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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 D

  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: Several games in the series feature "Weakness to ______" (and the like) spells which decrease the target's resistance to a certain element (even into the negatives). Creating a custom spell which combines this effect with the same-type elemental damage (Ex. Weakness to Fire + Fire Damage) is an easy way to more efficiently deal greater damage than simply using a high-powered version of the damage spell by itself.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: A few infamous ones pop up in the series. In addition to simply having lots of health, they also tend to have strong resistances or outright immunities to many popular forms of magic, leading to long, drawn out fights. May the Nine help you if they also have strong offensive attacks of their own...
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • Go from any installment to any other installment and you'll run into this problem, guaranteed. A few of the more notable examples:
      • In the PC version of Morrowind, "E" is used to jump while the Space bar is used to 'activate' things (pick up loose items, open containers, use doors, talk to NPCss, etc.). Oblivion and Skyrim switch the function of these keys. Going from one to the other in either direction leads to a lot of jumping in front of things you are trying to activate...
      • A particularly frustrating example occurs on the PS3 when going between Oblivion and Skyrim. Oblivion uses the R2 key to move items. Skyrim remaps it to use Shouts instead. Coupled with natural lag on the PS3 at higher levels, and the lag brought on from processing the bytes that make up the items flying around the room, an accidental press in Skyrim can be agonizing.
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    • This can also happen if you've been playing Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, or Fallout 4, which use similar engines and were also developed by Bethesda, to the point they are sometimes considered sister series. These games feature similar controls to Oblivion and Skyrim, particularly in the overworld. However, open a container and a muscle memory based button press can lead to some drastically different results. (Such as removing thousands of pounds of gear from your storage chest, making you over-encumbered and forcing you to put it all back one item at a time...)
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Redguard warriors known as "Sword Singers" could become so skilled with their blades that they were said to be able to split atoms using a technique known as the "Pankratosword." It is said that their original homeland of Yokuda was destroyed by this technique, so it became forbidden and was lost to history. (Though according to other sources, the "destruction of the homeland" story is hinted at being an embellishment, and the Redguard people left Yokuda to escape much more traditional violence and oppression.)
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  • Dark Age Europe: Tamriel went through their own version during the Interregnum, a 500 year span between the fall of the 2nd Empire under the Akaviri Potentates until the rise of Tiber Septim's 3rd Empire. And much like the real world "Dark Ages," this period wasn't as bad as it is made to seem. Yes, there was a lot of warring between petty kingdoms and many of the achievements of the fallen empire were lost, but factions like the Dark Brotherhood and Fighters Guild grew in popularity while many former enemies (Daggerfall/Hammerfell/Orsinium and Skyrim/Morrowind/Argonia) formed Enemy Mines to repel outside invaders (Reachmen and the Kamal, respectively,) showing that the former provinces of the empire could still work together when they had to. The Elder Scrolls Online is set during this time period, giving it an up-close look.
  • The Dark Arts:
    • Necromancy is banned in most places throughout Tamriel, with pretty good reason. Although it can be employed without any major consequences, the mere fact of raising a dead body - without its soul or intelligence - is generally considered evil. Tamriel's long history with evil necromancers, especially one Mannimarco and his Order of the Black Worm threatening the whole continent, doesn't help, nor does the tendency of lesser necromancers to hide out in caves, kill anyone who walks by, and use them for experiments. Thus many magic schools ban it outright, and the ones that don't (there is a contingent that argues Necromancy can be useful and ethical) tend not to publicize their use of it.
    • In addition to necromancy, Redguard society considers most schools of magic to fall into this category. The sole exception is made for Destruction magic, because dealing more damage is always good to the Redguards and because it is considered to have fewer of the nasty effects of the other schools. In addition to Conjuration, which includes necromancy, Mysticism and Alteration/Illusion are also disliked due to their associations with soul stealing and altering reality (literally or perceptions of it), respectively.
    • Daedric "Ritual Magic" (the kind used by most mortals to commune with the Daedric Princes and to permanently summon/bind lesser Daedra) is almost universally considered this, though exceptions may be made for those invoking the Daedric Princes considered to be "Good."
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The main series zig-zags this trope throughout. The only game one can say is wholly darker and edgier than its predecessor is Daggerfall in comparison to Arena. The rest of the series is all over the map from installment to installment, with a full breakdown available on the trope page.
    • Counting spin-offs, Battlespire is quite possibly the darkest ES game. Unlike virtually every other game, it is a long and trippy Dungeon Crawl where you're utterly alone and trapped in a horrific Oblivion Realm filled with equally horrific monsters just waiting to tear you to pieces. Throughout the game, you are subjected to various nightmarish imagery, forced to fight against seemingly impossible odds as the Big Bad viciously taunts you the entire time.
  • Dark Is Evil:
    • From the series' primary Creation Myth comes Padomay, The Anti-God personification of the forces of change, chaos, and darkess. He is the twin brother to Anu, the God of Gods personification of the forces of stasis, order, and light. While not an inherently evil force, Padomay was jealous that Nir (the female personification of "creation" who came to be out of Anu and Padomay's interplay) favored Anu. Padomay killed Nir and shattered the 12 worlds she created. Anu would wound Padomay and then put the pieces of the worlds together to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, so Anu pulled Padomay and himself outside of time to end Padomay's threat to creation.
    • Sithis, referred to as a "great void", is a force representing chaos, change, and limitation. In some religious traditions, Sithis is related to or may even be what is left of Padomay. Sithis is associated with darkness and is described as a "great void", and those who worship him are almost universally seen as evil or at the very least extremely amoral.
    • The Dark Brotherhood is an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil in which they worship Sithis. Their their outfits also tend to contain a lot of black and red.
    • As a whole, the Daedric Princes, associated with the darkness of Padomay, are Above Good and Evil, operating within their own spectrum of Blue and Orange Morality. Still, they range from being considered "evil" to being considered Jerkass Gods to most civilizations throughout Tamriel. However, a few of the malevolent Daedric Princes fit this reputation, such as Molag Bal (Daedric Prince of Corruption and the closest thing the series has to a true God of Evil) and Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of Nightmares, who may only be second in brutality to Molag Bal himself.
    • Mannimarco is an infamous and highly dreaded Lich/Necromancer who appears in several games in the series. He is quite recognizable in each appearance as Obviously Evil - wearing a black Badass Long Robe (often with skull motifs) and leading the Order of the Black Worm, who as the name suggests, dress all in black as well.
    • Alduin the World Eater is a colossal black dragon who it is said will "eat the world" at the end of the current cycle of time.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Throughout the series, many of the Daedric Princes qualify. While they are really entities Above Good and Evil who operate on their own Blue and Orange Morality within their spheres of influence, most of the common folk of Tamriel consider them evil and the equivalent of demons. For some, like the Prince of Domination and Rape Molag Bal and the Prince of Destruction Mehrunes Dagon, this belief isn't unfounded. However, numerous others can be quite benevolent toward mortals, and are usually considered the "good" Daedra (though Good Is Not Nice and Good Is Not Soft can be in full effect with them if you cross them). Specific examples include Azura, Meridia, Namira, Nocturnal, Sanguine, and Sheogorath.
    • The Dunmer race throughout the series. While they have a (not undeserved) cultural reputation for being dour and suspicious, and their dark skin and red eyes are indicative of a curse, the Dunmer are no more inclined to outright villainy than any of Tamriel's other races.
  • Dark World: Molag Bal's Daedric Plane of Coldharbour is said to be "ruined parody" of Nirn, having endured every imaginable catastrophe, with every surface spattered with blood and excrement. (Quite itting for a Daedric Prince whose sphere includes violation.)
  • Daylight Horror: Several vampire bloodlines and lycanthropes with voluntary transformations are just as capable of hunting during the day as they are at night. In some cases, they'll even invoke this trope directly.
  • Day-Old Legend: The various Daedric artifacts are a justified example, as the associated deity chooses how the artifact manifests in the physical realm. This also justifies the changing appearance and properties of the items throughout the series. For example, the Savior's Hide armor in Skyrim, is made from the skin of a werewolf you just slew. Further, it looks nothing like it did in previous appearances in Battlespire, Morrowind, and Oblivion, and has a different enchantment in each game. (Resist Magic, but at varying strengths, and Skyrim adds Resist Poison as well.
  • Daywalking Vampire: An ability possessed by a number of vampire bloodlines. In some cases, they must be well-fed in order to be capable of this.
  • Deader Than Dead:
    • In general, there are several cases in the series where you kill a powerful sorcerer/necromancer only to have him/her reconstitute as Lich/wraith/etc. to be fought again.
    • When fighting Necromancers in particular, they have a tendency to revive fallen allies as zombies (Though only once per ally, as a revived body typically turns to dust after being killed a second time.)
    • To fully kill a dragon, you must first destroy its body and then absorb its soul. While anyone of sufficient ability can do the former, only another dragon (or a Dragonborn) is capable of the latter. Failure to absorb a dragon's soul leaves open the possibility of it being resurrected later.
  • Deadly Environment Prison: Several cases throughout the series, including a floating moon and a cave on an icy island guarded by Frost Atronachs.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Becoming a Lich is a very literal case of the trope. Mortal sorcerers, often necromancers, undergo a ritual that turns them undead while greatly increasing their magical power and also gives them the undead form of immortality. This is common among the senior members of the Order of the Black Worm, a reclusive Magical Society who mainly study The Dark Arts, following in the footsteps of their leader (and first ever Lich), Mannimarco, the King/God of Worms.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
  • Dead Person Conversation: There are several points throughout the series where you must speak with ghosts or other spirits in order to gain quest-relevant information. A breakdown is available on the trope page.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Throughout the series, this trope falls within the sphere of Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes. Clavicus Vile loves making deals with mortals that they later come to regret, crossing over with either Jerkass Genie (when he's being particularly malevolent) or Literal Genie (when he's being a bit more forgiving). For example, when a group of vampires begged him for a cure to their disease, he had a hero come along to Mercy Kill (in Vile's opinion) them all. Though Clavicus Vile is reported to sometimes make agreements that the recipient doesn't regret (this probably has something to do with the fact that unlike most devils, he actually has a fairly strong conscience. It just happens to be external and manifests as a Big, Friendly Dog named Barbas who nags him not to be overly mean to mortals (the two tend to argue a lot).
    • Though it is the specialty of Clavicus Vile, making a deal with any Daedric Prince can be considered a Downplayed version of the trope. While you may be rewarded quite well for serving the Prince, you will often be required to perform some rather morally questionable (or worse) tasks to obtain the Prince's favor, up to and including outright murder and betrayal. In some cases, a pledge to serve the Prince in life and in death is required.
    • 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. Individuals seeking power, especially mortal necromancers, have long contacted the Ideal Masters. The Ideal Masters grant it in exchange for souls, which often includes the soul of the necromancer themselves. (Though the necromancer may not be aware of this fact as the Ideal Masters are Manipulative Bastards who often get what they want through Exact Words.)
    • Hagravens are a form of flightless harpy who were once mortal women that underwent a ritual "trading in their humanity" for access to powerful magic. The exact means of the transformation remains mysterious, but it is known that a human sacrifice is part of the process. They will also be the "devil" in the trope toward Reachmen warriors. These warriors will allow a Hagraven to replace their heart with a Briar Heart, a magical organic item that grants them great power at the cost of their free will. These "Briarhearts" are frequently found in service to Hagravens.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • Averted in general. The series has just about every form of magic except true resurrection magic. Necromancy is prevalent, but actually bringing a sentient being back to life with body and soul in-tact seems to be out of reach.
    • This is present among the series' many deities. To note:
      • Lorkhan (also known by many other names), the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane, was killed by some of the other gods he convinced/tricked into sacrificing large amounts of their divine power/very beings and his heart ("divine center") was cast down into the world he made them create. His spirit is said to wander the world, however, and is still very much able to influence events and take physical manifestations not all that different from the still "living" gods. Likewise, Tsun, the old Nordic god of "trials against adversity" and a shield-thane of Shor (Lorkhan's Nordic aspect), died while defending Shor from angry "foreign gods". He now resides in Sovngarde, where he tests warrior spirits in single combat to judge their worthiness for entry into Shor's Hall of Valor.
      • This is the case for the Daedra, both the Daedric Princes and the lesser Daedra. Unlike the Aedra, the Daedra are pre-creation spirits (et'Ada) who did not lend their power to creating the mortal world, and thus maintain Complete Immortality. While they may manifest in a physical form, and that physical form can be slain, they cannot truly "die". If they are slain, their spirits ("Animus") simply returns to Oblivion to coalesce. It is implied that coalescing into a new form isn't an instantaneous process, so being slain is at least a mild inconvenience.
  • Death Mountain: Tamriel's two highest mountains, Red Mountain and the Throat of the World, have both appeared in the series and both have plentiful dangers.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • Historically, the province of Morrowind did not have the presence of dragons prior to their "extinction". Why? They were driven away by Cliff Racers... Yes, those weak but hideously annoying were able to drive out powerful Aedric beings who could command elements into existence with a few words simply through sheer numbers and persistence. Come the 4th Era, after Cliff Racers had been driven away and after Red Mountain's eruption, a surviving dragon finally came to lair in the smoking ruins of Vvardenfell.
    • On a larger scale, this would be the downfall of Uriel Septim V's attempted invasion of Akavir. Due to space restrictions on his fleet, his forces were underspecialized (Inverting Crippling Overspecialization) except for the Battlemages. In nearly every direct confrontation with the Tsaesci forces, Uriel's legions routed them easily. However, he could not replace his losses and his army tended to suffer the heaviest losses to Tsaesci mounted raiders while they traveled or made camp due to his own lack of cavalry. Eventually forced to withdraw, Uriel would perform a Heroic Sacrifice to cover the retreat of his legions.
  • Death Seeker: Appear quite frequently in the series, usually as Nords or Orcs in old age who are looking for a good death in battle. Technically, any Nord seeking entrance to Sovngarde also qualifies, since getting there requires death in battle (or at least a very honorable violent death).
  • Death World:
    • The continent of Atmora, to the north of Tamriel, is described as a frozen over land where everything is a predator. This says a lot about why the ancestors of the Nords were already fierce warriors by the time they migrated south.
    • Akavir, the land of the dragon people, is considered this as well. Though no one has thoroughly explored the continent and returned to tell the tale, accounts state that most sapient species there consider Men and Mer a delicacy.
    • Black Marsh is one of Tamriel's southernmost regions, consisting mostly of nearly impenetrable swampland. Most of the Black Marsh is full of dangerous flora/fauna, is extremely difficult to navigate, and is flat out toxic to non-Argonians. Even Tiber Septim didn't bother to conquer it completely during his conquest of Tamriel. Rather, he captured a few border settlements (where humans can comfortably live) and called it a success.
    • Several of realms of the Daedric Princes in Oblivion fit, along with being Eldritch Locations, Fisher Kingdoms, and possibly Genius Locis. To note:
      • The realm of Malacath, Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized and patron deity of the Orcs, is known as the Ashpit. It will kill most mortals in minutes unless they have a means of magical breathing and levitation. It air is thick with choking dust and soot and even the buildings are made of smoke. It is also said that the Ashpit stretches endlessly across the planes, extending even behind the stars to Aetherius, granting access to every worthy Orc who crosses from this life into the next.
      • The realm of Mehrunes Dagon, Daedric Prince of Destruction, is known as the Deadlands. It is a very much a Fire and Brimstone Hell crossed over with Mordor. Despite the seas of lava and such, it is said to feel deathly cold to mortals.
  • Debug Room: Each game starting with Morrowind has a series of them for testing out game mechanics and copy/pasting item displays during development. They are all only accessible on the PC versions using console commands.
  • Decadent Court: High Rock, the homeland of the Bretons, is made up of endless multitude of city-states, principalities, baronies, duchies, and kingdoms that had, until the events of Daggerfall, resisted all attempts at centralization into a single culture or government. As such, their political intrigue is more cutthroat than is typical elsewhere in Tamriel, with the use of assassinations, spies, and double agents rampant. This has been mitigated somewhat after the Warp in The West, which converted High Rock's dozens of petty city-states into three "kingdoms," but still prevalent. And while High Rock is highlighted for this trait, it is present in many other courts and governments throughout Tamriel to a lesser degree.
  • Decapitated Army:
    • In the series, this is the case for clans of Giants. Giants typically lead solitary (or small groups at most), nomadic lives herding mammoths. They mostly keep to themselves and do not attack unless provoked. However, historically, there have been some groups of Giants who have organized into clans numbering in the hundreds. Giants who organize into these clans are typically led by a high chieftain with "absolute" authority. In times of war, the high chieftain will rally an army of Giants for organized attacks. If the chieftain is killed, however, the clan tends to fall quickly into disarray.
    • This is also frequently true of Goblin tribes. Killing the Warlord/Warchief (who is typically the largest and strongest Goblin of a tribe) and/or the tribe's shaman will typically cause the rest to crumble. Crossing over with Keystone Army, the death of a Warchief or shaman sometimes causes the other tribe members to stop attacking altogether.
  • Deceased and Diseased: The series treats vampirism as a disease. There are different strains of the disease with names like Porphyric Hemophilia and Sanguinare Vampiris, which will cause the PC to mutate into a vampire if they are infected with them and don't cure themselves quickly enough. Depending on the game, vampires may spread other diseases to the player as well. The fact that it's a preventable disease is also a reason why vampires are so despised: anyone who doesn't bother to get himself cured must be a total scumbag. (Though as several cases in the lore prove, it isn't always this simple...)
  • Deceptive Disciple: Mannimarco, the King and later God of Worms, was originally a student in the extremely selective Psijic Order. He actively studied and practiced The Dark Arts while he was a student (including the trapping of sapient souls and necromancy) before being discovered and kicked out of the order.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: This is a power of Flame Atronachs in several games in the series. Given the immortal nature of lesser Daedra, they'll recover. Any mortals they take out with them, not so much...
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Tends to come up at least once per game, where the player character is expected to to take on anything and everything up to Physical Gods, Daedric Princes, and even the Beast of the Apocalypse.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The founder of the Second Tamriellic Empire, Reman Cyrodiil, incorporated the defeated Tsaesci invaders from Akavir into his fledgling empire. After Reman used the Thu'um against them in battle during their invasion of Tamriel, they recognized him as Dragonborn, who the Tsaesci believe to be the ultimate dragon slayers. He incorporated the surviving Tsaesci into his armies, where they served him as bodyguards, dragon hunters, and would be the precursors to the Blades. They also became a great cultural influence within the empire.
  • Defeat Means Respect:
  • Defector from Decadence:
    • St. Veloth, the legendary Chimer mystic and Dunmeri ancestor-hero, was born into a noble Aldmeri family in the Summerset Isles. However, he viewed his homeland with disdain as he believed Aldmeri society was founded on ambition, greed, and decadence. This, added to the visions he received from the "Good" Daedra, led to the Velothi dissident movement and eventually, their exodus to Morrowind.
    • Out of the members of the Tribunal, Sotha Sil wielded his divinity lightly and was the least concerned with the affairs of mortals, spending much of his time withdrawn from the world in the seclusion of his Clockwork City. Vivec and Almalexia (at least until they were cut off from the source of their divine powers) instead chose to live and work among their people, offering guidance and protection.
  • Deflector Shields: The "Shield" and "Ward" spells function this way. "Shield" protects the user from incoming physical damage based on the strength of the Shield spell being cast. (There have also been a number of elemental and general magical variants, which protect from incoming magical attacks.) "Ward" spells spell protect you from magic attacks (as long as the spell being cast isn't too high level for your barrier) but instead of deflecting it absorbs the energy from the spell. Naturally it's a spell in the Restoration school of magic.
  • Deity of Human Origin:
    • Tiber Septim, the first Emperor of the Septim dynasty, also known as Talos (and about a dozen other things), achieved apotheosis and became one of the Nine Divines upon his death. The deity Talos is possibly also composed of the Underking (who was himself was possibly composed of two men — Zurin Arctus and Wulfharth Ash-King).
    • Emperor Reman Cyrodiil, founder of the Reman dynasty, was another human that may have became a god after his death. After his death, he was possibly granted immortality and godhood by Akatosh, and it's believed by some that he became the War God Reymon Ebonarm. (Beyond the similar sounding names, this one is closer to an Epileptic Tree, with supporting evidence being very scant and circumstantial.)
    • 'Emperor' Cuhlecain has a cult dedicated to his worship, called the Cult of Emperor Zero due to the circumstances of its formation (Tiber Septim was Cuhlecain's top general, and took over after Cuhlecain was assassinated not long after taking the Imperial City. Thus, Cuhlecain was 'Emperor Zero' of the Third Empire). Whether he actually did become a god is not confirmed, but then the same is true of Reman Cyrodiil, as well.
    • Mannimarco, the "God of Worms." Mannimarco was a powerful Altmer necromancer who became a lich while working toward his goal of becoming a true god. As a result of the "Warp in the West", where all of Daggerfall's mutually exclusive endings take place (but none to the same extent as they would have individually), he succeeds in becoming Mannimarco, the God of Worms and patron to necromancers. Due to how the warp worked, however, it also leaves behind a Mannimarco, King of Worms, who leads an order that worships the God of Worms (and the two seem to be treated as separate entities).
    • The Tribunal and Dagoth Ur were all once mortal advisers to the ancient Chimeri/Dunmeri hero, Lord Indoril Nerevar. Some 4000 years prior to the events of the main series, their rival-turned-ally Dwemer discovered the still-beating Heart of Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane. The Dwemer planned to tap into the Heart's power, allowing them to in some way Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, but the Chimer led by Nerevar considered this a blasphemy against their gods, the Daedric Princes, and declared war. Exactly what happened next is recounted differently by all of the surviving parties, but the Dwemer disappeared without a trace, Nerevar was slain, and the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur went against the wishes of Azura (Nerevar's Daedric patron) to use the Dwemer tools on the Heart to become Physical Gods. The Nerevarine, supposedly Nerevar's reincarnation, works to unbind the Heart and cut off those who draw power from it. The Tribunal are able to survive with a trace of their divinity intact, due to "the faith of their followers". Dagoth Ur, not so much.
    • Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, following the events of the Shivering Isles. The Champion of Cyrodiil takes up the mantle, and as seen 200 years later in Skyrim, still holds the job.
    • This (and/or attempting to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence) caused the Dwemer to disappear. Exactly what happened to them is debated both in-universe and out, with many interpretations suggested. It may have worked, and they did ascend. Or they may have been wiped out by existing god(s)s for their blasphemous attempt. Or they may have simply gotten something wrong and killed themselves spectacularly by accident.
    • According to the interpretation in Ark'ay, the God of Birth and Death, Arkay, the God of Life and Death, may have originally been a mortal shopkeeper and avid book collector. He found a tome which purported to tell the secrets of "life, death, and the purpose of existence". However, he became stricken by a plague before he could finish interpreting it. He begged Mara for more time, and she agreed to give it if he were willing to become a god who oversees the cycle of life and death. He agreed. Other myths (especially in Yokudan/Redguard tradition) deny this, stating that he existed before Mundus but was unimportant, with everyone essentially being immortal spirits at that point. These interpretations state that he, like all of the Aedra, found new purpose once Mundus was created.
    • Sai, a God of Luck celebrated in the Iliac Bay region, is one. He was Born Lucky, with the uncanny ability to spread good luck to other (but not to himself). After he was killed in battle (while all of his fellow soldiers survived), he was resurrected and granted immortality by the aforementioned Ebonarm so that he may continue to spread his luck and help "balance" the world. After Walking the Earth for a time and doing just that, he met and settled down with a Nord woman named Josea, with whom he had a daughter. He lingered too long in one place staying with her, unbalancing the world by granting that place too much good luck. He was visited by a procession of gods, including Ebonarm and the Aedric Divine Mara, who decided to punish him by taking away his physical body. His decedents are said to be able to "feel" his presence once a year.
    • Trinimac was a prominent deity among the early Aldmer and served as the champion of Auri-El. 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. As Aldmeri society evolved, commoners stopped worshiping their own ancestors and began worshiping the ancestors of their social "betters", elevating them to the level of gods through collective adulation. Trinimac was one such ancestor. After being eaten and excreted by Boethiah, Trinimac would become the Daedric Prince Malacath.
    • This was one of the primary teachings of the Alessian Order, a rabidly anti-Elven religious sect which established a Theocracy in the 1st Era that wielded nearly as much power as the Emperor at its height. One of their teachings was that of "Ehlnofic Annulment", a means by which a mortal could break the cycle of life and death to ascend to "Proper-Life". They preached that this was the ideal for all mortals to aspire to.
    • Similarly, this is the goal of the "Psijic Endeavor", a process preached by the Chimeri mystic St. Veloth and later built upon by Vivec. It is a process, taught to Veloth by the Good Daedra, which supposedly allows mortals to ascend to divinity.
    • The Khajiit consider the legendary Impossible Thief Rajhin to be their God of Thievery. Among his many accomplishments in life are the stealing of the Ring of Khajiiti from the arm of the Daedric Prince Mephala, stealing a tattoo from the neck of the sleeping Empress, and stealing the entire city of Falinesti.
    • While "deity" might be too strong of word (unless the theory that is an aspect of the Daedric Prince Mephala is true), the Night Mother is, at the very least, an exceptional spirit with greater than usual influence within the mortal world and it is generally believed that she was once a mortal woman. A mysterious figure, the Night Mother leads the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal assassins guild whose members typically take a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil, worshiping the "Dread Father" Sithis, the primordial "Is-Not" antithesis of creation represented by a great void. According to legend, the Night Mother was once a mortal woman who sacrificed her five children in the name of Sithis, and became the wife of Sithis after her death.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Morag Tong is an assassin's guild of Professional Killers which is sanctioned by the Dunmeri government of Morrowind. To the Dunmer, the Morag Tong are highly respected for what they do, essentially being the alternative to destructive Allowed Internal Wars among the Dunmer Great Houses which weaken the Dunmer overall. (The threat of having legal assassins sicced against you mostly keeps the Great House leaders in line.) However, the Morag Tong is more or less abhorred by the rest of Tamriel, where they are very much illegal. (Playing a part in assassinating Reman Cyrodiil III certainly doesn't help.)
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons of varying strength are an extremely common enemy throughout the series. Plenty of variants also exist, such as Bonelords (skeletal mages assembled from multiple corpses), Dark Guardians (who serve the Dark Brotherhood), and even skeletal dragons.
  • Demihuman:
    • The races of Mer (Elves). While primarily humanoid in size and shape, each race of Mer shares at least a few features outside the range of normal humans including unusual skin tones, classic Pointy Ears, and elongated skulls of varying degrees.
    • There also exist several "Beast Races" (also known as "Betmer") in Tamriel, with the Lizard Folk Argonians and Cat Folk Khajiit being the only ones to make an appearance in the series to date. Both have generally humanoid forms but numerous saurine and feline traits as well, respectively. Others known to exist are the Imga "monkey folk" of Valenwood, the Sload "slug men" of Thras, the extinct Lilmothiit "fox folk" of Black Marsh, and all four of the known races of Akavir.
  • Demonic Possession: The Daedric Princes have shown to be capable of this, though they are far more likely to take the form of a mortal avatar when needed.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The Daedric Princes, though some are more openly "demonic" than others. Some of the biggest offenders are Mehrunes Dagon - Prince of Destruction, Molag Bal - Prince of Domination, and Sheogorath - Prince of Madness. For additional information on them (and the other Daedric Princes), see The Elder Scrolls: Daedra sub-page.
  • Demon Slaying: With "demons" in the series being represented by the lesser Daedra, this is one of the duties of a number of organizations throughout the series. Following the events of the Oblivion Crisis, the Vigil of Stendarr formed to specifically be this, though they'll also deal with other supernatural threats as well, including vampires, lycanthropes, and undead.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Throughout the series (though the exact specifics can vary by game), ghosts can only be harmed by silver, Daedric, or magically enchanted weaponry. Alternatively, in most games, you can damage them with your bare hands.
  • Depraved Bisexual: The Tribunal deity Vivec. In the backstory and throughout his 36 Lessons series, he is noted to have had sex with men and women alike, including fellow Tribunal deities Almalexia and Sotha Sil during a threesome and Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination, Corruption, and Violation (including rape). Though he ends up doing some good just before his disappearance in the late 3rd Era, he has a history of telling Blatant Lies and Metaphorical Truths, being a Jerkass God at times (the Baar Dau situation comes to mind), and at minimum betrayed (if not outright killed) the original Nerevar.
  • Descriptiveville: A number of cities throughout the series qualify. Specific examples can by found listed by game on the trope page.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment:
    • Spellmaking is an option throughout the series, allowing you to create spells of varying strengths and durations, or to combine the effects of multiple spells. Once these become available (and the player can afford them,) they usually render the majority of the games pre-made spells obsolete.
    • At least three of the games allow you to exploit Enchanting, Smithing and Alchemy to make some disgustingly broken weapons, armour and potions. For example, in Morrowind you can stack Potions of Intelligence and chug all of them at once to achieve an incredible skill level in Alchemy and then make hyper-potent stamina potions out of easily available food items and either use them to buy out the entire inventory of most merchants, or drink one and ensure you have infinite energy for the next sixty years. You could also create a magic dagger that inflicts 14 million fire damage in one hit, casually stroll up to Dagoth Ur, and hit him with the full force of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event to wipe him off Nirn with one strike.
  • Destroyer Deity:
    • Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane, is theorized to be one in some accounts to note:
      • Some accounts state that the destruction of the Aurbis (loosely, universe) is Lorkhan's original purpose, goal, and what he ultimately embodies. He was said to be "begat" by Sithis, the force of chaos, to destroy the Aurbis, and disguised himself as an et'Ada to convert other entities to his cause. Mundus is essentially the embodiment of "limitation" and by feeding their power into creating it, the Aedra forced limitations onto the Aurbis and themselves. This is part of the reason why worship of Lorkhan is forbidden by the Mer races and one reason why the Aldmeri Dominion under Thalmor leadership is staunchly opposed to Talos; one of the beings that is theorized to make up Talos is Wulfharth Ash-King, a "Shezarrine" (Lorkhan's soul), and thus Talos is doing the same thing Lorkhan once did as one of the Divines.
      • Lorkhan's Yokudan counterpart, Sep, also fits the Destroyer Deity motif. Yokudan/Redguard mythology believes that the world is devoured over and over again by a primordial entity called Satakal. A being named Ruptga discovered a way to survive this, but found there were way too many souls to save. Sep was created by Ruptga from "worldskins" Satakal left behind, but this gave him the same Horror Hunger that afflicted Satakal. After Ruptga stopped Sep from eating the souls they were supposed to be saving, Sep betrayed his creator and tricked the other gods into creating Mundus.
    • Alduin is colossal black dragon and Beast of the Apocalypse. He is destined to "eat the world" at the end of every cycle of time, resetting it for a new world to take form. (However, he isn't the Big Bad in Skyrim because of this. Rather, it's because he has decided to shirk his "destroy the world" responsibility and would rather Take Over the World instead.)
    • The very idea of "destruction" falls within the sphere of Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Price of Destruction. He is an Omnicidal Maniac and Person of Mass Destruction who seeks to invade and destroy Mundus above all else. However, like most of the other Daedric Princes, he is not an inherently evil being. For example, he is no more "evil" than a flood or an earthquake. According to a Loose Canon text written by former series developer/writer Michael Kirkbride, Dagon was once a kindly demon who attempted to protect parts of Mundus from being eaten by Alduin at the end of every kalpa, until Alduin banished and cursed him into his current state.
    Alduin: "You I curse right here and right now! I take away your ability to jump and jump and jump and doom you to [the void] where you will not be able to leave except for auspicious days long between one and another and even so only through hard, hard work. And it will be this way, my little corner cutter, until you have destroyed all that in the world which you have stolen from earlier kalpas, which is to say probably never at all!"
  • Developers' Foresight: Bethesda is renowned for having considerable foresight during development, which is especially impressive given the series' Wide Open Sandbox nature which leads to there being for more possibilities than in most games. In particular, Skyrim has so many examples that it required its own sub-page.
  • Devil, but No God:
    • This is prevalent in the religious conflicts between the worshipers of the Nine Divines and those of the Daedric Princes. The Church of the Nine Divines is more or less a Saintly Church, which has been uniformly benevolent throughout the series. However, the "Divines" they worship (also known as the Aedra, which means "our ancestors" in old Aldmeris) sacrificed much of their power during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. As a result it has left them much weaker than the Daedra ("not our ancestors") who made no sacrifices during creation. Preferring a much lighter touch when intervening on mortal affairs, many mortals question whether the Divines even exist. The Daedric Princes, while not universally evil (some are, in fact, quite benevolent, and all tend to hold up their end of a bargain), tend to be amoral, unpredictable, sadistic and, on occasion, prone to attempting world conquest. They are near universally reviled as 'evil', and their worshipers are considered misguided at best, and dangerous lunatics at worst. They are, however, very much present in the world. They speak directly to their worshipers, sometimes even appearing in a physical form, and are perfectly willing to offer immediate, tangible rewards for those that choose to do their work.
    • Clouding these waters further is the presence of Lorkhan (aka Shor, Shezarr, etc,) the dead creator god of the mortal realm. According to virtually every creation myth (with a few variations,) he convinced/tricked the other divine pre-creation spirits into sacrificing part of their power to create the world. He was "killed" as a result, his "divine center" (heart) torn from his body and cast down in the world he helped to create. The moons are said to be his "rotting corpse" and his spirit is forced to wander Nirn, occasionally taking form as a "Shezarrine," great champions of mankind who usually show up to help in wars against the Elven races. So it's possible that rather than there being "Devils But No God," it could really be "Devils, weakened Angels, and a Dead God."
    • The Dunmer have an interesting take on this. In general, they acknowledge that the Daedric Princes that they do revere - Azura, Boethiah, and Mephala - are actually ruthless, vicious and brutal entities; even Azura, the most benevolent of those Princes, still cursed the whole species for the actions of the Tribunal. At the same time, the Dunmer view everyone else, Aedra and Daedra alike, as either lying tricksters, ineffectually weak, or uselessly malicious. (By comparison, Boethiah and Mephala are usefully malicious, as they taught the Dunmer how to survive in a harsh environment through their maliciousness.) It's not really surprising that the only gods the Dunmer truly revered as benevolent were ALMSIVI, or the Tribunal, a trio of Physical Gods who were a major part of Dunmer culture from the mid-1st Era to end of the 3rd Era 4000 years later.
  • Dhampyr: Throughout the series and in the lore, there have been known instances of Tamriellic vampires producing offspring with non-vampires. Any traits inherited from the vampire parent are pretty mild, however. One of the most famous instances is Agronak gro-Malog, aka "The Grey Prince", champion of the Imperial City Arena during the time of Oblivion. He takes the news rather poorly.
  • Dialogue Tree: The series has used some form this trope, varying by game, since Daggerfall. A full breakdown by game is available on the trope page.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Happens frequently in interactions with various deities, particularly the Daedra. The games alone provide examples of having dinner with Sheogorath and a drinking contest with Sanguine.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Played with concerning the Daedra throughout the series. The mortal forms they take when on Mundus, the mortal plane, can be killed and destroyed, but their essence always returns to Oblivion where it can be reformed. Instead of "death", physically ruining a Daedra's body is called "banishment". To date, while Daedra have been beaten, battered, and even fundamentally changed, nothing in the setting has ever been able to truly "kill" one. That said, even Daedric Princes are vulnerable to banishment, and it is considered a highly unpleasant experience by Daedra nonetheless. In several games in the series, you get the opportunity to "punch out" a number of the Daedric Princes (either directly or indirectly, though when it's direct, they are typically going easy on you).
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: There are numerous examples of various mortals scamming, tricking, and/or stealing from deities, especially the Daedric Princes, throughout the series and in the backstory. The vast majority pay for it dearly, eventually. A full list is available on the trope page.
  • Died Standing Up: This can happen to NPC corpses in the games with the Havok engine due to a glitch. This usually happens after loading a cell where multiple deaths have occurred at a previous time, and the game simply can't handle all the requests being made of it, and as such, forgets to apply physics to them.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Playing with the "Atronach" birthsign (or activating the Atronach "Standing Stone" in Skyrim). The Atronach removes (or severely reduces) your ability to regenerate Magicka naturally, which includes sleeping. In return, it grants the largest boost to your maximum Magicka of any birthsign and gives you a 50% chance to absorb any magic spell cast at you. By devising a way to cover the other 50% (via absorption, reflection, or resistance), you can effectively become immune to magical attacks. This goes Up to Eleven if you play as an Altmer, who have a natural weakness to magical attacks but have the highest natural starting pool of Magicka of any race.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Divayth Fyr is one. According to the in game book The Doors of Oblivion, Fyr is one of the few "mortals" who can freely travel between the realms of Oblivion.
  • Dimension Lord: The Daedric Princes each rule over their own plane(s) of Oblivion. Within their plane(s), the Daedric Princes possess almost absolute power. According to some interpretations, these planes may be closer to a Genius Loci, with the plane itself being the Daedric Prince, and the (mostly) humanoid avatars they take when dealing with mortals being A Form You Are Comfortable With.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: The series in general has long employed this trope. You increase your skills through successful use of said skills. Each time a skill is used successfully, the skill's progression will raise a percentage. (For example, if you strike enemies with a long sword, your Blade/Long Blade/One-Handed skill will increase.) Once that progression reaches 100%, the skill will increase one point. Once you gain ten skill increases, you go up one Character Level. However, the higher said skills get, the long it takes to progress them. Essentially, it is very quick and easy to go from a total novice to adept in a particular skill, but is much harder and takes much longer to go from that point to maxing out the skill. Additionally, skill trainers charge exponentially more gold to train you at the very highest levels. (Though will all of the series' Money for Nothing, this can be considered trivial.) This is why it is advisable to save skill books, which raise a certain related skill by one when read, until the skill is at a very high skill level. (Open your inventory and place them directly to save them for later, as picking them up directly will automatically open them for you to read.)
  • Disadvantageous Disintegration: Several games in the series have the "Disintegrate" Armor and Weapon spell effects. When used, they reduce the health of the target's equipped Armor or Weapon, respectively. However, this is rather disadvantageous if you want to loot those items to use or sell. (While the item cannot be totally destroyed this way, you will need to pay to have it repaired or a high Armorer skill to repair it yourself.)
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Stone Atronachs possess this power. The Altmeri Clan Direnni of High Rock once summoned an "army" of them to build a massive prison out of rubble in a single day.
  • Disney Owns This Trope: Bethesda has been involved in a trademark dispute with Mojang (most famous for creating Minecraft), over Mojang's other property, Scrolls, due to Mojang attempting to trademark the use of the word "scrolls" in a video game title. Both companies were essentially attempting to play this trope straight in their own favor. (The case would be settled, allowing Scrolls to use the word in its title, but not in any sequels or spin-offs. Mojang's Scrolls was eventually renamed Caller's Bane in 2018.)
  • Dispel Magic: Several games in the series include the "Dispel" effect. It immediately ends all magical effects on the target.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Throughout the series, the various City Guards have a tendency to aggressively seek you out if you commit a crime, whether it's mass murder or stealing a piece of Vendor Trash worth a single gold. With the exception of Arena, it is Downplayed in that they will at least attempt to arrest you first (unless your bounty is exceptionally high, generally 5000+, at which point you'll be marked as "kill on sight").
    • This trait, along with Evil Is Petty, is possessed by many of the Daedric Princes, which is fitting for a group of mostly Jerkass Gods. To note:
      • Azura toward the Chimer/Dunmer in the series' backstory. While everyone involved has their own version of exactly what happened at Red Mountain all those years ago, we do know that Nerevar ended up dead and the Tribunal (and Dagoth Ur) ascended to godhood. Neither of which Azura was happy about. She then (possibly) cursed them with the dark skin and red eyes of the modern Dunmer. Years later, she played a prominent role in guiding the Nerevarine to destroy the Heart of Lorkhan, and with it, the Tribunal's divinity. They all end up dead or disappeared, plunging Morrowind into chaos and indirectly leading toward its destruction with the subsequent Red Mountain eruption and Argonian invasion.
      • Molag Bal is the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption. One of his most infamous acts (and that is really saying something) was to perpetrate the first rape, turning the innocent woman into the first vampire, who proceeded to rape and kill the nomads who cared for her, bringing undeath into Mundus (the mortal realm) — simply as a "Screw you!" gesture to Arkay, the Aedric Divine of Life and Death and one of Molag Bal's many rivals.
      • During a wager between the Daedric Princes Vaermina and Sheogorath, they conspired to see which of them could most effectively ensnare a famous artist. Namira used grotesque nightmares, driving the artist to make terrifying and disgusting art that made him wildly popular through Bile Fascination. Sheogorath, meanwhile, did nothing at all, driving the artist to madness when his inspirations disappeared, and as a result he began creating angry, blasphemous art that insulted the gods and authority figures. Eventually the artist insulted the wrong petty king, who had him publicly executed.
  • Distressed Dude: Emperor Uriel Septim VII during the Imperial Simulacrum, during which his Imperial Battlemage and Evil Chancellor Jagar Tharn imprisoned him in Oblivion and took his place for 10 years.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: The series has a Justified example when this happened to Peryite, the Daedric Prince of Pestilence, Tasks, and Order, upon the introduction of Jyggalag, Daedric Prince of Order, in Shivering Isles. Peryite's association with "Order" became downplayed and replaced with "Natural Order", essentially the cycle of growth and decay. Meanwhile, Jyggalag came to represent the idea of "Perfect Order", essentially inorganic stasis. The implication is that Peryite became tasked with representing the greater scope of "order" while Jyggalag was sealed as Sheogorath, because Someone Had To Do It. It also helps to explain why Peryite is looked down upon as a "loathsome" Butt-Monkey by the other Daedric Princes, who are primarily chaotic in nature. Come Skyrim, Peryite's quest fully emphasizes his association with pestilence.
  • Divide and Conquer: This is a favored tactic of the 4th Era incarnation of the Thalmor, the extremist ruling party and State Sec of the Aldmeri Dominion. Taking credit for resolving the Oblivion Crisis within their homeland made them popular enough to seize numerous leadership positions. They would then manipulate events over the next two centuries to destabilize the crumbling Cyrodiilic Empire. After seceding, annexing Valenwood, and gaining Elsweyr as a client state, they incited the Argonians into invading Morrowind to get revenge for thousands of years of slavery at the hands of the Dunmer, costing the Empire two more provinces. The Dominion then engaged the Empire in the Great War prior to the events of Skyrim, but were fought to a stalemate by the surprisingly resilient Empire, especially after they brought in their Nord reinforcements from Skyrim. Knowing that victory would be too costly, the Dominion settled for peace treaty known as the White-Gold Concordat. However, in an attempt to further destabilize the Empire, they forced divisive terms into the treaty including the Empire ceding half of Hammerfell to the Dominion and a ban on Talos worship, the most popular deity among the Nords. Hammerfell quickly seceded from the Empire and Skyrim erupted into Civil War, further weakening the Empire.
  • Divine Date: St. Alessia, the "Slave Queen" and leader of the Alessian Revolt against the Ayleids, prayed to and was granted divine aid by the Aedra as part of her Bargain with Heaven. One being they sent was the demi-god Morihaus, the "Man-Bull", said to be the "son" of Kyne (Kynareth). Morihaus became Alessia's consort and the two became lovers. Pelinal Whitestrake, Alessia's divine champion and "uncle" of Morihaus, counseled Morihaus against this relationship, for fear that they would "beget more monsters" upon the earth. Morihaus rejected the advice and their progeny would become the first Minotaur.
  • Divine Delegation:
    • The Aedra and Daedra are this, albeit indirectly in a Pieces of God sense. They are said to have formed from the spilled blood of Anu and Padomay, the God of Gods and The Anti-God who are the personifications of the forces of "stasis/order/light" and "change/chaos/darkness", respectively. As Padomay attempted to destroy creation because it favored Anu, he and Anu fought before Anu pulled them both outside of time. According to some myths, the Aedra are "Anuic" beings, emerging from intermingled blood of Anu and Padomay, while the Daedra are purely "Padomaic" beings, emerging from the blood of Padomay.
    • In the Yokudan/Redguard pantheon, Ruptga, the "Tall Papa" and chief deity of their pantheon, created such a hierarchy. To note:
      • Ruptga gave purpose to Tu'whacca, another greater spirit who did not previously have one. (He was essentially a God of Life and Death in a world where everyone was immortal spirits.) Tu'whacca would be the caretaker of the Far Shores and help guide souls there.
      • Ruptga created Sep, the Yokudan serpentine version of Lorkhan to help him save the lesser spirits from Satakal's Vicious Cycle of devouring the world. Sep immediately began consuming the souls instead, forcing Ruptga to save them. Sep then devised the idea of Mundus, which was supposed to be an easier alternative to the Walkabout, Ruptga's method of saving the souls, but instead it trapped the souls and made it harder for them to reach the Far Shores. Thus, Ruptga punished Sep by "squashing him with a big stick".
      • Some of Ruptga's children (Leki, Zeht, HoonDing) and his wife (Morwha) are also deities in the Yokudan pantheon.
  • Divine Intervention: Many of the universe's various divine beings have done this at one point or another. Though most would prefer to do so subtly, or indirectly through mortal agents, a few have intervened directly in the affairs of mortals. A few prominent examples of intervention include:
    • The various "Shezarrines" throughout history. They are theorized to be the soul of the dead creator god Shezarr/Lorkhan/Shor/many others manifesting in mortal form as one of the races of Men when they are threatened, and then advancing their cause, usually by killing lots and lots of Elves.
    • Azura, the Daedric Prince of Dusk and Dawn, has acted much more subtly in her instances of intervention, but not without leaving a major impact on the mortal world. She, along with Boethia and Mephala, convinced the prophet Veloth to lead the Chimer people to Morrowind from the Summerset Isles. When their leaders, the Tribunal, later betrayed her by being involved in the death of her faithful servant Nerevar and then using the power of the Heart of Lorkhan to ascend to godhood, she cursed them and left a prophecy foretelling their downfall. (During the events of Morrowind, she personally sees the prophesy to fruition.)
    • Mehrunes Dagon is a villainous version of the trope whenever he manifests. His doing so led to the destruction of Old Mournhold and the Imperial Battlespire, and very nearly the destruction of Mundus entirely during the Oblivion Crisis had he not been stopped by Akatosh, the chief deity God of Time of the Nine Divines pantheon, pulling a direct intervention of his own to end the Oblivion Crisis.
    • Kynareth, the Divine Goddess of the Air and Heavens, pulled a few to help early mankind in their battles against the dragons and elves. When the ancient Nords prayed for aid against the dragons and their Dragon Cults, she sent Paarthurnax to teach them the Thu'um so they could use the dragons' own weapon against them. She was also perhaps the most active Divine in supporting the Alessian Revolt, sending her "son" Morihaus to join the conflict on Alessia's side. She sent rain to cleanse the blood from Ayleid forts and villages after Pelinal Whitestrake came through, so that they could be used by Alessia's forces.
    • The Daedric Prince Meridia granted a form of Resurrective Immortality to the Ayleid sorcerer-king, Umaril the Unfeathered. Umaril was initially defeated by Pelinal Whitestrike, himself a form of divine intervention as one of the aforementioned Shezarrines, but his spirit simply "went adrift" in Oblivion until reforming, not unlike an actual Daedric being. (He would be defeated for good by the Champion of Cyrodiil.)
    • St. Jiub the Eradicator was attempting to eradicate the much reviled Cliff Racers from Vvardenfell in atonement for his past "sordid" lifestyle. After being led into a trap by the smarter-than-he-thought Cliff Racers, the swarmed him with numbers in the hundreds. Jiub, according to his opus, was certain that this was going to be his Last Stand. After two days of fighting, all of the Cliff Racers lay dead and Jiub collapsed, exhausted and wounded. He was sure that he was going to die, when the Dunmeri Physical God, Vivec, saved him and declared him to be a saint for his actions.
  • Divinely Appearing Demons: This is both played straight and subverted in different instances for the Daedric Princes, who are loosely the "demons" to the Aedra's "angels" and Sithis "squid". The Princes are technically divine beings Above Good and Evil who operate on their own scales of Blue and Orange Morality depending on the spheres over which they govern. They can take any form they choose, from "divine" to outright Eldritch Abominations, though most stick to a humanoid form when dealing with mortals. The best straight example is Meridia, who is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. She has a Fallen Angel backstory and is typically depicted as a beautiful woman, sometimes with angel-like wings. She is typically considered one of the "good" Daedra, though has some very Good Is Not Nice moments, is a fan of Disproportionate Retribution to those who anger her, and hates anything undead with such a passion that no cost is too great to wipe them out.
  • Divine Parentage:
    • All of the recognized Cyrodiilic Emperors of Tamriel (the Alessian, Reman, and Septim dynasties) claim this from Akatosh, the draconic God of Time and chief deity of the Eight (later Nine) Divines pantheon, in the metaphysical sense (imbued with "Dragon Blood"), dating back to Akatosh's covenant with St. Alessia, founder of the First Empire. In addition to the patronage of the Divines for the Empire, these Emperors serve as Barrier Maidens, sealing and protecting Mundus (the mortal plane) from Oblivion. (At least, until the events of Oblivion itself.)
    • The series' dragons are the "children" of Akatosh and/or, according to some theories, fragments of his very being. This would also include those who are Dragonborn, mortals gifted by Akatosh with the immortal soul of a dragon, who are to serve as natural predators to dragons. Like the dragons, the Dragonborn possess instinctive knowledge of the draconic Language of Magic and can use the Thu'um.
  • Does Not Like Magic: A cultural trait of both the Nords and Redguards, both Proud Warrior Races. Both races have long been at war with different races of Mer (Elves), who tend to be magically inclined Witch Species, making this dislike somewhat justifiable. Both also make exceptions: the Nords for Restoration magic ("Healers"), and the Redguards for Destruction magic (because doing more damage is always a good thing). Both races were also ancient users of magic-like abilties - the Nords using the Thu'um and the Redguards has their Ansei ("Sword Saints") who could create powerful swords from their very souls. For the Nords, this is also only the case for modern Nords - the ancient Nords (and their Atmoran ancestors) considered magic to be the "Clever Craft", with many of their ancient heroes being Magic Knights.
  • Does Not Like Men: True for Aureals (aka Golden Saints) and Mazken (aka Dark Seducers), two forms of lesser Daedra in service to Sheogorath. The male Aureal/Mazken are looked down upon (literally and figuratively) by the females. Arguably justified given the fact that male Aureals/Mazken are both physically and statistically inferior to their female counterparts. This trope extends to males of the mortal races, though with far less justification.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The modern Morlock-like Falmer, despite being able to craft weapons and armor, are rarely seen wearing anything on their feet. Possibly justified, as it is speculated that, due to their blindness, the Falmer use other means of detecting threats. This may include feeling vibrations in the ground with their feet.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • The Ayleids of Cyrodiil took the Nedes, human ancestors of most of the modern races of Men, as slaves. As if that weren't bad enough, the Ayleids were needlessly vile in their Dog-Kicking, committing such atrocities as skinning runaway slaves alive then turning their hides into blankets for human children, creating sculptures and gardens out of human bones and entrails, and setting human children on fire then loosing wild animals on them. Their slaves would revolt, and they would eventually drive the Ayleids to extinction as a unique race.
    • Following the events of the Oblivion Crisis, the Argonians, a long-time Slave Race to the Dunmer who were weakened due to the events of the Red Year, took the opportunity to invade Morrowind, the Dunmer homeland. They captured most of the still-habitable portions, along with Morrowind's rich Ebony deposits.
    • This is essentially the plan for (what remains of the) Third Cyrodiilic Empire against the Thalmor-led Aldmeri Dominion following the Great War of the 4th Era; bide their time, acting like a weak and obedient state, until it is time to invoke this trope. However, part of "biding their time" involves following the rules set forth by the Dominion in the ceasefire, especially the ban on Talos worship. Being perhaps the most popular god to the Nords of Skyrim, they do not take the Talos ban very well, leading to the Stormcloak Rebellion and Skyrim's full blown civil war. The Dominion is of course all too happy to let the Empire bleed itself dry, hoping the war lasts for as long as possible.
  • Domesticated Dinosaurs:
    • Guar are vaguely theropod-like dinosaurids, about the size of a cow, which the Dunmer farm for their hides and use as beasts of burden. Despite their awkward and clumsy appearance, they are Not So Harmless and are quite capable of defending themselves. (Concept art for Morrowind shows them being ridden by armed and armored Dunmer as Beasts Of Battle, but this was not present in the game itself. There are still mentions of Guar being ridden in the lore, however.)
    • Giants herd woolly mammoths. The relationship is said to be symbiotic, with the mammoths allowing the Giants to milk them and create cheese in exchange for the Giants' protection.
  • The Don: The leader of the Thieves' Guild in each game where it appears qualifies. Naturally, the Player Character can always rise up to that rank by finishing the Guild quest line.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: It is understandably inadvisable to taunt or scam the Daedric Princes. A quick death, or worse, often follows. A number of noteworthy specific examples can be found on the trope page.
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • This is the case for Aldmeris, the lost continent homeland of the Aldmer, ancestors to all of the modern races of Mer (Elves). It is said that Aldmeris came under an unknown threat in the earliest Era of history following the creation of the mortal world and the Aldmer were forced to flee, settling in Tamriel. It is said to be "lost," and whether it still exists (or ever existed at all, as other theories claim that Aldmeris was simply Tamriel before the races of Men arrived) is unknown.
    • Yokuda, the original homeland of the Redguards, was mostly "sunk beneath the sea" in the 1st Era. There are many stories as to why it happened, ranging from the natural (earthquake, tsunami) to the fantastic (a rogue group of Ansei using their Dangerous Forbidden Technique Fantastic Nuke) with the truth likely lost to history.
  • Door to Before: Prominent in the series starting with Oblivion. Earlier games actually avert it in most cases, forcing you to backtrack through the dungeon in order to get out (barring the use of a magical means, like a teleportation spell).
  • Double-Meaning Title: Two of the series' in-game books use the trope:
    • In Confessions of a Khajiit Fur Trader, the narrator is a fur trader and a Khajiit, and he has no problem trading the skins of his kinsmen (or any other sentient being) if he can get his hands on them.
    • The Importance of Where is the story of a warrior learning where he must strike his blows. He can kill a monster by aiming for its weak spots, but he also needs to chase the monster to his village before landing the final blow if he wants the glory associated with killing it.
  • Double Entendre: The (in)famous in-game book The Lusty Argonian Maid is a lightly pornographic play full of double entendres, such as the eponymous Argonian maid being asked to "polish the spear" of the human male main character. Skyrim would later introduce asequel, as well as a Gender Flipped version for the ladies - The Sultry Argonian Bard.
  • Double Speak: The Morag Tong is a legal assassin's guild which is sanctioned by the Dunmeri government as an alternative to destructive Allowed Internal Wars between the Great Houses which weaken the Dunmer overall. As such, the Morag Tong insists that they do not commit "murders" or even "assassinations", they perform Honorable Executions. However, given that they are the high-class, honorable Professional Killers in contrast to the gangly, thuggish Cammona Tong and the treacherous Dark Brotherhood, they do manage to keep a higher moral ground (and technically, the Morag Tong do not usually "murder" — they're legally allowed to pursue their Writs of Execution, as a flip side to the strict restrictions on who and when writs can be granted for, though they do sometimes dabble in illegal writs known as "Gray Writs").
  • Downer Beginning: Every main series game except for Morrowind has this happen. In Arena, you learn that the Emperor has been kidnapped, and you need to rescue him. In Daggerfall, King Lysandus is killed, and you are sent to figure out who did it and why. Oblivion has the Emperor assassinated by psychotic cultists. Skyrim starts with the village you are in getting destroyed by the first dragon seen in Skyrim in centuries. Online begins with your own death and having your soul taken.
  • Downloadable Content: Each game dating back to Morrowind offers some smaller DLC content in addition to the large Expansion Packs. Oblivion was the first game in the series to charge for them, including the downright infamous $10 "Horse Armor" DLC.
  • Down the Drain: Larger cities usually have some Absurdly Spacious Sewers ripe for exploring. At least one city (often a City of Canals) in each game following the 3D jump has some.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Wulfharth Ash-King, the ancient King of the Nords who has died and come back to life at least three times, possessed a powerful Thu'um. After defeating a troublesome tribe of Orcs, Wulfharth "shouted their chief into Hell". Later, following one of his deaths at the hands of Elves, Wulfharth himself ended up in Hell but was rescued by Kyne, the Old Nordic aspect of the Aedric Divine Kynareth.
  • The Dragon: Most games in the series include one. In games where the Big Bad is a Daedric Prince (Oblivion, Online), who are metaphysically limited in how they can directly affect Mundus, their mortal Dragons (Mankar Camoran, Mannimarco) also serve as The Heavy for the respective main quests.
  • Dragon Ancestry:
    • There is some confusion in-universe as to what it means to be "Dragonborn" - to be blessed with the soul of a dragon by Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time. There are some suggestions that it can be passed down genetically, but other suggestions that one must be judged worthy or otherwise chosen by Akatosh to gain the blessing.
    • Certain bits of lore imply that some Imperials have distant Tsaesci ancestry. The Tsaesci are one of the Akaviri races and attempted to invade Tamriel in the late 1st Era. They were defeated and the survivors incorporated into the Empire of the Reman Dynasty. They had significant influence on Imperial culture, especially the creation of the Blades (who were based on the Akaviri Dragonguard and use Akaviri styled weapons and armor), as well as some of the vague Wuxia elements of it. They were also said to have left behind cross-bred descendants, who are said to be "beautiful, if frightening". (The Tsaesci also have a Multiple-Choice Past, with various conflicting descriptions of them in the lore. Some sources don't mention them being snake-like at all, essentially being humans with some East Asian physical features.)
  • The Dragons Come Back: Thought to have been rendered extinct in a concerted effort by the Akaviri Dragonguard and their successors, the Blades, in the late 1st Era, the dragons return in 4E201 along with the return of Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse who had been cast out of the stream of time thousands of years in the past by the ancient Nords using the power of an Elder Scroll. As it turns out, save for a few who went into deep hiding or received protection from mortals, the dragons really were extinct, and Alduin is activating their inherent Resurrective Immortality to bring them back to life as his minions. The plot of Skyrim revolves around the return of the dragons and the Dragonborn being the only one who can stop them.
  • Dragon Hoard: While usually not found lounging on a bed of Septims, the series' dragons can typically be found near treasure troves of different sorts. It is implied that the instincts of the dragons, as part of their innate desire to dominate, includes such hoarding.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: The case for the Dark Brotherhood. Because the Night Mother is the "official" leader of the Dark Brotherhood, the Listener (the one she communicates with from the Void) is in charge of the organization but is technically subordinate to the Night Mother.
  • Dragons Are Divine: Crossing over with elements of Dragons Are Demonic as well. To summarize, dragons are the "children" of Akatosh, the Aedric God of Time and Top God of the Imperial Nine Divines pantheon who himself typically takes the form of a great dragon. The dragons practice a Language of Magic, the "Thu'um" which allows for some small scale Reality Warping by "shouting" elements into existence. The dragons themselves are The Ageless, and while they can be slain by any capable individual, they possess Resurrective Immortality and can be brought back to life by another dragon unless their soul is absorbed by another dragon (or Dragonborn). Despite their divine origins, dragons are creatures of aggression and domination, and it's in their blood to be cruel and contemptuous. However, they can fight against their baser nature, as best exemplified by Paarthurnax. In addition to Akatosh, even the lesser dragons have been worshiped by different groups across Nirn, including the ancient Nords and the Ka Po' Tun of Akavir.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Though long extinct by the time the main series games take place, the Dwemer were rightfully dreaded in the backstory. They had an utterly incomprehensible and alien belief system while being by far the most technologically advanced race in the series. They were said to be feared by the Chimer (ancestors of the Dunmer), Nords, and even the gods themselves. The latter because the highly Naytheistic Dwemer were known to summon Daedra just to put their divinity to the test. The only military force in history which truly challenged them was a Nord army led by masters of the Thu'um, and the Dwemer even defeated them after forming an Enemy Mine with their rival Chimer. The only reason they aren't still around terrorizing the other races is because they did something (involving the heart of a dead god) which caused their entire race to disappear at once.
    • Mannimarco, the King of Worms, is a powerful Lich/Necromancer who has terrorized Tamriel since well before the time the main series of games takes place. He is perhaps second only to some of the more more malevolent Daedric Princes in terms of the dread he inspires as, due to his mastery of The Dark Arts, he can not only kill you, but torture you for eternity with the pain of undeath. He serves as a major villain in Daggerfall and Oblivion, and is The Dragon in Online.
    • Alduin the World-Eater, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, is one in multiple contexts. For one, it is his divinely mandated duty to "eat the world" at the end of every "kalpa" (cycle of time) so that a new one can be created in its place. Understandably, this act is dreaded by any mortals who happen to be living in the soon-to-be consumed world. "Even the Daedra fear me!" Indeed, as shown in the Seven Fights of the Aldudagga, even the most malevolent of the Daedric Princes pale in comparison to Alduin when he is at full world-ending power. Additionally, even when he is trying to shirk his World-Eater duties and is trying to Take Over the World instead, he is still a nigh-invincible dragon with well known Jerkass tendencies toward just about every other living thing.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come:
    • Emperor Uriel Septim VII suffered from prophetic dreams for the rest of his life following his time spent trapped in Oblivion during the Imperial Simulacrum. Prior to the events of Oblivion, he began having dreams fortelling his own death.
    • This is a power of Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of Nightmares. It is theorized that she uses the dreams of mortals as some sort of source of power. Her most (in)famous artifact is the Skull of Corruption, a Magic Staff which steals the dreams of sleeping mortals to become more powerful.
  • Driven by Envy: In the series' primary Creation Myth, Padomay is The Anti-God personification of the forces of change, chaos, and darkess. He is the twin brother to Anu, the God of Gods personification of the forces of stasis, order, and light. Their interplay in the great "void" before creation led to creation itself, sometimes personified as the female entity "Nir". Nir favored Anu, which angered Padomay. Envious of Nir's love, Padomay killed Nir and shattered the twelve worlds she gave birth to. Anu then wounded Padomay, presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the twelve worlds to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, seeking to destroy Nirn. Anu then pulled Padomay and himself outside of time, ending Padomay's threat to creation "forever". It is from their spilled and intermingled blood that the series' famous Aedra and Daedra would emerge.
  • Driven to Madness: Finding inventive ways to drive people to complete madness is within the realm of Sheogorath. He even considers it a blessing.
    "Madness is a bitter mercy, perhaps, but a mercy nonetheless. It is better to be seen as mad than hopelessly despondent."
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The fate of various characters/places in between games usually turns out to be rather sad and anticlimactic, if they're mentioned again at all. Those from Morrowind seem to have gotten particularly harsh treatment when mentioned in Oblivion and especially Skyrim, which takes places after Vvardenfell, the island where Morrowind took place, was completely destroyed by a Colony Drop and then the erupting Red Mountain.
  • Drop the Hammer:
    • Warhammers are a classic heavy blunt weapon in the series. They generally deal massive damage, but are extremely heavy and slow to swing.
    • The legendary hammer Volendrung, known as the "Hammer of Might", has appeared throughout the series. It was originally crafted by the Dwemer and later became associated with Malacath, the Daedric Prince of Pariahs. In addition to dealing considerable damage, it has variously been enchanted to paralyze those it strikes as well as drain their strength and stamina. According to lore, a Dwemer chieftain once threw Volendrung across Tamriel, vowing to settle wherever it landed, leading to the establishment of Volenfell as the westernmost outpost of the Dwemer. After the entire Dwemer race disappeared during the Battle of Red Mountain, the area was eventually resettled by the Redguards, who renamed it Hammerfell.
  • Drugs Are Bad:
    • Moon Sugar and its derivative, Skooma, are treated this way. Users are depicted similarly to real world drug addicts, with them being desperate for the drug to the point where it ruins their lives and are willing to resort to crime to get it. Additionally, any organizations which traffic or deal the drugs are considered to be scum. However, it is Inverted in the hands of the player as illegal drugs are very useful for alchemy.
    • Played with by the Khajiit, to whom Moon Sugar is a borderline sacred substance. Those who control the Moon Sugar essentially control Khajiiti society. However, this also results in a disproportionately high number of Khajiiti addicts.
  • Druid:
  • Drunk with Power: Alduin is the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse and "firstborn" of Akatosh, the draconic God of Time and Top God of the Nine Divines pantheon. It is Alduin's divine mandate to, at the end of every "kalpa" (cycle of time), "eat the world" so that it can be remade anew. However, during the early part of the current kalpa, Alduin grew proud and forsook his role as World-Eater in favor of conquering the world and being worshiped as a god by mortals. This caused several other dragons, most notably his chief lieutenant Paarthurnax, to rebel against him and ally with mankind. Paarthurnax taught mankind to use the Thu'um, the reality warping draconic Language of Magic, but this alone was not enough. Three heroes faced Alduin at the top of the Throat of the World, and when all else had failed, used the power of an Elder Scroll to banish Alduin by casting him out of the stream of time. This defeat was only temporary, and those involved knew that Alduin would one day return. (Which he does, creating the central conflict in Skyrim.)
  • Dual Wielding:
    • After years of fan demand, the developers finally delivered this in Skyrim. Now, melee weapons, spells, or one of each can be dual wielded at the cost of not being able to block. (An in-game book written by a warrior Hand Waves this, stating something along the lines of "You can't block properly holding a weapon with just one hand, so don't even try. Dodge the enemy attacks instead." A popular Game Mod allows the player to do it anyway.)
    • In-universe, this is the favored combat style of the Tsaesci, an Akaviri race of Snake People. As they have a cultural aversion to shields (their martial arts teach that if you don't want to get hit, you should get out of the way), they are known to wield a katana in their dominant hand and a wakizashi in their off-hand as a favored fighting style.
    • Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker/God in Human Form, was known to wield the Sword and Mace of the Crusader in this fashion, making him all the more deadly during his Unstoppable Rages.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Heavily played with. Completing the main quest of a given game generally earns you plenty of respect (at least from those NPCs who acknowledge it at all). However, if you complete and then join one of the factions, you'll still need to do that faction's beginner level quests while being treated like "new meat" by your new superiors and comrades even though you're a world-saving hero. Even after you advance to the highest rank in the faction, the reaction of other faction members doesn't always change to match, with them often still regarding you as a newbie even though you're now their boss.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: While each game has specific (sometimes intentional) examples of this, the series in general has long had this issue when it comes to monetary quest rewards. Typically, the amount of gold you are paid for completing a task is far too low to make it worthwhile on its own. There are countless examples of being sent off to a ruin or cave to slay a particular foe (and his dozen or so Mooks) only to be rewarded with a paltry sum of gold that doesn't even cover the potions, arrows, and weapon/armor repairs you used in the process. Luckily, whoever it was you were killing usually has enough loot on their bodies and in their lair to sell and still come out ahead.
  • Duel to the Death: The Player Character naturally gets to participate in some throughout the series. Many, many other examples are present in the series lore, broken down on the trope page.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • Arkay, one of the Nine Divines, is considered the god of life and death. He has "do not profane the spirits of the dead" as one of his commandments. The souls of sapient beings are specially protected by him, normally preventing them from being used for profane magic. The Priests of Arkay oversee all funerary and burial rights, which include bestowing Arkay's Blessing and Law. These prevent the soul or body (respectively) of the deceased from being used in necromancy. However, when Mannimarco ascended to godhood as the God of Worms during the Warp in the West event, he became a celestial body that orbits Arkay. When he eclipses Arkay, this protection is blocked, allowing Grand Soul Gems to be converted to Black Soul Gems which are capable of trapping sapient souls.
    • Despite Arkay being one of the deities of their official religion, Imperial law was always a bit more flexible, considering the body and soul of a person to be possessions. This allowed them to be sold, traded, or willed away as any other property. Necromancy wasn't even illegal in the Septim Empire, as long as the dead being used was a willing volunteer.
    • During the height of the Tribunal Temple's power in Morrowind, Necromancy was considered a highly blasphemous and profane act. Necromancers were to be killed on sight by Temple faithful. However, those very same faithful would summon the spirits and bodies of their ancestors to protect their tombs and other holy sites. They considered this to be a holy act, though were called out by outsiders for their hypocrisy.
    • This is part of the reason given for the Mages Guild putting a ban on necromancy in the late 3rd Era. Prior to that, necromancy was originally practiced within the Guild in accordance with the local laws and customs. Practitioners of necromancy are understandably upset by the move, and the resulting schism leads to eventual downfall of the Guild entirely.
    • During the late Merethic Era, the ancient Atmorans (Precursors of the modern Nords) went to war with Skyrim's native Falmer after the Falmer sacked and slaughtered the Atmoran colony of Saarthal in Skyrim, with the Atmorans going so far as to attempt to drive the Falmer to extinction. After nearly wiping them out on the mainland, the Atmorans pursued the remaining Falmer to the barren, frozen island of Solstheim. During the Falmer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Moesring, an individual known only as the Snow Prince single-handedly turned the tide of the battle, killing many prominent Atmoran heroes in the process. However, the daughter of one of the slain warriors threw her mother's sword in grief and impaled the Snow Prince, killing him. Unlike the remains of his fellow Falmer, which were burned as per Atmoran tradition, the Snow Prince was considered a Worthy Opponent and was buried with full honors befitting any great warrior, with guards even stationed at his tomb, which would one day become Jolgeirr Barrow.
    • When Giants feel they are nearing the end of their lives, they will travel to one of their burial grounds to die. If a Giant dies elsewhere, other Giants will carry the body to one of the burial grounds.
  • Dug Too Deep:
    • The highly technologically advanced Dwemer dug beneath the Red Mountain volcano and uncovered the still-beating Heart of Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of the mortal world. They would later attempt to do something with it that caused their entire race to disappear from all known planes of existence.
    • Throughout the series, one can find countless examples of miners doing this. Miners tunneling into Ancient Tombs, miners tunneling into ancient ruins, miners tunneling into the dens of hostile wildlife... It's a wonder anyone dares to dig at all...
  • Dumb Blonde: Throughout the series, this is a trait of the Aureals (aka Golden Saints), a form of lesser Daedra in service to Sheogorath, who have golden hair. However, unlike most examples of this trope, they're portrayed as "dumb" in the Dumb Muscle or Dumb Jock sense rather than being The Ditz. They don't always think things through and prefer to attack issues head-on, which, despite their power, isn't always the best course of action.
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Many of the series' physically larger minor races, such as Giants and Minotaurs, are considered this by the races of Men and Mer, but most subvert it by displaying greater intelligence than they are typically given credit for. Ogres are one exception, typically being every bit as dumb as they are described to be. Exceptions exist, but they are fairly rare.
    • This is also the case for many forms of the series' lesser Daedra. Some, like the massive Ogrim and crocodilian Daedroth are quite powerful but have little intelligence to speak of. Even among the most intelligent and civilized varieties, such as the Dremora and Golden Saints, it tends to be Downplayed. While sapient, they often put Honor Before Reason and prefer to attack issues head-on, which, despite their power, isn't always the best course of action.
  • Dummied Out: Exploration of the Construction Set files for the games shows that quite a bit of content is developed but never finished or implemented in the final product. Famous examples include the ability to join the Sixth House in Morrowind and the more complex Civil War questlines (with additional city battles) in Skyrim. In many of the cases, enough of the code still exists for modders to complete it and implement it themselves.
  • Dump Stat:
    • Throughout the series (prior to Skyrim doing away with attributes), the Personality attribute is one. Both it and the skills it governs (particularly Speechcraft) can be increased temporarily by numerous means (spells, potions, enchantments, racial powers, etc.) when needed. Since the game time freezes when you enter into a conversation, you can easily and affordably create something to increase Personality considerably for 1 second. Use it, then immediately enter the conversation. The effect will persist until you leave the conversation.
    • With the switch to a Lockpicking Mini Game starting with Oblivion, the Security skill has become one. It governs your ability to pick locks, but in these minigames, picking a lock is based more on player skill than anything else. A high Security skill makes it somewhat easier (and saves you from breaking as many lockpicks), but a skilled player can easily pick even the highest leveled locks with a minimum Security Skill.
  • Dungeon Crawling:
    • A staple of the series, fitting in nicely with Tamriel's nature as an Adventure-Friendly World where Everything Is Trying to Kill You. You can't seem to throw a rock without hitting a cave, ruin, tomb, or some other structure to explore. Killing the enemies within and looting the place is also the series' primary means of making money. Simply go to a dungeon, kill everything within, loot the place until you can't carry any more, then go sell it all.
    • The Battlespire spin-off game is essentially a pure Dungeon Crawler in a series that is otherwise a Wide Open Sandbox Western RPG. You find yourself in a nightmarish dungeon populated by all manner of lesser Daedra, searching for your missing partner and a way out.
  • During the War: Oblivion, Skyrim, Redguard, and Online each take place during a war. Additional details for each can be found on the trope page.

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