There are ten playable races in Skyrim, each of which has its own unique abilities and powers, as well as a +10 bonus to one skill and +5 bonuses to five other skills. Race is the only choice during the character creation process that has an effect on the player's skills and abilities. The races can be organized into three categories:
The following table summarizes the differences between the ten playable races. Full details on all racial abilities and powers are provided on the individual race pages.
|Race||Male||Female||Home Province||Abilities||Powers||Initial Bonuses||Height (M)||Height (F)|
|Summerset Isle||+50 Magicka||Highborn
|High Rock||Resist Magic 25%||Dragonskin
|Morrowind||Resist Fire 50%||Ancestor's Wrath
||Voice of the Emperor
|Skyrim||Resist Frost 50%||Battle Cry
|Hammerfell||Resist Poison 50%||Adrenaline Rush
- The movement speed of each race is dependent on its height. High Elves have the largest speed multiplier due to being the tallest race, with Orcs being second tallest.
- There are minor dialogue differences depending on what race you choose. For example, many people in the game will respond positively to you if you are a Nord but negatively if you are a Dunmer.
- Although the in-game text says "Khajiit claws do 15 points of damage.", the actual effect magnitude is only 12 points
- Along with information like height or skill bonuses a weight value can be found in the game data. The meaning or impact of that value is unclear. However, it seems to have an impact on how easily a race is ragdolled or moved.
Weight Altmer Argonian Bosmer Breton Dunmer Imperial Khajiit Nord Orc Redguard Female 0.5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Male 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 1 0.5 1 1 1
 Non-Playable Races
Other NPC races that exist in the game, but are not available to the player, are:
- Breton Child
- Elders (a.k.a. Old People Race)
- Imperial Child
- Invisible Race, the race of the Ancient DragonbornDB
- Nord Child
- Redguard Child
- Snow ElvesDG
All other races in the game are considered to be Creatures (every variety of creature has its own race), but are not detailed here because those races are not NPCs.