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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 P to R

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  • Painfully Slow Projectile: A recurring trope since the series' 3D Leap. Projectile weapons travel slowly enough that dodging them is a real possibility. Projectile Spells travel even slower, to the point where battling an enemy mage is best done by dodging his attacks until he runs out of Magicka before closing in to kill him. Better AI enemies will also dodge your projectiles in this fashion, bordering on them being Crosshair Aware.
  • Paint the Town Red: 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 bloody 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.
  • The Paladin:
  • Pamphlet Shelf:
    • Averted throughout the series in which every book shown can be read, though they do cheat a bit in some cases by padding the shelves with multiple copies of the same book. These documents range from full blown In-Game Novels like the 2920: The Last Year of the First Era series, The Real Barenziah, King Edward, A Dance in the Fire, and The Wolf Queen to religious texts such as For My Gods and Emperor and 36 Lessons of Vivec, to numerous historical works which help fill in the thousands of years of backstory, to simple notes handwritten by the world's inhabitants to make the world feel more alive (you can literally find the grocery lists of NPCs). Many of the histories presented within the game are contradictory and at odds with each other, leaving it up to the reader to piece together the history of Tamriel for him/herself. For tropes relating to these works, see The Elder Scrolls In-Universe Books page.
    • The series' Skill Books, which instantly raise one of your skills by one when read, also contain short stories related to the skill. For example, The Armorer's Challenge is about a competition between two armorers and, naturally, it raises your Armorer/Smithing skill. The Marksmanship Lesson is about an unconventional archery instructor and, naturally, raises your Marksman/Archery skill.
    • Some books are also simply there for fun:
      • One notable example is The Lusty Argonian Maid, written by the Camp Gay (though technically bisexual) Crassius Curio. It centers around a character named Crantus Colto and his...interest...in his, well, Argonian maid. A quest in Morrowind has you attempting to find actors willing to be in it. (Skyrim adds a sequel, as well as a Gender Flipped version for the ladies, The Sultry Argonian Bard.)
      • Another is Boethiah's Pillow Book, which is entirely represented by:
      "No words can describe what you see. Or what you think you see."
  • Panthera Awesome:
    • Senche cats are native to Elsweyr and Valenwood. They come in several forms, including Senche-Tigers, Senche-Panthers, and Senche-Lions. While they are not related to the Cat Folk Khajiit, they are commonly found as Khajiit pets and guard animals. While other races see them as little better than wild animals, Khajiit are said to "sense an intelligence" in them that the other races do not.
    • According to the lore, werelions are a type of were-creature most commonly found in Elsweyr, Black Marsh, and Cyrodiil. They've yet to make an appearance in-series, however.
    • Sabre Cats (both the normal brown variety and the tougher Snowy Sabre Cats) can be found in the wilds of northern Tamriel, primarily in Skyrim.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Throughout the series, this is a trait of Malacath, the Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized and patron deity of the Orcs and "Goblin-ken". Malacath is very protective of his followers, and messing with them in any way, especially enslaving them, is a sure-fire way to get Malacath angry. Also, do not take credit for their accomplishments.
    • Ysgramor, the ancient Atmoran/Nord hero and Founder of the Kingdom of Skyrim, was one. Don't mess with his people. The Falmer (Snow Elves) did, and he drove them to near extinction in an epic Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Another example is with Yngol and the Sea Ghosts. Yngol was a son of Ysgramor who had run afoul of evil spirits who ensnared him and his clan. Ysgramor became aware of this and demanded the ghosts set him free; in response, the ghosts summoned a terrible storm. Ysgramor fearlessly strode into it and defeated each of the ghosts, only to find Yngol and his clan dead. Filled with grief, he vented his rage on 24 of the fiercest monsters in Skyrim, slaying them all in honor of his kin. He then ordered a great barrow to be dug for Yngol and his clansmen's resting place.
  • Paradox Person: Mephala is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation and the themes of murder, sex, and secrets. All of these themes contain subtle aspects and violent ones (assassination/genocide, courtship/orgy, tact/poetic truths); Mephala is understood paradoxically to contain and integrate these contradictory themes. It's rather fitting then that Mephala has associations with Sithis, a primordial force representing chaos, change, and limitation. Sithis is described as an equal but opposing force to Anui-El, "the soul of all things", making Sithis is the antithesis of all things. Sithis Is Not.
  • The Paragon: The Proud Warrior Race Nords hold several of their greatest historical heroes up as prime examples for what every Nord should aspire be. These include:
  • The Paralyzer: The series has the different forms of the Paralyze spell. Variously classed in either the Alteration school or Illusion school of magic, the spell freezes targets in place or causes them to drop helplessly to the ground for the duration of the spell. As with most spells, it can also be enchanted into a weapon where the effect will trigger on strike. Naturally, most high-level enemies are completely immune to it.
  • Paranoia Gambit: One of the myths surrounding Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, has a wizard come to Sheogorath asking for power. Sheogorath says he can have it, if Sheogorath fails to drive the wizard insane within three days. The fear drives said wizard completely bonkers even though Sheogorath hadn't actually bothered doing anything.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • The Sload, a race of "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, are a species of hermaphrodites that have no interest in the fate of their (grub-like) offspring.
    • Commonly the case for the Player Character in each game. In some cases, dialogue options allow you to choose this. Morrowind has the fact that the player character is an orphan as a major piece of the main quest.
  • Parental Neglect: The legendary Yokudan (ancestors of the Redguards) hero and Ansei, Frandar Hunding, was not present for much of his son Divad's life. After traveling Yokuda as a Knight Errant and winning 90 duels without a loss in his youth, Frandar considered himself invincible and retired to Mount Hattu to write his treatise on sword techniques, the Book of Circles. Decades later, when the Yokudan Emperor Hira tried to consolidate power by eliminating the Ansei, Divad and the other Ansei came to Frandar to ask him to be their leader in battle. Frandar reluctantly accepted and led them to victory. Despite this, due to being considered "red with blood" by the Yokudan people, Frandar, Divad, and the other Ansei chose to self-exile from Yokuda to Tamriel. Frandar and Divad would finally bond there, and Divad would wipe out the giant goblins of Hammerfell after Frandar fell in battle to them.
  • Passion Is Evil: The series' primary deities are the Aedra and Daedra. Though both groups are technically beings Above Good and Evil who operate on their own scale of Blue and Orange Morality beyond mortal comprehension, the actions of the Aedra toward mortals are usually benevolent, and they are near-universally considered "good" throughout Tamriel. The Aedra embody aspects such as Time, Life, Beauty, Air, etc. - all natural things which have little to do with emotions. The Daedra, for the most part, tend to be much more malevolent toward mortals, and are thus near-universally considered "evil". (Even the more benevolent Daedric Princes, such as Azura and Merida, tend to be Not Nice and do not care about collateral damage in accomplishing their goals.) The Daedra tend to embody ideas like Deceit, Desire, Destruction, Corruption, Ambition, Manipulation, Madness, etc. - things sparked or perpetuated by emotions.
  • Patchwork Map: Downplayed on a continental scale with Tamriel. Oddities do exist, but they are less extreme than most instances of this trope. A number can also be justified either by the geography functioning in a similar way to the real world (such as mountain ranges dividing two regions with very different climates) or by magical/cosmic forces in-universe. Specific examples and explanations can be found on the trope page.
  • Patchwork World: One of the more popular Creation Myths states that this is the case for Nirn, the planet on which the series is set. Anu and Padomay are the anthropomorphized primordial forces of "stasis/order/light" and "change/chaos/darkness", respectively. Their interplay in the great "Void" led to Nir, "creation". Nir loved Anu, which Padomay hated. Padomay killed Nir and the 12 worlds she gave birth to. Anu wounded Padomay, driving him off and presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the 12 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". One of these 12 worlds was believed to have been Lyg, ruled by the Dreugh in the name of Molag Bal. Another was the original world of the Hist, sentient and possibly Omniscient trees now worshiped by the Argonians in Black Marsh.
  • Path of Inspiration: The series provides many examples, including the Sixth House, Mythic Dawn, and even, to an extent, the Dark Brotherhood. Much like real world cults, each attracts members from the fringes of society with promises of purpose and paradise.
  • Pause Scumming:
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Played straight throughout the series where a good portion of the games are spent slaughtering enemy NPCs and taking their stuff, leaving their cold and looted corpses behind. Doing so won't make you infamous in the slightest. In fact, this is even lampshaped several times in the series who direct you to practice your combat skills on outlaws and loot their stuff.
  • Paying in Coins: The main currency of the series is the Septim (sometimes also referred to informally as "drakes"), a simple Gold Coin. As no higher integer of currency exists, making large purchases (such as high-level equipment or player houses) essentially entails dumping thousands of gold coins on the lap of the seller. Thankfully, Septims are weightless, which leads to players carrying around thousands or even millions of them (thanks to the series plentiful Money for Nothing).
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: Throughout the series, hide and fur are the most common materials for crafting low-end Light Armor. If the armor is given a racial origin, it is commonly Nordic. Other "primitive" groups such as the Ashlanders and Reachmen are also known to create and wear this type of armor. Additionally, most of the clothing worn by Giants is made up of pelts and fur, though few wear more than a simple loin cloth.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Plentiful throughout the series, to the point where the series has its own sub-folder on the trope page. Frequent causes include quests which can be lost if other related quests are completed first, or if the quest giver is killed. Items inside of One Time Dungeons also tend to cause this.
  • Perpetually Shiny Bodies: "Glossy" bodies are extremely common in "body replacer" Game Mods for games throughout the series.
  • Person of Mass Destruction:
  • The Peter Principle: This is unfortunately very common within the Mages Guild, and is certainly a contributing reason for their 4th Era collapse. Being skilled with magic does not automatically translate to being a skilled administrator, leading to many Pointy Haired Bosses in high-ranking positions within the Guild. When they became detrimental, they'd either, in line with this trope, be Kicked Upstairs and/or Reassigned to Antarctica to keep them out of them way.
  • Pet the Dog: Between the events of Oblivion and Skyrim, due in large part to the previous events of Morrowind, the Dunmer people were forced to flee their ancestral homeland of Morrowind due to the events of the Red Year and the subsequent Argonian Invasion. The High King of Skyrim, homeland of the generally elf-hating Nords, formally offered the Dunmer people the island of Solstheim to resettle on. Subverted, however, as a rather cynical old Dunmer noted - Solstheim was always a barren rock that no one has ever particularly cared about outside its Ebony and Stalhrim deposits, and was theoretically already claimed by Morrowind even if no one there wanted it at the time. Further, refugees were already pouring in after the Red Year, meaning the Nords would have had a hard fight against desperate people on their hands if they wanted to keep the island. To quote from the declaration:
    "Untithed to any thane or hold, and self-governed, with free worship, with no compensation to Skyrim or the Empire except as writ in the armistice of old wheresoever those might still apply, and henceforth let no man or mer say that the Sons and Daughters of Kyne are without mercy or honor."

  • Phallic Weapon: "MUATRA" is the name of the spear used by Dunmeri Tribunal Deity Vivec. It is rather strongly implied to be a literal case of this trope, particularly in Vivec's 36 Lessons book series, crossing over with I Call Him "Mr. Happy" and Named Weapon. In the Lessons, he uses it to kill his monster children (sired with Molag Bal) and to have sex with fellow Tribune Almalexia, amongst other things. Granted, Vivec is a notoriously Unreliable Narrator, who later admits that some of his sermons are false, and is a master of using the Metaphorically True trope.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements: Crossing over with Only the Chosen May Wield, the Amulet of Kings can only be worn by those of "Dragon Blood". This dates back to the pact St. Alessia made with Akatosh, the draconic chief deity of the Aedric pantheon, at the founding of the First Tamriellic Empire. All of the "rightful heirs" of the Imperial throne are metaphysically descended from Alessia, giving them the "Dragon Blood" required to wear the amulet.
  • Photographic Memory: This is said to be a racial trait of the Sload, a race of "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel. It is said they have perfect recall of everything they see or hear.
  • Physical God:
    • The series offers almost too many examples to count. Included are the Dunmeri Tribunal, any of the Shezarrines, any of the incarnations of the Hoon Ding, and any of the Aedra or Daedra who take physical form on Mundus. Specific examples and additional details can be found on the trope page.
    • The series' Player Characters tend to acquire or are born with attributes fitting the trope by the end of their games. It helps that these individuals tend to be "heroes", individuals with a special fate and the ability to rule their own destiny, often being capable of growing far more powerful than other mortals.
  • Pieces of God:
    • The Aedra and the Daedra can be viewed as this, with their spirits having emerged from the "spilled blood" of the God of Gods Anu and The Anti-God, his "twin brother", Padomay. Anu and Padomay are 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 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).
    • It is theorized that the souls of all dragons, Alduin and the Dragonborn included, are fragments of the soul of Akatosh, the Aedric God of Time whose typical form in mythology is a dragon. When the Dragonborn (or any other dragon) absorbs the soul of another, it's actually fragments of the Akatosh over-soul recombining.
  • Pig Man: The Orcs are derogatorily referred to as "Pig Children" (a racist in-game book has this as a title) by the other races. Aside from their bestial features and tusks, they have no relation to actual pigs.
  • Pike Peril: Slaughterfish are basically pikes in all but name, being small, aggressive freshwater fish. The Thieves Guild quest in Oblivion even features a giant one.
  • Pimp Duds: This is the standard attire for Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, minus the hat. He typically pairs it with a pocket watch and a cane. One of his Red Barons is even "the Gentleman With a Cane".
  • Pimped-Out Cape: The Imga, a race of intelligent "ape men" native to Valenwood, wear these in an attempt to ape the Altmer, who the Imga idolize. One corner of the capes is perfumed, which they hold over their noses when humans are around. (The Altmer have a strong cultural dislike of the races of Men, so the Imga pretend to find their smell offensive.)
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Throughout the series, the player can become the head of several guilds and factions. Fortunately, nobody expects you to do things like run the organizations, participate in politics, debate religious doctrine, etc. After all, that would interfere with your actual job of delving into caves and fighting bandits and monsters. There are a handful of Downplayed or Played-With instances, however, which are listed in detail on the trope page by game.
  • Pixel Hunt: Present in a handful of quests throughout the series. It also pops up with the developers' love of Always Check Behind the Chair, as you have to look hard to find a number of useful and valuable items that are easy to miss.
  • The Place: Every game (and several expansions/DLCs) in the main series to date is named after a place within the game world, though it's rarely played entirely straight. Most are also examples of One Word Titles. (Yes, even Arena, though this may come as a surprise to some. It's the Ehlnofey word for Nirn.)
  • The Plague: Peryite is the Daedric Prince of Pestilence and Tasks, and is essentially the ES universe embodiment of the idea of the plague. His idea of bestowing "blessings" upon his followers is to afflict them with disease. He has been connected with the creation of numerous plagues throughout history, including, most infamously, the Thrassian Plague which wiped out half of Tamriel's population in the 1st Era.
  • Plaguemaster: Peryite, as the Daedric Prince of Pestilence, has this fall within his sphere. Given the nature of most deities in the series, one could say that he is the very embodiment of pestilence. His idea of a "blessing" toward his followers is to afflict them with disease. Peryite is connected to the creation of the Thrassian Plague, which was unleashed on Tamriel by the Sload ("slug-men" of Thras) in the 1st Era and wiped out half the continent's population. The ending of his Skyrim quest implies that he is preparing a new plague meant to "cover the world" with his "blessing".
  • Planet Eater: Alduin is the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse and has the title of "World-Eater". 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. In The Seven Fights of the Aldudagga, he is described as a titanic monster with divine power even beyond that of the Daedric Princes. He is also described as exhaling entire farms out of his nose and dwarfing even the Throat of the World itself.
  • Planet England: Averted. The games are set in various provinces of the Empire of Tamriel, based out of the province of Cyrodiil, on the continent Tamriel, on the planet Nirn, in the plane of Mundus, in a universe known as the Aurbis. Adding further depth, there are several other continents on Nirn including the destroyed Yokuda (original home of the Redguards), frozen-over Atmora (original home of the Atmorans, ancestors of the Nords and possibly all the races of Men on Tamriel), the presumed lost Aldmeris (the original home of the ancestors of the races of Mer), and Akavir, home to its own unique races which serves as the "Asia" to Tamriel's "Europe".
  • Planet Heck: Mehrunes Dagon's realm of the Deadlands is this crossed with being a Fire and Brimstone Hell.
  • Planet of Hats: Downplayed throughout the series. Many of the nations and peoples of Tamriel have leanings towards certain professions and characteristics but there are a lot of exceptions to the rule - generally, individuals who grew up in their homeland play the hats straight, while individuals who were raised in other lands tend to be exceptions. Some of the "hats" in question include: Nords are mead-loving magic-hating viking-esque Boisterous Bruisers; Bretons are Deadpan Snarker French Jerk Magic Knights; Redguards are Scary Black Men badass Master Swordsman and adventurous sailors; Altmer (High Elves) are snobby, supremacist Squishy Wizards, Bosmer (Wood Elves) are Noble Savage Forest Rangers who are amazed by basic carpentry because of an ancient code which prevents them from ever harming plantlife in their Lost Woods homeland and who that same code requires to consume fallen enemies, etc. etc. For additional information, please see the series' "Races" sub-pages.
  • Plant Person:
    • Dryads exist as plant-like humanoid enemies, although they're either non-sapient or extremely xenophobic.
    • Spriggans are nature spirits who take on a tree-like humanoid female form. They are revered as Nature's Guardians, being associated with Kynareth (one of the Nine Divines and goddess of the heavens, winds, and elements), and are at frequent odds with Hagravens, who are an Enemy to All Living Things. In most games, they possess a powerful Healing Factor which kicks in when get critically low on health, and have The Beastmaster qualities, able to command wild animals (especially bears and bees) to aid them in battle. While they are called "Spriggans", they are actually closer to violent Dryads in nature.
  • Playable Epilogue: Starting with Morrowind, the series allows you to keep playing after you've beaten the main quest. In addition to completing Faction questlines and sidequests, each game also typically offers some new quests and special items to acquire that are only available once you've beaten the game. Most NPCs also recognize your accomplishments and comment accordingly, though don't expect much more than that from them.
  • Play-by-Post Games: The series naturally lends itself well to these, with numerous forums engaging in them, including the official Bethesda forums.
  • Player Character Calculus:
    • The PC in the first three games is a "Lone Gunman" version. In Daggerfall, following characters are just icons in the top-left corner of the screen. Morrowind has followers as part of Escort Missions, but due to their AI, they are typically a hassle to deal with.
    • Oblivion and Skyrim are the "Lone Hero plus Optional Cohorts" version. Each allows you to bring along followers and hirelings who aren't quest related.
  • Player Headquarters:
    • Every game starting with Daggerfall gives you the option buy/build a Player Home to serve as this. The typical advantages of having one include having a free place to sleep, as well as a place to store your excess loot (quickly turning most of them into Superhero Trophy Shelves). However, they can be quite costly and most require you to advance through multiple quests (or even most of the way through entire faction questlines) before you can acquire one.
    • The series, in general, has the "kill a person and take over their house" variant. On the positive side, this is an extremely cheap option and will let you take over any house you want if none of the purchasable/buildable options appeal to you. On the downside, someone has to die. Further, depending on the game, putting items into their containers may mark them as "stolen" when you remove them, or the containers may reset, causing you to lose all stored items. Additionally, their bed may still be marked as "owned" even after death, so you might not be able to rest in it.
  • Player Personality Quiz: The first three games in the series all include one during character creation in which you answer a series of questions to determine your class. It's optional so you can choose a different class that the one that is recommended based on the quiz, or just skip it altogether and manually select/create a class. Oblivion replaces it with a Secret Test of Character during the tutorial, and Skyrim, which no longer has classes, drops it completely.
  • Player Tic:
    • Following the series' jump to 3D, changing the camera angle while saving so the "save game" screenshot is a portrait of your character has become extremely common. 99% of the time, you'll just save over it without ever giving it a second look, but it doesn't stop players from doing it. One practical purpose it may serve is helping to "label" your save file if you're playing multiple characters at once, but naming the file after the character and checking the date/timestamp are usually more than enough to cover this.
    • Jumping everywhere as you run seems to be common among players. At low levels, it takes so long by this method that it is much more of a tic than a real practice. However, doing so increases your Acrobatics skill (prior to Skyrim), and once that is sufficiently high, it becomes the fastest way to travel on foot. (Serious powerlevelers jump off high things to level this skill, instead).
  • Playing the Player: For the series, although Unreliable Narrator, Unreliable Expositor, and Unreliable Canon are in full effect for what you are told and can read, the experiences of the Player Characters can be assuemd to be as reliable as they can be when told through the medium of the game. Your character may be misled by illusions or lies, but you (the player) can be sure those illusions or lies were there. In the event of a Time Crash, you can also be sure that your character did what he or she seemed to do, just known that it also occurred alongside mutually contradictory things.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Fire-based spells are available throughout the series as part of the Destruction school of magic, which includes the entire Fire, Ice, Lightning trio. While its exact effects vary depending on the game, fire spells tend to cause the most outright damage, cost the least Magicka to cast, and often have the effect of continuing to burn the target for some time after the initial impact.
    • Flame Atronachs are a type of unaligned lesser Daedra who are essentially the Elemental Embodiment of Fire. They appear throughout the series, typically being immune to Fire damage while dishing out powerful Fire spells of their own.
    • Several other varieties of lesser Daedra are known to use fire-based magic attacks, including Dremora, Daedroths, and Scamps.
  • Plot Armor: Starting with Oblivion, the series gives plot-important NPCs an almost literal form of plot armor in the "essential" tag. Whenever an "essential" character's health is reduced to zero, they merely fall to the ground for a while, then get back up as if nothing had happened. While this makes it much more difficult to break quests by killing important NPCs, it also takes away some of the freedom the series is known for.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: Most of the items you need to acquire in order to complete quests are useful in their own right. Frequently, they are weapons, armor, clothing, or jewelry that you can use/wear if you choose. Sometimes, in cases where you lose the item after completing the relevant quest, players will put off completing that quest in order to keep using the item (such as the Tribunal Temple relics and Threads of the Webspinner in Morrowind, and the Skeleton Key in Skyrim).
  • Plot Lock: Downplayed early in the series but increasingly played straight as the series has gone on. Plot locks were once quite rare, and as long as you have the appropriate skill levels, items, and/or abilities, you can get anywhere you choose to go in the games. Starting with Oblivion, and then ramped up in Skyrim, there are plenty of plot-related locks you simply cannot open without a key (which is usually given to you as part of the related quest). Specific examples by game can be found on the trope page.
  • Pocket Dimension: Oblivion is the infinite void surrounding Mundus, the mortal plane. Oblivion itself contains tens of thousands of realms, ranging from the Daedric Planes (ruled by their associated Daedric Princes and function as combination Eldritch Locations, Genius Locis, and Fisher Kingdoms) to various "pocket realms", some of which are no larger than a single room.
  • Point-and-Click Map: Present in each game except for Morrowind. Clicking a location on the map (while outdoors with no enemies nearby) allows you to fast travel there. In Oblivion and Skyrim, only the major cities are initially marked on the map, and you must have visited them previously in order to fast travel there.
  • Point of No Return: Most of the main quests throughout the series, as well as the main quests of the expansions, have such a point before facing the Big Bad. They range from extremely Downplayed (Morrowind) to "Tough" (Daggerfall, Oblivion) to outright "Nasty" (Bloodmoon). Specific details can be found on the trope page.
  • Pointy Ears:
    • The Races of Mer (Elves) possess the standard fantasy "Elf" version. The royal families of the Bretons (a race of Uneven Hybrid offspring of Man/Mer relations thousands of years ago) are said to still have slight points to their ears, showing their Mer ancestry.
    • Some other non-Mer (at least, as far as we know) beings also possess pointed ears, including Giants, Goblins, Ogres, and Rieklings.
    • Scamps also possess very long, triangular pointed ears in the Looks Like Orlok vein.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: The Mages Guild seems to encourage this trope. Unfortunately, in line with The Peter Principle, being a skilled user of magic does not automatically translate into being a skilled administrator. The Absent-Minded Professor nature of many skilled mages also does not help. As a result, much of the Guild leadership has been Kicked Upstairs and/or Reassigned to Antarctica into their current positions. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Guild collapses in the 4th Era.
  • Poirot Speak: Dragons tend to frequently slip back into draconic when speaking in Tamriellic. It is stated that dragons are beings for whom language is an intrinsic part of their existence, so them switching between languages without thinking about it is not a conscious decision.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Dates back to Morrowind, where the Poison spell effect can be Enchanted into weapons. Starting with Oblivion, the series moves toward a more traditional version of the trope where vials of poison can be applied to weapons. The poison's effects will be administered on the next target hit.
  • Poisonous Person:
    • The Destruction school of magic most famously has the Fire, Ice, Lightning trio as its main damaging types of elemental magic. In some games, it also includes various Poison spells which typically deal little damage up front but continue to drain the health of the target for a duration afterward.
    • Flesh Atronachs, depending on the game, can emit a constant aura of poison-like damage, are immune to poison, and/or are actually healed by poison-based spells.
    • Spider Daedra, as their name might imply, are a Spider People form of lesser Daedra. They are Magic Knights equally formidable in melee combat as well as when casting spells. They are known to favor various poison spells, in addition to shock spells.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: There existed a race of Bird Men native to what would become the Imperial City Isle in central Cyrodiil. When first approached by Aldmeri explorers, the Bird Men spoke back in Aldmeris, surprising the Aldmer. However, they quickly realized that the Bird Men were only repeating their own words back to them. Despite this, the Aldmeri were able to teach them to actually speak their own words and to write, for which the Bird Men were grateful. They declared Topal, the leader of the Aldmeri explorers, to be their lord and offered him their islands.
  • Polyamory:
    • Dibella, the Aedric Divine Goddess of Beauty who is also associated with the carnal and sexual aspects of love, holds no limit on the number of lovers one may have. Instead, she demands focus on the quality of the essence of love, not the quantity.
    • Mara, the Aedric Divine Goddess of Love, is associated with the familial, matrimonial, and fertility aspects of love. Despite this, depending on the religious tradition in question, she is coupled with several other gods. She's sometimes depicted as one of Shor's wives, along with Kyne. The old Nord tradition also makes references to her being the handmaiden of Kyne, concubine of Shor. Other traditions have her variously the wife of Akatosh, Lorkhan, or both. Sometimes the concubine of both. Yokudan tradition has her, as Morwha, as the wife of Ruptga. However, she has four arms so that she can "grab more husbands".
  • Poor Communication Kills: This was the case in some of the tellings of the final days of the Dwemer before their mysterious disappearance. The Dwemer had unearthed the Heart of Lorkhan, the "divine center" of the "dead" creator god of Mundus (the mortal plane). Chief Tonal Architect of the Dwemer, Lord Kagrenac, invented tools which would allow him to tap in to the divine powers of the Heart. Depending on the version of events you read, Dumac Dwarfking, leader of the Dwemer, did not know what Kagrenac was planning and would have stopped him had he known. Whatever occurred deep within the bowels of the Dwemer Red Mountain stronghold, it caused the Dwemer to disappear all across Tamriel without a trace.
  • Portal Door: The Psijic Order, a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel, has the "Dreaming Cave" on their home island of Artaeum. The Dreaming Cave is a portal to Oblivion and allows for communicating with the Daedric Princes.
  • Port Town: Most games in the series have at least one, with the town's status as a Port Town having some quest significance (if not in the main quest, then a faction questline). A list by game is available on the trope page.
  • Position of Literal Power: The series invokes this trope with the concept of "mantling". In essence, to mantle someone (a person, a deity, a cosmic force, etc.), one must become so like them that there ceases to be a functional difference between the two entities; it seems that at this point the universe itself ceases to distinguish between the two, and they become one entity. It operates on the principle of "if you walk like a duck, swim like a duck and quack like a duck, you ARE a duck". As the Dunmeri Tribunal deity Vivec would say, "walk like the gods until they walk like you". Essentially, it is Becoming the Mask played Up to Eleven. There have been several notable examples throughout the series and in history. To note:
    • One theory behind Tiber Septim's ascension as the deity Talos is that Septim effectively "mantled" Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane. Between possessing the Numidium and the Mantella (an unimaginably powerful soul gem said to hold the soul of Zurin Arctus/Wulfharth Ash-King/the Underking, all possible Shezarrines), Septim found a way to claim Lorkhan's station in the universe.
    • The Champion of Cyrodiil becomes Sheogorath in this fashion. The exact nature of this mantling is difficult to understand in full. Rather than acting like Sheogorath until the universe effectively combined the two entities, Jyggalag surrendered the Mantle, or role, of Sheogorath to the mortal Champion of Cyrodiil. Two-hundred years later, the new Sheogorath looks and acts just as their predecessor; regardless of whatever their race or gender was prior to taking the mantle.
  • Posthumous Character: Numerous characters from the series' backstory have been dead for hundreds or even thousands of years prior to the events of the games, but their impact is still felt as a catalyst for those events. Notable examples include St. Alessia, founder of the First Cyrodiilic Empire whose pact with the Eight (later Nine) Divines is felt in numerous occassions throughout the series, and Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Cyrodiilic Empire (the current empire in the main series of games) who ascended after his death as Talos, the Ninth Divine. Other examples can be found on the series' Historical Figures sub-page.
  • Potion-Brewing Mechanic: Alchemy mechanics have long been an essential part of the series. Though the exact mechanics of the process vary throughout the series, creating potions (or poisons) typically involves harvesting plant, animal, and/or monster parts for raw ingredients, figuring out which four harmful or beneficial magical effects each of them has, and then mixing two or more ingredients with a certain effect to produce a potion of that effect. Your Alchemy Skill Score usually determines the potency of the potion.
  • Power Crystal:
    • The series in general has these in the form of Soul Gems, which can be used in conjunction with a Soul Trap spell to trap the souls of enemies as they die. The more powerful the creature, the higher quality the Soul Gem must be in order to trap its soul. Once trapped, the filled Soul Gem can be used to Enchant an item, imbuing it with spell effects. It can also be used to recharge an already enchanted item which has been drained through use.
    • The Ayleids, a presumed extinct race of Mer (Elves) who acted as Abusive Precursors to early humankind, had several types of crystalline objects imbued with magical power. Many of these are still found in their ruins in modern times (most notably in Oblivion which is set in their former homeland), but is now Magitek Lost Technology. To note:
      • Welkynd Stones restore Magicka to user.
      • Varla Stones can be used in the place of the aforementioned Soul Gems to recharge enchanted items.
      • The Ayleids also possessed "memory crystals", which could release memories directly to the user. Overuse of these crystals was said to cause a "problem of capacity" for mortal minds.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child:
    • Depending on how empathic you are, Soul Gems. They are used to trap the souls of slain creatures, and the resulting soul can then be used to enchant an item. Black Soul Gems take this even further. They are a variant of soul gem, favored by Necromancers, which allows the trapping of sapient (Men, Mer, Beast Race) souls. In fact, sapient souls create some of the most powerful enchantments in the series.
    • Daedric equipment is this by default. Each piece of Daedric equipment is Ebony with a Daedric soul infused into it at creation.
  • Power Floats:
    • Throughout the series and in the background lore, the ability to levitate is common among Tamriel's vampire bloodlines, with the exact details of the ability varying.
    • Vivec, the Dunmeri Tribunal deity, can often be found floating. He most commonly floats in a Levitating Lotus Position.
  • Powerful Pick: Picks appear a few times in the series, sometimes as a type of Utility Weapon needed to mine ore. However, they generally aren't particularly useful in combat.
  • Power Glows: Enchanted items are given a magical "sheen" in the series, starting with Morrowind. Downplayed, however, as it is not enough to provide true illumination.
  • Power Nullifier: Until the practice was finally outlawed in the early 4th Era, the Dunmer practiced slavery. While they could ensure that implements of combat like weapons and armor be kept away from the slaves to prevent revolt, it would be more difficult to ensure that the slaves could not use spells. Enter magically enchanted slave bracers. In addition to marking the wearer as a slave, the braces would drain Magicka from the wearer, preventing the casting of spells.
  • The Power of Creation: According to most in-game sources, this is one of the major differences between the Aedra (who can create and did aid in creation, but had to sacrifice so much of their power to do so that they no longer possess Complete Immortality) and the Daedra (who supposedly cannot create and did not aid in creation, but were left at full immortal power as a result). The truth ambiguous at best, with cited examples of Daedric beings involved in creation of all sorts throughout history. This is also clearly averted within the planes of the Daedric Princes, who can and do create, change, and alter them at will. Adding further ambiguity is the presence of Daedric artifacts within Mundus. These are items associated with the Daedric Princes and are often given to the mortal agents of the Princes as rewards and means of empowerment. Some sources paint these artifacts as fragments of the Princes themselves, given how they act as Empathic Items which can leave an unworthy holder and find a new one.
  • The Power of Love: This trope falls under the sphere of Mara, the Aedric Divine Goddess of Love. She is a Love Goddess focusing more on the familial, matrimonial, and fertility aspects of love (compared to Dibella, the Goddess of Beauty, who focuses more on the sexual and carnal aspects of it). She gave the gift of love to mortals and her teachings indicate that it can change their destiny. Also covers Love Redeems, as her teachings state "those who offer their love to the Divines will never be forsaken."
  • The Power of the Sun:
    • Throughout the series, all known bloodlines of vampire are, at the very least, weaker in sunlight than they are at night. This ranges from a mild irritation which prevents natural healing and Magicka regen, to outright being burned by sunlight and potentially being killed by it.
    • Magnus, the "God of Magic" who served as the architect of Mundus (the mortal plane), provides an indirect example. Magnus created the sun (which is named after him) when he fled Mundus after realizing that the et'Ada who participated in its creation would be greatly weakened and forever bound to it. Magnus punched a hole through to Aetherius, the realm of magic, as he escaped. The magical energy flowing into Mundus through the sun is what allows for the use of magic among mortals. Essentially, all magic in the ES universe is a form of the Power of the Sun.
  • Power of the Void: This is the realm of Sithis, a deity (some say a primordial force) neither Aedra nor Daedra, who is said to represent the primordial chaos of the universe. Sithis is sometimes anthropomorphized by various groups, including the Dark Brotherhood, which operates in direct service to their "Dread Father" Sithis and who seek to serve him "in the Void" after death, and the Hist, a race of sentient trees native to the Black Marsh who are said to "acknowledge" Sithis as the original creator of the universe. Sithis is venerated by many other cultures throughout Tamriel as well as a force of change, though outright worship is rare.
  • Powers Do the Fighting: The forte of a Conjuration expert. Summon a few monsters, sit back, and let them kill your foes.
  • Powers That Be: The Aedra and Daedra are highly active divine beings (with the Daedra more so than the Aedra). However, behind them, acting much more subtly, are Anui-El ("the Soul of All Things" and embodiment of order) and Sithis (the "Great Void", embodiment of chaos, and "Is-Not"). They are said to be the remnants or "spirits" of Anu and Padomay, the personifications of the primordial forces of stasis and change whose interplay created "creation" itself, respectively. It is from their spilled and intermingled blood that the et'Ada, or "original spirits", who would go on to become the Aedra and Daedra, emerged.
  • Practically Different Generations: This is common for children among the Long-Lived species of Mer (Elves). Mer age similarly to the races of Men until early adulthood, at which point their aging slows considerably. While subject to an Immortal Procreation Clause which limits the overall number of a children a Merrish woman can have (with few having more than three), they apparently remain fertile for hundreds of years. A prominent example is Barenziah, Queen and later Queen Mother of Morrowind and Wayrest. As a teenager, she had an affair with Emperor Tiber Septim, which resulted in a pregnancy. As a child with a Dunmeri mistress would be incredibly inconvenient to Septim and his nascent empire, he ordered his healer to magically abort the child. Barenziah would later marry Septim's Dunmeri general, Symmachus, and have two children with him - Helseth and Morgiah - some 350 years after conceiving with Septim. Around 20 years later, she would also birth an illegitimate child (Dralsi Indoril) with a mysterious figure known as the "Nightingale", later revealed to be Drayven Indoril (mother of Karliah from Skyrim).
  • Praetorian Guard:
    • Throughout much of the series and in the backstory, the Blades act as this for the Emperors of Tamriel. In addition to acting as the Emperor's elite bodyguards, they also act as spies throughout the Empire. You get an opportunity to join them in each game since Morrowind.
    • The Blades were inspired and influenced by the Akaviri Dragonguard, who were taken on by founder of the Second Tamriellic Empire, Reman Cyrodiil, after he defeated them during their invasion of Tamriel. After using the Thu'um against them during the decisive Battle of Pale Pass, they recognized Reman as "Dragonborn" and swore fealty to him, becoming a Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards as his personal bodyguard.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: With only a few exceptions, the Thieves' Guild doesn't allow killing. Not for any moral reasons mind you, it's simply bad for business. (Leaving behind dead bodies draws attention, makes people more hostile, and getting rid of the bodies takes work and bribe money.)
  • Precursors:
    • For all the mortal races, save for possibly the Argonians (the lore is unclear), there is the Ehlnofey. They are the lesser et'Ada ("original spirits") from the creation of Mundus who remained in the mortal realm and populated it, becoming the progenitors of the modern races. This is also why all of the extant races of Men and Mer are capable of interbreeding. (This is possibly true for the Khajiit as well, but there have been no canonical instances to date.)
    • After the Ehlnofey, for the races of Mer (Elves), come the Aldmer. They came to Tamriel during the Merethic Era from the now-lost continent of Aldmeris (though other sources say that Aldmeris was another name for Tamriel prior to the emergence of the races of men). Whatever the case, the Altmer are their closest living relatives with the other races of Mer having split off over the ages for various reasons (usually religious in nature).
    • For the races of Men, except for the Redguard and maybe the Nords (again, there is unclear and contradictory lore) it is the Nedes. Septim propaganda claims that they came from the now frozen-over continent of Atmora, though this may have been a lie meant to appeal to the mighty Nords to make them supportive of the Cyrodiilic empire. Other sources state that they were among the many human tribes native to Tamriel (or the collective name for these tribes). In either case, they are definitely the precursors of the Imperials and Bretons, with the Nibenese Imperials as their closest living relatives.
    • There were known to be actual migrants from Atmora, known as the Atmorans, who emigrated to Tamriel throughout the 1st Era after Atmora began to experience the "Frost Fall", a gradual complete freeze that would render it uninhabitable. They definitely make up at least part of the ancestry of the Nords.
    • The now-extinct Dwemer and Ayleids were Abusive Precursors to the Falmer and Nedes, respectively. Additional details can be found on that trope page.
    • The Men of Akavir, possibly or in part to the Tsaesci "snake vampires''. The lore states that there was once a race of Men who lived on the continent of Akavir, far to the east of Tamriel. However, they were "devoured" by the Tsaesci and are now gone. While some believe this means they were literally eaten, another theory posits that this is a metaphor for being enslaved and/or culturally absorbed. (Another work regarding the Tsaesci uses "devour" and "enslave" interchangeably in reference to what the Tsaesci did to the red dragons of Akavir.)
  • Pressure Point: The recurring in-game book, Night Falls on Sentinel, features an assassin named Jomic describes various pressure points to a potential client, and boasts about how he can exploit them to kill someone with a light tap on the head, or knock someone out without leaving so much as a bruise. The 'client' in question turns out to be a knight with a warrant for Jomic's arrest, who quickly subdues him and decides to use Jomic's own pressure points to torture him.
  • Press X to Die: Several games include poisoned food items and/or enchanted items which deal massive damage to the wearer upon equip. There is nothing stopping you from consuming these items or equipping these items...
  • Prestigious Player Title: You generally receive at least one through completing each game's main quest, and a number of others are optional if you choose to play through the various faction questlines. The main one you receive through the main quest is the one your character is typically referred to in Red Baron fashion in later games, acknowledging that character but allowing him/her to remain a Featureless Protagonist.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo:
    • Throughout the series, references to the player characters from the previous games are sprinkled in. Downplayed, however, in that none so far have actually made a true appearance. This is stated to be an intentional action taken by the developers, so as not to "make canon" any particular version of those player characters and thus, invalidate anyone's play-throughs.
    • In Skyrim, during Sheogorath's Daedric quest, Sheogorath makes several statements which strongly imply that he was formerly the Champion of Cyrodiil, the player character of Oblivion who inherited the mantle of Sheogorath during the Shivering Isles expansion. That said, it's still not a straight example, as Skyrim's Sheogorath looks and acts exactly the same as the previous Sheogorath, except for maybe having Taken A Level In Kindness.
  • Pride:
  • Primal Chest-Pound: Ogrim are a massive form of lesser Daedra that are as dim-witted as they are strong. They are known to perform this.
  • Primal Stance: This is a trait of Scamps. While they stop short of walking on all fours, Scamps have very hunched over postures. They're also among the less intelligent of the sentient Daedra.
  • Primordial Chaos: The universe started out as this in the most prominent Creation Myth, with "The Void." While the exact details of creation vary from culture to culture, there are a few consistent elements. Two forces would enter this void ("Anu/Stasis/Order/Light" and "Padomay/Chaos/Change/Darkness.") The two forces would come into conflict over "Creation," with their spilled blood becoming the Aedra and the Daedra.
  • Prison Episode:
    • Each game in the main series except for Daggerfall starts the Player Character off as a prisoner. Escaping or being released is usually part of the tutorial, before the game Opens The Sandbox.
    • If you commit a crime and then speak to a guard, you have the option of paying a fine, going to jail, or resisting arrest. Choosing to go to jail, depending on the game, either has an amount of time pass based on the size of your bounty or literally puts you in a jail cell with the options to try to escape or sleep in the bed to serve your sentence. In each case save for escape, one of your skills will randomly decrease as part of the punishment. (Simulating not using it due to being in jail.)
  • Private Military Contractors:
    • The Fighters Guild, an organization of "warriors-for-hire" who operate throughout most of Tamriel. The Guild is chartered by Empire of Tamriel to provide training and employment to citizens of the martial persuasion. The Guild got it start during the reign of the Akaviri Potentate Versidue-Shaie, who dissolved and outlawed the private armies of nobles throughout the Empire. Given that the citizens of Tamriel still had a need for protective services beyond what the Imperial Legions could provide and that there was a need to prevent thousands of unemployed soldiers from straying into brigandry, Versidue-Shaie ordered the formation of the Syffim (the Tsaesci word for "soldier"), the group that would eventually become the Fighters Guild. Fighters Guild Halls can accept contracts from any citizen of the empire, as long as it does not violate any laws or customs. These most often involve dealing with dangerous wild animals, collecting bounties on criminals, protection and bodyguard services, and, at the highest levels, dealing with supernatural threats including vampires, necromancers, and Daedra worshipers.
    • The Companions are a regional variant that operates only within Skyrim. (Due to their presence, the Fighters Guild stays out of Skyrim.) The Companions trace their organization back to the original 500 Companions of Ysgramor, who slaughtered Skyrim's native Falmer (Snow Elves) and claimed Skyrim for the Atmorans (ancestors of the Nords). They fulfill many of the duties that the Fighters Guild performs in other territories.
  • Procedural Generation: Has been used in some form in every main series game to date with the exception of Morrowind. Arena and Daggerfall have everything except for a few plot-important cities and dungeons procedurally generated. Oblivion and Skyrim still use this for landscapes, rocks, vegetation, etc.
  • Professional Killer:
    • The series has two prominent Murder, Inc. groups who are fierce rivals:
      • The Morag Tong is a guild of assassins officially sanctioned by the Dunmeri government. To put it lightly, the Dunmer Great Houses don't get along very well, and since open warring between the Great Houses would weaken the Dunmer overall, the Morag Tong was sanctioned as the solution. Whenever someone with a enough wealth to hire the Morag Tong wants someone dead, an "Honorable Writ of Execution" will be created for that person and a Tong assassin will be dispatched to kill them. They follow a strict code of honor and are highly professional in regards to their work.
      • The Dark Brotherhood is a fully criminal offshoot of the Morag Tong who operate throughout the rest of Tamriel. The Brotherhood's membership is primarily much closer to a Psycho for Hire group, taking a sadistic glee in killing while practicing a Religion of Evil dedicated to Sithis. Despite this, they typically tend to encourage stealth and subtlety, and do offer bonuses to assassins willing to fulfill contracts in a specific manner, often at the behest of the client.
    • The Thalmor, the ruling party of the Aldmeri Dominion also have their own assassin squads. They're typically used to silence dissenters and eliminate threats to the Dominion. Following the Great War in the 4th Era, they see heavy use hunting down the remaining Blades and eliminating Talos worshipers.
  • Projectile Spell: The series has these throughout. Any spell which doesn't target the caster ("On Self") acts in this way. The primary exception are the "On Touch" spells in Morrowind, but even these count as a variation since they won't work if you aren't close enough and aren't facing the right direction.
  • Promoted to Playable: Orcs and Imperials became this as of Morrowind. Prior to that, the Orcs were generic Mooks in Arena and, while they got development toward becoming Blizzard Orcs in Daggerfall, they weren't actually playable until Morrowind. Also prior to Morrowind, The Empire was considered to be a melting pot of all the other races. Redguard was the first game to define Imperials as a distinct race, but they were not yet playable. Morrowind then made them payable for the first time.
  • Properly Paranoid: The loosely historical In-Game Novel 2920: The Last Year of the First Era series shows Emperor Reman Cyrodiil III going through increasing paranoia starting from the first book. Played with in that the plot against him that leads to his assassination arises out of his own paranoid lashing-out, including having his mistress executed because he thought she was plotting to poison him. She wasn't; she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He also probably trusted the Akaviri ambassador a little too much, but the ambassador seems to have exploited the existing plot rather than having been directly involved in it.
  • Prophecy Pileup: Prominent throughout the series. The Player Character is usually the prophesied hero of the main quest, often of the expansion questlines, and even the faction questlines and some random sidequests sometimes involve prophecies which the PC naturally fulfills as well. The prophecies usually do not conflict, though this is played with in a few instances.
  • Prophecy Twist: According to the "heretical" tales of Tiber Septim's life, in the late 2nd Era, the Greybeards, masters of the Thu'um, summoned The Chosen One who would restore the Empire and conquer the elves to High Hrothgar, their monastery on the Throat of the World. Wulfharth Ash-King, the legendary ancient King of the Nords, famous Shezarrine who had died and come back to life at least three times, and noted Elf-hater, Jumped at the Call and went to the Greybeards. Instead, Wulfharth is "blasted to ash" by the Greybeards who declare Hjalti of High Rock (a young Tiber Septim) to be the one instead. The Greybeards do leave him with a message though: "remember the color of betrayal." When Tiber Septim makes an Armistice with Morrowind, validating the rule of the Dunmeri Tribunal that Wulfharth hates so much, Wulfharth believes this to be the "betrayal" and leaves Septim. It turns out that this is not the case. Septim later contacts Wulfharth and agrees that the Tribunal must be destroyed. However, when Wulfharth arrives, he is ambushed by Zurin Arctus and Imperial soldiers. Arctus soul-traps Wulfharth within the Mantella, but not before Wulfharth kills Arctus with his dying breath. This was the betrayal the Greybeards spoke of.
  • Protagonist Without a Past: Starts off averted in Arena, where we get the most background information out of any ES main series Player Character to date. Then Downplayed in Daggerfall, where a few details are given (you're a personal associate of the Emperor and can choose some additional details during character generation) and further Downplayed in Morrowind (where you only know the details of your past as they match the Nerevarine Prophecy). Played straight in Oblivion and Skyrim, where the PC may well not have even existed before the start of the game.
  • Proud Beauty: This is a trait of Meridia, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. Meridia embodies light and life, and so takes an appearance that mortals would perceive as a beautiful woman. She is well aware of this fact, and takes pride in the fact that mortals find everything about her, even her visible form, pleasant and appealing.
  • Proud Merchant Race:
    • The Khajiit are known as skilled traders. Among other things. They draw heavily from the Roma as part of their Culture Chop Suey, and are known throughout Tamriel for their cross-continental traveling caravans.
    • The Imperials are famous for this, setting up mercantilism and trade ties between the provinces of their various empires as a means to peacefully hold them together. The Nibenese, a sub-race of Imperials native to the Niben River Valley in eastern and southern Cyrodiil, were also famous for this in-lore with their merchant-nobility, but this died out by the end of the Septim Empire.
    • The Dunmeri Great House Hlaalu, prior to their dissolution in the early 4th Era, fell in this role. Their focus was on mercantilism and trade, along with all of the corporate espionage and backstabbing that usually entailed. Their trade ties to the Septim Empire made them the strongest and richest Great House during the 3rd Era, with the King of Morrowind and Duke of Vvardenfell both belonging to House Hlaalu. (Ironically, these very same ties would be their undoing following the Oblivion Crisis and Red Year.)
  • Proud Scholar Race:
  • Proud Warrior Race: With Nirn being such a World of Badass, every race has at least some "warrior" traits which have helped them to survive and for which they are proud of. However, a few races have this trope invoked in-universe:
    • The Nords. A race of Men, they exemplify the idea that Humans Are Warriors. It took a mere 500 of their ancestors' best warriors to annihilate the entire Falmer civilization. Being a great warrior is even at the heart of their religion, where only those who die a glorious death in combat get into their ideal afterlife, Sovngarde (modeled after the real life Valhalla). While most Nords follow the main religion of most of Tamriel (the Nine Divines), many hold Talos, the ascended god form of Emperor Tiber Septim and God of War, as the chief deity of the pantheon. When worship of Talos is banned in the 4th Era, it launches them into a bloody civil war. This has also led to them having a disdain for magic (that and magic's association with the Falmer) though Healing is held in high regard (no surprise) and despite them looking down on it, they're still happy to buy alchemical potions and magically-enhanced enchanted weapons. This dislike of magic is a historically recent phenomenon, as the ancient Nords considered magic (called the "Clever Craft") as part of their warrior traditions.
    • The Redguards, a dark-skinned race of Men with a cultural mix of Moors, Arabs, and Samurai, make for some of the greatest warriors in Tamriel, and are perhaps the most skilled individual warriors. Swords and swordsmanship hold a high value in Redguard culture, to the point where the most Sacred Scripture of their race is a treatise on sword techniques. Their greatest ancient warriors, known as the Ansei or "Sword Saints", could summon swords made from their very souls known as Shehai, and the greatest of those could use a Fantastic Nuke known as the "Pankratosword," in which they would use their swords to "cut the atomos." In the late 2nd Era, it was believed that a Redguard uprising was the greatest threat to Tiber Septim's Rising Empire. Come the 4th Era, they are once again considered one of the only groups who could stand up to a full-blown Aldmeri Dominion assault, something they have already repelled once after the Vestigial Empire ceded much of Hammerfell to the Dominion and the Redguards refused to accept it.
    • In keeping with the Humans Are Warriors theme, there are the Imperials, another race of Men native to Cyrodiil. They come down on the "Soldier" side of the Soldier Versus Warrior debate in contrast to the "Warrior" Nords and Redguards. Their focus is on collective martial prowess, ala the legions of the Roman Empire, and it has allowed them to conquer most or all of Tamriel no fewer than four times. They are also a proud "Diplomat" and "Merchant" race, in that once they've conquered a region with their Legions, they like to build up the region to make it more supportive of the Empire while dominating the economy through trade.
    • The Orcs. Also known as Orsimer (Changed Elves), their culture believes that Asskicking Equals Authority, leading to plenty of Klingon Promotions and many Orcs being Blood Knights. Their racial ability leads to them being fantastic Berserkers, capable of flying into an Unstoppable Rage. The Septim Empire was the first to recruit them into the Imperial Legions, benefiting greatly as the Orcs made for fantastic heavy "shock" infantry. They are also a race of incredibly skilled Blacksmiths, making some of the sturdiest weapons and armor in Tamriel.
    • The Dunmer (Dark Elves) of Morrowind, being one of the series' best examples of a Jack-of-All-Stats race, offer many examples through their "Great Houses". Great House Redoran is the "Warrior House" of the Dunmer, following a strict code of honor and highly valuing martial prowess in its members. They are the Dunmer's first line of defense and even the Imperial Legions recognize the Redorans as a Badass Army. In the backstory, when Tiber Septim was threatening to invade Morrowind, House Redoran was preparing to defend Morrowind on their own while the other Great Houses chose to remain neutral or to accommodate the empire before the armistice was signed. Following the Red Year and subsequent Argonian invasion early in the 4th era, it was the Redorans who stepped up to lead the defense of Morrowind and rebuild the Dunmer way of life after Great House Hlaalu, formerly the strongest Great House, crumbled.
    • The Dremora, a race of lesser Daedra, are very much one of these. They are constantly obsessed with honor through combat, and the strongest of their race rise into leadership positions. They are frequently found in service to the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon, whom they serve as Legions of Hell, and are Blood Knights who seek out the toughest foes. While they generally look down on mortals, they will consider any who can best them in combat to be a Worthy Opponent.
    • Similarly, the Aureals (aka Golden Saints) and Mazken (aka Dark Seducers), two forms of lesser Daedra in service to Sheogorath, are these as well. Each has a heavily militaristic society, thriving on conflict and warfare. They are known to engage in conflicts with each other for both the favor of Sheogorath and simply as an outlet for their aggression.
    • Dragons (Dov or Dovah) have this type of culture. Due to the urge for conquest and domination being an inherent trait within their species, whenever two Dragons meet, one will naturally try to dominate the other.
  • Psycho for Hire: Throughout the series, the Dark Brotherhood are an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil. They accept anyone willing to kill on command and who has shown at least some skill in doing so. This eclectic mix of talented killers still tends to be very effective at what they do, right up to having assassinated the Emperor of Tamriel. They're joinable in Daggerfall, Oblivion, and Skyrim, and their questlines provide many opportunities for the Player Character to be one of these as well.
  • Psychopomp:
    • Arkay, the God of Life and Death among the Nine Divines, is one in his Yokudan/Redguard aspect of Tu'whacca. Tu'whacca guides the souls of the honored dead to the Far Shores, where he serves as caretaker.
    • Kynareth, the Goddess of the Air among the Nine Divines, is one in her Khajiiti and Nordic aspects as Kynarthi and Kyne, respectively. In particular, as Kyne, she fills a role similar to that the Valkyries.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: 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.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Unsurprisingly common for some of the Large Ham deities in the series. Examples include:
    • Now you face the ONE! TRUE! GOD!
    • LYING MAGGOT... THEY'RE! MY! OGRES!
    • Malacath. is not. popular. at parties!
  • Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër: The Fantastic Naming Convention of the Khajiit includes apostrophes and hyphens. Apostrophes are used primarily by male Khajiit to indicate their status or profession, such as Ra'Virr and Dro'Zel. ("Ra" means "esteemed/respected leader". "Dro" means "grandfather".) Apostrophes are much more rarely used by female Khajiit. Hyphens are used by Khajiit of both sexes to separate a suffix. Some names use both, indicating two titles which is considered to be arrogant.
  • Puny Earthlings: The series provides a fantasy example. The lesser Daedra, a catch-all term for the denizens of Oblivion, the infinite void surrounding Mundus (the mortal realm), are vaguely demonic inter-dimensional beings frequently found in service to the Daedric Princes. They possess Complete Immortality, and if their physical forms are slain, their spirits ("animus") simply returns to Oblivion to reform. Despite being an extremely varied group, one thing that the lesser Daedra near-universally believe is that they are unquestionably superior to mortals.
  • Puppet King:
    • This is what the position "King of Morrowind" has been ever since Morrowind's vassalization into the Empire under Tiber Septim. Septim was convinced by his Dunmeri General, Symmachus, to spare the young Barenziah, the sole survivor of her influential Dunmeri family after the Imperial Legion sacked Mournhold, for this reason. She would be placed in foster care until she came of age and then would be installed Queen of Morrowind, a figurehead ruler who would appease the Dunmer and look out for Imperial interests. The Tribunal Temple and Great Houses held any and all real power as far as the Dunmer people were concerned, while the position of "King" (or Queen) was an Imperial convention they had no need or respect for. Come the late 3rd Era, Manipulative Bastard and renowned Chessmaster Hlaalu Helseth (Barenziah's son) takes over as King with plans to change that...
    • Once the madness of Emperor Pelagius the Mad became too publicly apparent, he was declared unfit to rule, institutionalized, and his wife, Katariah, was made Empress Regent to rule in his place. Pelagius was Emperor in name only from that point until his death. Imperial history books as much as admits that Katariah was the de-facto ruler even before that point (one even suggests that having someone competent to actually keep things running was the entire point of Pelagius' father arranging the marriage), and the Regency mostly marked the point when even the pretense of Pelagius being in charge couldn't be maintained.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: For about 99% of each game, gender is completely aesthetic. In the pre-Skyrim games with character attributes, the starting attributes are slightly different between genders of the same race, and there is the occasional quest (or set of quests) only available to (or is slightly different for) one gender, but these are only a very small minority. Really, the gaming experience is the same regardless of your character's gender. Taken Up to Eleven in Skyrim, where (thanks to Everyone Is Bi) every single marriageable character can be married regardless of your character's gender.
  • The Purge:
    • Early in Tamriellic history the Falmer (Snow Elves) grew fearful of the growing Atmoran (Precursors of Mankind) population in Skyrim. Though the details of the event in question vary between different tellings, the Falmer attacked and massacred the Atmoran city of Saarthal. However, Ysgramor and his sons survived. They returned to Atmora and rallied an army of 500 of Atmora's greatest warriors. They returned to Skyrim and enacted a purge of their own, wiping out the vast majority of the Falmer population. Aside from one small population at a very remote monastery, the surviving Falmer fled to their Dwemer cousins for protection. This proved to be an even worse mistake, as the Dwemer would only protect the Falmer under the condition that they voluntarily blind themselves with a toxic mushroom and agree to become servitors of the Dwemer. The ones who agreed would eventually become the Always Chaotic Evil modern Falmer; barely sapient Morlock-like creatures who inhabit the ruins of the Dwemer cities in Skyrim to this day.
    • The Alessian Order was a rabidly anti-Elven religious sect which established a Theocracy in the 1st Era that wielded nearly as much power as the Emperor at its height. The Order was involved with a number of purges, to note:
      • They sought the elimination of the remaining Ayleids in Cyrodiil, along with destroying any of their writings and cultural items. Essentially, the Order attempted to Unperson the Ayleids.
      • Despite the status of Belharza (the son of St. Alessia and the demi-god Morihaus, believed to have been the first Minotaur) as Emperor and the Minotaur race's loyalty/devotion to the Alessian Empire, the Alessian Order demonized them as well. Minotaurs were reclassified as "monsters" and driven from civilized areas, with whatever culture they had being destroyed.
      • The Order had this done to them when Wulfharth became the High King of Skyrim. Wulfharth's first law outlawed the Order within Skyrim, and he ordered the slaughtering the members of the Order within Skyrim's borders and burning their temples to the ground.
    • The Dark Brotherhood, an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil, have a rule against killing other members. However, this is relaxed during a "Purification", in which all the members of a Sanctuary are killed due to betrayal or suspicions of betrayal. Despite the order's long history, this measure is noted to be extremely rare with Lucien Lachance saying it only happened three times, with the last one taking place during the Oblivion Crisis.
    • In the 200 year Time Skip between the events of Oblivion and Skyrim, one of the Thalmor's first acts when they took power in the re-formed Aldmeri Dominion was to purge Valenwood and the Summerset Isles of all Blades agents, then send their severed heads to the Emperor in Cyrodiil. The Thalmor are good at this; shortly after they first took Valenwood, they conducted internal purges to get rid of everyone who opposed them. (In Skyrim, a Bosmer NPC is willing to help you infiltrate the Thalmor embassy because his family was killed in "one of the Thalmor's purges you never hear about.") Given their total silence towards the rest of Tamriel, it's possible this purge bordered on a civil war. Even after it was over, Thalmor agents hunted down and slaughtered dissidents outside of Dominion territory. And now that they've forced the Empire to ban Talos worship, they're permitted by treaty to conduct their own inquisition on anyone suspected of still worshiping him.
  • Purposely Overpowered: A number of items and abilities qualify throughout the series. In most cases, the item belongs to someone who is nearly impossible to kill (with the item contributing to the difficulty in killing them), making it difficult to take the item. Alternatively, you may receive the overpowered item or ability very late in the story, well after it would have been most useful. (Though it is still quite powerful). Specific examples are available on the trope page.
  • Put on a Bus: Eightnote  of the 16 Daedric Princes introduced in Daggerfall do not appear in Morrowind. These missing Princes obviously still exist, several of their artifacts appear, and they are mentioned in dialogue and in in-game books, but they do not make an appearance themselves. All of them return for Oblivion.
  • Pyramid Power: The shrines of Julianos, the Aedric Divine God of Wisdom and Logic, are in the shape of a pyramid. The symbol of Julianos is also a simple triangle.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: What the Great War was for both the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion. Ultimately the Empire stood as the victor, having decisively defeated the Dominion at Battle of the Red Ring, but said battle was won at a high cost, and Emperor Titus Mede II decided to use the windfall of the victory to sue for peace rather than continuing the fight, accepting a peace treaty, the so-called White-Gold Concordat, that altogether was not very different from the original ultimatum from the Dominion that had triggered the war in the first place, meaning that the Empire had effectively won the war, but lost the peace. On the other side, the Dominion might have won a great political victory in the end, but at the cost of a huge amount of manpower and severely overextending itself, something which became evident when Hammerfell decided to continue the fight alone and actually managed to single-handedly kick the Dominion out of their territory a scant few years later. And in the end, both sides sees the war as merely a prelude to a future armed conflict that will probably be just as devastating (at the very least).
  • Quest Giver: Throughout the series, quest givers are content to wait for the Player Character to come to them as is befitting of the series' Wide Open Sandbox nature. In a select few cases, you may be approached by the questgiver instead, but these are very much the exception to the rule.
  • The Quisling:
    • Great House Hlaalu was this from the perspective of the Dunmer when Tiber Septim was threatening to invade. Even before Vivec called for an armistice, the Hlaalu advocated joining the Empire. As a result of their cooperation with the Imperials, House Hlaalu experienced an unprecedented surge in power and influence, politically and economically, throughout the 3rd Era. They had their members placed as the Imperial Puppet King of Morrowind, saw their faction leaders named to various high-ranking Imperial stations (such as Duke of Vvardenfell), and were awarded the vast majority of the lucrative Ebony mining contracts in their homeland. However, this came back to bite them following the Oblivion Crisis in the early 4th Era, where a series of catastrophes left Morrowind devastated and they saw their Imperial allies abandon them as a lost cause. Meanwhile, the other Great Houses, specifically the Redorans, took charge and helped the Dunmer people move on and rebuild. As a result, Morrowind declared its independence and House Hlaalu was unceremoniously stripped of all its power and turned into a scapegoat for all the Dunmer people's suffering.
    • Similarly, the Archein tribe of Argonians was one of these. During the 3rd Era, they made fortunes by selling other Argonians into slavery. They also served as the advisors of the Imperial governors in Black Marsh, while being allowed to more directly rule over the more rural areas. When the Empire fell following the Oblivion Crisis, the Archeins quickly went bankrupt and were hunted by other Argonians as traitors.

    R 
  • Racial Remnant:
    • It is rumored that Ayleids still live in the untamed wilds across Tamriel, but the odd unconfirmed sighting is the only evidence for it. By the 4th Era, centuries have gone by without a reliable sighting. Many Ayleid refugees fled Cyrodiil during and immediately following the Alessian Revolt, but few found safe havens. One group went into High Rock and joined the Direnni Altmer there, where they formed the "last kingdom of the Ayleids" under the leadership of Laloriaran Dynar; it managed to keep going for a while and even defeated the Alessian Empire at the battle of Glenumbra Moors, but eventually the local Bretons displaced them. Other Ayleid clans went into Valenwood where they were taken in by the Bosmer, but went native and were eventually completely absorbed into the Bosmer race.
    • The last group who identified as Nedes, human ancestors to most of the modern races of Men, lived into the late 1st Era in the deserts of Hammerfell. They were wiped out when the Redguards invaded and claimed the land.
    • The modern Redguards of Hammerfell are the survivors of the calamity that destroyed Yokuda. Even into the 4th Era, they are said to be few in number relative to the other races of Tamriel.
    • The Kothringi were a race of primitive silver-skinned menfolk native to the Black Marsh. However, during the 2nd Era, they were almost completely wiped out by the Knahaten Flu. Two remnant groups were known to have survived for at least a few decades after, however:
      • A group of Kothringi refugees escaped their homeland aboard the Crimson Ship. However, they were denied refuge anywhere in Tamriel and sailed westward. Redguard sailors later supposedly found the ship with all aboard having died, but other tales tell that none who see the ship ever return alive.
      • The chief of the Kothringi tribe in Stillrise Village made a deal with Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes, in order to survive the Flu. Vile kept his end of the bargain, but did so by transforming the populace into immortal, undead skeletons. The villagers maintained living appearances through illusion magic and lived in peace for over 20 years, but a group of necromancers discovered their secret and attempted to enslave them. The villagers defeated the necromancers, but would eventually succumb to their own infighting.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: 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. It's implied that violent madness comes form his inherently conflicting nature: Pelinal was an Aedric being (the "original spirits" who sacrificed portions of their divine power to create Mundus, the mortal world, later referred to as the Divines) but was also a Shezarrine, an incarnation of Lorkhan, who "tricked" the Aedra into their sacrifice and was "killed" by them as a result. This conflicting nature often had him Raging Against The Heavens, ranting and raving at the Divines (especially Akatosh) who sent him to aid Alessia. When he went too far in one of his fits of rage and damaged the very lands themselves, the Divines nearly left the world in disgust until they were appeased by Alessia's prayers and sacrifices.
  • Rage Helm: Daedric helmets have this as a pretty standard design throughout the series. Other helmets may also have this on a game-by-game basis.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Justified when it comes to the creations of the Dwemer throughout the series. The Naytheistic Dwemer were known to bend the "Earth Bones," essentially the laws of nature and physics, in order to make their creations last. Even thousands of years after the race mysteriously disappeared, their Magitek machinery continues to crank away. This includes their numerous death traps and "Animunculi".
  • Rags to Riches: The series' Player Characters almost universally start off as penniless prisoners (or in one case, a penniless shipwreck survivor). As you progress through the games, you usually find enough Money for Nothing and more legendary artifacts than you can possibly use, making you quite possibly one of the wealthiest individuals in all of Tamriel.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits:
    • Throughout the series, this is a very common trait of the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil. As long as you're willing to kill on command and have some skill in doing so, the Dark Brotherhood will welcome you. Notable members have included vampires, werewolves, heavily armored and axe wielding Orcs, pyromaniac mages who believe in No Kill Like Over Kill, and all other manner of misfit. The Dark Brotherhood is damned effective in what they do, right up to having assassinated the Emperor of Tamriel himself.
    • In the backstory, after urging from his son and fellow Ansei ("Sword Saints"), the legendary Yokudan/Redguard hero Frandar Hunding reluctantly led the forces of the Ansei against the corrupt Yokudan Emperor Hira, who was attempting to wipe them out to consolidate his power. Despite their abilities as swordsmen, they were few in number (Hira's forces outnumbered them thirty to one) and woefully unprepared to form into an organized army. Ever the Guile Hero, Frandar devised a strategy which allowed the Ansei to come out on top.
  • Railroading: With its open and non-linear nature, the series generally averts it. However, certain instances do pop up, typically to avoid making the game unwinnable, and these instances have gotten more frequent as the series has gone on. Specific examples by game can be found on the trope page.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Absolutely possible throughout the series, wearing mismatched armor sets and magical equipment simply for the bonuses. Skyrim takes a step toward downplaying the trope, due to encouraging the player to wear a complete set of armor, since there is a high-level Perk in both categories of armor that gives you a bonus if you wear a full matching set — however, you can mix-and-match within the categories of heavy and light armor and still get the bonus, so the trope can still come into play.
  • Raising the Steaks: The Sload, "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, have a natural affinity toward necromancy. The Sload are said to use this skill, in part, to "slaughter and revive" various forms of sea creature as pets, such as crabs and turtles.
  • Random Drop:
    • Generally averted throughout the series for quest-related items. In a select few cases, quests will require you to find several items which are randomly found throughout the game world. Naturally, these quests are some of the most likely to draw the ire of fans and stay unfinished...
    • Downplayed with creature Organ Drops. In most games, a certain creature will drop a part (such a hide or heart) the majority of the time. There is also a slim chance that the creature will not drop that part, or may drop two of that part.
  • Random Effect Spell: This is a power of the recurring Magic Staff Wabbajack, a Daedric artifact associated with Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. It can randomly turn those it strikes into harmless creatures (bunnies, sheep), monsters (various forms of lesser Daedra, or even inanimate objects (cheese, gold coins). It is generally a Joke Item you can have some fun with, though there are a few ways to make it more lethal in a few cases.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Arena and Daggerfall play it entirely straight with the exception of a few plot-essential cities and dungeons. Morrowind downplays it, as the entire world is hand-built, but some of the dungeon architecture still gives the impression that they may have been randomly generated during development. Oblivion and Skyrim have the same dungeon architecture feel of Morrowind, but play it straighter in that the enemies and loot within are determined via Level Scaling.
  • Randomly Generated Loot: Subverted throughout most of the series with non-unique enchanted items. For example, non-unique enchanted weapons follow the "X weapon of Y" naming format, IE [craftsmanship] weapon of [adjective corresponding to a power level] [enchantment effect] (or, for a specific example, Steel Sword of Greater Frost). Depending on the specific game in question, these items can be dropped by NPC enemies, found randomly in the world as loot, or found in the inventory of shops. In the games with strict Level Scaling, they will usually be scaled to the player's level.
  • Random Species Offspring: The Khajiit are comprised of at least 17 known sub-species. The offspring of a Khajiiti pairing has nothing to do with the sub-species of its parents, but rather, the phases of the moons under which it is born. In a case of Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action, these subspecies can range from the size of housecats, through various forms of humanoid cat-men, to elephant-sized tiger-men who can be ridden as Beasts Of Battle.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn:
    • Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption, is practically the patron deity of the trope. While he enjoys committing these acts himself, he especially enjoys it when he can manipulate mortals into doing this to each other.
    • Pillaging and slaughter were fairly common acts in the wars throughout Tamrielic history, especially in the Merethic Era. Most notable was the genocide of the Falmer (Snow Elves) by Ysgramor and his Five Hundred Companions when he invaded Skyrim. In later eras it became much less common, as armies invaded and only occupied lands, but the Orc kingdom of Orsinium suffered this fate pretty regularly by its High Rock and Hammerfell neighbors, and, during the Great War in the 4th Era, the region of Cyrodiil and particularly the Imperial City were subjected to this by the invading Aldmeri Dominion armies and their fanatically racist Thalmor leaders.
  • Rapid Aging: Wulfharth Ash-King was the legendary ancient King of the Nords and noted Shezarrine who has died and come back to life at least three times. After Alduin and Orkey turned everyone in Skyrim into children, Wulfharth used the Thu'um to age them all back up. However, he aged himself up too fast and died for the first time.
  • Raptor Attack: Clannfear are a form of lesser Daedra with animalistic intelligence and the general appearance of raptors with frills and beaks. While deadly on their own, they prefer to attack in packs and can bring down larger/more powerful prey when they do.
  • Rapunzel Hair: The Khajiit race is led by the Mane. Khajiit will cut off their manes in deference to the Mane, who will have them weaved into his own mane. As the Khajiit population grew over time, this became impractical, so in modern times, only the Mane's own tribe and his royal guard will cut their manes in this fashion. Still, the Mane is so weighted down by the hair that movement is difficult without aid and he will often travel the countryside by means of a palanquin.
  • Rare Candy:
    • Skill Books serve this purpose in every game starting with Morrowind. They raise a particular skill one point upon reading them and typically contain short stories relating to that skill.
    • The Oghma Infinium is a legendary book associated with the Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora, which either gives stat points to spend or directly raises skills, depending on the game. Fittingly, it is bound in Genuine Mer Hide.
    • Skill Trainers are a form that skips the middleman (you pay them, they raise a skill). Most trainers, however, can only raise you to a modest cap, often 50, after which you've Surpassed the Teacher. Some more advanced trainers can take you train you a bit more, but typically have a cap of around 75 and are usually associated with a guild or faction you must join in order to get their services. Finally, there are the "Master Trainers," who can take you all the way up to 90 (100 is the cap). There is typically only one master trainer in the game for each skill, and some are difficult to find. Finally, in Oblivion and Skyrim, you can only be trained 5 times per level (with 10 skill increases needed to level up). Regardless of game, high level skill trainers are almost always extremely expensive.
  • "Rashomon"-Style:
    • Throughout the series, the creation mythology, pantheons of deities, the story of the creation/formation of mortal life, and even many aspects of history itself vary significantly between different cultures. Each has a number of consistent elements, but offers many contradictory details as well. In the series' famous Mind Screw fashion, these tend to be treated as All Myths Are True, regardless of the conflicts and contradictions, or at least that all are Metaphorically True. (The number of Time Crashes and Cosmic Retcons also plays heavily into this trope, at several points merging two contradictory timelines to make them both true.)
    • A prominent specific example is the Battle of Red Mountain and it's aftermath (the disappearance of the Dwemer, the death of Lord Nerevar, the ascension of the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur as Physical Gods, and the transformation of the Chimer people into the modern Dunmer). Virtually all of the accounts of the surviving parties recount the events differently, mostly in highly contradictory ways.
  • Rat Stomp: At least one is generally present as a quest in each game, though it is often played with. Specific examples by game are available on the trope page.
  • Real Is Brown: Since the series' 3D Leap (and overall jump in graphical quality) starting with Morrowind, this trope has been heavily played with in different instances. A full break down by game is available on the trope page.
  • Reality-Breaking Paradox: The series has a version crossed with a Time Crash known as a "Dragon Break". These happen at a few major events in the backstory when the draconic God of Time, known by many names but most prominently as Akatosh, is "tampered with" so to speak, leading him to "forget" the true course of history for a period of time. This means that everything that could happen during said period of time, does happen all, even mutually exclusive events. They typically involve mortals attempting to use something of divine substance and cross over with Reality Is Out to Lunch.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: This tends to happen during events known as "Dragon Breaks", Time Crashes during which the usual forward flow of time is disrupted in some way, usually by mortals wielding a divine-level power. They also often alter reality, with consequences persisting even after they end. To note some specific examples:
    • In the series' backstory, during the 1st Era, the Marukhati Selectives, an elite group within the rabidly anti-Elven Alessian Order, carried out a ritual in an attempt to purge Akatosh, the draconic God of Time, of the elven aspects of his mythological basis - the Aldmeri golden eagle god Auri-El. This proceeded to break time and reality for a period of a 1008 years. Bizarre and impossible events occurred during this time; people gave birth to their own parents, some sources mention wars and major events which never happened according to other sources, the sun changed color depending on the witness, and the gods either walked among the mortals or they didn't. How could they measure that period of time? They used the phases of Nirn's moons, said to be Lorkhan's decaying "flesh divinity", to measure time as they were not affected by the event. Even the Elder Scrolls themselves cannot rationalize the events of the Middle Dawn. When the Scrolls are attuned to that time period, their glyphs disappear.
    • The Numidium, a giant brass golem built by the Dwemer and designed to be powered by the Heart of Lorkhan, was essentially their refutation of the gods made material. Because of this, it frequently warped reality merely by being activated, such as the temporal toxic waste dump in Elsweyr where Tiber Septim's mages tried to figure it out after the Dunmer Tribunal gave it to him as a tribute, or the Warp In The West, where all the mutually exclusive Multiple Endings in Daggerfall essentially happened at once (though none to the same extent they would have individually).
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: There is serious debate regarding to the Argonians being depicted as plantigrade (walking with the foot flat against the ground) or depicted as digitgrade (walking on the toes with the heel raised). Many fan complaints revolve around their plantigrade depictions as being "unrealistic". That said, true realism also depends on what type of reptile Argonians are actually based on. Squamatas (which include lizards) and testudines (turtles, tortoises) have plantigrade feet, but most archosaur reptiles (dinosaurs, crocodilians, birds) have digitigrade feet. According to some interpretations of the series' lore, the Argonians originally were just lizards raised to sapience and humanoid forms by the Hist, ancient and sentient trees the Argonians worship. In this case, having them walk plantigrade is the most realistic. However, the Argonians have also been underoing an ongoing (justified) Evolutionary Retcon throughout the series. In Morrowind, their most lizard-like (specifically iguana-like) appearance, they walk digitgrade, which is unrealistic. Through Oblivion and Skyrim, their appearance changes, making them look more aggressive, predatory, and (theropod) dinosaur-like. However, they are also changed to walk plantigrade, which for theropod dinosaurs, is unrealistic.
  • Reality Warper:
    • 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.
    • The Dwemer were (in)famous for doing this. Essentially, they used a form of Magic Music to alter the tonal architecture of the "Earthbones", essentially the laws of nature and physics which are required for the world to function. One of their most famous uses for this ability was the Ragnarök Proofing of their creations, ensuring that they would last in working order for eons. Other uses included constructing magical Humongous Mecha, a Weather-Control Machine, and a machine capable of safely reading an Elder Scroll while bypassing the usual nasty side effects. When the Dwemer discovered the still-beating Heart of Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god, they attempted to tap into its power in hopes of creating a new god - Anumidium (or "Walk-Brass"). They intended to use it to transcend mortality, but something went awry, causing the entire Dwemer race to disappear from all known planes of existence in a single instant.
    • The Psijic Order, a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel, is another group believed to be capable of this. It is believed that the abilities of the Psijics come from their manipulation of nature itself ("The Old Ways") rather than through the application of Magicka, like standard magic. However, the end result is largely the same. Still, the Psijics are capable of performing this in ways (and on a scale) which no other extant group in Tamriel is capable.
    • Dragons are a divine species with immortal Aedric souls, to whom their Language of Magic (referred to as the "Thu'um" by mortals) is so intrinsic to their very beings that it gives them a small scale reality warping effect. Using the Thu'um, dragons can command elements into existence. While it make look like a dragon is, for example, breathing fire, the dragon is actually channeling magical energy through his words to create fire. When the dragons came to dominate early mankind, mankind prayed to the Divines for aid. Their prayers were answered when they were taught to use the Thu'um themselves against the dragons.
    • Achieving CHIM, essentially realizing that everything, including yourself, is just a dream of the Godhead but having the mental fortitude to exist as one with it, grants this ability. Only two beings in history are believed to have achieved it - the Chimeri/Dunmeri Tribunal deity Vivec and (Mind Screw warning) the being known variously as (some or all of) Tiber Septim/Talos of Atmora/Hjalti Early-Beard/Zurin Arctus/Wulfharth Ash-King. Following the death of Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Tamrielic Empire, though an unknown but hotly debated means possibly involving the Numidium and/or the spirit of Lorkhan, the Deity of Human Origin known as Talos came to be the Ninth Aedric Divine. Talos then (allegedly) used this power to change Cyrodiil from a jungle to a temperate grassland, a change that was retroactive, essentially making it so Cyrodiil had always been a temperate grassland. As well as achieving CHIM, Septim was also Dragonborn, giving him natural use of the Thu'um, and used the Numidium in his conquests. Taking all of that into account, it's not surprising that he was able to conquer all of Tamriel. Beyond CHIM supposedly lie two other states of being: Amaranth and Zero-Sum. Achieving Amaranth means that one exits the dream of the Godhead to create his own reality, while Zero-Sum occurs when one fails to maintain his individuality upon realizing the dream, fading into it and ceasing to exist.
    • Alteration is one of the series' eight (later six) schools of magic, and focuses on very small scale reality warping. It includes spells of paralysis, levitation, jumping, water breathing, water walking, locking, lock opening, feather, burden, and personal elemental shields such as flame cloaks. One in-game book on Alteration says that the key to using it is to recognize that there is no reality and that by embracing a temporary form of madness to impose one's will on the normal laws of the universe.
  • Really Gets Around:
    • In a race-wide example, the Bosmer are known as the most amorous race in Tamriel. As a result, they are also the most populous race of Mer in Tamriel.
    • In the series' backstory, Barenziah, the future Queen of Morrowind, was the last surviving member of her noble Dunmeri family after Tiber Septim's Imperial Legions sacked Mournhold. Septim's Dunmeri General, Symmachus, convinced Septim to spare Barenziah and had her secretly placed into the foster care of the Count and Countess of Darkmoor (Imperial loyalists) until she would old enough to take the throne in Morrowind as a legitimate vassal ruler for the Empire. She would, of course, escape her foster family and went on various adventures in her teenage years. Notably, she spent some time as The Artful Dodger in the Thieves' Guild and engaged in The Oldest Profession. According to her unofficial biography, The Real Barenziah, her reputation for promiscuity was well founded. She slept with everyone from from stable boys to thieves to lesser royalty of all sorts to Emperor Tiber Septim himself. Of course, this was nearly all covered up in the official histories...
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • In general, the "Mer" (Elven) races are typically Longer Lived than their Man and Beast race counterparts, with the lifespans of even non-magically-enhanced Mer ranging from "a little longer than a humans" to several centuries. The series is frequently inconsistent with the exact length, however, and often gives no real explanation for the discrepancies when they appear.
    • Aside from unenhanced Mer, a number of characters who are at least a few centuries old appear throughout the series. These include Physical Gods, various forms of sapient undead (Liches, Vampires, etc.), "wizard" types who've extended their lifespans through magic, etc.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: With Nirn being such a World of Badass, there are plenty of "manly men" (at least from the point of view of their culture) warrior-types around and nearly all are devoutly religious to at least one deity (or set of deities). To note:
    • The Imperials of Cyrodiil have created no fewer than four empires, with two spanning most-or-all of Tamriel, on the backs of their elite Imperial Legions. While they do allow for native religious practices to continue in conquered lands, they also require their provinces to allow free worship in the Church of the Nine Divines. Of them, Akatosh, the chief deity and God of Time is held in the highest regard, but Stendarr (the God of Justice and Mercy) is also held in quite high regard. With the apotheosis of Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Cyrodiilic Empire, into the Ninth Divine Talos (the God of War and Good Governance), Talos has also become a prominent deity in their faith.
    • The Nords of Skyrim are perhaps the proudest of Proud Warrior Races, and are still quite religious. While they have a long history as some of the greatest supporters of the Empire, they still practice elements of their old religion in which the chief deity is Shor (aka Lorkhan, Shezarr, Shep, etc.), the "dead" creator god of the ES universe. Any Nord worth their salt hopes to die in glorious battle so their soul can spend eternity in Shor's hall in Sovngarde. When Tiber Septim, who was (in Imperial dogma) a Nord originally named Talos Stormcrown, ascended (possible with others) as Talos, he immediately shot to the top of the Nordic pantheon. The Skyrim Civil War conflict of the 4th Era began when the Empire, as a result of the treaty with the Aldmeri Dominion to end the Great War, accepted terms which included a ban on Talos worship that also allows Thalmor agents to patrol the Empire's lands to enforce it. As any "true" Nord would rather die than stop worshiping Talos, this led the Stormcloak faction into seceding from the Empire and fighting to be come an independent nation. Many other Nords, while they dislike the ban, believe that no "true" Nord would abandon a long-time ally like the Empire.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Throughout the series (at least until their deaths), Emperor Uriel Septim VII and High Chancellor Ocato serve in this role. It's especially notable for Ocato, given that his predecessor, Jagar Tharn, was the exact opposite. When the Emperor dies in the intro of Oblivion, Ocato does his very best to hold the Empire together. One of the first acts of the Thalmor, in an attempt to destabilize the Empire, is to assassinate him.
    • Zenithar, the Aedric Divine God of Work and Commerce, is one. He is said to be the deity most in touch with the mortal world and preaches the benefits of being a Honest Corporate Executive. He is also described as a "warrior god'', but "one who is reserved and restrained in times of peace". His followers call him "the god who will always win" as he stands to gain from any action.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: A common practice in the Mages Guild prior to its collapse, often paired with the person in question being Kicked Upstairs. Since magical talent and knowledge don't exactly translate to leadership ability, a number of Mages Guild Hall leaders were implied to have been assigned as such so that they aren't around the Arcane University itself, mucking up Guild affairs.
  • Rebel Leader:
    • St. Alessia, founder of the First Cyrodiilic Empire, got her start as the leader of the Alessian Revolt, a rebellion of Cyrodiil's human slave population against their Ayleid masters. After escaping slavery herself, Alessia prayed to the Aedra for aid against the (primarily) Daedra-worshiping Ayleids. The Aedra answered as part of a Bargain with Heaven, sending aid (both subtle and direct). Alessia would further ally with the Nordic Empire and rebel Ayleid lords, eventually driving the hostile Ayleids out of Cyrodiil completely.
    • Throughout the backstory, the Reachmen (tribal inhabitants who are primitive in dress and technology of the Reach region in western Skyrim) have resisted all foreign conquerers dating all the way back to the time of the First Tamriellic Empire, thousands of years ago. Red Eagle was the first to unify the people of the Reach during the era of the First Empire. He was also the first to ally the Reachmen with the Hagravens, as well as the first to become a Briarheart. Durcorach the Black Drake was arguably the most successful leader of the Reachmen, even capturing the Ruby Throne of Cyrodiil for a time during the 2nd Era Interregnum.
  • Recurring Riff: The "Elder Scrolls Theme". Created by Jeremy Soule, it started as "Nerevar Rising" for Morrowind, and was intended to only be the theme for Morrowind (much as Arena and Daggerfall have their own themes). However, in a case of Bootstrapped Theme, it became so iconic that it was remixed in various permutations as the main theme for Oblivion and Skyrim as well. The drum beats of the theme are also typically heard on the Bethesda title card screen when launching one of the games (and, in a few cases, for games in other series that Bethesda has developed or produced).
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over:
    • Sithis, referred to as a "great void", is a force representing chaos, change, and limitation. Red and black are the colors most commonly associated with Sithis, as are they for the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal assassin's guild Brotherhood and Religion of Evil.
    • The Dremora, a species of lesser Daedra most often found in service to Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. They have a regimented Always Lawful Evil society and typically serve as Dagon's Legions of Hell. They have red and black in their skin, as well as in their armor.
    • Red and black are the primary colors associated with Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots. Boethiah is typically considered one of the more universally malevolent Daedra, with his sphere covering a litany of high crimes including murder, assassination, treason, betrayal, and specifically the unlawful overthrow of authority.
    • Alduin, the Beast of the Apocalypse, technically subverts it. He is a colossal jet black dragon with red eyes. The subversion comes in when actually performing his divinely mandated duty as "World-Eater", an Eternal Recurrence where he "eats the world" so that it can be remade anew at the end of every "kalpa" (cycle of time). This is an act Above Good and Evil, though he does still tend to act like a Jerkass about it.
  • Red Baron:
    • Each game in the main series has one of these for the Player Character. While you can choose the actual name for the PC, and that name does appear in some text dialogue and in-game writings in some games, this is done for two reasons: One, especially in the fully-voiced games, so your PC can be referred to in dialogue without having to program and record countless name options and two, so that later games can refer to them in a way generic enough to fit regardless of what kind of a character you might have played (race, sex, class, moral/amoral, etc.) as in that earlier game.
    • The series' various divine beings typically have several, in addition to their many actual names. For example, Arkay, the God of Life and Death in the Nine Divines pantheon, is also known as the "Lord of the Wheel of Life", "the Mortal's God", and, more derogatorily, the "Old Knocker" in the old Nordic religion (where he is despised for giving mankind shorter lives than their hated rivals, the Mer (Elves). The Red Barons of the the other deities can be found listed on either the series' Divine Beings page or the series' Daedra page.
    • "Ysmir, Dragon of the North" is a title which can be bestowed by the Greybeards on those who prove themselves to be Dragonborn. Wulfharth Ash-King and Talos Stormcrown, aka Tiber Septim, were two examples from the backstory. (The player character in Skyrim also earns this title.)
    • Wulfharth also had several others. Shor's Tongue, which he earned when (violently) reinstated the Old Nordic pantheon in Skyrim. Breath of Kyne, which he earned when he swallowed a storm cloud to protect his army. Ash-King itself refers to either Shor's ghost remaking Wulfharth from his ashes, or him having been "blasted to ash" by the Greybeards.
    • Jiub, the Ascended Extra recurring character in the series, was proclaimed a saint by the Dunmeri Physical God Vivec for eradicating the Cliff Racers in Vvardenfell. The rest of this title is quite lengthy and mostly self-proclaimed: St. Jiub, the Eradicator Hero of Morrowind and Savior of the Dunmer.
  • Redeeming Replacement: The Emperors of Tamriel have often been served by someone in the position of Imperial Battlemage, essentially a Court Mage and advisor on all matters magical. Given the nature of the position, it has long been a breeding ground for Evil Sorcerer types who go on to become Evil Chancellors. Jagar Tharn, the Big Bad of Arena was Emperor Uriel Septim VII's Imperial Battlemage before usurping him. In the prequel The Elder Scrolls Online, Mannimarco doesn't officially have the title, but serves in a very similar role to Emperor Varen Aquilarios and betrays him. In the main series' time period, Uriel VII replaces Tharn as Imperial Battlemage with Ocato of Firsthold, who already served Uriel VII as High Chancellor. Ocato is very much a Reasonable Authority Figure who holds the Empire together for the rest of the series until his death, holding the Empire together for 10 years after Uriel VII's death while serving as Potentate. (He was actually doing such a good job that the Thalmor had him assassinated so they could rise up.)
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • The Dunmer play with this trope. They do have bright red eyes, and they are typically dour and cynical as a race, but they are no more prone to outright villainy than any other race. The eyes are however, along with their ashen-gray skin, indicative of a curse placed upon their race by the Daedric Prince Azura, supposedly due to the Tribunal's betrayal of her champion, Nerevar.
    • In some games, this is a trait of the Dremora, an intelligent race of lesser Daedra who are most commonly found in the service of Mehrunes Dagon as his Legions of Hell. (Other games give them gold or black eyes instead.)
    • Shadowmere is a recurring Hellish Horse steed with black hair and red eyes for the Dark Brotherhood.
    • Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, has them. In fact, he's one of the only dragons to have them.
  • Redshirt Army: The Imperial Legion has been the best professional army in the history of Tamriel, and has aided in taking over most or all of Tamriel three times. However, following the Oblivion Crisis, the secession or loss of over half the Empire's provinces, and the Great War with the Aldmeri Dominion, the Legion is not in much better shape than the Empire it serves. Still, it managed to force a stalemate with the Dominion, though Lost The Peace by agreeing to the unfavorable White-Gold Concordat, which led directly to the Skyrim Civil War. Due to the losses suffered during the Great War and the need for the protection of the remaining Legions in Cyrodiil, the Legionaries in of the Skyrim Civil Ware are stated to be local recruits who are nowhere near the level of the highly disciplined Legionaries of the past, Justifying the trope.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: During the Alessian Revolt against the Ayleids, Alessia is the Blue to Pelinal Whitestrake's Red. Alessia was the escaped slave who prayed to the Aedra for aid in freeing her people from the (primarily) Daedra-worshiping Ayleids. The Aedra answered, offering a Bargain with Heaven. Part of the aid they sent was the God in Human Form Berserker, Pelinal Whitestrake, to serve as the champion of Alessia's armies. Pelinal was extremely effective in fighting the Ayleids, a One-Man Army who could Paint the Town Red with Ayleid blood. However, he was also extremely racist toward elves, Ayleid or otherwise, and was prone to fits of Axe-Crazy psychopathy. During one particular fit of Unstoppable Rage, he damaged the very lands themselves in such a way that the Aedra nearly left the world in disgust. Alessia had to offer prayer and was forced to make sacrifices in order to regain their favor.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning:
    • The Deadlands are the Daedric plane of Mehrunes Dagon, Daedric Prince of Destruction and all around Omnicidal Maniac. Along with red skies, they have a very Fire and Brimstone Hell aesthetic.
    • Following the re-emergence of Dagoth Ur, Red Mountain in Vvardenfell was surrounded by a constant, red "blight storm" of volcanic ash. Following Dagoth Ur's defeat in the late 3rd Era, blue skies returned to it for the first time in centuries. (However, not long after, during the Red Year, Red Mountain violently erupted. Vvardenfell was leveled and even much of mainland Morrowind was engulfed in its choking ash. The effects of the eruption can be seen as far away as Solstheim, the landscape of which bears ashy scars from the event.)
  • Reduced to Ratburgers:
    • Throughout the series, Rodents of Unusual Size are found as low-level enemies. Given the series' propensity for Organ Drops, these giant rats typically drop body parts (including meat) which can then be consumed by the Player Character or used as an alchemical ingredient in potion making.
    • Goblins are known to farm Tamriel's giant rats as a food source. One tribe in High Rock even had the name "Ratfarmer Tribe." Oblivion also has a special class of Goblins specifically called "rat farmers."
  • Reforged Blade: You get the opportunity to do this a few times throughout the series. In particular, Mehrunes Razor, a legendary dagger associated with the Daedric Prince of Destruction, is a frequent recipient of this trope's treatment.
  • Refused by the Call: Near the end of the 2nd Era, the Greybeards summoned The Chosen One who would who would restore the Empire and conquer the elves to High Hrothgar, their monastery on the Throat of the World. Wulfharth Ash-King, the legendary ancient King of the Nords, famous Shezarrine who had died and come back to life at least three times, and noted Elf-hater, Jumped at the Call and went to the Greybeards. Instead, Wulfharth is "blasted to ash" by the Greybeards who declare Hjalti of High Rock (a young Tiber Septim) to be the one instead.
  • Regenerating Health: Averted in the series' until Skyrim finally adds it. Prior to Skyrim, recovering health requires resting, eating food, drinking potions, or absorbing it through spells/enchantments.
  • Regenerating Mana: Averted through the series until Oblivion, where Magicka finally regenerates on it's own over time. Prior to that, regenerating Magicka requires sleeping, using a potion, or absorbing it through spells/enchantments.
  • Regent for Life:
    • Following the assassination of Emperor Reman Cyrodiil III, last in the Reman line, his Akaviri advisor, Versidue-Shaie, (who quite possibly played a part in the assassination, as well as the previous death of the Crown Prince) took up Imperial authority as Potentate (but not the title of Emperor) and declared it to be the 2nd Era of Tamriellic history. Following his assassination, his son, Savirien-Chorak, then took the title. The two ruled for over 400 years (the Akavari are apparently Long-Lived) at the start of the 2nd Era until Savirien-Chorak was also assassinated. Some time after this, (by no later than the 3rd Era) Potentate had become a reserve title allowed by the Elder Council Charter if no imperial heir could be agreed upon in the event of the line of succession being disrupted, allowing the High Chancellor of the Council to take up most imperial authority as Potentate.
    • Empress Katariah (A Dunmeri Duchess, the sole non-human to hold the Imperial throne during the Septim dynasty) officially became Empress-Regent not long after becoming Empress — her marriage to Pelagius the Mad was arranged by Pelagius' father specifically because she was a shrewd and capable politician that could help cover for Pelagius' eccentricities, and right from the coronation most actual power was held by Katariah and the Elder Council. However, by the two year mark of Pelagius' reign, his madness had become too publicly apparent, and Katariah was officially granted regency, holding it until Pelagius' death (at which point she assumed the throne and ruled in her own right in what is widely recorded as one of the most prosperous, peaceful periods of the Septim Empire).
    • Following the Oblivion Crisis, Ocato of Firsthold became Potentate (only after, according to records, exhausting efforts to find a sufficiently acceptable imperial heir), and by all accounts was well on his way to stabilizing the Empire... only to be assassinated by the Thalmor in a (successful) attempt to destabilize the Empire to make way for the rebirth of the Aldmeri Dominion under their rule.
  • Reimagining the Artifact:
    • The changing appearance of both the Khajiit and Argonians throughout the series have been given in-universe justifications. Lore from after Daggerfall explains this by establishing that there are 17 known distinct "sub-breeds" of Khajiit, and which sub-breed a Khajiit kitten will grow up to be depends on the phases of Nirn's two moons under which the kitten was born. Likewise, it is explained that the Argonians worship a species of sentient (and possibly omniscient) trees known as the Hist. Argonian hatchlings drink the sap of the Hist to grow, and the Hist can communicate with the Argonians via visions transmitted in the sap. Sensing the upcoming Oblivion Crisis and the trials that would follow, the Hist recalled nearly all of the Argonians in Tamriel to their homeland and began to change them physically, making them into more effective weapons of war.
    • Early in the series, Cyrodiil is described a dense tropical jungle with Mayincatec elements. The developers made the conscious decision to go against this established lore in order for Oblivion to have more of a Medieval European Fantasy feel, making the setting in a temperate forest land. In-universe, this change is explained in obscure texts as Talos terraforming the region as a reward for the Imperial Legions who served him so well in life as Emperor, making it a more comfortable place to live. When the developers of The Elder Scrolls Online, a prequel taking place roughly 500 years before the events of the main series, dismissed this inconsistency as a "transcription error", fans rationalized that Talos' changes to the landscape were retroactive, making it so that Cyrodiil had always been temperate.
  • Reincarnation: The Khajiit are led by the Mane, the unofficial "head of state". According to Khajiit tradition, the Mane is one entity reborn in different bodies with the passage of time. Thus, There Can Be Only One Mane, and historically, this has proven true as there has been no recorded instance of multiple Manes contending for power.
  • Relationship Values: Present in the series from Daggerfall until Oblivion, with the specifics varying by game. In general, NPCs each have a disposition toward the Player Character based on race, faction alignment, the Personality attribute, Fame/Infamy, and potentially others depending on the specific game. Disposition can be further manipulated via the "Persuasion" mechanic, as well as flat out bribing them to like you more.
  • Religion of Evil:
    • The various Daedric Cults qualify. While not technically illegal in most of Tamriel, the cultists are seen as misguided at best and dangerous lunatics at worst. While there are certainly a few good if not always nice Daedric Princes to worship, most are quite malevolent (at least from the point of view of mortals). Voluntarily worshiping Jerkass Gods who govern spheres such as Rape, Destruction, and Betrayal can definitely be seen as this when the main alternative religion is a Saintly Church. Most who choose Daedra worship do so for the immediate, tangible rewards the Princes offer in comparison to the Aedra worshiped by the church of the Divines, who prefer a lighter touch when interacting with the mortal world.
    • The Dark Brotherhood, an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing, double as a cult dedicated to the worship the primeval embodiment of chaos, Sithis.
    • Several regional examples throughout the series include the Sixth House Cult, the Mythic Dawn, and the Dragon Cult.
  • Religious Bruiser:
    • St. Veloth was the legendary Chimer mystic who led his people away from the decadence of the Summerset Isles to their new homeland in Morrowind after receiving visions from the "Good" Daedra. Veloth was very religious and carried an enchanted Daedric warhammer (known as "Veloth's Judgement") to smite his foes. He would eventually throw down his hammer and become a pacifist after reaching Morrowind.
    • The Dunmeri Great House Indoril is a faction of Religious Bruisers. Heavily intertwined with the Tribunal Temple, it was considered the strongest of the Great Houses up until Morrowind became a Voluntary Vassal to the Septim Empire, where it was surpassed by the Great House Hlaalu due to the Hlaalu's mercantile ties to the Empire. House Indoril's greatest military force are the Ordinators, a shining example of Knights Templar, who are devoutly religious and quite capable of kicking your ass.
  • Reluctant Ruler:
    • In the 1st Era, the corrupt Yokudan Emperor, Hira, sought to consolidate power by wiping out the Ansei, a Yokudan order of "Sword Singers/Saints" who were each a Master Swordsman capable of generating a "Shehai" spirit-sword. Facing elimination, the Ansei sought out the greatest of their order, the legendary Frandar Hunding. When his son, Divad, and the Ansei came to him, Frandar initially refused to lead them in battle against the Emperor. It was only after five hours of debate that he reluctantly agreed to become their leader, and it is said that, even though he was victorious, he struggled with that decision and many others he made as leader later in life.
    • Subverted by Martin Septim, the last Septim Emperor of the Third Empire. Had he actually become The Emperor, he would very likely be even better than his father, since he never wanted to become one in the first place. Additionally, his experiences as a Daedra worshiper and later, a poor monk, would certainly make him care for his subjects a lot. Alas, it was not meant to be.
    • Following the events of the Oblivion Crisis, with no Septim on the throne for the first time in nearly 500 years, High Chancellor Ocato takes over as Potentate. As evidenced by Ocato exhausting every other option before taking over, he clearly preferred serving as a Number Two rather than being in charge himself. He performed well in this role, holding the crumbling Tamrielic Empire together for a decade before being assassinated by the Thalmor in a successful attempt to destabilize the Empire.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The Dragon Cult was a Religion of Evil from the Merethic Era who, along with the dragons they worshiped, was defeated and overthrown during the ancient Dragon War. They are a relatively new addition to the series' lore, only being introduced in Skyrim. Possibly justified; since the Dragons primarily operated out of Skyrim and frequently battled the Ancient Nords, it makes sense that the Dragon Cult was most prominent in Skyrim and just hadn't been seen elsewhere in Tamriel.
  • The Remnant:
    • Following the events of Morrowind, the Oblivion Crisis, the Red Year, and finally the subsequent Argonian Invasion, Dunmer-controlled Morrowind has become this. What little habitable land was left was mostly taken over by the Argonians, while only a few northern areas of House Redoran territory remain. Most of the Dunmer people were forced to flee to Solsthem (a frozen over, barren rock of an island) and Skyrim (where they are treated as second class citizens to the native Nords). Great House Indoril is a particular example, following the fall of the Tribunal Temple, with which House Indoril was heavily intertwined. While still better off than House Hlaalu (which was scapegoated and Unpersoned by the other Houses), the Indoril are one of the weakest Council Houses as of the 4th Era.
    • Come 4E 201, several formerly prominent and powerful groups have become mere remnants. These include the Blades (officially disbanded by the White-Gold Concordat with their surviving members actively hunted by the Thalmor) and the Dark Brotherhood (down to one remote sanctuary with no Listener to communicate the will of the Night Mother).
  • The Renfield: Throughout the series and in background lore, vampires often possess powerful Charm-like spells with which they can enthrall mortals into their service. Other mortals willingly serve Vampires, typically hoping to become vampires themselves.
  • Renowned Selective Mentor: The Psijic Order, the oldest monastic order in Tamriel, founded during the ancient times by an Aldmeri sect who rejected the transition to Aedra worship from ancestor worship, known to them as the "Old Way" or "Elder Way." They settled on the island of Artaeum, the third largest island in the Summerset Isles, which has been known to disappear for centuries at a time for reasons only known to the Order. Thousands of years later, they are now more well known as a reclusive order of immensely powerful magic users, who have Sufficiently Analyzed Magic to the point where they can utilize magic in ways (and on a scale) unmatched by any other extant group in Tamriel. Many magically adept prospective students seek to join the Order from all over Tamriel, but very few are ever accepted. It is said that the Psijics use a "complex, ritualized method" for selecting initiates that is "not understood by the common man." In the roughly 500 years between Artaeum's reappearance in the 2nd Era until 3E 430, only 17 initiates were taken on by the Order. However, from 3E 430 to 3E 432, leading up to the Oblivion Crisis, the Order accepted an unheard of 30 initiates.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
    • The Argonian race tends to get this treatment throughout Tamriel, despite Argonians being no more prone to villainy than any other race. Despite this, they are long-standing victims of Fantastic Racism with this trope being a major reason for it.
    • This trope is also invoked to emphasize the average Tamrielic denizen's fear and hatred of the Akaviri snake-men/Tsaesci, who once attempted to invade Tamriel.
    • Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots, whose sphere covers a litany of high crimes including murder, assassination, treason, and betrayal, is understandably considered one of the more outright malevolent Daedric Princes. Snakes are a common symbol of Boethiah.
    • Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption, is perhaps the closest thing to a true God of Evil in the ES universe; a being of pure malevolence with no redeeming qualities. While the forms he takes vary between appearances, they most often have various undead and reptilian traits.
    • Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of of Nightmares, may be second only to Molag Bal in terms of her malevolence toward mortals. Statues of her often depict her with a snake draped across her shoulders. One of her emblems is her Cool Mask with a snake wrapped around it.
    • Several forms of lesser Daedra qualify:
      • Clannfear possess animalistic intelligence and the general appearance of raptors with frills and beaks. Not unlike the popular perception of raptor-like dinosaurs, they possess agile movements similar to birds and hunt in packs to take down larger prey. They typically stand shorter than the average citizen of Tamriel, though larger varieties have been known to exist.
      • Daedroths are a larger, crocodilian form of lesser Daedra. In addition to their razor sharp teeth and claws, they are also capable of casting fire-based spells or breathing fire. They are found primarily in service to the above-mentioned Molag Bal.
      • Ogrim are a giant, unintelligent, scaly form of lesser Daedra which can heal rapidly and are immune to normal attacks. Some depictions give them Pig Man-like facial features as well.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Despite the crown seal, and robes, one of the most important items to the various Empires of Tamriel is the Amulet of Kings, a large red crystal worn on a gold chain. 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.
  • Rerouted from Heaven:
    • Tamriel's many religions offer differing ideas of just what happens to a mortal's soul upon death. Some cultures, like the Proud Warrior Race Redguards and Nords, have their own versions of a Warrior Heaven. The Imperial Church of the Divines seems to imply that the souls of the faithful dead end up in Aetherius, the realm of magic. The Altmer believe in reincarnation, and have been known to Mercy Kill (in their opinion) undesirable offspring so that their souls have the chance to be reincarnated in better forms. The Dunmer practice ancestor worship (among other forms of worship), and call upon the spirits of their honored dead for guidance and protection. Out of game "Obscure Texts" go into greater detail, explaining that the souls of the dead enter the "Dreamsleeve", where they are broken down, reassembled, and rebirthed as new beings on Mundus. All of that said, it is known that some souls are claimed by the Daedric Princes or other such divine beings, usually as part of a pact made when the mortal in question was still alive. In this case, the mortal's soul goes to the realm of the deity in question to serve for eternity. For example, Hircine claims the souls of all mortals afflicted with Lycanthropy while the souls of members of the Dark Brotherhood join Sithis in "the Void" after death.
    • The souls of sapient mortal beings (Men, Mer, etc.) who are soul-trapped in Black Soul Gems are forced to spend eternity in the Soul Cairn, a pocket realm of Oblivion ruled over by the mysterious Ideal Masters. It is a bleak and desolate place, to say the least.
  • The Resenter: This is a major reason for the Thalmor's hatred of the Psijic Order, a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel. Through thousands of years of intensive study in the nature of magic, the Order has become able to utilize it in ways (and on a scale) that the rest of Tamriel is unable to match. The Thalmor strongly desire that power, and cannot stand that the Order, a primarily Altmer organization, absolutely will not toe the Thalmor line or share their knowledge. Additionally, this is part of the reason the Thalmor hate Talos, and have banned his worship. On the surface, their extreme Aldmeri religious beliefs teach that the Altmer are a Superior Species, descended from the Aedra, and the idea of a man joining their ranks is offensive and blasphemous. (The deeper reasoning is even worse...)
  • Reset Button: Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, acts as one of these for the universe. 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. (Unfortunately, in the current kalpa, he prefers to be worshiped as a god, decides to shirk his duty and try to Take Over the World instead, leading to the events of Skyrim where he serves as the Big Bad.)
  • Restart the World: Alduin, again, as mentioned above.
  • Resting Recovery: Throughout the series, resting rapidly restores health, magicka, and stamina. Prior to Skyrim, resting is also required to level-up. That said, the Player Character never needs to rest and can stay awake for months at a time without penalty (as long as you have other means to restore health/magicka/stamina, like potions, and don't mind never leveling up). Skyrim changes the mechanic so that resting now bestows the "Well Rested" buff, which increases the rate at which your skills increase. If you get married, resting next to your spouse bestows the "Lover's Comfort" buff, further increasing the effect.
  • Resurgent Empire:
    • The Third Tamriellic Empire present throughout most of the series is so-called because it is the third empire of Men to conquer most or all of Tamriel based out of the central province of Cyrodiil, with each founding dynasty claiming descent from the previous. This First Empire, also known as the Alessian Empire, was founded by the "Slave Queen" Alessia following her successful uprising against the Ayleids who enslaved her people. Eventually, it would dissolve following significant infighting and religious unrest. Centuries later, the Second Empire, also known as the Reman Empire, was founded by Reman Cyrodiil, who claimed metaphysical descendance from Alessia. He reunified the fractured empire and his dynasty would conquer nearly all of Tamriel. However, his final direct descendant was killed without an heir, though the empire survived several more centuries under the leadership of the Akaviri Potentates before they too were assassinated. Following a 400+ year period known as the Interregnum, Tiber Septim would rise to power and become the first person to conquer all of mainland Tamriel, establishing the Third Tamriellic Empire.
    • The Thalmor restored the Aldmeri Dominion, which had been defeated by Tiber Septim and incorporated into the Third Empire until the Oblivion Crisis allowed the Altmer to break away and form their own nation. By the time of the game, they are significantly weakened in the Great War aftermath, but they are in a better position than the Empire since the Khajiit and the Bosmer are firmly within their grasp (while the Empire lost all of their provinces except High Rock and Skyrim, the latter being torn apart by Civil War) and they are just biding their time and regain their strength to resume hostilities while encouraging the Skyrim Civil War however possible to drain the Empire's resources.
    • Depending on the result of said Skyrim Civil War, this is either played straight by the vestigial Third Empire (now under leadership of the Mede dynasty) or averted. If the Dragonborn sides with the Empire, they will have reclaimed a fully supportive Skyrim without the protracted quagmire the Dominion hoped the civil war would become. If the Dragonborn sides with the Stormcloaks, however, Skyrim will have fully seceded, depriving the Empire of its strongest remaining province.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Dragons are divine, ageless beings with this sort of immortality. While anyone of sufficient ability can slay the physical form of a dragon, that dragon can be resurrected later by another dragon. The only way to permanently kill a dragon is for another dragon (or Dragonborn) to absorb its soul.
  • Retcon:
    • The Imperial Province (Cyrodiil) was said to originally be a Mayincatec-esque setting, with jungles, rivers, rice fields, tattoos, and stone cities. Later depictions transform it instead as a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of ancient Rome. This is justified as Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Cyrodiilic Empire, would use his powers post-apotheosis as the deity Talos to perform a Cosmic Retcon, transforming Cyrodiil into a temperate forest as a thanks to the Imperial Legions who served him so well in life. As shown in the prequel Online, this change was retroactive, making it so Cyrodiil had always been a temperate forest, and that previous reports to the contrary were due to a "transcription error".
    • Until Morrowind, there is no mention of a race native to the Imperial Province, the province is a cosmopolitan mish-mash of all the other races, and the Imperial line is descended from the Nords. Morrowind introduces (and makes playable) the Imperial race, and retcons them as a descendant of the original Nede/Atmoran Caucasian race, from which the modern Nords, Bretons (via mix with elves) and Imperials are all descended. The retcon does maintain that the Emperor's family has more Nord blood than most Imperials.
  • Ret Gone: In-universe, there is a method by which mortals can ascend to godhood. It has several names and variations (the "Psijic Endeavor" championed by the ancient Chimeri prophet Veloth and Tribunal deity Vivec, the idea of "Ehlnofic Annulment" championed by the Alessian Order, etc.) but each, essentially, teaches that mortals can "observe the entirety of the universe" (ie, realize that they are in a video game) and then accomplish one of three things. The first is CHIM, where one becomes aware of this nature, exists as one with it, and maintains a sense of individuality. (Vivec hints at this in his 36 Lessons book series and outright claims to have achieved this in developer written supplemental works.) The second is Amaranth, where one exit's this universe to create one's own. The third, which occurs if one fails to maintain their individuality in either step, is Zero-Sum, where one experiences the "extreme" version of this trope, ceasing to be and fading into the universe as if you never were. (Note that, despite the name, the Psijic Endeavor has nothing to do with the Psijic Order. 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.)
  • The Reveal: It is quite common to have at least one major reveal in the main quest of each game in the main series, as well as during faction questlines and in the expansions/DLCs. Specific examples are listed by game on the trope page.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized:
    • The Reachmen, also known as "Witchmen", are the native Bretons (racially, not culturally) of "the Reach," a region along the border between High Rock and Skyrim. They are a tribal people, primitive in dress and technology, led by shamans, who practice elements of nature and Daedra worship, primarily Hircine. From the time of the Alessian Empire (in the mid-1st Era) through the 4th era, they've maintained an insurgency, warring against any outside conquerors attempting to claim the Reach for themselves. In the 4th Era, with the crumbling Empire distracted by the Great War, the modern Reachmen lashed out and even briefly captured a Nord city. Though they were defeated and chased off by a Nord militia, the survivors regrouped in the hilly countryside of the Reach and became the Forsworn, terrorists in all but name. While the Forsworn definitely have good reasons to feel angry, the wholesale slaughter of civilians combined with the practice of human sacrifice and alliances with thoroughly nasty monstrosities kind of ruins the 'noble rebel' effect. The Forsworn's leader, Madanach the "King in Rags," acknowledges this, saying "there are no innocents in war, only the guilty and the dead."
    • "The Beautiful" are a terrorist organization comprised of young Altmer in the Summerset Isles, which uses public assassinations and general mayhem as a means to promote modernity and to oppose the other branch of Altmeri extremism represented by the Thalmor.
    • The 2nd Era Stros M'Kai uprising saw a group of Redguards capture the strategically important island of Stros M'Kai from Imperial forces while slaying the (admittedly corrupt) Imperial Governor. The Septim Rising Empire was forced to make several concessions to Hammerfell in order to regain the island and restore order.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • What happened to the Dwemer? They were a highly technologically advanced race who created all manner of Magitek and Steam Punk technology, which remains unmatched by any other race in Tamriel. They were also extreme Naytheists for whom a major part of their outlook was the idea of refuting everything as real. During the mid-1st Era, they discovered the Heart of Lorkhan (the "divine center" of the dead creator god of the mortal plane) deep beneath Red Mountain. Though there are many different versions of the story regarding what happened next, the Dwemer did something with the Heart that caused their entire race to disappear from every known plane of existence in a single instant. The leading theory (which you can put together yourself in the Mages Guild quest line in Morrowind) states that they were trying to break themselves down into their base elements before ascending into divine form. However, they got something wrong with the "reforging" step and instead blinked out of existence. Other theories state that they may have even been successful in their attempt, and are currently on said "higher plane." Making it only more confusing is one particular Dwemer ruin that shows whatever happened was violent and abrupt: it's a residential area, and you find piles of ash that used to be Dwemer in beds or near their piles of equipment on guard duty. Despite the theories, no definitive answer has been given in the series to date.
    • In-Universe, the mystery of the Dwemer has only deepened by the time of Skyrim since much of what was known about the Dwemer was again lost in the 200 years following the Oblivion Crisis and the eruption of Red Mountain (which wiped away a great number of Dwemeri ruins in Vvardenfell, the epicenter of Dwemer culture prior to their disappearance). Even one of the greatest experts on the Dwemer, Calcelmo, knows less about the Dwemer than some amateur archeologists in Vvardenfell during the time of Morrowind.
  • Riddle Me This: Pops up in a few quests throughout the series. In a few cases, the correct answers only appear if your character's Intelligence attribute is above a certain value, but there are usually ways around this.
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place:
    • Common throughout the series. In the majority of cases, the Player Character starts off as a penniless prisoner (or penniless shipwreck survivor) who is thrust into a situation where they are the only person capable of stopping the Big Bad from Taking Over The World or even bringing about The End of the World as We Know It. In a few cases, you are The Chosen One backed by one or more deities, but this typically doesn't become apparent until you are already well into the game in question's main questline, meaning you had to choose to put yourself in that position first.
    • Prevalent in side quests as well, especially Guild and Faction questlines. Your status as The Chosen One of the main questline does not directly apply, but you still find yourself in these situations and must act to save the Guild or Faction. (And in a few cases, saving the world from an entirely different threat than the one in the main quest.)
  • Right Through His Pants: The in-game book Hallgerd's Tale tells of a great warrior who did it through heavy armor. This would be a real master-skill perk, but is trumped by it being implied that he was better at it in heavy armor than out.
  • Ring of Power:
    • The series has many magical rings which fit the trope. The greatest of them are the various one-of-a-kind artifact rings, often associated with the Daedric Princes. Some examples to note:
      • The Ring of Khajiiti, which typically bestows the wearer with enhanced quickness, silent movement, and outright invisibility, is associated with the Daedric Prince Mephala. It is said that Rajhin, the legendary Khajiiti Impossible Thief, stole it from Mephala herself. However, after making use of its power too freely, Rajhin was abandoned by the ring and left exposed to his enemies. The ring is also associated with Meridia, another Daedric Prince who, through unexplained means, acquired the ring and bestowed it as a reward to her agents twice in the 3rd Era.
      • Hircine's Ring is an artifact associated with Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt and Monster Progenitor of the werecreatures, especially werewolves. Hircine is known to bestow it to worthy werewolves where, depending on the version of lycanthropy they have, either allows them control of the transformation or, for those who already can control it such as the Companions of Skyrim, allows them to transform multiple times a day.
      • Namira's Ring is an artifact associated with Namira, the Daedric Prince of the Grotesque and Decay. The Ring has taken different forms, with one protecting the wearer from magical attacks and another allowing the wearer to consume mortal flesh in order to gain health and enhanced health regeneration.
    • The series' Enchanting system allows you to create one of your own, using whatever effects you feel would best enhance your Player Character. Playing as a Mage? Enchant a Ring that boosts one of your magical skills and increases your Magicka regen rate. Playing a sneaky thief? Enchant one that turns you invisible. The cost to create such an item can get fairly exorbitant, but the series has plenty of Money for Nothing to cover that.
  • Rise from Your Grave: Dragons were all but rendered extinct by the late 1st Era. However, while anyone of sufficient ability can slay the physical body of a dragon, they possess Resurrective Immortality and can be brought back to life by another dragon unless their soul is absorbed by a fellow dragon (or Dragonborn). After being cast out of the stream of time in the 1st Era, Alduin returns in the 4th Era and starts bringing his fellow dragons back to life in this fashion.
  • Rising Empire:
    • While the Imperials of Cyrodiil have created three empires spanning most or all of Tamriel at different points in history, they technically subvert (or even outright avert) The Empire trope. Their empires are much closer to The Good Kingdom, or at least The Federation, generally being a benevolent Big Good while protecting Tamriel from greater threats. Still the terminology sticks. Of these empires, the First (Alessian) and Second (Reman) most closely fit as "rising" empires. Neither managed to take over Tamriel in full, but both built the foundation for the Third's (Septim) conquest of all of Tamriel, turning them into a truly Hegemonic Empire. Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Empire, was a rare example of a monarch whose rule covered the entire "rising" action of the Empire right into Hegemonic Empire status. (He ruled for 81 years in total, 38 after unifying Tamriel.)
    • The Aldmeri Dominion is in this stage as of the 4E 201. Past incarnations of the Dominion were some of the greatest rivals to the various Cyrodiilic empires, but were crushed when Tiber Septim used the Dwemer-crafted Numidium against them, decimating their armies and sacking their capital city in less than an hour of fighting. The Dominion lied dormant during the 500-year reign of the Septim dynasty, but reformed and rose up under the leadership of the extremist Thalmor following the Oblivion Crisis. They forcefully annexed the province of Valenwood and used Blatant Lies to convince Elsweyr to join as a Voluntary Vassal. They waged war on the now Vestigial Empire of Cyrodiil and, though they could not fully defeat the empire, were able to force them into extremely unfavorable terms in a treaty to end the war. Now the Dominion is using subterfuge and political maneuvering to further tear apart the empire in preparation for their inevitable next war.
  • Risking the King: Crossing over with Frontline General, this is common for military leaders throughout the series and in the backstory. Given Nirn's World of Badass nature and the sheer quantity of Proud Warrior Races, this isn't surprising. It's also usually Justified, as the "King" in question is either a badass warrior (Tiber Septim,at least early in his campaigns, Ysgramor, Wulfharth Ash-King, etc.) or there is some pressing need to have the "King" at the forefront of the fight. (Such as in the climax of the Oblivion Crisis, where Martin Septim had to battle through the Daedra-infested Imperial City because he was the only one who can light the Dragonfires to stop the invasion.)
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • When the Falmer (Snow Elves) slaughtered and burnt the (supposedly peaceful) Atmoran city of Saarthal, Ysgramor and his sons returned to Atmora to raise an army. Gathering 500 of Atmora's greatest warriors, they returned and nearly drove the Falmer to extinction. Later, Ysgramor's Papa Wolf traits showed up once again when his son, Yngol, was taken by the "sea ghosts". Ysgramor became aware of this and demanded the ghosts set him free; in response, the ghosts summoned a terrible storm. Ysgramor fearlessly strode into it and defeated each of the ghosts, only to find Yngol and his clan dead. Filled with grief, he vented his rage on 24 of the fiercest monsters in Skyrim, slaying them all in honor of his kin. He then ordered a great barrow to be dug for Yngol and his clansmen's resting place.
    • Pelinal Whitestrake, the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker, was known for his rampages. 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. In particular, when Huna, a grain-slave raised to a hoplite by Pelinal, was killed by the arrow of an Ayleid king, Pelinal went so berserk that he not only slew the Ayleids in the kingdom responsible, but erased their lands from the world. The Divines were so disgusted with his actions that they nearly left the world if not for Alessia making sacrifices to regain their favor.
  • Robbing the Dead: Given the abundance of Ancient Tombs and ruins throughout the series, you'll have plenty of opportunities to relieve the long-dead of their treasures, and, of course, there's looting the corpses of recently slain enemies as well. There are at least a couple of cases where you're called out on it, but these are relatively rare.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Justified throughout the series when it comes to robes, as they can typically hold more powerful enchantments than regular apparel. "Hats" are fairly rare, however, and in several cases, are replaced by wizard "hoods" instead. In a few cases, the games essentially enforce this trope for magic-users as wearing armor reduces the efficiency of casting spells.
  • Robotic Psychopath: Pelinal Whitestrake was the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker (these latter traits have been whitewashed by Imperial historians). 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. According to the writers, Pelinal was a cyborg (heavily based on The Terminator) plucked from the future by Kyne to answer Alessia's prayers. This both explains his plate armor, which at the time only the Dwemer could craft, and potentially his psychopathic tendencies. To quote the Song of Pelinal:
    "... [And then] Kyne granted Perrif another symbol, a diamond soaked red with the blood of elves, [whose] facets could [un-sector and form] into a man whose every angle could cut her jailers and a name: PELIN-EL [which is] "The Star-Made Knight" [and he] was arrayed in armor [from the future time]. And he walked into the jungles of Cyrod already killing, Morihaus stamping at his side froth-bloody and bellowing from excitement because the Pelinal was come..."
  • Robotic Spouse: Xarxes, the Aldmeri aspect of Arkay, the God of Life and Death, created a fantasy example. Xarxes serves as the scribe for Auri-El, the "King of Gods", and has recorded every Aldmeri accomplishment in history since the beginning of time. Xarxes created his wife, Oghma, by putting together "his favorite moments from history".
  • Robot Master:
    • The extinct Dwemer were masters at creating mechanical "animunculi", ranging from miniature spider centurion workers to sphere and steam centurion soldiers to full blown Humongous Mecha. As the Dwemer were known to tinker with the "earthbones" (essentially the laws of physics and nature in the ES universe), they could make their creations impervious to wear and tear, meaning that many are still up and running even thousands of years after their disappearance.
    • Since then, a number of people have attempted to learn to control these animunculi. Most quickly learn the hard way that Dwemer creations tend to behave erratically if taken outside of Dwemer ruins... Others have had more success, though usually on a small scale (such as taking control of a single spider or sphere centurion).
  • Rock Beats Laser:
    • The Bosmer of Valenwood are bound by the Green Pact, a deal they made with the patron deity of their forest homeland ages ago in which they are not allowed to harm Valenwood's plant life. Due to the Green Pact, forges are extremely uncommon in Valenwood. As a result, metal weapons and armor have never gained popularity amongst the Bosmer. Their weaponry tends to be made of natural materials, such as bone for clubs and obsidian blades. They are known to make composite horn bows which are said to be some of the best in Tamriel. For armor, they either forgo it completely or use light natural materials such as leather and hide.
    • The Reachmen, tribal natives of the Reach region along the border of High Rock and Skyrim, eschew metal in their weapons and armor, favoring wood, stone, fur, hide, feathers, bone, and antler. Despite this, they are able fight evenly against better equipped adversaries through use of guerilla tactics and their druidic "hedge magic."
    • Averted in the ancient past when the Aldmer, ancestors of the modern races of Mer (Elves), first came to Tamriel. Tamriel was said to have already been inhabited by the Beast Races, but they were aboriginal and primitive, making them "easily displaced" by the more magically and technologically advanced Aldmer.
  • Rock Monster:
    • Throughout the series, Storm Atronachs are a loosely humanoid collection of rocks held together with electricity.
    • A few games also have Stone Atronachs, who are naturally this. They have six legs, including two huge front limbs used for melee attacks.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Standard for all Tamriellic rats, which are ubiquitous low-level enemies throughout the series. Most games also include at least one Rat Stomp quest dealing with them.
  • Role-Playing Game: The series is a Long Running prime example of both the "Western" and "Sandbox" style RPGs.
  • Romance Sidequest: Save for a Downplayed one-off questline in Morrowind, the series is rather lacking in these types of quests until Skyrim, which adds marriage as an option for the first time in the series. Called "The Bonds of Matrimony", the sidequest involves arranging and attending your wedding ceremony after proposing to an eligible NPC. Getting a character interested in you simply require you to wear an Amulet of Mara while talking with characters that have a positive opinion of you (usually involving doing a quest for them). The courtship/marriages are somewhat chaste, with no love scenes, but you gain a temporary buff by sleeping in a bed with your spouse nearby.
  • Roofhopping: Possible (and even practical at higher levels of the Acrobatics skill or when using a Jump spell) starting in Daggerfall. Skyrim makes it much less practical by removing the Acrobatics skill while making it harder to access most rooftops.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Throughout the series, the Player Character in the various guild and faction quests is almost always this. In each game, it is possible for the player to catapult from total newcomer to head of the faction within just a few in-game weeks. This is especially jarring with some of the political factions where some NPCs have spent years or even decades getting to their respective positions, only to have the PC leap past them in terms of rank. Asskicking Equals Authority and, sometimes, Challenging the Chief play into this. Given that your character is one of the biggest ass-kickers around, it serves to justify it somewhat.
  • Room Full of Crazy: There are a number to be found throughout the series. Nonsensical messages, notes written on the floor or walls (sometimes in blood), dismembered body parts, and, of course, weapons are common elements.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The Septim Dynasty of the Third Cyrodiilic Empire, founded by Tiber Septim, had its fair share of crazy. To note:
    • Emperor Pelagius Septim, aka "Pelagius the Mad". He was an Axe-Crazy Mood-Swinger and very much the shining example of The Caligula in Tamriellic history. He suffered from extreme weight fluctuations and tried to hang himself at the end of a royal ball. He insisted on his palace always being kept clean and (perhaps apocryphally) was said to defecate on the floors to keep his servants busy. He would only communicate with the Argonian ambassador in grunts and squeaks, believing it to be the Argonian language. He'd frequently strip naked in public and, toward the end of his life, would attack and bite visitors. He was eventually declared unfit to rule and his wife by arranged marriage, Katariah, the Dunmeri former Duchess of Vvardenfell, took over as Empress Regent. However, according to Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, Pelagius may have been seriously screwed up compared to the average person, but was, for a Septim, pretty normal. While history records most of the Septim line as perfectly sane and even austere, this implies that the Imperial propaganda machine has done it's job in hiding the family's eccentricities.
    • Pelagius aunt, Potema "the Wolf Queen" of Solitude, wasn't much better. In an attempt to get her son on the Imperial throne, she kicked off the War of the Red Diamond, the bloodiest Civil War in Tamriellic history. By the end of the war, she had gone completely off the deep end and used necromancy to bolster her dwindling forces. Ironically, Solitude is suggested to have endured more than its fair share of these kind of rulers in its history.
    • Sanguine is the Daedric Prince of Debauchery and Hedonism. According to The Imperial Census of Daedra Lords, "As revelry and drunken stupor fall under this Prince’s influence, he has been a favorite of many Emperors since the first foundation."
  • Royal "We": Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Tamriellic Empire and Septim Dynasty, who ascended to godhood as the Ninth Divine, Talos, upon his death, was known to speak in this fashion, albeit inconsistently. He tended to do it when giving a command that he personally disliked but was for the betterment of the empire, such as ordering Barenziah's child by him to be magically aborted:
    "This must not be!" he said. "Undo it. We command you..."It is our express wish that you do so."
    "You promised us she would not bear to us. We've little faith in your prognostications."
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • The series' lore is chock-full of royals personally leading armies to battle and being legendary warriors in their own right. In fact, in the history of the Nords, Authority Equals Asskicking is in full effect. Tiber Septim, aka Talos, founder of the 3rd Tamriellic Empire and Septim Dynasty, is perhaps the most shining example.
    • Though not officially the government of Morrowind, the Tribunal have exhibited great influence over the affairs of the Dunmer for thousands of years and each has a royal title. They embodied this trope in past ages when they led the defense of Morrowind from multiple takeover attempts by the Reman and Septim empires over the course of several millenia, thwarted at least two takeover attempts by Akaviri races, and banished Mehrunes Dagon at least once.
    • During the Oblivion Crisis, Martin Septim (bastard son of Emperor Uriel Septim VII and Hidden Backup Prince) personally led forces during Mehrunes Dagon's attack on the Imperial City. This crisis would be ended following a Heroic Sacrifice by Martin.
    • During the Great War, Emperor Titus Mede II proved to be a skill general, re-taking the Imperial City from the forces of the Aldmeri Dominion and driving them out of Cyrodiil.
  • RPGs Equal Combat:
    • The series averts this trope in general by having Skills increase through use, rather than give you an EXP gain. After you've increased a certain number of skills (typically 10), you'll level up. What this means in practice is that a Warrior character who smashes everything that moves with an axe, a Mage who makes extensive use of charms to make others do his dirty work for him, and a Thief who sneaks around and robs people blind will all level up at roughly the same rate.
    • That said, there are typically several cases per game where combat is unavoidable. Given that (with the sole exception of Morrowind) the series uses fairly strict Level Scaling, increasing non-combat related skills can leave you at a severe disadvantage in these situations as the enemy will be scaled to your level, not your actual combat ability.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: The series tends to avert this trope by having historically justified ruins. That said, there are also plenty of exceptions without explanation as to who built them, why, and why the current group of hostiles has chosen to move in.
  • Rule of Three: Pops up throughout the series, often in the case of three individuals or three groups who essentially break down in the Fighter, Mage, Thief format. Specific examples can be found on the trope page.
  • Rule 34 – Creator Reactions: In-Universe with The Real Barenziah, a novelized biography of the Queen Mother of Morrowind which, in Daggerfall, has a notorious case of Getting IKEA Erotica Past the Radar (namely, Barenziah having sex with a Khajiit so he'll induct her into the Thieves' Guild). In later games, the Tribunal Temple had it censored, but by some reports Barenziah herself actually enjoyed the series and is friends with the author (even sparing his life when the Tribunal Temple wanted to execute him).
  • Ruling Family Massacre:
    • The forces of Emperor Tiber Septim, founder of the Third Tamriellic Empire, sacked Mournhold, the capital city of Morrowind, home of the Dunmer (Dark Elves). His legions slaughtered the entire noble family, down to their young daughter, Barenziah. Septim's Dunmeri General, Symmachus, convinced Septim to spare Barenziah in order to groom her as a Puppet Queen who could look out for Imperial interests in Morrowind after the armistice was signed joining Morrowind to the Empire as a Voluntary Vassal.
    • The Mythic Dawn pulled off onee of these to kick off the Oblivion Crisis, assassinating Emperor Uriel Septim VII and his legitimate heirs. Thankfully for the mortal world, Uriel VII had a Hidden Backup Prince in the form of his bastard son Martin who survived.
  • Running Gag:
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters:


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