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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 E

  • Early-Bird Cameo: In-game books and lines of throwaway dialogue in one game often mention characters, items, abilities, places, etc. that play large parts in later games in the series. Specific examples can be found on the trope page.
  • Early Game Hell: Every game in the main series except for Oblivion features this is some form. Arena and Daggerfall are absolutely hellish, where even basic enemies like rats can kill you in a couple of hits if you aren't careful. Awkward controls, no health regen, and the ability to only cast one or two spells before magicka runs out means players will usually die a myriad of times in the tutorial dungeon alone until they figure out what they are doing. Morrowind starts you off in an easy-going starting town, but from there, things get hellish very quickly. Even the standard local wildlife will be a challenge until you increase your skills and acquire better equipment, and anything stronger will serve as a Beef Gate. Once you've gained experience and better equipment, this turns around, allowing you to go quickly from schmuck to god-slayer. Skryim is similar, though not quite as harsh as the other games. It loses most of the difficulty that it does have after level 16 or so, especially if the player invests in crafting skills to create weapons and equipment far more powerful than what is available in the game world and weapon damage with multiple perks applied increases exponentially, reaching ten or more times the base value.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
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    • In-universe, this is the case for the land of Cyrodiil itself. It was said to originally be a Mayincatec-esque setting, with jungles, rivers, rice fields, tattoos, and stone cities. Later depictions transform it instead as a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of ancient Rome. This is justified as Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Cyrodiilic Empire, would use his powers post-apotheosis as the deity Talos to perform a Cosmic Retcon, transforming Cyrodiil into a temperate forest as a thanks to the Imperial Legions who served him so well in life. As shown in the prequel The Elder Scrolls Online, this change was retroactive, making it so Cyrodiil had always been a temperate forest.
    • Arena is almost unrecognizable as an Elder Scrolls game. It is a simple hack-and-slash Dungeon Crawler filled with frenetic, almost constant combat. The side quests are extremely simple and only there to help you acquire gold and experience. There are also none of the series' staples like joinable factions, Daedric Princes, and slower-paced RPG elements. Even the very land of Tamriel is extremely different than that it would be in later appearances, with tiny villages later appearing as major cities and major cities being dropped completely. Emperor Uriel Septim VII speaks in really cheesy Ye Olde Butchered English that future appearances would drop.
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    • The Daedric Princes make their first appearance in Daggerfall, and they are quite different in appearance and personality than they would be later in the series. For example, Azura is much more malevolent and petty than in later appearances. She demands that you kill a priest who has spoken ill of her, and gets extremely upset if you refuse her request. She is also mentioned to be an ally of Molag Bal, something which has never been brought up in any work since then.
    • Many of the series' races have changed drastically starting with Morrowind. Orcs were generic monsters and weren't playable until Morrowind. The Khajiit started out as a Little Bit Beastly and were barely distinguishable from the Bosmer. It again wouldn't be until Morrowind that they became the series' famous Cat Folk. The Dunmer started as Drow expies but would get a massive shift in characterization starting with Morrowind. The Imperial race also didn't exist until Morrowind, with the Empire being previously being considered a "melting pot" of Tamriel's races. The Dwemer (Dwarves) shifted away from classic Tolkien dwarves to a specific race of Mer with extreme technological and magical knowledge, but who are also presumed extinct.
    • M'aiq the Lair, the series' recurring Easter Egg Legacy Character, makes his debut in Morrowind. Many of M'aiq's comments involve game tips that are blatantly false and hints to secrets that don't actually exist in-game. Later games change M'aiq's characterization to a Fourth-Wall Observer (and Leaner and Breaker) who voices the opinions of the series' creators and developers, largely in the form of Take Thats, to both the audience (given the ES Unpleasable Fanbase) and isn't above above taking some at Bethesda itself.
    • The Redguard spin-off Action-Adventure game has Nafaalilargus, a dragon in the service of Tiber Septim and the Imperial Legions. In appearance, abilities, and even naming conventions, he doesn't fit what would be established for the series' dragons later in Skyrim.
  • Earn Your Title:
    • Every Player Character in the main series earns such a Red Baron title (the Eternal Champion, the Agent, the Nerevarine, etc.) by the end of the game's main quest (and sometimes much earlier). It is by this title that the PC from past games is referred to in later games as well, in order to keep them a Featureless Protagonist.
    • Every main series game after Arena allows the player to earn titles from the various factions and guilds which are available to join. Becoming, for example, Master Thief of the Thieves' Guild requires you to do a lot of stealing throughout the questline. Downplayed in the games after Morrowind, as there are no longer skill requirements to join or advance in the various factions. For example, a full blown Barbarian Hero PC who can barely cast a spell can become Arch-Mage of the Mages Guild in Oblivion simply by completing the quest line with brute force.
  • Earth Drift: The series has this as a Cyclic Trope. The first two games are basically standard Medieval European Fantasy RPGs set in the developer's home brew Dungeons & Dragons world, with a few quirks. Morrowind then swings to a very unconventional and alien setting. The wildlife has few real-life analogues and the land itself is primarily blasted ashlands, lava scathes, disease-ridden swamps, and tons of small islands. Oblivion swings back to the standard "medieval Europe" setting, basically to the point of cliche, with realistic deer and wolves bounding across meadows filled with real-world plants. Skyrim splits the difference between its two predecessors, being a "Northern Medieval European Fantasy" setting with plenty of familiar Earth elements, but still feeling otherworldly with the rampaging dragons, giants and mammoths walking the tundra, and ancient monolithic structures dotting the landscape.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In the series' primary Creation Myth, the interplay between Anu and Padomay (the God of Gods personification of "stasis/order/light" and The Anti-God personification of "change/chaos/darkness", respectively) led to "creation", sometimes personified as the female entity Nir. Nir favored Anu, which angered Padomay. Padomay killed Nir and "shattered" the 12 worlds she birthed. Anu then wounded Padomay and presumed him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the 12 worlds, putting them together to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and attempted to destroy Nirn, wounding Anu in the process. Anu then pulled Padomay outside of time, ending his threat to Nirn forever.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Committing crimes for the series in general. Even murder is forgiven after paying a 1000 gold fine. This is discussed in certain dialogue trees: the money from the fines the guards charge criminals go to the victim of the crime/their surviving family.
    • Culturally, this is a trait of the Argonians, at least toward fellow Argonians. Argonians live in the "now," preferring not to dwell in the past or look ahead to the future (possibly because their native language, Jel, has no past or present tense verbs). Additionally, hating each other is the same as hating themselves because they "are all people of the root."
    • The Thieves' Guild typically plays this straight on two levels:
      • While they prefer that you "not get caught," the Guild has contacts who can, for a substantial fee (though usually less than actually paying the fine) make your bounty disappear.
      • If you break a rule of the Guild itself and get kicked out, you merely need to make financial restitution to get back in.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Easy Exp:
    • Skill books can be found which automatically increase one of your skills upon reading them. You don't even have to actually read them, merely opening the book grants the skill increase.
    • In the games prior to Skyrim, it is possible to set skills like Athletics and Acrobatics as "primary" or "major/minor" skills, which when increased contribute toward your next overall level up. This means that simply by running around and/or jumping a lot, you can increase in level. This, understandably, isn't advisable as it almost always leads to inefficient leveling, eventually leaving you weaker overall than you would have been if you leveled up less often but made sure to get the maximum Attribute multipliers that come with efficient leveling.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Hircine is the Daedric Prince of the Hunt. He lives for the glory of the hunt, and has no reason to do so beyond his own vanity. He prefers Hunting the Most Dangerous Game solely for the sport, including having his own pack of hunting dogs (read: werewolves). Somewhat unusually for the trope, he doesn't consider it a true hunt unless the prey has a sporting chance. Additionally, he has respect for those who do survive his hunts, or better yet, turn the tables on the hunter.
  • Elaborate Equals Effective: The effectiveness of a weapon can usually be easily judged just by looking at it. A standard, realistic iron or steel weapon will invariably be less powerful than the iridescent green Glass weapons, the gold-inlaid Ebony weapons, or the spiky, dark-grey-and-red Daedric weapons. Artifact weapons are often, though not always, even more impressive.
  • Elaborate Underground Base:
    • The Dwemer cities were these, combined with Advanced Ancient Acropolis. They built their complex and technologically advanced cities into the ground. Some, such as their strongholds around Red Mountain in Vvardenfell and Blackreach beneath Skyrim, are absolutely massive and extremely elaborate. Justified as they were known to use geothermal energy to power their cities, which also justifies their preserved states and Eternal Engines that are still running when visited in the games even though the Dwemer have been gone for thousands of years. (It is believed that they possessed the ability to bend the laws of nature and physics in order to accomplish this.)
    • Common as standard "dungeons," usually inhabited by bandits, smugglers, and the like. They can range from a few rooms with crates and hammocks to massive complexes with multiple entrances and exits. Some are natural caves, while others are in places where they would have needed to be dug out by hand.
  • Eldritch Abomination: So many examples the series required its own subpage on the trope page.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • The series' universe itself. Starting with the Alien Sky itself, the sun and stars are not typical balls of burning gas but holes punctured in reality by escaping spirits during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane, and magic flows through them into Mundus which is visible in the night sky as nebulae. The two moons of Nirn (the planet within Mundus that all of the action to date in the series' has taken place on) are said to be the rotting and sundered "flesh divinity" of Lorkhan (also known by other names), the creator god of Mundus who was "killed" by the other spirits who aided in creation, now known as the Aedra. The planets visible from Nirn are not typical planets, but are the planes and "flesh divinity" of the eight most significant of these Aedra. It is said that these forms all appear as they do because it is the only way for a mortal's mind to comprehend it. That said, this information primarily comes from subjective in-universe sources who often conflict with each other, as the series is well-known for its intentionally contradictory lore. Just like many discredited beliefs in the real world, the "true nature" of the TES universe could very much be as "normal"/conventional as our real universe is, or it could be something else entirely.
    • The various planes of Oblivion, the "infinite void" surrounding Mundus, may be the physical forms of the Daedric Princes they are associated with. They are not bound to any of the laws of nature and physics that bind Mundus, and are subject to change on the whim of the associated Prince. Even time does not flow normally within Oblivion, though the exact details often vary. These planes can vary from beautiful places, like Azura's Moonshadow, which is so beautiful that it is said to "half blind" mortals who lay eyes up on it, to Fire and Brimstone Hell places like Mehrunes Dagon's Deadlands or Bloody Bowels of Hell places like Molag Bal's Coldharbour. And then there are the places that Cthulhu himself would find cozy, like Hermaeus Mora's Apocrypha...
    • The island of Artaeum combines this with Bizarrchitecture and Alien Geometries. Artaeum is the home of the Psijic Order, a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel. Artaeum shifts continuously either at random or by decree of the Psijiic Council. It can also be made to disappear entirely from Mundus.
  • Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age: katanas are an Akaviri weapon brought to Tamriel during the 1st Era Akaviri invasion. That invasion was halted by future Emperor Reman Cyrodiil I, who adopted the defeated Akaviri into his own legions. He took on the Akaviri Dragonguard as his own Praetorian Guard and they became the basis for the Blades, who would serve as a combination Ancient Order of Protectors and Secret Police for future emperors. The most iconic piece of Blades equipment is the Akaviri Katana. However, following the 200 year Time Skip during which the Blades were forcibly dissolved and outlawed as a term of White-Gold Concordat with the Thalmor-led Aldmeri Dominion, Akaviri Katanas (now knows simply as "Blades Swords") are incredibly rare in Skyrim.
  • Elemental Absorption: A trait of many Atronachs, who are typically completely immune to attacks of their own element and can sometimes even absorb it, increasing their health/power.
  • Elemental Crafting: Played straight throughout the series with a few occasional quirks. To note:
    • For armor, it is based on the weight/defense ratio. For weapons, it is based on the weight/lethality ratio. That said, skill also plays a part for the user. A highly skilled character will be more effective with bottom tier Iron equipment than an unskilled character with high-end Daedric equipment.
    • Similarly, weapon and armor skills tend to be broken down by type. A character skilled in Light Armor will be better protected by simple Leather armor than he would be in equivalent tier Heavy Armor (and even some higher tier Heavy Armor).
  • Elemental Embodiment: Atronachs, also known as "Elemental Daedra," a type of elementally aligned lesser Daedra. The Flame, Frost, and Storm Atronachs appear as creatures made of fire, ice, and lightning (typically mixed with metal or rock), respectively. Others include Air, Flesh, Iron, and Stone. All varieties are at least vaguely humanoid in shape, with some much more humanoid than others. As a group, Atronachs have no particular affinity toward any Daedric Prince, though individual Atronachs may be found in their service. Atronachs are a favored summon of mortal conjurers.
  • Elemental Powers: This is present in the series' Destruction school of magic. The three elemental types are Fire, Frost, and Shock. While the exact effects of each type vary depending on the game, they generally follow the following formula: Fire spells tend to deal the most direct damage, cost the least Magicka to use, and often have the effect of continuing to burn the target for some time after the initial impact. Frost spells tend to do the least direct damage, but typically have secondary effects of slowing the movement speed of targets after they've been hit as well as draining the target's Stamina. This makes Frost spells especially effective against enemy melee combatants. Shock spells typically deal damage somewhere in between Fire and Frost, cost the most Magicka, (if ranged) sometimes strike instantly (similar to a Hitscan attack), and sometimes drain Magicka in addition to damaging health. This makes Shock spells especially effective against enemy spellcasters. A fourth "element" covered by the Destruction school is Poison-based magic, which often deals little direct damage but drains the health of the target over a longer period of time.
  • Elemental Rivalry: Flame Atronachs and Frost Atronachs are locked in a state of permanent warfare against each other all across the Oblivion planes. It takes the influence of a Daedric Prince like Mehrunes Dagon to make them stop fighting each other even temporarily.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Significantly Downplayed in terms of the three most common forms of Destruction magic, which actually function more closely to a version of Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors, especially in later installments of the series which add different secondary effects to each. Averted for the three main elemental Atronachs, who have a clear hierarchy of strength: Flame < Frost < Storm.
  • Elves vs. Dwarves: Played straight between the Dwemer and the other races of Elves (Mer). Though called "Dwarves" due to an archaeological misnomer, the Dwemer were actually another sub-species of Mer. Still, they fit the trope by warring with (Altmer, Chimer/Dunmer) or horribly treating (Falmer) just about every other species of Mer. In particular, the Skyrim Dwemer offered sanctuary to their Falmer cousins during their conflict with the ancient Nords. However, it wasn't a benevolent act. The Dwemer enslaved the Falmer and mutated them into the modern subterranean goblin-esque Falmer alive today.
  • Emergency Weapon:
    • Throughout the series, if all else fails, you can still use your fists. The Breakable Weapons present in the series prior to Skyrim are the most common cause of resorting to this.
    • Starting with Oblivion, the player character get a very weak fire spell by default. (Fireball in Oblivion and "Flames" in Skyrim.) It has a high chance of success and has a low-enough Magicka cost that even non-mages can successfully cast it in a pinch.
  • Emotion Bomb: Several spells to this effect appear throughout the series. For added effect, each can be crafted into a massive Area of Effect spell if you choose, making it even more "bomb"-like. Examples:
    • The Calm spell will turn hostile foes non-hostile for the duration of the spell.
    • The Frenzy spell will turn non-hostile foes hostile for the duration of the spell.
    • The Rally spell will turn neutral targets into allies for the duration of the spell.
    • the Fear spell will make a target flee from anything hostile to them for the duration of the spell.
  • Empathic Environment: The realms of the Daedric Princes in Oblivion are part this trope, part Genius Loci, and part Eldritch Location. The Princes rule their own realms as Dimension Lords, inside of which they possess almost absolute power to create, change, and alter at will. Anything that causes one of the Princes to change, however, be it a Hijacking Cthulhu situation or through their own actions, also affects their realm. For example, in the 4th Era when Clavicus Vile was separated from his external conscience, Barbas, his realm of is said to have literally shrunk.
  • Empathic Weapon:
    • The artifacts of the Daedric Princes play with it. The artifacts have a tendency to disappear and separate from their wielders if said wielder becomes too dependent on them or otherwise uses them in a way not intended by the patron Daedric Prince. How "empathic" the artifacts actually seem to be varies, and it may be more the will of the Princes simply taking the items back. They are most often handed out by the Princes themselves to faithful servants and tend to show up where important events are unfolding, justifying the appearance of the items in high concentrations in certain regions.
    • The sword Umbra crosses over with Evil Weapon. It was forged long ago to steal the souls of its victims. However, the wielder of the blade becomes a victim as well. Over time, it takes over the mind of the wielder, until they begin to refer to themselves as "Umbra", and turns them into a vicious Blood Knight. Either they slay their opponents and steal more souls for the sword, or they are slain, and the sword finds a new and more powerful wielder.
    • From the series' lore, the HoonDing, the Yokudan/Redguard spirit of perseverance over infidels and "Make Way God", will manifest in mortal form whenever the Redguards need to "make way" for their people. In some tellings, the HoonDing does not manifest as a person, but as a weapon. Specifically, a sword.
  • The Emperor: Throughout series and in the backstory, the leaders of various Cyrodiilic Empires have held the title of Emperor. Dozens are noted throughout the series lore, and while they vary greatly in personality and actions, the vast majority have leaned toward the "benevolent" end of the spectrum. Some of the particularly notable examples:
    • The very first Cyrodiilic Emperor was St. Alessia, also known as the "Slave Queen". Born into Slavery during the Ayleid rule of Cyrodiil, she escaped and prayed to the Aedra for aid. As the Ayleids were primarily Daedra worshipers, the Aedra answered her prayers as part of a Bargain with Heaven. They sent Alessia divine aid, both in subtle and direct ways, allowing Alessia to defeat the Ayleids and drive the survivors out of Cyrodiil. Alessia was crowned as the first Empress of Cyrodiil, declared that the religion of the Eight Divines (which worships the Aedra who sent her aid) would be the official religion of her new Empire, was "imbued with Dragon Blood" by Akatosh (the draconic chief deity of the Aedra), and had her soul placed in the central stone of the Amulet of Kings which symbolized Akatosh's covenant with mankind to protect Mundus (the mortal plane) from the forces of Oblivion (the Daedra). This also meant that all recognized Cyrodiilic emperors would also be Barrier Maidens, able to perform the ritual of lighting the "Dragonfires", which limit the power and influence of the Daedric Princes within Mundus.
    • Over a thousand years later, the Alessian Empire would fall apart due to religious infighting and provincial uprisings. The Ruby Throne of Cyrodiil would sit empty until Reman Cyrodiil rose to power. His father, the petty king Hrol, would be visited in a vision by the spirit of St. Alessia and Akatosh himself, with this union creating Reman. Reman was birthed from the land of Cyrodiil itself, found born atop a mound of mud the size of a small mountain with the Amulet of Kings, long since lost, in hand. He was coronated as a child and rose to the height of his power after defeating the Akaviri invaders. Though he never took the title of Emperor himself, his lineage founded the Second Cyrodiilic Empire, which would come to dominate nearly all of Tamriel.
    • Following a series of assassinations, the Reman line would end, leading to the beginning of the 2nd Era of Tamriellic history. During a period known as the Interregnum, Tamriel would descend into chaos with various groups vying for control. Out of this chaos came one of Tamriel's most legendary figures - Tiber Septim. He was believed to be of Nordic descent, but beyond that, he has several highly-conflicting origin stories with the truth likely lost forever to history, as well as buried under centuries of Imperial propaganda, and possibly even permanently changed following his apotheosis. He was either born as Talos Stormcrown in Atmora or Hjalti Early-Beard in High Rock. In either case, he spent his youth in Skyrim and rose to prominence when he, at the age of 20, used the Voice to defeat the Witchmen at Old Hroldan. He was declared "Ysmir, Dragon of the North" by the Greybeards and then came into the service of the Colovian Petty King Cuhlecain as a General. When Cuhlecain was assassinated, Septim took over Cuhlecain's young empire. From there, he would become many things - hero, conqueror, villain - and ultimately, the Emperor of the first truly pan-Tamrielic Empire. He is said to be descended metaphysically from the Slave Queen Alessia, as well as Reman Cyrodiil. As a Dragonborn (in both senses of the word), his dynasty was one of several supernatural barriers to keep Tamriel and Oblivion distinct. Septim (possibly among others), through unclear and hotly debated means, would become the Deity of Human Origin Talos after his death, becoming the Ninth Divine.
    • Uriel Septim VII was the 21st Emperor of the Septim line, and the Emperor during each game from Arena to his death in Oblivion. Uriel VII was both The Good King and a Reasonable Authority Figure, genuinely caring for the people of Tamriel. Nearly everything he did as Emperor was for the greater good of the people of Tamriel. Due to the lost strength of his legions and rampant unrest in the provinces, he has to rely on his wit in order to avert multiple crises for the Empire. Uriel VII would unfortunately be assassinated by the Mythic Dawn to begin the Oblivion Crisis.
    • Martin Septim was the bastard son (and Hidden Backup Prince) of Uriel VII. He plays a major part in the events of Oblivion, as a Supporting Leader and Reasonable Authority Figure. Ultimately, he sacrifices himself to end the Oblivion Crisis and to permanently seal the barrier between Oblivion and Mundus.
    • Between Oblivion and Skyrim, the Septim Empire severely crumbles. The local warlord Titus Mede is able to capture the Ruby Throne, and declares himself Emperor. Later, Mede's grandson, Titus Mede II, inherits the throne. The reformed Aldmeri Dominion, the ancient enemy of the Cyrodiilic Empires under the leadership of the extremist Thalmor, goes to war with Mede's Empire. Titus Mede II was responsible for both leading the Empire to victory against the Dominion but also signing the highly controversial White-Gold Concordat, a treaty which (among other things) bans the worship of Talos throughout the Empire (though it is heavily hinted to be a purely political move to buy the Legion time to prepare for the inevitable next war with the Dominion). Due to Talos' popularity there, Skyrim erupts into Civil War over this move. When you take into consideration all the things he has done up until your meeting, the worst thing that can be said about him is that his successes are overshadowed by his failures.
  • The Empire:
    • The most prominent "Empire" throughout the series is the Cyrodiilic Empire, which has gone through three different iterations and, for the most part, has subverted or outright averted the trope, coming closer to The Good Kingdom (or at least The Federation). It is generally a benevolent force of good, enforcing rather liberal values (such as religious and racial tolerance) as well as a heavy focus on diplomacy and mercantilism/trade. Details on the different iterations:
      • The First Cyrodiilic Empire was formed by St. Alessia, the "Slave Queen", following the successful slave revolt of her people, the Nedes (Precursors to most of the modern races of Men in Tamriel), over the vile Ayleids who had enslaved and brutally tortured them. (Interesting side note, the Ayleids are credited as having founded the very first empire of any kind in Tamriel.) This new empire contained her Nedic people, rebel Ayleid lords, and was closely allied with the Nordic Empire to the north. Compared to the situation under Ayleid rule, her empire was extremely benevolent. However, about a century after her death, the "monkey prophet" Marukh, an Imga from Valenwood, came to power as the leader of the Alessian Order within the empire. The order was an extremist anti-elven religious force and would quickly take over the young empire. For the next 1000 years, the order violently purged any and all records and cultural artifacts of the Ayleids from the empire. Religious infighting and Civil Wars among the cultures within the empire would eventually tear it apart.
      • The Second Cyrodiilic Empire was founded by Reman Cyrodiil I (though he himself would never hold the official title of Emperor). After uniting the disheveled petty kingdoms of Cyrodiil against the threat of Akaviri invaders, his lineage would go on to found the Second Empire. It would come to dominate all of Tamriel except for Morrowind (where the Dunmer people were protected by their Physical Gods, the Tribunal) and the Summerset Isles (though he did get them to tangentially join his Empire via terms heavily favorable to the Altmer). This Empire was again a largely benevolent force that, for the most part, successfully united most of Tamriel. When the last of the Reman line was assassinated, it brought the 1st Era to a close. However, the Akaviri Potentates would rule in a continuation of the Second Empire for the first several centuries of the 2nd Era, until they too would be assassinated.
      • Following the collapse of the Second Empire, Tamriel descended into its own version of the Dark Ages. It would be plagued for 500 years by all manner of threats, ranging from the more mundane (petty kings engaging in fruitless wars) to the supernatural (attempted Daedric takeovers, mystical plagues, etc.) That came to an end when Tiber Septim came to power, first as a general to the Colovian King Cuchulain, then as emperor himself after Cuchulain was assassinated. He matched the Second Empire's expanse, got Morrowind to join as a Voluntary Vassal, and then granted special privileges to Morrowind in exchange for the Numidium, a Dwemer-crafted Humongous Mecha which was in the possession of the Dunmer. Using the Numidium, Septim completed his conquests by sacking Alinor, the capital of the long-time rival to the Cyrodiilic Empires, the Aldmeri Dominion, in less than an hour. The Third Cyrodiilic Empire would be ruled by the Septim line for nearly 500 years, and once again subverted the trope by being a generally benevolent force. (Though it is played straight in the spinoff game Redguard, as it is set during the period when Tiber Septim was still conquering all of Tamriel, and one of the main villains is a corrupt Imperial governor.)
      • The Mede Empire, a continuation of the Third Empire most prominently seen in Skyrim, continued to rule following the Third Empire's formal collapse following the Oblivion Crisis. They've lost a significant amount of power and territory, now down to ruling just High Rock, Cyrodiil itself, and Skyrim, the last of which is in the midst of a civil war while attempting to secede from the empire. It again plays with the trope, being largely benevolent and having successfully fended off reformed the Aldmeri Dominion once, but was forced into unfavorable terms as part of an armistice. Even though they don't really seem to bother to enforce some of the unfavorable terms (such as the ban on Talos worship), they are seen as weak cowards by the seceding Nords.
    • As mentioned in the entry for the Cyrodiilic Empires, the Aldmeri Dominion is an empire in all but name, and plays the trope straight. Based out of the Summerset Isles, the homeland of the Altmer, the Dominion has also frequently included the Bosmer of Valenwood and the Khajiit of Elsweyr in a massive Anti-Human Alliance. After being decimated and humiliated by Tiber Septim (using the Numidium), the Dominion laid dormant during the reign of the Septim Empire. However, the Thalmor, an even more elven-supremacist group of Altmeri religious extremists, took credit within their homeland for ending the Oblivion Crisis, winning them massive popular support. They reformed the Dominion, forcefully annexed Valenwood, and convinced to Khajiit to join as vassals with more Blatant Lies. They waged war on what was left of the Third Empire, and though the Empire would survive the war, they at least managed to force unfavorable terms onto the Vestigial Empire of Cyrodiil which set the stage for it to further fall apart. The Thalmor are motivated by an old Altmeri religious belief that the mortal world was a cruel trick on their divine ancestors which forced them to experience mortal suffering, loss, and death, and they believe that if the mortal world is unmade, it will return their spirits to a state of pre-creation divinity. One stage in this plan involves the destruction of Talos, the ascended god form of Tiber Septim (and others), who may be the last thing keeping the mortal world extant. (And there is evidence that they may be right about this.) Obviously, this would paint them as Omnicidal Maniacs in the eyes of just about every other race (including among other Altmer who do not share this belief), so they have had to be crafty in implementing this plan.
  • Empowered Badass Normal:
    • The series' Player Characters typically have the option to become one these through means like acquiring Vampirism or Lycanthropy, and sometimes must as part of the main quest (or one of the expansions). Specific examples can be found on the trope page.
    • In-universe, as a race, the Nords are the resident Badass Normals of Tamriel. They are a Proud Warrior Race of Horny Vikings who epitomize the idea of Humans Are Warriors, but they are least magically inclined race (and have a strong dislike of magic and distrust of magic-users to boot). Despite this, their ancestors were able to carve out a foothold in Skyrim by nearly driving the Falmer (Snow Elves), who it is said were nearly as naturally magically inclined as the modern Altmer (High Elves), to near-extinction. The "empowerment" comes in when the Nords, facing the threat of the Dragons and their Dragon Cults, prayed for aid from the Divines and were granted it. They were taught how to use the Thu'um, the Language of Magic of the Dragons which allows users to "shout" elements into existence as well as some other utilitarian effects. Led by the Tongues, masters of the Thu'um, the ancient Nord armies vanquished the Dragons and their Cults, then forged an Empire that covered nearly all of north Tamriel. A succession crisis would eventually tear it apart, and then the use of the Thu'um as a weapon of war dropped dramatically after their defeat at the Battle of Red Mountain, following which one of those Tongues (Jurgen Windcaller) founded the "Way of the Voice" to use the Thu'um only honor the gods.
  • Empty Eyes:
    • Some Vampire bloodlines have this as a trait. Others instead have Black Eyes of Evil, while others still have Super Natural Gold Eyes. (It's implied that they may all have these glowing gold eyes, but only beings with supernatural souls, such as the Dragonborn of Skyrim, can actually see them.)
    • Several varieties of lesser Daedra, including Dremora and Scamps, have these in certain appearances in the series. (Other appearances instead give them red, gold, or black instead.)
  • Empty Levels: Exists throughout the series at varying intensities. In general, especially in the games that include Level Scaling, it is quite possible to experience this if you aren't careful to level efficiently. With a few variations in each game, the series' leveling system is such that you use Skills to increase them, and every 10 Skill increases causes you to level up. If you aren't careful about which Skills you are increasing, it is possible to go up a level without increasing all that much in actual power. All of this adds up to encourage at least some form of being a Min-Maxing Munchkin for the best results. For game specific examples, see the trope page.
  • Empty Room Psych: Frequent throughout the series. Given that one of the main draws of the series is exploration of the Wide Open Adventure-Friendly World, it makes sense that some rooms in the many caves, tombs, ruins, etc. have nothing of interest in them all. Players still often explore every one of them thoroughly, given that some of them are huge and that Bethesda simply loves to throw in secret areas and well-hidden items.
  • Endless Winter: Atmora is the northernmost continent of Nirn. In ancient times, it was home to the Atmorans, an ancient race of men with Barbarian Tribe and proto-Horny Vikings traits. Thousands of years prior to when the games in the main series take place, Atmora experienced what the "Frost Fall", a mysterious gradual cooling of Atmora which quickly rendered it inhabitable to intelligent life. Most of the Atmorans migrated south to northern Tamriel, settling in modern day Skyrim and interbreeding with Tamriel's native Nedic humans to create the modern Nords (and possibly all races of Men save the Redguards, though sources greatly conflict and are heavily biased). Reports from the 2nd and 3rd Eras indicate that Atmora is now completely frozen over, with no sign of intelligent life.
  • End of an Age: Outright invoked at the end of the main quest in several games. Morrowind (and especially its Tribunal expansion) make it clear that the Dunmer way of life for the past 4000 years is over. Oblivion similarly signals the end for the nearly 500 year reign of the Septim dynasty. (And, somewhat literally, also marks the end of the 3rd Era of Tamriellic history.) Skyrim then shows how these groups (the Dunmer and the Empire) have fared in the two centuries since. (Not well.)
  • The End of the World as We Know It:
    • In the series' mythology, Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, provides a very literal example of the trope. It is repeatedly stated that Alduin, as the World-Eater, is not going to erase all of Creation from existence; he is "merely" going to destroy the current incarnation of the world so that a new one can take its place. This Eternal Recurrence is his divine mandate. As Alduin is embodiment of the end of the world itself, he can only manifest his full power when it is time to actually end the world, at which point he becomes a titanic monster with divine power even beyond that of the Daedric Princes.
    • Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction, has repeatedly attempted this, coming closest to success during the Oblivion Crisis. As an Omnicidal Maniac of the highest regard, he seeks the utter destruction of Mundus, the mortal world. Worse still, in The Seven Fights of the Aldudagga, it is implied that Alduin originally cursed Dagon into this state as a form of Ironic Hell as a punishment for hiding parts of earlier kalpas from him:
      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!"
    • According to C0DA, an "Obscure Text" online graphic novel by former series writer Michael Kirkbride, Nirn is destroyed in the late 5th Era in an event known as "Landfall". Rather than being destroyed by the Underking as previously believed, Numidium was instead caught in a time warp and emerges in the distant 5th Era where the Aldmeri Dominion, led by the Thalmor, dominates Tamriel. Picking up where it left off in the 2nd Era, Numidium wages war on the Dominion and uses its "ancestroscythe" to refute the entire Altmer race from existence. It then proceeds to destroy the rest of Nirn with all attempts to stop it being temporary distractions at best. A group of survivors is able to flee to Nirn's moon Masser in a special ship, but Numidium eventually follows it there. Finally, a Dunmer noble known as Jubal-lun-Sul is able to "verbally defeat" Numidium. The Landfall ends when Jubal-lun-Sul creates the first of the "New Men" with the Physical God Vivec. Yes, it's just that sort of story.
  • Enemy Civil War: The warring between Ayleid city states was taken advantage of by St. Alessia, the "Slave Queen", who led humans of Cyrodiil in a slave uprising against their Ayleid masters known as the Alessian Revolt. Gaining support from the Nordic Empire of Skyrim, rebel Ayleid lords, and even the gods themselves, Alessia's revolt would successfully drive the hostile Ayleids out of Cyrodiil, allowing her to found the first Empire of Men in Cyrodiil.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The ancient Chimeri/Dunmeri hero Lord Indoril Nerevar arranged this between his Chimer people and their rival Dwemer in order to drive the invading Nords out of Morrowind. It was a massive success and the two races remained allies under Nerevar's leadership for decades until the Naytheistic Dwemer uncovered the Heart of Lorkhan and planned to tap into its power, which Nerevar and the [Daedra-worshipping Chimer viewed as a blasphemy. The two sides went to war, and exactly what happened next is recounted differently by every surviving party. What we do know is that the Dwemer disappeared without a trace, Nerevar was slain, and Nerevar's closest followers used the Heart to become gods.
    • At some point in the early history of Mundus, the Daedric Princes, who typically cannot stand one another, all came together to curse Jyggalag (Daedric Prince of Order) into becoming Sheogorath (Daedric Prince of Madness) when they feared his growing power.
    • During the Interregnum, the three political factions which formed (the Aldmeri Dominion, the Ebonhart Pact, and the Daggerfall Covenenant) are each one of these taken to the level of The Alliance. While the races comprising each have frequently been at war throughout history, they've put aside their difference to focus on greater threats.
    • During the events of Battlespire, this occurs between the Player Character and the Ideal Masters of the Soul Cairn. 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. However, during the events of Battlespire, Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction, was using the Soul Cairn as a waystation for his forces. Dagon's forces destroyed the undead of the Ideal Masters and plundered their treasures. The Ideal Masters then allied with the Hero of Battlespire to help him/her escape the Soul Cairn and defeat Dagon.
    • On the continent of Akavir, the "monkey folk" Tang Mo have been attacked by all of their neighboring enemies at one time or another. Recently (relative to when Mysterious Akavir was written at least), they've allied with one of those nations - the "tiger folk" of Ka Po' Tun.
    • Another Akaviri race, the Kamal "Snow Demons", invaded Tamriel during the 2nd Era. Their initial successes forced three ancient enemies - the Nords, Dunmer (Dark Elves), and Argonians - to form an alliance to defeat them. The end result was a massive Curb-Stomp Battle which saw the Kamal invaders die by the thousands.
  • Enemy Summoner:
    • This is a common trait of necromancers and enemy conjurers throughout the series. Though they themselves tend to be quite squishy, they'll start combat by summoning a lesser Daedra or some form of The Undead. Later games also give necromancers the ability to resurrect any dead bodies on the battlefield.
    • Several of the more-intelligent forms of lesser Daedra, including Dremora and Xivilai, are known to summon other lesser Daedra to aid them in battle. Most commonly they summon Scamps, but they've been known to summon Atronachs, Clannfear, Daedroths, and Spider Daedra as well. Dremora themselves are typically capable melee opponents as well, making them all the more dangerous.
  • Enemy to All Living Things:
    • Almost nothing living will willingly ally itself with a lich, leading to most liches raising their own undead servants. The one exception is that some liches will work with still-living necromancers, to whom they serve as an Evil Mentor.
    • This is a trait of Hagravens, a species of flightless harpies who were once mortal women that traded their humanity for access to powerful magic in a ritual that requires human sacrifice. Save for their Reachmen followers, who revere the Hagravens as matriarchs, the Hagravens seem to view life itself as their enemy. This puts them at significant odds with Spriggans, who are considered "Nature's Guardians" and are often found attacking Hagravens.
  • The Enemy Weapons Are Better:
    • Common throughout the series, especially early in the games. Whatever Starter Equipment the game offers is usually of the lowest quality available, and as soon as you've slain a couple of enemies, you'll want to loot and equip their better weapons and armor. Further, in the games with fairly strict Level Scaling, higher quality equipment can be found on enemies and in loot at earlier levels than that same equipment will be available for purchase in shops.
    • Taken to its logical conclusion by Chris Livingston, the author of Concerned, when discussing whether scrounging weapons and ammo off of dead allies without checking if they're actually dead makes you - and, by extension, the player character - a dickweed:
      "One of the first times I played Oblivion, I was fighting alongside some NPC soldier inside the first Oblivion gate. This NPC died during a battle, so I stripped him of his armor and weapons, which were better than my current ones, and left him dead and naked on the blasted planes of the underworld. A little later I died, and hadn't saved my progress. So, when I reloaded, the NPC was there, alive. And, this time, he didn't die in the battle. He was pretty, you know, beat up, though, and since he had died the last time, I sort of thought it was okay to, you know... totally bludgeon him to death and take his cool stuff. Now that's being a dickweed."
  • Enemy Within: Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, has an Arch-Enemy in Jygglag, the Daedric Prince of Order who comes at the end over every Era in an event known as the Greymarch and destroys Sheogorath's realm, the Shivering Isles. The titular Oblivion expansion is all about ending this situation once and for all.
  • Energy Absorption: Throughout the series, there are examples in the spells/effects Absorb Health, Absorb Magicka, and Absorb Fatigue/Stamina. They do Exactly What It Says on the Tin. There are also a number of (typically legendary artifact) items that grant these spell effects as long as you are using/wearing the item.
  • Energy Beings: 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. The Ideal Masters do not usually manifest within the Soul Cairn, but have been known to take the form of giant soul gems through which individuals can communicate with them, and through which they can drain the souls of approaching mortals.
  • Enslaved Elves: Unusually for the trope, most examples are cases of Elves being enslaved by other Elves. To note:
    • When the Atmorans (ancestors to the Nords) came to Skyrim and began eradicating the native Falmer ("Snow Elves"), the surviving Falmer were taken in by their Dwemer cousins. However, they were not benevolent. The Dwemer enslaved the Falmer, blinded them, and twisted them into barely-sapient creatures along the lines of Morlocks. Prior to this, the Falmer had a civilization to rival even the Altmer.
    • Downplayed in that it may not qualify as full blown slavery, but the Bosmer of Valenwood are treated as second-class citizens to the Altmer under the Aldmeri Dominion. Things became even worse when the Thalmor rose to power, as they even treat other Altmer as beneath them if those Altmer do not subscribe to the beliefs of the Thalmor.
    • The Orsimer, commonly known as the Orcs, are an entire species of Iron Butt Monkeys. The vast majority of Orcs live within other cultures, making themselves useful to their host peoples via servitude (usually as mercenaries and blacksmiths). Only a handful of Orcs independently live in destitute, isolated strongholds scattered throughout Tamriel - mostly in Skyrim and High Rock - akin to Native American reservations. The Orcs' attempts to create their own nation in Orsinium have always ultimately been destroyed by their rival Bretons and/or Redguards.
  • The Epic: Each game in the series fits. The Player Character is the hero in a Heroic Fantasy storyline, set in a High Fantasy world, where he/she ultimately has to Save The World from its latest existential threat.
  • Epic Fail: There are a number of occurrences throughout the series, often involving some truly incompetent magic users. Specific examples are available by game on the trope page.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil:
    • Throughout the series, this is true of the Daedric Princes. While they technically operate under their own Blue and Orange Morality, being Above Good and Evil, most are quite malevolent in their dealings with mortals and are thus, considered evil. While there are a few instances where a particular Daedric Prince seems to favor a specific race (Malacath toward the Orcs or Azura toward the Dunmer, for example) almost all accept worship from any mortal race willing to give it to them. One exception is Namira, who hates attractive people and has outright refused the worship of people she does not find revolting enough.
    • Vampirism and Lycanthropy are both diseases that can be contracted by any member of the mortal races. Whether or not the infected is accepted by other vampires or were-creatures is a different story, however...
    • The Order of the Black Worm, a cultish and reclusive Magical Society founded by the legendary/infamous necromancer Mannimarco devoted to the study of The Dark Arts, is remarkably accepting. When initially forming the Order, Mannimarco sought out Mages Guild defectors, witches, Reachmen, Daedra worshipers, various other rogue magic users, and even attempted to ally with the Sload of Thras, who are usually killed on sight in Tamriel tracing back to the Thrassian Plague they unleashed in the 1st Era which killed over half of Tamriel's population.
    • The Thieves' Guild and Dark Brotherhood do not discriminate based on race or sex. If you are a capable thief or assassin, and are willing to follow the faction's rules, they will welcome you.
    • The 4th Era incarnation of the Thalmor, while genocidally racist, have pretty liberal views on gender. There are plenty of Altmeri women serving in roles from the high-ranking (ambassadors, military leaders) to rank-and-file soldiers and wizards.
  • Escape Rope: All adult Sload, "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, have knowledge of the Recall spell, which they instinctively use to flee danger when greatly stressed.
  • Escort Mission: Plenty in the series. After numerous complaints about the Suicidal Overconfidence and Artificial Stupidity of your followers in Morrowind, the later games took steps to improve this by making (most) followers "essential" so that they could only be knocked out, not killed. Skyrim took it even further by allowing you to trade equipment with most followers to make them more combat proficient as well as give them instructions to make escorting them less burdensome. It is still not a perfect system, but it is improved.
  • Eternal Engine: The extinct Dwemer created all manner of these in their complex underground cities. Justified, as it is believed they knew how to bend the laws of nature to make their creations last, powered their cities with magical enchantments and geothermal energy, and created Mecha-Mook centurions to guard and repair their cities. The Dwemer themselves disappeared thousands of years ago, apparently as the result of tampering with the heart of a dead god.
  • Eternal English: At several points in the series, you converse with ancient beings, ancient spirits, or experience visions/flashbacks of some event thousands of years in the past. In call cases, you can understand everything being said
  • Eternal Hero: the "Shezarrines", physical manifestations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (aka Shezarr, Shor, Sep, etc.). The Shezarrines typically appear at moments of great turmoil for mankind, often fighting against the races of Mer (Elves). The God-Emperor Tiber Septim is thought to be one such manifestation. The Long Dead Badass/Berserker Pelinal Whitestrake is another. Wulfharth Ash-King is believed to have been another, dying and coming back to life at least three times.
  • Eternal Recurrence:
    • Mythic echoes of the moment of creation between the primal entities Anu and Padomay occur over and over again throughout history in a phenomenon referred to as the "Enantiomorph". Such instances of echoes include but are not limited to the sundering of Lorkhan from his divine spark (heart), the betrayal of Nerevar by the Tribunal, the triad of Tiber Septim, Zurin Arctus, and Ysmir Wulfharth, and possibly even the Last Dragonborn, General Tullius, and Ulfric Stormcloak. The roles and players are interchangeable, even in the midst of an enantiomorphic event.
    • Alduin the World-Eater 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 divinely mandated duty to "eat the world" so that a new one may be created in its place at the end of every "kalpa", or cycle of time. During these world-eating events, Alduin becomes a titanic monster with divine power beyond that of even the Daedric Princes. However, in an early age of the current kalpa, Alduin became Drunk with Power and shirked his duty as World-Eater to instead Take Over the World, ruling it with his fellow dragons and being worshiped as a god by mortals. Several other dragons, most notably his chief lieutenant Paarthurnax, rebelled against him and allied 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. Thousands of years later, Alduin does indeed return, and serves as the Big Bad of Skyrim.
    • In a time before recorded history, Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order grew too powerful, making the other Daedric Princes fearful and jealous of him. They came together and cursed him, trapping in the form of Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. However, at the end of every Era, he is allowed to return to his true form in an event known as the Greymarch. During this time, he retakes and destroys the Shivering Isles, Sheogorath's realm, only to return to the form of Sheogorath at the end. The plot of Shivering Isles is essentially Jygglag finding a way to escape this Vicious Cycle...
  • Ethnic God:
    • Throughout the series and its lore, the implication of the many differing religious beliefs and Creation Myths is that All Myths Are True. While there are many shared elements, there are numerous contradictions as well. Despite this, they all seem to have elements of truth regardless of the contradictions. At the very least, it is implied that all myths are at least Metaphorically True. Also implied is that the many different divine beings worshiped by the different races of Nirn are implied to be different aspects of the same handful of divine beings. For instance, Stendarr is known as the God of Mercy and Justice in the Imperial and Aldmeri pantheons, but his Old Nordic aspect Stuhn can be better understood as the God of Ransom. Additionally, the religions of the races of Mer typically despise Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus (the mortal plane), for being a trickster who cost the divine ancestors of the Mer their Complete Immortality. However, Lorkhan, known as Shor to the Nords, is beloved by them (and the Imperials) as a bloodthirsty warrior god-king who defended their ancestors from Merrish oppression in ancient times.
    • The most widespread religion in Tamriel is that of the Nine (originally Eight) Divines. Very much depicted so far in the series' as a Saintly Church, it was originally a political construction by St. Alessia, founder of the First Cyrodiilic Empire after overthrowing the Ayleids. The original Eight Divines were the eight Aedra who answered Alessia's prayers and lent their aid to her forces against the (mostly) Daedra-worshiping Ayleids. In exchange, Alessia made their worship the official religion of her new Empire. In order to do so, she blended the traditional Aldmeri pantheon her Nedic people and the rebel Ayleid lords were used to with the Old Nordic pantheon of her powerful Nord allies to the north. This stitching together of the pantheons caused several of the Divines have oddly conflicting personality traits or govern over unusual combinations of spheres. (Such as the aforementioned Stendarr/Stuhn.) Additionally, it only partly acknowledge Lorkhan/Shor as the "missing" god, mostly appeasing both sides.
    • Talos, the Ninth Divine, is the ascended god form of Tiber Septim (possibly among others), founder of the Third Cyrodiilic Empire and the first to unify all of Tamriel. While the exact means of his apotheosis is a hotly debated topic both in-universe and out, it is believed to be related to the spirit of Lorkhan/Shor. As the God of War and Good Governance, he has been the most active divine in safeguarding Mundus since his ascension. He is especially favored by (and favors) the races of Men, particularly the Nords and Imperials. However, in part due to his relation to Lorkhan and in part due to the Aldmeri belief that the races of Mer descend from the gods (and no man could ever possibly join their ranks), worship of Talos has become banned in the 4th Era as part of the White-Gold Concordat between the Vestigial Third Empire and their ancient rivals, the re-formed Aldmeri Dominion under the leadership of the extremist Thalmor.
    • The Dunmer of Morrowind worship a trio of formerly mortal Physical Gods (Vivec, Almalexia, Sotha Sil) known as the Tribunal or ALMSIVI. Thousands of years ago, they were the advisors of the ancient Chimeri (Precursors of the Dunmer) hero, Lord Nerevar. Though every surviving party has their own version of the events surrounding Nerevar's death and the Tribunal's ascension, the Tribunal would greatly influence the affairs of the Dunmer people for thousands of years after, including protecting them in times of war and performing miracles. (As a result of the events of Morrowind and the Tribunal expansion, they are cut off from the source of their power and two of them are killed.) It's the first in a long, long Trauma Conga Line for the Dunmer in the centuries that would follow...
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Hlaalu Helseth, King of Morrowind in the late 3rd Era, a Manipulative Bastard of the highest order with no qualms about poisoning rivals or siccing assassins on threats to his authority. Despite this, he was still highly protective of his mother, Former Queen Barenziah, and, though she publicly maintained that she backed away from politics, it is believed that she still wielded massive influence through Helseth.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Throughout the series, one can find members of villainous (or at least amoral) factions like the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood who genuinely love one another, and even a few who are Happily Married.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In the series' lore, Sanguine, the Daedric Prince of Debauchery and Hedonism, was said to be a regular in the court of Reman Cyrodiil, at least until Reman's violent decadence went so far as to make Sanguine uncomfortable.
    • Throughout the series, the Thieves' Guild generally practices Honor Among Thieves, with many (logical) rules and standards. Included are Stealing from the Guild or your fellow members is a major offense, and killing, outside of all but the most extreme circumstances, is forbidden. Pragmatic Villainy plays into this as "a half-dead man can still make his payment, while a dead man pays no gold". At their best, they even specifically practice Karmic Thievery and have some Just Like Robinhood traits. During times of turmoil, they've been known to relax these rules, which usually just ends up making things worse for the Guild... In large part, this is because, though illegal by their very nature, the Guild is typically tolerated for its role as a crime regulator. When they start stealing from more honorable folk and outright killing, this tolerance is dropped.
    • The Morag Tong is a legal assassins' guild (at least within Morrowind), officially sanctioned by the Dunmeri government as an alternative to costly and destructive internal wars between the Great Houses. They are very much Professional Killers with a strict set of rules and traditions. Even if one of their agents could get away without getting caught following an assassination, they are still encouraged to turn themselves in and present their Honorable Writ of Execution to ensure that everything remains above board.
    • The Dark Brotherhood is the Psycho for Hire Evil Counterpart (and offshoot) of the Morag Tong, who follow a Religion of Evil. Fully illegal but often tolerated (for their usefulness) or ignored (out of fear), they follow a set of standards known as Five Tenets. When followed properly, the Five Tenets ensure that the Brotherhood is One Big Happy Family, though they still have no standards when it comes to accepting assassination contracts. (Children, the elderly, the mentally ill...all acceptable targets.) Much like the Thieves Guild above, the Brotherhood has been known to go away from the Five Tenets during times of turmoil, and it typically only makes things worse for them...
  • Everybody Hates Hades:
    • Arkay, the God of Death, averts this in the Imperial and classic Aldmeri pantheons, due to being the God of Death and Life. He is typically considered a compassionate god who sometimes has to do bad things so that something good will happen elsewhere, or ensuring that the world doesn't become totally static by allowing death so that new life can arise. He also averts this as his Yokudan/Redguard aspect, Tu'whacca, who guides the souls of the dead to the Far Shores, of which he is the caretaker.
    • Played straight by Arkay's Old Nordic aspect, Orkey, the "Old Knocker", who is despised by Nords for giving them shorter lifespans than the hated Mer in their mythology. He also shows up several times in their mythology as a villain, such as when he and Alduin teamed up to reduce all Nords to the age of children. (Wulfharth Ash-King undid it using the Thu'um, but accidentally aged himself up too much and died.)
  • Everybody Loves Zeus: Meridia is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. As such, she has an extreme hatred for anything undead. Rainbows are common symbols of Meridia, and she typically takes the form of a beautiful woman, sometimes with angel-like wings. She is one of the more benevolent Daedric Princes, as well as one of the few to be almost universally considered "good" by mortals. That said, Meridia has been known to express her anger toward those who earn her displeasure in very nasty ways. She has no compunction against causing collateral damage in her quest to eliminate anything undead, and makes it clear that any "good" she does is purely to further her own causes. She is also very vindictive if you reject her or question the morality of her actions in any way. Her plane, known as the Colored Rooms, is a colorful realm of vast floating stones, strewn about with trails of colorful dust and clouds. The "ground" between the stones looks like luminescent water, but is solid enough to walk on.
  • Everyone is a Super:
    • Absolutely anyone is capable of learning to use magic. While some races are born with greater inherent magical skill, even those who are not can learn spells and be trained to use magic. (And even then, most races get an inherent boost to at least one magical skill, including the magic-hating Proud Warrior Race Nords who get a boost to Restoration magic.) Those who do not use magic simply have chosen to focus on other areas, as opposed to being incapable of casting spells.
    • Certain racial powers and birthsign abilities, though not magic in the standard sense, are essentially magical spells which can be used once per day and require no training, skill, or even magicka to use. They are simply inherent in those races and in people born under that birthsign. For example, even Nords, who typically ridicule magic users, can call on magical frost once per day as a racial power. Similarly, those born under the sign of the Shadow or Tower can magically turn invisible once per day or magically unlock a lock once per day, respectively.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Seems to be the case for much of Tamriel. Starting with Morrowind, the response to many of the "Admire" persuasion options appears to be a response to a come-on or pickup line, regardless of the player character's gender or race. Taken Up to Eleven in Skyrim, which adds marriage options to the series. Every marriageable character can be married by the player, once again regardless of the player character's gender or race. Seems to be a bit of a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation though, as in-universe gay couples not involving player characters are extremely rare, though there still doesn't seem to be any prejudice against them.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs:
    • Throughout the series are Clannfear, a form of lesser Daedra with animalistic intelligence and the general appearance of raptors with frills and beaks. As Daedra, they are technically immortal beings who can manifest in any form they choose, and no reason is ever given for their appearance. As far as can be told, Nirn never had dinosaurs.
    • Tamriel also has various forms of prehistoric mammalian fauna indigenous to the colder climes of the continent. Included are Sabre-tooth Cats and Woolly Mammoths.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys:
    • The Imga are a race of sentient "great apes" from Valenwood, the forest homeland of the Bosmer. They are known for their reverence to the Altmer and seek to emulate them in dress and, sometimes, even going as far to shave their fur. Ironically, the most famous Imga in the series' lore is Marukh, known as the "Monkey Prophet," who was the leader of the 1st Era Alessian Order. The Order was extremely human-supremacist and extremely racist toward all races of Elves. They've yet to appear in the series (though the lore-friendly Skyrim Mod, "Moonpath to Elsweyr", adds them in as Giant Mooks to the Altmeri Thalmor.
    • The Tang Mo are a race of "monkey folk" who hail from the continent of Akavir, far to the east of Tamriel. They are described as kind and brave, but also simple and mad. Despite this, they are capable of raising armies and have successfully defended themselves against their hostile and more aggressive neighbors (including the Kamal "Snow Demons" and the Tsaesci "Snake Vampires"). They've recently (relative to when Mysterious Akavir was written) allied themselves with the Ka Po' Tun "Tiger Folk".
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows:
    • Rainbows are associated with Meridia, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. One ancient Ayleid text even claims that by traveling the "rainbow road" (a reference to the prismatic refraction of light), Meridia can in some sense alter the rate at which time flows forward:
    ".. thus does Merid-Nunda [ride? slide?] across the rainbow road from end to end, at one end stretching the dragon, at the other end compressing him ..."
    • Alinor, the capital city of the Summerset Isles (and the Aldmeri Dominion), is described as a Shining City of glass and crystal, with crystal towers that are "designed to catch the light of the sun and break it to its component colors." They are stated to look something like "an insect wing".
  • Evil Chancellor: Just about anytime a Court Mage appears in the series or is mentioned in the lore, he has about a 50/50 shot of being one of these. (The alternative is being The Good Chancellor and a Hyper-Competent Sidekick, while middle ground is rare...). Prime examples include Jagar Tharn to Uriel Septim VII and Mannimarco to Varen Aquilarios.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: An in-game book found throughout the series contains an interview with a Dremora, a type of lesser Daedra, which reveals their view of the mortal races. Daedra, being immortal, are unable to comprehend why mortals do not succumb to despair in spite of the knowledge that their own existence is finite.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • In-universe, to worshipers of the Nine Divines, the Daedric Princes and their worshipers are often seen as this. Anyone who worships a Daedric Prince is typically seen as evil, or at the very least, as dangerous lunatics. Ultimately played with significantly, as the Daedra are not inherently evil (and the Aedra are not inherently good), and even within the different cultures of Tamriel, some are seen as good to certain groups that are seen as evil by others.
    • The Dark Brotherhood to the Morag Tong. Both are assassin's guilds, but the Morag Tong is government sanctioned within Morrowind and its members are honorable Professional Killers. The Brotherhood is a fully criminal offshoot of the Morag Tong, popular elsewhere in the Empire, who are much closer to Psychos For Hire and worship Sithis, a borderline God of Evil.
    • The Order of the Black Worm to the Mages Guild. Both founded by contemporaneous former members of the Psijic Order (Mannimarco and Galerion, respectively), Mannimarco was kicked out for practicing The Dark Arts, especially Necromancy, and gathered like-minded practitioners to form the Order of the Black Worm. Galerion left voluntarily, believing that magic should be practiced freely (not just concentrated in the hands of a select few like the Psijic Order) and founded the Mages Guild to do just that. The two groups have clashed repeatedly throughout history, leading to Galerion's death and eventually, to the collapse of the Mages Guild in the early 4th Era.
    • The Thalmor are one to both the Blades (militant orders with espionage responsibilities) and to the Psijic Order (Aldmeri orders who seek immense magical knowledge). Naturally, they are major enemies to both groups, with the Thalmor having hunted the Blades to near-elimination and the Psijic Order withdrawing almost entirely from Tamriellic affairs (in addition to making their entire home island disappear) during the 4th Era.
  • Evil Former Friend: In the series' backstory, the Chimer and Dwemer people of Morrowind were ancient enemies. When Morrowind was invaded by the Nords, the Chimer and Dwemer formed an Enemy Mine to drive the invaders out. During this time, the Chimeri leader Lord Nerevar and the Dwemeri leader Dumac became Fire-Forged Friends. Their people prospered under this alliance, with Dumac attending Nerevar's wedding and the two of them even attending the coronation of Emperor Gorieus representing their combined nation (Resdayn). However, the Dwemer Chief Tonal Architect, Lord Kagrenac, had discovered the Heart of Lorkhan beneath Red Mountain, and planned to tap into its power. Nerevar's advisor, Voryn Dagoth, convinced Nerevar that Dumac had become evil. Nerevar confronted Dumac, who demanded that Nerevar leave or be killed for questioning the motives of the Dwemer. This led to the Battle of Red Mountain and, as with many details surrounding that event, the truth is likely lost to history.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold:
    • The Kamal are a race of "snow demons" native to the continent of Akavir. They freeze every winter and thaw out every spring, where they attack the Tang Mo "monkey folk." The one time this Vicious Cycle was broken was to attack Tamriel (the continent where all of the games in the series to date have taken place) and it failed.
    • The Deadlands, the realm of Mehrunes Dagon, Daedric Prince of Destruction, looks as close to Fire and Brimstone Hell as Oblivion realms tend to get, and yet despite all the flowing magma and roaring fires the air feels so deeply cold even Nords, who are naturally resistant to the cold and come from the Grim Up North land of Skyrim, feel the chill there.
    • An affinity to cold and Frost-magic is a common trait of many of Tamriel's Vampire bloodlines. In addition, most are weak to fire. According to tales in the series' lore, this is especially true of Skyrim's vampires, who are said to be able to freeze enemies with their breath and ambush their prey from beneath frozen lakes without breaking the ice on the surface.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Throughout the series, this is a trait of the Dremora, an intelligent race of lesser Daedra who are most commonly found in the service of Mehrunes Dagon as his Legions of Hell. They are essentially a race (the Master Race if they are to be believed) of Large Ham Blood Knights with deep "outdoor" voices. Some prime snippets of their dialogue:
    "After I kill you, I will rape your corpse. Don't worry. I'll be gentle."
    "Bow to me!" "Break and fall!" "Break! Bleed!" "Burst, bloodsack!" (And those are just the ones starting with "B"!)
    "I HONOR my LORD by DESTROYING YOU!" *slays enemy* "THERE CAN BE NO OTHER END!"
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: There are metaphysical "rules" in place that bar most from being able to summon Daedra, specifically to prevent this sort of thing from happening. (At least in story; it's less of a problem for the player...) One in-universe book, for example, tells the story of a boy who summons a Dremora to practice his Conjuration. The Dremora says the boy will need a soul gem to advance further, and hey! He just happens to have one on him that the boy can use. The boy accepts the soul gem... and the Dremora demonstrates how to use it by tearing the kid's heart out and trapping him in the gem. The book ends with the moral that you never accept a freely given gift from a summoned Daedra, because this breaks the magical bond that keeps them from killing you.
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family:
    • This is averted by the Daedric Princes. While technically beings Above Good and Evil who operate on their own Blue and Orange Morality, the majority of them are considered "evil" by the average denizens of Tamriel. Despite this, most of the Princes despise each other. Two of the most malevolent, Molag Bal (Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption) and Boethiah (Daedric Prince of Plots and Betrayal) can't stand one another and often have their worshipers working against each other every chance they get. Likewise, Molag Bal doesn't get along well with Mehrunes Dagon (Daedric Prince of Destruction) either.
    • Played straight by the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil. They may be assassins, but they do consider themselves family.
  • Evil Is Petty: While not inherently "evil", this is a trait of Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge. Any person or group who dares to withhold secrets or knowledge from Mora, even if said information is of no real consequence or meaning to outsiders, Mora will get extremely petty in order to gain the information. As the Prince of Knowledge, he can't abide the thought of not knowing something.
  • Evil Is Sexy: In-Universe, this is the case for Mephala, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets. She is considered to be one of the more malevolently inclined (or, incorrectly, outright "evil") Daedric Princes and sexuality falls under her purview. Two of the Aedric Divines, Mara and Dibella, represent different aspects of sexuality, being Love Goddesses, and are near-universally considered "good", but Mephala seems to represent the outright manipulative aspects of sex.
  • Evil Laugh: Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption has a particularly sinister evil laugh, in addition to his deep, booming voice.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Either Played Straight or Subverted by the Dunmer, depending on the version of the story. Previously, they were known as the Chimer and had pleasant golden skin. According to one legend, when the Tribunal betrayed Lord Nerevar, Azura (Nerevar's Daedric patron) cursed the entire race with eyes as red as fire and skin as grey as ash. Only the Tribunal (mostly) kept their former appearance; the evil-looking Dunmer really had nothing to do with the betrayal. Also, the whole story may just be allegorical for the physical changes caused by living in a blasted hellscape of ash and lava.
  • Evil Matriarch:
  • Evil Mentor:
    • Throughout the series, Hagravens, a species of flightless harpy who were once mortal women that traded their humanity for access to powerful magic, serve as these to still-mortal witches. Eventually, these mortal witches undergo the ritual as well, becoming Hagravens themselves.
    • The series' Liches commonly serve as these to still-mortal necromancers, who hope to one day become Liches themselves.
  • Evil Overlord: In virtually every game in the series, the goal of the Big Bad is usually to become one of these for all of Nirn. (And in a few cases, plans to take it even farther.
  • Evil Pays Better: Throughout the series, this is case for completing many quests given by the Daedric Princes. Though technically beings Above Good and Evil who operate on their own Blue and Orange Morality, the Princes are mostly considered "evil" by all but the most knowledgeable in-universe, especially in contrast to the Saintly Church of the Nine Divine, making them an Evil Counterpart almost by default. Accepting and completing the Daedric quests almost always involves rather uncouth activities, up to and including murder, backstabbing, cannibalism, stealing souls, making Deals With The Devil, and even making it rain cats and dogs. (Which are on fire.) The rewards for completing these quests make them extremely worthwhile, however, including Legendary Weapons, armor, and other artifacts of great power.
  • Evil Smells Bad:
    • This is said to be the case for Scamps, the weakest and smallest known form of lesser Daedra who have a rancid smell.
    • The Sload are a race of "slugmen" native to Thras, an archipelago to the southwest of Tamriel. While they themselves operate on a Blue and Orange Morality, the denizens of Tamriel instead see them as Always Chaotic Evil. (Wiping out half of the continent's population with a Mystical Plague tends to spark those sorts of feelings...) The Sload are said to emanate a constant "repugnant" stench.
    • Coldharbour is the Daedric plane of Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption. The ground is sludge, the sky is on fire, and the air is freezing. It resembles a ruined and desecrated copy of Nirn that is filled with suffering and "spattered" with blood and excrement. It contains charnel houses full of the dead and slave pens beyond count. If that weren't all horrifying enough, it is said that the smell alone is enough to break most mortals. It is said that no mortals willingly visit this place except in error.
  • Evil Sorcerer:
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Many of the voiced Big Bads of the series have deep voices. Included are Dagoth Ur, Mehrunes Dagon, and Alduin, as well as numerous villains in the various guild and faction questlines.
  • Evil Weapon: While the Blue and Orange Morality of the Daedra tends to put them Above Good and Evil, you will need to do some fairly evil things in order to obtain and/or power up some of their associated artifacts. A few examples:
    • Umbra is a powerful soul-stealing sword created by a witch for Clavicus Vile. It tends to take over the mind of its wielder, turning them into insane Blood Knights.
    • The Ebony Blade is an artifact associated with Mephala, and in order to power it up, you need to use it kill people who trust or love you.
    • In order to receive any artifacts from Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal, Malacath, or any of the other traditionally "evil" Daedra, you are almost certainly going to have to do something evil for them, ranging from corruption to outright murder.
  • Evil Will Fail: The case for Potema Septim, the "Wolf Queen" of Solitude, in the backstory. Married off the Jarl of Solitude by her brother, Emperor Antiochus Septim, Potema was a prime Manipulative Bastard and Chessmaster. She lied to her new husband and got his son exiled to ensure that her own son, Uriel III, would take the throne of Solitude, and in time the Ruby Throne of all Tamriel. When her niece, Kintyra II, was declared heir instead of Uriel III, Potema engaged in a bloody conflict known as the War of the Red Diamond, and after years of violent conquest and inciting rebellion in Skyrim, Hammerfell, and High Rock, she captured and executed Kintyra II, put Uriel III on the throne, and killed anyone who disagreed. However, the loyalist forces, led by her other brother Cephorus, did not stop and fought against this puppet Emperor, with Uriel III himself dying a scant year or so into his rule when his caravan was intercepted by an angry mob who burned him to death. Upon hearing the news, what little humanity that remained in the Wolf-Queen was snuffed out, and her fury against the new Emperor Cephorus was terrible to behold. In her madness and spite, she began consorting with Daedra, and raising the dead on both sides as zombies and skeletons to fight for her. Stories of the Wolf-Queen being tended to by skeletal chambermaids, Lich advisors, and vampire lieutenants spread like wildfire, while any living servants who dared to offend her being sacrificed in bloody rituals to dark gods or worse. Her horrified allies abandoned her in droves. Eventually none who lived called themselves allies of the mad Wolf-Queen, and Solitude became a land of death. After alienating just about everyone else in Tamriel, their armies marched into Solitude and laid siege to the capital. Potema eventually died in her castle after a protracted, decade-long siege.
  • Evolutionary Levels: There are several known varieties of Clannfear, a form of lesser Daedra with animalistic intelligence and the general appearance of raptors with frills and beaks. They range from "Runts" at the bottom, to the standard Clannfear, to the larger Dread Clannfear and Clannfear Matrons at the top.
  • Evolutionary Retcon: The series has surprisingly averted this for the most part. Despite major overhauls to the graphics with each new game release, most of the races and creatures that appear in each game have kept the same look, with only improvements in the quality of their appearance, not to the appearance itself. However, there are two major exceptions:
    • One area where it has been played straight is with the Argonian race. Arena displayed them as gray skinned humanoids. Two games later, Morrowind turned them into bird-legged, iguana-looking people. Oblivion returned them to more traditionally bipedal dinosaur-looking people. Finally, Skyrim has them looking like predatory velociraptor looking people (they use the same model as other races, apart from the reptilian head and tail). This evolution is ostensibly justified in-universe by the fact the Argonians worship the "Hist," a race of sentient trees in their homeland of Argonia (or "Black Marsh"). Hatchling Argonians drink the sap from the Hist that changes them physically. After the events of the Oblivion Crisis, it is believed that the Hist have been strengthening the Argonians, turning them into more formidable warriors over time.
    • A lesser example would be the Khajiit race. In Arena and Daggerfall, they look like a race of hardy and fair-skinned men that hardly (if at all) resemble their supposed feline ancestors. In Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, they're Beast Folk that resemble humanoid tigers. The retcon here isn't that they turned into different forms like the Argonians, but rather it's a part of their biology; by the waxing and waning of the two moons Masser and Secunda, the children born to a Khajiit can range in appearance from a small house cat to a fair-skinned man to a cat-man to a feline big enough to be ridden as a beast of battle.
  • Evolution Power-Up: The Dreugh, a semi-intelligent aquatic race of humanoid octopi, undergo a process known as "karvinasim" during which they, for about one year, transform into a land-dwelling species in order to breed. Land Dreugh tend to be hardier, hit harder, and gain a natural "shock" attack in addition to gaining the ability to live on land. However, as a sort of Multi Form Balance, Land Dreugh lose whatever intelligence they still have in their aquatic forms, becoming little better than vicious beasts on land.
  • Evolving Music: The case for the series' Recurring Riff main theme. It started in Morrowind with "Nerevar Rising," which was then given a brassy Romanesque remix for Oblivion, known as "Reign of the Septims." This was then remixed with a barbarian choir for Skyrim's main theme, "Dragonborn".
  • Exact Words:
    • This is extremely common when dealing with any of the series' various divine beings, especially the more malevolent ones, often crossing over with Deal with the Devil. To note:
      • Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes, combines this with being a Literal Genie (or Jackass Genie if his "external conscience", Barbas, isn't present). For example, when a group of vampires prayed to him for a cure to their affliction, he had a hero come along and Mercy Kill them all. Vampirism cured. Another example is a mage whose daughter worshipped Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt and Manbeasts. When she was turned into a werewolf, the mage asked for a way to cure her and end her suffering. Clavicus gave him an axe.
      • The Ideal Masters, a group of 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. They traffic in souls, especially "Black" sapient souls, and have a Horror Hunger that drives them to collect more. They accomplish this by making deals, often with mortal necromancers, exchanging great power for more souls. In one case, they struck a deal with the draconic necromancer Durnehviir. They granted him great power in exchange for him guarding Valerica "until she died". However, they failed to mention that Valerica, a vampire, was The Ageless and would effectively never die, trapping him in their service for eternity.
      • Song of Hrormir tells the story of Hrormir, an honorable warrior who swears the following oath to Nocturnal, the Daedric Prince of Darkness: "Shadowy Hag, to thee I pledge, To only honor thy black Words, To turn my back on Truth, To aid thy Dark Kings' Ambition, To divide their Inheritance fairly, To love thee, To think thee beautiful." When he later betrays her, Nocturnal realizes that the part of the oath "turn my back on truth" allows him to escape honoring the rest of his agreement. Annoyed but impressed by his cunning, she releases him from her service.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: This is frequently the case for some of the Daedric artifacts throughout the series. Recovering the artifact and restoring it to its true power is often part of the Daedric quest of the associated Daedric Prince. Mehrunes' Razor is the most frequent item to fall into this state throughout the series.
  • The Exile: Most of the races of Mer split apart over religious differences in the early history of Tamriel. For most of Altmeri history, those who dissented with traditional Altmer beliefs simply left to resettle elsewhere and practice their unorthodox beliefs. The Dwemer, Chimer, and Ayleids are several prominent examples of this. This has left the Altmer, as a culture, rather unaccustomed to dealing with dissidents in their homeland. With most of Tamriel now claimed and populated, the number of dissidents in the Summerset Isles swelled in the 3rd and 4th Eras, leading to a rise in extremism and domestic terrorism.
  • Exotic Equipment: Male Khajiit have tiny barbs on their penises, similar to those of real-life cats.
  • Expansion Pack: Every game since Morrowind has had at least two major expansion packs. The Updated Rereleases of each game include the expansions out of the box.
  • Expansion Pack World: At least one expansion pack or DLC for the main series' games tends to play this straight, adding new lands to explore. Morrowind notably plays this straight in the Bloodmoon expansion with the island of Solstheim, but this allows Skyrim to avert the trope with its Dragonborn DLC, which revisits Solstheim.
  • Exploited Immunity: The Argonians have a racial ability which allows them to breathe underwater. They also have a reputation for being skilled at guerrilla warfare, constructing underwater camps (which are naturally hard for non-Argonians to assault) and one of their favorite tactics is to ambush their victims, grab them, drag them underwater, and keep them there until they drown (a feat which, unfortunately, is difficult to replicate in-game due to the lack of grappling mechanics).
  • Exponential Potential: Present in general throughout the series when it comes to spells, of which dozens (at least) are available in each game. These spells are classed in the 6-8 (depending on the game) "Schools" of Magic, including Alchemy, Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion, Mysticism (which is typically magic that alters the nature of magic, such as Dispel or Spell Absorption spells), Restoration, and Thaumaturgy. Using Spell Crafting or enchanting the spell effects into items allows for even more combinations. Specific game details can be found on the trope page.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: The series has Iron Atronaches, which are made up of molten iron, can absorb shock attacks, and have strong physical attacks.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: Nymphs are said to be this in-universe. Nymphs are a type of nature spirit who take the form of beautiful, naked, long-haired women. The stereotype in-universe is that they are Brainless Beauties who run around having lots of indiscriminate sex. Ultimately Subverted, however, as most are rather shy and rarely approach mortals on their own.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The series has a complex Potion-Brewing Mechanic which treats Alchemy as a magically classed skill. Potential ingredients range from standard food items to less palatable animal parts, poisonous mushrooms, raw hearts, human flesh, ashes of burned vampires, ground up bones, soap, pearls, precious gemstones (including diamonds), pieces of metal, raw ore, rocks, and more. One of the primary means of identifying the magical properties of these ingredients is to eat them, which is particularly jarring when you're talking about the player character chowing down on ten pounds of metal or rock at once. Eating the raw ingredients exposes you to a weakened version of its magical effects. There is no downside to consuming these ingredients, save for whatever minor, temporary magical effects they may expose you to.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Early in their history, the Dunmer people were plagued by ceaseless open warfare between the Great Houses. These "House Wars" were destructive, disruptive, expensive, and, worst of all, weakened the Dunmer people overall who were surrounded on all sides by powerful enemies (Dwemer, Nords, etc.) Thus, the Dunmeri government sanctioned the Morag Tong, a legal assassin's guild of Professional Killers. The Morag Tong maintain a strict policy of impartiality, accepting any job provided it is proposed in the correct manner and with the proper payment. Because of its official sanction, the guild has the authority to print legal bills known as Honorable Writs of Execution, which excuse a Tong agent of all legal misgiving associated with any Tong related business. While legal assassination certainly seems like an extreme solution to any problem, the Morag Tong keeps the Great Houses of Morrowind from starting an all-out war by confining the conflicts in a much smaller scale. The threat of being legally assassinated mostly keeps the Great House leaders in line and prevents significantly greater death and destruction from happening.
  • Eyeless Face:
    • As they've undergone Art Evolution through the course of the series, this has become a trait of the Atronachs. Atronachs are a type of unaligned lesser Daedra which are essentially the Elemental Embodiments of the elements they represent. The most common are the Flame (also known as "Fire"), Frost, and Storm varieties. As they've become less humanoid as the series has gone on, Frost and Storm Atronachs no longer have eyes (or really any facial features). Flame Atronachs, though they've otherwise become more humanoid (and feminine), still have eye-slits or holes in their "masks", but just fire behind them, no actual eyes.
    • Vermai are a blind and aggressive form of lesser Daedra with minimal intelligence, commonly found in the service of Mehrunes Dagon. While otherwise mostly humanoid in appearance, Vermai lack eyes.
    • The modern Falmer have become this. Formerly the Altmer-like Snow Elves, they were nearly driven to extinction in the series' backstory. They were taken in by the Dwemer, who enslaved the Falmer and forced them to blind themselves. The Dwemer would further twist and mutate the Falmer until they became the debased Morlock-like creatures they are now. While they still technically have eyes, the eyes are covered by a layer of skin.
  • Eye of Newt: A staple of the series is its complex Alchemy system. Alchemy is a magically classed skill portrayed as a type of scientific magic; when you Item Craft potions, you're distilling the ingredients (using a mortar and pestle, retort, etc). However you appear to be extracting the "magic" from them rather than more mundane chemical compounds (some of the in-universe literature even uses this to justify the Health Food trope; chewing certain ingredients releases their basic properties, but not as well as properly mixing them would).


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