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There are ten playable races in Skyrim, each of which has its own unique abilities and powers, as well as a +10 bonus to one skill and +5 bonuses to five other skills. Race is the only choice during the character creation process that has an effect on the player's skills and abilities.

The following table summarizes the differences between the ten playable races. Full details on all racial abilities and powers are provided on the individual race pages.

Race Male Female Abilities Powers Initial Bonuses Height (M) Height (F)
SR-race-M-Argonian.jpg SR-race-F-Argonian.jpg Histskin
  • Recover health 10x faster for 60 seconds, once per day
1.01 1.00
SR-race-M-Breton.jpg SR-race-F-Breton.jpg Dragonskin
  • Absorb 50% of the magicka from hostile spells for 60 seconds, once per day
1.00 0.95
Dark Elf
SR-race-M-Dunmer.jpg SR-race-F-Dunmer.jpg Ancestor's Wrath
  • Opponents getting too close take 8 points of fire damage per second for 60 seconds, once per day
1.00 1.00
High Elf
SR-race-M-Altmer.jpg SR-race-F-Altmer.jpg Highborn
  • Regenerate magicka 25x faster for 60 seconds, once per day
1.08 1.08
SR-race-M-Imperial.jpg SR-race-F-Imperial.jpg Voice of the Emperor
  • Calms nearby people for 60 seconds, once per day
1.00 1.00
SR-race-M-Khajiit.jpg SR-race-F-Khajiit.jpg
  • Claws: Claws do 12 damage (see notes).
  • SurvivalCC: +15 Warmth. May consume raw meat without food poisoning.
Night Eye
  • Improved night vision for 60 seconds, can be used multiple times a day.
1.00 0.95
SR-race-M-Nord.jpg SR-race-F-Nord.jpg Battle Cry
  • Targets flee for 30 seconds, once per day
1.03 1.03
SR-race-M-Orc.jpg SR-race-F-Orc.jpg
  • SurvivalCC: Resist Fatigue and Hunger by 15%. +10 Warmth.
Berserker Rage
  • You take half damage and do double damage for 60 seconds, once per day
1.045 1.045
SR-race-M-Redguard.jpg SR-race-F-Redguard.jpg Adrenaline Rush
  • Stamina regenerates 10x faster for 60 seconds, once per day
1.005 1.00
Wood Elf
SR-race-M-Bosmer.jpg SR-race-F-Bosmer.jpg Command Animal
  • Make an animal an ally for 60 seconds, once per day
0.98 1.00


  • For each race, there is also a different race used by vampires. For example, non-vampire Bretons use "BretonRace" whereas Breton vampires use "BretonRaceVampire". However, this is not apparent in-game, as the traits of each race are usually the same for its vampire counterpart (except for a number of oversights).
  • The setrace, setplayerrace and showracemenu console commands can be used to change the player's race after character creation. Only player.setrace will not break your skills after switching a race.
  • The movement speed of each race is dependent on its height. High Elves have the largest speed multiplier due to being the tallest race, with Orcs being second tallest. This was likely done so the same animations (with the same speed) could be used for every character without them appearing to moonwalk.
  • There are many minor dialogue differences depending on what race you choose. However, the only two instances where an NPC's reaction to your race actually matters to gameplay are your Blood-Kin status and the quest Diplomatic Immunity.
  • Although the in-game text says "Khajiit claws do 15 points of damage.", the actual effect magnitude is only 12 points.
  • Along with information like height and skill bonuses, a weight value can be found in the game data. The meaning or impact of that value is unclear. However, it seems to have an impact on how easily a race is ragdolled or moved.
Weight Argonian Breton Dark Elf High Elf Imperial Khajiit Nord Orc Redguard Wood Elf
Female 1 1 1 0.5 1 1 1 1 1 1
Male 0.5 1 1 0.5 1 0.5 1 1 1 1

Non-Playable Races[edit]

Other NPC races that exist in the game, but are not available to the player, are:

All other races in the game are considered to be Creatures (every variety of creature has its own race), but are not detailed here.