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

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The Elder Scrolls - Tropes B

  • Babies Ever After: Sai, the Deity of Human Origin God of Luck celebrated in the Iliac Bay region, was tasked after being brought back to life with Walking the Earth to help balance the world by spreading his good luck. He performed this task well but then met and settled down with a Nord woman, with whom he had a daughter. However, as lingering in one place for too long would unbalance the world by giving it too much good luck, he was visited and punished by a procession of other gods which ended with his physical form being taken away. After his physical form faded away entirely, his decedents are said to be able to "feel" his presence once a year.
  • Back from the Brink:
    • In several instances throughout the series, faction questlines play out in such a way that the player brings them back from the brink, often after said faction fell since the previous game in the series.
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    • In-universe, this is the case for Dunmeri Great House Redoran. Almost completely destroyed during the Oblivion Crisis after they rallied to defend against the invading Daedra, they made a tremendous recovery in the time since. The Redorans organized most of the relief efforts following the Red Year and raised a standing army to fight back against the Argonian invasion. Now, they're the current leaders of the Dunmer Council and their city of Blacklight has become the capital of Dunmer controlled Morrowind following the Argonian sacking of Mournhold.
  • Back from the Dead:
  • Background Magic Field: Magic on Mundus flows in from Aetherius, visible as nebulae in the night sky. It flows through the sun and stars, which are actually holes punctured in reality by escaping spirits during the creation of the world. They fled in an attempt to maintain their divinity, rather than become bound to the mortal world like the Aedra and Ehlnofey.
  • Back Stab: A mechanic present in the series dating back to Daggerfall. Striking a foe while sneaking undetected, depending on the game, offers at least an increased chance of a Critical Hit. Games from Oblivion on add perks and other bonuses which make back stabs all the more lethal.
  • Backstory: There is some 4000+ years of incredibly detailed backstory which happens before Arena even takes place. Much of it can be learned by reading the many in-game books or conversing with NPCs which give bits and pieces of the world's history.
  • Badass Army:
    • Just about any army comprised of the races of Men qualifies, but there are a few especially notable examples. One example is the Imperial Legion. While the Imperials of Cyrodiil may lack the cool powers and strengths of the other races, but they more than make up for it through discipline and collective martial skill, and the armies of Cyrodiil have conquered all of Tamriel twice. Ultimately, the come down heavily on the "soldier" side of the Soldier Versus Warrior debate. By the 4th Era, they're not in much better shape than the Empire they serve, but they've still got enough spirit left to fight off the Aldmeri Dominion and keep Skyrim from fully seceding.
    • Like the races of Men in general, just about any Nord army qualifies (as well as their ancestors, the Atmorans), but a few deserve special mention:
      • Ysgramor and his 500 Companions. They managed to destroy the entire Falmer civilization in Skyrim and nearly drove them to extinction as a race.
      • The ancient Nord armies led by masters of the Thu'um. They first managed to defeat and nearly wipe out the dragons, then they carved out an empire spanning from High Rock and Hammerfell in the west, across Skyrim and northern Cyrodiil, to Morrowind in the east. It took a coalition of Dwemer and Chimer forces to finally bring them to a halt.
      • By the Skyrim Civil War, the Stormcloaks are a faction comprised mostly of Nord warriors is fighting for Skyrim's independence. They can go toe-to-toe with the Imperial IVth Legion, one of the branches of the Imperial Military that's in the best shape since the Great War, and while they're not as regimented or as well-trained as the Legion, they make up for it by being individually superior fighters. Their initiation rite to join is to swim to an iceberg in the middle of freezing ocean and kill an undead ice wraith.
    • The Redguards certainly qualify, and they have a Badass Navy as well. The "Warrior Wave" of Yokudans (Ra'Gada), ancestors of the Redguards, cleared Hammerfell for the resettlement of their people after Yokuda sank beneath the sea. After only a few brutal months, Hammerfell was cleansed of any Men, Mer, or beast to make it safe for settlement. This even included Orcs and giant goblins. Later, by the time of Skyrim, they broke off from the Empire, said "screw you" to the Aldmeri Dominion, and then successfully repelled invasion attempts by an army that fought the Empire to a crippling standstill.
    • The 4th Era Aldmeri Dominion qualifies. After having been crushed by Tiber Septim and his Numidium some 700 years before, the Dominion reformed following the Oblivion Crisis, now under the leadership of the even more extremist Thalmor. The Altmer, already a Witch Species in which every soldier is a Magic Knight, annexed the province of Valenwood and then got the Khajiit of Elsweyr to join them as vassals. They kicked off the Great War by delivering the severed heads of every Blade within the Dominion to the Emperor and quickly captured the Imperial City. Only with Nord reinforcements form Skyrim was the Emperor able to reclaim the city, and even then his military was too weakened to continue the fight, forcing him to accept the humiliating terms of the White-Gold Concordant. The inclusion of a ban on Talos worship was too much for the Nords to take, leading to the Skyrim Civil War. Each party recognizes that a second Great War is inevitable, but the Dominion is able to sit back and prepare while the forces of Cyrodiil and Skyrim bleed each other dry.
    • The Argonians as of the 4th Era. Usually depicted as being at the very least marginally Cloud Cuckoolander in their tendencies, they have proven to be an exceptionally "hidden badass" fighting force. Following the Oblivion Crisis, their race Took a Level in Badass. The Hist, whose sap the Argonians drink to grow, began to change the Argonians, making them stronger and more aggressive to prepare for the coming chaos and wars following the crisis. Offscreen events recorded in the in-game books make it clear they're masters of Viet Cong style guerilla warfare, and their invasion of Morrowind (and, therefore, its rich ebony deposits) is speculated to have made them one of the only nations still capable of standing against the Aldmeri Dominion. They were also the only force in all of Tamriel that not only held off the Dremora in the Oblivion Crisis, but actually forced the Dremora to close their gates because the Argonians were invading Oblivion.
    • The Dunmer (Dark Elves) of Morrowind, especially those within House Redoran. Great House Redoran is the "Warrior House" of the Dunmer, following a strict code of honor and highly valuing martial prowess in its members. They are the Dunmer's first line of defense, to the point that even the Imperial Legions recognize the Redorans as a badass army. In the backstory, when Tiber Septim was threatening to invade Morrowind, House Redoran was preparing to defend Morrowind on their own while the other Great Houses chose to remain neutral or to accommodate the empire before the Armistice was signed. Game sources identify them as exceptional soldiers that seamlessly combine mobile tactics, swordplay, and magic. At the end of the 3rd Era, the Dunmer were subjected to the loss of their Physical Gods, the Oblivion Crisis, a moon crashing into their province, the eruption of Red Mountain, and the aforementioned invasion by Argonians... and House Redoran STILL managed to hold the line north of Mournhold.
  • Badass Beard:
    • An option during character creation for a male Player Character in Morrowind and Skyrim. Inexplicably removed as an option in Oblivion to the disappointment of beard-fans everywhere.
    • Many historical figures in the series, particularly Nords (and their Atmoran ancestors), were said to have had them or are depicted (in statues and such) with them. Examples include Tiber Septim, Ysgramor, and of course old Shor himself. Stendarr, the Aedric Divine God of Mercy and Justice, is also typically depicted with a long beard and long hair which come together to look something like a lion's mane. Talos, the Aedric Divine ascended god form of Tiber Septim is also typically depicted with a beard.
    • The extinct Dwemer were well known for their large and often elaborate beards. They were Genius Bruisers many times more magically and technologically advanced than any other race in Tamriel, and were The Dreaded to almost everyone they came into conflict with. Something they did caused them to vanish without a trace thousands of years ago.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Unsurprisingly common among the series' Large Ham Big Bads, including Dagoth Ur and Alduin. Many faction questline and expansion villains give a few of these as well.
      Dagoth Ur: "What a fool you are. I'm a god, how can you kill a god? What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive?"
      Alduin: "I am AL-DU-IN! First born son of Akatosh! Mulagi zuk latnote ! I cannot be slain here, by you or anyone else!"
    • The Proud Warrior Race Dremora, a form of lesser Daedra, are also quite prone to making these.
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • The Chronicler of the Blades keeps a history of the Blades, often in code in case it falls into the wrong hands. They're also known for helping to plan operations and work mostly behind the scenes. The Chronicler has usually gone through the same training as the other Blades, vouching for their badassery.
    • Given that the series treats Magic as Mental, many of Tamriel's most powerful mages and wizards are also some of the most well-learned people around. From the Altmeri mage-lords, to the Telvanni wizards, to the Psijic Order, to the high ranking members of the various Wizarding School style institutions throughout Tamriel, many can fry a powerful foe with high level spells then turn around and give you a detailed explanation on their particular area(s) of interest/study.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Ocato of Firsthold, an Altmer who served as the High Chancellor of the Elder Council and Imperial Battlemage under Emperor Uriel Septim VII. His talents for running the government earned him those positions, and later, the title of Potentate of the Empire once there were no more Septim heirs. His other position as Imperial Battlemage, along with his actions during Mehrunes Dagon's attack on the Imperial City, show just how capable he was in combat. After being named Potentate, this made him a badass in charge, and he was such a threat that the Thalmor had him assassinated to force the Septim Empire into vestigial status.
  • Badass Cape: Many of the series' historical badasses are depicted with one in statues. Included are Tiber Septim, his ascended god-form Talos, and the legendary Nord hero Ysgramor.
  • Badass Long Robe:
    • Robes are popular throughout the series for more magically oriented characters. The more expensive robes are decidedly more elaborate, with some offering extra bonuses and badass enchantments.
    • Mannimarco, the "King of Worms" Lich/Necromancer, makes several appearances throughout the series and is always outfitted in such a robe.
  • Badass Native: The Noble Savage Skaal people of the frozen, inhospitable island of Solstheim are quite badass. Their culture is a blend of the Nord's Horny Vikings and that of various Native American and Inuit tribes. While every other race who has attempted to settle Solstheim throughout history has struggled, the In Harmony with Nature Skaal flourish there despite the cold and Solstheim's many dangerous beasts.
  • Badass Normal:
    • The Imperials of Cyrodiil combine this with Boring, but Practical and Humans Are Average. They aren't magical powerhouses like the Altmer or Bretons, they aren't great individual warriors like the Nords or the Orcs, and they're not great at stealth like the Khajiit or Argonians. All they really have going for them is that they make for cunning diplomats, competent statesmen and disciplined infantry. Yet the forces of Cyrodiil forged three empires conquering most or all of Tamriel.
    • Speaking of the Nords, while they are some of the greatest individual warriors in Tamriel, they are so while also being the least magically inclined race. Their modern culture even has an inherent dislike of magic and magic users, with the sole exception being for Restoration magic (as they can always use more healers). Despite their lack of magical skill, the Nords (and their Atmoran ancestors) are basically the reason why Mankind even exists on Tamriel. They drove Skyrim's native Falmer (Snow Elves) to near extinction and established a foothold for free Men in Tamriel (at a time when Tamriel's other races of men were subservient or outright slaves to Tamriel's Elves). They also established the first empire of Men in Tamriel, which spanned from High Rock in the West to Morrowind in the east, and was only torn apart due to a succession crisis.
    • The Chimer, golden-skinned ancestors of the Dunmer, were this. Despite lacking the magical might of the Altmer, the technological skill of the Dwemer, and pure brute force of the Nords, they managed to hold their own in conflicts against each thanks to their Jack-of-All-Stats balance. They stopped qualifying after the Battle of Red Mountain, when they became the Dunmer and gained three Physical Gods who helped to defend Morrowind from outside threats for nearly 4000 years.
  • Badass Pacifist: The legendary Tongue (ancient Nord warriors who were masters of the Thu'um) Jurgen Windcaller became one following his Heel–Faith Turn, and instilled this philosophy in his Greybeard followers. When the other Tongues tried to "shout" he and his teachings down, he didn't fight back. Instead, he "swallowed" their words for three entire days to prove his mastery. This caused them to acknowledge his superiority and wisdom in the Voice. Despite the strength such a group may possess, he set the Greybeards' policy of non-intervention in worldly affairs, and of studying the Voice as a way to honor the gods.
  • Badass Preacher: In general throughout the series, badass priests and other religious leaders appear quite frequently, even outside of the more Church Militant organizations. Priests and the like are usually quite able to defend themselves, and many come with offensive spells to blast the non-believers and other threats. (Tamriel's adventure friendly and extremely dangerous nature largely justify the need for even servants of the gods to be able to defend themselves.)
  • Bad Boss:
    • Several of the Daedric Princes qualify. To note:
      • Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots, whose sphere covers all manner of high crimes including Murder, Assassination, Treason, and Betrayal, is a major offender, crossing over with You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. Boethiah demands that his (sometimes "her") followers independently follow their own desires...just as long as those desires are completely in line with his own. The minute a follower fails that balancing act, things turn ugly, with betrayal and murder as legitimate options. Being considered a "champion" of Boethiah practically paints a target on your back, one that Boethiah himself is often all too happy to hit the moment he considers you unworthy or simply gets bored.
      • Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction, is another. He treats everyone under his command as pawns to be sacrificed to further his goals, or simply because they displeased him. The lesser Daedra who serve as his Legions of Hell, being immortal, can take this sort of treatment. If they are slain, they simply reform in Oblivion. Any mortals who voluntarily choose to worship a deity of Omnicidal Mania should not expect any other kind of treatment.
      • Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption, who sphere also includes Violation, Defilement, and Rape. He is probably the closest thing to a true God of Evil in the ES universe, as even the other typically malevolent Princes have some redeeming qualities. (Mehrunes Dagon's sphere also includes change, for example.) Working for Molag Bal never ends well. Any power he offers or tempts a minion with will immediately disappear the moment that Bal realizes they're no longer useful, and sometimes even before that point. Those who disobey or disappoint him are often met with a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Bad Moon Rising:
    • The "Bloodmoon" is an event typically associated with the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, Hircine. The event itself is where Hircine collects the greatest warriors at a given time and brings them to his hunting grounds. The Bloodmoon expansion for Morrowind features one such occurrence.
    • The "Necromancer's Moon" is a phenomenon that occurs when the "plane" of Mannimarco, the God of Worms, eclipses that of Arkay, the Aedric Divine of Life and Death. During this time, the light of the moon can transform standard Grand Soul Gems into Black Soul Gems, capable of trapping sapient souls which are normally under Arkay's protection.
  • Bag of Holding: Throughout the series, your carrying capacity is limited only by the total weight of the items you are carrying, not their size or shape. One can easily carrying around multiple suits of armor, several massive weapons, a library of books, a shop's entire supply of potions, etc. while only being slowed down a little bit, as long as you don't go beyond the encumbrance limit. This is also true of containers, where it is possible to store items far larger than what would realistically fit within. (Say, by storing a battleaxe as tall as a person inside of a safe the size of a mini-fridge.)
  • Bald of Awesome:
    • Emperor Uriel Septim VII, Reasonable Authority Figure and Big Good throughout the series, in his Daggerfall depiction. However, his physical appearance changes drastically in each entry in the series, with Oblivion later depicting him with a full head of hair.
    • St. Jiub the Eradicator, in his initial Morrowind appearance. By the time of Oblivion, he has driven the much reviled Cliff Racers from Vvardenfell and has been sainted by the Tribunal Temple as a result. He shows up again as a spirit in Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC, but no longer qualifies, as he is depicted with a full head of long hair.
  • Bald of Evil: St. Jiub the Eradicator, prior to becoming an example of Bald of Awesome due to his actions as The Atoner. Previously, he led a very sordid life as a Skooma addict and freelance assassin, fitting this trope instead.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Wabbajack, an artifact staff associated with Sheogorath, forces the target to transform. This being the staff of the God Of Madness, the change is, of course, completely random. You could turn a bandit into a sheep... or a lesser Daedric monster. It's more for fun than anything else.
  • Ban on Magic: Throughout the series, partial bans on specific types of magic are common. To note:
    • In various parts of Tamriel at different times, Necromancy has been banned. It was considered blasphemous by Morrowind's Tribunal Temple, and practicing it was punishable by death. Shortly before the Oblivion Crisis, it was also banned within the Mages Guild, something its practitioners were none too happy about.
    • Nords and Redguards, being proud warrior races, each have a strong cultural dislike for magic. Though both tend to stop short of outright bans, unofficial bans enforced by ostracizing magic users are common. Each makes at least one exception, however. Nords allow for Restoration magic, as they believe you can never have too many healers. Redguards make an exception for Destruction magic, as they believe you can never dish out too much damage.
    • The removal of levitation magic after Morrowind is explained as the Empire outlawing levitation magic for... reasons.
  • Barbarian Hero:
    • Throughout the series (until Skyrim did away with classes), Barbarians were one of the pre-made character classes. They were more lightly armored warriors with a focus on mobility and dishing out damage.
    • This is a common depiction (and even ideal) of the Nords, along with Horny Vikings. Axes as a favored weapon, Badass Beards, war paint, war cries, Pelts of the Barbarian... It is all heavily present in Nord culture, which they took from their ancestors, the Atmorans. Enemies of the Nords (usually elves) prefer to paint them instead as a violent and savage Barbarian Tribe.
  • Barbarian Longhair: Used extensively with male Nords, given that they're basically expies of the Norse. Often crosses over with Braids of Barbarism.
  • Barbarian Tribe:
    • This is a common depiction of the Nords by their enemies, especially the races of Mer (Elves). The truth lies somewhere in the middle, as the Nords do love to battle and can be viewed as uncultured by the Crystal Spires and Togas Altmer or Ancient Rome-inspired Imperials, but they are also lovers of music and mead and a deeply spiritual and traditional people with a strong sense of honor (too strong, in some cases).
    • The ancient Atmorans, ancestors to the Nords, also fit the trope. It is said that they had no knowledge of agriculture and survived off of hunting, a way of life which likely encouraged their ceaseless warfare. They also did not have a written language until they came to Tamriel (where they adopted one from the elves, blending it with Atmoran language principles).
    • The Reachmen (also known as Witchmen), are another such group. Racially but not culturally Breton, they inhabit the Reach, the area along the border between High Rock and Skyrim. They are a group primitive in dress and technology who practice the closest thing to a "pagan" religion in Tamriel and are violently hostile to outsiders. Since the 1st Era, they've maintained an insurgency in the Reach, warring against any outside conquerors attempting to claim the Reach for themselves. In the 4th Era, they've rose up once again as the Forsworn, taking advantage of the weakened state of the Empire and of Skyrim itself to once again attempt to retake their homeland.
    • Minotaurs have a primitive clan-like social structure along these lines. Typically living in groups numbering in the twenties, Minotaur clans are led by the strongest male who has breeding rights with all females of reproductive age. Younger males may attempt to challenge him for the position via a Duel to the Death.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk:
    • Throughout the series (until Skyrim did away with both classes and the Hand-to-Hand skill), the Monk class is a premade class. Hand-to-Hand is it's primary combat skill, with Blunt Weapon often a secondary skill. By selecting the class, or otherwise developing your Hand-to-Hand skill, you can play as this trope, crossing over with Heroes Fight Barehanded. (It is still possible to fight unarmed in Skyrim, but there are few ways to increase your proficiency with it.)
    • Throughout the series, Khajiit characters get a natural boost to their Hand-to-Hand skill and/or damage, thanks to their claws. Khajiit, as a race, are known for the Fantastic Fighting Styles they employ in their martial arts. As a result, they make the best candidates for Monk-type builds.
  • Bargain with Heaven: In the 1st Era, St. Alessia formed one of these with the Aedra. Alessia, whose people, the Nedes (human ancestors to most of Tamriel's races of Men), had been enslaved by the (primarily) Daedra-worshiping Ayleids prayed to the Aedra for aid. The Aedra answered her prayers and sent her aid, in exchange for adopting the worship of the Aedra as the official religion of her new empire. Following her victory, they gave her the Amulet of Kings as proof of her claim. Akatosh, the draconic God of Time and chief deity of the Aedra, mystically joined his blood with Alessia and her heirs, an act which maintained the barrier between Mundus and Oblivion, the realm of the Daedra.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Several enemy types in the series change elemental and magical resistances when struck by particular spell. This forces magically-inclined players to keep changing up their magical attacks in order to keep dealing damage. Specific examples are noted on the trope page.
  • Barrier Maiden:
    • Ever since the formation of the First Tamriellic Empire by St. Alessia, the rightful Emperors of Tamriel (those who can wear the Amulet of Kings), are the only ones who can perform the ritual needed to seal the barriers between Mundus and Oblivion, originally established as part of Alessia's covenant with Akatosh. (As of Martin Septim's sacrifice to end the Oblivion Crisis, these barriers have been permanently sealed.)
    • Talos, the ascended god form of Tiber Septim, is revealed to be one in Skyrim. Following the events of the previous games in the series, he is the last thing keeping the Mundus extant. This is why the Thalmor, who believe the destruction of Mundus will allow elvenkind to reclaim the immortality they lost long ago, have outlawed Talos worship, believing that if no one worships him, he will cease to be.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Sheogorath is the Daedric Prince of Madness. Despite this status and his insistence that it's impossible to tell exactly what any and all beings will do, he's pretty good at the Batman Gambit. The 16 Accords of Madness volumes VI, IX and XII involve the humiliation of his fellow Daedric Princes Hircine, Vaermina, and Malacath, respectively. In each of the stories, he basically has the other Princes defeat themselves. It's even brought up in volume IX, when Vaermina accuses him of doing nothing.
    • The recurring in-game book A Game At Dinner has Hlaalu Helseth, eventual King of Morrowind, pulling one of these to root out a spy. Combining it with Bluffing the Murderer while Subverting Carrying the Antidote, Helseth implies to his assembled dinner guests that he put poison on the cutlery of someone spying against him, then invites any spies present to take a dose of the antidote, kept in a tureen at the center of the table. One of the spies loses his nerve and drinks, only for Helseth to reveal that no-one's cutlery was poisoned. The poison was, in fact, the 'antidote' the spy was just bluffed into drinking.
  • Bat Out of Hell:
    • Werebats are a form of were-creature found most commonly in the forests of Valenwood. They are massive human-sized fliers. After being mentioned in the lore several games before, they make an appearance in Online.
    • Winged Twilights are a form of lesser Daedra with humanoid female forms and large bat-like wings found throughout the series. They are most commonly found in service to Azura, the Daedric Prince of Dusk and Dawn, which seems rather appropriate for a bat-like creature.
  • Battlecry:
    • Throughout the series, the Nords get one of these as a racial ability. It temporarily causes weaker opponents to flee battle, useful if you find yourself outnumbered.
    • Starting with the inclusion of voiced dialogue in Morrowind, many NPCs will shout something when engaging in battle. If they're a member of a particular race or faction, their battle cry will often mention that.
  • Battle Theme Music: Games in the series typically have "exploration" themes, which are softer and make for nice background music. When a nearby enemy is aggro'd, the music will shift to a sharper "battle theme". Starting with Oblivion, a "tension theme" is also present. This plays when enemies are nearby, but have not yet detected you and are not aggro'd.
  • Bawdy Song: The series has a "Rude Song" and "A Less Rude Song".
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • Bears are a frequent example of hostile wildlife throughout the series, and a very dangerous one at that. They tend to be very tough (by the standards of creature enemies), hit hard, and, in later games, have the ability to stagger you with attacks as well.
    • Werebears are one of the werecreatures in service to Hircine. Like Werewolves, they are humans who transform, combining two very dangerous enemy types.
  • Beastess: Frequently played straight by female Orcs, Argonians, and Khajiit, though it can range from downplayed to averted depending on the individual in question. (For example, Orcs can range from barbaric berserkers to librarians at a magical college, with examples throughout the series falling all along the spectrum.) Quite a few female Nords (those who lean toward barbarism) also fit this trope.
  • Beast Man:
    • The playable races include the Argonians and Khajiit, Lizard Folk and Cat Folk respectively.
    • Several others are known to exist in or around Tamriel, though a few have gone extinct. These include the Imga (intelligent great apes) of Valenwood, the Sload "slug-men" of Thras (one of which appears in Redguard), Minotaurs, Dreugh, the extinct Lilmothiit "Fox Folk" of Black Marsh, and the extinct "Bird Men" who were the original inhabitants of the Imperial City Isle.
    • At least two, possibly three, of the known Akaviri races qualify. They are the Tang Mo "Monkey Folk", the Ka Po' Tun "Tiger Folk", and, possibly, the Tsaesci "Snake Vampires". (Sources heavily conflict regarding the Tsaesci, giving them something of a Multiple-Choice Past depending on the storyteller. It's possible they aren't snake-like at all.)
    • For more information on all of these (and more), please see The Beast Races sub-page.
  • Beast of Battle:
    • The Khajiit have 17 different sub-species dictated by the phases of Nirn's two moons under which they were born. The largest of these sub-species, the Senche and Senche-raht, can be as tall as two men and weigh upward of four tons. Built like apes and moving as quadrupeds, they allow their kin to ride them in battle. Imperial Legion troopers have nicknamed them "battle cats" as a result.
    • Various Goblin tribes have managed to tame some of Tamriel's vicious wildlife for use in this role. For example, the Shadowsilk tribe managed to tame giant spiders for this purpose.
    • Likewise, the Rieklings (a race of diminutive blue-skinned humanoids native to Solstheim) tame Tusked Bristlebacks (Solstheim's native wild boars) to be this and as mounts.
  • Beast of the Apocalypse:
    • Alduin the World-Eater, a colossal black dragon and "firstborn" of Akatosh, the God of Time and Top God of the Nine Divines pantheon (or possibly an aspect of Akatosh, as sources conflict on the matter). Alduin's divine mandate is to devour the world at the end of every "kalpa", or cycle of time, to make way for the new world in the next kalpa. As Alduin is the embodiment of the end of the world itself, he can only manifest his full power when it is time to actually end the world, at which point he becomes a titanic monster with divine power even beyond that of the Daedric Princes. However, Alduin doesn't seem particularly interested in fulfilling his purpose. He'd much rather rule the world and be worshiped as a god than destroy it...
    • Satakal, the Yokudan "God of Everything," is this in Redguard culture (with many parallels to Alduin, prompting speculation that they are the same entity/event seen by two different cultures). Suffering from a great hunger, Satakal consumes the world in order to create another, leaving behind "worldskins" as he does. Ruptga, the "Tall Papa" and chief deity of the Yokudan pantheon, was the first spirit to survive this process and helped to teach others how to survive as well. Those who do typically become additional deities in the Yokudan pantheon. "Weaker" spirits, like those of the mortals within Mundus, hope to make it to the "Far Shores", a safe haven from Satakal.
  • Beast Man:
    • The playable races include the Argonians and Khajiit, Lizard Folk and Cat Folk respectively. To note:
      • The Argonians are native to the swamps of Black Marsh (which they call Argonia), where they worship sentient and ancient trees known as the Hist. The Argonians face perhaps the most Fantastic Racism out of any race in Tamriel, owing in large part to the Reptiles Are Abhorrent beliefs of the other races, as well as their strange beliefs and practices which cause them to come across as Cloud Cuckoolanders to non-Argonians. (For example, their language, "Jel", has no past or future tense verbs. Thus they tend to "live in the now" much more than any other race.)
      • The Khajiit are native to the deserts of Elsweyr. There are 17 known sub-breeds of Khajiit, with the sub-breed determined by the phases of the moons under which the Khajiit was born. The appearance of the sub-breeds can vary wildly, ranging from house-cats through various humanoid forms to quadrupeds large enough to be ridden as Beasts Of Battle. Culturally, the Khajiit (with their cross-continent merchant caravans, propensity for stealth, and being the frequent victims of Fantastic Racism) draw heavily from the Roma. Their language, Ta'agra, has no word for "rules", which can obviously lead to issues in the lands of other cultures where the Khajiit's actions may be interpreted as "theft." Finally, as a race, the Khajiit are highly susceptible to Moon Sugar addiction. (As well as its more potent derivative, Skooma.)
    • Several other "Beast Races" are known to exist in or around Tamriel, though a few have gone extinct. These include the Imga (intelligent great apes) of Valenwood, the Sload "slug-men" of Thras (one of which appears in the Redguard spin-off game), Minotaurs, Dreugh, the extinct Lilmothiit "Fox Folk" of Black Marsh, and the extinct "Bird Men" who were the original inhabitants of the Imperial City Isle. Werewolves and other Werebeasts are also prevalent.
    • At least two, possibly three, of the known Akaviri races qualify. They are the Tang Mo "Monkey Folk", the Ka Po' Tun "Tiger Folk", and, possibly, the Tsaesci "Snake Vampires". (Sources heavily conflict regarding the Tsaesci, giving them something of a Multiple-Choice Past depending on the storyteller. It's possible they aren't snake-like at all.)
    • For more information on all of these (and more), please see The Beast Races sub-page.

  • The Beastmaster:
    • Throughout the series, this is a racial power of the Bosmer. Known as the "Beast Tongue" ability, they can calm hostile wild animals and, in some games, even get their aid in battle. The Bosmer revere Y'ffre, essentially the god of nature, as their most important deity and it is through him that this power is granted.
    • Giants are said to hold this power over the mammoths they herd. They can reportedly communicate with the mammoths, and the relationship is symbiotic and based in mutual respect. In exchange for the protection of the Giants, mammoths allow the Giants to milk them and produce cheese. There have been reports of Giants eating mammoths, but this is always "conducted with reverence" and presumably only done to mammoths who have died of natural causes or following a Mercy Kill.
    • Spriggans, a race of tree-like Plant People with a Gaia's Vengeance tilt, can command nearby animals to attack intruders in their domain. They are most fond of doing this with bears, and some varieties of Spriggan can even summon a magical bear from thin air.
    • Wolves and bears are sometimes known to have reduced hostility toward werewolves and werebears, respectively, even if they aren't in beast form. They are also sometimes known to hunt with and follow werewolves and werebears when they are in beast form. The howl of a werewolf or growl of a werebear has also been known to summon wolves or bears to aid the creature in battle.
    • The "Command Creature" spell and its variants throughout the series allow the player to do this as well, with the strength of the spell corresponding to the level of creature one can command.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: The still-beating heart of Lorkhan was ripped from his chest by the other spirits (et'Ada) who participated in creation for his perceived treachery and cast down into the world he helped to create. A Cosmic Keystone of unimaginable divine power, the Dwemer would discover it beneath Red Mountain and devise a means to tap into its power. They constructed "Anumidum", a colossal mechanical golem, which they intended to use the Heart to power, transforming it into a new god. However, something happened when they attempted to tap into the Heart, causing their entire race to disappear in an instant. The Heart would remain there for thousands of years, at least until the events of Morrowind.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: St. Alessia, the "Slave Queen", was one. She was born a slave to the Ayleids and was said to be quite attractive. Likely destined for a life as a Sex and/or Breeding Slave, she would instead escape and, after praying to the Aedra for aid, would lead Cyrodiil's enslaved humans in a successful slave revolt to overthrow the Ayleids, founding the first Empire of Men in Cyrodiil afterward.
  • Beauty = Goodness:
    • Played with by Dibella, the Aedric Divine Goddess of Beauty. She is the goddess of beauty and is one of the Divines, a group almost uniformly considered "good" (or at least benevolent) throughout Tamriel. However, some more conservative religious figures preach about the "charms of Dibella" with a Sex Is Evil slant. Additionally, her worshipers have been known to mock the disfigured and use their sexual charms to manipulate others.
    • Meridia is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. She is usually considered as one of the few "good" (or at least benevolent) Daedric Princes, though is definitely not always nice. She invokes the idea of beauty being associated with goodness or pleasantness. Meridia takes the form of a beautiful woman, often in various skimpy outfits which show off and/or enhance her bust and legs, and is frequently depicted with angel-like wings.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order, was feared by the other Daedric Princes for his growing power. They came together and cursed him, literally and deliberately Invoking this trope by turning him into Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. (The Shivering Isles is about him escaping this, by means of Literal Split Personalities.)
  • Becoming the Mask: An exaggerated example exists thanks to the act of "Mantling." Essentially, to mantle someone, one must become so like them that there ceases to be a functional difference between the two entities; it seems that at this point the universe itself ceases to distinguish between the two, and they become one entity. Several famous examples:
    • Tiber Septim and Lorkhan. One theory behind Tiber Septim's ascension as the deity Talos is that Septim effectively "mantled" Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane. Between possessing the Numidium and the Mantella (an unimaginably powerful soul gem said to hold the soul of Zurin Arctus/Wulfharth Ash-King/the Underking, all possible Shezarrines), Septim found a way to claim Lorkhan's station in the universe (possibly by merging their souls.
    • The Champion of Cyrodiil and Sheogorath. The Champion of Cyrodiil was given the mantle of Sheogorath at the end of the Greymarch. The exact nature of this mantling is difficult to understand in full. Rather than acting like Sheogorath until the universe effectively combined the two entities, Jyggalag surrendered the Mantle, or role, of Sheogorath to the mortal Champion of Cyrodiil. Several hundred years later, the new Sheogorath looks and acts just as their predecessor; regardless of whatever their race or gender was prior to taking the mantle.
  • Bee Afraid: Some Spriggans (a race of hostile tree-like Plant People with a Gaia's Vengeance tilt) are known to attack by siccing a swarm of bees on their opponents.
  • Beef Gate: As most games in the series use some form of Level Scaling (the main exception being Morrowind), true Beef Gates are fairly rare. That said, there are exceptions in each game where a specific enemy is at a particularly high set level in line with this trope for various reasons. Specific examples can be found on the trope page.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid:
    • Throughout the series, this is heavily played with. The way the stories are told (player perspective only) and the way said player receives information about the religions (other character perspectives only), most religions claim this about conflicting religions.
    • Though near-universally depicted as a benevolent Saintly Church throughout the series, The Church of the Nine Divines (the official religion of the Third Tamriellic Empire) does have skeletons in its closet. It participates in mass censorship, re-writing history both to downplay some of the atrocities committed by the races of men and to hide the flaws of great heroes of mankind. It was originally founded as part of a Bargain with Heaven, made with the Aedra in exchange for their aid in overthrowing the Ayleid empire (with the Alessian Order, an extremest and fantastically racist sect within the church later working to drive the Ayleids to complete extinction).
  • Beneath Notice: The in-game book Beggar Prince tells the tale of Wheedle, a beggar who asked Namira, the Daedric Prince of the Ancient Darkness (associated with all things revolting, decay, and cannibalism) for the power to become wealthy. She granted his wish, "blessing" him with the power to be afflicted with any disease he wanted, the power to make people feel pity for him whenever they see him, and the power to make people disregard his presence as unimportant. The last power causes many people to talk about their most important secrets in Wheedle's presence, as they disregard him as something unimportant. The book closes with the tip that whenever you need to know something about a city, the beggars are probably your best source of information.
  • Beneficial Disease:
  • Benevolent Boss: Azura is generally this. While certainly not always nice, she is generally regarded as one of the most benevolent of the Daedric Princes toward mortals and is known to treat her worshipers well. A book written by one of her followers notes that Azura very much wants the love of her followers.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Daedric Prince Meridia does not take the defiling of her shrines very well. On it's own, that may not seem very unreasonable. However, she has a very broad definition for what qualifies as "defilement". Remember, she is typically considered one of the good Daedra...
    • Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary hero of mankind/racist berserker, is believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"). However, suggesting that Pelinal is a god, or an aspect of a god, or divine in any way, or making any mention of what he considers "god-logic", is not advisable. One Nedic soldier who suggested this to him was "smothered by moths" in his sleep.
  • The Berserker:
    • The series in general has given this to Orcs as a racial ability ever since they were Promoted to Playable in Morrowind. Exactly how it functions varies from game to game, but it typically increases their ability to dish out and take damage at the cost of accuracy and dodging ability.
    • This was the preferred fighting style of Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker. Believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"), Pelinal came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. Pelinal was outfitted in plate armor (which only the Dwemer could craft at the time) and wielded weapons blessed by the Divines themselves. Pelinal would fly into fits of Unstoppable Rage (mostly directed at the Ayleids) during which he would be stained with their blood and left so much carnage in his wake that Kyne, one of the Divines, would have to send in her rain to cleanse Ayleid forts and village before they could be used by Alessia's forces. It's implied that violent madness comes form his inherently conflicting nature: Pelinal was an Aedric being (the "original spirits" who sacrificed portions of their divine power to create Mundus, the mortal world, later referred to as the Divines) but was also a Shezarrine, an incarnation of Lorkhan who "tricked" the Aedra into their sacrifice and was "killed" by them as a result. This conflicting nature often had him Raging Against The Heavens, ranting and raving at the Divines (especially Akatosh) who sent him to aid Alessia. When he went too far in one of his fits of rage and damaged the very lands themselves, the Divines nearly left the world in disgust until they were appeased by Alessia's prayers and sacrifices.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: This is a tactic of Winged Twilights, a bat-like form of lesser Daedra with some harpy-like traits. Their primary method of attack is to fly slightly above their target and whip around their sharp, hooked tail. Otherwise, they kick with their taloned feet.
  • Beware the Silly Ones:
    • Throughout the series since practically the beginning, the Lizard Folk Argonians were largely considered a joke among the fandom and in-universe. Given their tendencies towards being Cloudcuckoolanders, coming up with Zany Schemes, being a Slave Race to the Dunmer, and having names like Hides-His-Eyes, Scouts-Many-Marshes, and Nine-Toes, it isn't hard to see why. That all changed when, in between Oblivion and Skyrim, they took several levels in badass as a race. They were one of the few races to not only successfully endure the Oblivion Crisis, but to take actually take the fight to the invading Daedra, forcing the invaders to close their own Oblivion Gates because Argonians were invading Oblivion. When Morrowind, homeland of the Dunmer, was devastated following the Red Year, they took the opportunity to invade, biting back for generations of enslavement while capturing Morrowind's plentiful valuable ebony reserves. By the time of Skyrim, it is strongly implied that that they're one of two nations who could hope to stand against the Aldmeri Dominion, the other being the Redguards of Hammerfellnote . Their development into a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass race is implied to be a result of the Hist, sentient and possibly Omniscient trees native to the Black Marsh who the Argonians worship. Young Argonians drink the sap of the Hist to grow, and the Hist can communicate with the Argonians via visions transmitted in the sap. It is said that the Hist foresaw the Oblivion Crisis and other coming troubles, so they've been changing the Argonians to make them stronger and more aggressive tools of war. It also works to justify their changing appearance throughout the series.
    • Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness, is such a character throughout the series. He can go from an extremely silly, borderline Great Gazoo, one moment to planet-hurlingly Ax-Crazy in the next.
    Sheogorath: "Now you. You can call me Ann Marie. But only if you're partial to being flayed alive and having an angry immortal skip rope with your entrails."
    • This is also the case for Sanguine, the Daedric Prince of Debauchery and Hedonism. As "fun" and affable as he might seem, it is important to remember that he represents the "darker" aspects human nature as well. For all the revelry, his actions turn someone into an alcoholic. For all the fulfilled lust, there are broken relationships and failed marriages. He exists to tempt mortals into sin through vice.
    • The Tang Mo, an Akaviri race of "monkey-folk", are said to be kind and brave but also simple and mad. Despite this, they are able to raise armies when they must in order to defend themselves from their many hostile neighbors, always succeeding.
  • BFS: Mostly averted. With a few exceptions, the weapons in the series have fairly realistic sizes, which make them seem small compared to most other video games.
  • Big Bad:
    • Each game in the series has had one for the main quest, with others present for expansions and faction questlines. One main quest exception is Daggerfall, where, due to the game's emphasis on Gray and Gray Morality as well as having Multiple Endings, there is no definite big bad. Instead, it's whoever you choose to work with/against.
    • According to Michael Kirkbride's C0DA, Numidium could be considered the series' final example of this in spite of it being something that doesn't believe in plans. It's because it is refutation incarnated, or the "Fuck it" in a world in which love is the answer. (It's that just that sort of work...)
    • A few other contenders for the series as a whole are some of the Daedric Princes, particularly Mehrunes Dagon (the only villain to be the out and out Big Bad of multiple games) and Molag Bal (though directly playing a small role in most games, he’s the originator of many of Nirn’s greatest evils). Dagon’s time as Big Bad seems to be over as of the Oblivion Crisis, while Skyrim might be setting up Hermeaus Mora as a new Big Bad.
  • Big Book of War: The in-game book "The Art of War Magic" appears in most games in the series. An homage to Sun Tzu's Art of War, it consists of a series of proverbs by former Imperial Battlemage Zurin Arctus dealing with applications of magic and military strategy, with commentaries on the proverbs supplied by other mages.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Most games in the series include haunted dungeons (Ancient Tombs are a popular one) which mostly feature supernatural undead enemies like ghosts, zombies, and the like.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: In addition to the uniquitous Giant Spiders and Mud Crabs throughout the series, other large insectoid enemies include Land Dreughs, Chaurus, and the Kwama creatures native to Morrowind.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Kamal, an Akaviri race of "Snow Demons", attacked Tamriel during the 2nd Era, causing significant damage in both Skyrim and Morrowind, home of the Nords and Dunmer, respectively. Despite their long history of animosity, the two races were able to form an Enemy Mine to repel the Kamal invaders. They were initially successful, but faced the threat of Kamal reinforcements. That ended when the Argonians joined the fight, helped to break the Kamal lines, and then slaughtered them all in a decisive final battle.
  • Big Dumb Object: In the series lore, "Towers" are metaphysical structures built atop the "joint-points" of reality as it was constructed by the et'Ada who took part in creation. The Towers are said to "define reality in [their] Aurbic vicinity". One such tower, the Adamantine Tower (or "Ada-Mantia") on Balferia Island in Iliac Bay, was constructed by the surviving et'Ada (now Aedra) to hold "Convention," during which they decided to punish Lorkhan for his treachery during creation. It is also said to be where linear time first began, before spreading throughout the rest of creation. During the earliest days following creation, the ancient Aldmer (ancestors of all of the modern races of Mer/Elves) discovered a means to construct their own Towers at these "joint-points." By building their own Tower, each group could create their own narrative, distinct but equal to those around it. Some of these Towers include the Crystal Tower, White-Gold Tower, Numidium, Red Mountain, and the Throat of the World. (Depending on how you count, there are only a few left in the world by the 4th Era, with the Thalmor actively attempting to destroy the last of them as part of their plan to undo creation.)
  • Big, Friendly Dog: This is the typical form taken by Barbas, the external conscience of Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes. Given the chance, Vile likes to separate himself from Barbas and becomes much more malevolent in his dealmaking, though, as Barbas has a portion of Vile's power, Vile is weaker when separated from Barbas.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Generally averted, as most locations in the games are reasonably to scale on the inside and outside. There are exceptions however, such as the interior of some locations in Morrowind and castles in Oblivion.
  • Big Good:
    • Emperor Uriel Septim VII serves in this role throughout the series until Oblivion, which begins with his assassination. Each game also features their own versions, heavily involved in the main quest.
    • Similarly, Barenziah, the Dunmeri Queen, played this role throughout the 3rd Era, but mostly behind the scenes. For example, later games reveal that she used Arena Big Bad Jagar Tharn's love for her against him, taking advantage of his attraction to her in order to assist those working to bring him down by deciphering his notes in order to find the pieces of the Staff of Chaos.
    • In the backstory, during the Alessian Revolt, St. Alessia serves in this role. She leaves the actual fighting of the Ayleids to her champion, Pelinal Whitestrike, and her armies. However, she is the one who struck the Bargain with Heaven to gain the support of the Aedra for her rebellion and serves as the symbol for it. After their victory, she is named as the first Empress of Cyrodiil.
    • Also from the backstory, Tiber Septim, the founder of the Third Tamriellic Empire who ascended after his death as Talos, the Ninth Divine. He is remembered as the greatest hero of mankind. Even the more negative historical accounts still paint him as someone genuinely interested in making Tamriel a better place by uniting its peoples.
  • Big Red Devil:
    • Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction, typically takes this form when he manifests, along with being Multi-Armed and Dangerous. While none of the Daedric Princes are truly "evil", instead operating on their own scale of Blue and Orange Morality as dictated by their spheres of influence, Dagon is one of the most outright malevolent of the Princes toward mortals and is thus near-universally labeled as "evil".
    • Sanguine, the Daedric Prince of Debauchery and Hedonism, most commonly takes the form of a short, portly devil with horns. His Daggerfall form even has bright red skin.
    • The Dremora are a race of lesser Daedra, most often found in service to Mehrunes Dagon as his Legions of Hell. They also fit the aesthetic, being Horned Humanoids with gray/black skin and red Facial Markings.
    • Morphoid Daedra, a form of lesser Daedra which appear in Battlespire, play the aesthetic straight (though they appear to be more orange than red).
  • Bilingual Bonus: The series has a recurring in-game book titled "N'Gasta Kvata Kvakis", which is found in many Necromancers' lairs. The book appears to be gibberish. In reality, it's slightly modified Esperanto. The translation is just the description of an Esperanto newsletter.
  • Binding Ancient Treaty: The Bosmer and their "Green Pact". In exchange for Y'ffre's (the forest spirit of Valenwood) patronage, they have sworn never to harm any plantlife in Valenwood (though they can import timber from other regions of Tamriel when necessary), and must live on an almost exclusively carnivorous diet. One of the most prominent aspects of the Green Pact dictates that the Bosmer must consume the flesh of fallen invaders as it is not allowed to rot within Valenwood. (Bosmer living outside of Valenwood appear to be exempt from the Pact.)
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool:
    • In different instances in the series, some Spriggan (a hostile tree-like Plant People race) variants give off bioluminescencent green, purple, or orange lights.
    • Numerous types of glowing mushrooms are seen throughout Tamriel, most often (but not limited to) underground areas.
  • Bird People: There existed a race of "Bird Men" native to the islands that would become the Imperial City Isle in central Cyrodiil. It is said that they had feathers of glorious colors, talons for feet, and were capable of flight. Like the other Beast Races of Tamriel, they were apparently intelligent, as Aldmeri explorers were able to teach them to speak and write. Unfortunately, they, along with whatever it is they called themselves, were lost to history when they were rendered extinct by "cat demons," believed by modern scholars to have been the ancient Khajiit.
  • Bishōnen Line: Typically inverted throughout the series by Vampires. The longer a vampire goes without feeding, the stronger they become in vampire abilities. They also start to look more monstrous, eventually causing them to be attacked on sight.
  • Bi the Way:
    • Given the much larger proportion of women in her priesthood and the "Dibellan Arts" being her primary means of worship, one can easily draw this conclusion about the followers of Dibella, the Aedric Divine Goddess of Beauty. As Dibella says: "No matter the seed, if the shoot is nurtured with love, will not the flower be beautiful?"
    • Mara, the other Love Goddess of the Aedric Divines (with a focus on commitment, family, fertility, and matrimony compared to Dibella's focus on the carnal and sexual aspects of love), does not place any restrictions on marriage within the religion of the Nine Divines, thus all may marry, irrespective of gender and race, and unite their souls in the holy union.
    • The series in general trends more toward Everyone Is Bi. In the games with NPC Disposition and persuasion options, responses to successful uses of the "Admire" option frequently appear to be responses to pick-up lines and come-ons, regardless of the character's gender. In Skyrim, which adds marriage to the series, every marriageable character can be married by the Player Character, once again regardless of gender. While Fantastic Racism is still a major problem, it seems that Tamriel is very open and progressive in terms of sexual orientation.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Along with a major dose of Happy Ending Override, every game in the series to date ends with one of these. Sure, the immediate threat to Tamriel (or Nirn, or Mundus, or existence itself) has been thwarted, but numerous other threats are always on the horizon.
  • Bizarrchitecture:
    • The island of Artaeum combines this with Alien Geometries and, to an extent, being an Eldritch Location. Artaeum is the home of the Psijic Order, a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel. Artaeum shifts continuously either at random or by decree of the Psijiic Council. It can also be made to disappear entirely from Mundus.
    • Any locations relating to the Daedra, be they structures on Mundus or on the Daedric Planes of Oblivion, typically fit this trope. They're often designed in impossible ways and, with the Daedric Planes, can change with the will of the ruling Daedric Prince. (Or be changed, if something happens to said Prince that changes or weakens him.)
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction:
    • The Lizard Folk Argonians are easily the most "alien" out of the playable races, being cold-blooded reptiles who are the only playable race which didn't descend from the Ehlnofey.note  The Argonians are an oviparous (egg-laying) sapient species, with the females also possessing Non-Mammal Mammaries. According to some (potentially dubious) sources, the Argonians are also sequential hermaphrodites, meaning they can switch genders. The time spent as either male or female is called a "life-phase".
    • The Sload "slug men" are another very alien race native to the Thras archipelago to the southwest of Tamriel. Born into broods of aquatic, amorphous grubs whose parents "care little" for them (and even actively kill them in order to produce the alchemical ingredient "Sload Soap"), those who survive grow into "squishy" adolescents likened to octopi. Further, adult Sload are believed to be hermaphrodites who absorb their sexual organs by the time they are capable of surviving on land.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The series in general tends more toward Gray and Grey Morality, while the main quests of most of the games (and most expansions) are standard Good vs. Evil affairs. However, there are two major exceptions: Daggerfall and Morrowind's Tribunal expansion. Daggerfall has multiple endings which allow you to side with numerous factions, ranging from lighter gray (the Empire, the Underking) to outright black (Mannimarco). Tribunal has the (dark) gray of King Helseth up against the black of Almalexia.
  • Black and White Morality: The main quests of almost every game (as well as most of the expansions) are typically straight-up "Good vs. Evil" affairs. While the Player Character can certainly choose to engage in some actions of a darker morality, he or she is still the world-saving hero going up against a malevolent force that wishes to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. (Though these forces often have some Hidden Depths and even Well-Intentioned Extremist motivations.)
  • Black Eyes of Evil:
    • Some Vampire bloodlines have this as a trait. Others instead have pale white Empty Eyes with no pupils or irises, while others still have Super Natural Gold Eyes. (It's implied that they may all have these glowing gold eyes, but only beings with supernatural souls, such as the Dragonborn of Skyrim, can actually see them.)
    • Several varieties of lesser Daedra, including Dremora and Scamps, have these in certain appearances in the series. (Other appearances instead give them red, gold, or blank Empty Eyes instead.)
  • Black Knight:
    • Throughout the series, Ebony and Daedric armors will give any character this aesthetic.
    • Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots (as well a litany of high crimes including Murder and Treason), takes this appearance throughout the series. When in male or female form, Boethiah's usual appearance is of a caped warrior wearing all black. He is depicted with a massive battle axe in male form and a Cool Sword in female form. It is theorized that this may be the corrupted appearance of the Aedric deity Trinimac (now the Daedric Prince Malacath) who Boethiah swallowed and temporarily assumed his form. Additionally, the Ebony Mail is an artifact associated with Boethiah and is a suit of black armor, turning its wearer into one of these (at least aesthetically).
  • Black Magic: Played with in general. Any type of magic being considered uncouth largely comes down to philosophical disagreement. While some people consider necromancy or Daedric rituals evil, it does not involve any corruption like black magic does in many other settings. In this setting, magic is neither good nor evil, it is a tool and depends on how you use it. More specifically:
    • Necromancy is the type of magic most likely to be considered "evil." In Morrowind under the Tribunal Temple, it was considered blasphemous and punishable by death. It was also banned by the Mages Guild shortly before the events of the Oblivion Crisis. However, the Empire considered bodies and souls personal property to be willed away to whoever the deceased would, so it was never illegal in the Empire.
    • Daedric rituals and summoning can be considered this, depending on where you are in Tamriel and which Daedra you are trying to summon. Summoning the generally nastier Princes (like Mehrunes Dagon and Molag Bal) pretty much ensure that something bad is going to happen after the fact.
    • Using the powers of the divine may come closest to true black magic, given the Reality Warping effects that power usually has one the world. Examples include use of the Numidium, the Elder Scrolls themselves, or anyone tapping into the Heart of Lorkhan.
  • The Blacksmith:
    • Throughout the series' lore, Orcs are renowned across Tamriel for the skill as blacksmiths, forging some of the best and most sought-after heavy armors in the land. Young Orcs, male and female alike, are trained from a young age to mine and smith ore, particularly the rare metal Orichalcum.
    • Throughout the series, most major (and some minor) settlements have at least one blacksmith, with many of the larger settlements having several. (In these cases, they tend to either specialize in different types of weapons/armor or are rivals.)
  • Black Swords Are Better:
    • Ebony and Daedric are generally the two best weapon crafting materials throughout the series with few exceptions. Both are dark metals, with Ebony looking like a dark metallic purple/brown/gray (depending on the game) and Daedric universally black and red. Weapons of both fall only behind legendary artifact weapons in terms of power.
    • Umbra is one such legendary weapon, and most often takes the form of an Ebony claymore or longsword. An Empathic Weapon which steals souls (including that of its wielder), it was forged by a witch and commissioned by Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes. It is typically one of the best bladed weapons in the games in which it appears.
    • The Ebony Blade is an artifact weapon of Mephala, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals" but who is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets. It typically takes the form of a black katana-like sword and is among the very best weapons in the games in which it appears.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Ebonarm is a god of war worshiped in the Iliac Bay region as the companion and guardian of all warriors. He has an ebony blade permanently fused to his right arm, hence his Meaningful Name.
  • Blade on a Stick:
    • In-game, to date, only Morrowind offers spears (and other polearms) as a weapon option. These weapons obviously canonically exist in-universe, but they aren't an option to the player in any other game.
    • Spears are a weapon commonly associated with Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt. His humanoid forms are almost always depicted as wielding a spear, and he is associated with two legendary artifact spears: The Spear of Bitter Mercy and the Spear of the Hunter.
    • Spears are favored weapons of Goblins and Rieklings (goblin-like humanoid creatures native to Solstheim). Riekling spears are small enough to be either wielded as a one-handed weapon by the larger races, or used as arrows.
    • The Snow Prince was a Falmer (Snow Elf) One-Man Army who very nearly turned the tide of the war against the Nords, who were attempting to drive the Falmer to extinction. In addition to being a master of Frost magic, he wielded an enchanted spear that weakened the armor of those it struck and had ice-powers of its own.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Tribunal deity Vivec admits that some of his sermons were false when confronted. He is also known to tell a number of half-truths, lies of omission, and "Metaphorically True" type truths. His 36 Lessons provide examples of all of these.
    • After the events of the Oblivion Crisis, the Thalmor, a group of Altmeri religious extremists, took credit for ending the Crisis within their homeland, garnering them enough political support to take over the Altmeri government and reestablish the ancient Aldmeri Dominion. Later, they took credit for restoring the moons to the sky which gained them great favor with the Khajiit, getting them to join the Dominion peacefully as vassals.
  • Blessed with Suck:
  • Blind Seer: The titular Elder Scrolls have this effect. Referred to as "Fragments of Creation," the Scrolls are of unknown origin and number which simultaneously record past, present, and future events irrefutably; what did happen, what could have happened, what might yet happen. To the untrained eye, the Scrolls will yield an odd chart that looks like it has constellations on it with odd glyphs printed over or under it. A knowledgeable reader will be able to interpret the Scrolls to a degree, but incompletely, and will be irrevocably struck blind. A well-trained reader (such as a Moth Priest, described below) will glean much more from the Scroll and will even recover their eyesight... for a finite number of times before their sight is permanently lost. The Cult of the Ancestor Moth is an order that has served the rulers of Cyrodiil by reading the Scrolls since time immemorial. The Ritual of the Ancestor Moth grants them special protections which enable them to (relatively) safely read the Elder Scrolls, but they are struck temporarily blind after each reading. The periods of blindness last longer each time until the Priest's final reading, after which he is struck permanently blind. At this point, they are no longer able to read the Scrolls and are sent into retirement.
  • Bling of War:
    • Each race of Mer (Elves) has a recurring iconic armor that fits throughout the series. The Altmer (High Elves) are associated with the golden "Elven Armor." The Dunmer (Dark Elves) have two: dark purple/gray ebony armor (primarily mined around Red Mountain in their homeland) and the fluorescent green glass armor. "Dwarven" armor (originally worn by the Dwemer or "Deep Elves") is bronze/gold in color. The ancient Falmer (Snow Elves) wore platinum colored armor. The Orsimer (Orcs) are masters at crafting with Orichalcum, which, while a dull gray in color, they craft into intimidating looking heavy armor. The Bosmer avert it by specializing in light armor (leathers, furs, etc.) or no armor at all.
    • Throughout the series, this is the case for the Aureals (aka Golden Saints), a form of lesser Daedra in service to Sheogorath. They are constantly outfitted in golden armor, often with golden weapons and shields as well.
    • Similarly, this is the case for the Aurorans, another form of lesser Daedra who serve Meridia. They are fully encased in golden armor.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt. He has a particular interest in Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, and actually likes situations where The Hunter Becomes the Hunted because it is such a good representation of his sphere.
    • Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots (as well as a litany of high crimes including Murder and Treason), has an intense love for competition and battle, and is known to hold tournaments among mortals to determine the strongest. His (sometimes "her") usual appearance is as a Black Knight wielding either a massive battle axe or a Cool Sword.
    • The sword Umbra is a recurring artifact weapon which appears in several games in the series. In addition to dealing colossal damage, it also steals the souls of those it slays. However, Umbra has a mind of its own and, over time, takes over the mind of its wielder until they lose their individuality and start calling themselves Umbra. Once this happens, they show Blood Knight tendencies. Logically, this makes sense for the blade, as if a stronger foe can slay its current wielder and take up the sword for themselves, the sword gains a stronger host.
    • Both the Nords and Orcs are Proud Warrior Races with elements of this in their cultures. Nords live for the thrill of battle and hope to enter Sovngarde if they fall in battle, while Orcs actively seek out worthy opponents to end their lives when they feel themselves weakening with age.
    • Dremora are an intelligent race of lesser Daedra who are mostly commonly found in the service of Mehrunes Dagon as his Legions of Hell. They practically exist for combat and fighting, and seek to kill any mortals or other lesser Daedra in their quest to prove themselves as the Master Race.
    • Frandar Hunding was a legendary Redguard/Yokudan Ansei, also known as "Sword Saints", and quite possibly the greatest Master Swordsman in the history of Nirn. He traveled Yokuda as a Knight Errant in his youth, slaying all manner of men and monsters, while testing his skills in 90 duels. He was never once defeated, leading him to believe that he was invincible, so he retired to Mount Hattu and wrote the Book of Circles to pass along his insights. He was later called back into battle at age 60, leading the Ansei to victory over the much more numerous forces of Yokudan Emperor Hira. Frandar would then be one of the first Yokudans to arrive in Tamriel, and was still acting as a Frontline General at age 90 when he finally fell in battle to the giant goblins of Hammerfell.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The series has long had a "blood splash" effect when hit, but it doesn't persist. You can come out of a fight with only a small sliver of health while stuck with a dozen arrows, and you won't be bleeding a single drop. Corpses too will be devoid of any wounds, no matter how they were killed.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary hero of mankind/racist berserker, first appeared in the camp of St. Alessia "drenched" in Ayleid blood. This would be far from the last time, as later tales tell of his "white hair gone brown with elfblood". He was also known to Paint the Town Red, leaving such carnage in his wake that Kyne, the Aedric Divine Godess of the Air and Heavens, had to send in her rain to cleanse them before Ayleid towns and fortresses could be used by Alessia's forces.
  • Blood Sport:
    • Several games in the series include a gladiatorial arena and, in each case, you get the option to participate. They can either be used for duels to decide conflicts (such as in Morrowind) and other times for sport (such as in Oblivion).
    • The original concept for the series (and why Arena has that name) was for it to be a gladiatorial fighting game pitting teams of warriors against one another. This would be dropped during development in favor of adapting Tamriel, the developers' home-brew D&D setting.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell:
    • Coldharbour is the Daedric realm of Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption. The ground is sludge, the sky is on fire, and the air is freezing. It resembles a ruined and desecrated copy of Nirn that is filled with suffering and "spattered" with blood and excrement. It contains charnel houses full of the dead and slave pens beyond count. The smell of the place alone is enough to kill most mortals, and it is said that no mortals willingly visit this place except in error.
    • The Deadlands are the Daedric realm of Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. They have more of a Fire and Brimstone Hell aesthetic, with the buildings having some Alien Geometries, but they also have elements of this trope.
  • Bloody Handprint: One of these (though often printed in black ink instead of blood) serves as one of the symbols of the Dark Brotherhood.
  • Blue and Orange Morality:
    • The Daedric Princes have this in full force as Above Good and Evil Eldritch Abominations with motives and morality far beyond mortal understanding. While some (Azura, Meridia) are typically considered "good" and others (Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon) are typically considered "evil" in the eyes of mortals, even scholars in-universe will contend that applying concepts of mortal morality to the Daedra operates on flawed assumptions. Those Princes who seem "good" are only that way because their actions more often than not are benevolent toward mortals, while those who are "evil" are typically more malevolent. Additionally, the majority of Princes have at times shown both good and bad aspects. For example, Mehrunes Dagon, Prince of Destruction, has repeatedly attempted to take over and destroy Mundus, which most mortals would agree is a very bad thing. However, "change" also falls within his sphere, and without forces of change, there could be no mortal world.
      • Azura, the Daedric Prince of Dawn and Dusk and typically considered one of the universally "good" Daedra, is much more like an incomprehensible cosmic terror than most other Daedra. While most of her (known) actions have largely benefited the mortal world, she is highly unpredictable with Good Is Not Nice tendencies and a habit of taking Disproportionate Retribution. She (may have) cursed the Chimer race into becoming the modern Dunmer for betraying her, and later, her actions eventually led to the almost-complete destruction of their homeland. (And despite this, she has regained her status as the chief deity of the Dunmer religion in the 4th Era.) Her sphere is the hard-to-define "magic of twilight", and there are hints that she may be more of a cosmic force of True Neutrality, primarily concerned with maintaining a sort of metaphysical balance in the universe. Finally, her most iconic artifact, Azura's Star, is the most powerful soul gem known.
    • The Magna-Ge, the followers of Magnus, the God of Magic. Very little lore exists about them and it reads like a 'shroom trip.
    • Alduin's role as World Eater is this. To mortals, him ending the world is obviously a bad thing. However, when this comes to be, it will simply be him fulfilling his divine duty. (The reason he is the Big Bad of Skyrim is because he is more interested in Taking Over The World and being worshiped as a god by mortals rather than ending it.)
    • The Ideal Masters are immortal beings who were once powerful mortal sorcerers during the Merethic Era. After finding their mortal forms to be too weak and limiting, they entered Oblivion as beings of pure energy and settled an area of "chaotic creatia", forming the Soul Cairn. The Ideal Masters are most infamous for their trafficking in souls, especially "Black" sapient souls. All souls trapped in soul gems end up in the Soul Cairn and are considered property of the Ideal Masters. They believe that by dooming souls to eternal undeath, they are giving them eternal peace. Terrifyingly, there is some evidence to support this idea. (Essentially, the souls are being removed from the "Dreamsleeve" cycle of death and rebirth.)
    • Each of the races of Mer (Elves) has traits, beliefs, or practices which qualify. You can read about them in great detail on The Races of Mer sub-page.
    • Several of the "beast races" also have traits which put them in this category. You can about them in great detail on The Beast Races sub-page.
  • Blue Blood: Subverted by the Imga, a minor race of intelligent "ape men" native to the forests of Valenwood. Every Imga bears some kind of noble title (Baron, Duke, Earl, etc.) which they use when addressing their idols, the Altmer. Subverted, however, as there are no land-owning Imga.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: Used in the in-game book A Game at Dinner. Helseth implies to his assembled dinner guests that he put poison on the cutlery of someone spying against him, then invites any spies present to take a dose of the antidote, kept in a tureen at the center of the table. One of the spies loses his nerve and drinks, only for Helseth to reveal that no-one's cutlery was poisoned. The poison was, in fact, the 'antidote' the spy was just bluffed into drinking.
  • Body Double: The more "heretical" tales of Tiber Septim's life state that he was served by a powerful Mysterious Backer known only as the Underking, believed to have possibly been the ancient Nordic king and Shezarrine, Wulfharth Ash-King. In addition to protecting Septim (then a Breton known as Hjalti Early-Beard) in the form of a great storm, the Underking is also believed to have been able to impersonate Hjalti, allowing them to conquer and govern in two places at once.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass:
    • In the series' mythology, Shor (the old Nordic aspect of Lorkhan), was a "bloodthirsty warrior king". He was served by two other gods who served as his "shield-thanes", Stuhn and Tsun (the old Nordic aspects of the Aedric Divines Stendarr and possibly Zenithar, respectively). Tsun continues to guard the Hall of Valor in Sovngarde, ensuring that only the greatest warriors may enter Shor's hall.
    • In a similar vein, the Aldmeri ancestor spirit Trinimac was said to be the "champion" of Auri-El, the Aldmeri aspect of Akatosh. Trinimac was a warrior spirit, said to be the strongest of the et'Ada ("original spirits"), and in some places was even more popular than Auri-El. According to Aldmeri religious tradition, it was Trinimac who led the Aldmeri armies against Lorkhan's supporters, the races of Men. Trinimac slew Lorkhan and removed Lorkhan's heart from his body. However, Trinimac would later be "eaten" by the Daedric Prince Boethiah so that Boethiah could manipulate Trinimac's followers. After being tortured in Boethiah's stomach, the remains of Trinimac were "excreted". These remains became the Daedric Prince Malacath and his remaining followers were transformed into the Orsimer (Orcs). Malacath somewhat confirms this story, but complains that it is "too literal minded".
  • Body Horror:
    • The Dwemer took in their Falmer (Snow Elf) cousins when the latter were threatened by the invading Nords. The Dwemer enslaved and mutated the Falmer from from this to this; the Falmer now possessing claws, fangs, nostril slits instead of noses, and have skin grown over their blind eyes. This form of Falmer are a common mook in Skyrim.
    • Namira is the Daedric Prince of the Ancient Darkness, associated with all things revolting, decay, and cannibalism. Suffering from some form of body horror is practically a requirement of her followers. Disfiguring diseases are her favored form of this. She has been known to outright refuse the worship of any who are not repulsive enough.
  • Body to Jewel:
    • Ebony, the ES series staple of high quality crafting material, is theorized to be the petrified blood of Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god who convinced some of the other et'Ada ("original spirits") to create Mundus and was killed by them for his perceived treachery. They tied his Heart to an arrow and fired it across Tamriel, where it landed in modern day Morrowind. Small Ebony deposits are found across Tamriel where his Heart traveled as it fell, while the greatest deposits are around Red Mountain, where his Heart landed. Ebony also has a number of mystic properties, such as being able to be combined with Daedric souls to forge Daedric materials.
    • Another theory states that Lorkhan's blood crystallized instead, and was collected by the Ayleids to create the Chim-el Adabal, better known as the Amulet of Kings. It too was known to have immense mystical properties before its destruction in Oblivion.
    • St. Veloth was the legendary Chimer mystic who led his people away from the decadence of the Summerset Isles to their new homeland in Morrowind. When Veloth first laid eyes upon the new homeland of the Chimer, a single tear fell down his face and crystallized. Known as Veloth's Tear, this crystallized tear has immense restorative powers.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: This is a cultural trait of the Nords, a Proud Warrior Race of Horny Vikings. Nords love to battle, are exceptionally good at it, and then love to brag about their accomplishments in said battle. They are also big fans for feasting, drinking, and celebrating.
  • Bold Explorer: Topal the Pilot was a famous one. An Aldmeri explorer and poet, he was the first Aldmer to discover and explore Tamriel during the Merethic Era, encountering primitive versions of the Khajiit and Argonians, as well as a now extinct race of bird people. His story was compiled into an epic known as Father of the Niben, but most of it was lost over the centuries.
  • Bonsai Forest: St. Veloth was the legendary Chimer mystic who led his people away from the decadence of the Summerset Isles to their new homeland in Morrowind. He was said to have brought the seeds of trees with him from the Summerset Isle and planted them in Vvardenfell. Justified, with ashy, volcanic soil not being the best supporter of vegetation, the trees that took were sparse and remained quite small.
  • Bonus Boss: The non-randomly generated games starting with Morrowind each feature at least a few of these. For the most part, they tend to be in out-of-the-way places you may only stumble upon by accident or only start appearing once you've reached a certain level.
  • Book Burning: The Alessian Order was a rabidly anti-Elven religious sect which established a Theocracy that wielded nearly as much power as the Emperor at its height. They destroyed any Elven writings or cultural items (especially those of the Ayleids who had previously enslaved mankind) that they could get their hands on. Their success in this regard eventually made it so that only the Imperial account of events surrounding the Alessian Revolt survived. The Order then suffered this as well at the end of the War of Righteousness, which saw their headquarters (along with the libraries and records) destroyed.
  • Bootstrapped Theme:
    • The main theme of Morrowind, originally titled "Nerevar Rising", was originally intended solely for use with that game (much like Arena and Daggerfall had separate themes), but it ended up becoming so damned iconic (thanks in no small part to the intro being timed in such a way that someone who goes straight into a new game from the title will step off the boat just as the big orchestral swell hits), so integral to the identity of the franchise for many, and was the first song that so many of the many, many newbies to Elder Scrolls that Morrowind brought in heard, that it became the overall theme for the franchise and variations of it have served as the main theme for Oblivion, Skyrim and Online, particularly its own Morrowind chapter (of course).
    • Curiously, the theme may have its origins in Daggerfall, specifically in that game's "snowing" theme. It's unclear if there was direct influence, however, especially since the series changed composers from Eric Heberling to Jeremy Soule between games.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The series has an almost infinite variety of possible character builds along with powerful abilities and awesome spells to wreak havoc upon your foes. However, due to the prevalence of magic resistance and/or spell reflection among the most powerful enemies in each game, simply hitting them hard with a melee weapon is one of the most reliable ways to defeat them.
    • In terms of the races, the Imperials are this. Lacking the cool abilities, strengths, and powers of many of the other races, they are outclassed in just about every skill category by at least 2-3 other races each. However, they also lack the deficiencies of those races as well. In-universe, they've forged three empires which have conquered most or all of Tamriel at different points in history. In terms of gameplay, they are a a very diverse and accessible race to play as.
    • In-universe, historically, this shows up in the Imperial Legion. While they do employ all sorts of specialists recruited from the other races in the provinces, the bulk of the Legion is made up of Imperials with simple swords, shields, armor, and lots of discipline. While they lack the flashiness or raw strength of many other races, there is a good reason why they've been able to forge several Empires.
  • Born into Slavery: This was the case for St. Alessia, the "Slave Queen", as was the case for nearly all of Cyrodiil's native humans under Ayleid rule. Alessia would escape, pray to the Aedra for aid, and would then lead a slave uprising known as the Alessian Revolt. After defeating the Ayleids, she would be crowned as the first Empress of Cyrodiil.
  • Born Lucky: Sai, a Deity of Human Origin God of Luck celebrated in the Iliac Bay region. He plays with it a bit, however, as he was indeed "born lucky", but the luck only applied to the people around him, never himself. After he died in battle (while all of this fellow soldiers survived), he was granted immortality by Ebonarm to use his gift of luck to help "balance" the world.
  • Born Under the Sail:
    • While Redguards are primarily known for being great warriors and swordsmen, they are secondarily famous for being masters of sail, to the point that Hammerfell itself is referred to as "the Land of Sword and Sail".
    • Despite never developing a written language or even agriculture, the ancient Atmorans (ancestors of the modern Nords) were master ship-builders and sailors. Their most famous shipyard was Jylkurfyk, from which Ysgramor commissioned ships for he and his companions to invade Tamriel.
    • The Kothringi were a tribal race of Men native to the Black Marsh. Despite their relatively primitive culture, they, like the Atmorans, were skilled sailors. They are now presumed extinct, having been wiped out by the 2nd Era Knahaten Flu.
  • Born Unlucky: One story states that the ancient Falmer (Snow Elves) were visited by Sai, the God of Luck in the Iliac Bay region. He had the ability to bring supernaturally good luck to those around him, but not to himself. However, the Falmer treated him poorly and he refused to ever return to them. They probably could have used the luck, as their once mighty civilization crumbled when they were attacked by the ancient Nords. The survivors fled to their Dwemer cousins, but were enslaved and mutated by the Dwemer into the modern bestial Morlock-like creatures they are today.
  • Both Sides Have a Point:
    • Redguard society has traditionally been divided into two sociopolitical groups: The Crowns, descended from Redguard nobility, hold Yokudan tradition in high regard and dislike foreigners, while the Forebears, descended from the warriors who conquered Hammerfell, are more comfortable with incorporating aspects of other Tamriellic cultures (especially Breton and Imperial cultures) into their way of life. A third political movement, the Lhotunics, emerged after the Warp in the West, who espouse both the cosmopolitan values of the Forebears and the sense of tradition and respect for the past of the Crowns, but are generally held in contempt by both sides...
    • This is present on both sides of the 4th Era Skyrim Civil War. A full breakdown is available on the trope page.
  • Bottled Heroic Resolve: Throughout the series, Fortify Health potions function in this way. The very best ones can add hundreds of health in an instant...but that extra health will only last for the potion's duration. If you have less health remaining when it wears off than what the potion added, you'll drop dead on the spot. As such, their best use is to give you time to fire off a healing spell or enchantment.
  • Bounty Hunter:
    • Independent bounty hunters can be found throughout the series. In some sidequests, the Player Character has the opportunity to become one.
    • Hunting down dangerous criminals to collect the bounty on their heads is a common form of quest for the Fighters Guild throughout the series. (As the Fighters Guild does not operate in Skyrim due to the presence of the Companions, the Companions fill this void instead.)
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Naturally, the player can choose to use a bow along with a variety of melee weapons. However, as the series' AI has gotten more advanced over time, NPCs gave gotten in the action too. For instance, enemies who start with a ranged weapon will switch to a melee weapon if you close in, but will then switch back if you fall back or get into a position where they cannot reach you with their melee weapons.
  • Bows Versus Crossbows: Drawn bows are available throughout the series, while crossbows are only available in Morrowind and Skyrim (with Dawnguard). In each case, drawn bows tend to be the better weapon (faster to draw, faster to reload, available in higher tier crafting materials, better quality arrows available, more perks apply to them in Skyrim, etc.), however, crossbows have their situational uses. They tend to hit with more consistent damage and come loaded upon equip, meaning you can get off a shot instantly while switching to a drawn bow requires you to actually draw it back for the first shot. "Enhanced" crossbows in Dawnguard also allow for an Armor-Piercing Attack that standard bows do not.
  • Braids of Barbarism: The Nords show to be very big on braids in their culture. Both women and men sport them, with the men also frequently having braids in their Badass Beards and Barbarian Longhair. While more than just the Barbarian Horde other cultures (especially their long-time rival Mer/Elven races) would have you believe, the Nords still have and even venerate some of their Barbarian Hero aspects, such as being Boisterous Bruiser Screaming Warriors adorned in war paint while often displaying Blood Knight and Honor Before Reason traits as they try to get into their Warrior Heaven of Sovngarde.
  • Brains and Brawn: The races of Men display this dynamic. The Imperials are the diplomatic brains while the Bretons are the magical brains to the Nords' Horny Vikings/Barbarian Hero and Redguards' Master Swordsman/Scary Black Man brawn. (Of course, they're only "heroic" from their own perspective...the races of Mer/Elves very much believe that Humans Are Bastards instead.)
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Throughout the series, Sanguine is the Daedric Prince of Debauchery and Hedonism. His most common symbol is a rose and his most famous artifact is Sanguine's Rose, which can take on many forms, including that of an actual rose, a wooden staff carved like a rose, or a staff-sized rose.
  • Breakable Weapons: Standard for the series until Skyrim, which does away with the mechanic. Also applied to armor in Morrowind and Oblivion. These items would need to be taken to a smith for repairs, or the player could do it by using repair hammers (with the item condition improvement based on the player's Armorer skill.)
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: The series' lore states that there are over 100 known vampire "bloodlines", and while many play this straight as their primary form of feeding, some avert it, such as bloodlines who consume their prey whole while others place their victims into magical comas, to be consumed at the vampire's convenience.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: The Morag Tong is a legal assassin's guild of Professional Killers officially sanctioned by the Dunmeri government to avoid destructive open warfare between the Great Houses. Following a series of calamities in the very early 4th Era, culminating with the eruptions of Red Mountain which rendered a large portion of Morrowind uninhabitable, the Morag Tong was forced to "scatter to the nine winds". According to one former member, they made a pact to reunite one day, but he believes that time is a long way off.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • The series has M'aiq the Lair, a recurring Easter Egg Legacy Character who has appeared in every game since Morrowind. M'aiq is a known a Fourth-Wall Observer and Leaner who sometimes outright breaks it. M'aiq voices the opinions of the series' creators and developers, largely in the form of Take Thats, to both the audience and isn't above above taking some]] at Bethesda itself. His "meta" dialogue understandably doesn't make any sense from an in-universe perspective and justifiably makes him seem very detached from the game world.
    • The Tribunal deity Vivec (cryptically and metaphorically) states in his dialogue and his 36 Lessons series that his "godhood" comes from realizing that he was in a video game and using that knowledge to edit the situation around him (an in-universe concept known as CHIM). He makes vague references to things like the Player Character ("The ruling king who only he can address as an equal"), pausing the game, console commands, and the Construction Set Level Editor. His explanation on what happens if he should "die" also sounds a lot like reloading a saved game:
    Vivec: "When I die in the world of time, then I'm completely asleep. I'm very much aware that all I have to do is choose to wake. And I'm alive again. Many times I have very deliberately tried to wait patiently, a very long, long time before choosing to wake up. And no matter how long it feels like I wait, it always appears, when I wake up, that no time has passed at all."
  • Break the Haughty:
    • In the backstory, the Our Elves Are Better Altmer (High Elves) were delivered a massive blow to their collective ego when Tiber Septim used the Numidium to destroy their armies and sack their capital city of Alinor in less than one hour of fighting. This was the first time in their thousands of years of history that the Altmer had been conquered by an outside force.note  Severely weakened, many of the most extremist Altmer groups (including the Thalmor) were content to wait out Septim's 3rd Empire and then rose again once it fell completely apart at the start of the 4th Era.
    • Ror thousands of years, the Dunmer were a highly xenophobic, arrogant, slave-holding race. Following the events of Morrowind, their culture went into a sharp decline and was dealt a devastating blow during the "Red Year", when the Ministry of Truth crashed down causing Red Mountain to errupt which destroyed most of Vvardenfell and rendered much of Morrowind uninhabitable due to choking ash. Then, one of their former Slave Races (the Argonians) invaded and captured much of what was left of habitable Morrowind. The Dunmer have paid for their hubris and then some, now scattered with many of them settling on the frozen, barren island of Solstheim and in Skyrim, where they are treated as second-class citizens (at best) by the native Nords. Luckily, they seem to have learned a little well-deserved humility in the process. As one Dunmer puts it to a Dunmer Player Character in Skyrim: "We're all Ashlanders now."
  • Breath Weapon: The series' dragons Subvert this. While it might look like they have the ability to breathe fire and ice, they're actually using Thu'um to conjure fire, ice, and other elements into existence. Those who are Dragonborn can also learn to do this.
  • Breeding Slave:
    • This is how the Breton race came to be. Human (Nedic) slave women were selectively bred with Aldmeri men during the earliest era of Tamriellic history. The Bretons would eventually out-populate either parent species in the region. To this day, members of noble Breton families are said to still have slight points to their ears.
    • St. Alessia, the "Slave Queen", was Born into Slavery in the Ayleid city of Sard, now known as Sardavar Leed. Sard was well known as a slave breeding center, and this likely would have been her fate had she not escaped. She would later lead the Alessian Revolt to overthrow the Ayleids and would be named as the first Empress of Cyrodiil.
  • Bribe Backfire: Until the Disposition mechanic was dropped for Skyrim, bribing was a means to increase the disposition of NPCs with the increase depending on the amount of money you offered, your Speechcraft skill, and your Personality attribute. It could also fail, lowering the disposition of the character instead.
  • Broad Strokes: How the multiple contradictory endings of Daggerfall are handled in-universe. Due to the "Warp in the West'' caused by the activation of the Numidium at the end of the game, each ending happened simultaneously. However (in Broad Strokes fashion), none occur to the same extent that they would have individually. (For example, the four regional powers in the Iliac Bay expand, but none takes over the entire area, and all are still under Imperial authority. Mannimarco did ascend to a form of godhood as the God of Worms, but it is in a rather minor station. It also seems to have created another version of him which did not ascend, remaining on Tamriel as a Lich who leads a cult which worships the God of Worms, who seems to be treated as a different entity.)
  • Brotherhood of Evil: The Dark Brotherhood, an illegal assassin's guild who practice a Religion of Evil, serving Sithis, their "Dread Father", who is an Anti-God personification of the primordial force of chaos and is represented by a "great void".
  • Brown Note:
    • Use of the eponymous Elder Scrolls. To anybody who doesn't know about the Scrolls or their effects, the contents are inert and incomprehensible symbols that vaguely resemble constellations. The "unguarded intellects," those who know what the Scrolls are and have some ability to read them, are immediately and irrevocably struck blind. Only those initiated into the mysteries of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth retain most of their sight after reading a Scroll and seeing the future. Unfortunately, there comes a day when even an Ancestor Moth cultist reads a Scroll for the last time. In all cases, those who read, handle, or even merely study the Scrolls (without ever actually using them) have a tendency to go utterly insane with alarming regularity. The Dwemer built a machine to read the Scrolls and record its results, circumventing the nasty side effects.
    • The series' dragons, being ageless and immortal beings with divine souls, are said to "have always been" and have no concept of life, death, or mortality. When mankind in ancient times was under threat from the dragons and their leader, Alduin, they prayed to the Divines for aid, and their prayers were answered by being taught to use the Thu'um, the dragon's own Language of Magic, against them. The mortals created their own Shout, Dragonrend, using the words JOOR (Mortal), ZAH (Finite), and FRUL (Temporary), all concepts which are inconceivable to dragons. In essence, it is a Brown Note that is ineffective against mere mortals, but causes dragons to be temporarily incapacitated with confusion.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Throughout the series, it doesn't matter if you're a world-saving, god-slaying hero fully equipped with legendary weapons and armor created by the gods themselves...that bandit in fur armor with an iron dagger will still attack you.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
  • Burn the Undead: Throughout the series, fire-based spells and enchantments are extremely effective against most types of undead, including otherwise magic resistant types of undead like vampires and liches.
  • Burn the Witch!: Vampires are near-universally feared, loathed, and ostracized throughout Tamriel. They are often killed on sight wherever they are found. The use of fire is common, as the majority of vampire bloodlines have a weakness to it.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: This can easily happen to the player throughout the series. Each game is filled with dozens of caves, mines, ruins and the like, many of which contain a few hostile, generic-looking NPC enemies that can be killed for loot. The game also has many factions with associated quests, some of which involve hunting down and assassinating specific characters. As such, it is entirely possible that the assassination target was already killed by the player days or even weeks ago. Luckily the player character has an excellent memory and is able to tell the quest giver that Bandit Leader #246 is already dead, but many players' memories of the event are likely lost amidst their vast and growing body count. As the series has gone on, this has become less common as the games more frequently use Plot Locks and other methods to avoid Sequence Breaking in this fashion.
  • Butter Face: Can be done with female Player Characters throughout the series, if you so choose. Because you can customize the face, you can create some real hideous monstrosities. However, the body model is not, and it is typically proportioned to be attractive. (Skyrim adds a "weight" slider to character creation. Sliding it up adds muscle mass and causes the body frame size to increase... and also breast size.)
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • The Orcs have long suffered this as a race. Their bestial appearance and "barbaric" culture (as it is perceived by the other races of Tamriel) make them frequent victims of Fantastic Racism. Several times the Orcs have tried to unite and create their own city-state known as Orsinium, but each time, their neighboring nations (the Bretons of High Rock and Redguards of Hammerfell) have forced them to abandon it. By the 4th Era, the Orcs were forced at swordpoint by the Bretons to officially renounce the kingdom of Orsinium and assimilate into High Rock as slaves in all but name. Only a few Orc tribes still live independently in destitute, scattered "strongholds", scorned by all. Notably, their patron deity, the Daedric Prince Malacath, teaches them to take these trials in stride, as he preaches "strength through adversity."
    • The Dunmer have reached this status between the events of Morrowind and Skyrim. The events of Morrowind stripped them of their guardian Physical Gods, which had the delayed but direct effect of causing the rogue moon Baar Dau (which the Dunmer Tribunal deity Vivec froze in place after Sheogorath hurled it as his Egopolis in a past age) to resume its fall which caused Red Mountain to erupt, rendering all of Vvardenfell and much of mainland Morrowind uninhabitable due to choking ash. Then, one of their former Slave Races, (the Argonians) invaded, capturing much of what remained of habitable Morrowind. The Dunmer people were forced to flee, with most settling on the barren frozen island of Solstheim or in Skyrim, where they are treated as second-class citizens (at best) by the native Nords. At the beginning of Skyrim, Hadvar even notes that "the gods really have abandoned" the Dunmer people.
    • Peryite, the Daedric Prince of Pestilence and Tasks, gets this treatment from the other Daedric Princes. They consider him "loathesome" and constantly look down upon him. It also doesn't help that he is considered to be the weakest of the Princes. Further, being associated with order puts him at odds with the other Princes, who have a generally chaotic nature.
  • But Thou Must!: Throughout much of the series, for virtually every quest, there is no option to actually say "no" to a quest giver. At best, you'll get a response option stating that you'll do it later. The series is remarkably open-ended with countless quests available, but the individual quests themselves are pretty linear and inflexible (with a few exceptions noted on the trope page).
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The Dwemer were an incredibly advanced scientific race, capable of creating Steam Punk and Magitek technology far beyond what any other race in the series is capable of even thousands of years later. However, in the 1st Era, during an attempt to tap into the power of the heart of a dead god, the entire race disappeared without a trace from the face of Nirn. There are many conflicting accounts and theories about what happened, but it remains a Riddle for the Ages. However, as revealed in Morrowind, at least one Dwemer survived - Yagrum Bagarn - who was in an undescribed "outer realm" when the calamity occurred that wiped out his people. He returned to find them gone, caught the Corprus Disease soon after, and then entered the care of the famed wizard/Corprus researcher Divayth Fyr. Later, in Skyrim, the wizard Falion claims to have encountered other Dwemer in realms outside of normal space-time who have presumably survived in a similar fashion to Bagarn.


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