Update: Picking Your Race in Skyrim

Skyrim Race

With all of the options Skyrim is throwing at you in terms of Races to choose from how are you supposed to figure out which one suites you best? From delving through Lore to examining Racial Abilities picking a Race to play as might be one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make during your time with Skyrim. The races in The Elder Scrolls series come in all shapes and sizes, from furry to scaly and blue to tan. Which is best for you? Take a look at the brief histories of each race as well as racial abilities below; maybe you’ll come up with an answer after all?

Note: All races begin with two spells, which are listed below.

  1. Flames: A gout of fire that does 8 points per second. Targets on fire take extra damage.
  2. Healing: Heals the caster 10 points per second.
The Breton, Dunmer and Altmer races start out with additional spells: Conjure Familiar, Sparks and Fury respectively.

The Khajiit

The Khajiit are the feline beast race of The Elder Scrolls series. They’re excellent thieves and assassins due to their heightened sneak and acrobatic skills,  they also make great warriors so don’t let that furry exterior fool you. Although the Khajiit is skilled in physical combat their magic skills are somewhat lacking, don’t expect a Khajiit to fill the frozen skies of Skyrim with blistering fireballs anytime soon.

Racial Starting Stats

  1. +10 Sneak
  2. +5 Alchemy
  3. +5 One-Handed
  4. +5 Archery
  5. +5 Lockpicking
  6. +5 Pickpocket

Racial Abilites

  1. Night Eye: Improved night vision for 60 seconds.
  2. Claws: Khajiit claws do 15 points of damage.

The Orc

Orcs or Orsimer are a beast-like race noted for their barbarianism. Fearless and never tiring, Orcs make excellent warriors. They are notorious for their beserker rage as well as using heavy two-handed weapons such as Battle Axes, War Hammers and Claymores. Orcs also practice magic which is deeply respected among their tribal societies. Not falling to sexism Orcs see each other as equals and are loyal to each others tribesmen.
Racial Starting Stats
  1. +10 Heavy Armor
  2. +5 Enchanting
  3. +5 Smithing
  4. +5 Block
  5. +5 Two-handed
  6. +5 One-Handed
Racial Abilites
  1. Beserker: You take half damage and hit twice as hard for 60 seconds.

The Redguard

Redguards are a dark-skinned, wirey-haired people hailing from Hammerfell. They are natural born fighters with independent spirits and an uncontrollable urge to explore. Redguards make great scouts and adventurers due to the missing need for assistance. They have no preference when it comes to weapons and armor; they enjoy them all.
Racial Starting Stats
  1. +10 One-handed
  2. +5 Destruction
  3. +5 Alteration
  4. +5 Smithing
  5. +5 Block
  6. +5 Archery
Racial Abilities
  1. Adrenaline Rush: Stamina regenerates 10x faster for 60 seconds.
  2. Resist Poison: 50% resistant to poison.

The Bosmer

The Bosmer, or Wood Elves as they are commonly called, originated in the Tamriel province of Valenwood. The Bosmer have chosen to take a different path differing from the high-style of their Elven brothers and prefer simplicity. They are one with the land of Tamriel and the wild creatures that inhabit it. Nimble and Agile, the Bosmer people move swiftly through the forests of Tamriel relying on their agility and archery skills to defend their honor. They make great scouts and thieves as well as scholars.
Racial Starting Stats
  1. +10 Archery
  2. +5 Alchemy
  3. +5 Light Armor
  4. +5 Sneak
  5. +5 Lockpicking
  6. +5 Pickpocket
Racial Abilities
  1. Resist Poison and Disease: 50% resistant to poison and disease.
  2. Command Animals: Make an animal an ally for 60 seconds.

The Nord

Mainly located in Skyrim and the Northern reaches of Tamriel the Nord have developed a resistance to frost. Battle hardened by their military-like society the Nord fear no one in battle. Often times they are seen with large two-handed weapons and heavy armor while taking down their enemies. Due to the heavy reliance on melee weapons and armor Nords make excellent soldiers and blacksmiths.
Racial Starting Stats
  1. +10 Two-Handed
  2. +5 Smithing
  3. +5 Block
  4. +5 One-Handed
  5. +5 Light Armor
  6. +5 Speech
Racial Abilities
  1. Battlecry: Target flees for 30 seconds.
  2. Resist Frost: 50% resistant to frost.

The Imperial

The Imperial people focus more on bureaucratic society characteristics, they are also the voice of the emperor. They are well spoken and civilized individuals hailing from the province of Cryodiil. Physically the Imperial people are not nearly as imposing as other races but this does not mean they are not a threat in the field of battle. Imperials tend to train as light infantrymen using their cunning and knowledge of light armor and one-handed weapons to defeat their foes.
Racial Starting Stats
  1. +10 Restoration
  2. +5 Destruction
  3. +5 Enchanting
  4. +5 Heavy Armor
  5. +5 Block
  6. +5 One-Handed
Racial Abilities
  1. Voice of the Emperor: Calms nearby people for 60 seconds.
  2. Imperial Luck: Imperials find more coins.

The Altmer

The Altmer also known as High Elves are a magical people. They’ve focused their long lives on each of the 5 magical schools to dominate their enemies. Unfortunately because of this High Elves lack the physical strength needed to be war-hardened warriors and a resistance to very skill they have devoted their lives to; magic. They’re best suited when wearing a robe and using magic as their main form of combat, keeping a light weapon at their side just in case.
Racial Starting Stats
  1. +10 Illusion
  2. +5 Conjuration
  3. +5 Destruction
  4. +5 Alteration
  5. +5 Enchanting
Racial Abilites
  1. Highborn: Regenerate Magicka faster for 60 seconds
  2. Highborn: High Elves are born with 50 extra magicka.

Extra Starting Spell

- Fury: Creatures and people up to level 6 will attack anything nearby for 30 seconds.

The Dunmer

Born from the ashes of Battle of Red Mountain the Dunmer, also known as the Dark Elves, are a race many of the other races look down upon. They are blue skinned red eyed elves and tend to have a bit of an attitude. However, the Dunmer make very versatile warriors with the ability to use blades, bows or magicka without too much of an issue. They’re naturally resistant to fire and take the time to honor their ancestors that fell before them.
Racial Starting Stats
  1. +10 Destruction
  2. +5 Alchemy
  3. +5 Illusion
  4. +5 Alteration
  5. +5 Light Armor
  6. +5 Sneak
Racial Abilities
  1. Resist Fire: 50% resistant to fire.
  2. Ancestor’s Wrath: For 60 seconds, enemies that get too close take 8 fire damage per second.
Extra Starting Spell

- Sparks: Lightning that does 8 points of shock damage to health and magicka per second.

The Breton

The Bretons inhabit the province of High Rock dividing themselves up through political factions. Bretons come in all shapes and sizes from peasants, to soldiers and powerful sorcerers. They’ve developed a resistance to magicka making them handy in the field of battle. Bretons tend to make great warriors despite their scrawny build compared to other races.
Racial Starting Stats
  1. +10 Conjuration
  2. +5 Alchemy
  3. +5 Illusion
  4. +5 Restoration
  5. +5 Alteration
  6. +5 Speech
Racial Abilities
  1. Dragonskin: Absorb 50% of magicka from hostile spells for 60 seconds.
  2. Magicka Resistance: 25% resistance to magicka.
Extra Starting Spell
 - Conjure Familiar: Summons a Familiar for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing.

The Argonian

Argonians are scaly reptilian humanoids originating from the Black Marsh. They are swift swimmers and can breathe underwater with the small gills located behind their ears. Not much is known about the Argonian race but it is known that they change genders as they grow, being male or female is a mere phase in the life of an Argonian.  Being masters of sneak, agility and magic makes them incredible thieves and sorcerers.
Racial Starting Stats
  1. +10 Lockpicking
  2. +5 Restoration
  3. +5 Alteration
  4. +5 Light Armor
  5. +5 Sneak
  6. +5 Pickpocket
Racial Abilities
  1. Histskin: Recover health 10x faster for 60 seconds.
  2. Resist Disease: 50% resistant to disease.
  3. Underwater Breathing: Breathe underwater.
Hopefully these brief summaries and lists of racial abilities have at least started you on the path of choosing the race you’ll play in the world of Skyrim this November 11th. Have you already decided, which race are you planning to play?
Phill About Phill

Phill is a long time Elder Scrolls enthusiast who decided to create a community of his own. He is the founder of both The Skyrim Guild and The Shadowed Mare -- two of the earliest Skyrim and Elder Scrolls Online websites.

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