Elder Scrolls
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For other uses, see Altmer.

Altmer in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Known as "Altmer" in their homeland of Summerset Isle, the High Elves are the most gifted in the arcane arts of all the races. They can call upon their Highborn power to regenerate Magicka quickly.

Altmer are one of the ten playable races in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Due to their magical affinities, the Altmer excel at mage-based classes.


A female and male Altmer.

As a race, some Altmer strive to maintain the appearance of their ancestor race, the Aldmer, primarily through highly selective traditions surrounding marriage and reproduction. They are among the tallest of the humanoid races, taller than most humans and much taller than other mer. Their skin maintains a very pale gold hue, not quite the pale white of the northern human races such as Nords or Bretons, but far lighter than the Bosmer. They are slender, with prominently pointed ears and almond-shaped eyes that can be amber, green, or yellow. Altmer are among the most intelligent and magically-inclined races on Nirn, surpassing even the Bretons in magical aptitude. High Elves are well known for their noble countenance, and are arrogant or disdainful more often than not when addressing humans. The Altmer are the tallest race in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, standing at a scale of 1.08. However, as with all races, when in first-person mode, the camera height is 1.00.

Fourth Era history[]

Thalmor Wizard.

The Great War[]

Between the Oblivion Crisis and Dragon Crisis, the Mede Empire is attacked by the Aldmeri Dominion, an alliance of Elves, comprised mainly of the Altmer and their Bosmer allies. The Empire saved itself only by negotiating the White-Gold Concordat, a treaty which seems to heavily favor the Dominion, though there were great casualties on both sides. The Elves' ruling government, the Thalmor, are Elven supremacists determined to end the dominance of man and the Empire as a whole. They also call the Great War the "First War with the Empire."[1][2]

White-Gold Concordat[]

The White-Gold Concordat enables the Thalmor to move freely throughout the Empire and to suppress the worship of the Man-God Talos. Resentment toward the Altmer, and toward the Empire for surrendering to them, runs rampant in the proud Nords of Skyrim.[3][4] The Thalmor are encountered several times in Skyrim, in particular in the Thalmor Embassy, located to the west of Solitude. Thalmor Justiciars encountered on the roads are almost always antagonistic, using veiled hostility if not outright aggression when encountered, though this is usually in the form of verbal warnings.

Presence in Skyrim[]

Many of the Altmer encountered emigrated from the Summerset Isles to become Alchemists, Enchanters, and mages in Skyrim. Others became members of the College of Winterhold, due to their innate magical abilities. Another potential possibility is that during the rise of the Thalmor, many Altmer with strong loyalty to the Empire fled the Summerset Isles to escape the new Aldmeri Dominion. Even so, the Stormcloaks still show prejudice to the Altmer, though on a much lesser scale than their Dunmeri cousins from Morrowind.[5]

After the signing of the White-Gold Concordat, Altmeri presence in Skyrim have increased considerably, mostly in the form of Thalmor soldiers and Justiciars. They explicitly outlaw the worship of Talos and thus have angered a majority of Skyrim's denizens. The fact that people are being taken out of their homes or off the streets by the Thalmor with little to no evidence of actual Talos worship indicates that the reason of stamping out Talos worship may just be a front, with the real intention of sabotage and/or demoralization.[6]


Origins and identity[]

The Altmer are one of the oldest races on Tamriel, one of the earliest descendants of the original mer race of Aldmer, and from there, through the Ehlnofey to the divine et'Ada themselves. As a race, they are extremely proud of their Aldmeri heritage, and make a concerted effort to maintain their genetic lineage. Their name translates from the Aldmeri language as High Ones or Cultured Ones. For their part, the Altmer argue that they are the first true culture on Tamriel, and still the most civilized race, an argument that even human scholars find difficult to refute.


A map of Summerset Isle

The Altmer primarily live in the province of Summerset Isle, a large island off the southwest coast of Tamriel, which shares a border with Valenwood. According to their histories, their Aldmeri ancestors arrived on Summerset Isle after fleeing the catastrophic sinking of their original home continent, Aldmeris. From here, splinter groups of Aldmer spread throughout Tamriel, but the Altmer remained on the Isles, acting as the nominal head of the empire of meri nations on Tamriel. For most of the Merethic Era, the other races of elves on Tamriel acknowledged the Altmeri king as their own ruler, a practice which persisted until the founding of the Camoran Dynasty in Valenwood marked the start of the First Era and the beginning of the decline of Altmer-dominated Tamriel. Their influence is still felt across the continent, however, as their culture forms the basis for the religion, language, and even architecture of the Cyrodilic Empire.

Character creation[]

"Also known as "Altmer" in their homeland of Summerset Isle, the high elves are the most strongly gifted in the arcane arts of all the races. They can call upon their Highborn power to regenerate Magicka quickly."
―Racial description[src]

Altmer in Skyrim.

Skill bonuses[]

Starting spells[]

Special abilities[]

  • Highborn: Regenerate magicka faster for 60 seconds, once a day.
  • Fortify Magicka: Passive increase in magicka by 50 points. If the player is a vampire and the Necromage perk is taken from the Restoration perk tree, this will increase by 25% to 62 points.

Unique gameplay[]

An Altmer woman with her conjured Atronach.

Due to their increased maximum magicka and magicka regeneration, the Altmer make excellent mages and are able to better fit playstyles centred around magic. While other races can gain bonuses rivaling that of Altmer through enchanted items, perks and Standing Stones, these inherent bonuses allow Altmer to focus on other improvements during the game's early stages.

The bonus of +50 magicka also allows Altmer to use five levels on boosting health or stamina instead of magicka, if they so choose, without experiencing a deficiency in magicka that other races would face. Their racial power of regenerating magicka faster allows them to cast more spells and high-cost spells at a naturally quicker pace.

Notable Altmer[]


  • There is only one Altmer available for marriage in Skyrim: Taarie, in Solitude.
  • Altmer are the only playable race that do not appear as bandits, though both female and male Altmer can often be found as vampires, necromancers, conjurers, and hostile mages.
  • Unlike all other playable races, there are no Altmer followers.


See also[]