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Characters / The Elder Scrolls: Other Races

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This page lists the sapient races/species/creatures of Nirn that are neither Men, Mer, or Beast. For an index of all races, see here.

Note: Elder Scrolls lore is generally not clear-cut. Reasons for this range from biased in-universe sources intentionally only giving you only one side of a story, to sources lacking critical information or working from false information, to the implication that All Myths Are True, despite the contradictions, or that at least all myths are Metaphorically True. Out-of-game developer supplemental texts (frequently referred to as "Obscure Texts" by the lore community) are more trustworthy, but are frequently left unofficial and sometimes later contradicted. Because of this, it is entirely possible for two contradictory statements in the below examples to both be true. (And due to frequent events in-universe that alter the timeline, both may literally be true in-universe.)


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Other Tamrielic Races

    Deep Ones 
"Given to me by the Chief of the Deep Ones. He taught me his language and his runes. This is the ancient lore of his people which we shall follow from now until forever."
Bible of the Deep Ones

An enigmatic race of beings that were found in the mining tunnels under the Cyrodiilic town of Hackdirt, who promised the citizens of the town great wealth... in exchange for blood and worse. While the mysterious Deep ones brought great wealth to the town, they also became the focus on Hackdirt's religion, and their worship brought madness, violence, and instability, causing many murders of travelers and outsiders to sate the Deep Ones' appetite for blood. The Empire ultimately razed the town to the ground, causing the Deep Ones to vanish and leaving only a few survivors to continue their worship.

  • Black Speech: The Bible of the Deep Ones is written in Daedric runes, which, when translated, turns out to be the Sload language. (This in turn translates into Esperanto, which when translated becomes the same text as "N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!" — an Easter Egg newsletter.)
  • Body Horror: Those who moved into the mines under Hackdirt to become "closer" were transformed into beings called "the Bretheren", with distorted, bulging eyes and hostile to anyone from outside the town.
  • Cult: All of Hackdirt has become one dedicated to worshipping the Deep Ones, and gather in the village's chapel every night to worship them.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Whatever the Deep Ones are, they are terrifying and powerful, demanding blood sacrifice, and mutating the population of Hackdirt through their mere presence.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Deep Ones demand blood from their followers in exchange for their gifts. The current leaders believe another blood sacrifice will bring the Deep Ones back, and the Champion ends up rescuing their latest planned victim.
  • The Unfought: The Deep Ones are never seen, and apparently never even tried to defend Hackdirt when the Empire burned the town down. In the mines the player can find a blocked-off tunnel with something large and angry growling on the other side, but this is as close as the game gets to letting you find whatever the Deep Ones were.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The entire plotline surrounding them is a reference to The Shadow Over Innsmouth, complete with the same name for the creatures inhabiting the town, the transforming citizens, and the cult planning human sacrifice. The quest is even titled "Shadow Over Hackdirt".

A fire dragon

"There is no credible story of how dragons came to be. According to dremora that the College of Whispers have "questioned", they just were, and are. Eternal, immortal, unchanging, and unyielding. They are not born or hatched. They do not mate or breed."
There Be Dragons

Dragons, or "Dov" (singular "Dovah") in their language, are massive reptilian beasts with bat-like wings and slender extremities, generally tipped by razor sharp talons. Dragons are highly intelligent and possess an inherent affinity for magic, best evidenced by their mastery over the "Thu'um", the ability to channel magical energy through words. Sources conflict over the terrestrial origin of dragons, with some claiming that dragons hail from Akavir while others state it was Atmora. Dragons feel an innate urge to dominate others and generally lead solitary lives in remote, mountainous areas.

Dragons are Aedric entities, with divine immortal souls, who are said to be the children of Akatosh, the draconic god of Time and one of the Divines. Anyone of sufficient ability is capable of slaying the mortal form of a dragon, but only another dragon (or Dragonborn) can truly kill one by absorbing its soul. After first coming to Tamriel, dragons dominated early mankind. Eventually, after discovering a means to use the Thu'um against them, humankind overthrew the dragons and sent them on a path of significant decline. Following the Akaviri invasion of the late 1st Era, dragons were nearly rendered extinct with a few going into hiding in the most remote areas of Tamriel. In the 4th Era, Alduin, "first born" of Akatosh, returned after being cast adrift in time during the ancient Dragon Wars. Alduin began resurrecting dragons whose soul had not been absorbed, leading to the species' return.

For more information regarding Alduin and Akatosh specifically, see the series' "Divine Beings" character sub-page.

  • Abusive Precursors: The dragons and their Dragon Cults were this very early in Tamriellic history. Essentially a Religion of Evil with mortal Dragon Priests brutally ruling over early mankind in the name of their dragon overlords. Eventually, mankind prayed to the Divines for aid and their prayers were answered when they were taught how to use the Thu'um themselves, for use against the dragons.
  • The Ageless: Though their physical forms still experience wear and tear (as can be seen with Paarthurnax), they never truly age, and in most cases, get Stronger with Age.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Within each Dragon is the desire to dominate and destroy others. While individual dragons are able to overcome this nature with significant effort, even they admit that it is possible for them to slip back into it.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Dragons range in color from whitish-gray, through many hues of blue, red, green, gold, etc., to the pure black of Alduin himself.
  • Ambiguously Evil: While the innate desire to dominate leads to dragons being considered uniformly evil to most mortals, individual dragons can play with it in various ways. During the ancient Dragon Wars, most dragons were simply following the lead of their leader, Alduin. In modern times, some dragons have shown the ability to suppress their dominating nature and have even been able to work with mortals, while many others simply prefer to be left alone.
  • Angelic Abomination: As the children (or "fragments") of Akatosh, they possess Aedric souls and are the closest thing the series has to the idea of "angels". Physically styled after the idea of classic western dragons, they are also ageless, can be resurrected unless their souls are absorbed, and can warp reality through their magical language.
  • Arch-Enemy: Considering their inherently violent nature, the dragons made quite a few of them.
    • The Tsaesci of Akavir consider the dragons to be their mortal enemies. In fact, their entire invasion of Tamriel in the First Era was at least partially due to a desire to hunt down dragons who lived there, and they only stopped their invasion when the met Reman Cyrodiil, who was a Dragonborn. The Akaviri would be reformed into the Dragonguard, who would pull double duty as both the bodyguards of the Imperial Dragonborn bloodline and continued to act as dragon hunters.
    • Dragonborn in general are considered an archnemesis as well, because they are natural dragon hunters who possess the same soul as a dragon and thus the same sort of violence, ambition, and will to dominate. Dragons who encounter a Dragonborn will treat them as any other of their kin, and such encounters rarely end peacefully.
    • The ancient Nords who rose up in rebellion absolutely loathed the dragons, so much that they even kept their councils hidden from their draconic allies who rose up in rebellion at Kyne’s own command. Their hate was so intense that the ancient Tongues crafted it into a weapon in the form of Dragonrend, a Shout so terrible and full of malice that the Greybeards would declare it a blasphemy and intentionally forget it.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Dragons strongly believe this. If there's a question of pecking order, a fight ensues until one dragon either wins, submits, or dies. For dragons, there is no difference between being powerful and being right.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Justified, as dragons use the Thu'um to do things like command elements into existence. By shouting the words for say, breathing fire, they literally command fire into existence.
  • Breath Weapon: Subverted. While it might look like they have the ability to breathe fire and ice, they're actually using Thu'um to conjure fire, ice, and other elements into existence.
  • Brown Note: The "Dragonrend" Thu'um shout temporarily cripples dragons by forcing them to experience mortality, being finite, and being temporary. These concepts are utterly alien to the immortal and ageless dragons. It is notably the only Thu'um shout to be developed by mortals.
  • Conlang: Dragons feature their own distinct language and alphabet, and both are wrapped up tightly with the Thu'um, to the point that their language is an intrinsic part of their being and speaking their language with the Thu'um changes reality. Their alphabet, appropriately, resembles the ancient real-world scripts of Bronze Age societies, with many letters involving slash marks indicative of being dug into clay or stone with their claws.
  • The Corruption: Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption, created the Daedric Titans by corrupting dragons. Titans possess similar anatomical features and abilities as dragons, but were created in mockery of true dragons and serve the Daedric Princes.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: The Blades got their start based off of the Akaviri Dragonguard, hunting and slaying dragons in service to a Dragonborn leader. With the presumed extinction of the dragons, their role shifted to become spies and bodyguards for the emperors of Tamriel. In the 4th Era, the Blades reformed and returned to their original dragon-hunting roots along with the return of the dragons.
  • Deader Than Dead: To permanently kill a dragon, you must first slay its physical form and then absorb its soul. While anyone of sufficient ability can do the former, only another dragon (or a Dragonborn) is capable of the latter. Failure to absorb a dragon's soul leaves open the possibility of it being resurrected in the future.
  • Death Is Cheap: If a Dragon is killed by a mortal, it is entirely possible for another dragon to resurrect it at a later point. The only way to permanently kill a dragon is to absorb its soul. Akatosh created the Dragonborn to serve as natural predators for the dragons.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Historically, Dragons never had much of a presence in Morrowind. Why? Because they were driven away by Cliff Racerssmall, weak, and hideously annoying native creatures — through sheer numbers and persistence. In the 4th Era, after Cliff Racers had been driven away and after Red Mountain's eruption, a surviving dragon finally came to lair in the smoking ruins of Vvardenfell.
  • Draconic Abomination: Dragons are ancient, having "always been", and possess immortal, divine souls. They cannot be truly killed unless that soul is absorbed by another and, by using their magical language, they can cause small scale reality warping.
  • Dragon Hoard: While not to the same extent as in other works, dragon lairs generally do have treasure chests and piles in or near their lairs. On a meta level, this serves as a good explanation for why the player character collects so much stuff over the course of their journey; since Dragonborn have the souls of dragons, they also possess the same natural instincts as dragons, including the urge to hoard stuff.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: Dragons are creatures of aggression and domination, and it's in their blood to be cruel and contemptuous. Even the protagonist of Skyrim, the Last Dragonborn, is a mortal with a dragon's soul and is no exception. However, they can fight against their baser nature, as best exemplified by Paarthurnax.
  • Dragons Are Divine: Crossing over with Our Angels Are Different. Dragons, who descend from Akatosh, are a form of lesser Aedric spirits and are therefore, by default, divine entities. This isn't really a contradiction with Dragons Are Demonic, either, as Aedra and Daedra are generally believed to be descended from the same entities, and many of the darker qualities of dragons are also expressed in certain harsher and more brutal aspects of the Divines.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride. This flaw is often literally fatal, because a dragon who is challenged must accept, and to not do so is to call into question whether you're a true dragon in the first place.
  • Guttural Growler: Dragons have extremely deep, booming voices.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Some dragons are known to have been capable of suppressing their desire to dominate and have allied themselves with mortals, such as Nafaalilargus and Paarthurnax.
  • Honor Before Reason: Dragons have a strong sense of honor which influences the actions they take. For example, when in a fight and faced with overwhelming odds, a dragon is expected to either Face Death with Dignity or submit to the opponent and become their servant, and will almost never consider retreat.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: When they attack one who is Dragonborn.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Dragons consider those who are Dragonborn to be this, as they both possess immortal Aedric souls.
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side: A staple of Dragon culture, going hand in hand with their beliefs that Asskicking Equals Authority and their tendency toward Honor Before Reason.
  • I Know Your True Name: Downplayed. Shouting a dragon's true name does not place it under your control, but the dragon will treat it as a challenge and will usually seek out whoever made the shout, due to a combination of curiosity and honor.
  • Immortals Fear Death: The concept of mortality is so alien to dragons that it can be weaponized against them by the "Dragonrend" shout (Joor Zah Frul, which translates to Mortal, Finite, Temporary), robbing them of their ability to fly and speak Thu'um for a short time.
  • Language Equals Thought: In the Draconic language, no distinction is made between "debating" and "fighting" — two dragons breathing fire at each other are just having a particularly heated argument. Furthermore, dragons' thoughts when voiced are able to alter reality, so when they Shout, they are not merely casting a spell, but willing fire into existence with a word. Language equals Thought Equals Being, in other words.
  • Luke Nounverber: Their names, when translated from Draconic, have a similar effect. "Curse Never Dying" and "Snow Wing Hunter", for example. Crosses over with Awesome Mc Coolname as the translated names sound quite intimidating.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Combined with Language of Magic and Words Can Break My Bones. All dragons can inherently use the Thu'um, speaking words (in their deep and booming voices) which cause small scale reality warping around them, such as commanding elements like fire and frost into existence.
  • Might Makes Right: In the draconic way of thinking, being right and being powerful are one and the same.
  • Monster Progenitor: Dragons are said to be the children of Akatosh, and in some sources, they are said to be "fragments" of his very being.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Language is so intrinsic to the Dragons that a fight between two Dov... is actually a deadly verbal debate.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The "Dragonlings" of the Iliac Bay region are unrelated to true dragons, lacking intelligence and magical ability.
  • No True Scotsman:
  • Not So Different: Dragons and the Dragonborn. Both are driven by the same urges to dominate, kill, and destroy. (On a meta level, this comparison applies to many video gamers.)
  • Not So Extinct: Subverted and Averted in different senses:
    • Subverted in that, while it was commonly believed in Tamriel that the dragons had been rendered extinct in the late 1st Era by the Akaviri Dragonguard and the Blades, many dragons still survived. Nafaalilargus was spared as a known ally of mortals and would later serve Tiber Septim as a secret weapon. Paarthurnax continued to live atop the Throat of the World, serving as the master of the Greybeards, though his case is likely excused because his existence was kept secret to all outside of the Greybeards. Others managed to survive in remote wilderness areas (such as the Forgotten Vale) or deep beneath the earth (such as in the Dwemer city of Blackreach).
    • Averted in that the vast majority of dragons were actually killed, and the ones who appear in the 4th Era are being resurrected. These dragons were dead (but not truly killed), and are now being brought back to life.
  • One-Gender Race: Dragons are not known to have sexes nor reproduce. All known dragons have spoken with male voices, however. There are hints in the more obscure lore of a female dragon-like beings known as "jills" who maintain time's linear passage, but their relation to the dragons on Nirn is unclear.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: While still taking the general form of large reptilian, carnivorous beasts with wings and scales, dragons are actually divine Aedric entities either descended from, or are part of, Akatosh. Ageless and able to be resurrected unless their soul is absorbed, their magical language is intrinsic to their very beings and allows them warp reality on a small scale.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: Some sources claim that dragons actually don't need to eat.
  • Pieces of God: One prominent theory states that the souls of all dragons (Alduin and the Dragonborn included) are fragments of the soul of Akatosh, the Aedric God of Time whose typical form in mythology is a dragon. When the Dragonborn (or any other dragon) absorbs the soul of another, it's actually fragments of the Akatosh over-soul recombining. If this is the case, then presumably Akatosh himself still being able to interact with the world would be due to being, well, the god of time.
  • Poirot Speak: Dragons frequently slip back into draconic when speaking in Tamriellic.
  • Pride: To say dragons are a proud species is a colossal understatement. They refuse to back down from challenges of any kind, especially from another dovah. In one case, a dragon named Boziikkodstrun was captured by Molag Bal and tortured for the secrets of the Thu'um. He resisted the torture through sheer unrelenting pride, to the point that even Molag Bal himself gave up and just rent it down to its bones and then made Daedric Titans in their image as a way to spite the dragons.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The immense pride of dragons is obvious, but they are also ferocious warriors. Their way of greeting is to Shout fire upon one another, and when a dragon challenges another in the Thu'um, they must accept or be branded a worthless coward. While a dragon may submit to a superior dragon with a stronger Voice, fleeing without dying or surrendering calls into question whether they are even a true dragon. Combat is so essential to the dragons' very existence that they make no distinction between fighting and debate, which makes sense, as their arguments can literally alter reality.
  • Reality Warper: Using the Thu'um, dragons can command elements into existence, essentially warping reality around them on a small scale.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Even if a dragon's physical form is slain, it can never truly die unless its soul is absorbed by another dragon or Dragonborn. This allows them to be resurrected by other dragons.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Combined with Rise from Your Grave. Dragons who are slain but whose souls are not absorbed by another dragon (or Dragonborn) can be resurrected by another dragon. Cue dragons returning to life by rising from their graves.
  • Soul Eating: Dragons and those with draconic souls can consume other dragon souls to a) boost their own souls' power and b) destroy the other soul permanently (the only way to destroy the otherwise immortal dragons).
  • Spikes of Villainy: All dragons have naturally spiky appearances, some more so than others.
  • Stripped to the Bone: When a slain dragon's soul is absorbed by a Dragonborn, the flesh burns away, leaving only the skeleton.
  • Takes One to Kill One: While anyone of sufficient ability can slay the physical form of a dragon, permanently killing the dragon requires another dragon or Dragonborn absorbing its soul so that it cannot be resurrected.
  • Time Abyss: There is no definitive answer regarding the origin of dragons other than that they come from Akatosh. A Dremora upon being questioned simply answered that dragons "just were, and are", with no definitive beginning. The very concepts of mortality, being finite, and being temporary are so alien to dragons that these words, in draconic, were used against them in a mortal-creatured Thu'um shout which temporarily cripples dragons.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Dragon Cult originated in Atmora, homeland of the Atmorans (ancient proto-Nords). There, the men worshiped the Dragons, and the priests demanded tribute, as well as set down laws so dragons and men could live together peacefully. When the dragons and their Cult moved to Tamriel, they were not nearly as benevolent, ruling men with an iron fist and eventually enslaving them. No one really knows why the Cult changed, though it is implied that was the result of Alduin's desire to rule the world instead of end it.
  • A Wizard Did It: Explained in-universe. How are they able to fly in spite of their bulk and non-aerodynamic shape? How are they able to speak despite not having lips? Magic. To be more specific, they have a natural affinity for magic which allows for this.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • As a Proud Warrior Race, the dragons consider anyone able to put up a good fight to be one of these, and delight in an honorable battle with mortals and other dov. Their pride and joy in battle is such that they will rarely ever retreat from a worthy fight, even at the risk of their own death.
    • The Daedra, in particular Molag Bal and the Daedra of Coldharbour, consider the dragons to be akin to them in terms of majesty, power, and will to dominate and control. Molag Bal even offered one dragon, Boziikkodstrun, a "place of honor" within Coldharbour because of his determination to fly outside the bounds of the universe and reach Aetherius. Of course, this was Molag Bal, so the place of honor he offered was a prison where said dragon was tortured for ages in an effort to wring the secrets of the Thu'um.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: Dragons can absorb the souls of other dragons they have defeated. This is also the key ability for those mortals who are Dragonborn, being able to permanently kill dragons by slaying them and absorbing their souls. The Dragonborn were created by Akatosh for the very purpose of serving as natural predators to the dragons.

When Magic (Magnus), architect of the plans for the mortal world, decided to terminate the project, the Gods convened at the Adamantine Tower [Direnni Tower, the oldest known structure in Tamriel] and decided what to do. Most left when Magic did. Others sacrificed themselves into other forms so that they might Stay (the Ehlnofey).
Before the Ages of Man

The common progenitor race of Men and Mer, descended from the et'Ada. It is believed Nirn is an amalgamation of the "Twelve Worlds of Creation", destroyed by Padomay in a fit of jealous rage before the pieces were assembled by Anu to create Nirn. A large chunk of one world, the Ehlnofey world, was left relatively intact.note  When Magnus and the Magna-Ge fled during the creation of Mundus, the Ehlnofey decided to remain and worked to keep it viable. Thus, they remained in the mortal realm and populated it by "making children".

The Ehlnofey who lived in the chunk of their old world were the ancestors of the Mer, and their solidarity allowed them to retain more of their ancient knowledge and power. The other Ehlnofey, who were left scattered around Nirn, had a harder time adapting, and were dubbed the "Wanderers" (ancestors of the Men). For whatever reason, war eventually broke out between Old Ehlnofey and the Wanderers. The former were more powerful individually, but the latter were more numerous, and had been toughened by the hardships of Nirn. It is believed this war reshaped the face of Nirn, creating the first oceans, and what was left of Old Ehlnofey purportedly became Tamriel.

  • Can't Argue with Elves: They had this problem before elves even existed as we know them; when the Wandering Ehlnofey discovered the hidden land of the Old Ehlnofey, they were treated as degenerates and fallen due to having been forced to wander Nirn. This conflict sparked a war across all of Nirn that sank several landmasses and left the current ones we know of in their shapes (Tamriel, Akavir, Yokuda, Atmora, and Pyandonea).
  • Capital Letters Are Magic: Their language, Ehlnofex, is stylistically written in all caps, as can be seen with certain words such as CHIM or AHK. The Dunmer Tribunal also used this stylizing when they referred to themselves as ALMSIVI.
  • Dem Bones: A few Ehlnofey managed to survive at least into the Second Era during the time of The Elder Scrolls Online, and by that time they came to be spirits possessing various skeletal forms (a Bosmer skeleton and a dragon skull, for example). Another term for them is also the "Earth-Bones", used to describe the et'Ada/Ehlnofey that sacrificed themselves to become the laws of physics that govern Nirn.
  • Great Offscreen War: The conflict between the Old and Wandering Ehlnofey destroyed several landmasses, consumed all of Nirn, and set the stage for the perceptions and prejudices that would define the races of Man and Mer going into the Fourth Era and possibly beyond.
  • Invading Refugees: The way the Old Ehlnofey saw their wandering brethren when they found their hidden landmass.
  • Order vs. Chaos: The conflict between the Old Ehlnofey and the Wandering Ehlnofey boils down to this, and is still seen in their descendants (the races of Mer and Man, respectively). A large section of the original Ehlnofey world landed on Nirn during its creation, and the Ehlnofey there warded their continent from the chaos of Nirn's creation and created a pocket of calm. The Wandering Ehlnofey came to Nirn later in scattered bands and found each other over time, being constantly exposed to harsh environments and the chaos of the Dawn Era.


"Oh mighty tundrastrider!
How you and your mighty tusked beast silhouette against the great orange expanse.
Thundering footsteps herald your herd. Man and beast blazing trail together.
One in nature, each relying upon the other, more than just man and beast, but equals who need one another to survive.
How I long to run across the tundra in their mighty wake."
Ode to the Tundrastriders

The Giants are a massive humanoid race primarily found in Skyrim and High Rock, though they can be found less commonly in the mountainous wilderness areas of Hammerfell, Cyrodiil, and Valenwood as well. Giants possess moderate intelligence, being capable of fashioning simple tools, clothing, and weapons. They are able to harness fire and are known to herd mammoths. Most Giants are nomadic, living solitary lives (or in small groups at most) as they travel from campsite to campsite, though some groups of giants are known to unite in clans which can number in the hundreds. Female Giants and children are rarely seen by outsiders. It is said that Giants can interbreed with the other races of Tamriel.

There are said to be many different variations of Giants in Tamriel, though some are believed to be extinct. Typical Giants are 11-12 feet tall, but there are reports of Giants who are several times the size of an average man. There are also rare "Frost Giants" in Skyrim and Solstheim who are roughly the same size as a standard Giant, but are covered in white fur, have five eyes, and have two long, curved horns on their heads. Likewise, the Ilyadi were said to be "multi-eyed" Giants native to the forests of the Summerset Isle, but were driven to extinction by the ancient Aldmer when they settled the land. There was also a race of Giants native to Elsweyr, who were said to have built the Halls of Colossus, but who disappeared sometime prior to the 3rd Era.

  • Amazing Technicolor Population: They have gray skin.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: While standard Giants typically stand 11-12 feet tall, legends hold of Giants reaching epic proportions, standing "several times the size" of an average man.
  • The Beastmaster: Their relationship with the mammoths they herd is said to be along these lines. They can reportedly communicate with the mammoths, and the relationship is symbiotic and based in mutual respect. In exchange for the protection of the Giants, mammoths allow the Giants to milk them and produce cheese. There have been reports of Giants eating mammoths, but this is always "conducted with reverence" and presumably only done to mammoths who have died of natural causes or following a Mercy Kill.
  • Conlang: They have a very simple one known as "Giantish". To an outsider, it sounds like an incomprehensible string of grunts and roars. However, it can be learned by non-Giants, and Giants tend to have greater respect and reduced hostility toward Giantish speakers. Giants are not known to have any written language, though they will carve/paint symbols with some sort of meaning into their own bodies, the tusks of their mammoths, and around their campsites.
  • Covered with Scars: Most Giants have decorative scars carved into their bodies.
  • Decapitated Army: Giants who organize into clans are typically led by a high chieftain with "absolute" authority. In times of war, the high chieftain will rally an army of Giants for organized attacks. If the chieftain is killed, however, the clan tends to fall quickly into disarray.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: The Giants of Skyrim herd woolly mammoths, which they milk to create cheese.
  • Due to the Dead: When a Giants feel they are nearing the end of their lives, they will travel to one of their burial grounds to die. If a Giant dies elsewhere, other Giants will carry the body to one of these burial grounds.
  • Fantastic Drug: A fungus known only to grow in the armpits of Giants is a powerful narcotic.
  • Gentle Giant: Most Giants, especially those in Skyrim, keep to themselves and don't interact much with the other races. As long as they are not provoked (by attacking them directly, attacking their mammoth herds, or by entering their camps) they generally will not attack.
  • Guttural Growler: Giants speak like this. When speaking in their own language, it is said to sound like an incomprehensible string of grunts and roars. Some Giants have learned some basic Tamriellic, however, though they still speak it in a very deep and gravelly voice.
  • Holy Ground: Giants have sites set aside strictly as the final resting place for their dead. They typically do not live near these locations and do not guard them.
  • The Horde: The ancient Giant Clan led by Sinmur the Terrible. Sinmur led an army of hundreds of Giants against the forces of the Atmoran Ysgramor and his 500 Companions. Both sides suffered massive casualties, but the war ended when Ysgramor personally slew Sinmur.
  • Horned Humanoid: The rare Frost Giants of Skyrim and Solstheim have two large, curved horns protruding from their heads. Also, the giants of Skyrim usually have small horns in their foreheads, similar to the Orsimer (Orcs).
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: There are reports of Giants interbreeding and producing offspring with the other races of Tamriel, particularly Nords, of whom even the largest are at most half the size of an average Giant.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: There are reports of Giants eating members of the sapient races. Other sources dispute these reports, with one expert claiming to have "never seen a giant eat a Nord".
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: According to Nordic myth, drinking a Giant's blood is said to result in "diminution".
  • Megaton Punch: In Skyrim, due to how damage is handled, if a giant hits a human-sized opponent with an overhead swing and the impact is enough to kill or incapacitate them, they will be launched into the sky. This became canon in Online, with a book mentioning an elf who tried to steal from a giant camp ended up getting smacked for over a league before he crashed back down to the surface.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: There are many conflicting theories regarding the origins of Giants:
    • One of the most popular, especially among the Nords, is that they share an ancestry with the ancient Atmorans. The Atmorans were known to be tall, strong, and somewhat primitive. According to this theory, after coming to Tamriel from the northern continent of Atmora, the Atmorans split into two groups, one that would interbreed with Tamriel's Nedes to become the modern Nords and another that would, through unknown means, become the progenitors of the Giants.
    • Other sources, however, make it clear that Giants existed in Tamriel before the Atmorans crossed the sea. The Dwemer were said to have gotten the nickname "Dwarves" from Giants they encountered in the Velothi Mountains after splitting off from the Aldmer, which occurred well before the Atmoran migration. The Aldmer themselves drove a "multi-eyed" race of Giants known as the Ilyadi to extinction when they first settled the Summerset Isles, which was even earlier. Standard Giants also have pointed, tapered ears like those of the Mer (Elves).
    • It is said that the giants in pre-Return Skyrim were far more intelligent and sophisticated compared with the current giants, and that they were in the same situation as the Falmer at the time when Ysgramor returned: being driven to extinction by the invading Nords. One theory is that they became more savage when they were driven into the Velothi Mountains, and another is that they may have been transformed by the Dwemer much like the Falmer were in return for being protected from extinction. The fact that the giants have white souls, much like the Falmer, and giants can occasionally be encountered in Blackreach, is often used to support this theory.
  • Noble Savage: Giants are a moderately intelligent and nomadic race, viewed as primitive by the other races of Tamriel. However, they tend to mammoth herds, generally do not attack others unless provoked, are capable of learning some basic Tamriellic, and will carry deceased Giants to sacred burial grounds.
  • Nonindicative Name: The Frost Giants are stated to not be biologically related to "normal" giants.
  • Off Screen Villainy: Giants are known to raid farms, steal livestock, and attack settlements. However, this happens rarely in-game, excepting one instance where they begin raiding an Orc stronghold where the local chieftain had fallen out of favor with Malacath and his cowardice allowed the local shrine to Malacath to be taken over and defiled by the Giants. There is also a chance that a player's home in Skyrim will be raided by a giant who will attack their livestock.
  • One-Gender Race: Subverted in that there are female Giants, but they are very rarely ever seen by outsiders, leading many to believe this is the case for the Giants.
  • Organ Drops: A number of Giant body parts are highly valued for their alchemical properties, including toes, teeth, and thumbs.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: They stand about 11-12 feet tall on average, though there are reports of Giants who get much bigger. They also herd mammoths, tattoo/scarify their skin, paint rocks with primitive symbols, and generally do not attack the other races unless provoked.
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: Most of their clothing is made up of pelts and fur, though few wear more than a simple loin cloth.
  • Playing with Fire: Humanoid remains tied to spits over their campfires can be found at some of their campsites. It is unclear if this is simply a method of executing intruders or if this is part of their meal preparation.
  • Pointed Ears: Giants have pointed, tapered ears like those of the Races of Mer (Elves).
  • Primitive Clubs: Their favored weapons are massive clubs. Some have a large rock tied to the end, turning them into primitive warhammers, while others have spikes of stone or bone, turning them into primitive battleaxes.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: While most Giants wear simple loincloths made of pelt or fur, there have been cases of Giants assembling armor. It is most commonly made of bones.


"Miserable, horrid creatures. They're vile and vicious... some are mindless animals; others have learned the ways of magic."
Fedris Hler

Goblins are a primitive and violent humanoid race found across Tamriel and Akavir. Goblins were already present in Tamriel when the ancient Aldmeri first arrived. They have a primitive language and tribal social structure, and worship a god known as "Muluk", who is theorized to be Malacath. Depending on the tribe, they may be led by a Warlord (also known as Warchiefs, typically the biggest and strongest Goblin in the tribe) or by a magic-using shaman (who can be male or female). They frequently come into conflict with any other races they cross paths with, though have been known to live peacefully with the Orcs. They are also frequently enslaved by other races to serve as labor.

There are numerous varieties of Goblin, with some regional differences. On average, they stand 3-5 feet tall, though historically, a race of giant Goblins native to the Alik'r Desert in Hammerfell stood over 8 feet tall. They typically have green-skin, yellow eyes with slitted pupils, a hunched-over posture which sometimes includes a full blown hunchback, pointed ears, and fangs.

  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted. While they are indeed very war-like and frequently come into conflict with any other intelligent races they cross paths with, their interactions with Orcs and the researcher in Sacred Rites of the Stonechewers show they can see other species as something besides an opportunity to pillage.
  • Beast of Battle: Goblins have been known to use a number of Tamriel's vicious wildlife species in this role. For example, the Shadowsilk tribe managed to tame giant spiders while other Goblins tribes have done this with giant rats and Durzogs.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears are a favored weapon of many Goblin tribes.
  • Decapitated Army: Killing the Warlord or shaman of a Goblin tribe will typically cause the rest to crumble. Crossing over with Keystone Army, this sometimes causes the other tribe members to stop attacking altogether.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs: They train Durzogs, a sort of reptilian dog, for combat and protection.
  • Fan Disservice: Female Goblins tend to show a lot of skin, including veiny green cleavage.
  • Giant Mook: Giant Goblins, standing over 8 feet tall, inhabited the Alik'r Desert in Hammerfell before the Redguards came to the area and drove them to extinction.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Some Goblins have been known to cobble together heavier armors (or scavenge them), making them into greater threats.
  • Luke Nounverber: Their tribe names are frequently in this format. Examples include the Throatcutter, Dogeater, and Rock Biter tribes. Others have an "adjective-noun" format instead, such as the Bitterfish and Bloody Hand tribes.
  • Mooks: They are frequently in conflict with the other races throughout Tamriel.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Pretty much follow the standard fantasy version to a "T".
  • Pointed Ears: Goblins have pointed, tapered ears similar to the races of Mer.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Goblins in Legends have glowing red eyes and are just as antagonistic as the rest of their kind.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: They are known to farm Tamriel's Rodents of Unusual Size as a food source. One tribe in High Rock even had the name "Ratfarmer Tribe".
  • Scavenged Punk: Goblins have been known to salvage weapons, armor, and other items created by the other races for their own use.
  • Slave Mook: Various cultures in Tamriel have enslaved Goblins from time to time throughout history. The Tsaesci of Akavir reportedly brought goblins along during their invasion of Tamriel as servants and Cannon Fodder. The Altmer have similarly employed Goblins in this fashion at different points in history.
  • You No Take Candle: Those that do speak words in Tamriellic tend to do so in this fashion.
  • Zerg Rush: Most Goblins are not adept fighters on their own, but make up for it by attacking in groups.


"The claws of a hagraven are best obtained in shops; it is inadvisable to suggest one collects them oneself. These creatures have traded in their humanity for access to powerful magics, and the transformations they undergo infuse their entire beings with some element of that power."
Herbalist's Guide to Skyrim

Hagravens are bird-like humanoids known for being powerful witches. Formerly mortal women, Hagravens have traded in their humanity for access to powerful magic. They possess (usually black) feathers, beak-like noses, and talons on their hands and feet. They have been known to ally themselves with the Reachmen, who revere the Hagravens as matrons and matriarchs. They are feared for their cunning and depravity, as well as for their strong magical prowess.

  • Arch-Enemy: Spriggans. Whatever source Hagravens draw their magic from draws the ire of Spriggans, who are considered "Nature's Guardians". Dead Spriggans can frequently be found in and around Hagraven dens, and Hagravens will often display Spriggan heads and parts (including their Taproots) as decorations. One group of Hagravens in Skyrim was even known to sacrifice Spriggans using a special blade specifically crafted for the task.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Hagravens are formerly human women who have traded in their humanity for access to powerful magic, though the exact means of the transformation remains mysterious. It is known that a human sacrifice is part of the process.
    • Hagravens are known to strike a deal with a Reachmen warriors in which the Hagraven replaces the warrior's heart with a briar heart, making the warrior much stronger but basically destroying his free will. Briarhearts are frequently found in direct service to Hagravens as a result.
    • A coven of Hagravens called the Glenmoril Witches were responsible for forming a pact between the Daedric Prince Hircine and The Companions of Whiterun, giving the latter the ability to voluntarily shapeshift into werewolves in exchange for Hircine claiming their souls after death.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: Except for the Reachmen, Hagravens seem to view life itself as their enemy.
  • Evil Matriarch: Reachmen groups are often found led by a Hagraven, who they refer to as a Matriarch.
  • Evil Mentor: To Witches, who eventually become Hagravens themselves.
  • Feathered Fiend: Hagravens are villainous bird people.
  • Femme Fatalons: Have literal bird talons for fingers and toes.
  • Harping on About Harpies: A flightless variant of this trope.
  • Human Sacrifice: Part of the ritual of becoming a Hagraven requires sacrificing someone, though they're not so picky as demanding an actual human (Elves or Beast folk will work all the same).
  • One-Gender Race: All known Hagravens have been female.
  • Playing with Fire: Fire-based magic is favored by them. In particular, they prefer fire-based spells with a large Area of Effect.
  • Was Once a Man: Hagravens were once mortal women before undertaking rituals for greater power.
  • Wicked Witch: Hagravens are witches who've given up their humanity and performed a ritual requiring human sacrifice in order to obtain greater magical prowess.
  • Witch Species: Hagravens were formerly mortal witches who traded in their humanity for access to powerful magic. They are absolutely deadly when using spells.

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

The Hist are a race of ancient, sentient, giant spore-trees native to Black Marsh. They are worshiped by the Argonians who drink the sap of the Hist to grow, and can communicate with the Hist via visions transmitted in the sap. It is said that the Hist were the original inhabitants of Tamriel, and that they were originally from one of the 12 "worlds of Creation" that were shattered by Padomay and then coalesced by Anu to create Nirn.

  • Biomanipulation: Are believed to have used their sap to change some Helstrom Ancestor Lizards in both mind and form to become the first Argonians, and used the same process to turn other "useful lizards" into the Argonian Lizard-Steeds for long-distance travel through the swamps.
  • Botanical Abomination: Combined with being something of an Outside-Context Problem. It is said that the sapient trees known as Hist were the original inhabitants of Tamriel, and that they were originally from one of the 12 "Worlds of Creation" that were shattered by Padomay and then coalesced by Anu to create Nirn. They are said to possess "unfathomable" knowledge from the earliest eras of creation, a form of omniscience and foresight into future events, and are able to mentally influence and physically alter beings who drink their sap. They are believed to be utterly alien and utterly incomprehensible, even for those who have achieved CHIM (essentially, a state of awake lucid dreaming that can alter reality along with a full understanding of the workings of the universe), something which can't even be said about the likes of the Daedric Princes.
  • Neutrality Backlash: Despite their neutrality in the Dawn Era "War of the Ehlnofey", much of their realm was destroyed. Black Marsh is said to be a fragment of their realm which survived.
  • The Omniscient: Through unknown means, they are able to foresee future events. Sensing the upcoming Oblivion Crisis and the trials that would follow, they recalled most of the Argonians in Tamriel to the Black Marsh to combat these threats and, through their sap, changed the Argonians physically to better prepare them as weapons of war.
  • Power of the Void: They are said to "acknowledge" Sithis as the original creator of the universe. This would also help explain the Shadowscales, Argonians born under the sign of the Shadow who are given to the Dark Brotherhood to train as assassins, since the Brotherhood operates in direct service to Sithis.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: They are believed to possess "unfathomable" knowledge from the Dawn Era, before the time of Men and Mer.
  • Time Abyss: Said to be the oldest beings on Tamriel, older than any Man or Mer, and were around to see the wars of the Ehlnofey during the Dawn Era, before linear time had even been conceived of as a concept. According to The Annotated Anuad, the Hist were originally from one of the 12 "worlds of Creation", which were destroyed by Padomay, the embodiment of change, and reassembled into Nirn by Anu, the embodiment of stasis. This would make the Hist literally older than the world itself.
  • When Trees Attack: Subverted. Though sentient and capable of communicating with each other and the Argonians, they are otherwise entirely tree-like — stationary and defenseless on their own. However, they can incite the Argonians to attack on their behalf.
  • Wise Tree: They are believed to have some sort of prophetic knowledge of things to come, and communicate with each other via connected roots and with the Argonians via visions transmitted in their sap. The An-Xileel are a chamber of the government in Argonia who hold almost absolute power in the 4th Era simply because they consult with the Hist; through the visions of the Hist, they managed to recall almost all Argonians in Tamriel because the Hist foresaw the events of the Oblivion Crisis, managed to force Mehrunes Dagon into a retreat from Black Marsh, and then entirely wiped out the Empire's presence in the province as they declared independence.


"The effect of her smile was truly magical, I'm convinced. Her body was, of course, perfect; her face lovely and serene; her hair like silk flame. But until she smiled, she was beautiful in the abstract, a perfect statue by a master. The smile made her approachable and, thus, terrifying."
A Scholar's Guide to Nymphs

Nymphs are a type of nature spirit most commonly found in the Iliac Bay region. They take the form of beautiful, naked, long-haired women and attack using mystical fire spells. Though rumored to be highly sexual beings, most are rather shy and rarely approach mortals on their own. They possess their own language, said to sound similar to Ayleidoon but does not actually share a vocabulary.

  • Brainless Beauty: Another stereotype about Nymphs is that they're dumb, but Ayalea, the Nymph dicussed in A Scholar's Guide to Nymphs, is shown to be quite intelligent in addition to being beautiful.
  • Conlang: They are said to have their own language which is said to sound similar to Ayleidoon, but does not actually share a vocabulary with it. Mortals who can speak it have been known to render Nymphs non-hostile.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: Subverted. While Nymphs are often stereotyped in-universe as being little more than "beautiful, naked women who skip along tra-la-la and like to have indiscriminate sex", they are actually quite shy.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: They attack while stark naked.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Averted, Nymph sprites have very distinct nipples.
  • One-Gender Race: All known Nymphs have been female.
  • Our Nymphs Are Different: A type of Nature Spirit most commonly found in the Iliac Bay region. They take the form of beautiful, naked, long-haired women and attack using fire spells. Although rumored to be highly sexual beings, most are rather shy and rarely approach mortals on their own.
  • Playing with Fire: Their primary attack is a mystical fire spell which drains stamina in addition to health.
  • Shrouded in Myth: As a direct result of scholars believing nymphs to be nothing but brainless sex maniacs, most of what is known about nymphs is mainly conjecture.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Nymphs can only be harmed by standard weapons made of Silver quality or better. (Spells and enchanted weapons of any quality are still effective.)
  • The Unpronounceable: "Ayalea" from A Scholar's Guide to Nymphs is, the author admits, merely "a poor phonetic transcription" of her real name, which is "a word that sounds more like a light wind blowing through a small crack in a hollow chamber".


"Ogres have not the intelligence to argue a point and take a primal enjoyment when mashing den intruders into malformed corpses. They hunt for food and gather necessities, and enjoy life on Nirn no more than that, with the exception of when employing their considerable strength to wrench apart foes or lob large rocks at them."
Ogres: A Summary

Ogres are a massive humanoid race of limited intelligence found throughout much of mainland Tamriel. Considered a race of "Goblin-ken" who are related to Goblins, Ogres typically have grayish-blue skin, pronounced teeth, and pointed ears, though Ogres in colder climates are known to shaggy white hair covering their bodies as well. They live in primitive hunter-gatherer societies, most often inhabiting natural caves in remote areas. Some Ogres have been able to speak limited Tamriellic and were involved with the original founding of Orsinium. Like Goblins and Orcs, Ogres are known to revere the Daedric Prince Malacath.

  • Amazing Technicolor Population: They typically have grayish-blue skin.
  • Dumb Muscle: Unlike many other races who are still somewhat intelligent despite the general belief that they are not, Ogres are typically every bit as dumb as they are described to be. Exceptions exist, but they are fairly rare.
  • Giant Mook: Ogres are massive and frequently raid settlements and attack travelers in the wilderness areas of Tamriel. Crosses over with Smash Mook in that the vast majority of Ogres are only capable of strong melee attacks.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: According to some (very limited) sources, Ogres are capable of interbreeding with humans. They are easily twice the size of an average man.
  • An Ice Person: Wrothgar Ogres come covered in white hair and can attack with powerful Frost magic.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: They are rumored to eat people and their lairs are often decorated with piles of humanoid bones.
  • Organ Drops: Their teeth have a high alchemical value.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: They largely fit the standard fantasy version, which includes being big, being dumb, and eating people.
  • Pointed Ears: Like Goblins, Ogres have pointed, tapered ears like those of the Mer.
  • Slave Race: Ogres are frequently enslaved by other races as both strong laborers and for use in gladiatorial arenas. This practice is known to greatly anger their patron deity, Malacath. When a landlord enslaves a group of them in Oblivion, Malacath tasks the player with freeing them.
  • Universal Poison: Ogres are known to have a weakness to magical Poison.


"Hawala faaaakara. Baaaa rakhee kaloo. Pooja kan faroo kee jaa. Goora! Goora! Goora!"
Riekling Godspeak Song

Rieklings are a diminutive, blue-skinned species of humanoid creature native to Solstheim. Outsiders sometimes refer to them as "ice goblins", but they have their own physiology and primitive culture distinct from standard Goblins. They possess moderate intelligence, have their own language but are also capable of speaking Tamriellic, can construct basic structures, have a form of religious beliefs, and are known to tame Solstheim's Tusked Bristlebacks to use as war mounts. Rieklings are not known to exist outside of Solstheim, though one group did venture to mainland Skyrim during the 2nd Era. Nordic history claims that Rieklings are descended from the Falmer, but other scholars dispute this.

  • The Alcoholic: They really like "fizzydrink", which is what they call any alcoholic beverages they scavenge.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted. Like Goblins, they have a reputation for being this toward most of the other races they come into contact with, especially the Nords. Some of this treatment is justified as Rieklings are frequently aggressive, attacking travelers and raiding the settlements of other races. However, there have been examples of Rieklings able to get along with non-Rieklings, following them as leaders and bringing them into their tribes.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: They have blue skin.
  • Anti-Magic: They have an inherent resistance/immunity (depending on the game) to natural cold and magical Frost.
  • Art Evolution: A major case from Bloodmoon, where they more closely resemble small blue humans, to Dragonborn, where they are much more primitive and bestial looking, to Online, where they basically look like a cross between Falmer and Orcs.
  • Beast of Battle: They tame Tusked Bristlebacks (Solstheim's native wild boars) to be this and as mounts.
  • Blade on a Stick: Spears are a favored weapon of theirs. They are small enough to be used by other races as one-handed weapons and even arrows.
  • Cargo Cult: They are known to scavenge detritus from the more civilized races which they then "form a strange attachments" to and have even been witnessed worshiping these relics.
  • Conlang: They have their own primitive language which sounds like gibberish to an untrained ear. They are also capable of learning and speaking Tamriellic.
  • Fun Size: They are only about half the size of an average man.
  • Glass Cannon: Don't let their diminutive size fool you — Rieklings hit hard, using spears that will tear an unprepared (or under-leveled) health bar to shreds. Fortunately, they are about as fragile as their small forms would indicate, usually going down easily to a Destruction spell, a few arrows, or just getting in close to bash them in the face.
  • Grim Up North: They are only known to be found in Solstheim, one of the most frigid, dangerous, and inhospitable places in Tamriel.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: They somewhat resemble blue-skinned Goblins and are frequently mistaken for another species of Goblin by outsiders to Solstheim, but Rieklings have their own physiology and culture distinct from standard Goblins. Still, they fit elements of the trope, including their primitive culture, small stature, attacking in groups, and a tendency toward aggression and evil.
  • Pointed Ears: They have pointed, tapered ears like the races of Mer.
  • Trash of the Titans: They are known to hoard random items, from useless Vendor Trash to weapons and armor.
  • You No Take Candle: They have a primitive language and those who speak Tamriellic typically do so in this fashion. The Riekling Chief who took over the Thirsk mead hall is able to speak more coherently, but not by much.
  • Zerg Rush: They are rarely found alone and tend to attack in groups.


"The tree spirits of this island. When the All-Maker breathed life into the creatures of the land, his Breath blew through the trees as well. Some of these trees kept a part of this life, and these are the spriggans you see today."
Skaal Legend

Spriggans are a race of tree spirits who typically take the basic form of tall, humanoid females made of wood. They are found in secluded groves, glades, and forests in the colder climes across all of northern Tamriel including High Rock, Cyrodiil, Skyrim, and Solstheim. Spriggans possess moderate intelligence and speak their own language. They are revered as "Nature's Guardians" and are associated with Kynareth, one of the Nine Divines and goddess of the heavens, winds, and elements. Despite this reverence, Spriggans are usually hostile toward any trespassers in their domain.

  • Arch-Enemy: Hagravens. Whatever source Hagravens draw their power from is apparently despised by Spriggans. Dead Spriggans can frequently be found near Hagraven lairs, and Hagravens will often decorate their lairs with Spriggan heads and parts, including Taproots.
  • The Beastmaster: If threatened, Spriggans can command nearby animals to attack intruders in their domain. They are most fond of doing this with bears, and some varieties of Spriggan can even summon a magical bear from thin air.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: Some Spriggan variants give off bioluminescencent green, purple, or orange lights.
  • Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff": In Cornish faery lore, Spriggans are a type of goblin with Sizeshifter powers. These Spriggans are more akin to violent Dryads.
  • The Corruption: Lurchers are a Spriggan variant created by corrupting a Spriggan through dark magic. The Spriggan's tortured spirit remains trapped inside the corrupted creature until it is slain.
  • Femme Fatalons: They have long, sharpened wooden (or another natural material) claws as fingers which they use as a melee attack.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: They're frequently referred to as "Nature's Guardians". They tend to live in secluded wilderness areas and will violently attack intruders, often commanding nearby animals to aid them as well.
  • Healing Factor: In the games since Bloodmoon, Spriggans have a rapid healing factor which kicks in when their health drops to critically low levels.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Spriggans have a significant, justified weakness to fire.
    • Burnt Spriggans, who were Spriggans in Solstheim damaged by Red Mountain's eruption during the Red Year, invert this. They are immune to fire-based spells and can attack with fire-spells of their own.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Spriggans are revered as Nature's Protectors, and are associated with Kynareth, but they're generally an unfriendly group of nature spirits who attack anyone who intrudes on their domains.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: They have a noticeable bust in their forms.
  • Once Is Not Enough: In Bloodmoon, they must be slain three times before they can be fully killed. Each time they are killed, they come back in a larger and more powerful form with additional magical resistances and immunities.
  • One-Gender Race: All known Spriggans have taken a humanoid female form.
  • Plant People: They are a tree-like race who takes the basic form of humanoid females. They typically have bark, branches, and leaves as part of their bodies.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: Some Spriggans attack with swarms of bees.
  • Universal Poison: Some Spriggan variants have the ability to cast short-range poison spells, and some are immune to poison as well.
  • When Trees Attack: They are a tree-like race and can often be found camouflaged among other plants and trees in order to ambush intruders to their domains.

Akaviri Races

A collective name for the races that hail from the land of Akavir, also known as "Dragon Land", far to the east of Tamriel.

    In General 
  • Named After Their Planet: Or region, in this case. Each race is simply named after their homeland and whatever they may call themselves is unknown. (Notable because this isn't the case for any of the races of Tamriel.note )
  • Unreliable Expositor: Much of what is known about the races other than the Tsaesci comes from Mysterious Akavir, a book that, even if it were accurate when written (which is not a given), is over two-hundred years out of date by the time of Skyrim.
  • The Unseen: To date, none of the Akaviri races have made an appearance in-the-flesh in the series. The closest we get are several Akaviri warriors who are The Remnant of the past invasion in Online, and they are never shown without their full-body and face-concealing armor.
  • Wutai: Akavir itself has considerable Asian influences, and seems to play the role of Asia to Tamriel's Europe.
  • Yellow Peril: Given that Akavir is rooted in East Asian cultures, most of their interaction with Tamriel in the west has been as deadly, mysterious, and frightening invaders. A few Akaviri have settled in the West, but even they are often mysterious and crafty antagonists.

The Kamal (meaning "Snow Hell") are a race of "snow demons" hailing from the frigid northern part of Akavir. Every year, they freeze during the winter and thaw out in the spring, at which point they attack the Tang Mo (and one time, Tamriel).
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: They are referred to as "snow demons", freeze every winter, and their home is referred to as "Snow Hell".
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Not even once have they succeeded in defeating Tang Mo. The one time they broke that cycle was to attack Tamriel, and that also failed.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Implied to be of the Mongols. "Savage" invaders from the north who attempt to raid and pillage their more peaceful neighbors.
  • Grim Up North: Their home is literally called "Snow Hell" and it is located in the north of Akavir.
  • Hidden Depths: Pretty much everything on them comes from Mysterious Akavir, but as one of two Akaviri groups to have invaded Tamriel they do have some other mentions — onenote  of which suggests that at least in a Tamrielic context they can recognise themselves (and be recognised) as kin to the Tsaesci descendants found in Tamriel and ally towards a common, constructive goal.
  • Human Popsicle: They freeze and thaw every year.
  • Vicious Cycle: Freeze, thaw out, attack the Tang Mo, freeze, thaw out... The one time it was broken was to attack Tamriel instead, and it also failed.

    Ka Po' Tun 
The Ka Po' Tun (meaning "Tiger-Dragon's Empire", originally just Po' Tun) are a race of "tiger-folk" and are said to be the most powerful empire in Akavir. They highly revere dragons and it is the goal of their race to become dragons.
  • Achilles' Heel: While they have become the strongest empire in Akavir, their greatest weakness is sea warfare.
  • Arch-Enemy: To the Tsaesci, who attempted to "eat" the dragons which the Ka Po' Tun highly revere. Tosh Raka intends to exterminate them.
  • Cat Folk: They're purely tiger-folk.
  • Cat-like Dragons: The goal of the Ka Po' Tun is to become these. To date, only their leader, Tosh Raka, is said to have succeeded, becoming a massive dragon with black and orange scales.
  • Enemy Mine: They have recently (relative to when Mysterious Akavir was written) allied with the Tang Mo, who were former enemies.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Implied to be of China. Tosh Raka has a number of similarities to Mao Zedong especially.
  • God-Emperor: Tosh Raka, the Tiger-Dragon. He has become the largest dragon on Nirn and is covered with orange and black scales. (Other sources claim this story to be metaphorical at best.)
  • Immortal Ruler: Tosh Raka again, assuming the story isn't merely metaphor.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Their war with the Tsaesci left them as the strongest empire on Akavir, but the war was very costly to both sides and left all of Akavir's dragons dead.
  • Scaled Up: To become a dragon is the ultimate goal of the Ka Po' Tun. The current emperor, Tosh Raka the Tiger-Dragon, is the only one known to have attained this goal.

    Tang Mo 
The Tang Mo (meaning "Thousand Monkey Isles") are a race of "monkey-folk" consisting of many breeds. Described as kind and brave, but also simple and mad, they are bitter enemies of the Kamal and Tsaesci, but have allied themselves with their former enemy in the Ka Po' Tun.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Though described as simple and mad, they've successfully defended themselves time after time against all of the neighboring races.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Described as very simple and mad, but have successfully defended themselves from their neighbor races, particularly the Kamal.
  • Enemy Mine: They have recently (relative to when Mysterious Akavir was written) allied with the Ka Po' Tun, who were former enemies.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: They're monkeyfolk.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Possibly of Korea and/or India, facing constant attacks from their aggressive neighbors. Those countries have been ravaged at various points in history by the Mongols, Chinese, and Japanese, the counterpart cultures for the Kamal, Ka Po' tun, and Tsaesci, respectively.
  • Idiot Hero: They are kind and brave, but also very simple.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: They always come up on top against their far more powerful enemies.

The Tsaesci (meaning "Snake Palace") are a race of vampiric "snake-folk" (though conflicting sources state that they are men little different from those in Tamriel). They were formerly the most powerful empire of Akavir and notably influenced the Cyrodiilic Empire after their failed invasion of Tamriel in the late 1st Era, particularly the creation of the Blades.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Tsaesci are the only race on all of Nirn that are not impacted by birthsigns, due to a "subdermal culture." What exactly this means is never explained.
  • Anti-Magic: The Imperial Battlemages who accompanied Uriel V during his failed invasion of Akavir claim to have been "abnormally weak" while there. It is speculated that the Tsaesci had something to do with it.
  • Arch-Enemy: Dragons, which also leads to the Ka Po' Tun. Their hatred for dragons has led to them attempting wipe all dragons from the face of Nirn (which at least partially motivated their 1st Era invasion of Tamriel). The Ka Po' Tun revere the dragons and are attempting to wipe out the Tsaesci in return.
  • Badass Army: While the warriors and mages of Tamriel were strong fighters, especially the Nords, Nedes, and Bretons, the Tsaesci invaders where incredibly organized and disciplined, to the point that Nord berserkers and warriors just broke against their unbreakable battle lines. It took the concerted effort of allied Cyrodiilic, Nord, and Morrowind forces to eventually defeat the Tsaesci, and even then, the Tsaesci only bowed to Reman when they realized he was Dragonborn. Reman promptly conquered most of Tamriel in large part by applying Tsaesci organization and discipline to the military traditions of the nascent Cyrodiilic Legions.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: Their Dragonguard served as this initially to Reman Cyrodiil and his descendants. They inspired the Blades who came after them.
  • Cannon Fodder: They have been known to use trained Goblins in this role. Although historical sources conflict greatly, the more prominent works indicate that the Tsaesci tend to be Glass Cannons who dual wield katanas with a cultural aversion to shields, which is not ideal for protracted melee engagements. Thus, the need of expendable light infantry to pin down enemy infantry.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After Reman Cyrodiil used the Thu'um against them in battle during their invasion of Tamriel, they recognized him as Dragonborn, who the Tsaesci believe to be the ultimate dragon slayers. He incorporated the surviving Tsaesci into his armies, where they served him as bodyguards, dragon hunters, and would be the precursors to the Blades. They also became a great cultural influence within the empire.
  • Dual Wielding: As they have a cultural aversion to shields (detailed below), they are known to wield a katana in their dominant hand and a wakizashi in their off-hand as a favored fighting style.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Possibly of Japan, where the weapons and armor attributed to them are very Japanese in design. Their Dragonguard (which would inspire the Blades) also has elements of Samurai culture.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: If the theory that they literally ate the Men of Akavir is true. (As opposed to "devoured" simply being a metaphor for enslavement and/or cultural absorption.)
  • Katanas Are Just Better: They have a number of Japanese-style weapons associated with them, particularly the katana. They introduced it to Tamriel when they invaded, and it became the iconic weapon of the Blades who drew inspiration from their Dragonguard.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Sources radically conflict over whether the Tsaesci are serpentine at all.
    • On the "human-like" side: Several in-game books outright state that they are humans little different from those in Tamriel. One account specifically mentions a Tsaesci soldier with an injured leg. The most recent (and probably most reliable) account, Uriel V's campaign report from the 3rd Era, does not describe them as snake-like at all. It also mentions them having "mounted raiders", which would be a difficult task for a species without legs. The Akaviri ghosts and skeletons who appear at a few points in the series are completely humanoid in appearance.
    • On the "serpentine" side: Mysterious Akavir, a work of admittedly dubious accuracy, supports this side. Additionally, the in-universe historical fiction (loosely based on in-universe historical events) 2920, The Last Year of the First Era also describes them as having serpentine lower bodies. Other chronicles, such as "History of the Fighter's Guild" indicate that the Tsaesci couldn't wear human armor at all, indicating a non-humanoid shape. Online has an item, an Akaviri Silver Mask, which depicts a reptilian-looking appearance.
    • The Take a Third Option-option: Since the "races" of Akavir share their names with the name of their nation, it's possible that they aren't one single "race", but multiple races living within those nations. The "Tsaesci" could include serpentine snake vampires as well as the former Men of Akavir and/or their cross bred descendants.
    • There is another suggested theory that the Tsaesci are actually shapeshifters who can change between humanoid and snake-like bodies. There's even a suggestion that the Tsaesci could be akin to lycanthropes.
    • Online seems to lean toward the humanoid interpretation, as a few Tsaesci remnants can actually be encountered in Elsewyr, and they are all humanoid. However, they have very strong serpentine themes to them, and they are never seen in the flesh, only in armor. It is implied in some dialogues that their skin molts like a snake's.
  • Long-Lived: While descriptions vary from "men just like those found in Tamriel" to "snake vampires", they are apparently longer lived than that typical men of Tamriel. The two Akaviri Potentates, who ruled Tamriel in a continuation of the Reman Empire early in the 2nd Era, ruled for 323 years and 106 years, respectively.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They are serpentine for one.
  • Precursors: Their Dragonguard spawned and heavily influenced the Blades.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: The Tsaesci are said to have "devoured" both the Men of Akavir as well as the Red Dragons sacred to the Ka Po' Tun. Sources conflict as to whether "devour" means that the Tsaesci literally consumed these races, or if it is a colorful term for enslavement and cultural absorption. Unless/until they actually show up in-game, we may never know.
  • Shields Are Useless: Tsaesci have a cultural aversion to shields, and are confused by human warriors who rely on a 'sword-and-board' fighting style. In Tsaesci martial arts, if you don't want your opponent to hit you, you get out of the way.
  • Slave Race: They are known to keep the goblins of Akavir as slaves. They are used for labor, food, and as Cannon Fodder in battle. They also at one point enslaved Akavir's red dragons and possibly the Men of Akavir as well.
  • Snake People: They are supposedly very snake-like, right down to having serpentine lower bodies, but some accounts suggest a more humanoid appearance. In Online, one Tsaesci NPC will comment that their skin molts like that of a reptile, but their are never seen without their full-body armor.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: According to Esbern, the Akaviri are not a straightforward people, and their art and records are couched deeply in allegory and mythological symbolism, rendering it nearly impossible to understand for people who weren't learned in their ways. The Tsaesci who created Alduin's Wall told their tale in the form of a mural depicting the prophecy of the Last Dragonborn, which made sense to them but also concealed the truth of the prophecy from later generations who didn't understand the Wall's significance.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Along with You Sexy Beast. Serpentine or not, they did leave descendants who are considered "beautiful, if frightening". Best not to delve too much into that.
  • Weather Manipulation: Uriel V's invasion of Akavir was absolutely plagued by seemingly supernatural bad weather. The Akaviri winter was far longer and more intense than his intelligence reports indicated it would be. Further, it was plagued by a sudden and mysterious drought. Finally, severe storms along the oceanic supply lines sank many of his ships traveling between Akavir and Tamriel. Magical manipulation by the Tsaesci is speculated to be the cause in all cases.


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