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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 N to O

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  • Naked People Are Funny: Throughout the series, you have the option to strip your character naked. Doing so will generally yield some humorous NPC responses.
  • Named After Their Planet: The series has a regional example with the races of Akavir, a continent far to the east of Tamriel (where every game in the series to date has taken place). Making this especially notable is that none of the races of Tamriel share their name with their homeland, while this is exclusively the case for the Akaviri races.note  The Kamal ("Snow Hell"), Tsaesci ("Snake Palace"), Ka Po' Tun ("Tiger-Dragon's Empire"), and Tang Mo ("Thousand Monkey Isles") are each regions of Akavir and those who live within are called that name as a race. Given that none of the Akaviri races have shown up in-game in the flesh yet, it is unknown what they may call themselves. Additionally, this potentially offers a solution to the Tsaesci's Multiple-Choice Past, where some sources describe them as Snake Vampires with serpentine lower bodies while others describe them as "men little different from those in Tamriel." If "Tsaesci" is indeed a place name and not the name of a race, the "Tsaesci" could include citizens of multiple species.
  • Named Weapons:
    • The series has countless examples. Almost every single Legendary Weapon and Infinity +1 Sword has a name, and even a great number of lesser weapons are named. A list can be found here.
    • If you enchant a generic weapon, you can rename it to whatever you want.
  • The Namesake: The eponymous Elder Scrolls don't actually appear in-game until the fourth game in the series, Oblivion, and aren't directly involved with the main quest of a game until the fifth, Skyrim. They are mentioned earlier, often as part of the impetus for the main quest, but are not actually seen. Fun fact, according to former series developer Ted Peterson, the name The Elder Scrolls was chosen as the surtitle to Arena simply because "it sounded cool", and it wasn't determined until later in development what an "Elder Scroll" actually was in-universe.
  • Narcissist: This is a trait of Meridia, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. She cannot tolerate it when her actions are painted in anything but a positive light, even at her most ruthless, petty, and vindictive. While disguised as "the Groundskeeper", she refers to herself (as Meridia) and her actions in the most glorifying language possible. To hear her speak, everything she does is merciful, benevolent, and wise, and she also thinks highly of her own beauty and power. She shows zero patience or tolerance for anything which does not support that conclusion.
  • Narrative Filigree:
    • Standard for the series starting with the 3D Leap in Morrowind. There are exorbitant amounts of items, books, NPC conversations, and just general world details that have nothing to do with any quest or plot, but are simply there to flesh out the rich world of the game.
    • The addition of NPC schedules starting with Oblivion adds more of this trope to the game world. NPCs now perform jobs unrelated to services offered to the player, such as farming and chopping wood. They eat meals, go to the bar, go to church, and even cheat on their spouses. Unless you specifically follow them around, you may never even notice these things specifically, but these actions do help the world feel much more alive.
  • National Weapon: Traditionally, the Imperials of Cyrodiil (with their heavy cultural basis in Ancient Rome), have Imperial Swords in this role. They are the primary weapon of the Imperial Legions, who've forged three empires spanning much or all of Tamriel at different points in history. They are modeled after the Roman Gladius, though in practice and appearance, they come closer in function to the Roman Spatha instead.
  • Natural Weapon:
    • The Cat Folk Khajiit have natural razor-sharp and retractable claws. They have numerous fantastical martial arts styles which revolve around their use of these as a primary form of defense. Gameplay-wise, they get a bonus to their unarmed skill because of their claws. Game Mods extend this to Argonians as well - and boosts the effectiveness for both races with each gain in level.
    • Most forms of were-creatures come with some form of claws and/or fangs. These are even able to harm creatures which are otherwise immune to normal weapons, such as ghosts and some forms of lesser Daedra. Given that they themselves are supernatural beasts in service to the Daedric Prince Hircine, this is rather justified.
    • Scamps, the weakest and smallest known form of lesser Daedra, have claws at the end of their Creepy Long Fingers which act as their primary weapon.
  • Nature Is Not Nice:
    • This is present throughout the series with Spriggans, a hostile tree-like race of Plant People. Though they are revered as "Nature's Guardians'' and are associated with Kynareth (one of the Nine Divines and goddess of the heavens, wind, and elements), they're generally an unfriendly group of nature spirits who attack anyone who intrudes on their domains. (Usually by commanding animals, including bears and bees.)
    • The Daedric Prince Namira has elements of this. She is associated with all things considered grotesque or revolting, including many of the dark aspects of nature. These include disease and decay, as well as being represented by typically revolting creatures such as insects, slugs, bats, and rats.
    • Peryite, the Daedric Prince of Pestilence and Tasks, also has elements of this. He is associated with the "Natural Order" (compared to Jyggalag's "Perfect Order" which is inorganic stasis), which, unfortunately for mortals, primarily manifests as outbreaks of disease, and death in wake of those outbreaks.
  • Nature Spirit:
    • Y'ffre, the God of the Forest and the Spirit of the Now, is the most important god in the Bosmeri religion. In the early world, Y'ffre brought forth nature (referred to as "the Green") and was one of the strongest pre-creation spirits, being the first to transform into the Ehlnofey, the "Earth Bones", which allowed for the laws of physics, nature, and life on Nirn. Y'ffre bound the Bosmer to the "Green Pact", which prevents them from harming plants and eating living plant matter in their homeland of Valenwood, which leaves them on a heavily carnivorous diet.
    • The series has Spriggans, which are particularly tree-like Plant People. They have a Gaia's Vengeance tilt and are known as "Nature's Guardians." Depending on the game, they either must be killed three times before they'll stay dead or they come with a rapid Healing Factor that kicks in when they are near death. One of their favored methods of attack is to blend in with surrounding trees and plants, then ambush their unaware targets.
  • Nay-Theist: The extinct Dwemer played this trope Up to Eleven. While they acknowledged the existence of some of the entities that the other races considered "gods" (Aedra, Daedra, etc.), the Dwemer refused to accept their divinity. They were said to especially despise the Daedra, mocking and scorning the "foolish" rituals of their followers (primarily their greatest rivals in Morrowind, the Chimer). They would even summon Daedra specifically to test their divinity. The science and reason focused Dwemer even extended this skepticism to reality itself, refuting anything as truly "real". It is implied that this belief is a core element of how their technology functions. They devised technology that ignored the laws of reality or outright manipulated the tonal architecture of the Earth-Bones (the spirits of creation who gave their lives to set up the laws of nature and physics) simply through sheer refusal to accept physical and magical limitations.
  • Neat Freak: This was a trait of Emperor Pelagius the Mad. In addition to being an Axe-Crazy Mood-Swinger, he forced the servants of his palace to continuously scrub the place at all hours of the day.
  • The Necrocracy:
    • The Order of the Black Worm is a secretive Magical Society founded by legendary/infamous Lich/Necromancer Mannimarco and is dedicated to the study of The Dark Arts. Many of the Order's senior members choose to follow in Mannimarco's footsteps and undertake the Deadly Upgrade to become Liches themselves. Mannimarco and the Order show up to play villainous roles in Daggerfall, Oblivion's Mages Guild questline, and in Online.
    • The city of Solitude turned into one when the "Wolf Queen" Potema replaced her followers with undead minions after they deserted her. By the time of her death at the end of a protracted siege of Solitude, her court was made up of nothing but zombies, vampires, and Daedra that she summoned.
  • Necromancer:
    • Necromancy is banned in most places throughout Tamriel in the series, with pretty good reason. Although it can be employed without any major consequences, the mere fact of raising a dead body is generally considered evil. The 3rd Cyrodillic Empire (under the Septim dynasty) didn't actually outlaw it, as long as the dead in question was a willing volunteer. (They considered the body and soul to be property that could be sold or willed to another after death.) Likewise, there are many who argue that necromancy can be useful and ethical.
    • The Order of the Black Worm was founded by Mannimarco, a legendary Altmer necromancer. They are infamous for their use of Black Soul Gems to capture the souls of sapient beings. Mannimarco himself plays a role in the main quest of Daggerfall and is The Starscream in Online.
    • The Sload, a race of "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, have a natural affinity toward necromancy. One of the most famous necromancers in Tamriellic history, N'Gasta, was a Sload. The Sload use their skills in necromancy to re-animate dead bodies to use as slave labor, as well as to "slaughter and revive" various forms of sea creature as pets, such as crabs and turtles.
    • A common trait in many vampire bloodlines is an aptitude for necromancy. Some vampire bloodlines even have the inherent ability to temporarily revive a corpse to fight on their side.
  • The Need for Mead: Throughout the series, virtually every town, from massive cities to the tiniest of villages, has at least one such place. Plenty of others can be found randomly along the sides of roads. Many of them fit the Adjective Animal Alehouse naming convention. For many of these places, said bar/tavern/inn is also the Sole Entertainment Option. In many cases, they're good places to pick up sidequests and learn general information about the game world.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: A handful of quests in the series involve trying to find one specific item among a pile of similar or even identical items. Specific game examples are available on the trope page.
  • Nerf: A frequent occurrence between games in the series. Dominant strategies, as well as exploits, from one game are typically nerfed in the next one. In some cases, this even occurs within the same game by way of patches and expansion pack updates. Specific examples are available on the trope page.
  • Neutrality Backlash: The Hist, a race of ancient, sentient, and possibly omniscient trees chose to be neutral during the Dawn Era "War of the Ehlnofey". Despite their neutrality, much of their realm was destroyed in the conflict. Their modern home of Black Marsh is said to be a fragment of their realm which survived.
  • Never Found the Body: This happened to the entire Dwemer race in the backstory. Sometime around the Battle of Red Mountain in the First Era, the Dwemer, every last one, vanished off the face of Nirn in an instant.note  Their disappearance remains a Riddle for the Ages both in-universe and out amongst the fandom, though he most commonly accepted theory is that they tried to use the Heart of Lorkhan to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, and it either failed spectacularly or it succeeded. This also may not technically be an example, as they did leave behind remains in a few cases - in one Dwemer ruin, you find piles of ash on beds, at workstations, in the halls surrounded by guard uniforms, etc. as if they disintegrated where they stood. But that doesn't make them necessarily dead...
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe, this is downplayed in regards to Molag Bal's (Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption) most infamous title, "King of Rape". To note:
    • In-universe, he's only been recorded as having raped one person, but this does not prevent his most infamous title being that of the "King of Rape". It also doesn't help that this act was stated to be the "first" rape, similar in implication to the "first murder" of the Bible.
    • Further Downplayed later in the series. In Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC, it's implied that this is one of the ways that Molag Bal chooses to confer the abilities of a Vampire Lord upon his most devout followers. While his male followers are asked to perform a large Human Sacrifice in his name, women are subjected to a far more degrading ritual at his hands, with the implication being further reinforced by Serana refusing to elaborate further on the matter.
    • In the title's original context, personal assault wasn't even the focus. Instead the "King of Rape" was focused the corruption of racial and genealogical purity, both being Serious Business to the Dunmer.
  • Never Recycle a Building:
    • Played straight for the first several games in the series when it comes to ruins/caves/tombs/etc. which contain NPC opponents. Once you've cleared them out, they will remain gone. Starting with Oblivion, these locations will "reset" after a certain amount of in-game time has passed, making it seem like a new set of bandits/necromancers/smugglers/etc. has set up their operation there.
    • The Imga, a minor race of intelligent "ape men" native to Valenwood, Avert this in background lore. Imga have taken over many of the abandoned human trading posts which had been established in Valenwood during the Second Empire.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile:
    • Daedrothsnote  are a form of lesser Daedra which appears throughout the series. They have large humanoid bodies with crocodilian heads. They are an animalistic form of lesser Daedra, lacking human intelligence, but are fierce and dangerous nonetheless. They can most often be found in the service of the Daedric Princes Molag Bal and Mehrunes Dagon.
    • Series' lore tells of werecrocodiles, a form of were-creature typically found in the swamps of Black Marsh and southern Morrowind. They are known to lurk in isolated swamps.
  • Never Trust a Title:
    • Throughout the series (until Skyrim), the Elder Scrolls themselves do not make an appearance in the first three games, and only appear in a faction side quest in the fourth. (They are mentioned plenty in the background lore.) It isn't until Skyrim that this is finally averted, with an Elder Scroll playing a major part in the game's main quest.
    • After Arena and Daggerfall, the number in the title of the games gets a little screwy. After those games came Battlespire and Redguard, which are Dungeon Crawl and Action-Adventure spinoff games, respectively. That makes Morrowind the fifth game with Elder Scrolls in the title, but it is still titled as The Elder Scrolls III. (This makes Oblivion technically the sixth game and Skyrim technically the seventh.)
    • The "place" subtitle in each main series game also carries with it some oddness in each case, which are detailed on the trope page.
  • News Travels Fast:
    • Present with many major quests throughout the series, including main quests. Defeat the Big Bad in his isolated Volcano Lair or even in the Warrior Heaven Spirit World? Everyone will immediately know once you get back to civilization. Some cases are more justified than others. Additional details can be found on the trope page.
    • Played almost universally straight with crimes. You can commit a crime, then run (or even instantly teleport) to the opposite side of the game world, and the guards there will still know about it and attempt to arrest you. Skyrim makes some changes to the mechanic which downplay or avert it instead.
  • New Weapon Target Range: Several games in the series have you pick up a new piece of equipment or ability immediately before entering a scenario where it can be used to great effect. Specific examples can be found broken down by game on the trope page.
  • New Weird: On the surface, the series seems like a fairly generic High Fantasy series, but if you start digging into the lore you find things like a time-traveling cyborg who is the manifestation of the spirit of a dead god; a Depraved Bisexual Magical Gay hermaphrodite Physical God who may be aware that the true nature of the world is that he's in video game; a Humongous Mecha powered by the heart of a dead god with an alarming tendency to break time and warp reality; and an AI from the far future who got caught in the crossfire of a war, was driven insane and sent back to the late Merethic era where she then acted as a soothsayer for a while; a space race between two rival empires who used ships made of the sun and giant, hollowed-out moths to explore the void outside the physical world; and much, much more...
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: Generally averted throughout much of the series, where there isn't a sizeable difference between dangers at night and during the day. The exceptions are Arena, where more numerous and dangerous enemies come out at night, and Skyrim with Dawnguard installed due to vampire attacks.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Frequently occurs in the series regarding the actions of the Player Character, even including the effects of completing the main quest on the game world. Sure, you just Saved The World from the current existential threat, but doing so, more often than not in the series, sets off a Disaster Dominoes chain reaction (usually revealed in later games) which causes a number of other catastrophes in the world. For example, completing the Morrowind main quest sets off a Trauma Conga Line for Morrowind itself and the Dunmer people over the next 200 years, including the Red Year and the Argonian invasion. Other examples, including those with consequences that become evident within the same game, are available on the trope page.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: A number of villainous characters throughout the series unintentionally end up contributing to their own downfall. Hubris is often involved... Specific examples by game can be found on the trope page.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability:
    • The Necromancer's Amulet is a recurring artifact item that grants the wearer magical protection equivalent to plate armor, as well as the ability to regenerate from injury, resist mundane weapons, and absorb magicka and life force. It also increases the wearer's intelligence and grants greater powers in the magical school of Conjuration. For a mortal wearer, this power comes at a price, as the amulet can drain the wearer's strength, endurance, health, and stamina, essentially making them an especially Squishy Wizard. The Amulet is associated with the legendary Lich/Necromancer, Mannimarco, to whom the drawbacks do not apply.
    • Shadowmere, the recurring mystical Dark Brotherhood steed, has quite a large amount of health and a very rapid Healing Factor. The only way to kill it is with enough damage to kill it in one hit (fall damage, mostly), but even then it will come back to life at the spot you first acquired it.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • This is a trait of Namira, the Daedric Prince of the Ancient Darkness, associated with all things revolting, decay, disfiguring diseases, and cannibalism. Given the nature of most ES series deities, she could very well be considered the embodiment of the grotesque and revolting. In fact she only allows those she considers truly revolting to summon her, and she hates attractive people. (Most Daedric Princes will accept worship and service from any mortals who offer it, with Namira toward attractive people being the only known exception.)
    • Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of Nightmares, is a literal case. She keeps her mortal champion in her Daedric realm of Quagmire, seeming not to care of the fact that simply being there can cause Mind Rape, or perhaps, actually seeing it as a show of affection. Quagmire itself is a realm of horrors, where reality shifts upon itself in seemingly impossible ways. Every few minutes, lightning flashes and the realm morphs into a terrifying scene, each one more frightening than the last.
  • Ninja: The Dark Brotherhood's standard armor (mostly black light armor with a hood and/or cowl) and propensity toward stealth and assassination certainly invoke the ninja aesthetic.
  • Nipple and Dimed:
    • Azura has played with this significantly in her appearances throughout the series. In Daggerfall, her appearance is actually topless and anatomically correct (pixelated though it may be). In Morrowind and Oblivion, her statues are topless but lacking detail, playing this trope straight with some Barbie Doll Anatomy. (Her avatars, which appear in both Morrowind and its Tribunal expansion are much more modestly dressed.) In Skyrim and Online, her statue has Absolute Cleavage instead.
    • Statues of Dibella (one of the Nine Divines and goddess of art, beauty and sexuality) are typically nude, with visible nipples and an artfully draped cloth covering the lower region. This one probably gets a pass, as it's considered artistic nudity In-Universe.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Played straight early in the series, prior to the addition of a physics engine in Oblivion. Afterward, it is heavily Downplayed. Arrows do drop, but they still fly unrealistically far before dropping. It is also possible to hit stationary targets by firing arrows into the air with an extreme arc, but it is understandably difficult to pull off.
  • No Biological Sex: This is technically true of the series' various deities, crossing over with Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous. Though essentially genderless spirits, most will take A Form You Are Comfortable With when dealing with mortals, and most stick to presenting as just one sex. A few exceptions to note:
    • Among the Daedric Princes, several are known to change gender in different appearances. Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots, has appeared variously as male or female. Even his/her followers will sometimes refer to Boethiah with different pronouns in the same sentence. Mephala, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals but is associated with manipulation and lies, is said to be a hermaphrodite, but is typically referred to as female and speaks with a female voice. Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge (specializing in eldritch knowledge), even trying to resemble anything with a gender (although generally speaks with a deep male voice).
    • Y'ffre, the Bosmeri "God of the Forest" and the "Spirit of the Now", was one of the strongest of the et'Ada and is said to be the first to transform into the Ehlnofey, the "Earth Bones", which allowed for the laws of physics, nature, and life on Nirn. Different stories refer to Y'ffre as variously male or female.
  • Noble Bird of Prey:
    • Auri-El is the Aldmeri aspect of Akatosh, the draconic God of Time and chief deity of the Aedric Divine pantheon. As Auri-El, he takes the form of a majestic golden eagle and is referred to as the "King of Gods". As such, the eagle is the Animal Motif of the Aldmeri Dominion, showing up in everything from their sigils and banners to their very weapons and armor.
    • Similarly, Kyne, the old Nordic aspect of Kynareth, the Aedric Divine Goddess of the Air and Heavens, is associated with and often represented by a hawk.
  • Noble Savage:
  • Noble Wolf: Sai, a Deity of Human Origin God of Luck celebrated in the Iliac Bay region, is associated with wolves. Sai was Born Lucky, with the uncanny ability to spread good luck to others but not to himself. After he was killed in battle (while all of his fellow soldiers survived), he was resurrected and granted immortality by Ebonarm, the Iliac Bay War God, so that he may continue to spread his good luck and help to balance the world. After his resurrection, he spent time Walking the Earth with a gray wolf companion named Grellan. Later, he would meet and settle down with a Nord woman named Josea, with whom he had a daughter. However, staying with her unbalanced the world by bringing too much good luck to the region. He was visited by a procession of gods, including Ebonarm and the Aedric Divine Mara, who punished him by taking away his physical body. They demanded that he set things right, which took 150 years to do. During that time, he begged Mara for a body, so she allowed him to occasionally take the form of a wolf. To this day, many Nords are hesitant to kill a wolf except in self defense because it might be Sai.
  • No Body Left Behind: This is the case for some vampire bloodlines. When slain, their bodies will turn to ash, which can then be collected as a valuable alchemical ingredient. This ash can even be collected off of some vampires who do leave a body behind.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: This is largely averted through ambiguity throughout the series (aside from Daggerfall which just plain averts it via Merging the Branches). Subsequent games assume that the main quest storylines of the previous games were completed (though not necessarily by the same person), but anything optional (including most faction questlines) is left ambiguous. One major exception to this comes in Skyrim, where it's heavily implied that the Champion of Cyrodiil, Player Character of Oblivion, participated in the events of the Thieves' Guild and Dark Brotherhood storylines before eventually becoming Sheogorath through the Shivering Isles expansion.
  • No Cure for Evil: Averted. Necromancers and enemy wizards have access to the same spells you do and can heal anytime they have the Magicka to do so.
  • No Experience Points for Medic: Averted throughout the series, which uses a leveling system in which the player gains experience toward an increase in a certain skill by successfully using that skill. For example, if you sneak around, your Sneak skill will increase. If you brew potions, your Alchemy skill increase. If you strike enemies with a sword, your Blade/Long Blade/One-Handed skill will increase, etc. This also applies to the Restoration skill, which mostly governs healing and protective spells. One caveat that can make leveling up your Restoration skill a bit more challenging is that casting healing spells on yourself while at full health do not raise the skill, meaning you must be at less than 100% health for it to count.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • The series incorporates this trope in subtle but relatively major in-game ways. In fact, the games' developers are known for incorporating programming errors and other game quirks into canon by explaining them in later games. (Such as mentioning Redguard's "jagged water" graphical glitch in a Morrowind book.)
    • The series has the in-universe concept of "CHIM", an ascended state of existence where one becomes aware of the true nature of the ES universe, but exists as one with it and maintains a sense of individuality. Essentially, achieving CHIM means realizing that you are in a video game and using that knowledge to edit the situation around you. The Dunmeri Tribunal deity Vivec (cryptically and metaphorically) states in his dialogue and his 36 Lessons what this mean. He makes vague references to things like the Player Character ("The ruling king who only he can address as an equal"), pausing the game, console commands, and the Construction Set Level Editor. His explanation on what happens if he should "die" also sounds a lot like reloading a saved game:
    Vivec: "When I die in the world of time, then I'm completely asleep. I'm very much aware that all I have to do is choose to wake. And I'm alive again. Many times I have very deliberately tried to wait patiently, a very long, long time before choosing to wake up. And no matter how long it feels like I wait, it always appears, when I wake up, that no time has passed at all."
  • No Hero Discount: Downplayed in the games with NPC Disposition. Completing quests for merchants who offer them will increase those merchants' dispositions, which will lead to better prices. The same is also true for completing faction quests and will net you a disposition boost for merchants in that faction. Skyrim drops the disposition mechanic, but similarly Downplays the trope another way. Doing favors for merchants (or simply being a regular customer for long enough) can allow you to take the cheap stuff off their shelves for free, when it would otherwise be considered stealing.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • Tiber Septim to Charlemagne and Julius Caesar as a great conqueror and unificator.
    • Wolf Queen Potema is Margaret of Anjou if her negative traits were cranked Up to Eleven. A beautiful, ambitious, and ruthless queen that wanted to put her son on the throne, fought a war in the attempt and ended up outliving her offspring in the process.
    • Uriel Septim V has some mild parallels to Alexander the Great as a conquering European emperor who drove his armies far past the edge of the "known world" at the time and died under mysterious circumstances, though Uriel fell in battle.
    • Emperor Pelagius the Mad is not only an example of The Caligula, he is very clearly based on Caligula himself.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • You can do this to enemies in Morrowind and Oblivion, since hand-to-hand attacks damage fatigue, and having zero fatigue causes enemies to fall over, after which you can gradually beat them to death while they're down. It takes a lot longer than just killing them with weapons, though.
    • This was the result of the Duel to the Death between Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker who served St. Alessia as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids, and Umaril the Unfeathered, the half-elf demigod leader of the Ayleids. Though Umaril had his Elite Mooks, armed with special weapons, weaken Pelinal first by making him bleed for the first time, Pelinal utterly destroyed Umaril in their fight. Umaril was left "laid low, the angel face of his helm dented into an ugliness... [and his] unfeathered wings broken off". However, Pelinal could not actually kill Umaril, who had divine protection from the Daedric Prince Meridia.
  • No Indoor Voice:
    A CHALLENGER DRAWS NEAR !
  • Noisy Robots: The various Dwemer Mecha-Mooks (known as "Animunculi") make "clanky" metal-on-stone or metal-on-metal sounds as they move. Even when still, they'll make noise by releasing steam.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: All of the spies in A Game at Dinner fully expect the dinner to be part of a plot to reveal and kill them by King Helseth. They're not wrong, but this being King Helseth, it doesn't play out in the way they thought.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Present in the series' standard leveling system, but underwent a major change prior to Skyrim. To note:
    • Through Oblivion, the series uses a leveling system in which the player gains experience toward an increase in a certain skill by successfully using that skill. For example, if you sneak around, your Sneak skill will increase. If you brew potions, your Alchemy skill increase. If you strike enemies with a sword, your Blade/Long Blade/One-Handed skill will increase, etc. After 10 skill increases, you'll level up, at which point you can choose some of your Attributes (Strength, Intelligence, Endurance, etc.) to increase. Attributes which govern the skills you increased will receive multipliers based on the amount of times you increased those governed skills. (For example, increasing your Heavy Armor skill 5 times will give you a 5x multiplier on your Endurance skill). You don't have to increase Attributes that receive multipliers, but it is highly recommended in order to avoid Empty Levels.
    • In Skyrim, the system is similar but has a few major changes. First, there are no longer Attributes. Increasing your skills 10 times still allows you to level up, but instead of increasing Attributes, you choose to add 10 points to your Health, Magicka, or Fatigue. Secondly, leveling up allows you to choose a Perk in one of the skill trees, with more Perks being unlocked the higher your level in that skill.
    • A major reason for the leveling system overhaul between Oblivion and Skyrim was Oblivion's much reviled Level Scaling system. In Oblivion, unless you take extreme precautions to be a full blown Min-Maxing Munchkin, you can very quickly end up on the wrong side of the level scaling curve. Simply leveling up when you have the option is likely to result in an insignificant bonus to your abilities, but all the enemies still increase in strength. Your actual strength in combat is linked to abilities that aren't governed directly by your level, which is all the game cares about when determining the strength of the enemies it spawns. You see the problem? This is actually referred to as "The Leveling Problem" in Oblivion, and you can read more about it here. (This is extant, but to a much less extreme degree, in Morrowind as it has very limited level scaling. Failure to level efficiently simply means it takes you longer to reach greater levels of power. It is also possible in Skyrim if you focus solely on increasing non-combat skills and their Perks.)
  • Non-Elemental: The Damage and Drain spell effects under the Destruction school of magic are non-elemental. As such, Damage is more expensive in terms of Magicka use than its elemental equivalents, while Drain only causes temporary harm for the duration of the effect.
  • Non-Human Undead:
    • In terms of humanoid undead, this is largely downplayed throughout the series. Nearly every skeleton, zombie, draugr, and variations thereof are human. And we mean human: no Mer (Elves), Orcs, Khajiit, or Argonians among them (unless they're made from the recently-dead with Reanimate spells). Naturally, several Game Mods are available for each game which rectify this.
    • That said, there are plenty of undead animals and other creatures. Bonewolves, "Skinned Hounds", and vampiric Death Hounds are various forms of undead canine. There are also a few Hellish Horses and Dracoliches which qualify.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • While they tend to play significant parts in the backstory, it isn't until Oblivion that an eponymous Elder Scroll is actually seen in a game, and even then it is a MacGuffin in a side quest. It wouldn't be fully averted until Skyrim, where one plays an important part in the main quest.
    • A number of the staple Fantasy Metals in the series qualify, especially Glass and Ebony.
    • The Dwemer, a sub-species of Mer (Elves), are also known as "Dwarves". Though they do still have some similarities to typical fantasy Dwarves, the term is an archeological misnomer. The term "dwarf" was given to them by the Giants of the Velothi Mountains; the Dwemer were the first non-giant race with whom they came into contact, so they seemed very small even though they were average sized among the Tamrielic races. After it was picked up by the Nords (and through them, the other races of Men), the name stuck.
    • Speaking of the Dwemer, their last king was known primarily as Dumac Dwarfking. However, he is alternatively known by the names "Dwarf-Orc" and "Dumalacath", which would seem to indicate that he had some sort of connection with the Orcs. No such connection is evident from any established lore and may have been a Written by the Winners attempt by the Tribunal Temple to demonize Dumac (since the Dunmer people weren't exactly fond of anything relating to the Orcs).
    • Malicious, malevolent, manipulative jerkasses who will double cross you the first chance they get in order to claim your soul, no one considers the Ideal Masters, formerly mortal Energy Beings who created and rule the Soul Cairn, to be "ideal masters".
    • The Psijic Order, a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel, doesn't actually have anything to do with the "Psijic Endeavor," which is a specific process of ascending to divinity championed by the Chimeri/Dunmeri figures Veloth and Vivec. The Psijic Order does not believe that there really is a fundamental difference between ancestor spirits and gods in the first place, and ascending to divinity has never been mentioned as a motivation of theirs.
    • St. Alessia, founder of the First Cyrodiilic Empire, is said to have been the first "Dragonborn." However, she wasn't a Dragonborn in the same sense as the dragon-soul-stealing instant-Thu'um-mastery Dragonborn heroes of Nordic legend (made famous in Skyrim, of which Miraak was the first). Alessia was the first Emperor of Cyrodiil imbued with blood from the heart of Akatosh, the Dragon God of Time and chief deity of the Imperial pantheon, as part of sealing a pact with her (metaphysical) line to protect Mundus against incursions from Oblivion.
  • Non-Linear Sequel:
    • The main series of games are a Downplayed example. The entire series takes place on the continent of Tamriel, with the first four games being chronological, taking place over the span of roughly 34 years in the late 3rd Era of Tamriellic history. Each takes place in a different region of Tamrielnote , and each overhauls its cast of characters (each has a different Player Character and very few recurring main characters). Skyrim takes place some 200 years following the events of Oblivion, but also does some Arc Welding of the events of previous games in its main plot (specifically, the destruction or removal of a various Cosmic Keystones and metaphysical "Towers" heralding the return of Alduin, the Big Bad Beast of the Apocalypse who was cast out of the stream of time in the past but prophesied to return).
    • The series also has several spin-off games with different styles of gameplay which take place in different eras of Tamriellic history. The Dungeon Crawler spin-off Battlespire (originally planned as an expansion to Daggerafall) takes place during the events of Arena but isn't directly related to the plot there. The Action-Adventure spin-off Redguard is a prequel that takes place roughly 300 years before Arena. Online is an MMORPG prequel which takes place roughly 500 years before the events of Arena.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries:
    • Female Argonians have them in every game except for Morrowind (where other characteristics were used to differentiate Argonian sexes, including differences in head and body shape as well as different colorations and types of Alien Hair). Even there, gendered armor types on female Argonians still include feminine shaped chest armor.
    • Female Khajiit also have them throughout the series. Though mammalian, they are based on cats, which do not have humanoid breasts.
    • Spriggans throughout the series also have them. They are tree-like Plant People.
    • Atronachs are a type of unaligned lesser Daedra which are essentially the Elemental Embodiments of the elements they represent. Starting with Oblivion, Flame Atronachs take on a more feminine appearance, being made of fire and glowing hot pieces of armor. The chest piece gives them a distinctive bust.
    • Several other varieties of lesser Daedra, including female Aureals, female Dremora, female Mazken, female Skaafin, female Spider Daedra, female Xivilai, and Winged Twilights (who are purely female) also possess breasts. To note, these are loosely demonic entities with Complete Immortality who do not reproduce. They have no biological need for mammaries. It is somewhat more justified for the Mazken than for other "female" Daedra, as they are known to use their female forms to trick and seduce mortals. (Hence their alternative name, Daedra/Dark Seducers.)
  • Non-Player Companion: Present in the series since Morrowind. The AI of these companions and the degree to which you can interact with them has improved with each installment since their introduction.
  • Noob Cave:
    • Each main series game either starts the player out in one, or has one accessible shortly after character creation (sometimes both). Usually, it includes a tutorial and allows the player to pick up his/her first set of equipment.
    • The first "dungeon" the player is required to enter as part of the main quest is also usually crafted with a low-level noobie character in mind. The mooks are usually quite low-level and it often has a Warm-Up Boss which is tougher than anything else you've faced if you've stuck to the main quest.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The Republic of Hahd was this for the Summerset Isles and the Septim Empire.
    • In each main series game except for Daggerfall, the Player Character starts off as a prisoner. It is never explained as to what crime you committed to put you there (or in the case of Skyrim, why you were crossing the border which led to your becoming a prisoner).
    • M'aiq the Liar has a number of comments about various noodle incidents he has been involved with, most of which are equal parts bizarre and funny. For example, he claims that he was once Soul-Trapped and very much did not appreciate the experience.
  • No One Sees the Boss:
    • This is common among the leadership of the Thieves' Guild. While their Guild Halls are typically Open Secrets (actually being secret would be bad for business), new members typically need to prove themselves before being allowed to meet the boss(es). Justified since it protects those leaders from rival groups and law enforcement who are attempting to infiltrate.
    • The Dunmeri Tribunal were forced into this situation after losing two of the tools of Kagrenac (and thus their ability to "recharge" their divinity). Previously, Vivec and Almalexia walked and worked among their people, offering guidance and performing miracles. Following the loss of the tools, they remain almost exclusively in their temples, communicating with only a few high-ranking Temple officials and personal guards. The third Tribunal god, Sotha Sil, was reclusive to begin with and has gone so far into seclusion that even Temple officials can admit they don't actually have any contact with him (they don't even know where he is, as his Clockwork City is hidden).
  • No Ontological Inertia:
    • Several Vampire bloodlines in the Iliac Bay region are known to have this as a weakness. If their progenitor (known as a "Blood Father") is killed or cured, the other vampires of the bloodline will lose their powers as well. This is said to include Rapid Aging, which for those who have been alive longer than their natural lifespans, leads to death.
    • Atronachs, a type of unaligned lesser Daedra which are essentially the Elemental Embodiments of the elements they represent, typically have this occur if they've been summoned to Mundus (the mortal plane) by a mortal summoner. If that mortal dies, the Atronach will vanish or disintegrate. This is also the case for a number of types of undead and their necromancer summoners as well.
  • No Pronunciation Guide:
    • From the series' lore, there was much debate in the fandom regarding the pronunciation of the "dead" creator god's Aldmeri name, Lorkhan. Former series' writer Michael Kirkbride clarified on Twitter that it's "Lore-Khan".
    • This is a common issue in the series once it moved to fully voiced dialogue starting with Oblivion. Apparently no direction was given to the voice actors on how to pronounce certain words. In some cases, even two different characters with the same voice actor will pronounce a word two different ways. Everything from "Daedra", to place names, to the names of the races has been known to get pronounced differently in different instances.
  • Norse by Norsewest: The Nords, Tamriel's Proud Warrior Race of Horny Vikings, are firmly fantasy northern European in terms of their modern culture and their physical appearance (tall, muscular, fair-haired, pale-skinned). They have a cultural love of battling, as well as mead, feasting, and a strong bardic tradition. Their old religion (pre-dating that of the Imperial Nine Divines) also has many elements straight out of Norse Mythology, particularly the Warrior Heaven of Sovngarde. Their first names are typically pulled from medieval Norse while they have badass sounding clan names or sobriquets, such as Arkming the Flayer, Ulfgar the Unending, Else God-Hater, Falk Firebeard, Frofnir Trollsbane, Aldi Winterblade... the list goes on and on... Their homeland of Skyrim is cold and untamed while being full of vicious wild animals and other threats. Their ancient culture has a number of other influences as well (particularly Hinduism and Ancient Egyptian Mythology), making it more Culture Chop Suey though still heavy with Norse elements.
  • North Is Cold, South Is Hot: Played straight in general for Tamriel, where every game in the series to date has taken place. The northern regions contain snowy mountain ridges as well as arboreal and pine forests. The northernmost mainland province is snowy Skyrim, which is primarily tundra and taiga, with forests along the border regions. Tamriel's northernmost landmass is the island of Solstheim, which is largely a frozen over rock with perpetual glaciers in its northern regions. Southern Tamriel contains the deserts of Elsweyr and the jungles/swamps of Black Marsh. The the southwest lie the semi-tropical Sumerset Isles. Loose Canon maps showing Tamriel's position on the planet (Nirn) typically show it just north of the equator, largely justifying the trope. That said, there are some quirks and possible exceptions, though they could be explained by the geography. For example, much of northern Morrowind is on the same latitude as Skyrim, but Morrowind is much more temperate with a varied climate. This could be explained by the large mountain range (the Velothi Mountains) separating the two provinces, blocking Skyrim's cold winds entering Morrowind, as is the case for numerous real-life mountain ranges.
  • The Nose Knows: This is a trait of the Minotaur race. They are said to have an incredible sense of smell and are able to track their prey by scent alone.
  • No-Sell: Throughout the series, this is a power of Atronachs, 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. Others include Air, Flesh, Iron, and Stone. They are completely immune to magic of their respective associated element and, in some cases, can even absorb it to increase their health/power.
  • This is, for reasons which have never been explained, stated to be a racial trait of the Dremora. As a general rule, they have a poor sense of direction.
  • No Stat Atrophy: In general, the only way to permanently lower a statistic is by going to jail, and even then, it is only very slight decreases. Temporary ways exist in the game by means of spells, diseases, and enchantments but are restored after the effect wears off or is cured. (It is also possible, depending on the game, that your Lockpicking or Pickpocketing skills will increase in jail, presumably because you learned something new from the other inmates.)
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Common in Guilds and Factions throughout the series. Most have rules against stealing from or harming other members of the Guild. However, you can typically do both of these things safely and if you do it without getting caught, you won't be kicked out of the guild.
  • The Nothing After Death: Generally averted. The souls of the deceased can go to a number of different afterlives, largely depending on what deities the deceased in question worshiped or swore servitude to in life. These range from a couple types of Spirit World to variants of a Warrior Heaven to the Daedric Planes to even reincarnation via the "Dreamsleeve". There are a few known exceptions, however:
    • The worshipers of Sithis, referred to as a "great void" and a primordial force representing chaos, join him in the "The Void" surrounding creation. Joining Sithis in "The Void" is the desired afterlife for members of the Dark Brotherhood, an organization of assassins which doubles as a cult to Sithis.
    • Sentient beings who have had their souls trapped end up in in the Soul Cairn, an unaligned plane of Oblivion ruled by the mysterious Ideal Masters. It is a barren wasteland the souls are forced to wander for all eternity.
  • Not So Different:
    • The Aedra and the Daedra are typically viewed as opposites, particularly by mortals. Good and Evil. Order and Chaos. Light and Dark. Gods of Good and Gods of Evil. Angels and Demons. However, prior to the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane, there was no distinction made between these et'Ada ("original spirits"). The Aedra are simply the et'Ada who participated in creation (which is why their name means "our ancestors" in Old Aldmeris, while the Daedra ("not our ancestors") did not. This is why scholars and, in a few cases, the deities themselves, are quick to point out that these are beings truly Above Good and Evil who operate on their own Blue and Orange Morality. Anyone trying to classify them as such is simply trying to apply mortal moralities to immortal beings, which is a foolhardy endeavor.
    • The Morag Tong is a legal Dunmeri assassin's guild of Professional Killers. They hold Mephala, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets, as their patron deity. The Dark Brotherhood is an illegal assassin's guild (leaning closer to a Psycho for Hire organization) which split off from the Morag Tong long ago. They practice a relative Religion of Evil, serving the "Dread Father" Sithis and his wife, the Night Mother, a mysterious entity who leads the Brotherhood and speaks through the Listener of the organization. According to some sources, the Night Mother may very well be an aspect of Mephala, meaning that both groups, despite their differences, are still dedicated to the same deity.
    • Vivec, the Tribunal deity, clearly was never a big fan of the Dwemer. As one of Nerevar's councilors, Vivec believed that peace could not be had between the Chimer and Dwemer. He later urged Nerevar to make war on the Dwemer when evidence was brought forth that showed they were in possession of the Heart of Lorkhan and were attempting to tap into its power. However, Vivec would later draw his own divine powers from the Heart and the A God Am I-type response he gives if you question his past actions is very similar to the one he attributes to the Dwemer Architect Kagrenac when Nerevar originally questioned him about the Heart in The Battle of Red Mountain:
      Vivec: "Can you, mortal, presume to judge the actions and motives of a god?"
      Kagrenac (per Vivec): "But Kagrenac took great offense, and asked whom Nerevar thought he was, that he might presume to judge the affairs of the Dwemer."
    • A race that prides themselves for completely shaping modern Tamriel into what it is today, who bull-headedly looks down on other races and professions that are commonly not used in their culture even though history has shown that they were once skilled practitioners of it, follow a religion that is basically a combination of Men and Mer beliefs while a sizable minority still follows their old religion. All of these can easily describe both the Nords and the Altmer as of the 4th Era.
  • Not So Extinct:
    • Subverted and Averted in different senses with the series' dragons, who were rumored to be extinct for thousands of years before they began to return during the events of Skyrim. To note:
      • Subverted in that, while it was commonly believed in Tamriel that the dragons had been rendered extinct in the late 1st Era by the Akaviri Dragonguard and the Blades, many dragons still survived. Nafaalilargus was spared as a known ally of mortals and would later serve Tiber Septim as a secret weapon. Paarthurnax continued to live atop the Throat of the World, serving as the master of the Greybeards, though his case is likely excused because his existence was kept secret to all outside of the Greybeards. Others managed to survive in remote wilderness areas (such as the Forgotten Vale) or deep beneath the earth (such as in the Dwemer city of Blackreach).
      • Averted in that the vast majority of dragons were actually slain, and the ones who appear in the 4th Era are being resurrected. These dragons were dead (but not truly killed), and are now being brought back to life with the return of Alduin, the World Eater and "first born" of the dragons.
    • Skyrim also reveals that this is the case for the Snow Elves, who have degenerated into the Falmer after being displaced by the Nords and sheltered by the Dwemer, who proceeded to blind, mutate and enslave them. The Falmer themselves were thought to just be a myth for years until they began raiding the surface again, and then there are two original, non-mutated Snow Elves who you meet during the Dawnguard DLC.
  • Not the Intended Use: Occurs frequently throughout the series, especially when the player abuses "feedback loops" in the Alchemy, Spellmaking, and/or Enchanting systems. While Bethesda makes efforts to patch these abuses between games, inventive players always discover new ways to game the system. Specific examples by game can be found on the trope page.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word:
    • The series has classic zombies, but depending on the region the specific game in question takes place, they may not be called "zombies". For example, the Dunmer refer to zombies as "Bonewalkers", while Nords refer to them as Dragur. Details beyond their names can be found on Our Zombies Are Different.
    • The series also includes many other fictional types of creature under different names, including "demonic" lesser Daedra and the Elves known as the Races of Mer.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: Extremely common throughout the series due to the sheer size and content volume of the Wide Open Sandbox game world. Different solutions have been attempted by adding an automatically updating in-game journal, quest logs, and even quest markers, but it is still quite easy to get distracted and forget what you were doing.
  • Number Two: Aside from instances within the games themselves, a historical example is High Chancellor/Imperial Battlemage Ocato, who served in these roles to Emperor Uriel Septim VII and, briefly, to his illegitimate son, Martin. Ocato very much preferred being the number two, including exhausting all backup options to find a suitable heir before accepting the title of Potentate of the Empire. (Something he had every right to take from the start as High Chancellor in accordance with the Elder Council Charter.)
  • Numerical Hard: Starting with Morrowind, the series has a difficulty slider. Set at easiest, all your attacks do 6 times their normal damage and enemies do 1/6th their normal amount. Set at its hardest, those numbers are reversed. Nothing else is changed. Skyrim changes the slider to discrete difficulty levels (Novice, Apprentice, Adept, etc.) but the overall function is still the same. (You do more damage and enemies do less at the low end, which inverses as you go up the levels.)

    O 
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, is definitely insane. There is no denying that. But since he consistently seems to be ten steps ahead of everyone else, it's likely that Sheogorath plays up his madness to hide the fact he's far more on the ball than he lets on. Further, after the Champion of Cyrodiil assumes the mantle of Sheogorath, it begs the question if his behavior in Skyrim is due to inheriting the mantle of Sheogorath, or if it's merely an affectation for when he deals with mortals.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Khajiit have a reputation for being rather simple (not helped by their cultural propensity toward drug addiction, their bestial appearance, being third-person people, etc.) and are often morally ambiguous (their language has no word for "rules" and they have a very loose view of what constitutes personal property). Despite this, they are as intelligent as any other race, and are known to play up the perceptions other races have for them as simple and unintelligent in order to take advantage of them. Cleverness is, after all, a virtue in their culture.
  • Obvious Beta: An unfortunately common occurrence throughout the series, in large part due to the sheer scale of the games. Each game has its fair share of Game-Breaking Bugs and exploitative Good Bad Bugs when released, but Bethesda is generally quick to get them patched fairly quickly. For the PC versions of the games, modders will usually put out Game Mods as unofficial patches until Bethesda is able to release official ones. Typically, the Game of the Year Edition (or similarly re-releases) of most games resolve the majority of these issues, but not all. Specific examples by game are listed on the trope page.
  • Obviously Evil:
    • This is the case throughout the series for several of the more outright malevolent Daedric Princes. While they can take any form the wish, the Princes usually take a semi-consistent humanoid form when dealing with mortals. The more "evil" ones (Mehrunes Dagon, Molag Bal) tend to take forms that are unmistakably so.
    • Mannimarco, the "King of Worms", is an infamous and highly dreaded Lich/Necromancer who has been an Overarching Villain in Tamriel dating back to the 2nd Era. In his various appearances in the series, he has played the trope quite straight.
    • Alduin is a jet black spiky dragon with red eyes and a deep, guttural, booming voice. This is technically Subverted when he is acting in his divinely mandated duty as Beast of the Apocalypse to "eat the world" at the end of every "kalpa" (cycle of time) so that it can be remade anew. However, in Skyrim, he is shirking his responsibilities in a quest to Take Over the World instead, leading right back into this trope.
  • Occupiers out of Our Country: The Reachmen, the tribal inhabitants of the Reach in western Skyrim, have been resisting any and all groups who attempt to claim the Reach dating all the way back to the First Tamriellic Empire. While their successes have waxed and waned over that time, they experienced a resurgence during the Great War, successfully capturing the Nord city of Markarth and holding it for two years while the Empire was preoccupied. Though a Nord militia would eventually drive them out, they hold strong in the countryside of the Reach as the "Forsworn".
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • Redguard and Battlespire are spin-off games which are an Action-Adventure game and a Dungeon Crawler, respectively. Battlespire was originally planned as an expansion to Daggerfall while Redguard was intended to be the first installment of an Elder Scrolls spin-off series. Neither sold well (though Redguard had a decent critical response), so Bethesda went back to their went back to their Wide Open Sandbox Western RPG roots with Morrowind and has stayed that way in the main series ever since.
    • Similarly, The Elder Scrolls Online is a MMO prequel to the main series of games.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Between the events of Oblivion and Skyrim, the Altmer-led Aldmeri Dominion formed one of these with the Khajiit of Elsweyr. The Dominion preferred to get the Khajiit to join as vassals by aiding them to develop trust rather than through conquest. Of course, there are self-serving aspects for the Altmer with this arrangement, they either exaggerated or blatantly lied about certain accomplishments in order to appeal to the Khajiit. Additionally, how much of the friendship is benevolence on the part of the Altmer and how much is the Altmer wanting to avoid the wrath of a race widely considered the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass of Tamriel is up for reasonable debate.
    • During the same time period as the above example, the Nords of Skyrim and the Orcs (Orsimer) have seemingly forged such a friendship. While the Nords typically despise all races of Mer (Elves), they've bonded somewhat with the Orcs over their mutual respect for strong leaders, affinity for smithing, and love of fighting. Following the sack of Orsinium, the (short-lived) Orc home province between High Rock and Hammerfell, Orcs have set up numerous strongholds dotting Skyrim where they are allowed to live in relative peace by the Nords.
  • Odd Job Gods: The series has many deities, and quite a few cover "odd job" spheres. A large list is available on the series' Divine Beings character page. To note a few prominent examples:
    • In the old Nordic pantheon, Stuhn is the "God of Ransom" and is credited with teaching the early Nords how to take prisoners of war alive for ransom. His brother Tsun is the "God of Trials Against Adversity" and stands guard at the Hall of Valor in Sovngarde. The spirits of dead warriors must prove their worthiness to enter in a duel against him.
    • The Daedric Princes offer a fairly true-to-life take on the randomness of gods. For example, Peryite the Taskmaster is viewed by some as the weakest of the Princes. His sphere is pestilence, but also the ordering of the lowest orders of Oblivion. Other Daedric Princes cover odd spheres such as nightmares (Vaermina), decay (Namira), and pariahs (Malacath).
    • The old Yokudan pantheon of the Redguards has a number of these. Perhaps the most interesting is the Hoon Ding, the "make way" god. He manifests as a great warrior (or sometimes a weapon) whenever the Redguard people need to "make way" for their people to live, and is said to be able to "make way" through anything. (Cyrus the Restless, hero of Redguard, is believed to be one manifestation.)
    • The Indy Ploy is a highly valued concept to the Khajiit people, to the point where they have a god for it, Baan Dar. He is commonly attributed with "the genius which lends itself to the creation of last-minute plans to foil the machinations of the Khajiit's foes."
    • The Magna-Ge, aka "Star Orphans", are et'Ada ("original spirits") who fled Mundus along with their "father" Magnus (God of Magic and "architect" of Mundus) during the creation of Mundus. Some of the Magna-Ge seem to govern over or are associated with some unusual, often mind-bending concepts. The commonality between them seems to be that they are all fleeting things, perhaps associated with luck or chance. Examples include synesthesia, the catching of fish, burping, the doom of new ideas, ideas that too quickly come to fruition, and "divide-the-line" wisdom.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • In the series' lore, Ruptga, aka "Tall Papa", is the chief deity of the Yokudan/Redguard pantheon. He was the first deity to discover a means to survive Satakal's cyclical devouring of the worlds, known as the "Walkabout", where he would reach the Far Shores which Satakal could not consume. He helped other spirits to accomplish this as well, but soon, there were too many spirits for he alone to save. He created a helper in Sep, the serpentine Yokudan version of Lorkhan, out of the "worldskins" that Satakal left behind. However, Sep convinced other spirits to help him build an easier alternative to the Walkabout, even though Ruptga did not participate or approve. When the plan proved to be a failure, leaving many spirits stranded on a dying patchwork worldskin, Ruptga punished Sep by "squashing him with a big stick". Sep could then only slink around in a dead skin or swim about harmlessly in the sky.
    • According to the 16 Accords of Madness, Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, once tricked Malacath, the Daedric Prince of Spurned and Ostracized, into killing one of his own 'sons', a noble Orc who would have otherwise been destined to be a great hero. For a double whammy, Malacath killed the Orc with a special blade given to him by Sheogorath, which doomed the Orc's soul to an eternity in Sheogorath's realm.
    • The Night Mother is a mysterious figure who leads the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal assassins guild whose members typically take a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil, worshiping the "Dread Father" Sithis, the primordial "Is-Not" antithesis of creation represented by a great void. According to legend, the Night Mother was once a mortal woman who sacrificed her five children in the name of Sithis, and became the wife of Sithis after her death.
  • Offstage Villainy: Barring a few justified exceptions, the series' Giants tend to be Noble Savage Gentle Giants who prefer to be left alone and will only attack if provoked in-game. However, Giants are known to raid farms, steal livestock, and attack settlements. This only occurs offscreen and in the backstory.
  • Off the Rails: Despite the Wide Open Sandbox nature of the series, opportunities for this trope are surprisingly few and far between. Morrowind provides a major exception, as it is possible to kill any NPC in the game, including quest essential ones. It does provide a legitimate "backpath" option in the event that you break it which requires only one NPC to be alive, and even if that goes off the rails, you can still beat the main quest by abusing the Alchemy Exploit. Later games would eliminate this possibility by making quest essential NPCs unkillable and making it so that you cannot drop quest-related items.
  • Off with His Head!: A common method of execution throughout Tamriel. A prominent historical example comes from the 2920 book series, in which Emperor Reman Cyrodiil III has his mistress beheaded for treason (she was innocent). Here it actually takes two strokes, with the first hitting the back of her head.
  • Oh My Gods!: "By the Nine!" is a common one throughout the series, referencing the Nine Divines. Following the ban on Talos worship in the 4th Era, some instead say "By the Eight!"
  • The Older Immortal:
    • Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge, claims to be this. He states that he is one of the oldest Princes, a class of Time Abyss being who have existed before time was even conceived of as a concept, and is/arose from detritus concepts ejected from reality during creation. Hermaeus Mora is what could not be. Unlike the other Daedric Princes who take humanoid forms when dealing with mortals, Mora prefers a truly Eldritch Abomination form of a mass of eyes, tentacles, and claws.
    • The Tribunal, a trio of Deity Of Elven Origin Physical Gods, as well as their mortal enemy, Dagoth Ur, who achieved godhood in the same way, are all over 4000 years old. When speaking with Vivec, one of the Tribunal deities, he reveals that Sotha Sil (another Tribunal deity) and Dagoth Ur are both a generation older than he (and the third Tribune, Almalexia.)
  • Older Is Better: Ancient Dwemer weapons and armor, despite their age, are still better than the majority of modern equivalents. Justified given the Ragnarök Proofing and Reality Warping that went into the items' creation. The Dwemer were said to alter the "Earth Bones," which were the parts of the Aedra that were used to create and define the laws of the world, in order to create their technologies, which have since been lost in the millennia since their mysterious disappearance. (Skyrim's crafting system does allow for the "forging" and improving upon Dwemer gear using Dwemer metal, but it's implied that you're just melting down the already Ragnarok-Proofed metal and using it, not replicating exactly what the Dwemer did to create it initially.)
  • Older Than They Look:
    • Due to the Long-Lived nature of the races of Mer (Elves) in the series, they can be much older than they appear. According to several examples in the lore, they age similarly to the Races of Men until they reach adulthood, at which point it slows down drastically. Mer over 100 years old (and some much older) appear no older than middle-aged by human standards.
    • At the time of his death, Emperor Uriel Septim VII was 87 years old and could have passed for a much younger man. Possibly justified; in-universe, it is said that he did not age in the ten years he spent trapped in Oblivion during the Imperial Simulacrum. It is also rumored that he had his mages and healers employ various methods of extending his life as well.
  • The Old Gods: The series has Anu and Padomay, the Anthropomorphic Personifications of "stasis/order/light" and "change/chaos/darkness", respectively. In the primary Creation Myth, 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 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". From the intermingling of their spilled blood came the "et'Ada", or "original spirits", who would go on to become either the Aedra or the Daedra depending on their actions during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. (Some myths state that the Aedra come from the mixed blood of Anu and Padomay, while the Daedra come purely from the blood of Padomay).
  • Old Master: The Greybeards, masters of the Thu'um (the draconic Language of Magic). The Greybeards have trained their voices to such an incredible extent that even a misplaced whisper could kill a person. After only showing up in the background lore for several games, they finally make an appearance in Skyrim. It turns out their reputation isn't just lore fluff, as the four Greybeards are some of the highest level-NPCs in the game, with Arngeir sitting pretty at level 150.
  • Olympic Swimmer: Present throughout the series. The Player Character, regardless of race of background, can swim perfectly well even if they are in a full suit of armor and carrying hundreds of pounds of gear. Even the Khajiit, a Cat Folk race with a desert homeland, can swim without issue. Arguably Justified for the Argonians, Lizard Folk with gills who hail from a marshy homeland, who are canonically good swimmers (even conducting underwater guerilla warfare with this Exploited Immunity). Less justified is that they can even do this in, say, the frigid waters of Skyrim. This also applies to NPCs who, whether they are following you, chasing you, or simply accidentally wind up in water, can swim without issue.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. His very sphere of influence is to destroy. Everything. He has repeatedly attempted to take over Mundus, with the goal of destroying it completely.
    • Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, has the title "World-Eater" for a reason. It is his divinely mandated duty to "eat the world" at the end of every "kalpa" (cycle of time) so that it can be remade anew. Though depending on your interpretation of the mythology, he may or not fit the 'maniac' part of this trope as his destroying the world is actually a regulated process. However, as Mehrunes Dagon learned in The Seven Fights of the Aldudaga, Alduin gets absolutely livid if you interfere with the process.
    • The Thalmor are an Altmeri sect of religious extremists. They play up the old Altmeri religious belief that the creation of the mortal world (Mundus) was a cruel trick played on their divine ancestors, which forced them to experience suffering and death. They believe that if they can unmake Mundus, it will return them to a state of pre-creation divinity. Unfortunately, the very idea of Men inherently stabilizes the Mundus, and erasing this idea requires eliminating the deity Talos. By banning his worship, they are hoping to weaken and eventually eliminate him, allowing them to act on their plans to unmake the world.
  • Omnicidal Neutral: This is a viable option in a handful of quests throughout the series, often in Daedric quests. Most notable is the main quest for Morrowind, where following the "backpath" method allows you to cut out nearly every party except for Azura (one of the Daedric Princes).
  • The Omniscient:
    • This is believed to be one of the powers of the Hist, a race of ancient and sentient trees native to the Black Marsh who are worshiped by the Argonians. Through an unknown means, they are able to see into the future. Sensing the upcoming Oblivion Crisis and the trials that would follow, they recalled most of the Argonians in Tamriel to the Black Marsh to combat these threats and, through their sap (which the Argonians drink to grow and communicate with the Hist), changed the Argonians physically to better prepare them as weapons of war.
    • Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge who is also associated with Fate and Destiny, claims to be this, but there is evidence that he is not (and that fate is not definite in the ES universe). For one, a dragon and a powerful vampire state that the Elder Scrolls (pretty much the closest thing to absolute truthful records) only predict what may be, not what will be. Furthermore, the Scrolls themselves may change until the events predicted at a given time come to pass, at which point the words are absolutely fixed forevermore. So, what does this have to do with Hermaeus Mora? It undermines his claim to know all things, a claim implicitly undermined when he needs the Dragonborn's help to obtain the knowledge of the Skaal In Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC. Why would a truly omniscient being need help to obtain knowledge? The answer: he only wants you to think he is omniscient. Mora is capable of lying, or at the very least, misleading people. He led Septimus to think the Heart of Lorkhan was behind that locked door (it was actually holding the Oghma Infinium), so his claims to knowing all could be part of a similar deception.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The An-Xileel, an Argonian political party with close ties to the Hist (sentient trees native to the Black Marsh who the Argonians worship), rule Argonia during the 4th Era and appear to be this. It is speculated that their close ties to the omniscient Hist give them foresight into upcoming events and allow them to act with this advance knowledge. They rose to power during the Oblivion Crisis, during which it is said the actions of the An-Xileel are the sole reason Black Marsh remained unconquered by the forces of Mehrunes Dagon. They are strong anti-Imperialists and successfully pushed for Argonia's secession in the early years of the 4th Era.
  • Once per Episode:
  • One Bad Mother: The Night Mother is a mysterious figure who leads the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal assassins guild whose members typically take a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil, worshiping the "Dread Father" Sithis, the primordial "Is-Not" antithesis of creation represented by a great void. According to legend, the Night Mother was once a mortal woman who sacrificed her five children in the name of Sithis, and became the wife of Sithis after her death.
  • One Curse Limit: Throughout the series, Vampirism and Lycanthropy are both diseases. Each also makes you immune to all other diseases, meaning they are mutually exclusive. This also allows for Hybrid Overkill Avoidance, barring cheats (which usually leave you with a broken game) or Game Mods.
  • One-Gender Race:
    • Several forms of lesser Daedra, including Dremora, Aureal, and Mazken, are typically mistaken for one-gender races, both in-universe and out. Males and females of each race do exist, however, but one gender is disproportionately represented (males for Dremora and females for Aureal/Mazken).
    • Winged Twilights are another form of lesser Daedra, and all those encountered to date by mortals have been female.
    • Dragons, another divine species, are not known to have sexes or to reproduce. All known dragons have spoken with male voices, however.
    • Other Tamriellic creatures:
      • Most denizens of Tamriel believe this to be the case for the Giants, but they actually subvert it. There are female Giants, but they are very rarely ever seen by outsiders, leading many to mistakenly believe that this is the case for the Giants.
      • Likewise, most denizens of Tamriel believe this to be the case for Minotaurs. Like Giants, it is actually subverted. Female Minotaurs do exist, but they are just so rarely seen by outsiders that most believe all Minotaurs to be male.
      • This is played straight by Hagravens, a species of flightless harpy who were once mortal women who traded their humanity for access to powerful magic. All known Hagravens have been female, but they get around any reproductive issues since Hagravens aren't born, but are created by transforming mortal women.
      • Nymphs, a type of nature spirit, also play this straight. All known Nymphs take the form of beautiful, naked women.
      • Similarly, Spriggans are another type of nature spirit who take the forms of humanoid female tree-like Plant People. All known Spriggans have taken a humanoid female form, including a noticeable bust.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Minotaurs and Xivilai, a Giant Mook form of lesser Daedra, wield two-handed weapons in this fashion. Justified in that they are both large enough to do this without issue.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The series' "Spellcrafting" system allows for one-hit KO spells. Normally, the higher you increase the maximum damage of a destructive spell, the more Magicka the spell requires to cast, making high-damage spells Awesome, but Impractical. However, this can be abused with a custom "Drain Health" spell. Drain Health reduces the target's maximum HP for a set duration, but the "lost" HP is restored when the spell ends. Further, increasing the duration of the spell drastically raises the Magicka cost of the spell. This may sound like a bum deal at first, but if you use the spell on an enemy with less HP than the spell drains, the enemy will die instantly and stay dead. Making a high-damage (100 points) but short-duration (1 second) custom Drain Health spell will allow you to instantly kill low and mid-level enemies for a ridiculously cheap Magicka cost. Or you can enchant your weapons with it to give the same effect to your physical attacks, again at ridiculously low cost.
    • Mehrunes Razor is an artifact weapon associated with Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. It appears throughout the series and typically offers a small chance to instantly kill any enemy it strikes. The lore explains that it has the ability to sever the link between the body and soul of its target, instantly killing them if it does.
  • One-Man Army:
    • It is common for the Player Character to be one of these throughout the series. Whether you're slaying gods, defeating the Legions of Hell, or battling a horde of dragons, you (and maybe a single follower) will be doing it almost entirely on your own.
    • The Snow Prince was the greatest warrior of the Falmer who lived on Solsteim during the war against Ysgramor and his 500 companions. During the Battle of Moesring, the final battle between the Snow Elves and the Atmorans under Ysgramor, he pretty much carried the Snow Elves through the battle, cutting through the Atmorans like a a scythe through grass. And then a mourning 12-year-old Nord girl threw her slain mother's sword at him. Sure enough, it hit the intended mark perfectly.
    • Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker. Believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"), Pelinal came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. Pelinal 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. At one point, he went on such an extreme round of one-man slaughter that he very nearly caused the Divines to abandon the world in disgust, before Alessia was able to regain their favor through prayer and sacrifice. When Alessia and her armies were too struck with fear to attack the White-Gold Tower occupied by the Ayleid leader Umaril, Pelinal charged in himself and defeated (though could not kill) Umaril before he himself was slain.
    • The Blades typically qualify. Blades training is among the most intense of any group in Tamriel, and their weapons and armor are not too shabby either. Individual or small groups of Blades have done everything from turn the tide of larger battles to slay dragons. In the 4th Era, even the Thalmor are cautious when hunting down surviving Blades, preferring to take them out using overwhelming force wherever possible.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: The Player Character often gets this treatment throughout the series. In a few cases, it is Justified as your character's status as The Chosen One (or the benefits that come with the status) allow you to survive and operate in conditions that would kill any other mortal. Specific examples by game are found on the trope page.
  • One Size Fits All: With the sole exception of the beast races being unable to wear full helmets or boots in Morrowind, this is played straight throughout the series. You can be a hulking male Orc, loot a cuirass off of a female Bosmer, put it on, and it will fit you perfectly. Even Gendered Outfits will magically go from say, a Fur Bikini to Pelts of the Barbarian when equipped by a male character and vice versa. Starting with Oblivion, beast races can once again wear full helmets as well. All the beast race's horns, muzzles, spikes and foot long ears seem to just fold right up. Excusable as an Acceptable Break from Reality since beast races being unable to wear full helmets in Morrowind was a major fan complaint.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: In the games prior to Skyrim (which does away with Attributes), Endurance is the ruling Attribute. Considering that it determines your starting health, as well as your health gain per level, it is a critically important attribute for all character builds. Making Endurance one of your favored attributes during character creation is highly encouraged, even for magic-oriented characters, in order to avert becoming a Squishy Wizard. Further, this makes The Lady a favored birthsign in Morrowind and Oblivion, as it gives a sizeable boost to Endurance right at the start of the game.
  • One Steve Limit: The series, with its massive amounts of named NPC's, averts this trope beautifully. Given names tend to be recycled among members of the same sex and race (which makes sense because we recycle names ourselves in real life). For example, "Alessia" is a common name amongst Imperial women. This appendix in UESP contains all the names in the Elder Scrolls.
  • One-Time Dungeon: A few appear throughout the series, but they are fairly rare and typically offer a good reason for why you can't return. Specific examples by game can be found on the trope page.
  • One True Faith: The series plays with it in a number of ways depending on the instance. To note:
    • Averted in general with the primary religion of most of Tamriel, the religion of the 8 (or 9) Divines, sometimes referred to as the Imperial Cult. It was a compromise religion created by Alessia, the first empress of Cyrodiil, to appease the different races with different religious beliefs who made up her empire. While the main sect of the religion is based out of the Imperial City in Cyrodiil and is fairly uniform, there are other versions of it in different provinces. For example, the Altmer still refer to Akatosh by his Aldmeri name of Auriel, and have some very different beliefs about the motive for the creation of the universe. Further, many Nords still refer to the Divines by their ancient Nord names and still hold Shor (aka Lorkhan) as their top god even if the official version of the religion leaves him out.
    • That said, every single religion on Tamriel shares a number of consistent elements in their creation stories. It's usually their interpretation of the motives of the gods involved that differ.
    • For some 4000 years, the Dunmer of Morrowind instead worshiped a trio of Physical Gods known as the Tribunal, or ALMSIVI, made up of Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil. The Tribunal Temple was founded which worships them. The friction between the Temple and the Imperial Cult is felt in the main quest of Morrowind. Then Subverted within the Tribunal Temple. While they present themselves in this fashion and attempt to suppress all dissent, the Dissident Priests and Nerevarine Cult have split off from the mainstream Tribunal worship. When talking to Vivec, he'll reveal that the Temple isn't entirely right, and that the others aren't completely wrong.
    • Also Averted when the Dunmer Ashlanders are considered. They practice ancestor worship (which is still part of Tribunal Temple doctrine, though to a lesser extent,) and also, to a degree, worship (or at least respect) the Daedra. (Particularly Azura, Boethia, Mephala, Sheogorath, Molag Bal, Mehrunes Dagon, and Malacath.) Again, the Daedra are acknowledged by the Tribunal Temple, but are considered subservient to the Tribunal.
    • Speaking of the Daedra, they are worshiped (usually individually) by many in Tamriel as an alternative to the Aedric Divines.
    • The Skaal of Solstheim add another to the mix, with their worship of the "All Maker."
    • While some Argonians may convert to the religion of the Divines, their species as a whole tends to worship the Hist, a race of sentient trees native to their Black Marsh homeland.
    • The Dark Brotherhood worships Sithis, also known as the "Void" or the primal "Is Not".
  • One-Winged Angel: This is a common trait of liches in the series and in background lore. While many can maintain a facade of humanity using powerful illusion magic, they will switch to their powerful undead forms if they are slain, and must be defeated again. Famously, this was done my Mannimarco, a lich and the "King of Worms" in Oblivion.
  • One-Word Title: Not the series title, but the individual game titles and most of their expansions/DLC. Each crosses over with Metafictional Title and/or The Place.
  • Only in It for the Money: Throughout the series, this is sometimes a trait of members of the Fighters Guild, an organization of "warriors-for-hire". There have been several instances in the series of Fighters Guild members refusing a dangerous mission, though this isn't usually an option for the Player Character if he/she wants to advance in the Guild.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • The series' Player Characters are only known by their Red Baron nicknames in the subsequent games: the Eternal Champion from Arena, the Agent from Daggerfall, the Nerevarine from Morrowind, the Champion of Cyrodiil from Oblivion, the Dragonborn (Dovahkiin) from Skyrim, and the Soulless One/The Vestige from Online.
    • Averted for the player characters in the series' spin-off games, however. The player character in Battlespire is known as "The Apprentice", but is given the canon names Josian Kaid (if male) or Vatasha Trenelle (if female). In Redguard, the player character is made clear as Cyrus from the start.
    • In-universe, this is unsurprisingly common among members of the Thieves' Guild throughout the series, owing to the nature of their profession. Examples include Gentleman Jim Stacy, Aengoth the Jeweler, Sugar-Lips Habasi, Big Helende, the Gray Fox, Dirge, Maul, Vex, Rune, Sapphire, Vipir the Fleet, etc.
    • The series' backstory has the Snow Prince, a Falmer (Snow Elf) warrior who nearly single-handedly) turned the Battle of the Moesring in Solstheim against the invading Atmorans who were attempting to exterminate the Falmer. Whatever the Snow Prince's true name may have been is lost to history, but the Atmorans considered him such a Worthy Opponent that he was buried in his own barrow with full honors befitting any great warrior and guards even stationed at his tomb, rather than simply burning him in a pile like his Falmer kin.
    • The Night Mother is a mysterious figure who leads the Dark Brotherhood. According to legend, the Night Mother was once a mortal woman who sacrificed her five children in the name of Sithis and became the wife of Sithis after her death. Whatever her real name was has apparently been lost to history.
  • Only Sane Man: Haskill serves as one to Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. He does his best to serve as Sheogorath's Minder, but it is rather difficult to truly "mind" a god of madness. Additionally, being the only sane person within the Shivering Isles may make Haskill the maddest one of all...
  • Only Shop in Town: This is common for many smaller towns and villages, which often have just a single general trader. Averted in larger towns and cities, who have many more shops offering a wider variety of often specialized goods.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield:
    • One of the most important items to the Empire of Tamriel is the Amulet of Kings. According to legend, it was created as the "Chim-el Adabal" by the Ayleids out of the crystallized blood of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (also known by many other names), which was collected after falling from his heart as it flew across Tamriel, having been cut out by the Aedra (in vengeance for Lorkhan supposedly tricking them into sacrificing large parts of their divine power to create Mundus, the mortal plane), tied to an arrow, and fired across the continent. Following the Alessian Revolt, in which St. Alessia and her Nedic peoples (precursors to most of the modern races of Men) overthrew the (primarily) Daedra-worshiping Ayleids with the aid of the Nordic Empire, rebel Ayleid lords, and the Aedra themselves, Alessia made covenant with Akatosh, the draconic Top God of the Aedra. Akatosh imbued Alessia with his "dragon's blood" and placed her soul in the central stone of what is now known as the Amulet of Kings, symbolizing his pact with mankind. The Amulet of Kings can only be worn by those of royal blood, recognizing them as Alessia's (and Akatosh's) metaphysical heirs to the Ruby Throne of Cyrodiil and confirming those who can wear it as The Chosen One. (The Amulet is destroyed at the end of Oblivion's main quest.)
    • The Daedric artifacts are implied to behave in this way. While the artifacts themselves aren't sentient, the Daedric Princes who created them can be really picky about who uses them. If a mortal wielder becomes too depend on an artifact or begins to misuse it, the associated Prince can make the item vanish, make it begin to malfunction, or send a servant to forcibly take the item from its former owner.
  • Opening the Sandbox: Happens very early on compared to most series. In most games, this happens right after character creation and escaping the Noob Cave tutorial level, which can be mere minutes into the game.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: The ancient Telvanni mage lord Divayth Fyr has created at least four of these, whom he refers to as his "daughters." Others refer to them as his wives. Surprisingly, this isn't played for Squick, at least, not within his tower.
  • Optional Stealth: Generally played straight throughout the series. Even when completing missions for traditionally stealth organizations like the Thieves' Guild and assassins guilds, you can generally complete the missions by hacking or blasting your way through in the least stealthy way possible. In some cases, you don't get as good of reward if you take the non-stealthy approach, but you can still advance in the guilds without issue.
  • Orcus on His Throne:
    • Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, Subverts it. He's supposed to be doing this, waiting until it's the appropriate time for him to perform his divinely mandated duty of destroying the world so that it can be remade anew. Unfortunately, Alduin found that he preferred to rule the world and be worshiped as a god instead. After three ancient heroes of mankind cast him out of the stream of time using the power of an Elder Scrolls, he returned to kick off the events of Skyrim. He destroys the village of Helgen and can be found throughout the game resurrecting other dragons at burial mounds.
    • Umaril the Unfeathered, the Ayleid sorcerer-king who ruled the Ayleid Empire at the time of the Alessian Revolt, favored doing this. He practiced a "ruin-from-afar" strategy, having his minions do his dirty work. Umaril did nothing even as Alessia's forces captured most of Cyrodiil. He didn't get involved himself until her forces came to the White-Gold Tower itself, where he was defeated (but not killed) by Alessia's divine champion, Pelinal Whitestrike. In Oblivion's Knights of the Nine expansion, Umaril returns and serves as the expansion's Big Bad. Again, he does not get personally involved until the very end.
  • The Order: Many, many examples including the Blades, the Dark Brotherhood, the Thieves Guild, the Order of the Black Worm, the Psijic Order, the Knights of the Nine, the Dawnguard, the Vigilants of Stendarr, many knightly orders in High Rock and Hammerfell, as well as many religious orders across Tamriel. Additional details on each can be found on the trope page.
  • Order Reborn: You get to do this several times with several different "Orders" throughout the series, including the Bal Malogmer, the Knights of the Nine, and the Dawnguard. Additional details and other examples are listed by game on the trope page.
  • Order Versus Chaos: This is heavily present (though at times significantly played-with) with the series' many divine beings. This includes, respectively, Anu and Padomay, Anuiel and Sithis, the Aedra and the Daedra, Jyggalag and Sheogorath, Mer and Men (at least in the opinion of the Mer), and more. Additional details can be found on the trope page.
  • Organ Drops: Prominent throughout the series, which allows you to pick apart the corpse of fallen monsters for certain alchemy-ready body parts common to that creature, from meat to skin to ectoplasm to (Deadra) hearts. And in latter cases these parts are edible.
  • Organic Technology:
    • The Numidium is a Dwemer-constructed Humongous Mecha designed to be powered by the heart of a dead god (and later powered by what is believed to be that god's soul), which distorts reality around it whenever it is activated. Some of its blueprints/drawings depict it as having a ribcage and spine. (Akulakhan, another mecha built from Numidium's blueprints, also has these organic-looking components.) It's also theorized that its armor or other structural components are what all the Dwemer were transformed into after their mysterious disappearance.
    • Telvanni architecture is this plus Fungus Humongous. They magically grow fungi and mold them into Mage Towers.
    • A number of Living Ships seen or mentioned in the series cross over with this trope as well. Included are the giant arthopodic Silt Striders of Morrowind, as well as the "Moth Ships" used by the Imperial Mananauts in their 1st Era "space race" with the Aldmeri Dominion.
    • The Falmer have a symbiotic relationship with insectoid creatures known as Chaurus. Much of their technology looks like Chaurus body parts that are still moving.
  • Orichalcum:
    • A blackish-green metal typically used by the Orcs to make their high-quality weapons and armor. Such items are known for their green tint and being "ugly and strong, like those that forged them."
    • Despite the name, Dwemer metal actually fits the spirit of the trope more closely. It's a lustrous bronze-gold metal, an ancient and advanced civilization used it to make all their wonders, it's rust and tarnish proof, and it isn't found naturally. The secret methods the Dwemer used to create it were apparently taken with them following their disappearance, making it a modern Lost Technology.
  • Orphaned Etymology:
    • In general, this happens frequently in the series, particularly when it comes to names being drawn from real world mythologies (especially Greek). The Scrolls of Icarian Flight are one prominent example.
    • Similarly, references are made to real-world technologies that don't exist in Tamriel. For example, one character mentions being at "the end of the line". Tamriel has no trains, where this term originated.
  • Orwellian Editor: A Bethesda example - the name and URL of the RPG Codex, one of the bigger sources of criticism of Oblivion, cannot be posted on the official Bethesda forums. The auto censor is set to treat it as a swear word, blocking it out with asterisks.
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: This is technically true of most of the series' various deities, who are essentially genderless spirits. Most will take A Form You Are Comfortable With when dealing with mortals, however, and most stick to presenting as just one sex. A few exceptions to note:
    • Among the Daedric Princes, several are known to change gender in different appearances. Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots, has appeared variously as male or female. Even his/her followers will sometimes refer to Boethiah with different pronouns in the same sentence. Mephala, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals but is associated with manipulation and lies, is said to be a hermaphrodite, but is typically referred to as female. Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge (specializing in eldritch knowledge), even trying to resemble anything with a gender (although generally speaks with a deep male voice).
    • Y'ffre, the Bosmeri "God of the Forest" and the "Spirit of the Now", was one of the strongest of the et'Ada and is said to be the first to transform into the Ehlnofey, the "Earth Bones", which allowed for the laws of physics, nature, and life on Nirn. Different stories refer to Y'ffre as variously male or female.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The series has many divine beings taking many forms and moralities. The closest to "angels" would be the lesser Aedra. The Aedra, meaning "Our Ancestors" in the old Aldmeri language, are the pre-creation beings who sacrificed a large portion of their divine power in order to create Mundus, the mortal world. They were originally many in number, but only 8 of the most powerful survived the creation of Mundus. (And depending on the story, even they did not truly "survive," but they are dead and "dreaming they are alive.") These 8 are known as the "Divines" and would become the primary deities worshiped by the Church of the Divines. Many lesser Aedric beings have been known throughout history. The most famous is perhaps Morihaus, a "winged man-bull", said to be the demi-god son of Kynareth, one of the Divines. The dragons, servants/fragments of Akatosh, the draconic god of time and chief deity of the Divines pantheon, are another. These beings are typically considered by many in-universe to be the equivalent of angelic beings. Dragons in particular play with the morality aspects of the trope, being creatures of aggression and domination, and it's in their blood to be cruel and contemptuous. However, they can fight against their baser nature, as best exemplified by Paarthurnax.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The series has many divine beings taking many forms and moralities. The closest to "demons" would be the lesser Daedra (singular "Daedroth"). The Daedra, meaning "Not Our Ancestors" in the old Aldmeri language, are the pre-creation beings ("et'Ada") who did not participate in the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. Thus, unlike the more angelic Aedra, they did not have to sacrifice any of their divine power and thus, remain truly immortal.note  The 17 (formerly 16 prior to the events of The Shivering Isles) most powerful Daedra are known as the Daedric Princes. Each has a particular sphere of influence, which the are said to govern from their planes of Oblivion (the infinite void surrounding Mundus) which they inhabit and rule. Neither the Princes nor the lesser Deadra are inherently evil, with them tending to operate on Blue and Orange Morality which is Above Good and Evil. (Though they certainly can and are viewed as good or evil by mortals, depending on how benevolent or malevolent their actions toward mortals are being perceived at a given time.) For more information on the Daedric Princes, see their entries on the Elder Scrolls: Daedra sub-page. As for the specifics of the lesser Daedra who typically serve the Daedric Princes:
    • The lesser Daedra range in intelligence (and thus sentience) from animalistic (Clanfear, Daedrothsnote , etc.) to somewhat intelligent (Scamps, Ogrim, etc.) to full-on sapience (Dremora, Aureal, Mazken, etc.) Many of these lesser Daedra are aligned to serve a specific Prince or Princes, such as the Dremora being most commonly in service to the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon, serving a role as his Legions of Hell. Like their Prince superiors, lesser Daedra are fully immortal as well. While they can have a physical body summoned to Mundus and that physical body can be slain, their spirit simply returns to Oblivion to coalesce in a new form. Lesser Daedra can be unaligned as well, as is the case for the Atronachs, who are essentially living Elemental Embodiments. All manner of lesser Daedra can be summoned to Mundus, often in service to mortal wizards and conjurers. While this is viewed as "cleaner" than necromancy, it is still frowned upon by the non-magical community for the same reasons communing with demons is frowned upon in other works. (Corruption, black magic, "gates to hell", etc.)
    • Another form of lesser Daedra are the Demiprinces, products of the union between a Daedric being and a mortal. To put it loosely, they are the ES universe's "half-demons". For those sired by the Daedric Princes, such as Fa-Nuit-Hen, the scion of Boethiah (the Daedric Prince of Plots, Conspiracy, and Betrayal), they often receive their own pocket realm of Oblivion to govern. (Without getting into extremely esoteric lore-speak, they aren't so much true "children" as they are "fragments" of their divine parent's being.)
  • Our Dragons Are Different: ** The dragons of Nirn are, in terms of outward appearance at least, similar to western-styled dragons with some traits of wyverns. They are massive reptilian beasts with scales, bat-like wings, and slender extremities which are generally tipped by razor sharp talons. However, the similarities end there. Dragons are ageless beings, said to be the "divine children" of Akatosh, the Aedric Dragon God of Time and chief deity of the Nine Divines Pantheon, essentially being the equivalent of highly destructive angels. While anyone of sufficient ability can slay the physical form of a dragon, dragons possess a form of Resurrective Immortality and can be revived by another dragon unless their soul is absorbed, something only other dragons (or those who are Dragonborn) can do. One of the most distinct traits of Nirn's dragons is how their Language of Magic is intrinsic to their very beings. Referred to by mortals as the "Thu'um", it gives dragons the ability to channel magical energy through their words. For example, while it may appear that they are "breathing fire", they are actually commanding fire into existence, essentially a form of small-scale reality warping. Dragons are creatures of aggression and domination, and it's in their blood to be cruel and contemptuous. However, a select few have shown the ability to resist these urges, even allying themselves with mortals. In the ancient past, dragons dominated early mankind. Eventually, after discovering a means to use the Thu'um against the dragons, mankind overthrew the dragons and sent them on a path of significant decline. Following the Akaviri invasion of the late 1st Era, dragons were nearly rendered extinct with a few going into hiding in the most remote areas of Tamriel. By the 3rd Era, they are considered nothing more than myths throughout much of Tamriel. Despite this, the dragon is the symbol of the Tamriellic Empire, with Imperial Throne even being called "The Dragon Throne".
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The series plays with it when it comes to the extinct Dwemer, also known as the Dwarves. To note:
    • Playing the trope straight, the Dwemer did build technologically advanced cities, typically deep into the ground, complete with gold/bronze architecture and Eternal Engines. They warred with just about every other race they came into contact with, particularly other races of Mer. They were known to have glorious beards and were master craftsmen, with their equipment still being among the best and most sought after in Tamriel even thousands of years after their mysterious disappearance, in some way related to them digging too deep beneath Red Mountain and discovering (and then attempting to tap into) the Heart of Lorkhan, the dead creator god of the mortal plane.
    • On the "aversion" and "subversion" sides, the Dwemer are as sub-race of Mer (Elves), with their name meaning the "Deep Elves" or "Deep Ones," referring to their philosophical depth. They were of average size compared to the other races of Tamriel and the term "dwarf" is an archeological misnomer. They were the first "normal sized" race to encounter the Giants of the Velothi Mountains, who referred to them as "dwarves" in size comparison to themselves. Later, the Nords (and through them, the other races of Men) picked up the term and it stuck. They weren't known to have any stereotypical "Dwarvish" accents, with the only Dwemer spoken to in the series to date having a nasally, nerdy voice of all things. While the Dwemer did create all manner of extremely advanced technology, much of it was magically derived in one form or another, with it being said that they were also master enchanters. They created numerous forms of Mecha-Mooks and even Humongous Mecha programmed with some sort of rudimentary (and often dangerous) AI. They were Naytheists in a world where gods of all sorts exist, though the Dwemer did not believe these "gods" were truly divine. They'd summon Daedra just to test their divinity. Finally, they followed a very Blue and Orange Morality. Former series developer Michael Kirkbride puts it best:
      "That's why the Dwemer are the weirdest race in Tamriel and, frankly, also the scariest. They look(ed) like us, they sometimes act(ed) like us, but when you really put them under the magnifying glass you see nothing but vessels that house an intelligence and value system that is by all accounts Beyond Human Comprehension. (...) There isn't even a word to describe the Dwarven view on divinity. They were atheists on a world where gods exist."
  • Our Elves Are Better: Elder Scrolls Elves are known as the races of "Mer" (meaning "folk" in old Aldmeris). All descend from a Precursor race known as the Aldmer (Old or First Elves) who are said to have come to Tamriel from the lost continent of Aldmeris. The Aldmer split apart into distinct sub-races during the earliest eras of Tamriellic history, typically over religious differences. All of the races of Mer are generally humanoid in shape and appearance, but all have traits outside the normal range for humans, including unusual skin tones, Pointy Ears, mildly elongated skulls, and angular facial features. Most are known to be Long-Lived in comparison to the races of Men, with average lifespans lasting several centuries and extreme examples lasting 1000 years or more (though most of these examples have used magic to extend their lives). They also have an Immortal Procreation Clause, typically producing fewer offspring than the races of Men, and it is implied that there is a maximum number of children that any Mer woman can bear, with few having more than three. Each race of Mer believes themselves to be a Superior Species to the other races of Mer, and ALL believe themselves to be superior to the races of Men, leading to much Cultural Posturing. Additionally, each race of Mer has traits, beliefs, and practices which come across as very alien to a human observer. Ranges from being played completely straight to Downplayed, but is extant within almost every race. Additional details can be found on the Races of Mer sub-page.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Gargoyles have appeared in a few games in the series. Being creatures "made of living stone", they also have an innate resistance to magic and are known in some cases to serve vampire clans.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger:
    • The series has a race of fairly standard Giants which possess moderate intelligence, and are capable of fashioning simple tools, clothing, and weapons. They are able to harness fire and are known to herd mammoths. Most Giants are nomadic, living solitary lives (or in small groups at most) as they travel from campsite to campsite, though some groups of giants are known to unite in clans which can number in the hundreds. Female Giants and children are rarely seen by outsiders, leading to the (incorrect) perception that Giants are a One-Gender Race.
    • There are said to be many different variations of Giants in Tamriel, though some are believed to be extinct. Typical Giants are 11-12 feet tall, but there are reports of Giants who are several times the size of an average man. There are also rare "Frost Giants" in Skyrim and Solstheim who are roughly the same size as a standard Giant, but are covered in white fur, have five eyes, and have two long, curved horns on their heads. Likewise, the Ilyadi were said to be "multi-eyed" Giants native to the forests of the Summerset Isle, but were driven to extinction by the ancient Aldmer when they settled the land. There was also a race of Giants native to Elsweyr, who were said to have built the Halls of Colossus, but who disappeared sometime prior to the 3rd Era.
    • Tamriel's Giants also have an interesting Multiple-Choice Past, with multiple conflicting theories regarding their origins. One of the most popular, especially among the Nords, is that they share an ancestry with the ancient Atmorans. The Atmorans were known to be tall, strong, and somewhat primitive. According to this theory, after coming to Tamriel from the northern continent of Atmora, the Atmorans split into two groups - one who would interbreed with Tamriel's Nedes (human ancestors) to become the modern Nords - and another who would, through unknown means, become the progenitors of the Giants. Other sources, however, make it clear that Giants existed in Tamriel before the Atmorans crossed the sea. The Dwemer were said to have gotten the nickname "Dwarves" from Giants they encountered in the Velothi Mountains after splitting off from the Aldmer, which occurred well before the Atmoran migration. The Aldmer themselves drove a "multi-eyed" race of Giants known as the Ilyadi to extinction when they first settled the Summerset Isles, which was even earlier. Standard Giants also have pointed, tapered ears like those of the Mer (Elves). In either case, there are known instances of Giants interbreeding and producing offspring with the other races of Tamriel, particularly Nords. This would suggest that, at the very least, Giants have a shared ancestry with the other races dating back to the Ehlnofey, a progenitor race from whom all extant races (save for perhaps the Lizard Folk Argonians) descend.
  • Our Goblins Are Different
    • The series in general has Goblins which are a primitive and violent humanoid race found across Tamriel and Akavir. They have a primitive language and tribal social structure, and worship a god known as "Muluk," who is theorized to be the Daedric Prince Malacath. Depending on the tribe, they may be led by a Warlord (also known as Warchiefs, typically the biggest and strongest Goblin in the tribe) or by a magic-using shaman (who can be male or female). They frequently come into conflict with any other races they cross paths with, though have been known to live peacefully with the Orcs. They are also frequently enslaved by other races to serve as labor. There are numerous varieties of Goblin, with some regional differences. On average, they stand 3-5 feet tall, though historically, a race of giant Goblins native to the Alik'r Desert in Hammerfell stood over 8 feet tall. They typically have green-skin, yellow eyes with slitted pupils, a hunched-over posture which sometimes includes a full blown hunchback, pointed ears, and fangs. Though significantly less intelligent than the Men, Mer, and Beast Races of Tamriel, Goblins do show some signs of intelligence. They are known to farm creatures in a primitive fashion, including Tamriel's Rodents of Unusual Size as a food source and giant spiders as Beasts Of Battle. They re also known to salvage weapons, armor, and other items created by the other races for their own use. Goblins have appeared in almost every game in the series.
    • 'The Falmer of Skyrim also fit this trope, crossing over with Morlocks. The Falmer were once the graceful Snow Elves, close relatives of the Altmer (High Elves). However, an ancient war with the ancestors of the Nords brought down their civilization and nearly drove their race to extinction. In desperation, some turned to their Dwemer cousins for aid. The Dwemer took them in, but on the condition that they eat toxic fungi which blinded and mutated the Falmer into the barely sapient, goblin-like creatures they are today.
    • The Rieklings of Solstheim are small, Ugly Cute, blue-skinned humanoids somewhat resembling ice goblins. They have their own primitive society (which includes hording the detritus of other races which they then apparently worship), are capable of speaking Tamriellic (though mostly in a You No Take Candle fashion), and have tamed wild boars to ride as mounts. The Nords of Solstheim have long believed that the Rieklings are the descendants of the Snow Elves, but other sources make it clear that they are a unique species in their own right.
  • Our Gods Are Different: The series has several varieties of "divine" entities. While every race and religion has their own Creation Myths and names/personalities/powers for these entities, there are enough similarities to paint a general picture. The series' Divine Beings character page lists and discusses them in great detail. For the sake of quick summaries (using their most commonly recognized names):
    • In the beginning, there were Anu and Padomay, the anthropomorphized 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 wounded Padomay, presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the twelve world 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". From the intermingling of their spilled blood came the "et'Ada", or "original spirits", who would go on to become either the Aedra or the Daedra depending on their actions during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. (Some myths state that the Aedra come from the mixed blood of Anu and Padomay, while the Daedra come purely from the blood of Padomay).
    • One of these spirits, said to have been "begat" by Padomay, was Lorkhan. Depending on the version of the myth, he convinced/tricked some of the other et'Ada into helping him create the mortal plane, known as Mundus. (The races of Mer, or Elves, generally believe this was a cruel trick that robbed their ancestors of their pre-creation divinity while the races of Men believe it was a good thing.) Those et'Ada who sacrificed large parts of their being to create Mundus became known as the Aedra, while those that did not participate became the Daedra. For his treachery, the Aedra "killed" Lorkhan and tore out his "divine center" (heart), which they cast down into the mortal world he helped to create. His spirit then wandered Mundus, occasionally taking physical mortal forms, known as "Shezarrines" after Lorkhan's Imperial name, Shezarr. Nirn's two moons are said to be his sundered "flesh divinity" and he also may have re-ascended to godhood as part of the deity Talos (see below).
    • The Aedra, meaning "Our Ancestors" in the old Aldmeri language, sacrificed a large portion of their divine power in order to create the mortal world. They were originally many in number, but only 8 survived the creation of Mundus. (And depending on the story, even they did not truly "survive," but they are dead and "dreaming the are alive.") These 8 are known as the "Divines" and would become the primary deities worshiped by the Church of the Divines. Their sacrifice has left them weak, and thus they prefer a lighter touch in dealing with the mortal world, at most typically acting through mortal agents. Any instances of direct Divine Intervention are typically reserved for dire circumstances, such as averting The End of the World as We Know It. As such, the primary view of the Divines to most mortals is as impersonal, generally benevolent spirits, worthy of worship and reverence but without any strong direct relationship.
      • Some of the lesser et'Ada who aided in the creation of Mundus would become the Ehlnofey. They chose to remain on Mundus and populate it, becoming the progenitors of the modern mortal races. Others would sacrifice themselves further to become the "Earth Bones," the laws of nature and physics required to make the world function.
      • Other lesser Aedric beings have been known throughout history. The most famous is perhaps Morihaus, a "winged man-bull", said to be the demi-god son of Kynareth, one of the Divines. The dragons, servants/fragments of Akatosh, the draconic god of time and chief deity of the Divines pantheon, are another. These beings are typically considered by many in-universe to be the equivalent of angelic beings.
    • The Daedra, meaning "Not Our Ancestors," did not sacrifice any of their power during the creation of Mundus and remain truly immortal. The 16 (17 following the events of The Shivering Isles) of the most powerful Daedra are known as the Daedric Princes. Each governs a particular "sphere" of influence, and rules from their own plane of Oblivion, the infinite void between worlds. Unlike the Aedra, they are much more active in directly influencing the mortal world, with several have made attempts to take it over at different points in history. Most of the Daedric Princes are seen as evil or demonic, but in-universe scholars are quick to point out that they are really beings Above Good and Evil who operate on their own scale of Blue and Orange Morality, where how "good" or "evil" they seem is dictated by how benevolent or malevolent their actions toward mortals are. Additional details on the Daedra can be found on the series' Daedra sub-page.
      • There are many other Daedric spirits below the Princes, collectively referred to as "Lesser Daedra". Like the Princes, they are technically immortal and cannot be truly "killed". If their mortal form is slain on Mundus, their spirit returns to Oblivion to reform. The lesser Daedra are often found in service to one of the Princes and are also favored summons of mortal conjurers. They are typically considered by many in-universe to be the equivalent of demonic beings.
    • Talos, the ascended divine form of Emperor Tiber Septim, became the Ninth Divine after his death in the early 3rd era. There are many theories explaining how he accomplished this feat, but it is most commonly accepted that he in some way "mantled" Lorkhan, and the fused being ascended (or reascended in Lorkhan's case) to his station amongst the Aedra.
    • Magnus was one of the et'Ada who originally aided Lorkhan in creating Mundus, serving as the chief architect. However, as the architect of Mundus, he eventually realized that in order to create it, the Aedra would become forever bound to the world he was designing and abandoned the project. He and his followers, the Magna-Ge, fled Mundus for Aetherius, the realm of magic. In the process, they punched holes in between the realms that would become the sun and stars, and through which light and magic flows into Mundus from Aetherius.
    • For thousands of years, the Dunmer (Dark Elves) worshiped the Tribunal, a trio of Physical God Deities of Mortal Origin. The three of them (Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil), along with their former ally turned rival, Voryn Dagoth, tapped into the power of the aformentioned Heart of Lorkhan to obtain their divine power. As a result of the events of Morrowind, they are cut off from their source of power and all but Vivec are killed. The Dunmer people later revert to their traditional ancestor veneration and worship of the "good" Daedra.
    • While some more-Imperialized Argonians may recognize the Aedra and Daedra, their race primarily worships the Hist - a race of sentient, ancientnote , and possibly Omniscient spore-reproducing trees. They can communicate with each other via deep, interconnected root systems and can communicate with the Argonians via visions transmitted in their sap, which the Argonians drink to learn and grow.
  • Our Liches Are Different:
    • Throughout the series and in the backstory, liches are a type of powerful undead wizard, having sacrificed their very lives and humanity in exchange for extreme magical power. They can be found throughout Tamriel, where they can often be found using their gifts in the school of Necromancy to create legions of undead followers. As with many of Tamriel's supernatural creatures, there are regional variants when it comes to the specific powers and abilities of liches. One variation on the standard fantasy lich is that a soul jar does not seem to be required for certain lich variants, though soul jars are mentioned in lore. Instead, the most common means for becoming a lich is said to be the consumption of a potion made up of powerful and rare magical ingredients. Some liches are able to maintain a facade of humanity, using powerful illusion magic. If this form is killed, they switch to their true undead forms and must be defeated again.
    • The most famous lich in Tamriellic history was also the first to complete the transition. Mannimarco, a powerful Altmer necromancer known as the "King of Worms", became a lich as part of his being an Immortality Seeker. It was his first step toward his ultimate goal of truly becoming a god with Complete Immortality, something he he later accomplishes following the events of the Warp in the West... sort of...
  • Our Mages Are Different: There are several types of "mages" who utilize magic in different ways, and these types of mages are not inherently mutually exclusive. Generally speaking, there are four main ways to utilize magic, each with it's own sect of users:
    • Mundus, the mortal plane, has a Background Magic Field. Magicka flows in from Aetherius, visible as nebulae in the night sky. It flows through the sun and stars, which are actually holes punctured in reality by escaping spirits (Magnus and the Magna-Ge) during the creation of the world. Any mortal on Mundus is capable of tapping into this Magicka field (averting it being an Inherent Gift), with some races and species more naturally adept at it than others. Many civilian NPCs will know a low-level utility spell or two, and even a relatively Magically Inept Fighter who doesn't develop their magical stats can benefit from same. Those who choose to do so may take the scholarly pursuit of studying magic, where increasing their knowledge also increases their magical prowess. Tamriel has a number of Magical Societies and Wizarding Schools which train members/students in the use of magic. For this type of mage, there are a number of "school of magic" specializations as well. Though the exact breakdown varies from game to game (along with the spells classified within), the primary schools of magic are Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion, Mysticism (a class of spells which alters the nature of magic itself, such as Anti-Magic and Mana Drain type spells, as well as Warp Whistle and Soul Trap type spells), and Restoration.
    • The natural substances of the world also have inherent magical properties. When ingested individually, they release trace amounts of these properties. Alchemists, essentially fantastic chemists, mix these ingredients to bring out and intensify their inherent magical properties. This requires neither a natural gift nor even aptitude in the schools of magic. These Alchemists brew potions and poisons with wide-ranging effects using this knowledge.
    • Items ranging from weapons and armor to clothing and jewelry can be imbued with magical power by utilizing Soul Power. Souls of creatures, monsters, and lesser Daedra (as well as those of sapient mortals under certain circumstances) can be trapped in special soul gems by using the Soul Trap spell of the aforementioned Mysticism school (sometimes classed under Conjuration instead). Once trapped, Enchanters can bind the souls to items along with a spell (or spells), imbuing the item with the chosen spell(s). The enchanted items in question will eventually be drained through use, but can be recharged with additional filled soul gems. Anyone can use these enchanted items, though skilled Enchanters can create better items and get more use out of them than novices.
    • Another category of "mage" goes beyond using standard Magicka. To use extremely esoteric "lore speak", the universe the series takes place in was created using metaphysical "tonal architecture". Many beings and races throughout the backstory have discovered ways to alter these "tones", creating all sorts of reality warping effects by abusing the loopholes in reality. Groups known to have utilized this form of "magic" include the extinct Dwemer, the Psijic Order, users of the Thu'um, and those who achieved CHIM. Additional details are available on the trope page.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: The series has Ogres who are nearly twice the size of the average playable races, while being Dumb Muscle Giant Smash Mooks. They are considered a race of "Goblin-ken" who are related to Goblins, Ogres typically have grayish-blue skin, pronounced teeth, and Pointed Ears, though Ogres in colder climates are known to shaggy white hair covering their bodies as well. They live in primitive hunter-gatherer societies, most often inhabiting natural caves in remote areas. Like Goblins and Orcs, Ogres are known to revere the Malacath, the Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized. Ogres can be found throughout most of mainland Tamriel, where they are feared as man-eaters and are known to raid settlements and attack travelers in remote wilderness areas.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: The Orcs are another race of Mer, known as the "Orsimer" or "Pariah Elves/Folk," and to say that they have undergone Characterization Marches On is an understatement. As with most of the races of Mer, their split with the Mer Precursor "Aldmer" was over religious differences, though in the case of the Orcs, it was not voluntary. They were originally the worshipers of the Aldmeri spirit Trinimac, but Trinimac was "eaten" by the Daedric Prince Boethia and later excreted. Trinimac's remains became the Daedric Prince Malacath, while his Aldmeri followers were transformed into the Orcs. (Malacath is the central figure and patron deity in Orcish religion.) The Orcs possess strong, muscular builds and green skin. They are known for their ferocity and courage in battle, as well as their skill as armorers and smiths (especially with the rare metal Orichalcum), making them some of the finest heavy infantry on all of Nirn. The are a Proud Warrior Race who believes that Asskicking Equals Authority, which leads to their chieftains gaining that position via Klingon Promotion. They exhibit a number of other Blood Knight and Death Seeker traits as well, having a Martyrdom Culture. They've long been victims of Fantastic Racism due to their bestial appearance and perceived barbaric culture, and have been Fighting for a Homeland (or fighting to keep their homeland) for ages. They were Promoted to Playable in Morrowind, and have been in every game since.
  • Our Souls Are Different:
    • In general throughout the series, all living things seems to have souls, with the souls of more intelligent and stronger creatures typically being "larger" (more powerful). Under ordinary circumstances, the mind and soul of a mortal are one, with the soul closely connected to both its animating consciousness and the form of its body. Souls are generally immortal, though can be trapped and in some cases, utterly destroyed. When a mortal dies, his soul typically travels to Aetherius, and, depending on the mortal's religious beliefs may inhabit a specific part of Aetherius (such as Sovngarde or The Far Shores for a Nord or Redguard). To get into more esoteric "lore speak", souls in Aetherius may then enter the "Dreamsleeve", where they are broken down, combined, and reforged into new beings. In same cases, souls may not make it to Aetherius, such as if the soul is trapped, bound to the mortal world for some reason, or claimed by a specific deity (such as a Daedric Prince). In these cases, the soul may end up in the bleak Soul Cairn or in the realm of a Daedric Prince.
    • There are also known to be several "types" of soul:
      • "White" souls are those of creatures, monsters, beings of lesser sapience (such as Goblins or Giants), and less intelligent lesser Daedra.
      • "Black" souls are those of intelligent, fully sapient creatures (with the exception of Dragons and presumably other Aedric beings, more on that below). Black souls are those of the humanoid mortal races (Men, Mer, Beast Folk) as well as the greater of the lesser Daedra, like the Dremora, Auriel, and Mazken.
      • It is also possible for creatures with Black souls to have their souls become White over time. For example, the Falmer (Snow Elves) were once another race of Mer similar to the Altmer. In an attempt to escape the genocide of their race at the hands of the invading Atmorans (ancestors of the Nords), some of the surviving Falmer fled to their Dwemer cousins. In exchange for their protection, the Dwemer forced to the Falmer to blind and debase themselves through eating poisonous mushrooms before forcing the Falmer to serve them as essentially slaves and test subjects. The process also affected the very souls of the Falmer, turning them from Black to White. Similarly, the Dreugh also went through such a process. A race of humanoid octopi, the Dreugh once formed underwater civilizations of "glass and coral", and were known to inhabit Tamriel before the arrival of the Aldmer. These Dreugh were highly intelligent, able to speak, and capable of using magic. According to some sources, the Dreugh come from a previous "kalpa", or cycle of time, in which they ruled the world in service to Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption. However, that world (known as "Lyg") was destroyed and the remnants were one of the 12 worlds assembled to create Nirn during the Dawn Era as described in many Creation Myths. Conflicts with hunters (particularly the Dunmer) over thousands of years are believed to have contributed to the destruction of Dreugh civilization as well as their devolved intelligence. Like the Falmer, this also affected their souls, which are now White.
      • There are also the souls of dragons, which as lesser Aedric beings, have special properties of their own. While any being of sufficient ability can physically slay a dragon, only another "Dov" (dragon or Dragonborn) can permanently kill a dragon by absorbing its soul. This blocks the dragon from being resurrected and also grants the recipient a portion of the knowledge and skills of their fallen opponent. Dragonborn are special mortals gifted with the soul of a dragon by Akatosh, the draconic chief deity of the Aedric pantheon. The Player Character of Skyrim is a Dragonborn. According to some theories, Dov (including Dragonborn) are not so much the "children" of Akatosh, but are fragments of his very being. One Dov absorbing the soul of another causes that Dov to increase in power because these "fragments" are recombining.
    • As mentioned, all souls have Soul Power which can be used in the enchanting process to create items imbued with magical power. "White" souls can be trapped in standard soul gems, which range in size. The more powerful the soul, the larger the soul gem needs to be in order to capture it. In order to trap a "Black" soul, a special black soul gem is required. Creation of black soul gems involves putting standard "Grand" soul gems through a dark ritual. When a Black soul is trapped, the energy part remains in the gem and is used to enchant/recharge an item. The "counciousness" part goes to the aforementioned Soul Cairn. There is currently no known way to utilize a dragon soul in this process, though there is historical evidence of a divine soul being trapped and used in a similar fashion. When Tiber Septim needed a power source for the newly acquired Numidium, his Imperial Battlemage, Zurin Arctus, crafted the Mantella. Said to be an "unimaginably powerful" soul gem, Arctus, according to some of the more heretical tales, successfully soul-trapped and slew (with the help of a large group of Imperial Legionaries) Wulfharth Ash-King, a former ally of Septim's who is believed to be a Shezarrine, a mortal incarnation of the soul of the "dead" creator god, Lorkhan (known as Shezarr to the Imperials). Arctus successfully trapped Wulfharth's soul in the Mantella, but not before Wulfharth was able to kill Arctus "with his dying breath". This act is believed to have merged the two individuals into the being known as the "Underking", who was then tied to the Mantella. For additional information on these individuals and the events surrounding them, see their entries on the series' Historical Figures page.
    • The souls of Daedra also come with a special caveat. They technically do not have "souls" as we understand them, possessing instead an animus called a "vestige". Functionally, however, it is largely the same. While the vestige of lesser Daedra can be trapped and used in the same way as mortal souls, all forms of Daedra possess Complete Immortality. As such, slaying the physical form of a Daedra (be they a lesser Daedra or the avatar of a Daedric Prince) is possible, but the vestige will just take a metaphysical swim through the cosmic sewers and be reformed in Oblivion. (Though this process is said to take time and is considered an "embarrassing" and "humiliating" experience for the Daedra in question.)
  • Our Vampires Are Different: While Tamriellic Vampires have many traits in common with those of classic Vampire lore (the presence of fangs, pale skin, agelessness, immunity to other diseases, sensitivity to sunlight, and the need to consume humanoid blood) there are many differences as well. Tamriellic Vampirism is a disease and Tamriellic Vampires typically do not need to feed to survive (and some bloodlines even grow stronger if they go without feeding), though they do go irrevocably insane if they go too long without feeding. (These feral vampires are known as "Bloodfiends".) The initial disease (which becomes full blown Vampirism) varies depending on the region, and is easily treated as a common disease in the first few days after being contracted. However, once the disease progresses to full Vampirism, getting cured becomes much more difficult. There are also numerous other differences within the Vampire bloodlines that make each one distinct from the others. A full write up with more details is available on the series' "Other Race Tropes" page. In all main series games save for Arena, the Player Character can become a Vampire.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: The series and background lore contains a variety of lycanthropicnote  creatures, including werewolves, wereboars, werebears, werebats, werecrocodiles, werelions, werevultures and even weresharks; though only the first four have ever made an appearance in-game (the others are only mentioned in game lore), and werewolves and wereboars (Daggerfall only) are the only varieties the player can become in the series to date. In terms of the details of the condition, like Vampirism, Lycanthropy is technically a disease and can be spread through any wound inflicted by an infected individual. It is easily cured within the first few days of being contracted, but once it fully progresses, it becomes far more difficult to cure. There are also rare instances of the disease being hereditary. The exact effects of the disease vary greatly between individuals and regions. The most common effect is an involuntary transformation into a humanoid beast form at night, with the frequency of the transformation varying from nightly to monthly. Other individuals have the ability to transform voluntarily. For those who transform involuntarily, they must commonly kill a sentient being during the night or risk returning to their mortal form in an extremely weakened state. Lycanthropy is a creation of Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, who bestows it as a blessing. He considers were-creatures to be the epitome of the nature of a hunt. During the night, they are vicious beasts who hunt their prey. During the day, they become the hunted to the very same prey. Were-creatures also have a spiritual connection to Hircine, as he claims their souls upon death to forever serve in his realm of Oblivion, known as the Hunting Grounds. Additional details are available on the Elder Scrolls "Other Races" sub-page.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: As mentioned above, werewolves are one of the variety of were-creatures present in the series. The player can become one in each game in the main series except for Arena and Oblivion, though Morrowind requires having the Bloodmoon expansion in order to do so. The werewolf transformation turns you into a powerful Lightning Bruiser, but at the cost of being attacked on sight and not being able to use items or spells, generally making it Awesome, but Impractical throughout the series.
  • Our Wights Are Different: Used loosely in the series, both as part of the alternative (and much more fitting) name for Dagoth Ur's Ash Vampires ("Heartwights") as well as for higher-leveled variants of Draugr ("Wight Lords" and "Overlords").
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • The series does have fairly standard generic "zombies" present throughout. Essentially, they are classic style reanimated corpses, often raised by Necromancers.
    • What the rest of Tamriel refers to as zombies, the Dunmer traditionally refer to as "Bonewalkers". They come in Lesser, Standard, and Greater varieties. They are summoned by Temple faithful to protect their Ancestral Tombs, which is considered to be different than blasphemous necromancy.
    • Nord influenced areas instead have Draugr, a specific type of zombie consisting of mummified remains. They were members of an ancient dragon-worshiping cult who rose from the dead when dragons returned to the world. (Well, most of them, anyway. It doesn't quite make sense for every Draugr encountered, and there is heavy evidence from other sources that there are other ways for Draugr to come into existence.)
    • The Sload, "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, have a natural affinity toward necromancy. The Sload use these skills to re-animate dead bodies to use as slave labor.
  • Outscare the Enemy: The recurring in-game book The Art of War Magic contains an account of a battle between the Chimer and the Nords; a Chimer sorcerer hears how the Nords have shamans who summon storms to confuse and dismay their opponents, so he summons an ice demon and orders it to hide behind the Chimer army. When the storm forces the Chimer army into retreat, the demon appears and terrifies the Chimer army into charging back towards the Nords, taking them by surprise and eventually winning a victory.
  • Outside-Context Problem:
    • During the 2nd Era, the Kamal (an Akaviri race of "Snow Demons") showed up one day out of the blue along the coast of Skyrim and immediately laid siege to the Nord city of Windhelm. Normally, the Kamal are part of an Akaviri Vicious Cycle where they freeze every winter and thaw out in the spring to attack the Tang Mo "Monkey Folk". For unknown reasons, they broke this cycle to invade Tamriel instead. According to captives taken, they were searching for someone or something called the "Ordained Receptacle." It took an alliance of ancient enemies - the Nords, the Dunmer, and the Argonians - to finally defeat the Kamal invaders.
    • In the other direction, Uriel Septim V sought to restore the greatness of the Third Tamriellic Empire, which was wracked with internal strife and floundering support in the provinces at the time. To do so, he set out on a series of invasions outside of Tamriel. Over a span of 13 years, he conquered several island nations in the Padomaic Sea to the east of Tamriel. Then, he invaded Akavir itself. His chosen invasion point was in the southwest of Akavir, in the homeland of the Tsaesci, who were apparently quite surprised by the invasion. Unfortunately, instead of capitalizing on their surprise and confusion, Uriel wasted time sending messengers (who never returned) in an attempt to contact whoever it was that ruled the Tsaesci in order to negotiate terms of their surrender. Meanwhile, Tsaesci mounted raiders harassed Uriel's forces who, due to space restrictions on Uriel's invasion fleet, did not have cavalry of their own, leading to a slow Death By A Thousand Cuts. It is speculated that the Tsaesci fought back with an Anti-Magical field that weakened Uriel's Battlemages and Weather Manipulation that extended the Akaviri winter, caused a severe drought, and cut off Uriel's oceanic supply lines. Uriel was eventually forced to withdraw, and died in Akavir making a Heroic Sacrifice to cover the retreat of his legions.
  • The Outside World: The series positively thrives on this trope. Each Player Character in the main series is always an Audience Surrogate and mostly Featureless Protagonist either being set free or escaping into a foreign world where they will quickly have to adapt in order to survive and, eventually, save it.
  • Out with a Bang:
    • In the in-game book Hallgerd's Tale, Pasoroth beheads the man cuckolding him during the act of cuckolding, then takes over where the other guy left off.
    • The Morag Tong is an assassin's guild officially sanctioned by the Dunmeri government. One of their favorite techniques is to seduce their target and murder them in bed. Fitting, given that the Tong operates in service to Mephala, the Daedric Prince associated with manipulation, lies, sex, murder, and betrayal.
  • Overarching Villain: Mannimarco, "The King of Worms" and legendary Necromancer/Lich, is a recurring villain throughout the franchise. He has orchestrated various major events in Tamriel, including the Dark Anchor incident, the Warp in the West, the arranged marriage for the Wolf Queen, and numerous massacres of Mages Guild members throughout two eras.
  • Overly Long Name: The legendary Yokudan (Precursors of the Redguards) hero Frandar Hunding actually had the "formal" name of Frandar do Hunding Hel Ansei No Shira. Frandar is his given name, Hunding is the region of his birth, Hel Ansei is a title recognizing him as one of the Ansei, and No Shira recognizes his noble birth.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Hungers are a form of lesser Daedra which are very similar in appearance to the "alien-style" Chupacabra, complete with claws, spikes, and a "sucker" mouth. They have extremely long, weaponized tongues.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: While certainly not in the majority of cases, a handful of "artifact" class weapons and items in each game tend to fall into this. Despite being items of legend, often crafted by and associated with divine beings, they often aren't even as powerful as generic items of the same time which have been custom enchanted by the player.
  • The Overworld: The series boasts some of the largest and most detailed Overworlds in gaming, even after the Space Compression is taken into account. Naturally, it plays extremely well with the Wide Open Sandbox nature of the series.
  • Oxygen Meter: Morrowind and Oblivion both have "Breath" meters which appear when the Player Character is completely underwater. The breath meter decreases over time, and once it empties, the player's health begins to drain rapidly. Skyrim keeps the meter, but makes it invisible — so the only indication that you've been underwater too long is when your health starts draining. All three games offer Water Breathing as a spell effect, and it also comes in the form of enchantments and potions. While under the Water Breathing effect, your breath meter (visible or not) will not decrease.
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