Updated Mon, May 06, 2013 by Xerin
The continent of Tamriel is a very diverse place and has given rise to 9 different races of peoples that have divided themselves into three factions. The Ebonheart Pact, Daggerfall Covenant, and Aldmeri Dominion each of which seeks claim to the throne of Tamriel in Cyrodiil. The races themselves do not appear to play a major role in who is allied with whom (with the exception of the Aldmeri Dominion). Instead the alliances are mostly based around political ideologies, or a shared enemy. While it may seem strange to see humans and orcs fighting side by side at first, this alliance arrangement allows players a non-traditional (human) race to choose from whether you go with the Ebonheart or the Daggerfall.
Veterans of the Elderscrolls world will have run into these races a t one point or another, but for the sake of getting everyone on the same page (and so I can talk about cat people) let’s look at the playable races available in the Eldercrolls Online!
The covenant is made up of the Bretons, the Redguards, and the Orsimer. It’s a loose alliance formed between the Redguard and Bretons by royal marriage and the Orsimer through a war pact. Their territory comprises a large swath of the northwest portion of Tamriel.
Orcs / Orsimer
A staple of any medieval fantasy themed game is the orc. These resilient warriors and excellent craftsmen make up the working class of the Daggerfall Covenant. Their work with armor and weapons is unmatched, giving the Daggerfall covenant a slight edge when it comes to armaments. The Orsimer believe in a strict code much like the Spartans of ancient Greece, the strong survive and the strongest lead. Despite this, most (if not all) of the other races look down on the Orismer much like they were animals.
A war treaty has bound the Orsimer into the Daggerfall covenant. One which would see them have King Emeric on the throne to secure their kingdom of Orsinium.
From the desert lands of Yokuda come the Redguard. They are a race of powerful warriors, brought up in the ways of battle and physical contest. Much like the Orcs, their customs ensure only the strong survive, as young redguards must endure an outing into the Alik’r wastes to prove their worth. A royal marriage between the Redguard and the Bretons keeps this alliance together.
As close as you’ll get to an average looking human like you and me are the Bretons. Once ruled by the high elves, they have gained an affinity for magic use that makes them excellent sorcerers. Combine their gift of magic with an above average intelligence and it more than makes up for their lack of physical prowess when compared with the other races. They reside in the kingdoms of High Rock where the King of the Daggerfall Covenant takes up residence in Wayrest.
The least likely, and most fragile of the three alliances is the Ebonheart Pact. The Pact is made up of the Nord, Dark Elves, and Argonian which are governed by the acting High King Jorunn. Although Jorunn is named as king of the pact, a chosen representative from each of the three member races must ratify all major decisions. They have named this system of governance, the Great Moot.
A hearty folk, the Nord are a strong powerful race of humans who are quick to anger and even quicker to the blade. Like the Redguard, the Nord are bred for warfare and master most weapons at a very young age. As their empire once covered almost all of Tamriel the Nords have come to feel a certain right to the throne, which only drives their passion for battle more. Not many can stand up to a Nord in the midst of a battle frenzy.
The Dark Elves or Dunmer inhabit the war torn region of Morrowind, which has helped hone the Dunmer’s skills in combat. In terms of physique the Dark Elves usually have a tall slim build with their definitive feature being their red eyes. Like other elves they also have a great talent for magic and use it very effectively both in and out of combat. That’s not the only trick up their sleeve however as they’re also good with the short blade, so good that you’ll find many Dunmer assassins in the Dark Brotherhod.
Despite their tumultuous relationship with the Nord, ultimately the gerater threat of the Akaviri invasion resulted in the Dunmer joining the Ebonheart Pact.
Despite the wild appearace of these lizard folk, the Argonians actually possess a great intellect which they use to harness many magical abilities. Not as strong as some of the other races they prefer to use hit and run tactics, which complement their natural agility and affinity for stealth. These skills have made them perfect scouts for the Ebonheart pact, further cementing their place in the alliance. They come from their homeland of Black Marsh.
The Aldmeri Dominion is led by the young elf queen Ayrenn, who formed the Dominion after hearing the Imperial City had fallen under the control of humans. Fearing that the “younger” races would only throw Tamriel into chaos again, the elvenn races have banded together to take back the throne for themselves. The three races are the High Elves, Wood Elves, and Khajiit.
The Wood Elves, or Bosmer, are one of the smaller races in Tamriel but don’t let it fool you into thinking they are an easy target. Brought up in the wilds of Valenwood, they are extremely agile and excellent at ranged combat, specifically with the bow. They also have become extremely effective at using their environment to their benefit and are excellent at defending forested positions, often sniping many their number from the trees above. Despite the fact that they prefer smaller settlements and a free roaming society, the capital of the Dominion is located within their territory in Elden Root.
What game worth its salt would be complete without a cat race. The Khajiit not only look like humanoid cats, they posess many of the traits of the feline species such as stealth and agility. These traits have allowed them to become master assassins and thieves for the Dominion. They are also no stranger to the blade and are proficient in most forms of sword and dagger combat. They joined the Dominion after Queen Ayrenn helped their race restore order following an outbreak of the plague on their people.
Noblest of the noble the High Elves, or Altmer, are the self-proclaimed rulers of Tamriel and see themselves above most, if not all, of the other races. They do not possess anything in the way of physical prowess and thus have focused on honing their skills in the art of magic and are arguably the greatest mages in the land. Not ones to hang about with the other races of Tamriel unless there is a real emergency, they tend to stick to their homeland on Summerset Isle. Despite this hermit mentality they possess the greatest knowledge and understanding of the continent and their culture has undoubtedly influenced each of the other races at some points.
As you can see there is no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a race for your character in the Elder Scrolls. Whether it be cat man, lizard man, or a more traditional elf , orc, or human the choice is yours.