Follow TV Tropes


Skyrim / Tropes U to Z

Go To

Main Page | Tropes 0 to G | Tropes H to M | Tropes N to T | Tropes U to Z

    open/close all folders 

  • Überwald: Hjaalmarch. The entire hold contains a single quaint, rustic town surrounded by dismal foggy swamps and ruled by an old crone with mystical fortune-telling powers; nearby is a large vampire lair with a scheming master vampire; there are no roads, and the overall atmosphere is dark, mysterious and creepy. With Hearthfire you can also build and own an estate there, but your adopted children are afraid to live in this estate, claiming there are monsters in the swamp... and they're right! The random encounters that threaten the estate often include Trolls, Giants or Draugr from the nearby Nordic Ruin!
    • Remember Chauruses, the Demonic Spider that can usually only be found deep underground in Falmer infested lairs? One place they do live above ground is in Morthal's swamp, located about three steps from your front door! No wonder Valdimar is the only Housecarl to be a Spellsword!
    • To really bring it all together, there is a mod which inserts a Skyrim-ified version of the Arklay Mansion from Resident Evil. Take a wild guess where they put it...
  • Ultimate Forge: The Skyforge is the only place where Ancient Nord Armor and weapons can be made, and it's the only place where Skyforge Steel weapons can be bought. In the Dawnguard DLC there's a quest "Lost to The Ages" in which your character finds four shards of the incredibly rare material Aetherium, and the legendary Aetherium Forge which is used to turn them into a unique item.
  • Undead Child:
    • Babette, of the Dark Brotherhood, was bitten at age ten and has been alive and killing for over three hundred years. She is by far the oldest Dark Brotherhood member in Skyrim, and older than all of the events of the 235 years in which the series has been taking place.
    • Helgi of Morthal is a ghost who died in a house fire due to Laelette causing it for Alva and her master Movarth.
  • Underground City: Blackreach, a Dwemer ruin so massive it has four separate surface entrances, its own Bonus Boss, and an entire castle.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: The Thieves' Guild has a few missions in which stealth (the linchpin of a Thief-type character) is not the main focus. Of note is the mission "Dampened Spirits", which is basically you going into a cellar to eliminate rats. You're not sneaking or breaking in (in fact, you have to get permission from the proprietor to even begin the quest), and combat with the spiders and skeevers which infest the underground caves is almost impossible to avoid. Even worse is the Wake-Up Call Boss at the end of the level, Hamelyn, who is difficult to sneak up on because alerting his pets alerts him as well, and if you take on this quest at too low of a level, he can kill you in a matter of seconds.
  • Unexplained Recovery: If you kill certain characters like the carriage drivers they are set to respawn after a certain amount of time causing this trope to happen.
  • Unfinished Business: Skyrim is full of souls that can't move on to the afterlife because there's something left for them to do on Mundus. The two long-dead lovers from the "Book of Love" quest come to mind, or Gallus from the Thieves Guild quest line. The most detailed example, however, is certainly Katria, a seasoned adventurer who died during her search for the legendary Aetherium Forge. Her apprentice promptly stole all of her research and published it as his own. Katria's ghost has been bound to Nirn ever since, unable to move on until she can track down the Forge and complete her life's work by proving its existence. Only when she and the Dragonborn finally forge the last Aetherium artifact ever can she let go to take her place among the honored dead of Sovngarde.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • The Blades will cut off all support if you refuse to kill Paarthurnax. This comes after you save Esbern's life, help them reclaim Sky Haven Temple by literally using your blood, and help re-establish their order with new recruits. They do this despite being oathsworn to serve you.
      • Conversely, the Player Character is this, should you choose to go along with the Blades' plan after Paarthurnax has helped you learn Dragonrend and fight Alduin, both saving your life and giving you the means to save the world. Repaying that with death so that you can command a squad of warriors bent on exterminating his species is pretty harsh. The Greybeards will even call you out on it and prevent you from ever returning to High Hrothgar. It's made even worse by the fact that Paarthurnax won't turn hostile until you actually attack him, meaning you can both literally and metaphorically Back Stab him.
    • In gameplay, you can save Thalmor Justiciars from all manner of threats, from saber cats and bears to vampires, giants and dragons. If you talk to them afterwards, they'll still speak to you like an idiot child and issue veiled threats, and possibly attack you if you choose the wrong conversation options.
    • One imprisoned bandit begs that you save him from hagravens. The second he's released he decides to kill and rob you. That is, try, before Dovahkiin one shots him.
    • Paratus Decimius, the Sole Survivor of the Synod expedition to Mzulft. Given that you encounter him as part of the College of Winterhold questline, and that the Synod are less than respectful of the College, it becomes quickly apparent that he's a paranoid dick who only cares about his dubiously-intentioned research, yells at you for sabotaging it when things don't go exactly as planned, and refuses to accept any claims to the contrary. Even though you just saved his ass from a Dwarven ruin full of murderous robots and angry Falmer. It shouldn't be surprising that the game lets you kill him without repercussion.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: Both examples are centered in Winterhold. The first is Arniel Gane of the College of Winterhold, trying to figure out what happened to the Dwemmer and succeeding, as he uses the Dwemer dagger Keening (the same used on the Heart of Lorkhan by the Dwemer Tonal Architect Lord Kagrenac) and a warped soul gem to act as the Heart on a smaller scale. He disappears in a flash of light, and the Dragonborn gains the ability to summon his shade from wherever he is now. The second is the Great Collapse; in 4E 122 the Sea of Ghosts smashed against the cliffs of Winterhold and plunged most of the city into the depths below, save for the College, the jarl's longhouse, and some surrounding buildings. Most of the remaining citizens believe that the College caused it or at least could have prevented it, while the College believe it was caused by the destruction of Vivec and the eruption of Red Mountain causing tsunamis that destroyed the surrounding areas.
  • Unobtainium: Among the minerals, there are Orichalcum, Moonstone, and Quicksilver.
    • However, the one that takes the cake is Aetherium, introduced in the "Lost to the Ages" quest chain in Dawnguard. This magic-imbued substance was apparently used by the Dwemer to make some of their most powerful weapons ever, and supposedly the small crest you assemble during the quest is all that's left of the stuff.
    • Speaking of Dwemer, Dwemer metal can't be made in modern times, because the knowledge to do so has been lost. The only way to get Dwemer Metal Ingots to make Dwarven weapons and armor is to break down chunks of Dwemer scrap metal (usually obtained from killing Dwemer constructs.)
  • Unperson: The Thalmor are attempting to do this to Talos (and by extension Shor/Lorkhan). The ramifications have Apocalypse How - Metaphysical Annihilation severity for Men, though Mer would (probably) regain divinity.
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • Your initiation into the Dark Brotherhood consists of you being presented with three hooded figures; you're told one of them has a contract for their death and must carry it out, deciding which one you think is the one with the contract. However, you're never told who it actually was and you succeed regardless of who you kill, as the test was about your willingness to carry out the order rather than about your actual choice of target. Given that you're allowed to kill all three and they all have reasons for others to want them dead, it's entirely possible all three had contracts, or even none of them. This is the Dark Brotherhood, after all.
      • The official strategy guide does provide The Reveal, though. None of them had contracts.
    • One quest gives you the option to help Saadia, who claims the Alik'r were hired to assassinate her for speaking out against the Aldmeri Dominion, or the Alik'r, who say she actually betrayed Hammerfell to the Dominion. You can help Saadia kill the Alik'r leader and escape, or help the Alik'r capture her. Aaaaaaand...that's it. You never find out for sure who was telling the truth.note 
  • Unstoppable Rage: The Orc racial power, Berserker Rage, doubles weapon damage and halves damage received.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment:
    • Played straight with the random generic thieves and Dark Brotherhood assassins who may appear. Their armor cannot be looted from their corpse. The Summerset Shadows' armor also cannot be looted (except for the group leader, whose armor is slightly different).
    • Also played straight with most Draugr; if they're wearing armor, chances are you can't loot it. You can find it as random loot elsewhere, and the Skyforge can be used to craft brand new versions after a certain story event.
    • While usually averted to hell and back, in that you can loot weapons and clothing off someone who literally have been turned to ash by your lightning spells, this is played straight with Ash Spawns in Dragonborn. Justified since their weapons are technically Shapeshifter Weapons.
    • Dremora can't be looted for their armor, though you can craft it or summon it from the bounds of Oblivion using the Atronach Forge, likely right off some Dremora's back.
    • The Keepers from Dawnguard sport full sets of Dragonbone Armor (minus the helmets) which cannot be looted from their remains. Their Dragonbone weapons, however, can be retrieved if your level is high enough.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • The Dragonborn's activities are fairly unremarkable to most townsfolk. You can be dressed in Archmage robes or a full set of Daedric armor, and they regard you with the same attitude that they would if you wore simple clothes. Their AI will also remark on dead bodies lying in the street while ignoring a dragon's corpse, or tell you to put away that "dangerous magic" when you just used it to kill said dragon. They also don't notice that you may be riding around on a purple, flaming, skeletal horse. Guards, on the other hand, are programmed to react to your attire and behavior (but still not all of it - for instance, the aforementioned flaming skeletal horse doesn't raise any eyebrows among them). Mostly averted for vampires, however - many NPCs will comment on the paleness of your skin and the "hunger" in your eyes, and turning into a Vampire Lord will turn the population hostile to you.
    • It should also be noted that people react early in the game to your Thu'uming. After you meet the Greybeards, though, word has gotten around; by the end of the main quest, people are pretty much numb to it.
    • In the Dawnguard DLC, many NPCs will likely see Serana carrying around an Elder Scroll on her back, yet no one mentions it. note 
  • Unwinnable by Design: Can happen if you waste too much time in the prologue, as after a certain amount of time elapses from when you start following Hadvar and heading for the Helgen Keep, the dragon will single you out and start attacking you and you only, which can result in a short and brutal execution as your hands are still bound and he can position himself in such a way that the only escape is through him. Be especially quick when in front of the Keep, as the dragon will land there and immediately torch you dead should you not run the hell away inside the keep.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Averted in general. Just about every perk, spell, and shout has its uses, including seemingly useless ones. Deadly Shield Bash, for example, is not very useful compared to killing things with your dedicated weapons; but for mages who use shields, it turns them into an effective backup weapon if magicka runs out, and can serve as a workable backup for fighters who find themselves on the wrong side of a Disarm shout. Similarly, Elemental Fury is not terribly useful for someone with an enchanted weapon, but some particularly nasty weapons (i.e. Valdr's Lucky Dagger) don't count as enchanted.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Averted with a vengeance in this game, in response to criticism of Oblivion. With a character focused on Sneaking, you can avoid setting off traps in dungeons, make no noise even when running, make less noise regardless of armor weight, execute silent combat rolls, and take advantage of the highest damage multipliers in the game. (Bows will do three times normal damage, one-handed weapons six times, and daggers fifteen times as much!) If you master pickpocketing, you can sneak up behind someone and steal all their armor and weapons without them ever noticing you. When combined with other perks, such as Silent Casting, Illusion spells, and the ability to set Rune traps and conjure minions from several yards away, you can take care of threats without even being in the room. And even if you are caught, the Shadow Warrior perk allows you to run away, kneel, and force the enemy to lose your location. If anything, the game went too far in the opposite direction, making sneaking so absurdly overpowered with the right build that the game becomes laughably easy. There's a reason why many people's Skyrim experiences can be summed up by the words "Stealth Archer".
  • Use Your Head: One finishing move that you sometimes use when wielding a battleaxe is hooking the haft behind someone's neck and pulling him towards you as you ram your forehead into his face, killing him.
  • The Usual Adversaries:
    • Bandits. Almost everyone sends you to fight bandits eventually. There's almost always bandits involved.
    • In the Reach, it's Forsworn instead (although a few bandits do still show up).
    • Alduin and his long-dead Cult of Dragons uses Draugr (barrow wights, more or less) as their standard mooks, who serve as the Usual Adversaries during the main quest.

  • Vampires Sleep in Coffins: Zig-zagged. It is not required for vampires to sleep in a coffin, and some of them, such as Hert and Sybille Stentor, can sleep on a bed perfectly fine. But some vampires, such as Alva, and those living in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den, do sleep in coffins. You can also find several coffins littered all over Broken Fang Cave, although they're not usable. You can however sleep in those found in Castle Volkihar and Redwater Den even when you're not a vampire. With the Hearthfire expansion installed, installing furniture in a house while playing as a vampire character gives the option of adding a coffin in the basement, which can be used in the same way as a bed.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes:
    • The Silver Hand is a group of werewolf-hunters who don't discriminate between the non-evil werewolves and the ones that threaten villagers. They're also really brutal to the werewolves (and regular wolves) that they do capture. One of their bases is essentially a werewolf skinning and tanning facility. For that matter, they're also hostile to you even if you're not a werewolf. If you wander into one of their forts by accident, they'll kill you anyway. So they're basically bandits who like killing werewolves for sport, rather than because they think it's the right thing to do. One of the common insults enemies use on you if you're a Khajiit is "You'll make a fine rug, cat!" The Silver Hand apparently follow through.
    • According to flavor text, the Vigil of Stendarr has a "kill first, ask questions later" policy regarding vampires, werewolves, Daedra, and anyone suspected of associating with them. In-game, however, they don't appear to do this as much, and don't even care if you prance around them in full Daedric gear. Additionally, the game files have a Dummied Out interaction where they demand that you hand over a Daedric Artifact if they see you with one.
    • The Blades will insist on you killing Paarthurnax even though he's peaceful and helps you defeat the Big Bad, Alduin. Their only reason is their belief dragons are Always Chaotic Evil and that he should pay for his crimes before his Heel–Face Turn. Even though that happened millenia ago, and said heel face turn is the only reason Alduin and the other dragons aren't still in charge.
    • Subverted by the Dawnguard. Although Isran is none too happy about it, he's willing to let Serana live and even enter their headquarters if she helps stop the vampire lord from blotting out the sun. He makes no such accommodations for you should you ever become a vampire, because unlike Serana, he can't exploit you for a possible weakness within Castle Volhikar.
  • Vendor Trash:
    • There are a lot of useless items scattered all throughout the game world that you can pick up and stash in your inventory. Pretty much any object that you could realistically pick up with one hand, you can take along with you. You can sell them off to willing merchants, though the majority of these things are worth no more than a few coins (even if, realistically speaking, said items should be quite valuable, such as silverware).
    • You can also make vendor trash. Alchemy recipes that provide both harmful and beneficial effects are generally useless in combat (i.e., a potion that buffs a magical school but drains magicka) but still sell pretty well, and are generally just meant to level up the skill. Enchanting with anything less than a grand soul is similar, no matter how good your enchanting skill is. Even smithing is going to turn out dozens of copies of one item or another you're just going to sell to make back whatever you spent on the ingredients.
  • Verbal Weakness: Dragons have no concept of transience. Since Thu'ums make whatever is said a reality, that means they're weak to words embodying transience, which are exactly what make up the Dragonrend Thu'um. The words Joor Zah Frul translate to Mortal, Finite, Temporary, things an ageless being would have no idea or concept of.
  • Vestigial Empire: Ever since the Septim dynasty was killed off in Oblivion's main story arc, the old Empire has almost totally collapsed in on itself; a process that has been spurred on by the Thalmor and the Aldmeri Dominion, who sees the Empire as the biggest obstacle for the implementation of their plans and therefore constantly moves to weaken it by playing on its own internal diversions and other weak points. After two hundred years of turmoil, only the provinces of Cyrodiil, High Rock, Morrowind and Skyrim remain under Imperial rule — and in the case of High Rock and Morrowind, quite nominally, the latter in particular being really just an in-name-only province. Many of your actions in certain quests can either help the Empire or make things even worse. For example, helping the last Blades to restore their order, destroying the last remnants of the Dark Brotherhood (sparing the Emperor in the process), leading the Imperials to victory over the Stormcloaks in the civil war and keeping Skyrim in the Empire, and being a prominent Imperial citizen of the Dragon Blood leaves the Empire in the best shape its been for centuries and maybe, just maybe, able to work itself out of this trope.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Certain quests requires you to go out and find closure for people (usually by finding the corpse of whoever it is they're looking for). These are entirely optional and have no bearing whatsoever on the story, and many of them have rewards of little value. Other quests can play out differently depending on your response or (in the case of "Blood On the Ice") what you do.
    • A good example is "Finding Reyda," where at the end you can either flat out tell Narfi how his sister has died and destroy what's left of the poor man's hope, or lie to him and let him hope that he'll see his sister again. Your response has no bearing on how the quest plays out, so whether you want to kick the man while he's down or lift him up (and give him false hope) is entirely up to you.
    • One of the random encounters you find while traveling is a couple who lost their farm to a dragon attack. One of your options is giving them five gold. There is no reward or perk for doing this.
    • The Hearthfire DLC gives players the option to adopt children.
    • Healing essential followers. There's no need to do this (they're functionally immortal as long as you don't kill them yourself), but many react with gratitude when you stop in the middle of battle to treat their wounds.
    • The entry quest for the Thieves' Guild has Brynjolf making you plant a stolen ring on Brand-Shei, which will get him arrested. Or you can throw the ring away and tell Brynjolf you lost it; Brynjolf will still let you into the Guild, and Brand-Shei doesn't go to prison.
    • The path to recruiting Erik the Slayer. You have to talk with his dad to convince him to let Erik go out on adventure. His dad brings up that he does want to for his son, but they can't afford good armor. You can either emotionally guilt-trip him into paying for it....or pay for it yourself. There is absolutely no perk to doing this, but Erik and his father will sincerely thank you for the gesture.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Oh my, yes. Paarthurnax even invokes and justifies this: the will to dominate and gain power at any price is intrinsic to dragons, and as someone with a dragon soul, the Dovahkiin feels the same pull as well. Now whether you choose to resist it, like Paarthurnax himself, or give into it is a different story...
    • Many (though not all) of the Daedric quests require you to be an outright bastard if you want to collect all of the Daedric artifacts. Among the highlights:
      • Boethiah demands that you sacrifice one of your followers to her cult, and then kill all of the cultists.
      • Mephala gives you the Ebony Blade, but its power requires you to use it to kill people who trust you.
      • Namira requires you to lead an unsuspecting priest to a dinner table, then kill and eat him.
      • Vaermina will refuse to give you her artifact unless you kill the priest of Mara who is in the process of freeing Dawnstar from the nightmares she's sending to its residents.
      • Peryite orders the killing of a rogue priest for the crime of trying to cure his disease-stricken followers.
      • Mehrunes Dagon requires you to murder the man who hired you for the quest in the first place.
      • The most cruel of all, unshockingly, comes from Molag Bal; first, he forces you to kill a Vigilant of Stendarr for no reason other than he wants it done. (You have no choice in the matter — even if you refuse to kill him, he will attack you and you'll have to kill him in self-defense.) Next, he has you collect a priest of Boethiah who corrupted his shrine, bring the priest before him, and beat him to death with Molag Bal's mace. Then he revives him and orders you to do it again until the priest renounces Boethiah and submits to Molag Bal. Then, of course, he has you kill him again anyway. And if you want to make it even worse, bring along Serana if you have Dawnguard installed. As a pureblood vampire, she gained her powers directly from him. You can witness her cowering in fear near the altar.
    • You can steal from NPCs or even kill their friends and family and they'll send thugs or assassins, or come after you themselves. You're free to retaliate as you wish.
    • As long as they aren't marked essential to quests, you're free to kill anyone you like, any way you like, and with decent Sneak you can do it in the middle of a town without getting caught. A particular Butt-Monkey for this abuse is the Talos priest in Whiterun; he's connected to no quests and has no significant purpose, but he's quite noisy and never shuts up. So, take cover behind the fence at the Companion household so you're out of sight, take out your bow...
    • J'zargo's quest to test his scrolls of Flame Cloak require you hit an undead with them. If you don't feel like trudging over to the nearest tomb, you can just kill and reanimate a random NPC as a zombie. If you have Serana with you, you can just test the scrolls on her instead.
    • A mod that allows the killing of children makes this even worse.
    • There are bunnies in the game. Yes, they are cute and harmless. And, yes, you can still kill them. The game even keeps track of the number of "Bunnies Slaughtered".
    • Leveling up Enchanting requires a lot of soul gems. The most immediately convenient way to fill these gems is to slaughter the harmless wildlife around Skyrim.
    • What's a good way to level up Conjuring and Destruction skills at the same time? Raise corpses or summon familiars... and kill them yourself.
    • You can continuously burn and heal people (most notably the Torture Victims in the Dawnstar Sanctuary's torture chamber), leaving them in agony but unable to die. It even levels up skills. Evil and practical!
    • Using Unrelenting Force on random people for amusement. Or using it to push a bandit or Thalmor off a cliff or down a hill to break every bone in their body.
    • It's mentioned that giants are peaceful beings who will leave you alone as long as you do the same; just keep your distance and don't bug their mammoths. Some in the wild will just look at you, then continue on their way walking right by you. However, giants have so many uses it's not even funny. Their toes are one of the most potent alchemy ingredients in the game, which allows you to level up alchemy extremely fast and sell the product for lots of gold. Their high health and decent damage make them superb for leveling up magic, weapon and armor skills (damage them, heal them, repeat). Finally, their mammoths yield grand souls when Soul Trapped, and are one of the few non-human creatures that do so (the others are a lot harder to farm). Put simply, a character focused on alchemy/magic/enchanting will be abusing them a lot after a while.
    • By the same token, your trusty steed can be used to grind various skills provided you do very little damage to it. This even works for sneak attacks if you use the right weapon.
    • Characters flagged as essential can't be killed. That means that you can just keep on hurting them as much as you want, so long as you're willing to pay the trivial forty septim penalty for assault. Nothing like announcing your arrival in Solitude by locating Erikur and setting him on fire. Again.
    • You can raise enemies you kill as zombies. As with NPC-raised zombies, they thank whoever returns them to their final rest, implying that undeath is not a very fun state.
    • In Dawnguard, you can steal the clothes from a dead adventurer while her ghost is watching (and she will comment on how you've robbed her of her dignity). In another quest to clear a family tomb, you can loot the bodies of the quest-giver's ancestors. He'll complain, but then decide that your help is worth whatever you steal (which will be everything).
    • If you choose to side with the Vampires, you get access to a room full of "Vampire Cattle" that you are free to abuse and kill for your hunger or lulz. Similarly, the Dark Brotherhood questline can end with you buying a torture room... and using it.
    • Zap someone with the Paralyze spell. Once they faceplant onto the floor, cast a Wall of Fire under them. Sit back and watch while they slowly roast to death in their own armor, unable to even scream.
    • Want to teach Braith a lesson and get rid of her? Sneak into her parents' house, wait until all three of them are at home and kill both her parents before her eyes. The girl will obviously be distraught. ("What...what am I gonna do?") It gets worse for her, though, as she will be sent off to the Honorhall Orphanage in Riften, where she will spend the rest of her miserable youth, possibly in the company of Grelod "the Kind" if that old hag is still alive. This might overlap with Disproportionate Retribution, though...
      • Alternatively, adopt her afterwards, and treat her awfully.
    • Though he was Dummied Out, the game originally included a random drunk NPC named Tarek who you'd find squatting in Breezehome. He's little more than a rude jerk who would refuse to leave the house and make snide remarks whenever you came and left. His sole purpose was to annoy the player until they got fed up and disposed of him in various creative ways.
    • When you get the chance to occupy the Dawnstar Dark Brotherhood sanctuary you have the option to purchase a torture chamber. The torture chamber consists of prisoners who have lots of HP, making them useful for grinding weapon or destruction skills. You can also interrogate them to reveal hidden treasure around the map.
    • The "Hitting the Books" quest from the College of Winterhold questline has you retrieving a number of books that were stolen from the college by a mage who wanted to curry favor with a coven of rogue mages, who proceeded to lock him up as a test subject and whose leader refuses to give those books back. You could fight the leader in question... or you could free the captive mage and then trade him in for the books.
    • You can adopt children that have been orphaned over the course of the game. Seems like a straight case of Video Game Caring Potential, until you consider that this includes parents killed by your own hands as long as the kid in question didn't witness the murder, meaning you can literally kill people just to take their kids for yourself.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential:
    • With enough pickpocketing skill, you can steal NPCs' clothes, which can result in entire cities walking around in their underwear. However, NPCs will generally reset their clothing unless you leave them with one item still equipped. Mods, of course, can take this further. This does actually serve a practical purpose with followers; if you steal their default equipment, they can carry that much more loot for you.
    • In addition to having realistic nude mods, the Skyrim nexus mod page has a large portion of adult-themed mods including one that can enlarge female characters' breasts and give them a more hip-swinging walk (as well as throw in a Girly Run animation for added fun). And to top it all off, a group of Skyrim modders came together and created the Sexlab mod, which is in fact a large and robust library of animation scripts for all sorts of acts of sex, along with some voice files, and it even includes a configuration menu. This would allow modders making sex-related mods to focus on their mod's themes (which could range from combat sex and assault, to slavery and slave trade, to mere consensual sex between lovers) without having to create their own animated sex scenes, instead referring to the library for all that. For all its intents and purposes, one can't help but hand it to these guys for this level of Genius Programming.
  • Video Game Stealing:
    • With enough lockpicks, any lock the game lets you try to pick will be picked even if you're a novice lockpicker and it's a "very hard" lock.
    • You can steal baskets, kettles and plates without disturbing the items on or in them, leaving those items to suddenly fall to the ground.
    • With enough skill points and the right perks, eventually you can pickpocket the clothes and weapons off of people.
    • It's possible when fighting Briarhearts to steal the Briar Heart with which they replaced their human heart. Doing so kills them instantly and leaves a gaping hole in their chest. That's right - not only can you steal the clothes off their backs and the weapons in their hands, you can steal the hearts from their very chests.
    • Pickpocketing a paralyzed NPC as they're getting up skips the usual success/failure check (but not perk requirements), letting you take whatever you want with no strings attached. And yes, this means you can kill a Forsworn Briarheart by nicking him with a dagger dipped in paralysis poison and then ripping the Briar Heart out of his chest.
  • Viking Funeral: The Companions hold one of these for Kodlak Whitemane following the Silver Hand attack on Jorrvaskr, burning the body on a funeral pyre at the Skyforge. This actually unlocks the ability to forge a certain type of armor there.
  • Villain Song: Revealed at the end of the Dragonborn trailer, there's a second version of "The Song Of The Dragonborn," dedicated to the First Dragonborn. It sounds much darker and more terrifying than the one dedicated to you. And it should, since they're actually the same lyrics, twisted and warped to reflect his menace instead of your heroism.
  • Villainous Rescue: The dragon at the beginning shows up just in time to save your character from being executed. Said dragon is Alduin, who is there to try and kill you.
  • Villains Never Lie: Should you express doubt as to whether you can trust his word, Odahviing claims that although he doesn't always reveal the whole truth, he never lies.
  • Violation of Common Sense: During the "Discerning the Transmundane" sidequest, you watch Septimus Signus get disintegrated when he tries to read the Oghma Infinium, and you only have Hermaeus Mora's word for it that the same thing won't happen to you. Common sense would dictate that the Dragonborn leaves the book right where it is and hightails it out of the cavern. But if you do that, you miss out on a 5-point increase to six of your skills and the associated level increase.
  • Visibility Meter: The game make use of an eye symbol that replaces your aiming crosshair at the center of the screen when you go into stealth mode, which opens wider the more attention you have drawn from enemies and other creatures. When the eye is fully open, you have been detected. Stealth is crucial for those who play thieves (who steal from others) and assassins (who kill people from stealth), though it's fairly useful for most players.
  • Visible Silence:
    • At one point, after freeing Orthorn, your response to one of his lines is "..."
    • Also, "(Remain Silent)" is still a speech option in the Dark Brotherhood questline.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In the Dragonborn DLC, you can allow the wizard Neloth to perform experimental spells on you. One of them apparently turns your eyes into tentacles, judging by the shocked dialogue between Neloth and his apprentice. You can't see anything - the screen is entirely black, as you're blind - but you can hear Neloth's apprentice retching in the background after commenting that he's going to be sick.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Used spectacularly by Peryite's Afflicted, who vomit toxins as a ranged attack.

  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Several.
    • Sahloknir. Put off "A Blade In the Dark" long enough, and when he crawls out of that burial mound, you're going to have an Ancient Dragon when you may be only high enough of a level to be fighting Blood or Frost Dragons.
    • The Draugr Boss at the end of Bleak Falls Barrow. This is probably the first boss monster the player will encounter in the game, as well as the first opponent who will provide a challenge, unless you are unlucky enough to encounter a bear or a sabre cat on the way to Whiterun. The Wounded Frostbite Spider fought before you receive the Golden Claw is surprisingly tough as well.
    • Some dungeons, including a notable few on Solstheim, have particularly high level enemies that will spawn there. For example, upon running across Saering's Watch, where you obtain the first part of the Bend Will shout, you can be only level 30 and find yourself surrounded by Draugr Deathlords and Draugr Death Overlords, when you're used to fighting Restless and Scourge Draugr. Even on the lowest difficulty setting, be prepared to start chugging potions.
    • You can initiate "The Blessings of Nature" as soon as you first set foot in Whiterun, and the very first thing it asks you to do is to kill a hagraven. If you're not careful, it's entirely possible to get blasted to kingdom come by its fireballs before you even get a chance to see the damned thing, and getting in melee range will introduce you to its razor-sharp talons that can ruin the day of anyone not wearing heavy armor. You also need to fight your way through several witches to even get to the hagraven, which can be a challenge in itself. And then, unless you take a specific option that the game never hints at, you'll have to fight a bunch of Spriggans later, which can murder you even harder than the hagraven and can regenerate once to boot.
    • Hamelyn, the guy squatting in caves underneath the Honningbrew Meadery. Up to this point in the Thieves' Guild questline, your jobs have been burglarizing, extortion, pickpocketing, and arson - usually with specific instructions not to kill anyone or cause more harm than is necessary. Then WHAM!, they hit you with this guy. Surrounded by an army of skeevers and spiders, Hamelyn boasts impressive fireball spells and is nigh impossible to sneak to or past at lower levels (if you alert his "pets", you alert him as well). There is absolutely no warning that this guy is part of the mission, making it highly possible you didn't bring the right gear with you. Good luck with that. It's even lampshaded. The guy who hired you for the job knew about him, but he didn't want to scare potential recruits away. Would you have taken the job, if you knew what you were in for?
    • Going to High Hrothgar at too low of a level may result in the frost troll near the monastery serving as one of these. Fortunately, the troll is slow enough that you can outrun the thing if you can't outdamage it.
    • Mirmulnir, the first dragon soon after you Bring News Back from Helgen's destruction-by-dragon. True, you have the Whiterun Guard as backup, but seriously, you just left the First Town, Riverwood, not twenty minutes ago. By the way, the dragon you fight isn't the same dragon that attacked Helgen.
  • Walk on Water: Ahzidal's Boots of Waterwalking, found in the Dragonborn DLC, allow the player to walk on water or any other body of liquid (Apocrypha's poison tar and the lava in the Aetherium Forge). The enchantment is unique to the boots and can't be removed. The DLC also introduces Potions of Waterwalking, which give the same effect for a limited time.
  • The Wandering You: While there is a fast travel feature, as well as the option to take carriages to all hold capitals, the game still largely requires the player to walk to most destinations. This is also the best way to trigger random events, which often come in the form of battles (such as a dragon attack, or a vampire ambush).
  • War Is Hell: Very firmly in effect. Veterans of the Great War are haunted, fighters on both sides of the Civil War are becoming that way, many characters have lost family members, former friends are at odds, and the common people are either trampled in the struggle (like the folks in Dragon's Bridge) or left to fend for themselves because the majority of money and manpower is going to the war effort (like the people of Shor's Stone).
  • The War Just Before: The game is set 21 years after the Great War between the Tamrielic Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion, which cost The Empire the province of Hammerfell, and forced the ban on the worship of Talos throughout the empire. It's still fresh in many characters' minds, and everyone knows the current peace isn't going to last.
  • Was Once a Man: The Augur of Dunlain is a talking vortex of magic connected to some sort of place from whence it can summon shades. It also is able to sense intent and see through time to some extent. The Augur was once a student of the College of Mages who was overzealous in his pursuit of the deepest arcane lore.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: In Sovngarde.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: The Axe Man, originally appearing in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, describes Torik's menial tasks which then are used to kill his uncle. Unlike in Morrowind, it is not a skill book.
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • The concept of mortality and temporary are this to dragons. See Brown Note.
    • Forsworn Briarhearts are dangerous boss-level mooks.... and they'll drop dead without any fight whatsoever if you manage to pickpocket the briar heart out of them. Easier said than done, of course; they're one of the most perceptive human enemies in the game.
  • We Are Everywhere: What the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves' Guild end up becoming, if you join them and complete their questlines. The Thieves' Guild will gain agents, fences and allies in every major hold, and part of your job throughout the questline is to put the fear of the Nine into people by breaking into their houses, framing them, or destroying their assets. And in the Dark Brotherhood, you single-handedly prove that no one, not even the Emperor himself, is safe from them, and to drive the trope home, random guards will whisper "Hail Sithis" as you pass them.
  • Weapon Jr.: In the Hearthfire expansion, you can buy wooden swords for the children you adopt, and the kids will then train with them if provided with a training dummy. However, you yourself can also equip the silly things, purely for fun. Or humiliating enemies.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: Dragon Shouts all have unique effects: projecting a wave of force, breathing fire, freezing enemies, making oneself intangible, revealing the life essences of every living thing in the area, etc. Every dragon shout can be used in some way as a weapon or fighting technique; the lore explicitly states that when two dragons fight, it's literally a contest of words.
  • Welcome to Corneria: The game goes out of its way to give guards massive repertoires of random dialogue, but it still gets repetitive after you've played the game for a while. The other citizens have a much more limited set of greetings. However, even the limited dialogue is given variety, since while characters may cycle through the same sets of lines, different voice actors give different intonations to the lines. For instance, when you ask to see a wizard's wares, they may say "So, you wish to master the arcane arts?" Some say it with a sense of approval of your choice of craft; others sneer the line at you as if they don't think you have what it takes.
  • We Need a Distraction:
    • When you infiltrate the Thalmor embassy during a party, you need to have someone cause a spectacle so you can sneak out of the party and into places you shouldn't be. Depending on other quest progress elsewhere in the game, a variety of people you've met can be asked a favor to do so for you. The distraction will usually consist of the person doing you the favor walking up to Razelan and falsely accusing Razelan of either saying something nasty about one of the Thalmor/Ulfric/Empire factions, making a disparaging remark about elves, or making a lecherous comment about women; Jarl Idgrod, however, has great fun faking a prophetic vision. If you're asking Razelan himself to distract everyone, he gives a sarcastic toast about everyone being in bed with Elenwen, "figuratively speaking," and if you're asking Erikur, he hits on a serving girl and gets her sent to the dungeons.
    • The opening quest for the Thieves' Guild also involves a bit of this - Brynjolf distracts the crowd with a sales pitch for "Falmer blood elixir" so that you can snatch a ring and plant it on an innocent bystander.
  • We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Invoked by Rolf the first time you enter Windhelm, when you find him and another Nord bullying a dark elf.
    Rolf Stone-fist: Maybe we'll pay you a visit tonight, little spy. We have ways of finding out what you really are.
    • The tone with which he delivers the line, coupled with the fact the dark elf in question is female, may also veer it into Rape as Drama territory.
  • Wham Line: Delphine drops one at the end of "Season Unending". You're all done with the treaty, at least one side is satisfied, you know how to trap a dragon, and you're good to go... when Delphine walks up to you and drops this line.
    Delphine: There's one more thing. We know about Paarthurnax.
    • Another one from the Dragonborn DLC.
    You didn't think you were the only one? He was the first Dragonborn!
    • The priestess at the beginning delivers one to players of the previous installments who have become familiar with the pantheon of the Nine Divines.
      As we commend your souls to Aetherius, blessings of the Eight Divines upon you.
      • This is immediately interrupted by:
        Stormcloak Soldier: For the love of Talos, shut up and let's get this over with!
    • There's also the note you get after killing Grelod the Kind for Aventus Aretino, who thinks you're in the Dark Brotherhood. The only thing on it is a black handprint and two words.
      We know.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: One quest starts this way. After a drinking contest, you wake up in a temple in Markarth... which is over a hundred miles away from the city you started in. Along the way, you apparently stole a goat and sold it to a Giant to pay for a ring, seduced and proposed to a Hagraven, then finally ended up at the temple, whereupon you trashed the place and molested the temple statuary. If you wander for a while, you'll meet a guy to whom you offered 10,000 gold for going into a bandit camp to steal a hat. Considering the fact that your drinking partner was the Daedric Prince of Debauchery, there's a very simple explanation for this.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Snow Veil Sanctum has a Nordic Puzzle Door that you never get the corresponding Dragon Claw for - while Mercer is able to unlock said Puzzle Door as part of the Thieves Guild questline thanks to the Skeleton Key, as Karliah doesn't have the same abilities as Frey since she doesn't have the Skeleton Key, she had to have found the claw for the ruins at some point...yet she doesn't have it, nor can the player find it anywherenote .
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Sentient beings have a different kind of soul that needs special soul gems to capture, and basically comprise the player races. It can be very odd to discover that that Falmer who was just attacking you with a bow or even magic is basically considered a "creature" for the purposes of Soul Trap. Giants are also considered "creatures" in this regard, despite displaying sufficient intelligence to build fires, use weapons, and farm mammoths for their milk.
    • One possibility is that the difference between "white" and "black" involves not merely sentience, but the ability to choose to be good or evil. Thanks to the Dwemer, the twisted Falmer don't really have this choice anymore - they are universally evil, loathsome raiders, slavers, and cannibals. Giants, conversely, may be too mentally simple to make the choice; their only concerns appear to be guarding their mammoths and the territory they live in, they are uninterested in anything outside their territories, and they don't even look at you as you walk by, while other NPCs at the same distance usually will at least look in your direction. If this guess is right, it casts Vampires in a new light. Other undead have "white" souls - no choice in whether to be good or evil. Vampires, however, have black souls. They don't have to be evil. And some, like Serana and Hestla, aren't.
    • With the Hearthfire DLC, one of the rooms you can build for your house is a trophy room, which you can fill with taxidermized displays of various creatures, including Falmer, hagravens, and draugr. Nobody seems to find it particularly odd that you've got stuffed specimens of various (mostly) sapient races displayed alongside more common fare like wolves and bears, however.
  • What the Hell, Player?: The Greybeards will call the player out on killing Paarthurnax, especially after all the help he gave. The Greybeards will also refuse to help the player any further, seal the entrance to their fortress with an unpickable lock, and if you manage to get out onto the courtyard while one of them is meditating, they might hit you with a Thu'um shout and throw you off the side of the mountain.
    • A couple followers will say this whenever you do something they disagree with and can even abandon or attack you (or both) if you do something particularly heinous.
    • Jarl Balgruuf will deliver this if you side with the Stormcloaks and sack Whiterun. And if Lydia is your follower, he gives one to her too!
      • All of the Jarls you overthrow in the war will give you this treatment if you visit them in exile. Their kids and housecarls are all there too. This does get noticeably weird when you drop off bounties for which they hired you. You are a good-for-nothing traitor one line and then suddenly it's a pleasure doing business with you the next.
    • Paarthurnax actually gives a surprisingly subtle one to the player if you chat with him about the nature of being a dragon. He notes that dragons have an innate desire to dominate, kill, and destroy, and being a Dragonborn, so do you. You feel those same urges to conquer and kill and steal and amass power too.
    • In Dawnguard, Serana doesn't appreciate the notion that "trading equipment" probably means "carry all this heavy stuff I don't want to lug around personally."
    • Lydia will give you a similarly deadpan line when you trade equipment with her. Unlike Serana, she does lose her snark after following you around for a while.
    • Also in Dawnguard, during the "Lost to Time" questline you encounter the ghost of a woman who was searching for Aetherium Forge. She can accompany you on your quest and, along the way, you discover her own dead body. If you strip the armour from her corpse - as many players inevitably will - she complains about you not allowing her any dignity.
    • Kill Endarie, and Taarie will send thugs after you. Visit Radiant Raiment, and she'll greet you with a low tone and glare.
    • Doing the Thieves Guild questline has you extort money from Riften shopkeepers, usually by threatening their loved ones or smashing valuable goods. Shopping at their stores afterward will have them treat you with noticeable venom, usually ending with them telling you to get out.
    • While Ulfric and Rikke are arguing ideals at the end of the Battle for Solitude, if you suggest that they simply kill her and be done with it, Galmar Stone-Fist, of all people, will quite flatly and angrily call you a cold bastard.
    • In the "Hillgrund's Tomb" quest, a Dark Elf necromancer defiled a family tomb and is raising a Nord's ancestors into Draugr. The Nord (being too scared to go alone) asks you to help him. As you go inside, if you try to loot a chest he says, "Hey! Those belong to my family!" Then he sighs and (grudgingly) lets you keep whatever stuff you find as long as you help him.
    • Even Clavicus Vile seems to think that the Dragonborn asking him for more power is a bit ridiculous. He'll still take you up on the offer... by threatening to vaporize you.
      Clavicus Vile: So, what's your heart's desire? What kind of deal can we strike?
      Dragonborn: The power to crush all before me!
      Clavicus Vile: Really? Power? You're a Dragonborn; you already have more power than most people who aren't immense fire-breathing monsters.
    • If you have your spouse and adopted children living in Vlindrel Hall in Markarth, almost every single available spouse will express concern for the kids' safety, and probably for good reason. The only exception are the orc spouses, who think the city not being safe is a good thing as growing up there will make the kids "sharp".
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Most Nords in Skyrim speak with some attempt at a Scandinavian accent of varying quality, while others sound Russian (especially females), and some Scottish (Brynjolf in particular seems to be trying for a Sean Connery impersonation). In general, it seems like Skyrim native accents wander across various parts of our world with a reputation for being cold and grim.
  • What's Up, King Dude?: Played with. Ulfric Stormcloak says that "only the foolish or the courageous approach a Jarl without summons" after you do just that, and Irileth is none too happy when you barge into Dragonsreach to speak to Balgruuf early in the game. You can simply walk up to many of the other Jarls without any repercussions. However, in the cases of Ulfric and Balgruuf, the extra caution is probably justified - Ulfric is a wanted man who has already had one close encounter with the headsman, while Balgruuf is attempting to stay neutral in the civil war while ruling the most strategically important city in Skyrim. It's not inconceivable that someone would try to assassinate either of them.
    • Faleen also stops you the first time you try to approach Jarl Igmund. Also justified, since his hold is full of Forsworn rebels that killed the previous Jarl (who happened to be Igmund's father). However, if you do the "Book of Love" quest before approaching Igmund, Faleen recognizes you as trustworthy and lets you pass.
    • This seems less glaring after the player is formally recognized as Dragonborn, what with being a mythic legend come to life and getting their own royal-ish title carried by Tiber Septim himself before them ("Stormcrown").
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • "A Night to Remember" is a homage to The Hangover; the Dragonborn wakes up after a drunken stupor and has to find their missing drinking buddy, all while cleaning up the mess they left behind throughout Skyrim. They even got engaged in all the drunkenness - to a Hagraven, no less.
    • The Dawnguard DLC's main plot, especially if the Dragonborn sides with the Dawnguard. A vampire lord is trying to permanently blot out the sun to free vampires to walk during the day so he can subjugate humanity. His estranged daughter is out to stop him at any cost, and joins an organization of vampire hunters to that end. Sounds like BloodRayne II, doesn't it? Harkon and Serana even look rather like Kagan and Rayne, except Serana is a brunette while Rayne is a redhead. The icing on the cake? Laura Bailey voices both Serana and Rayne.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: The situation between Morrowind and Black Marsh. The former has been raiding the latter for slaves for centuries, but now that Red Mountain has erupted, devastating a large portion of Morrowind, Black Marsh has turned the tables and is invading them.
    • Subverted by Isran in the Dawnguard expansion. He spent years trying to warn everyone about the vampire threat, and criticized the Vigilants of Stendarr for being too soft. Rather than taking the chance to gloat when the vampires finally do strike and the Vigilants are overwhelmed, he reacts only with a cold I Warned You and expresses genuine sympathy for those who lost their lives.
    • Subverted again in "Awakening". You can find the journal of a Vigilant who was mocked for believing Dimhollow Crypt had connections to ancient vampires, and was thrilled to have finally found proof. Unfortunately for him he doesn't live long enough to rub it in everyone's faces like he wanted.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Frostbite Spiders for Farkas in the final Companions story quest. He points out that this is due to a close encounter with them in an earlier quest.
    • In the fort ruins of Harmugstahl, you come across an adventurer who decides enchanted spiders wreathed in a frost cloak are too much; he already was creeped out by regular spiders.
  • Why Won't You Die?: At the beginning of the game, during the attack on Helgen, the various Imperial soldiers can be heard yelling several variations of this.
  • Wicked Witch: Witches appear as enemies, but Hagravens fit the typical description a bit better. The Glenmoril witches arguably count when you learn what they did.
  • Wintry Auroral Sky: The sky often features auroras on clear nights. You can also create your own with the Clear Skies shout.
  • With Lyrics: The theme tune of Skyrim is essentially (in the words of the creators) a "barbarian choir singing to the Elder Scrolls theme in the draconic language" (with an English version of the song also written for the audience's benefit), supposedly the prophecy of the Dragonborn:
    And the scrolls have foretold/of black wings in the cold/that when brothers wage war come unfurled!/ALDUIN/Bane of Kings,/ancient shadow unbound,/with a hunger to swallow the world!
  • Wizard Duel: If your skill with magic gets high enough, a "challenger" will appear at some point in a civilized area and challenge you to a Duel to the Death with magic. But there's nothing to stop you from simply FUS RO DAH'ing him over Castle Dour or drawing a warhammer and crushing his skull the instant the duel begins. Or even better, just running away and letting the guards deal with him. Apparently no one warned the challenger that Nords take a dim view of someone tossing fireballs inside the hold walls....
    • It becomes downright hilarious should this happen just after you've become the The Archmage of the College of Winterhold, a position you did not earn for having any lack of skill on your part!
    • It's likewise funny if you favor lightning magic, thus draining him of his magicka. He proceeds to whip out a dagger and start hacking away at you. If you pull out a sword and start railing away at him, he bitches that it's a magic duel and only supposed to be fought with magic.
      • If you happen to have raised your Conjuration solely for Bound Weapons, the Challenger will not acknowledge your Bound Weapon as a spell.
    • Having a follower also causes the Challenger to bicker about him/her helping you.
  • Wizarding School: The College of Winterhold.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Occasionally you will come across a group of bandits or thugs dressed as Imperial Soldiers claiming to be in some special operation and demanding a "fine" for intruding into a "restricted area" (i.e. their modus operandi for robbery). You'll know their jig is up by the hesitancy of their words, or better yet, during or after the Civil War questline and you reply with "I'm with the Imperial Legion and you're not" if you're on the Imperial side, or "Gee, only three Legionnaires against a Stormcloak? Hardly seems fair" if you're with the Stormcloaks. Another clue is the presence of some bodies of dead Imperial soldiers with their uniforms missing.
    • Can also occur in the Dawnguard DLC, where you can get beckoned over by some Vigilants of Stendarr while on the road. Approach them, and it'll turn out that they're really vampires who killed actual members of the Vigilants, and are wearing their clothing. They'll even raise those same Vigilants from the dead to fight against you.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: When Paarthurnax asks you why you want to stop Alduin from destroying the world, one of the dialogue options is "I like this world. I don't want it to end." It's quite telling that this conversation takes place at the Throat of the World, which offers the best view in all of Skyrim, with an aurora thrown in if it's nighttime.
  • The World Is Not Ready: What the Monk from the Psijic Order says about the Eye of Magnus at the end of the College of Winterhold questline. Apparently the Psijics are keepers of such things.
  • World of Badass: Every race in Tamriel qualifies as badass in some way or another, but Nords are strong contenders for the most badass race on the continent. Skyrim is a land where deadly predators prowl the wilderness and warfare is a near-constant and accepted part of life. Nords are (aside from Orcs) the least magically inclined race on the continent and lack the martial skill and sophistication of the Imperials and Redguards, but they regularly contend with bears, sabre-toothed cats, giant spiders, werebeasts, vampires, trolls, giants... in the past they also had to fight genocidal elves and dragons as well. Not to mention how freezing it is. Tamriel is a really dangerous place by any measure, and yet Skyrim makes the rest of it look like a beach resort. No wonder the Nords that aren't dead are so hardy.
  • Words Can Break My Bones: Thu'ums are incantations made in the language of dragons that have a variety of powerful effects, from blowing a hapless bandit across the room to conjuring deadly lightning storms. So powerful are they that all but one of the Greybeards, who spent their entire lives mastering Thu'ums, must keep silent, less they accidentally kill someone simply by speaking.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • The first dragon you fight will actually compliment the bravery of the Dovahkiin and how noble it is to be brave before the final moments of his life.
    • If you choose to kill Astrid during the Dark Brotherhood "initiation", her final words to you are to compliment you on your skills.
    • In Sovngarde, Olaf One-Eye claims that the bard Svaknir was a worthy opponent, and that he hopes that Svaknir will make it into the Hall of Valor so that he can greet him as a friend.
    • The final step in the quest for the Deathbrand treasure has you fight the ghost of Haknir Death-Brand and his crew. While it looks like a standard boss fight, if you read the book, you realize that it is the final test to see if you are worthy of wearing his armor and carrying his swords, since none of his crew were able to defeat him and worthy to succeed him.
    • On a lesser note, one of the combat taunts of the generic "Male Drunk" voice type seems to imply this.
      Drunk: I'll raise a cup to your grave.
    • Occasionally you'll meet an Old Orc on the road seeking one, as he is too old to lead his tribe or take a wife, but does not want to die lying on his back. You can fulfill his request.
    • The so-called Snow Prince who led the Falmer in their war against the greatest warriors of Atmora. At the Falmer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Moesring he fought the five hundred-strong Companions of Ysgramor with such skill and ferocity that he nearly turned the tide of the battle singlehandedly and they developed a strong respect for him. He slew many of the Companions that day, and only fell in battle because the anguished daughter of one of the slain Companions threw her mother's sword found purchase in his chest. The Atmorans constructed a grand tomb to bury him in and sent some of their warriors to protect it from grave robbers.
  • Wreaking Havok: Use the Unrelenting Force shout in a room full of loose items (tankards, food, etc.). Go on, it'll be fun!
    • Extra-fun if you shout all three words, as you can include people and creatures in that list!
    • Enemies ragdoll when they die (or get hit with enough force, like a destruction spell with Impact or FUS RO DAH) and can get knocked around by objects, including swung weapons. Thus, sideways swings with weapons that kill an enemy can knock their bodies aside, even off ledges and over railings. Nothing quite like literally batting an enemy out of your way with a warhammer.
    • Bones from defeated skeletons will bounce off the floor and damage you if you sprint into them.
    • Guards (and presumably anyone) can be clubbed by a giant and launched into orbit. Here's video proof.
    • Dawnbreaker, a sword that you receive as a quest item, has the power to cause an explosion that throws literally everything (items, enemies, people, dogs) around in a blaze of insanity.
    • The bones of dead dragons will go flying when hit with a fireball, firebolt, or resurrect spell.
    • Go on, use Courage indoors. It is a non-damaging buff spell, and yet the area of effect makes things fly off the shelves.
    • Hitting creatures with a paralyze effect can very rarely cause them to fly off into the stratosphere, as if they'd been KO'd by a giant, and eventually fall down to their death a short ways off.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The unarmed combat finishing moves include a chokeslam, a suplex, a three-quarter nelson choke, and what appears to be a powerbomb. Apparently the Dovahkiin has been watching Monday Night Raw.
    • There is also no proper constraint as to how one can use these finishing moves, which means even an old lady in a fistfight can suplex a man in heavy armor with ease.
  • Wretched Hive:
    • Riften, home of the Thieves' Guild. On first approaching the city, the guards try to shake you down for a "visitor's tax", and the third thing (usually) that happens once you're inside is being recruited for the Thieves' Guild. Ironically, certain events and quest dialogues indicate that Riften might be better with the Guild than without.
    • Markarth, a mining town run by the corrupt Silver-Blood family and former site of a native rebellion whose surviving members are imprisoned in the mine and totally aren't murdering people in the street in broad daylight. Not to mention home to a bunch of cannibals and a shrine to the Daedric Prince of Domination. And unlike Riften, which at least has a few friendly faces to greet, pretty much everyone in Markarth that isn't a cannibal or crook is a jerk.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The Stormcloaks initially believe that the dragon at Helgen is controlled by the Legion, while the Legion believe that the Stormcloaks woke up a dragon to aid them in the war. Both believe it's far too much of a coincidence that it showed up right as Ulfric was about to be executed. The Blades think the dragon was awakened by the Thalmor and meant to prolong the civil war by saving Ulfric's life, and the Thalmor believe it's the Blades stirring up the Dragons too. All of them are wrong. It showed up because of you.

  • Xanatos Gambit:
    • The White-Gold Concordat. The Great War between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion ended with the Thalmor government demanding that the Empire ban Talos worship throughout the Empire. If the Empire refused, fine; the war would continue and it'd end with a Pyrrhic Victory for either side. If they agreed, they'd piss off several of their outlying human nations (especially the Nords of Skyrim) and ensure civil war throughout the Empire for decades, keeping it weak. This is explicitly outlined in several dossiers you can steal in the main quest (especially the one on Ulfric Stormcloak) in which the Thalmor say that they don't want either side to win the war just yet... not until the Empire has weakened themselves considerably.
    • The Skyrim Civil War itself is this for the Dominion, who helped orchestrate it: if the Empire wins, the Empire will be drained by the conflict and the ban on Talos-worship will be upheld. If the Stormcloaks win, the Talos-worship-stopping goal will be hampered, but the Empire will be effectively ended. If the conflict keeps going, humanity's brightest and best kill each other in droves without the Dominion having to lift a finger.

  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: The passage of time in the Soul Cairn is described as 'strange' and a vampire apparently survived there for sometime without blood to feed them, while hundreds, if not thousands, of years passed.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: As per Elder Scrolls tradition, but this time you actually do learn why you're imprisoned. You accidentally stumbled into an Imperial ambush while crossing the border, being mistaken for a rebel Stormcloak.
    • Of course, now the Noodle Incident becomes "why were you crossing the border?" instead of "why were you thrown in jail?" Also, both Imperials and Stormcloaks will assume you were a criminal before then, but both sides will pardon it. General Tullius will mockingly say he's sure it was a misunderstanding. Ulfric, on the other hand, is more cautious and impresses upon you to leave any possible criminality behind, if it was ever there.
    • The comment from Hadvar for your selected race does give one option to fill in blanks for most of the races (and some later dialogue trees, unrelated, give you options to choose from about your past). To wit:
      • Argonian: You're believed to be an emigrant from Black Marsh who has come to work in one of Skyrim's maritime industries.
      • Breton: It's surmised you are on the run from a badly executed court intrigue plot in High Rock.
      • Dark Elf: Morrowind has gone to hell, and you're fleeing for a hopefully better alternative.
      • High Elf: You're either a stray Thalmor, or considered an anti-Thalmor emigrant.
      • Imperial: Like the Dark Elves, Cyrodiil has gone to hell (or has been implied to be not much better than Skyrim), and you're implied to be seeking a relatively better (or at least different) alternative.
      • Khajiit: Thought to be a trader who got themselves in trouble with their badly timed border crossing.
      • Nord: Left ambiguous, but you have apparently decided to return to the land of your birth, at the worst possible time.
      • Orc: You're thought to be a member of (or wanting to join or rejoin) one of the Orc strongholds in Skyrim.
      • Redguard: Much like the Argonians, you are surmised to either be a sailor from Stros M'kai (the setting of Redguard) or a mercenary looking for work in Skyrim.
      • Wood Elf: Thought to be an emigrant from Valenwood for reasons unknown, but possibly related to the Thalmor occupation.
  • You Can See Me?: Drevis Neloren, the Illusion instructor at the College of Winterhold, asks you this the first time he is met.
  • You Fool!: Arvel the Swift says this to the Dovahkiin after being rescued from a spider web... by the Dovahkiin, who will have inevitably killed most of his buddies and the giant poisonous spider that was about to eat him. Assuming you don't kill him yourself, he'll charge through the temple, waking every enemy and triggering every trap. One of these things will get him eventually.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Standard operating procedure among most of the Daedric Princes. In several of their quests, you're expected to kill some of their followers because they decided you're more worthy of their attention. A few of them also make no attempt at hiding the fact that you will be replaced if someone else more worthy comes along (most notable with Hermaeus Mora). One of them has you do this, then sics some enemies on you as a parting gift.
    • Not counting the Daedric Princes, many of the people you previously helped will try to pull this on you. Arvel The Swift is probably the first (if the Draugr failed to kill him), but others include Chief Yamarz in Lagashbur, Jaree-Ra and Deeja in Solitude, and Mercer Frey which also doubles as He Knows Too Much.
    • Paarthunax, as far as the Blades are concerned. And they demand that you take care of it for them.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Werewolves have to learn the "Savage Feeding" perk, which itself sits behind three other perks that must be unlocked before it, in order to eat non-humanoid corpses.
  • Your Head Asplode: Among the more brutal finishers in the game is the werewolf's double-claw power attack, where they lift the poor target off the ground and pop their head like a grape.
  • You Know I'm Black, Right?: Some people in Windhelm tend to talk vaguely about "damn Dark Elves and Argonians" ... even if your character is a Dark Elf or an Argonian. And bordering on Too Dumb to Live when playing as an orc specializing in heavy armor:
    Guard: Orcish armor? Used to have a set of that. Ugly and strong, like those who forged it.
    • Heck, even your followers can do this.
    Lydia: Skyrim belongs to the Nords!
    Non-Nord Dragonborn: ...
    • If you're a pro-Imperial assaulting a Stormcloak fort, you may hear "Ysmir curse you!" One problem with that curse... you are Ysmir. It was one of the monikers the Graybeards bestowed to you in their anointing ceremony.
  • You No Take Candle: How the intelligent (well, less dumb) Rieklings on Solstheim communicate with the Dragonborn.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Invoked, appropriately enough, by a mage standing guard outside the College of Winterhold.
    Faralda: The way forward is treacherous, and the gate is closed. You shall not gain entry!
  • Your Soul Is Mine:
    • Done by you. The central concept of being The Chosen One is that you can absorb the souls of dragons to grow in strength.
    • At least three different Daedric princes do this in-game. Molag Bal claims the soul of one of his rival Boethiah's adherents. Both Hircine and Nocturnal lay claim to the Dovahkiin's soul, if he or she decides to remain a werewolf or finish the Thieves' Guild questline.
    • The Soul Trap spell and related enchantments allow you to steal the soul of nearly any living being and trap it in a gem, provided you have a gem large enough to hold the soul. The basic spell gives you a sixty second duration to kill the target, while the duration of enchanted weapons can be anywhere between one and sixty seconds, the former being useful if you can kill an enemy in one or two hits (sneak bow attacks, for example).
    • And then there's the Dragon Shout from Dawnguard called Soul Tear. Doing Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Soul Tear deals 300 points of damage, soul traps the victim, and then resurrects them. This is taught by Durnehviir in the Soul Cairn. It kills anyone under level 100 but takes 90 seconds to recharge. It's completely worth the wait.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters:
    • The Empire sees Ulfric Stormcloak as a vicious, racist extremist who abused his Thu'um ability to murder Skyrim's High King, while the Stormcloaks see him as a valiant hero, fighting to protect the Nord way of life and deserving of the crown, who legitimately defeated the prior High King in a lawful challenge. They both have a point.
    • Taken even further with the Forsworn, who want revenge for the massacre of their people at Markarth and independence for the Reach, but are seen as terrorists by the Stormcloaks.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: