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Lore: Races

Man, meaning human, is used to refer to any of the human races of Mundus, such as the Nords, Imperials, Bretons and Redguards. While the Bretons are the result of interbreeding between Aldmeri and Nedes,[1] they are most commonly considered men, and not mer.[2] Some races of men have disappeared or otherwise died out, such as the Kothringi. Though it typically connotes the races of men, "human" is still used by various races in reference to the humanoid shape or ability, or to collectively refer to any member of a civilized race, but mainly when it comes to races who can mate with each other and produce offspring. Man, Elves and Beastfolk are classified under the definition of both men, and human by Imperial scholars.[3] Unlike with the elven races, the distinctions between mannish races are arbitrary, and many are born not quite fitting in any one box. [4]


Illustration of a typical Nord male

The Nords are the children of the sky, a race of tall and fair-haired humans from Skyrim who are known for their incredible resistance to cold and magical frost. They are fierce, strong and enthusiastic warriors, and many become renowned warriors, soldiers and mercenaries all over Tamriel. Eager to augment their martial skills beyond the traditional methods of Skyrim, they excel in all manner of warfare, and are known as a militant people by their neighbors. Nords were known for a time for their nautical prowess when they migrated from Atmora. Seafaring merchants or smugglers are not unheard of, as was the case with Tobias.

For more information, see the main lore article.


Illustration of a typical Imperial male

Also known as Cyrodils, Cyrodilics, Cyro-Nordics, and Imperial Cyrods, the well-educated and well-spoken Imperials are the natives of the civilized, cosmopolitan province of Cyrodiil. Imperials are also known for the discipline and training of their citizen armies, and their respect for the rule of law. Imperials have proved to be shrewd diplomats and traders, and these traits, along with their remarkable skill and training as infantry, have enabled them to colonize various other nations and create the Empire. Their hegemony has waxed and waned throughout the eras, and most historians refer to three distinct Empires, the ends of which each mark a new epoch in Tamrielic history.

For more information, see the main lore article.


Bretons (from the Ehlnofex beratu meaning "half", also known as the Manmeri) are a human race of elven ancestry that inhabits High Rock. They are united in culture and language, but divided politically, for High Rock is fractious. Bretons make up the peasantry, soldiery, and magical elite of the feudal kingdoms competing for power within High Rock. Bretons are known for their intelligence and have a quick and perceptive grasp of spellcraft, enchantment, and alchemy. Even the humblest of Bretons can boast a high resistance to destructive and dominating magical energies. This natural affinity for the magical arts is attributed to their Elven blood.

Bretons, by and large, are pale-skinned and slight humans, less muscular than Nords and Redguards, and possess more defined features such as high cheekbones, pronounced brow ridges, and bony fingers. Despite their politically fractious society, the Bretons are unified by language, bardic traditions, and heroic tales.

For more information, see the main lore article. Due to their mixed heritage, they are sometimes disparagingly termed a "mongrel race".


Illustration of a typical Redguard male

Redguards are the most naturally talented warriors in Tamriel. The dark-skinned, wiry-haired people of Hammerfell seem born to battle, though their pride and fierce independence of spirit makes them more suitable as scouts or skirmishers, or as free-ranging heroes and adventurers, than as rank-and-file soldiers. In addition to their cultural affinities for many armor styles and weapons (particularly swords), Redguards are also physically blessed with hardy constitutions, resistance to poison, and quickness of foot. Unlike most other human races, they are not believed to have any connection with the ancestral Nordic homeland of Atmora.

For more information, see the main lore article.


"...human settlers occupied nearly every corner of Tamriel before Skyrim was even founded. These so-called "Nedic peoples" include the proto-Cyrodilians, the ancestors of the Bretons, the aboriginals of Hammerfell, and perhaps a now-vanished Human population of Morrowind. "Frontier, Conquest

The Nedes (also known as the Nedic peoples or rarely Nedelings) were a human race (or a group of races) of unknown extraction, who inhabited much of Tamriel during the Merethic and First Eras. The society of the Nedes who lived in Hammerfell (then called the "Deathlands") largely followed the Cult of the Stars which revolved around the worship and study of the constellations, and beings known as the Celestials. The Nedes were known to primarily venerate Shezarr as their patron deity. Nedic culture experienced a sharp decline over several centuries as they began to assimilate into other cultures, before being completely exterminated by the Yokudan invasion of Hammerfell.

For more information, see the main lore article.


The Kothringi (or Lustrous Folk) are a silver-skinned tribal people indigenous to Black Marsh who are believed to be descendants of the Nedes. Once considered the only humans native to Tamriel, they are now known to have shared the continent with many other tribal groups. The race was believed to have been driven to extinction by the Knahaten Flu in the Second Era.

For more information, see the main lore article.


The Reachmen, also known as the Reachfolk or Witchmen of High Rock, are a race of humans who are native to the Reach in southwestern Skyrim and the neighboring Western Reach in the east of High Rock. They are believed to be closely related to the Bretons and some Reachmen believe that their people originally came from High Rock. While Reachmen are distinct, they are also mixed with other races that make up Man, Mer, and even Daedra. Similarly to the Bretons, Aldmeri blood runs through their veins, which stems from the Direnni Hegemony's occupation of the Western Reach in the early First Era.

At least some Reachmen are known to be descended from the Keptu clan of Nedes. Although they are thought to share descent, Bretons do not consider themselves kin to the Reachmen, and the Reachmen do not see themselves as Bretons. This sentiment is shared by other races.

Unlike their Breton cousins, who are typically pale and of slight build, Reachfolk are more diverse in appearance, ranging from short and slight framed to taller, broader and muscular builds, more typical for Nords. Some of the Reachfolk have traits closer to typical to the inhabitants of the Cyrodil and a few bear distinctive red eye color.

Their culture is tribal and diverse - certain clans make little use of advanced technology while some other employ Dwemer animunculi and advanced alchemy; many clans utilize hides, bones and copper to make gear, while others use properly forged weapons and armor and craft weapons and tools from materials such as dwarven metal, silver, and ebony, and even accesories from malachite. Leather and wool are traditionally used as materials for Reachfolk garments. As they are shunned by most of Nord and Breton society, they typically inhabit makeshift fortresses built into caves and ruins throughout the Reach's battle-scarred landscape. There are also some similarities in things worn by the Nedic Keptu and the Reachmen, showing that a cultural exchange might have taken place.

Reachfolk, in a similar way to the Bretons, are often attributed with traits associated with elven cultures, such as secretive, haughty demeanor, and arrogance by their Imperial neighbors.

The Reachmen are also infamous for their advanced hedge-magic. Some Reachman mages are known to wield magic with which they can poison or corrupt nature. They are also said to have learned to control beastfolk magic, a wild hedge-wizardry. Some Wyrd Covens, amongst them, the Hagfeather Coven, the Rimerock Wyrd and the Markarth Sisters, are known to have close relations with the Reachmen and their magic.

Many clans worship Hircine, the most primal of the Daedric Princes. The top of their warrior ranks typically commune with Hircine so that they may ritualistically replace their hearts with poisoned briars, allowing them to become powerful warriors known as Briarhearts. Due to their reverence for Hircine, it is not uncommon to see lycanthropes within the Reachmen's ranks. Some Reachmen clans are known to also dedicate ceremonies to Molag Bal, Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, and Namira. Shamans of some Reachfolk clans venerate hagraven matrons, who in turn grant them knowledge of nature magic.

For more information, see the main lore article.


The Ket Keptu, or simply Keptu, were an ancient race of Men native to central Hammerfell and the hinterlands bordering Cyrod and Skyrim, such as the Jerall Mountains. They lived in Tamriel during the Merethic and early First eras, alongside many of the other early Nedic peoples. Though unpolished and barbaric, the Keptu were far from primitive, and were among the earlier pre-Alessian civilizations to discover techniques for refining ores.


The Orma were a tribe of Men native to Black Marsh, along with the Horwalli, Kothringi, and Yespest. How they arrived in Black Marsh is unknown, possibly having been sent there as refugees or prisoners, or settled along the coastal waterways on their own and adapted to the environment. They were born without eyes, becoming masters of their other senses. One of the few known members of the race was Catchica, who was with Reman's army at Caer Suvio when Juliek Cyrodiil was poisoned before the battle at Bodrum. She later worked at Mir Corrup to falsely implicate the Emperor's mistress in a plot to poison the Emperor.

For more information, see the main lore article.


The Yespest (or Yerpest) were a tribe of Men indigenous to Black Marsh, along with the Horwalli, Kothringi, and Orma. How they arrived in Black Marsh is unknown, but it is possible that they were sent there as refugees or prisoners. Alternatively, they may have settled along the coastal waterways on their own and adapted to the environment. The Yespest were active in the region around Blackrose. They may have been contemporaries of the Barsaebics, and some Imperial scholars erroneously credit them with building the ancient Argonian xanmeers.

For more information, see the main lore article.


  • There's some suggestion that early Bosmer were known for intermarrying with humans.[5]


Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.