Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

"The forceful expression of will gives true honor to the Ancestors."
―Motto of House Telvanni[src]

House Telvanni is one of the Great Houses of Morrowind. The Telvanni are a House of wizard-lords who have mastered the arcane arts,[1] and are hostile to the Empire, Temple, and other Great Houses.[2] Their capital is the city of Port Telvannis in the northeast archipelago of the province.[3] During the late Third Era, Vivec described the Telvanni as being similar to Sotha Sil in that they are "iconoclastic, profane, [and] unconventional."[4] The Telvanni are the only known people with the power to raise life from ash,[5] and are considered masters of enchanting in Morrowind.[6] The patron saint of House Telvanni is Saint Vorys.[7] They are ruled by the Parliament of Bugs, a group of High Telvanni wizards.[UL 1]

By game[]

Arms and armor[]

A lot of the Telvanni arms and armor have some form of influence based on the fungi used by the Telvanni. In the absence of metal, Telvanni axes are even crafted from forge-hardened ferrofungus, and while generally not using bows in the House, the House thralls of the Telvanni are used as archers.[8]


The Telvanni are known as being the most xenophobic of the Dunmer, shunning contact with outsiders, and instead focusing themselves on their herds of giant insects in the rocky hills and islands of the northeast of Morrowind. The Telvanni produce Telvanni Bug Musk, a highly prized perfume among the Dunmer, and the riding insects bred by the Telvanni claim the highest prices on the markets of Mournhold and Narsis.[9] They strongly defend their right to own slaves, keeping many Argonians and Khajiits as possession. Despite this, the Telvanni will accept anyone, regardless of race or birthplace, to join their ranks, having to meet representatives known as "Mouths" of the Councilors of House Telvanni. Some fear that the Telvanni only accept people with high intelligence and willpower, but even this is exaggerated, as even modest folk are accepted.[10]

Advancement in the House does depend on an increased intelligence and willpower, as well as proficiency in the magical arts. Even so, promotion remains difficult for outsiders, due to House Telvanni openly accepting murder and assassination as legitimate means of advancement.[10] The Telvanni Wizard-Lords depend on loyal, well-paid, skilled retainers for services. Though recruitment of the Telvanni does occur within the House itself, the House often needs to venture beyond their own to hire the required craftsmen and specialists.[10]

House Telvanni does not place constraint on the ambitions and enterprise of its members, according to ancient laws and customs of the Telvanni. As such, the Telvanni were permitted by their own House to settle on regions where they held no authority. The Telvanni Council did openly acknowledge that these individuals were at the mercy of other factions in the region, but that the Telvanni themselves would not get involved.[11]


The rules of the Telvanni follow a pattern of might makes right. Any Telvanni who successfully steals from another is permitted by House law to keep the item. Likewise, murdering an opponent by magic or treachery is also permitted, as it's the traditional way of settling disputes in the House. Members of House Telvanni can still be expelled, however most members of the House will either not know, or care, about the expulsion.[12]


The following are the beliefs of House Hlaalu, Redoran, and the Imperial Cult on the Great House Telvanni.

The practices of House Telvanni were considered to be impious and inhumane by the members of the Imperial Cult,[13] House Redoran considerings House Telvanni to be a house of scheming,[14] and while House Hlaalu recognizes the Telvanni for their extensive knowledge of the arcane arts, they also point out how the House fights among itself more than others.[15]

Mushroom towers[]

Mushroom Tower card art

A Telvanni mushroom tower.

Certain members of the Telvanni live in elaborate mushroom towers, the reasoning as to why they live this way is kept from outsiders.[16] What is known is that the Telvanni grow the towers themselves through secret means, and that the Master Wizards of the House traditionally live in them.[17]

Telvanni members of the rank of Spellwright seeking further advancement in the House are required to construct a mushroom tower in order to advance to the rank of Wizard.[18] The foundations of the mushroom towers are formed from the souls of two powerful Daedra, most commonly Storm Atronachs, Winged Twilights, or Golden Saints.[19] These souls are stored in Grand Soul Gems, and placed at the base of the mushroom tower.[20] The strong souls from these Daedra form the foundation of the tower, and help it to grow.[19] Telvanni towers commonly had some form of levitation magic required to gain full access to the tower.[21][22]


Archmagister Gothren

Archmagister Gothren during the late-Third Era.

  • Hireling
  • Retainer
  • Oathman
  • Lawman
  • Mouth
  • Spellwright
  • Wizard
  • Master
  • Magister
  • Archmagister

Within House Telvanni, advancing beyond the rank of Lawman requires a patron who a person can be the Mouth of. The Mouths of House Telvanni represent their patrons on the Telvanni Council and do chores for their master.[23] Traditionally, the new Mouth is awarded a Silver Staff of Peace by their patron.[24][25] Another traditonal reward by a patron for good service is the Silver Staff of War.[26] Favored magical skills of the Telvanni are Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Enchanting, Illusion and Mysticism.[10]

While those of the rank of Wizard and above have the right to participate on the Council, members are not obligated to actually participate in the Telvanni politics. Those who join the Council can also leave again at a later date if they so choose.[27]

The highest achievable ranks of Master, Magister, and Archmagister are related to one another. The Archmagister is the head of House Telvanni, and those wishing to replace them are advanced to the rank of Magister. In contrast, Wizards seeking advancement without a desire to lead the House, can instead be promoted to Master. Those who accept the advancement to Magister publicy announce their belief that they have the right to rule the House, and must defeat the ruling Archmagister to take their spot, while also needing the support of the other Councilors of the House.[28]


First Era[]

During the First Era, House Telvanni, like the other Great Houses, was involved in a conflict against the Sixth House and the Dwemer in Morrowind. The Dwemer and the Sixth House, alongside their Orc and Nord allies, were initially greatly successful, taking up most of the Redoran, Telvanni, and Vvardenfell territories. The Great Houses suffered numerous defeats, until Lord Indoril Nerevar was appointed Hortator, and united the Houses to fight back, eventually finding victory.[29]

One Telvanni retainer is the author of the book "The Real Nerevar", detailing the creation of Resdayn, and a short history of the land up until the death of Nerevar. The book claims that the Moon-and-Star could only be worn by Nerevar himself, and that anyone else who tried to wear it would find death.[30]

Second Era[]

During the Second Akaviri Invasions, the Great House Telvanni had their peninsula ignored by the Akaviri hordes, who landed in Skyrim instead.[31] Because their lands weren't threatened by the invasion, the Telvanni didn't care about the forming of the Ebonheart Pact either, and chose not to join it, being friends of neither the Argonians or the Nords. When the Pact formed, the Telvanni were said to have released every other House trooper they had in their employ.[32]

Tiber Wars[]

When Tiber Septim's Imperial Legions invaded Morrowind, House Telvanni was neutral in how to respond to the threat. House Hlaalu proposed accommodation, whereas the Indoril, Dres, and Redoran proposed opposition. When House Redoran had to face the brunt of the Legion forces on its own, it was eager for an excuse to leave the opposition. When Vivec announced a proposed treaty, House Redoran changed sides, now supporting accommodation instead. House Telvanni, seeing the situation, decided to follow suit.[33] Eventually, Morrowind joined the Empire as one of the last provinces, having officially joined it through treaty.[34]

Third Era[]


Sadrith Mora, capital of House Telvanni on Vvardenfell, houses Tel Naga of Master Neloth.

During the Vvardenfell Crisis, House Telvanni harbored two major slavery posts on Vvardenfell, one at Tel Aruhn and one at Sadrith Mora.[21] The Telvanni themselves refused to join in discussions on the outlawing of slavery, insisting that the right to own slaves was gauranteed through the Armistice.[11]

House Telvanni was also attempting rapid illegal expansion of their land, starting with Tel Vos. In response, both the Hlaalu and the Redoran sent out forces in attempts to fight back against the illegal settlements, though the Redoran were generally unsuccessful.[35] House Telvanni publicly denied supporting these settlements,[36] though in reality, they supported their endeavors.[37] During these times, House Telvanni relied on Bosmer and Bretons for mercenary work.[36] Within Telvanni politics, certain members such as Master Aryon attempted to limit the power held by the old Telvanni members such as Gothren and Neloth.[25] With the aid of the Councilors of House Redoran, the Telvanni also managed to invalidate the Mages Guild monopoly on the teachings of magic in Morrowind.[38]

In regards to the Nerevarine himself, the Telvanni Councillors were all not too concerned regarding the position, and most accepted without an issue. The only problem was with Archmagister Gothren, who refused to name the Nerevarine Hortator, and had to be killed instead.[39]

Oblivion Crisis[]

While little is known of how the Telvanni themselves fared during the Crisis, it is known that the Telvanni on Vvardenfell tried their best to close the Oblivion Gates, but to no avail.[40]

It is also known that one of the Telvanni intended to take over the Empire. Frathen Drothan had raised a private army, known as the Drothmeri Army, in an attempt to overthrow the Empire.[41] In an attempt to hinder this attempt, someone had hired the Morag Tong to take out the commander of the army, known as Commander Telani Adrethi.[42]

The loyalty of the men serving under Frathen was not great, with some considering him a madman.[43] Most of the army only supported the cause of Frathen due to his high payments, and were planning on deserting his force as soon as he would actually go to battle.[44] Eventually, the Drothmeri army was defeated by the Champion of Cyrodiil, and Frathen Drothan's plans were stopped.[45]

Fourth Era[]

The Fourth Era saw Morrowind, and the Telvanni, suffer under both the Red Year and the Argonian Invasion. Primarily the latter, with Argonians having successfully raided Telvanni settlements, implied to have gone as far as Tel Vos. Their losses to the An-Xileel invaders even led some of the House to believe that the entire Great House had fallen.[46]

Sometime after these events, House Telvanni no longer had holdings on mainland Morrowind, only having possessions on Vvardenfell instead. While lacking in possessions, there were still several Wizard Lords within the House. In contrast to the other Wizard Lords, Master Neloth had Tel Mithryn on Solstheim as opposed to Vvardenfell.[47]

Dragon Crisis[]

Tel Mithryn

Tel Mithryn, a mushroom tower on Solstheim of Master Neloth, constructed during the Fourth Era.

House Telvanni saw some developments during the Dragon Crisis of 4E 201, primarily on the isle of Solstheim under the command of Master Neloth. Within Skyrim, Brelyna Maryon was one of the first Telvanni to have left Morrowind in a long time, choosing to settle at the College of Winterhold to study conjuration magic.[48] Ironically, Master Neloth proclaimed that Savos Aren, the Arch-Mage at Winterhold wouldn't be fit to be his apprentice, though Neloth did admit that Savos knew decent ward spells.[47]

On Solstheim itself, Neloth experimented on the Heart Stones, which he believed arrived on the island with the eruption of Red Mountain.[49] Neloth sought to experiment with the Stones on living subjects, and because of it, required knowledge in regards to the Forsworn Briarhearts.[50] Other research from Neloth allowed him to learn that heart stones located near ash will allow the ash to animate. These ash spawn ended up attacking Tel Mithryn, and it would turn out that their reanimation was the work of Ildari Sarothril, a former apprentice of Master Neloth.[51] Ildari felt betrayed by Neloth due to her suffering during the Heart Stone experiment, and became increasingly paranoid afterwards,[52][53][54] eventually even resurrecting the long-dead General Falx Carius.[55]

Neloth would also come in contact with the Last Dragonborn during their quest to defeat Miraak. Neloth, in research on the Black Books, discovered the location of a Black Book hidden in a Dwemer ruin, which he was unable to obtain on his own. Through successful teamwork, the Dragonborn was able to read the Black Book, and learn its secrets.[56] Following this, Neloth learned what the secrets the Black Book held, and returned to Tel Mithryn, believing he had learned a new way to locate Black Books.[57]




  1. Great Houses of Morrowind
  2. "Great Houses" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  3. Morrowind Game Files Map
  4. Dialogue with Vivec during "Hortator and Nerevarine"
  5. Dialogue with Garyn Ienth
  6. "enchantments" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  7. Mottos of the Dunmeri Great Houses
  8. Crafting Motif 50: Telvanni Style
  9. Pocket Guide to the Empire, First Edition: Morrowind
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 The Affairs of Wizards
  11. 11.0 11.1 Brown Book of 3E 426
  12. "join House Telvanni" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  13. For my Gods and Emperor
  14. The True Noble's Code
  15. Grasping Fortune
  16. Testimonials on Mushroom Towers
  17. Loading screen in The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn
  18. Dialogue with Aryon during "Telvanni Stronghold"
  19. 19.0 19.1 Dialogue with Llunela Hleran during "Telvanni Stronghold"
  20. Events of "Telvanni Stronghold"
  21. 21.0 21.1 Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  22. Events of The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn
  23. Dialogue with Fast Eddie after "Recruit a Mouth"
  24. Events of "Recruit a Mouth"
  25. 25.0 25.1 Dialogue with Aryon during "Baladas Demnevanni"
  26. Dialogue with Aryon during "Mages Guild Monopoly"
  27. Dialogue with Baladas Demnevanni during "Baladas Demnevanni"
  28. Dialogue with Aryon during "Archmagister Gothren"
  29. War of the First Council
  30. The Real Nerevar
  31. The Second Akaviri Invasion
  32. The Great Houses and Their Uses
  33. On Morrowind
  34. A Short History of Morrowind
  35. "enchantments" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  36. 36.0 36.1 "Morrowind lore" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  37. "Troubles for House Telvanni" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  38. Events of "Mages Guild Monopoly"
  39. Events of "Telvanni Hortator"
  40. Overheard rumors in Oblivion
  41. Drothan's Journal
  42. Soiled Writ of Assassination
  43. An Undelivered Letter
  44. Letter Home
  45. Events of "Unearthing Mehrunes' Razor"
  46. Lymdrenn Tenvanni's Journal
  47. 47.0 47.1 Dialogue with Neloth in The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn
  48. Dialogue with Brelyna Maryon
  49. Dialogue with Talvas Fathryon
  50. Events of "Briarheart Necropsy"
  51. Events of "Old Friends"
  52. Ildari's Journal, vol. I
  53. Ildari's Journal, vol. II
  54. Ildari's Journal, vol. III
  55. Ildari's Journal
  56. Events of "The Path of Knowledge"
  57. Dialogue with Neloth during "The Gardener of Men"
  58. On Morrowind
Notice: The following are unlicensed references. They are not copyrighted by a ZeniMax Media company, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.