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Lore: Races

Beastfolk (also Betmeri, Beastmen,[1] or Betmer)[2] is used to refer to any sentient beast-like humanoid that inhabits Tamriel, such as the Argonians, Imga, and Khajiit. A few races have died out or disappeared, such as the Lilmothiit and the Bird Men.


Illustration of a typical Argonian male

Argonians (Saxhleel, or People of the Root in their native language of Jel) are the reptilian natives of Black Marsh, a vast swampland province in southeastern Tamriel. The other races often refer to them as "lizards" or the "Lizard Folk" instead, especially when meaning to be derogatory. They are known as the foremost experts in guerrilla warfare throughout Tamriel, a reputation brought upon them by defending their borders from enemies for countless centuries. They have a connection to the Hist, a race of sentient trees.

Agile and cunning, they possess natural immunity to poison and disease, a trait that serves them well in their treacherous homeland. Argonians are swift swimmers and can breathe underwater. They are also naturally adept spellcasters and excel in the art of stealth.

Foreign racial categorization labels them as "beasts", or "Betmeri", as opposed to the humanoid races of Mer and Men. The Argonians' alien nature is often commented on; they are called strange, expressionless, reserved peoples, slow to trust and hard to know. This is a sentiment shared even by lukiul, or "assimilated" Argonians, who were raised far away from the Hist and often have significant trouble fully understanding the emotions, body language, or motivations of their estranged brethren.

While most of Tamriel refers to them as the "Argonians", many Argonians prefer the term "Saxhleel" when referring to their kind; "Argonian" is an Imperial term. Some Argonians opt to take on a more Cyrodiilicized name outside of Black Marsh. Taking on Imperial dress, name, and customs makes things easier for Argonians in Cyrodiil.

According to the First Era Scholar Brendan the Persistent, "The Argonian people have, throughout Tamrielic history, been perhaps the most misunderstood, vilified, and reviled of all the sentient races. Yet, those who have taken the time to experience Argonian culture have gained a greater appreciation for this noble and beautiful people."

For more information, see the main lore article.

Bird MenEdit

The Bird men (also known as Cyrodilic bird-people) were supposedly a race of beastfolk who inhabited what became the City Isle in Cyrodiil during the Middle Merethic Era.



Centaurs are a nomadic, intelligent, and spiritual beast race that possesses the head and torso of a tall powerfully-built man and the lower body of a horse. They are legendary creatures who are worshipped by some and despised by others. Considered to be ancient and mysterious, centaurs are capable of sophisticated speech, have their own language, and refer to others as "mortals", suggesting that they possess a greater lifespan. In Valenwood, centaurs were one of the many civilizations inhabiting the province's vast jungles, predating the elven inhabitants arrival. Following the fall of the Second Empire, they came to inhabit the abandoned human trading posts, and families of centaurs attended revelries in Falinesti alongside Bosmer, Wood Orcs, and Imga. The Elden Hollow beneath Elden Root was the final resting place for generations of centaurs and minotaurs. In High Rock, centaurs made their homes in the woods and hills of Bangkorai, having been more commonly found in the First Era. Their populations dwindled by the Second Era, but proliferated to higher numbers later on. By the late Third Era, they were still encountered in the Illiac Bay regions of High Rock and Hammerfell.



The dreugh (/drɛɡ/) are an ancient species of aquatic, octopus-like beastfolk, commonly hunted for their hide and the wax scraped from their shells. They are sometimes known as water dreugh. A known variant of dreugh is the dreugh man o'war. The dreugh live on land and in water during different stages of their lives. Dreugh are mostly mild-mannered, and usually scavenge for food. Occasionally, dreugh will cut fishermens' nets while scavenging to steal the fish inside. Dreugh are omnivores, and have been seen eating Elven flesh. When hunting, they prefer dark, dank places from which to snatch unsuspecting prey.

Dreugh are found mostly in northern, western and eastern Tamriel, but can usually be found anywhere coastal that isn't in frigid waters. They are known to inhabit the Inner Sea and the Abecean Sea, migrating into the waterways of the Iliac Bay. Land dreugh can be found as far inland as Cyrodiil and Craglorn. Dreugh are known to be immune to paralysis, poison and disease and resistant to magic, but have a low tolerance to frost. They can regenerate health in darkness and in water, but cannot enter holy places. Their infamous shock attacks are unique to land dreugh, and those in the water must rely on melee attacks.

For more information, see the main lore article.



Fauns are deerlike trickster beastfolk found in the Systres, where they ecologically fill a similar role that goblins do for most of mainland Tamriel. Rumors exist of creatures of nature either Man or Mer in appearance being the first inhabitants of the archipelago. Fauns themselves are described as having bodies of tall, slender Mer, and are confirmed to have been on the Systres isle of Galen before the Druids of Galen settled there. Some Fauns are nature spirits called from the Green, and have been bound into their distinct physical forms. According to Lady Arabelle Davaux, almost every known encounter with a Faun and the other denizens of Tamriel ends in violence. These violent tendencies have prevented a further understanding of their dialect and culture from developing. One documented tale describes a particularly cruel encounter with a Faun during which they attacked a water carrier without clear provocation, strung him up upside down, stuffed his mouth full of garlic cloves, smothered him in honey, and then agitated a nearby hornet's nest before leaving him to his fate. This position is contradicted by the House Dufort representative Parisse Plouff, who described them as protectors of nature who usually aren't vicious.

Fauns dwell in herds which function as close-knit families. Faun Lords hold a leadership role among Fauns, and have been known to turn the hunt around on hunters active in their territory. They are also noted for their magical abilities, and for being able to "turn the forest itself against intruders". This seems to even extend to allowing them to command Spriggans and Indriks in battle. Female Fauns seem to either be rare or not exist, leading speculation on them reproducing via magical means, non-traditional methods, or females simply being kept well hidden. Fauns appear to not have their own verbal language, and communicate in simple grunts and chirps. Fauns utilize rune-like lettering which may be a written language.

Frost GiantEdit

Frost Giant

Frost Giants are a sentient race of huge and sinewy humanoid beasts. They possess five eyes, and have two curved horns decorating their forehead. White, shaggy hair covers their bodies. They are extremely strong and have regenerative abilities, provided to them by their "icy" blue blood, which can be stunted by fire. Frost Giants are elusive and rarely seen on Tamriel. They are called "cousins" of common giants, but are much closer in physiology to Frost Trolls.



Giants are a race of enormous humanoids with colossal strength. They are found in the wilderness of Skyrim, High Rock, Hammerfell, Cyrodiil and Valenwood.

They have thick grey skin, long, powerful limbs, large hands and feet, and thick greyish-brown hair decorated with braids and beads. Additionally, most Giants have decorative scars carved into their chests. They clothe themselves in fur pelts adorned with the bones of animals and people, although many prefer a simple loincloth.

Although they tower above most races, their height can vary. Some stand between 11 and 12 feet tall, whereas others can be several times the height of the average person. Female giants, also called Giantesses, are more powerful and less common than males, and the only known sightings have been in the Wrothgarian Mountains and Whiterun Plains during the Second Era.

For more information, see the main lore article.


Goblin-ken (or goblin-kin) is an unspecific term used to refer to several different beastfolk, including goblins, ogres, and gremlins. Although they are elves, Orcs are widely considered to be goblin-ken due to the common belief that they are somehow related to goblins. Goblin-ken are used as slaves by the Altmer of Summerset Isle. During the Camoran Dynasty, hundreds of goblin-ken were set free by the rulers of Summerset Isle and allowed to settle the lands north of Valenwood. The Orcish tribes chose to settle high in the Wrothgarian Mountains, near Old H'roldan, which was a part of High Rock at the time. This was due to their dependence on a rare shaggy giant centipede herdbeast that can live only at high altitudes on alpine and sub-alpine forage. The village eventually grew into Orsinium (literally translated as Orc-Town) at the location. After the first sacking of the fortress by the Order of the Diagna and the subsequent rebuilding by Gortwog gro-Nagorm, Orsinium had apparently become solely inhabited by the Orcs, with no further reference to their fellow goblin-ken.

For more information, see the main lore article.


Manic Grummite

Grummites are violent, primitive humanoids native to the Shivering Isles. They are a species of amphibious frog-like beastfolk with a complex life cycle and incredible regenerative abilities when in water or rain. Like other creatures native to the Isles, Grummites take differing forms depending on whether they inhabit Mania or Dementia.

For more information, see the lore article.



Hadolids are a race of amphibious, bipedal crablike beastfolk native to the Abecean Sea. Due to traits they share with crustaceans, they have also been referred to as crabfolk. They are visually comparable to Dreugh, but they are a different species. Their shells are somewhat similar to mudcrabs, although their relation to those creatures is unknown at this time. Hadolids are migratory, and can stay underwater for a period of a decade or more before returning to land for a similar length of time. Hadolids are capable of diving underwater to depths that surpass even the ability of Argonians, leaving a major part of their lifecycle a mystery to researchers. Their odor is reminiscent of rotting meat. They travel in hunting packs and are capable of using powerful magic and weapons. They are commonly seen venturing onto land on the Systres.

For more information, see the main lore article.


The Imga, also called Great Apes or Apemen, are native beastfolk of Valenwood. These intelligent apes are said to have flourished in Valenwood long before the Aldmer ever arrived there. They cohabit in the forests with the Bosmer tribes, and also inhabit many of the abandoned human trading posts which had been established during the Second Empire. The apemen are also reportedly found in the mountainous areas in the west and north of Tamriel, and seldom encountered in the East. The Dunmer keep the apemen as slaves, though not in as great numbers as Argonians.

The most notable Imga was undoubtedly Marukh, a First Era prophet who rose to prominence during the Camoran Dynasty. His teachings sparked the massive cultural and spiritual movement known as the Alessian Order.


Illustration of a typical Khajiit male

Khajiit (from Ta'agra, meaning desert-dweller) are cat-like people who come from Elsweyr, known for high intelligence and agility. These traits make them very good thieves and acrobats, but Khajiit are also fearsome warriors. They are rarely known to be mages. Khajiit mostly stay on land, but piracy and Skooma trade does draw some to work as sailors.

Khajiit anatomy differs greatly from both men and mer, not only because of their fur, tail, and sometimes toe-walking stance, but also their digestive system and metabolism. Khajiit, Argonians, and Imga are the so-called "beast races" of Tamriel because of these large differences. Khajiit have a lifespan similar to that of humans. There are no well-documented cases of cross-breeding between Khajiit and other races, though there are rumors of such a thing. The foreign appearance and behavior of Khajiit make them common targets of racial discrimination, being given the name Cat-Men by foreigners, which the Khajiit don't take lightly.

For more information, see the main lore article.



Lamias are a species of amphibious beastfolk. They have a serpentine appearance, with the torso of a woman and the tail of a snake. Despite appearing to be exclusively female, it is assumed they use parthenogenesis to lay eggs akin to reptiles and amphibians. They are initially incredibly protective of their eggs, though they later abandon them and leave the immature Lamiae to fend for themselves. Found all over Tamriel, they can live in water or on land, although they rarely venture far from the water, and are known to take up residence in abandoned ruins. Some desert lamias also reside in Hammerfell. Lamias are larger than most other mortal races, but can interbreed with them according to fables. Lamias eat their prey whole, resulting in a distended stomach while they slowly digest. They appear to be cold-blooded and are known to lounge in the sun.

Despite being reviled as monsters, lamias are an intelligent species; they can speak Tamrielic, can cast powerful magic, and adorn themselves with jewelry. In combat, they rely on debilitating shrieks and powerful claws that drain an opponent's stamina. Curares can also summon spectral lamias. They seemingly have their own religion, venerating entities known as the Egg Mother and the Great Egg. Lamias choose not to erect permanent structures or cities of their own, instead preferring to occupy the ruins left behind by man and mer. They can also be encountered living underwater. Groups of lamias are often led by a queen.

Lamias have had little impact on history due to their primitive nature and hostile attitude towards the people of Tamriel. Notably, the lamias of Tempest Island took part in the Lamia Invasion of 2E 435, and a group of lamias are thought to have fought against Molag Bal in 2E 582 during the Tamrielic invasion of Coldharbour. Medusas are physically similar to lamias, but otherwise unrelated.

For more information, see the main lore article.


The Lilmothiit (possibly meaning "one who is from Lilmoth"), also called the Fox-Folk, were a vulpine (fox-like) beast race who once inhabited Black Marsh. Some scholars speculate that the Lilmothiit are related to the Khajiit of Elsweyr. The Lilmothiit were a nomadic tribal group, and left few enduring signs of their existence. They founded the settlements of Lilmoth and Blackrose. Lilmoth later came to be occupied by merchants and neighboring Argonian tribes. The Lilmothiit ruins of Blackrose were later turned into Blackrose prison in a single day by Pelladil Direnni, who summoned an army of stone atronachs at the request of Potentate Versidue-Shaie in the Second Era.

For many generations, the Lilmothiit were in decline, and they eventually withdrew their presence on the coasts to the inland regions around Blackrose. In the Second Era, the Lilmothiit were scarcely seen. Several scholars from High Rock believed they had succumbed to the Knahaten Flu, leaving behind many ruins for archeologists to scour. As of 2E 582, in the region of Blackwood, a kind of sleek paper kite, painted bright orange and featuring a real fox's tail was common toy. It was named Lilmothiit Fox-Kite, after the vulpine folk.

For more information, see the main lore article.



Minotaurs, also called man-bulls or bull-men, are a species of beastfolk native to Cyrodiil with the body of a man and the head of a bull. During the First Era, they were said to have symbolized the Alessian Empire, but in later eras became more commonly perceived as savage monsters by the people of Tamriel.

They have thick grey or sometimes brown or red hide and fur, and large curved horns. Some Minotaurs clothe themselves in a simple loincloth and shawl or wear nose-rings. Others wear intricate leather armor, and some prefer to be completely naked. They are most commonly found in the Blackwood, Colovian Highlands, Great Forest and the Gold Coast regions of Cyrodiil, as well as The Scar of Elsweyr, the Reach of Skyrim, and in ancient times across Bangkorai and Valenwood.

For more information, see the main lore article.


Nagas are a breed of Argonian that live in the inner parts of Black Marsh. Nagas have some distinct differences in their appearance compared to the Argonian most commonly seen throughout Tamriel. They are described as having "huge mouths filled with dripping needle-like fangs". Nagas range from anywhere between seven to eight feet tall, though the Naga-Kur tribe found within Murkmire appears to be about the same height as the common variety of Argonian. Naga are sometimes called 'puff adders', suggesting snake-like features. Like other Argonians, Nagas lay eggs, and Naga hatchlings are able to walk right after they hatch. Naga tend to be drawn to war and violence more than other breeds of Argonians.

When Imperial interests were attempting to maintain plantations in Argonia, the Nagas generally acted as highway robbers; however, following the cessation of these efforts, they have since left the roads and have gone back into the inner swamps.

For more information, see the main lore article.

The Naga-Kur (or "Dead-Water Tribe") of northern Murkmire control much of the inner swamps. Unlike the tribeless Nagas that inhabit the region, the Naga-Kur are proud warriors, deeply entrenched in tradition. They are hostile to outsiders and feared by neighboring tribes because of their brutal ways.


The Sload (sometimes called worms or slug-folk) are a race of sluglike beastfolk living in the Coral Kingdoms of Thras, southwest of Tamriel.

Sload are innately cautious and careful. In their mythic traditions, all heroes spend years planning, considering and consulting with wise Sload before taking the correct action and achieving their goal. By contrast, their villains all act quickly or rashly and always fail. The Sload language has no word for 'adventure', and the closest equivalent more accurately means 'tragic disaster'.

Sload do not seem to experience emotions as the Tamrielic races do, but are often skilled at acting and may exaggeratedly simulate them for the benefit of more emotive beings.

They will honor laws, loyalties, and friendships only as long as they calculate it to be in their best interests to do so. They also have no compunctions against blasphemy, theft, kidnapping, murder, genocide or anything else that may help them reach their goals.

Sload are apparently not religious and generally reject worship, but will willingly serve Daedra if they benefit from it. Some, in particular the famed Second Era necromancer N'Gasta, also follow the King of Worms.

For more information, see the main lore article.


  • Orcs can be classified as Goblin-Kin, Beastfolk, or Mer depending on the source.
  • Early documented encounters between the Akaviri and the earliest inhabitants of Tamriel suggest that there may be Akaviri people with rat-like features, and others who are canine in appearance.[3]