A visit to one of the great cities in Tamriel – Imperial City, Solitude, or Alinor – overwhelms the senses. Voices chatter in countless different languages. The smells of cooking in dozens of different cuisines mingle with the odors of crowded streets and poor sanitation. Buildings in a myriad of architectural styles display the diverse origins of their inhabitants. And the people themselves – people of varying size, shape, and color, dressed in a dazzling spectrum of styles and hues – represent many different races, from the diminutive Bosmer, to the majestic Altmer, mingling among a group of Imperial nobles. Scattered among the elves and humans are some of the less common races; a hulking Orsimer here, pushing his way through the crowd, and a sly Khajiit there, lurking in the shadows with mischief in her eyes. A group of Argonians gather around a strange tree in silence.
|Altmer ◈ Argonian ◈ Bosmer ◈ Breton ◈ Dunmer ◈ Imperial ◈ Khajiit ◈ Nord ◈ Orsimer ◈ Redguard|
Choosing a Race
Each of the provinces are a home to one of the common races of Tamriel. Humans make up the majority of Cyrodiil, Hammerfell, High Rock, and Skyrim, while the elves populate Morrowind, the Summerset Isles, and Valenwood. Khajiit call Elsweyr home, and the argonians are comfortable in the Black Marsh. Your character belongs to one of these peoples. Although each race has an ancestral heritage to a specific province, it is very common for the races to intermingle and travel abroad.
Not every intelligent race of Tamriel is appropriate for a player-controlled adventurer. Humans, elves, Khajiit, and Argonians are the most common races to produce the sort of adventurers who make up typical parties. Other races and subraces are less common as adventurers.
Your choice of race affects many different aspects of your character. It establishes fundamental qualities that exist throughout your character’s adventuring career. When making this decision, keep in mind the kind of character you want to play. For example, a Khajiit could be a good choice for a sneaky rogue, a Nord makes a tough warrior, and an Altmer can be a master of arcane magic.
Your character race not only affects your attribute scores and traits but also provides the cues for building your character’s story. Each race’s description in this chapter includes information to help you roleplay a character of that race, including personality, physical appearance, features of society, and racial alignment tendencies. These details are suggestions to help you think about your character; adventurers can deviate widely from the norm for their race. It’s worthwhile to consider why your character is different, as a helpful way to think about your character’s background and personality.
The description of each race includes racial traits that are common to members of that race. The following entries appear among the traits of most races.
|Attribute Score Increase||
||Every race increases one or more of a character’s attributes.|
|Age||~ years||The age entry notes the age when a member of the race is considered an adult, as well as the race’s expected lifespan. This information can help you decide how old your character is at the start of the game. You can choose any age for your character, which could provide an explanation for some of your attribute scores. For example, if you play a young or very old character, your age could explain a particularly low Strength or Endurance score, while advanced age could account for a high Intelligence or Willpower.|
||Most races have tendencies toward certain alignments, described in this entry. These are not binding for player characters, but considering why your Khajiit is chaotic, for example, in defiance of lawful Khajiit society can help you better define your character.|
|Size||Small, Medium, Large etc.||Characters of most races are Medium, a size category including creatures that are roughly 4 to 8 feet tall. Members of a few races are Small (between 2 and 4 feet tall), which means that certain rules of the game affect them differently. The most important of these rules is that Small characters have trouble wielding heavy weapons, as explained in chapter 5.|
|Speed||~ ft||Your speed determines how far you can move when traveling (chapter 8) and fighting (chapter 9).|
|Languages||Tamrielic (Common)||By virtue of your race, your character can speak, read, and write certain languages. See a list of languages here.
Some races have subraces, such as the Imperials, Khajiit, and Orsimer. Members of a subrace have the traits of the parent race in addition to the traits specified for their subrace. Relationships among subraces vary significantly from race to race.