The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim/Tropes N-T

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N

  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast:
    • Alduin, the World Eater.
    • Dirge and Maul, two thugs employed by the Thieves' Guild.
    • One of the followers is named Ghorbash The Iron Hand.
    • All the named Dragon Priests, in Dragon language at least: Hevnoraak (Brutal), Krosis (Sorrow), Morokei (Glorious), Rahgot (Rage), Nahkriin (Vengeance), Volsung (Horror/Air Horror), Vokun (Shadow), Otar (well, Mad) and Konahrik (Warlord).
    • All named dragons.
    • They call Molag Bal the King of Rape for a reason.
  • Natural Weapon: Khajiit slash enemies with their claws when fighting unarmed. Particularly satisfying after a bandit hurls a racial slur at you.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name:
    • Eugenics, fascist government, perceived racial superiority, purging of undesirable population elements, goal of total hegemony, secret police, contempt for non-aggression pacts... The Thalmor, rulers of the Aldmeri Dominion, are pretty much Nazi elves. Not to mention that their robes have a certain SS/Gestapo vibe to them. Their ideology goes beyond demanding the genocide of humanity and demands the removal of the potential of humanity ever existing, as it imprisons spirits on Mundus (It Makes Sense in Context). They might actually be right about that... but they might also be wrong in it being a possible goal.
    • The Stormcloaks are a little subtler about it, but the parallels are there. Their attitude toward the Empire and the White-Gold Concordat is very similar to the Nazi's stabbed-in-the-back narrative, and they're not at all pleasant to the Dark Elves, who realistically couldn't have had anything to do with the Empire's defeat but don't have a powerful nation-state to back them up like the Thalmor do. Argonians also cannot live in Ulfric's city because the guards will beat them to death if they try to live there. Less subtle once you find out more about Ulfric Stormcloak, and how he feels he fought for nothing in the war and wants to see Skyrim restored to its glory days. He's also a pretty charismatic guy and gives a hell of a speech.
  • The Need for Mead: Naturally, being a fantasy Norse-like culture, there's mead abound. Skyrim has two major brands of mead, Honningbrew (brewed near Whiterun) and Black-Briar (brewed in Riften), and a generic "Nord Mead". In one sidequest, a group of drunks lambast you if you favor Black Briar Mead over Nord Mead. If you share bottles of Honningbrew instead, they will be overjoyed and give you a magical amulet as thanks. Jarl Siddgeir of Falkreath on the other hand hates Nord Mead calling it "local piss" and asks you for a bottle of Black Briar to prove your worth.

Random Bandits: Mead, mead, mead. Would it kill 'em to get a beer now and again? Stupid bees and their stupid honey...

  • Nerf/Obvious Rule Patch: Some of the skills got their abilities split, moved around or removed entirely from previous games. Mysticism was removed entirely and its relevant spells put in other classes. Alteration magic (which was mostly "mobility magic" in the past) has no lockpicking spells and the only mobility-enhancer it has is water-breathing, but armor spells were buffed, and the school also gained light spells (formerly the province of Illusion), while Conjuration loses the ability to summon Bound Armor and daggers. Speechcraft and Bartering got merged into one skill, while Pickpocketing got separated out of Sneak into its own skill.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer on characters seemed to depict General Tullius as an Obstructive Bureaucrat who didn't pay any heed to his subordinate's advice.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • During the Companions' questline, after Skjor is killed during a raid on a Silver Hand encampment, Aela the Huntress sends you on a campaign of targeted vengeance against the rest of the Hand. This results in the Hand launching an attack on the Companions while you're away finding a cure to lycanthropy for Kodlak so he can enter Sovngarde when he dies, rather than be claimed by Hircine. And of course, Kodlak is the only casualty, and now his death as a werewolf means he cannot enter Sovngarde. To make matters worse, the Silver Hand also absconded with all but one of the fragments of Wuuthrad, the axe of Ysgramor that the Companions were guarding, and only Wuuthrad can open the way to the place where lycanthropy can be cured. Luckily, this is all fixable. Even Kodlak's lycanthropy can be posthumously erased.
    • To explore the dwemer ruins beneath Markarth, you first have to get through a nest of frostbite spiders. At the end of the nest, guarded by a huge spider, you find a dead legion soldier, with a note on him describing an expedition that delved deep into the ruins. If you follow the quest to find the missing researchers, you find the ruin crawling with Falmer, and, as one journal says, the spider nest was the only thing keeping them from flooding into the city. Your next target after that is to fix the problem you just created... by firing up all the dormant Dwemer animunculi to kill them.
    • In "The Blessings of Nature", if you choose to manipulate the Eldergleam in order to access your destination, you also give life to a number of Spriggans who turn hostile on both you... and some friendly visitors who were only there to confine themselves in the peace and tranquility of the grove.
    • In "The Forsworn Conspiracy", choosing to aid Madanach in escaping the mine will likely end with about half of Markarth dead as angry Forsworn rampage through the city on the way out.
    • Bringing the mysterious artifact from Saarthal back to the College of Winterhold results in the death of its Archmage and his assistant, near-releasing a dormant dragon priest, destroying part of the college and ravaging the countryside, and nearly causing the world to end.
    • One regarding someone other than you: if you escape from Helgen with Hadvar, in Riverwood, you can ask Alvor what he thinks of the war. He explains that before the civil war, the Thalmor had nearly no presence in Skyrim, and the Empire didn't really enforce the ban on Talos worship, so people just worshiped at home instead of at temples. It wasn't until Ulfric made a big deal of him and his men worshiping Talos that the Thalmor felt the need to crack down and start arresting people.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Alduin inadvertently saves the Dovahkiin's life during the starting sequence when he attacks Helgen.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The apparent goal of the lead vampire in Dawnguard.
  • Ninja: The Dark Brotherhood armor has a distinctly ninja-like vibe to it this time around. Kinda appropriate when you think about it.
  • Ninja Run: Sprinting while dual-wielding any one-handed weapons becomes this.
  • No Arc in Archery: A very subtle aversion. While most players have been trained by other games that arrows fire in a straight line, in this game, if you do this, you may often find yourself missing. It's actually a good idea to aim a little bit down so that when the arrow does arc a bit, it won't fly over them; unlike in most games that do have arcing arrows (like, say, Oblivion), the arrow is not fired directly at your cursor, but somewhat above it. For long ranged shots, you need to aim at or slightly above your target, as arrows realistically fall due to gravity as they fly.
  • No Hero Discount: Averted in a sense. While being a good person doesn't net you a discount when it comes to purchases, merchants will allow you to take some items off their shelves without considering it stealing, and they regularly restock.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Near the end of the Dark Brotherhood Questline, you return home to find Penitus Occulus Agents sacking the Sanctuary. Festus was one of the first to fight back, and he was pinned to a tree by nearly 40 arrows.
    • Some quests have an optional rider of "wiping out X" where X is the enemy faction. Some have bonuses that can later be used (such as obtaining more Glenmoral Witch Heads) while others are entirely up to you. Similarly, in the Dark Brotherhood quest, you are free to kill Commander Maro for his treachery as an optional condition to the quest, and you are also free to completely annihilate everyone on the Emperor's ship if you so choose, depending how much retribution you want. Neither of which will earn you a bounty, even in plain sight of the guards.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The Argonian females, again, as evidenced by Lizzle-Bob. [dead link]
    • Also, Flame Atronachs and Spriggans. Flame atronachs have the excuse of being daedra, to which different sexes are nothing more than a mortal contrivance, and they simply choose to take a female form because of their whim (as is the case for daedric princes too).
  • Noob Cave: Helgen Keep and the adjoining caverns. Several locales around Riverwood are also toned down in difficulty.
  • Noodle Implements: After winning a staff in a drinking contest, the guy you made the bet with leaves you a note saying he needs a hagraven feather, giant's toe and holy water to fix the staff. It turns out to be an elaborate prank on his part.
    • The Dark Brotherhood likes to sit around and talk about their various assassinations. One is mentioned, and when the brother involved doesn't elaborate on his method, whoever he is speaking to comments on it.

But really. A horker, some twine, three wood elves, and a hatchet? Points for creativity, if nothing else.

  • Noodle Incident: Unlike the previous games, this time we know why and how the player character ended up being imprisoned, but now it's unclear why the player character was crossing the border into Skyrim, nor is there any set canon on whether or not the player ever did anything more illegal than just being around a bunch of Stormcloaks (dialog at a few points will let the player decide this, but it's just for flavor).
    • There's a bard named Talsgar wandering the wilderness. If you find him, you can ask him for speechcraft training, but he'll refuse, saying something about an incident with a roguish lad and the daughter of a prominent thane.
    • During the College of Winterhold questline, you have a conversation with the archmage that begins with you telling him you have important news about the excavation at Saarthal. He responds 'Please don't tell me another apprentice has been incinerated, I don't have time for this...'.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Zig Zagged. Attacking summoners and necromancers plays this straight: their zombies and/or atronachs will vanish or disintegrate. However, unlike in Oblivion, where the gates vanish after banishing Dagon, the dragons are still around after you kill Alduin. Justified in that Alduin isn't keeping the dragons alive: he just revived a whole bunch of them.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • There are a couple dungeons where someone had already gone through and killed some of the enemies inside... you almost always expect some kind of noise to happen (or to run into a bandit or Draugr), and it seems really unsettling when they're all gone.
    • The Lost Prospect Mine has shades of this: a depleted gold mine with absolutely nothing of note to find anywhere aside from an old miner's journal which describes how a miner was roped into working an old mine with a friend. The journal then goes on to mention that the author went into town to pick up supplies only to return to find no trace of his friend before berating said friend and leaving the journal behind to guilt him. This at least implies that there was something... odd about the mine. A deeper examination of the mine reveals the truth: a skeleton pinned beneath an accidental rock slide and several veins of ore. Tragic, but nothing as creepy as your imagination would believe.
  • Notice This: Nirnroot doesn't just glow, it chimes.
  • No True Scotsman: Heard on both sides of the civil war. The Stormcloaks believe that the Empire is weak, that no true Nord would surrender to the Thalmor Dominion or agree to the White-Gold Concordat, while the Imperial-allied Nords believe that Skyrim has always been a loyal part of the Empire and no true Nord would be only a fair-weather ally.
  • Not So Different:
    • General Tullius and Ulfric Stormcloak are on opposite sides of the Civil War, but both hate the Thalmor and the White-Gold Concordat, which bans the worship of Talos, one of the main reasons Ulfric rebelled.
    • This is also exemplified by the bard songs "Age of Agression" and "Age of Oppression", sung by bards in pro-Imperial or pro-Stormcloak holds, respectively. The song tunes are identical and both songs have parts where the lyrics are the same.
    • Try saving before the peace treaty and take different dialogue options to favor the Empire or Stormcloaks, and make note of how often the two sound just like the other between dialogue trees.
    • Paarthurnax points this out to the Dragonborn, as s/he has the soul of a dragon and therefore is driven by the same urges as all dragons: to hurt, kill, dominate and destroy. Takes on an extra-vicious edge if you've been indulging in Video Game Cruelty Potential by that point.


O

  • Obfuscating Insanity: Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone of Hjalmarch hold/Morthal city.
  • Obvious Beta: While not to the level of Daggerfall, this game is close. For starters, it has many, many broken quests, wonky user interface issues (especially in the PC version), is very poorly optimized both CPU and GPU wise, the PC version requires a fanmade EXE patch to curb most of the CTDs by extending the memory allocation cap (this has been fixed in an official patch; it now is large-address-aware by default), and the console version can suffer dramatic save game bloat and subsequent crashing/corruption issues. The game also has bad default settings, including a default field of view that gives many players motion sickness.
    • The earlier patches also introduced some additional serious glitches, including the notorious "Backwards-Flying Dragons".
  • Offing the Offspring: Done in a very twisted and tragic fashion, by a certain man in Morthal. Turns out it was another enthralled vampire who did the act, and he himself was also enthralled to not give half a donkey's ass about it. Ironic because children can't be killed in the game.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: "Hold on, Dovahkiin! Prepare to see Skyrim as you never have before!"
  • Off with His Head:
    • Happens to one unfortunate Stormcloak. Almost happens to you before Alduin unwittingly saves you by attacking the town, causing the execution to be interrupted right as the headsman is poised to swing. You can also watch another beheading when you first enter Solitude.
    • There are perks in the one-handed and two-handed trees that let you decapitate your foes.
  • Oh Crap: "Never shoulda come here!"
    • Also with the very first dragon the Dragonborn will slain.

Mirmulnir: "Dovahkiin!? No!"

  • Ominous Draconic Chanting: A rare heroic version in the Dovahkiin's/Dragonborn's theme songs: Sons of Skyrim and One They Fear, as well as Watch The Skies which alternately plays when a dragon attacks.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Thalmor are attempting to unmake the Mundus. Read a semi-canon archived post (second from top) from Michael Kirkbride, one of the more cryptic Elder Scrolls writers. "Erase the upstart Talos from the mythic." How do you erase a god? You stop belief in him. The Thalmor are attempting to do so by banning Talos worship. And Talos is all that's holding the world together. Note that from an Altmer, Bosmer and possibly Redguard (though the Redguards wouldn't like the "Remove Man not just from the world, but from the Pattern of Possibility" part) perspective, this is not a bad thing, as to them Lorkhan (Shor) and his creation are evil. In the College of Winterhold guild quest line, Ancano attempts a shortcut to this end with the Eye of Magnus.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Subverted with the combination locks on the claw-operated doors in Draugr barrows. One of the books you can read in-game contains speculation as to why these puzzles were made so easy (the combination is engraved on the key itself). The answer, according to the author, is that the combination is there in order to ensure that the door is being opened by a sentient being, rather than a mindless undead: the doors aren't there to keep people from getting in, they're there to keep things from getting out.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Erandur slips between an American and Australian accent. This may be deliberate, as he's hiding a Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Opposed Mentors: In Skyrim, you have the choice of being backed by the Greybeards (who are Actual Pacifists) and the Blades (who want to slay every single dragon in existence). In the end, the Blades ask you to kill the dragon who served as the mentor to the Greybeards, forcing you to choose one side or the other. Siding with the Blades gives you access to dragon-hunting potions and skills, and the option to fight a dragon whenever you want, while siding with the Graybeards allows you to skip the Civil War questline (making you not have to side with either the Stormcloaks or the Legion) by negotiating a temporary truce. It's also an argument of practicality/caution versus idealism/loyalty. Despite being a generous and helpful ally who has done nothing to slight you, Paarthurnax is a dragon, and even though he tells you that he's reformed, he also makes it clear that he fights to retain control of his aggression every single day and that it's wise not to trust him.
  • The Order:
    • The Imperial Legion. And you can join it again!
    • The Blades too. Though unlike in Oblivion, you can't join them, as the Order proper has long since fallen apart and almost entirely died out. Plus they are nominally supposed to serve you, as their purpose is to serve a Dragonborn, and you are the last Dragonborn (not that this oath of "service" stops them demanding that you kill Paarthunax, and refusing to talk to you or help until you do). Though you can help rebuild the Order by recruiting new members for them after a certain point, and have them accompany you on Dragon-slaying missions.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Honorhall Orphange, run by Grelod the Kind until/unless she gets killed. By the Dovahkiin.
  • Our Demons Are Different: And with Large Ham to boot!

"A CHALLENGER IS NEAR!"

  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Dragons, who rather than have the usual Breath Weapon, speak their abilities to reality. So they say the Draconic word for "fire", and fire appears.
    • You've got your standard garden-variety Black Dragons, blue Frost Dragons, which are more sinister-looking, green Blood Dragons, which kind of look like iguanas, bronze-colored Elder Dragons, which look bulkier than the other dragons, and the most powerful of all: red and black Ancient Dragons, which have thick armored plates instead of scales.
    • Beyond the visual, Dragons are like Tolkien Elves, who will live for as long as Time itself lasts, to the point where the very idea of mortality is incomprehensible to them. That very inability to understand mortality was weaponized into a Thu'um, Dragonrend.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played with, as per Elder Scrolls norm. While the Dwemer were reclusive master smiths who lived underground, did not get along with most elves, and had long beards, they are also currently extinct, were master steam engineers (a trait more commonly associated with gnomes these days), and were actually a sub-race of elves themselves. They also weren't particularly short; they got their moniker of "Dwarves" from giants, not men.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Aside from the High Elves, Wood Elves and Dark Elves, there's also the Orcs/Orsimer (the suffix mer meaning "of elvish descent"). They still act like regular fantasy Orcs though.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: After a certain point in the Dark Brotherhood questline, the ghost of Lucien Lachance from Oblivion becomes a summonable companion. He has been dead for a little over two centuries, but apparently, he fully retains all of his memories. This is likely an attempt to please the fanbase, given the fact that he's an immensely popular character, especially among fangirls.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Giants are enormous humanoids about three times the size of humans. They are roughly comparable to cavemen, and form camps with mammoths, which they apparently use as both pets, guard animals, and a source of milk and cheese. Giants are generally peaceful unless you intrude into their camps, though you periodically get bounties on giants that have been stealing cattle or raiding farms. Otherwise, anyone provoking a giant gets exactly what they deserve.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're mostly the same as vampires in Oblivion, but they prefer ice and cold environments. You don't see any examples of them hiding underneath frozen lakes to reach up and snatch you in this game like you read about in Immortal Blood, but you do usually see them launching ice-blasts at you with magic when they don't suck your hit points out directly.
    • The first piece of DLC, Dawnguard, appears to be vampire-centric and also seems to give vampires a more monstrous bat-like form akin to a werewolf transformation.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: As with Morrowind, they're the more wolf than man variety. If you become one by accepting the Companions' offer, you can transform regardless of the time of day and stay transformed until you stop feeding on humanoids.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: No, they're not zombies, they're Draugr. And they're cursed with undeath for having served Alduin the first time around... at least, some of them (others may have origins closer to what was indicated in Bloodmoon, the game that introduced them; in this series, "zombie" usually refers to magically revived corpses by necromancers). Draugr are closer to Mummies than zombies in many ways, as they are artificially preserved and haunt cursed tombs, and many have magic powers of their own (including Shouts).
  • Outside Context Villain: Alduin. Skyrim was just at the end of a long and bloody civil war when bam, the king of all dragons shows up out of nowhere. Justified in that he was sent through time from the past to the present.


P

  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • A quick look around the room, and it's pretty obvious which of the corpses lining the walls are going to stand up when you pass by.
    • You in the Dark Brotherhood storyline. Because the chef you're impersonating is an aloof mysterious figure that no one has ever seen (because he's an Orc), you can show up as any race, dressed in anything from Daedric Armor to a Jester's Outfit and no one will question it. Your assistant will only ask that you put on a chef's hat to cook (even though you're just telling her what ingredients to add).
  • Physical God: Alduin takes the form of a dragon, and is the Nordic aspect of Akatosh, as well as his firstborn. Therefore, he is the physical incarnation of an aspect of Time itself. He is unable to be slain within the bounds of Mundus.
  • Physical Heaven: Sovngarde.
  • The Place: Takes place in Skyrim, natch.
  • Placebo Eureka Moment: Talking to Wylandriah, the Riften Court Magician, shows that she's having trouble developing a soul extraction apparatus. By acting like you know what you're talking about by using "metaphors", she quickly Magi Babbles her way to a solution. She promptly forgets what you were discussing.
  • Plant Person: Spriggans are a hostile bear-summoning variety. They're often found in certain wooded groves, can turn nearly invisible (or turn into swarms of bees), and when near death, revive themselves to full health with magic (something they did back in Daggerfall too; "Spriggans die three times"). In this case, at least if you kill them quickly, you avoid the revivification.
  • Point and Click Map
  • Police Are Useless: In regards to you at least, there may as well not be any guards in town. As long as you don't commit any major crimes like murder, guards can be bribed through use of a perk or your membership with the Thieves Guild, and if you're Thane, you can pull rank to get them to leave you alone. If you've committed a minor crime like trying to break into a locked house or stealing a potion, you can just convince them you aren't worth the time. Walking around town while you have a small bounty will prompt mutters of "wait, I know you" from guards you pass, but none of them will actually try and apprehend you.
  • The Pollyanna: Shahvee who despite living in the docks of Windhelm, with the Nords being intensively racist towards her race, being paid a pittance for her work, is very cheerful and upbeat. In her own words "There's nothing to be gained by being miserable."

"Sometimes life puts you in difficult circumstances you didn't choose, but being happy or unhappy is a choice you make, and I've choosen to make the best of things that I can."

  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: All active Dwemer automatons in Skyrim are powered by filled Soul Gems. And it turns out the souls in Soul Gems are still conscious, and in constant agony. And might only be necessary to power the weapons, the actual motion being powered by some other mechanism that only the Dwemer have ever unraveled.
  • Power Glows: All enchanted items have a colored glow around them.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Members of the Thieves Guild tend to abstain from murder and strongly encourage you to do the same in their quests. Not because they have anything against it, but because it's bad for business. They leave that sort of thing to the Dark Brotherhood unless it's an in-house issue.
  • Previous Player Character Cameo: In the daedric quest "The Mind of Madness", Sheogorath mentions that he was present during the Oblivion Crisis (and mentions knowing Martin as well), which implies that the player character from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is still effectively the Daedric Prince that you meet in the quest. Strangely, Sheogorath appears and speaks with the same voice and mannerisms as the original Sheogorath from the Shivering Isles expansion, either due to Rule of Funny or to resolve that game's own Character Customization, which is similar in scope to Skyrim. Alternatively, this may be an example of Becoming the Mask and/or Becoming the Costume, where the role of Mad God comes to override the character's original personality and appearance. Or it may be an example of Gameplay and Story Integration: Sheogorath canonically has access to a staff of powerful transformative magic... That would be the Wabbajack. Who says it can only be used on opponents? It should be noted that some of this Sheogorath's speech leans towards being good rather than pure chaotic as his Morrowind or especially Oblivion appearance suggests. Namely, he wants the player to cure Pelagius the Mad's night terrors and one of his followers, a deranged old woman, refers to him as blessed Sheogorath implying he's a mix of the old and new. Sheogorath is still crazy, but he's relatively more a good crazy.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Several.
    • The Nords are the most prominent example, the game being set in their homeland. Part of the tension between Skyrim and the Empire comes from the Nords seeing the Empire's surrender to the Thalmor as a cowardly betrayal.
    • The Orcs are also like this, with special mention going to the old Orcish warrior you can find standing by the road, surrounded by dead sabre cats, waiting for someone to give him a "good death".
    • The Redguards are also supposed to be one, although this isn't as thoroughly explored. Their pride in warrior ways seems more focused upon skill with weaponry than bravado or testing how much punishment they can take.
      • To note, there is various bits of Lore that infer that the destruction of the Redguards original homeland of Yokuda may have been caused by rogue members of a legendary band of warriors who were so skilled with swords they "cut the atomos" in a war with "Left-handed elves". Magic Nuke indeed.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Fully upgraded dragon shouts have enough emphasis to send enemies flying through the air and even slow time.
  • Puppet King: The Jarl of Riften (the hyper-corrupt home of the Thieves Guild) is pretty clueless about the state of her town. Her own adviser is in deep with the Guild, and the Guild gets most of its work from the local mead-brewing dynasty.
  • Puppy Love: A one sided variant between the two children Lars Battle-Born (who is meek) and Braithe (who is belligerent). In the latter's words:

Braithe: If only he'd kiss me, then I wouldn't have to beat him up so much.


R

  • Ragnarok Proofing: The dwarves have been gone for several thousand years, but their Death Traps and robots are still working perfectly fine. There is an explanation for that: the Dwemer bent/changed the laws of physics to make their materials impervious to wear, tear and corrosion; plus, some of them (specifically the little worker spider-bots) are designed to repair one another. Destroyed spiders can sometimes be seen to drop ore, implying they collect new materials where necessary for upkeep.
  • Railing Kill: Extremely common due to the number of ledges, catwalks and balconies and the physics engine. It can get slightly annoying having to jump down a mountainside or into a pit to loot the body.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Some of the sidequests will randomly generate based on your playing style, like setting the target of the quest in a dungeon you haven't explored yet.
  • Rape as Backstory:
    • Implied with Astrid.
    • See also: Sapphire.
  • Rated "M" for Manly:
    • In particular, the Nords, who are big, burly and mock the player if they favor magic. Even the ladies.
    • If you're Imperial and wearing heavy armor, Nords will say you "clang like a kitchen and should stay in one."
    • Walking around in elven armor or with an elven weapon gets you a lot of flak from Nord guards who prefer steel. Wearing elven gear while being an elf gets you even more mockery.
    • The very idea of plot is Rated "M" for Manly: a god of destruction returns and sends forth dragons to eat the world. You slay them. You gain powers by eating their souls. And it's all set in the land of fantasy Vikings.
    • And the theme song, which is more features a male choir going "Hoo! Ha!" And singing a song about how the Dragonborn is awesome.
    • Normal magic has you studying and using mana to cast spells, along with hand gestures. Thu'ums just has you shouting at reality itself, and reality listens. And you power it with the souls of slain dragons, in their own tongue. If it was any manlier, you would grow hairs on your chest every time you used a Thu'um.
  • Reality Warper: Dragons (and, by extension, the Dragonborn) have the innate ability to use the Thu'um, or Shouts, a power that causes magic-like effects through speech alone rather than spells. Dragons in Skyrim don't breath fire or cast a fire spell: they simply command fire to appear.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Elves naturally. Also vampires with special mention going to a 300 year old vampire assassin who takes advantage of looking like the ten year old girl she was when she was turned.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite their reputation, the Empire actually has a fair few of these: General Tullius, Legate Rikke and Jarl Elisif of Solitude are all reasonable and professional figures. Jarl Balgruuf the Greater of Whiterun is one as well.
    • Ulfric's replacement, should the Imperial Legion win is basically in running for some "Best Human Being Alive" award. He's kind, decent, polite. Within hours of getting his new job, he's already met the dark elves of the ghetto-like grey quarters to work on plans to renovate the Grey Quarters, and is trying to find a way to let the Argonians into the city without increasing the town's already huge racial tensions. And that's along with his plans to rebuild Windhelm's economy and reputation following the war. He even keeps most of Ulfric's staff on hand since they know their job well enough, and offers lodging to the deposed Jarls who were supporting Ulfric.
  • Rebel Leader: Ulfric and Madanach.
  • Reclining Reigner: The default model pose for anyone sitting on a throne. Which means that it may double as a Slouch of Villainy for Jarls of opposite factions depending on whose side you're on. Elisif the Fair is the only Jarl who does not sit on her throne like this.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Daedra and by association Daedric equipment. Also the Dark Brotherhood uniform.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Maybe. The Dunmer aren't evil as a race, but their red eyes are the result of evil. Long before the events of Skyrim, the Tribunal, a trio of Physical Gods, broke a sacred promise in order to obtain their divinity. The goddess Azura punished them and their entire race by giving them the dark skin and red eyes they now have.
  • Red Herring:
    • You'd think that Ulfric's ability to use the Voice would imply a stronger connection to the plot about Alduin and his dragons trying to eat the world, but it never really comes up. It's just something he used to get victory when he challenged the last High King to a duel. Though Imperials and Stormcloaks have the expected opinions on the matter, when met in Sovngarde, Torygg bears him no grudge over it.
    • It is worth noting that despite not being totally involved in the main quest, Ulfric will gladly tell you all you he knows about the Greybeards and your destiny as the Dragonborn if asked. Which is significant when compared to how little information on them you get from only other Jarl with some tangential involvement in the chain, the Jarl of Whiterun.
    • Delphine initially suspects that the Thalmor are behind the appearance of the dragons. They're not, and after you find that out and rescue Esbern from them, they stop being important in the main quest.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ulfric is brash, prideful, and aggressive. Tullius is calm, caring and defensive; which is ironic seeing as though the Empire wears red and the Stormcloaks blue. Even then, the game makes strides proving they're Not So Different.
  • Red Shirt: When you go to trap the dragon Odahviing in Dragonsreach, the people on the Dragonsreach balcony are you, the Jarl of Whiterun, his adjutant, and some nameless guard. No points for guessing which one gets snapped up and spectacularly flung into the distance on Odahviing's first pass.
  • Regenerating Health: Your health bar will slowly refill... emphasis on slowly. This is so you don't have to waste your precious health potions between battles; it's not really meant for recovery in the middle of one. However, use of the Healing spell in one hand and a weapon in the other can produce the standard health regeneration effect.
    • This also seems to apply to all humanoid NPCs as well. Possibly a fix for the issue seen in Fallout 3 and New Vegas where caravans and traveling NPCs would slowly run out of health and eventually die due to fighting minor enemies over the course of several days.
    • And the Argonian special ability, Histskin, multiplies their health regen by 10, bringing them up to Healing Factor levels.
    • There are also several enchanted amulets, rings and the like which will boost the speed of your health recharge. And though you can only wear one example of each type of clothing at a time (i.e. one ring, one pair of boots, etc), the game has no problem letting you wear multiple pieces/accessories that all have the same effect, thus making the overall percentage benefit a cumulative one.
  • Relex: The Dragon language is a Relex of English.
  • The Remnant: Multiple.
    • The Dark Brotherhood is all the way down to a remote sanctuary in a Skyrim forest, and they're short a Listener. Without a Listener, they don't know about any of the contracts that come from people praying to the Night Mother, the Dark Brotherhood's patron saint and bride of Sithis. They've had to abandon the five Tenets, the only rules the Brotherhood has ever had, and actively go out and look for people seeking their services, just to survive.
    • The Thieves' Guild is reduced to a leaky old tavern in falling-apart sewer ruins, surrounded by gutter-trash; they've lost every single resource and connection they'd ever had; they've lost the fear and respect they once had, instead being looked on as little more than thugs pretending to be civilized, and they're one flash of interest by the guards away from extinction.
    • The Blades have been all but wiped-out in the 200 years since the Oblivion Crisis. During the Great War between the Empire and the Aldermi Dominion, most of their members were hunted down and killed by the Thalmor. Only a handful managed to survive the war, and any remaining members live in hiding as they are still being hunted by the Thalmor.
    • The Empire itself is only a shadow of its former glory, with only three provinces remaining under its control. Three (Summerset Isle, Elsweyr and Valenwood) have seceded and have become part of what is now the Thalmor Dominion while the other two (Black Marsh and Hammerfell) have gone completely independent (Black March has also expanded north, conquering a fair quantity of what is left habitable in Morrowind). Out of the three provinces that the Empire still controls, only High Rock has been untouched by either war or natural disaster.
    • The Dovahkiin can further this decline by helping the Stormcloaks throw out the Imperial Legion and assassinating the Emperor
    • The Forsworn are little more than guerrilla warbands while their king is imprisoned and used to control the Forsworn.
  • The Renfield: Cicero. Vampires found in dungeons will usually have thralls on hand as well.
  • Retirony: Players can invoke this: bandits and similar criminal NPCs will sometimes mention their hopes to buy a secluded island and retire.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The Blades towards Paarthurnax. Never mind the fact that he's repented, and if it weren't for him, the ancient Nords wouldn't have had the power to throw off their draconic oppressors in the first place... Paarthurnax must die because of things he did under Alduin's domain. And they won't abet you, the very entity the Blades have rallied behind since their predecessors the Akaviri Dragonguard did with Reman (one of your dragonborn predecessors), unless you do the deed for them. It gets even worse when you remember that your success is all that stands between the world and complete annihilation... and the Blades KNOW this!
  • Revive Kills Zombie: Not as such (healing spells do not affect undead), but both the Turn Undead spell effect (which causes undead to flee) and the Necromage perk (that makes spells more effective against undead) belong to the Restoration school of magic.
    • In a weird twist, if you are a vampire (and thus undead) yourself, the Necromage perk actually makes all of your buffs 25% stronger, including healing spells.
  • Reviving Enemy: Trolls and Frost Trolls will fall prone and appear dead when they have a small slither of health but continue regenerating their health... (although the fact they don't get knocked back's a bit of a giveaway). See I Surrender, Suckers for some honorable mentions.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilised: The Forsworn: though despite spending most of the game trying to kill you on sight, they're still arguably more sympathetic than their enemies in Markarth. They'd probably be more sympathetic if their modus operandi wasn't "Murder everyone we don't like because we once ruled this place thousands of years ago."
    • They also consort with Hagravens, conduct sinister blood rituals, and will attack the player on sight even if he or she has sworn to fight for their cause. All in all, not a nice bunch.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Subverted: the game opens with the Empire appearing rather overzealous in their desire to execute members of the rebellion, and most of the Player Character's fellow prisoners are rebels, giving the player a far better initial impression of the Stormcloaks. However, as the game goes on, it becomes quite apparent that the Stormcloaks aren't as good as they seem, being rather racist, and there's several doubts cast on their leader Ulfric Stormcloak and his true goals in starting the rebellion, while the Empire is shown to not be completely irredeemable but flawed. The situation soon turns into a Grey and Grey Morality situation.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The Headless Horseman. Who is he? Why does he haunt the night? What does he want? The game offers no answers.
    • The game does offer some small clues. If you follow the horseman, he eventually leads you to Hamvir's Rest, a very remote graveyard located at the foot of the mountains southeast of Morthal. There's little of interest here, but on the northwest side of the graveyard is a tomb with an axe, a helmet and a skull beside it (quite unusually, this skull cannot be picked up by the player), implying that this is where his remains are buried. The horseman occasionally speaks, and has unique dialogue; if he does not reach Hamvir's Rest before sunrise, he may comment, "Such an abrupt end to our game."
  • Road Cone:
    • Sheogorath's dialogue implies that he is the Champion of Cyrodiil, so Shivering Isles was canonically completed. Some of his other pieces of dialogue imply that he became both the Gray Fox (completed the Thieves Guild chain) and the Listener (completed the Dark Brotherhood quest chain).
    • The player found 100 nirnroots for Sinderion, according to the journal you find on his corpse.
    • Given that Clavicus Vile is in a weakened state at the time of Skyrim, it can be implied that the Champion of Cyrodiil ignored Barbas' warnings and gave Umbra to Clavicus in exchange for the Masque.
  • Romance Sidequest: The player character can get married if they so choose.
    • Fourth Date Marriage: Taken to ridiculous extremes. So long as you've spoken to the priest in Riften about marriage customs and have an amulet of Mara, you can get engaged to someone after having known them for all of an hour, and your sole interaction with them being beating them bloody in a bare-knuckle brawl. Most of the marriages are bit more complex than that, though some simply involve a fetch quest. The priest of Mara explains the custom: in the land of frigid blizzards, hungry trolls, tempermental giants, unpleasant undead, insane bears and an endless supply of vampires, bandits, wizards and wizard bandit vampires, the people of Skyrim don't really value long courtships... aside from the inherent lack of romanticism, one might easily kick the bucket before the courtship is complete. If you like someone, you tell them, and if they care enough about you, marriage ensues.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The game's conversations and book texts contain a number of errors of this nature. The "unofficial patch" mods list pages and pages of corrections.
  • Rubber Forehead Elves: Less so than in previous games though: elves look much less human than they used to, with elongated skulls and strangely shaped and colored eyes.
  • Running Gag:
    • M'aiq the Liar wanders the lands of Skyrim, telling tall tales as usual.
    • The Lusty Argonian Maid now has a second volume.
    • Your sweetrolls are still being stolen.
    • Fishy Sticks return, this time as a form of meditative stance used by... Sheogorath.


S

  • Sadistic Choice: You encounter this trope multiple times.
  • The Scapegoat: You in the Forsworn questchain in Markarth.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Thalmor are a fantasy variant. See A Nazi by Any Other Name above.
  • Scenery Porn: Par the course for a Bethesda game. Someone most definitely put a lot of work into the sky textures this time around. The water physics have also vastly improved. Case in point, this timelapse video. For a nice view, go to an iceberg in the middle of the northern sea, use Clear Skies, and marvel as you can see from Winterhold to Solitude.
    • Visiting Blackreach for the first time. You can spend a lot of time just trying to take in the sheer size of this cavern.
    • Eldergleam Sanctuary deserves a special mention too. It's a small grove inside a cave that demonstrates some of the game's most beautifully ambient qualities.
    • Head up toward High Hothgar (or possibly other mountainous areas) on a clear night: both the steps and the courtyard are ideal. Watch the pretty aurora and the twin moons creep majestically over the mountain peaks. Sky above, voice within, indeed.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • There are many booby-trapped pedestals in dungeons throughout the game, and soon you'll learn to be distrusting of any goodie you see resting on one. However, at least once the Schmuck Bait trope gets subverted. In the quest to get the Jagged Crown back, there's a pedestal with a worthless iron dagger on it. Picking up the dagger triggers the pressure pad on the pedestal, but instead of firing some poison darts, it makes a hidden passageway open up with a treasure chest beyond.
    • Meta-wise, there's the Dark Brotherhood questline, which can only be started by proving you're a person of questionable morality to begin with. You have to break into a young boy's home, trick him into thinking you're someone you're not, and kill someone in cold blood (arguably someone who deserves it). While it was possible to accidentally be contacted by the Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion, there is no chance of it being an accident this time. In the same questline, you can pull it on one of your Imperial targets. You're supposed to stealthily kill him and then plant evidence on him of being an assassin. But if you have a good pickpocket skill (or are willing to save scum till it works), you can simply tell him you're going to kill him and the Emperor and then kill him in the open as long as the guards see him attack you first. And if the guards are stormcloaks, they'll merrily hop in and help you kill him.
    • One dungeon contains a word wall with a trap door rigged to send you plummeting down into an evil necromancer's lair. Another dungeon reverses this equation by having a lethal spike trap guarding a chest which is revealed to contain only useless junk. And beneath the spike trap? A spiral staircase leading to a word wall. There are a number of other places where a prominently-displayed item must be picked up to continue; in other places, it's just helpful. Most if not all of these are placed to be very sure that the player won't be stuck without a key ability; for example, in several (linear) quests for the College of Winterhold, tomes of Flames and Frostbite will be provided just to make very very sure the player has access to fire and frost spells at the appropriate times.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: A very early one whose effects can be seen immediately at the beginning of the game. During the chaos of the dragon attacking the garrison at Helgen, you could run into the keep with either a Stormcloak lieutenant or an Imperial lieutenant. If you're with the Imperial, the keep is full of hostile Stormcloaks; if you're with the Stormcloak, it's full of hostile Imperials (including the female captain that ordered your execution without trial). Also seen in the side quest In My Time Of Need. Some hired Redguard mercenaries have been sent to Skyrim to capture a certain Redguard woman, who is a wanted fugitive in Hammerfell. She tells the player that the mercenaries were hired by the Thalmor, who want her dead for speaking out against them. The mercenaries, on the other hand, tell the player that this woman betrayed Hammerfell and her hometown to the Thalmor during the war, leading to the city's defeat. The game doesn't really reveal who is telling truth, so it's up to the player to decide who to believe.
  • Scooby-Doo Hoax: Subverted in the Shroud Hearth Barrow sidequest. The "spirit" haunting the barrow is a treasure hunter who's invented a potion to make him look like a ghost to scare everyone away while he works out how to plunder the tomb... but after six months without finding a way in, he's gone crazy and thinks he really is a guardian spirit. However, the barrow is actually full of Draugr and skeletons... but they're deeper in than where the treasure hunter was.
  • Screw Destiny: An interesting example since no one is certain whether or not it's The Hero doing this or the Big Bad. Paarthurnax muses on the possibility that Alduin is the one acting against destiny by trying to end the world before its time. The vagueness of the prophecy concerning Alduin and the Dragonborn doesn't help matters. Throughout the game, the Dragonborn always has the option of saying s/he doesn't care about destiny whenever someone brings it up. Despite being The Chosen One of destiny.
    • This is an actual element of the setting: there are certain individuals who are born who do not have destinies at all. These individuals are able to dramatically change history simply by existing. To date, all player characters in The Elder Scrolls series have been such. You can actually read a Book of Fate in Windhelm that is supposed to be a magical artifact that tells something about the future of whoever reads it, and that certain individuals only see blank pages because they have no fate (it's not clear if this is the truth or if the owner of the museum involved is just talking out his ass, especially as said owner is the insane serial killer haunting the streets at night).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The reason for the Nords' rebellion? Outrage over the White-Gold Concordant, which outlawed the worship of Talos and basically made the Empire the Dominion's bitch.
    • Dragons will, on rare occasions, retreat when fighting the Dragonborn if they take enough damage.
    • Having a high stamina meter will let you do this in a pinch. Especially useful in for mages and in the event of a bear attack.
    • Can also be pulled off by the player if there's nearby door or passage that transitions to another area, and the enemies are too dumb to follow.
    • Dragur and other undead run away from the player when you use the Scourge of the Undead scroll. This also means that they can run right out of area and into the next one, or disappear completely.
  • Screw You, Thalmor!: 'Tis a strong-willed player indeed who can resist the urge to run through, shout down, pincushion-ize or incinerate the smug arrogant Thalmor one encounters on the roads. The Thalmor were designed to be hate-able. Its not just restricted to the player, either. Walking into the center of the Jarl's court in Markarth, striding up to the Thalmor representative there and beheading him and his companions in full view of the entire court? You get charged forty septims for assault. The Nords really don't like the Thalmor.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Dragonborn's defeat of Alduin is only temporary, as confirmed by Arngier. Alduin is, in fact, a god, and therefore will return at the end of the world, meaning all your efforts have only extended the time til the end of the world. The difference is that it will occur when the gods plan it to, not when the caprices of a power-drunk domineering dragon entrusted with that task call for it.
  • Second-Hour Superpower: The Dragonborn gains the ability to use their first Shout only after completing one (relatively easy) dungeon and slaying one dragon (with significant back-up) in the storyline missions.
  • Sergeant Rock: Legate Rikke of the Imperial Legion.
  • Serial Killer: You need to catch one in Windhelm. A quick count of the skulls in his lair indicates he has killed at least 14 victims in Windhelm before you got involved.
  • Serious Business:
    • Mead in Skyrim is serious enough that there's a budding criminal empire based around it.
      • Implying that someone doesn't drink mead a.k.a. a 'milk drinker' is a fairly serious insult in Nord culture.
  • Shining City: Solitude, the Imperial capital of Skyrim, as far as Nord standards go. The seat of the High-King, a place of wealth, culture and power, and a thriving merchant hub.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Giants and Frost Atronachs will do this to stun people. Giants do it with their clubs. Frost atros do it with their club-shaped arms. In each case, they're trying to pound you into the ground, not slamming the ground just to stun you; the shockwave is merely the result of a near miss (and a reminder, especially in the case of giants, that you really, really don't want to get hit).
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog Story: A remarkably short example: you find a roughly circular area where everything was torched. In the middle, a spell tome of fire cloak. Next to it, a burnt, doubled over corpse. This is one of four apprentices of the Mage College in Winterhold who recently left to perform experiments in the field. The other three can also be found: one as a corpse surrounded by skeevers, with a few scrolls of fury and calm (perhaps he tried one and found it too much a success to try the other), and the other two as (respectively) a frostbitten corpse and riddled with arrows, both as a result of failures to find ways to keep mead magically chilled.
  • Shoplift and Die: While shopkeepers will draw weapons and attack (and report you for crimes) if you do take stuff in front of them, they finally don't put steal-able items in front of them so you don't accidentally bump the mouse or the analog stick, and the game interprets this as theft. On the other hand, if you do steal from them and don't pay with your life... they might send thugs after you to "teach you a lesson", telling the thugs on their contract they don't have to kill you, but the hirer doesn't mind if they do. That's right, the victim may try even harder than just attacking you to ensure you will die for theft even if it was something incredibly small and you paid off your bounty! Sometimes they'll even send thugs after you when there were no witnesses to prove it was you... or when they're dead!
  • Shout-Out: Numerous.
  • Slave Race: The Falmer spent many generations as slaves to the Dwemer, before rebelling and warring with them until, for unrelated reasons, the Dwemer all disappeared.
    • The Falmer have no qualms with giving the same treatments to humans. Human slaves can be found in the Falmer stronghold of Blackreach.
  • Slave Revolt: The Argonians have occupied the province of Morrowind, where they were once kept as slaves by the Dunmer, and seceded from the empire (which didn't lift a finger to help them escape from slavery in Morrowind).
  • Smash Mook: Giants. All they can really do is swipe at you, stomp on you and hit you with their clubs, but you really don't want to be on the wrong end of those clubs.
  • Smug Snake: Thonar Silver-Blood. Even his wife getting murdered makes him no less unsympathetic, and seeing him get explosively atomised by Forsworn magic is immensely satisfying.
  • Soft Water: Played with. Landing in water will break your fall to some extent, but don't expect a quarter inch of water to save you from dying from a long fall. It has to be deep enough for you to swim in at least, and maybe even deeper if you want to survive longer falls.
  • So Long and Thanks For All the Gear: On occasion, a quest will prevent a follower from tagging along. Sometimes the follower will just announce that he/she will be waiting where you found them, but sometimes the follower just won't be there when you go through a door or talk to a certain person. This can be maddening if you have them carrying something important for you, like a weapon too heavy for you to carry or specialized gear you bring for specific situations. Also, it's not unheard of for the game to "lose" them. It's possible for followers to "die" on the way back to the meeting spot or to get glitched someplace else, which is the final nail in playing this trope straight.
  • Sonar Sight: Since Falmer has been living centuries underground, he has been rendered blind. But they've excellent hearing to the point that they know how to use bows, but somehow magically silencing your footsteps renders them unable to detect you, unless you make some noise.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: At the end of Sheogorath's quest: "Feel free to keep the Wabbajack. As a symbol of my... Oh, just take the damn thing."
  • Space Compression: With a little bit of Thriving Ghost Town. Major battles are fought by dozens of men rather than, say, hundreds, and the cities aren't exactly huge. These are mostly Acceptable Breaks From Reality though, and pretty par for the course for an Elder Scrolls game by now anyway.
  • Spanner in the Works: You. Multiple times.
    • Thieves Guild: Mercer would have easily been able to dispose of Karliah and then leave the Guild high and dry while he makes off with the loot if the player never came into the picture.
    • Civil War: They intended to stretch out the civil war to drain the resources from both sides so that they could eventually and easily conquer Skyrim, but the Dragonborn appears and brings a decisive end to the battle in favor of either side, allowing their defenses to recover and prepare. So now the Thalmor have to face a fully prepared army led by a Physical God.
    • Alduin pretty much ruined Tullius's clean capture and execution of Ulfric in the beginning of the game. It would likely have ended the Civil War then and there.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": If you have subtitles enabled, a lot of characters' names are misspelled. Special mention goes to Sanguine's mortal avatar, whose last name has been spelled "Guenvere", "Gueyenne" and even "Guinevere" when it's supposed to be "Guevenne".
  • Spikes of Doom: Everywhere. You can't swing a dead skeever without hitting a spike trap in some dungeons.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The daedra and daedric armor. Falmer and Forsworn equipment are also pretty spiky and evil-looking; the Falmer don't seem able to make huts that aren't covered in spikes (but then, the Falmer do make everything out of chaurus chitin, and chaurus are spiky by nature).
  • Spirit World: Sovngarde is real, and you can go to it.
  • The Squadette: Gender makes very little difference in most professions, but standard nameless town guards or Imperial/Stormcloak soldiers have about a 1:7 ratio of women to men.
  • Sssssnaketalk: Averted! Argonians have a slight rasp to their voices, but otherwise speak completely normally this time. They don't even mutter "The prey approaches!" anymore if they don't like you. They sometimes hiss in combat, but it lacks words.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Ideally, most of the Thieves Guild missions are set up to be completed by stealth and guile rather than brute force: enemies are often much stronger than you can take on in multiples at your current level and are better off backstabbed or avoided entirely. However, as Black-Briar herself puts it, all that matters is results, so you could run around in the open stabbing enemies if you feel like it.
  • Stealth Pun: Orichalcum is now associated with Orcs.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Barbas can be a potential companion, and makes for a reasonably effective tank, especially as he cannot be killed. However, he stays extremely close to you, often pushing you around, and as long as he's in your party, you can't do anything stealthy, and he reports crimes you commit. Seeing as how he's Vile's conscience, and he wants to be reunited with him, this makes sense.
  • Storming the Castle: The second main plotline (the Civil War) culminates in you doing this to your opposing faction. Also, the good path of the Dark Brotherhood has you pulling one on their Sanctuary.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: Alduin. Also happens for many, many others, either for the whole game or until their parts are done. This is particularly vexing after the civil war plot is resolved: you are as-good-as-told to find the remaining enemy camps and wipe them out, but each one will be overseen by an "Essential" enemy leader who cannot be killed.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: One quest that involves tracking down the corpses of a fallen expedition into a dwemer ruin includes the objective to find and activate the dwemer defenses, namely their golems, which you then must fight to escape. However, justified: in a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moment, the player killed the giant spider that was stopping the falmer from invading Markarth from below, so reactivating the defences is necessary to prevent this from now happening.
    • In both the Companions' quest and the College of Winterhold quest, you have to activate something that would lock you into the room with no way to get out without a scripted scene. There is absolutely nothing you can do to avoid this, as the only way to proceed is to use the event flag to open the doors to go further.
    • Same with the Thieves' Guild/Nightinggale questline, where you need to jump into a pit with no way out, and you can find the skeleton of the last guy who did the same and starved to death! Good thing you picked up that Skeleton Key, right?
    • This ties in nicely with Story-Driven Invulnerability for some questlines. In the Winterhold quest, you encounter Ancano, who has Thalmor spy written all over him in big glowing letters and is a pompous, arrogant yerkass to boot. Yet you can't kill him until he almost brings about the destruction of the college and the town of Winterhold. May also count as You Can't Thwart Stage One.
  • Succession Crisis: The death of Skyrim's old High King led to this. The High King is supposed to be elected from among the nine Jarls, but with a civil war going on, nobody is willing to convene the Moot to hold the election.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Later, the dragons speak English.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Aside from what we've grown to expect, occasionally, NPCs will try to pick a fight with you, accepting which starts hand-to-hand combat. While all this is by no means unusual, said NPCs will pick fights with you even after it becomes known nationwide that you're the Dragonborn... which means you've killed at least one huge dangerous dragon. This doesn't seem to faze them. They'll also attempt unarmed challenges with a Khajit character, even though Khajit have huge claws.
    • Gameplay and Story Integration: As the Dovahkiin is tutored by the Graybeards and kills more of the dragons, he understands more of the Dragon Tongue, so this extends to the player as well. It is also likely that dragons understand some amount of the language spoken in Skyrim and switch between this and their own language when speaking to humans, as many people unfamiliar in a language often do. Dragons which actually speak to you - Paarthurnax and Odahviing - will swap mid sentence, but Alduin and a few of his named lieutenants will do so depending on whom they're speaking to.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: As noted above under Stupidity Is the Only Option, clearing out one Dwemer ruin of the Falmer that would invade the connecting city requires the player to activate the Dwemer golems, which will them wipe them out. The golems, at least, will stay in the ruin.

T

  • Take a Third Option: In the quest "With Friends Like These...", you are locked up in a cabin by the Dark Brotherhood and may only leave when you kill either a Khajit assassin, a Nord mercenary or an insufferable old noblewoman. Or all three. Or the Dark Brotherhood member ordering you to kill them. She even lampshades this by saying that you may only leave when 'someone' dies.
  • Takes One to Kill One: The only way to permanently kill a dragon is for another dragon (regardless of whether it has the body of a mortal or that of a dragon) to devour its soul.
  • Take That Player: M'aiq the liar reappears once more.

"M'aiq carries two weapons, to be safe. What if one breaks? That would be most unlucky."
"M'aiq is very practical. He has no need for Mysticism."
"It does not matter to M'aiq how strong or smart one is. It only matters what one can do."

  • Take That Us: In addition to telling off fans, M'aiq even takes cracks at the developers.

"Nords are so serious about beards. So many beards. M'aiq thinks they wish they had glorious manes like Khajiit."
"M'aiq loves the people of Skyrim. Many interesting things they say to each other."
"M'aiq saw a mudcrab the other day. Filthy things."

    • The scatterbrained court mage of Riften may babble that "once, you could find calipers all over Tamriel, but not anymore!". Which is yet another thing M'aiq can comment on as well.
  • Take Up My Sword: The Harbinger of the Companions posthumously anoints the Dragonborn as his successor.
  • Take Your Time: No matter what you're doing or how urgent it seems to be, you can put it on hold and go off and spend months of game time doing something else. Delphine will wait patiently for you to attend a party while you're busy working your way through the ranks at the Thieves Guild or the Mage College. The only thing that seems to be time sensitive is how long your followers will wait for you before returning home.
  • Team Pet: Lis the frostbite spider, in the Dark Brotherhood sanctuary.
  • Teleport Spam:
    • One draugr Bonus Boss does this.
    • As does Orchendor, the priest of Peryite at the end of The Only Cure.
    • So does Mercer Frey when you fight him. Unless you have a spell that dispels the guy's magic. It's a simple invisibility spell, but he uses it to appear as though he teleports.
  • Temple of Doom: The Nordic tombs and Dwemer ruins.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Sometimes when you fight a dragon, the main theme starts playing. When you defeat the dragon during themesong, it seems like this trope.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: A variation. The lyrics for "Dragonborn" can be found in-game in the book Songs of Skyrim, along with a translation.
  • There Is Another: Elisif and Arngeir hint that there might be another who is capable of performing the Thu'um.
  • They Walk Among Us: Plenty of examples. You can be talking to a character and have no idea that you're conversing with a vampire, werewolf or daedra. There are ways to root them out, such as casting Detect Life or going into quests which expose them, but going by appearance, sound and behavior, you'd never know.
  • Thieves' Guild: It's not doing well in this game.
  • Third Person Person: The entire Khajiit race.
  • Time Skip: By far the largest one so far. With Oblivion taking place only forty years after Arena (the very first game), the previous four games were extremely close together in the Elder Scrolls timeline.
  • Time Travel: Alduin couldn't be defeated the last time someone fought him, only sent forward in time to a point wherein someone could. In this case, the Dovahkiin. The Dovahkiin travels the opposite way on two separate occasions.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Many bandits and criminals who get involved with the Dragonborn. Here are examples:
    • Arvel the Swift in Bleak Falls Barrow is probably the first user of this trope you encounter. After you save his life and free him from the web he's encased in, he'll refuse to hand over the Golden Claw. He'll run recklessly ahead into a cave that at this point has proven to house all sorts of dangers, and potentially pisses off someone who was skilled enough to kill a Giant Spider. Even if you don't kill him, he'll inevitably awaken all the Draugr up ahead, who will happily do the deed themselves.
    • In Ravenscar Hollow, you find a raider in a cage who begs you to free him from the Hagravens who imprisoned him. After dealing with the Hagravens and freeing him, he attempts to mug you. The one who just took on three Hagravens. As he wears noting but rags. And he doesn't attack you until he's said he's going to.
    • Similarly, the mad necromancer in Rannveig's Fast smugly explains how he's going to kill you while slowly walking away with his back to you. The number of players who let him finish his speech is likely very low.
    • Following the Thieves Guild storyline, some bandits in the Pilgrim's Path come under this. Stealing from Nocturnal is not exactly recommended anyway, but they really couldn't have picked a worse place to try it on.
    • The random 'your money or your life' type of thieves you encounter in the wilderness. Sometimes they see you fight and kill a dragon and then decide its a good idea to attempt to rob the person who just killed the most dangerous being of Skyrim. You can tell them that they're literally not worth your time. Despite seeing what you could do, they get mad and attack you anyways.
    • A female dark elf in a dungeon asks you to help her get the way cleared for her in a dungeon, and makes you do all the work. The dungeon is full of undead and dangerous traps, and she has only basic clothes and maybe a low grade dagger. After you clear the path for her, she rushes into the main chamber, shouting "It's my treasure! Mine!", and runs right into the most deadly trap in the dungeon. And the "treasure" would have been pretty much useless to her anyways.
    • One of the wizards at the college attempts to recreate the circumstances that led to the extinction of the Dwemer... and vanishes from reality.
  • Took a Level in Badass: All races, especially Bosmer, Argonians and Khajiit.
    • Mudcrabs are bulkier, hardier, hide buried in riverbeds before bursting out to attack, and can inflict noticeable damage this time around.
    • Finishing moves and Dual-Wielding make conventional combat significantly more brutal than before and offensive spells now include Sith-style chain lightning, setting yourself on fire to burn anyone who gets close, and hurling yard-long icicles that impale people!
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Altmer (high elves) go from snobbish and stuck up to truly astounding levels of dickery, even before you include the Great War and the White-Gold Concordat. For example, they've annexed the nation of the Wood Elves, making them into indentured servants, and made the Khajiit's nation into a vassal. Also, if you kill one of their kind, just one, even if he just tried to destroy the world, they'll put out a hit out on you.
    • That describes the Thalmor, the government of Alinor/Summerset Isle and the Aldmeri Dominion. Altmer not hailing from the Dominion tend to be slightly less dickish, if for no other reason that they aren't true Altmer to the Thalmor.
    • The Blades. There are only two in game, but for people whose purpose is to serve the Dragonborn, they have an odd tendency to treat you as a lackey, making demands and presenting ultimatums unless you follow those demands.
  • Town with a Dark Secret:
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: A cannibal priestess claims that the Dovahkiin has repressed meories of losing a sibling when the were children, and eating the corpse out of curiosity. Whether or not this is true is up to the player to decide.
  • Treacherous Quest-Giver: Many.
  • Treasure Map: You can filch some off bandits, leading you to hidden chests.
  • Try Everything: One of the two ways you find out an alchemy ingredient's properties is tasting it to learn the first property. The other way is by combining it willy-nilly with whatever else you have on hand; the game helps you with this by keeping track of combinations you have already tried and greying them out.
  • Twenty Bear Asses: Temba Wide-Arm goes halfway towards a literal example, requiring you to bring her ten bear pelts.

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