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Races In Skyrim The Elder Scrolls V: With A Chart

Updated on January 22, 2013

Picking Your Race In Skyrim

There are ten different playable races in Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V. All of these Skyrim races have appeared in the past Elder Scrolls games in the other regions of Tamriel. When it comes to the appearance and history of the Skyrim races, they can be divided in three cathegories: human, mer (elven) and beast. The game offers a great variety of racial looks, from very pale till very dark skin color, the head shapes of, for example, Orcs, Imperials and Khajiiti (cat people) are very different. Each race is also slightly different in height. Altmeri (high elves) are the tallest which makes them the fastest runners in the game. Each Skyrim race also has their own unique abilities as well as enhanced skills. Each Skyrim race gets a +10 bonus to one skill and +5 bonus to five other skills. Although it's always nice to have a racial bonus that helps your play style, don't let the racial differences intimidate you. All skills can be improved while actually playing.

Skyrim races

Races In Skyrim. Click to see full size
Races In Skyrim. Click to see full size

Skyrim Races, Abilities And Stats

Each Skyrim race has unique powers which are either passive or can be activated once per day. Some racial skills are just weaker versions of skills which are acquired later.

All races begin with two spells: Flames (sets the target on fire, doing some damage over time) and Healing (heals the caster over time). The Breton race in Skyrim start out with additional spells: Conjure Familiar (summons a creature for 60 seconds), Dunmer race also start with Sparks (lightning damage over time that damages both health and stamina) and Altmeri can cause Fury (creatures till level 6 attack any nearby target).

Starting Stats

This chart shows the starting bonuses for each race. The base value for each skill is 15, so the race with +10 to Archery starts with the Archery rating of 25.
This chart shows the starting bonuses for each race. The base value for each skill is 15, so the race with +10 to Archery starts with the Archery rating of 25.

The Altmer also known as High Elves are tall and gold skinned. They are the most gifted in arcane arts from all the Skyrim races.
Racial Abilities:
High Elves are born with 50 extra magicka.
Highborn : Regenerate magicka faster for 60 seconds.

Argonians also known as Saxhleel (people of the root) are scaly reptilian humanoids. They are swift swimmers and can breathe underwater. They worship Hist, a sacred tree whose sap they use to communicate with the tree and gain its powers.
Racial Abilities:
Argonians are 50% resistant to disease.
Water Breathing
Histskin : Invoke the power of the Hist to recover health ten times faster for 60 seconds.

The Bosmer or Wood Elves unlike other elves prefer simplicity in life. They are quick and agile which makes them excellent archers, thieves and masters of disguise.
Racial Abilities:
Bosmers are 50% resistant to poison and diseases.
Command Animal : Make an animal an ally for 60 seconds.

The Bretons are pale skinned, slim built and not as muscular as other human races. Because of the Elvish blood in their ancestry they make great sorcerers and their magical resistances make them great soldiers.
Racial Abilities:
Dragonskin : Absorb 50% of magicka from hostile spells for 60 seconds.
Bretons are 25% resistant to all magic.

Dunmer or Dark Elves possess a unique combination of cunning intellects and agile physiques. These qualities make them powerful and versatile warriors. These proud and even cruel people are really masters of all trades.
Racial Abilities:
Dunmers are 50% resistant to fire.
Ancestor’s Wrath : For 60 seconds, opponents that get too close take 8 points per second of fire damage.

Imperials are well educated people. Their lawful nature makes them excellent diplomats and traders. They are skilled both in combat and magic.
Racial Abilities:
Voice of the Emperor : Calms nearby people for 60 seconds.
Imperials are lucky and always find more gold.

The Khajiit are the feline beast race in Skyrim. They make awesome thieves and assassins due to their impressive sneaking and acrobatic skills. They are very intelligent and agile.
Racial Abilities:
Night Eye : Improved night vision for 60 seconds.
Khajiit claws do 15 points of damage.

Nords are the native race in Skyrim. Frost doesn't seem to harm these people much and their martial abilities are superb. They are naturally tall and strong.
Racial Abilities:
Battle Cry : Target flees for 30 seconds.
Nords are 50% resistant to frost.

Orsimer also known as Orcs are the most notorius barbarians. Their unshakable courage, enthusiasm and rage make them feared warriors.
Racial Ability:
Berserker Rage : Orsimer take half damage and do double damage for 60 seconds.

The dark-skinned, wiry-haired Redguards are natural born proud fighters. They are quick, strong and agile.
Racial Abilites:
Redguards are 50% resistant to poison.
Adrenaline Rush : Stamina regenerates 10x faster for 60 seconds.

Skyrim: Which Race Should I Choose

I hope this brief summary of Skyrim races was useful for you when choosing which race should your play when emerging in the world of Skyrim. I myself am playing an Imperial warrior who is specialized in Heavy Armor, Two Handed Weapons and Speech. At first I found her quite cute but now she's dressed all in Dwarven armor which makes my character look like a guy. Haha, this motivates me to improve my smithing skills too. Thank god, the merchants of the opposite sex in Skyrim recognize her and give her nice discounts. Would you like to tell in comment section what kind of character do you have in Skyrim? ;)


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      Fagget 3 years ago

      I am khajit assassin mage, i sneaking and killing those nabs, i use khajit because i wanted to be assassin, and i want to deal high damage at start, and i very like fast races, that's why i am using khajit. Now i am 79 lvl khajit, and i started to playing double axed orc :), because bored with khajit, #noscopes #onehits those niggas all.

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      Rabbit 4 years ago

      Argonian. Light armor, one handed (with dual wield and hack and slash perks), speech, smithing and enchanting are her highest skills.

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      Raleigh Lynn 4 years ago

      I have an Orc a nord and a dark elf and trained them all in one handed and heavy armor but I believe the Orc is the best because his berserker rage comes in handy while in tight spots

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      Marka 4 years ago

      I had two characters: Argonian and an Imperial and I equipped them both with heavy armor and weapons :D I stopped playing dunno why and now i'll download it again :P

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      Daniel 4 years ago

      I have a nord that specialises in magic, one handed and block I am trying to improve my speech as well

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      mr.eow 5 years ago

      I have a bosmer he is a archery specialist and two handed boss with heavy iron armour and a bow of ice with orc arrows and a dwarven warhammer called WARVEN with fire ability and I have the chest plate have that will fortify heath it has +20 heath and adds a +50 heath regen.

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      B'Lezer 5 years ago

      I have finished Morrowind with a Nord, Oblivion with an Orc so now it's time for some difference in gameplay and i've chosen Bosmer sneaker. It's a pity that there are no spears in Skyrim. That would be much fun to give my little fellow some advantage from long weapon.

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      Jarryd 5 years ago

      I've got three races, i have a nord one, a dark elf, and an orc, but with the elf i'm dark brotherhood and thieves guild as well as companions!! But I enjoy the orc the most, for I love such inhuman characters in games like this!! Skyrim ROCKS!!!:)

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      breezar khajiit 5 years ago

      i am khajiit

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      BosmerBlood 5 years ago

      I'm an altmer and a mage :)

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      Dan 6 years ago

      I'm a high elf but i should have been a redguard, smithing and archery up

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      Eranofu 6 years ago from Europe

      Good recommendations. I agree with you. Thanks for commenting and have fun with your Imperial or Orc. :)

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      itgfx 6 years ago

      I was an argonian, the waterbreathing helps if you're trying to escape, but I switched to dark elf, which I hate. I think I'll switch to imperial or Orc, mainly because I only use 2 handed weapons unless I'm using a magic rune. I use heavy armor but it slows me down too recommendations are If you want to be a thief go with argonian or khajit, a Mage are elves, I'd say high for people who want to go the whole 9 yards with it, and warriors are the rest