Races in Skyrim are one of the main choices made during Character Creation. Each Race has different physical appearance options and unique powers that can only be used once a day. Picking a Race will give players various bonuses to certain skills, each option giving 10 levels to one main skill and 5 levels to 5 other skills. The Race selection is the only option that has an impact on the character's skills and abilities during Character Creation. All Races start with 2 basic spells - Flames and Healing.
Do note that while it is possible to change your character's appearance by paying Galathil 1000 gold with the Dawnguard DLC installed, character Name, Race and Gender cannot be altered once chosen during Character Creation. This page features all 10 Race options available to the player in-game and their effects on gameplay.
Race Variety in Skyrim
Other Notes on Skyrim Races
- Player movement speed is dependent on the height of their race: Altmer (High Elves) being the tallest race, have a larger speed multiplier, with Orcs being the second tallest and fastest.
- There are minor dialogue differences depending on the race player chosen
- Quests storylines are not affected by race choices
- Although the in-game text says "Khajiit claws do 15 points of damage.", the actual effect magnitude is only 12 points.
Skyrim All Races
In addition to their quick and perceptive grasp of spellcraft, even the humblest of High Rock's Bretons can boast a resistance to magic. Bretons can call upon the Dragonskin power to absorb spells.
- Home Province: High Rock
- Abilities: Resist Magic 25%
- Powers: Dragonskin
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): Conjuration
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Alchemy, Alteration, Illusion, Restoration, Speech
- Additional Spell: Conjure Familiar
A good choice if playing a battlemage archetype, with bonuses to several schools of magic and high magic resistance. Their Power allows them to absorb a percentage of Magicka from enemy magic spells.
Natives of Cyrodiil, they have proved to be shrewd diplomats and traders, They are skilled with combat and magic. Anywhere gold coins might be found, Imperials always seem to find a few more. They can call upon the Voice of the Emperor to calm an enemy.
- Home Province: Cyrodiil
- Abilities: Imperial Luck
- Powers: Voice of the Emperor
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): Restoration
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Block, Destruction, Enchanting, Heavy Armor, One-handed
An option with a well-rounded toolkit. Their Power is a great get out of jail free card when dealing with hostile NPCs.
Citizens of Skyrim, they are a tall and fair-haired people. Strong and hardy, Nords are famous for their resistance to cold and their talent as warriors. They can use a Battlecry to make opponents flee.
- Home Province: Skyrim
- Abilities: Resist Frost 50%
- Powers: Battle Cry
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): Two-handed
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Block, Light Armor, One-handed, Smithing, Speech
A great choice for 2-handed warriors. Their Power causes nearby Enemies to flee for a short period of time.
The most naturally talented warriors in Tamriel, the Redguards of Hammerfell have a hardy constitution and a natural resistance to poison. They can call upon an Adrenaline Rush in combat.
- Home Province: Hammerfell
- Abilities: Resist Poison 50%
- Powers: Adrenaline Rush
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): One-handed
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Alteration, Archery, Block, Destruction, Smithing
A solid choice for melee fighters who specialize in one-handed fighting. Their Power boosts their Stamina regeneration, allowing them to press their attack.
Altmer (High Elves)
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.
- Home Province: Summerset Isle
- Abilities: +50 Magicka
- Powers: Highborn
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): Illusion
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Enchanting, Restoration
- Additional Spell: Fury
The ideal choice for a pure mage run. Their Power significantly boosts their Magicka regeneration for a period of time.
Bosmer (Wood Elves)
The clanfolk of the Western Valenwood forests, also known as "Bosmer". Wood elves make good scouts and thieves, and there are no finer archers in all of Tamriel. They have natural resistances to both poisons and diseases. They can Command Animals to fight for them.
- Home Province: Valenwood
- Abilities: Resist Poison 50%, Resist Disease 50%
- Powers: Command Animal
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): Archery
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Alchemy, Light Armor, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, Sneak
The premier choice for a stealthy archer build. Their Power allows them to call an animal to their aid.
Dunmer (Dark Elves)
Also known as "Dunmer" in their homeland of Morrowind, dark elves are noted for their stealth and magic skills. They are naturally resistant to fire and can call upon their Ancestor's Wrath to surround themselves in fire.
- Home Province: Morrowind
- Abilities: Resist Fire 50%
- Powers: Ancestor's Wrath
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): Destruction
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Alchemy, Alteration, Illusion, Light Armor, Sneak
- Additional Spell: Sparks
A great choice for stealthy spell-casters. Their Power sets Enemies in melee range on fire.
Orc (Orsimer or Pariah Folk)
The people of the Wrothgarian and Dragontail Mountains, Orcish smiths are prized for their craftsmanship. Orc troops in Heavy Armor are among the finest in the Empire, and are fearsome when using their Berserker Rage.
- Home Province: Orsinium
- Abilities: None
- Powers: Berserker Rage
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): Heavy Armor
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Block, Enchanting, One-handed, Smithing, Two-Handed
- Additional status: Blood-Kin
The go-to option for those who want control over the customization of their weapons and good melee presence in combat. Their Power boosts their survivzbility and damage output for a short period of time.
This reptilian race, well-suited for the treacherous swamps of their Black Marsh homeland, has developed a natural resistance to diseases and the ability to breathe underwater. They can call upon the Histskin to regenerate health very quickly.
- Home Province: Black Marsh
- Abilities: Resist Disease 50%, Waterbreathing, Higher unarmed damage
- Powers: Histskin
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): Lockpicking
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Alteration, Light Armor, Pickpocket, Restoration, Sneak
A good early game option for a stealthy playstyle. Their Power is a strong panic button to get you out of a rough situation.
Hailing from the province of Elsweyr, they are intelligent, quick, and agile. They make excellent thieves due to their natiral stealthiness. All Khajiit can see in the dark at will and have unarmed claw attacks.
- Home Province: Elsweyr
- Abilities: Claws
- Powers: Night Eye
- Main Skill Bonus (+10): Sneak
- Secondary Skill Bonuses (+5): Alchemy, Archery, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, One-handed
A good choice for a stealthy assassin build. Their power grants them vision in the dark.