Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / The Elder Scrolls: The Races of Men

Go To

This page lists all the races of Men found on Nirn. 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 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.)

Advertisement:


The races of Men (humans) of Nirn.

    open/close all folders 

    General Tropes 


  • Badass Army: Just about any large army of Men qualifies. Specific examples can be found in the individual races below.
  • Fantastic Racism: Though it was more subdued during the Septim Empire, the races of Men have traditionally been very distrustful of the elves. The elves generally throw this right back at the races of Men.
  • Humanity Is Superior: Something the races of Men obviously believe, and given their successes in dominating the continent, this claim has some validity. Humans have conquered large portions (and in one case, all) of Tamriel four times throughout history (once by the Nordic Empire and thrice by the Imperials) despite their inherent disadvantages in terms of natural magical ability and shorter lifespans compared to the races of Mer. Three times, in fact, a race of Men has driven a race of Mer to virtual extinction. (The Atmorans/Nords to the Falmer, the Nedes/Imperials to the Ayleids, and the Yokudans/Redguard to the Sinistral Mer/Left-handed Elves.)
  • Humans Are Bastards: To the races of Mer, especially the Altmer. They see Men as having pitifully short lives filled with violence and savagery who disrupt everything the elves try to achieve. According to Altmeri religious beliefs, Men were created by Lorkhan to specifically be bastards, with him having created mankind from the weakest souls to "spread Sithis (chaos) into every corner".
  • Humans Are Special: The Divines are said to "belove" the races of Men in particular, who find "strength-in-weakness" in their mortal forms (as opposed to most of the Elves who feel that the mortal world is a prison) and who live with passion and hope despite always being doomed to death in the end. Lorkhan certainly seems to agree, as he (in his Shezarrine forms) has aided the races of men repeatedly in their struggles against the elves throughout history.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Each race of Men has strong martial traditions. Nords and Redguards are mighty independent warriors while Imperials have a greater focus on discipline and excelling in group combat. Even the Bretons have a strong chivalric tradition with various knightly orders and make for excellent battlemages.
  • Humans Are White: Played straight for all but the Redguards and Men of Akavir. By Skyrim, there are finally a few Ambiguously Brown NPCs of the other races of Men, but the vast majority of Imperials, Nords, and Bretons are all white.
  • Human Subspecies: The four races of Men in Tamriel are all different enough to have unique racial abilities and innate proficiency in certain skills. Three (the Nords, Imperials, and Bretons) all share a common ancestor in the Nedes. Additionally, the races of Men and Mer (Elves) also share a common ancestor even further back in history known as the Ehlnofey. Each race of Men and Mer can interbreed and produce viable offspring, which almost entirely takes after the mother, averting All Genes Are Codominant.
  • Multiple-Choice Past:
    • Sources conflict greatly on the early history of the races of Men. The most popular theory, espoused most prominently by the propaganda of the Septim Empire, is that all of the races of Men (save for the Yokudan Redguards) descend from the Nedes, who originally hailed from the northernmost continent of Atmora. However, other sources indicate that the Nedes were among Tamriel's many indigenous human tribes (or may have been the collective name for these tribes) from whom the Imperials and Bretons get their human ancestry while the actual Atmorans were a distinct race of Men who came over in the early 1st Era and settled in Skyrim, interbreeding with the Nedes to create the modern Nords. In either case, there is evidence of habitation by humanity in Tamriel which predates the earliest known dates of Atmoran migration.
    • Even the creation of the races of Men is unclear. The most prominent theory is that the Ehlnofey who would become the races of Mer and the Ehlnofey who would become the races of Men ("Wanderers") split very early in world history following a great war between the two factions. However, Altmeri religious beliefs (dating back to the ancient Aldmer) state that Men were created by Lorkhan out of the "weakest souls" to spread chaos throughout all corners of creation.
  • Order Versus Chaos: According to Altmeri religious beliefs, mankind was specifically created by Lorkhan to be the "chaos" to the "order" of the elves (who believe that they descend from the order-leaning Aedra).
  • Precursors: All but the Redguards are believed to be descended at least in part from the Nedes. According to Septim propaganda, the Nedes came over from Atmora, but other sources indicate that they were among Tamriel's many native human populations.
  • Proud Warrior Race: All but the Bretons tend to have pride in their race's abilities in combat and warfare.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Each race of Men tends to be highly religious in addition to being badass warriors, diplomats, etc.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Most of Tamriellic history can be summed up as "Elves and Men fighting". More often than not, the Men have come out on top, leading to plenty of this trope.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Compared to the Long-Lived races of Mer, the races of Men, on average, have lifespans similar to those of real-life humans.

    Atmorans 
"When at last the rightful claim of Saarthal had been retaken, driving the murderous elves back to their lofty cities, did great Ysgramor turn and let loose the fearsome war cry that echoed across all the oceans. The Five Hundred who yet stood joined in the ovation for the victory and the lament for their fallen peers. It was said to be heard on the distant and chilling green shores of Atmora, and the ancestors knew their time had come to cross the seas."
Songs of the Return

The Atmorans were the human inhabitants of Atmora ("Elder Wood" in Old Ehlnofex), the northernmost continent of Nirn. Early in the 1st Era, they began migrating to the northern shores of Tamriel, settling in what would become modern day Skyrim. They came into conflict with the Falmer (Snow Elves), who the Atmorans nearly drove to extinction. They are said to be the ancestors of the Nords, and possibly all races of Men in Tamriel (save the Redguards). Following a period of gradual freezing known as the "Frost Fall", Atmora became too cold to support life and it is believed that those who did not migrate to Tamriel have died off. Many modern Nordic customs were inherited from the Atmorans, and their culture has been highly influential on Tamriel overall.


  • Arch-Enemy: The Falmer, at least until Ysgramor and his companions drove them to near-extinction.
  • Badass Army: Ysgramor and his 500 Companions. They managed to destroy the entire Falmer civilization in Skyrim and nearly drove them to extinction as a race.
  • Badass Beard: Depictions and descriptions almost always include massive, glorious beards. (A trait which their Nord descendants have adopted with gusto.)
  • Barbarian Hero: Their aesthetic and how they are viewed by their Nord descendants, who inherited much from the Atmorans culturally.
  • Barbarian Tribe: It is said that they had no knowledge of agriculture and survived off of hunting, a way of life which likely encouraged their ceaseless warfare. They also did not have a written language, only developing one after arriving in Tamriel (which they borrowed from the Mer while adding Atmoran linguistic principles).
  • Born Under the Sail: Despite never developing a written language or even agriculture, the Atmorans were master ship-builders and sailors. Their most famous shipyard was Jylkurfyk, from which Ysgramor commissioned ships for he and his companions to invade Tamriel.
  • Civil War: It is said that the first Atmoran migrants to Tamriel came over to escape the civil wars plaguing Atmora.
  • Doomed Hometown: Atmora itself succumbed to the "Frost Fall", a period of gradual freezing through the Merethic and 1st Eras. Since the 2nd Era, it has completely frozen over and can no longer support life.
  • Dragons Are Divine: At the height of the Dragon Cult's influence, before the Dragon War, the Dragon Priests held as much power as kings, ruling in the stead of the aloof dragons they worshiped. In Atmora, the priests demanded tribute and set down laws and codes of living that kept peace between dragons and men.
  • Horny Vikings: An aesthetic they passed on to their Nord descendants.
  • Humans Are Warriors: It took an army of a mere 500 of them to bring down the Falmer civilization. Their descendants would forge the first empire of Men in Tamriel, spanning all across northern Tamriel.
  • Grim Up North: Even before the "Frost Fall", Atmora was said to be a very cold (though still green) place to live. From the perspective of the Mer in Tamriel, this was definitely the case for Atmora, as waves of elf-hating Atmorans poured into northern Tamriel throughout the 1st Era, supplementing the manpower of the races of Men in Tamriel.
  • Large and in Charge: Ysgramor, the most famous Atmoran, led the 500 companions and would become the first King of Skyrim. When his spirit is met in Sovngarde in Skyrim, he stands at least 8 feet tall. Other sources infer that this may have been the case for all Atmorans, with their average height being much taller than modern men.
  • Last of His Kind: In official Imperial dogma, Tiber Septim (as Talos Stormcrown) is said to have been the last person to cross from Atmora to Tamriel before Atmora became uninhabitable. Given that Tiber Septim didn't come along until thousands of years after Atmora's "Frost Fall", this probably isn't the reality of the situation. (Though if the Merger of Souls option in the deity Talos' Multiple-Choice Past is true, it's possible that Wulfharth Ash-King was the last, and he became part of the deity Talos, bringing some truth to the claim in a very Mind Screwy fashion.)
  • Our Gods Are Different: They were known to venerate the Dragons of Atmora. They also deified many animals, including the hawk, wolf, snake, moth, owl, whale, bear, and fox. Many of their beliefs would form part of the Old Nordic pantheon, which would in turn influence the Imperial religion of the Eight/Nine Divines. Additionally, they were known to loathe Hermaeus Mora as the foul demon "the Woodland Man".
  • Precursors: To the Nords, at least in part, and (according to Septim propaganda) possibly to all races of Men in Tamriel.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After the Falmer slaughtered and burnt the (supposedly peaceful) Atmoran city of Saarthal, Ysgramor and his sons returned to Atmora to raise an army. Gathering 500 of Atmora's greatest warriors, they returned and nearly drove the Falmer to extinction.
  • Taken for Granite: Expeditions to Atmora in the 2nd and 3rd Eras found it to be nothing more than a frozen wasteland with no signs of intelligent life. According to the Dunmeri Physical God Vivec in his Lessons book series, he traveled there with Lord Nerevar and "found nothing but frozen bearded kings".
  • Warrior Heaven: Sovngarde, an idea they passed on to their Nord descendants.

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

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

For tropes relating to the "Reachmen" (who are racially Breton but not culturally), see their entry below.


  • Adventure-Friendly World: High Rock in general. Rising in class by performing quests and services to curry favor with various rulers is considered the best way, which has created a cultural "quest obsession" among young Bretons.
  • Anti-Magic: Magic runs so much in their bloodline that they have an innate resistance to it in all forms. Combined with racial powers and certain birthsigns, this can be enhanced to outright (but temporary) immunity to magic.
  • Arch-Enemy: They have a long and heated rivalry with the Orcs, dating back to the very beginnings of each race. They also do not have much love for their Redguard neighbors in Hammerfell, with the War of Bettony having been a tipping point.
  • Brains and Brawn: They are physically the weakest of the races of Men, but are the most skilled with magic.
  • Breeding Slave: The Bretons are the result of selective breeding by high-ranking Direnni Altmer men with their Nedic concubines.
  • Cloak & Dagger: Bretons tend to be extremely talented in pursuits of espionage. Breton double agents, assassins, and spies have turned the tide of wars throughout recorded history. It was in fact a Breton assassin who killed the Colovian Petty King Cuhlecain leading to the ascension of Cuhlecain's General as his replacement. That General's name? Tiber Septim.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Politically, they resemble medieval England and France along with elements of Renaissance Italy (dozens of smaller city states instead of large kingdoms, minor nobles with private armies duking it out, moderately more technologically and artistically advanced than their contemporaries, some clothing and building aesthetics, etc.), with elements of various Celtic cultures present as well.note 
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Their political intrigue is more cutthroat than is typical elsewhere in Tamriel. This has been mitigated somewhat after the Warp in The West, but still prevalent.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A cultural trait common among the Bretons. They tend to be highly skeptical to the point of being Jerkasses, but can warm up to become more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Have mostly Anglo-Franc first and last names, fitting in with their various counterpart cultures.
  • Guile Hero: Many great Breton heroes, both real and in stories, tend to rely on their wits and resourcefulness to succeed. Even when they fail, such as in How Orsinium Passed to the Orcs, these skills allow them to fail gracefully.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Downplayed compared to their counterparts in mankind, but the Bretons still make for fantastic battlemages and their culture has a strong chivalric tradition.
  • In-Series Nickname: Sometimes called 'Manmer' because of their mixed ancestry.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Outside of High Rock they're more known for their magical potential, but the Bretons actually have a strong chivalric tradition and most city states have their own knightly order to that end. Due to High Rock's cutthroat politics, how noble these knights actually are can vary wildly.
  • Mage Killer: Bretons are very magic-resistant, bordering on immunity with their racial power. They are especially strong against the Altmer, who bias towards Destruction Magic.
  • Magic Knight: Bretons are particularly adept at being Battlemages, blending their skills as mages with the strong chivalric tradition of their culture.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Unlike the other races of Men who tend to have Real Men Love Jesus beliefs, the Bretons are not disposed to "excessive religion". They do recognize the Nine Divines, as well as some non-traditional gods such as Phynaster and Magnus, and do build temples dedicated to them within their lands, but religion plays a much less prominent role in their society. Additionally, they are one of the few races of Men who do not see Lorkhan (who they call Sheor) as a truly benevolent being. Rather, they see him as "the Bad Man" and the source of all strife.
  • Pointed Ears: Some elite noble Breton families still have a slight point to their ears, hinting at their Mer ancestry.
  • Proud Scholar Race: Bretons generally enjoy intellectual and scholarly pursuits of all sorts. The study of magic, history, and technology (particularly that of the extinct Dwemer) are all common pursuits of the Bretons. They also make up a large portion of membership in the Mages Guild, which doubles as a guild for scholars.
  • The Order: Most of High Rock's city states have their own knightly orders. For example, Daggerfall has the Knights of the Dragon, while Wayrest has the Knights of the Rose.
  • Squishy Wizard: They are the most physically frail of the races of Men and are also the most naturally gifted with magic. Notice that says "physically frail", as the Bretons have the highest resistance to magical attacks of any race — Man, Mer or Beast.
  • Stealth Expert: Bretons make for some of the best Nightblades in all of Tamriel, blending their skills with magic (particularly the Illusion school) with their skills in espionage.
  • Summon Magic: Bretons tend to get large bonuses to the Conjuration school of magic throughout the series, making them excellent summoners.
  • Supreme Chef: The best cooks in Tamriel are said to come from High Rock. If you play as a Breton in Skyrim, when you have to impersonate "the Gourmet", someone even mentions that having the Gourmet be a Breton is "too obvious". Combine this trope and the aforementioned Jerkass tendencies of Bretons and you get the Elder Scrolls equivalent of a French Jerk.
  • True-Breeding Hybrid: They're a distinct race that arose from several generations of elves breeding with their human slaves, resulting in humans with elven characteristics such as a greater affinity for magic and — occasionally — slightly pointed ears.
  • Uneven Hybrid: The result of an ancient Aldmeri eugenics program which mated Nedes with the Direnni Altmer of High Rock. They are occasionally referred to as the "Manmer", a name which acknowledges their elf/human ancestry. The word "Breton" itself is derived from the Ehlnofex word "beratu", or "half". Despite this, modern Bretons are still far more Man than Mer.
  • Witch Species: The most naturally magically inclined race of Men, and not far behind the Altmer for all races.
Advertisement:

    Imperials 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lore_race_imperial.png
"Cyrodiil, Dragon Empire, Starry Heart of Nirn, and Seat of Sundered Kings... Indeed, if the history of the Nords is the history of humans on Tamriel, then Cyrodiil is the throne from which they will decide their destiny."
Pocket Guide to the Empire and its Environs, First Edition

The human inhabitants of Cyrodiil, sometimes referred to as "Cyrodiils" or "Cyrodilics". The Imperials are split into two distinct sub-groups, the Colovians and the Nibenese. The Colovians (aka "Cyro-Nords") mainly occupy western and northern Cyrodiil and are a hearty highland folk who may have more in common culturally with Nords than with the Nibenese. The Nibenese are cosmopolitan heartlanders who live mainly in central and southern Cyrodiil, including the Imperial City, around the Niben River system, and are the closest living race to the ancient Nedes. Imperials are renowned across the continent as diplomats, statesmen, and traders. While they don't have the same raw physical strength or pure prowess in combat as their Nord or Redguard relatives, they still make for highly disciplined and reliable soldiers. Indeed, their legions have forged no fewer than three empires spanning most or all of Tamriel at different points in history.


  • Animal Motifs: Dragons, dating back to St. Alessia of the first empire who was "blessed" by Akatosh, the Dragon-God of Time. Later, Tiber Septim employed a dragon by the name of Nafaalilargus to aid in the conquest of Tamriel, further driving the connection home.
  • Arch-Enemy: To the Races of Mer in general, who obviously do not accept subjugation to a race of Men very well. Especially the case for the Aldmeri Dominion, as they've been the main antagonist to the various Cyrodiilic Empires throughout history.
  • Badass Army: Imperials make up for their lack of individual strength by having a more regimented and collective martial prowess. Cyrodiilic armies managed to forge three empires spanning most or all of Tamriel.
  • Badass Normal: They lack the cool abilities, strengths, and powers of many of the other races, but through their disciplined armies as well as their skills at diplomacy and mercantilism, they've forged three empires.
  • Boring, but Practical: Not great at magic, not great at stealth, not great at combat, yet these guys have managed to conquer most or all of Tamriel several times.
  • Born Lucky: In Skyrim, the Imperial Luck trait allows them to find more gold when searching containers.
  • Call That a Formation?: Averted. While individually inferior warriors compared to the Nords or Redguards, the Imperial Legions have a focus on tactics and collective martial prowess that has allowed them to take over the continent.
  • Charm Person: Their Voice of the Emperor racial power lets them calm enemies for a while.
  • Civil War: A major falling out between the Colovians and Nibenese was a major contributor to the demise of the First Empire (though it had been in decline long before that).
  • Compelling Voice: They are well known for their talents in diplomacy, which is represented in-game by bonuses to Speechcraft and/or a racial ability that acts as a temporary Calm or Command spell. It's heavily implied by Skyrim that this is a leftover fragment of the power of Tiber Septim, one of the last great Dragonborn Voice Masters.
  • The Conqueror: They've had several leaders who fit throughout history, with the most famous being Tiber Septim.
  • Cool Starship: The Mothships, which were built during the Second Empire (Reman Dynasty) in a space-race (to Aetherius) with the Altmer, and left them the Royal Imperial Mananauts. Yes, really.
  • Court Mage: The office of Imperial Battlemage was created to serve as this to the Emperors of Tamriel. In addition to being a master sorcerer, the Imperial Battlemage also advises the Emperor on all matters of magic.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Earlier games gave them two cultures with different influences. The Colovians were primarily based on Rome (especially their martial traditions as well as military equipment and strategy), while the Nibenese had Chinese, Japanese, and Mesoamerican influence. This was all but dropped by Oblivion. Since then, they've been Medieval Europe meets Rome. By Skyrim, they're based on Rome, with a smattering of Italy. The Septim Empire has elements of the Holy Roman Empire due to Tiber Septim being of Nordic descent, much like how the Holy Roman Empire was centered on Germanic families.
  • Cultural Posturing: They are prone to espousing the virtues of their various glorious empires to those they've subjugated. As they conquer new lands, they have traditionally enforced their rather liberal Imperial values, including a heavy focus on mercantilism and trade as well as significant religious tolerance, believing them to be superior to the "barbaric" cultures they are replacing and leading to plenty of Culture Clash. (Given that a lot of the cultures they have replaced were rife with racism, classism, and every other negative "-ism" you can think of, they aren't entirely unjustified in this belief.)
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: They dished one out to the Aldmeri Dominion in the late 2nd Era. Led by Tiber Septim using the Numidium, they decimated the Dominion's military and sacked their capital city in less than an hour of fighting to create the first truly pan-Tamriellic Empire in history.
  • The Cycle of Empires: Each of their Empires has gone through this. In general, each has started out with a legendary leader who founds the Empire, that leader passes on and his/her descendants expand the Empire further (or at least keep it in-tact) for a few centuries, then something happens to cause the decline of the Empire.
  • The Empire: While they have created three empires spanning most or all of Tamriel at different points in history, they technically subvert (or even outright avert) the trope. Their empires are much closer to The Good Kingdom, or at least The Federation, generally being a benevolent Big Good (especially the Third Empire) while protecting Tamriel from greater threats. They enforce rather liberal values in their conquered provinces, such as religious and racial tolerance, while establishing strong mercantilism and trade ties. Still, the terminology sticks. To note:
    • The First (Alessian) and Second (Reman) most closely match a Rising Empire. Though both failed to conquer all of Tamriel, they built the foundation for Cyrodiil's eventual dominance of Tamriel.
    • The Third Empire, founded by the Septim Dynasty, was the first to unify all of Tamriel for the first time in history, taking the form of a Hegemonic Empire. While initially founded by the iron fists of the Imperial Legions under the leadership of Tiber Septim, it quickly shifted to a (mostly) benevolent force of good, espousing generally liberal values like religious and racial tolerance while establishing strong diplomatic and mercantile ties between the provinces, reducing the need to keep the empire together through force.
    • The state of the Third Empire in the 4th era is that of a Vestigial Empire under the leadership of the Mede dynasty, as most of the provinces of the Third Era Empire have been lost, and those that remain are in a very fragile place.
  • Facial Markings: Before the late 3rd Era, Nibenese Cyrodiils would often tattoo themselves.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Typically have Latin sounding first and last names. As of the 4th Era, some Italian sounding names are getting mixed in, reflecting the real-life evolution of language.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Their culture (initially the Colovians but later all Imperials) is heavily influenced by Ancient Rome. Most have Latin-sounding names and Latin sounding words (real or otherwise) permeate through their culture.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: They've done this to a number of their great historical heroes including Pelinal Whitestrake, Reman Cyrodiil, and Tiber Septim. They downplay (or completely whitewash) their (sometimes extreme) negative traits while holding them up as beacons of mankind's greatness.
  • Hit So Hard, the Calendar Felt It: The foundation or collapse of a new Cyrodiilic Empire has begun or ended each of the last three "Eras" of Tamriellic History. The 1st Era ended when the last of the Reman Dynasty (Second Empire) was assassinated. The 3rd Era began when Tiber Septim completed his conquest of all of Tamriel, forging the Third Empire. When the last of Septim's line died following the Oblivion Crisis, the 3rd Era came to an end, ushering in the 4th Era.
  • Humans Are Average: They fit this trope moreso than the other races of men, being neither prodigious mages like the Bretons, or warriors on the level of the Nords and Redguards, but being fairly competent at whatever role they're given.
  • Humans Are Diplomats: While the strength of their legions obviously played a large part in forging their empires, it is their ability as diplomats that has kept these empires together.
  • Humans Are Leaders: Imperials have been at the epicenter of Tamrielic politics since St. Alessia, and have founded three empires (under the Alessian, Reman, and Septim dynasties) from their home of Cyrodiil.
  • Humans Are Warriors: They are most famous for their skills as diplomats and leaders, but have a great "warrior" history all the same. While they lack the individual strength of the Nords and Redguards, they make up for it by having a more regimented and collective martial prowess, essentially the "soldier" to the Nord/Redguard "warrior" in the Soldier Versus Warrior debate. There is a good reason that the Imperial Legions have been so successful throughout history. It also makes their 4th Era clash with the Nords rather ironic, as they are Not So Different. They (or at least their ancestors) are both, for example, responsible for the destruction of an entire race of elves (Falmer for Nords; Ayleids for Imperials).
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Shows up in how Imperials are built in the series. The are outclassed in just about every skill category by at least 2-3 other races each, however, they also lack the deficiencies of those races as well, making them a very diverse and accessible race to play as. Their bonuses make them good diplomat-style characters who can back that up with solid cross-class combat ability. These combine to make them a strong fit for cross-class builds and are in competition with the Dunmer for the most balanced of all.
  • Military Mage: Imperial Battlemages have been an important asset to the Imperial Legion dating back to the First Empire. They act variously in support roles (namely healing and protection spells), gathering military intelligence (using Illusion-class spells to scout enemy forces), artillery (with high powered Destruction-class spells), as summoners (using Conjuration-spells) and as just plain Magic Knights who combine magical abilities with plate armor and melee weapons.
  • National Weapon: Imperial Swords, modeled after the Roman Gladius. (Though in practice and appearance, they come closer in function to the Roman Spatha instead.) They are the primary weapon the Imperial Legions and have come to be identified with the Imperial race in general.
  • Promoted to Playable: In Morrowind. Before that, the series lacked an "Imperial" race, with the Empire considered a "melting pot" of all races. (Technically, they were defined as a distinct race in the spinoff game Redguard, but were not actually playable.)
  • Proud Merchant Race: They get bonuses to Speechcraft. The Nibenese were also famous for this, with the Imperial City and eastern Cyrodiil being famous for their merchant-nobility, but this died out by the end of the Septim Empire. In general, the various Cyrodiilic Empires have long established strong mercantile and trade ties between provinces, helping to bind them together without use of force while allowing the Empires themselves to partake in the tax money the arrangement creates.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Though not to the extent of the Nords, Redguards, or Orcs, the Imperials fit (though the might be closer to a "Proud Soldier Race"). Their focus is on collective martial prowess, ala the legions of the Roman Empire, and it has allowed them to conquer most or all of Tamriel thrice. In particular are the Colovians, who make up the bulk of the Legions, and who highly respect martial values and discipline.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: The religion of the Eight (later Nine) Divines was codified in the founding of the First Empire. Akatosh remains the most prominent deity in Imperial religion, but the other Divines are well represented as well. Talos quickly became beloved by the Empire following his apotheosis as well.
  • Sigil Spam: The Imperial army have a tendency to display the Red Diamond or the Imperial Dragon on most of their equipment.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: They're the soldiers to the Nord and Redguard warriors, being highly disciplined and specializing in group combat, while Nords and Redguards are individually superior warriors. Imperials also focus less on the glories of the combat itself, and more on the glories achieved through combat (such as building their Empires).
  • The Tower: The White-Gold Tower in the Imperial City, which serves as the palace of the Emperor, a meeting place for the Elder Council, and a repository for all known Elder Scrolls. It is also a Tower in a mythic sense, one of the nexuses of mythic power on Nirn. Originally constructed by the Ayleids using the "Chim-el-Adabal" (said to have been created from the crystallized blood of Lorkhan, collected as it traveled across Tamriel to its resting place in Morrowind) as their "Stone". Following the Alessian Revolt, Akatosh gave to Alessia and her descendants the Amulet of Kings (whose centerpiece was the Chim-el Adabal), as well as the Dragonfires of the Imperial City. So long as the Empire maintained its worship of Akatosh and his kin, and so long as Alessia's heirs bore the Amulet of Kings, Akatosh and his divine kin would maintain a strong barrier protecting Mundus. This, of course, came to an end during the Oblivion Crisis when Martin Septim, last in Alessia's metaphysical line, shattered the Amulet of Kings and sacrificed himself to end the Crisis. Like Red Tower before it, White-Gold was left without its stone.

    Kothringi 
The Kothringi, or "Lustrous Folk", were a race of men native to the Black Marsh. Believed to have been close relatives of the Nedes, they were primitive, tribal, and largely nomadic in nature. Despite this, they were skilled sailors and their warriors made up a large part of the Imperial garrison in the Black Marsh city of Gideon during the Second Empire. Unfortunately, the Kothringi (along with the Lilmothiit "Fox Folk" of Black Marsh) would be one of the hardest hit races by the 2nd Era Knahaten Flu. It is believed that they were rendered extinct by the Flu, but it is rumored that some refugees escaped aboard the "Crimson Ship". Denied refuge by any nation in Tamriel, the ship sailed westward, never to be seen again.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: They had silver skin, leading to their nickname of the "Lustrous Folk".
  • Born Under the Sail: They were said to be skilled sailors.
  • Ghost Ship: The Crimson Ship is this to the Redguards, who were the last to deny shelter to the Crimson Ship before it sailed westward. Every year, they memorialize this as the "Day of Shame", in which no Redguards leave their homes, believing that the Crimson Ship will return to take revenge. Pirates in the region also fear the Crimson Ship, believing that no one who has seen it has ever lived to tell the tale.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: They preferred to be naked at all times, presumably even while fighting, though it is known that they wore clothes when outside of their native lands.
  • Mystical Plague: It is said that the 2nd Era Knahaten Flu wiped them out.
  • Noble Savage: From what little is known about them, they were a primitive and tribal society. If they were more "noble" or more "savage" remains unknown, however. It is known that they served in the legions of the 2nd Empire, which would make them seem more "noble" to human historians at least.
  • Racial Remnant:
    • A group of Kothringi refugees escaped their homeland during the Knahaten Flu epidemic aboard the Crimson Ship. However, they were denied refuge anywhere in Tamriel and sailed westward. Redguard sailors later supposedly found the ship with all aboard having died, but other tales tell that none who see the ship ever return alive.
    • The chief of the Kothringi group in Stillrise Village made a deal with Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes, in order to survive the Flu. Vile kept his end of the bargain, but did so by transforming the populace into immortal, undead skeletons. The villagers maintained living appearances through illusion magic and lived in peace for over 20 years, but a group of necromancers discovered their secret and attempted to enslave them. The villagers defeated the necromancers, but would eventually succumb to their own infighting.

    Men of Akavir 
The Men of Akavir (also known as the Akaviri) were a race of mysterious humans who lived in Akavir. They died out millennia ago, but what happened to them is a mystery (theories that they intermingled with other men, were eaten by the Tsaesci, or may have been the ancestors of the Tsaesci).
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Their katanas came with them when they invaded Tamriel, and are still in use by their modern descendants, the Blades.
  • Precursors: If the theory that they were culturally absorbed by the Tsaesci, rather than literally devoured, is the case. Given that there is evidence of the Tsaesci having offspring with the Tamriellic races, it's quite possible they also interbred with the Men of Akavir, leaving their imprint on the modern Tsaesci.
  • Metaphorically True: One theory on their ultimate fate is that saying they were "eaten by the Tsaesci" is just a colorful way of saying that they were culturally absorbed into Tsaesci (as opposed to literally devoured, which is a different theory). The former theory is backed up by some texts indicating that the Tsaesci "devoured" the red dragons, which turned out to mean that the dragons were enslaved, and a diary from an Akaviri soldier confirming that the troops who had invaded Tamriel had legs. Some modern Cyrodiilic Imperials also bear what are believed to be the facial features of the Akaviri, indicating that the invaders were human enough to interbreed with Tamrielic peoples.
  • Wutai: Like the Tsaesci they're Japanese-based, and the few descriptions of their physical appearance match that of East Asians.

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

According to early propaganda of the Septim Empire, the Nedes are the human ancestors of the Bretons, Imperials, and Nords. According to Septim's scholars, they hail from Atmora, though other accounts suggest that they were among Tamriel's many indigenous human tribes (or may have been the collective name for these tribes). The Nibenese Imperials are believed to be their closest living relatives.

During the Merethic and early 1st Eras, the Nedes of Cyrodiil were enslaved by Ayleids. They would revolt and overthrow the Ayleids, establishing the First Cyrodiilic Empire of Men under the leadership of St. Alessia, the "Slave Queen".


  • The Alliance: While Nedes made up the primary forces during the Alessian Revolt, they received significant aid from rebel Ayleid lords and the Nordic Empire to their north. (Not to mention the Divines themselves.)
  • Culture Chop Suey: Elements of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures along with elements of the early Chinese Empire. (These elements survived in their Nibenese Imperial descendants at least until the 3rd Era.)
  • The Dog Bites Back: They ended up driving the Ayleids to extinction as a unique race. That may seem harsh, but the Ayleids were so needlessly vile in their dog kicking that it's hard to blame them.
  • Have You Seen My God?: The last remaining group of Nedes in Hammerfell started to turn away from their traditional worship of the stars and Celestials due to the decline of their race.
  • Horny Vikings: According to Septim propaganda. It's been suggested that their relationship to the Nords has been exaggerated in order to make the Nords supportive of the empire.
  • Humans Are Special: The Divines sided with Alessia and the Nedes in their revolt against the Daedra-worshiping Ayleids. Their support was instrumental in the success of the revolt.
  • Precursors: To Bretons, Imperials, and possibly Nords. Culturally, they had some influence on the Redguards after they arrived in Tamriel. (The Redguards merged some of the Nedes' religious beliefs, customs, and parts of their language into their Yokudan traditions.)
  • Racial Remnant: The last group that identified as "Nedes" survived deep into the First Era in the deserts of modern day Hammerfell. They were wiped out when the Redguards invaded and claimed the land.
  • Screw You, Elves!: While the Atmorans/Nords had been battling Mer (Elves) in Skyrim for centuries before, it was the victory of Alessia and the Nedes over the Ayleids that was the tipping point in the continental power struggle between Men and Mer ever since.
  • Slave Race: To the Ayleids.
  • Slave Liberation: Against the Ayleids under Alessia, with the support of the Divines and the Nordic Empire. They went on to found the first empire of men out of Cyrodiil, the Alessian.
  • Star Power: Study and worship of the stars and constellations were a major part of their culture. They also worshiped beings known as "celestials". Exactly who or what they were is not known. (Theories posit that early forms of the Aedra, Magnus and the Magna Ge, or some other unknown set of divine beings are all possibilities.)
  • The Tower: Captured the White-Gold Tower from the Ayleids during the Alessian Revolt.
  • Written by the Winners: Propaganda from the early Septim empire, written centuries after the Nedes went extinct as a unique race, played up their relationship to the Nords in order to make the Nords more supportive of Septim's empire.

    Nords 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lore_race_nord.png
"Nords consider themselves to be the children of the sky. They call Skyrim the Throat of the World, because it is where the sky
exhaled on the land and formed them."
Children of the Sky

The human inhabitants of Skyrim, Tamriel's frigid and untamed northernmost territory, the Nords are a tall, fair, and hardy people known for their inborn resistance to natural and magical frost as well as for being fierce warriors, unruly mercenaries, and great sailors. This only tells half the story, however, as the Nords are far more than the bloodthirsty barbarians the rest of Tamriel (especially the Elves) claim them to be. The Nords are lovers of battle, true, but they are also lovers of music and mead, fine weaponsmiths and armorers, and are a deeply spiritual and traditional people with a strong sense of honor. Modern Nords are believed to be the descendants of the ancient Atmorans interbreeding with Tamriel's native Nedes. Nords possess some of the strongest physiques of the races of Tamriel along with exceptional natural ability to utilize a variety of weapon types, making them some of the greatest pure warriors in all of Tamriel.


  • Aerith and Bob: While the Nords typically take their names from their Scandinavian Counterpart Culture, this comes into play with the real world time periods the names are drawn from. You can see Nords with perfectly modern names like Jon and Harold living side by side with Nords who have more classic medieval Norse names like Ulfgar and Ragnar.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Jarls and Thanes are expected to be this, but how many actually are varies as realistically as it would in any other Tamrielic culture. Nords also have a tradition that if a their High King is challenged in combat and slain, the victorious warrior would be crowned King. This is an old tradition, however, and centuries of Imperial culture slowly filtering into Skyrim has somewhat caused it to be forgotten among the Western portion of Skyrim (where the Empire has most of its influence), to the point that actually invoking it is highly contentious by the 4th Era. (As Ulfric Stormcloak and his supporters found out when he invoked it and slew High King Torygg, kickstarting the Skyrim Civil War.)
  • An Axe to Grind: A very popular weapon among the Nords. Axes also have a great cultural significance — if you send a Nord your axe, how he responds will determine if you have business to address.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Their first names are typically pulled from medieval Norse while they have badass sounding clan names or sobriquets, leading to this — Ulfric Stormcloak, Arkming the Flayer, Ulfgar the Unending, Else God-Hater, Falk Firebeard, Frofnir Trollsbane, Aldi Winterblade, Ulfberth War-Bear, Galmar Stone-Fist, Torbjorn Shatter-Shield, Idolaf Battle-Born, Mjoll the Lioness, Aela the Huntress, Oengul War-Anvil, Hermir Strong-Heart, Bolgeir Bearclaw... The list goes on and on and on... they are also known to subvert it with some rather lame sounding names mixed in, still in this fashion, such as Vekel the Man, Nils the Bland, Horstar Home-Wrecker, Geilir the Mumbling...
  • Badass Army: Just about any army of Nords qualifies, but a few deserve special mention:
    • Ysgramor and his 500 Companions. They managed to destroy the entire Falmer civilization in Skyrim and nearly drove them to extinction as a race. (They were technically still Atmorans, but are held up as great heroes of Nord history nonetheless.)
    • The ancient Nord armies led by masters of the Thu'um. They first managed to defeat and nearly wipe out the dragons, then they carved out an empire spanning from High Rock and Hammerfell in the west, across Skyrim and northern Cyrodiil, to Morrowind in the east. It took a coalition of Dwemer and Chimer forces to finally bring them to a halt.
    • During the Skyrim Civil War, the Stormcloaks are a faction comprised mostly of Nord warriors fighting for Skyrim's independence. They can go toe-to-toe with the Imperial IVth Legion, one of the branches of the Imperial Military that's in the best shape since the Great War, and while they're not as regimented or as well-trained as the Legion, they make up for it by being individually superior fighters. Their initiation rite to join is to swim to an iceberg in the middle of freezing ocean and kill an undead ice wraith.
  • Badass Beard: Nords are serious about their beards, and make for one of the most badass warrior races on Tamriel. Some of their greatest ancient heroes are always depicted with beards, including Talos, Ysgramor, and old Shor himself.
  • Badass Normal: The least magically inclined people on Tamriel, and yet these guys are basically the reason why Mankind even exists on Tamriel. They established the first empire of Men in Tamriel, which was only torn apart due to a succession crisis.
  • Barbarian Hero: A common depiction of Nords by their allies, and something the Nords will play up for the purposes of honor and intimidation. This was also the case for the ancient Atmorans, who seem to have passed it on to the modern Nords.
  • Barbarian Tribe: Along with The Horde, this is a common depiction of them by Elves (who have been in conflict with them for generations) as well as the Imperials by the 4th Era. The Nords themselves don't seem particularly offended by this image.
  • Battlecry:
    • Their Battle Cry racial ability causes enemies to temporarily flee battle.
    • Nords were the first (mortal) race in Tamriel to master the Thu'um, the language of the Dragons, which takes this trope to its logical conclusion by having the battle cry be capable of directly inflicting harm to opponents.
  • Berserk Button: It's not a good idea to call a Nord a "milk-drinker", or really anything that questions a Nord's honor.
  • The Big Guy: Nord soldiers have filled this role in the Imperial Legion for centuries, along with (more recently) the Orcs.
  • Blood Knight: Nords excel in all forms of combat and are some of the finest warriors in Tamriel. Testing their abilities against the most powerful opponents they can find brings with it great honor.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Nords love to battle, are exceptionally good at it, and then love to brag about their accomplishments in said battle. They are also big fans for feasting, drinking, and celebrating.
  • Braids of Barbarism: Braids are popular in Nord culture, among both men (including their beards) and women. Nords are also considered to have one of Tamriel's most "barbaric" cultures, at least to outsiders. Nords will even use braid styles in their Hold symbols, such as in the horse's mane in the Whiterun symbol and in the crown of the Winterhold symbol.
  • Brains and Brawn: The brawniest race of Men in Tamriel, in contrast to the Imperial diplomatic "brains" and the Breton magical "brains".
  • Catchphrase: The Nords have quite a few cultural ones, including "By Shor's bones..." and "By Ysmir's beard..."
  • Civil War: Skyrim is experiencing a brutal one in the 4th Era between the Imperial Loyalists and the secessionist Stormcloaks. There is a ton of Gray and Grey Morality present, with both sides having negative aspects and neither side being painted as wholly "right". (The Skyrim Civil War is, of course, fully supported by the Aldmeri Dominion, who would love to see each side bleed the other dry.)
  • Court Mage: Despite their cultural inherent dislike of magic, most Jarls still keep a Court Wizard on hand to advise in matters of magic.
  • Culture Chop Suey:
    • Primarily, they are Horny Vikings with their cold northern homeland, predilection for berserker fighting styles, love of huge axes, reputation as indomitable sailors, and strict warrior ethos. However, they also draw from other tribal warrior cultures in addition to the Norse. For instance, sky worship plays a huge role in how they venerate Kynarath, which likens the Nords to Mongols, Turks and other steppe tribes; ditto for their habit of viewing high mountains as holy, and their creation myth basically stating that they were 'breathed' into existence by their sky god atop a huge mountain, which again draws parallel with certain Mongol and Turkic creation myths (High Hrothgar would essentially be a parallel to Muztau, the tallest peak in the Altai Mountains, in this comparison). This was also present visually in Morrowind, where Nordic fur armour actually did have a stylised 'Mongol' appearance and a furred hat. The fur hats in Skyrim also look vaguely like a lovuuz hat.
    • Some of their facepaint options in Skyrim draw from vaguely Celtic looking designs.
    • Their ancient practice of embalming their dead, probably lifted from the Atmorans, is reminiscent of the famous practices of Egyptian mummification.
    • Their ancient religion preached that time was cyclical (which actually turns out to be accurate in the ES universe), which parallels Hinduism.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Modern Nords, as a rule of thumb, have an inherent distrust of magic and those who practice it, though they will make an exception for practitioners of Restoration (since more healers is always good), Enchanting (using magic to make weapons and armor more useful), and the Thu'um (The Magic of the Voice, of which early Nords were the first human practitioners). Averted in Ancient Nordic culture; magic was known as the "Clever Craft" and held in high regard, and several prominent Nordic heroes of legend were Magic Knights. Countless wars against the various magic-using races of Mer (Elves) soured the Nords to magic over time, and more recent events, such as the collapse of much of the city of Winterhold being blamed on the local College of Winterhold, have only made things worse. Despite this, most of the Jarls of Skyrim still retain the services of Court Wizards who advise them in matters of magic, though they are still rather disrespected.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: In Sovngarde, Nords are judged not on how they lived, but rather on how they died. As a result, most Nords, and those of other races who wish to go to Sovngarde, strive to have their deaths be a spectacular act of bravery and defiance in the face of their enemies. If facing certain death, even at executions, most Nords will try to resist and fight back, or otherwise face their deaths with courage and honor.
  • Earn Your Title: Nord tradition is that a clan name is something that must earned through a great deed, be it an act of great bravery, strength, or shrewdness. Said clan name is something related this great deed. Once the clan name has been earned, though, your descendants are more or less free to use it as they please though.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: The Ancient Nords were the first (mortal) race in Tamriel to master the Thu'um, which they used to drive the Dragons into near-extinction and carve out an empire for themselves during the late Merethic/early 1st Era.
  • Facial Markings: Nord warriors are known to adorn themselves with warpaint.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: The typically have a Norse or Germanic sounding first name followed by a clan name, or sometimes a first name and a nickname. You can tell the difference by the presence or absence of the "the" article; if there is one, it's a nickname. For example "Sild the Warlock" is a nickname. If there's no "the", it's a clan name, for example "Lars Battle-Born".
  • Fantastic Racism: Though at least generally tolerant to outsiders within Skyrim, Nords don't go out of their way to make outsiders feel welcome. Nords are historically stubborn to accept other races at best and nationalist bigots at worst. This is especially true toward any Elves ever since the war between Ysgramor and the Falmer. The Great War and the conflict between the Empire and Aldmeri Dominion has only exacerbated these feelings, with the Nords making little distinction between the actual enemy Thalmor and Elves caught in the middle, such as the Bosmer, Dunmer, and non-Thalmor Altmer.
  • Frontline General: This is the expectation for Nord leaders. Usually justified, given the typically badass nature of Nord leaders. Many great Nord leaders, including Ysgramor, Wulfharth, and Talos, gained great renown as both warriors and generals.
  • Had To Be Sharp: This is part of the reason why Nords are so hardy. Skyrim is filled to the brim with dangerous predators such as wolves, bears, sabretooth cats, and frostbite spiders. Giants wander the wilderness occasionally attacking settlements looking for goodies, werewolves lurk in the night-time forests, and the honored dead are restless. As if that wasn't enough already, the climate is freezing cold and unpredictable, especially in the northern holds of Winterhold and The Pale. Even to claim Skyrim during the Merethic Era, the Ancient proto-Nords/Atmorans who settled there had to contend with Falmer (Snow Elves) and Dragons; the former native to the land and the latter who maintained their base of power and cults there.
  • Honor Before Reason: While the Nords place a high value on honor in their culture, it can also lead to these issues. For instance, one of the core causes of the 4th Era Skyrim Civil war is that the secessionist Stormcloaks believe that the Empire sacrificed their honor and dignity by accepting the terms of the White-Gold Concordant with the Aldmeri Dominion, particularly the provision outlawing Talos worship. (Talos is one of the most popular deities in modern Nord religion.) On the other hand, Imperial loyalists among the Nords accept that the Empire (which was founded by Talos) has fallen on hard times, but believe that real honor means never abandoning an ally just because the going's gotten tough. Further, the Stormcloaks are painted as short-sighted in starting the Civil War, as both sides recognize that a second Great War with the Dominion is inevitable. Loyalists believe that a united Skyrim backing the Empire gives them the best chance of victory, while the Stormcloaks feel that a united Skyrim on its own has the best chance without being bogged down by the declining Empire.
  • Horny Vikings: As a brawny Proud Warrior Race of skilled sea-farers and craftsmen who love to battle, feast, and drink mead, the Nords are very much the Viking expies of Tamriel. However, they subvert and deconstruct this trope as often as they play it straight. To note:
    • To the other races of Tamriel, especially the races of Mer (Elves) who have warred with the Nords since time immemorial, the Nords play the trope entirely straight. They are viewed as uncultured, often drunken, brute-strength warriors who Do Not Like Magic and gleefully Rape, Pillage, and Burn whenever they get the chance. It is not unheard of for the Nords to play up this image when dealing with other races for the sake of intimidation. Additionally, the Nords themselves have Blood Knight tendencies, will put Honor Before Reason to a fault, and seek to enter Sovngarde (a Valhalla expy) when they die. Aesthetically, the Nords also play this trope straight, complete with the famous Viking horned helmets present in various fashions.
    • Despite this, the Nords also Downplay, Subvert, and Deconstruct the trope with elements of their culture. Skyrim in particular, with it being set in the Nordic homeland, is quite dedicated to showing that the Nords do not play this trope straight. It shows them to be a thoroughly civilized and proud race with great reverence for their gods (and is in fact the main catalyst for the Skyrim Civil War), who have a strong bardic element with feasting, family, and tradition just as important to their culture as fighting. Those Nords who do play the trope straight are shown to be criminal elements on the fringes of their society and are actively loathed by their kinsmen for giving Nords a bad name to outsiders.
  • Humans Are Warriors: A lesson they've lectured the races of Mer (Elves) on time and time again. Their proficiency as warriors is a large part of why Mankind has come to dominate Tamriel, with their ancestors first establishing a foothold on the continent by wiping out the Falmer, then by being major contributors to the various Empires of Men throughout history. Unlike many examples of the trope, the Nords actually are the physical superiors of their non-human adversaries and the more skilled individual fighters.
  • In-Series Nickname: In Oblivion, other races derogatorily refer to Nords as "Snow-men". "Sons of Skyrim" and "Sons of the Snow" are also used.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: In Nord culture, if you're not an honorable warrior, you're a nobody. As such, Mages are not particularly popular; a real Nord solves his problems with his fists, not magic. Funnily enough, this is a relatively recent cultural shift in the physical world. Nord mages are still allowed in their afterlife as long as they're honorable, and in ages past Nords called magic "the Clever Craft".
  • Lightning Bruiser: Nords are the physical Lightning Bruiser race of Tamriel. Throughout the series, they get some of the best skill bonuses for two-handed weaponry (including Claymores, Battle Axes, and Warhammers), which allows them to hit very hard. They also get skill bonuses toward Light Armor (fur, leather, light chainmail, etc.) which offers them protection while allowing them to move quickly around the battlefield. Finally, their natural physical endurance is among the best of any of the races. The only thing keeping them from being overpowered (and preserving a semblance of balance among the playable races) is that they are least magically inclined race in Tamriel and even have a cultural aversion to it.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: In the ancient past, the Dragons and their Dragon Cults took over much of Skyrim. Seeking a way to defeat the Dragons and their Cults, the ancient Nords prayed to the Divines for aid. Their prayers were answered and they were taught how to use the Language of Magic of the Dragons, which they called the Thu'um (or the "Voice"). Led by the Tongues, masters of the Thu'um, the ancient Nord armies vanquished the Dragons and their Cults, then forged an Empire that covered nearly all of north Tamriel. A succession crisis would eventually tear it apart, and then the use of the Thu'um as a weapon of war dropped dramatically after their defeat at the Battle of Red Mountain, following which one of those Tongues (Jurgen Windcaller) founded the "Way of the Voice" to use the Thu'um only honor the gods. As of the 4th Era, only the Greybeards of High Hrothgar still practice the Thu'um, following Windcaller's "Way of the Voice".
  • Martyrdom Culture: Rather unsurprisingly for a Proud Warrior Race of Viking expies who seek to enter a Warrior Heaven when they die. It should tell you something about any culture when "May you die with a sword in your hands" is a perfectly normal way to say goodbye to someone in Nord culture.
  • Norse by Norsewest: Their modern culture and physical appearance (tall, muscular, fair-haired, pale-skinned) are firmly fantasy northern European. (Their ancient culture, as mentioned in Culture Chop Suey, contains elements of other cultures as well.)
  • Not So Different: The Nords and the Altmer have some shocking similarities despite their rivalries, especially by the time of Skyrim. Both races follow the mainstream Nine Divines but there is a huge minority of their original religion present as well, both of them have a very haughty attitude towards any professions they frown upon (magic in the Nord's case) as well as any other races (Mer for the Nords although Skyrim has shown that they are starting to look down upon their fellow Men as well) to the point of showing overt racism, and finally, both believe that they are the rightful heirs to Tamriel.
  • Odd Friendship: Oddly enough with the Orsimer, who the Nords get along with surprisingly well for a race of Mer. While the Nords typically despise all races of Mer (Elves), they've bonded somewhat with the Orcs over their mutual respect for strong leaders, affinity for smithing, and love of fighting. Following the sack of Orsinium, the (short-lived) Orc home province between High Rock and Hammerfell, Orcs have set up numerous strongholds dotting Skyrim where they are allowed to live in relative peace by the Nords.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite their tempestuous relationship with Elves, when the Dunmer were driven from Morrowind after the destruction of Red Mountain, the High King of Skyrim formally offered them the island of Solstheim to resettle on. Subverted, however, as a rather cynical old Dunmer once noted, Solstheim was always a barren rock that no one has ever particularly cared about outside its ebony and stalhrim deposits, and was theoretically already claimed by Morrowind even if no one there wanted it. Refugees were already pouring in after the Red Year; the Nords would have had a hard fight against desperate people on their hands if they wanted to keep the island. To quote from the declaration:
    "Untithed to any thane or hold, and self-governed, with free worship, with no compensation to Skyrim or the Empire except as writ in the armistice of old wheresoever those might still apply, and henceforth let no man or mer say that the Sons and Daughters of Kyne are without mercy or honor."
  • The Paragon: Talos, Ysgramor, and the Dragonborn are often held up as the ultimate examples of what a Nord should aspire to be.
  • Proud Warrior Race: They're the fiercest warriors in Tamriel and exemplify the very idea that Humans Are Warriors. It took an army of a mere 500 of their ancestors to bring down the Falmer (Snow Elf) civilization and conquer Skyrim. Being a great warrior is even at the heart of their religion, where only those who die a glorious death in combat get into their ideal Warrior Heaven afterlife, Sovngarde (modeled after the real life Valhalla). While most Nords follow the main religion of most of Tamriel (the Nine Divines), many hold Talos, the ascended god form of Emperor Tiber Septim and God of War, as the chief deity of the pantheon.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: The Nords have a good case to make that they are the most badass race out of Nirn's World of Badass, but they are also highly religious. While they have a long history as some of the greatest supporters of the Empire, they still practice elements of their old religion in which the chief deity is Shor (aka Lorkhan, Shezarr, Shep, etc.), the "dead" creator god of the ES universe. Any Nord worth their salt hopes to die in glorious battle so their soul can spend eternity in Shor's hall in Sovngarde. Following his apotheosis, the Ninth Divine and War God, Talos, shot to the top of the Nordic pantheon. The Nords deeply venerate Talos as a national hero, one of the legendary Dragonborn and for founding the Empire that conquered Tamriel. Out of all the races of Tamriel, they were the most upset when the White-Gold Concordat between the Aldmeri Dominion and the Empire outlawed the worship of Talos as a god, becoming one of the major causes of the 4th Era Skyrim Civil War.
  • Rebellious Rebel: During the Skyrim Civil War. While there are Nords in Skyrim who genuinely support the Empire, many other Imperial-aligned Nords suggest that this is done out of a sense of tradition, a belief that independence would be disastrous for their homeland, and outright distrust for the nationalistic and Humanity Is Superior attitude held by Jarl Ulfric and his Stormcloak army.
  • Shocking Defeat Legacy: For all of their many victories, it was a Nord defeat that had perhaps the most profound impact on Tamriellic history. After centuries of domination and expansion out of Skyrim, their army, led by the Tongues (masters of the Thu'um), was annihilated at Red Mountain in Morrowind by a coalition of Dwemer and Chimer forces. This marked the farthest expanse of the Nordic Empire and led to a drop-off in the use of the Thu'um as a weapon after Jurgen Windcaller, one of the defeated Tongues, created the Way of the Voice to use the Thu'um only to honor the gods. The after effects of the loss at Red Mountain could still be felt in the storylines to both Morrowind and Skyrim.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: They and the Redguards are generally the "warrior" to the "soldier" of the Imperials, being superior individual combatants compared to the regimented nature of Imperial Legions, along with possessing a strong warrior ethos. Imperialized Nords lean more towards the Soldier side, however.
  • The Tower: "Snow Throat" (aka the Throat of the World) is the Tower of Skyrim, and is also the tallest mountain in all of Tamriel. Its stone is said to be "a cave", but beyond that, little is known. It originally attracted the Falmer (Snow Elves) to Skyrim but it would fall into the hands of the Nords after their ancestors (the Atmorans) nearly drove the Falmer to extinction. Despite already being the tallest mountain on Tamriel, Snow Throat's apex is said to only be "half there". Atop the mountain sits High Hrothgar, the monastery home of the Greybeards, who study the Thu'um, the Language of Magic of the dragons. It is also home to the "Time Wound", created when ancient Nord heroes used the power of an Elder Scroll to banish Alduin in an age long past. According to the Old Nordic mythology, it was here that "the sky exhaled" and created the Nords.
  • Warrior Heaven: Sovngarde, the realm of Aetherius where the Nords after death, is open to any warrior who dies in battle and then proves strong enough to best the warrior god-guardian Tsun, thus being allowed to enter the Hall of Heroes, where they can spend eternity drinking, eating, and fighting with other warriors. Those who cannot best Tsun are condemned to walk the misty hills beyond until they are strong enough to prove worthy of entry.
  • Warrior Poet: They have a great respect for their Skalds and have a strong bardic element present in their culture.
  • We Are as Mayflies: The reason that Arkay ("Orkey" or "Old Knocker" in the old Nordic pantheon) is despised by the Nords. The Nords hate that he gave them shorter lives compared to the Long-Lived elves.
Advertisement:

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

Also known as "Witchmen", Reachmen inhabit the area along the border of High Rock and Skyrim known as "the Reach". Though primarily Breton in in terms of race, they do not consider themselves culturally Breton. They are a primitive and tribal people, led by shamans, who practice elements of nature and Daedra worship, primarily Hircine. They also revere Hagravens as "matrons". From the time of the Alessian Empire to the 4th Era, they've maintained an insurgency, warring against any outside conquerors attempting to claim the Reach for themselves. Their greatest success came during the 2nd Era Interregnum, when the Reachmen were actually able to capture the Ruby Throne of Cyrodiil. These rulers became known as the "Longhouse Emperors" and ruled the remnants of the Second Cyrodiilic Empire for several decades until they were overthrown. In the 4th Era, following the decline of the Third Empire, the Reachmen successfully captured the Nord city of Markarth in the Reach and held it for two years until a Nord militia forced them out. The survivors of this group fled into the wilds of the Reach and have become known as the "Forsworn", continuing to wage their war.


  • Anti-Magic: Though they do not consider themselves culturally Breton, they still benefit from the anti-magic properties of their (mostly) Breton blood.
  • Barbarian Tribe: A group primitive in dress and technology who practices the closest thing to a "pagan" religion in Tamriel and are violently hostile to outsiders.
  • Dark Age Europe: Their greatest successes and largest impacts on Tamriellic history came during Tamriel's equivalent of the Dark Ages, the roughly 500-year 2nd Era Interregnum between the fall of the Akaviri Potentates and the rise of Tiber Septim:
    • Under the leadership of Durcorach the Black Drake, Reachmen forces were able to capture the Ruby Throne of Cyrodiil. Durcorach's dynasty ruled the remnants of the Second Cyrodiilic Empire for several decades until they were overthrown. Regarded as "eccentric" and "alien" while leading raids on neighboring provinces, these rulers are obviously not fondly remembered in Tamriellic history.
    • The Daggerfall Covenant was initially formed by the long-time rival Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs in response to the growing threat of the Reachmen during this time.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Their warriors may choose to become "Briarhearts". A Hagraven will remove the warrior's heart and replace it with a Briar Heart, a magical organic object which looks something like a pine cone. The Briarhearts receive a massive power upgrade at the cost of free will and thought. They also pick up the Weaksauce Weakness that if the Briar Heart is stolen (say, by a skilled pickpocket) or damaged (say, by a skilled archer), they will fall dead instantly.
  • Druid: Their "hedge magic" is in this vein, such possessing herbology-like Alchemical skills to create potions and poisons, communing with Hagravens to upgrade their warriors with organic-magical implements, and primarily worshiping Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt.
  • Facial Markings: Common among their people. In Skyrim, they even sport some unique ones which cannot be used by the Player Character (without mods).
  • Fantastic Racism: An extreme case toward any non-Reachman attempting to settle in the Reach.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Celts of the classical through medieval eras, with the Imperials, Bretons, and Nords in the roles of the Romans, Anglo-Normans, and Vikings toward them, respectively.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Typically have a single Celtic sounding name, in line with their counterpart culture.
  • Fur Bikini: Both men and women wear relatively little clothing, and what they do wear is primarily fur or hide, crossing over with Pelts of the Barbarian.
  • The Mole: They have agents living among the population of major cities within or near the Reach who act as spies and assassins.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Some Reachmen, such as Ainethach (the owner of the mines of Karthwasten) and Bothela (the owner of the Hag's Cure alchemy shop), lament that so many of their friends and relatives are dying over what they deem a "lost cause". Non-Forsworn Reachmen are constantly accused by the Forsworn and the Nords of supporting the opposing side, leaving them stuck in the middle.
  • Occupiers out of Our Country: No matter what foreign occupier attempts to claim the Reach and no matter how powerful they are, the Reachmen will resist.
  • Rebel Leader: Red Eagle was the first to unify the people of the Reach during the era of the Alessian Empire. He was also the first to ally the Reachmen with the Hagravens, as well as the first to become a Briarheart. Durcorach the Black Drake was arguably the most successful leader of the Reachmen, even capturing the Ruby Throne of Cyrodiil for a time during the 2nd Era Interregnum. Madanach, the "King in Rags", is the leader of the 4th era "Forsworn" group of Reachmen.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: They have no reservations about using open warfare and public murder of civilians to get what they want. They've been known to sack caravans, leaving no survivors but also taking no loot, in order to send a message.
  • Rock Beats Laser: They eschew metal in their weapons and armor, favoring wood, stone, fur, hide, feathers, bone, and antler. Despite this, they are able fight evenly against better equipped adversaries through use of guerilla tactics and their druidic "hedge magic".
  • Spark of the Rebellion: During the 3rd Era Septim Empire and into the early 4th Era, they begrudgingly accepted Nord rule rather than risk the wrath of the Empire. When the crumbling Empire was preoccupied with the Great War, the Reachmen rose up and captured the city of Markarth. Though the Nords would drive them out, they reformed as the Forsworn and hold strong in the countryside of the Reach with their numbers swelling.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: They see themselves as fighting for the freedom of their ancestral homeland. Those they fight against see them as savages and murderers.

    Redguards (Ra'Gada or Ra Gada) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lore_race_redguard.png

"The Yokudans left their continent following a cataclysm, arriving in Tamriel in an invading fleet called the Ra Gada. The disorganized Orcs fell to them quickly, as did all the infestations of monster and beast further inland. The Redguards, as the Ra Gada came to be called, made no concession to the Breton settlements along the coasts, slashing through the southern Iliac Bay, winning the entire area that is now the Province of Hammerfell in only a few major battles. "
The Pocket Guide to the Empire — 3rd Edition

The human inhabitants of Hammerfell, Tamriel's western desert territory. The Redguards are a dark-skinned and wiry-haired race with gaunt frames and lean muscle tone. Unlike the other races of Men who descend from the Nedes and/or Atmorans, the Redguards come from the continent of Yokuda, to the west of Tamriel. Redguards are famed across Tamriel as athletic warriors with a particular cultural affinity for swordplay, as well as for being excellent seafarers. The Redguards make for one of the most formidable fighting forces in Tamriel, though their fierce, independent spirits make them more suitable as free-ranging adventurers and mercenaries than as rank-and-file soldiers.


  • Alternative Character Interpretation : In-universe with Sep, the Yokudan version of Lorkhan. Unlike the other races of Men who typically view Lorkhan (aka Shezarr or Shor) as a great champion god of mankind, the Redguards view him as a "crazy merchant god" who convinced the other gods to create the mortal world to make it easier for more spirits to survive Satakal's inevitable onslaught. Except it didn't make it easier; rather, the mortal plane acts as a trap which makes apotheosis even harder. In this way, the Redguard view of creation has more in common with the Aldmeri tradition than that of other Men, who view the mortal plane as a blessing.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: A heavy influence in the culture of the Redguards, crossed with Japanese Samurai. They hail form the desert province of Hammerfell, have a strong martial tradition including scimitars as a favored weapon type, dress in a very North African/Arabian style, breed some of the best horses in Tamriel, and draw heavily from these cultures for their Fantastic Naming Convention.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Historically, to their Yokudan ancestors, it was the Sinistral Mer (Left-Handed Elves) of Yokuda. The two races fought a devastating war which left the Sinistral Mer extinct, and even to this day, the Redguards refuse to speak about them.
    • The modern Redguards have a long rivalry with their neighboring races in High Rock, including both the Bretons and Orcs. Though they have formed an Enemy Mine with each in the past when circumstances required it, they've spent far more time battling against them.
  • Atlantis: Yokuda. It once had one of the most advanced societies of its time, but the entire continent sank beneath the sea for mysterious reasons. Although, in this case, there are hints that some islands from the old continent still remain. For example, most of Lord Vivec's Sword-Meeting With Cyrus the Restless takes place on the remains of Yokuda.
  • Badass Army: Like the Nords, being one of the most badass warrior races in Tamriel means that just about any army of Redguards qualifies, but a few deserve special mention:
    • The "Warrior Wave" of Yokudans (Ra'Gada) who cleared Hammerfell for the resettlement of their people after Yokuda sank beneath the sea. After only a few brutal months, Hammerfell was cleansed of any Men, Mer, or beast to make it safe for settlement. This even included Orcs and giant goblins.
    • As part of the White-Gold Concordat to end the Great War between the Vestigial Third Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion, the Empire ceded vast tracks of land in Hammerfell to the Dominion. The Redguards refused to abandon the land and declared independence from the Empire. Despite standing completely on their own, the Redguards of Hammerfell successfully repulsed the Dominion. (Their success is used by supporters of the Stormcloak rebellion in Skyrim as proof that Skyrim is better off without the Empire, since if the Redguards could defeat the Dominion on their own, the Nords could as well.)
  • Ban on Magic: While the Redguards have a cultural dislike of magic in general, it generally stops short of an outright ban. One exception is for necromancy, as Redguard religion forbids their warriors from raising arms against the honored dead. They do have a specialized order known as Ash'abah dedicated to fighting the undead, but they are shunned despite the necessity of their role and mostly wander the Alik'r desert as exiles until needed.
  • Beast of the Apocalypse: Satakal, the Yokudan "God of Everything". Suffering from a great hunger, Satakal consumes the world in order to create another, leaving behind "worldskins" as he does. Ruptga, the "Tall Papa" and chief deity of the Yokudan pantheon, was the first spirit to survive this process and helped to teach others how to survive as well. Those who do typically become additional deities in the Yokudan pantheon. "Weaker" spirits, like those of the mortals within Mundus, hope to make it to the "Far Shores", a safe haven from Satakal.
  • Born Under the Sail: While Redguards are primarily known for being warriors, they are secondarily famous for being masters of sail, to the point that Hammerfell itself is referred to as "the Land of Sword and Sail".
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Redguard society has traditionally been divided into two sociopolitical groups: The Crowns, descended from Redguard nobility, hold Yokudan tradition in high regard and dislike foreigners, while the Forebears, descended from the warriors who conquered Hammerfell, are more comfortable with incorporating aspects of other Tamriellic cultures (especially Breton and Imperial cultures) into their way of life. A third political movement, the Lhotunics, emerged after the Warp in the West, who espouse both the cosmopolitan values of the Forebears and the sense of tradition and respect for the past of the Crowns, but are generally held in contempt by both sides...
  • Civil War:
    • Immediately before migrating from Yokuda to Tamriel, Yokuda was, according to legend, badly damaged in a devastating civil war between the forces of Yokudan Emperor Hira and a "greatly outnumbered" force of Ansei, led by the legendary Sword Saint Frandar Hunding. The Ansei were victorious, but were considered "red with blood" by the citizens and chose to self-exile to Tamriel. Later events would see Yokuda itself sunk beneath the sea, forcing the remaining surviving Yokudans to migrate to Tamriel as well.
    • In the late 2nd Era, Hammerfell erupted in a civil war fought between two Redguard factions: the Crowns, descended from Yokudan nobility, and the Forebears, descended from the "Warrior Wave" of Ra'Gada (including the Ansei) who secured Hammerfell for the migrating Yokudan people. The civil war left both sides weak and allowed Tiber Septim to easily capture Hammerfell for his new Empire.
  • Conscription: An unusual case, as the Redguards traditionally do not have a standing army. Instead, every adult Redguard is expected to have a grasp of basic weaponry and combat to act in defense of their homeland if needed. Those who show exceptional skill are then accepted into Hammerfell's various knightly orders, which act as Hammerfell's first line of defense.
  • Cool Horse: The Yokudan Charger is the favored breed of horse to the Redguards. It came over with them during the migration from Yokuda, is well adapted to Hammerfell's desert climate, and is said to make for one of the best war steeds in Tamriel.
  • Cool Sword:
    • Swords have a significant value in Redguard culture, and as such, they have many "cool" swords to choose from. Come the 4th Era, they are most famous for their curved scimitars.
    Every guard in Skyrim: Did you see those warriors from Hammerfell? They've got curved swords. Curved. Swords.
    • The Shehai "Spirit Swords" of their ancient Ansei "Sword Saint" warriors were epic weapons. The Shehai were described as typically pale, misty, insubstantial, and as if they were "made of light". Described as an "unstoppable weapon of great might" that could cut down foes like "a scythe through wheat", disarming such an Ansei could only be done by severing their head or taking their mind. (However, there was some evidence to suggest the Shehai of an Ansei could be shattered, leaving behind only its essence.)
  • Culture Chop Suey: They primarily draw from the Middle East, particularly the Moors, with their naming conventions somewhat reminiscent of Arabic. However, the value they place on skill in battle and their tradition of a noble caste of warriors idraws from the samurai of feudal Japan.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Pankratosword technique, in which an Ansei uses their Sword-Singing abilities to "cut the atomos", generating a Fantastic Nuke. According to some sources it was several Pankratosword techniques being used at once that caused Yokuda to sink.
  • The Dark Arts: Virtually all schools of magic are considered this in Redguard society, with the exception of Destruction magic because dealing more damage is always good and because it is considered to have fewer of the nasty effects of the other schools. Conjuration magic, which includes raising the dead and summoning "demons" from Oblivion, is especially frowned upon. Mysticism and Alteration/Illusion are also disliked due to their associations with soul stealing and altering reality (literally or perceptions of it), respectively.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Similar to the Nords, Redguard culture holds that magic is for the weak and the wicked, while their children are taught cautionary stories of mages who steal souls and tamper with minds. Necromancy is especially frowned upon, as the Redguards' religion leaves their warriors forbidden to raise arms against the honored dead. (There is a specialized order dedicated to fighting the undead, the Ash'abah, but they are shunned despite the necessity of their role and mostly wander the Alik'r desert as exiles.) Any warrior who uses magic is considered not a true warrior in Redguard culture. The one exception is for Destruction magic, which isn't believed to have the nastier effects of other schools of magic and because dealing more damage is always appreciated in Redguard culture.
  • Doomed Hometown: Their original homeland, the continent of Yokuda, was mostly "sunk beneath the sea" in the 1st Era. There are many stories as to why it happened, ranging from the natural (earthquake, tsunami) to the fantastic (a rogue group of Ansei using their Dangerous Forbidden Technique) with the truth likely lost to history.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Typically draw from a mix of Arabic and Persian sounding names. Through Oblivion, they also had the occasional Ghetto Name mixed in, like Trayvond, or names that have become very popular in the African-American community (Roderick, Alonzo, Rasheda, etc.) though this has been dropped by Skyrim in favor of purely Middle Eastern/North African sounding names. In all cases, they have Only One Given Name, with a region of birth and titles sometimes (rarely) added. (For example, take Frandar do Hunding Hel Ansei No Shira. Frandar is the only "given" part of his name: "Hunding" is the name of the region of his birth; "No Shira" means person of noble birth and "Hel Ansei" is his title of Sword Sainthood in the language of Yokuda.)
  • Fantastic Nuke: Using the Pankratosword, the very best of their warriors could "cut the atomos". They claim this is how Yokuda sank, and it is dangerous enough that even Vivec backed down when Cyrus threatened to use itnote . This technique is now forbidden, and quite possibly lost to history as a result.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Crowns, a conservative sociopolitical group of Redguards descended from ancient Yokudan nobility, hold Yokudan tradition in high regard and hate all foreigners. The resist, often violently, any outside cultural influences on Redguard culture.
  • Fragile Speedster: Of the races of Men, they typically have the greatest natural athleticism and a preference for lighter armors which allow them to keep this advantage (and are simply more practical in their desert homeland). They are, however, typically more "fragile" physically than Imperials or Nords and are certainly more "fragile" magically than the Bretons. Those who excel exceptionally in swordsmanship can add the punch of a Glass Cannon as well, essentially making them 2/3 of a physical Lightning Bruiser.
  • Frontline General: Like the other Proud Warrior Races of Tamriel, this is typically the case for Redguard leaders, including the legendary Ansei Frandar Hunding and the 1st Era leader of the Order of Diagna, Gaiden Shinji.
  • Ghost Memory: Ancient Yokudan memory-stones enabled those who used them to master complex sword techniques overnight, although the user needed to have some knowledge already to understand what was being taught and many of the maneuvers required extensive physical training to actually use them in battle.
  • God in Human Form: The Hoon Ding, the Yokudan "Make Way God", is said to manifest as a great leader whenever the Redguards need to "make way" for their people. There are believed to be three confirmed instances of this happening.
  • Humans Are Warriors: As those who stood in their way, past and present, have found out. They are a Proud Warrior Race of athletic swordsmen, whose ancestors drove the Sinistral Mer (Left-Handed Elves) of Yokuda to extinction, successfully invaded Tamriel and chose to settle in one of its most inhospitable regions, and repelled an invasion from the 4th Era Aldmeri Dominion on their own after the Empire abandoned them to their fate.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Despite their tendency towards darker skin than other men, it is not unusual for Reguards to also have piercing blue or grey eyes.
  • Magic Knight: The one exception they make in their cultural disdain for magic is for Destruction magic, as doing more damage is always a good thing in Redguard culture. Given their cultural affinity for swordsmanship and various knightly orders, any Redguard who practices Destruction magic typically automatically becomes one of these. Additionally, their ancient Ansei were so skilled with their Shehai "Spirit Swords" that they were often mistaken as mages by other races due to the feats they could accomplish (right up to using their Shehai as Fantastic Nukes).
  • Master Swordsman: The Redguard hat is that they're, as a whole, acknowledged as the most skilled swordsmen in Tamriel, and in Yokuda swords were such an essential part of their lifestyle that the sword-saints conducted traditional greetings with sword-dances and performances. Their Sacred Scripture is a treatise on sword techniques and most of their greatest heroes were swordsmen of legendary skill.
  • No True Scotsman: They have a cultural belief that no "true" Redguard would "stoop to using magic".
  • Odd Job Gods: They have a few. One particularly interesting one is Hoon Ding, the "Make Way" god. He is said to manifest himself as a great leader whenever the Redguards need to "make way" for their people. Cyrus the Restless, hero of The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, is said to be one such manifestation.
  • The Order:
    • The Ansei, also known as "Sword Saints", were an order made up of the greatest "sword singers", Yokudan warriors who follow "the Way of the Sword", a martial philosophy on blade mastery. So great was their mastery of the blade that they could manifest a sword from their very soul, known as a Shehai or "Spirit Sword". To become an Ansei of the first-rank, a sword-singer had to demonstrate an ability to form the Shehai. These Shehai were described as typically pale, misty, insubstantial and as if it was made of light. Sometimes its shape wouldn't even be particularly sword-like, and would be of no use as an actual weapon. Ansei wishing to earn the elite title of first-rank were required to give up their most treasured weapons and war materiel before undertaking a grueling initiation ritual. If they succeeded, they would no longer need conventional weapons. Ansei of the second-rank and above were known to have the ability to not only form the Shehai, but wield it as a weapon in battle. Their Shehai shined brighter and was much deadlier. Described as an "unstoppable weapon of great might" that could cut down foes like "a scythe through wheat", disarming such an Ansei could only be done by severing their head or taking their mind. (However, there was some evidence to suggest the Shehai of an Ansei could be shattered, leaving behind only its essence.) While the Ansei came with the Redguards to Tamriel, their numbers dwindled over time. There hasn't been a known Ansei warrior since the 2nd Era, and by the 4th Era, they are considered a myth.
    • As Hammerfell has no traditional standing army, various knightly orders fill the role as the Redguards first line of defense. Perhaps the most famous is the Order of Diagna, a group of warriors dedicated to Diagna, the Yokudan "God of the Sideways Blade". Their most famous leader was Gaiden Shinji, founder of the Imperial City Arena and legendary warrior in his own right. Every year, new initiates to the order play the Orcs in a reenactment of the Siege of Orsinium, in which Shinji dueled the Orc warchief but was betrayed by his Breton allies who opened fire on them both.
    • As Redguard religion forbids their warriors from raising arms against the honored dead, a specialized order known as the Ash'abah is called in when there is need to put the dead back to rest. Despite the necessity of their role, they are shunned by Redguard society and mostly wander the Alik'r Desert as exiles until they are called upon.
  • Power Nullifier: Redguards have the highest natural resistance to poison out of the races of Men.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Redguards make for some of the greatest warriors in Tamriel, and are perhaps the most skilled individual warriors. Swords and swordsmanship hold a high value in Redguard culture, to the point where the most Sacred Scripture of their race is a treatise on sword techniques. In the late 2nd Era, it was believed that a Redguard uprising was the greatest threat to Tiber Septim's Rising Empire. Come the 4th Era, they are once again considered one of the only groups who could stand up to a full-blown Aldmeri Dominion assault, something they have already repelled once after the Empire ceded much of Hammerfell to the Dominion and the Redguards refused to accept it.
  • Racial Remnant: The modern Redguards of Hammerfell are the survivors of the calamity that destroyed Yokuda. Even into the 4th Era, they are said to be few in number relative to the other races of Tamriel. There are some hints that at least as late as the late 3rd Era there were still people living on (the scattered few islands remaining of) Yokuda and identifying as Yokudans, but the vast majority of surviving descendants from the calamity would still be the Redguards.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Stros M'Kai uprising saw a group of Redguards capture the strategically important island of Stros M'Kai from Imperial forces while slaying the (admittedly corrupt) Imperial Governor. The Septim Empire was forced to make several concessions to Hammerfell in order to regain the island and restore order.
  • Sacred Scripture: The Book of Circles, written by Frandar Hunding, a great ancient hero and spiritual leader of the Redguards. He wrote it to pass along his insights and to be a treatise on on blade mastery. It is said to include "thirty-eight grips, seven hundred and fifty offensive and eighteen hundred defensive positions, and nearly nine thousand moves essential to sword mastery". Every household in Hammerfell contains an alcove above their hearth to store and display the book.
  • Scary Black Man: As a race, they are viewed as this by the other races of Tamriel. Dark-skinned with wiry-hair and athletic builds, they are one of Tamriel's Proud Warrior Races with a particular cultural affinity to swords and swordsmanship. After their ancient homeland of Yokuda sunk beneath the sea, the survivors sailed to Tamriel and chose to settle in the deserts of Hammerfell, one of Tamriel's most inhospitable environments. After only a few brutal months, Hammerfell was cleansed of any Men, Mer, or beast to make it safe for settlement. This even included Orcs and giant goblins. It took being weakened during a brutal Civil War for Tiber Septim to claim Hammerfell for his Rising Empire, and a Redguard uprising was considered one of the greatest threats to the Septim Empire for centuries after. Later, in the 4th Era, as part of the White-Gold Concordat to end the Great War between the Vestigial Third Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion, the Empire ceded vast tracks of land in Hammerfell to the Dominion. The Redguards refused to abandon the land and declared independence from the Empire. Despite standing completely on their own, the Redguards of Hammerfell successfully repulsed the Dominion. Now, they are considered one of the only groups who could stand up to a another full-blown Dominion assault.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The Redguards who arrived in Tamriel made a conscious decision to settle Hammerfell in the Alik'r Desert, one of the most inhospitable environments Tamriel had to offer, because in Redguard culture, anything that can be obtained without effort is not worth obtaining in the first place.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: They and the Nords are warriors to the Imperial soldier, as they tend to be the superior individual combatants, while Imperials are more disciplined.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: The Ansei, an ancient order of elite Yokudan warriors, were said to be able to create swords from their very souls known as "Shehai". Their highest ranks were able to use these their Shehai as actual weapons, where they were said to be an "unstoppable weapon of great might". The numbers of Ansei faded after the Redguards arrived in Tamriel, and by the 4th Era, they (and their Shehai) are considered to be myths.
  • Taking You with Me: According to one story, the destruction of Yokuda was a result of the actions of the Hiradirge, a defeated band of Ansei. In revenge for their defeat, they used the Pankratosword technique to destroy Yokuda and caused it to sink beneath the sea.
  • The Tower: The Orichalc Tower, believed to have been in Yokuda, is thought to have been captured by the ancient Yokudans after winning their war with the Sinestral Mer. Like Yokuda itself, it is now believed to have sank beneath the sea.
  • Warrior Heaven: Redguards have their own version known as the Far Shores. According to Yokudan myth, Satakal, the serpentine "God of Everything", eats itself over and over, periodically consuming all of creation. By "moving at strange angles" to stride between "worldskins", a process known as the "Walkabout", the strongest of the spirits learned to bypass this cycle of destruction. Following the guidance of Ruptga, or "Tall Papa", the chief deity of the Yokudan pantheon, weaker spirits (like those of Men) are able to perform the Walkabout to the Far Shores as well. There, they are safe until Satakal has passed and a new worldskin has emerged. In the Far Shores, there is no hunger or thirst, and there are plenty of martial challenges to keep Redguard warrior spirits engaged and entertained.

    Rim Men 
The Rim Men are a human population that lives in the north-eastern part of Elsweyr. By all appearances they are Nibenese Imperials, but they all also have some kind of Akaviri ancestry somewhere in their family trees. Because of this element of foreign blood, their ancestors were expelled from Cyrodiil during the Interregnum of the Second Era by the warlord Attrebus, a pretender to the Imperial Throne. They fled to Elsweyr, where they were taken in as refugees by the Mane of Elsweyr, and established their own mighty city, known as Rimmen.

The Rim Men has since had a turbulent relationship to the rest of the region of Elsweyr, having enjoyed shifting periods of independence and close relations to the Empire, but at other times been forced to fully submit to the authority of the Mane and be counted an official part of Elsweyr. By the start of the 4th Era, in the wake of the chaos of the Oblivion Crisis, they once more declared their independence from the rest of Elsweyr, and are now under the rule of a potentate.


  • Land of One City: The city of Rimmen has been this through the ages whenever it has enjoyed independence.
  • Voluntary Vassal: To the Mane of Elsweyr on many occasions, although the relationship has not always been amicable, and they have sought their independence many times.

    Skaal 
"In appearance, the Skaal are clearly of Nord ancestry. However, they are culturally distinct in several significant ways, the most notable of which is their faith. Having never adopted the pantheon of the Empire, the Skaal recognize only a single deity whom they call the All-Maker. For the Skaal, the All-Maker is the source of all life and creation. When a creature dies, its spirit returns to the All-Maker, who shapes it into something new and returns it to Mundus. The concept of death as an ending to life is unknown to the Skaal. Rather, death is seen as simply the beginning of the next stage of an endless journey."
Children of the All-Maker

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


  • Badass Native: While every other group who has attempted to settle Solstheim has struggled with its inhospitable climate and savage wildlife, the Skaal have flourished.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Aside from those they share with the Nords, they have some Inuit and other Native American influences as well, such as living in harmony with nature, taking only what is needed, and they are led by elders and shaman.
  • Grim Up North: Already living on the inhospitable, frozen island of Solstheim, their village is located in the northeastern-most part of the island.
  • In Harmony with Nature: The path of the All-Maker. Whatever that is taken from the All-Maker must be repaid somehow. For example, their hunters only kill when absolutely necessary as part of the cycle of life, and never for sport. They only harvest firewood from fallen trees, never cutting down live trees for it.
  • Magical Native American: They have much in common culturally with various Native American and Inuit tribes, including their speech patterns. Their magic is of a Shamanic/Druidic nature.
  • Noble Savage: "Savage" from the point of view of other Nords, as well as the Imperials and Dunmer who have inhabited Solstheim at different times. They seek to live in harmony with nature and generally prefer to be left alone, but if a respectful outsider comes along, they are willing to communicate and barter.
  • Warrior Poet: Like their Nord cousins, but taken even farther. Epic, primarily oral poetry is a big part of their culture.

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback