Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Some of the playable races in Skyrim.

For other uses, see Race.

There are ten different playable races in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Each one possesses its own unique racial abilities and powers. Each race starts with +10 in one skill and +5 in five other skills. However, this doesn't mean that a race is restricted to a certain play-style, as it is possible to develop any skill over time. Unlike other The Elder Scrolls games, Skyrim does not feature classes, so in character creation, the race is the only major gameplay choice that the player must make.

Playable races

Tamriel is the home of all the ten main races, each occupying a different portion of the continent.

Image Race Effects Power
SepLnUp Argonian b5&c3 Argonian Waterbreathing and 50% Disease Resistance Histskin: Regenerate health 10x faster for 60 seconds
SepLnUp Khajiit a1&c1 Khajiit +15 Base Unarmed Damage Night Eye: Night vision for 60 seconds
SepLnUp Redguard b3&c5 Redguard 50% Poison Resistance Adrenaline Rush: Regenerate stamina 10x faster for 60 seconds
SepLnUp Nord a1&c1 Nord 50% Frost Resistance Battle Cry: Nearby enemies are Frightened for 30 seconds
SepLnUp Breton b5&c2 Breton 25% Magic Resistance Dragonskin: Absorb 50% of magicka from all incoming spells for 60 seconds
SepLnUp Imperial a1&c2 Imperial Find more Gold than usual Voice of the Emperor: Nearby people are Calmed for 30 seconds
SepLnUp Orsimer b4&d2 Orsimer Can enter Orc Strongholds without becoming Blood-Kin Berserker Rage: Take half damage and do double physical damage for 60 seconds
Bosmer (Skyrim) Bosmer 50% Disease & Poison Resistance Command Animal: Make an animal an ally for 60 seconds
SepLnUp Altmer b1&c1 Altmer +50 Magicka Highborn: Regenerate 25% of your maximum magicka per second for 60 seconds
SepLnUp Dunmer b4&d4 Dunmer 50% Fire Resistance Ancestor's Wrath: Surrounds you in fire for 60 seconds

Starting skills by race

The following table shows the starting skill statistics for each race. The higher the number (over the base level of 15) the better. Values of 20 indicate this is a favored skill of the race. Values of 25 indicate this is a primary skill of the race. Skills can be improved to a primary group.

Every race has their own unique skill which they excel at and will start at level 25 with that particular skill. For example, Bretons start at level 25 Conjuration as they are naturally skilled at it.

Races →
Skills ↓
Altmer Argonian Bosmer Breton Dunmer Imperial Khajiit Nord Orsimer Redguard
Smithing 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 20 20 20
Heavy Armor 15 15 15 15 15 20 15 15 25 15
Block 15 15 15 15 15 20 15 20 20 20
Two-Handed 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 25 20 15
One-Handed 15 15 15 15 15 20 20 20 20 25
Archery 15 15 25 15 15 15 20 15 15 20
Light Armor 15 20 20 15 20 15 15 20 15 15
Sneak 15 20 20 15 20 15 25 15 15 15
Lockpicking 15 25 20 15 15 15 20 15 15 15
Pickpocket 15 20 20 15 15 15 20 15 15 15
Speech 15 15 15 20 15 15 15 20 15 15
Alchemy 15 15 20 20 20 15 20 15 15 15
Illusion 25 15 15 20 20 15 15 15 15 15
Conjuration 20 15 15 25 15 15 15 15 15 15
Destruction 20 15 15 15 25 20 15 15 15 20
Restoration 20 20 15 20 15 25 15 15 15 15
Alteration 20 20 15 20 20 15 15 15 15 20
Enchanting 20 15 15 15 15 20 15 15 20 15

Starting spells by race

Every race begins with Healing and Flames. Dunmer start with an additional Sparks, whilst Altmer instead start with an additional Fury, and Bretons instead start with an additional Conjure Familiar.

Survival Mode

 Creation Club   The following are the additional racial effects in the Creation Club of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition.

  • Argonian: "Argonians become colder 25% faster in cold environments.", "Your Argonian blood allows you to eat raw meat without risk of disease."
  • Khajiit: "Your Khajiit blood improves your resistance to cold environments by 15 points.", "Your Khajiit blood allows you to eat raw meat without risk of disease."
  • Nord: "Your Nord blood improves your resistance to cold environments by 25 points."
  • Altmer: "Your High Elf blood gives you 25% resistance to fatigue."
  • Bosmer: "Your Bosmer blood gives you 25% resistance to fatigue."
  • Dunmer: "Your Dunmer blood gives you 25% resistance to fatigue."
  • Orsimer: "Your Orc blood gives you 15% resistance to hunger and fatigue, and increases your resistance to cold environments by 10 points."

Stats affected by character size


Getscale command on a Male Nord. Returns 1.00.

Race specific scales can be found in the brackets when the getscale command is used on the player or a non-playable character. Non-bracket value is the default 1.00 console value and are unique for each specific race, for example, Altmer 1.00 value is different from Breton 1.00 value.

At least walking/running speed and jump height is affected by the height value. The console command player.setscale can be used to change the height of the character. Because changing the player scale in the console increases and decreases melee damage accordingly, there is a misconception that taller races do more base melee damage.[1]

Attributes Argonian Khajiit Redguard Nord Breton Imperial Orsimer Bosmer Altmer Dunmer
Height 1.01 1.00 1.00 0.95 1.00 1.03 1.00 0.95 1.00 1.04 0.98 1.00 1.08 1.00
Weight 0.50 1.00 0.50 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.50 1.00

Changes from previous games

Character creation has been dramatically changed in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Previous games had the player choose from a list of classes that would determine the starting skills for the player's character and in some cases, how the player's character would level. The player also had the option of creating a custom class, selecting each skill individually. This system had a very large impact on player effectiveness in the beginning of the game, though Oblivion's system was able to lessen that impact. A player could spend hours working out the most effective way to build a character.

In Skyrim, however, that system has been removed, meaning that though the player will still select a race, the player no longer has to select a class. Skill set specialization is still possible in Skyrim, but instead of permanently selecting this during character creation, this is now done using the skill perks earned by leveling up (both skills and player level, as perks are earned by overall level while skill level is required to select any but the most basic perks). The birthsign system has been replaced completely with Standing Stones, which can be changed at any time by visiting and activating a new stone.

The Luck attribute has also been removed and is therefore impossible to increase. Skills have been further reduced from a total of 21 to 18. There are no acrobatics/athletics or speed attributes so it is not possible to increase your jump height or your character's running speed through stats.

If a player maxes out all skills, the character will reach level 81, meaning there are 80 (no perk can be chosen at level 1) possible perk points to choose from, out of over 250 possible places to spend them. Previously, this was the effective level cap for the player character, however this changed with Patch 1.9 and the introduction of Legendary Skills. Legendary skills allow the player to refund all the perk points from a single maxed out skill and set its level back to 15 (the game's starting point). Skills can be made legendary multiple times, allowing the player to level their character indefinitely.

A typical player will not max out all skills to 100, and will instead reach only around level 50 or so. A character designed around 30 perk points is a reasonable build that can be reached in-game fairly quickly and is a great starting point for those who want to design the character before playing.


Main article: Elder

In Skyrim, one of the races is called Elder. It cannot be chosen during character creation. It is solely composed of human characters that appear much older than most people. Arngeir, Esbern and Septimus Signus are some of the people who are part of the Elder race.[2]

Snow Elves

Main article: Snow Elves

The Snow Elves are a race of Mer that cannot be chosen during character creation. During the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard, two living Snow Elves are encountered, Knight-Paladin Gelebor and his brother Arch-Curate Vyrthur. They are, physically, very similar to High Elves, except for their white skin and hair.[3]

See also