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:
- In ESO:
- The furnishing "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.
- In Blackwood, you can encounter The Adoring Admirer, a Bosmer fascinated by your exploits. When he greets you, he may exclaim "By Azura! By Azura! By Azura!", or refer to you as "the champion". An achievement can be earned by meeting him four times.
- The Adoring Stand is a hair style available from Grim Harlequin crates. Its name and description reference the Adoring Fan, and it is similar in appearance to the style of hair used by the Adoring Fan in Oblivion.
- There is a card of the Adoring Fan in Legends, obtained by becoming an Arena champion. Like the original NPC from Oblivion, the card will eventually respawn after being killed.
- In Skyrim Very Special edition, there is an enemy called "Adoring Fan".
- In Blades, townsfolk may say "By Azura! I'd die to meet a Grand Champion!".
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 ESO:
- 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."
The fishy stick phenomenon began when Captain Eldrad joined the on January 18, 2001. The graphic used is from an advertisement for Captain Morgan's rum, with a fish stick in place of the bottle of rum. In the beginning, fishy sticks were only given to those who truly deserved the honor, by Captain Eldrad himself. Later, his friend Soursha gave them away to new members. Eventually, it became customary to give fishy sticks to the newcomers of the forum. The Bethesda developers were very amused by all of this, and they added tributes to the fishy stick in several games.
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 Fall of the Space Core, Vol 1, the Space Core can be sent back to space via giant club launch.
- 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
M'aiq the Liar is a Khajiit character who has recurred in many Elder Scrolls games since Morrowind, making him one of the longest running gags of the series. While every rendition of M'aiq the Liar is technically a different character, they all break the fourth wall and make some reference to Dragons.
- 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: Botrir, Hisin Deep-Raed, and Hlormar Wine-Sot
- In Tribunal, this trope is subverted by Forstaag the Sweltering, a Nord in Mournhold who is naked by choice and criticizes 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.
- In Skyrim, it was common for new players to impulsively kill a chicken in Riverwood (and other small towns) for the first time and find that most inhabitants of the settlement become hostile and attack them. For their willingness to fight to the death over the crime of murdering a chicken, the NPC behavior was widely satirized.
- In the extended Minecraft Skyrim Mash-up trailer, the Dragonborn interrupts an otherwise cinematic entrance into Riverwood by killing a chicken.
- In ESO, Riverwood White Hen is named for the town where first-time chicken murders often occurred and has the description "Owners grow extremely attached to them, and become outraged if they're harmed.", referencing the reaction of the NPCs.
- In Legends, the Prized Chicken card has the ability "Last Gasp: Fill this lane with 1/1 Angry Villagers," the angry villagers referencing NPCs outraged at players who killed the town chicken.
- 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 Morrowind, the above question from Arena, along with several others, was reused in the class quiz at the beginning of the game.
- In Oblivion:
- 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 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.
- The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook contains a recipe for Sweetrolls.