Elder Scrolls is host to countless cities, wildly different countries, and unforgettable characters. Hidden in the lore and seen in the massive world of Elder Scrolls Online however, are a host of brand new species which some players have never even glimpsed. Adding them to the roster of fantasy races to play as you adventure across Bethesda’s next voyage into Tamriel is a no-brainer. But aside from having brand new character models to ooh and aah at, what would these races actually play like?
Simply put, these are sea elves. With clear eyes that pale into a milky-white colour in the right light, their skin is just as unnerving. Colourless and described as being like “limpid jelly”, it has the tendency to change in tone when Maormer move around, like a chameleon. Fiercely protective of their home island, they’ve surrounded it with unsurmountable seaweed tendrils that catch ships that stray too close. So it’s safe to assume they’re not the friendliest race in Tamriel.
What abilities could they have? It doesn’t take much imagination to envisage these elves as having some kind of invisibility power where they can slip away from sight in broad daylight, using their skin as a makeshift invisibility cloak. Added to this distinctly unnerving ability is their penchant for serpents. Taming the sea snakes that swarm around their island home, the bigger ones are ridden on like horses. Making your way across whatever new land Bethesda brings in Elder Scrolls VI on a giant snake might be a bit too much to ask for, though - so how about the ability to summon a sea-serpent to fight alongside you?
Some pick their race for the powers they come with. Others like role-playing, and choose those with a dark history to create the most compelling character. Either of those archetypes would be fine playing a Sload - but if you like to pick the race which looks the most elegant or attractive, the sight of these giant sluggish, frog-like creatures will probably send you running. Famed for being adept necromancers, Sload have been terrorising the coasts for centuries with sea monsters and the undead. Yet they live in a beautiful coral kingdom, perhaps indicating they have a surprisingly refined eye for beauty.
What abilities could they have? All the Sload have to do to bring something grey and devoid of a heart beat to life is wave a single finger, so it goes without saying that there should be a ‘raise dead’ racial ability for these lumps of wet, grey flesh. Although finding another ability for these creatures who suffer from severe got-a-face-only-a-mother-could-love syndrome is tricky. Known for being surprisingly elegant when it comes to swimming thanks to their amphibious tendencies, perhaps they could summon a torrent of water to slide along at high speed, allowing them to get closer to foes in the blink of an eye.
We’ve got lizard-folk and cat-people, dark elves and wood elves. Granted, humans encroach on this category a little bit (no thanks to evolution), but ape-people also live in Tamriel. Well, not so much ape-people as just talking monkeys who are inclined to walk on their hind legs. Let me introduce you to the Imga, one of the beast races who have been indoctrinated to view the Altmer as their superiors. Imitating their society with panache, they wear capes, duel with swords, and speak in a courtly manner with their baritone voices. They also think humans are way beneath them, which I’m sure would make the Altmer burst with pride.
What abilities could they have? As apes they might be able to trigger one devastating primate-punch, before collecting themselves and brushing the blood off their paws. For even more depth, letting that primate rage loose with their fists in front of an Altmer could lead to some sniffy remarks, making it harder to engage the golden elves in conversation. Or they could let those fencing skills loose and unleash a flurry of slashes at whoever’s insulted the Altmer, cutting them to ribbons.
Although in the lore these folk aren’t free-willed, they really should be high on the list for new playable races. Made from stone and reanimated bodies from Valenwood’s (home to the wood elves) dead, they come dangerously close to being a legitimate use for necromancy. Most likely stoic by nature but oddly mystic (they were created by powerful magic, after all), the contrast between their hard stone bodies and intimate connection to the magical Valenwood would make them compelling, to say the least.
What abilities could they have? Considering their bodies are made of stone, something that makes them invulnerable to damage for a limited amount of time seems an obvious bet. Seeing one walking towards you and simply having to run as your bow, fireball, or sword are pretty much useless would be horrifying, like coming up against a Dwemer Centurion for the first time. Their connection to the woods means that nature-inspired powers are on the cards too. How about stamping the ground and causing a giant claw of roots to explode from the earth in an area-of-effect attack? Even the most experienced gardeners would probably nope the hell out of there at the sight of that.
Vampires are thoroughly explored in the Dawnguard DLC, so they’ve had their time in the limelight. Instead it’s time to get acquainted with the Tsaesci. Two words: snake vampires. From the content of Akavir (where the Blades, the Emperor’s security cohort, hail from), they were integrated into Imperial society after losing in a mighty battle with the Empire. Their skills on the battlefield were too good to simply ignore, yet despite their fame it remains ambiguous whether they were snake-folk, or humans with snake-like qualities.
What abilities could they have? Let’s go with the assumption that the Tsaesci will have a snake tail instead of legs. One devastating move could be wrapping their tail around their opponent, and then squeezing until either bones break, or a head pops off. A little too extreme, granted - so time to remind ourselves that a big part of their history is their tendency to feed off other creatures like Dracula. Sinking their fangs into an enemy to suck out some stamina, magicka, or health (or all three) would make it worthwhile to take on more difficult enemies as a Tsaesci. Matching their history as warriors, this kind of ability would explain why they were so hard to defeat.
Back to the realm of homo-sapiens: the Kothringi aren’t elves, or frog-slugs, or animate statues, but humans. With metallic skin and - apparently - “reflective faces”. Making them hard to look at in bright sunlight, their skin has a sheen not seen on any other human race. Living in Black Marsh like the Argonians, they were mainly tribal before being wiped out by a lethal flu - although there’s probably a pocket of them hiding out somewhere, if Bethesda wills it.
What abilities could they have? As mainly pagan, shamanistic humans, they’re probably quite adept at magic. Their chief god is Z’en, god of toil, indicating that they’re not afraid of a hard day’s work - so perhaps making an enemy stagger as if they’ve just had a whole day of back-breaking work would be a fitting power, making them more vulnerable to attacks. Their tie to Clavicus Vile - Daedric god of power, trickery, and bargains (who ‘gifted’ a tribe of Kothringi with an undead curse as a twisted way to save them from the flu) could also come in handy. Passing on the undead curse to whoever they choose, they could turn them into a makeshift skeleton thrall instead of killing them outright. Perverse, but every cloud has a silver lining - right?