| The Elder Scrolls is a fantasy series of sandbox, role-playing games. They were built on the principles of "being who you want and doing what you want" that have persisted throughout the series history. The Elder Scrolls takes place on the planet Nirn, on the continent of Tamriel which is divided into several provinces. Little has been mentioned of what other continents lay beyond Tamriel. Nirn has two moons (Masser and Secunda) and numerous races both living and extinct with deep histories and unique cultures. Ten playable races: Imperial, Nord, Redguard, Breton, Altmer, Bosmer, Dunmer, Orc, Argonian, and Khajiit exist on Tamriel. Many illnesses and diseases afflict the inhabitants of Nirn and this includes several variations of vampirism and lycanthropy.
The races of Tamriel recognize nine gods: Akatosh, Arkay, Kynareth, Talos, Stendarr, Dibella, Mara, Julianos, and Zenithar, known as the nine divine. Demon-like beings known as Deadra who dwell on the planes of Oblivion have a strong presence on Nirn; seventeen powerful princes are known: Sheogorath, Jyggalag, Sanguine, Clavicus Vile, Mephala, Peryite, Malacath, Hermaeus Mora, Molag Bal, Azura, Boethiah, Hircine, Mehrunes Dagon, Meridia, Namira, Nocturnal, and Vaermina.
The Elder Scrolls games have become renowned for the unique role-playing experience and immersion they offer - one that has rarely been replicated in other games:
- Every item can be interacted with - held, knocked over, dragged around, or placed on a shelf.
- Important documents exist as notes and books within the game world. They can be read page-by-page and placed on a bookshelf.
- Every NPC has a unique appearance, name and residence with a schedule that changes based on the weather. Every person is a person regardless of how important they are to the player.
- Every door can be opened and every building explored, even if there isn't anything of significance inside.
- The main quest is not the focus; it can be ignored completely without impacting the world, quests, or completion.
- Extensive crime and jail system. NPCs take notice of the player's actions and react appropriately.