I am waiting for Skyrim but I never played any other games of the Elder Scrolls series. Is there lore of Elder Scrolls series, in general, that I should read before playing? How can I learn about the background story?

  • I started TES at Morrowwind and had no idea what was going on. The most important things to know are the races and skills. But from what I hear the skill tree has changed... so we're all back on square one.
    – Coomie
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 2:44
  • @Coomie Hehe, i started with Morrowind aswell, and had no clue what was going on... all i did was run around stealing, hitting people with my sword and casting some magic while doing quests. Later on with oblivion i had the same thing, except then i closed some oblivion gates... No clue about any part of story tho.
    – Lyrion
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 8:19

2 Answers 2


The Elder Scrolls Wiki has a History category that has all the information you could ever want.

It will recap the entire plotline of all the previous games for you.

That being said, however, each game has a stand-alone plotline. There are references thrown in for hardcore fans, but they are generally easter eggs, not important plot elements.

Especially pertinent here is that Skyrim takes place in a different part of the world, 200 years after Oblivion. Its plot will have little to do with past plots. You will be able to fully enjoy Skyrim without any prior research.

  • 1
    For future readers: A certain side-plot in Dawnguard provides a very brief plot summary of Oblivion, if you pick the right dialog options. It conveniently omits the ending, making it effectively spoiler-free.
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 22:43

If you really want to know, you'd better plan on spending all your time up until the 11th reading it... Elder Scrolls has a lot of lore, much (most?) of it in the form of in-game books. Fortunately, the vast majority of it is just background about the world and stories told by its inhabitants with no direct impact on gameplay (aside from certain books giving you a skill point the first time you open them).

My recommendation would be to not worry too much about it in advance and instead take the time to pay attention to what NPCs tell you and actually read the books you find in game (most are only a couple hundred words, tops) rather than just flipping them open to see if you get a skill, then immediately closing them.

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    so.. so many books! every time i restarted i vowed to read them all... i never got close..
    – TrewTzu
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 12:29

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