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)|
||Voice of the Emperor
- 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).
showracemenuconsole commands can be used to change the player's race after character creation. Only
player.setracewill 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
Other NPC races that exist in the game, but are not available to the player, are:
- Breton Child
- Elders (a.k.a. Old People Race)
- Dark SeducerCC
- Imperial Child
- Golden SaintCC
- Invisible Race, the race of the Ancient DragonbornDB
- Mannequin are an NPC race for technical reasons, so that they can equip the armors and outfits they are meant to display.
- Nord Child
- Redguard Child
- Snow ElvesDG
All other races in the game are considered to be Creatures (every variety of creature has its own race), but are not detailed here.