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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 V to Z

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    V 
  • Valkyries: Kyne, the old Nordic aspect of Kynareth, the Aedric Divine Goddess of the Air and Heavens, serves as one. She greets the souls of dead warriors and guides them to Sovngarde.
  • Vampire Hunter: Individuals and organizations of them can be found wherever there are vampires in the series. The Order of the Virtuous Blood and the Dawnguard are a couple of examples. Vampires are also one of the supernatural creatures hunted by the Vigil of Stendarr.
  • Vampire Refugee: Finding the Cure is an optional quest in several games in the series should the Player Character become a vampire. Specific details for each game are available on the trope page.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods:
    • The vast majority of the time, the series averts this. Vampires are diseased/cursed monsters to be slain and aren't treated as being remotely sexy. Additionally, Dibella, the Aedric Divine Goddess of Beauty who has a particular association with the carnal and sexual aspects of love, commands that her followers are not to associate with vampires, believing them to be "impure spirits". However, some exceptions do exist.
    • The Tsaesci are said to be a race of "snake vampires'' hailing from the continent of Akavir, far to the east of Tamriel. They invaded Tamriel late in the 1st Era but were defeated and incorporated into the Reman Dynasty empire. They are said to have left behind children with the Tamriellic races, who are stated to be "beautiful, if frightening". Though there are conflicting sources, some sources state that the Tsaesci have fully serpentine lower bodies.
  • Vampires Hate Garlic: While the myth of vampires being weak to garlic is known in the setting, it is not an accurate myth. There is one exception, and that particular vampire even admits that, as far as he is aware, he is the only vampire who suffers a catastrophic reaction to being in close proximity with garlic.
  • Vampire Vannabe: A few pop up in the series. In particular, Oblivion's Dark Brotherhood questline and Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC both allow the player character to become a vampire by completing tasks for a vampire in line with this trope.
  • Vampire Variety Pack: The setting has over 100 known vampire bloodlines, with many differing appearances and abilities depending on the bloodline. This is also used to explain the differing powers of vampires between different games in the series. In general in the series, Vampirism is technically a form of disease, generally starting off innocuous before developing into full Vampirism, after which it is nearly impossible to cure. The diseases which cause Vampirism can be transmitted through any wound inflicted by a Vampire. There are numerous regional bloodlines of Vampires (with over 100 known, according to some sources) with many differing features and abilities. These bloodlines generally have a few traits in common, however, such as the presence of fangs, pale skin, agelessness, immunity to other diseases, enhanced night vision, sensitivity to sunlight (ranging from irritation to outright burns upon exposure), and the need to consume humanoid blood (or another vital substance). The in-game book Immortal Blood describes some of the various subspecies of vampires living throughout Tamriel.
  • Vampiric Draining:
    • This is obviously a trait the series' vampires. However, there are over 100 known "bloodlines" of vampire in Tamriel, and each has some distinguishing features and abilities. The majority use the standard Breaking and Bloodsucking method, but others are known to magically drain the health of their victims or swallow their victims whole instead.
    • This is an ability of the Hunger, a form of lesser Daedra very similar in appearance to the "alien-style" Chupacabra, complete with claws, spikes, and a "sucker" mouth. Hungers are capable of draining the Fatigue of their prey. In game, this tends to take the form of a spell, but given their appearance (and the fact that the "spell" is immune to Silence), it can be implied that they are really using their sucker-like mouths.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes:
  • Veganopia: Inverted by the Bosmer, who are religiously obliged to follow the "Green Pact" they made with their patron deity, Y'ffre, the God of the Forest, leading to them having a highly carnivorous diet within their homeland of Valenwood in order to protect their sacred plants. Culturally, they are also obliged to eat their fallen enemies after killing them in battle as they are not allowed to rot within (and thus taint) Valenwood. Both of these restrictions appear to be heavily relaxed on Bosmer who live outside of Valenwood, however. Even within Valenwood, there is much Loophole Abuse. Using fallen deadwood and eating fruit that fell off of trees naturally is allowed. Mushrooms may also be eaten, as they do not count as plants.
  • Vendor Trash: Given the size and scale of the game worlds, plenty of items are needed to fill it out. While the series has far more usable items (even if the use isn't particularly worthwhile) than most games, decorative clutter has no real use besides selling for modest gold.
  • Verbal Tic: The Argonians tend to refer to other races as 'prey', going so far as to offer greeting by saying things like 'the prey approaches'.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Morihaus, the Aedric demi-god who was sent to aid St. Alessia (as part of her Bargain with Heaven) in her war against the Ayleids, is described as a "winged bull" with functional wings.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Each game typically offers something suitably epic to be the final dungeon of the game's main quest, often the lair of the Big Bad himself.
  • Vestigial Empire:
    • The Third Tamriellic Empire as of the 4th Era. Though there were plenty of bumps in the road, it lasted over 400 years from its founding by Tiber Septim until the Imperial Simulacrum. During the Simulacrum, Jagar Tharn imprisoned Emperor Uriel Septim VII in a pocket realm of Oblivion and usurped the throne for a period of about 10 years. Working with the support of Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Tharn's actions severely destabilized the Empire before he was defeated and Uriel VII restored. Over the next several decades, only the methodical scheming of Uriel VII kept the Empire from deteriorating further. With Uriel VII assassinated during the Oblivion Crisis and his only living heir, Martin, sacrificing himself to end the Crisis, there was no Septim on the throne for the first time in centuries. High Chancellor Ocato was named Potentate of the Empire in accordance with the Elder Council Charter and managed to hold things together for another decade, but he was then assassinated by the Thalmor in a successful attempt to destabilize the Empire. Under Thalmor leadership, the Aldmeri Dominion of old re-formed, with the Summerset Isles seceding, then annexing Valenwood and convincing Elsweyr to join as a Voluntary Vassal. Black Marsh followed, with the Argonians then invading Red Year-devastated Morrowind, costing the Empire two more provinces. Though technically victorious, the Empire was left severely weakened from the Great War with the Dominion, and lost the peace within its remaining provinces. Hammerfell seceded after the Empire after initially being ceded to the Dominion as part of the White-Gold Concordat, and Skyrim erupted into Civil War following the ban on Talos worship enforced by the Concordat. Needless to say, the Empire is in very dire straights 200 years into the 4th Era...
    • The various Empires of Cyrodiil have essentially each been iterations of the same Empire repeatedly going through The Cycle of Empires. Each of their founders claims to be descended from the ruling family of the previous Empire, at least metaphysically. (For example, it is claimed that Reman Cyrodiil was the offspring of the spirit of St. Alessia, in the form of the land of Cyrodiil itself, and the Petty King Hrol.) Ironically, the Cyrodiilic Empires are based on the ruins of the old Ayleid Empire, said to have been the first Empire founded in Tamriel, which was overthrown in a slave revolt. The province of Cyrodiil is loaded with ancient Ayleid ruins, and the Imperial Palace is a repurposed Ayleid fortress.
    • The Direnni are an Altmeri clan based out of High Rock who once ruled nearly 1/3 of Tamriel's land mass in the 1st Era as the Direnni Hegemony. However, losses and overextension led to the Hegemony's gradual withdrawal and collapse. In modern times, they are down to ruling just the island of Balfiera (far smaller than even Solstheim) in the Iliac Bay. Given that the height of their Empire was over 2000 years prior, the modern Dirennis don't really have any hang-ups about their former glories.
  • Vicious Cycle:
    • The Elder Scrolls universe is implied to run in "kalpas," or epochs of time comprised of the birth, life and death of a specific period. When one ends, the next begins with the rebirth of the universe.
    • The Kamal, an Akaviri race of "snow demons", are engaged in this. They are said to freeze every winter and thaw every spring, at which point they attack the Tang Mo ("monkey folk"). The Tang Mo have always successfully defended themselves against this attack. The one time the Kamal broke this cycle was to attack Tamriel instead, but were again defeated.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: The series took the leap to fully polygonal 3D graphics with Morrowind, which was a very natural as the previous installments already used sprite-based 3D.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The Wide Open Sandbox nature of the series allows for extremely high cruelty potential. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination (and the occasional game engine limitation). A massive list of specific examples is available by game on the trope page.
  • Video Game Geography: The series is heavily within Type 2 of the trope. Arena and Daggerfall have realistically sized and fully explorable land masses, but are rather generic while being randomly and/or procedurally generated outside of a few plot-specific locations. The series' jump to 3D, starting with Morrowind, shrinks the game world though the use of Space Compression, but they are still far larger than most video game settings and feel just as large thanks to the hand-crafted environments. Still, it can be a bit jarring when the tree line ends at about 50 feet above sea level, and your stroll though a temperate field suddenly ends with you on a blizzard-swept peak with field still in sight behind you.
  • Video Game Long-Runners: The series is the oldest continuous Western RPG series at the moment, with its first game (Arena) having been released in 1994 and having survived the mid-90s genre crash/crisis that killed off its major competition (Ultima, Wizardry, Might and Magic, the Gold Box, etc...), and is still going strong. Even the companies making those competing games also ended up going out of business (3DO) or dissolved by parent companies (Origin Systems). Meanwhile Bethesda ended up growing into a larger company (ZeniMax Media) while maintaining their independence.
  • Video Games and Fate: The setting has the idea of mythical "heroes", mortals with a special fate and the ability to rule their own destiny. Heroes are closely related to the prophecies revealed in the Elder Scrolls themselves, but are not bound by them, and have a tendency to grow far more powerful than other mortals. Naturally, the Player Characters in each of the series' games tend to be these "heroes".
  • Video Game Stealing: Dating back to Daggerfall, it is possible to sneak up to NPCs and access their inventory. Depending on your skill level in the related skills (Sneak, Pickpocket, sometimes both), you can remove items from their inventory. In most cases, lighter/small items (keys, gold coins, jewels) are more likely to be successfully stolen, while heavier/larger items are more likely to alert the victim. Skyrim adds the "Perfect Touch" perk to the Pickpocketing skill tree, which literally allows you to steal the clothes off of the victim's back if you choose.
  • Villain Has a Point: Several Big Bads and Greater Scope Villains throughout the series qualify. While certainly "evil" (or are at least attempting to perform evil acts) no matter how you slice it, they can make some valid points. Specific examples are listed by game on the trope page.
  • Villainous Rescue: From their perspective, this happened to the Altmer in the 3rd Era. Still reeling from the Curb-Stomping they received at the hands of Tiber Septim and the Numidium, the Altmer were left vulnerable to their other ancient enemy, the Maormer (Sea Elves) of Pyandonea. With the Maormer overrunning the Summerset Isles, the Altmer had to accept assistance from the hated Empire to survive. It is said that the Altmer remember these incidents with "shame and horror," contributing to their discontent. And being the most Long-Lived of the already long-lived Mer races, many who lived through these events were still alive when the Septim Dynasty ended and led the charge for independence and reformation of the Aldmeri Dominion.
  • Villain Protagonist: Throughout the series, you can choose to invoke this by joining a number of traditionally evil (or at least morally questionable) guilds and factions. The Thieves' Guild and at least one assassin's guild have been available in every game since Daggerfall. Additionally, you can perform quests for some of the outright malevolent Daedric Princes, such as Mehrunes Dagon (Prince of Destruction) and Molag Bal (Prince of Corruption and the closest thing the series has to a true God of Evil). Morrowind gives you the opportunity to join an Evil Sorcerer Magocracy in Great House Telvanni. Skyrim gives you the opportunity to join a group of vampires who seek to bring about The Night That Never Ends.
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • This is the case for the Daedric Prince Azura. To note:
      • Despite playing an active role in the events of Morrowind that would eventually lead to the destruction of the Dunmer homeland, the Dunmer religion still highly reveres Azura. In fact, the destruction of the Dunmer homeland has made Azura more revered in the Dunmeri religion and was what ultimately ended worship of the Tribunal, her most hated enemies.
      • While listed as one of the "good" Daedra (both in Morrowind lore and by series' fans), Azura is also closely tied to and allied with Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption, and King of Rape. If the name didn't make it obvious, just about everyone both in and out-of-universe considers him to be a "bad" Daedra. This is possibly a case of Early Installment Weirdness, as Azura's alliance with Molag Bal is only mentioned in Daggerfall. Azura, like many of the other Daedric Princes, was a subject to Characterization Marches On since then.
    • Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots whose sphere covers a litany of high crimes including murder, assassination, betrayal, and treason is near-universally considered one of the more outright malevolent Daedric Princes. However, similar to Azura, to the Dunmer, he is considered one of the "good" Daedra and the anticipation of Almalexia. Specifically, they see Boethiah as a brutal but positive force, driving them to be tougher and stronger, and to be guarded against treachery and betrayal. In effect, Boethiah's harsh trials and ruthless betrayals push the the Dunmer to become greater than they think they are.
    • Mephala is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is "obscured to mortals", but who is associated with manipulation, lies, sex, and secrets. Like Azura and Boethiah, Mephala is considered one of the "good" Daedra to the Dunmer and the anticipation of Vivec. The Dunmer believe that Mephala taught them the skills they would need to evade their enemies or to kill them with secret murder. In their early days, as the Chimer, they were few in number and surrounded by enemies (primarily the Nords and Dwemer) on all sides. She is also credited with organizing the "clan" systems that would eventually become the Dunmeri Great Houses. She has yet to demonstrate any benevolence in-game as mortals would understand it - including her association with Vivec.
    • Meridia is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. She manages to be both this and a Hero with Bad Publicity. Amongst her faithful and many other groups, Meridia is considered one of the most "benevolent" Daedric Princes. She, in fact, doesn't like it when her actions are painted in anything but a positive light even at her most ruthless, petty, and vindictive.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • A number of quests throughout the series, often relating to the Daedric Princes or some other deity, require you to do some flat out reckless things in order to complete them. Some of the more notable examples include drowning yourself and letting someone club you to death with a cursed weapon.
    • Since the series' 3D Leap and move to (primarily) hand-crafted environments, the developers enjoy including some really high places which tempt you to jump off. (There is usually some Soft Water below, giving you a chance to survive.) In several cases, jumping off and surviving actually grants you some sort of reward for doing so.
  • Viral Transformation: Vampirism and Lycanthropy are actually diseases (though divine in origin) which can be spread via any wound inflicted by a carrier of the disease. In the case of vampirism, it starts off fairly innocuous (fatigue, insomnia, nightmares) and is easily cured within the first few days of being contracted. Porphyric Hemophilia, Sanguinare Vampiris, and Noxiphilic Sanguivoria are a few of the diseases that develop into full-blown Vampirism. Lycanthropy functions similarly, although in some cases consuming the blood of a lycanthrope can cause the disease to immediately take effect.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The series provides a surprisingly large opportunity for this. If you choose to invest in the "Unarmored" skill (or equivalent), you can really open up your character's outfit options as they won't be concealed under armor. Naturally, this is a major focus of the series' industrious Game Modding community, with countless mods available for each game adding outfits, hair styles, and more.
  • The Virus: Throughout the series, Vampirism and Lycanthropy are actually diseases (though divine in origin) which can be spread via any wound inflicted by a carrier of the disease. In the case of vampirism, it starts off fairly innocuous (fatigue, insomnia, nightmares) and is easily cured within the first few days of being contracted. Porphyric Hemophilia, Sanguinare Vampiris, and Noxiphilic Sanguivoria are a few of the diseases that develop into full-blown Vampirism. Lycanthropy functions similarly, although in some cases, consuming the blood of a lycanthrope can cause the disease to immediately take effect.
  • Void Between the Worlds:
    • Oblivion is in the void between the knowable worlds. While Oblivion itself is said to be infinite, it contains the 16 known "planes" of Oblivion, each belonging to one of the Daedric Prices, as well as over 37,000 "pocket realities" and "chaos realms". In addition to the Daedric Princes, these planes and realms are home to all manner of lesser Daedra as well. As the Daedra are the et'Ada ("original spirits") who did not make any sacrifices to create Mundus, the mortal realm, they retain their Complete Immortality. While their physical bodies can be slain (within Oblivion or manifested on Mundus), their spirits simply return to Oblivion to reform.
    • Surrounding the totality of creation (Oblivion, Mundus, and Aetherius) is the Void. The primordial forces of stasis and change, anthropomorphized as Anu and Padomay, respectively, were said to have come from the Void. Sithis, the embodiment of the force of chaos, is believed to be a representation of the Void. The Dark Brotherhood (a combination assassin's guild and Religion of Evil) worships Sithis, and their members claim to serve him in the Void after death.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting:
    • This is a trait of the Daedric Princes. They are not bound to any one physical form and can manifest in whatever form they wish. Most stick to one humanoid form when dealing with mortals, though a few are known to change the gender of that form between appearances.
    • Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, possesses this ability like all Daedric Princes, but he has several different forms which he uses to present himself to mortals, each of which represents a different aspect of his. These include "The Hunter" (also known as Guile), the "Quick Fox" (also known as Speed, and sometimes taking the form of a Savage Wolf instead), the "Mighty Bear" (also known as Strength), the "Manbeast", and the "Great Stag".
  • Voluntary Vassal:
    • The province of Morrowind joined Tiber Septim's Third Tamrielic Empire voluntarily. Vivec (having recently lost two of the Tools of Kagrenac to Dagoth Ur and thus, the ability for the Tribunal to recharge their divinity) negotiated this status with Tiber Septim when Septim's forces threatened to invade. Vivec also offered the Numidium in trade, allowing Morrowind to keep many of its pre-Imperial privileges such as slavery (which was illegal elsewhere in the Empire), continued Great House rule (though with Imperial-styled ranks, titles, and conventions like a Puppet King added), and the freedom to worship within Tribunal Temple (though Morrowind had to allow free worship of other religions as well).
    • Hammerfell re-joined the Septim Empire voluntarily — Hammerfell was originally conquered by Tiber Septim after the losing side of a civil war invited the Empire in, but after the Imperial provincial administration was overthrown by Redguard rebels, the new government elected to open negotiations with Septim to become vassals on fairer terms.
    • The 4th Era iteration of the Aldmeri Dominion (led by the facistic Thalmor) convinced the Khajiit of Elsweyr to join peacefully as vassals. It helped that the Dominion claimed credit for resolving a crisis with Nirn's two moons, which are sacred to the Khajiiti people.

    W-X 
  • Waif-Fu: Throughout the series, any melee light armor female build effectively becomes this. It's particularly noticeable in Skyrim, where you can choose the physical build of the Player Character for the first time in the series. Thus, you can make a female Player Character of an already waify race (Breton, Khajiit, Bosmer, etc.) even more wispy, though still quite deadly. Conversely, a melee heavy armor female build heads into Glacier Waif territory, and that same slider can allow you to make her a large (and busty) Amazonian Beauty or Beastess (depending on race).
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Most games include at least one of these early in the main quest line, as well as possibly others in the faction questlines. In the games which use fairly strict Level Scaling, expect this foe to be scaled above your level to ensure a greater challenge. Specific examples by game are listed on the trope page.
  • Walking Armory: Every Player Character in the series can be this, walking around with a Hyperspace Arsenal of swords, axes, blunt weapons, staves, bows, daggers, and more. The only limit is the player character's carrying capacity, though having high skill scores and the right perks will help you to actually be effective with the weapons.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: A number of characters (primarily badass male characters) throughout the series have this as a notable trait. Specific examples are listed by game on the trope page. Naturally, this is also an option for the Player Character.
  • Walking the Earth:
    • Due to the Wide Open Sandbox nature of the series, this is extremely common for the series' protagonists. While there is a main quest providing your ultimate goal, you're free (and even encouraged) to travel from town to town exploring the world, gaining experience, and solving the problems of the inhabitants. Some of the games allow you to purchase, build, or otherwise acquire a home (or several), but even then they tend to be used more as loot storage than as actual housing.
    • With the exception of Morrowind, where he was initially introduced and remains stationary, recurring Easter Egg Legacy Character M'aiq the Liar generally runs randomly around the province the game in question takes place in.
    • This is the case for Sai, the Deity of Human Origin God of Luck celebrated in the Iliac Bay region. He was Born Lucky, with the uncanny ability to spread good luck to others but not to himself. After he died in battle (while all of his fellow soldiers survived), he was resurrected and granted immortality by Ebonarm, the Iliac Bay War God, so that he may continue to spread his good luck to help balance the world. For a time, Sai walked the earth, as he was supposed to, fulfilling his duty. However, he met and settled down with a Nord woman named Josea, with whom he had a daughter. By staying too long in one place, he brought it too much good luck, unbalancing the world. He was visited by a procession of other gods, including Ebonarm and the Aedric Divine Mara, who punished him by taking away his physical body and demanding that he make things right by resuming his travels.
    • Cyrus the Restless would have been named King of the Redguards following the events of the spin-off game Redguard, but he turned them down, in large part because he wanted to get back to sailing the earth.
  • Walk on Water: Through Oblivion, Water Walking is a spell effect (typically) classed in the Alteration school of magic. It allows you to walk (and run and jump) on water for a set duration. It can also be enchanted onto an item for a constant effect. It is useful for navigating coastal or swampy terrain, allowing you to move more quickly than when swimming while also dodging any dangers that may lurk beneath the surface. It is no longer available as a spell in Skyrim, though the Dragonborn DLC does add a pair of enchanted boots with the effect.
  • Wallet OF Holding: Played straight in every main series game except for Daggerfall. Septims, the series' standard currency of fairly large gold coins, do not have weight. With all of the Money for Nothing typically available as you progress through the games, players frequently end up carrying around hundreds of thousands or even millions of gold coins with no penalty. In Morrowind, the developers only created discrete models for dropped gold up to 500 coins. This means that a pile of 500 coins is identical to a pile of 500,000 coins. Oblivion and Skyrim replace stacks of dropped coins with brown coin pouches, but a pouch will look the same whether it contains 10 coins or 10,000.
  • Wall of Weapons:
    • Following the series' 3D Leap, nearly every weapon and armor shop will arrange their items on walls and shelves in this fashion. Justified, as they are on display to appeal to potential buyers. Whatever you do though, don't try to pick one up...
    • Also following the 3D Leap, the series allows players to create one of these in wherever they choose to call home. Made even easier by Game Mods which allow the placement of weapons directly on walls. Later games add interactable weapon and shield racks, weapon cases, and armor stands to further this effect.
  • War God:
    • In the old Nordic pantheon, Shor (their version of Lorkhan/Shezarr, the "dead" god who convinced the Aedra to create Mundus, the mortal realm) was a bloodthirsty warrior king and was also their Top God, fitting for a Proud Warrior Race. After his "death", his spirit was forced to wander Mundus, occasionally taking form as a "Shezarrine", who would typically act as great champions to mankind while slaughtering many, many Elves. Even though most modern Nords have adopted the Imperial Nine Divines pantheon, many still hold Shor in high regard.
    • Talos, a Deity of Human Origin (possibly via a Merger of Souls), is both the God of War and God of "Good Governance" in the Nine Divines pantheon. He is possibly a literal Spiritual Successor to Shor, with one of the beings possibly making up Talos (Wulfharth Ash-King) believed to have been a Shezarrine. He is extremely popular to both Imperials and Nords, and the ban placed on his worship as part of the White-Gold Concordat with the Aldmeri Dominion is major factor in the Civil War seen in Skyrim.
    • Zenithar, the Aedric Divine God of Work and Commerce, is described as a "warrior god", but "one who is reserved and restrained in times of peace". His followers also describe him as the "god who will always win", as he stands to gain from any action.
    • Ebonarm is a god of war worshiped in the Iliac Bay region. He is a Black Knight with an ebony sword fused to his right arm and is "never seen" without his suit of ebony armor. While he is a god of war, he won't fight in any war that started for petty reasons. When he appears on the battlefield, it is usually to prevent bloodshed and reconcile the opposing sides.
    • Trinimac was a prominent deity among the early Aldmer and served as the champion of Auri-El, the Aldmeri aspect of Akatosh. Trinimac was a warrior spirit, said to be the strongest of the et'Ada ("original spirits"), and in some places was even more popular than Auri-El. According to Aldmeri religious tradition, it was Trinimac who led the Aldmeri armies against Lorkhan's supporters, the races of Men. Trinimac slew Lorkhan and removed Lorkhan's heart from his body. However, Trinimac would later be "eaten" by the Daedric Prince Boethiah so that Boethiah could manipulate Trinimac's followers, who would become the Chimer. After being tortured in Boethiah's stomach, the remains of Trinimac were "excreted". These remains became the Daedric Prince Malacath and his remaining followers were transformed into the Orsimer (Orcs). Malacath somewhat confirms this story, but complains that it is "too literal minded".
  • Warm-Up Boss: Most games to put one of these at the end of each game's tutorial level/Noob Cave. Specific examples are listed by game on the trope page.
  • Warp Whistle: Most games in the series have fast travel as an option on the map screen. From there, you can travel to any location on the map that you've already visited (and in some cases, can travel to certain ones right away from the start of the game). Morrowind is the only exception in the series to date without fast travel. Instead, you can use various teleportation spells, silt striders, boats, or Mages Guild guides.
  • War Reenactors: the Order of Diagna is a Redguard knightly order based in Hammerfell. Their most famous leader was Gaiden Shinji, founder of the Imperial City Arena and legendary Master Swordsman in his own right. Every year, new initiates to the Order play the Orcs in a reenactment of the Siege of Orsinium, in which Shinji dueled the Orc warchief, but was betrayed by his Breton allies who opened fire on them both, killing them.
  • War Refugees: The [Abusive Precursors Ayleids]] once ruled a mighty empire out of their homeland in Cyrodiil. However, they were extremely abusive to their Slave Race, the Nedes (human ancestors to almost all of the modern races of Men). The Nedes revolted and (aided by the Aedric beings who would become the Nine Divines, rebel Ayleid lords, and the Nordic Empire,) overthrew the Ayleids and formed the first empire of men in Cyrodiil. Many Ayleids fled to their Elven cousins and neighbors as refugees, but found few safe havens. Some were taken in by the Direnni Altmer in High Rock, where the last Ayleid kingdom would form and stand for a few more centuries. The Bosmer of Valenwood would end up being the most welcoming to the Ayleids, and accepted the largest numbers. The Valenwood Ayleids would end up being fully absorbed by Bosmeri culture, leading to their extinction as a unique race.
  • Warrior Heaven:
    • Sovngarde is the desired afterlife of the Nords, a Proud Warrior Race of Horny Vikings with Blood Knight, Boisterous Bruiser, and even some Honor Before Reason traits. The idea was passed down to them from their ancestors, the ancient Atmorans, who were very much a Barbarian Tribe race with some proto-Horny Viking traits (such as being master shipbuilders and sailors despite having never discovered agriculture or developing their own written language). In Skyrim, you get the opportunity to visit Sovngarde and it really fits the bill. The main hall, the Hall of Valor, is a magnificent longhouse-style palace where the glorious dead drink golden mead, feast on massive boars, battle for sport, and swap stories of their glories on the battlefield. Unfortunately, your visit is due to Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse, entering Sovngarde to feed on the souls of newly dead warriors for sustenance, effectively turning Sovngarde into a Warrior Hell. Only the Hall of Valor is safe, due to protection from the Nordic God Shor and his shield-thane and fellow Nordic God, Tsun. Until the situation is resolved, no new warrior souls may enter the Hall of Valor.
    • The Redguards, a dark-skinned Proud Warrior Race with a particular cultural affinity for swords and swordplay, has their own version in the Far Shores. According to ancient Yokudan myth (ancestors of the Redguards), Satakal, the serpentine "God of Everything", eats itself over and over, periodically consuming all of creation. By "moving at strange angles" to stride between "worldskins", a process known as the "Walkabout", the strongest of the spirits learned to bypass this cycle of destruction. Following the guidance of Ruptga, or "Tall Papa," the chief deity of the Yokudan pantheon, weaker spirits (like those of Men) are able to perform the Walkabout to the Far Shores as well. There, they are safe until Satakal has passed and a new worldskin has emerged. In the Far Shores, there is no hunger or thirst, and there are plenty of martial challenges to keep Redguard warrior spirits engaged and entertained. The Far Shores are overseen by Tu'whacca, the Yokudan/Redguard aspect of Arkay, the God of Life and Death, who also serves to guide the spirits there.
    • The Orcs have one known as the Ashen Forge. It is part of the Daedric realm of Malacath, Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized and patron deity of the Orcs, known as the Ashpit. It is also said that the Ashpit stretches endlessly across the planes, extending even behind the stars to Aetherius, granting access to every worthy Orc who crosses from this life into the next. Entering it brings immortality, abundant food and drink, and of course, many great battles. It is said that every Orc is a chief, every chief has a thousand wives, and every wife has a thousand slaves to cater to their every need.
  • Warrior Monk:
  • Warrior Poet:
    • Tribunal deity Vivec is considered one, and actually has it as part of his title: "Warrior Poet and Guardian God-King of the Holyland of Vvardenfell." As the mortal Vehk, he served the legendary hero Lord Nerevar as a junior councilor and General. After ascending to godhood, he would go on to serve as the protector of the Dunmer people from all manner of threats. He thwarted the malevolent plans of various Daedric Princes in order to protect Morrowind repeatedly, including using his "spear," MUATRA to slay the monster children he begat with Molag Bal, one of those Daedric Princes. He is also a prolific author, in particular penning The 36 lessons of Vivec, a series of books detailing his godly exploits in very cryptic and heavily metaphorical terms. (They're quite exaggerated and Metaphorically True at best, with some outright Blatant Lies at worst.) If one digs deeply into the stories, you can also uncover some Fourth Wall Breaking. However, since Michael Kirkbride, who wrote the Lessons, did not write Vivec's in-game dialogue, Vivec seems way too plain spoken for a poet when you meet him in-game. (It's also plausible, given the seriousness of the situation along with his impending loss of divinity, that he's dropped his godly facade a bit to be more plain-spoken and direct in Saving the World.
    • While seen as little better than Horny Vikings or a Barbarian Tribe by the other races of Tamriel, Nord culture fits. Yes, they are a Proud Warrior Race who greatly enjoys the thrill and glory of battle, but they are also a deeply religious and traditional people, with great respect for their Skalds and a strong bardic element present.
    • Like their Nord cousins, the Noble Savage Skaal people of Solstheim have this present in their culture, but take it even farther. Epic, primarily oral poetry is their standard means of passing down stories and myths. They are also a group of Badass Natives who manage to live in a place so inhospitable that every other group who has tried has struggled mightily.
    • Topal the Pilot, the legendary Aldmeri Bold Explorer, was a noted raconteur in addition to his skills as a ships captain, survivalist, cartographer, and archer. The in-game book Father of the Niben is what remains of his account of being the first Aldmer to explore Tamriel.
  • Was Once a Man:
    • The Falmer, former Snow Elves who, after losing a war against the Nords, sought refuge with the Dwemer. As part of the contract the Falmer agreed to eat a fungus which caused the loss of their eyesight and became enslaved by their kin. Not only did the Snow Elves physically degenerate into something resembling Morlocks, but what the Falmer went through fundamentally changed their very souls. The no longer possess the "black" souls of sapient species. Instead, they possess "white" souls like those of animals.
    • The Dreugh, a race of aquatic humanoid octopi, were once far more intelligent. While sources conflict regarding the exact details, the Dreugh were said to have once ruled the world in a time long, long ago. Like the Falmer, the Dreugh de-evolution from an intelligent, sapient race with their own civilization has included their souls becoming white, like those of animals.
    • The series' Vampires can play this on two levels. All Vampires were once mortals who have been infected with a disease that caused their transformation into a blood-sucking creature of the night, or it was a "gift" received directly from Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption who created the first vampire. On a different level, while most vampires maintain a sense of humanity, if they go too long without feeding, they are known to go irrevocably insane and feral. These feral Vampires are referred to as "Bloodfiends."
    • Liches are another such example. Once mortal wizards (often necromancers), they have undergone a process that sacrifices their humanity and very lives to become powerful undead sorcerers. Some are able to maintain a facade of humanity using powerful illusion magic, but switch to their undead forms for combat.
    • The Ideal Masters are immortal beings who were once powerful mortal sorcerers during the Merethic Era. After finding their mortal forms to be too weak and limiting, they entered Oblivion as beings of pure energy and settled an area of "chaotic creatia", forming the Soul Cairn. The Ideal Masters are most infamous for their trafficking in souls, especially "Black" sapient souls. All souls trapped in soul gems end up in the Soul Cairn and are considered property of the Ideal Masters, who seem to possess a Horror Hunger for adding more. The Ideal Masters do not usually manifest physically within the Soul Cairn, but have been known to take the form of giant soul gems through which individuals can communicate with them, and through which they can drain the souls of approaching mortals.
    • Malacath, the Daedric Prince of the Spurned and Ostracized and patron deity of the Orcs, was once the Aedric spirit Trinimac, beloved by the Aldmer. Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots "ate" Trinimac in order to manipulate Trinimac's followers, who would become the Chimer. After being tortured in Boethiah's stomach, the remains of Trinimac were "excreted". These remains became Malacath and his remaining followers were transformed into the Orsimer (Orcs).
  • Water Is Air:
    • Averted in general throughout the series. Visibility is quite limited in water, and it gets worse as you get deeper. Light and Night Eye spells having very little effect while torches (and other light sources based on flame) are extinguished when entering water. Movement is also generally slower in water than on land (characters who can swim faster are typically capable of running fast as well), though spells like "Swift Swim" exist to speed it up. In games which allow combat underwater, you are generally slower and less effective when doing so, and you also typically cannot cast spells or used ranged attacks.
    • A few exceptions exist, such as the presence of a Water Breathing spell effect throughout much of the series. It will allow you to stay under water for the duration of the spell's effect (or indefinitely if it is enchanted onto an item). The Argonians, the series' Lizard Folk race with some traits of amphibians, have a natural Water Breathing racial power, and are known (in lore) to use this as an Exploited Immunity (launching guerilla attacks from underwater, dragging non-Argonian foes into water to drown them, setting up underwater camps which are difficult for non-Argonians to attack, etc.).
  • Weakened by the Light: 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. Some can go from the latter to the former by feeding frequently enough. Other bloodlines exist which aren't harmed by sunlight at all, but are simply much more powerful at night than during the day.
  • Weaker in the Real World: The Daedric Princes, the "original spirit" divine beings who did not take part in the creation of the mortal world (known as Mundus). Unlike the Aedra, they did not sacrifice any of their power during creation and remain truly immortal. Each has a particular sphere, which they are said to govern from their planes of Oblivion which they inhabit and rule. (In some interpretations, a Prince's realm is considered an extension of that Prince themselves, as their "body". Furthering the "body" analogy is that while a Prince has absolute power in their realm, it doesn't translate into omniscience within that realm.) However, because they did not participate in the creation of Mundus, the Princes are subject to metaphysical barriers which prevent them from manifesting at full divine power in the mortal world outside of some very specific circumstances. As such, the Princes prefer to work through mortal agents to accomplish their goals within Mundus. Mehrunes Dagon is one of the few Princes who has been able to manifest at full power several times in history, causing massive destruction each time and requiring the intervention of other deities (Almalexia in the late 1st Era when he destroyed Old Mournhold and Akatosh himself to end the Oblivion Crisis).
  • Weapons Kitchen Sink: The series includes katanas, wakizashi, tantos, and Samurai-style armor alongside early Medieval armor, claymores, longswords sabres, etc. This is justified by the series lore, as what we would call the Asian weaponry — tantos, wakizashis, katanas, and dai-katanas — are from Akavir, a continent far to the east of Tamriel, and were brought over by the Tsaesci, one of the four known Akaviri races, when they invaded during the 1st Era. The Blades, based originally on the Akaviri Dragonguard, blend Akaviri and Tamriellic styles in their equipment. Their armor resembles Roman Lorica Segmentata, their helmets resemble the Japanaese Kabuto, and their primary weapons are katanas.
  • Weapon Wields You: The series has the recurring Legendary Weapon Umbra, a sword which crosses over with Evil Weapon and Empathic Weapon. It was forged long ago to steal the souls of its victims. However, the wielder of the blade becomes a victim as well. Over time, it takes over the mind of the wielder, until they begin to refer to themselves as "Umbra", and turns them into a vicious Blood Knight. Either they slay their opponents and steal more souls for the sword, or they are slain, and the sword finds a new and more powerful wielder. The licensed novels take this Up to Eleven, where Umbra is responsible for some extreme levels of genocidal rampage. There is even some indication that it is capable of influencing Daedric Princes.
  • We Are as Mayflies: This is the case for the races of Men (who have lifespans on par with real-life humans) compared to the Long-Lived races of Mer (Elves). This is the reason that Arkay ("Orkey" or "Old Knocker" in the old Nordic pantheon) is despised by the Nords. The Nords despise that he gave them shorter lives compared to the hated elves. (Nevermind that the elves have an Immortal Procreation Clause limiting their fertility and putting a cap on the amount of children an elven woman can typically have, which the Nords took great advantage of when nearly exterminating the Falmer (Snow Elves).)
  • Weather-Control Machine: The Dwemer built one (known as the Karstangz-Beharn) in their city of Bamz-Amschend. After their disappearance, the city of Mournhold was built over top of it. It proves to still be operational in the late 3rd Era.
  • Weather Manipulation:
    • The Dwemer built a Weather-Control Machine (known as the Karstangz-Beharn) in their city of Bamz-Amschend. After their disappearance, the city of Mournhold was built over top of it. It proves to still be operational in the late 3rd Era.
    • The Psijic Order has demonstrated their ability to use this power, summoning a storm that swallowed the Maomer (Sea Elves) fleet whole when they tried to invade Tamriel.
    • The Tsaesci "snake vampires" of Akavir are believed to have power like this. Uriel V's invasion of Akavir was absolutely plagued by seemingly supernatural bad weather. The Akaviri winter was far longer and more intense than his intelligence reports indicated it would be. Further, it was plagued by a sudden and mysterious drought. Finally, severe storms along the oceanic supply lines sank many of his ships traveling between Akavir and Tamriel. Magical manipulation by the Tsaesci is speculated to be the cause in all
cases.
  • Webcomic of the Game: Prequel is a popular one for the series, starring a woobie Khajiit named Kaita Managan, and Quill-Weave.
  • We Buy Anything: Generally averted throughout the series. The majority of shops only buy and sell in one type of product, so a jeweler won't buy armor and a book seller won't but weapons. They also only have a limited supply of gold to barter with after which they will not be able to purchase anything until the player purchases items from them or 24 hours passes (resetting their available gold). There are a few general traders and pawnbrokers who will buy and sell in nearly anything, but they often have significantly less gold to barter with. Skyrim adds a Speech skill perk which, if taken, causes the trope to be played straight. (The perk allows you to sell any type of item to any merchant.)
  • We Can Rule Together: Offered or at least implied by some of the series' Big Bads, as well as a few expansion villains. Unfortunately, you never get the opportunity to take them up on the offer. (At least directly. In a few cases, your actions can still further their goals, especially when Daedric Princes are involved.)
  • We Have Reserves: This is stated to be one of the strengths of the (generally) non-villainous Imperial Legion. While hardly made up of Canon Fodder, the sheer number of Boring, but Practical soldiers the Legion can put into battle gives it a tremendous advantage, even over enemies with superior-but-fewer soldiers. It should not come as a surprise that the Imperials have a heavy basis in Ancient Rome, who also had this as a major military strength.
  • We Help the Helpless:
    • This falls within the realm of Stendarr, the Aedric Divine God of Mercy, Justice, and Compassion. He is a protector deity and heavily associated with Restoration magic. His Commandment states: "Be kind and generous to the people of Tamriel. Protect the weak, heal the sick, and give to the needy."
    • Fittingly, the Vigil of Stendarr is a Church Militant order dedicated to hunting down and destroying supernatural threats to mortal life, including Daedra, Daedra worshipers, vampires, lycanthropes, and others. The Vigil formed in the wake of the Oblivion Crisis with the goal of preventing any similar incidents. The Vigil believes itself to be doing good and helping the helpless, which is, for the most part, accurate. They'll cure disease free of charge and work to eliminate supernatural threats to mortal life. However, they can also veer into Knight Templar territory pretty easily.
  • Weak to Magic: Those born under the astrological sign of the Apprentice gain extra mana, but are more vulnerable to magical effects.
  • Weird Moon:
    • Nirn has the twin moons Masser and Secunda. They are not typical sub-planetoids, but are in fact said to be the decaying remains ("flesh divinity") of the long-"dead" creator god, Lorkhan, symbolizing how he was sundered during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. They, like the rest of the cosmos in the Elder Scrolls series, are implied to look like as they do because it is the best mortal minds can do to interpret it. The two moons go through technically impossible phases, stars are visible behind the dark parts when they're not full, and they are unaffected by the series' occasional Reality Warping Time Crashes, which allow their cycles to be used to determine the passage of time when linear time is otherwise not applying.
    • During the early 4th Era, both Masser and Secunda disappeared from the sky for two whole years, driving Khajiit society into disarray as many aspects of their culture revolve around the worship of the moons. When the Thalmor claimed to have used their magics to return the moons, it won them great affection from the Khajiit, who soon joined the Aldmeri Dominion as a vassal nation.
  • Weirdness Censor: Exists with a large basis in Artificial Atmospheric Actions. NPCs will suffer odd pathing issues and will get stuck trying to walk through eachother. Guards will ignore people attacking you, but if you attack someone, they'll immediately try to arrest you for committing a crime. You can murder someone in cold blood in the street, pay your fine, and then otherwise walk away scot-free. You can fire an arrow into a person's head from stealth, and that person will dismiss it as the wind. Odd circumstances crop up where two guards will suddenly try to kill each other because one accidentally struck a friendly NPC while fighting a legitimate enemy and the other considered it a crime. You may help a village defend against an attack but then immediately find yourself under arrest because you accidentally killed a chicken in the fighting. You'll wake up to find yourself being attacked by an assassin or a zombie but your bunkmate won't lift a finger to help you. Many fans actually enjoy this aspect of the series because the weirdness is just that entertaining sometimes.
  • Weirdness Coupon: The series has the Psijic Order, a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel. Due to having so Sufficiently Analyzed Magic over thousands of years, the Order is capable of performing magical feats (and on a scale) that no other group in Tamriel (save for perhaps the disappeared Dwemer) is able to match. These abilities include Telepathy, Astral Projection, Weather Manipulation, the ability to make their entire home island (Artaeum) disappear without a trace, and there are even reports that they possess a limited form of clairvoyance and sight into future events. While the Order has a Prime Directive which limits their direct intervention in the affairs of outside groups, they do offer their service to the leaders of Tamriel as advisors, a sacred duty which they call "seliffrnsae," meaning "grave and faithful counsel." However, after Emperor Uriel Septim V ignored their warnings against an invasion of Akavir (which cost the Empire many of their legions and took the life of Uriel V himself), the Septim Empire became distrustful of the Psijics and barred their ambassadors from the Imperial City. In the 4th Era, following the reformation of the Aldmeri Dominion under the leadership of the religious extremist Thalmor, the Psijics have withdrawn completely from worldly affairs and have caused Artaeum to disappear once again. In their very limited contact with outsiders, they have mostly acted as an Omniscient Council of Vagueness and occasional Mysterious Backer. Overall, being able to withdraw completely from the mortal world gives them major advantages, such as having whatever they're doing being written off as in the best interests of Tamriel and being able to stand up to even the Thalmor.
  • Weird Sun: The sun is, according to most Creation Myths, a hole punctured in reality by Magnus, the God of Magic, when he escaped from the Mundus into Aetherius in order to avoid sacrificing a large portion of his power (and thus, his immortality) like the Aedra in order to create the mortal world. The stars were similarly punctured by his followers, the Magna-Ge. Through the sun and stars flows in magic from Aetherius, visible as nebulae in the night sky.
  • Weird Trade Union: In general, the series includes a number of guilds the player can choose to join. Some, like the Fighters Guild and Mages Guild, are officially recognized by the Empire of Tamriel. Others, such as the Thieves' Guild and Dark Brotherhood, are definitely not legal, though their presence is largely tolerated throughout Tamriel. In terms of gameplay, these guilds offer services, training, and equipment to members in line with their areas of expertise. (The Mages Guild offers training in magically classed skills while selling spells and enchantments, for example.) They also offer rewards to the player for completing quests, with these "faction questlines" reaching the point of full blown Sidequest Sidestories as the series has gone on. Each has their own set of rules which members must follow, including the illegal guilds.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Present in the series from the very beginning, rising in prevalence alongside the rise in spoken dialogue as the series has gone on. Spoken generic lines and greetings tend to get repetitive very quickly, and they are often spoken in stark contrast to whatever is actually going on. Every game since Daggerfall has had at least a few of these lines reach Memetic Mutation levels.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: This is a trait of Nocturnal, the Daedric Prince of Darkness and the Night who is also associated with Thieves and Luck. Toward both her Nightingale servants and toward all thieves in general, she is described as a mother that offers little praise but always pushes you to do better. She is also very much a Sink-or-Swim Mentor, and while she does seem to care about her followers, she will not offer any sort of direct Divine Intervention if they get in over their heads.
  • We Sell Everything: Generally averted throughout the series. The majority of shops only buy and sell in one type of product, so you can't buy armor from a jeweler or weapons from a bookseller. Additionally, in most cases (save for some cheap items of infinite quantity), a shop will only have a finite inventory of the type of item they do sell. You can't, for instance, go to a smith and buy an infinite supply of Dwemer swords. Further, merchants in most games (with Morrowind being the main exception) have Level-Scaled inventories. A specific merchant will have higher quality goods if you visit at level 30 than if you go at level 1. That said, there are typically a few general traders and pawnbrokers who will buy and sell in nearly anything, but they often have significantly less gold to barter with, their goods will be more random, and they won't have as high quality of goods as a merchant of that specific type would have.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Dagoth Ur just wants to make Morrowind independent from the Empire, which is an idea that quite a few Dunmer groups would support, ranging from the honorable House Redoran to the mafia-esque Camonna Tong. The fact that his method of achieving that independence involves spreading a disease that drives the victim to homicidal madness and/or horrifically mutates them throughout the entire world is acceptable in his mind. (Although if he had succeeded with his ultimate goal, he would have turned the entirety of the universe/multiverse into nothing more than an extension of his own mind. The collective inhabitants of reality dodged a bullet there.)
    • The Thalmor are an extremist Altmeri religious sect that militarized into a State Sec. They play up the old Altmeri religious belief that the creation of the mortal world (Mundus) was a cruel trick played by a Jerkass God on their divine ancestors, which forced them to experience mortal suffering and death. They believe that if they can unmake Mundus, it will return them to a state of pre-creation divinity. Unfortunately, the very idea of Men inherently stabilizes the Mundus, and erasing this idea requires eliminating the Deity of Human Origin, Talos. By banning his worship, they are hoping to weaken and eventually eliminate him, allowing them to act on their plans to unmake the world. If (and that is a big "if") they were to actually succeed in this plan, there is some evidence that they may be correct and the souls of mortals would return to a state of pre-creation divinity, free from all the mortal suffering, loss, and limitation of Mundus. There is also supporting evidence that this is impossible, as due to the actions of Lorkhan (the aforementioned Jerkass God), there can presumably never again be the true stasis of pre-creation again. There is also the belief that this state of divinity (unchanging stasis) is actually the "prison", and Mundus was the escape from that, which would make them more of a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The individual games themselves aren't very far out there, Morrowind at most aside, but the setting and the lore that goes with it gets pretty bonkers at times. From all of existence being the dream of an utterly unknowable deity, to the Alien Sky (the sun and stars being tears in reality while the moon and planets are the decaying remains of dead gods) taking the form it does simply because that's the only way mortal races can perceive it, to Dragon Breaks where anything can happen, from the "minor" like the sky being a different color for everyone who views it to the physically impossible such as people giving birth to their parents somehow. The setting and lore is pretty trippy all things considered. It is surprising then that the games themselves tend to have comparatively mundane plots.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • This frequently happens to the Player Characters from previous games. At best, they will usually get a vague mention about what happened to them since the events of their game.
    • The series is generally pretty good about letting you know the fate of prominent characters from past games, though not always. A prominent example is Barenziah, who, in addition to her appearances in Daggerfall and Tribunal, isa major backstory character. She was known to still be alive at the end of the 3rd Era, but what happened to her after that is unknown. Skyrim, set in 4E 201, has some references to her made in the past tense, implying that she died. A list of other examples by game is available on the trope page.
    • A historical example is Morihaus, the Aedric demi-god described as a "winged man-bull" who was sent to aid St. Alessia (as part of her Bargain with Heaven) in her war against the Ayleids. He became the lover and consort of Alessia, and was with her until her death. What happened to him after is unknown.
  • What Is Evil?: Series recurring villain Mannimarco, the "King of Worms" Lich/Necromancer, has long defended Necromancy (as well as the other Dark Arts he practices) as an act which isn't inherently evil. He also argues that good and evil are "manifestations of the same thing". Given that he is a prideful Smug Snake who has committed untold atrocities throughout Tamriel over the course of many centuries, his arguments usually ring hollow.
  • What Is One Man's Life in Comparison?: Meridia, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty, is a big believer in this trope. She will sacrifice innocent lives, even those of her loyal followers, in an instant if it means achieving a greater good (at least in her opinion). She has an extreme hatred of anything undead, which can quickly put her into full-blown Knight Templar mode toward wiping out any undead. This, and the belief among most mortals that she is one of the "good" (if not always nice) Daedra can drive her into Tautological Templar territory. That means that she feels any action she takes is therefore good, and anyone who opposes or abandons her is evil. She will thus deal with them appropriately.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Falmer are a race of Always Chaotic Evil Morlock-like beings, treated as little better than Goblins. This was not always the case, however, as they were once a race resembling the Altmer (High Elves) with a civilization to rival even theirs. However, they were nearly driven to extinction by Ysgramor and his 500 Companions. The survivors fled to their Dwemer cousins who accepted them, but under the condition that they blind themselves, becomes slaves, and undergo significant mutation. Between this option and extermination, a large portion of the Falmer population accepted the Dwemer offer. The physical mutations are obvious, but where this trope comes into play is that their very souls were altered. They now have the "white" souls of creatures, as opposed to the "black" souls of the other sentient races.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: There are a few occasions in various questlines throughout the series (including the main quest in a few instances) where you can choose to throw it off the rails by, say, killing a character essential to the questline or siding with a rival/enemy group. In these cases, expect one of the betrayed characters to give you such a speech. Notable examples include Caius Cosades in Morrowind and Arngeir of the Greybeards in Skyrim.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, has an accent in different parts of the series which is either Scottish or Irish. Good luck getting anyone (including natives of those countries) to actually agree which it is.
  • What the Hell, Player?: The wide open nature of the series provides plenty of opportunities for this trope. Specific examples are listed by game on the trope page.
  • What You Are in the Dark: The series frequently provides opportunities of this nature for the player. Perhaps you find yourself alone in the home of an elderly widow and her life savings are sitting there unguarded... or maybe you run into a lone traveling merchant out in the wilderness... no one would ever know. Plays into Video Game Cruelty Potential and Kleptomaniac Hero significantly.
  • When Trees Attack:
    • The series has Spriggans, which are particularly tree-like Plant People. They have a Gaia's Vengeance tilt and are known as "Nature's Guardians." Depending on the game, they either must be killed three times before they'll stay dead or they come with a rapid Healing Factor that kicks in when they are near death. One of their favored methods of attack is to blend in with surrounding trees and plants, then ambush their unaware targets.
    • The Hist, a race of ancient, sentient, and possibly omniscient trees native to the Black Marsh, Subvert this trope. Though sentient and capable of communicating with each other and the Argonians, who worship them, they are otherwise entirely tree-like - stationary and defenseless on their own. However, they can incite the Argonians to attack on their behalf.
  • White Hair, Black Heart:
    • Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of Nightmares, is sometimes depicted with white hair. She is perhaps second only to Molag Bal himself in terms of her malevolence toward mortals.
    • Series recurring villain Mannimarco, the "King of Worms" Lich/Necromancer, is frequently depicted with long white hair.
  • White Magic: The Restoration school of magic naturally fits. It consists of spells which resist damage or restore wholeness by reknitting the damaged material. It also includes wards, curing of disease and poison, physical fortification, and the turning of undead (a forced purification effect).
  • Who Forgot the Lights?: The series invokes this in some areas. The games provide various means of lighting both mundane (torches, lanterns, candles, etc.) and fantastic (Night Eye and Light spells), with the expectation that you'll need to use it to light up the darker places in the game world.
  • Wicked Witch: The series has witches of all types, but Hagravens fit the trope best. Hagravens are a species of flightless harpy who were once mortal women that performed a ritual (involving Human Sacrifice) that traded their humanity for access to powerful magic. Hagravens prefer deadly fire-based magic attacks and can typically be found in remote areas, leading either Reachmen clans (as Evil Matriarchs) or covens of still-mortal witches (who ultimately plan to become Hagravens).
  • Wide Open Sandbox: The openness of the series is one of its greatest and most famous attributes. Usually, shortly after character creation, you are free to go wherever you want and do whatever you want. It is possible in each game to play for hundreds of hours just exploring and doing side quests without even starting the main quest.
  • Wild Card: The series has Spider Daedra, which, as their name might imply, are a Spider People form of lesser Daedra. Spider Daedra are equally formidable with melee attacks and destruction magic, particularly ranged Poison and Shock spells. Due to their unpredictability, few mortals are willing to summon them for fear that they will disobey orders. Given that they are servants of the Daedric Prince Mephala, essentially the patron deity of the Manipulative Bastard trope, this trait is rather understandable.
  • The Wild Hunt:
    • Hircine, Daedric Prince of the Hunt, views the entirety of existence as an unending hunt. He is fond of Hunting the Most Dangerous Game and is always seeking the most worthy prey for his Hunting Grounds. Were-creatures, especially werewolves, are Hircine's servants. They can be said to embody his view of the Hunt, as during the day they are Hunted, but at night they are Hunters.
    • The Bosmer have an ancient ritual with this name. It calls upon the Ehlnofey to transform them into nightmarish hellspawn in order to drive intruders from the land, before turning on each other and engaging in what is described as a "cannibalistic orgy". As there is no known way to reverse the transformation, it is reserved for use in only the most extreme of circumstances. Most recently, this ritual was used to end the Five Years War between the Bosmer and the Khajiit.
  • Wild Wilderness: The Hunting Grounds is the realm of Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt. It is an infinite expanse of thick forests and open plains populated by Hircine's werecreatures. There, the Hunter and the Hunted can switch roles at any time. Hircine is always seeking more worthy prey to add to it.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages (aka UESP) is one of the most popular and detailed for the series. Numerous others exist as well.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: There are at least two known varieties found in Tamriel:
    • The Cyrodiilic version is incorporeal, like a ghost, and can only be harmed by magic, weapons made of silver, and enchanted weapons.
    • The Skyrim variety are found near feminine, ghostlike beings called Wispmothers. Unlike the Cyrodiilic variety, they can be hurt by any type of weapon. Killing the Wispmother also disperses the Wisps surrounding her.
  • Win Is Classy: The symbol of Stendarr, the Aedric Divine God of Justice, Mercy, and Compassion, is wine flowing from a goblet. Within Skyrim, homeland of the Nords, it is instead flowing from a drinking horn.
  • Wingdinglish: The series famous Daedric script has characters like this. Give or take a few letters, it is a simple English substitution.
  • Winged Humanoid:
    • Tava, the Yokudan/Redguard aspect of Kynareth, the Aedric Divine Goddess of the Air and Heavens, is typically depicted with bird wings and a bird's head. In that tradition, she is the patron of sailors.
    • Winged Twilights are a form of lesser Daedra who have humanoid bodies and bat-like wings. They are almost always hostile when encountered, but are said to be in service to Azura, one of the more benevolent and typically considered "good" Daedric Princes.
    • Umaril the Unfeathered, an Ayleid sorcerer-king who ruled the Ayleid Empire at the time of the Alessian Revolt, had unfeathered angel wings which came across looking more like Spikes of Villainy.
    • This is a trait of the Mazken (aka Dark Seducers), an intelligent race of lesser Daedra in service to Sheogorath. In their Daggerfall appearance (where they are referred to as "Daedric Seducers"), they first appear as an attractive female mage before sprouting wings and becoming hostile. Those encountered in Battlespire have permanent wings, however, this is specifically stated to be part of a Super-Powered Evil Side granted to them by Big Bad Mehrunes Dagon. Their appearance in Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion does not depict them with wings at all.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing:
    • Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, made a wager with Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of Nightmares, in which they would both torment an artist who served Vaermina to see who could most influence him. While the artist was accustomed to Vaermina's nightmares and used them for inspiration, she pulled away what protections she was giving him and inflicted horrific night terrors on him. This resulted in him being inspired to create terrifying and grotesque art, which drew fame and acclaim due to its pure nightmarishness. When Sheogorath's turn came to torment the artist, he did nothing at all. Confused and feeling betrayed by Vaermina for the sudden lack of nightmarish inspiration, the artist was driven to rage and began to lose his mind. He started turning that anger into insults to kings and blasphemies against the gods in an attempt to get some response out of Vaermina. Eventually, his insanity grew to full on madness, and his blasphemies and insults became too much to be ignored, and he was put to death, with his soul traveling to Sheogorath's realm, the Shivering Isles, proving who had won without a doubt. And it all happened without Sheogorath doing a thing.
    • Another of the myths surrounding Sheogorath 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.
  • Wise Tree:
    • The Argonians worship the Hist, an ancientnote  and possibly omniscient spore-reproducing trees. The can communicate with each other via deep, interconnected root systems and can communicate with the Argonians via visions transmitted in their sap, which the Argonians drink to learn and grow. Through an unknown means, they are able to see into the future. Sensing the upcoming Oblivion Crisis and the trials that would follow, they recalled most of the Argonians in Tamriel to the Black Marsh to combat these threats and, through their sap, changed the Argonians physically to better prepare them as weapons of war. Following the Red Year destruction of much of Morrowind, homeland of the Dunmer who kept many Argonians as slaves for countless generations, the Argonians invaded and took over the parts that remained habitable. In the 4th Era, due to their increased strength, the leadership of the Hist, and the valuable ebony deposits in Morrowind, the Argonians are one of only two forces of Tamriel believed to be capable of defeating an invasion by the Aldmeri Dominion. (The other being Hammerfell.)
    • Y'ffre, patron deity of the Bosmer and God of the Forest, is typically depicted taking the form of a large, bearded tree.
  • Witch Species:
    • The Altmer are the most magically gifted race in Tamriel. In terms of gameplay, this comes with skill bonuses to the magic schools and a hefty increase in maximum magicka and magicka regeneration, letting them cast more powerful spells with greater frequency. The drawback is that they are also the most physically frail race, with a high tendency to become Squishy Wizards.
    • Out of the races of Men, the Bretons are the most magically inclined. They are the result of engineered interbreeding between the ancient Direnni Altmer of High Rock and their Nedic (human) ancestors. Due to the Uneven Hybrid nature of inter-species offspring in the ES universe, it took many generations but the magical qualities of the elves eventually started to show up in what would become the Bretons. This manifests with increased magical aptitude and inherent Anti-Magic defensive traits, with the drawback of being less physically gifted than the other races of Men. Still, the Bretons are the race best suited to Magic Knight roles in combat.
    • Like their Altmer cousins, the ancient Falmer (Snow Elves) were said to have an exceptional natural aptitude for magic.
    • The Sload, a race of "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, are naturally gifted in various schools of magic, especially necromancy and mysticism (particularly the taking of souls and teleportation spells).
  • With Catlike Tread: Surprisingly common in the ranks of the Dark Brotherhood. Despite their reputation as stealthy master assassins, far too many inept Brotherhood assassins are encountered throughout the series. In some cases, given the Brotherhood's Ragtag Bunch of Misfits constitution, some members actively forgo stealth in favor of, for example, wearing heavy armor and using a battleaxe or blowing their targets away with overkill magical attacks.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Throughout the series, this is common for any mortals who obtain great (or sometimes godly) power. One could argue that you have to be at least a little bit insane in the first place to seek such power, and obtaining it does these individuals no favors... Specific examples can be found listed by game on the trope page.
  • With This Herring:
    • Taken to its logical extreme in the games, with the player starting every single one of them in prison for an unspecified crime. (The sole exception is Daggerfall, in which the player was the victim of a shipwreck and starts out stranded in a dungeon, which basically has the same effect. In all cases, this at least explains their penniless state.)
    • Throughout the series, this is a common feature in the quests given by Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, pretty much just for his own amusement. One of his famous implements is the Fork of Horripilation. "Horripilation" is the anatomical word for... goosebumps. It's essentially a cursed dinner fork.
  • With Us or Against Us: A belief present in a number of characters throughout the series. Specific examples can be found listed by game on the trope page.
  • Wizard Duel: Throughout the series, the Mages Guild (or equivalent) questline typically comes down to the Player Character getting into one of these with the questline's Big Bad, who is usually a powerful magic user as well. Granted, you can choose to subvert it immediately by whipping out your sword or bow to slay your adversary without casting a single spell. (Though, showing some Developers' Foresight, these foes are typically far less squishy than most other magic users to deter this strategy.)
  • Wizarding School:
    • Throughout the series and in the backstory, many such institutions are present. Many are dedicated to Julianos, the Aedric Divine of Wisdom and Logic, who also has an association with magic. These are unsurprisingly popular in the homelands of Witch Species races, such as the Summerset Isles (home of the Altmer (High Elves) and High Rock (home of the Bretons). Even in places home to races who have a cultural dislike of magic, such as Skyrim (home of the Nords) and Hammerfell (home of the Redguards), some sort of establishment of magical learning is still present.
    • An especially notable one is run by the Psijic Order on the isle of Artaeum in the Summerset Isles. The oldest monastic group in Tamriel, the Psijic Order is a secretive magical society 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." Throughout history, they have variously served as advisors to royalty or have withdrawn completely from outside affairs, depending on the political climate at the time. Both the Mages Guild and the Order of the Black Worm were founded by former Psijics. While primarily made up of Altmer, they have been known to include magically adept members of other races as well, though their selection process is "complex" and "ritualized", and "not understood by the common man".
    • The Imperial Battlespire was a magical training ground for the Imperial Battlemages. It was located in the "Slipstream", an area separating Mundus (the mortal plane) from Oblivion. During the events of the eponymous Dungeon Crawl spin-off game, it is invaded by the forces of Mehrunes Dagon, Daedric Prince of Destruction. While the Hero of the Battlespire is able to repel the invasion and banish Dagon back to Oblivion, the Battlespire is destroyed.
    • The Arcane University in Cyrodiil's Imperial City was another notable example. It served as the headquarters of the Mages Guild until the Guild's collapse in the early 4th Era. The university grounds were guarded by Imperial Battlemages of the Shadow Legion, a magic-using legion who were once trained in the Battlespire. In the center of the district is the Arch-Mage's Tower. The tower contained the Council Chamber, the Arch-Mage's living quarters, and a ground floor open to the public. The chambers were linked by magical teleportation pads. Accessible from the tower was the Imperial Orrery, a reconstructed Dwemer machine used to chart the heavens. The university contained a Chironasium for enchanting, a Lustratorium for alchemy, a Praxographical Center for spell making, and quarters and practice rooms for permanent residents. The Mystic Archives had a large collection of books and notes. The grounds also contained an alchemical garden, an outdoors lecture area, and an Imperial watchtower for the Battlemages.
    • The College of Winterhold is a regional example in Skyrim.
  • Wizards Live Longer:
    • Throughout the series, the Altmer are stated to be the most magically inclined race in Tamriel and are also the most naturally Long-Lived out of the already long-lived Mer races. Living for several centuries is fairly average for them, while extreme examples have lived for thousands of years.
    • All of the Dunmeri Great House Telvanni councilors are implied to be extremely old by way of magic. Special mention Divayth Fyr, who at around age 4000, is said to be one of the oldest non-divine beings in Tamriel.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: Just prior to the events of Skyrim, the declining Cyrodiilic Empire was invaded by their re-formed ancient enemy, the Aldmeri Dominion under the leadership of the extremist Thalmor, in what would come to be known as the Great War. Emperor Titus Mede II opted to withdraw his forces from the Imperial City and met up with Nord reinforcements from Skyrim. Together, they were able to recapture the Imperial City and repulse the Dominion from Cyrodiil. However, Mede sensed that his forces (the Imperial Legion no longer being the continent-conquering Badass Army of old) were in no condition to continue the fight and he risked a Pyrrhic Victory (at best) if he pushed for complete victory. Instead, he decided to sue for peace, and the best he could manage was the White-Gold Concordat, an uneasy cease-fire treaty with terms heavily favorable to the Dominion. Included was the ceding of large tracts of the Hammerfell province to the Dominion, the official dissolution of the Blades, a ban on Talos worship, and the right for the Thalmor to enforce these terms even within the boundaries of the Empire itself. Feeling betrayed by the Empire, Hammerfell immediately seceded and waged their own war with the Dominion. Also feeling betrayed were the Nords, to whom Talos was their most popular deity. Under the leadership of Ulfric Stormcloak, the Stormcloaks initiated the Skyrim Civil War in an attempt to gain independence. Further, none of the parties involved are under any illusions that the peace between the Empire and Dominion will last and all believe that a second Great War is inevitable. There are many indications in Skyrim that the Dominion is already preparing for another war while working behind the scenes to weaken the Empire. Even the Civil War itself is part of a scheme to weaken the Empire, with the Thalmor working to ensure that it lasts for as long as possible, draining both sides of manpower and resources for eventual takeover.
  • Word of Dante/Word of Saint Paul: The series has this in the form of "Obscure Texts", supplementary items written by the series' developers and former developers. They're essentially treated as canonical by most of the fanbase (or at least the equivalent of the series' famous in-universe Unreliable Canon), but Bethesda has no official stance either way. Most prolific is former developer Michael Kirkbride, who still does some freelance work for the series. Most of what he writes about are the more obscure aspects of universe's cosmology which don't get expanded on in the games, as well as lore figures the games never touch upon or that Bethesda is simply finished with (like Vivec). However, since some of them either might be subsequently quoted or used as a mythopoeic basis for the games, the line between Word of God, Word Of Saint Paul, and Word Of Dante is blurred concerning his writings. As of Skyrim, some of the concepts in his works have been officially referenced in game (the idea of "kalpas," Ysgramor and his 500 companions, and some of the motivations of the Thalmor), moving them to Canon Immigrant status. A collection of the works can be found here.
  • Words Can Break My Bones:
    • Nirn's dragons are the divine children of the chief deity of the Nine Divines Pantheon, Akataosh, the Dragon God of Time. (They also may be fragments of his actual being, and serve of a role similar to being very destructive angels.) They inherently speak a Language of Magic which gives them small scale Reality Warping powers. Essentially, they "make real" whatever they speak in this language. For example, when a Dragon is "breathing" fire, they're technically commanding fire to come into existence, and battles between dragons are essentially very loud debates.
    • In the ancient past, the dragons and their Dragon Cults took over much of Skyrim. Seeking a way to defeat the Dragons and their Cults, the ancient Proud Warrior Race Nords prayed to the Divines for aid. Their prayers were answered and they were taught how to use the language of the Dragons themselves, which they called the Thu'um (or the "Voice"). Led by the Tongues, masters of the Thu'um, the ancient Nord armies vanquished the dragons and their Cults, then forged an Empire that covered nearly all of north Tamriel. A succession crisis would eventually tear it apart, and then the use of the Thu'um as a weapon of war dropped dramatically after their defeat at the Battle of Red Mountain, following which one of those Tongues (Jurgen Windcaller) founded the "Way of the Voice" to use the Thu'um only honor the gods.
    • In modern times, the Greybeards continue to follow Windcaller's "Way of the Voice." They live in a monastery known as High Hrothgar near the top of the Throat of the World, the tallest mountain in Tamriel. So powerful is their Thu'um that they are usually sworn to silence in order to not destroy everything around them simply by talking. Even their faintest whispers are known to shake the mountain on which they live. They Greybeards accept anyone who wishes to learn the Thu'um and follow the Way of the Voice. It is explained that anyone can learn to use Thu'um, but it takes a great deal of training, mostly to learn the true meaning of the words in the shout. Anyone can try speaking it, but you need to put your soul into it for magic to happen.
  • Worf Had the Flu: In the rare cases where a mortal directly contends with a Daedric Prince, said Prince is either weakened (such as manifesting on Mundus, the mortal plane, where metaphysical laws typically weaken their power), is Willfully Weak, and/or said mortal has been empowered by one of the Divines or another Prince.
  • Workplace-Acquired Abilities: "The Axe Man" is a recurring in-universe book. It tells the story of a young man who was able to learn the skills he needed to become an axe wielding assassin through the chores he was put through while growing up on a farm by an Evil Uncle (his first victim).
  • World Building: This is one of the more widely celebrated aspects of the series. There are several divergent mythologies, creation stories, and conflicting historical accounts of events, and of course All Myths Are True to at least some degree. Unlike many instances of the trope, this is presented as an actual in-universe force as well. The fabric of reality in the Elder Scrolls universe is malleable through various means of Reality Warping. Mortals can ascend to godhood and often perform Cosmic Retcons of their own pasts, which can bring together multiple timelines, regardless of conflicts. These and other divine events also tend to have Time Crashes as side-effects, which can further tamper with reality in various ways.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Starting with Morrowind, each game in the series has featured some truly stunning landscape and sky (especially at night) graphics relative to when they were released.
  • The World Is Not Ready: The Psijic Order is a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel. Initially, after their founding, they had this belief toward magic in general, believing that the world must learn magic slowly, at a safe rate. Thousands of years later, they still maintain this attitude toward certain magical artifacts. For example, as seen in Skyrim's College of Winterhold questline, they decide that Ancano's attempt to control the Eye of Magnus (nearly wiping Winterhold off the map in the process) is proof that world is not ready for it.
  • World of Muscle Men: Through Oblivion, the series gives all the members of a given race and sex have the same model below their head, and the models used for males have well-defined muscles. Skyrim adds a body mass slider, though it's decided by a single slider, which changes muscle mass only. You can choose to be lean and muscular, average and muscular, or bulky and muscular. The same applies to females, but the slider also affects Bustiness.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • The ancient Falmer (Snow Elves) and Atmorans (ancestors to the Nords) went to war in what is modern day Skyrim and Solstheim after the Falmer slaughtered and burned the Atmoran city of Saarthal. (Both sides naturally blame the other for what happened there.) In response, Ysgramor, one of the Atmoran leaders, rallied an army of 500 of Atmora's greatest warriors and led them on a quest to exterminate the Falmer. The leader of the Falmer, known only as the Snow Prince, fought Ysgramor and his Companions with such ferocity that they developed a strong respect for him. When he was finally slain, he was given a proper burial with a grand tomb, which they guarded from grave robbers.
    • Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, is always seeking to find these. He has immense respect for those who survive his hunts, or better yet, turn the tables on the hunter.
    • 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. As with most lesser Daedra, they detest and look down upon mortals, considering themselves to be the Master Race of the ES universe. However, mortals who perform well in battle against them can earn their respect.
  • Wreaking Havok: Added to the series starting with Oblivion. Ever since, the developers have gone the extra mile to include situations to have a lot of fun with it. Additional details are listed by game on the trope page.
  • Written by the Winners:
    • Because of Nerevar's death, the disappearance of the Dwemer, Dagoth Ur's presumed death, and the fact that Azura is a Daedric Prince who doesn't often openly communicate with mortals, the Tribunal were the only ones present for the events following the Battle of Red Mountain left in a position to declare how the events there took place. As such, the Tribunal Temple's official story about what happened is the most widely accepted version, even though it is clearly the version most full of Blatant Lies and Metaphorical Truths out of those that comprise The Rashomon once you've done a little research. All stories to the contrary are considered heresy, kept alive only by the actions of the Ashlander Nerevarine Cult and the Dissident Priests.
    • Speaking of the Dwemer, following their disappearance, the only groups in positions to know much about the Dwemer were the Dunmer (having been turned from the Chimer) and the Nords, both of whom warred with the Dwemer and wouldn't have had any reason to say anything good about them. In the years that followed, the Dwemer would be demonized by the Dunmer and popularized by ahistorical tales like Marobar Sul's Ancient Tales of the Dwemer series. Not helping matters is that their language was quickly lost after their disappearance, making it impossible for anyone to read the Dwemer's own records. (A means of translation was discovered around the time of Morrowind, but was apparently lost again by the time of Skyrim 200 years later.)
    • The Ayleids are the "losers" to the Alessian Empire "winners". While there is plenty of evidence that the Ayleids committed atrocities against their human slaves, there has almost certainly been some exaggeration of the centuries since. Even though several rebel Ayleid lords supported Alessia during the revolt and were permitted to keep their lands and culture after the war, even they would be demonized once the monkey prophet Marukh came to power and founded the Alessian Order. In addition to the persecution of any elves within the empire, the Order also destroyed any records and cultural artifacts of the Ayleids that could be found. Eventually, only the (almost certainly heavily biased) Imperial records of the Alessian Revolt remained.
    • The ancient Falmer (Snow Elves) were nearly exterminated in a war with Ysgramor and his 500 Companions from Atmora. As part of destroying all traces of the Falmer culture in Skyrim that he could find, Ysgramor also destroyed any evidence of anything that happened other than what his official histories record. For instance, he claims that the Falmer attack on Saarthal was "unprovoked". However, surviving records of the Elves claim that the attack was in response to repeated "provocations and blasphemies" committed by the early Nords.
    • Additionally, the Septim Empire would later play up the relationship between Alessia's Nedic people (ancestors of most of the modern races of Men) and the Nords, whose support Tiber Septim badly needed to forge his empire. The Nedes were extinct as a unique race centuries before Septim's rise to power.
    • Speaking of Tiber Septim, the Imperial orthodox history of his life covers up, denies, or suppresses any other stories of Septim as "heretical". Given that there is plenty of evidence that Septim's life was not the truly noble, humble, and heroic version detailed by the official histories, there is plenty to cover up.
    • Between Oblivion and Skyrim, the Thalmor took credit for ending the Oblivion Crisis which brought them great support in their homeland. They assassinated Potentate Ocato 10 years later, irreparably destabilizing the Third Cyrodiilic Empire. Under their leadership, the Altmer quickly seceded and annexed Valenwood in order to reform the Aldmeri Dominion of old (and to give them a buffer state between their homeland and Cyrodiil). They then took credit for resolving a crisis with the moons that brought them Elsweyr, homeland of the Khajiit, as a client state.
  • Wutai: The continent of Akavir serves as this as to the primarily European inspired Tamriel (where all of the games to date have taken place). Akavir, per in-game sources, is a mishmash of Chinese (Ka Po' Tun), Japanese (Tsaesci), and less prominent Indian (Tang Mo) and Mongol (Kamal) Fantasy Counterpart Cultures. In the backstory, some of the Akaviri races have attempted to invade Tamriel several times, but have always been defeated. They are said to have left behind Japanese styled weaponry and inspired the Blades, a knightly order of spies and bodyguards to the Emperor who have significant Samurai influences. Because of the past invasions, the citizens have Tamriel have some very Yellow Peril inspired beliefs about Akavir. However, neither Akavir nor any of the Akaviri races have appeared to date in-game in the series to date.note 
  • Xanatos Gambit:
    • This is associated with Zenithar, the Aedric Divine God of Work and Commerce. He is preaches the benefits of being a Reasonable Authority Figure and a Honest Corporate Executive, and is also said to be 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".
    • This concept is also associated withi Azura, the Daedric Prince of Dawn and Dusk and the "Lady of Prophecy". As the "Lady of Prophecy", she actively works (mostly) behind the scenes to ensure that her prophecies come to pass. Even if things don't go exactly according to her plans, they still tend to work out in ways that ultimately benefit her. Although she is never overtly deceitful, the way Azura always gets what she desires in the end, and how titanic events always follow her interventions, can be portrayed as disturbing. Behind her veil of benevolence and pleasing female form, there are hints that Azura may be something much more eldritch. She may be a sort of 'cosmic force' of True Neutrality, primarily concerned with maintaining a sort of metaphysical balance in the universe.
    • The 4th Era iteration of the Thalmor are actively engaged with one of these regarding the Skyrim Civil War. Their ideal result is for the civil war to drag on for as long as possible, exhausting both sides and weakening them for the inevitable second Great War. A victory for the Stormcloaks would result a further destabilizing of the vestigial 3rd Empire of Tamriel, while an Imperial victory leaves the Thalmor with pawns throughout Skyrim who can continue to advance their agenda. A quick and decisive victory for either side is their least preferable outcome.

    Y-Z 
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time tends to apply strangely and inconsistently in the planes of Oblivion. For example, during the Imperial Simulacrum, Emperor Uriel Septim VII was imprisoned in Oblivion by his Evil Chancellor Court Mage Jagar Tharn, who then assumed Septim's throne. Septim was imprisoned for 10 years before being rescued, however, when he emergesd he did not appear to have aged a day. Likewise, within the Soul Cairn, a plane of Oblivion created and ruled by the Ideal Masters, time is said that the passage of time is "strange". In Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC, Valerica, a vampire, was able to live within the Soul Cairn for thousands of years without succumbing to the feral insanity that afflicts most vampires who go too long without feeding.
  • Year Zero: There have been several Year Zeros, at the beginning of every new 'era'. It's common practice to put the era before the year when announcing a date, for example "Third Era, Year 433", which is typically written as "3E 433".
  • Yellow Peril: Though set in a fantasy world, this trope is in effect in regards to the continent of Akavir. Akavir, per in-game sources, is a mishmash of Chinese (Ka Po' Tun), Japanese (Tsaesci), and less prominent Indian/Korean (Tang Mo) and Mongol (Kamal) Fantasy Counterpart Cultures. In the backstory, some of the Akaviri races have attempted to invade Tamriel (a continent with a heavy European basis) several times, but have always been defeated. Because of the past invasions, the citizens have Tamriel have some very Yellow Peril inspired beliefs about Akavir.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe:
    • In addition to other instances of Early Installment Weirdness, Arena and Daggerfall use this dialect indiscriminately. When rescued at the end of Arena, Emperor Uriel Septim VII speaks entirely in this fashion. (A trait which is dropped from later appearances in the series.) The later games have dropped this almost entirely, reserving just a bit of Shakespearean dialogue for the nobles.
    • The recurring in-universe book "The Red Book of Riddles" uses this for its entire first paragraph.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Most games in the series start off this way. The Player Character is a Featureless Protagonist (with you getting to choose your appearance, race, and gender) whose actions and personality are entirely up to you. Given the series' Wide Open Sandbox nature, your character's origins need to be pretty wide-open as well. Your character might be a thieving murdering bastard who got caught, or they might be a paragon of righteousness who was wrongfully imprisoned, or they might not even know themselves. It also serves a symbolic function: once you're released/escaped from the prison you are free to do as you please, both in-character and in gameplay, as being released/escaping from your imprisonment typically serves as the game's tutorial. A break down by game is available on the trope page.
  • You Are in Command Now: The vast majority of faction quests conclude with the Player Character in control of said faction, regardless of any obstacles to taking the position. For example, in Oblivion, the Hero of Kvatch can wind up as the Listener of the Dark Brotherhood, Archmage of the Mages Guild, Guildmaster of the Thieves and Fighters Guilds, Champion of the Arena, Commander of the Knights of the Nine, and ruler of the Shivering Isles all in one playthrough. A major exception is Online, where any official factions (the Guilds, for example) either end with the other major character of the subquest taking the helm, or the leadership never changes to begin with.
  • You Are Number 6: According to The Pocket Guide to The Empire (a work of debatable accuracy), the Altmer of the Summerset Isles don't bother to give themselves names. When they greet, they address one another with a long combination of numbers that sounds like a name if you aren't fluent in their language.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: The Player Character in a few instances, including the Nerevarine and the Dovahkiin.
  • You Are Who You Eat: Some vampire bloodlines have an unusual inversion of this trope. The longer they go without feeding, the more powerful they become, as well as becoming more monstrous in appearance, which tends to give away their vampiric nature. Further, they risk going irrevocably insane and feral if they go too long without feeding, becoming "Bloodfiends".
  • You Bastard!: Within the menu of some games in the series, you can find a record of certain accomplishments - people killed, locks picked, locations discovered, etc. A few categories can make it feel as though the games are giving you this treatment, however, such as "bunnies killed"...
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form:
    • This is said to be the case for the series' Alien Sky. The sun and stars aren't typical flaming orbs of gas, but are holes punched in reality by escaping spirits during the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane. They connect to Aetherius, the realm of magic, through which magic flows into Mundus, visible in the night sky as nebulae. The two moons are said to be the sundered and rotting "flesh divinity" of Lorkhan (aka many other names), the "dead" creator god of Mundus. The eight planets are said to be the flesh divinity of the original eight Aedra, spirits who stayed and sacrificed much of their divine power/very beings to create Mundus. This all appears as it does because it is the best a mortal mind can do to comprehend it.
    • The Daedric Princes are the spirits who did not participate in the creation of Mundus, and thus remain at full power with Complete Immortality. They are really a form of Eldritch Abomination who subscribe to their own Blue and Orange Morality depending on the sphere they represent. When dealing with mortals, however, they often take a form that mortals are more comfortable and familiar with. One exception is Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge (with a specialty in Eldritch knowledge). When he takes form, it tends to be as an infinite and mind-melting mass of tentacles and eyes. Within his realm of Apocrypha, his tentacles blot out the sky.
    • The eponymous Elder Scrolls, also called "Fragments of Creation", in addition to being Tomes of Eldritch Lore and Tomes of Prophecy and Fate, can be this depending on the reader. If the reader is completely untrained in reading the scrolls, the scrolls appear to be a sort of star chart with indecipherable glowing glyphs printed over (and under) the map. If the reader has some knowledge of the scrolls, they may be able to decipher some knowledge, but it will likely be incomplete, and the reader will be struck instantly blind. A fully trained and mentally prepared reader, such a member of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth (who tend to be the primary keepers and readers of the scrolls), can glean significant knowledge and recover their eyesight, but will eventually go blind after repeated readings. In all cases, including for people who merely study the nature of the scrolls and never even use them, complete madness is a frequent side effect.
  • You Can't Go Home Again:
    • The Maormer (Sea Elves) were banished from Aldmeris, the ancient homeland of the Precursors of the races of Mer (Elves), after attempting a rebellion. There is said to be a literal veil of mist that they cannot penetrate surrounding their former home.
    • The mythology of the ES universe is suggested to include a cycle of death and rebirth. However, souls which are claimed by a specific deity (such as a Daedric Prince), are removed from this cycle and are taken to the realm of the deity in question to serve for eternity. Some mortals voluntarily serve deities and pledge their souls in this fashion, so it may not be too bad for them. (Such as werewolves who enjoy this state of being and will gladly serve in Hircine's Hunting Grounds.) Some souls may end up this way involuntarily, such as those who die under the effects of a Soul Trap spell. They are doomed to enter the Soul Cairn, created and ruled by the Ideal Masters (formerly mortal sorcerers who entered Oblivion as Energy Beings and traffic in souls).
  • You Dirty Rat!: The series has long had giant rats as a low-level enemy. They are almost always hostile and frequently carry diseases. A Rat Stomp, be it an official quest or simply running into rats as one of the first enemies, is a series' tradition as an early game staple.
  • You Do NOT Want To Know: In the in-game books "A Game at Dinner", the anonymous writer tells his master this about the effects of the poison Prince Helseth successfully bluffed a spy into drinking:
    "I know that you have seen much over the many, many years of your existence, but you truly don't want to know."
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • Emperor Uriel Septim VII has the dubious honor of looking completely different in every game he's in. In Arena, he looks like a stereotypical "playing card" king, with short hair and a full beard. In Daggerfall, he's bald and clean-shaven, and in Oblivion, he's hairy again, but he now has shoulder-length hair and no beard. His chancellor, Ocato, experiences a similar phenomenon - in Daggerfall, he's bald human and has a goatee, while in Oblivion, he's a clean-shaven Altmer with a full head of hair.
    • The "Beast Races" (Argonians and Khajiit) have changed drastically over the course of the series, though this may have more to do with the enhanced graphical capabilities as the series had gone on.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Used throughout series as combat dialogue insults. These include "you move like a pregnant cow", and, of course, most people have "fought mudcrabs tougher than you!" For bonus points, race specific insults are included as well.
  • You Fool!: Uttered repeatedly throughout the series, by individuals as diverse as Physical God Big Bads ranging all the way down to comically inept criminals attempting to Bully A Dragon. Specific examples can be found on the trope page.
  • You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again: Averted throughout the series. Getting knocked down leaves you extremely vulnerable to further enemy attacks. Enemies with attacks that have a high knock-down rate are some of the most dangerous as well as some of the most widely despised. On the flip side, you can do this to enemies with your attacks or abilities as well. A knocked down foe is much easier to kill.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: This is pretty much standard practice for the more malevolent of the Daedric Princes, such as Boethiah, Molag Bal, and Mehrunes Dagon.
  • You Killed My Father: The legendary Yokudan/Redguard hero Frandar Hunding fell in battle to the giant goblins of Hammerfell while still serving as a Frontline General despite approaching 90. His only son, Divad, took command of the Redguard forces and wiped the goblins out.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: This is an extremely common behavior among the Daedric Princes, especially the more outright malevolent ones, when it comes to the ranks of their mortal followers. Boethiah, the Daedric Prince of Plots whose sphere covers murder and betrayal, treats his (sometimes "her") champions this way. If they've displeased him, or if he has simply gotten bored, he may get another worthy mortal to challenge them in combat. If that mortal wins, that mortal takes the champion's place.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: Throughout much of the series, it is possible to make a NPC hate you to the point of refusing to speak with you further by lowering their disposition enough, such as by failing multiple speech checks. If you do this with a plot-important NPC, you can cut yourself off from the questline that NPC is involved with (including main quests). Thankfully, there are ways to recover which make this less troublesome, such as boosting your Personality Attribute which will make them like you more. As of Skyrim, the disposition mechanic has been dropped from the series, averting this trope.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Tamriel celebrates the "New Life" festival on the 25th of Evening Star (December), and is even explicitly described as a 'time of gift giving'.
  • Young Conqueror: Tiber Septim, then known as General Talos Stormcrown, was 26 when he claimed the long-vacant Ruby Throne of Cyrodiil following the death of the Colovian King Cuhlecain. He would go on to become the first person to conquer all of Tamriel and, following his death, would ascend (possibly with others) as the "Ninth Divine'', Talos.
  • You No Take Candle:
    • Throughout the series, Goblins are shown to speak this way when speaking in Tamriellic. Similarly, the goblin-like Rieklings of Solstheim speak this way as well, though some (such as the Riekling Chief in Dragonborn) are capable of speaking more normally.
    • Scamps are the weakest and known form of lesser Daedra, as well as the least intelligent of the sentient Daedra. Scamps who are able to speak Tamriellic tend to do so in this fashion, sometimes crossing over with Hulk Speak.
  • You Rebel Scum!: Variants are shouted by City Guards throughout the series if the player commits a crime. One of the more notable is the (in)famous "Stop right there, criminal scum!"
  • Your Soul Is Mine: The series has a number of examples which fit multiple varieties of the trope. To note:
    • Just the Soul:
      • The Underking. While there are several conflicting stories regarding the origins of the Underking, it is believed that he was once (at least in part) the ancient Nordic hero Wulfharth Ash-King, a known Shezarrine (incarnations of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan, known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"). In an attempt to find a replacement power source for the Dwemer-constructed Numidium for Tiber Septim, the Underking put his own soul into the Mantella, an unimaginably powerful soul gem. Septim used the Mantella-powered Numidium to complete his conquest of Tamriel. However, come the events of Daggerfall, the Underking wants to die but cannot without retrieving the Mantella.
    • Killed Too:
      • Throughout the series, there exists the "Soul Trap" spell. If it is cast upon an eligible target, then that target is killed while the spell is still in effect, the target's soul will be captured in a Soul Gem, a key element of enchanting. Black Soul Gems allow you to steal NPC souls (which have the same value as "Grand" Souls). A dark ritual that takes place at a certain place at a certain time of night when the stars are just right can transform normal Grand Soul Gems into Black ones. As it turns out, souls inside Black Soul Gems are still aware. When they get used during the enchanting process, the souls in Black Soul Gems get sent to a plane of Oblivion called the Soul Cairn, home of the malevolent Ideal Masters, where they wander for eternity.
      • The Sload, a race of "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, are well known for capturing and bartering in souls. The souls they've collected are treated as no different than "coins in a pouch."
      • The most famous artifact associated with the Daedric Prince Azura is Azura's Star, a reusable Grand Soul Gem. She is not otherwise associated with the taking of souls, however, making it somewhat unusual.
      • Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains and Wishes is known to collect souls, though he doesn't seem to do anything with them. He simply likes having them for the sake of having them. He also commissioned the creation of Umbra, an Empathic Weapon blade which steals souls (including the soul of its wielder).
      • Mehrunes' Razor is an artifact weapon associated with Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction. Once of its abilities is to sever the link between the body and the soul of its target, instantly killing them. Those killed in this fashion are said to have their souls sent to Dagon's realm of Oblivion.
      • Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination and Corruption and the closest thing the series has to a true God of Evil, loves corrupting people and claiming their souls. According to one obscure text, one of Molag Bal's positive (for a very, very loose definition of "positive") achievements was lending his power to the creation of the first soul gems. Knowing Bal, this act very likely had an extremely sinister motive behind it as well.
      • Dragons are ageless with divine Aedric souls, making them akin to highly destructive angels. They are said to be the children of Akatosh, the draconic God of Time and chief deity of the Nine Divines Pantheon. While anyone of sufficient ability can slay the physical form of a dragon, they possess a form of Resurrective Immortality, and permanently killing one requires another being with a dragon soul to absorb its soul.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: This is the case for the Reachmen, who inhabit the area along the border of High Rock and Skyrim known as "the Reach". They are a primitive and tribal people, led by shamans, who practice elements of nature and Daedra worship, primarily Hircine. They also revere Hagravens as "matrons". From the time of the Alessian Empire to the 4th Era, they've maintained an insurgency, warring against any outside conquerors attempting to claim the Reach for themselves. Naturally, they see themselves as fighting for the freedom of their ancestral homeland. Those they fight against see them as savages and murderers.
  • Your Worst Nightmare: Vaermina is the Daedric Prince of Nightmares. Given the nature of the series' divine beings, she is the very embodiment of nightmares. She exists to give mortals nightmares and steal their dreams, which she may in some way draw power from. Vaermina's Daedric realm is Quagmire, a realm of horrors, where reality shifts upon itself in seemingly impossible ways. Every few minutes, lightning flashes and the realm morphs into a terrifying scene, each one more frightening than the last. It is the realm most commonly visited by mortals, who often slip into it unintentionally while they sleep.
  • You Sexy Beast: The Tsaesci are a race of supposed "snake vampires" native to Akavir, a continent far to the east of Tamriel. They invaded Tamriel late in the 1st Era but were defeated, and the survivors were incorporated into Reman Cyrodiil's fledgling empire. They are said to have left behind children with the Tamriellic races who are said to be "beautiful, if frightening". (Sources conflict over just how serpentine the Tsaesci really are, though some state that they have fully snake-like lower bodies.)
  • Zany Scheme: The Argonian race has something of a cultural knack for coming up with these. It is likely linked to their Blue and Orange Morality (what is "zany" to a human may not be to a tree-worshiping lizard) and their unusual thought processes (their native language, Jel, has no past or future tense verbs, leading Argonians to think and live "in the now").
  • Zerg Rush:
    • This is a common tactic of Goblins and Rieklings, goblin-like inhabitants of Solstheim, throughout the series. Both species are rarely found alone, making up for their lack of size and adeptness as fighters by attacking in overwhelming numbers.
    • The series' were-creatures, especially werewolves, commonly form packs with were-creatures of the same type. They are known to attack in groups, using numbers to lessen the "glass" part of their Glass Cannon status.
    • Scamps are the weakest known form of lesser Daedra in the series. In addition to serving as low-intelligence servants and messengers, they are used in Mehrunes Dagon's Legions of Hell as Cannon Fodder, and they prefer to attack in large numbers to improve their odds.
    • In his "opus", series' recurring character St. Jiub the Eradicator recounts his quest to eradicate the much reviled Cliff Racers from Vvardenfell. As he was hunting a lone Cliff Racer, it led him into a trap where hundreds of Cliff Racers suddenly descended upon him. Two days of fighting and hundreds of dead Cliff Racers later, Jiub finally collapsed, exhausted and wounded. He would have died if not for the timely rescue of the Dunmeri Physical God Vivec, who was so impressed with Jiub's actions that Vivec declared him to be a saint.
  • Zip Mode: The series in general has had fast travel since Arena. Daggerfall allows you to fast travel to any location right away, but Oblivion and Skyrim require you to visit a location before you can fast travel there. (Skyrim does have carriages that will, for a price, take you from any major city to any other major city to make it easier.) Morrowind is an exception, as it lacks fast travel. It does have it in the form of Silt Striders (giant native insects which have been lobotomized and are "driven" by manipulating exposed muscle tendons. Passengers ride in the beast's hollowed-out shell), boats along the coasts, and by the Mages Guild "Guild Guide" service (instant teleportation between Mages Guild halls). It also offers several instant teleportation spells which qualify.

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