Skyrim Character Creation Guide: Races

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Hello fellow Skyrim adventurers, this is Gary from The Koalition. To celebrate the awesomeness that is Skyrim I have decided to start writing a series of blogs regarding the game. Each blog will be written from the perspective of my character “Courtney”, because this is what role-playing is all about in The Elder Scrolls series, being in character. As you can guess, this first post is all to do with character creation, specifically about the races, so if you’re new to the series pay attention. The next one will focus on Leveling up and Character builds. Courtney take over!

Greetings reader! I am Courtney, Redguard and leader of The Companions in Skyrim. I am writing this journal entry so that it will inform those who wish to learn more about the Races that occupy Tamriel. Each race has their own type of skill bonuses, and unique special abilities. Personally I must say that I am proud to be a Redguard. I believe we are the strongest warriors in Tamriel, and our resistance to poison mixed with our ability to regain stamina gives us the edge in most confrontations. But enough about me; as I said I am here to inform, and thus I will write a list of all races, their skills and their unique abilities, Behold!

ALTMER (High Elf)

Though those Imperials like to refer to the Altmer as “High Elves” I quite prefer to call them Altmer, as that is the name they use themselves. I personally can’t stand the Atlmer, they think too highly of themselves for my liking. Just because they are supposedly responsible for Tamriel’s common tongue, and are a tad handy at art’s and crafts does not mean they have the right to look down upon other races. I must be fair however and agree that they are very civilized people. They are particularly gifted in the Arcane arts, which I have never had much patience for myself. I would prefer to purchase enchanted items than craft them, but that is just me. Though many Altmer enjoy their lengthy life span learning magic, I have found that they tend to have a weakness for Fire, Frost and Shock magic.

Skills: Altmers (High Elves) start out with the following skill bonuses.

+50 Magicka
+10 Illusion
+5 Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Enchanting, Restoration

Abilities: Altmers (High Elves) start out with the following abilities.

– Highborn: Once per day, tenfold magicka regeneration for 60 seconds.
– Altmer start with the spell Fury.


Those damned reptiles give me the creeps; I once knew a Redguard who married an Argonian, how he manages to sleep with that rough skin scratching him all night is beyond me. Anyway, where was I… Oh yes, Argonians. I don’t know too much about the Argonian race except from the fact that they originate from Black Marsh. One thing I envy is their natural ability to breathe under water, one that will serve well in Skyrim due to the amount of lakes, especially in the North. Argonians tend to dabble in the arts of Magic and Stealth, two thing’s I need to improve at myself I must say. Another thing I despise about the race is that you can’t bloody read their expressions, Mara herself could cease to understand those damn reptiles. Maybe that should give them the edge when it comes to Speech and Bartering.

Skills: When Argonian’s hatch they start out with the following skill bonuses.

+10 Lockpicking
+5 Alteration, Light Armor, Pickpocket, Restoration, Sneak

Abilities: Argonian’s possess the following abilities.

– Resist Disease 50%
– Water Breathing
– Histskin: Once per day, tenfold health regeneration for 60 seconds.

BOSMER (Wood Elf)

The Bosmer are perhaps the most well rounded of the elves. I consider them people of the forest, as they originate from the forested land of Valenwood. They are able to command various creatures throughout Tamriel such as Bears, Wolves and Tigers and more. When it comes to archery I respect no other race above the Bosmer. I have witnessed their archery in person and I was amazed to see a Bosmer lady strike an unfortunate Nord dead in the eye with an elven arrow from about one-hundred yards. I heard a rumor that they do not violate the vegetation of Valenwood, but of course they are more than happy to violate plantation in Skyrim.

Skills: The Bosmer (Wood Elves) start out with the following skills.

+10 Archery
+5 Alchemy, Light Armor, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, Sneak

Abilities: The Bosmer start out with the following abilities.

– Resist Poison 50%
– Resist Disease 50%
– Command Animal: Once per day, force an animal to be your ally for 60 seconds.


Breton’s are a very sophisticated race, and their origins often confuse me. There are those who believe they come from the elven family, but they look and act more like an Imperial or Nord. However they posses an outstanding resistance to Magicka, which naturally makes many of them favour the path of a Mage. Whenever I come across a witch of the wilds I often find myself wishing I was in fact a Breton as those fire and shock spells can be tough, but then I remember that there is in fact no race better than Redguard, and then I cast my axe down upon the witches head, sending her to the depths Oblivion. Excuse me, I have rambled on once again.

Skills: Breton’s start out with the following skills.

+10 Conjuration
+5 Alchemy, Alteration, Illusion, Restoration, Speech

Abilities: Breton’s start out with the following abilities.

– Magic Resistance 25%
– Dragonskin: Absorb 50% of the magicka from hostile spells for 60 seconds (once per day)
– Bretons start with the spell Conjure Familiar.

Dark Elf (Dunmer)

Dark Elves also known as Dunmer, are strong in both combat and intellect. Whether they decide to become combat based or Magicka reliant, you can be assured they will be a tough customer. I hear there is much racism toward Dark Elves in Skyrim, particularly in Windhelm, this explains why most Dark Elves I have come across are reserved. I must say I found myself attracted to a certain Dark Elf in Windhelm, those red eyes are sometimes a beautiful sight believe it or not. Too bad I am already married. The Dark Elf are highly resistant to fire, which will serve them well given the current resurface of the Dragons.

Skills: The Dark Elf (Dunmer) start with the following skills.

+10 Destruction
+5 Alchemy, Alteration, Illusion, Light Armor, Sneak

Abilities: The Dark Elf start out with the following abilities.

– Resist fire 50%
– Ancestor’s Wrath: Once per day, cloak self in fire for 60 seconds, causing nearby enemies to take 8 points of fire damage per second.
– Dunmer start with the spell Sparks


I like to refer to the Imperials as people of the people. They are well governed and diplomatic people. Maybe they aren’t as physically threatening as some of the other races, but they are well rounded folk and I consider them close allies of the Redguard race. Though they aren’t as threatening as other races, they have great organization skills and this gives them the advantage of rallying their army for attack. Safety in numbers they say!

Skills: Imperials start out with the following skills.

+10 Restoration
+5 Block, Destruction, Enchanting, Heavy Armor, One-handed

Abilities: Imperials start out with the following abilities.

– Increased gold from containers
– Voice of the Emperor: Once per day, calm nearby enemies for 60 seconds.


I have not come across too many Khajit in Skyrim, alas the ones I have come across were traveling caravan merchants. The Khajit are feline humanoids who excel at agility. There is nothing more daunting than a Khajit theif, they could steal a great sword from right under your nose whilst you’re none the wiser.

Skills: Khajits start with the following skills.

+10 Sneak
+5 Alchemy, Archery, Lockpicking, One-handed, Pickpocket

Abilities: Khajits possess the following abilities.

– Khajiit claws do 15 points of damage
– Eye of Night: Improved night vision for 60 seconds. This can be used an unlimited number of times per day. If used again while still active, the effect will end prematurely.


Alas I must be biased in the case of the Nord as my wife Aela The Huntress belongs to the race. Not only that but the Nords are native to Skyrim. They are well known for being people of the sky, and are thus resistant to below freezing temperatures. Often me and my wife argue when it comes to matters of temperature in our home. Nords are also very strong people, much like us Redguards.

Skills: Nords start out with the following skills.

+ 10 Two-Handed
+ 5 Block, Light Armor, One-handed, Smithing, Speech

Abilities: Nords posses the following abilities.

– Resist Frost 50%
– Battlecry: Once a day, cause target to flee for 30 seconds.


Orcs are barbarian warriors from the Wrothgarian Mountains. Orcs were once highly detested by the other races of Tamriel for their goblin like appearance. However they have now gained the respect and approval from the other races. I personally admire the craftsmanship of their Orcish armour, as I am well trained in heavy armour myself. I have never had to fight an Orc, but I look forward to the day I am challenged by one as I have heard of their great strength and Berserker abilities. Too bad they will never look as good as us Redguards though.

Skills: Orcs start out with the following skills.

+10 Heavy Armor
+5 Block, Enchanting, One-handed, Smithing, Two-handed

: Orcs start out with the following unique abilities.

-Berserker: Once a day, deal double damage while taking half damage for 60 seconds.

Note: Berserker seems to double base weapon damage, this means it stacks with the Backstab and Assassin’s Blade perks, doubling their damage (6x effectively becomes 12x damage etc).


Ah I saved the best for last. Us Redguards are the most skilled in combat of all the races in Tamriel, and I am not lying. Our homeland is Hammerfell, and we love nothing more than to fight. We don’t do so well when it comes to being commanded by superiors, so for that reason many of us chose to be independent adventurers. Our stamina is unmatched by any other race, and our resistance to poison puts us above any alchemist foolish enough to try their potions on us.

Skills: As Redguards we start out with these skills naturally.

+10 One-Handed
+5 Alteration, Archery, Block, Destruction, Smithing

Abilities: As Redguards we posses these unique abilities.. the best ones I’d say.

– Resist Poison 50%
– Adrenaline Rush: Once per day, tenfold stamina regeneration for 60 seconds.

And there you have it, that is all the information I have on the races of Tamriel. Whoever is reading this journal should continue to seek my wisdom as I will be writing further scriptures to educate those willing to learn about skills and characteristics. In my next journal I shall write about how to build upon various combat and skill types. Until then, may the blessings of the gods be upon you.

— Courtney

Skyrim Review coming soon!

About The Author
Gary A. Swaby Co-founder/UK Managing Editor
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