problems. Even with an unofficial patch for the unofficial patch on top of the latest official patch, numerous Game Breaking Bugs still persist, which can seriously interfere through normal gameplay, such as the notorious "nVidia black screen bug". Cue Cluster F-Bomb.
  • Obviously Evil: Kalthar. Seriously, he has black, messy rat's nest hair, a near permanent scowl, thick eyebrows, and he's a colossal dick. Oh, and he's a Necromancer.
  • Oh My Gods!: "By the Nines / Nine Divines!"
  • Older Is Better: Ancient Elven and Dwemer gear is better than most modern armors and weapons.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedra and the Mythic Dawn.
  • Omnicidal Neutral: An option for the player.
  • One Time Dungeon: The Painted World area, a dream sequence that can't be returned to, and Mankar Camoran's Paradise. Also, closing an Oblivion gate destroys that instance, although it's possible (and indeed likely) to find an identical map behind another gate, but completing the main quest line permanently closes all the gates, cutting off access to Oblivion entirely.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Umaril's main ability. You have to do this to yourself in order to kill him for good.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: At the end of the Mehrunes' Razor DLC.
  • The Order: The Blades, the Dark Brotherhood, the Thieves' Guild, and the Knights of the Nine from the eponymous DLC.
  • Order Versus Chaos: The theme of the Shivering Isles main quest.
  • Organ Drops: Daedra hearts, imp galls, daedra venin.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Not drinking blood makes a vampire PC stronger, but with more weaknesses (you become more vampiric the longer it has been since you drank blood). Also, you get infected with the vampire virus if bitten by an NPC vampire, but for some reason NPCs don't get infected when you bite them. Cyrodiil vampires are different from Morrowind vampires, as they were from Daggerfall vampires. An in-game book confirms there are regional breeds of vampires.
    • Vicente Valtieri has a severe allergy to garlic, but this trait is unique among vampires. Nonetheless, the "vampires are weakened by garlic" myth still exists in Cyrodiil.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: You can collect their flesh. And you can ''eat'' it. And brew it into a potion to drink.
  • Petting Zoo People: The Khajiits and Argonians.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements: The Divine Crusader equipment set in Knights of the Nine. To use it, you need to go on a long, annoying pilgrimage, and if your Infamy is raised to anything above 1 after you have obtained it, then you must go on said pilgrimage again.
  • Point-and-Click Map: The world map's fast travel option allows you to skip to the end of the journey instead of hoofing it.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Heretics of Cann, a ruin in The Shivering Isles, kidnap people from the marshes and lock them in a dungeon, offering them fine foods, poetry-writing supplies and sensual comfort to prepare them for "The Elaborate Spectacle" (which is described as involving "loving embraces" and "public display of shared pleasure"). Unfortunately, their habit of simply assuming people would naturally think as they do instead of actually explaining their intentions led every single captive to believe that the Spectacle was actually an arena battle to the death. It never ended well.
  • Pressure Plate: You see these a lot in forts and Ayleid ruins.
  • Promotion Not Punishment: The final Fighters' Guild quest has you working with a disgraced former guild-member and single-handedly bringing down the Blackwood Company by assaulting their headquarters. After you report your success to the Guildmaster, she tells you that for your reckless actions, you are to be stripped of your position as her second in command... because she will be stepping down and offering you her title
  • Psycho Serum: Hist.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Malacath. Is not. Popular. At parties!
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Like Daggerfall, Bethesda built the non-quest non-Oblivion dungeons out of existing dungeons pieces and randomly spliced them into a "new" dungeon that gets used for every copies instance of that dungeon. Unlike Daggerfall, you aren't busy getting lost, and the dungeon pieces are are much more distinct looking, making it very noticeable (Indeed, there were a few instance of "leftovers" from quests in some dungeons in early versions). Additionally all spawns and loot are randomly chosen from leveled lists.
    • The terrain is also computer generated through simulated soil erosion. It sounds neat, but it is very noticeably featureless as a result.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: This is what Umaril is supposedly intending to do in Knights of the Nine, although how exactly isn't clear.
  • Ratstomp: Subverted. The first Fighter's Guild mission is entitled "A Rat Problem", but when you talk to the owner of the house you discover that the rats are her pets and that the "problem" is that they keep getting attacked by mountain lions.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Neon green glass armour. That works, sure.
    • The Amber armor from Shivering Isles adds to the hilarity. Now you've got some road-sign yellow armor to go with the neon green.
  • Rare Candy: Hermaeus Mora's ''Oghma Infinium'', and to a lesser extent Sigil Stones.
  • Real Is Brown: Notably averted, but moreso if your system can run with HDR enabled.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mania and Dementia in the Shivering Isles, though it's more like yellow and dark violet.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: When you get close to an Oblivion gate, the sky turns blood red and a thunderstorm rolls in. Provides the page image for this trope.
  • Religion of Evil: Rhe Dark Brotherhood and the Mythic Dawn Cult.
  • Retcon: In previous games and source material, Cyrodiil was described as a much more exotic and unique place than how it was potrayed in Oblivion, with a much more fancier and regal looking Imperial City with waterways much like Venice, singing priest clothed by moths, an esoteric, Chinese/Japanese-inspired culture in Nibenay regions and was overall a Fantasy Counterpart Culture for Roman Empire combined with East Asia. In Oblivion, this was mostly abandonded in favour of traditional Medieval European Fantasy with only dubiously Roman-like elements and the rest was vaguely handwaved as being outdated propaganda. This didn't sit well with some fans.
  • Retirony: Grommok in the Shivering Isles quest Baiting the Trap. Direct quote from his journal - "We're going to head north and explore the area around Niben Bay today. I hope that something else like this turns up on our adventures. Then I'm going to retire!". Depending on the players actions, he either dies or goes insane.
    • Enforced in the Dark Brotherhood quest Permanent Retirement, which requires the player to kill a newly retired Imperial Legion commander who spent his life investigating and interfering with the Dark Brotherhood's 'operations'.
  • Revenue Enhancing Devices: The Horse Armor DLC. Long since made into a meme or a Running Gag, even by Bethesda itself — on April 1, 2009 the price of all Oblivion DLC was halved, except for the Horse Armor DLC, which had its price doubled.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Pulled on Myvryna Arano by Hieronymus Lex in the early Thieves Guild questline; Lex had been using Myvryna to spy on the Guild, but it turns out the Grey Fox had cottoned on to her, so he creates a fake contract to have the player character steal a bust of the late Countess of Cheydinhal Lathasa Indarys from the Chapel Undercroft there. When Lex uses this as an excuse to order a crackdown on the Waterfront, the PC is directed by Methredhel to drop the bust in a cabinet in Myvryna's home and get Lex to check it out. When confronted by this evidence, Lex arrests her on the spot; if she did steal the bust, then she's been playing him, but if she's telling the truth (that the PC standing two feet away watching this is a member of the Thieves Guild and is setting her up), she's still of no use to him, because it means the Grey Fox knows about her. So either way, off to jail she goes.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Anvil's resident Butt Monkey, Norbert Lelles, is the proprietor of a shop whose sign is misspelled to read "Lelles' Quality Mercandise", which draws many amused comments from various NPCs.
  • RPGs Equal Combat
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Outdoors, unless the woods are dense, you are rarely out of sight of one set of ruins or another.
  • Rule 34: Notable in that there's a pack of mods that basically turns the whole game into an unapologetically adult game.
  • Rules of the Game: In the Arena.
  • Run Don't Walk: Most players will find themselves doing this. Because for some reason, no matter how high leveled you are, the PC always walks extremely slowly. Even slower than NPC characters.
  • Saving the World: From an army of apocalyptic demon monsters. You know, the usual.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: Daedric armour.
  • Scenery Porn: Lots and lots of it. Especially in Shivering Isles, whose titular region looks a lot like the more "unusual" areas of Morrowind, but some players even complained about seeing grass and forests everywhere. And it's too bad you can only visit Paradise once ...
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Mehrunes Dagon.
  • Secret Police: The Blades.
  • Secret Test: In the end of the Dark Brotherhood quest the Night Mother reveals she knew Mathieu Bellamont was the traitor before he even knew. Instead of telling the Listener to watch out for him she decided to see if her followers were smart enough to figure it out themselves. Turns out they weren't.
  • Secret Test of Character: During the Knights of the Nine quest chain, you have to talk to the Prophet. He fills you in on some evil that's plaguing the lands, and then talks about recovering some relics. He asks if you're worthy enough to find them, but if you say anything other than "no/not ready", he mocks you and says that you don't need his help in finding them since you're already such an awesome hero. However, if you say you're not ready, he tells you that a humble heart is the first step and allows you to continue the quest chain.
  • Seeking Sanctuary: Each city has a church where you can go and pray and be healed of any afflictions you've picked up. Some also have beds to rest in.
  • Servile Snarker: Haskill.
  • The Siege: Mehrunes Dagon's final assault on the Imperial City in the endgame.
  • Sequel Hook: "When the next Elder Scroll is written, you will be its scribe."
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: You can use magic to summon monsters that would normally try to kill you on sight when encountered, who will fight other monsters for you, even of their own kind. There's also the Frenzy spell.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    You're in Rindir's Staffs. And I'm Rindir. I sell magical staffs. Imagine that.
  • Shipper on Deck: Casta Scribonia from Chorrol ships the proprieter of the Gray Mare and the captain of the guard.
  • Shoplift and Die: Oh yes. Though not as badly done as in Morrowind; normal NPCs don't immediately go apeshit, swarm attack you and try kill you on sight if caught stealing. They do, however, start screaming like morons and any nearby guards will come running. And then if you refuse to pay gold or go to jail, they'll kill you.
    • Each NPC in the game has an assigned "responsibility" value, which determines how strictly they follow the law and also how they will report violations of the law. While Imperial Waterfront inhabitants might steal food and cheer on a fight rather than report it to guards, shopkeepers will call for the guards if you so much as touch something without paying for it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Explaining the literally split personalities in Split, a townsman says, "A Wizard Did It."
    • The luck spell "The Dark One's own luck," is a reference to The Wheel of Time.
    • There is a Dark Brotherhood quest in which you have to join a party with a group of strangers but only to kill all the others off without exposing your real identity, called "Whodunit?"
    • One of the many quests involving the retrieval of an artifact from a ruin is called "Nothing You Canan Possess." You might be able to guess how things play out.
    • The quest called "A Shadow Over Hackdirt", which involves you going into a rundown and very much xenophobic village with suspicious residents who worship something called "The Brethrens" and turns out to make human sacrifices. Heck, you even find a Cthulhu Bible.
    • One of the first Fighter's Guild missions you can get is a shout out, and Lampshade Hanging to the first Fighter's Guild mission you can get in Balmora, in Morrowind. In Morrowind, you're contracted to kill the rats in a woman's basement. In Oblivion, you're contracted to defend them.
    • In Shivering Isles, you can find a chest labeled "The Dark Chest of Wonders," and it contains the Ring of the Oceanborn.
    • Umbra is a black, soul-eating sword whose owner despises herself. Sound familiar?
    • When a gang of thieves take over "The Bloated Float" inn-boat while you're aboard, you have to fight and/or talk your way past all of them. One of the dialogue options is to claim that you're the ship's cook.
    • One wardrobe item that can be found or purchased is a pair of blue suede shoes.
    • In one quest, you have to try and catch a man who's supplying items to merchants by stealing said items from the dead. As part of your proof, you find a book that lists the recently deceased and any items of value they own. One of the names in the list is Oford Gabings - an anagram of Frodo Baggins - and the items listed are ones that he carried in Lord of the Rings: "Travel Cloak with Silver and Green Leaf Fastener", "Enchanted Shortsword with Inlaid Writing", "Leather Bound Travel Journal", and "Gold Ring with Inscription (Cursed?)"
    • During one of the Dark Brotherhood quests, the player must venture to a lighthouse with a basement. There player finds a decapitated head in a state of decay sitting on a plate called "Mother's Head", which is a reference to Friday the 13th Part 2.
    • There is quest called 'Whom Gods Annoy,' whose name refers to a similarly named episode of a certain show.
  • Side Quest: As per Elder Scrolls tradition, there's a hell of a lot of them. In fact, they make up the bulk of the gaming experience.
  • Skybox: Utilized exceptionally well. And the number of mods out there to enhance Oblivion's skies even further is mind blowing.
  • Sniping Mission:
    • The Dark Brotherhood quest where you are ordered to kill Adamus Phillida with a special arrow. Though even if you're standing really far away and are well hidden from view, somehow the guards will always detect you...
      • Disected and explained by fans - the script for the arrow (which immediately kills Philida) doesn't activate until a split second after the arrow hits. Unless you're completely invisible, Philida will recognize he's under attack and will immediately report the crime before he croaks.
    • The Thieves Guild has a quest in which you must stand on a switch in order to open a keyhole on the other end of the room, then fire the key (which has been made into an arrowhead) into the keyhole without stepping off the switch.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Relmyna Verenim. So much.
  • Spell Crafting: The game grants the ability to create custom spells to players who progress to a certain point in the Mages' Guild quest line or purchase the Wizard's Tower Downloadable Content. The player chooses a spell's range (self, touch, or ranged), area of effect (single-target or Splash Damage), duration, and effects, and the game automatically assigns a Magicka cost depending on how powerful the spell is, theoretically maintaining game balance. In practice, it is hilariously easy to design game-breakingly powerful spells by combining synergistic effects such as Weakness to Fire + Fire Damage, or assigning a one-second duration to spells that increase the Persuasion skill (which only works in dialogue, which pauses the game clock). The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind had similar features.
  • Spell Levels: The game had all spells divided into five difficulty levels (Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert, and Master), and you could only learn higher-level spells after raising your skill in the corresponding magical school to a certain level.
  • Spell My Name with an S: It's Mankar CAMORAN, not Cameron! If you're not sure, check the in-game subtitles and character names.
  • Spoiler Title: Several sidequests, including but not limited to the following:
    • One sidequest has Reynald Jemane asking you to find out why someone has been impersonating him. This quest might have been interesting if it hadn't been named "Separated at Birth".
    • Archmage Traven sends you to retrieve a book from Count Janus Hassildor... but he has an ulterior motive. Which probably won't come as a major twist, considering that the quest is named "Ulterior Motives".
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Argonians can breathe underwater. PC's can breathe under water using spells or rings.
  • Stealth Pun: In The Shivering Isles, the first place the player visits on the Isles is called the Fringe, populated by the kind of crazy people you'll expect to meet, making it the "lunatic Fringe".
  • Sticks to the Back: Averted completely with bladed weapons (daggers, shortswords, and longswords), although instead it becomes "sticks to the side", since the scabbard sticks to the character's hip with nothing visibly holding it in place. The same goes with maces and axes. Played completely straight, however, with two handed weapons, bows, and arrow quivers.
  • Stripperiffic: The Huntsman Leather shirt and pants. When equipped to females, becomes nothing but a furry bra and tight revealing pants.
  • Stuck Items: The game won't allow you to drop quest essential items. This is to prevent you from making a quest Unwinnable by losing quest-essential items. Also, said items are weightless. Unfortunately many items will not properly have the "undroppable" tag removed long after they are no longer needed and at least once (Molag Bal's quest) an item that needs to be dropped to complete a quest may get flaged as undroppable. Most of these are unfixed as of the last official patch, requiring fan-made patches to fix (If you are on a console, well, sucks to be you).
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Delphine Jend of the Bravil Mages Guild prides herself on the creation of the "Enemies Explode" spell, and just loves destruction magic in general.
    "I love my work. Fire, frost, shock, poison... Little presents for Kynareth's cute little woodland creatures."
  • Stylish Protection Gear: Glass armor and weapons. Yes, that's right, glass.
    • Although to be fair, in-game lore states that it's not strictly regular glass but volcanic glass and obsidian crafted over a base of regular weapons/armor, making it somewhat more believable.
      • If one can call radioactive green volcanic glass believable. Fortunately, there are mods to change the color.
  • Sundial Waypoint: One of the clues is only seen when the sun shines from a certain angle (at a certain time of day) on a gravestone.
  • Survivor Guilt: Baurus
  • Suspicious Spending: Ulrich Leland lines his pockets with the extortionate fines he imposes on the citizens of Cheydinhal, raising suspicions among his men, who question how a captain's salary can pay for some of the things in his quarters.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Hieronymus Lex - one of the Imperial City's Watch Captains - is the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist to the Gray Fox, leader of the Thieves' Guild in Cyrodiil. In fact, he is one of the only members of the Imperial Watch who even believes the Thieves' Guild exists, and has dedicated himself to becoming a perpetual, overzealous thorn in its side. He mellows considerably after you inform him that he's been reassigned to the city of Anvil... although not without a brief rant about how the Gray Fox must have been behind that, too. He's right.
    • Although for fun, once you get the Gray Fox cowl, you can put it on in front of him and have him sputter in disbelief at finally catching him.
      • So many layers of irony were in that 'reassignment'. On one hand, Lex is now unwittingly working for the Gray Fox. On the other hand, it was the Gray Fox who, after so many years of cat-n-mouse evasion between them, hand-picked him to be his head of security. This actually reveals a huge respect for the man.
  • Taken for Granite: Martin's ultimate fate.
  • Take That: The character M'aiq the Liar is a walking (well, running) take that at The Elder Scrolls' Unpleasable Fanbase and Fable.
  • Take Your Time: With two exceptions, the Daedric invasion of Bruma and tracking down a fake vampire hunter also in Bruma, there's no quest situation that will get any worse if you ignore it entirely. This even includes major battles to defend cities. No, go ahead and play in the Wide Open Sandbox. The Legion of Doom will wait.
  • Team Pet: The Dark Brotherhood Cheydinhal sanctuary has Schemer the rat, the blue team at the Arena has Porkchop the boar, The Anvil branch of the Fighter's Guild has a dog called Mojo, and Anvil's Mage Guild has an imp called Sparky.
  • Tech Demo Game: Despite being released in 2006, the game can still stress out many of the newest computers to this day.
  • Technical Pacifist: You aren't allowed to kill people during Thieves Guild quests, but nothing says they can't die by any means that don't involve you. A good example of this is an early assignment where you need to raid a tomb with a guard. Opening the target grave will result in a ghost spawning, which isn't on the same side as the guard. If done at low levels (or in OOO) the guard won't have magic weapons or offensive spells and will easily die to the ghost.
  • The Computer Is A Lying Bastard: "Higher willpower allows you to defend against magical attacks."
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you go to the Shrine of Sheogorath after completing the Shivering Isles main quest and so becoming Sheogorath, the quest briefing will be by Haskill instead of Sheogorath, and he'll even comment on the eccentricity of worshipping yourself.
    • There's actually unique pieces of dialogue for this quest depending on which quest you are currently engaged in the Shivering Isles. It ranges from Sheogorath pondering why his Champion is outside the realm before he even assigned them to do anything, to scolding the player while his Realm is in danger from the Forces of Order. Of course he decides there's always a bit of time for some fun anyway.
      "This hardly seems the time to summon me. Not when Order is busy invading My Realm. You mortals are just a hoot. I hate hoots."
    • In one of the Thieves Guild quests, your contact (a Khajit) sends you to find a member of the Guild that's gone missing. When you return and tell her that he's dead, she responds by flattening her ears in distress, just like a cat!
  • The Emperor: A benevolent one. And he's played by Patrick Stewart.
  • The Empire: The Imperial Guards appear to be power-hungry and corrupt. The best example of this is the Thieves Guild quests, since rather than being evil you're a Robin Hood type, and are constantly at odds with Heironymus Lex and other Guards.
  • The Undead: Zombies. Animate skeletons. Ghosts that shriek like bats out of hell, wraiths and liches.
  • This Is the Part Where...: You fall down and bleeeeeed to death!
  • Single-Use Shield: The Boots of Springheel Jak will prevent you from dying at the end one very, very long fall but are destroyed upon landing. Various exploits exist to survive said fall and still keep the Boots.
  • Stable Time Loop: According to the game mod Knights Of The Nine Revelations, the prophet wasn't waiting for a random hero of a noble heart to take up the quest... he was waiting specifically for YOU to come along, because you had traveled back to the first era and met more than a few people, who knew you were from the future. And that statue of the divine crusader you come across in a hidden chamber of an old ruin? That's your petrified body, waiting to awaken in the modern day because they had no other way to get you home.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Here's a Glarthir one. There's one with the Imperial Guards.
  • Timed Mission: The Great Gate outside Bruma during the main quest. To a lesser extent, the resolution to the side quest 'A Brotherhood Betrayed'(you only have a day to bring Raynil Dralas down after finding out the truth about him, or else he makes his getaway with what would have been your reward).
  • Top-Down View: You can achieve this in free camera mode.
  • Torture Technician: Relmyna again.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Cheydinhal, the place where the Dark Brotherhood's base of operations is. But of course, the Count and many others deny it. There is also Hackdirt.
  • Translation Trainwreck: The German translation suffered from multitude of shortcomings, among them: unwieldy, misleading or incorrect item and spell names and descriptions. Even quest texts had errors. There was bad dialogue, fragements of the english orginal, widely different subtitles and so on. Neither the reviewing press nor the German fans were pleased. The latter rectified many issues with mods.
  • Troll: Sheogorath, obviously. Unlike the other Daedric princes who either have their preferred niche roles or see mortals as beneath them, Sheogorath prefers to mess with people directly, to either drive them mad or just be a total jerkwad. Most Daedra may have made an artifact that cursed people into evil; he makes a staff that forces four harmless but annoying Scamps to follow a person around. He also helps bring about the end times prophecy of a small village, just because he thinks the village is dull and because they have such a prophecy.
    • Sanguine is also this, but to a much lesser degree than Sheogorath. Sanguine seems to prefer harmless fun and partying hard over death, evil, or insanity. He's basically the God of Frat Boys.
    • Clavicus Vile may also be one, but it's accidental and incidental to his actual goals.
  • Underground Level: Lots of them.
  • Unfortunate Name: Uuras the Shepherd, has been tirelessly mocked by fans as to the way the voice actor pronounces the name "your-ass".
  • Un-Person: Putting on the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal makes the wearer one. To clarify, the cowl actually removes all traces of the wearer from the memory of reality itself. In other words, reality freaking forgets that you exist once you put in on.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Die, fetcher!" "Filthy s'wit!"
  • Unwitting Pawn: The player himself, in the Dark Brotherhood quest line.
  • Vendor Trash: Copious amounts of it.
  • Vicious Cycle: The Greymarch. Also, the fate of the Ascended Immortals in Kamoran's Savage Garden/Forbidden Grotto.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Depending on how attached you become to some of the NPCs, you may reload certain battles multiple times to ensure that they survive past the time they're flagged as no longer essential, up to and including the ending.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The game allows you to kill any non-essential characters in the game (although this may result in you failing quests that you haven't even started), and essential characters can just be knocked unconcious over and over again.
    • The sheer amount of videos on YouTube about killing certain people (or yourself) in Oblivion is astounding, but admit it, starting random rampages and mercilessly massacring the guards and citizens of Cyrodiil is fun.
      • Number one on the list of favorite targets is the Adoring Fan, who, if killed, will respawn three days later and reappear at your side, torch in hand and smile on face. The amount of videos of killing him in various manners (including that perennial favorite, death by Dive Rock) is mind-boggling to non-fans who don't fully grasp the relationship between players of Oblivion and the Adoring Fan.
    • When you talk to the heart-broken fisherman outside Imperial City you have two options: you help him fish, or you laugh hard at his misfortune.
    • The Wiki notes some strategies for increasing combat skills, including "Use your horse for target practice. If you have obtained Shadowmere, she is unkillable."
    • The game's own tips suggest killing your own summoned creatures to trap their souls for enchanting.
    • In the "Shivering Isles" add-on, the paranoid duchess of a city gives you the task to uncover a conspiracy against her, bestows the title of "Grand Inquisitor" upon you, and lends you her torturer. Then you can either take a direct route to find the conspirators... or let your tourturer zap annoying NPCs.
    • In the Vile Lair DLC, you can buy the Cattle Cell, which contains an unwakable, unkillable prisoner meant as a food source for those who become vampires, but is more useful for target practice.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kalthar in the Mages Guild questline.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Oh so much.
  • Vulnerable Civilians: Besides the usual fact that most NPCs are killable by the player, the game's artificial life system means that many characters (especially those who live in small settlements or commute outside the city walls) can be attacked and killed by random wandering monsters, or even in rare extreme cases starve to death or pick fights with each other.
  • Warp Whistle: You can "Fast Travel" to any of the cities, and most other important locations.
  • The War Sequence: Mehrunes Dagon's assault on the Imperial City at the end of the main quest.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: One Dark Brotherhood quest requires you to assassinate a man who's allergic to honey; your handler suggests tricking him into drinking a bottle of mead, which paralyzes him, making him easier to kill.
  • Weaponized Offspring: The Daedra Spiders send little mini-versions of themselves to attack and paralyze you.
  • Wham Episode: Through the last three games, the Emperor has been the Big Good who the player has been doing all the missions for. In this one? He dies. At the end of the tutorial mission.
  • Wham Line: Mankar Camoran's monologue to the player: "The Principalities have sparkled as gems in the black reaches of Oblivion since the First Morning. Many are their names and the names of their masters: the Coldharbour of Meridia, Peryite's Quagmire, the ten Moonshadows of Mephala, and... and Dawn's Beauty, the Princedom of Lorkhan... misnamed Tamriel by deluded mortals." Even after the release of Skyrim, it's still unclear if Mankar was lying or not.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jagar Tharn's child. According to an ingame book, he fathered a child with Barenziah, the queen of Morrowind, when he seduced her in order to fool her into showing him the way to the Staff of Chaos. Then this child just fades into space ace. Also, lore says that after the events of the very first game, the Staff of Chaos was put away somewhere in White Gold Tower, yet in the game it is nowhere to be found.
    • Players finally got an answer to this in Skyrim. It wasn't actually Tharn's child; he hired a famous thief to seduce Barenziah. Finishing the Thieves Guild quest line in Skyrim gives access to the book which explains that the Dragonborn has actually been working with the grandchild of Barenziah and the thief for several missions.
    • In-game, several quest-related NPCs are usually disabled and removed from the game once their related quest is finished. Often, this is done without any in-universe explanation whatsoever. The most egregious examples are J'Skar (the sole survivor of the attack on the Bruma Mages Guild), and Nelrene (the Dark Seducer involved in the conspiracy in the "Lady of Paranoia" quest, even though she ends up helping you in the end).
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Larger than Morrowind note  but still far smaller than Arena or Daggerfall.
    • Law of Conservation of Detail: The size comes at the cost of much of the detail gained in Morrowind. Almost everything not quest related is generated from random lists in place of Morrowind's hand placed loot, and like Daggerfall dungeons were note  randomly generated by combination of existing parts instead of hand crafted and the world is largely flat.
  • Worthy Opponent: While not directly stated as the reason, the Gray Fox effectively picks Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist Hieronymus Lex to serve as his head of security.
    • Perhaps even more touching if you take this motivation is that the Gray Fox may have chosen Lex to defend his wife while he was absent.
    • One of the reasons that Kathutet agrees to help you reach Mankar Camoran is because he considers you one of these for defeating his fellow Dremora during the siege of Kvatch.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Invoked by the player, of all people. When you kill Andreas Draconis, you have the option of taunting him about his mother's death by saying "Your mother bled like a pig."
  • Wretched Hive: Thieves Den reveals that Anvil used to be this, a seedy, dangerous den of smugglers and pirates, where pretty much everyone was completely under the thumb of the leader of the single most vicious, bloodthirsty pirate group in Tamriel. Only after Admiral Umbranox defeated the pirate captain and his men did Anvil become the respectable harbor town it is today.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: As this article points out, there is a subtle (but kind of scary) example in the Arena's method of promoting gladiators. When writing out the means for promoting the player character, Bethesda likely didn't conceive just how exponentially large the killcount would really be when the other gladiators' ranks (and thus number of victories) were considered.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Several side quests start at inns. (This usually makes sense, as some of the quest givers are drunks or people who have fallen on hard times.)
  • You Are Who You Eat: Vampires.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Cutscene Incompetence stops you saving the Emperor from assassins at the start of the game. You arrive at Kvatch the day after The Daedra burn it to the ground, though thankfully Martin, the man you were sent to rescue, survived by hiding in a chapel. You take him back to the priory just as the Mythic Dawn have finished ransacking the place and taken the Amulet of Kings. You can't stop Mankar Cameron fleeing to paradise with the amulet, you need to adventure the length and breadth of Cyrodiil looking for components to build a portal so you can follow him. And even when you finally get the amulet, Mehrunes Dagon still achieves his goal of being summoned to Tamriel.
    • If you join the Dark Brotherhood, Lucien Lachance can't stop you murdering half of the Brotherhood, all the way up to The Listener. You can't save him when the surviving members execute him for treachery, and the only way you can expose the real traitor, Bellamont, is when he tries to kill the Night Mother, by which time only you and one other Brotherhood leader, Arquen, remain. )
    • And you can only delay Sheogorath's transformation into Jyggalag and the triggering of the Greymarch, not stop it completely.
  • You Fight Like A Pregnant Cow, and apparently not as well as a mudcrab.
  • You Fool!: In a Mages' Guild quest, a count's steward informs you that the count wishes to meet you outside of town at 2 am. The steward shows up there with a couple of necromancers, tells you that he tricked you, and tries to kill you. The count himself arrives and helps save you. Afterward, he angrily says: "You impossible fool. What possessed you to think I would suggest a meeting here, of all places?"
  • Zip Mode: Quick travel to major cities.

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