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  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: A rare Justified example. The Nerevarine brings the Wraithguard, a magical gauntlet required to handle the tools of Kagrenac, to Dagoth Ur's lair in order to sever his (and the Tribunal's) ties the Heart of Lorkhan which is housed there. If the player were to be slain, Dagoth Ur would then have all the tools necessary to tap into the heart once again, allowing him to activate Akhulakhan and possibly take over the world. It's justified, however, because the tools are required to unbind the heart and actually kill Dagoth Ur.
  • Machinima: There are a couple out there, most notably Reynaldo The Assassin.
  • Mad God:
    • Dagoth Ur is explicitly stated to be one by Vivec. However, you won't see that side in your interactions with him until you attack the Heart of Lorkhan, the source of his powers.
    • Series staple Sheogorath offers a quest where you need to slay a giant bull netch with a cursed dinner fork. He is also one of the "Four Corners of the House of Troubles" in the Tribunal Temple. Specifically, he tests the Dunmer for mental weakness.
    • The end of Tribunal adds Almalexia to the list. It's implied that she wasn't always insane, and that it seems to be the loss of her godhood that causes her to go off the deep end.
  • Mad Lib Fantasy Title:
    • The Elder Scrolls surtitle, per series tradition. It was originally chosen for Arena because "it sounded cool" and it wasn't until later that the devs decided what an Elder Scroll actually is in-universe.
    • The title of the Bloodmoon expansion mixes an "emotionally charged" word (Blood) with "time and space" word (Moon).
  • Mad Scientist: Many wizards fill this role. Kagrenac in the Backstory who figures out how to tap into the Heart of Lorkhan originally. Dagoth Ur and Sotha Sil then figure out how to do it as well. Pretty much all of the Telvanni, even the faction's lone Reasonable Authority Figure, conduct experiments which extend their lifespans and enjoy summoning Daedra as guards and test subjects. Even Divayth Fyr's cure for corprus fails on every test subject other than the player.
  • Mage Killer:
    • Breton characters, who combine a natural magic resistance with inherent magical prowess, are the bane of mages throughout the game.
    • Winged Twilights. Between their strong physical attacks and their ability to reflect/resist magical attacks, they are extremely tough foes for magic oriented individuals to defeat.
  • Mage Tower:
    • The Telvanni wizards usually live in giant magically grown mushroom towers. These towers generally lack stairs to the upper levels where the wizards themselves live, as they simply use levitation magic to get where they want to go. (And anyone who can't use magic probably isn't worth talking to.)
    • Dotting the more isolated areas of Vvardenfell are the ancient Velothi Towers. Most have been taken over by rogue and/or Telvanni sorcerers and necromancers.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Present regarding the use of Magicka, crossing over with Magic Is Mental and Functional Magic.
  • Magical Native American: A trait of the Noble Savage Skaal people in Bloodmoon. 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 as well. They live In Harmony with Nature, making sure to never waste by, for example, needlessly killing for sport or chopping down live trees for firewood.
  • Magical Society: The Mages Guild is the most prominent example. It is a professional organization for the magically inclined with a presence across all of Tamriel. The Guild offers training and magical services in dedication to the study and application of Magicka. The Guild also played a major part in codifying and popularizing the "Eight Schools" of magic in Tamriel. You can join and even rise to the rank of Arch-Mage.
  • Magic Is Mental: Most of the magical skills are tied to either the Intelligence or Willpower attributes. (The sole exception, Illusion, is tied to Personality instead, but that can still qualify as a "mental" attribute.) The Mages Guild also essentially doubles as the guild for scholars.
  • Magic Knight: The Knight, Crusader, Battlemage, Sorcerer, and Spellsword classes are the straightest examples of this trope, although you can train your combat and magic skills regardless of class.
  • Magic Misfire: At lower skill levels, it is possible to fail when casting spells. The result is the magical "whoosh" of the spell being cast, but no effect taking place. A pop-up message will then appear alerting you that you've failed to cast the spell.
  • Magic Staff: Staves considered a variety of two-handed Blunt Weapon. Actually striking opponents with them should be a last resort, as they are not particularly strong weapons, but they are highly enchantable, with the Ebony Staff having the highest potential for enchantment out of any weapon in the game.
  • Magic Tool: Repair hammers of various quality can be found in the game and can be used to fix any type of weapon or armor. (With the success rate and condition improvement based on your Armorer skill.)
  • Magitek: Dwemer technology seems to be about half Steam Punk and half magical enchantments.
  • The Magocracy: The lands ruled by House Telvanni. The Councilors tend to be millennia old Evil Sorcerers who've risen to the top via Might Makes Right and Klingon Promotion.
  • Malevolent Architecture:
    • Largely averted in the main game. You can explore dozens of caves, ruins, and the like with the only threats being any inhabitants themselves.
    • Played straight with Sotha Sil's Clockwork City in Tribunal. There are numerous deathtraps which can kill you quickly. This is at least party justified by the Clockwork City only having one real inhabitant, who is both a recluse and (being both a god and the creator of the City) in control of its functions, including the traps.
  • Malevolent Masked Men:
    • All three Big Bads (of the main quest and each expansion) wear full-face masks into their respective Boss Fights.
    • All three (four, including the Mask of Clavicus Vile) variants of the Daedric helmet are shaped like scary faces.
  • Mana: "Magicka", per Elder Scrolls series tradition.
  • Marathon Boss: Grurn, the final boss at the end of the official plug-in Siege at Firemoth. Grurn has 2000 hp with a regeneration effect. Grurn's attacks aren't anything special, and if you have decent Resist Shock effects, he is almost incapable of harming you. That said, he still takes forever to kill.
  • Marathon Level: Kogoruhn, the ancient stronghold of Great House Dagoth (of which Big Bad Dagoth Ur was the leader). You're required to visit about halfway through the main quest and are tasked with finding three specific items in order to pass "The Warrior's Test" to be named Urshilaku Nerevarine. Two of the items are easily found in the domes on the roof. The third requires a trek through the multi-level dungeon and the extensive underground tunnels beneath, which are crawling with Dagoth Ur's Ash Creature minions, undead (including stat-damaging Greater Bonewalkers), and lesser Daedra. Even if you are able to complete it in one shot without having to backtrack to civilization to heal and restock, expect to spend at least an hour there.
  • Marked Change:
    • After the Tribunal went against the will of Azura and used the Tools of Kagrenac on the Heart of Lorkhan, she either cursed the formerly gold-skinned Chimer people with the dark skin and red eyes of the modern Dunmer, or pointed out that the Tribunal had done it while using the tools. (The details are rather sketchy at best.)
    • The physical forms of the Tribunal all changed as well after using the tools to achieve godhood. Almalexia kept her Chimer form, becoming even more beautiful and adding all sorts of adornments to her form. Vivec became half-Chimer/half-Dunmer, split right down the middle, which went along well with his mythic status as a hermaphrodite "trickster," and added a "flame" to his bald head. Sotha Sil meanwhile adopted the basic form of a Dunmer.
    • When Almalexia finally snaps and reveals her Face–Heel Turn to the Nerevarine, she appears with her terrifying battle mask.
  • Mascot Mook: Mudcrabs, in line with series' tradition. You can also encounter a sentient one who is also, inexplicably, the wealthiest merchant in the vanilla game.
  • Massive Race Selection: You can select from 10 different races to play as. (Up from the eight offered by previous installments, with the Orcs and Imperials added to the mix.)
  • Master Console: One is present, with a long list of codes ranging from the game-breaking ones like god mode to minor ones which can help fix broken quests... and prevent everyone in Vvardenfell from (very slowly) shuffling into the ocean.note 
  • A Master Makes Their Own Tools: There are many unique Legendary Weapons of immense power to be had. However, in almost all cases, the very best weapons are ones the player self-enchants out of the highest tier crafting material, with the strongest souls, and the most powerful magical effects. For example, the single most damaging weapon is a Daedric Battle-Axe enchanted with Damage Health on strike, using Almalexia's soul for the greatest number of strikes before the item is drained. Other similarly enchanted weapon types of Daedric quality (or Stalhrim in the Bloodmoon expansion) also surpass the strongest artifact weapons of the same type with few exceptions.
  • Master of None: The Medium Armor skill. It is severely lacking in high end complete sets compared to Light and Heavy armors, and only has one piece of "artifact" equipment in its class (the Ebony Mail) compared to the multiple pieces for Light and Heavy. Additionally, wearing one of the best Medium armor sets (Indoril) will make Ordinators (to whom that armor is sacred) try to kill on sight for the rest of the game. An attempt is made in Tribunal to avert this with Adamantium armor, but the ore is so rare and armor so expensive to have made that few players bother.
  • Master of Unlocking: The player can use lockpicks to open locked doors and containers. The player's Security skill combined with the quality of lockpick is used to determine the success rate. If your skill level is too low, it will be impossible to pick locks with much higher levels. Also available is the "Open" spell, which will automatically unlock any door or container at or below the level of the spell. (It does not, however, disarm trapped locks.)
  • Master Poisoner: King Hlaalu Helseth is reputed to be one of the greatest and most subtle poisoners in the world.
  • Master Swordsman: Ulms Drathen,the master trainer of the Long Blade skill, is a Dunmer crusader decked out in Glass armor wielding a Daedric Claymore in Molag Mar.
  • Match Maker Quest:
    • One side quest involves a woman who has fallen for the bandit who robbed her, and wants help tracking him down. Surprisingly, it turns out well.
    • A Tribunal side quest, actually called "The Match Maker," has you playing one of these for a young Dunmer woman who is too busy with work to find a husband. You can find 3 men to set her up on a date with. Whether the date is successful or not is up to a random chance; you can give each of the men advice which increases the odds of success, but never above 67%. If successful, one man gives you nothing as a reward, the second gives you an enchanted belt, and the third gives you the artifact weapon "the Bi-Polar Blade."
  • Maximum HP Reduction: If you are using the "backpath" method to beat the main quest, this will happen to you when you equip the jury-rigged Wraithguard for the first time to the effect of about 200 maximum health, permanently. If it doesn't kill you outright, it can leave you with the equivalent maximum health of a low-leveled character at a stage in the game where you should rightfully have hundreds.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The relationship between the Nerevarine prophecy and the player character is never stated. Some sources believe that you are the Nerevarine, the reincarnation of the great warlord Indoril Nerevar. Others believe you are just a a random schmuck who is capable of fulfilling the prophecy by dint of skill and luck. The game offers no conclusive evidence either way, and even introduces a third option, namely that, by fulfilling the prophecy, you are retroactively becoming the Nerevarine.
  • Meaningful Name: As the main quest progresses, several NPCs, mainly Dunmer, become Brainwashed by Dagoth Ur and his boys. The term used for these people? Sleepers.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Dwemer "animunculi", which range from from miniature Spider Centurion workers to human-sized Sphere Centurion soldiers (who roll around as metal balls before unfolding into blade and/or crossbow armed humanoid robots) to massive Steam Centurion golems.
  • Mechanical Monster: Toward the end of Tribunal's main quest, you'll be forced to face the Imperfect. The Imperfect is a borderline Humongous Mecha, standing easily twice the size of the Player Character, who serves as a Mini-Boss in Sotha Sil's Clockwork City. It has some of the strongest physical attacks in the game and can also use powerful Lightning attacks against you. If you are able to kill it quickly, you can claim the Elixir of the Imperfect from its corpse. It's a potion that restores 20 points of Health, Magicka, and Fatigue every second for 15 seconds, essentially giving you god-like abilities for the duration. However, you only get one from the Imperfect, and unless you kill it quickly, it will use the Elixir, making this fight all the more difficult.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: Averted. Morrowind in easily the most abstract game in terms of setting in the series to date. While some of the Imperial settlements still invoke this trope, the native settlements (such as the Telvanni mushroom cities and Redoran hollowed-out giant crab shell cities) and the landscape itself (ranging from mucky marshlands to Lethal Lava Land) are incredibly alien. It is also interesting as it's the only game in the series (besides Arena, in which every province is visited) that takes place in an Elven homeland. Particularly the Dunmer, who have more basis in the ancient Near East with some Biblical Hebrew/Israelite influences. (Led to Morrowind by the Moses/Abraham hybrid prophet Veloth, who are struggling for independence during occupation by a powerful foreign empire and who practice a comparatively unusual religion for the setting.)
  • Medieval Stasis: While this is primarily the case for Tamriel in the series, the technological achievements of the Dwemer and Sotha Sil do provide some exceptions.
  • Mega-Corp:
    • House Hlaalu is the fantasy equivalent, being focused on mercantilism and trade (along with all of the corporate espionage and backstabbing that usually entails.)
    • The East Empire Company resembles an early modern version. They dominate inter-provincial trade in the Empire and have become quite wealthy (and sometimes unscrupulous) as a result. You can join them in Bloodmoon.
  • Menu Time Lockout: Bringing up the menu essentially freezes the game world. It is useful in a fight, allowing you to change armor, change clothing items, ready spells or enchantments, and drink/eat any potions or food you want. The only thing you can't do is change your weapon mid-swing. The same is also true when engaging in conversations with NPCs.
  • Merging the Branches: The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall had seven mutually exclusive endings, but Morrowind revealed that all of them (except for one) took place at the same time due to a rare cosmic event called the Dragon Break. However, none took place to the same extent that they would have if they occurred individually.

  • Metaphorically True: Vivec is a huge fan of statements like this, and uses them liberally in his speech and throughout his writings.
  • Methuselah Syndrome: As is standard for Elder Scrolls series elves, the Mer races have natural lifespans measured in the centuries. (And this is without counting divine beings like the Tribunal or those who have used magic to prolong their lives, like the Telvanni wizards.)
  • Might Makes Right: Particularly the Appeal to Force version. The Telvanni believe it to the point where it's actually part of their doctrine.
    "If you steal from another Telvanni, but still live, then clearly you deserve whatever you stole. Murdering your opponents by magic or treachery is the traditional way of settling disputes. If you win, then clearly your argument has more merit."
  • Mighty Whitey: While the races and cultures involved are fictionalized, getting recognized as the Nerevarine of the Ashlander tribes (and, to a lesser extent, the Hortator of the three Great Houses) amounts to this trope, since your character is a hated outlander and an agent of the imperial government that has conquered Morrowind — especially if your character is not a Dunmer. Even if you are a Dunmer, as an outlander you're seen as a 'cultural' outsider and are treated as such by the people you're trying to get to recognize you.
  • Miles Gloriosus: There is literally a character called this in Maar Gan. NPCs of the "Warrior" class will state that he is pretty much the ideal model of a warrior and he offers unique dialogue about weapon and armor types if asked about his trade. Considering this, and that he's working out of Maar Gan to kill the blighted monsters who sneak through the Ghost Fence, he would seem to be a Subversion.
  • Mini-Boss: The final area in the main quest and each of the main quests of the expansions features one of these.
    • About halfway through Dagoth Ur's Red Mountain citadel, you'll face Dagoth Gilvoth, one of Dagoth Ur's Ash Vampire minions. (The six other Ash Vampires in the game are each the boss of their own stronghold.)
    • In Tribunal, near the end of Sotha Sil's Clockwork City, you'll have to battle the Imperfect, a giant fabricant which hits hard and comes with lightning attacks.
    • In Bloodmoon, you'll face several of these as your fellow competitors inside Hircine's glacial hunting grounds.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Simply the "Imperial Dragon" symbol inside a triangle surrounded by the Daedric letters for A, S, and V representing the members of the Tribunal behind the title of the game.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Investigate a pair of cults becoming more active in the eponymous province → stop a deranged Physical God from taking over the world.
  • The Missing Faction:
    • In-game, two of the five Dunmeri Great Houses do not appear, namely Houses Dres and Indoril. This is only because the game takes place on the island of Vvardenfell, where those two Houses have no holdings. (Although Indoril is strongly associated with the Tribunal Temple, so while not formally present, their influence is still felt.) Indoril then makes a more formal appearance in the Tribunal expansion, as Mournhold is within their territory and Almalexia is technically a member.
    • In-universe, House Dagoth. They were once the 6th Great House of the Dunmer, but were dissolved following the events of Nerevar's death, the Tribunal's ascension as gods, and Dagoth Ur's (perceived) treachery. The members were variously exiled or adopted into the other Great Houses.
  • Missing Secret: The cave Sharapli is a rather nondescript Sixth House base with no quest association. It does, however, have the "Pool of Forgetfulness". Other than the special name, it is just a body of water with no special qualities. Perhaps the developers simply forgot about it?
  • Mob War: There is an ongoing conflict between the ruthless, murderous native gangsters in the Camonna Tong and the Imperial import Thieves' Guild. While all-out war is not something either side can afford, the conflict is still nasty enough that even the usually violence-averse Guild orders Tong operatives to be killed and are in the process of outfitting their meeting places with deadly traps and guards.
  • The Mole:
    • Sjoring Hard-Heart, leader of the Fighters Guild, is actually a Camonna Tong agent, and two of the sub-leaders are his assistants. He's leading the Tong's war on the Imperial import Thieves' Guild. You can either help him eradicate the Thieves Guild, or help the second-in-command of the Fighter's Guild expose and eliminate him.
    • One Mages Guild quest requires you to root out a potential Telvanni spy: It's Tiram Gadar, Archmage Trebonius's personal assistant. A quest for House Hlaalu has you delivering new orders to their spy watching the Redoran: Bivale Teneran, the high-class tailor in Ald'ruhn. And even though one doesn't formally come up in the Thieves Guild questline, you can find a few Thieves Guild members deep undercover at the Camonna Tong HQ, the Dren Plantation.
    • You can temporarily be this — the Tribunal Temple is a joinable faction, and there is a period in the Main Quest where you work with the Nerevarine Cult (which is persecuted by the Temple) and the Dissident Priests (a dissident faction of the Temple) without that being known to the Temple mainstream (once it becomes known, you can't join or use the Temple's services, but you're not actually expelled). You can't actually do any Mole-ish things... unless you get to the highest Temple rank (Patriarch — you're still outranked by the Archcanon and Vivec himself, which is why you can be suspended later on) in time for a specific quest, where you can use that rank to simply walk right into the Temple's high-security prison.
  • Money for Nothing: It really isn't all that difficult to obtain more gold than you could ever reasonably need. A few prime examples:
    • Even before leaving the character generation area, it is possible to steal several valuable items with no repercussions. You can also acquire a key to another area with stuff to steal with this method. It's entirely possible that the only merchant in the starting village won't have enough gold to buy it all from you. (Especially if you return Fargoth's ring in order to get a disposition boost before selling.)
    • If you report to Caius Cosades before you reach level 4, he will give 200 free gold.
    • Most outdoor crates and urns in cities can be looted without issue. Most contain low end vendor trash, but considering many towns have dozens of these containers (including the 2nd town you are likely to visit, Balmora,) it can really add up for a new player.
    • Even with no practice at it at all, you can easily brew potions from the cheaper unlimited-supply ingredients purchased from alchemist vendors, and sell them for more than the ingredients are worth, repeatedly, making arbitrary high amounts of money bounded only by having to occasionally wait for their gold on hand to reset.
    • The game has two non-NPC merchants: Creeper the Scamp (with 5000 gold) and the Mudcrab Merchant (with 10000 gold). As they are classed as creatures instead of NPCs, they have no Disposition or Mercantile skill to affect your selling prices. Therefore, you get full value for anything you sell them. Good thing the coins were weightless...
    • One of the easiest money earning methods takes advantage of a rounding error, and doesn't even require decent stats: the game works out the total price of goods differently depending on whether you click on a whole stack of items at once or add them individually. Simply pick up a large stack of cheap items. Go to a merchant and add them to your "sell" stack one by one and the game will raise the price by the minimum value rounded up to a whole coin on each click. Sell four hundred arrows, then buy the whole stack back for just one...
    • The Tribunal expansion adds the Museum of Artifacts, where you can sell various unique artifacts for a fraction of their base value (one half of its base value or 30,000 gold, whichever is cheaper). While "a fraction" doesn't sound like that much of a deal, keep in mind that these items can be worth 100,000 septims or more, and that you'd have to go really far out of your way to fully cash in these artifacts through the traditional method of bartering or exploiting Creeper/the mudcrab merchant. And many of those artifacts you've been hording you probably weren't using anyway.
    • See Kleptomaniac Hero and Disc-One Nuke above for more examples.
  • Money Spider: The Organ Drops / Vendor Trash version is in full effect. Hunting creatures and then selling their parts (which are technically alchemical ingredients) is a decent way of making money.
  • Monster Lord: Dremora Lords. They have almost twice as much health as a regular Dremora, do a bit more damage, have a stronger magical barrier, and almost always come with a Deadric or Ebony weapon (compared to regular Dremoras, who are more likely to have Dwemer or Dreugh weapons.) And from a distance, they look exactly the same.
  • Mook Maker: You'll run into one in Sotha Sil's Clockwork City which continually produces fabricants. Interestingly, you'll need to activate a series of valves on the machine itself in order to escape through it.
  • Mooks:
    • The main games uses Dagoth Ur's various minions in this way (Dreamers, Ash Beasts, Corprus Beasts, lesser Dagoths, etc.)
    • Tribunal uses Sotha Sil's fabricant creatures, though he's not the one controlling them...
    • Bloodmoon has Hircine's werewolves.
  • Mordor: Central Vvardenfell Island. First there's the Ashlands and Molag Amur, which are covered in cursed infertile ash all the time and populated by killer dinosaurs and cliff racers. Even there, though, the Ashlanders manage to get by thanks to their sheer badassitude. Then there's the Great Scathes within Molag Amur, which are full of cliff racers and nearly impassable thanks to the jagged terrain and open rivers of lava. But at the center of it all is the Mordor to end all Mordors, Red Mountain. It is covered in treacherous ruins populated by psychopathic mutants, cliff racers, and demons. The air is constantly thickened by the Blight, a cloud of red dust that causes horrific diseases and impedes movement. Oh, and it is an active volcano. Naturally, this is where the Big Bad lives. It's such a nasty place that the Dunmer had to put up a giant magical fence around it (powered by burning the souls of their own dead) to keep all the evil from spilling out and ruining the whole world.
  • More Predators Than Prey: Played straight. The vast majority of wildlife you encounter on Vvardenfell and Solstheim are hostile predators.
  • Mortality Ensues: After severing their ties to the heart of Lorkhan, this happens to the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur. The Tribunal are able to persist with a trace of their divinity in tact, Dagoth Ur does not.
  • Morton's Fork: Gaenor's side quest in Tribunal. If you give him gold, he'll demand more and more until he finally declares you're lying about having that much gold and are trying to mock him with your kindness. If you turn him down at any point, he declares you to be a heartless bastard. (Regardless of if you gave him gold or not, he'll show up a few days later having taken quite a few levels in badass and wanting to fight you.)
  • Mr. Exposition: Subverted in the main quest, as the game gives you several Mr. Exposition type characters (Caius, Azura, Vivec, Dagoth Ur, the Temple giving a different account than Vivec...plus you can do your own research with some in-game texts) all of whom contradict eachother. There are strong hints that Azura, Vivec, and Dagoth Ur have their own motives for lying (or at least not being entirely truthful) and you're never told outright which one was right. A lot is left to personal interpretation.
  • Multiple-Choice Chosen: About halfway through the main quest the Player Character finds the Cave of the Nerevarine, where the shades of a dozen Dunmer who met the basic conditions of the Nerevarine Prophecy can be found. They all died under various circumstances before they could fulfill the prophecy.
  • Multiple Persuasion Modes: While interacting with an NPC, you have several options; Admire (a straight attempt to make someone like the PC more); Intimidate (threaten them, which might or might not work); Taunt (lower disposition and goad them into attacking you first); and Bribe (give them enough money to make them like you). Successful use of any of these (except for Taunt) would raise their disposition score and make them act friendlier.
  • Murder, Inc.:
    • The Morag Tong, an ancient government-sanctioned assassin's guild, operates in Morrowind. Their traditional role in Dunmer culture is to settle disputes between the Great Houses, before those disputes reach the level of outright war, through the use of legal executions against the offending party. The player can join them, if the player can find their hidden headquarters...
    • The Dark Brotherhood is an illegal offshoot of the Morag Tong, who have primarily taken up operations in the rest of Tamriel. They are at open war with the Morag Tong. The Tribunal expansion kicks off when they come after the player.
  • Museum of the Strange and Unusual:
    • Mournhold features the Museum of Artifacts, which will purchase and display any artifacts collected by the player.
    • Even if one is selling their artifact items to the museum, the player's stronghold will inevitably end up looking like this as it fills with questing treasures. Numerous mods exist which make displaying your questing treasures even easier.
  • Musical Spoiler: The battle music will initiate as soon as you've aggro'd an enemy, even if you haven't actually seen that enemy.
  • Mystical Plague:
    • Dagoth Ur's Blight, which spreads via Blight Storms and his minions. It can inflict crippling blight diseases and, most importantly, the Corprus Disease. The Corprus Disease is actually a curse of Dagoth Ur's (essentially divinity channeled from the Heart of Lorkhan) which brings those inflicted under his influence.
    • The Crimson Plague in Tribunal is not a standard disease, but a mystical one spread by the powerful lich Gedna Relvel. You'll need to kill her in order to stop it, and it's no easy task.
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  • Naked People Are Funny: There are several side quests in the game where you can chance upon a Nord wearing no clothing in the wilderness. All of them claim a witch was at fault. Lampshaded in Tribunal, where a naked Nord denies any involvement with a witch and that he was "just hot". The player can strip, with varying reactions by NPCs (Dunmer are "not amused", Imperials will laugh and note how you are a first). The "PC is naked" dialogue doesn't differentiate between genders, however, and appears to have been recorded with males in mind. To wit, walking around naked as a female will eventually elicit the phrase "put that away!" from a disgusted NPC. The player will be fine though, as long as they wear at least one piece of clothing. That means if you wear nothing but a belt people will treat you just normally. (Even more hilarious if you just wear a ring and run around naked.)
  • Named Weapons: Countless examples. Every artifact class weapon has a name, as do numerous "unique" weapons which are generally named and enchanted versions of more common weapons. When enchanting a weapon, the player has the option of renaming it as well.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dagoth Ur, and generally anyone else from the Sixth House. Specifically ones with "Dagoth" in the name.
  • Narrative Filigree: Standard for the series. There are exorbitant amounts of items, books, NPC conversations, and just general world details that have nothing to do with any quest or plot, but are simply there to flesh out the rich world of the game.
  • Nasty Party: One such party can be read about in the in-game book "A Game at Dinner".
  • Nay-Theist: The entire Dwarven/Dwemer race. The aknowledged the existence of Aedra and Daedra but didn't worship them.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: One House Redoran quest tasks you with finding a Dwemer artifacts smuggler. In order to complete the quest, you'll need to find a smuggled Dwemer object which is well-hidden on a table with numerous other mundane items.
  • Nerf: The Robe of St. Roris initially had a constant effect Restore Health and Restore Fatigue enchantment, essentially making the wearer invincible to anything other than a full health One-Hit KO. Furthermore, it was found in a cave not far from the First Town where a sneaky or just very lucky player could obtain it very early in the game. Bethesda seems to have noticed, as they heavily nerfed it in a patch, making the enchantment "Cast When Used," and it could be cast 5 times before being drained.
  • Nerf Arm:
    • The Fork of Horripilation, which is a cursed dinner fork and easily the least-damaging weapon in the game.
    • The Miner's Pick is a weak and heavy weapon classified as an axe.
  • Never Trust a Title: The Elder Scrolls themselves are never seen in the game, and only mentioned once, as the impetus for the Emperor ordering your release to Morrowind. You also do not get to see the entire province of Morrowind, only one district: the island of Vvardenfell. Finally, it's the 5th game with "Elder Scrolls" in the name, following Arena, Daggerfall, Battlespire, and Redguard.
  • News Travels Fast: Played with in different instances.
    • When you defeat Dagoth Ur, everyone will immediately know and praise you for your deeds. Of course, the fact that you essentially had to announce your intention of doing so to every major power figure on the island, and that the eternal dust storm over Red Mountain has vanished, make this universal knowledge pretty plausible.
    • Subverted in Tribunal after you kill Almalexia. Virtually no one will believe you, and trying to tell them about it will be met with confusion from non-Dunmer and a big disposition drop from Tribunal Temple faithful.
    • Played entirely straight with crimes. You could commit a crime, then teleport instantly to the opposite side of the island, and every guard there will be aware of your bounty.
    • If you are seen transforming as a werewolf, every single NPC throughout Solstheim and Vvardenfell will attack you on sight.
  • New Weapon Target Range: The Census and Excise Office has an area accessible shortly after character creation where the game subtly encourages you to swipe everything that isn't nailed down. One of the items is an Apprentice's Lockpick. Conveniently, there is a extremely low level chest on a nearby shelf which even a character with a minimal Security skill will be able to pick.
  • New Weird: While the series as a whole fits, Morrowind is a particularly prominent example of the style. There is plentiful Bizarrchitecture, including an entire city district within a hollowed-out giant crab shell and a feudal Magocracy who grow giant mushroom Mage Towers to live in; an incurable disease that makes you The Ageless; and giant arthropods as the main form of overland travel.
  • Nice Hat: The Colovian Fur Helm stands out as being very tall, pointy, and silly. Characters who wear them (Uncle Sweetshare, Tarhiel, and M'aiq the Liar) are not to be taken seriously.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Since Anyone Can Die if you kill them, should you decide to slay an NPC that would in the future become important to the main quest, the game will give you a message telling you that you essentially fucked up the strings of destiny and now must either return to a previous savegame or carry out the remainder of your shameful existence in a doomed universe. A nice aversion of But Thou Must! there. (There is a "Backpath" method to beating the main quest that only requires one particular NPC to be alive, but it is hard to find and much more challenging.)
    • Simply completing the main quest essentially "breaks" the land of Morrowind in the years that follow. While stopping a deranged Physical God from taking over the world is still quite good, the method of doing so (breaking the enchantments on the Heart of Lorkhan) cuts off the Tribunal as well. When Vivec disappears a few years later, the rogue moon above Vivec city resumes its fall with original momentum, destroying the city and causing Red Mountain to erupt, destroying most of Vvardenfell and clouding mainland Morrowind with a constant choking ash for years to come. Between the Oblivion Crisis and the Red Mountain eruption, the Dunmer are left extremely vulnerable, and their long-time enemies, the Argonians, then invade and take over what is left of livable Morrowind. Your actions, noble as they were, essentially tipped the first domino in this chain reaction.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In Tribunal, Almalexia tasks you with reforging True Flame, the Flaming Sword of the original Nerevar, to use against a deranged Sotha Sil. However, it turns out that she is the villain, having already killed Sotha Sil, and basically handed the Nerevarine one of the best swords in the game to use against her.
  • Nightmare Sequence:
    • After a certain point during the main quest, the Nerevarine will start to have these everytime he/she rests due to the corrupting influence of Dagoth Ur.
    • If the Nerevarine is inflicted with Vampirism, he/she will have nightmarish dreams when attempting to rest. Notably, resting no longer restores health, forcing the vampire to absorb it from other people and/or rely on potions/spells/enchantments to heal.
  • Nintendo Hard: Morrowind is not a game that holds your hand. You have a very short tutorial before the game dumps you into the world. There are no quest markers, so you need to rely on notes and directions from the NPCs. At early levels you will miss most of your attacks and fail to cast spells. Your health and magicka will not regenerate unless you rest. And there is no map based fast travel, so you need to use either fixed-location transportation (boats, silt striders) or one-way teleportation (spells and scrolls).
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Played straight with full powered shots. However, if one fires an arrow without fully drawing the bow back, the arrow will noticeably drop in the air.
  • Noble Savage:
    • Played with significantly between the various Ashlander tribes. The Ashlanders chose to live nomadic, traditional lives in the barren Ashlands thousands of years ago when the "more civilized" Dunmer chose to adopt the Tribunal as their gods. The Ashlanders proudly keep the oldest Dunmer traditions alive, including their belief in the return of The Nerevarine. And it turns out they are totally right about that. To note:
      • Played straight for the most part by the more peaceful tribes like the Urshilaku, Ahemmusa, and Zainab. During the time of the game, the Ahemmusa don't even have an Ashkhan, instead, giving war powers to their Wise Woman. (They are also, however, considered the weakest of the tribes as a result.) The Urshilaku are generally peaceful, and are the tribe most responsible for keeping the prophesies of the Nerevarine alive. The Zainab are the least 'savage', having developed a Settled Dunmer-like understanding of trade (and the fact that it can have political implications) and even going so far as to run an ebony mine of their own, for sale of the mined ebony to others. Each of these tribes, however, can still be prone to xenophobia against non-Ashlander Dunmer and especially toward any outlanders.
      • The Erabenimsun avert it with their current leadership, which consists of mostly war-like and highly aggressive elders. They're known to raid nearby settlements and kidnap or kill most outlanders on sight. To complete the main quest, you'll need to get them to name you Nerevarine, but the current leadership won't do it. The Wise Woman concocts a plan to have you kill the warlike leaders and convince the peace-loving son of the former Ashkhan to take up the title.
      • Rogue Ashlanders absolutely avert it. They attack travelers on sight and generally behave no better than standard bandits.
    • Played straight again with the Skaal in Bloodmoon. They are Solstheim's nature-worshiping Nord tribe. They generally prefer to be left alone, but if a respectful outsider comes along, they are willing to communicate and barter.
  • No Bulk Discounts: Played with. While it is played straight for individual transactions, constantly buying from and selling to the same merchant will increase that merchant's disposition towards the player, while also increasing the player's Mercantile skill. Over time, this leads to lower buying prices and higher selling prices.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked:
    • While there are a couple of ways to go about completing the main quest, joining Dagoth Ur is not one of them. It was originally supposed to be, but time limitations during development forced it to be dropped as an option. (A number of Game Mods have been created that will allow you to join House Dagoth, however.)
    • In every other sense, however, the game doesn't judge. You can be a slave-owning, cannibalistic vampire who murders for the sheer joy of finding out what's in peoples' pockets. It's just that if Dagoth Ur wins, you won't be able to continue that carefree lifestyle.
  • No Fourth Wall: A few glitches and technical issues from previous Elder Scrolls games were incorporated into canon this way. For example, there is the "jagged water" glitch which occurs in Redguard showing up here as a reference in one of Vivec's books.
  • No Hero Discount: Downplayed in that while you'll still need to pay for items even if you're a world-saving hero, you can use that fact to increase the disposition of shopkeepers, getting you cheaper prices.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Played straight with Dagoth Ur, whose physical body vanishes after you've severed his ties to the Heart of Lorkhan. The Tribunal are able to survive this, as Vivec says, thanks to the faith of their followers.
  • Noisy Robots: All of the various Dwemer Animunculi make "clanky" metal-on-stone or metal-on-metal sounds as they move. Even when still, they'll make noise by releasing steam.
  • No Man of Woman Born: The in-game book The Hope of the Redoran follows this. It tells the story of a Dunmeri noble named Andas, of whom it was prophesied that "his blood shall never be spilled", and that he cannot be killed by magic, illness, or poison. Indeed, the prophecy seems to come true, leading people to call Andas "The Hope Of The Redoran," in accordance with the wording of the prophecy. When he grows up, he lords this over his friends and peers as a sign of his superiority in combat, and it gives him the arrogance to challenge his cousin Athyn to a duel for an important political position. It ends with Athyn beating Andas to death with a quarterstaff, after Athyn's combat instructor gave him the idea. (Up until then, Athyn had been despairing.)
  • Nominal Importance: Utterly averted. The vast majority of unique NPCs are all named. What few exceptions exist are the generic guards, vampire cattle, and a few Sixth House enemies like the Dreamers.
  • Nonindicative Name:
    • As per series tradition, the most notable examples are Glass (a very strong mineral as opposed to a brittle substance made by melting quartz; it's a bit like obsidian but harder to shatter) and Ebony (another very strong mineral, as opposed to a tropical tree with black wood). That said, glass does look a fair bit glass-y, translucence and all (and ebony is rather dark in colour).
    • The "Ministry of Truth" is where the Temple suppresses dissent of any kind. Its resemblance to the Ministry of Truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four probably isn't a coincidence, though its actual function resembles the Ministry of Love more closely. Orwell's Ministry of Truth was devoted to spreading lies and propaganda, not supressing dissent.
    • "Ash vampires" are not vampires. In fact, they are not even undead. (Some in-universe sources also refer to them as "Heart-Wights," which is quite a bit more accurate.)
  • Noob Cave:
    • Addamasartus, though it doesn't include a tutorial, is found right across a bridge from the starting village. (One NPC even points you towards it if you ask for a "Little Secret.") It has some low level bandits, some slaves to free, and some low end loot. If you're especially thorough in searching the place, you can come away with a decent quality sword for that point in the game and an enchanted ring that is helpful to sneaky characters.
    • Arkngthand also fits the bill, as it is the first "dungeon" the player is required to visit as part of the main quest, and isn't particularly difficult - at least, not in the parts you have to visit; it has "bonus levels".
  • No One Sees the Boss:
    • The Tribunal were forced into this after Dagoth Ur cut them off from their source of power. Previously, Vivec and Almalexia walked and worked among their people, offering guidance and performing miracles. Now, they remain almost exclusively in their temples, communicating with only a few high ranking Temple officials and personal guards. (Sotha Sil was always reclusive to begin with.)
    • While most of the Thieves' Guild hideouts are Open Secrets, the actual Guild Master stays well hidden. You'll only find out where he hides out once you've risen to a high rank in the Guild. Justified, since he is a high priority target for the rival Cammona Tong.
  • No Sneak Attacks: The Tribunal expansion kicks off when you are attacked by Dark Brotherhood assassins in your sleep. However, for whatever reason, they wake you up before attacking, giving you a chance to fight back. Considering these assassins are supposed to be among the best (and most amoral) killers in the world, their making a noise when attempting to kill you - every single time - seems quite odd.
  • No Stat Atrophy: The only way to permanently lower a statistic is by going to jail, and even then, it is only very slight decreases. Temporary ways exist in the game by means of spells, diseases, and enchantments but are restored after the effect wears off or is cured.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Applies to breaking the rules of the various Guilds and Factions in the game. One of the consistent rules is usually that you're not allowed to steal from or kill other guild members. However, you can do both of these things safely and if you do it without getting caught, you won't be kicked out of the guild. House Telvanni has an interesting twist on theft among members: their philosophy is that, if you steal something from another member of the Telvanni and live to tell about it, you clearly deserve whatever it is you stole.
  • Not Completely Useless: The scrolls of Icarian Flight (which allow the player to jump incredible distances, but will wear off and kill the player on impact unless they land in deep enough water, use a 2nd scroll before landing, or cast a slowfall/levitate spell) have a number of users in certain tricky situations. To note:
    • In one particularly tall Daedric ruin, using one can allow the player to leap all the way up to the highest level in a single bound to acquire some valuable loot, skipping over all of the enemies in the ruin.
    • They're also good to use whenever fast travel is unavailable for whatever reason, such as the Tribunal Temple quest where the player is forced to take a vow of silence before traveling to the complete opposite side of the island. (A trip of several in-game days on foot.) Instead of that hassle, the player can simply use one of the scrolls to leap across the island, crash down in the ocean beyond the shrine (or cast levitate when just above it,) and complete the quest in a fraction of the time.
    • Another use is for getting out of a death trap in Sotha Sil's Clockwork City in Tribunal. The player has to climb up a spiral staircase in a room while outrunning a spinning blade that moves faster than the player. The usual high-level character approach to this puzzle would be to levitate to the exit; but levitation magic cannot be used there, and no practical jump spell that the player would have is capable of getting them all the way to the door. However, a Scroll of Icarian Flight will allow you to leap all the way to the top of the chamber, "crash" (harmlessly) into the ceiling, and land on the platform right in front of the exit.
    • Solstheim in Bloodmoon has very limited fast travel options, so the scrolls allow the player to more quickly traverse the island. In particular, they can help with one East Empire Company quest that has a strict time limit. The person you need to find will be in one of three random places, so placing a Mark spell ahead of time may not work. Using the scrolls to jump there can get you there much faster than running, and will allows you to pass over any enemies along the way who would otherwise slow you down.
  • Not Quite Flight:
  • Not the Intended Use: A few examples:
    • Abusing the alchemy system to create the game-breaking Intelligence potions described in the YMMV section.
    • Creating a custom Levitate "on other" spell. The AI for characters and creatures isn't programmed to handle levitation, so it leaves them completely motionless and vulnerable to attack for the duration. Works especially well on flying creatures, as it causes them to fall to the ground and take fall damage in addition.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: The game lacks quest markers and the Journal in the vanilla game can be cumbersome and confusing. The expansions added new features to the Journal, like the ability to sort entries into active and finished quests. This is an incredible boon for keeping track of your goals, and makes level-appropriate progression through multiple factions at once infinitely more practical. This, unfortunately, doesn't help the instances where the directions given are incorrect or when the directions are correct, but were recorded incorrectly in the Journal.
  • Numerical Hard: The game has a difficultly slider. Set at easiest, all your attacks do 6 times their normal damage and enemies do 1/6th their normal amount. Set at its hardest, those numbers are reversed. Nothing else is changed.

    O 
  • Obvious Beta: The game itself was relatively stable at release for a Bethesda title. Bugs and glitches were certainly present, but, in a major step up from Daggerfall, you could at least complete all of the major questlines without significant issue. However, the two major expansion packs, Tribunal and Bloodmoon, badly conflicted with one another. Installing Bloodmoon after Tribunal (as most people did since Tribunal came out first) caused an "endless loop" dialogue bug with a major Tribunal character, cutting off the final 80% of the expansion's main quest line. A fan patch was released which largely took care of this until Bethesda released their own, which just created loads of new problems. The Game of the Year Edition finally, thankfully, resolved the majority of these issues.
  • Occupiers out of Our Country: Kicking the Empire out of Morrowind is an open part of Dagoth Ur's plan. This sentiment is actually shared by quite a few other groups, ranging from the ruthless gangster Camonna Tong to even honorable groups like House Redoran. It's just that those groups lack the resources to actually drive the Empire out, while Dagoth Ur certainly would if he gets his hands on all of the Tools of Kagrenac.
  • Off the Grid: Caius Cosades uses this as part of his cover identity. He lives in a small one-room hovel at the edge of Balmora, is Obfuscating Stupidity and Playing Drunk as a Skooma addict, and is perpetually shirtless and wearing only common pants. Until you present him with the coded orders you received, he'll dismiss you and describe himself as "an old Skooma addict".
  • Off the Rails: You can easily break the main quest by killing one of dozens of essential NPCs. The game does warn you if you've done this and encourages you to restore a saved file from before. There is also the "backpath" method to beating the main quest, where only one NPC is truly essential ( Yagrum Bagarn,) but is much more difficult to complete. Even if that is rendered impossible, one can use the Alchemy exploit to give yourself god-like levels of power and use the Tools of Kagrenac without Wraithguard to unbind the Heart of Lorkhan, which is normally instant death for the player.
  • Oh My Gods!: Aside from Elder Scrolls standard expressions like "By the Nine," there is the Dunmeri "B'Vehk," which is a contraction of "By Vivec!"
  • Older Is Better: Ancient Dwemer gear is better than most modern armors. Justified throughout the series, as you find out the Dwemer were fanatics about building stuff to last for a VERY long time, up to and including bending the laws of nature to preserve their creations.
  • Omnicidal Neutral:
    • The "Backpath" method to beating the main quest allows the player to become one. Instead of becoming the becoming the hero you are supposed to be, you can say Screw Destiny and kill Vivec, steal the Wraithguard, have Yagrum Bagarn "jury rig" it so you can wear it, acquire Keening and Sunder, and destroy the Heart of Lorkhan yourself. The only "side" still standing at that point is Azura.
    • Even if you "properly" beat the main quest, nothing stops you from killing Vivec. You still get the usual message about tampering with destiny, but there are no real consequences - his part in 'destiny' has already been played. And you acquire the second, backpath version of Wraithguard. Not to mention some satisfaction.
  • Once Is Not Enough: Spriggans in Bloodmoon need to be killed three times before they'll stay dead. (This holds true even if you soul trap their first form.)
  • Once per Episode: Like most of the other games in the series, you start off here as a prisoner.
  • One Riot, One Ranger:
    • The Player Character, in order to fulfill the Nerevarine Prophesy, needs to be named the "Hortator" of the three Dunmeri Great Houses with holdings on Vvardenfell. A Hortator is a traditional Dunmer war-leader, implied to typically lead entire armies into battle. However, circumstances are such here that the Nerevarine will need to go alone into Red Mountain to face Dagoth Ur. Primarily, because he/she has been rendered immune to all disease (another requirement to meet the prophecy) while anyone he/she could bring along would risk catching a Blight disease, or worse, the Corprus Disease.
    • The Buoyant Armigers are the Tribunal Temple's elite special forces, generally hand-picked by Vivec himself. In the few instances we get to see or hear about them in action in the game, they almost exclusively work alone. One exception is a Fighter's Guild quest which has you aid a new Buoyant Armiger in clearing out a necromancer's den.
  • One-Gender Race: For the lesser Daedra, Dremora are always male while Golden Saints and Winged Twilights are always female.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Endurance. Considering that it determines your starting health, as well as your health gain per level, it is a critically important attribute for all character builds. Making Endurance one of your favored attributes during character creation is highly encouraged.
  • One Size Fits All:
    • Played straight for the non-beast races. You can loot a piece of armor off an Orc or Nord, then equip it to your much-smaller Bosmer and it will fit perfectly. After installing Tribunal or the "LeFemme" armor official plug-in, cuirasses will become Gendered Outfits. You can loot one off of a male NPC and equip it to your female character, and it will change to the female model.
    • Beast races avert it for closed helmets and boots. Because of their elongated faces and unusual feet, Argonians and Khajiit cannot wear them.
  • One True Faith: Averted and Subverted in different instances. To elaborate:
    • Averted in general. The game features both the Imperial Cult, the religion of the majority of Tamriel, and the Tribunal Temple, the religion of the Dunmer people who worship the Tribunal. The friction between these factions (as part of the armistice to end their war, the Dunmer had to allow worship of the Nine Divines but could keep their own Tribunal worship as well,) is a plot point.
    • Also Averted when the Ashlanders are considered. They practice ancestor worship (which is still part of Tribunal Temple doctrine, though to a lesser extent,) and also, to a degree, worship (or at least respect) the Daedra. (Particularly Azura, Boethia, Mephala, Sheogorath, Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon, and Malacath.) Again, the Daedra are acknowledged by the Tribunal Temple, but are considered subservient to the Tribunal.
    • Then Subverted within the Tribunal Temple. While they present themselves in this fashion and attempt to suppress all dissent, the Dissident Priests and Nerevarine Cult have split off from the mainstream Tribunal worship. When talking to Vivec, he'll reveal that the Temple isn't entirely right, and that the others aren't completely wrong.
    • Finally, in Bloodmoon, it's revealed that the Skaal worship the "All Maker," with their own set of beliefs and rituals which include significant nature worship.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Like the protagonists of the other games in the series, the Player Character will only ever be referred to as "the Nerevarine" in future games.
  • Only Shop in Town:
    • Common in many smaller towns and villages. Seyda Neen, Hla Oad, Gnaar Mok, Ald Velothi, Khuul, and Dagon Fel have just one general trader, for example. Averted in the larger towns and cities who have multiple, often specialized, merchants.
    • When building your stronghold for the Great House questlines, each will add at least one merchant during the final stage of development. Rethan Manor (House Hlaalu) gets a Pawnbroker while Indarys Manor (House Redoran) gets a Trader. Tel Uvirith (House Telvanni) averts it, getting several including a Spellmaker, Enchanter, and Alchemist.
    • When expanding the Raven Rock settlement in Bloodmoon's East Empire Company questline, you'll get to choose which merchant the settlement will have - either a general Trader or a Smith. (Considering nearby Fort Frostmoth already has a Smith, a Trader is the better choice for unloading a wider variety of loot.)
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The Moon-And-Star ring is said to be blessed by Azura to kill anyone trying to wear it other than Nerevar. Whether this is for real or a story made up to scare off pretenders is never discovered. However, certain moments imply that being the Nerevarine is more a matter of becoming than something you are born as — if you fulfill the requirements to be the Nerevarine, and follow what the prophecy says the Nerevarine is supposed to do, then you are the Nerevarine, and so can wear Moon-and-Star. In other words, only the Chosen may wield, but the "Chosen" is partly self-chosen.
  • Opening the Sandbox: You're free to do what you and go where you want immediately after character generation.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Divayth Fyr made four female clones of himself: Alfe, Beyte, Delte, and Uupse. They're variously described as wives or daughters. Surprisingly this isn't particularly played for Squick... at least within his tower.
  • Oracular Head: One side quest in Bloodmoon has a man sending you to rescue his friend, who is an oracle. It turns out his "friend" is really a skull.
  • Orbital Shot: Happens when you allow the game to go idle, with the camera slowly circling your character.
  • Organ Drops: Plenty. Beyond the standard critter parts (rat meat, hound meat, various hides, racer plumes slaugherfish scales) we have parts from more humanoid creatures (Daedra hearts, dreugh wax, scamp skin, corprus meat...)
  • Organic Technology:
    • The Telvanni magically grow wizard towers which are combination Mage Tower and Fungus Humongous.
    • Players can employ Silt Striders: gigantic, domesticated arthropods that are used to rapidly travel from city to city in the game world. The striders essentially appear akin to enormous fleas. The striders have portions of their shell removed from their back so that the driver, or 'caravaner', can poke at the sensitive flesh underneath to goad the strider in the desired direction. Their shells are further carved or modified to hold cargo or passengers, based on need.
  • Orphaned Etymology: The Scrolls of Icarian Flight. While a very fitting name for the scrolls, Tamriel would not have the Greek myth of Icarus to draw the name from.
  • Our Gods Are Different: The Dunmer worship the Tribunal, a trio of Physical Gods who obtained their divinity by using Dwemer tools on the heart of a dead god.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird:
    • Fitting nicely with the game's alien setting, Vvardenfell's wildlife is mostly unique with very few real-life analogues. They range from Silt Striders (giant flea-like insects used by the native for transport) to Netches (Living Gasbag jellyfish creatures that drift through the sky and are farmed for their leathery hides) to Alits and Kagouti (two predators with vaguely theropodian dinosaur-like features) to Kwama (insectoid creatures that change drastically through different stages of their lives and are farmed for their eggs). And that's just scratching the surface.
    • In addition to the series standards like the various forms of undead and lesser Daedra, the Sixth House enemies have a very weird and "other" feel.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: While Daggerfall began the transition from Tolkein-style Orcs, Morrowind is the first game where Orcs are are a playable race, having moved firmly to Blizzard-style Orcs.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Lycanthropy in Bloodmoon is an infection disease which causes the victim to transform every night. While transformed, the victim must kill a NPC or else they will be severely weakened upon returning to a humanoid form.
  • Our Wights Are Different: Another in-universe name for Dagoth Ur's Ash Vampires are "Heartwights." This is doubly more fitting since they, like Dagoth Ur, are bound to the Heart of Lorkhan and are not vampire-like in the least.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • The Undead - What the rest of Tamriel refers to as zombies, the Dunmer traditionally refer to as "Bonewalkers." They come in Lesser, Standard, and Greater varieties. They are summoned by Temple faithful to protect their Ancestral Tombs, which is considered to be different than blasphemous necromancy.
    • Plague Zombie - Those inflicted with the Corprus Disease fit under this category. They have nasty cases of Body Horror and their mental faculties degrade over time. They're also The Ageless and have Ideal Illness Immunity, meaning that once the disease has progressed, their only hope of death is a Mercy Kill.
    • Draugr are another undead variant which appear in Bloodmoon as preserved, re-animated corpses of ancient Nords who have been in some way cursed. A self-aware Draugr, Aesliip, is encountered. Apparently, if you inflict revenant status on yourself ( Aesliip had done it to be able to keep maintaining a barrier stopping a Daedric incursion), you get to keep your intelligence. Skyrim then goes further in explaining that the curse placed on most of the Draugr in both Skyrim and Solstheim was a result of them having served the Dragons and Dragon Cult during the First Era Dragon Wars.
  • The Overworld: The island of Vvardenfell is one continuous overworld dotted with hundreds of entrances to indoor and dungeon levels.
  • Oxygen Meter: One appears whenever you go underwater. Once it runs out, your health will drain at a steady rate until you surface.

    P 
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Projectile weapons travel slowly enough that dodging them is a real possibility. Projectile spells travel even slower, to the point where battling an enemy mage is best done by dodging his attacks until he runs out of Magicka before closing in to kill him.
  • Pamphlet Shelf: Averted. Every book shown is readable, and books often just contain backstory and lore sometimes not even related to the particular games' storyline. Other times, they contain full-fledged short stories. Even the skill books include stories relevant to that skill, rather than just increasing the skill. (They do cheat a bit by frequently padding the shelves with multiple copies of the same book, as is the case in almost every bookseller shop and library in the game.)
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The first quest for House Hlaalu is to impersonate a Redoran soldier and steal some coded orders from Ald'ruhn. Your quest giver does state that the disguise only works because A) You happen to sound exactly like the soldier you're impersonating and B) That particular soldier was known for wearing their helmet all the time to conceal a hideous battle scar. In practice, the helmet is the only thing you need to wear. As long as you are wearing that helmet, you could walk into Ald'ruhn stark naked, even if you are obviously not a Dunmer, and the Redorans would be none the wiser.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Dunmer are fond of this, typically using the examples seen under Fantastic Slur above.
  • Pause Scumming: You can enter the game menu, which pauses the game, at any time. In this menu, you can drink an unlimited number of potions or change armor in the nick of time, even in the middle of combat.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: You are free to kill bandits, smugglers, cultists, and the like to your heart's content. The shopkeeper in the starting village even recommends it as a way to improve your skills. He does note, however, that if you try it on innocent townsfolk, it will be considered murder. It can be taken even further since you can taunt NPCs into attacking you, which makes killing them legal since they technically struck the first blow.
  • Penny-Pinching Crab: The richest merchant is a nameless mudcrab hiding out on Azura's Coast. Despite having the most money in the land (a whopping 10,000 Septims), however, it is not a particularly effective merchant, buying items at full price and regularly gettingdrunk on the booze it is selling. Just what exactly it is and why it exists at all is one of Morrowind's many, many unsolved mysteries.
  • Penultimate Weapon: While the weapons listed under Infinity +1 Sword and Infinity -1 Sword are all among the best in the game, they can be beaten using a Daedric weapon you've custom enchanted yourself with a powerful soul. (The single most damaging weapon in the game would be a Daedric Battle Axe custom enchanted with a Damage Health spell, using Almalexia's soul trapped in Azura's Star for the maximum number of blows before being drained.)
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • The Infinity +1 Sword Eltonbrand and the legendary shield Spellbreaker can only be acquired if the player is a vampire. If the player gets cured without completing the quests to get these items, they will be impossible to acquire as you cannot contract vampirism a second time.
    • The master trainer for enchantment, Qorwynn, is lost if you kill him. Of course, this is true for anyone else, so why is it a problem here? Qorwynn is a hostile Altmer spellcaster in a dungeon filled with nearly-identical hostile Altmer spellcasters, with no indication, anywhere in the game, that there is anything special about him. The only way to get training from him is to use magic to calm him down first, and there is absolutely no reason anyone would do this without a guide. Kill him, and you'll have to grind to 100 enchantment yourself if you want it.
  • The Peter Principle: Part of the reason why incompetent Mages Guild Archmage Trebonius Artorius came into that position. He is indeed a highly skilled battlemage, but he's utterly hopeless when it comes to running a Guild.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment: You must be wearing Wraithguard in order to handle Keening and Sunder without dying instantly. And in order to even wear Wraithguard, you must sacrifice a large portion of your health, permanently. If acquired the "standard" way, through Vivec, he will take you "outside of time and space" so that it doesn't harm you.
  • Physical God: The Tribunal and Dagoth Ur. All were the mortal advisors of Nerevar who went against the wishes of Azura and used the Tools of Kagrenac on the Heart of Lorkhan to obtain godhood.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything:
    • You can become the head of any of the Guilds and Factions in the game. However, no one actually expects you to do the work of running said organization, participating in politics, debating religious doctrine, etc. The one aversion is the Imperial Cult, where you only rise as high as a non-full time priest is allowed to go.
    • House Telvanni plays with it. Their outlook means it actually makes sense that most of the actual running or details are left to someone else once you become a Master or the Archmagister. It is, instead, the mid-level ranks where the player doesn't have to do any of the stuff that is supposed to come with the rank. (The entire point of the Mouth position is to represent their Master in council and handle a lot of the actual political running of things so their Master doesn't have to.)
  • Pixel Hunt:
    • The first mission of the main quest sends you to a bandit-infested Dwemer ruin to search for a particular Dwemer Cube. The cube is small, dull in color, and sits on the corner of a bottom shelf in a dimly lit room, which makes missing it very easy.
    • One side quest asks you to retrieve a ring that has been dropped into a small body of water. It can be tricky to spot even under good light conditions, so good luck if you happen upon this quest at night or during a rain storm.
    • On the Odai Plateau, there is an Ebony Shortsword available which has clipped through some boulders and is only barely visible.
    • The only Daedric Right Pauldron available in the game (without killing Divayth Fyr) is found in the Castle Karstaag tower, barely visible in an ice crevice.
  • The Place: Subverted. While the game is called Morrowind, you can only visit one district: the island of Vvardenfell. (Tribunal then allows you to visit one city on the mainland, but only that city.)
  • Plaguemaster:
    • Dagoth Ur uses his magically-achieved godhood to spread Corprus Disease across the island of Vvardenfell via blight storms and infected wildlife. If the disease is left unchecked, it horribly disfigures and kills its victims, but if he uses his power to direct the disease, the disfigurations make the infected into powerful, mindless servants to further his cause.
    • Tribunal has Gedna Relvel, an ancient and powerful lich who is spreading the Crimson Plague via infected rats to Mournhold. Naturally, she must be stopped.
  • Playable Epilogue: The game never really ends until you get tired of exploring.
  • Player Character Calculus: The "Lone Gunman" variety. At times, you may be tasked with escorting an NPC character, but their Artificial Stupidity rarely makes it worth having them around.
  • Player Headquarters: Several become available as you advance through the game.
    • One early side quest in Seyda Neen has you track down the murderer of a local tax collector. When you find the murderer, you may choose to execute him for his crimes. If you do, you can use his shack as your home while in the area. It contains a hammock for sleeping and a few containers for storage.
    • After a certain point in the main quest, Caius Cosades is recalled to the Imperial City. He lets you have his small Balmora house to use as you see fit. It contains a bed for sleeping and several storage containers.
    • In order to complete the quest lines for the three Great Houses, you'll need to build yourself a stronghold. After getting the construction contract, paying for the construction, and taking on a few quests to eliminate obstacles to construction, you are free to move into your new manor. Additional quests build up the area around your house, turning it into a small town complete with at least one trader.
    • Upon completing the East Empire Company questline in Bloodmoon, you are rewarded with the Factor's Estate. It is a massive mansion in Raven Rock, the mining town you personally helped to grow from nothing.
  • Player Personality Quiz: An optional one appears during character generation. You can choose a different class that the one that is recommended for you based on the quiz , or just skip it altogether and manually select/create a class.
  • Player Tic:
    • Jumping everywhere as you run seems to be common among players. At low levels, it takes so long by this method that it is much more of a tic than a real practice. However, doing so increases your Acrobatics skill, and once that is sufficiently high, it becomes the fastest way to travel on foot.
    • As the first game in the series following the 3D leap, changing the camera angle while saving so the "save game" screenshot is a portrait of your character has become quite popular. 99% of the time, you'll just save over it without ever giving it a second look, but it doesn't stop players from doing it. One practical purpose it may serve is helping to "label" your save file if you're playing multiple characters at once, but naming the file after the character and checking the date/timestamp are usually more than enough to cover this.
  • Playing Drunk: Caius Cosades claims to be addicted to Moon Sugar (and its refined variant, Skooma). Given that he is: a) the Imperial Spymaster, b) said to hold his "liquor" fairly well, and c) implied to have killed people who have underestimated him, it can be assumed it is an act.
  • Playing with Fire: Fire spells are one of the three main varieties of Destruction magic. However, it is the least useful of them as 75% of the NPCs in the game are the fire-resistant Dunmer. This reverses for Bloodmoon, where the snowy atmosphere lends itself to ice-based opponents who are severely weak to fire.
  • Plot Armor: Averted with NPCs. You can kill anyone in the game if you so choose and are strong enough to do so. For most plot-important characters, you will get pop-up text stating that you've doomed the world and recommending that you load a saved game after you've killed them, but that is all. (And some plot-important NPCs do not give this message.)
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something:
    • The Moon-And-Star ring given to you by Azura in recognition of your status as the Nerevarine also mildly boosts your Personality attribute and Speechcraft skill. It's a good item to wear when you need to persuade a NPC.
    • The tools of Kagrenac (Wraithguard, Keening, and Sunder) are a gauntlet, dagger, and hammer respectively needed to tap into and/or sever the enchantments on the Heart of Lorkhan. However, each is also one of the best pieces of equipment in its class available in the game.
    • In the Morag Tong questline, you'll be tasked with recovering all of the "Threads of the Webspinner," special enchanted items of clothing and jewelry which increase one skill in particular. It's recommended that if you find one you like, save it and turn it in at the end.
  • Plot Detour: At several points in the early main quest, Caius will recommend that the player go off and do side quests in order to keep up his/her public identity as a freelance adventurer, and also to gain money and experience.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: The main quest is kicked off some 4000 years prior to the time the game takes place with the death of Lord Indoril Nerevar. His death, the subsequent events of Dagoth Ur and the Tribunal using the Heart of Lorkhan to obtain divinity, and his prophesied Reincarnation are the driving force behind the game's plot.
  • Point of No Return:
    • Averted with the main quest. In fact, it is even recommended that you make several forays into Red Mountain, clearing out and looting the Ash Vampire citadels first, then returning to heal. It isn't until you are in the Heart Chamber with Dagoth Ur himself that you must defeat him to leave.
    • Tribunal has the "Polite" version. Almalexia tells you that she is sending you to Sotha Sil's Clockwork City, and that there is no way to return until he is defeated. She recommends that you prepare yourself accordingly.
    • Bloodmoon has the "Nasty" version. After completing a certain quest, you'll be kidnapped by werewolves the next time you sleep and taken into the glacier for Hircine's "wild hunt." If you don't have the supplies necessary to survive on you, it is strongly recommended that you reload a save from before, if you have one.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: The spell "Acid Splash" and the like count as a variety of Poison when it comes to calculating resistances.
  • The Poorly Chosen One: During part of the main quest, the Nerevarine visits the Cave of the Incarnate and speaks to the spirits of several Dunmer who tried to be the Nerevarine in the past. They all died before they could fulfill the prophecy. (It's implied that there isn't one true Chosen One Nerevarine, but that anyone who fits the initial criteria could become the Nerevarine. These people fit the initial criteria, but died before they could fulfill the prophecy.)
  • Portal Network:
    • The Mages Guild runs a "Guild Guide" service, where you can be teleported instantly from any Mages Guild base to any of the other Mages Guild bases.
    • The ring of ancient Chimeri fortresses around Vvardenfell has "Propylon Chambers," which can teleport you to either of the neighboring fortresses if you have the proper Propylon Index. The remoteness of the fortresses makes this method of travel rather inefficient. (Still, they have their uses, such as the Tribunal Temple quest which requires you to travel across the island after taking a vow of silence, or to quickly travel as a Vampire where the other fast travel options are unavailable.)
  • Portmanteau: "Almsivi" is one of the names for the Tribunal, which is made up of Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec.
  • Port Town: Vvardenfell being an island turns almost every coastal city into one of these. However, due to the Blight quarantine, only Seyda Neen remains in operation with traffic from the mainland.
  • Post-End Game Content: The Morag Tong has a series of quests which are only available if you are the Grandmaster of the faction and have completed the main quest. Namely, they are a series of high-level assassinations where the targets are primarily characters whose death prior to beating the game would have made it unwinnable by the standard means (similarly, there is a Mages' Guild quest to kill all the councillors of House Telvanni). Many other quests also become significantly easier once you've completed the main quest, particularly those which involve increasing the disposition of a NPC because you can use your status as Nerevarine to butter them up even if you have a low Speechcraft skill.
  • Posthumous Character: Lord Indoril Nerevar. His death, and the subsequent events, are the main catalyst for the plot of the game some 4000 years later. The events of his life and death are discovered through in-game books and conversations with several prominent characters. They, of course, conflict greatly. The Player Character is his reincarnation. Maybe.
  • Potion-Brewing Mechanic: One exists and is controlled by the Intelligence attribute and Alchemy skill. Basically, you harvest plants and animal parts, figure out which four harmful or beneficial magical effects each of them has, and mix two or more ingredients with a certain effect to produce a potion of that effect. You also need alchemical tools (such as pestles, mortars, retorts, etc.) and their quality has impact upon different aspects of the resulting potions (e.g. effects duration and magnitude). It is also one of the most notorious game breakers in the Elder Scrolls series, as it is possible to create potions which increase Intelligence, which then allows you to create stronger potions with stacking effects. The end result are potions which massively increase attributes and health with a duration of hundreds of real-world hours.
  • Power Creep: The natural enemies you encounter in Bloodmoon (such as wolves and bears) are as powerful as enemies you find inside the Ghost Fence in Vvardenfell. The expansion also contains some of the few weapons in the entire series which are stronger than Daedric.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child:
    • Using soul gems, one can trap the souls of creatures or Daedra and then use them to enchant items.
    • Due to the weakening state of the Tribunal as a result of being cut off from their divine power source, they were no longer able to sustain the Ghost Fence by their power alone. As a result, the Dunmer began interring the bones of their dead in such a way that their spirits would power the Ghost Fence. That's why it's called the "Ghost" Fence and not the "God" Fence.
  • Powerful Pick: Averted. Miner's Picks can be equipped as a weapon, classified as a type of Axe. They are pitifully slow to swing and deal such little damage that they're essentially useless.
  • Power Glows: Downplayed. Enchanted items have a magical luminous sheen, but it's not bright enough to provide useful illumination.
  • Power Nullifier: Slave bracers are a remarkably simple way to keep slaves from casting spells. They are locked bracers enchanted with a small but constant magicka-drain effect. It takes a while to fully work, but once the magicka hits zero it's not coming back up barring magicka potions or removal of the bracers followed by sleep. No magicka, no spells.
  • Practical Taunt: A necessity if you need to kill someone, but do not want to commit murder. Murder is against the law, but if you can provoke the target into attacking you, you can fight back and kill them completely legally under self-defence. Amusingly, just taunting them is often not enough - you have a relationship measure that, if it sinks too low, simply leads the target to believe that you are Not Worth Killing, and they will ignore you no matter how much you taunt them. If however, you compliment and/or bribe them into liking you better, you gain enough of their respect that your taunts are effective. Then they'll pull out their weapon and go to town.
  • Praetorian Guard: Almalexia has "Her Hands" elite High Ordinators while King Helseth has his Royal Guards in this role. Naturally, the two groups conflict, as can be seen in Tribunal.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Master Aryon seems to be the Reasonable Authority Figure of House Telvanni. However, he's actually being 'flexible' because the stubbornness of the other Telvanni councilors leaves the House at a disadvantage to its numerous powerful enemies; his motives are entirely self-interested.
  • Precursors:
    • The Dwemer, as is standard for the series. Here, their disappearance and creations directly played a part in the central conflict of the main quest.
    • The Chimer were the gold-skinned precursors to the modern Dunmer. Possibly, as a result of the Tribunal going against the orders of Azura when using the tools on the Heart to ascend to godhood, Azura cursed the Chimer with ashen skin and blood red eyes.
  • Pressure-Sensitive Interface: On the X-Box controller, when using the white/black buttons to raise/lower price offers with vendors, how hard you push them determines how fast the figure changes.
  • Prestigious Player Title: The Player Character is the Nerevarine, the reincarnation of one of Morrowind's greatest heroes, Indoril Nerevar, and the focus of an ancient prophecy. In addition, there are the dozen-plus other titles one can acquire by advancing through the ranks of all the various guilds and factions within the game.
  • Prison Ship: The game starts on one, as you are delivered to Vvardenfell.
  • Procedural Generation: Averted for the first (and to date, only) time in the series. Morrowind is entirely hand-build in terms of landscape, dungeon designs, etc.
  • Projectile Spell: One of the three variants of spell in the game. The others are "On Touch" spells and "On Self" spells. These also apply to "Cast When Used" enchantments.
  • Promoted to Playable: The Orcs, who were basically mooks in the second game, are now a racial option. Similarly this is also the first game where the Cyrodiilic people, the Imperials, are a playable race. Before The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard, Imperials weren't even a distinct race, and the people of Cyrodil were implied to be men of varying mixes of Nordic and Nedic stock.
  • Propaganda Machine: The Ministry of Truth, as its Orwellian name might suggest. It is notable for being headquartered in a floating rock which is also known as "Lie Rock."
  • Prophecy Pileup: You are the Nerevarine, a man/woman who has been chosen as the one who might bring down the evil Dagoth Ur. Or at least, that's what the prophecy tells you to do. More to the point, you can screw the prophecy and do it in ways the prophecy didn't mean/didn't foresee. Also, there is another prophecy going on when you play the second expansion, though that prophecy doesn't actually have you be The Chosen One — or for that matter have a chosen one. Ultimately, it is all about finding the most badass people on the island which you for entirely non-prophecy related reasons are visiting, and then having a hunt. You just happen to be one of the most badass people around this time (it is stated to be a recurring event), and so get dragged into the end-game.
  • A Protagonist Shall Lead Them: The Nerevarine, along with fitting the Messianic Archetype. His background and predicted traits fit right in with the Jewish messiah. And the way s/he turns out to be is more like the Christian notion (i.e., didn't come to wipe out all the occupying foreigners and restore ethnic purity after all).
  • Protagonist Without a Past: All that is known about your character prior to the start of the game is that your parents were unknown, and that you were prisoner in the Imperial City. Additionally, if you are a Dunmer, it is explicitly stated that you are not from Morrowind. (This is all important because it qualifies you for the Nerevarine prophecy.)
  • Public Domain Artifact:
    • The Ten Pace Boots are a set of legendary boots inspired by the Seven League Boots of European folklore. Like the Seven League Boots, so called because they supposedly allow the wearer to travel seven leagues (about 21 miles) in a single step, the Ten Pace Boots are enchanted to boost the wearer's movement speed as well as with a Slowfall spell, allowing the wearer to survive large drops.
    • There are two in-game books which parody the style of the Egyptian Book of the Dead - The Book of Life and Service and The Book of Rest and Endings. Primarily found in Dunmeri ancestral tombs, they contain incantations to, respectively, bind the spirits of the dead to the service of the speaker and put spirits to rest.
  • Puppet King: What the position "King of Morrowind" had been for centuries. The Tribunal Temple, Great Houses, and the Empire held any and all real power. King Helseth is attempting to change all that.
  • Purposely Overpowered:
    • King Helseth's ring. It grants 100% Reflect, 100% Resist Magicka, 100% Resist Paralysis, AND health and fatigue restoration, ALL on constant effect. In order to even get the ring, you must kill him while he is wearing it, in addition to his room full of tough bodyguards.
    • For a player specializing in the long blade and heavy armor skills, Chryasmere and the Lord's Mail are the Infinity+1 Equipment, allowing you to dish out and take a serious amount of damage. The kicker? You get them towards the end of the Imperial Legion questline and must turn them into the faction leader to complete their respective quests. The way to get them back? You have to defeat him in a duel while he uses them against you. If you're able to beat him, you probably don't need the equipment...
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Dagoth Ur can manipulate and corrupt people in their dreams; the exact degree varies, resulting in Ascended Sleepers, Sleepers, Dreamers, etc.
  • Ptero Soarer: The Cliff Racers resemble pteradactyls.
  • Pushed in Front of the Audience: A side quest in Tribunal gives you the option of replacing a sick actor in a politically charged play, and if you do it, someone tries to assassinate you part way through. Turns out that the assassin's presence was known, and you were deliberately put in that position in order to protect the actor.
  • Puzzle Boss: There are two stages to the fight with Dagoth Ur. The first is pretty simple, in that you just need to kill him like any other enemy. However, with him being a legitimate Physical God, he respawns in the next room and is truly invincible without breaking the game. In order to beat him, you need to strike the Heart of Lorkhan, the source of his power, with the Tools of Kagrenac in the specific order Vivec told you.

    R 
  • Rage Helm:
    • Played straight with the game's various Daedric helms.
    • Averted with the Indoril helms of the Ordinators. They instead have an emotionless Frozen Face.
    • Played straight with Almalexia's "War Mask," which you get to see up close and personal when she tries to kill you.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Justified for the Dwemer creations, as is standard for the series. The abandoned Dwemer settlements, despite being deserted for thousands of years, are filled with running machinery and weapons and armour in perfect condition. However the Dwemer bent/changed the laws of physics to make their materials impervious to wear, tear and corrosion.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Can reach ridiculous levels. Each piece of equipment is separate (with the exception of boots, which are always worn as a pair) so it's possible to wear mismatched gloves and pauldrons over a different style of cuirass with yet another different style of greaves over pants, under a skirt, under a robe...
  • Rainbow Speak: The game uses hyperlinks within dialogue text to introduce new topics of conversation.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Averted, as the entire world is hand-built and does not change.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: Averted with loot outside of containers, which is hand placed and never changes. Savvy veteran players can find extremely high level loot well before it will start being randomly generated in containers. Containers are instead filled from "leveled lists" of items, giving players a better chance of finding good loot at higher levels, with the Luck attribute also playing a role in what appears.
  • Rare Candy:
    • Skill books serve this function, increasing a specific skill by one when read. They also contain short stories relating to the skill in question.
    • The Bitter Cup, an artifact associated with the Daedric Prince Clavicus Vile, plays with it. It will raise your highest two attributes, but also lower your lowest two attributes by the same amount.
    • Skill Trainers are a form that skips the middleman (you pay them, they raise a skill). Most trainers, however, can only raise you to a modest cap, often 50, after which you've Surpassed the Teacher. Some more advanced trainers can take you train you a bit more, but typically have a cap of around 75 and are usually associated with a guild or faction you must join (and rise to a certain rank) in order to get their services. Finally, there are the "Master Trainers," who can take you all the way up to the cap. There is only one Master Trainer for each skill, some are quite hard to find, and the highest levels of training are extremely expensive.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The details of the Battle of Red Mountain and it's aftermath (the disappearance of the Dwemer, the death of Lord Nerevar, the ascension of the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur as Physical Gods, and the transformation of the Chimer people into the modern Dunmer) are recounted differently by each of the surviving parties — Dagoth Ur, Azura, the Tribunal Temple (which worships Vivec), Vivec (offering a different account that the Temple's official version), the Ashlanders and the Dissident Priests. The Dissident Priests alone have several differing accounts — that is, one of the things they criticize the Temple for is being so sensitive about different accounts of the events at Red Mountain, so they've taken it upon themselves to gather as many different accounts as they can. They don't make any claim to know which account is true, though they phrase things in a way that make clear that they find something off about the Temple's story. Ultimately, even upon completing the main quest, you are never told what actually happened at that time. However, by speaking to all of those involved and doing your own research with in-game documents and books, you can at least rule a few of the options out. (UESP and The Imperial Library are great places to look outside of the game itself.)
  • Rat Stomp:
    • The first Balmora Fighter's Guild quest plays this 100% straight.
    • Tribunal has the "Crimson Plague" side questline, which involves you killing some rats who are spreading the disease. (It averts the "beginner" quest part, however, as the quest soon escalates to you needing to kill a notorious Damage-Sponge Boss.)
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • As usual with fantasy world elves, the Mer races have naturally longer lifespans than the races of Men or the beast races. Special mention for the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur, who are somewhere in the ballpark of 4000 years old, having used the Heart of Lorkhan to ascend to godhood. The Telvanni councilors are also said to be quite old, having prolonged their lives through sorcery and/or necromancy. Divayth Fyr in particular is said to be one of the oldest non-divine beings in Tamriel, according to one of his "daughters".
    • Baladas Demnevanni, one such Telvanni wizard who you'll meet during the Imperial Legion questline, refuses to pay taxes on the grounds that he was living there before there was an empire. (The first empire out of Cyrodiil, the Alessian, was founded over 3000 years prior. If the Merethic Era empire of the Nords qualifies, he's even older still.)
    • Barenziah, the mother of King Helseth and whom you can meet in Tribunal, is old enough to have had an affair with Tiber Septim, making her nearly 500 years old.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Most of the guilds and Great Houses have at least one such leader. In factions where the majority of the leaders are corrupt (Fighters' Guild, House Hlaalu, House Telvanni), they are that much more important. Subverted by the ultimate leader of any faction that requires (or even allows) Challenging the Chief; the Chief in question is never reasonable.
    • Azura, depending on your interpretation of the events of the main quest. She does guide the Nerevarine in defeating Dagoth Ur, saving the world from being twisted into his nightmarish vision, but doing so requires destroying the source of his divine powers, which just so happens to also be the source of the Tribunal's divine powers. The Tribunal went against her wishes in using the power source thousands of years ago, possibly killing her beloved champion Nerevar in the process, and she has had a grudge against them ever since.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • Trebonius, the incompetent Archmage of the Mages Guild in Vvardenfell, is believed to have gotten that title as a combination of this trope and Kicked Upstairs. He is indeed a powerful battlemage, but his mainland superiors got tired of his incompetence, so they made him the Archmage in the most backwater province in the empire.
    • In Bloodmoon, most or all of the soldiers stationed at Fort Frostmoth are there because of punishment. It's a freezing island filled with werewolves, naked barbarians, tree-women, and undead warriors.
  • Recurring Riff: The main theme by Jeremy Soule ended up being used as the theme for all the later games.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Blight storms outside Red Mountain have a reddish-brown tinge, but this is turned Up to Eleven inside the Ghostfence; in addition to red-brown blowing ash, the sky itself and the ambient light is a vivid, malevolent blood-red.
  • Reforged Blade:
    • Mehrune's Razor has laid in the tomb of a thief for so long that it has become rusted and unusable. Mehrune's Dagon will send you on a quest to retrieve it and will then re-imbue it with the power it one had.
    • In Tribunal, you get the opportunity to do this with True-Flame, the shattered Flaming Sword of St. Nerevar.
  • Regenerating Mana: Averted. Magicka, like Health, does not regenerate on its own. It requires sleep or a restorative item.
  • Relationship Values: very NPC has a Disposition toward the player, ranging on a scale from 0 to 100. A high disposition will make NPCs more likely to share information, give quests, and will make prices better if the NPC is a merchant. It is determined by factors including the player's race, Personality attribute, Speechcraft skill, Reputation stat, and allegiance to any guilds or factions. Disposition can be raised permanently by bribing or admiring the NPC, raised temporarily by intimidating the NPC (which is easier to do than admiring), or lowered to the point where the NPC may attack you by taunting them. Success for each is determined by your Speechcraft skill and, in the case of bribes, the amount you offer.
  • Religion of Evil:
    • Dagoth Ur's Sixth House Cult is seen as this by outsiders. In particular, the Tribunal Temple sees them as deranged and mutated heretics who will be killed on sight.
    • While Daedra worship is permitted in the rest of the Empire, it is considered evil by the Tribunal Temple in Morrowind. Worshipers, particularly those of the "bad" Daedra (Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon, Sheogorath, and Malacath) are typically hunted down and killed by Temple enforcers.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Argonians in the eyes of the Dunmer. It's a big reason for the Fantastic Racism that exists between them.
  • Revenant Zombie: From Bloodmoon, there is Aesliip, a mage who turned himself into a Draugr in order to keep an ancient evil sealed beneath his lair. He retains all of his past memories and abilities.
  • Reverse Polarity: A reference to this can be found in the notes of Itermerel, a mage.
    "By reconfiguring the polarity of the daedron fields, it is possible to manipulate and trace the streams in the following cases..."
  • Riddle Me This: An Imperial Legion quest tasks you with defending the honor of the Legion by participating in a riddle contest with a Buoyant Armiger. The correct answers will only appear if your Intelligence is above 50, or if you've picked up a copy of The Red Book of Riddles.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size:
    • Giant rats, as is the series standard. In one particular case, a bug causes creatures at a certain spawn point in the Grazelands to be twice as large. There is a chance of a rat being one of the creatures spawned.
    • In Tribunal, you can buy a trained "Pack Rat" as a pet, who will follow you and help carry your gear/loot.
  • Romance Sidequest: there is an exclusive quest chain available for male characters where you can enter a romance with a Khajiit thief named Ahnassi, doing favours for her and receiving gifts in return. At the end of the chain, she will give you the key to her house and ask you to move in with her. There is no corresponding quest for female characters, the closest equivalent to one for them is the Dunmer gentleman bandit Nels Llendo encountered on the road. Rather than try to rob you as he would a male character, he will instead be quite smitten by a female PC and will let you pass without a fight, and will also politely ask for a kiss which you can choose to accept or not.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Thousands of the years prior to the start of the game, this was present in the conflict between the ritualistic, Daedra-worshipping Chimer and the rigid, scientific, aetheistic Dwemer. The Dwemer are certainly aware of the existence of the Daedra the Chimer worship, but are steadfast in their belief that the Daedra are not gods; so much so that Vivec facetiously commented that the Dwemer instead worshiped "their Gods of Reason and Logic." Not that this did the Dwemer any good; screwing with the base fabric of the Universe caused them all to disappear... somewhere. Not a single person in existence knows what happened to them, and if anyone does, they're not telling.
  • Roofhopping: At higher levels of the Acrobatics skill, or using a Jump spell, it is perfectly reasonable to get around towns in this fashion.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Many Sixth House bases fit. The House's insignia, a beetle, is drawn on several of the floors and walls — usually in chalk, but once in blood and once in coins. There's also one room with "the dreamer is awake" scrawled on the floor, and pieces of paper filled with nonsensical pseudo-poetic scribbles lying around.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Though not officially the government of Morrowind, the Tribunal have exhibited great influence over the affairs of the Dunmer for thousands of years and each has a royal title. They embodied this trope in past ages when they led the defense of Morrowind from multiple takeover attempts by the Reman and Septim empires over the course of several millenia, thwarted at least two takeover attempts by Akiviri races, and banished Mehrunes Dagon at least once. They also established and maintained the Ghostfence, which is the only thing keeping Dagoth Ur and the Blight at bay. By the time the game takes place, they've gone several centuries without being able to recharge their divinity, so they've been forced to withdraw from the day to day affairs of mortals in order to conserve energy.
    • King Helseth is another example. He's actively working to turn his position as "King of Morrowind" from a Puppet King/figurehead position into one with some real power, first by having his predecessor killed and then by trying to weaken the power of the Tribunal Temple.
  • Royal "We": King Hlaalu Helseth speaks like this in the Tribunal expansion.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Averted. Vvardenfell has lots and lots of ruins, but they are all justified by the lore. The old Dunmer strongholds were actual outposts during the ancient wars with the Dwemer and Nords. The Dwemer ruins were formerly Dwemer cities before the Dwemer disappeared, and their propensity towards building things to last has kept them in relatively good shape in the ages since. The Daedric ruins were built by the ancient Daedra worshiping Chimer before the Tribunal came into existence. The ruins that haven't become cultist or bandit strongholds still hold their various treasures because Vvardenfell was a Tribunal Temple preserve open only to Temple pilgrims until about 20 years before the events of the game.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Sets of three exist in numerous places within the game, all following the Fighter, Mage, Thief breakdown. The three members of the Tribunal, the three "Good" Daedra, the three Imperial Guilds, the three (playable) Great Houses, the three Vampire Clans...
    • In Bloodmoon, Spriggans must be killed three times before they'll stay dead.
    • Around your travels you will encounter three naked barbarians who have been cursed by a witch. See Running Gag below.
    • If you contract porphyric hemophilia, it will take three days before it transitions into vampirism. The same applies to lycanthropy.
  • Running Both Sides:
    • If you join the Great House of Hlaalu, one of their last assignments will be to wrestle control of Camonna Tong from Orvas Dren. If you then complete the Thieves' Guild storyline, you become their top dog, as well. Congratulations, you are now running both sides in a decades-long Mob War between two organized crime networks!
    • In a case that causes some Gameplay and Story Segregation, you can do this for the Mages Guild and Great House Telvanni. Unfortunately, the game doesn't recognize that you may already be the leader of the opposing faction when giving you a quest that would harm that faction. For example, a House Telvanni quest asks you to get the Mages Guild monopoly on magical training lifted. And because both factions cater to magic-using characters, it is likely that you'll want to join both if playing as a Mage.
  • Running Gag: The various naked Nords scattered around the countryside, who've all been cursed by the witch they were escorting. Spoofed in Tribunal, where there is another naked Nord, but he's very vocal about having never even met a witch. He's merely naked because he's too hot.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters:


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