Skyrim breton

List of the Races of Skyrim

Guide to Racial Bonus Stats and Special Abilities

This guide serves to list and provide strategies for the various races in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. You'll see what each race looks like, their starting skill bonuses, special abilities, and racial passives. I'll suggest how each might be used, and note my favorite passive bonuses to give you some help choosing a race.

Skyrim's Argonian Race
A Male of the Argonian Race

Race: Argonian

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10Lockpicking, +5Alteration, Restoration, Light Armor, Pickpocket, and Sneak

Racial Perks: +50% Resist Disease, Waterbreathing, better Unarmed damage

Special Abilities - Histskin: Health regenerates 10x faster for 60 seconds. Usable once per day.

Strategies for Playing as an Argonian: Argonians are suited to thief-type play, being better at lockpicking from the start. It's a skill that normally takes a bit longer to level, so this is a welcome bonus. Otherwise, their bonuses are a bit spread out. They're not a great race to play unless you'll lean heaviliy on those thief skills, but in that case will need to decide between this Race or Khajiit. Both have a bonus to unarmed damage, though Khajiit are better at this and have a more focused set of bonus skills. Water-breathing has limited usefulness in Skyrim. Diseases can be a nuisance, so picking Argonian may lead to some more care-free play. You're less likely to become a vampire or get an annoying disease that lowers your carrying capacity or skills.

Skyrim's Breton Race
A Male of the Breton Race

Race: Breton

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10Conjuration, +5Alteration, Illusion, Restoration, Alchemy, and Speech

Racial Perks: +25% Resist Magic

Special Abilities - Dragonskin: 50% chance to absorb all damage and gain the full Magicka cost of any hostile spells that hit your character for 60 seconds, usable once per day.

Strategies for Playing as a Breton: Bretons can get the highest Magic Resistance in Skyrim. This powerful resist affects all spell damage of any element, and combines with elemental resistances to absorb more damage. Breton make natural summoners, and their conjured allies can help tank for them while they sling spells. This is a good all-around caster, but the Magic Resistance and bonus to Speech and Alchemy makes the Breton Race capable in any role. The best offense is a good defense, as they say.

Skyrim's Dark Elf Race
A Male of the Dark Elf Race

Race: Dark Elf

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10Destruction, +5Alteration, Illusion, Alchemy, Light Armor, and Sneak

Racial Perks: +50% Resist Fire

Special Abilities - Ancestor's Wrath: Any enemies in melee range will take 8 points of fire damage each second for 60 seconds. Usable once per day.

Strategies for Playing as a Dark Elf: Dark elves make excellent casters, and get the most useful resistance type aside from generic Magic Resistance. Ancestor's Wrath counts as a fire shield spell, and does not stack with other shield spells. Use this while running around melee opponents and casting short-range destruction spells for maximum effect. Melee opponents will have a hard time hitting you this way, and take damage from your spells and the shield every moment you're around. This is an active and effective offense early in the game.

Skyrim's High Elf Race
A Male of the High Elf Race

Race: High Elf

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10Illusion, +5Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Enchanting, and Restoration

Racial Perks: +50 Maximum Magicka

Special Abilities - Highborn: Magicka regenerates 25x faster for 60 seconds. Usable once per day.

Strategies for Playing as a High Elf: Any playstyle that will lean heavily on magic will benefit from being a High Elf. The +50 Magicka bonus is huge, offering 5 levels worth of reward in one racial bonus. Combine that with Highborn, used right before you initiate combat, and you'll have a load of Magicka at your disposal to dish major damage to your enemies. This is incredibly helpful when facing a dragon or a room full of angry monsters. A good all-around choice unless you're making a pure warrior.

Skyrim's Imperial Race
A Male of the Imperial Race

Race: Imperial

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10Restoration, +5Block, Heavy Armor, One-handed Weapons, Destruction, and Enchanting

Racial Perks: The Imperial Luck passive ability, which gives extra gold any time you find some

Special Abilities - Voice of the Emperor: Calms all nearby humanoids for 60 seconds, once per day

Strategies for Playing as an Imperial: The Imperial race caters to any playstyle. Getting a bonus to restoration will help either a caster or fighter to heal themselves and allies. Their racial perk is an interesting one. Any time you find gold coins in a treasure chest or as loot on a dead creature's corpse, you'll find anywhere from 2-10 more coins, meaning the minimum gold you'll find from most sources is increased. This is a big percent bonus early in the game, though it weakens later on when the gold piles' average size increases. Voice of the Emperor affects humanoids of any kind, and allows you to stop combat for 60 seconds even against high level opponents.

Skyrim's Khajiit Race
A Male of the Khajiit Race

Race: Khajiit

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10Sneak, +5Archery, One-handed Weapons, Alchemy, Lockpicking, and Pickpocket

Racial Perks: Claws, which do extra damage (+12) in unarmed combat. This effect does stack with Heavy Armor's Fists of Steel, adding the bracer's armor rating to the punch.

Special Abilities - Night Eye: Improves night vision for 60 seconds, usable multiple times each day unlike other powers.

Strategies for Playing as a Khajiit: Khajiit are the master thieves of Skyrim. They have a heavy bonus to sneak, which facilitates both sneak attacks, slipping by your foes unnoticed and pickpocketing. The race is a master of Unarmed combat. They'll do 12 extra damage when wielding no weapon, which actually makes going weaponless more sensible than actually using one in the early game. Your reach will suffer, but the damage is comparatively huge. You can boost this further by going with the Fists of Steel perk from Heavy Armor, though that Khajiit is not nearly as stealthy it will be exceptional at brawling in Skyrim's Inns. Overall, you're better off using that amazing sneak skill with a dagger for a 15x sneak attack bonus.

Skyrim's Nord Race
A Male of the Nord Race

Race: Nord

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10Two-handed Weapons, +5Block, One-handed Weapons, Smithing, Light Armor, and Speech

Racial Perks: +50% Frost Resistance

Special Abilities - Battle Cry: Makes all targets nearby flee for 30 seconds. Usable once per day, considered a hostile action to NPCs.

Strategies for Playing as a Nord: Nord can use their skills to make a very easy build to play, wielding a two-handed weapon they are skilled at blocking with, wearing light armor for mobility, smithing their own armor and selling at higher prices with the Speech skill. It's a really simple but effective build, that could swap out any of its components for something else. The passive Frost Resistance they get helps against many dragons and some of Skyrim's nastier monsters. Battle Cry can let you scare off enemies to regenerate stamina, scatter them and take them out separately or let you escape with your life. Overall, a good race for a Warrior but poor as a caster compared to other Races.

Skyrim's Orc Race
A Male of the Orc Race

Race: Orc

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10Heavy Armor, +5Block, One-handed Weapons, Smithing, Two-handed Weapons, and Enchanting

Racial Perks: None!

Special Abilities - Berserker Rage: Deal double damage while taking half for 60 seconds. Usable once per day.

Strategies for Playing as an Orc: I consider Breton the best race for their Magic Resistance, which makes them great multitaskers, but Orcs are masters at being a big mean Warrior. Go with a two-hander or sword and shield, and you're set to make and enchant weapons a little better than other Races. Their racial ability is one you will use fairly often, though it does not affect spell damage offensively or defensively. Berserker Rage does archery and melee damage both dealt and received. Use this to get a dragon down fast, facing bosses of any kind, or when you need to clear a room full of melee opponents. It's the best racial special ability in Skyrim by far. Orcs start with access to all Orc Strongholds upon starting the game, while other Races must do a quest to gain entry. This gives you access to shopkeepers and trainers other Races have to work to be able to use.

Skyrim's Redguard Race
A Male of the Redguard Race

Race: Redguard

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10One-handed Weapons, +5Archery, Block, Smithing, Alteration, and Destruction

Racial Perks: +50% Poison Resistance

Special Abilities - Adrenaline Rush: Regenerate Stamina 10x faster for 60 seconds. Usable once per day.

Strategies for Playing as a Redguard: While Redguard start with a nice weapon bonus, they do not really shine at anything in particular. The Poison Resistance is weak and not as helpful as others, and while Adrenaline Rush is good you can easily use Stamina Potions to accomplish the same. I'd stay away from this Race.

Skyrim's Wood Elf Race
A Male of the Wood Elf Race

Race: Wood Elf

Starting Skill Bonuses: +10Archery, +5Alchemy, Light Armor, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, and Sneak

Racial Perks: +50% Disease and Poison Resistance

Special Abilities - Command Animal: Forces an Animal to fight for you for 60 seconds. Usable once per day.

Strategies for Playing as a Wood Elf: Wood Elves are the best Archers in Skyrim, but mainly thanks to the starting bonus. A Khajiit can do just as well, given Sneak should be used with Archery. Their Disease and Poison resistance will come in handy in many many situations, as combined they're seen heavily in the game. Command Animal can affect even high level animals like Mammoths and cause them to turn on their allies. Remember to put down your buddy when the effect wears off.

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The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - How to Build a Successful Breton Character

Of all the races in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Bretons may be one of the most popular thanks to the assertion that they can wield swords and spells as well as each other. In this way, they seem to be the designated battlemage class, and their racial bonuses certainly seem to gear them up for tough battles.

The Bretons have a rich culture and background which seem to lend from the Celtic cultures of history, which is fitting considering they are named for the Celtic peoples of Brittany. This makes them an attractive choice for roleplayers, and this guide will help any player build a great Breton Dragonborn.

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History Of The Bretons

A commonly held belief in the world of Mundus is that the Bretons are essentially half-elves. The story goes that the province of High Rock was inhabited by human druids who were eventually taken over by the settling Aldmer, who emigrated from Summerset Isle. They took the druids as subjects and many years of interbreeding resulted in the Bretons.

Breton history is fraught with political strife. Despite the apparent homogeneity of their culture, many different kingdoms arose within High Rock, vying for territory and political superiority. When not fighting amongst themselves, they often united against a common enemy -- the Orsimer of Orsinium. At other points in history, however, they used the Orcs to defeat political opponents. In the Second Era, the Daggerfall Covenant (a tentative alliance of the kingdoms in High Rock) allied with the Orcs to drive off King Ranser of Shornhelm, who was invading the kingdom of Wayrest. Despite the Orcs being only one part of the resistance against Ranser, he used this affront to mount a campaign against the Orsimer of his lands, interrogating and executing hundreds of the Bretons' historic foes.

The Breton province was shaken heavily by The Warp in the West, a complex temporal event that canonically occurs at the end of Daggerfall. After a period of political instability where multiple factions vying for control of a powerful artifact, what's known as a Dragon Break occurs, rending time. When the disaster faded, history would record that each outcome of the conflict had happened simultaneously, and this resulted in what is known as the "Miracle of Peace." The tail end of the Third Era was marked by a profoundly stable and peaceful province of High Rock, with the various rulers (including the Orsimer) all pledging loyalty to the Empire. This consolidation of power made life easier and quieter in the region, which was only disrupted during the Fourth Era.

Before the events of Skyrim, the Bretons have forced the Orcs out of Orsinium and supported the Empire during the Great War against the Thalmor. While they lost the war, the Bretons remain loyal to the Imperials, rejecting the Stormcloaks' calls for aid during Skyrim's Civil War.

RELATED: The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - How to Build a Successful Bosmer Character

Breton Racial Bonuses

Compared to the Altmer, the Bretons feel like another brand of mage when looking at their racial strengths. Their abilities are more defensive in nature, encouraging players to get into the fray a little more. Their inbuilt passive is Magic Resistance, which grants them a permanent 25% resistance to magic. As so many of Skyrim's most dangerous enemies love to use magic, this is a fantastic ability.

Further accentuating their defensive nature, the Bretons' activated power is Dragonskin. This can be used once per day and provides the Breton with 50% spell absorption for 60 seconds. This means that when activated, any spell fired at the player has a 50/50 chance of completely negating that spell and absorbing any Magicka spent casting it for themselves. Using this in a battle against mages is a great way to encourage players to play a bit riskier, with the payoff being the ability to use more spells of their own with the refilled Magicka.

While all players will start the game with Flames and Healing, Breton players will begin with Conjure Familiar, a novice-level Conjuration spell. While Bretons are skilled in most magic schools, they are deeply encouraged to pursue the school of Conjuration as they also begin with a +10 to the skill. The spell summons a spectral wolf for 60 seconds. While it is one of the weakest spells, it can be handy as a distraction.

Apart from the large bonus to Conjuration, Breton players also get +5 bonuses to the schools of Alteration, Illusion and Restoration. This gives them a slight head start when making a mage build, especially one that doesn't need to utilize Destruction. In addition to these magical bonuses, Bretons also get a +5 to Alchemy and Speech. While both are great skills for making money, the former is especially nice for making better Potions and Poisons -- essential for the players who wish to get up close and personal with their enemies.

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Breton Build Suggestions

A great build for a Breton would be that of a battlemage with a particular interest in summoning. Battlemages wield weapons and use their spells to augment their fighting skills and utilize clever strategies, rather than making magic their sole focus. One of the first things a Breton in Skyrim should do is visit the Atronach Standing Stone, which can be found due south of Windhelm and east of Whiterun. This stone's blessing provides (along with a nice +50 Magicka) another 50% spell absorption rate while cutting Magicka regeneration in half. This means that with the Dragonskin ability activated, a Breton has 100% spell absorption, which is fantastic for fights against mages.

Conjuration will be one of the main focuses of this build. Summoned creatures, daedra and undead are fantastic allies, and the higher level spells can clear fights on their own. Players can choose to focus on either summon spells or the necromancy spells to save perk points, or they can use both in tandem. An important perk to work towards is Summoner, as it allows Conjuration spells to work at a much higher distance, improving the Breton's survivability by starting fights from afar.

As far as other magic schools go, Restoration is also essential as, despite the defensiveness of a Breton, they will still take a beating quite often. Getting better healing spells and buffing them with perks like Respite and Regeneration will substantially improve the player's chances. Alteration can improve this defensiveness further, with Magic Resistance stacking well with the Bretons' natural abilities and the capstone perk Atronach synergizing perfectly with Dragonskin. Avoid Mage Armor, as the Breton is better off using Light Armor and its respective perks to save Magicka for costly Conjuration spells instead of casting protection spells. Important Light Armor perks to go for include as many ranks of Agile Defender as the player can spare and Unhindered for mobility.

When the player has set up their summons cast whichever defensive spells they prefer, getting up close and using a weapon is the next thing on their to-do list. They will want to use One-handed weapons to keep their off-hand free for spellcasting but can otherwise specialize in whichever weapon type they like. Maces are a decent choice as the Bone Breaker perks allow the weapons to ignore a certain amount of an enemy's armor, but there aren't many unique maces around Skyrim. No matter what, though, once a Breton player has summoned and is slashing away at their foe, they can rest assured that they're playing optimally.

KEEP READING: The Elder Scrolls: 5 Skyrim Side-Quests Every Player Should Complete


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A compilation of the preset Breton faces available in Skyrim

Bretons are the human descendants of the Merethic Era Aldmeri and Nedes that are now the inhabitants of the province of High Rock. Bretons feel an instinctive bond with the mercurial forces of magic and the supernatural. Many great sorcerers have come from their home province of High Rock. In addition to their quick and perceptive grasp of spellcraft, enchantment, and alchemy, all Bretons boast a resistance to spells.

For more information, see the main lore article.

Bretons are fantastic at taking on other mages; both Dragonskin and Magic Resistance support this and are strong abilities even in the late game.

Magic Resistance significantly increases your survivability against enemy casters, while Dragonskin is great at keeping your Magicka up; this helps you maintain the Ward spells that are your first line of defense.

In-Game Description[edit]

In addition to their quick and perceptive grasp of spellcraft, even the humblest of High Rock's Bretons can boast a resistance to magic. Bretons can call upon the Dragonskin power to absorb spells.


  • Magic Resistance ability (FormID ): Breton blood grants a 25% resistance to magic, constant
  • Dragonskin greater power (FormID ): Absorb 50% of the magicka from hostile spells for 60 seconds, once per day
  • Height: 1 (M), 0.95 (F)
  • In addition to Flames, Bretons start with the spell Conjure Familiar.


Bretons are particularly skilled in Conjuration, which means that they can summon creatures and weapons to aid them in battle. They are resistant to magic, making them exceptionally useful against other magic users.

It should be noted that Bretons do not have any bonuses to Destruction magic, giving the player a fairer choice between using offensive magic or weapons; Breton skill bonuses are well suited for support magic.

Many Court Wizards are Bretons. Also, numerous members of the College of Winterhold are Bretons. Bretons are especially common throughout The Reach. They frequently make appearances in a variety of roles, from traders to battlemages.



  • There is a loading screen hint that incorrectly claims Bretons have 50% Magic Resistance, as was the case in Morrowind and Oblivion, but they have only 25% Magic Resistance in Skyrim.
  • Between Agent of Mara, the Alteration perk Magic Resistance, and The Lord Stone, it's possible for a Breton to passively have the maximum effective Magic Resistance of 85%, while this would leave any other race 15% short. By using Vampirism and the Necromage perk from Restoration, this can also be achieved without The Lord Stone, giving 87.5% magic resistance and thereby capping out. However, it can not be achieved with most versions of The Unofficial Patches, as they patch it out, considering it an exploit. There are, however, other mods which restore its function, even with The Unofficial Patches on.
  • Bretons are capable of reaching 100% Spell Absorption in the base game by activating their racial power and having the Atronach Stone.
  • While game dialogue sometimes distinguishes between the natives of the Reach and Bretons, in-game data does not and all Reach natives (including Forsworn) are classified as Bretons.


  • There seems to be a bug that prevents Bretons (male and female) from staggering enemies with dual-wield power attacks, thus rendering it useless on higher difficulties (tested on PC with Special Edition, switching races via Console and different equipment won't solve the problem). ?

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Breton skyrim

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