The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim/Tropes 0-G

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0-9

  • 0% Approval Rating:
    • King Olaf. Solitude has a festival where he is burned in effigy. He seems to have had a better approval rating in the other Holds, but his reign was so long ago that it is hard to say for certain whether it was good or merely not bad enough to inspire annual effigy-burnings. He is revealed to be King Olaf One-Eye, who is very much respected in Whiterun. Though the fact that he comes back to life in the current timeline as a Draugr Deathlord could raise questions about what he did before his death, as such individuals were speculated to have been cursed as a result of serving Alduin or practicing cannibalism, not to mention that during the quest to retrieve the poem, the ghost of the bard who wrote it challenges King Olaf and fights his resurrected Draugr court.
    • The Emperor himself, Titus Mede II, though to a lesser degree than Olaf. While not the victim of a effigy-burning ritual like Olaf (possibly because he's still in power), very few people, if anyone at all seems to have anything positive to say about the emperor. Even those supposedly loyal to him are more loyal to the Empire as a whole than they are to him. Then there's the fact that the one who hires the Dark Brotherhood to have the Emperor killed is a member of the Elder Council. The reason for this hatred is because he surrendered to the Thalmor, but when you meet him he comes across as a supremely Reasonable Authority Figure, as well as a perfect example of Face Death with Dignity, so the hatred seems somewhat undeserved.
    • The Thalmor, the fascist High Elf government. The number of non-Thalmor in Skyrim who support them can be counted on one hand. There are quite a few High Elves who dislike them for their extreme ways. The only reason the Thalmor even came to power in the first place was due to the chaos caused by the Oblivion Crisis.


A

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Apparently, you and a hagraven named Moira spent a magical evening together while you were drunk. She doesn't handle rejection well.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • If you speak to the Thieves Guild member Rune, he will tell you his backstory and the reason for his peculiar name and you can offer to keep your eyes open in order to help him discover his origins. And then, nothing. It's never brought up again in the Thieves Guild questline and there is no quest having anything to do with Rune's backstory.
    • You can find a shipwreck on the north coast that contains a journal indicating Rune's origin. There's no dialogue option to give him the book or ask him about it.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Several female armors show off a lot of boob.
    • The Forsworn Armor. Granted, it's also rather miniscule for men, but for females, it's barely a bikini. One of the Fur variants (the one with the skirt) covers relatively little of the upper body too.
    • Of note is the cook who helps you during a Dark Brotherhood mission, who spends most of the conversation leaning forwards and displaying the care the dev team put into making clothes wrap.
    • Likewise, the Daedric Lords Azura and Nocturnal both wear robes split from shoulders to navel.
    • Aela The Huntress is usually clad in the Ancient Nordic Armor that is comprised of a deep-V halter-top and no back (or sides for that matter). Of course, Draugr who were female in life wear the same outfit.
    • Not an armor, but the Tavern Clothes for women has an exceedingly low-neckline that obviously displays a whole lotta boob. Justified as many of the women who wear these are (as the name indicates) tavern workers who are probably wearing the clothes to help squeeze out better tips from customers.
    • And that's just in the vanilla game. Then there's the crapload of skimpy and revealing armor and body mods, some of which can and will take this trope Up to Eleven.
  • Abusive Precursors:
    • Dwemer weren't well-liked by other races in the distant past, and we see a few good examples of why in this game. They twisted the Falmer (Snow Elves) into the morlock-like forms you see today and used them as slaves. Whatever the Dwemer did changed the very nature of their souls: Sentient creatures (like the various races of elves, humans, etc) have black souls. Subhuman creatures and beasts have white souls. Falmer souls are white, meaning that they fall into the second category. All this was done because the Dwemer needed white soul gems to power their inventions, thereby providing a perfect renewable source of energy to power their society.
    • Dragons and the dragon cults worshiping them are another example. Alduin essentially disregarded his divine mandate to serve as the World-Eater and established a vast theocratic dictatorship over early Nord society. The legacy is still felt in modern Skyrim with the draugr ruins scattered across the landscape, as well as the dragon mounds where the bones of the old dragons are buried.
  • Acceptable Breaks From Reality:
    • Death by freezing is non-existent, regardless of race or blood. Even swimming naked in freezing waters topped with ice floes off the northern shoreline have no ill effects. A dungeon even requires you to do explore and loot an underwater ship in just such conditions! Interestingly, the Nords that populate Skyrim do have a canonical inherent resistance to cold that protects them, but that's it. Ironically, the Khajiit, who are covered from head to tail in fur, are the only race to actually complain about the cold, though they have the excuse of being native to a desert region.
    • All currency, even that found in ancient Dwemer or Nordic ruins, is represented by septims to avoid inventory and exchange hassles. Similarly, any lockpick-like item (bobby pins, smith tools, etc) is just represented by the same lockpick item. For that matter, all locks, whether they're on wooden doors or Chaurus Chitin chests, all have the same wood-in-metal interface. Although the former is neglected entirely for time-saving purposes, since it is not inconceivable for to have currency from ruins represented as trade items (as they were in New Vegas and Morrowind) and sold to merchants.
    • Individual Septims, lockpicks and arrows have no weight, leading to scenarios where you're potentially carrying around with you a million gold pieces, thousands of lockpicks, and a small army's worth of arrows. There's even an achievement earned if you are able to carry 100,000 gold pieces on your person.
    • Ingots of metal only weighing one pound each. All the ingots share similar size in-game, but gold is far more dense than iron and should weigh a good deal more than an iron ingot of the same size. You can then take three of these one-pound ingots and make a 20-pound suit of armor.
    • A minor one, but Venom and Essense looted from Frost Spiders and Ice Wraiths respectively are conveniently stored in vials once looted right from the dead beasts' corpses.
  • Action Bomb:
    • Summon your own with the "Flaming Familiar" conjuration spell.
    • Atronachs and some Dwarven Spiders have the explode upon death variant.
    • Any undead opponent dealt a critical kill hit with the Dawnbreaker, setting any nearby undead on fire or also outright killing them.
  • Action Girl: Any female player character, nearly all female recruitables, and of course Gormlaith Golden-Hilt takes a close-up approach to dragonslaying.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Each of the Dwemer ruins; Blackreach in particular.
  • Aerith and Bob: The members of Clan Battle-Born: Olfrid, Bergritte, Idolaf, Bergritte, Alfhild, Lars and... Jon.
  • Affably Evil: Vasha, a Khajiit criminal who you can choose to murder during your initiation into the Dark Brotherhood, is pretty polite for a guy with a sack over his head, talking to his potential executioner, mixing threats with promises to try to get out of it while not showing much in the way of fear.
  • The Ageless: Dragons by nature, ditto for vampires.
  • Airborne Mook: Dragons, when they're not attacking you on the ground.
  • The Alcatraz: Cidhna Mine in Markarth, owned by the Silver-Blood family: prisoners are used as slave-labor in mining the silver.
  • Alien Sky:
    • Tamriel's skies have two moons, which are actually the rotting remains of the god who created the planet. The phases they go through are technically impossible, but the sky only looks that way because that's the only way mortal minds can interpret it. [1]
    • A more pronounced example would be Sovngarde. The sky there looks like a giant Boom Tube with nebula walls and unearthly lighting.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: A couple of faction bases are assaulted by their nemeses during the associated questlines.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Used to dispel Alduin's mist.
  • Altum Videtur: Subverted for the first time in the series. While Cyrodiil and the Imperials are still expies of the Roman Empire, their names are no longer always Latin-sounding, but also Italian sounding (Adrianne Avenicci being an example). This shows that the language of Cyrodiil and the Empire has changed in the last 200 years.
    • "Pentius Oculatus" means "inward eyed" in Latin. It's one of the few times that the actual language is used.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Skyrim rewards the explorer who checks behind waterfalls, and pays attention to those little cracks where things can stick out from.
  • Amazonian Beauty: A female Dovahkiin/Dragonborn with the weight slider set to the maximum will most likely be this. Bonus points for being a Nord or Redguard.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The dragons, who are following Alduin's orders to wage war on humanity. While most dragons in the game are hostile, the devs have said that more than a few just want to be left alone. As you play through the main quest, you learn that dragon politics aren't nearly as cut-and-dried as you might have thought, and even dragons who follow Alduin generally don't seem to like him much. Indeed, you may now and then encounter a dragon that just flies about overhead, not antagonizing anyone, and then heads off. The dragons that do just fly overhead will generally attack things that are hostile to the player. This is still ambiguous, however, as it's quite possible that the player is evil.
  • And I Must Scream: One Dragon Priest is encountered by unlocking his sarcophagus with two keys shaped like skulls. Nothing suggests he was "dead" before the unlocking or even unconscious (Aura Whisper clearly shows him inside before the unlocking). He was most likely trapped in there since the last war against the dragons, which was a couple thousands years ago. Little wonder he is called Otar the Mad.
  • Annoying Arrows:
    • Played straight with lower-level attackers. Averted with more powerful archers: these can kill even a well-armored player much faster than almost anything in melee. Even dragons. If you think arrows are laughable, just wait until you meet Sigdis Gauldurson.
    • Additionally, archers are the only threat that doesn't give away their location when engaged, meaning a character that can usually bulldoze elder level dragons might just die at night desperately looking for the source of the attack.
    • Most guilty of this are the Draugr Deathlord Archers, whose choice of weapons and ammunition, Ebony Bows and Ebony Arrows respectively, have among the highest damage for Archer weaponry.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification:
    • Alduin, Akatosh and Auriel are all Dracomorphic personifications of different aspects of Time.
    • Daedra (particularly the Princes) are also all abstracts of various concepts, but have a much easier time of rendering themselves unto physical form (but doing so inside the Mundus is a different matter), due to not having given parts or the whole of themselves over to creating the Mundus.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Most residents of Sovngarde speak in this manner. Most noticeable are the three heroes who banished Alduin during the first dragon war.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Several dungeons, particularly dwemer ruins, have the bodies and journals of previous adventuring parties scattered throughout them. Choice bits you're likely to read are tales of the group being unable to leave somehow, one or more of their group mysteriously going missing, and odd noises and shadows from the lowest depths they've explored so far. The location Japhet's Folly has the eponymous man's dessicated corpse in its basement, along with a journal that tells about how he tried to create a fortress on the island. The cold and harsh weather drove away most of the people that came with him, and eventually, he starved to death. The journal ends with the words "OH GODS HELP ME".
  • Apologetic Attacker:
    • Several ghosts in Rannveig's Fast dungeon, due to being enthralled by a necromancer. "Run! I don't want to kill you!"
    • One of the random lines the draugr occasionally say, "Unslaad Krosis", means "Eternal Sorrow". Paarthurnax uses Krosis as "Sorry".
    • An amusing meta-example from the developers: the dragon lair of Shearpoint also contains a Dragon Priest tomb, and if you don't watch your step, you'll often have to simultaneously fight off him and several hundred tonnes of angry lizard in one of the toughest battles of the game. This priest's name? Krosis.
  • Armour Piercing Question: When the Blades "ask" you to kill Paarthunax, he says that they are right in thinking that it is his nature to be evil, but he struggles daily to suppress it. He then finishes with "What is better - to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • In the city of Markarth, you meet an Orc in the Cidhna Mines prison by the name of Borkul the Beast. When questioned about why he's in prison, he replies "Murder, Banditry, Assault, Theft, and Lollygagging."
    • "Here's all you need to know: I'm a werewolf. I like killing things. I love Astrid. I hate annoying people. And the color blue gives me a headache."
    • According to Sheogorath, Pelagius was afraid of many things, including assassins, wild dogs, the undead, and pumpernickel. His exact words were "Hated and feared many things"... so presumably, he wasn't actually afraid of bread. It was Pelagius. There's a very good chance he was actually afraid of pumpernickel. Or at least suspicious of it. There's also a 100% chance Sheogorath is completely bonkers and about a 75% chance he forgot what he was talking about by the... well, beginning of the sentence.
    • The executions at the beginning of the game are called out: Ulfric Stormcloak (the leader of the insurrection), Ralof (one of his high-level lieutenants), Lokir (who stole a horse) and The Hero (who happened to wander by at the time). This is a little jarring when both factions will subsequently treat you as a career criminal... and while some dialogue options let you establish this as truth for your character, it needn't be so.
  • Artifact Title: Finally subverted, as it's the first time in the series that an Elder Scroll plays an important part of the main plot. Completely averted with Dawnguard, as the leader of the vampires needs the Elder Scrolls as part of his master plan.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: There's still some, but it's much better than in the previous games. It was mentioned that it's actually quite hard to make the AI act completely realistic, but they won't talk about nothing but mudcrabs this time. Still, like in Oblivion, you can play the AI for laughs.
    • If you pick up a goblet or sweet roll, they interpret it as "stealing". However, they may only say "Watch what you're doing!" if you jump up on their table and kick all their plates and goblets everywhere. This makes it quite funny if you trash the Jarl's dining hall and they still sit down at the table at designated meal time when all the plates and goblets are on the floor. In fact, the AI only recognizes eyesight. If you put a barrel over someone's head, you can rob them blind and they won't notice a thing.
    • A glitch sometimes causes these. Such as NPCs patrolling the swampwaters.
    • In an improvement to the previous games, starting a dialogue doesn't stop time, allowing for a more fluid conversation. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop certain important events such as dragon attacks taking place in the background, either. And the NPC just keeps on calmly talking as the village is being burned behind them. Makes for a Funny Background Event when they calmly talk about the rebellion… and the town guards are shouting "Slay the dragon!" in the background. Or from the guards themselves.
    • If you have spells readied, you'll be told to "Go cast your fancy magic someplace else." The fact that there is a fresh-slain dragon burning up in front of you is irrelevant.
    • You'll get different greetings from guards depending on your status with a given faction. However, as you advance, you'll still hear the old greetings in addition to the new ones. So one guard will be saying what an honor it is to meet the Harbinger of the Companions while another asks if your job as newbie of the Companions is to fetch the mead. Likewise, guards can hail you as the Dragonborn, and then immediately tell you they're watching you because you're a Khajiit. They'll do that even if the Dragonborn is a Nord. They're equal opportunity bipolar guards.
    • If you're liked enough with a certain faction, they're willing to overlook certain things, like shooting them in the face with arrows. Another rather odd thing is that for some reason, the AI only considers a few things to be "assault". Using Unrelenting Force on the Jarl will earn you a bounty, but you can light him on fire with a Shout, and he'll greet you like nothing's wrong.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Steal that guy's stuff, and then ambushed by thugs a few days later? Search the bodies, there's a connection. Subverted at times if the grieving party is dead, like a Forsworn Briar Heart if you "steal" his heart (via pickpocket) to kill him, or Hermaeus Mora's servant if you steal his stuff after he gets turned into a pile of ash upon completing the Daedric Prince's quest. Your victim can't get satisfaction from hired thugs? Beware of Dark Brotherhood assassins ambushing you in the wilderness.
    • Arrows become Annoying Arrows in more ways than one. In the previous games, enemies would just dead-zone you or stand there and fire. If you try to shoot them with a bow (or magic), and they know you're there, they will strafe left or right so you'll miss.
    • It can be surprising when enemies block. It can be more surprising when an enemy shield bashes you right when you start a power attack, knocking you to your knees.
    • Sneak into a room with bandits and drop something valuable on the floor, like a gemstone. The bandits will argue with each other over the object, and eventually attack each other.
    • Scare a vampire off by overwhelming force or magical fear effects? They might use an invisibility spell while retreating.
    • Stealing from someone without getting caught may also result in the aggrieved party reporting the theft to the city guards. From that point on, a random guard in that hold will comment that "I know you...." when you pass him, and if you try to talk to him he'll mark you as the thief and try to arrest you.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Allied NPCs have no compunctions about wading into melee combat while you're swinging about a huge, slow warhammer or blasting the area with spells. This frequently results in their death from accidental friendly fire.
    • You can steal just about anything by putting a cauldron on the owner's head.
    • If you can kill the back of travelers fast enough, the man in front will turn around and laments that he will find the killer.
    • When going after the Eldergleam Sap, Maurice Jondrelle is smart enough to ask to go with you for protection to see the Eldergleam Sanctuary. He is not smart enough to avoid running up to any bear, bandit or dragon you stumble across on the way and flailing at it with his bare, unarmored hands.
    • While hostile dragons are formidable enemies with very good AI, it can be exceptionally hard to get a dragon that's not hostile to even attack you. If you're looking to engage a dragon that refuses to engage you (if, say, you want souls for shouts or raw material for dragon armor), then you're going to need to pull off some very tricky shots with arrows or spells.[2] The fact that all of these attacks have velocity (meaning that you have to Lead the Target) and a finite range (meaning that shorter-ranged attacks, like lightning, might not hit the target) makes this more complicated and irritating, and all the more ridiculous given that dragons should be going after you. Despite the fact that you are the sworn enemy of the dragons and are universally hated by every last one of them, they just don't seem to notice you.
    • Some followers will treat all people who draw their swords against you the same way. Good luck explaining to Balgruuf why a 25-septim bounty resulted in the deaths of half his town.
  • Ascended Glitch: The fact that giants knock things really high into the sky, which is now part of a quest.
  • Ascended Meme: Sheogorath's line "Cheese for everyone!" from Shivering Isles is referenced during his quest.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Most Dark Brotherhood targets, in contrast to some of the targets in Oblivion.
      • Grelod the Kind, a horrible, horrible woman who runs an orphanage. She treats the kids as slaves and tells them all to their faces that they're never going to be adopted because nobody wants them. Small wonder, then, that one of the kids is trying to contract the Dark Brotherhood to eliminate her (and you may feel very little heartache for doing her in). Not only will the children cheer for you upon discovering her corpse, you will receive no bounty for murdering her in plain sight.
      • Vasha is a self-confessed thief, murderer and rapist, who is disappointed if a day goes by without the bounty on his head getting bigger.
      • Lurbuk is an obnoxious Dreadful Musician who is flat out incapable of seeing that nobody likes him. Hilariously enough, so many people wanted to have the Brotherhood bump him off that the Brotherhood had to pick an employer via lottery.
      • Ennodius Papius is a paranoid, insane freak.
      • Beitild is a slave-driving forewoman who is an absolute ass to her employees.
      • Vittoria Vici is not just quite a bitch herself, but even before marriage, you can see she has been sleeping with someone else. There's also the fact that in the game's coding she's listed as being in league with Jaree-ra and Deeja, two vicious Argonian criminals.
      • Hern and Hert are vampires who prey on travelers that visit their mill.
      • Safia is a notorious pirate captain who also participates in drug-running with the highly illegal substance Balmora Blue.
      • Alain Dufont is a bandit leader who took advantage of a grief-stricken young woman named Muiri who lost a friend to a serial killer. He robbed the victim's family blind and fled for his life, pinning the blame on her and getting her ostracized by said family. He was so loathsome that Windhelm guards will commend you for ending his life after you've killed him.
      • And fittingly enough, the entire Brotherhood is this should you decide to wipe them all out. Yes, they are Affably Evil to a fault and have a lot of love for each other, but that doesn't change the fact that they are still a pack of gleefully evil assassins who will swap stories over the murders they've committed.
    • Pretty much everyone in the Markarth questline. You can side with the Forsworn who are genocidally racist or the Silver-Bloods who are using petty criminals and political opposition as slave labor in their mines. Or just burn them all, and let the flames sort it out.
    • Every single Thalmor you kill. All of them. Even Bethesda says that those jerks deserve it.
    • Roggvir, the guard who opened Solitude's gates to help Ulfric escape and was beheaded for it, was this according to Sorex Vinius. Vinius claimed that as a child, Roggvir mocked him for liking a girl, and would humiliate him physically or verbally as much as possible, to the extent that Roggvir once put a beehive in his bed. As an adult, Vinius says, he never outgrew his immaturity, or his cruelty. That being said, others in Solitude, including the man who presided over his execution, consider him to be an honorable man.
    • Sabjorn, the proprietor of the Honningbrew Meadery. A relatively early Thieves Guild mission revolves around framing him for attempted murder so that Maven Black-Briar can take control. If putting an innocent man behind bars for the rest of his life weighs heavily on your conscience, you can take some solace in the knowledge that the assistant which initiates the scheme had been forced to work as Sabjorn's slave after Sabjorn intentionally loaned him money he knew he'd never get back.
    • The Dunmer from the province of Morrowind. They kept Argonians and Kajiit as slaves, and the Empire didn't lift a finger to stop it. Now, the Argonians have seceded from the empire, and occupied Morrowind.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority:
    • Dragons strongly believe in this. So much so, that when you defeat Alduin once and force him to run away, the other dragons question his leadership. One of them even answers your challenge, loses, and does a Heel Face Turn to pledge his Undying Loyalty to you, though he's unable to actually serve you until after dealing with Alduin... beyond taking you to Alduin's base of operations that can only be accessed by flying, anyway. Actually, after Odahviing flies you to Skuldafn, he can be called upon to fight for you at any time, assuming you're outdoors.
    • Ulfric attempts to bypass Skyrim's political system with this logic by killing High King Torygg, claiming that if Torygg couldn't protect himself, he couldn't protect Skyrim. Granted, this has precedent in Skyrim's history, since he challenged Torygg to honorable combat, but depending on how you feel about Ulfric, that could easily have been a ploy to garner further support from those who follow the old ways or just as an example of how traditional he is.
  • The Atoner:
    • Erandur. Once a priest of Vaermina, daedric prince of nightmares; now one of Mara, goddess of love and compassion.
    • Illia from the Darklight Tower who once worked for the hagravens and now wants to stop her mother becoming one.
    • Paarthurnax. At one time, he apparently served the Big Bad, and killed a bunch of people. Now, he wants to stop Alduin, and teach other dragons "The Way of the Voice".
    • This can be you too if you wrong one of the guilds. The Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild and College of Winterhold all have quests for making restitution if you wrong them.
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Dragons seem to exhibit this. Due to their lofty view, they tend to aggro or get aggro'd on by pretty much everything and get distracted from the walking divine intervention attempting to devour their soul and go attack a random mudcrab.
  • Automaton Horses: Well, how's this for starters? The only nods to reality are that the horses cannot gallop non-stop and may die if you ride them off cliffs.
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • The starter spells. It's understandable that since they are the spells that you obtain at the beginning of the game that they are fairly weak. The fact that they never get any stronger, no matter how powerful you become? Makes less sense.
    • Shouts, contrary to most trailers. While some are indeed useful in dealing with low-level enemies such as Draugr, even fully-upgraded shouts such as Fire Breath barely do any damage to the more dangerous opponents that you're guaranteed to face. Add to that the length of time it takes them to recharge (Call Storm's recharge time is 4 minutes for the first word), and you'd only be able to use a decently useful shout once per fight.
    • With enough Smithing skill, it's possible to make most of the armor reach the max damage absorbing threshold of 567 armor points, all the way up to even 1200, more than twice the max. And all that extra does nothing. You can also count any weapon or spell that you haven't taken perks for (i.e. that Volendrung is pretty slick looking; too bad you only took one-handed and not two-handed, meaning even weak one-handed weapons are more powerful than it).
    • The master-level Destruction spells; possibly to the point of Power-Up Letdown. Its damage potential simply can't justify the facts that it's a two-handed, short-ranged spell with long casting time (approximately 2-3 seconds). And unlike most other spells, you can't move around while casting it.
    • This can be true of a few of the higher level Destruction spells if you bring along a melee-based follower, due to the danger of friendly-fire.
    • In some cases, Followers. They tend to get in the way, make stealth harder by alerting nearby enemies, get themselves killed, and can make it much more difficult to progress through trap-filled tombs and tight-spaced caves because they're too stupid to avoid the traps you tried so hard to evade or are too slow to get out of your way. This extends to Thralls too: Thrall summons have no time limit, which makes them basically another follower. It gets worse if you also have the Twin Souls perk, which means you're bringing a small army of Leeroys with you and making friendly-fire an inevitability.
    • Flame Atronarchs explode upon death. Unfortunately, they attack at a distance, and the explosive damage counts as having originated from you. This means that if one dies, anything around it will suddenly think you've just attacked them, and promptly turn hostile (if they weren't so already). This can cause you to loose followers mid-combat, aggro nearby friendly NPCs, cause bounties to be placed on your head, and other shenanigans. It doesn't help that they're Leeroys as well. And to top it all off, the explosion damage itself is minuscule, barely enough to kill a mudcrab if that even.
    • Certain traps are placed ahead of their triggers so you could not simply outrun them. Unfortunately, if you happen to wait at a certain point for your follower to catch up, he/she would trigger the trap, and you'd be the one ending up kissing a spiked wall at Mach 2.
    • Master Level Spells. You do a badass animation as you ready the spells, waving your glowing arms in intricate patterns... while totally vulnerable to everything in sight and standing perfectly still. The rare enemies that really require a scroll to kill will basically instantly kill you as you ready the spell.
  • Awesome McCoolname:
    • All the Dragon names translated are intimidating and scary. Nord sobriquets are no slouch either.
    • It gets into Narm territory when a delicate and voluptuous young flower girl is named Shatter-Shield.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Once you complete the main questline (and let Paarthunax live) then when you return to the top of the Throat of the World, you will witness dozens of roaring and Shouting dragons who are acknowledging Paarthunax as their new leader.
  • Awesome Yet Practical:
    • There are very, very few combat situation in which FUS RO DAH/Unrelenting Force isn't useful at full power, allowing you to fling even Giants with full power to stun them, or, if you're lucky enough to be facing them on a cliff, damage and outright One-Hit Kill them. It also serves as a great panic button if you get ambushed and don't have time to draw your weapon, throw up a ward, or raise a shield. Likewise, Dragonrend is a quick-recharging, damaging shout that forces dragons to land and interrupts their breath attacks, making even the toughest of dragon battles a cakewalk.
    • Conjured dremora lords. Practical in that they are perhaps the game's best summon, with a good health pool and massive damage output, and awesome in that they're one of this game's main sources of ham and use a huge sword that sets opponents on fire.
    • Dual Wielding the firebolts not only looks cool but with the impact perk and enough magika you can win any duel in the game (including the final boss) without taking any damage.
    • Arniel Gane's Shade is an awesome combat summon that boasts impressive damage resistance and deals ranged shock damage (think ghost Sith Lord). It also costs zero Magicka and has no cooldown.
    • Maxing out Sneak combined with one handed weapon, all the better if your Smithing and/or Enchanting and/or Alchemy is high, plus the Dark Brotherhood gloves to double backstab damage. You can eventually do 30 times damage with a dagger (especially high damages ones like Mehrunes' Razor or the Blade of Woe, and even more so if you improve them via smithing), killing your opponents before they can attack and usually get a cool finishing blow action shot to boot. Considering how easy it is to grind Sneak, this is practically a Disc One Nuke.
    • At 50 Archery skill, you can get the Power Draw skill, which gives each shot a 50% chance to cause the (humanoid-sized) target to stumble. Considering Archery is ranged, you can shoot arrows very quickly, and a vast majority of enemies are melee-only or magic-wielding, you can kill anything short of giants and dragons with little trouble and enough range between you. Combine it with the skill that cancels the movement speed penalty while you're drawing your bow, and you can dance around your target all day long.
    • Despite its somewhat petty shortcomings, transforming into a werewolf: gaining the Beast Form power through The Companions questline proves very useful against most of the brute enemies: mammoths, trolls (including the infamous frost troll on the way up to Hrothgar), giants, etc. Even if you are going to face a crowded company of warriors (stormcloaks or legionnaires for example), you can beat and eat them all with the combination of your fearful wolf cry and power attacks. Whole battle scene turns into a feeding frenzy since you have to consume the flesh of the fallen victims during the fight to extend the duration of your wolf form and in the mean time to reboost your hp. As an added bonus, you're immune to all disease.
    • YOL TOOR SHUL, once acquired, is one of the single most damaging shouts in the game, hits over a huge area, and staggers enemies. Good as a support power for a mage whose magicka is low, excellent for a warrior who needs a devastating area effect, and a great panic button for a thief who needs to burn everything and run. Plus, belching out a massive wave of fire just looks so awesome.
    • Most of the Daedric artifacts. Volendruug is a powerful hammer you can get early-game if you can manage to kill a few giants and if you specialize in it, you can use it for the duration of the game (not to mention effectively infinitely charge into enemies with power attacks due to its effect). The Mace of Molag Bal can help you harvest Soul Gems for either itself or enchanting and can incapacitate most spellcasters easily. The Black Star can be combined with the Mace for infinite charges. The Ebony Mail can harm anyone trying to close the distance and detect nearby enemies for you. Namira's Ring gives you a substantial Stamina Boost and lets you recover HP faster. And so on.


B

  • Back From the Brink: You can help the Dark Brotherhood, the Thieves' Guild, and the Blades regain their former glory and more.
    • Also the Dragons. Until Alduin began reviving them, they were mostly extinct, or else living far away from civilization.
  • Badass Beard: For the first time since Morrowind, characters with facial hair appear. And you can bet the face fuzz is epic. A screenshot of a bearded Dark Elf fits this trope perfectly. Bethesda boasts that you can give your character one of fifty different beards. It's even lampshaded by M'aiq the Liar who notes that 'everyone in Skyrim is all about beards' and speculates that humans must be compensating for the lack of manes.
  • Badass Bookworm: Urag gro-Shub, the Orc librarian at the College of Winterhold. Don't mess with the Arcanaeum: it's his Berserk Button. On the other hand, give him the Elder Scroll from the main quest after finishing it, and you can hear an orc Squee for the first time in The Elder Scrolls history.
  • Badass Bystander:
    • Random travelers on the roads may occasionally come to your aid against the wolves, bandits, bears or trolls that populate the wilderness. Some of them are surprisingly tough (Talsgar the Wanderer is a notable example, at least at low-to-mid player level).
    • During the final battle in the afterlife, some of the Honored Dead such as Ulfric Stormcloak, Legate Rikke, Galmar Stone-Fist and Kodlak Whitemane (if they died during the game) may randomly wander into the battle and help you fight the final boss.
    • The Dragonborn during Dragon-Attacks on various towns. The Dragonborn basically drops what they're doing, promptly kills the Dragon single-handedly, then goes straight back to what they were doing like nothing happened.
  • Badass Cape: The Nightingale armor from late in the Thieves Guild questline has this.
  • Badass Grandpa: Esbern. The Graybeards are an order of Badass Grandpas.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • Invoked with the Thalmor Robes. They look more like a standard longcoat than a robe, which makes sense given the very obvious Gestapo parallels.
    • The various Fine Clothes, as well, can serve as more noble-looking longcoats, especially the ones blinged-out with fur around the collar.
    • Ulfric Stormcloak's clothing includes one of these made of chainmail worn under an animal-pelt cloak. Despite this and the breastplate the clothing seems to include, it only counts as normal clothing if you get a hold of it despite it looking like it should be light armor.
  • Badass Preacher: A few examples are shown such as Erandur, though interestingly enough, the player can become one themselves by working for any of the Temples.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Ragged Flagon, although since the player can join the Theives Guild, it's more of a Villain Protagonist Bar.
  • Bar Brawl: You can "persuade" some NPC characters by brawling with them rather than intimidating or negotiating. You can have a legitimate tavern fight in Whiterun with a man who's pressing his unwanted affections on a shopkeeper. You can marry a woman in that same tavern after you brawl with her and win.
  • Barrier Change Boss: The first boss you fight in the Mage College quest line is a powerful Draugr that keeps shifting between frosty, electrical and fiery forms, and he's pretty resistant to physical attacks, so you'd better make sure you know at least one damage spell of each type when you face him.
  • Barrier Maiden: Talos is holding the world together by the skin of its teeth. If people stop worshiping him, the world will almost certainly end. The Thalmor are trying outright to make that happen.
  • Battle Butler: Any of your housecarls, should you choose to take them on your quests.
  • Battle Couple: The Dragonborn is capable of marrying one of his/her traveling companions and going on adventures with them.
  • Beat Still My Heart: In a case of the dev team thinking of everything, if you pickpocket a briarheart from a Forsworn Briarheart, they instantly die and a gaping hole appears on their chests. This is because Forsworn Briarhearts have had their real hearts replaced with the briarheart you have just ripped from their bodies.
  • Becoming the Mask: A wizard sets up a Scooby-Doo Hoax, masquerading as the guardian spirit of a Nordic burial ground to keep superstitious locals from discovering that he's attempting to loot the tomb. After six month of failing to solve a puzzle-locked door, he goes insane and becomes convinced he's an actual guardian spirit. The irony in his attempts to keep the locals away from the burial ground is that the local innkeeper actually held the key to unlocking the door. Unlike a certain other Dunmer, however, he probably didn't know about its existence.
  • Beef Gate: Partway through many of the lengthier quest arcs are dungeons that are downright hard. These are apparently designed to encourage the player to go do some other quests and come back stronger later. On top of that, the higher one goes in altitude, the more difficult the enemies become. Low-altitude locales have normal trolls and wolves as the primary hostiles, while higher altitudes have bears, snow bears, ice wolves, and frost trolls, which are far more difficult. Of note are the Forsworn, especially the Forsworn Briar Hearts, at Hag's End, a set of ruins high up on the mountains. Particularly if anything has a "snow" or "ice" variant, expect it to be waaay up the peak of some mountain, and have roughly three times the health of the common garden variety. One particularly noticeable one is the frost troll on the way up to High Hrothgar. If you're not at least level 10, it will probably smash you flat, and if you're not level 15 or higher, it will be a rough fight anyway. Some clever tactics (or a quick summoned creature to draw its attention) can let you get past it, however, and if worst comes to worst, you can just run past it to High Hrothgar and let the Greybeards prove why you should listen to them (see the Badass Grandpa link above).
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Some of your possible spouses are downright rude to you.
    • Some of them want to marry you after you've beaten them in a brawl. Of course this is Nord culture.
  • Beneath the Earth: The derelict dwarven city of Blackreach, which houses tribes of Falmer, giant glowing mushrooms, still functioning lifts to the surface and other contraptions, a dragon and an elder scroll. Not to mention the Crimson Nirnroot is found there.
  • Beware the Silly Ones:
    • Near one of the first towns you can find a jester who seems to be a textbook Cloudcuckoolander who needs help getting his wagon fixed. Turns out he's a member of the Dark Brotherhood. If you take the farmer's advice and slander him to get him dragged off by a guard, you'll find said farmer dead later on.
    • Turns out that jester is The Keeper for the Dark Brotherhood. The Night Mother herself is in the wagon.
  • Big Bad:
    • Alduin, the first offspring of Akatosh.
    • For the civil war subplot, either General Tullius (if you're a Stormcloak) or Ulfric Stormcloak (if you're a Legionnaire).
    • Also The Silver Hand for The Companions, Mercer Frey for the Thieves Guild, Ancano for the College of Winterhold and Commander Maro for The Dark Brotherhood.
  • Big Badass Wolf:
    • You can become a werewolf, and a couple of people in the Companions are also werewolves: Kodlak, Skjor, Aela, Farkas and Vilkas.
    • Also, one can not only find these in the wild, but there is an entire cave full of people who use the wolves for pit fighting.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Normal Trolls resemble Bigfoot, while Frost Trolls resemble Yetis.
  • Big Friendly Dog:
    • Being the external representation of a Daedric Prince's conscience, the talking dog Barbas is naturally this.
    • Skyrim is inhabited by big Irish Wolfhound looking dogs, and most of them are nice towards you, save a few trained by bandits.
    • And more specifically there are Meeko and Vigilance, who can follow and help out the player in a manner similar to Dogmeat in Fallout 3.
  • Bigger Bad: In the Civil War story arc, the Aldmeri Dominion is this. While Ulfric Stormcloak or General Tallius are the military leaders of both sides of the war, the Aldmeri are behind everything, and no matter which side you choose in the war, they stand to profit. Either the Empire wins and continues to promote Aldmeri interests within Skyrim's borders, or the Stormcloaks succeed and the Empire is further weakened. In fact, the Aldmeri don't even want the war to end quite yet.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Names of Vilkas and Farkas, twin Companion brothers that translate from Lithuanian and Hungarian respectively to mean 'wolf'. They're werewolves. Their boss Kodlak gets his name from a similar root in Serbian.
    • Jarl is the Old Norse word for "chieftan" and the root of the English word "earl".
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Saadia, according to the Alik'r.
  • Bi the Way: Every marriageable character in Skyrim is will marry the Dovahkiin regardless of gender.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • The Greybeards. On one hand, they're masters of an ancient and powerful magic art that takes most people years to study. On the other hand, they're forced to take a vow of silence because of it, or they risk accidentially killing outsiders with a single word.
    • Vampirism. You get cool powers like night vision, invisibility, life drain, and bonuses to stealth and illusion but your stats are lower during the daytime, and to get the really cool powers you have to go days without feeding, which breaks your Masquerade and provokes attacks. To keep it under control, you have feed on people in their sleep, which diminishes the powers and the drawbacks but also has a chance of getting you caught. Improved "lord" vampirism, from Dawnguard, looks a bit more promising though.
    • Being a werewolf is considered this In-Universe by Kodlak Whitemane, who would prefer to go to Sovngard upon his death, but is bound by his curse to spend eternity in Hircine's hunting grounds instead. A quest involves breaking the curse for him... and you can later do it for yourself.
  • Blown Across the Room:
    • Similar to Oblivion, gravity seems to have less effect on dead bodies rather than living ones, meaning the kill shot of a bow or spell will shoot the target backwards 5 to 15 feet. The reason for this is that when a killing blow is delivered (and one of the finishing move animations doesn't kick in) the excess damage (i.e. anything that would reduce the target's health below 0) is converted into momentum in the game's physic's engine. So if an NPC with 10 HP left was hit by an arrow which dealt 50 points of damage then the first 10 points of that damage would reduce them to 0 HP, killing them, and the remaining 40 would be converted into 40 points worth of momentum to knock back their ragdoll. This is also the reason for the giants' Megaton Punch (see below).
    • And of course you can invoke this trope with the Unrelenting Force shout at full power. And so can higher-level draugr.
  • Bodyguard Crush: You can invoke this by marrying your housecarl after you become a thane.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass: When you become a Thane in some of the holds, you're given a housecarl. What you had to do to earn the title sometimes makes it a clear case of this trope.
  • Body Horror: What happens to Astrid. It seems that having the player's Dark Brotherhood mentor die to a mundane form of this is a series tradition.
  • Bonus Boss: Potentially any dungeon, seeing as how nearly all of them feature a high-level enemy at the end; some are arguably more challenging than questline bosses. Special mention goes to the hidden dragon in Blackreach, triggered by using your FUS RO DAH on the suspended orange orb.
  • Boobs of Steel: As the weight slider increments on a female character in character generation, muscle mass and body frame size increases... and so does breast size.
  • Book Ends: The first and final acts of the Dark Brotherhood storyline begin with a Black Sacrament being performed.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Sybille Stentor, the Court Wizard for the Jarl of Solitude. She sends you on a quest to destroy a "disgusting" nest of vampires, but detect life/detect death and a quick peek at the faction code shows she's actually a vampire herself. Speaking with Melaran at the Palace entrance implies that her condition is a well-kept secret amongst the palace and she gets most of her nourishment dealing with the more "troublesome" prisoners kept in the dungeons. Though it seems her disgust is more of their living conditions, not their vampirism, especially considering the reward she gives you.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • The Transmutation spell means you'll never need for gold ever again. All it takes is buying Iron Ingots, turning them into silver or gold, then crafting jewelry over and over, proving easy Smithing skills and tons of treasure.
    • Smithing. You can get access to the best armor in the game (Daedric and Dragonscale) and get better equipment earlier, as well as improve your regular equipment to ridiculous heights... but you'll either be spending a lot of money or a lot of time getting the materials to level your skill up that high, and none of the perks affect your combat skills directly.
      • Leveling Smithing falls into this as well. You'll be making a lot of daggers and leather pieces, since finding ores and ingots is difficult even if you know where to look, whereas pretty much every animal can be skinned for leather, and daggers are cheap. Jewelry falls into Awesome Yet Practical for being a nice source of income.
    • This can be extended to most of the non-combat perks. Speechcraft gets you better prices and more store gold, which can easily make you rich but isn't entirely necessary (especially since if you're patient, stores restock their gold daily). Enchantment can have you with 90% elemental resistances and massive stat buffs, but same as Smithing requires lots of time and money. Speech perks start looking a lot nicer when you begin to find gear so nice that most stores can't even afford to buy it.
    • Marked For Death. Other shouts create fire, throw enemies through the air, call down lightning storms, or slow down time. KRII LUN AUS, however, just hits the enemy with a shimmering wave of energy that otherwise has no outward effect, beyond draining life and reducing armor to the point that a couple hits with a warhammer will drop nearly any boss.
    • "Skyforge Steel is all the Companions will use. With good reason." Eorlund Gray-Mane speaks the truth: you will likely be sticking with Skyforge Steel for quite a while especially if you acquire it early in the game (easily done since the Companions are in the first big city you will likely visit). Elven-tier damage, Steel-tier weight, Steel-tier smithing, steel-tier price. And your first one is complimentary. The only downside is that the blunt weapons (mace and warhammer) are absent from the lineup.
      • Moreso if you specialize in Greatswords, since you can get your first one for free due to Farkas dropping his sword during his first transformation. If you have decent smithing, this weapon will likely be your only one until you can obtain a Daedric artifact.
    • Simple, brute melee combat is more than enough to overcome any non-scripted challenge the game has to offer, once you max your skills. Only a very few quests require you to be sneaky or use magic. Especially deadly when mixed with a good Enchanting skill; Siphoning life is a popular choice.
    • In the same vein as smithing is enchanting. With a maxed enchanting stat a mage can reduce magika cost of two schools of magic to 0 (and a 3rd to 50%), making the usualy Awesome but Impractical expert level spells fully spammable. Combined with the impact perk in destruction, even the most powerful enemies go down in seconds from near complete safety.
    • For combat, one of the best possible skill sets is decent equipment and a modest Sneak combined with high Archery, One-Handed, Block and Heavy Armor. With these skills, you can pummel enemies in hand-to-hand while attacking rapidly and taking little damage yourself, snipe out foes that are less easily accessed on foot, and use your bow and sneaking to stealthily headshot anything too tough for the previous two strategies. Certainly not as fancy as dual-casting terawatt lightning bolts and summoning eldritch god-spirits to aid you in battle or using your insanely leveled Sneak to creep straight through your enemies' line of sight and then knifing them in the back for a 30,000x damage multiplier, but it works well against almost anything that doesn't outnumber you ten to one.
  • Boss in Mooks Clothing:
    • At higher levels, Draugr Deathlords, normally boss-level draugr, are now part of the rank and file. And they've lost none of their stats; Shouts, hard-hitting weapons, damage sponge-level health. Taking over for them in some dungeons (in the absence of Dragon Priests) are their new bosses, the Draugr Death Overlords.
    • A better example of a Boss in Mooks Clothing would be bears. No matter what level you are, they will always be a threat if you don't have good enough armour. Some of the fandom consider them stronger than dragons!
  • Bragging Theme Tune: The Skyrim theme song, towards the Dragonborn.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: A lot of Skyrim's children are obnoxiously rude to you. Special mention goes to Braith of Whiterun who tries to pick a fight with you even if you're wearing armor made of dragonskin and covered with the blood of your enemies, and Belkir of Whiterun who sneers you're likely there to suck up to his father.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: A fortune teller in town says she might tell your fortune by several standard methods (horoscopes, card readings) and then chuckles and mentions Trepanning.
  • Breast Plate: Full suits of armor have masculine and feminine models. Note that the full armor does fully protect and cover the character, it just has boob-curves. The Forsworn armor is perhaps the most true to the trope, becoming a Fur Bikini for female characters.

Marcurio: These Forsworn don't even have the decency to dress properly.

  • Brown Note: In an interesting twist, the brown note is harmful to eldritch beings and harmless to mere mortals.
  • Bullet Time:
    • The "Steady Hand" Archery perks, which slow time by 25-50% (depending on what rank the perk is at) when using the bow's zoom feature, as well as the "Slow Time" Dragon Shout.
    • You can also invoke bullet time with a block perk: if you have your guard up, and the enemy performs a power attack they slow down temporarily, allowing you, if you time it right, an excellent opening to slash them into ribbons. You can also use the opportunity to shield-bash, interrupting the pending power attack, or simply jump out of the way, if you don't think you could kill them before their attack goes through.
  • Bullying a Dragon: It doesn't matter if you're clad in full Daedric armor with a bloodstained ebony war axe in one hand and the gleam of a lethal fire spell in the other and a storm atronach following you around, Braithe will still petulantly cry that she's not afraid of you.

Random guard: Let me guess, somebody stole your sweetroll?

  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Wylandriah, the Jarl's mage in Riften, who is so completely wrapped up in her own experiments that she fails to realize that none of what she's saying about them makes sense to anyone else.
  • But Thou Must!: Completely finishing certain questlines involve following certain paths. For example, finishing the Thieves' Guild storyline involves becoming a Nightingale and selling your soul to Nocturnal. On the other hand, the game does not require you to finish any questline at all. In the aforementioned Thieves' Guild quest, for example, you could simply refuse to become a Nightingale and walk away from the whole thing. The quest would remain technically "unfinished", however.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • The Orcs as a whole. Not even a decade into the Fourth Era, they are forced at swordpoint by the Bretons to officially renounce Orsinium as a province and allow themselves to be assimilated into High Rock. By the time of Skyrim, most Orcs are little more than indentured servants to the Bretons, and those that aren't are forced to live in "strongholds" that are almost universally rundown, destitute and scorned by all.
    • The Dark Elves too, what with Red Mountain erupting, Vvardenfell's destruction and Morrowind being sacked by Black Marsh have left the province pretty much in ruins, even years later, leading to a mass exodus of Dunmer away from their home province. The ones who settled in Windhelm are left second-class citizens, and only one supplicant remains at the Shrine of Azura they constructed after their exodus. Hadvar even notes should you play a Dunmer character at Helgen that the gods really HAVE abandoned your people.


C

  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: Skeevers are giant rats. They used to be smaller too. Odd thing is... Giant Rats DID exist in all previous The Elder Scrolls games (and in fact were part of a running joke involving the fighters' guild), and were called such.
  • Call a Smeerp a Rabbit: And yet, the four-tusked mammoths are still called "mammoths".
  • Call Back:
    • The mural for the game depicts several key happenings from the prior games, all supposedly leading up to Alduin's return:
      • The Staff of Chaos being shattered.
      • The reassembling of Numidium, and the resulting Warp in the West.
      • The Red Mountain where Dagoth Ur made base.
      • A gate to Oblivion, the reason for the weakening of the Empire.
      • The in-game book "The Book of the Dragonborn" also lists a prophecy that references all of these.
    • As with most Elder Scrolls games, the player starts as a prisoner and/or going through a starter dungeon. However, this game ups the ante by leading players to their execution, right up to having his/her head on the chopping block.
    • During the Thieves Guild's missions you can come across a bust of the Grey Fox.
    • The Dark Brotherhood questline has several of these:
      • A power you gain during the questline is the ability to summon Lucien Lachance's ghost. You also acquire several artifacts associated with him from his previous appearance, including his horse (who's apparently had a sex change in the process of reincarnation).
      • The quest to decorate the new sanctuary is titled "Where You Hang Your Enemy's Head..."; in Oblivion, the orc assassin described "home" like that.
      • The scene wherein you kill the Emperor is highly reminiscent of Uriel Septim's acceptance of his imminent death in Oblivion.
    • Emperor Titus Mede II's attire resembles that of Uriel Septim VII from Oblivion (purpleish blue with red and gold down the front, white fur on the shoulders and at the end of the sleeves). Apparently, this is centuries-long high fashion because King Helseth in the expansion for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind also wore similar robes.
    • Sinderion (the Nirnroot guy) makes a posthumous appearance during your search for the Elder Scroll.
    • Discussing the Elder Scrolls themselves: "The greatest thief in the world couldn't lay a finger on them!" The fact that nobody would know of the theft of an Elder Scroll is a consequence of the Cowl of the Gray Fox. It was stolen by someone not wearing the Cowl. Then, the owner of the Cowl read the scroll to reveal his own identity, creating a paradox that would allow him to transfer ownership to the person who did steal the scroll, and... well... it gets complicated.
    • One of the random bard instrumentals is a slower, softer version of Daggerfall's shop music.
    • Another reference to Daggerfall are the three guardian nebulae, which made their first appearance during Daggerfall's character creation. Their shapes have remained unchanged.
    • The Imperial Shield and the Imperial Light Shield look closely like the Shield of the Crusader and the Knights of the Nine shield, respectively.
    • The Imperial Legion armors resemble Roman armor, just as it did back in Morrowind.
    • Ulfgar the Unending, from Bloodmoon, makes an appearance in Sovngarde.
    • You get to kill another Uderfrykte.
    • The final contract for the Dark Brotherhood requires you to sneak into a boat, and make your way from the cargo hull all the way up to the main cabin to assassinate someone there. Just like the very first contract of the Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion.
    • When starting the game as a Breton, Hadvar will guess the player is from Daggerfall (which is only one of High Rock's five kingdoms) and how it is rife with political intrigue. Daggerfall is of course the primary setting of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, and much of the plot is spent dealing with and untangling the various court intrigues behind the death of King Lysandus of Daggerfall.
    • Sheogorath is loaded with callbacks:
      • When guessing who sent the player, Sheogorath mentions King Lysandus from The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and Passwall from Shivering Isles.
      • Sheogorath himself makes a comment or two implying that he's the Champion of Cyrodiil, since the player became him at the end of Shivering Isles' main quest.
      • He also tells the player that he shouldn't have left Haskill (his long-suffering Servile Snarker Chamberlain from Shivering Isles) in charge of his realm for as long as he has, and should they ever find themselves in New Sheoth, they're free to pop round to the palace.
      • Also, he's still threatening to use mortal's entrails as a skipping rope.
    • An artifact from the main quest of Morrowind figures in a sidequest of the Winterhold College and can be acquired by the player. Unlike in Morrowind, it can be held without its counterpart, which is not in the game, with no ill effects. Interestingly enough, it still gives a message about you receiving a mortal wound when you first hold it, it just doesn't actually do anything.
    • College of Winterhold players get to visit Labyrinthian during that faction's finale. Labyrinthian was the dungeon in Skyrim where a piece of the Staff of Chaos was held waaaaaay back in Arena. In even more of a Call Back, you go there to find yet another incredibly powerful magical staff, this one intact... and in both cases, a visit to Winterhold's mage guild prompts you to go to Labyrinthian.
    • The smuggler ship Red Wave in Solitude shares its name with a magical Cutlass (Redwave) found on another ship in Oblivion (the Serpent's Wake). Coincidentally, the Dark Brotherhood is involved with both the Red Wave and the Serpent's Wake. You have to kill the captain of the former, while a Dark Brotherhood Assassin murdered everyone on the latter.
    • Cicero's Journals mention that he once posed as an obnoxious fan to murder the Arena Champion back in Cyrodiil. Does this remind you of anyone?
    • Remember Immortal Blood and how it ended? Remember Movarth, the vampire hunter? The book was non-fiction, Movarth existed, and he's still around. But he's not a vampire hunter any more.
    • One of the books Esbern wants to take with him is the Annotated Anuad, which first appeared in Morrowind.
    • One Dark Brotherhood client is named Amaund Motierre. He's a descendant or relative (not clear which) of François Motierre, a client in Oblivion.
    • The quest to find Mehrunes' Razor involves working with and killing a descendant and enthusiast of the Mythic Dawn, the cult which served as the primary antagonist of Oblivion. He keeps a museum of Mythic Dawn memorabilia including the Commentaries on and only surviving page of the Mysterium Xarxes, and his notes on the bloodlines holding the pieces of the Razor note that none of the parties involved were involved with the failed expedition that the Champion of Cyrodiil stumbled upon in the Oblivion DLC quest said artifact appeared in.
    • There is a book giving advice on being a better thief that seems to have been written by the player character from Oblivion.
    • The location where the main character and Ulfric Stormcloak were captured by imperials is given as "Pale Pass". Pale Pass is a pass between Cyrodiil and Skyrim, the Cyrodiil side of which one can visit during a side quest in Oblivion. Oblivion's quest in Pale Past would also tie heavily on the defeat of the Akaviri and their subsequent loyalty to the Reman dynasty... the follow up to those events (Sky Ruler Temple, Alduin's wall, The Blades) would factor greatly in the adventure of the Skyrim PC.
    • There are many references to Queen Barenziah, an NPC appearing in Daggerfall and Tribunal featured in the thieves' guild. Barenziah's crown is the object of a long, long quest chain. The term "Nightingale" in conjunction to Queen Barenziah dates to the events of Arena, where a bard under that name gets the location of the staff of chaos by seducing her. "The Nightingales Vol. 2" reveals he is not Jagar Tharn as previously thought but one of Nocturnal's Nightingales, and that current Nightingale Karliah is Barenziah's grand-daughter through this union.
    • The wandering Khajiit M'aiq the Liar is an endless source of call backs.
    • Sometimes, in combat, Sven (one of the companions you can hire) shouts "This is the part where you fall down and bleed to death!".
    • The Nerevarine (the player character of Morrowind) is indirectly a part of the main quest: he sent the Heart of Lorkhan away in order to remove Dagoth Ur's immortality, leading to a crazed scholar trying to find it again, leading to him trying to find an Elder Scroll, leading to the Dragonborn seeking out this scholar.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The dragons, instead of simply using breath weapons, use a form of vocal magic related to the "thu'um" magic of the Nords (which, in fact, the dragons had first; the Nords got it from the dragon Paarthurnax). Meaning that they're not simply shooting fire, ice and whatnot at you. They are speaking those things into existence, and you get to do it too (meaning that instead of shooting fire, they're shouting fire).
  • The Cameo: Thanks to collaborative DLC from Valve and Bethesda, the Space Core from Portal 2 can be picked up as an item just outside of Whiterun. You can also spot Wheatley from the same game floating about in the Skills Menu.
  • Canon Immigrant: Many concepts in the "Obscure Texts", which were originally posted on the message boards by Michael Kirkbride and others, made it into the game:
    • The idea that the current timeline is but one "kalpa" brought about after the previous one was eaten by a world-eater.
    • Ysgramor and his 500 companions.
    • The concept of "towers" and their effect on the stability of the world.
    • The Dwemer were very much into music and tuning reality.
    • Heimskr recites part of the Obscure Text describing how Talos transformed Cyrodiil from a jungle to a forest.
  • Can't Catch Up: As the game currently stands, all levelable NPCs are locked at the level in which they are first generated (typically when they first meet the player). So, if you meet a Follower at level 1, they'll be stuck at level 1 for the entire game. In the case of Followers, this means they'll rapidly become obsolete once bandits in full plate mail and Ancient Dragons start showing up. Probably the Followers most badly affected by this are Sven or Faendal, since they're found in the Starter Village and thus almost always are generated at player level 1. Lydia the Housecarl is also affected by this (since she's 90% likely to be the 2nd recruitable Follower encountered in the game), but is tough enough that she can actually hold her own against later-game enemies provided you give her good enough weapons and armor. The sole exception to this is J'Zargo, who levels up with the player, right to the cap at 81. You can get around this issue (appropriately enough) by using the Wabbajack: dismiss your follower, zap them with the Wabbajack until they turn into an animal, then wait for them to revert, then have them rejoin you. This resets their effective level.
  • Career-Ending Injury: The infamous "arrow to the knee" incidents, to the guards.
  • The Casanova: Mikael in Whiterun. He's apparently generally successful, but has set his latest sight on a widow single mom raising her daughter. You can offer her to make him back off, which can be done by beating him senseless or persuading him. He'll offer the PC some relationship advice (women love sonnets).
  • Cassandra Truth: One of M'aiq the Liar's comments is a thinly-veiled complaint about this. Made more funny when you realize he actually is (semi-)right about some things he says (like some of the dragons just hiding, as documents from the Blades reveal).
  • Cats Are Mean: The game features Sabre Cats, quite possibly some of the meanest cats in video gaming outside of Red Dead Redemption. They're large, quick, powerful enough to take you down in a flash at low levels, and they still prove to be a challenge once you've grown your character. Occasionally they team up with bears.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Some types of Light Armor act as this. Justified, as it is light armor.
    • Falmer armor (a Heavy variety) does this as well... a "chitin-mail" bikini, if you will.
  • Chain of Deals: A few times. Especially funny in Cidhna Mine where the final deal can be trading your shiv to the guard rather than killing him with it.
  • Character Customization: Choose between ten races, two sexes and what you want to look like and you're ready to go.
  • Charged Attack:
    • The difference between "Fus!" and "FUS RO DAH!". Every shout has three words, and speaking only one word has a minimal effect, with correspondingly short cooldown time, but speaking all three words has a massive, dramatic effect.
    • "Power Attacks" are melee attacks that occur when you hold down the attack button. They tend to do more damage and can break through an opponent who's blocking, but it burns up your Stamina meter.
    • Archery is influenced by how long you hold down the trigger when nocking an arrow. Quickly firing arrows before fully drawing the bow back will not be as powerful or have as much range.
    • Most spells need to be charged briefly before releasing. Once the dual casting perk is unlocked, charging the same spell in both hands results in a massive boost to the individual spell's power.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Theoretically, anyone can use the Thu'um, they just need to be trained by the Greybeards, as Ulfric Stormcloak was. What makes the Dragonborn so special is that he can use it without training, not merely that he can do it.
    • In Oblivion, over encumbering yourself meant becoming immobile; in Skyrim, you can carry hundreds of pounds over your weight limit and still be able to at least walk.
  • Cheap Gold Coins: One merchant mentions that with the dragon attacks, supply routes are cut off and he can charge almost anything.
  • Chill of Undeath: All undead enemies resist ice magic, some have a weakness to fire, and almost all of them besides the most basic mooks can use ice magic against the player very well.
  • The Chosen One: The last known Dovahkiin is set to turn the tide against the evil enveloping Skyrim. You are playing as this fabled hero by the way.
    • The Cyrodiilic word for Dovahkiin, "Dragonborn" was used in reference to previous agents of massive change in the past: Saint Alessia, the slave queen who led the revolt against the Ayleids, Reman Cyrodiil, the first real "Emperor" of Tamriel, and then later Tiber Septim, the one who managed to unite Tamriel under one banner again after a dark age since Reman's empire. Additionally, Jauffre referred to Martin Septim as "the Dragonborn" after the defeat/banishment of Dagon; it is though unclear whether this became widespread. The PC of Morrowind might also have been Dragonborn, if you trust Azura's word on the matter.
    • Goes Up to Eleven if you do enough different sidequests. You will learn that no matter which group it is, or what the requirements are, your character is destined to be their new Chosen One (examples: Harbinger of the Companions, Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold, Champion of every single Daedra Prince, Nightingale/Guild Master of the Thieves' Guild, Listener of the Dark Brotherhood). You don't even have to be very good at their respective disciplines (like you did in Morrowind)... just good enough to get by.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The constellation perks reside in color-coded nebulae. Warriors are Red, Mages are Blue, and Thieves are Green. This matches the color-coding of your health, magicka and stamina.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Likely the player character, especially if they do any Daedric quest.
  • Church Militant/Warrior Monk: The Vigilants of Stendarr.
  • City Guards: As per Elder Scrolls game tradition. Their AI has improved further over Oblivion's dull-witted guards, but they're still prone to some ludicrous behaviour...
  • City Noir: Windhelm has the imagery of the setting down. The city is a maze of streets, Fantastic Racism is allegedly official government policy, and there's a Serial Killer on the loose. Banditry is apparently common in the countryside, and unless the victims are Nords, Ulfric allegedly refuses to assist (that said, however, Banditry is fairly common problem throughout Skyrim; so, Eastmarch isn't singled out or anything). Brunwulf Free-winter is one of the only men around looking for ways to change the city for the better. Also, while commerce is still existent in Windhelm, in the Merchant Quarter, Free-winter, upon becoming Jarl if Ulfric is killed, states that the coffers are short on funds, implying that, for Ulfric, the war against the Empire previously took precedence over the proper administration of the hold. Which, while justifiable, has interfered with the Hold's prosperity.
    • It's also revealed at one point that Skyrim's been under heavy taxation since the war ended. So, a state of disrepair is the norm for many cities aside from Solitude (Whiterun's crumbling walls, for instance). By comparison, Windhelm's doing surprisingly well, likely because as the capital of the Stormcloak rebellion, it's unlikely the Empire sees any tax from it.
    • Markarth is also no slouch in this respect. It is revealed to be a broken society in which an urban underclass is brutally opressed by a corrupt elite, the architecture is virtual art deco, and there are oh so many dark secrets lurking within its walls. And then there's Riften, a perpetually foggy city of canals whose seedy underbelly arguably houses its most thriving industry.
  • Civil War: One of the central plot points, between the Stormcloaks and the Empire.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Imperial soldiers dress in red and Stormcloak soldiers dress in blue.
    • Dragons are different colors based on how powerful they are. Additionally, the "good" dragon, Paarthurnax, is white/grey, whereas Alduin the World-Eater is jet black with red eyes.
  • Contract on the Hitman: Emperor Titus gets posthumous revenge not by having his assassin killed but by asking his assassin to kill the man who wanted him dead.
  • Cool Horse:
    • A certain horse from a certain previous entry (Shadowmere) makes a comeback, complete with an awesome introduction.
    • Frost, the only other horse obtained from questing. While he's not invincible like Shadowmere, he's stronger and more aggressive than regular horses, won't hesitate to charge dragons, and has a grandsire named Sleipnir.
  • Cool Old Guy: The Greybeards, Esbern and Felldir the Old.
    • Special mention must be given to the leader of the Greybeards, Paarthunax: he's old even by dragon standards, and doesn't even hesitate to try and buy you some time by taking on Alduin himself. In single combat.
    • Although he's not as old as the above examples, Brunwulf Free-Winter is an aging, wary war veteran who happens to be the nicest guy in Windhelm. And he ultimately becomes Jarl should you choose to side with the Empire against the Stormcloaks.
    • Even Emperor Titus turns out to be pretty cool. Even if you disagree with the way he runs his empire, he does turn out to be the one person in the world who isn't scared of the Dark Brotherhood. Which doesn't mean he doesn't respect them... in fact, he knows better than his advisors that once the Brotherhood accepts a contract, there's no hiding from them.
    • Kodlak Whitemane, Harbinger of the Companions, is also rather cool. He takes the Dragonborn under his wing almost immediately and offers heartfelt advice and words of encouragement.
    • Galmar Stone-Fist may be an old man, but he'll kick down those damn walls of Whiterun's with his bare feet anyway. He's also the one of the best warriors in the Stormcloak army aside from a Stormcloak Dragonborn and Ulfric.
  • Cool Versus Awesome:
  • Copy and Paste Environments: While it's mostly averted, the inns in the smaller villages generally look exactly the same, save for placement of tables.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: According to characters in Solitude, Ulfric's killing of Torygg was unnecessary considering that Torygg looked up to Ulfric and would have been willing to declare independence had Ulfric simply encouraged him. Of course, from Ulfric's point of view, he needed to make a message.
  • Coup De Grace Cutscene:
    • If you have the perks for it. Also, finishing moves which randomly trigger.
    • Special mention goes to one-hit stealth kills. Against a humanoid enemy who's not doing anything special (sitting, doing alchemy, etc), backstabs, at least with a bladed weapon, will reliably trigger the player reaching up from behind, covering the victim's mouth and slicing said victim's throat. Somehow, this works even with a giant shield on one hand and a big glowing Bound Sword in the other.
  • Crapsack World: The empire is falling apart, the Nords are in civil war, Elsweyr and Black Marsh have seceded, and what parts of Morrowind that weren't destroyed following the eruption of Red Mountain and the fall of the Ministry onto Vivec has been invaded by the Argonians. The High Elves have formed their own Empire and aim for nothing less than conquering all of Tamriel and enslaving everyone else (they've already done so with the Khajiit). Oh, and the world's about to be eaten by dragons.
    • The Thalmor plan to destroy the world by wiping out mankind. And they're winning.
    • The Thalmor are pretty much Ayleids MkII. Saint Alessia must be rolling in her grave right about now...
    • Also, if you belong to Dark Brotherhood or Thieves' Guild, random guard often say they know who you, and then they will proceed with their routine. And indeed, thieves and assassins often mention of tremendous levels of corruption even in the highest echelons of power in Skyrim and Cyrodiil.
  • Creepy Child:
    • Babette, a cheerful, joke-telling little waif who has the most adorable lisp... because she's a vampire. Oh, and she's a member of the Dark Brotherhood. She even jokes about how her appearance helps her. The first time you enter the Sanctuary after joining the Brotherhood, she's telling a story about how she led a creepy old man into an alley for dinner.
    • Aventus Aretino. Though his tone is a perhaps a little too whiny, the fact that he's going through with the Black Sacrament (using his mother's flesh) speaks for itself. Arguably the rest of the kids from the Honorhall Orphanage also count, at least when they're chanting, "Hooray for the Dark Brotherhood!". Given how Grelod treats those kids though, they can't really be blamed... The fact that you receive no bounty on your head for gutting the old hag, even in broad daylight, pretty well says it all.
    • Nelkir, Jarl Balgruuf's son, at first simply seems to be a little moody or angsty, behaviours we may consider somewhat normal in a child. You later discover, however, that he's like that because he's discovered personal, corrupting secrets floating around Dragonsreach. It all being Mephala's doing sums it all up.
  • Crossover: For the opening of Skyrim's Steam Workshop, Valve released a mod featuring Portal 2's Space Core.

"Archery, hmhmm. Smithing, hmm. Don't need 'em, yep, yep. Go to space. Space. Only skill you need."

  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Many of the Daedric Prince quests are examples of this. In order to get several of the artifacts, you have to: beat a man to death twice while he begs for his life, sacrifice one of your followers, and murder and cannibalize an innocent priest. Not all of the quests have these requirements though, and some have alternate methods of obtaining the artifact. In one case, you get it only by not killing the person you're asked to.
  • Cursed with Awesome: There is one --one-- statistical downside to being a werewolf: you can't get the minor "rested" bonus to skill progression by sleeping in a bed. That's it. Immunity to disease and the ability to turn into a 300-pound killing machine are pretty nice benefits for such a downside. The fact that Hircine has claim on your soul after you die helps explain why it is still a curse, although since those thus claimed become his chosen servants and hunting companions, it's a matter of opinion more than anything.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: One tribe of bandits seems to be trying to use magic for profit, as they're camped out in an iron ore mine and you can find a Transmute Ore tome in their camp, said spell being able to transform iron ore into silver and then gold. They could be filthy rich if they just didn't resort to a life of crime!
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: At least one instance when Karliah takes you down. You could be maxed out in console with God Mode enabled, but she's going to take you down for plot purposes.

D

  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: On PC, when placing items into a container, the hotkey to place the currently selected item into the container is R. But if you're taking items out of the container, the hotkey to take the currently selected item is E, and R becomes "Take All". It's not uncommon to forget this and accidentally take everything inside a container... and if it was the container you use as your main storage, this will probably mean enough weight to make you overencumbered several times over and enough items that it will take you a long time to get them all put back. In most cases, you're better off reloading an autosave. The same thing can happen in the console versions of the game too. For some reason that god only knows, the Equip, Take, Take All and Give buttons never seem to stay in the same place between different sorts of containers.
    • This becomes annoying when dealing with ingredients: the key to take ingredients out of a container becomes, when trying to put them back, the same as the key that is used for consuming ingredients. So, whilst you think that you have put away all of your ingredients, what you have actually done is consumed them, and you will only realise your mistake when you close your inventory and suffer the effects, including severe poisoning.
    • While we're at it, we might as well point out that the keys for changing from first-person to third-person view and drawing/sheathing your weapon are reversed. Ditto for jumping and interacting with objects.
    • And while simply selecting an item takes it out of containers, selecting an item while a container is open will use it (unlike Oblivion, where it put it away). This can range from a minor annoyance (wearing the armor you were giving your companion) to a major one (accidentally eating the daedra hearts you wanted to save for armour, without even noticing). This does not apply to the trade interface, even if you might want it to (e.g. you bought some spell tomes and want to use them, but also want to sell off some of the moderately-expensive skill books you've acquired, and you bought the tomes first so the merchant would have enough money for this). In general, Skyrim's interface is at its most inconsistent since at least Morrowind.
    • A minor but annoying case if you've played Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the 360. The default sprint buttons are reversed. If going from Human Revolution to Skyrim, you may try to sprint but instead launch someone over a wall with a FUS RO DAH, and in Human Revolution, you may try to sprint but instead toss a grenade into innocent bystanders. Whoops.
    • On PC again: the default controls may not suit everyone's tastes, but you better hope you haven't remapped the controls to anything dangerous and then forgotten about it. This troper tried to make Shift the Shout button for a while, but after accidentally murdering NPCs with flame breath on several different occasions, it was changed back to default.
  • Darker and Edgier: The atmosphere of this game compared to Oblivion. To make a short list: the overall world design is much more Dung Ages than the high fantasy style of Oblivion, two large towns are Wretched Hives, there is much more Fantastic Racism going on, more Gray and Grey Morality, and more bloody/gory bits in dungeons.
  • Deader Than Dead:
    • Malyn Varen has his soul destroyed by the Dragonborn to purify Azura's Star (or corrupt it to turn it into the Black Star).
    • What happens to the dragons you kill... except Alduin.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Apparently, High Rock's aristocracy is like this, from what Hadvar has to say if you choose Breton as your race.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Corpulus Vinius.

You: Why is this place called the Winking Skeever?
Corpulus: Well, as it turns out, I had a pet skeever when I was a boy, and he used to wink.
You: You kept a skeever as a pet?
Corpulus: They were smaller back then.

    • Belethor in Whiterun. Try asking him why a Breton like him is in Skyrim.

Belethor: "Oh for this wonderful weather, and all the hospitable people. And I just love being surrounded by dragons and petty power struggles. Ah, but the greatest joy is having to deal with the people who ask such questions."

    • Nazir of the Dark Brotherhood.

You: Narfi is dead.
Nazir: Congratulations. You killed an emaciated beggar in cold blood. You are truly an opponent to be feared.

      • Nazir even dryly comments on how much of a Deadpan Snarker he is at the conclusion of the first batch of contracts.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • In a side quest, the pactmaking daedra prince Clavicus Vile offers you a deal.
    • Nocturnal also gets in on the act in her sidequest.
    • Hircine indirectly gives you one as well. Becoming a werewolf imbues you with Hircine's power, but as long as you have the spirit of the beast within you, your soul belongs to Daedra Prince of the Hunt.
    • If you listen to what Lucien Lachance's ghost says, apparently the Dark Brotherhood gets a claim on your soul when you die too. Come to think of it, it's possible to sell your soul to all of these factions at the same time... By the end of the game, you can owe your soul to Nocturnal, the embodiment of nothingness (Sithis), the 9 divines, Shor, Hircine and possibly a few other Daedric Princes, depending on what you take "Champion" to mean. All in all, you have to wonder who's going to decide who gets your characters soul when something DOES manage to kill them. Although the 9 Divines and Shor are much nicer about it, they're just sort of the "Default Afterlife" for dead people and Skyrim's Heroes. Explore gloriously in this fill of the Skyrim Kink Meme (don't worry, it's Safe For Work). Given that Sithis is infinitely older (the interaction between it and another universal concept are essentially what created the Aedra and Daedra in the first place) and presumably much more powerful than anyone else on the list, it probably has the best chance at winning. Assuming it's even capable of caring enough to make a claim.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Paarthurnax. His name means "Ambition Overlord Cruelty", but he serves as your mentor for a sizable chunk of the game.
  • Death by Genre Savviness: Alduin is actually smart enough to try to kill the Dovakhiin at the start of the game. Ironically, this actually ends up saving the Dovakhiin: if he'd just let the Empire do their thing, he'd have won (and the game would've been very short).
  • Death Seeker: There's an Old Orc who wanders around Skyrim surrounded by corpses who will ask you for a good death.
  • Death Trap: You gotta watch your step in pretty much every dungeon if you don't want a spiky grate embedded in your face. There is a perk that prevents pressure plates from triggering, but it does not stop trip wires or trapped chests and doors, nor does it apply to your followers.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Most people you can beat in tavern brawls become considerably more friendly to you afterwards. You can even marry one!
  • Defector From Decadence: Paarthurnax.
  • Deflector Shields:
    • The ward spells from the Restoration school block magic spells directed at you. It even forms a glowy hemisphere of light in front of you. It also disrupts a 'Fus Ro Dah' shout by directing the force around the caster, so if you see a mage throw up a shield like that, don't bother with Unrelenting Force until s/he drops it.
    • The Spellbreaker is a physical shield that projects a Deflector Shields when defending. While blocking, Spellbreaker creates a ward that protects against spells for up to 50 points. At first, it may seem weak compared to other more powerful ward spells like Greater Ward which can negate up to 80 points of spell damage. However, it stacks with the Elemental Protection perk which reduces incoming fire, frost and shock damage by 50% while blocking, and any left over damage will be absorbed by the shield's ward effect. The best part is it costs no Magicka. This makes the Spellbreaker one of the best shields to be used against mages and dragons.
  • Degraded Boss: Dragons. At the beginning of the game, every time you encounter a dragon it feels like an adequately epic battle, especially with the music that accompanies it. By the end of the game (or some levels into it, considering that this game doesn't actually "end"), you will be able to force dragons to the ground and kill them with a few hits in under 10 seconds before the music even has a chance to kick in. They become more of a nuisance than an epic battle. At least until you start meeting the Elder and Ancient Dragons.
  • Dem Bones: Unsurprisingly, there are walking skeletons in the ruins. And they make a very satisfying clatter when they go flying apart when you kill them.
    • Skeleton Dragons too. Encountered in some dungeons, or if you interrupt Alduin's resurrection of a Dragon at any of the Dragon burials.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Drop a bunch of weapons and armor on the ground in front of a guard. He'll tell you to stop doing it because someone could trip on them and get hurt. Not as in generic "don't do that" words either; more to the effect of "I saw you throwing those weapons around, keep doing it and I'll arrest you." Alternatively, poorer characters (yes, the game tracks class and income) will notice what you just dropped, and ask if you mind whether they grab it for themselves. Also, using too many Thu'ums in a city will cause a guard to tell you it makes the citizens uneasy and asks you to stop.
    • Similarly, doing something clumsy or wreckless like hitting a sign causing it to swing around. If a guard sees you do it, he'll call you out on it (e.g. "Watch what you're doing!"). What's more, the sign can swing back and hit you in the face causing minor damage. If you have extremely high HP, this won't be noticable statistically, but you can see bloodstains on the screen as if you were hit.
    • Sometimes if you drop something in a market place, NPCs of low income would try and just take the armor, while other NPCs of higher morality would attempt to stop them, or outright kill them, because it's the wrong thing to do.
    • If you attack civilians while out in the wild and get a bounty on your head, finishing them off will get the bounty removed as there will be no witnesses to your deeds.
    • You can "pickpocket" the Briar Hearts out of the high-level Forsworn leaders, when normally you pull them off their corpses after a fight. In previous games of this sort, this is an unintended bit of functionality caused by the way loot tables and pickpoceting work. In Skyrim, successfully "picking" a Briar Heart kills the Briarhearts instantly. Unfortunately, the dev team didn't think it through fully, and you might getaccosted by hired thugs sent to "teach you a lesson", that were hired by the Briarheart.
    • Much of the landmass of Cyrodiil, Hammerfell and Morrowind is rendered in Skyrim at a very basic level of detail and can be accessed using console commands (the green area is the area of the map that is rendered in Skyrim). This has led to much speculation about future expansions venturing into neighbouring provinces, but it's likely that the landmass was put in for scale for development purposes, and because of the game's huge draw distances and fully rendered map screen: it's automatically generated using heightmaps that could be ported over from previous entries in the series.
    • There are variations in dialogue between characters depending on if you spoke to them before other characters in the conversation got to them. For example, early in the game, if you get to Hadvar's uncle first and talk to him before Hadvar does the conversation goes a little differently (i.e. "Yes, Player Character told me about the dragon too and I hardly believed it."). People will have comments for if you've already completed their quests before you ask it of them (like getting the Dragon Stone from Bleak Falls Barrow and/or the Golden Claw there before the two quest-givers asked for them, or unique pieces of stealable loot for Thieves Guild sidequests).
    • You can snatch arrows out of the air in mid-flight, and knock arrows out of the air with your own. Nearly impossible to do either of these without the Slow Time shout, but pull it off, and you'll feel like an absolute badass. You can even grab an arrow out of the air, equip it, and shoot it back.
    • Your final reward for the Thieves Guild quest is a choice between three powers given to Nightingales. Previously during the questline, you'll have seen Karliah and Mercer, the two surviving Nightingales, use their Nightingale powers. Karliah uses Agent of Stealth to turn invisible and escape Mercer after he betrays you. Mercer uses Agent of Subterfuge to make Brynjolf attack Karliah during the boss battle.
    • In both versions of A False Front, the enemy general will respond differently if you dress as one of their soldiers vs. dressing in any other armor.
    • During the mission "Diplomatic Immunity", you can disguise yourself as a Thalmor officer. The effectiveness of your disguise, however, is actually based on your race: beast-races will be spotted instantly due to their vastly different anatomy, humans will be alright at a distance but will get caught if too close and non-Altmer elves can get a little closer. Altmer, of course, have it best, as not only can you walk freely all the way to the Solar, you can actually talk with the guards and order them away from their posts. At no point is this tactic ever suggested to you, leaving it purely up to your own initiative. The only catch is you need the Hooded variant to conceal your face from a distance if you're not Altmer.
    • You can try to read [[spoiler:the Elder Scroll before you are supposed to at the designated point. There's a book called "Effects of The Elder Scrolls". If you read it, it says that if someone were to read an Elder Scroll without training, they would not be affected by it at all, and if they have minor understanding of it, then it may just blind them a bit. Attempting to read it temporarily reduces your field of vision and nothing else.
    • Sit down in a tavern and the waitress will automatically approach you and ask what you want to drink.
    • When exploring a crypt with a warrior whose family was buried there, he protests if you start looting, but lets it slide since you're helping him clear out a necromancer living there.
    • By using console commands, you can marry just about anyone, and in most cases it won't break the game, as there's marriage dialogue for every character, including people like Elisif the Fair.
    • Skeletons only get jostled by 'Fus Ro Dah' because most of the force doesn't actually hit them but simply passes through the empty spaces between their bones. Draugr, which have preserved skin, however, can be knocked back with the full force of the shout.
    • All the children running around the cities? You can play tag and hide and seek with them.
    • Occasionally, if you use console commands to kill a character in some way, the guards will eventually ask you if you know anything about what happened.
    • If a giant and a non-hostile dragon are in the same area, the giant might try to ride the dragon; with hilarious results.
    • You have to loot body parts from certain enemies, like the Glenmoril Witches. If the body part is visible, the ragdoll changes.
    • You can shield bash by attacking while blocking. If you're blocking with a torch, this will set the enemy on fire.
    • If you're in the middle of being arrested when a dragon attacks, the guard will say he has more important things to do and run off to fight.
    • If you discard items, bystanders may remark that whatever you dropped is liable to be taken by someone else, if you're expecting to find it when you come back. Dropping weapons in the street gets you yelled at by guards as someone could get hurt with them laying around, and being a dick about the warning gets you a small fine as a bounty for disturbing the peace. An honest bystander might pick up the item, tell you 'be more careful with your stuff, next time someone might decide to keep it for themselves', and try to give it back to you.
    • Casting Calm or Courage on an NPC is a good way to grind your Illusion skill. However, try casting Calm on Colette at the College of Winterhold: her response will make you feel dirty. Likewise, casting Healing Hands on an NPC will have varied results. On friendly ones that don't react negatively to it (most Khajiis and Orcs will become hostile because they find it insulting), their responses vary from "A healing spell? Are you a priest or something?" to "Thank you" to custom responses. J'Zargo will reply "Ah! J'Zargo feels like he woke up from a nap!", while Farkas responds "Ah! That felt good!".
    • Look in your inventory after you get hit by a barrage of arrows. They apparently stick in you, so you get to keep them. This also happens to NPCs with arrows you fire at them.
    • A quest in Morthal has you hunting down a vampire who's been living in a the town for a while, if you try to confront her and you're a vampire yourself, she says she knows you're one in the same and snidely tells you keep it a secret "that there are wolves living amongst the sheep."
    • You can just bypass Riverwood and Whiterun altogether and go to Windhelm or Solitude (though this isn't advisable early on), join the Stormcloaks or Legion before even initiating any part of the main quest, and completely take over Skyrim for one faction or another before ever drawing a weapon against a dragon. And yes, the game includes unique dialogue for this eventuality.
    • Upon joining the Legion, General Tulius will recite an oath that the player makes his character repeat to confirm joining up. The pledge swears allegiance to the Emperor Titus Mede II; however, if you completed the whole of the Dark Brotherhood Quest Line before starting the Civil War quests, the general just says "The Emperor" rather than his name.
    • For the thieving killing types, joining the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood at the same time would be an ideal goal. Join the Thieves Guild beforehand and get acquainted with Delvin Mallory. After you've joined the Dark Brotherhood and received an amulet which Astrid tells you to show off to Delvin, he will remark how you're making friends all over the place and comments on your work as an assassin.
    • Entering rooms through doors results in a Door Opening animation before actually loading the area. You can also close doors that are stuck open this way through the same method. If you click fast enough, the door will open and close, and the area won't load.
    • When you first enter Markarth, a small scene will trigger where a visitor to the city will be murdered by an agent of the Forsworn. If you're fast enough, you can kill the agent before he gets to her. Talk to her, and she'll thank you for saving her life and reward you with a piece of jewelry.
  • Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead: Justified. Alduin is more than just the leader of the dragons, he's summoning them, as shown in the pre-Sahlokniir scene.
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • You can join the Companions early in game, which rewards you with a Skyforge Steel weapon of your choosing (and allows you to buy more as required). It is as powerful as an Elven weapon, and as a bonus is lighter and can be improved with Steel ingots rather than the rarer Moonstone. And to top that one off, after doing only three missions for them, you can become a werewolf, giving you a very nice combat ability, and a form that, when sprinting, is faster than any other form of travel in the game, short of riding a dragon or riding in a cart (and has greatly increased carrying capacity as well, so it can run/sprint even if you were fairly heavily encumbered in your normal form). You get access to Wolf Armor, which is a special variant of steel that is as durable as plate but only as heavy as regular steel. It can also be upgraded with regular steel ingots. Once Kodlak dies, and Wuthraad is reforged, you can also forge Nordic Hero weapons using draugr weaponry: they look like modernized versions of ancient Nord weapons, but have daedric-tier damage.
    • Bound Weapons. The spell to summon them can be bought in the first store that sells spells... and even then, almost all spell merchants sell them. They improve your conjuration skill by merely holding them while in the general vicinity of enemies. With a mere four perks (easily obtained due to the aforementioned easy leveling of your conjuration skill), they will soultrap on hit (for lots of souls to train enchanting with), do equivalent damage to Deadric level weapons, dispel summon creatures, turn raised ones and have an almost negligible cost in magicka to summon. On top of all that, they are weightless, allowing you to haul more loot. You can therefore enjoy their full benefits before reaching level 10. And they also gain full benefits of the perks that apply to their weapon types (one handed swords, two handed axes and bows). The bound bow, though acquirable later, even create its own ammunition! And the cherry on the sundae: bound weapons are unaffected by the disarm shout. It does not cause them to be unsummoned, and even if it did, you'd need to only summon them again, which is far less troublesome than running around during a fight looking for your precious custom-made sword.
    • A basic conjuration spell, raise zombie, can allow you to reach 50+ conjuration skill before completing the first dungeon (the golden claw/dragonstone quests). Kill a basic enemy (normal bandits, skeevers, basic draugr), use the spell to raise your opponent, then kill him again (the basic flames spell works fastest for lowest cost). Once enough damage has been sustained, the zombie will turn hostile against you, granting you exp (raised and summoned creatures only grant exp when they enter combat against another creature; this includes the player). Since conjuration gives a large amount of exp per "legitimate" summons, it raises insanely fast, to the point that, if you are using to destruction to kill each enemy both times, your conjuration level will be twice what your destruction will be, or more. Also, if you have an enemy that is aware of your presence, but cannot reach you (locked door, raised bridge, etc), you can summon a familiar (basic, lowest cost summons), then use a bound blade with the necessary perks to unsummon the creature. Repeat over and over until either the creature that can't reach you ceases to be hostile, finds a path to you, or you master conjuration completely.
    • Dagger + Assassin's Blade Perk + Shrouded Gloves = Backstabbing killing machine. Combine it with the Shadowcloak of Nocturnal, and you can rip through an entire group like this. In broad daylight.
    • A very simple and quick quest in Riverwood, the very first town you visit, gets you Faendal as a follower. He's a trainer in Archery, so you can pay him to raise the skill, then enter trade and take back the money you paid him. Rinse and repeat, and by the time you leave Riverwood for Whiterun, you can have almost 50 Archery, allowing you to take three levels of the Overdraw perk for +60% bow damage, in addition to the high damage from your high skill level. Enter Sneak mode for double damage sneak attacks, and any enemy that doesn't see you coming will drop in one shot.
    • Provided you know where to find a Dwemer ruin early on (and there's tons of them), you can forage around a few bits of metal to melt down into ingots. Then with 30 Smithing, easily obtainable (you start at 16 and there's a trainer in Whiterun), you can get Dwarven Smithing and craft yourself Dwarven equipment. The pieces have nice defensive bonuses and can be further upgraded with spare ingots, which you'll have lots of because Dwemer metals forge three or more ingots a piece when melted down. You can then forge a few spare suits and sell them for profit.
    • If you're lucky enough to find the Flaming Familiar early on in your quest, and you're playing a mage or stealth character... say hello to your new best friend. All you need to do is invest a skill point into a low-level conjuration skill (which is easy to raise in this game), and suddenly, the range you can summon your Flaming Familiar with is extreme. It has a longer base range to begin with as well. All you need to do is stay a fair distance away, summon it near an enemy, and let it attack and blow up. Oh yeah, Flaming Familiars are basically wolf-shaped fire missiles. And it's an apprentice level spell that normally only costs 30 MP. Even if you're not a mage, it's not that tough to spam and be patient. If you're a stealth character, you need patience anyway.
    • Mjoll the Lioness can be met and obtained at any point after you escape Helgen, provided you made it to Riften without getting killed. On top of being one of only two invincible followers (the other being Cicero, which you only get after serious progression in the Dark Brotherhood questline), her quest has you going through a Dwemer Ruin, which can give you the location of a source of Dwarven Ingots relatively early in the game. Mjoll herself benefits from Heavy Armors and uses both melee weapons and a bow, making her ideal for tanking Dragons early on.
    • Transmute, an Adept-level Alteration spell that turns iron ore into silver, and silver ore into gold, can be found pretty early in the game if you know where to look[3], and can be used to make absolute boatloads of money by transmuting iron into gold, then making jewelry and selling it.
  • Disintegrator Ray: Shock-based spells can be upgraded to eventually reduce their targets to piles of dust if the target is at low health. This is good for one simple reason: enemy necromancers can't revive a pile of dust!
  • Disney Villain Death: Using Unrelenting Force on someone so that they fall to their doom is a very convenient way of getting rid of your enemies, including Mercer Frey.
    • It also affords a bit of Loophole Abuse if for some reason you want to kill someone, but can't find a way to do it stealthily. Just get them into a place where you can blast them off a high-enough ledge to kill them, their death as a result of the fall will not be held on you. Thus you can literally get away with murder as long as you don't mind paying a 40 gold bounty.
    • Oh, and the physics are a lot less forgiving than they were in the previous games. Remember how in previous games an enemy you knocked over a railing would suddenly teleport back up, or fall 3-5 stories and take only a sliver of damage? Not here. Now even a gently sloping path can mean certain death.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • People put a bounty on you similar to assault for killing a chicken.
    • People you steal from might send thugs after you (the thugs' contract says they don't have you kill you, but the hirer won't mind if they do. Which they try to). Even if you just stole an incredibly cheap book from them and paid off the bounty. If the thugs fail, they may send the Dark Brotherhood after you.
    • The Dragonborn can respond to the clerical error that nearly resulted in your execution by joining the Stormcloaks and driving the Empire out of Skyrim. If you join the Dark Brotherhood you can take it a step further and kill the Emperor.
  • Divide and Conquer: A tactic of the Thalmor.
  • DLC Hook: Both Tsun's and Parthunaax's parting words after you slay Alduin basically say that the Dragonborn's end is yet to come and that he/she will be leaving more indelible marks in history.
  • The Dog Bites Back: You can invoke this trope against Arondil, a necromancer who uses the undead spirits of women as sex slaves. If you steal the soul gem from the pedestal behind him, you can rob him of control of his undead servants, which results in two of his slaves murdering him.
  • Door to Before: A lot of dungeons have passages at the end of the dungeon that will lead back to the beginning of the dungeon. Helps on the backtracking. The most common means of doing this actually makes perfect sense (a door barred from the inside), but ledges too tall to jump/climb to are also common.
  • Double Standard: Called-out by a secessionist at the emperor's relative's wedding. He asks a loyalist what the difference between the Empire's dealings with the Thalmor compared to Skyrim. She claims they had to fight back because the Thalmor were foreign invaders who threatened their way of life. His response? "My point exactly."
  • Downloadable Content: A high-res texture pack was released in February 2012. And now Bethesda has announced a DLC called "Dawnguard", though we don't have much in the way of detail yet.
  • Dracolich: Skeleton Dragons.
  • The Dragon:
    • Alduin's got a literal one.
    • The player character could also be seen as this to Legate Rikke, if they join the Legion. And Rikke is a Dragon herself to General Tullius.
    • Odahviing post Heel Face Turn as another literal example for the Dragonborn. Before this, he could be seen as one for Alduin.
    • After completing the Stormcloak quest chain up to right before the Battle for Solitude, Ulfric himself dubs you as mightiest of the Stormcloaks and as close to him as kin, you are thus dubbed his personal champion: Stormblade.
  • Dragon Rider: Dovahkiin, atop Odahviing to find the portal to Sovngarde.
    • Giants will attempt this trope on occasion. With less than stellar results.
  • The Dreaded: The Dragonborn is this to Dragonkind, for a very good reason.
    • The music that plays during Dragon-battles is titled, appropriately enough, "The One They Fear".
  • Dream Weaver: As noted in the in-game book The Dreamstride, the potion Vaermina's Torpor allows people to enter others' dreams. You get to use it in Vaermina's daedric quest.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: You can do this during the "Diplomatic Immunity" quest, where you infiltrate the Thalmor Embassy. Use the console to add a Hooded Thalmor Robe in your inventory and you can get through most of the Embassy without having to fight the guards. This obviously works the best if you're an Altmer yourself. Characters of other elven races, and especially human races must keep their distance from the guards, or they will realize the PC is an intruder. Characters of beast races can't do this at all.
    • Both A False Front and To Kill an Empire gives you opportunities to dress as an enemy soldier or a cook respectively. However, the only difference is dialogue options.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Astrid. She sells the player out to Commander Maro in order to save the sanctuary, but he sends his forces to attack anyway. Badly burned in the attack, she uses the last of her energy to perform the Black Sacrament with her own body to put a contract on herself, acknowledging her failings.
    • Tova Shatter-shield if you kill her remaining daughter.
  • Dronejam: NPCs have a nasty tendency to block the path in doorways or other bottlenecks. They will, normally, get the hint after several seconds of running directly into them or a gentle shot of Unrelenting Force.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • Not really characters, but between The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and this game, both lands from the previous two games have changed for the worse. Vvardenfell, the main setting of the third game, has exploded because it was a volcano and is hit by a huge floating rock (as a decades-later consequence of the game's events, no less). And Cyrodill, the setting of the fourth game, is recuperating from being savaged by a war with Nazi elves. This can a bit harsh to longtime players of the series, who helped save both lands and spend countless of hours in them. Though it does well to prove that saving the world doesn't equate to saving the realm.
    • Skjor and Mirabelle Ervine are both killed off behind the player's back without much of an explanation, and no one really seems to remember about them later on.
  • Dual-Wielding:
    • Any one-handed weapon can be equipped in either hand, allowing for dual wielding or left-handed sword-fighting: both firsts for the Elder Scrolls series (though Daggerfall had a rough version). It's partially offset though, with the default mapping for PC: the right arm is mapped to the LEFT mousebutton, and vice versa. SO, you press the opposite mouse button for the action you want. Also note that weapons in your left hand have a more limited attack palette (i.e. swords will mainly use stabs instead of swings).
    • This also extends to dual spellcasting as well: a spell in each hand. You can also use the same spell in each hand for a more powerful version of that spell, at the cost of a substantially higher cost in magicka... if you're worried about running out, using separate casts to machinegun the spells, without actually dual-casting, is more magicka-efficient, in some cases greatly so.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • You could be Thane of Whiterun, a high-ranking member in the Legion or Stormcloaks, Archmage of the College of Winterhold and a full-fledged member of the Companions, and there'll still be the occasional dick guard taunting you about reporting a stolen sweetroll, never mind the fact that if you did steal a sweetroll and someone reported it, that same guard would be on your ass in a second. Don't expect any parades in your honor after the main quest, either. Oddly enough, you do get recognition for finishing the civil war quest.
    • Don't try assaulting Thalmor soldiers near any Imperial strongholds, they won't appreciate you attacking them purely out of spite due to an uneasy treaty declaration between them (if you provoke them into attacking you first though, the Imperial troops won't raise a finger, and if you're allied with the Empire, they'll jump to your defense). On the other hand, Stormcloaks will happily help you kill any Thalmor you come across if they are nearby; being allied with the Stormcloaks just makes them all the more enthusiastic to bash elven skulls.
    • Averted every time you kill a dragon, leaving any NPC witnesses to stand staring slackjawed in awe... and then played straight once more when one of the guards picks up their slack-jaw and tell you to "stop that... shouting", the very shouting you used to bring the dragon down. Though since those same bystanders will show the exact same awe if it happens again, they apparently don't find it all that memorable.
    • Also when joining the Companions, Vilkas always says to Kodlak that he's never even heard of you despite the fact you could be Thane of Whiterun after having killed the dragon threatening the city, be Arch-Mage of the College of Winterhold, have destroyed the Dark Brotherhood, be a high ranking member of the Stormcloaks/Legion, revived Whiterun's Gildergreen... and so much more.
    • The Thieves Guild: you can be the Guild Master, and there will still be those who treat you like a brand new recruit, and a completely unpromising one at that. The roadside muggings are an exception: if you are a guild member, they'll actually apologize for threatening you.
    • Averted in the theft/friendship mechanic. The NPCs might not be much friendlier, but if you do something for them, you'll find you're allowed to take things from their house/store that would have previously been considered theft.
    • Also with Esbern. So you saved his life from the Thalmor. Used your blood to open a secret base of operation for him and Delphine. Recruited 20 new members for The Blades (who previously numbered at 2). But he won't lift a finger to help you, or allow the Blades to help you, unless you go and kill one of your allies because he asked you to.
  • Durable Deathtrap: The Nordic necropoli and Dwemer ruins are filled to the brim with these. Though in the latter case, this has been hand waved with the explanation that the Dwemer were so ridiculously advanced that everything they made was impervious to aging, in addition to having maintenance robots still running around.


E

  • Early-Bird Cameo: Anyone who played the Bloodmoon expansion for Morrowind two games ago will be in familiar territory. Solstheim, the island that expansion took place upon, was basically a mini-Skyrim, full of Nords and mead with werewolves and deadly spriggans running about.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Practically all dwemer ruins. Blackreach used to be an entire city, but it fell into disuse when the Dwemer disappeared.
    • Blackreach and its upper level Alftand are a little more than "elaborate". "Absolutely goddamn huge" might be a better way of putting it. Traversing them can take the better part of four hours even if you're trying to pass as quickly as possible, and you have to fight your way through a small army of Falmer, Automatons and other nasties on the way. Easily five times as big as any of the regular barrows you'll see, they're positively packed with items, and have THREE different access elevators plus three more through various Dwemer ruins. There's a reason why Blackreach might be the Dwemer capital.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Subverted in Sheogorath's daedra quest. At first, it looks like you're supposed to win such a battle with the help of an atronach (Fire Atronach beats Ice Atronach, who beats Storm Atronach, who beats Fire Atronach), but then it turns out that the battle will actually go on infinitely until you turn Wabbajack on Pelagius's guards.
  • The Empire:
    • The Aldmeri Dominion: they've taken over territories and have their eye on the rest of the world.
    • The Cyrodiilic Empire once again. A great deal of conflict in the game comes from the fact that a foreign power controls Skyrim, and that they can and will make decisions that the provinces don't like. But much like in Morrowind, the Empire is shown as being more tolerant than the provinces.
  • Empty Levels: The removal of stats actually makes this much less of a problem, as the leveling-up system in previous Elder Scrolls games made these in combination with the Level Scaling, easily resulting in characters with a couple ridiculously high stats and others that Can't Catch Up. It still happens with the Level Scaling (making stronger opponents appear when you may not have the gear to face them) and is entirely possible to make yourself unable to stand up to any of the enemies by using all your perks for stuff that's not useful in a fight, but nobody would actually do that. Not to mention, when you level up, the game actually doesn't block you from continuing until you pick everything at the level up menu when you decide to do so. Accidentally read a bunch of skill books and gained a level in skills you don't use, and don't have enough invested into the trees you do use? No problem: just level up, pick the health/stamina/magicka boost, then get back to the game and pick that perk when it's available. Perks and skills that don't directly help in combat are still very useful in supporting you in preperation for combat. A character who never puts anything into weapon skills or magic can still be a beast simply because they've got so much money and such advanced ability in support skills that they have extremely powerful equipment with advanced enchantments and an endless supply of potent potions and poisons. It doesn't matter if you haven't put any perks into one-handed weapons when your sword is two-shotting bosses even without using infinite smithing/alchemy/enchanting loops.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Considering the main villain is also known as 'the world eater', many people have made the obvious assumption.
    • See Crapsack World above for details on exactly how the "World as We Know It" has ended. Natural disasters in a remote province or two, political unrest in a few more provinces...
  • Enemy Chatter: It seems the bandits of Skyrim mostly share a common tragic backstory in which their Da told them to go to a college, but they were too dumb to figure out which college, and now they need skooma--the imported stuff--just one last time. Occasionally, one comes across more unique chatter, such as a disgruntled mage in the Ilinalta's Deep dungeon complaining about having to work a forge.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Can happen when fighting dragons. Since they're free-roaming and hostile to everything that moves, the player can happen across them fighting anything from bandits to Mudcrabs to giants (which have a good chance of killing a low-level dragon on their own!) and team up with the dragon's prey to kill the marauding beast. Though once the dragon's dead, all bets are off...
    • In Blind Cliff Bastion, you are able to team up with a hagraven to take back her tower from another hagraven.
    • During a questline in Markarth, you can choose to ally with the Forsworn, who normally act as enemies. If you do, you get enchanted versions of their armor. When their leader says goodbye, he warns you that from now on, you should watch out for the Forsworn, meaning the alliance is over.
  • Epic Fail: While doing contracts for the Dark Brotherhood, you get one for a bard that is apparently so bad, and so many people want him dead, that Astrid had to use a lottery to pick a client. At least, that's what Nazir tells you when he gives it to you.
  • Equal Opportunity Evil: Just like Oblivion, the Dark Brotherhood is by far the most evil organization you can join in the game, and also the most diverse. Its members include a Nord, a Dunmer, an old man, a child vampire, a former Shadowscale Argonian, a Redguard and a werewolf.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Most any time you enter the lair of a major faction leader, like a Jarl or the Thieves' Guild or Ulfric or Tullius, you find them involved in conversation with their advisers and can get a good idea of what they're like by hanging back and eavesdropping.
  • Eternal Engine: Dwemer ruins are full of robotic golems, pumping pistons, hissing steam and scrap metal.
  • Eternal English: When you read the Elder Scroll at the Time-Wound, you see a vision of a couple thousand years back, only to find that everyone speaks the same sort of English they speak in the fourth era. Of course, it's possible this is an effect of the Elder Scroll, and you should be glad that reading the thing at a place called Time-Wound didn't do worse to you.
  • Eternal Recurrence: The Nords believe in this. Alduin eats the world, and the next cycle begins.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: One tribe of bandits has the leader's uncle as a guard at the entrance to their cave, even thought he's blind and not that bright. One of the bandits outside has a note on him from the leader lecturing his men about playing tricks on his uncle and threatening them with imprisonment if they don't leave him alone.
    • Another bandit leader sends money and letters to her father even though he always sends the money back while urging her to leave banditry before it gets her killed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Thrynn, one of the Thieves Guild member was once a bandit. He said it was good life until the day when he raided a caravan, his leader ordered him to kill the defenseless women and children For the Evulz, he refused and killed him instead.
    • One resident of Riften, when asked about the Thieves Guild, denounces them soundly as a bunch of lawless crooks, while noting that even the Dark Brotherhood has rules that they abide by. If you've actually been through the DB storyarc, however, you'll know that this is BS.
  • Everyone Is Bi: All eligible marriage candidates can be wed regardless of sex and/or race, though this could easily be a case of Even the Guys Want Him or Even the Girls Want Her as most NPC couples are hetero. Maybe the Dragonborn is just that appealing.
  • Every One Remembers the Stripper: A new book in Skyrim is one of the few in Elder Scrolls history to be a sequel to a book from another game. It has survived both the Oblivion Crisis and the destruction of Vvardenfell. That book is "The Lusty Argonian Maid".
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies:
    • Draugr.
    • You can revive anything killable as a zombie with the various Undead Raising spells. However, they look exactly the same as how they died, the only difference is how their corpses dissolve into dust upon death (one version of the spell prevents this, effectively giving you a second, immortal follower).
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Vampires in Skyrim usually make their home in icy caverns and/or ice-covered fort ruins, and are fond of using frost magic. Draugr are also known for hitting you with a frostbite blast from their hands. Of course, the native Nords are all highly resistant to cold damage: they're used to dealing with this crap, apparently.
    • This is actually a Call Back to existing canon, which established the clan of vampires living in Skyrim as having an affinity with frost. They also have the power to phase through ice and frost, though it's never demonstrated in-game.
    • Dragons can use ice breath in addition to the more traditional fire breath. The higher level dragons seem to prefer the former, such as with Frost Dragons.
  • Evil Is Hammy: In addition to slicing up your foes with their big ole daedric greatsword, conjured dremora will slice the ham.
    • Alduin also counts, as does Sahloknir.
  • Evil Is One Big Happy Family: Played straight by the Dark Brotherhood and the Thieves Guild, who both know of each other and will contract with the other when they need something done. The Dark Brotherhood actually lives up to their name in this game. They tell stories, they joke with one another, they tend to each others' wounds, and they definitely care about one another.
  • Evil Pays Better:
    • While the reward money for choosing to destroy the Dark Brotherhood rather than joining it is impressive, it just can't match up to a unique mount, dagger and summon. Though in the former route, it is possible to take the dagger in any case. So that may offset it somewhat.
    • For a certain perspective of evil, the Black Star quest requires you to find Azura's Star, an artifact belonging to one of the few benevolent Daedric gods that is a reusable soul gem, but can't hold Black (humanoid) souls (which are always "Grand" souls, the strongest type of souls available for enchanting or weapon recharging). The reward for returning the star to Azura's worshipper gets her as a follower and lets you keep the star. On the other hand, you can complete the work of an insane necromancer by taking the gem to his student and turning it into the Black Star, which holds humanoid souls but gets you no follower. Black Soul Gems to hold humanoid souls are rare, so this item is also far more useful. You can also recharge your weapon any time by killing any humanoid enemy while soul trap is active, making all lower types of soul gem after Grand and Black Soul obsolete. The "necromancer" only went insane and all necromancy after Azura reacted to experimentation on her artifact with a curse of insanity, however, and the Student considers that to be the evil act.
  • Exclusively Evil: The Falmer, after centuries of enslavement twisted them into hideous Morlock-like beings. They are the only mortal humanoid race with no non-hostile members. Every single Falmer seen in-game is an evil monster who wants to kill and eat you.
    • Bandits as well, they will always attack an approaching Dragonborn with impunity and only a select few are non-hostile at first.
    • Ditto for the Silver-Hand who are Bandits that specialize in werewolf hunting. Unlike a small amount of non-hostile bandits none of the Silver-Hand members are approachable and are all hell-bent on murdering everything they see werewolf or not.
  • Expecting Someone Taller:
    • When you're meeting up with Delphine for the first time in her room under the inn, you can say, "I was expecting someone... taller."
    • One of the Companions also says that he expected the new Harbinger to be taller, once you finish the Companions questline.
  • Exposed to the Elements: You can find bandits wearing little more than a loincloth in the middle of a snowstorm. If the PC is female, they can fall into this as well by wearing forsworn armor or hide armor, which doesn't really cover the chest at all.
    • Hide armor doesn't particularly cover a male PC's chest either.
  • Extreme Omnivore: One way you can discover one of an ingredient's uses in Alchemy (more with a Perk) is to eat it. Fair enough when it's plants and berries. Bug parts, weird-but-technicaly-edible animal parts and potentially poisonous mushrooms, ok, weird and a bit risky, but the effects wear off and don't really hurt you in the amount you use. Teeth and horns of various animals, the toe of a dead giant, or the oil that lubricated ancient Dewmer machinery? Falls squarely here and requires considerable application of Fridge Logic to suspend disbelief for (i.e. you would have to grind up horns and teeth to be able to ingest them without choking).
  • Eye Scream: One of the finishers for 1H swords on dragons is to climb onto the head of the thrashing dragon, and then stab them right in the eye.


F

  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • A Stormcloak soldier at the beginning of the game volunteers to be the first to be executed and uses his last words to condemn the Imperials. The other Stormcloaks probably would have followed in his suit if a dragon hadn't shown up.
    • Also at the beginning of the game, Ralof says this almost verbatim to the luckless horse-thief Rokir of Rorikstead. Rokir disregards this advice, and gets a few arrows in the back for it. If he'd just gone along, he might well have survived after all...
    • At the end of the civil war quest chain, if the player supports the Empire, Jarl Ulfric will initially go down swinging, but once beaten, he will calmly accept his defeat and ask for the Dragonborn to finish him off because it would "be a better song".
    • Topping them all though is The Emperor himself, whom you must kill at the end of the Dark Brotherhood chain, if you choose to join them. After welcoming you warmly and saying that this is just how things work, he would then calmly turn his back towards you, ready for his fate. He did ask for a final request, which you can fulfill or not: to kill whoever it is who commissioned his death. Even then, he does not expect it of you: he asks it as a favor, nothing more.
    • The Old Orc. He is too old to take a wife or become chief, but not too old to serve in battle. He refuses to die of old age (saying that to keep something past the point it is useful is unseemly, even more so if it is one's own life), and thus sets out across Skyrim to find a good death. He says he has received a vision from Malacath that he would die a glorious death at a certain point in Skyrim, and waits there for someone (possibly you) to deliver it.
  • Face Heel Turn: The High Elves, who not only seceded from the Empire, but also forcibly conscripted the Wood Elves into their new nation, manipulated the Khajiit into vassalisation and threatened to destroy the Empire unless they banned the worship of Talos because, partially due to their believed superiority, they don't like the idea of a human ascending to godhood, and also because his removal is necessary for their goals of escaping Mundus.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: Vekel the Man may have the stupidest sobriquet ever.
  • Fake Crossover: An official mod places the Space Core into the game as an item. When you put it into the game, the poor guy falls from the sky (guess where he was before), which makes one wonder if this really is a Fake Crossover...
  • Fantastic Drug: Skooma is still around, though it doesn't have negative effects like it did in Morrowind and Oblivion; it's not even really illegal! One quest also features the more potent "Balmora Blue", which is illegal... and is supposedly priceless, what with there not being a Balmora anymore.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Elder Scrolls was always subtle with this, but for Skyrim, this is taken Up to Eleven.
    • Most prominent is racism between Men and Mer. The Thalmor view the human races of Tamriel as inferior upstart savages, and seek to Kill All Humans. And the men aren't exactly fond of the elves either.
    • If someone ever gives a reason for siding with the Imperials over the Stormcloaks in the civil war sidequest, this is often the main reason given. The Stormcloaks have very strong racist tendencies and they do not hide this fact. This darker side is easiest to see in Windhelm. Dunmer are forced to live in the filthiest, poorest part of the city, and abuse from the local Nords is an almost daily occurrence. The Argonian dock workers are paid a tiny fraction of what the Nord workers are paid, and are not permitted to live within the city walls, and are physically beaten if they try to. Ulfric Stormcloak will send guards to root out bandits if a Nord village is attacked, but won't lift a finger to help Khajiit caravans when they're harassed. On the other hand, they tend to make exceptions if it would be beneficial: non-Nord characters can ask when joining and be told that it's loyalty that matters rather than blood.
    • The two beastmen races get this the worst, by several lengths. Argonians are oppressed and hated throughout Skyrim, and if you choose Argonian, you can be sure that they won't call you by that name, preferring less charming terms such as "lizard". Khajiit will also be subjected to racial slurs, often stereotyped as thieves, drug-addicts and generally lowly scum. This makes clawing the offenders to death much more satisfying.
    • As for Orsimer, they're regarded as little more than disgusting, ugly brutes.
    • Even though the Player Character is the Chosen One, they don't entirely escape the racist abuse. This is sometimes intentional and sometimes unintentional, but always very awkward. For example, playing as an Orc, to hear Lydia swear undying loyalty to you in one breath and then say, "Die, you Orc filth!" to an opponent of yours in the next sort of makes one wonder...
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • The 4 main human races have direct, real world counter-parts:
      • The Empire is heavily based on the Roman Empire: the Imperial Legion armors have even taken on a much more Roman-like appearance this time around to reflect this, comfortably familiar to players of Morrowind.
      • Nord culture is an amalgam of various Germanic cultures, especially Scandinavia, but with some Anglo-Saxon elements. The ancient Nords seem to have had a little bit of ancient Egypt sprinkled in their customs for a good measure, with elaborate mummification and entombment methods you get to witness close hand in approximately half of the dungeons in the game.
      • The Bretons are mixed. Those from High Rock are based on the French, especially in terms of names (Montiere, Mirabelle, etc...), while those from The Reach in particular are essentially based on the Celtic British, complete with a King Arthur figure in Red Eagle. Of course, Bretons is the French name for the people of Brittany: as in the Celtic part of France.
      • The Redguard are based on Moorish peoples of northwest Africa. Even down to their curved swords. Curved! Swords!
    • The Dunmer are very Jewish when one looks at the lore and history, despite their British Accents.
    • The Khajiit are pretty much based on Middle East Asians. Their new voice also gives that feel.
    • The Argonians are harder to classify, but have a certain Southeast Asian or Pacific Islander feel, given their homeland, treatment by the people of Skyrim (particularly in Windhelm), and skill in guerrilla warfare.
  • Fast Forward Mechanic: There is a wait function, allowing you to wait for a number of hours of your choice. The current time should be somewhere at the bottom-left corner of the box.
  • A Father to His Men: General Tullius of the Imperial Legion. If the player sides with the Legion and captures Windhelm, he compliments his soldiers, doubles their pay and the compensations to the widows of the dead soldiers. He seems to be based on Julius Caesar. Ulfric Stormcloak and Galmar Stonefist are this as well, as they love their men dearly. And in return are deeply respected by their men.
  • Fauxshadow: Maurice from the Blessing of Kynareth quest practically screams sinister with his appearance, voice and mannerisms. Not only is he a genuinely good guy, but keeping him alive actually makes the final part of the quest much easier.
  • Fetch Quest: The game is filled with these. The "Radiant Story" system was built for this. It does, however, usually have the decency to point to locales you have yet to visit, making the journey as bountiful as the destination when you clear out a new dungeon.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three archetypal builds are present even without classes, as each skill is one of six in each purview. In the astrological lore of the series, these three are the names of three "Guardian" constellations in the zodiac which "watch over" lesser constellations devoted to these three builds. The new skill tree system's visible appearance is a direct callback to this, with the three "Guardians" as huge nebulae over the warrior, mage and thief skill trees that appear as constellations in the sky (the old constellations like "The Atronach" and "The Shadow" have been moved to the standing stones dotting Skyrim).
    • Many of the Jarls have one of each archetype (though "thief" may be a bit of a stretch, that is the constellation that includes Speech) for advisors: the Housecarl for the more strength-at-arms-tinted advice, the Steward for the voice of discretion, and the Court Mage for advice on any arcane matters.
    • The three heroes of Skyrim also fit into this trichotomy.
  • Final Boss Preview: The dragon that so handily interrupts your beheading at the start of the game is actually Alduin trying to kill you.
    • You actually get at least three encounters with him before the actual final battle. The third one subverts the usual expectation of getting curb stomped. You actually have him on the run and news of his defeat at your hands shakes the confidence the other dragons have in Alduin's leadership.
  • Finishing Move: Born from the popular Oblivion Game Mod "Deadly Reflexes", Finishers have become part of the game's source code. Every weapon in the game has at least two finisher animations for every enemy type in the game.
    • Particulary satisfying is one of the unarmed Finishers, a chokeslam.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: While its predecessor Oblivion only featured spells that fire a single bolt of elemental energy, Skyrim also features spells that fire a stream of energy. These tend to require less magicka than the other variety, but deal less damage.
    • In addition, the player can learn to breathe fire(and frost) in the same way the Dragons do.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Destruction magic has you covered for all three. Tactically, they have different uses: fire is cheapest and does after-burn damage, ice drains stamina and slows enemies, and lighting drains magic and is a Hit Scan projectile.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Grelod the Kind.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: The top level tier for the Block perk tree allows you to go baddie bowling if you sprint with your shield up.
  • Foreboding Architecture: Gets especially obvious in nordic ruins. Yes, the sarcophagi will bust open dramatically the moment you try to take the loot or the MacGuffin, and yes, the Frostbite Spider will drop down through the giant hole in the ceiling.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Bethesda loves to use this trope regarding in-game books.
      • There's a copy of "Nightingales: Fact or Fiction" right next to Mercer Frey. If you follow the thieves guild quest line, you find out he is one. And you get the chance to become one yourself.
      • There's a copy of "Wabbajack" in the Blue Palace bedrooms. Then you can recieve the same weapon yourself in a close wing of the very same palace.
    • Certain dungeons have the spirits of people who've explored the dungeon before you (most notably the Labyrinthian). Their corpses and subsequent "visions" shows you just how not to approach the next room.
    • Near the beginning of the game, the Greybeards called out to you using the dragon word "Dovahkiin". You use this shout in the same manner to call a dragon Odahviing to you in order to chase after Alduin near the climax.
  • For the Evulz: The ghost of Lucien Lachance acts like this, often advocating murder for petty reasons.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires:
    • The Circle of the Companions are Friendly Neighborhood Werewolves.
    • Nice vampires are few and far between, being only Babette and Sybille Stentor.
    • The guests at Namira's feast might count as Friendly Neighbourhood Cannibals if you choose to join them.
  • From Bad to Worse: According to the plot it has indeed gotten worse during the 200 year gap between Oblivion and Skyrim.
    • Keep in mind that Oblivion involved an invasion from a hell realm with demons erupting out and causing mass death and destruction... those are now seen as the 'good old days'.
  • Fungus Humongous: Blackreach has glowing mushrooms that reach all the way to the top of the cavern.
  • Fur Bikini: The female version of Forsworn armor.


G

  • Game Breaking Bug: And what Bethesda release would be complete without them?
    • A patch that made the DRM for Skyrim actually require Steam to be running to play (as intended from release) also unleashed a host of stability problems and fan rage.
    • The 1.2 patch that was released broke all elemental resistances, allowing, for example, Flame Atronachs to be killed by fire attacks. This also applied to players, meaning those who relied on their resistances to tank damage such as melee warriors, mages or unsneaky thieves... are now magical Cannon Fodder. Disease resistance has been screwed too, so you'll get diseases even if you're a werewolf.
    • The 1.2 patch made dragons fly backwards.
    • At launch, the Play Station 3 version had a save issue that would cause the game to bog down the more you discovered and larger the save got. When the majority had been discovered, the game was nigh-unplayable. This still has yet to be rectified, though a patch is in the works.
    • And of course, there's still the odd glitch that locks the player out of an entire questline.
    • 1.3 had an unintended effect in that Werewolves' Beast Form now essentially has no armor value, making the form basically useless.
    • Patch 1.5 tried to fix the infamous Nav Mesh bug that caused NPC's to stop moving in custom made areas. Instead of fixing it, it made the game horrendously unstable for mod users. Bethesda released another patch afterwards that reverted these changes.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • For a race that was dying out, the dragons seem to have an awful lot of reinforcements. And then subverted.
    • The player's race almost never affects NPCs' dialogue, even though racism against non-Nords is a major theme in the game. For example, the Khajiit traders are forbidden from so much as stepping inside city walls, but a player Khajiit can buy a house and get married without anyone so much as raising an eyebrow... and you can do this before you are even acknowledged as the Dragonborn.
    • Characters that are wounded in gameplay-combat can be healed back to full in an instant with your Healing Hands spell. Characters that get wounded as part of the plot... not so much. Apparently, you're just lucky none of those arrows you heal away so easily hit you in the knee...
    • Certain plot threads are handled separately, which leads to odd situations where doing quests in certain orders leads to facepalming dialogues. Like while doing Thieves Guild quests, the player is told by Maven Black-Briar that she has Dark Brotherhood contacts, and she'll sic them on you. Thing is, if you completed the Dark Brotherhood Questline BEFORE doing the Thieves Guild, you know exactly who her contact was, Astrid, through Delvin. And Astrid is dead. And YOU are the head of the Brotherhood.
    • Skooma and Moon Sugar are narcotics. You will even meet addicts to the stuff. But in game, they have no negative effects on you, nor does consuming large quantities of them. You are given an explanation later if listen in on bandit chatter, where they complain the skooma in Skyrim is much less potent than in other regions, and by the same token the Moon Sugar isn't as potent.
    • At a certain quest, the player gets stabbed and passes out. An NPC will tell them that a certain paralytic venom kept them from bleeding out. In combat, the player never "bleeds out" at all, and in fact, he regenerates. In fact, the player may very well be immune to poisons to begin with!
    • A lot of the jarls are worried about dragon attacks, namely in the fact that a lot of the structures in their city are flammable. In the game itself? Not so much. In fact, the structures are apparently so sturdy that they can withstand the force of a dragon landing on it... the same dragons that shake the earth otherwise.
    • Children cannot be killed in gameplay, in spite of the fact that there are several instances of minor storylines that involve children being murdered (offscreen, of course).
    • The Skeleton Key. When Mercer Frey uses it, it can open anything, including the sliding puzzle doors you need claws for, and the Thieves' Guild treasure vault, which requires two keys to open. When you use it, it's just an unbreakable lockpick.
    • The Vigilants of Stendarr make a big deal about how they murder daedra worshippers or anyone who so much as looks like they're involved in something daedric on sight. And yet you can run circles around while wearing the Ebony Mail, the Masque of Clavicus Vile, Spellbreaker and Dawnbreaker, and they won't so much as bat an eye. The Meridia one they might give a pass, she hates undead as much as they do and they'd be inclined to at least tolerate her for that. The others, not so much.
  • Gangsta Style: A sneaking archer will hold, draw and fire his/her bow sideways.
  • Gay Option: You can marry any marriage candidates, regardless of what character you're playing as. All the prospective love interests don't care about race either.
    • An attempt at handwave mentions how harsh the Nord style of life is in Skyrim, and people don't have time for nonsense such as "romance".
  • Gendered Outfit: Every outfit in the game has a male and female variant. Armor becomes a Breast Plate when fitted onto a female character, and regular clothes have vastly different appearances between the sexes.
  • Gender Is No Object: You might occasionally hear otherwise, but gender makes very little difference when it comes to profession in this setting, both for the player character or for the non-player characters. The Companions, the manliest men in the game, have some womanly women with them, the Imperial Legion and the Stormcloaks have both ranking-officer and grunt-level women, Jarls can be either men or women, and so on. There are plenty of other, more important things to be bigoted about in this setting (usually Fantastic Racism).
  • Genre Blind: The situations in which you stumble across dead bodies often suggest that this trope is the reason why.

Heddic's Volunruud Notes: I should have hired those sellswords in the first place. Perhaps there's no need. This place is just a tomb, after all, and there are no obvious signs of habitation. It isn't as though the thousand-year dead will mind if I have a look around.

    • Heddic is possibly topped for sheer idiocy by the diary of a High Elf found in the glacial ruins of Alftand:

Diary: I saw some kind of grey creature behind the old gate over there! Perhaps its a new automaton we haven't cataloged. Oh, this is so exciting! I'm moving my bedroll down here, see if I can get another glimpse.

      • The game rather brutally punishes her for her blindness by having her be the only member of the archaeological dig taken alive by the Falmer.
  • Genre Savvy: When you tell Fralia Gray-Mane her son is alive, but he can't return home, she asks how she can be sure he didn't die, and you're telling her what she wants to hear. Considering such a lie is possible in many quest-based RPGs including this one, good question. Fortunately, you have a way to prove it.
    • The first thing Alduin does after coming out of his exile? Go after the current Dragonborn (i.e. you).
    • Several traps have their triggers set several feet before the actual trap. Trying to rapidly sprint across them (whether intentionally or unintentionally) will still result in being hit by something. In addition, this is set up so that it will only trigger the trap when trying to enter the dungeon, not going out.
  • Gentle Giant: Subverted. Now, giants aren't necessarily hostile, per se. They don't attack people willy-nilly, and some can be reasoned with. But they won't hesitate to crush anyone that gets too close to them or their mammoths.
  • Get Back Here Boss:
    • The dragons can be this to a melee Dovakiin until they get Dragonrend to force them to land.
    • Some enemies (especially high-level Draugr) will suddenly remember that they're 800 years late for work and take off towards the exit of the dungeon you're currently in.
  • Get It Over With: Rather than wait for last rites, one of the Stormcloaks waiting with you to be executed interrupts and claims, "I haven't got all morning!". He is immediately executed. Literally a minute later, a dragon attacks and the rest of the prisoners flee. If he had just waited until the priest was done...
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Check out Haelga's bedroom some time. She's got shackles over the bed, an aphrodisiac and the script to the pornographic play "The Lusty Argonian Maid" on her nightstand, some stamina potions on the shelves, a letter praising her skill in the "Dibellan arts" involving Daedric Armor boots and a trout, and, under the bed, a horker tusk and leather strap.
    • The Embershard mine near Riverwood is home to a bandit gang. One small corner of the mine has a set of floorboards over the ground around a small hole dug to hold a bucket.
    • Take a close look at the statues of Dibella you occasionally come across. They have faint nubs on their bare breasts. Despite this, even Azura, who has been depicted as a classical-style nude in the past three games, is covered up now.
    • It is possible to come across a tent somewhere in the wilderness: inside are two bed rolls, many red mountain flowers scattered over the beds, two pairs of boots, two creme treats on a silver platter and a lot of empty wine bottles. Hmm, wonder what happened there...
  • Ghibli Hills: Falkreath Hold. The only settlement there (besides the ruins of Helgen) is the hold capital itself, the primary industry seems to be logging, and the land itself is unspoiled, teeming with forests and trees, and sparsely populated.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Mudcrabs, naturally, but not just the ones that annoy you every time you come near a river. Just southeast of Rorikstead, there is a mudcrab-infested pool of water that appears to be ridged on all sides with rocks. On closer inspection, it turns out the "rocks" on one side are the corpse of a mudcrab bigger than everything except mammoths and dragons!
    • And you can fight the ghost of said giant Mudcrab in a quest!
    • One of the add-ins featured in the Skyrim D.I.C.E. 2012 video included an arctic crab roughly half the size of Whiterun
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: When you're infiltrating the skeever caverns under the Honningbrew Meadery, you're probably expecting a boss enemy guarding the nest, and you find an insane former student of the College named Hamelyn who is breeding a skeever army to destroy Whiterun.
  • Giant Spiders: And we mean "GIANT". As in "bigger than freaking grizzly bears."
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Werewolves. They can not wear armor, use potions, or perform restoration spells while in beast mode. They can, however, paralyze and stagger any enemy, rendering even ancient dragons helpless, if they enter melee range. Outside of melee range is where one good archer will do them in.
    • Dual-wielders. Potentially double the damage output of a sword-and-board fighter and can take perks that increase their attack speed, but are incapable of blocking.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The vampires in Dawnguard have these while human, and the Dragonborn can acquire them as well if they contract their strain of vampirism.
  • A God Am I: It's eventually revealed that Alduin is actually Akatosh's firstborn, but he pretends to be an aspect of the Dragon of Time after he decided to exploit a misunderstanding. Well, maybe: given other available facts, it is possible firstborn doesn't exactly mean he isn't an aspect of the Dragon God of Time...
  • God Needs Prayer Badly: Exploited by the Thalmor, who have outlawed the worship of Talos with the apparent intention of weakening him by depriving him of worship.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: A quest you can get in Solitude has you stopping the revival of the Wolf Queen.
  • God Was My Co-Pilot: Your drinking buddy in the quest A Night to Remember turns out to be none other than Sanguine himself.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Relying on the Dragonborn to save the world can become this: your character can be the leader of the thieves guild, the Dark Brotherhood, have completed every Daedric quest that involves betrayal, torture, murder and cannibalism, and have slain hundreds of innocent people before slaying even one dragon and being summoned by the Graybeards. And they'll still teach you to use the voice despite the fact that you're evil enough to be be measured in Kilonazis and will obviously abuse the power because you are the only hope the world has.
    • Lampshaded by the Greybeards in conversation. Whilst they are constrained by the Way of the Voice to use their Shouts only for divine purposes, the Dragonborn is under no such constraints. Since your power is directly granted by a gift of Akatosh himself, any use you choose to put it to must therefore be divinely ordained. No matter how depraved your actions, in the end, you're on a Mission from God.
  • Gold Fever: Bandits can be fooled into killing one another if you drop a gemstone into the area they patrol: they squabble over it, then come to blows. Another case of The Dev Team Thinks of Everything.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Producer Todd Howard said that they would leave in any bugs or glitches that were funny as long as they didn't break the game.
    • One bug found during development featured chickens reporting the player's crimes to guards. Sadly, it would have made the game unreasonably difficult to players who weren't aware of it, and so it was removed.
    • Shortly after release, it was discovered that you could safely steal stuff as long as you placed a bucket over the head of nearby NPCs so they couldn't see you do it.
    • The Giants' national sport: adventurer-ball.
    • We can now add another fun one.
    • Various clipping and animation bugs can cause a leader to begin dancing during an important speech.
    • If you are on friendly terms with a faction like the Dark Brotherhood or the Companions, you can take quite a few free shots on them without them going hostile. This leads to some odd scenarios where you are happily greeted by someone you just shot three arrows into.
    • Turns out if you have the time and resources, you can perpetually enchant items to have ludicrous properties. All you need to do is jump between consuming fortify enchanting potions and foritfy alchemy equipment that you make yourself. In the end, you can have things like 1101% reduced destruction magic cost, 265,400 health and/or weapons that deal 14410 fire and 14410 frost damage. You can also crash the game with a stack overflow doing this too much. It's a bit more complex than that. The alchemy/enchanting loop stops when you reach +29% to alchemy and +32% to enchanting. More extreme enchantments require the abuse of a bug in the restoration potions.
    • The thieves that randomly spawn in Riften sometimes do things that break their AI, and then they spend a few minutes just keep taking their weapon out over and over.
    • One fairly regularly reported situation is that the player's in-game spouse seems to be cheating on them (suspicious people may be found in the player's house when they're left alone, etc), which has at some point been acknowledged by the developers. In some cases, it's merely down to lingering scripts associated with a specific spouse, as is the case if you marry Camilla Valerius: Faendal, a suitor of hers at the start of the game, will continue to stay close to her even if you move her out of Riverwood.
    • The Oghma Infinium book normally vanishes after choosing one path from it by reading it once for upgrading your stats (i.e. it's supposed to be one-time use only). But this bug involving the use of a bookshelf prevents it from vanishing, letting you read the book repeatedly to Level Grind as high as you want for free. See Irony below.
    • The Hidden Chest glitch, which often has respawning (after a certain time period) loot (resulting in infinite gold and other supplies if you're patient). The most notable one being this one in Dawnstar, which is invisible, and can only be found if you sneak, and its contents refresh (though with random quantity) every 48 hours in-game. These hidden chests are actually Merchant chests, their contents match up to a certain merchant's inventory. The one in Dawnstar for example, belongs to the Kahjiit traders on the outskirts of the city.
    • Children have been seen swimming through the air in the town of Morthal.
  • The Good Jarl:
    • Balgruuf the Greater, Jarl of Whiterun. He’s well loved and respected by his people and is always courteous and grateful to the Dragonborn, regardless of their race. He’s also the only Jarl to remain neutral during the Civil War, not wanting the war to destroy his hold or his people. When Whiterun is attacked by the Stormcloaks during the Civil War quest line Balgruuf himself leads the defense of the city. He won't go down without a fight.
    • Brunwulf Free-Winter, the nicest guy in Skyrim, who replaces Ulfric Stormcloak as Jarl of Windhelm if the Empire wins the civil war. Within hours of assuming his post he meets with the local dark elves and promises to develop and renovate the ghetto-like Grey District they've been forced to live in. He also retains most of Ulfric's court staff since they know their jobs well enough and offers lodging to the Jarls that were deposed for supporting the Stormcloaks. He then takes charge of Windhelm and doesn't lose that sense of modesty or approach-ability.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: You can choose to "brawl" with some people in lieu of persuading, bribing or threatening.
    • Khajiit are the only species that get a +15 boost to unarmed combat, because they're cat people and have claws. Argonians get a much lesser boost: they have a higher base unarmed damage, as do Khajiit, but not the additional damage boost from the Claws passive.
    • The Heavy Armor perk "Fists Of Steel" boosts your unarmed damage by the default armor rating of worn gauntlets. If you're a Khajiit on top of that, your fists are lethal weapons.
    • Unarmed Badass Viking!
  • Great Offscreen War: The recent Great War against the Thalmor provides backstory and motivation for much of the game.
  • Green Hill Zone: The game appears to begin in Falkreath Hold, a relatively peaceful region home to a vibrant boreal forest, as opposed to the harsher tundra, swamps and glaciers of northern Skyrim.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: The Legion and the Stormcloaks. The Legion's trying to hold the Empire together, but they're willing to kill unlucky bystanders (i.e. you), are believed by the Stormcloaks to be intimidated by the threat of another war with the Dominion, and to maintain the peace sacrifice Nord customs including their primary religion. The Stormcloaks want to be independent and restore the Nord customs, but their leader killed a young and innocent king to begin the war, although he claims this was a lawful challenge according to Nord custom, and some engage in Fantastic Racism against any non-Nord races, with the Stormcloak capital of Windhelm by far the worst offender. This racism spreads with them: if Whiterun is taken by the Stormcloaks, a Cyrodilic blacksmith there notes that she'd probably be out of business if she wasn't married to a Nord.
    • There's an added element of importance to the civil war that goes beyond simply whose beliefs dominate in Skyrim. If the Empire wins, the political situation stabilizes and the Empire can resume rebuilding to face inevitable Thalmor aggression more effectively, and possibly repel a second assault and ultimately reestablish the old pantheon. But if the Stormcloaks win, free and open worship of Talos can resume immediately in Skyrim. Since Talos is holding the world together, free worship can only strengthen him and help prevent the End of the World As We Know It. The Stormcloaks may be able to reunite fractured elements of the Empire like Hammerfell and Morrowind and reforge the Tamrielic Empire under Ulfric into a stronger force than the old Empire. Regardless however, Ulfric does make it a point to take immediate steps to ensuring Skyrim is self-sufficient by increasing the power of its army.
    • On another front, the Forsworn and everyone else in the Reach. The Forsworn are bloodthirsty Breton guerrillas who esteem hagravens and murder anyone unlucky enough to run into their patrols... and they've also been enslaved and persecuted by the rulers of Markarth and the Silver-Bloods. As one Forsworn says, there are no innocents, "just the guilty and the dead."
    • If you eavesdrop on some of the random bandit tribes you find, it turns out some of them are normal, rational people. One cave is full of vampires leading to the shrine to a daedric god, who laughs when you get there the vampires came to him seeking a cure for their condition, and he thinks it's poetic irony that you happened by to kill them. You will find yourself questioning the morality of your actions a lot the deeper you go.
    • The Blades and the Greybeards. The Blades want to defeat Alduin and the dragons, but they aren't very nice to the Dragonborn, while the Greybeards are mentor figures, but invoke You Are Not Ready to explain why they don't just teach the Dragonborn every Shout they know when the player first meets them. The two are also not fond of each other: the Blades hire you to kill Paarthurnax for being a dragon, and Delphine says the Greybeards fear the Shout's misuse and so do not use its power for good, but all power risks being abused and their knowledge is worthless if it isn't being put to use. By contrast, the Greybeards consider the Blades meddlers in things they don't understand and that their mission to serve the Dragonborn is a lie they use to hide the fact they want to control the Dragonborn.
    • The Dark Brotherhood will come off as an antagonistic force and none of the quests you do for them are anything close to good, but you can't help but feel sorry for Astrid, who seems to just want to hold together and provide for her surrogate family (the implication being that their primary means of income is death) and is initially horrified by the Nightmother's decree to go assassinate the Emperor.
  • Grim Up North: Skyrim itself is this to the rest of Tamriel. Like Morrowind, it does have more geographical diversity but still, it is mountainous and very cold.
    • Played straight, as Skyrim becomes nastier, in regards to weather and terrain, the farther north you go.
  • Groin Attack: This is one of the finishers you can perform on a Dwarven Centurion.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Pick any humanoid opponent, not even necessarily a guard. From stealth, shoot them with an arrow, then avoid being detected when they come looking for you.

Guard with an arrow sticking out of his arm: "Huh. Guess I was just hearing things."

  • Guide Dang It: Natch. For instance:
    • In the quest Blood On the Ice, the quest arrow and journal only points you to one person so you can accuse who you think is a murderer. The only way to get the good end for the quest is to, perhaps without knowing he exists, confront the suspect - whom the clues you collect will strongly suggest is the murderer - before reporting him as a suspect. Unless you talk to another NPC, who points you towards a shopkeeper - whose shop contains displays of the murder weapon. Along with Ysgrammor's spoon, which is a fork.
    • Unlike Oblivion, Skyrim states your Armor Points instead of your damage absorption. The thing is, it's still using the Oblivion system where you can only ignore a max of 80% damage, which equates to 567 armor points. You can literally craft steel armor that's strong enough to reach it with a buffed max Smithing skill.
    • In one quest, you're framed and confronted by corrupt guardsmen and given the choice to either go to jail or fight. The only way to complete the quest and get the best loot is to go to prison: all fighting does is get you a nasty criminal fee.
    • To clarify on the "Oblivion Walker" achievement, you only get it for having 15 daedric artifacts, not just completing the quests. Which means if you chose alternate endings to some of them, have fun making an entirely new character or reloading a very old save. Clavicus Vile's quest is the worst offender, because unlike the other Daedra whose quests offer multiple artifacts, only one of them (the Masque) counts towards the achievement, meaning you absolutely must finish the quest in that way to get the achievement.
      • Another offender is Vaermina's quest, which forces you to choose between either the Skull of Corruption or a decidedly non-Squishy Wizard follower. The easiest way to get the achievement if you want Erandur instead is to save Vaermina's quest for last, save your game before you get the Skull, get the achievement, and then reload
    • To get the Gauldur Amulet, it is necessary to join and complete a few quests with the College of Winterhold first, otherwise it is not even possible to get into the building. Neither the College nor anyone in it has anything to do with the amulet.
    • You are unlikely to find all the recipes for the Atronach Forge in the Midden under the College of Winterhold unless you savage the population of rogue mages throughout Skyrim and pick up all the randomly dropped recipe notes... or look it up online or in a guidebook.
    • In the main questline, the Greybeards send you to a dungeon where, in order to progress, you need to lift a gate using a pressure plate and get through it before it closes. The only way you'll get through it in time is to use your Whirlwind Sprint shout. However, the fact the Greybeards teach the shout to you before sending you to the dungeon serves as a subtle nudge.
    • The main Thieves' Guild questline has a series of bonus items you can steal and sell to Delvin for profit.
    • The No Stone Unturned quest, which involves collecting 24 "unusual gems" (aka the Stones of Barenziah) which are scattered all over Skyrim. There are no clues ingame as to where each one is, and chances are you'll find at least one by accident. Their locations are fixed, but vary from caves and tombs to people's homes (one is located inside Proudspire Manor, which you can only enter after buying it) to places of high restrictions like a Jarl's quarters (which require you to sneak in really well unless the said Jarl made you a Thane). One is even located inside the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, which can only be entered after starting the Dark Brotherhood questline, either to join them or destroy them. And prior to patch 1.4, one of these gems was inside the Thalmor Embassy, which could only be visited during the Diplomatic Immunity quest; thankfully, after the patch it was relocated to a cave underneath, which is accessible anytime.

Back to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  1. The sun is actually a hole punched in the fabric of reality by Magnus to escape being bound to Nirn, and each star is a lesser hole created by those who followed Magnus (known as the Magna-Ge) escaping from being bound to the planet. The other eight planets in the sky are the planes occupied by the Aedra that chose to stay in and be bound to Nirn.
  2. At least, until you get Storm Call or Dragonrend to force them to aggro.
  3. Halted Stream Camp, northwest of Whiterun.