TESNC: Races - Dunmer

Biology

Fertility

Dunmer, like other elven races, have a low fertility rate, rarely having more than two children over their long lifetimes. They also tend to first be able to bear young at much later times than their human counterparts, in their early-to-mid twenties, up to a decade after they first awaken sexually.

When pairing with the races of men, they experience a temporary quickening and increased fertility or virility, a strange but well-documented phenomenon in cultural eras such as the Direnni Hegemony's reign in High Rock, and the First Empire of the Nords' occupation of Morrowind.

Culture

Ancestor Worship

Dunmer practice a peculiar form of ancestral veneration entwined with ritualistic, religious necromancy, which gives rise to powerful "adacan", or "spirit magic". Through blood, ritual and worship, a living Dunmer can gain access to the wisdom, protection and power of their ancestors, and through love and duty, the spirit of a Dunmer can cross back into the realm of the living to serve their kin again.

This form of magic is powerful, if mysterious, and all Dunmer can wield it to form a defensive ghost-fire ward, or an offensive magical fire shield. Most Dunmer with magical talent can also call an Ancestor Ghost directly to their aid as a mystic would normally conjure an Atronach guardian, though this ability is used sparingly so as to not irk the spirit with repeated summons. Ancestor spirits are able to scry information obscured to the living, and are thus a source of valuable counsel, often summoned in their family tombs by their descendants for information that is otherwise challenging to obtain. Greater Dunmeri mystics are able to draw the spirits into their own body in a form of temporary willing possession, foregoing the need for the ancestor's remains to act as a conduit, or for the spirit to expend energy in manifesting itself in a spectral form. Very importantly, an ancestral spirit summoned in these fashions assists its kin out of love and familial duty, which is where all the difference rests between Dunmeri necromancy and sorcerous necromancy.

The ancestral family shrine is called the Waiting Door, and it forms a link between the living and their departed kin, a representation of a door to the afterlife. In most houses, this shrine is little more than a small shelf, hearth or alcove, in which family relics are displayed, but in wealthier clans it generally takes the shape of an entire holy room set aside for the ancestors' use, and can also house bones, or even entire bodies, of ancestors especially dear to the family. Worship at the Waiting Door takes the form of prayers and oaths sworn to duty, as well as gifts, not only in the form of material offerings but of news, both personal and of the family affairs, of travels, blessings and ordeals. In return, ancestors offer knowledge, training, blessings and protection. Many of the Dunmer living outside of the Morrowind mainland have foregone the tradition of a Waiting Door for Ancestor worship at local Temple tombs or city crypts, as have older Dunmer who lived in the Third Era and remember the period of Imperial reign.

For a spirit to be bound and enslaved is seen as outrageous, revolting and beyond cruel to the Dunmer, and punishable by death in accordance to Temple Law, with only one exception: Bonewalkers. The reason for this is that to the departed, the mortal realm is unpleasant and perhaps even downright painful to dwell in, cold, bitter, and full of loss and pain, and only areas where they can draw strength and comfort from other spirits, and from the love and veneration of their descendants, are truly suitable for them. If a spirit is bound to the mortal realm against their will, through a necromancer's ill intent, a powerful emotional bond, or terrible death, they are liable to go mad from the pain and cause hauntings, turning into a malevolent undead.

Bonewalkers are venerated and feared as guardians of family shrines and ancestral tombs. They are spirits magically bound to gruesome constructs of fire-and-ash purified remains, using bone and metal pins, as punishment for failing to faithfully serve their family in life. Though ritually prevented from harming mortals of their clan, they are still very much able of mischievous or peevish behavior toward them, and often turn their exceedingly dangerous anger and malevolence onto intruders. As the creation of bonewalkers is overseen and sanctioned by the Temple, it is against Temple Law to harm or destroy these flesh revenants, just as it is forbidden to banish or soul-trap ancestor spirits unless under direct order from a Canon or Archcanon of the Temple.

Funeral Rites

Names

Dunmeri, and El-Velothi and House Chimeri names before them, uses the still-little-understood system of Aldmeri numerology to name their children. This is generally the reason why Dunmeri names seem to be "nonsense" if attempted to be translated, a trait shared with their ancestor-races and with the Altmer. Save for usage of common elven words, they are essentially a series of numbers related to auspicious signs present during pregnancy and birth, or traits wished for the offspring to have.

Ashlander, or Velothi names, use Velothis, the only known mortal language to be based on Daedric dialects, to craft names during a Naming ceremony. Before, they are all called "Nammu", or "Nameless", and may even retain that name if they are frail or weak. Ashlanders will typically name their children after traits they show before they are Named. The observant scholar will notice that such a custom is also present in Orcish cultures, and might be a tradition from the Aldmeri Cult of Trinimac that both Chimer and Orsimer originated from.

The order and length of Dark Elf names may seem unintuitive, but in fact is much easier to decypher than the ancient Aldmeri numerology system. Firstly, social and academic ranks are to be used only in formal correspondence, or in respectful fashion, in combination with either full name or family surname, or on its own. Next will be the House that the individual is bound to, by oath or marriage, typically a Great House or a powerful and influential Minor House. As Ashlanders see no purpose in the Houses, this step is omitted for them. The Grandmaster of a newly-established house, and their direct blood relatives, will also place their House name before their given name. Third comes a Dunmer's given name. Lastly is the House, Clan, or family they are born to, with the notable exception for the founding Grandmaster of a new House and their relatives.

Should a Dunmer be an orphan, or disowned, or not have a surname due to other circumstances, one can use "of no House" on official documentation, but in speech should simply omit mentioning a family name. To verbally call out that one does not have a House or Clan is considered highly offensive, and punishable by corporeal re-education, in accordance with Temple Law.

History

Exodus of Veloth and the Chimer

El-Velothi Culture Era

Decline to Tribal Cultures

Formation of the Great Houses

Occupation by the First Empire of the Nords

Revolt Against the Nords and Formation of Resdayn

War of the First Council

Battle of Red Mountain

Golden Years of the Tribunal Era

Akaviri Invasion and Formation of the Ebonheart Pact

Famous Chimer

Famous Dunmer

Raw Stats

Arena

Modifiers Strength Intelligence Willpower Agility Speed Endurance Personality Luck
Male +10 +10 -10 +10 +10 X X X
Female X +10 -10 X X X X X

Bonus to hit & damage with any weapon (Level divided by 4).

Daggerfall

Modifiers Positive Negative
Male +10 Strength +10 Intelligence -10 Willpower -10 Personality
Female +10 Intelligence -10 Willpower

"Versatile in all manners of skills."

Battlespire

Major Bonuses Minor Bonuses
+10 Long Blade +10 Short Blade +5 Alteration +5 Thaumaturgy +5 Restoration
+5 Mysticism +5 Illusion

"Strong, intelligent, and quick-footed."

Morrowind

Modifiers Strength Intelligence Willpower Agility Speed Endurance Personality Luck Height Weight
Male X X -10 X +10 X -10 X 1.0 1.0
Female X X -10 X +10 -10 X X 1.0 0.9
Skills
+5 Athletics +10 Destruction +5 Light
Armor
+5 Long Blade +5 Marksman +5 Mysticism +10 Short Blade
Abilities
Ancestor Guardian
Sanctuary, 50pts on self, Power
75% Resist Fire

Shadowkey

Racial Skill
Shadowed Path
Increases stealth. Small bonus to attack.

Oblivion

Modifiers Strength Intelligence Willpower Agility Speed Endurance Personality Height Weight
Male -10 +10 -10 1.0 0.95
Female -10 +10 -10 1.0 0.9
Skills
+5 Athletics +10 Blade +5 Blunt +10 Destruction +5 Light Armor
+5 Marksman +5 Mysticism
Abilities
Ancestor Guardian
Greater Power
Summon Ancestor Guardian for 60 sec
Fire Resistance
75% Resist Fire
Reactions
Altmer Argonian Bosmer Breton Dunmer Imperial Khajiit Nord Orc Redguard
-10 -10 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5
Fellow Dunmer "my Dunmer brother/sister"
"muthsera/sera"
Disposition under 30 "ashborn"
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