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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 K to L

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    K 
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts:
    • The series in general is a rather egregious offender considering one of the big selling points is being a Wide Open Sandbox that allows for more playstyles than simply endless dungeon-crawling. However, you're pretty much limited to alchemy and thievery. (And thievery is less lucrative than it may sound because few homes have items of real value, leaving you to max out your carry weight with stolen Vendor Trash in order to turn a profit.) While it would make sense that items would be cheap in the big cities' trade districts and more expensive in little podunk shops with supply problems, prices are set by item so they remain basically the same, excepting some skill-based variation and how much the merchant likes you, no matter who's selling.
    • Alchemy, as mentioned, is one major exception. It is possible to buy cheap, infinitely restocking ingredients from an alchemist/apothecary, turn those ingredients into a potion, and then sell the potion back for more gold than the ingredients themselves were worth. The only thing keeping this from being an infinite source of income is having to wait for the merchant's stock of gold to regenerate after 24 in-game hours.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Virtually every game has a handful of morally corrupt (if not outright evil) characters who, for one reason or another, are never brought to justice for their actions. Specific examples are listed on the trope page.
    • Vivec. While not an outright villain, he and the two other members of the Tribunal very likely betrayed and murdered the ancient hero Nerevar, then went against the wishes of Nerevar's patron deity (Azura) by using the Heart of Lorkhan to become gods and rule over Morrowind for some 4000 years. After Dagoth Ur's defeat at the hands of the Nerevarine and the deaths of the other two members of the Tribunal, Vivec was put on trial for his past crimes. At his trial he confessed to the murder of Nerevar but claimed that he couldn't be charged with it because the divine and mortal versions of him are different people. He then asked the court to summon Azura to speak on Nerevar's behalf, and once they acquiesced to this he then bound Azura to their plane of existence and shoved his "spear" down her throat before vanishing. His disappearance also leads to the destruction of Vvardenfell and the downfall of the Dunmer people. After some temporary measures fail, the Ministry of Truth (a moonlet hurled at Vivec City by Sheogorath in the distant past which Vivec froze in place using his divine power) crashes down with its original momentum, destroying the city and causing Red Mountain to erupt. Much of Morrowind is covered in choking ash, and many of the still habitable southern areas are conquered by the invading Argonians. If he is to be believed, he has also achieved CHIM, meaning he is now something far above and beyond punishment for his crimes.
  • Karmic Transformation: Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order, grew powerful in a time before recorded history. The other Daedric Princes, fearful and jealous of his growing power, came together and cursed him into becoming his own antithesis: Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. At the end of every Era, Jyggalag is able to return to his true form in an event known as the Greymarch. During this time, he retakes and destroys the Shivering Isles (his old realm, now Sheogorath's), only to return to the form of Sheogorath at the end. (The Shivering Isles is all about breaking this cycle, though not in the way you might expect...)
  • Katanas Are Just Better:
    • Generally downplayed throughout the series in regards to generic katanas. They are typically lighter and offer faster attack speeds than standard swords of the same class, but otherwise, aren't inherently better. In-universe, katanas were favored weapons of the Akaviri invaders who attacked Tamriel in the late 1st Era. Though they were defeated, they influenced Tamriellic culture and the katana stayed as a prominent weapon, especially among the Blades.
    • Played straight with several "artifact" class weapons which resemble katanas. For example, Goldbrand and the Ebony Blade are Daedric artifacts associated with Boethiah and Mephala, respectively, and are among the very best weapons available in the games in which they appear.
    • Malacath, the Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized (and patron deity of the Orcs), is typically depicted as wielding a large two-handed blade, like a dai-katana. Despite this, the artifact weapons most associated with him are the mace Scourge and the warhammer Volendrung.
  • Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: This is within the sphere of Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge. Mora specializes in forbidden knowledge, and is the only Daedric Prince who doesn't bother a humanoid form when dealing with mortals, instead preferring a truly Eldritch Abomination form of a mass of eyes, tentacles, and claws. Mora himself claims to be one of the oldest Daedric Princes, a Time Abyss class of deities, forming out of detritus concepts ejected from reality. Mora's preferred method of seducing mortal servants is to bribe them with gifts of power and knowledge. He also tends to give them absolute freedom, trusting that the lure of the gifts he offers will keep them in his service. His realm, Apocrypha, an endless library containing all knowledge in the form of tomes and very much an Eldritch Location. Mora's most famous associated artifact is the Oghma Infinium, a Great Big Book of Everything bound in Genuine Human Hide. Those who read it gain immense knowledge and power from it, but it tends to disappear before the reader can read too much.
  • Keystone Army: In most games in the series, summoned/resurrected creatures will die/vanish when their summoner is killed. This is especially evident when fighting groups of enemy Conjurers, Necromancers, or Vampires.
  • Kicked Upstairs: This is unfortunately common in the Mages Guild, crossing over with The Peter Principle. Being skilled with magic does not automatically translate to being a skilled administrator, leading to many Pointy Haired Bosses in high-ranking positions within the Guild. (The Absent-Minded Professor nature of many skilled mages also does not help the situation.) When they become detrimental, they'd either be Kicked Upstairs and/or Reassigned to Antarctica to keep them out of them way.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: This is entirely viable throughout much of the series. Find or buy a Pimped-Out Dress, optionally give it some enchantments to make it more useful, and start kicking ass. In games that let you enchant an item with an increase to the wearer's armor rating, the dress can even be made to function almost exactly like armor.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Two (now extinct) races of Mer took the "abusive" part of Abusive Precursors down an extreme dog-kicking path. To note:
      • The Ayleids (Wild Elves) of Cyrodiil enslaved and tortured the Nedes (ancestors to most of the modern races of Men) in unimaginably cruel ways. Some of their most horrific treatments included: forcing them all to work naked, force-feeding them hallucinogenic drugs and watching their reactions, creating sculptures out of their bones and gardens out of their entrails, and setting human children on fire and setting hungry animals on them. Eventually, their slaves revolted, overthrew them, and eventually drove their race to apparent extinction.
      • The Dwemer (Deep Elves or "Dwarves") of all of Northern Tamriel were a very scientific and extremely technologically advanced race. For the most part, they wanted to be left alone by the other races, which would put them closer to the category of Neglectful Precursors. However, their treatment of the Falmer (Snow Elves) was about as abusive as it gets. With the once great Falmer civilization of Skyrim in ruins following the invasion of the Atmorans/Proto-Nords, some of the survivors turned to their Dwemer cousins for shelter. The Dwemer took them in, but were anything but benevolent. They genetically altered the Falmer so that they have to consume blindness-inducing mushrooms to survive. So great were their alterations that their souls turned from sentient "black" souls to "white" souls, leaving them little better than animals. Eventually, the Dwemer would attempt something (involving the heart of a dead god) which caused their entire race to blink out of existence. Now, the Falmer lurk in the old Dwemer ruins and other underground areas of Skyrim, a shattered shell of what they once were.
    • Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, is prone to instances of this:
  • Kill All Humans: This is a goal of the Thalmor, on their way to eventually undoing creation itself. They play up the old Aldmeri religious belief that the "dead" creator god, Lorkhan, was a malevolent force who created Mundus, the mortal realm, as a prison full of suffering and limitation that trapped the divine ancestors of the Aldmer. Lorkhan created mankind out of "the weakest souls" specifically to be bastards, thus spreading Sithis (chaos) into "every corner" of creation, ensuring that there could never again be the total stasis of pre-creation. Thus, the Thalmor want not to just "kill all humans", they want to kill even the very idea of humans. Their actions leading up to and throughout Skyrim are parts of this plan, including the ban on Talos worship.
  • Killed Off for Real: A notable exception throughout the series are the Daedra, who possess Complete Immortality and cannot truly die. While their physical manifestations can be slain, their spirits simply return to Oblivion to reform. In fact, in-universe scholars do not even like to use terms like "killed" or "slain" when referring to defeated Daedra, preferring "banished" instead. For example, Mehrunes Dagon has been banished at least three times (by Almalexia in the backstory, by the Hero of Battlespire in Battlespire, and by Martin/Akatosh in Oblivion).
  • Kill 'Em All: Wulfharth Ash-King, the legendary ancient King of the Nords and noted Shezarrine who has died and come back to life at least three times, was part of two such instances:
    • According to "The Secret Song of King Wulfharth," this was the fate of nearly all of the leaders at the Battle of Red Mountain. Wulfharth blinded Alandro Sul with a Thu'um shout, but was himself struck down with "grievous wounds". Meanwhile, Nerevar, Dagoth, Dumac, and Shor who had been reunited with his Heart all killed each other but not before Nerevar was able to cut out Shor's heart once again.
    • This was the result of the fight that ensued when Zurin Arctus attempted to trap Wulfharth's soul. Wulfharth killed all of Arctus' soldiers and then killed Arctus himself with his dying breath. However, Arctus' soul-trap spell succeeded. The two were apparently left merged into one undying being known as the Underking. (A title that Wulfharth possibly went by even before this event.)
  • Kill It with Fire: Though the exact mechanics vary from game to game, fire-based spells and enchantments are extremely effective against most types of undead, vampires, trolls, spriggans, and even enemy Altmer (High Elves).
  • Kill the God:
    • Comes up frequently in the series, although it is usually ultimately subverted. In different cases you either need to remove their divinity (thus they are no longer truly "gods" when you kill them, subverting it) or banish them from Mundus (which typically involves destroying their physical form, but doesn't actually "kill" them, also subverting it).
    • As part of the series' primary Creation Myth, Lorkhan, one of the et'Ada ("original spirits") convinced/tricked some of his fellow et'Ada to create Mundus, the mortal plane. However, this act caused these et'Ada to sacrifice a large portion of their divine power. As punishment for his perceived treachery, these et'Ada (now known as the Aedra, or "our ancestors" in Old Aldmeris), "killed" Lorkhan, tore his divine center ("heart") from his body, and cast it down into the mortal world he made them create where his spirit is forced to wander. (According to some myths, this was Lorkhan's plan all the long: to "die" and have his spirit "impregnate" the mortal world.)
    • The Thalmor-led Aldmeri Dominion of the 4th Era are attempting to do this to Talos, though not in the typical "kill his physical form" sense. By banning his worship, they are hoping to destroy him as a god and thus, unmake the mortal world. Their religious beliefs state that Lorkhan really screwed their divine ancestors over when creating the material world and that they should work to unmake that world to restore the divinity they had before there was a material world.
  • King Bob the Nth:
    • The series has Emperor Uriel Septim VII, the 21st and finalnote  Emperor of the Septim dynasty. Crosses over with Meaningful Name and Numerological Motif, as the Archangel Uriel is traditionally the seventh and last in Judeo-Christian tradition, while "Septim" comes from septem, Latin for "seventh".
    • Other historical examples include the four Emperors named Pelagius Septim (of whom Pelagius III was the infamous "Mad Emperor") and, from the previous dynasty, the three Emperors named Reman Cyrodiil.
  • King Incognito: Tiber Septim, who founded the Third Empire of Tamriel and ascended to divinity upon his death, is believed to have made a few incognito appearances in the series. Included are the Imperial soldier in Morrowind and as "The Prophet" in Knights of the Nine.
  • King of Thieves: The leader of the Thieves' Guild in each game where it appears qualifies. Naturally, the Player Character can always rise up to that rank by finishing the Guild quest line.
  • The Kingslayer: Assassination is a startlingly common cause of death for rulers in Tamriel. A few prominent examples:
    • The In-Game Novel 2920: The Last Year of the First Era, Loosely Based On An In-Universe True Story, ends with the assassination of Emperor Reman Cyrodiil III by the sister of his ex-mistress, in revenge for her unjust execution for treason. This happens with the backing of the Dunmer assassins' guild, the Morag Tong, with the tacit support of the Akaviri ambassador who then takes over rulership of the Empire as Potentate.
    • A few hundred years later, the Colovian King Cuhlecain, with the aid of his Dragonborn General Talos, had re-captured the Imperial City and was preparing to take the throne as Emperor, the first since the death of Reman III. However, a Nightblade from High Rock assassinated Cuhlecain and attempted to assassinate Talos, slashing his throat (which prevented him from using the Thu'um ever again.) Talos survived and would be crowned Emperor in Cuhlecain's place, taking the name Tiber Septim. (At least, that's the story according to Imperial orthodox history. More "heretical" stories say that Talos had a hand in the assassination, and may have even murdered Cuhlecain himself in order to usurp the throne.)
    • The Mythic Dawn kick off the Oblivion Crisis by assassinating Emperor Uriel Septim VII and his three legitimate heirs. Their notoriety for this act lasts centuries.
    • Ten years after the Oblivion Crisis, the Thalmor assassinate Potentate Ocato (who served the latter Septim Emperors as High Chancellor and Imperial Battlemage) as part of their grand scheme to destabilize the Empire. It works, as no other ruler is able to hold the crumbling Septim Empire together again. The Thalmor, now the leaders of the Altmeri government, secede from the Empire, annex Valenwood, and re-form the Aldmeri Dominion of old.
    • The 4th Era Skyrim Civil War is kicked off when Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak kills Torygg, the High King of Skyrim. Skyrim is fiercely divided on whether this was a lawful duel for the High King's throne in the old way (as the Stormcloaks under his banner see it) or a murder and usurpation of the throne due to Ulfric's use of the Thu'um against Torygg (as the Empire sees it).
    • Around the same time as the Skyrim Civil War, Emperor Titus Mede II is assassinated by the Dark Brotherhood on a state visit to Skyrim. In the backstory, the Dark Brotherhood is also responsible for the assassination of Emperor Pelagius in the 3rd Era.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: A strategy pretty much encouraged by the games themselves. Especially so for players who join the Thieves Guild. (In the post-Morrowind games where stolen goods can only be sold to a fence, this becomes even more important if you want to play this way.) Basically, if it's not nailed down, it can be stolen if you're creative or lucky enough.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero Found Underwear: Throughout the series, there is nothing stopping you from rifling through the containers in people's bedrooms, often containing clothing items to steal.
  • Klingon Promotion: The Dunmeri Great House Telvanni is a political faction made up of ancient, powerful, and typically amoral wizards forming a Magocracy, practices this as an official means of advancement. While you don't have to be fully "evil" to join, the House firmly believes in Might Makes Right, so those willing to commit a little murder naturally thrive there. From their official rules:
    "If you steal from another Telvanni, but still live, then clearly you deserve whatever you stole. Murdering your opponents by magic or treachery is the traditional way of settling disputes. If you win, then clearly your argument has more merit. You may be expelled as in any other Great House, but most Telvanni will not care or even know about it."
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect:
    • The Altmer are the most magically inclined race in Tamriel with a very haughty Crystal Spires and Togas society. While primarily known for their sorcery and magical prowess, they do employ armed-and-armored soldiers as well. However, these soldiers are openly disrespected by the mages, who are typically upper-class. In their Fantastic Caste System, "warriors" come in around the middle, just above merchants and common workers.
    • The Nords are the exact opposite of the Altmer. As a Proud Warrior Race with Blood Knight traits who openly seek to enter Sovngarde when they die, the Nords openly deride those who practice magic as weaklings. They do make an exception for the Restoration school of magic, as they do appreciate good healers. They also enjoy having their weapons and armor enchanted - a hypocrisy which irritates the College of Winterhold's resident enchanter, who notes that at least his profession "will always be accepted, if not liked." In Skyrim, one can meet the old Nordic god Tsun, who states that this was not always the case - the ancient Nords referred to magic as "the Clever Craft," and suitably heroic mages were considered to have earned their place in Sovngarde, spells or no spells. (Many of these heroes were still Magic Knights though, and quite capable in melee combat if the situation calls for it.) These anti-magic beliefs only became worse during the Oblivion Crisis, since the Nord population at large blamed mages for the crisis in the first place.
    • The Redguards are another race of Men which has an open dislike for those who practice magic. In their case, the only exception is made for users of the Destruction school, as dealing more damage is always a good thing in their culture. In Oblivion, Trayvond, a student at the Mages' Guild hall in Cheydinhal, lampshades this:
    Trayvond: "I'm Trayvond the Redguard, Mages' Guild Evoker. Surprised? Yes, you don't see many Redguards in the Mages' Guild. We don't much like spellcasters in Hammerfell. Wizards steal souls and tamper with minds. If you use magic, you're weak or wicked."
  • Knight Errant: The ancient Yokudan (Precursors of the Redguards) hero Frandar Hunding was one in his youth. One of the legendary Ansei, or "Sword Saints", he traveled Yokuda slaying all manner of men and monsters, while testing his skills in 90 duels. He was never once defeated, leading him to believe that he was invincible, so he retired to Mount Hattu and wrote the Book of Circles to pass along his insights. (He would later be called back into service, proving to be an extremely badass Frontline General.)
  • Knight in Shining Armor:
    • Throughout the series (until Skyrim dropped classes), "Knight" was a preset class. Knights get bonuses to the Blade skill, as well as Heavy Armor, Block, Speechcraft, and Restoration, following the trope closely. The class description reads: "Of noble birth, or distinguished in battle or tourney, knights are civilized warriors, schooled in letters and courtesy, governed by the codes of chivalry. In addition to the arts of war, knights study the lore of healing and enchantment."
    • Though outside of High Rock, the Bretons are better known for their magical prowess, the Bretons actually have a strong chivalric tradition and most city states have their own knightly order to that end (Knights of the Rose in Wayrest, Knights of the Dragon in Daggerfall, as well as various Templar Orders such as the Order of the Hour who are dedicated to Akatosh, the God of Time, and the Knights Mentor, dedicated to the God of Knowledge). Due to High Rock's cutthroat politics, how noble these knights actually are can vary wildly.
    • Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind who came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. Or, at least, that's how he is remembered in Imperial dogma anyway. Pelinal subverts the trope, having also been a racist berserker who would fly into fits of Unstoppable Rage (mostly directed at the Ayleids) during which he would be stained with their blood and left so much carnage in his wake that Kyne, one of the Divines, would have to send in her rain to cleanse Ayleid forts and village before they could be used by Alessia's forces. In one infamous fit of rage, he damaged the lands themselves, which nearly caused the divines to leave the world in disgust.
  • Knight Templar:
    • The various City Guards throughout the series are infamous for this. Commit any crime in their presence, and be prepared to be pursued by a veritable army of them. The Ordinators in Morrowind notably take this Up to Eleven, while the Hold guards of Skyrim avert it by being much more loose and laid back than other guards in the series.
    • Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order, has elements of this. It is his driving mission to put the universe in perfect order. This threatened the other (chaotic-leaning) Daedric Princes so much that they cursed him into becoming his own antithesis - Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. The Shivering Isles expansion to Oblivion is all about him trying to break out of this curse. The lesser Daedra under him are even called "Knights of Order".
    • Meridia, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty, despises anything undead and any other entities of cruelty, darkness, rot, filth, or decay. Undead and necromancy seem to be the only reasons she ever interacts with mortal affairs, usually to have them wiped out. Thus, she will stop at nothing to destroy them, even if it means causing collateral damage to innocent people or her own followers, bordering on being a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
    • Pelinal Whitestrake was the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker. Believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"), Pelinal came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. Pelinal would fly into fits of Unstoppable Rage (mostly directed at the Ayleids) during which he would be stained with their blood and left so much carnage in his wake that Kyne, one of the Divines, would have to send in her rain to cleanse Ayleid forts and village before they could be used by Alessia's forces. To Pelinal, the only good elf was a dead elf. Men, women, children, soldiers, civilians...it didn't matter. He'd slaughter them all, even if his actions risked causing the Divines to abandon the mortal world.
    • Wulfharth Ash-King, the legendary ancient King of the Nords and noted Shezarrine who has died and come back to life at least three times, was fanatically obsessed with forcing the citizens of Skyrim to worship only the Old Nordic pantheon. His first act as High King of Skyrim was to outlaw the Alessian Order, slaughter their members, and burn their temples to the ground. He also hated the Dunmeri Tribunal and wanted them destroyed above all else. When Tiber Septim made a deal with them, Wulfharth (as the Underking) saw it as a validation of the Tribunal religion and abandoned Septim as a result.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Throughout the series, ghosts (and other intangible, supernatural enemies) can only be harmed by enchanted weapons, silver weapons, Daedric weapons, and magical spells. Oddly, averting the trope in a literal sense, your bare fists usually still damage ghosts.

    L 
  • Lack of Empathy: A trait of the Sload, a race of "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel. Sload are described as not feeling the same emotions other races do, but have some understanding of them and are capable of simulating them. As a race of Unfettered Chessmasters, they are utterly ruthless in the pursuit of their goals, with even genocide being on the table if it helps them achieve their ends. They (in)famously do not feel anything for their victims, even likening the taking of their souls to having "coins in a pouch."
  • Lady Land: This seems to be the case for the priesthood of Dibella, the Aedric Divine Goddess of Beauty, who is also associated with the more carnal and sexual aspects of love. There doesn't seem to be a specific rule precluding men from her priesthood and in fact, there are stories of males being blessed by Dibella as well as females, but the vast majority of it is made up of women nonetheless.
  • Lady of War: This is the case for Kyne, the old Nordic aspect of Kynareth, the Aedric Divine Goddess of the Air and Heavens. As Kyne, she's the warrior-wife and widow of Shor, the "bloodthirsty warrior king" Nordic aspect of Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god. She has a Friend to All Living Things association with nature, and also acts as a Valkyrie, guiding the spirits of dead warriors to the Sovngarde. She's also a motherly figure, said to have created mankind when she "exhaled" on the Throat of the World. She's also the patron of hunters in the Nordic tradition. These attributes were carried over to a lesser extent in her Imperial aspect as Kynareth.
  • Language Equals Thought:
    • In the lore, Ta'agra (the language of the Khajiit) has no word for "rules". The closest equivalent translates to "foolish concepts". Naturally, this leads to much Culture Clash between them and the other races, especially when it comes to what constitutes "personal property" and "theft."
    • The Argonian language, known as "Jel", has no past or future tense verbs. As such, Argonians tend to live "in the now," easily forgetting and forgiving past offenses while paying little mind to the future. (The possibly omniscient Hist, sentient trees native to the Argonian homeland who the Argonians worship, seem to do that for them, as seen with them foreseeing and preparing the Argonians for the Oblivion Crisis and turmoils of the 4th Era.)
    • In the Draconic language, no distinction is made between "debating" and "fighting" - two dragons breathing fire at each other are just having a particularly heated argument. Furthermore, dragons' thoughts when voiced are able to alter reality, so when they Shout they are not merely casting a spell, but willing fire into existence with a word. Language Equals Thought Equals Being, in other words.
  • The Lancer: The legendary Chimeri (now Dunmeri) hero Lord Indoril Nerevar was The Leader of the nation of Resdayn (now Morrowind), supported by his four councilors. Of them, Vehk (later known as the Tribunal deity Vivec) was his Lancer. Serving Nerevar as a junior councilor (sometimes referred to as "General"), Vehk was younger, more brash, and more hot-headed than the Guile Hero Reasonable Authority Figure Nerevar. Both also came from similar humble backgrounds (Nerevar was a merchant caravan guard while Vehk was the son of poor Netch-herders) before rising to their stations as leaders of the Chimer people, where Nerevar saw Vehk as his protege. Vehk, along with many of the other councilors and the Chimer people, disagreed with Nerevar's plan to Enemy Mine with the rival Dwemer in order to stop the invading Nords. Nerevar's alliance worked, however, and led to the most prosperous time in the history of the Chimer people. Vehk, along with the other members of Nerevar's council, would later betray Nerevar (and his Daedric patron Azura) by using the profane tools of the Dwemer on the Heart of Lorkhan to obtain divinity, possibly even murdering Nerevar in the process.
  • Language of Magic:
    • Nirn's dragons are the divine children of the chief deity of the Nine Divines Pantheon, Akataosh, the Dragon God of Time. (They also may be fragments of his actual being, and serve of a role similar to being very destructive angels.) They inherently speak a Language Of Magic which gives them small scale Reality Warping powers. Essentially, they "make real" whatever they speak in this language. For example, when a Dragon is "breathing" fire, they're technically commanding fire to come into existence, and battles between dragons are essentially very loud debates.
    • In the ancient past, the dragons and their Dragon Cults took over much of Skyrim. Seeking a way to defeat the Dragons and their Cults, the ancient Proud Warrior Race Nords prayed to the Divines for aid. Their prayers were answered and they were taught how to use the language of the Dragons themselves, which they called the Thu'um (or the "Voice"). 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.
    • In modern times, the Greybeards continue to follow Windcaller's "Way of the Voice." They live in a monastery known as High Hrothgar near the top of the Throat of the World, the tallest mountain in Tamriel. So powerful is their Thu'um that they are usually sworn to silence in order to not destroy everything around them simply by talking. Even their faintest whispers are known to shake the mountain on which they live. They Greybeards accept anyone who wishes to learn the Thu'um and follow the Way of the Voice. It is explained that anyone can learn to use Thu'um, but it takes a great deal of training, mostly to learn the true meaning of the words in the shout. Anyone can try speaking it, but you need to put your soul into it for magic to happen.
  • Large and in Charge:
    • The ancient Atmoran (proto-Nord) hero Ysgramor is implied to be this. (When his spirit is met in Sovngarde in Skyrim, he's at least eight feet tall, much taller than even the tallest playable races.) Other sources indicate that this may have been the case for all Atmorans, with their average height being much taller than modern men.
    • Tsun, the old Nordic god of "trials against adversity" and shield-thane of Shor, now serves to test warrior spirits for their worthiness to enter Shor's Hall of Valor in Sovngarde. He stands at least a full head taller than even the tallest mortals and judges the worthiness of these spirits by battling them in single combat.
    • In the Yokudan/Redguard pantheon, this is the case for Ruptga. Also known as the "Tall Papa", he is a massive being, said to be large enough to place the stars in the sky by hand, and is also the chief deity of the Yokudan pantheon.
    • Umaril the Unfeathered was an Ayleid sorcerer-king who ruled the Ayleid Empire at the time of the Alessian Revolt. He claims that his father was the "God of the World-River" from the previous kalpa, or cycle of time, making him a Half Ayleid Hybrid. Depictions have him at nearly twice the height of Pelinal Whitestrake during their battle. When he returns, he is noticeably taller than the Aurorans, who themselves were already quite tall.
  • Large Ham:
    • Most Daedric Princes are these throughout the series. To note:
    • The Dremora, a race of Lawful Evil lesser Daedra most frequently seen in service to Daedric Prince of Destruction Mehrunes Dagon, are a very hammy race throughout the series. Any time that they're around, expect Ham-to-Ham Combat.
    "I HONOR MY LORD, BY DESTROYING YOU!!!"
    • Various City Guards, particularly Imperial guards, are this as well throughout the series.
    "BY THE NINE DIVINES! THERE'S BEEN A MURDER!"
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The post-Red Year invasion of Morrowind by the Argonians is a result of the Dunmer's own centuries of raiding Black Marsh for slaves. Acknowledged by a member of House Telvanni in a posthumous letter to his son:
    Lymdrenn Tenvanni: "The irony of our demise glows brighter than Masser on the summer solstice. We brought this upon ourselves; the Argonians simply answering a rallying cry incited by a millennia of suffrage imposed by my kind."
  • Last of His Kind:
    • According to Imperial dogma, Tiber Septim (as Talos Stormcrown) is said to have been the last person to cross from Atmora to Tamriel before Atmora became uninhabitable. Given that Tiber Septim didn't come along until thousands of years after Atmora's "Frost Fall," this probably isn't the reality of the situation. (Though if the Merger of Souls option in the deity Talos' Multiple-Choice Past is true, it's possible that Wulfharth Ash-King was the last, and he became part of the deity Talos upon Septim's (and others') apotheosis, bringing some truth to the claim in a very Mind Screwy fashion.)
    • Yagrum Bagarn is the last (known) living Dwemer. He was in an undescribed "outer realm" when whatever calamity that caused his people to vanish took place. He returned to find them gone and caught the Corpus disease shortly after. In addition to the negative effects of the disease, it also turns you into The Ageless, which has allowed him to survive in the thousands of years since, though his body is badly bloated and he has lost the use of his legs, requiring him to get around a set of steam-powered spider legs. (Whether or not he survived the Red Year destruction of Vvardenfell is currently unknown.)
    • Similarly, a single uncorrupted Falmer (who prefers to call himself a "Snow Elf") survived the Atmoran/Nord genocide of his race without the "aid" of the Dwemer along with a small population of others at a single remote chantry deep in the Skyrim wilderness. However, his brother, who became a vampire, slaughtered all of the others, leaving only him by the time of the 4th Era.
    • The last of the Argonian "Shadowscales", Argonians born under the sign of the Shadow who are sent to join the Dark Brotherhood, is a member of the 4th Era Skyrim chapter of the Brotherhood. Regardless of the path chosen, he is killed.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The series has a serious example in Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order. Jyggalag is very Anuic (static, orderly) in nature compared to the other generally more Padomaic-inclined (chaotic, disorderly) Daedric Princes. It is quite likely that this is one of the reasons the others despise him so much. It is also likely the reason why, once he separates himself from Sheogorath, he generally ignores Mundus, the mortal plane. (Due to the actions of the Anuic Aedra during the creation of Mundus, it is much more orderly than the rest of the universe.)
  • Last Stand:
    • In the old Nordic religious tradition, the Top God and War God Shor was served by two other gods as shield-thanes, the brothers Stuhn and Tsun. According to that religious tradition, Tsun pulled one of these defending Shor against "angry foreign gods". While they eventually got to and slew Shor, it was at great cost. Tsun continues to serve Shor in Sovngarde, guarding Shor's Hall of Valor and testing warrior spirits for their worthiness to enter by battling them in single combat.
    • In his "opus", series' recurring character St. Jiub the Eradicator recounts his quest to eradicate the much reviled Cliff Racers from Vvardenfell. As he was hunting a lone Cliff Racer, it led him into a trap where hundreds of Cliff Racers suddenly descended upon him. Jiub believed this to be his Last Stand, fighting for two days and slaughtering hundreds of Cliff Racers. Jiub finally collapsed, exhausted and wounded. Ultimately Subverted, in that he would have died there if not for the timely rescue of the Dunmeri Physical God Vivec, who was so impressed with Jiub's actions that Vivec declared him to be a saint.
  • Laughably Evil: This is a trait of the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil. Though horrifying in their occupation, the Dark Brotherhood is at times downright hilarious, in large part due to their Equal-Opportunity Evil Ragtag Bunch of Misfits approach to recruiting which brings a lot of distinct personalities together. Special mentions include Gogron gro-Bolmog, a heavy armor wearing and axe-wielding Orc who has a decidedly non-stealthy approach to assassination, and Festus Krex, an elderly pyromaniac mage assassin who strongly believes that There Is No Kill Like Overkill.
  • Lava Pit:
    • These are prevalent in Dwemer strongholds. Justified, since the Dwemer seem to have powered many of their creations, at least in part, geothermally.
    • These are plentiful throughout Mehrunes Dagon's realm, the Deadlands. It is very much a Fire and Brimstone Hell, although, according to mortals who have visited, it has an "unearthly chill" about it despite appearances.
  • Lawful Stupid: City Guards throughout the series tend to play it unerringly straight. Commit any crime in their presence, from assaulting people with fire spells, to outright murder, to accidentally stealing a piece of Vendor Trash worth one gold while attempting to speak to a merchant, and they will swarm you. They'll attempt to arrest you, and will try to kill you if you refuse to comply. Think you've escaped? Not so fast...they've been known to literally track you halfway across the game world attempting to bring you to justice. (As of Skyrim, in large part due to improved AI, they've begun to avert or downplay the trope.)
  • Law of Alien Names: While all of the series' races (playable or otherwise) have their own Fantastic Naming Conventions, the races of Mer (Elves) and the "Beast" races are quite alien. See the trope page for a full breakdown and description.
  • Law of Cartographical Elegance: While Nirn and Tamriel avert the trope by having realistic landmasses, it is played straight in each individual game with the exception of Arena (which allows you to visit all of Tamriel). Earlier games have the "nothingness stretching on endlessly" implementation once you go beyond the games' intended playable areas. Later games go with the Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence approach, giving you a message that "you cannot go that way" once you've reached the intended boundaries of the game world. Additionally details for each game are available on the trope page.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: The main games in the series are a shining example of this trope played to both extremes, with the early games using Procedural Generation and Randomly Generated Levels, then swinging to being entirely hand-built with plenty of details, and then settling somewhere in the middle. A full breakdown is available on the trope page.
  • Lean and Mean: Hungers are a type of lesser Daedra with long, thin humanoid frames with very little mass. Hungers are very similar in appearance to the "alien-style" Chupacabra, complete with claws, spikes, and a "sucker" mouth.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    Vivec: "When I die in the world of time, then I'm completely asleep. I'm very much aware that all I have to do is choose to wake. And I'm alive again. Many times I have very deliberately tried to wait patiently, a very long, long time before choosing to wake up. And no matter how long it feels like I wait, it always appears, when I wake up, that no time has passed at all."
  • Leeroy Jenkins: NPC AI throughout the series tends to lead into this. A weak, unarmed villager will have no qualms about charging up to a vicious wild animal, an atronach made of fire, or even a dragon with fists swinging. A One-Hit KO usually ensues. Up until several improvements were made in Skyrim (which still isn't perfect, but much more tolerable than previous installments), every Escort Mission essentially had you escorting a Leeroy Jenkins to the chagrin of players everywhere.
  • Legacy Character:
    M'aiq: "M'aiq's father was also called M'aiq. As was M'aiq's father's father. At least, that's what his father said."
    • Umbra is a very dark version of this. The name is actually that of a Legendary Weapon enchanted by a witch to be able to devour souls. Unbeknownst to most who take up the blade, it also slowly devours the soul of its wielder, causing them to call themselves "Umbra" and develop Blood Knight traits. This benefits the sword by causing the wielder to seek out powerful foes. If the wielder wins, Umbra gets a new soul. If the wielder loses, the foe takes up Umbra and begins the process anew. Only a few Umbras are known, but many more are implied to have existed.
    • The Gray Fox, notorious Master Thief of the Cyrodiil Thieves Guild, is revealed to be one. Due to a curse, anyone who dawns the Gray Cowl of Nocturnal has their identity erased and replaced with that of the Fox. The guild has been led by several people wearing the mask for at least three centuries before the curse is finally broken around the time of the Oblivion Crisis.
    • There is always a Wilderking/Wilderqueen in Valenwood - a mortal with an innate connection to the land that becomes essentially the spirit of the forest, with the memories of their past life fading away.
  • Legacy of the Chosen: Apparent in both Morrowind and Skyrim, where the Player Character in each is a divinely chosen individual but hardly the first of their kind. Additional details for each game are available on the trope page.
  • Legendary in the Sequel:
    • In each game, you can find in-game references to the Player Characters of the previous games, always referred to with raceless, genderless Red Baron-style nicknames. This is intentionally done in order to make sure no details of heroes in the series become canon.
    • The first NPC your character meets in Morrowind as a prisoner is Jiub, later referenced in Oblivion as Saint Juib, who drove the Cliff Racers from Vvardenfell. You then meet him in spirit form in Dawnguard.
  • Legendary Weapon:
    • The Daedric Artifacts (at least those that are weapons) are the most legendary weapons on Nirn. Each is associated with a particular Daedric Prince and passes from owner to owner according to the wishes of those deities. Famous ones include the Malacath's hammer Volendrung, the dagger Mehrunes' Razor, the Mace of Molag Bal, Meridia's sword Dawnbreaker, and Sheogorath's staff Wabbajack.
    • The Aedra, deities who aided in the creation of Mundus primarily worshiped in the Nine Divines religion, have provided some legendary weapons as well. Some of the most famous are Auri-El's Bow, Auri-El being the Aldmeri eagle version of Akatosh, the draconic God of Time. (The Bow is said to be the weapon that launched Lorkhan's Heart down into the world after he was "killed" for his perceived treachery during creation.) Similarly, the Divines each contributed to the Crusader's Relics, originally worn by Pelinal Whitestrake during the Alessian Revolt when he defeated Umaril the Unfeathered.
  • The Legions of Hell: This applies to any Daedric Prince who, for whatever reason, attempts to invade Mundus with their lesser Daedra servants. The purest example is Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. His legions include the Dremora (a Proud Warrior Race with a very demonic aesthetic who serve him in a Lawful Evil way) as his Mooks (with the higher-ranking Dremora serving as Elite Mooks and Praetorian Guard), Scamps as Cannon Fodder, Clannfear as Attack Animals, Daedroths as Giant Mooks, and the massive Xivilai as his high end Elite Mooks. Dagon has repeatedly attempted to take over Mundus in this fashion.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Throughout the series, for obvious reasons, the Thieves' Guild doesn't have open guild halls like the Fighters or Mages guilds. Instead, they tend to operate out of various taverns and clubs in major cities. Justified, as these are something of an Open Secret to create plausible deniability, since their guild halls actually being secrets would be bad for business.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Several games in the series include at least one such character, often as an absurd merchant who can be exploited to make you very rich or, later in the series, a silly follower who is surprisingly deadly in a fight. Specific examples are listed by game on the trope page.
  • Lethal Joke Item: A number appear throughout the series and are desecribed by game on the trope page. To note recurring examples throughout the series:
    • The Atronach birthsign in games where it is present is one. At first, it looks like a joke; it has the best maximum Magicka boost out of the birthsigns, but the trade-off is that you lose your natural Magicka regen. This, however, is made up for by the fact that you also have a 50-50 chance of absorbing any spells cast at you (with the absorption negating damage while giving you Magicka back), which additionally serves to make Mages much less magically squishy. Take Alchemy and make a lot of Magicka regen potions, and you can overcome the Magicka stunt altogether, leaving you with a hefty 50% chance at spell absorption (a spell effect that is extremely rare to get, if at all) and the best Magicka boost in the game.note .
    • Wabbajack, a Magic Staff artifact associated with Sheogorath is another. Wabbajack transforms its target into a random creature, ranging from sheep to lesser Daedra. This part is more fun than anything. However, it also has a small chance to randomly turn the target into an inanimate object (a wheel of cheese, a pile of coins, a sweet roll, etc.), which also kills it for good. With this latter power, the staff essentially gives you a chance to one-shot nearly any enemy.
  • Lethal Lava Land:
    • Central Vvardenfell island in Morrowind, particularly the Molag Amur and Red Mountain regions. The Molag Amur region is characterized by the presence of lava pools and rivers on the surface. The land is predominantly dark volcanic rock covered with an overlay of ash and cinder. Red Mountain combines it with Mordor and Death Mountain by adding choking disease-spreading blight storms and steep falls. Following the Red Year in the early 4th Era, all of central Morrowind has become this due to Red Mountain's eruption.
    • Mehrunes Dagon's Daedric realm of the Deadlands combines this with being a Fire and Brimstone Hell. The Deadlands is a bleak and barren realm, containing wastelands of blackened rock, seas of lava, and partially destroyed structures.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Pelinal Whitestrake was the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker. Believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"), Pelinal came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. Pelinal's standard tactic was to fly into fits of Unstoppable Rage (mostly directed at the Ayleids) during which he would be stained with their blood and left so much carnage in his wake that Kyne, one of the Divines, would have to send in her rain to cleanse Ayleid forts and village before they could be used by Alessia's forces. However, when it came to the Ayleid sorcerer-kings, he would instead challenge them to a Duel to the Death. At the end of the war, he battled the Ayleid leader, Umaril the Unfeathered, in this fashion. He defeated, but could not kill, Umaril who had divine protection from the Daedric Prince Meridia.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The series' Illusion School of magic has a few spells that can utilize this.note  The "Frenzy/Fury" spells send targets into a blind rage, causing them to attack friend and foe alike. "Rally" spells bring a neutral target into the fight on the side of the caster. "Command" spells put the target under the command of the caster, and can be used upon otherwise hostile opponents. A Master of Illusion can do quite well by simply getting enemies to fight one another, and then finish off the (weakened) victor once the spell wears off.
  • Level Drain: Throughout the series, spending time in prison will randomly cause one of your skills to decrease slightly.
  • Level Editor: The PC version of each game starting with Morrowind has come packaged with the "Construction Set" level editor, the very same editor the games themselves are created with. This makes modding the game with the editor incredibly easy, leading to the series having one of the largest modding communities in the gaming world.
  • Level Grinding: In general, with a few quirks varying by game, the series' leveling system follows the logic of having successful uses of a skill go toward increasing that skill's level. (Sneaking around will increase your Sneak skill, casting Destruction spells will increase your Destruction skill, etc.) Then, every ten increases of a skill level goes toward increasing the character's overall level. However, some skills (mostly those outside of standard combat-related skills) require intentional grinding, such as Enchanting and Alchemy. If you want to grind them, you'll need to acquire/purchase all of the necessary components and then use those skills over and over.
  • Level Scaling: Some form is used throughout the series, ranging from very limited (Morrowind) to extreme (Oblivion) with most other games falling in the middle. A full breakdown is available on the trope page.
  • Ley Line: Mundus, the mortal realm, was constructed by the et'Ada who would later become the Aedra with metaphysically powerful "joint-points" which function similarly. The prominent metaphysical "Towers" present in the series were constructed on these "joint-points" in emulation of the Adamantine Tower (Ada-Mantia), which was constructed by the Aedra themselves to hold "convention", wduring which they decided to punish Lorkhan for his treachery during creation.
  • Life Drain:
    • Two spell types available throughout the series (usually classed in the Destruction school of magic) are the Drain and Absorb spells, which can be used to drain/absorb a targets Health, Fatigue, or a specific Attribute. Drain spells cause a temporary reduction, do not confer it to the spellcaster, and the the reduction is restored after the spell wears off. Naturally, they cost less to Magicka to cast than equivalent Absorb spells, which do confer whatever is drained to the spellcaster. Like most spells, these effects can also be enchanted into weapons.
    • The Necromancer's Amulet is a recurring artifact item throughout the series. This is one of the many powerful abilities it grants the wearer.
  • Life Energy: "The energy of living things" falls within the sphere of the Daedric Prince Meridia, who is also associated with Light and Beauty. As a result, she has an extreme hatred for anything undead, as well as any other entities of cruelty, darkness, rot, filth, or decay. Thus, she will stop at nothing to destroy them, even if it means causing collateral damage to innocent people or her own followers, bordering on being a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Light 'em Up:
    • The Restoration school of magic, which generally focuses on healing spells, has a few offensive spells specifically designed for to harm undead, which includes vampires. These spells mostly take the form of balls and auras of light.
    • Magnus is the God of Magic and is heavily associated with light. Magnus served as the architect for Mundus, the mortal plane, but realized that in order to create it, the Aedra would have to make great sacrifices and would become forever bound to the world he was designing. Thus, he abandoned the project, and, along with the Magna-Ge, fled to Aetherius (the "Immortal Plane" and realm of magic) which formed the sun and stars in the process. Through them, magic and light flow into Mundus from Aetherius. To the ancient Ayleids, he was actually called "The God of Sight, Light, and Insight".
  • Lighthouse Point: Logically present in several coastal cities throughout the series.
  • Light Is Not Good:
  • Lightning Bruiser: Throughout the series, the Proud Warrior Race Nords are the physical Lightning Bruiser race of Tamriel. They get some of the best skill bonuses for two-handed weaponry (including Claymores, Battle Axes, and Warhammers), which allows them to hit very hard. They also get skill bonuses toward Light Armor (fur, leather, light chainmail, etc.) which offers them protection while allowing them to move quickly around the battlefield. Finally, their natural physical endurance is among the best of any of the races. The only thing keeping them from being overpowered (and preserving a semblance of balance among the playable races) is that they are least magically inclined race in Tamriel and even have a cultural aversion to it.
  • Lightning Gun: Ranged "Shock" magical spells tend to take this appearance throughout the series. (Morrowind is the primary exception, where they take the form of "balls of lightning" instead.)
  • Limited-Use Magical Device:
    • The spell scrolls ubiquitous throughout the series are a textbook example. They allow for a single, free casting of the contained spell even if the caster would not normally have enough Magicka or a high enough skill level to cast it.
    • Magical "enchanted" items other than scrolls come in three types: constant effect (e.g. an article of clothing that increases maximum magicka when worn), cast on use (e.g. a staff that shoots fireballs), or cast on hit (for weapons such as Flaming Swords). The latter two have a limited number of charges and become inert when they're expended, but may be refilled with soul gems and the Soul Trap spell.
    • The eponymous Elder Scrolls themselves are an aversion, being ridiculously powerful cosmic artifacts that, when they can be (meaningfully) read at all (it takes either years of training or special Lost Technology), do not disappear.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Significantly played with throughout the series. The abundance of high-level enemies with Reflect spells and/or magical resistances means that being able to bash/slash/stab things to death will always remain useful. The "wizard" types also usually come with a bad case of squishiness unless you spread your skill points around, which of course lowers the ceiling on your magical abilities (or at makes it take longer to reach that ceiling.) Essentially, throughout the series, whatever combat style you prefer is viable if you're willing to put in a little work. A full break-down by game is available on the trope page.
  • Literal Change of Heart:
    • Pelinal Whitestrake was the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker. Believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"), Pelinal came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. He had a hole in his chest and a red diamond instead of a heart, symbolizing his connection with the "heartless" Lorkhan. He killed those who spoke of such things to him, though.
    • Briarhearts are Reachmen warriors who have had their hearts replaced with magical briar seeds. They are the mightiest warriors in the Reachmen ranks, but the ritual deprives them of free will and makes them of little use as anything other than berserkers or battlemages.
  • Literal Genie: Clavicus Vile is essentially the Daedric Prince of the trope, along with making Deals With The Devil. While he always holds up his end of the bargain, he almost always does so in a way the wish maker will regret. For example, when a wizard asked him to cure his daughter of lycanthropy, Vile gave the man a magical axe. When he is separated from Barbas, his external conscience, Vile tends to veer much closer to Jerkass Genie territory.
  • Literal Split Personality:
  • Little Bit Beastly: The Khajiit race has 17 known sub-species, who range in appearance from house cats, through a number of Cat Folk variations, to full on giant tigers who can be ridden as steeds in battle. Of them, the Ohmes and Ohmes-raht sub-species have light fur and a tail, but are otherwise completely humanoid, so much so that they're often mistaken for Bosmer. In order to avoid being mistaken as one of the Bosmer, many Ohmes tattoo their faces to resemble a feline-aspect. The Ohmes and Ohmes-Raht are the most common form seen outside of their home province of Elsweyr, taking advantage of other races' preference to their appearance to serve in positions of ambassadorship and trade.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome:
    • Most of the Daedra in the series, particularly the Daedric Princes, rather enjoy their Complete Immortality. That said, the Daedra's inability to die makes it impossible for them to truly understand how mortals think - mortals live finite lives and face constant reminders of this, and their ability to simply accept this and continue existing without succumbing to despair is something no Daedra can comprehend.
    • The series has a number of other "immortal" beings to which this trope frequently applies, including dragons, vampires, liches, and various mortals who are attempting/have attempted to ascend to godhood (with varying levels of success). Based on those who talk or write about their immortality, most acknowledge some of the downsides (such as the Dunmeri Tribunal deity Vivec) but nearly all will fight to keep their immortality.
  • Living Ship: During the heyday of the Second Tamriellic Empire (under the Reman Dynasty) in the late 1st Era, the Empire engaged in a "space race" with the Aldmeri Dominion to explore Aetherius, the realm of magic, through the use of "voidships". The Aldmeri used Sunbirds, ships somehow literally made from the Sun. (Which, in the ES universe, is actually a portal to Aetherius through which magic flows into Mundus, the mortal realm.) The Empire, on the other hand, used "Mothships", enormous Ancestor Moths bred, hollowed out, and flown into the void on strength of willpower alone. (Ancestor Moths have a special supernatural connection which also allows them to be used to somewhat protect mortal readers from the power of the Elder Scrolls, which is why the Scrolls are kept and read by the Cult of the Ancestor Moth.) The results of these expeditions have largely been lost to history, but it did leave the Imperial Legions with the speciali Imperal Mananaut corps.
  • Living Weapon: Daedric weapons and armor are created by binding the spirits of lesser Daedra to Ebony forging materials. Since Daedra possess Complete Immortality (their physical bodies can be destroyed, but their spirits endure and reform), this means that every Daedric weapon and armor piece is still "alive". Fortunately, since each Daedra is an immortal Time Abyss, being used as a weapon or piece of armor for a century or so (Daedric equipment tend to vanish on its own after a while) isn't really a big deal.
  • Lizard Folk: The Argonians are the series' resident Lizard Folk. They are a species of humanoid reptilians with scales, elongated snouts, claws, tails, and Alien Hair. They are known to reproduce via laying eggs and are said to be cold-blooded (but can survive in colder climates as adults thanks to "concentrated magicka" within the Hist sap that they drink). They also have some traits in common with some amphibians, including the ability to breathe in and out of water, and they are said to go through "life phases" in which their physical forms can change drastically, including, per some sources, changing sexes. They are usually portrayed as a civilized and friendly people (and are playable), just like the Orcs and Khajiit, and generally are treated well within the Empire. This has not prevented them from repeatedly becoming victims of Fantastic Racism and slavery throughout much of the series' continuity, however, they get a number of The Dog Bites Back moments.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Frequently applies to the Big Bads of the series, as well as some other major supernatural villains, and often crosses over with Empathic Environment. Specific examples by game are available on the trope page.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters:
    • Early in the series, the games populated their massive (though Randomly and/or Procedurally generated) game worlds with hundreds of thousands of unique (in the loosest sense) NPCs. Most just spew the same snippets of random dialogue, while only main quest relevant characters get any kind of characterization.
    • With the move to smaller-but-better-detailed game worlds with Morrowind, the series trended toward adding greater characterization to its still-massive number of NPCs. Side quest relevant characters began getting characterization as well (and some would argue they got the best characterization). Adding together every quest-relevant character in each of these games easily totals in the hundreds.
    • The series' deep and well-developed backstory contains hundreds more noteworthy characters, often described in in-game Fictional Documents, Novels, and dialogue with certain NPCs.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Present ever since the series' Multi-Platform and 3D Leap, especially on the console versions. Given that the games in the main series tend to push systems to the limits of their technical abilities with a massive game world with high-end graphics (especially Scenery Porn), this comes with the territory.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: In addition to the 10 playable races of the series, the setting also has numerous other non-playable races seen or mentioned in the lore. They are listed on the trope page, and greater details are available on the series' "Races" sub-pages.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters:
    • Arena and Daggerfall have hundreds of thousands of unique (in the loosest sense) NPCs populating their massive (though Randomly and/or Procedurally generated) game worlds. Most just spew the same snippets of random dialogue, while only main quest relevant characters get any kind of characterization.
    • Starting with Morrowind, the series trended toward adding greater characterization to a smaller number (though still far larger than most video games) of NPCs. Side quest relevant characters began getting characterization as well (and some would argue they got the best characterization, such as Camp Gay Depraved Bisexual Crassius Curio in Morrowind and just about everyone in the Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion and Skyrim). Adding together every quest-relevant character in each of these games easily totals in the hundreds.
    • The series' deep and well-developed backstory contains hundreds more noteworthy characters, often described in in-game Fictional Documents, Novels, and dialogue with certain NPCs.
  • Loads and Loads of Sidequests: Arena offers minor, random sidequests as a means to make money and gain experience. After the developers saw how much time players spent on Arena's sidequests, they gave the sidequests in Daggerfall greater detail and complexity. With each new installment in the series, this trend has continued to the point where the faction questlines have their own story arcs and have become nearly as expansive as the main quests themselves. Additionally, the games often give some of justification (however flimsy) as to why the Player Character can spend so time sidequesting instead of working to save the world from its latest existential threat.
  • Lockpicking Minigame: Added to the series starting with Oblivion. Prior to that, the success of picking a lock is up to the Random Number God (taking into account your "Security" skill and the quality of the lockpick you're using). In order to play the mini-game, you must have lockpicks use. Lockpicks are cheap and break easily on a failed attempt (except at highest Skill Score levels or when using the unique Daedric artifact, the "Skeleton Key"). Further, all locks can be opened if you find a matching key (some locks can only be opened this way).
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: An actual gameplay mechanic added to the series starting with Morrowind. If you are struck by an enemy archer, there is a small chance that the arrow will appear in your inventory. You can then equip it and fire it back, with the implication being that you took it out of your own flesh. Likewise, if an enemy archer is shot with a better quality arrow than what they possess, there's a chance they will send it straight back at you in the same fashion. In Oblivion and Skyrim, the odds of the arrow showing up in your inventory are higher.
  • Long Dead Badass: There are countless in the series' backstory. Pelinal Whitestrake, Wulfharth Ash-King, Ysgramor, Reman Cyrodiil, Tiber Septim, Uriel Septim V...and that's just naming the Imperial and Nord examples. More details about them (and more) can be found on the franchise's Historical Figures character page.
  • Long-Lived:
    • The races of Mer (Elves) are implied to have longer natural lifespans than the races of Men, who have lifespans along the lines of real life humans. Exactly how much longer is unclear, however, and largely inconsistent. Even without counting the magically enhanced lifespans of certain specific Mer, there are examples living naturally for centuries. Barenziah is approaching 500 in her appearance in Morrowind's Tribunal expansion, and though noticeably aged, she is appears no worse for the wear than a 60 or so year old human. In the backstory, Nerevar is in his 300s by the time of The Battle of Red Mountain and still acting as a Frontline General. Several Altmer and Dunmer characters in Skyrim mention having been present for events like the Red Year (200 years prior to Skyrim) or mention having served in the military for 150 years, but none look any older than middle-aged.
    • The Tsaesci are an Akaviri race who attempted to invade Tamriel late in the 1st Era but were defeated and the remnants of their army were incorporated into the empire of the Reman Dynasty. Sources conflict greatly over whether the Tsaesci were serpentine Snake Vampires or a race of Men just like those found in Tamriel. In either case, they are apparently longer lived than that typical men of Tamriel. The two Akaviri Potentates, who ruled Tamriel in a continuation of the Reman Empire early in the 2nd Era, ruled for 323 years and 106 years, respectively (and neither died a natural death).
    • Tiber Septim, the founder of the Third Tamriellic Empire, was about 106 years old when he died. It is rumored that he had his mages use spells to extend his life. Septim then ascended after his death as Talos, the Ninth Divine.
    • Uriel Septim VII, the 21st and finalnote  Emperor in Tiber's line, was 87 when he was assassinated at the start of the Oblivion Crisis. He was very much a badass as well, willing to charge into battle alongside his Blades minutes prior to his death. He was also Older Than He Looked, as he was said to have not aged during the 10 years he spent trapped in Oblivion during the events of the Imperial Simulacrum. Like his ancestor Tiber, it was rumored that he had his mages and healers use magic to extend his life.
  • Long Runner: The Elder Scrolls is the oldest continuous Western RPG series at the moment, having survived the mid-90s genre crash/crisis that killed off its major competition (Ultima, Wizardry, Might and Magic, the Gold Box, etc...) and is still going strong. Even the companies making those competing games also ended up going out of business (Sir-Tech, SSI) or dissolved by parent companies (Origin Systems, New World Computing). Bethesda, meanwhile, ended up growing into a larger company (ZeniMax Media) while maintaining their independence.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: Tamriel is dotted with the ruins of past civilizations. Two in particular stand out:
  • Looks Like Orlok:
    • The series' vampires tend to become increasingly more monstrous in appearance the longer they go without feedingnote , with their faces becoming gaunt and weathered. Vampires of Elven origin, with their already slim builds and pointy ears, are particularly prone to looking like Orlok.
    • Scamps are the weakest known form of lesser Daedra, and they check every box for looking like Orlok save for the hooked nose (Scamps have nostril slits instead) and the trenchcoat (Scamps don't wear clothing).
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • The Dwemer were known to bend the "Earth Bones" (essentially the laws of nature and physics) with their creations, allowing them to last for millennia. Notably, the core of the Dwemer's magical technology involved machines and tools designed to manipulate "tonal architecture" or the sounds and vibrations created by the "Earth Bones." In effect, they completely bypassed "normal" magic (which involves using the magicka that flows into the world through the sun and the stars) and instead hijacked the fundamental laws of the world and used them for their own ends.
    • The Bosmer are bound to the Green Pact, a deal they made with the patron deity of their forest homeland. The Bosmer use a range of options for getting around the restrictions of the Green Pact. For example, the Green Pact says that one cannot harm living plants, and cannot eat food made from plants. However, some Bosmer eat raw fruit that has fallen from trees and they are able to eat mushrooms, which do not count as plants. It's also acceptable to eat insects, honey, and dairy products. Additionally, while they may not harm the plant-life of Valenwood, certain outsiders are allowed to, and the Bosmer have been known to purchase lumber from outsiders who cut the trees. They are also known to import wood from other regions into Valenwood when necessary.
  • Loose Canon: The series has this in the form of "Obscure Texts", supplementary items written by the series' developers and former developers. They're essentially treated as canonical by most of the fanbase (or at least the equivalent of the series' famous in-universe Unreliable Canon), but Bethesda has no official stance either way. Most prolific is former developer Michael Kirkbride, who still does some freelance work for the series. Most of what he writes about are the more obscure aspects of universe's cosmology which don't get expanded on in the games, as well as lore figures the games never touch upon or that Bethesda is simply finished with (like Vivec). As of Skyrim, some of the concepts in his works have been officially referenced in game (the idea of "kalpas," Ysgramor and his 500 companions, and some of the motivations of the Thalmor), moving them to Canon Immigrant status.
  • Loot Command: Throughout the series, nearly all characters (be they humanoid NPCs, animals, magical creatures, Mecha-Mooks, etc.) have a searchable inventory that the player can loot after said character has been killed. Their corpse can also be used as a storage container, though this is risky as most corpses will disappear after enough in-game time has passed (usually 3 days).
  • Lord British Postulate: The series has long had characters who are really hard to kill, who players love finding ways to kill. The addition of the "Essential" tag for plot-important NPCs starting with Oblivion added new element. For example, in various instances, it is possible to kill Essential NPCs by forcing them into lava or drowning them. More specific examples can be found on the trope page.
  • Lord Country:
    • There is in-universe debate over whether Reman Cyrodiil, the founder of the Second Cyrodiilic Empire, took the name of the country as his surname when he was crowned or if the country is named after him. It is likely that he took the name of the country, which was originally "Cyrod" in the language of the Ayleids.
    • There have been three recognized Cyrodiilic Empires in Tamriellic history. To differentiate them, they are often referred to with the name of the ruling dynasty. The first is the Alessian Empire, founded by St. Alessia "the Slave Queen". The second is the Reman Empire, founded by the aforementioned Reman Cyrodiil. The third is the Septim Empire, founded by Tiber Septim, and is the ruling empire during each game in the series through Oblivion. Following the events of Oblivion, the Empire is left without a Septim on the throne and goes into a steep decline. Titus Mede, a local warlord, manages to capture the Imperial Throne and establishes the Mede Dynasty. However, it isn't a true dynasty like the others and generally is not counted among them. It has largely claimed the remaining pieces of the Septim Empire.
    • The legendary Yokudan (Precursors to the Redguards) hero and Ansei, Frandar Hunding, both plays this straight and inverts it in difference instances. To note:
      • Playing it straight, both Hunding Bay in Hammerfell and Port Hunding on the island of Stros M'Kai are named after him.
      • Also Inverted, as the "Hunding" part of his name refers to the region of Yokuda where he was born. Essentially, these places were named after him, who was already named after a different place.
    • The legendary Aldmeri Bold Explorer and poet, Topal the Pilot, lends his name to Tamriel's Topal Bay and the Niben River system of Cyrodiil is named after his ship. Ironically, Topal explored the Topal Bay and Niben River system by mistake. After exiting Black Marsh, while trying to get back home to Firsthold, he mistook the "jutting peninsula" of Elsweyr as the mainland sailed north into the Bay and River. Had he known that was a peninsula and sailed around it, he would have gotten home much sooner and never would have explored central Cyrodiil, his most famous accomplishment.
    • St. Veloth was the legendary Chimer mystic who led his people away from the decadence of the Summerset Isles to their new homeland in Morrowind. The mountain range separating Morrowind from Skyrim is known as the Velothi Mountains in his honor.
  • Losing Your Head: Pelinal Whitestrake as the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker. Believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"), Pelinal came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. When Alessia and her army was too struck with fear to attack the White-Gold Tower occupied by Ayleid leader Umaril the Unfeathered, Pelinal charged in himself and defeated (though could not kill) Umaril before he himself was slain. His body was cut into eight pieces by the Ayleids to mock the Eight Divines. His head was left behind and discovered by Morihaus, with whom he had one final conversation that is now lost to history.
  • Lost Orphaned Royalty: Barenziah, the future Queen of Morrowind, was the last surviving member of her noble Dunmeri family after Tiber Septim's Imperial Legions sacked Mournhold. Septim's Dunmeri General, Symmachus, convinced Septim to spare Barenziah and had her secretly placed into the foster care of the Count and Countess of Darkmoor (Imperial loyalists) until she would old enough to take the throne in Morrowind as a legitimate vassal ruler for the Empire. She would, of course, escape her foster family and went on various adventures in her teenage years. Notably, she spent some time as The Artful Dodger as a member of the Thieves' Guild and engaged in The Oldest Profession. She would be found and brought back by Symmachus to serve her purpose. She would outlive both Symmachus and Septim, going on to achieve more than either could have imagined.
  • Lost Roman Legion: The Imperial Legion is heavily based on the Roman Legions. The 10th Legion is said to have been completely wiped out during Emperor Uriel Septim V's failed invasion of Akavir, along with Uriel V himself. Of course, considering they were covering the retreat of the rest of the Imperial forces, no one really knows for sure.
  • Lost Superweapon:
    • The Numidium, a Reality Warping Humongous Mecha of Dwemer origin. Following the Battle of Red Mountain and the disappearance of the Dwemer, it was captured by the Dunmer, who considered it a blasphemous monstrosity and did not attempt to activate it. Emperor Tiber Septim was given the Numidium by the Tribunal of Morrowind in exchange for special privileges as a Voluntary Vassal. Septim used it to great effect in conquering the rest of Tamriel. After Septim began using the Numidium in ways not intended, one of his agents who helped him gain control over it destroys it, sending its power source outside of the mortal realm. It would remain lost until the events of Daggerfall, after which it would be lost again, presumably for good.
    • In general, any Dwemer technology qualifies. They were by far the most scientifically advanced race on Nirn and learned how to bend the laws of nature and physics to make their creations last. Even thousands of years after their disappearance (believed to be related to their use of the aforementioned Heart of Lorkhan), intrepid scholars can use the abandoned Dwemer tech to accomplish feats no one else can match. Perhaps most impressively, the Dwemer were able to create a machine capable of reading the Elder Scrolls without subjecting the user to the nasty side effects of blindness and madness.
  • Lost Technology:
    • The now-extinct Dwemer, were the most technologically advanced race known to have ever walked Tamriel. Blending Steam Punk machinery with masterful enchantments along with bending the "Earthbones" (essentially the laws of physics and nature) allowed them to create technology far more advanced that any other race on Tamriel has come close to and has allowed their creations to last in working order for the thousands of years since their disappearance. They are essentially a fantasy version of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, leaving behind working lost technology such as Weather Control Machines, Humongous Mecha, and even a machine capable of safely reading Elder Scrolls.
    • Likewise, the Ayleids created many useful magical items during the golden years of their Empire, none of which have been replicated by the time of the games, forcing players to search Ayleid ruins in order to get their hands on them. Their magic items included Welkynd Stones and Wells which restore lost magicka, as well as Varla stones which can restore enchantments to weapons. The catch? The stones disappear after being used, and the wells need time to recharge. (According to some theories, the Ayleids themselves didn't "create" these items, but preserved them from the "Dawn Era magicks of the Ehlnofey", meaning they were a form of lost technology even to the Ayleids.)
  • The Lost Woods:
    • Most games in the series include at least one area which qualifies, usually with thick trees and hidden ruins. Morrowind is an exception, where it's relatively few forests are justified Bonsai Forests.
    • Valenwood, the sacred forest home of the Bosmer, is an almost province-wide example. Massive dense forests stretch as far as the eye can see and most Bosmeri settlements are connected only by narrow footpaths. Some of the trees there are even migratory, traveling to different regions of Valenwood depending on the season. Few outsiders venture too far inside, preferring to stay around the more "civilized" coastal areas.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Several deities in the series, including Physical God Dagoth Ur and the Daedric Princes Peryite and Hermaeus Mora, possess these and/or have bestowed them on their followers. Plenty of Body Horror traits typically come along with these "blessings".
  • Love Goddess:
    • The Aedric Divines pantheon has two, representing different aspects of love. Mara, actually called the Goddess of Love, represents the platonic, marriage, and family aspects of love. Dibella, the Goddess of Beauty, instead represents the carnal and sexual aspects of love.
    • Conversely, while "love" is stretching it, Mephala is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets. As one can probably guess, she represents the darker and manipulative aspects associated with sex, specifically its ability to make mortals betray one another and destroy trust.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: As revealed in later games, this was part of the downfall of Jagar Tharn, Big Bad of Arena. Tharn, who had successfully secretly usurped the Imperial Throne, had a major attraction to the Dunmeri Queen Barenziah, who took advantage in order to assist those working to bring him down by deciphering his notes in order to find the pieces of the Staff of Chaos.
  • Love Redeems: This trope falls under the sphere of Mara, the Aedric Divine Goddess of Love. She is a Love Goddess focusing more on the familial, matrimonial, and fertily aspects of love (compared to Dibella, the Goddess of Beauty, who focuses more on the sexual and carnal aspects of it). Her teachings state "those who offer their love to the Divines will never be forsaken." Also covers The Power of Love, as she gave the gift of love to mortals and her teachings indicate that it can change their destiny.
  • Love Triangle: In the primary Creation Myth, there are Anu and Padomay, "Twin brothers" who are the Anthropomorphic Personifications of the primordial forces of "stasis/order/light" and "change/chaos/darkness", respectively. Their interplay in the great "void" of pre-creation led to creation itself. Creation, sometimes anthropomorphized as the female entity "Nir", favored Anu, which angered Padomay. Padomay killed Nir and shattered the twelve worlds she gave birth to. Anu then wounded Padomay, presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the twelve worlds to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, seeking to destroy Nirn. Anu then pulled Padomay and himself outside of time, ending Padomay's threat to creation "forever".
  • Low-Level Advantage: Generally averted in most of the series with, at most, an exception or two per game. However, played straight in Oblivion where the excessive Level Scaling means that many veteran players avoid leveling up at all costs to keep their sanity, making a Low-Level Run not only possible, but strongly recommended. (A full break down and explanation is available on the trope page.)
  • Low-Level Run: Naturally, this is common Self-Imposed Challenge of many players. Every major game has guides and "Let's Play" style videos available showing how to do it.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me:
    • The series' has included the use of shields since its inception, though their use changes drastically over the course of the series. One universal trait is that using a shield limits you to the use of one-handed weapons. Further details broken down by game are available on the trope page.
    • The series' has a few legendary "artifact" shields of note:
      • Spell Breaker is an artifact shield associated with the Daedric Prince Peryite. It has made several appearances in the series, typically being an Infinity +1 Shield which can also block incoming magic attacks. (Standard shields typically do nothing against magical attacks.)
      • Eleidon's Ward is another artifact shield, taking the form of a large white tower shield which can heal the bearer. In ages past, Breton baron spent all of his riches to have it crafted and enchanted as a reward for a knight who rescued his daughter.
  • Luke Nounverber:
    • This is a favored naming convention among the Nords. Some are even given name origin stories (e.g. Hofgrir Horse-Crusher), but the majority are given no such justifications, with many of them being inherited as family names in the spirit of the trope.
    • When translated from draconic, many dragon names have this or a similar effect, crossing over with Awesome McCoolname. Examples include "Curse Never Dying" and "Snow Wing Hunter".
    • Throughout the series, Goblin tribe names are frequently in this format. Examples include the Throatcutter, Dogeater, and Rock Biter tribes. Others have an "adjective-noun" format instead, such as the Bitterfish and Bloody Hand tribes.
  • Lunacy: This is actually averted for were-creatures. While many in-universe believe the disease has connections to Nirn's twin moons, this is not the case. Depending on the exact form of lycanthropy present in the infected, they may transform nightly, monthly, or voluntarily at any time.
  • Lying to the Perp: A major part of Hlaalu Helseth's Batman Gambit to out a spy in the in-game book, A Game at Dinner. He subverts Carrying the Antidote in the process.


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