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"The Imperial throne sits empty. Dragonfire's cold, unlit. And from every corner, darkness grows. Now, ancient enemies band together. Unlikely alliances are forged. Old ambitions rekindled. And as the enemies rise faster than ever, salvation cannot come from one hero alone. But from many."
Narration from full trailer
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The Elder Scrolls Online is an MMORPG entry of The Elder Scrolls series developed by ZeniMax Online Studios. Taking place in the Second Era roughly 1,000 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you play as a hero attempting to stop the Daedric Prince Molag Bal from taking over Tamriel and recovering your soul that was taken by him. Things are also complicated by the fact that the Imperial throne has sided with the evil Prince, and now Tamriel is in an all-out war between Cyrodiil and three alliances vying for control of it.

It was released on April 4th, 2014 for Mac and PC (with a 3-to-5-day early start for preorders), with the PS4 and X Box One versions set for a June 9, 2015 release date. On March 17, 2015, the payment model changed to only require the initial purchase, with an optional premium account system offered as well.

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When playing the game, you must choose one out of three alliances; unless you have a special account upgrade, the alliance depends on which race you choose. However, after the "One Tamriel" update, the alliance chosen no longer is a big deal outside of Cyrodiil, and you can move to another alliance's starter zone to do its story arcs instead. Races, likewise, do not have a big role after Wrathstone, even if some are better suited to stamina or magicka than others. The Alliances and the playable races are as follow:

  • The Ebonheart Pact, consisting of the Nords, Dunmer/Dark Elves and the Argonians as they work to strengthen their fragile alliance. Which is easier said than done when the Argonians have been the favourite Slave Race for the Dunmer for generations, and Nords not being exactly the best diplomats of peace, along with a Succession Crisis of their own.
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  • The Daggerfall Covenant, consisting of the Bretons, Redguards and Orcs. Like the Pact, they work on keeping peace due to the peoples' history with each other. Namely, that the Bretons and Redguards have attacked and discriminated against the Orcs for a long time, and they are still working on just accepting them as people. Not to say the Bretons and Redguards' relationship is any better.
  • The Aldmeri Dominion, consisting of the Altmer/High Elves, Bosmer/Wood Elves and the Khajiit. Though their alliance is more stable compared to the others, they still struggle with multiple succession crisises of their own.
  • Among the other races not affiliated with the alliances, the Imperials is the only one playable. You can be Imperial if you upgraded your account to the Imperial Edition, and can choose whichever alliance you wish.

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    Classes 
The Elder Scrolls Online's classes follow the standard role-playing archetypes. The three core roles are tanking (taking damage so others do not have to), healing (patching others up), and damage dealing. The game makes a point that all classes can be utilized for each role, though there are some typical classes for certain roles.
  • Templars — Followers of Stendar who use light magic in both melee combat and ranged spells. They are typically seen as healers, but can use their shields and healing abilities to heal through damage, and to deal damage themselves.
  • Dragonknights — Having learned hidden fire arts from the Akaviri, Dragonknights shield themselves in fiery armours and battle with fire. They are usually seen as tanks with their massive shields and self-healing, but can also be used to heal and buff their allies' damage.
  • Sorcerers — Daedric summoners who use the power of storms and summoning to battle. They are usually seen as magicka-damage dealers, but can use their self-preservation and self-buffing as tanks, and has one summoning pet that can heal multiple targets.
  • Nightblades — Assassins that use shadow magic and life essense manipulation, they are mostly used as stamina-damage dealers. However, by stealing life energy from enemies and occasionally themselves, they can also heal themselves and allies, as well as making it harder to get hit.
  • Wardens (added in Morrowind) — Servants of nature, they summon animals and plants temporarily to aid in battle, as well as frozen water to protect themselves. This class was introduced as a hybrid class that balanced its role-capabilities in ways the base-game classes had not yet, with each skill-tree specializing in one class with some mixing.
  • Necromancers (added in Elsweyr) — People who raise the dead to aid in battle, they also use the remaining souls of the dead to their advantage. Like the Wardens, the Necromancers are supposed to be hybrids with a skill-tree for each role, with some mixing.

    Downloadable Content 
The game has as a goal to release one major update every quarter of the year; most of these updates comes in the form of a DLC that contains either two group dungeons or a small zone with a story in it. These DLCs can be bought with Crowns, or will be available for ESO Plus members. Once a year, there is also released a Chapter, which you must buy separately with money, which has a large zone and a new features like skill lines or crafting. So far, these zones in chapters are made DLCs a year later, with the special features being purchasable in the Crown Store.

Due to the majority of DLCs being based on Player Versus Environment, assume all contents are this unless stated otherwise.

  • Imperial City: Adds a new zone, the titular Imperial City in the heart of Cyrodil, as a unique hybrid of PvE and PvP. In it you must constest with both the forces of Molag Bal and other rival players, as well as introducing two new group dungeons; The Imperial City Prison and the White-Gold Tower. Due to being the last post-launch content to feature Molag Bal, it is considered the end of the Five Companions arc.
  • Orsinium: Adds the zone of Wrothgar with the titular city, as well as the game's first and only solo-arena, Maelstrom Arena. You are called to Wrothgar to assist Kurog, the King of Orcs, in rebuilding Orsinium and bring all the Orc Strongholds together under one leader, though not everyone agrees with King Kurog's vision. Gives small hints of stories and zones to come.
  • Thieves Guild: Adds the zone of Hew's Bane in Hammerfell, the Khajiit-centered trial Maw of Lorkhaj, and allows players to join the notorious titular faction, which had its own questline and skill tree. Along with this pack came an update that reintroduced the Crime mechanic from the main series, now called the Justice System, allowing players to steal, murder, commit robberies, fence goods, et cetera.
  • Dark Brotherhood: Much like Thieves Guild, it introduced the infamous Dark Brotherhood to the list of joinable factions, with its own questline and zone called The Gold Coast in Cyrodiil. Most notably, it reintroduced stealth take-downs, which can be performed on humanoid enemies with the Blade of Woe for a One-Hit Kill. Further hints of things to come.
  • Shadows of the Hist: An Argonian-themed dungeon pack containing two group dungeons set in Black Marsh: The Ruins of Mazzatun, where you must help save enslaved tribes from the Mazzatun tribe, and the Cradle of Shadows, where you help a Dark Brotherhood assassin find her companions.
  • Morrowind: The Chapter released in 2017, becoming a DLC in 2018, and the start of the Daedric War arc. You travel to Vvardenfell to assist Vivec in maintaining his power, and prevent a coup from an unknown traitor. The expansion added a new player class; the Warden, a nature themed character that fights with flora, fauna and ice. It also added new PvP content in the form of the Battlegrounds, a 4v4v4 arena type game-mode, which would later become base-game, and a new trial, the Halls of Fabrication.
  • Horns of the Reach: A Nord/Minotaur-themed dungeon pack containing two group dungeons set in southwestern Skyrim: Falkreath Hold, where you help the people of Falkreath against a siege by the minotaurs, and Bloodroot Forge, where you must stop the minotaurs by destroying an ancient forge.
  • Clockwork City: Continues the Daedric War arc. Added a zone and questline taking place in Sotha Sil's eponymous mechanical realm.
  • Dragon Bones: A dragon-themed dungeon pack containing two group dungeons: Fang Lair, where you must stop necromancers from reanimating a dragon skeleton, and Scalecaller Peak, where you help an alchemist stop a plague from spreading due to the skeleton dragon's former Dragon Priest.
  • Summerset: Released in 2018, becoming a DLC in 2019, and the conclusion of the Daedric War arc. Taking place in the isle of Summerset for the first time since The Elder Scrolls: Arena, Queen Ayrenn opens the border to everyone, but an unknown plot by many old enemies threatens to consume the entire island. The expansion adds a new crafting skill for creating jewelry, joining the Psijic Order for the first time with a skill line focused on time manipulation, and a new trial, Cloudrest.
  • Wolfhunter: A werewolf-themed dungeon pack containing two group dungeons; March of Sacrifices, where you join in one of Daedric Prince Hircine's hunts for a boon, and Moon Hunter Keep, where you help the Silver Dawn take back their old mansion from an ancient werewolf.
  • Murkmire: Adds the titular zone and questline south of Black Marsh, originally supposed to be the second Adventure Zone before they dropped the format, as well as a four-player arena, Blackrose Prison. You go to Murkmire to stop ill-meaning people from using ancient Argonian relics for their own cause.
  • Wrathstone: A dungeon pack where you help explorer and adventurer Tharayya gather the two halves of the Wrathstone for a client. The beginning of the Season of the Dragon arc.
  • Elsweyr: Chapter released in 2019 and the second installment for the Season of the Dragon arc. Dragons reappear and are wreaking havoc in Elsweyr, and it is your duty to help the land of the Khajiit. The expansion adds a new playable class; the Necromancer, a highly requested class that involves the manipulation of corpses and souls. It also adds a new trial, Sunspire, and a new world event involving dragon attacks.
  • Scalebreaker: A dungeon pack and the third instalment for the Season of the Dragon arc. You must fight two dragons in two different dungeons, although not everyone are interested in going against them, making your job harder. Will be released in the third quarter of 2019 (July, August or September)
  • Dragonhold: Adds the Southern Elsweyr zone named Pellitine, and is the conclusion to the Season of the Dragon arc. Gather allies, both new and returning, to reform the Dragonguard order and stop the dragons once and for all. Will be released in the fourth quarter of 2019 (October, November, December).


Provides examples of:

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  • Aborted Arc: While the game was subscription-based, they would update for free with continuing stories in dungeons. After the game went pay-to-play and would instead release new dungeons in downloadable content, many hinted stories in dungeons have been left behind.
    • In Direfrost Keep, we do not know how the quest-giver would attone for his ancestors, or where that door by the side-boss leads to.
    • In Arx Corinium, there is a door by the bridge lever that obviously leads somewhere, but we will never know where.
    • In Volenfell, Tharayya takes the quest-item and awakens something ancient that might have lead to another story in a second part. The events are never mentioned again even when Tharayya returns for a DLC-dungeon.
    • Blackheart Haven, the quest-giver seems to steal the last boss' powers, speaking about his "new master". Though there are hints to who this master is, this is never followed up upon.
    • In Elden Hollow II, the quest-giver is possessed by a powerful daedra, and you have the option to spare him so his sister can look for help. The daedra threatens to come after you, but this story is not followed up on.
    • In Selene's Web, there is another closed-off hall behind the giant bear boss that might also have lead to another section of the dungeon in a second part.
    • In Vaults of Madness, the quest-giver shows obvious hints of madness and not having good intentions, and you get the idea that he has ill-intended plans for the future. We never see him again.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Ayleid, or Wild Elves, were this to Tamriel, enslaving most of the other races and generally treating them like animals. The Dwemer were this as well but not to such an extent.
  • Achievement Mockery: The game gives you an achievement for swimming out too far and being eaten by slaughterfish.
  • Action Prologue: All the tutorials so far.
    • In the base-game, you have been murdered and your soul brought to Coldharbour in the middle of a revolt, and you help Lyris to get out.
    • In Morrowind, you have been captured by slavers and helps an assassin kill the slave trader to get out.
    • In Summerset, you are trapped in your own mind and are helped by a Psijic Order member to get free.
    • In Elsweyr, you learn your mechanics and setting during a dragon attack.
    • All actual prologue quests have you travel around the world and fight enemies to progress.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The description of the random "Swan-Satin Bathing Thong" item you can get as loot when stealing things. "Sleek and sensuous singing-swan style satin string sporting silver sequins, from Snip & Stitch, Skywatch."
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: "The Sleepy Eaglet" in Skywatch, and "The Screaming Mermaid" in Port Hunding.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Tharayya from Volenfell and the Wrathstone dungeons.
  • Aerith and Bob: Bretons are based on British and Celtic culture, so many of their names are more familiar for a Western playerbase than the elves' names, who are more fantasy-sounding.
    • This can also apply for some Nord names, as many of them have Nordic influence. In particular Skald-King Jorunn, who has a regular Norwegian woman's name.
  • A God Am I: Mannimarco in the main story, and all the dragons in Elsweyr. Bogdan the Nightflame in Elden Hollow II.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: King Kurog in ''Orsinium. He truly wanted to further Orc rights and make them a people equal to all the other races, but went too far. His friend Bhalrog speculates he was also heavily manipulated by his mother. There is a grand funeral prepared for him due to what he meant for the Orcs.
    • The Black Dragon from Dark Brotherhood. She was forced to kill her Sanctuary and then act as if nothing had happened, then was manipulated by the Order of Akatosh to exact revenge for their own goals. In the end, she is killed and brought to the Void by the Wrath of Sithis, terrified for her eternal soul.
  • The Alliance: All three major playable warring factions.
  • Almost Dead Guy: After the quest "The Final Assault", one of the final quests in the main questline, King Lalorian Dynar is dying, but he lives long enough to thank you for your help and say how proud he is that his final day was spent protecting Nirn, and he gives you his sword.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Treasure chests and Thieves Troves are often found hidden in out-of-the-way locations.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the trial Sunspire in Northern Elsweyr, where there is a Breather Level of sorts between the side-bosses, and the trial chests are hidden behind walls, by cliffs and such.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Many of the classes can take on the different roles, but...
    • Templars are often healers, but are very versatile - they are good at tanking, damage-dealing, and have a dedicated skill line for healing magic.
    • Dragon Knights tend to be tanks, who have good durability and AoE options.
    • Nightblades tend to be your stealth specialists, with a lot of moves devoted to stealth, being undetected, or debilitating opponents
    • Sorcerers have lots of ranged, magicka-based abliities, as well as being able to summon lesser Daedra to assist in combat.
    • Wardens from the Morrowind update are a tanky support class that use animals for limited offense and enhancements, healing plants, and protective sheets and spikes of ice.
    • Necromancer Necromancers from the Elsweyr update use positioning around dead mobs and allies to strengthen abilities.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Many quests are related to family heirlooms, many of which are weapons.
  • And I Must Scream: After you defeat the centurion the Harmonic Auditor was trying to fuse his soul into, he explains to you that he will be stuck in his body, motionless and without company, for decades until he goes mad and finally dies, and begs you to end his suffering.
  • And the Adventure Continues: After finishing the Five Companions story-line in the base-game, you will most likely still have other alliances to visit, dungeons to explore and downloadable content with their own story arcs.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: A few costumes are obtained by reaching a certain character level. The most difficult costume to obtain - and therefore easily the most exclusive - is the Emperor's Regalia, which is unlocked if you become Emperor.
  • Angrish: High Kinlady Estre does this when you first speak to her in Coldharbour if you previously thwarted her attempt to depose Queen Ayrenn:
    High Kinlady Estre: I'm here because of you, you vile, sniveling, sorry excuse for a... argh!
  • Animal Motifs: Each Alliance is represented by an animal on their banners and sometimes armor: an eagle for the Aldmeri Dominion, a dragon for the Ebonheart Pact, and a lion for the Daggerfall Covenant.
    • Barbas, in his Dremora form, wears armor with a dog motif. He is forced back into his usual, Irish wolfhound-esque form after his defeat.
  • Animalistic Abomination:
    • Occasionally the Daedric Princes take on animal-like forms when they appear to you; for instance an Aspect of Hircine appears to be a ghostly deer.
    • Barbas, as usual, appears as a "Windhelm Mutt". In actuality, he is a humanoid dremora with a terrifying amount of power, he just assumes his dog form to avoid blowing his cover when out and about.
  • Another Side, Another Story: You can go through one of the other two faction's main quests with the same character. Previously available only after completing the main quest, this was justified with some Daedric magic, and the question "what would have happened had you washed up on a different beach?"
    • In Horns of the Reach, each dungeon tells a side of the overall story. In Falkreath Hold, you help the villagers against the a reach-clan attack and kill a minotaur leader of the Dreadhorn Clan, severely weakening the Reachmen-Minotaur alliance. In Bloodroot Forge, you stop the Dreadhorn Clan's plan to use Bloodroot Forge's nirncrux to empower their warriors.
    • In Dragon Bones, you must stop the necromatic reanimation of a powerful dragon skeleton in Fang Lair, and you must kill the resurrected Dragon Priest loyal to said dragon in Scalecaller Peak.
  • Anti-Human Alliance: The Aldmeri Dominion is explicitly against a human-dominated Tamriel. Queen Ayrenn makes it clear it is not because she hates humans, but because their race is young, lives short and thus they cannot rule well for such a diverse people, many whose lifespans are thrice their length.
  • Arc Number: In the base-game, the Five Companions arc is number five, in which you must replace the betrayer of the group.
    • This comes back during the Season of the Dragon arc, where you had Khunzar-ri and his Kra-Jun, which together were five. Among the group was a betrayer, just like with the Five Companions.
  • Arrows on Fire: Enemies will spill oil on the ground and yell "Light it up!", and then enemy archers shoot flaming arrows into it to set it ablaze.
  • Artifact Title: Averted for the third game in a row. Multiple Elder Scrolls can be found within temples in Cyrodiil which can grant blessings for all the players in a particular alliance that control them during PvP.
    • In mostly played straight in Player Versus Environment, as the Elder Scrolls are mentioned in the main game, but do not have a direct role in the present. One downloadable dungeon, White-Gold Tower, makes heavy use of an Elder Scroll, though.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: If an Alliance captures all six forts around the Imperial City, the highest-scoring player from that faction becomes the Emperor.
  • As You Know: In many quest-related dialogues, you can ask the non-playable character what they are supposed to do, or who they are, and the character will explain and recap everything. They have begun poking fun at you when you do this, though, as they do not understand how you can have forgotten so soon.
  • Ascended Fanfic: The crafting "deconstruction" mechanic have been drawn comparison to Ars Metallica mod for Skyrim where any vanilla (and compatible) weapons, armor, and equipment can be smelted for material.
  • Athens and Sparta: The Ayleid city states of Delodiil and Abagarlas. Delodiil was progressive and populated by artists and scholors, and its people worshipped Meridia. Abagarlas was a military state whose people worshipped Molag Bal. Abgarlas's King was so jealous of Delodiil that he planned on sacking it and sacrificing every one of its citizens to Molag Bal, but by the time he and his army arrived, Delodiil had vanished, and Abgarlas had been sacked. The Coldharbour arc reveals that Delodiil was absorbed into Coldharbour, Molag Bal's realm, and becomes the main trade hub during the Coldharbour quests. Abgarlas is explorable as a dungeon.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Upon becoming Emperor, a player receives several passive skills that make them even better in PvP combat.
  • Autosave: Being an MMO, everything that you do is automatically saved, making a life of crime a bit riskier in comparison to other Elder Scrolls games.
  • Backstab: There are several skills or item sets that deal more damage if used behind the target. Also, hitting a heavy attack while sneaking will briefly stun the target: as being discovered negates this bonus, melee attackers have to hit from behind, although it's technically possible for a bow user to achieve this even if the enemy is facing them, due to their range.
    • The Blade of Woe works this way, allowing for stealth take-downs from behind, but only on humanoid enemies.
  • Badass Army: Every faction has one. Even Molag Bal and his army of Dremora qualify, completely unflinching in their every action.
  • Badass Beard: You can give your character one. Sai Sahan, one of the prominent characters of the main quest, also has one.
    Sai Sahan: "There is an old Redguard proverb: A man is only as great as the beard that wears him. A full and healthy beard carries with it a sense of great honor and wisdom. Also crumbs."
    Vestige: "Couldn't someone grab onto it in battle, though?"
    Sai Sahan: "Many have tried. But a fool and his fingers are easily parted."
  • Badass Longcoat: The Breton Hero in the cinematic trailers. His outfit is sometimes purchasable in the Crown Store, though the longcoat has been shortened and glued to your legs when you run.
  • Bag of Holding: You can hold far more items than a person would logically be able to. There are limits, but with ESO+, you get the Craft Bag, which carries an almost infinite number of all your crafting materials.
  • Bad Future: One of the final quest arcs in Reaper's March involves travelling to and exploring a potential future where Javad Tharn's plan to conquer Elsweyr succeeds, and he goes on to conquer the rest of the Dominion.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Prince Naemon from the Aldmeri Dominion turns into a monster when he tries to usurp Queen Ayrenn for the throne.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Giant bats are relatively common creatures. There are even werebats on one island in Valenwood (though they only appear in bat form).
  • Battle Couple: The Rings of Mara allow you and another player to become this, and any married couple in a party with one another gain a small experience bonus for both characters.
  • Battle Harem: The wives of an Orc chief, as they are the highest-ranking orcs in a clan outside of the chief himself (and possibly his mother), must be able to fight besides the other requirements for marriage.
  • Beast Man:
    • The Khajiit and Argonians are based on cats and lizards respectively, and the Khajiit can be born in the shape of a regular housecat or tiger depending on the moon phase it was born under.
    • There used to be another race based on foxes, the Lilmothiit, but they are extinct.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Plays a role in several sidequests, concerning people who made the mistake of trying to bargain with a Daedric Prince.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Sotha Sil had the power to save the life of Proctor Lucianna Pollo's son, but told her bluntly the circumstanses made it so he chose not to do so. In general, Sotha Sil is someone who ponders and toys with the concept of destiny and inevitability.
  • Belly Dancer: The first set of female Redguard cultural costumes had bare bellies, with "Song of the Night" Ensemble and Whisperweft Gala Wear appearing more like the stereotypical belly dancer.
  • Big Bad: The Daedric Prince of Domination himself, Molag Bal.
    • Morrowind has Barbas, Clavicus Vile's "conscience". However, unlike his other appearances, Barbas is cunning and ruthless here, manipulating Vivec himself in a desperate bid to get back on Clavicus' good side after Clavicus banished him for an unspecified reason. Doubles as the Final Boss.
    • In Summerset, Mephala is built up to be this, being the only member of the Daedric Triad to not have a focus yet, and for a good while, she is. However, towards the end of the main quest, she passes the reigns over to Nocturnal.
    • In Elsweyr, it is Kaalgrontiid, a dragon who led a number of his brethren in an invasion of Elsweyr long ago, but ended up sealed in the Halls of Colossus. Abnur Tharn and you, if you do the prologue quest accidentally freed Kaalgrontiid and the other dragons, allowing them to rampage once more.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Euraxia Tharn in Northern Elsweyr. While she conquered a large part of Elsweyr before the dragons appeared, she believes her partnership with the dragons is between equals, while they do not.
  • Big Fancy House: You can visit (and break into) several manors in the game, such as the one in Skywatch. The Homestead update also allows you to own manors.
  • Big Good:
    • The Prophet.
    • Meridia often plays this, but is still as ruthless as any other Daedric Prince.
    • Morrowind has Vivec, who enlists you (and your friends) to protect his people.
    • Summerset has the Psijic Order helping you save the Altmer.
    • Elsweyr has Lord Gharesh-ri.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: There is a quest on Vvardenfell to assist an archeologist. When you first encounter him in an ancestral tomb he has you investigate what appears to be a large menacing shadow, failing horribly to hide how terrified he is. The source of the shadow is actually a tiny spider that happens to be right in front of a lantern, and the archeologist splutters, saying that is obviously what he had expected.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: Some mushrooms and plants from the Morrowind zones. The mind landscape that the Sloads create in Summerset.
  • Bishōnen: Male elves, especially Altmer, can be this.
  • Bi the Way:
    • The player characters can be become this, as the Rings of Mara are not tied to character genders.
    • Jakarn, the Breton thief you recruit for Kaleen in Stros M'kai, who refers to the player character as "Good Looking" regardless of gender. He also is a notorious womanizer and has convinced people of both genders that he is in love with them.
    • There is a quest in Rivenspire that centers around a noblewoman who cannot decide between the handsome man she is arranged to marry or the maid she has known for a long time.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Rivenspire Arc: You stopped Montclair from turning everyone in Rivenspire into vampires, but Verandis returns to Molag Bal with the Lightless Remnant. Furthermore, no matter who you choose to take over leadership in Shornhelm, there will be people dissatisfied by your choice.
    • The Grahtwood Arc: Queen Ayrenn is ratified and accepted as queen, and you help a lost high elf out of her prison. However, Ayrenn's brother is consumed by his greed and anger toward his sister, forcing you to kill him, and the entity that trapped the high elf is never even encountered by the player.
    • The Reaper's March arc: Javad Tharn is dead, the Dark Mane is permanently destroyed, the Stonefire Cult is dismantled, the Colovian offensive is halted, and the surviving Lunar Champion is crowned the new Mane. However, the new Mane is still devastated by the loss of her sister, and the previous Mane Akkhuz'ri will spend the rest of his life in shame over what he did while under the Dark Mane's control.
    • Orsinium: You stop King Kurog and Forge-Mother Alga from massacring strongholds that refuse to turns their faith from Malacath to Trinimac. However, the hope of the Orc people has fallen and many are saddened that their hero became a villain. The Trinimac faithful lose a lot of their followers due to Kurog's previous support. Furthermore, it was primarily Kurog and Alga who wanted the Orcs to be part of the Daggerfall Covenant, though the more traditional and isolationist new king does claim he is willing to renegotiate with High-King Emeric regarding the terms of Orsinium's presence in the Covenant.
    • Scalecaller Peak: You and Jovud's team manage to destroy Zaal the Scalecaller and her cult and stop them from spreading their plague across Tamriel, but in a last act of spite towards you, Zaal's spirit infects Jovud with her disease, dooming him to spend the rest of his now very much shortened life quarantined within the Peak in order to prevent the plague from spreading. This can be averted if you collected certain items within the dungeon, but good luck finding them on your first run.
  • Black Knight: Veteran Dragonknight and Nightblades are previewed in black armour most of the time when creating a character.
  • Blind Seer:
    • The Prophet has gone blind after reading Elder Scrolls, but he is still quite perceptive and has some power.
    • This is the fate of Terran Arminus in White-Gold Tower as well.
  • Border Patrol: Try swimming too far away from a shoreline, and prepare to be eaten alive by a school of slaughterfish. Cyrodiil's Imperial City also has a moat around it inexplicably filled with them, so falling in there will make you fish bait in a few seconds regardless of the water's depth.
  • Boring, but Practical: Discussed and lampshaded in the Outlaw motif books.
    An Outlaw's pauldrons are layered and durable but don't project far from the shoulders—you don't want to get caught in a tight place because you're wearing fancy winged shoulder cops, after all.
  • Boss Rush: In the final main quest, you can optionally choose to face the various Arc Villains you've defeated up to this point once again.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Bow-users never go out of arrows.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Very well possible for any class - the class does not limit what sort of weapons can be used.
  • Breakable Weapons: And armors too. Every equipable item (sans jewelry and disguises) has a set amount of endurance and will break after sufficient use, rendering its bonuses unavailable (and potentially negating Set Bonuses) until repaired. The thing that hits the hardest on equipment endurance is death: regular fighting will eat through your items much slower. Thankfully, every NPC that can sell items can also repair equipment.
    • It used to be that equipment would also slowly lose its capabilities as it degraded (armor offered less physical resistance, weapons would hit for less), but that was mercifully patched out.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Sheogorath is fond of this, as he will casually detail the plots of other The Elder Scrolls titles, and all but telling you that a choice in a quest will give you "2 Skill Points."
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Many quests let you choose between doing a favour to continue a quest, steal an item, persuade or intimidate the character to give you the thing you need... or you can pay them, usually 69 gold, to just get it quickly.
    • The Altmer New Life Festival quest assumes you will rather pay those 69 golds rather than kill some bugs so much that killing those bugs is an achievement.
  • Brick Joke: The Alliance Trailer begins with a Nord fighting undead Werewolves in a cave. At the end of the trailer, one of those werewolves bursts out of the ground in an attempt to flee, only to be quickly dragged back under by the Nord, who climbs out himself a second later.
  • Broad Strokes: Downloadable content is supposed to work on their own without playing the base-game first, so any recurring characters have usually no big role in the base-game. However, some content does assume you defeated Molag Bal and got your soul back, if only because they stopped quests where not having a soul is helpful.
    • In Wrathstone, you can do whichever dungeon first and the next dungeon will act as the final dungeon.
    • In Elsweyr, where the Mane could be useful to have, you instead get the representative, the Speaker of the Mane. This is because the Mane changes during the Aldmeri Dominion Story Arc, and you get to choose which of two will be the new Mane.
    • Dialogues often do change if you enter a DLC in the middle of a Story Arc, like if you do Clockwork City without doing Morrowind first, so that people will act as if you get involved for the first time. Small details and dynamics will fly past you with that, though. It does not, however change dialogues in Morrowind if you finished Clockwork City and Summerset.
    • When Mulaamnir offers to let you and Abnur Tharn go in Elsweyr, it makes more sense if you played the prologue quest first, where you technically helped Abnur Tharn free the dragons, than if you did not, in which the dragons will let you be just because they think you would be an annoying bug they would rather not put effort in.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: More like Twin-Brothers-Incest in Elsweyr. The twin Imperials in the Stitches make many suggestions about having a sexual relationship with each other, and seems to consider letting you join.
  • Brutal Honesty: You yourself have the option to be this in multiple quests, bluntly telling an NPC exactly what happened to their friends, loved ones etc regardless of how much the truth hurts. Sometimes this is shown to be the better choice then lying, sometimes its not.
  • Butt-Monkey: Stibbons, Lady Laurent's much beleaguered manservant. Depending on your actions throughout Lady Laurent's quests, he can, in order, get bodyjacked by the spirit of another manservant, turned into a Goblin, get temporarily fired after stupidly leading a Dominion assault force right into the heart of the Redguard homeland, accidentally turned to stone, abducted by a Winged Twilight who then tries to seduce him, and finally imprisoned in a Lotus-Eater Machine by a trio of Dark Seducers.
    • He is not safe even from the downloadable content. In Orsinium, he is frozen by an artifact, in Morrowind he is encased by a spider web after reading a Daedric scroll, and Murkmire has him transform into an egg after performing an Argonian mating ritual. Poor guy cannot seem to catch a break.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Nocturnal during the Daedric War arc. The dragons in Elsweyr.
  • Call-Back: Quite a lot:
    • Sheogorath, naturally, references all the previous games during his questline including name-checking the Staff of Chaos and Numidium. Which is odd considering that those events will not be taking place for another 800 or so years. Archmage Shalidor is also a questgiver in this plotline.
    • A naked Nord sends the player on a quest to find the witch that robbed him.
    • There are some references to Arena lore; Arena was originally conceived as a game where you go around fighting gladiator teams, and each town had a named team. Some of the random factions you come across in ESO are named after one of those teams, and the team names in the Morrowind expansion's battlegrounds also come from there.
  • Cartography Sidequest: The Player Character's map already includes the entirety of Tamriel's geography, so achievements are given for discovering the points of interest in a zone, completing caves, completing a certain number of quests in each zone, and finding a particular character in each zone, not by discovering terrain.
  • Charged Attack: You can charge an attack by holding down the button longer; this is called a heavy attack and makes the attack more powerful and restores either stamina or magicka.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • There are many non-playable characters who will have a role in the quest, where you can talk to them and they will speak normally with you, or telling you to get lost until you have something important to say.
    • You meet the man who will become the new Silvenar long before it is revealed that he will take over the mantle.
  • The Chosen One: You are the only one fighting Molag Bal's Daedra and Dark Anchors, but from each player's view they are the only one who has escaped from Coldharbour and returned to Tamriel after having their soul stolen, and is working with the Five Companions.
    • Late in the main plot, the Prophet mentions that "all other Vestiges will have their souls restored", more or less confirming the existence of other heroes who may have escaped Coldharbour like the Player Character, but did not get to meet the Prophet and join the Companions. However, the first subtle hint of this is dropped during the Prophet's first conversation with the Vestige after they escape Coldharbour, where the Soulless One is advised to "join with others (...) seek others who share [their] courage and valor".
  • Circus Episode: The quest "Manor of Masques", which takes place in the House of Reveries, a sort of mix between theater, circus and talentshow.
  • City Guards: Prior to Update 6, guards were just in cities to help make cities appear more populated. Update 6 adds unkillable guards, specifically named "(City Name) Guard" or "(Alliance) Guard". When you have got a bounty the guards will come after you when they see you, either to collect the bounty or to attack you.
  • Clockwork Punk: The Clockwork City and its robotics, with a healthy dose of steampunk.
  • Close-Enough Timeline: One quest in the Daggerfall Covenant has you going back in time in order to find out how to defeat a werewolf. If you decide to alter history by finding the lover of the guy you took over, once you get back to your proper time, the mage that made it possible is now a female and there is now a living descendant of the the man you possessed and the ghost woman but otherwise everything stays the same.
  • Color-Coded Item Tiers: Uses the common color scale of white, green, blue, purple, orange. However by using certain crafting materials it is possible to raise an item along the scale and increase its stats.
  • Combat Medic: Specializing in the Restoration Staff weapon type, or the more healing-oriented class-skills allows you to become one. A perk in the Support Skill line, only available in Cyrodiil, increases the power of your healing when you are near a Keep, fittingly named "Combat Medic".
  • Combination Attack: "Synergy". Some attacks will give another nearby player a prompt that they can activate the Synergy, which is a bonus attack done at the same time at no extra cost.
  • Commonplace Rare: Clothes. And, no, we do not mean light armor, we mean the clothes you see worn by most of the townsfolk. You can only obtain articles of common clothing by stealing them from containers and then paying fences to (snirk) launder them.
  • Completion Meter: In the Murkmire update, they added the zone guide, that tells you how many wayshrines, skyshards, delves and more you have found and completed.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Most melee moves by enemies will hit you, no matter how much you try to dodge it - you can be ten feet away and a tiger swiping its claws will still make contact somehow.
    • Enemies' spells and arrows can go through walls and change direction to follow a target. Yours cannot.
    • If an enemy chases a player too far away, they wll start running back to their starting position. While they are doing this, they regain all health and cannot be hit by any attack, even ranged ones. This essentially means Hit-and-Run Tactics such as kiting (normally frequent in MMORPGs) is useless here.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • Shalidor mentions reassembling the fragments of the Numidium. However at the time of the game, the Numidium is still intact (and in the safekeeping of the Tribunal).
    • Non Player Characters in Morrowind note that the Tribunal haven not made their annual pilgrimage to Red Mountain, a reference to the events of Morrowind. However the return of Dagoth Ur will not take place for another 300 years. That said, there might be other reasons the Tribunal are not making the pilgrimage like being busy with the Alliance War.
    • The Lusty Argonian Maid, a recurring joke since its inception in Morrowind makes an appearance in Online. The play's author, Crassius Curio would not even be born for another eight hundred years or so. An in-game newspaper contains a review of the play, which handwaves it's early existence as being a traditional story with many derivatives based around the other races.
    • Ruminations of the Elder Scrolls was written in 4E 195 by Septimus Signus, but is found in the library of the Cult of the Ancestor Moths in Cyrodiil. However, the Moth Priests deal with Elder Scrolls, which have all manner of unusual effects on more or less everything, so it's very possible some shenanigans occurred in a later time that sent a copy of the book back to the Second Era.
  • Cool Pet: The Sorcerer class can have daedric monsters as combat pets, and can temporarily summon a storm atronach as an ultimate. The Warden is supposed to be The Beastmaster, and their ult is a permanent bear companion.
    • The non-combat pets can be pretty special, from ghosts to daedra to a stone pebble.
  • Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: The culture of the past is far more vibrant and active than what appears centuries later. The attention to detail based on the style of later games in the The Elder Scrolls can make the standalone games seem quaint in comparison. The Morrowind expansion depicts a more developed Vvardenfell than The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and the regions of Tamriel are given far more detail than the procedurally generated areas of The Elder Scrolls: Arena and The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.
  • Cosmetic Award: Completing most achievements will net you a new dye color. If you obtain certain champion ranks, you will unlock a special costume to wear, and you will earn the Emperor's Regalia if you become Emperor. Several dungeons and quests also can give you a vanity pet or a skin.
  • Critical Hit: These can occur, and the likeliness of it happening can be boosted. They have no graphic indicators, however, leaving you to either turn on the damage numbers or to memorize how much of an enemy's HP bar your abilities reduce to know when you crit.
  • Crosshair Aware: You will see a red ring on the ground when an enemy prepares for an attack
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The battle in the "Arrival" trailer. The three faction leaders that we saw in the "Alliance" trailer take on a platoon of dremora. The Breton ends up possessed and attacking the Imperial City with an army of undead while the other two barely escape with their lives. Pretty much almost the entire time all three of them are very hard-pressed to stay alive, and the only reason they live is because the High Elf woman brings down one of the chains attaching the Dark Anchor to the ground, causing a massive statue to collapse on top of the battle area.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Many dungeons and buildings use the same layouts. This is especially noticable in the base-game; less so in downloadable content, though still there in healthy doses.

    D-F 
  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: Several skills can augment the damage a target receives. Generally, if a skill reduces an enemy's resistances it will apply the Breach (for Spell Resistance) or Fracture (for Physical Resistance) effects. Other skills are more specific, like Focused Aim, which increases damage received through bow attacks only.
  • Damager, Healer, Tank: While the usual MMO trinity of roles is present in the game, it offers a bit of malleability as the classes are not bound to a specific role and, due to how the combat system works, a party is much more effective if every member can deal damage, cycle through utility buffs and sustain themselves in some way.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: For those used to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, anyways - in Skyrim, power attacks break through block. In Elder Scrolls Online, power-attacking a blocking enemy will get you stunned.
    • Landing a power attack restores your Stamina; in previous games, using a power attack depleted Stamina.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • The Fang Lair dungeon makes a point to discuss how the necromatic arts are not inherently evil, which is further discussed in Northern Elsweyr where there are both good and evil necromancers, and you yourself can be one.
    • The Nightblade class use shadow magic and are usually previewed in dark gear.
  • Death from Above:
    • The bow-ability Volley has you shoot an arrow in the air, and have multiple arrows fall down in your chosen Area of Effect.
    • Templars have the abilities Backlash, where a spear of light slowly falls upon the enemy to deal damage, and Spear Shards, where you throw a spear of light up and has it land in your chosen location. Their Nova ultimate also comes from above.
    • Dragonknights' ultimate ability Dragon Leap has you leap in the air and land on your target, dealing huge amounts of damage.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Justified Trope in that due to being offered to Molag Bal as slaves and having their souls stolen, all of the PC's get resurrected infinite times. This is even written into the game lore: you can find a book detailing the concept of a "paragon" soul, a special kind of soul that allows Soul Shriven to not deteriorate and instantly revive. The only penalty is armor damage. That said, player characters can still do this after they get their souls back, which is never explained.
  • Decadent Court: The Veiled Inheritance, which is lead primarily by Altmer nobles that think they are better than other races.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of Our Elves Are Better. Summerset has pretty much shown how the perfectionism of the Altmer have affected their land. The cities are indeed beautiful, but there are plenty of ruins and slums hidden underneath for the seedy underbelly. Their magic is indeed advanced, but they are afraid that other races are catching up to them and there are strict politics in magic. The people there are indeed beautiful and smart, but that is because they cast out anyone with any disability. The separation of the land of the Altmer from everyone else does give the land unique beauty, but at the same time, unique problems no other provinces have as well such as invasive species, Maormer, and the Sload.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion:
    • Fire atronachs explode upon death.
    • Undead enemies can rarely explode in a blast of blue fire, leaving behind an AoE effect that damages and slows you.
  • Defector from Decadence: Imperials as a race, who can join any Alliance. They are described as 'outcasts' from Cyrodiil, who have turned against the Daedra-worshipping majority of their race and would conceivably aid any alliance in order to 'free' their brethren from Molag Bal's influence.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Taken Up to Eleven, since this takes place in nearly every province in Tamriel:
    • The Great Houses of Morrowind casually engage in the slavery of Argonians and Khajiit, with some of them abandoning the practice (publically) as a requirement of the Ebonhart Pact. With the release of Morrowind, you can find a warning from the Ordinators outright threatening heretics - which explicitly spells out worship of the Divines, Malacath, the Aldmeri Gods, and especially Daedra Worship - with "reeducation" or execution if they practice their faith openly or proselytize. Also, if you are an Argonian, expect to get treated poorly by the locals, with interactions ranging from dirty looks to outright death threats.
    • The Orc chiefs practice polygyny, and when you get the option to question this there is often someone who is unhappy by it but still stays due to traditions. The Double Standard is also addressed from time to time, with some Orcs justifying why polygamy applies to men but not to women. It is also a big deal in Wrothgar when a chief might be a woman, and she has to pose as a man to even be considered.
    • The Bosmer typically uphold the Green Pact, which maintains that plant life is sacred while animal and humanoid lives are expendable. Not following the Pact is considered the highest sacrilege, aside from one faction of Bosmer Combat Pragmatists who do not uphold the Pact due to wartime rules. The tenets of the Pact also impact Bosmer diet, making them strict carnivores and at times even cannibals.
    • The Khajiit and Bosmer both have a positive outlook on theft, with there even being a common law about it called the Right of Theft. This law dictates that if a theft were clever or skillful enough, the thief may demand some sort of payment or boon from the victim. The victim's debt even applies to a new thief, if they take the item from the original one, as this is a plot point in a questline.
    • The Khajiit celebrate casual drug use through Moon Sugar, a narcotic substance which is a key ingredient of skooma (although they look down upon skooma itself due to being too addictive and an appropriation). Several important rites of passage or ceremonies for ascension into positions of power involve going on Moon Sugar-induced Vision Quests.
    • The Altmer, even at their most tolerant, are proud eugenicists with other elements of fascism. In particular, it is considered betrayal to marry or breed outside of their race, as they consider themselves the last "pure" example of the original Aldmeri. Less extreme Altmer may oppose the slavery, oppression or dehumanization (so to speak) of other races, but they still see them as unevolved, impure or child-like.
  • Detective Mole: In Summerset, the Russafeld quest involves you investigating a recent murder. After investigating the situation with two Jurisreeves (Lorne and Soravil), finding more bodies, learning about Lorne and Soravil's shared past, and realizing that there is more than one murderer, you and Lorne eventually discover that Soravil's behind the whole thing; he wanted revenge against Lorne for rejecting him when he tried courting her after their spouses had an affair and subsequently died.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Some NPCs will try to kill you if they witness you stealing something or catch you pickpocketing, or see you killing livestock.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The final battle against Molag Bal in the main game, and Barbas in Clockwork City.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • In Glenumbra, you can run into Odei Philippe for a short world quest - his tailoring supplies are all lost in a wolf (and werewolf) infested pass. Upon getting them, You meet his wife, a Lion Guard, on the other side, to whom you turn them in and complete the quest. She treats him like a baby, implying that he sleepwalked, but with the implication he was trying to escape. Poor guy.
    • Prinze Azan in Alik'r Desert, who you must save from peril twice. He is embarrassed about that.
    • In Coldharbour, you encounter Stibbons, who has been abducted by a winged twilight who is attempting to seduce him. Upon being freed and trying to make his way to the Hollow City, he gets abducted by female daedra again.
    • Vivec himself, after getting conned out of his power by Barbas.
  • Divided We Fall:
    • The climax of the Aldmeri Dominion Story Arc shows a possible future where the alliance were split. It did not look well.
    • The alliance leaders refuse to make a temporary alliance against Molag Bal, even if that ends up making everything much more difficult, and winning the Three-Banner War might mean nothing if he wins anyway.
  • Dodge the Bullet: You can roll dodge away from incoming attacks or through a line of fire by using your Stamina.
  • Does Not Like Shoes:
    • Largely subverted with the Argonians and Khajiit this time around, but many Argonians in Black Marsh and Bal Foyen go without footwear, as do many Argonian and Khajiit slaves in Vvardenfell. This could be due to poverty, but even richer Argonians sometimes go barefoot, such as General Bathes-in-Blood, found under the town of Pa'alat wearing a normal uniform save for the shoes. Also applies to the Green Lady and at least a few other Bosmer, with most Bosmer-style armor featuring at least partially bare feet.
    • Many of the Khajiit in Elsweyr are barefoot, more so than seen in earlier installments.
    • You can meet a Nord in Wrothgar who refuses to wear shoes because he finds them restrictive.
  • Doing It for the Art: In-universe example. The House of Reveries is a theater troupe in Summerset that is all about this trope: While most artists in Summerset are hoping for fame, the members of the House of Reveries give up their identity, donning a mask and a new name such as "Alchemy", "Feathermoth" or "Clever". It is to the point that if the face of one of their members is seen, that person is kicked out of the troupe.
  • Door to Before: Most dungeons have a door near the entrance that can only be accessed from the other side of it, once you complete the dungeon.
  • The Dragon:
  • Draw Aggro: Puncture and Inner Fire are the only two skills that force an enemy to attack the user, and vital to any tank in dungeons.
  • Dreadful Musician:
    • Vigard the Sparrow, the off-key bard who was run out of Gnisis in the Morrowind expansion.
    • There is an audio clip nicknamed "shittyflute" that features a flute playing a very off-key rendition of Red Diamond. Not only can you find some non-playable characters in the Dark Brotherhood missions playing this tune, but they also added it as a placeholder to the "Auditory Simulator" factotum in the Clockwork City, and kept it because the idea that a robot does not know how to properly make music was hilarious.
    • In Summerset, there is an Altmer playing a lute very badly at the headquarters of the House of Reveries. A nearby member of the troupe tells you that the musician hopes to join the troupe, and if you point out that he is not good, he will agree, but point out that every beginner starts somewhere.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Several quests involve you donning a disguise to fool enemies into letting you pass, or at least making them less likely to detect you. However, there is usually some archetype (typically Sentries or animals) that is never fooled, and will expose you if they attack. Your chosen race will not affect how effective your disguise is, even if the disguise does not have any sort of head covering, or you are not the race you would be pretending to be.
  • Drop the Hammer: Stamina-users can wield hammers as one-handed weapons, or warhammers as a two-handed weapon.
  • Dual Wielding: One-handed weapon types can be dual-wielded; there is even a skill line for dual-wielding.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Zig-zagged. On the one hand, most zones allow you to accomplish feats that NPCs are scripted to remark upon, and sometimes even make enemies no longer spawn, and NPCs will usually praise your efforts. On the other hand, if you cross the arbitrary line that makes you enter another zone, you get little respect, and more petty, dangerous, dirty jobs, to boot.
    • Argonians in Vvardenfell should not expect any respect from the locals, given the long standing rivalry. But even after you have saved the continent, the only Dunmer who will respect you are Vivec and the people of Vivec City. This also applies to the Khajiit, albeit to a lesser extent.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The two first downloadable contents stand out from the rest. Usually, a DLC will either be two dungeons, a small zone or the annual big zone with a new gameplay feature. The first DLC, Imperial City, is a Player Versus Player zone with two dungeons. The second, Orsinium, is a big zone which was always a DLC, whereas other big-zones began as Chapters bought with real money that were later made into DLC.
    • Craglorn is a base-game zone that was introduced post-launch and has nothing to do with the Planemeld overall. This is because it was introduced while the game was subscription-based, and they planned to regularly introduce new zones for free. This was changed when the game went buy-to-play, but it can still feel weird to go from a five-zone-long Alliance arc and simultaniously save the world from Molag Bal, to a self-contained zone about the Celestials.
  • Eating the Enemy: What some Bosmer tribes practice, to the point that they will starve themselves before battle to be able to eat their enemies whole. Given the impractical number of bodies being produced by the war, it's implied that this practice has fallen out of use outside of tribe-on-tribe battles.
  • Eldritch Location:
    • Coldharbour, Molag Bal's realm of Oblivion.
    • The Clockwork City.
  • Eldritch Ocean Abyss: Implied with the Summerset cinematic trailer.
  • Elemental Powers: As a Magicka-damage dealer, you can choose between three staves: Inferno Staff, Lightning Staff and Ice Staff. The Destruction Staff skill-line's abilities will change element accordingly.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Shortly before the final battle Abnur Tharn sacrifices one of your companions to power up the Amulet of Kings, and grant you the ultimate power. with this power boost, you can three-shot the titans that try to stop you even with an average build, not to mention one-shotting all the dark seducers who get in your way.
  • Emote Animation: Over two hundred of them. One of the most popular is /lute, which has your character play one of the bard songs on the lute.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The Ebonheart Pact is comprised of the Dunmer and their two most hated enemies, the Nords and Argonians. They are only working together because of the threat posed by their mutual enemies. In-practice however, the members of the faction are capable of cooperating decently enough.
    • This is also the reason the Khajiit joined the Aldmeri Dominion. The Altmer helped them when the Knahaten Flu struck, and explained that they would need the help of the Khajiit to defend Tamriel from invaders. To quote the lorebook "The Eagle and the Cat": "To fight against mutual enemies - ah, that was a logic we Cat-folk could understand."
    • There is also Eyevea, the Mages' Guild headquarters. You can be a ranking Ebonheart officer having a polite conversation with a top researcher from the Dominion, and that is the norm.
    Dunmer: "The centuries of hatred between my people and... most of Tamriel seems somehow petty in a place like this."
    • Certain sidequests involve you working together with members of a rival Alliance to face a common, greater threat.
    • Early in the Bangkorai arc, the leader of the Reachmen invading the region temporarily allies with you to oust the Imperials from Evermore, since she wants to be the one who conquers it.
    • While Clavicus Vile, Nocturnal, and Mephala were all opposed to one another during the events of the Daedric War arc, by the time of Summerset they have united in an attempt to take over the Crystal Tower. Once Nocturnal betrays the other two however, both Vile and Mephala will ally with you to get back at Nocturnal, even joining the pact Sotha Sil made with the other Daedric Princes.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: King Kurog, for all he has done, genuinely loves his mother.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: At one point during the Riften questline, you need to make a ritual sacrifice in order to pass through a sealed door. You have the option to sacrifice a member of the Reachmen, a race of Chaotic Evil Hagraven worshipers. If you do choose him for the sacrifice, you have to trick him into thinking you are leading him out of enemy territory. On the way to the door, he will proceed to tell you about his eight-year old daughters, and how they cried when he went to war. There is horror in his voice when he discovers you are not there to free him.
    • In Elsweyr, Euraxia Tharn genuinely loves her son, Javad Tharn. Hurting him is a sure way of getting on her bad side. Javad is the Arc Villain of Reaper's March, so if you completed the Reaper's March questline before going to Elsweyr, you have killed Javad and Euraxia will be even more hostile to you when you meet.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": You, the player. People will refer to you as the Vestige, Newcomer, Outsider, friend, five-claw and more.
  • Everything Fades: Dead enemies fade a while after being looted.
  • Evil Army: Many, most recently the Euraxian Army in Elsweyr.
  • Evil Empire: The Akaviri Potentate practices slavery and worships Molag Bal.
  • Expy: The three main factions (Ebonheart, Aldmeri, Daggerfall) are each roughly equivalent in theme to Dark Age of Camelot's Midgard, Hibernia, and Albion, respectively.
  • Evil Pays Better: The crime system can be very profitable, especially for new players. What is more, the quality of treasure you can pickpocket, steal from owned containers, or loot from murdered civilians is tied to your Legerdemain skill...and your Legerdemain line rises as you fence or launder loot. It is fully possible for a thief to be your characters' financier. If you take perks in the Thieves Guild line (requires the Thieves Guild DLC), the payout only increases.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Werewolves with the Devour passive. They can eat anything from deer and goats, to other wolves, to Daedra and even Dwemer constructs. Basically, if you can kill it, you can eat it.
  • The Fair Folk: Spriggans, and the Nixad that were introduced in the Dark Brotherhood update.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The game is riddled with it. The Ebonheart Pact consists of the Dunmer and the two races that were their worst enemies before the Akaviri Invasion. The Veiled Heritance in the Aldmeri Dominion see the Bosmer and Khajiit as lesser races (although they seem to hate every other race just as much and even a classist attitude towards working class Altmer and below). Many human members of the Daggerfall Covenant still struggle to accept that the Orcs are a sentient race. Those are just a few examples. Needless to say, most characters despise races from the other alliances, though members of races from rival alliances can often be found in alliance cities living in relative peace with the normal alliance races.
    • There are many non-playable characters in Summerset that changes dialogue depending on whether you play as an Altmer or not; they will be dismissive, patronizing or downright hostile if you are not, while respectful and sharing if you are Altmer.
  • Fantastic Slurs: The Dunmer have "s'wit" and "n'wah". Khajiit have "jekosiit".
  • Faustian Rebellion: The vampire coven that players can join is of the Bloodline descended directly from Lamae Bal, the first and oldest vampire in existence, and thus the first Daughter of Coldharbour. She hates Molag Bal for certain reasons, and intends to turn her bloodline against him. And she is still alive. At this point, her crusade against Molag Bal has become a full-blown Roaring Rampage of Revenge, with her also hating Arkay, whom she believes abandoned her in her time of need.
    • There is also Virgar the Red in Coldharbour, who offers assistance in the war against Molag Bal if the Vestige helps her free her vampire brood from the Daedric Prince's control.
  • Faux Affably Evil: While Sheogorath tends to present himself as all fun and games in previous titles (save for Shivering Isles), we see a particularly malicious side of him in this game. It still does not stop him from being utterly hilarious, however.
  • Feathered Fiend: Harpies.
  • Fembot: Subverted. Factotums in the Clockwork City are "female" by default due to their female voice record. One of the few factotums with a male voice is the Precursor, and it has a beard to make it stand out from the rest.
  • Fetch Quest: There are plenty of these.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three main fighting styles. These specializations are also represented through the three leading Celestials, the Mage, Warrior and Thief.
  • Filk Song:
  • Filler: Most downloadable content that are dungeon-packs or mini-zones are usually standalones and not part of a Story Arc. Clockwork City and the 2019 downloadable packs are exceptions, as they are parts of the Daedric War and Season of the Dragon arcs.
    • For players that prefer solo-playing, the dungeon-packs can be viewed as this.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: You and Bazrag gro-Fharun become allies by fighting through a caravan attack and prison together.
    • The two non-playable characters in Moon Hunter Keep begin distrustful of each other, and end up at least with some respect and forgiveness.
  • Fishing Minigame: It is possible to fish, and achievements can be unlocked for catching all the rare fish in a particular area. The achievements for catching all the fish in a faction actually earn you a dye color for your armor, and if you get the Master Angler achievement for catching all fish in all base-game zones, you can get a boat decoration for your Homestead house.
  • Five-Man Band: The Five Companions, and Khunzar-ri's Kra'Jun.
  • Flash Step: The Sorcerer class has an ability where they can get ahead with a blink of an eye.
  • Flipping the Bird: There is an emote for it... which literally has you toss a bird in the air, flipping it.
  • Fluffy Tamer: The Warden class has an ultimate ability where they have a grizzly bear as a combat pet.
  • Food Porn: The anniversary cake mementos, in particular the five-year-anniversary, look gorgeous and delicious.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • The three alliances are each vying for control of the Imperial City and the Ruby Throne in hopes of conquering the rest of Tamriel and imposing their specific vision: The Daggerfall Covenant wants to restore the Second Empire, the Ebonheart Pact wants to turn Tamriel into a confederation, and the Aldmeri Dominion wants to usher in a new age of elven rule. However, all of these factions are doomed to fail in the long run even if one finally ends up winning the Three Banners War, since by the time Tiber Septim comes along at the end of the Interregnum and unites all of Tamriel for the first time under the Third Empire, all of the alliances have been gone for centuries and the old prejudices and rivalries between the provinces have returned in full force.
    • Molag Bal's attempt to fuse Tamriel with Coldharbour is doomed to failure, as ESO takes place before all the previous Elder Scrolls games.
    • Barbas' coup to destroy Vvardenfell will fail and Vivec will live, since the game takes place before The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
    • Kaalgrontiid and the other dragons freed from the Halls of Colossus in the Elsweyr Chapter will end up either exterminated or re-contained, since dragons as a whole are relegated to the status of myths by the mid-late Third Era and Fourth Era. Only two dragons are known to be extant by the time of Tiber Septim: Paarthurnax, who is cloistered atop the Throat of the World under the Greybeards' protection, and Nafaalilargus, who served Tiber Septim as a mercenary.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At the end of Wrothgar's storyline, Alinon the Alchemist mentions several zones that have yet to be announced, and the Prophet appears to warn you about a great danger that will arise when the Clockwork City opens, hinting to the Daedric War arc that would not begin until the next year.
    • Dark Brotherhood has a quest that continues hinting toward the Daedric War arc.
    • In Fang Lair, the quest-giver will discuss with you how necromancy as a magic art is not inherently evil, and that there are good necromancers. This opens the door for the Necromancer class for players that worry about being evil.
    • The fact that shadows are a big element in the prologue quest for Clockwork City foreshadows that there is an antagonist associated with shadows, which turns out to be Nocturnal.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Templar class' Radiant Destruction ability, often nicknamed "Jesus Beam" by players, which deals up to 480% more damage to low-health enemies. Also the Soul Magic ultimate Soul Strike.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Update 6 gives you the option to murder innocent NPCs, and it adds a menu option to turn that off if you do not wish to do it by accident.
  • Fungus Humongous: Morrowind has plenty of gigantic mushrooms.
  • Furry Reminder: In the Elsweyr update, Khajiit clean themselves exactly how you would expect the Cat Folk to clean themselves.

    G-I 
  • Game Gourmet: The Provisions skill-line, where you cook different kinds of foods and beverages. Food will increase the amount of resources, while beverages will increase resource recovery. Special recipes from events might do a bit of both.
  • Game Mod: Fans can make ones that alter the UI or record data (such as one of the most popular add-ons, "Master Merchant", which tracks guild store sales in all the guilds that you are in so that you can get an idea of the going price for an item.)
  • Gendered Outfit: Crafting styles sometimes change depending on the character's gender, like binds or sashes to cover a woman's breast while the male's is bare, or occasionally give the female character a Cleavage Window.
    • Averted with dresses and suits from the cash shop; men and women can wear them both.
    • The Noble Clan-Chief costume you get from Elsweyr, though only slightly in that female characters show their belly while male characters cover the entire torso.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Mudcrab Beach has a larger-than-normal mudcrab as a boss.
  • Gimmick Level: Some of the dungeons have particular themes, like how Blackheart Haven uses a pirate gimmick.
  • Global Currency Exception: You gain and use Alliance Points as currency in Player Versus Player areas. You can only use gain and use Tel Var Stones in Imperial City.
  • Glory Seeker: Orcs and Nords are like this due to their cultures. The people that participate in the Blessed Crucible, the group dungeon in the Rift zone, also count.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Daggerfall Covenant invasion of the start of the Ebonheart Pact storyline forces them to summon Balreth, one of the two Brothers of Strife, who curb-stomps the invading Daggerfall force. After that event comes the matter of putting him back, however...
  • Gossip Evolution: If you have fought the Maormer on Captain Jimila's ship prior to meeting her in Anvil, she will tell you that the stories people tell have become extremely exaggerated: Apparently your party was set upon by a hundred Maormer, but you defeated them with one bare fist while swinging from the rigging, jumped onto the sea serpent, and rode it into the side of the Maormer ship. But that is not all: The ensuing battle allegedly even reshaped the coast - and you turned the serpent into your own personal mount.
    Vestige: That's.... very dramatic.
  • Gravity Barrier: The edge of each region (except for the sea, of course, which has slaughterfish) is bordered by gigantic cliffs that you cannot climb.
  • Hard Mode Perks: If you do dungeons or trials on veteran, set pieces will be looted in the purple epic quality, rather than the blue rare quality. After the last boss, you receive a golden legendary item as well.
    • In some veteran arenas and trials, you can receive "perfected" versions of a set, which gives small bonuses not found in the regular sets.
  • Harping on About Harpies: Harpies make a reappearance for the first time since Daggerfall.
  • Have You Come to Gloat?: When you meet Mannimarco in Coldharbour, he asks if you have come to gloat at his torment.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: In the Wilderking subquest, the player meets a Veiled Heritance agent named Aranias who was forced to join the Heritance in an attempt to assassinate the Wilderking. To foil the attempt, a Spinner in service to the Wilderking will send you into Aranias's story (basically her memories) to change her recollection so that you were her best friend and with her every step of the way. Several times, the Spinner makes it clear that you are not going back in time and changing the past, merely changing what Aranias believes happened so that she will trust you in the present.
  • Hellish Horse: The Nightmare Courser, available from the cash shop, has flaming eyes, nostrils, and hooves.
    • While not horses, the other Nightmare mounts, the Nightmare Senche, Manelord Nightmare Senche and Packlord Nightmare Wolf, also apply.
    • The Dro-m'Athra Senche, or sar-m'Athra, are feline mounts corrupted by the forces of Namiira. There is also the horse version, called the rahd-m'Athra.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": The main character in the novel being written by the clothier hireling Veesk-Olan:
    "The Green Hood and the Dres Slavers." That's the title for my first epic featuring the Argonian hero, the Green Hood. In this story, I introduce the mild-mannered Argonian clothier named Kseev-Nalo, who has a bit of an aversion to dealing with reptilian hides. Reminds him of his own skin. And no, this character is not based on anyone we know.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Too many to count, but most prominently a Companion of your choosing toward the climax of the Five Companions arc.
    • Keeper Cirion in Banished Cells II.
  • Hero of Another Story: You often meet or read about people who are having or had adventures similar to you.
  • High-Dive Hijinks: Stormhaven and Wrothgar have an achievement each for jumping off a high cliff and surviving.
  • Historical In-Joke: In game, no less. The reason Wuuthrad is shattered? The Worm Cult was using it to empower the ghost of a giant it slaughtered.
  • Hit Points: Played straight. The only thing hit points are for is being the barrier that separates you from an armor repair bill and a mildly inconvenient relocation.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Redguards hold their ancestors in very high respect, including the corpses of ancestors raised as Undead. Most Redguards would rather run away before dishonoring themselves by fighting them. This becomes quite a problem thanks to a group of necromancers who know that all too well.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Guards are Nigh Invulnerable in order to make law-breaking a bit of a risk - even gathering hundreds of your guildmates to fight them will not be enough to kill them.
  • Horned Humanoid: A few of the "adornment" options in the character select for Bosmer allows your character to have small horns or antlers.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Various unusual mounts can be purchased in the cash shop: Guar, bears, senche, wolves, camels, and even a kagouti, elk, and saber-toothed cat. Some are even more unusual, as they might not be a true animal but rather an atronach or spriggan.
  • HUD: As in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it strives to be as minimalistic as possible, showing mosly your three resources, your equipped skills (which even disappear when not in combat), the compass and current objectives. However, the presence of a chat window and the fact that regular play involves constantly checking your skills and inventory menus can potentially break any sort of immersion derived from this.
  • Hungry Jungle: The Valenwood zones, as well as Black Marsh. The Murkmire update added more plants that will cut, poison or electrify you if you get too close.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: While healing is usually reserved for skills and potions (and even those heal instantly and give a small regeneration effect for a few seconds), eating food grants buffs to your maximum health, stamina and/or magicka instantly, and can be done as fast as you want with no repercussion whatsoever. Of course, when you actually have a quest involving a drinking contest, expect your character to puke after three drinks and pass out after five.
  • I Am Not My Father: The quest-giver of "Legacy of Baelborne Rock" will say something akin to this if you choose to spare him for his father's mistakes.
  • If My Calculations Are Correct: Raynor Vanos does this:
    • On Stirk: "According to my calculations, the chances that the leaders of the three alliances can reach any kind of agreement is seven-hundred-and-fifty-six-thousand to one."
    • In the Chapel in the Hollow City: "The probability that any of us will survive this adventure, based on every calculation I could reference, is exceedingly infinitesimal. Could be worse, I suppose."
  • Implacable Man: The trailers show the dremora as being this. Even in the middle of a pitched battle during the "Siege" trailer, a platoon of them are not even slowed down by a group of Ebonheart soldiers smashing into the front ranks. Pretty much everything they do, they do at a slow, foreboding walk.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The game is not afraid to make puns based on the texts at hand if the opportunity arrises.
    • One of the game's developers is known for his puns, like Argonian schools teaching "Hist-ory".
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Much like collectible crafting materials found while trekking through Tamriel, there are several spots in every map where treasure chests can spawn. These are usually well-hidden and offer decent loot and a bit of experience for the leveling adventurer, but are mostly unexplained; a few players might be able to find hints in some dropped letters and such that point towards a chest location (therefore implying that somebody actually put those items there), yet the vast majority of chests have no explanation.
    • Notable aversions to this trope exist in the form of lockboxes, which spawn in populated areas and contain items to steal, and so can be explained as being the personal cache of a Non-Player Character nearby, and Undaunted chests, which contain random equipment specifically to reward daring members of the guild.
  • Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat: Leveling up the Provisioner skill line means having to be constantly checking the scenery for vegetables, fruit and meat to use in cooking, as it has no real "gatherer nodes" the other crafting lines have. What this means is that some spiderweb-filled, bug-riddled dungeons are basically Provisioner harvesting grounds, as they have a great number of crates and barrels (not hermetically sealed in the least) that somehow always contain perfectly preserved ingredients to make food and drink.
  • Informed Deformity: Due to the game's models never really changing from the norm outside of scars, some deformities or lack of limbs might be informed but not shown on the model.
  • Insanity Immunity: Sir Cadwell is the only Soul Shriven of Coldharbour who is not a hostile psychopath since he was already mad when he got there. In fact, he quite likes it there.
  • Insistent Terminology: Abnur Tharn will correct anyone who calls Euraxia Tharn his sister, she is his half-sister, thank you very much. And it is very much the same from her side.
    • He is also trying really hard to make "rage" the term of venery for dragons.
    • When Abnur Tharn calls Khamira Princess, as was her title before Euraxia usurped the throne, she insists that she is Queen and has not been a princess in a long time, as the title was hers the moment her father died. He does not make the same mistake again.
  • Interface Spoiler: In crypts, you can sometimes spot what bodies will rise as draugr or zombies from a long distance due to the red outline on them if you have that option on.
    • Before it was possible to kill innocent non-playable characters, you could notice what figures would later become mobs due to the white outline on them, when normal non-playable characters would not have that at the time.
  • Interspecies Romance: There are several examples of this: At least two Bosmer-Khajiit couples, and a Redguard-Altmer couple, for instance.
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: When you ask Faraniel if her clan will kill anyone who "trespasses":
    Faraniel: Does a fuzzy newt-goat have seven toes? Don't look at me like that! It's a perfectly appropriate analogy.
  • Item Farming: You want that legendary equipment? Then prepare to have a stock of legendary crafting items. This is particularly egregious with the jewelry crafting system introduced in the Summerset update, where you must collect ten crafting item parts to make one item, and you need four of them.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Several characters say something to this effect before "The Final Assault"; Skordo the Knife says it nearly word-for-word.
  • It's Personal: One of the reasons why Queen Ayrenn wants to take over Cyrodiil is to take revenge on Abnur Tharn, who had caused her great suffering several years ago.

    J-L 
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Most classes have shades of this now, being able to fill different roles depending on trait and equipment specialization, but Warden was the class that really started it. Before, the base-game classes were usually suited for one role primary, like Dragonknights for tanking, but the Warden had one skill tree for each role, with some mixing. After that, classes were changed around to be more flexible in what roles to play.
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: Played with. If you fail a pickpocket once, the guards will come looking for you, and if you happen to have no gold in your inventory, they will kill you for being unable to pay what you are clearly worth in weapons and armor. If you pay the bill, you are in the clear but the guards will confiscate all your stolen goods, even if the total value is in the thousands. If you do manage to get away, you will be unable to stroll through towns for about 30 minutes unless you go through illegal channels or forfeit all your pilfered goods. Compared to the toll for murder, which is a mere three times as much bounty as pickpocketing, there really is little incentive for players to pick pockets if they are the murdering type.
  • Jerkass: The comments made by the guards in the Daggerfall Covenant tend to be rather scathing, such as "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you." and "If you want to lose ten pounds of ugly fat, I'll be happy to cut off your head."
  • Joke Item: Many of the items that you can steal only serve as two things: Vendor Trash and humor, either in the form of funny descriptions or through Fridge Logic. Why would a random commoner have a jar of centipedes in their pocket?
  • Karma Houdini: Any of the three Disc-One Final Boss characters for each alliance; specifically, High Kinlady Estre, Angof the Undying, or Thallik Wormfather; has the chance to become this in Coldharbour. After being sent to Coldharbour for failing Molag Bal, they are forced to compete in a "game" where they have to use their minions to kill two of the others for a chance to get back into Molag Bal's good graces, and their minions consist of Mage's Guild members you have to rescue. At the end of the quest, you have a chance to either save the Disc-One Final Boss, or the Mages... or both, by threatening to kill the Observer over and over again until he gives in to your demands, which would permanently disrupt the game. The one you chose to save undergoes a Heel–Face Turn of sorts, and joins your army against Molag Bal.
    • Lady Clarisse Laurent is a more comical example. While not an evil woman by any means, her single-minded obsession with uncovering ancient relics and artifacts often ends up getting innocent people hurt, killed or worse. And yet any attempt on the player's part to give her some comeuppance invariably fails and ends up affecting her manservant Stibbons instead.
    • Ondendil is the only named member of the Veiled Heritance who is not convinced to defect, killed or otherwise brought to justice by the end of the Dominion questlines.
    • A Shadow of Rajhin, a Khajiit god, stalked and harassed a married high elf woman in order to sleep with her. After being repeatedly refused, he "stole" her away to hide the shame she brought him, until she would be willing to sleep with him. Then, he "stole" her husband and home, so when she is finally released from her prison by you, she has nowhere to be with her husband gone, her home hidden and her time passed. The Shadow of Rajhin is never made to pay for this.
  • Kill 'Em All: During many attacks during the war, enemies will want to raid a city to the ground.
    • In Player Versus Player, you usually have to defeat all the enemy players to be able to capture a keep.
  • Kill It with Fire: Magicka-users with the infernal staff as a weapon, of course. Using that staff will change all the Destruction Staff skills to be flame elemental.
  • Kill the God: Magistrix Vox attempts to do this to the Tribunal in the Deshaan questline.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Now possible to be this, after the Justice System was added. Stealing can be quite profitable.
  • Large Ham: King Kurog in Wrothgar, and Nocturnal in Summerset.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: Though the swimming sounds are different, touching lava is not as fatal as in real life, and you can still swim for a short amount of time. In the past, the damage was set, but now it is doubled for each second spent in lava, averting this trope slightly.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Averted. Even if you kill everyone who witnessed the crime, your bounty does not go down like it does in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
  • Legacy Character:
    • The Wilderking/-queen is always a mortal who takes up the mantle, losing the memories of who they originally were.
    • There is a new Silvenar and Green Lady of the Bosmer once per generation. A portion of the Aldmeri Dominion quests involve helping the new Silvenar and Green Lady rise to power after the death of the current ones.
    • It has been a mystery among lore-enthusiasts whether the Mane - the spiritual leader and representative of the Khajiit by birthright - is reborn upon death and thus there is only one Mane, or if there can be multiple Manes, or at least candidates, at a time. The Reaper's March confirms the latter, as you will meet two such candidates, called Lunar Champions, who are candidates to become the next Mane should the current one die or fail his duties in some way. You'll have to choose which of them becomes the next Mane after the current one resigns.
    • Morrowind introduces the vigilante Scarlet Judge who fights crime and corruption in Vardenfell, whose mantle is passed to whoever the predecessor sees as worthy.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Each armor or weapon has a level on it that you must be at before using it. Also, some crafting materials require you to achieve a certain level in that craft and spend a skill point to be able to use it.
  • Life Meter: Three bars graphically show your remaining magicka, stamina and health. Worth noting is that the Life Meter also shows some of your buffs and debuffs through simple graphical effects: the meter cracks if your resistances are reduced, its borders become thicker if they are buffed, it becomes smaller if your maximum health is reduced, glows white if your attack is increased and black if it is reduced, and so on. It also shows if you have any shields, coloring a portion of the bar pink in relation with the strenght of the barrier.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Zigzagged trope. Magic builds can push out more damage faster and over a larger area than those relying on stamina by endgame. However, being able to take damage is arguably more important in the metagame than being able to dish it out, and stamina is generally the more efficient option for tanks.
  • Living Statue: Many enemies in tombs and temples are statues enchanted to protect the place.
    • The Warrior in the Hel-Ra Citadel trial appears in the form of a statue.
  • Loading Screen: Plenty of these, containing artwork and a brief bit of information that is usually relevant to where you are. They usually appear when moving into different areas and delves, but they might sometimes suddenly cut your gameplay off if the game cannot load the assets of the current area fast enough.
  • Lockpicking Minigame: You are shown five pins on springs and must press down on each one until the right moment (when it starts to shake slightly), and then release. If you push it down too far, the lockpick will break; if it is not far enough, then it simply will return to its normal position (although repeated attempts may still break the lockpick). It is also has a time limit based on the difficulty of the chest: The more difficult the lock, the less amount of time is given to open it.
  • Loot Boxes: Crown Crates, which are usually only purchaseable through the real-money-only "Crowns" currency, though are also given as a bonus when leveling up characters and occasionally a few are given as a daily login bonus during particular events. They contain four rewards (about a 15-20% of there being a 5th reward) consisting of consumables and cosmetics. If you get a collectible that you already own, or wish to exchange your consumables, you get "crown gems" that can be used to purchase individual items from the crate outright.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: One of the skill types is One-Hand and Shield. Blocking with a shield (as opposed to your own weapon) can absorb more damage and potentially save your life, especially in PvP situations. It is almost a necessity for tanking too, as its skill line contains one of the three ways to Draw Aggro in the game. What is more, merely having a shield equipped increases your armor rating, which further makes you more difficult to take down.

    M-O 
  • Mad Scientist:
    • Orryn the Black in Fang Lair, experimenting necromancy with animal skeletons.
    • Plague Concocter Mortieu in Scalecaller Peak, a follower of Peryite whose experimentation has left him **beautifully disfigured.
    • Archivist Ernarde in Moonhunter Keep, who experiments on werewolves to force them to listen to his leader.
  • Magick Knight: Most tanks, as they often balance weapon abilities and magical abilities to stay alive.
  • Make Them Rot: A plucky Khajiit pirate in Coldharbour finds out the hard way why you should not take ancient loot without first checking to see if it is cursed.
    First Mate Jalan: What... What's happening? ...My skin! My fur! Aaaaaaaaagh!
  • Mana: Magicka, an Elder Scrolls staple.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: A debuff mostly enemies can inflict. It is called Minor/Major Mangle, and it is just as easy to dispel as any other debuff.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The three playable warring factions in the game consist of the Aldmeri Dominion (Altmer, Bosmer, and Khajiit), the Ebonheart Pact (Dunmer, Nords, and Argonians), and the Daggerfall Covenant (Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs).
    • As shown in various previews, this will be very common in PvP. Of particular note are sieges where the defenders may be attacked by forces from the other two factions but the two groups may also start attacking each other.
    • At a landmark west of Ebonheart, Vivec's Antlers, there are a few sidequests dealing with one based around an invading Covenant force, the defending Pact soldiers, and Dreugh summoned by the artifact the Covenant is attempting to steal. One of the quests has you convincing the Dreugh that the Pact is defending the artifact too, stacking the battle against the Covenant.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: The entire game, but the lands and story arcs of the Daggerfall Covenant are like a love letter to the genre.
  • Medieval Stasis: Technology and culture does not change much between this game and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, despite having more than 800 years between them.
  • Memetic Badass: Invoked. Captain Fortunata is the 2nd-Era Gold Coast equivalent of Chuck Norris.
  • Merchant Prince: High King Emeric, leader of the Daggerfall Covenant, was originally a merchant lord from High Rock.
  • Microtransactions: The Crown Store. It offers cosmetic items such as pets, and costumes as well as items that can be obtained in-game, such as food/drink/potions, mounts, mount riding skills and crafting books (all of which thankfully do not take huge amounts of Grinding). It also offers the Imperial Edition of the game (adds the ability to be the Imperial race, plus has a few items) and the Adventurer Pack (which adds the ability to play any race in any alliance - something previously only available from preordering the game - and also contains a few items), and DLC.
  • Mood Whiplash: There is a merchant on Auridon called Elodinar, who, when spoken to, says mournfully, "My heart goes out to the many victims of this foul tragedy that has befallen Greenwater Cove..." before concluding with a cheerful, "... So! Do you need to buy anything!"
  • Moral Myopia: Alliances are quickly to blame each other for underhanded or morally bankrupt tactics during the war, despite themselves doing some disgusting things for the sake of the Ruby Throne.
  • Multishot: The Arrow Spray bow ability shoots multiple arrows in a row, hitting any enemies within that line of sight.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: Lampshaded with the Seducer Armor costume. The helmet covers the eyes entirely, but it reveals a lot of the rest.
  • My Greatest Failure: Many characters have this. Varien's is not stopping Mannimarco in time.
    • In Northern Elsweyr, Zamarak has two, one which was the reason for his self-imposed exile and another when he returns. The first was not being in the palace to protect the royal family when Euraxia Tharn usurped the throne, the other was when his mentor was murdered by her army.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much:
    • There is a Dark Seducer in Coldharbour who does not want a mortal to suffer, feeling that he is too noble to deserve such a fate. Considering that Daedra usually do not even care if another of their kind tries to manipulate mortals, it is quite surprising that one will go out of her own way to help a mortal with nothing to gain.
    • One quest in Summerset has you helping out both an Altmer/Maormer couple stop the latter’s old crew from taking over a keep. Depending on your choices, both of them will decide to renounce their allegiance to their provinces in order to run away and be together. In case you do not realize, both Altmer and Maormer hate each other.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Eveli Sharp-Arrow in Wrothgar. She believes the world is black and white and is not ready for the complexeties of politics or war.
    • Quen in Thieves Guild as well.
Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Many enemies, and some allies, have nicknames that imply some disturbing or dangerous occupations.
  • Eludin the Cannibal King in Orcrest, Northern Elsweyr.
  • Nature Spirit: The Nords' old religion focused on animals. Bosmer also revere nature to the point of living exclusively on meat.
  • Neck Snap: Some of the dying animations have an NPC's chin directly over their shoulder bone while they fly in the direction you hit them in. When you are using a mace or an axe, it looks like you hit them in the head with so much blunt force, that you have snapped their neck. The fact that they simply flop over dead really helps this effect.
  • Never Found the Body: At the end of the main quest, you never find Darien Gautier's body, and assume he is dead.
  • Nice Hat: The Appearance collectibles has a category only for hats. Some DLC-dungeons reward you with a hat by entering the first time, or complete it on normal or veteran.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Many, but the latest would be you and Abnur Tharn accidentally leading Euraxia Tharn to the dragons' prison and unleashing them, leading to the Season of the Dragon's main arc.
  • Non-Combat EXP: You gain experience by unlocking chests, discovering locations, and doing daily crafting quests.
  • Non-Elemental: The Magic Damage from restoration staves and various other abilities.
  • Nonindicative Name: The Daggerfall Covenant is led by the King of Wayrest, which is its capital, not Daggerfall. Similarly, the leader of the Ebonheart Pact is the King in Windhelm, and the Pact's capital is Mournhold, not Ebonheart. The Aldmeri Dominion's capital is in Bosmer land, rather than Altmer.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The Argonians, who are Lizard People but still have breasts like humans.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • On the Aldmeri Dominion side, Queen Ayrenn and Razum-dar's backstory seems to be full of these, often in reference to the time they adventured together.
    • Some crafting skill lines have the Hireling passive, which makes you receive letters every day that contain crafting materials. The letters themselves usually recount the hireling's adventures while retrieving your materials, and can sometimes veer into this trope.
    Gavin Gavonne: A word of wisdom from one who learned a thing or two in his travels: no matter how much your drunken companion might encourage it, never, under any circumstances, should you moon a werewolf.
  • No-Sell: Sometimes when you attack an enemy - usually a boss - you will get a message at the top of the screen saying it is too powerful for effects like knockback or poison.
  • Nostalgia Level: Many of the playable areas of Tamriel would count since the game is largely an even mix of nostalgia locations and new areas. For instance:
    • Eastmarch and The Rift in general, to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. One particular Ebonheart Pact questline will take players back to Skuldafn where they need to access a portal to Sovngarde.
    • Stros M'Kai is one for The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard.
    • The Dark Brotherhood takes place in the Gold Coast from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, complete with some areas that were in the previous game.
    • The Morrowind expansion's release date was chosen for its closeness to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind's 15th anniversary, and it features the island of Vvardenfell, with plenty of references to the original game.
  • Notice This: Having the Keen Eye perk on one of the various crafting skill lines will make crafting resources of that type have a noticeable pillar of light effect coming from them, making it easier to spot and harvest them.
  • Not So Different: Each of the three alliance leaders have very similar backgrounds. All three traveled across Tamriel before becoming rulers (Ayrenn was an adventurer, Emeric was a caravan guard, and Jorunn was a traveling skald) and something unexpected caused their rise of power and the creation of their faction (Ayrenn returned and claimed her birthright after her father's death and brought her two adventurer companions to help, Emeric married Maraya instead of Rayelle and created a trade alliance with Hammerfell and the Orcs, the death of Jorunn's sister and mother during an Akiviri invasion made him next in line as Skyrim's High King and teamed up with the Dunmer and Argonians to drive them away).
  • One-Hit Kill: Many last bosses have this in trials, in particular on veteran. The dragons in Northern Elsweyr, unless you have eaten food that maxes your health and have strong armour, can also do this at times.
  • One-Man Army: The Vestige, as is standard. In Murkmire, a dossier talking about the player character, written by the antagonists, recommends sending a force of at least 20 soldiers to take them down, and that even that may not work.
  • Only One Name: Few cultures in Tamriel actually have family names; usually they are reserved for nobles or really important families.
  • Our Elves Are Better: High Elves (Altmer) are stuck-up fascists, Dark Elves (Dunmer) are religious fanatics and slavers, the Wood Elves (Bosmer) love the forest so much some are cannibals rather than eat flora. The other elf races are Sea Elves (Maormer), who have chameleon-pale skin and are constantly at war with the High Elves; Dwarves (Dwemer), who are not shorter than the other races and were atheist underground-dwellers, as well as eventual slavers of the Snow Elves (Falmer), who have yet to appear in the game, while the Ayleid (also called Wild Elves) are extinct and were slavers of humans.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Though there are fairy-creatures not yet seen in the game, there also are the nixad, small critters that like to cause mischief.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: You can summon ghosts of the deceased back from the afterlife by summoning magic, which in some cultures are more normal than abnormal. They can also be fought and killed (again), sometimes leaving ectoplasm behind.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: Mixes of eagles, horses, felines and more. They are native to Summerset Isles, but were not created in-game until the Summerset chapter. They apparently sometimes do cross the ocean to the mainlands, though, as you can find some of them in Northern Elsweyr. That, or they are (perhaps illegally) imported due to the Aldmeri Dominon alliance.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Originally elves, they were changed to a race of their own due to their patron god Malacath. They are a Proud Warrior Race and experts in blacksmithing, but due to invasions from the Bretons and Redguards, have been unable to keep their own kingdom for long.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: In the Alliance trailer, one part of it features a trio of Ebonheart warriors fighting a group of zombie werewolves.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: There are various types of zombies depending on the magic used to bring them back to life. For example, zombies raised by the Bloodthorn Clan will have thorny vines sprouting out of their backs. Zombies of nords in or around tombs are usually called draugr.
  • Ouroboros:
    • The game's logo has the three animals which represent the factions forming this sort of circle (lion for the Daggerfall Covenant, dragon for the Ebonheart Pact and eagle for the Aldmeri Dominion). This probably should not be taken as an indication of the faction's respective advantages over each other.
    • In the Alliance trailer, the Nord, Altmer, and Breton leaders (representing the Warrior, Mage, and Thief respectively) circle each other in the shape of the Ouroboros.

    P-S 
  • Panthera Awesome: The Khajiit, as well as any feline enemy you encounter in the wild.
  • The Paladin: The Templar class' source of power and inspiration is from the creator gods, the Aedra. Books about Stendarr in particular will boost the class experience.
  • The Performer King: Jorunn the Skald-King - who is the High King of Skyrim and leader of the Ebonheart Pact - earned his epithet for being a bard (skald) in addition to being king. He is seen singing in a scene of the book that came with the collector's edition of the game.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Subverted, as prologue quests remain available after update. The Crown Store has mostly cosmetic sales that go away after a period of time, though they sometimes cycle them back in for themed sales or in Crown Crates.
  • Perpetually Static: Previous zones are not changed to reflect what happens in a later zone, even if they are both part of a larger arc. That is how characters you know die in another zone are alive in an earlier one.
    • This becomes annoying with the chapters, because you as a new player is placed first in Vvardenfell, Summerset or Northern Elsweyr, even if all those zones assume to some degree the Planemeld is stopped. Becomes even more noticable if you do Summerset first, then Vvardenfell or Clockwork City, without those stories achknowledging that you already stopped the Daedric War.

  • Pillar of Light: Skyshards have one above them, and the Keen Eye crafting passive makes it so a similar effect appears on gathering nodes, making them harder to miss. The Templar skill Backlash also makes a pillar of light appear on top of the target.
  • Planimal: The Wild Hunt Crown Crates introduced mounts that were plantbased in the shape of horses, tigers, wolves, guars, bears and camels.
  • Player Versus Player:
    • Players are able to fight one another in battles for keeps and other such fortifications, with a particularly huge arena being the Imperial City itself, with 100 versus 100 battles. This is not surprising, considering the main creative talent were behind Dark Age of Camelot.
    • One of the updates added the ability to challenge another player to a 1-vs-1 duel.
    • The Morrowind expansion introduced battlegrounds, which are 4-vs-4-vs-4 arena matches.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Alchemists can make several kinds of poisons to use for any sort of weapon. These function like a consumable enchant, being used vial by vial with a 20% chance on every attack. Naturally, Fridge Logic comes into play when one considers that even the shots of a magical staff can be imbued with the same poison a regular sword uses.
    • Some weapon and player skills can also involve poison. The Bow line of skills, for example, has three skills that can be morphed into dealing poison damage. One of the wake-up calls one can usually find in Cyrodiil involves the dreadful sound of two Lethal Arrows hitting you out of nowhere, followed by the death scream of your character.
  • Power Incontinence: Aranias, a young Altmer woman who can be found in Valenwood, has a connection with nature. You see some of her past: She has remarkable powers, able to raise land and grow vines right out of the ground, but she also is not able to control it. She destroys an entire ship on accident by raising a rock out of the ocean.
  • Prophet Eyes: The, well, Prophet has them.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Many Redguard, Orcs and Nords you meet are this.
  • Proud Scholar Race Guy: The High Elves put a big emphasis on education.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: When speaking to Kari in the Thieves Guild hideout in Hew's Bane, she will say that if you need to get paid, she will make sure you get what you are owed. "I don't miscount," she says, and then repeats for emphasis: "Never forget: I. Don't. Miscount."
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: In terms of gameplay, there is no functional difference between male and female.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The goal of the main story in the base game is to rescue members of the Five Companions to stop Molag Bal.
  • Rearing Horse: Mounts will perform an animation if you attempt to jump with them while not moving; horses and elks will rear. If you are in combat and take enough hits while on your horse, it will rear, knocking you off.
  • Recurring Character: A lot of downloadable content has characters returning;
    • Orsinium: Rigurt the Brash from the Ebonheart Pact and Neramo from the Daggerfall Covenant have roles in each their side-quests. Alinon the Alchemist from Glenumbra reappears as well. At the end of the storyline, the Prophet appears to warn you about Daedric threats to come.
    • Dark Brotherhood: Jimila from the Aldmeri Dominion and Lerisa from the Daggerfall Covenant each have their own side-quest. Razum-dar and Naryu Virian have one side-quest each before they join forces with you to stop a serial killer. The Vanos siblings from Ebonheart Pact also have their own side-quest.
    • Clockwork City: The Vanos siblings appear again, both for their own side-quests and having a small role within the story with Neramo, who also returns.
    • Morrowind: Naryu Virian is your teacher in the tutorial and the quest-giver in a city's side-quest. Narsis Dren from Wrothgar also appears, marking the first time a DLC-character returns in another DLC.
    • Summerset: Razum-dar reappears as one of the main characters in this chapter's storyline. Rigurt the Brash returns again, as well. If you completed "Bound by Love" in Vvardenfell, you can meet Tirwin on the shores of Summerset, though with no quests. Darien Gautier from the Daggerfall Covenant also has a major role in the story.
    • Wrathstone: Tharayya from the Volenfell dungeon is the quest-giver in both dungeons. In one of them, her ex-husband Quintus Verres also returns.
    • Elsweyr: Abnur Tharn from the base-game's main story and Gharesh-ri from the Aldmeri Dominion return to the chapter's main story. Razum-dar is visiting his family and assists you in their side-quest. Rigurt the Brash returns again.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The Courd of Bedlam in Summerset.
  • Retcon: The game changes many established elements of the main series, both visually and story-wise, in order to fit the game's vision. The most famous example being Cyrodiil as a Medieval European Fantasy-grassland rather than a jungle. However, this is nothing new in the franchise.
  • Retirony: Discussed. In Thieves' Guild, there is one point in the storyline where you break in somewhere and the guard says something akin to, "Hey, I don't want any trouble - only six days until I take my pension!" and offers to down a sleeping potion so that you know he will not go alerting the others.
  • Reverse Armfold: This is a stock animation that characters will use in dialogue. Most typically, it is some sort of person of nobility or importance. Queen Ayrenn and Meridia are notable examples. It later became a purchasable personality for the player character.
  • Reverse Grip: Dual-wielders do this when heavy-attacking.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Bantam Guar pet is described as such.
    According to the calculations of the sages of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth, the bantam guar is the cutest creature in all Tamriel.
  • Rock Monster:
    • The Rock Atronach, a rare type of elemental monster. There is only one in the base game, the Foundation Stone Atronach boss in Aetherian Archives, and they are adds in boss fights in Bloodroot Forge and Falkreath Hold.
    • A few other monsters also count. The Air Atronach (found in Craglorn and one location in Vvardenfell) consists of floating rocks (presumably which the actual air elemental picks up and throws around), while the Iron Atronach (Forgotten Wastes, Vvardenfell) looks to be made more of ore than metal.
  • Rolling Attack: The Hide of Morihaus Set Bonus makes your dodge deal damage if you roll through an enemy.
  • Royal Harem:
    • Invoked and exploited. Orc chiefs in clans and strongholds marry several wives to keep bonds between clans, but also so the wives will lead various sections of the clan depending on the order they married him. For example, the first wife is always the hunt-wife, responsible for hunting food and produce for the clan; the second wife is the forge-wife, responsible for overseeing the mining and blacksmithing Orcs are famous for, and the third wife is the hearth-wife, who takes care of the home and cooking. All the wifes are still expected to be able to fight to provide the chief the strongest heirs.
    • While most Orc chiefs will have these three wives, they may marry as many as they need, want or can. As King, Kurog has more wives than most, both for tradition and alliance deals. Outside of his three first wives, he also has a set of twins as his shield-wives, meant to protect and fight with him during his campaigns, and immigration-wife who encourages and helps orcs back to Orsinium, and many more that work in the background.
  • Rule of Three: Three factions, which mirrors Dark Age of Camelot and its Realm vs. Realm combat.
  • Running Gag: The game continues some that have made regular appearances in the Elder Scrolls franchise:
    • M'aiq the Liar appears once again, and you can bake sweetrolls and Fishy Sticks. And yes, The Lusty Argonian Maid also makes its return.
    • One running gag has escalated from previous games. Once again, the player character starts as a prisoner. However, the prisoner is essentially killed off in the introduction in order to bring them to Molag Bal's realm of Coldharbor.
      • This continues in the Chapters, which each has a new tutorial for new characters: In Morrowind, you are taken by slavers from a shipwreck and must escape; in Summerset, you are in a mind-prison, and in Elsweyr, you are locked in a room for your own comfort, though the key is right by the door.
  • Sadistic Choice: In almost every zone there will be at least one quest where you will have to make such a choice. If you encounter two characters who care deeply for each other and accompany you on some sort of dangerous quest, prepare yourself for the moment when you inevitably have to sacrifice one of them for some reason or another.
  • Secret Test of Character: The Trial of the Heart in Hissmir.
  • Self-Deprecation: After you complete a quest to drive off a Covenant attack on Ebonheart, a Nord will jest that they can probably make you the thane of Whiterun, considering that they will make anybody a thane there.
  • Set Bonus: A constant of the games equipment. Regardless of the current patch, the best equipment in the game always offers additional benefits if all parts of its set are worn together. The fact that some of those offer reduced benefits if fewer pieces are equiped, coupled with the fact that you have 12 equipment slots, means that getting the most out of your items involves mixing several sets together.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Cadwell at one point says, "I love magic! It's so magical!"
  • Shifting Sand Land: The zones Alik'r Desert, Hew's Bane and a part of Northern Elsweyr.
  • Ship Tease: Queen Ayrenn and Razum-dar have some history that neither of them go into deep details about, but it's clear in Summerset that Razum-dar is considered part of the family by the more open-minded members of Ayrenn's family.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Usually a good strategy in Player Versus Player, as well as a reaction in many veteran trials and dungeons whenever an enemy healer appears.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skilled, but Naïve: The Vestige seems to be this. As with most Bethesda protagonists, they are basically the World's Best Warrior in-story. They also get duped surprisingly often.
  • Snake People: The Lamia.
  • Sprint Meter: As a staple of The Elder Scrolls games, stamina is used not only to run, but to activate weapon skills, to dodge, to bash to interrupt casting, to absorb damage through blocking and to break free from crowd control effects. Spending points into stamina also makes your stamina-based attacks stronger.
  • Soft Water: As long as the water is deep enough for the player to swim in and are not infested with killer fish, they will survive any fall.
  • Something Completely Different: In the middle of the Daedric War arc, the dungeon-packs Horns of the Reach and Dragon Bones are released, which have nothing to do with the story at all.
  • The Starscream: Mannimarco serves Molag Bal, but wants to obtain greater power than the Prince's.
  • Starter Villain: The boss in the tutorials, but also the villains you go against in the starter island and starter zones.
  • Status Buff: A big part of the game. Since the game's launch, a good part of the available skills could buff the player in a myriad ways, though most were not obvious in some technical aspects (such as what could stack with what instead of being overwritten). A few patches later the buff system was revamped, standarizing most of them with adequate names and inserting them in some unpopular skills to make them more useful, which further emphasized their importance in the system. In terms of their overall usefulness, suffice to say that a clueless player will often put several of their preferred role's most obvious skills on the skill bar and then use two or three, wondering why the game's enemies take too long to kill. A good player will have a mixture of skills to deal damage, mitigate and buff, constantly cycling through them and keeping them up to make the most out of their ten slots.
  • Straight Gay: There are plenty of non-playable characters who are in a same sex relationship including, but not limited to, an Altmer pirate captain becoming a privateer and her first mate Bosmer wife, a Khajiit trying to get his husband to stop gambling, a Breton werewolf not wanting his husband to get hurt from any possible transformations, and a Dunmer lesbian couple helping out the expansion of Vivec City. One of their gods will even mention the latter couple without making a big deal about their sexuality.
  • Story Arc: The main game and all its DLCs and Chapters are tied into different overarch stories that can be followed through if you play in the order it came out.
    • The Five Companions arc covers the base game and focuses on the main quest where you must recover each of the missing Companions and the Amulet of Kings to stop Molag Bal’s Planemeld.
    • The Alliance arc covers the five zones within each alliance in the base game.
    • The Daedric War arc covers Morrowind, Clockwork City and Summerset. It has you try to stop an alliance of Clavicus Vile, Mephala and Nocturnal from trying to reshape Nirn. Before Morrowind, the arc was foreshadowed at the end of Orsinium and in a side-quest in Dark Brotherhood.
    • Season of the Dragon spans across all the downloadable contents for 2019, so far consisting of Wrathstone and Elsweyr. Dragons have escaped from their prison and are terrorizing Elsweyr, and you must partner up with returning characters to stop them.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Most of the little technology you see in the game is powered through magic, usually involving a soul gem.
  • Super Mode: The Necromancer class has the Bone Goliath Transformation as the ultimate ability for the Bone Tyrant skill-line. You transform into a new type of undead bone creature and gain more health and health recovery, as well as additional morph effects.
  • Supporting Leader: The Prophet is technically this in the Five Companions arc, though he declares you the leader.
    • High-King Emeric, Queen Ayrenn and Skald-King Jorunn can be considered this in their own Alliance arcs.
    • Khamira in Northern Elsweyr.

    T-Z 
  • Take It to the Bridge: You cannot swim across the Niben River due to slaughterfish killing you; you are forced to cross it at one of three bridges. These create natural chokepoints where many battles occur, particularly at Alessia Bridge.
  • Temporary Online Content: Some items have been retired from the cash shop and are no longer available.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Subverted in Elsweyr: Khajiit can be born as small housecats or giant ape-like cats besides the typical bipedal forms, and with the exception of their voices, one cannot see what sex they are.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: It is surprising how often having no soul can be useful in quests.
  • The Chosen Many: The collective protagonists of this game, befitting MMORPG nature.
  • The Reveal: The Prophet turns out to be the previous Emperor who got Tamriel into this whole mess.
  • Three-Stat System: Health, Magicka, and Stamina. All other stats are derived from points you invest into each stat.
    • Health, as noted above, determines how hard you are to kill, but influences your Health Regeneration.
    • Magicka determines not only how many spells you can cast, but how powerful they are. More Magicka also causes your Magicka Regeneration to be stronger.
    • Stamina is a lot like Magicka, in that it determines how many physical abilities you can use, but also their effectiveness. Dodge Rolls, Blocking, Sprinting, and breaking CCs also consume Stamina. Similarly to Health and Magicka, higher Stamina means more Stamina Regeneration.
    • Mounts get in on the action too! You can train one skill by one point daily, for 250 gold. You choose between speed, stamina which behaves like a defensive stat as well as increasing your mount's sprint capacity, and carry capacity, which augments your bag space.
  • Thrown Down a Well: You have the option to do this to someone during a quest. After helping an Adventurer Archaeologist through two tombs you get to what was supposed to be a Treasure Room but is now empty. Off to one side of it is a well. When you talk with the archeologist to complete the quest you can trick him into thinking that perhaps all of the treasure is down the well. When he walks over and looks down you can then push him in.
  • Thunder Beetle: Thunderbugs, large blue-and-yellow scarab-like beetles with lightning powers.
  • To Hell and Back: Coldharbor is the starting location and tutorial. Once one character has done it, it can be skipped.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • The Grand Amnesty Edict, awarded once per character by quest, can remove 100,000 gold of bounty on use. But since it cannot be traded, transferred to other characters or stored in any way, many players either have it taking up backpack space forever or find themselves trying to get all the illegal achievements at once before using it.
    • Bind On Equip items can sometimes have this effect if they are rare enough to garner large sums of gold on the guild trader market. Use one just once to test it, and it is yours forever.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Irien starts out as Jakarn's jilted ex who forces herself into Kaleen's crew primarily to keep an eye on Jakarn and keep his womanizing ways in check. By the time you run into the Spearhead crew in Sentinel, she has gone from a prissy noblewoman to a hardened privateer and rogue, complete with a change from her noblewoman's dress to leather armor and a pair of daggers.
    • Neramo's pet Dwemer construct, Clanker, starts out as a humble Dwarven Spider. When you encounter Neramo again in Wayrest, its been upgraded into a Dwarven Sphere, and when Neramo is encountered again in Sentinel, Clanke's become a full fledged Centurion.
  • Treacherous Quest Giver: Darkshade Cavern I's quest giver tricks your group to pave way for him to take over the kwama mine of his employer, who he killed. The owner's daughter arrives and takes over his role, with the quest now changing to avenge her father.
  • 20 Bear Asses: Averted for the most part, with most of the quests either being a Fetch Quest, a Plot Coupon delivery quest, or taking down a boss.
  • The Unfought: Discounting PvP, Ebonheart Pact forces are never encountered as enemies in the Daggerfall Covenant quests aside from a single Dunmer spy you have the option of sparing anyway.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • Bretons are fond of this. In particular there are a women and a man talking about "seeing his collection of antique riding crops, *wink* *wink*"
    • Nairume the high elf from "A Lasting Winter" also uses this, telling Rajhin's Shadow that his "arrow looks aquiver". When Rajhin suggests they both have the same tastes, she suggests he feasts upon himself when she refuses him.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Akaviri Potentate is weakened following various wars, leaving Cyrodiil in a state of chaos.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: There are often choices in the game where you can help or advice non-playable character to speak the truth, escape from abusive situations or otherwise.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • If you have unlocked the Fighters Guild passive "Intimidation", you sometimes get dialogue options that are meant to threaten or scare the non-playable characters to do what you want.
    • Sometimes you might meet a stranded merchant, and you can threaten them to give you all their money. There is even an achievement called "Crime Pays" if you do that in every base-game zone.
    • You have the option to push someone down a well during a quest. After helping an Adventurer Archaeologist through two tombs you get to what was supposed to be a Treasure Room but is now empty. Off to one side of it is a well. When you talk with the archaeologist to complete the quest you can trick him into thinking that perhaps all of the treasure is down the well. When he walks over and looks down you can then push him in.
    • You can choose to help slavers get escaped slaves back, or betray the slavers begging for your help. With Tirwin, she does not let you get away with it, and calls you responsible as a bystander.
  • War Is Hell: Various raids by enemy forces result in the destruction of farms and villages, the deaths of families, and, if the attackers are not careful, the releasing of curses and other monstrosities that the Playercharacter then has to clean up. While the Three Banners War spilling outside of Cyrodil is limited to sidequests and delves for both the Covenant and the Dominion, the Pact deals with this trope full force, as two of its five main questlines involve combatting a massive attempt by the Covenant and the Dominion to invade and conquer Stonefalls and Shadowfen, respectively. The Shadowfen arc is particularly dark due to the Dominion Arc Villain making it clear that his goal is nothing less than genocide of the entire Argonian race.
  • Warrior Poet:
    • Jorunn the Skald-King, the High-King of Skyrim and one of the leaders of the Ebonheart Pact.
    • Vivec, one of the Dunmer's living gods, is also said, in-universe, to be this.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Various warring races have had to come together in order to form the three different Alliances. This is best illustrated in a piece of lore on the game's website, with a note found on the body of a Dunmer slaver. Though apparently the enslavement of Argonians has been made illegal by the Ebonheart Pact, Dunmer keep attempting to find their way around the law in order to continue the trade.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: The game world is at least a dozen times larger than that of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and consists of much (though not all) of Tamriel.
  • White Stallion: The Imperial Horse, which comes with the Imperial Edition of the game. Presumably had the "rarity" part of the trope in mind, but ironically was one of the most commonly owned mounts out there until the cash shop introduced more variety in mounts. There has been a white variety of almost every type of mount.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Lamae Bal, the original Daughter of Coldharbour, qualifies. She is still alive, and is leading a Faustian Rebellion against Molag Bal with the intent of turning the Cyrodiilic Bloodline of vampires against him.
  • World of Badass: Just about every person and every creature can fight.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens to an Altmer in Woodhearth. She plays her part in the Veiled Heritance's plans, and after she is done, she is rewarded with a blade to the gut.
    • All the main villains in Elsweyr. Zumog Phoom and Cadwell the Betrayer ally with the dragons after the dragons are done with Euraxia Tharn. Cadwell the Betrayer planned to kill Zumog Phoom as soon as he regained his body, and the dragons only saw Cadwell as useful in opening the Moon Gate.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: A Type 1 example done by Molag Bal on the player. It also serves to justify being able to come back to life repeatedly.
  • You Wake Up on a Beach: In the early days of the game, once Aldmeri Dominion characters escaped Coldharbour, they would start the game by awakening on the beach of Khenarthi's Roost after a storm.
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