Running gags are amusing jokes or comical references that have appeared repeatedly throughout The Elder Scrolls series. They can begin with an instance of unintentional humor that is repeated in variations as the joke grows familiar and fans anticipate reappearances of the gag. The humor in a running gag may derive entirely from how often it is repeated, however the underlying statement or situation will always require some form of jocularity. Some of the most commonly recurring gags are Fishy Sticks and M'aiq the Liar. Certain gags have become so popular that they've appeared in other media.
- The Adoring Fan first appeared in Oblivion.
- In Skyrim, Cicero's Journal mentions him masquerading as an adoring fan to gain an audience with the Grand Champion. An Arena Fan is also added by the Creation Club, having come to Skyrim to meet a former Grand Champion.
- In ESO:
- The furnishing item "An Adoring Fan" is named after him.
- There is an NPC named "The Undying Fan", who, like the original, is a Bosmer that loves watching arena matches.
- There is a card of the Adoring Fan in Legends, obtained by becoming an Arena champion. Like the original, the card will eventually respawn after being killed.
- In Skyrim Very Special edition, there is an enemy called "Adoring Fan".
Arrow in the Knee
- The line "I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow in the knee..." first appeared in Skyrim, said by city guards.
- In the Game Jam video, Bethesda used a song parody titled "Arrow to the Knee" that used the dialogue as an audio sample.
- In Legends:
- Arrow in the Knee is a card. It deals a minor amount of damage to a creature and shackles it.
- One of the loading screen tips is "I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow in the knee and got shackled."
- In Blades, an Arrow emote can be purchased. It involves your character crouching down to inspect an arrow in their knee, and the description is, "You used to be an adventurer, then something bad happened. True story."
- See Fishy Stick.
Giant Club Launch
- In Skyrim, when a giant hits a creature with its club, the target will be sent flying hundreds of feet into the air.
- In ESO, Sigunn says, "That giant took me by surprise. Wrecked my wagon on the road and clubbed me so hard I swear I was swimming in the sky."
- In the book Kyne's Challenge: A Hunter's Companion, there's a line that references this: "Unhappy in the extreme, it lifted its colossal club, then dropped it into the heather, hitting the ground with such force I half expected Fenrig to be launched tumbling upwards, through the low clouds to a distant doom."
- In Legends, the background of the Belligerent Giant art has an unfortunate adventurer falling out of the sky.
- The Horse Armor Pack was a DLC for Oblivion, infamous for being little more than cosmetic.
- The Dwarven Armored Mudcrab Creation for Skyrim is a reference to PC Gamer's satirical 2011 "Crab Armor DLC" advertisement, which itself was a reference to the Horse Armor Pack.
- Horse Armor is a card in Legends. It adds +1 to a creature's defense, and adds a cosmetic bonus of turning the card premium (animated).
M'aiq the Liar
- See M'aiq the Liar.
- The Mudcrab Merchant first appeared in Morrowind as a friendly NPC merchant.
- In Legends:
- In Morrowind:
- Naked nords dressed in nothing but their undergarments frequently appeared in Morrowind, having been tricked by witches.
- In Tribunal, this trope is subverted by a Nord in Mournhold who is naked by choice, criticizing those who believe he was tricked.
- In ESO, two quests relating to naked Nords are present: The Naked Nord in Deshaan, and If the Spell Fits in Vvardenfell.
- The Sweet Roll initially originated in Arena where, at the beginning of the game, one of the class-determining questions is:
- "While in town the baker gives you a sweetroll. Delighted you take it into an alleyway to enjoy, only to be intercepted by a gang of three kids your age. The leader demands the sweetroll, or else he and his friends will beat you and take it."
- In Oblivion, Sweetroll is an available potion ingredient.
- In Skyrim:
- In ESO:
- Sweetroll is one of the food recipes that can be obtained and crafted.
- Several furnishing items involve sweetrolls. One of them, the Resplendent Sweetroll, is a glowing sweetroll available as an Apex-level reward in every Crown Crate and can be exchanged for 400 Crown gems, the amount it costs to buy an apex-level mount.
- A quest in the Dark Brotherhood DLC, The Sweetroll Killer, involves a serial killer sending a sweetroll with a message hidden inside to each of their victims.
- The default name for the Sorrel Horse mount, which is available for free as a level 10 reward, is "Sweetroll".
- In Legends, Sweet Roll is a card. Creatures can be transformed into one by Grisly Gourmet or Wabbajack, or one can be created in some other circumstances. Playing one even rewards you with the title "The Pastry Chef".
- In Blades, sweetrolls can be found as a food during quests. They're also on display on the Sweet Rolls decoration.