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Herbane's Bestiary: Ice Wraiths


17 Last Seed

When winters chill descended upon me as I traveled further north through the frozen plains and mountains, I settled in at the inn at Dawnstar for a moment of respite and a warm meal. Another traveler there told me to be cautious, that there are creatures who settle into the powder white of the snow with nary a clue to the careless, until it is too late. He went on and on, with wild gestures and fantastic tales of entire merchant expeditions being killed by the beasts. His stories frightened the other inn patrons, but I will not be turned by a coward's tale, I will see these for my own eyes, for those icy caves and snow capped peaks of the north are exactly the type of places that call to an adventurer like me. It did not take me long to find what I sought.

These Ice Wraiths are lucid, serpentine creatures of magic, as if conjured from the frozen tundra and glaciers of Skyrim itself. At one with an environment that makes them nearly invisible, these ethereal apparitions are the death of many Nords, if not by their sudden, unholy strike that casts their entire body through their target, then by the malady of Witbane, a curse of infection that dulls the intellect and makes the target even more the victim.

As deadly as they are, Ice Wraiths are simple minded in their determination, and combat is a straight forward affair and brute force and a sharp blade are enough to fell these savage creatures. Only the heartiest of men would hope to survive just one of these beasts, but I have slain two with general ease.

It's good that I've found I can make decent coin selling the Ice Wraith's teeth, as they are a prized ingredient in alchemical potions. That will continue to afford me the opportunity to search these lands for a challenge worthy of story, for I have yet to see what would make me tremble.

Herbane's Bestiary: Hagravens


5 Sun's Dawn

I have heard a tale most bizarre- a beautiful young woman cast out of town by the thrown stones of accusers for giving in to the dark arts. They say she fled into the Reach and never reappeared, and justly so because they say the devilry of her magic had grown stronger with each new day. Shortly after, a witch of half woman and half bird had been sighted deep in the mountains, and as the sightings increased the young women began to disappear.

This tale has brought me to the Reach, where this witch they call a Hagraven makes it home. With sword and shield at the ready, for I must see this creature and I must slay it.

24 Sun's Dawn

The stomach of an average man would turn at the cruelty set before me- I first saw the thatch and bone, the human skulls, the dead goat heads mounted on pikes, filthy animal pelts, loose entrails, and feathers matted in blood. I had heard that Forsworn revere and protect these Hagravens, and all around were their small, crude trinkets and alters to these witches on which sat dull, empty soul gems. What vile creature would live where all things are dead?

Deeper into the lair, I heard it first- an unsteady shuffling, followed by a heaving, unforgettable stench. I thrust the torch in front of me and waited for my eyes to adjust to the tunnel of darkness ahead of me. I saw the silhouette of what I thought to be a frail woman on an awkward gait, but the light of the torch revealed something else. This Hagraven was horrifying, almost human but more an abomination of woman and creature fused together, nothing more than a husk of humanity surrendered in exchange for possession of the powers of dark magic. This magic corrupted her greatly, and her dull, glass eyes stared with hate from the visage of an old crone sat atop the body of a contorted, misshapen human body adorned with black feathers. It bristled as it let out a piercing scream, and as a vivid red light began to form in the palm of its talons, it was all I could do to raise my shield in defense of magic most foul. I fought through devilry that seemed to snatch life from me, and the thought that this thing was once a woman seemed to play on my nerves.

Most men would have crumbled, but I do not bend. The Hagraven is a most repulsive creature, and deserving of its fate and its claws that are my trophy will tell the story of Herebanes triumph. I have naught but to continue my travels and my conquests, for I have yet to see what would make me tremble.

Herbane's Bestiary: Automatons


Herbane's Bestiary:
Dwarven Automatons


9 Hearthfire

The Dwarves have been extinct for many an age, and perhaps for the best. To see men and women the size of large children, all with beards, would be a most disturbing sight. Still, whatever wrath the Dwarves brought from the gods that consumed an entire civilization surely must have been an awe-inspiring thing to witness.

The remnants of their civilization lie buried in the hearts of mountains, and scholars and thieves the world over descend on the skeletal remains of dwarven cities like vultures, to scrape clean the bones of the past, old knowledge waiting to be exhumed and treasures to be discovered. But many men lay murdered in those halls of the damned, because those dwarven ruins do not release their treasures without a fight.

My kin would tell the stories long ago, when I was just a child, about how adept the Dwarves were at building machines. They would say that before our time, dwarves harnessed the power of the earth, and wielded fire and hammers to reshape steel and bronze with a mechanical brilliance that breathed life into these now ancient constructs of metal and magic. In the dark halls and chambers amid the ceasless droning of grinding gears and venting steam, they lie in wait to confound or destroy would-be plunderers of the dwarven sanctums, as the grim watchmen of the last vestiges of culture from a dead race.

I descended into the humid darkness of Mzulft. The slow hiss of steam, creaking of metal and the rattle of old gears powering an empty city would unnerve most men. I could hear things in the darkness, skittering across the floor just out of sight and as I stepped over the bodies of plunderers or scholars who had not made it far, I knew it was not rats wandering these halls.

Small mechanical spiders set upon me with rapid movements, and machines sprouted from the walls and uncurled from spheres into contraptions that rolled on top of gears for legs and crossbows for arms. I could not help but marvel at these single purpose machines built for the murder of men. My sword and my shield are my strength and I am undeterred by such things because I had heard of greater things that roam these depths, and indeed something else in these chambers stirred, and it echoed with massive weight. As it lumbered closer, its feet struck the ground as if walking on massive pistons and as it loomed out of darkness, I could see it clear for the first time, axe for one hand, hammer for the other, as tall as five men, made of dull bronze with a face molded in the image of its masters. A Steam Centurion. The stories were true, these were the guardians of the greatest dwarven treasures.

We fought, and the dwarves must truly be extinct because our battle was surely booming enough to wake the dead. It came at me with hammer and axe, inhuman strength and great fortitude, and a purpose of nothing but murder. I dodged as it crushed the stone around me with futile strikes and I thrust and slashed at it with my blade and took every opening afforded as we shook the halls with violence. I refuse to be undone by a machine.

Where the average man would be long dead, I stood over the husk of this dead automaton, its steam escaping like a final gasp. I could have taken the dwarven artifacts and metal but left them there for others, for I would not hex my journey with the possessions of dead men and maybe that is where countless others go wrong.

I will continue to my journey across the lands, And perhaps one day Herebane will meet a worthy challenge, for I have yet to see what would make me tremble.


Lady Nerevar


TES3: Morrowind


TES4: Shivering Isles

The Baliwog is the adolescent stage of the Grummite, found in the waters of the Shivering Isles. It comes in three varieties: the Young Boliwog, Boliwog, and the Venomous Boliwog. They regenerate health when immersed in water, and often carry dangerous diseases. Baliwogs grow from Pollywogs (not found in game). After up to two years of life, they burry themselves in deepwater mud and hibernate for many months, eventually turning into a Grummite.


TES2: Daggerfall


TES2: Daggerfall (Grizzly Bear). TES3: Bloodmoon (Grizzly Bear, Plague Bear, Snow Bear), TES4: Oblivion (Black Bear, Brown Bear)


TES3: Bloodmoon (as Tusked Bristleback), TES4: Oblivion


TESA: Redguard


TES2: Daggerfall

Cave Amphibian

TESA: Redguard


TES3: Morrowind

Cliff Racer

TES3: Morrowind


TES2: Daggerfall


TES4: Oblivion


TES2: Daggerfall, TESA: Redguard, TES4: Oblivion


TESA: Redguard


TES2: Daggerfall (as Dragonling), TESA: Redguard, TESL: Battlespire, TES5:Skryim


TES3: Tribunal (Wild Durzog, War Durzog)


TES4: Shivering Isles

Elytra are large insect creatures found in the Shivering Isles. The Mania variety, found in the north, is brightly colored in green and red. The southern, Dementia, variant is dark purple. Both use their antenna to predict incoming attacks, which allows them to block many blows. The Eyltra is also noted for its venomous sting, which Namlir says can "slay the average man over a period of hours." The Elytra live primarily in hive-like root tunnels, and have a class hierarchy. There are five types of Elytra: the Hatchling (which is smallest) Drone, Soldier, Noble, and Matron (which is the only one to use a special model).

Near the base of its thorax, the Elytra produces Elytra Ichor, which it uses to paralyze and incapacitate attackers in other to lay its eggs in them. The hatchling Elytra incubate and eat their way out of their host. The denizens of the Shivering Isles collect this ichor and use it as a highly potent narcotic.


Red, sand-grain sized flies found in Black Marsh. Travel in swarms and attack travelers.


Mentioned in several places, but never appear directly. Presumably identical to the Earth fox.


Mentioned in several places, but never appear directly. Presumably identical to Earth frogs. A red-striped variety is mentioned in The Dreadful Theft of the Sun's Dusk Ale.


TES4: Shivering Isles

The Gnarl appears to be a large walking tree with four sets of legs and numerous eyes. As usual, the mania variety is much more colorful than the Dementia one. When hit with an elemental attack, it absorbs the energy and uses it to both become stronger and to become resistant to the element in question. At the same time it gains a weakness against the other elements. There are five varieties of Gnarl: the Germinal Gnarl, Gnarl Sapling, Gnarl Rootbender, Verdant Gnarl, and Elder Gnarl. Each is slightly larger than its predecessor.

Gnarl live within and maintain the numerous root tunnels found in the Shivering Isles. The anonymous author of Bark and Sap believes that once Gnarl grow too large to navigate the caverns, they fuse into the roots of the trees. They are very territorial. They do not appear to have a brain or any other organs, so the mechanisms of their thinking and reproduction remain a mystery.


TESA: Redguard


TES4: Shivering Isles

At roughly two years of age, Grummites are the final, adult form of the creature proceeded by Baliwogs and Pollywogs. At first, both male and female Grummites spend their life in the water, mating. They hang their eggs above the water to protect them from predators. After 6 months to a year, the Grummite emerges from the water and lives the rest of his or her life on land. The Dementia grummite is dark green with an orange underside, while the Mania variant is tan with a white belly. Both have two rows of 'horns' on their backs, along side overlapping plates, and gill-like slits on their arms.

They are intelligent and have a rudimentary culture. There are 5 types of grummites found in the Isles: the whelp (smallest, with only one belt), the beater (two belts), the torturer (bracers), painbringer, and deathdealler (the largest, in full regalia). There is also a separate but identical hierarchy of Magus type grummites, which cast magic. The Magus grummites have shell necklaces, and are smaller than their regular counterparts. The Grummites also manufacture and use tools and weapons, and can be seen worshiping a totem pole.


TES3: Morrowind


TES3: Bloodmoon


TES4: Oblivion


The Infernal City

Jellyfish live in the waters south of Black Marsh. Presumably identical to their Earth counterparts.


TES3: Morrowind


TES3: Morrowind


TESL: Battlespire, TES4: Oblivion (Mountain Lion)


TES3: Morrowind, TES4: Oblivion


TES3: Morrowind (Betty Netch, Bull Netch)


You can obtain Newtscale armor in Stormhold.


TES3: Morrowind


TESA: Redguard


TES2: Daggerfall, TESA: Redguard


Pollywogs are the tadpole stage of the Grummite. The eggs contain them are hung above water, and the pollywogs splash down as they hatch. Initially they are no bigger than a human hand, but in a couple of weeks the pollywog grows limbs and turns into the Baliwog. Although they did not appear in the expansion Shivering Isles, they appear to be unique to its titular realm.


TES1: Arena (Rat, Giant Rat), TES2: Daggerfall, TES3: Morrowind, TES4: Oblivion

The Arena manual describes them thusly:

Scavengers, these disease-ridden vermin crawl through many of the cities sewers, or make their home in places where they can use their numbers to attack and bring down larger prey.

This hasn't changed in the later games.



TES3: Bloodmoon


These giant worms live in the mud of Black Marsh and are used by the locals as a form of trasport.


TES4: Shivering Isles


TESA: Redguard


TES2: Daggerfall


TES3: Morrowind

Sea Drake

The Infernal City

This creature lives off the southern coast of Black Marsh. It looks like a giant crocodile with paddles in place of legs.

Sea Serpent

TESA: Redguard

Sea Gull

TESA: Redguard

Sessile Crab

The Infernal City

A species of crab that lives attached to the floor of Umbriel's sump. They have "squat, thorny bodies" and "tiny, venemous claws set on the ends of twenty-foot-long yellow and verdian tentacles."


TES3: Morrowind


TESA: Redguard


TES4: Oblivion


TESL: Battlespire, The Infernal City

Orchid Shrimp live in Umbriel, and are used for food. They are also mentioned in Battlespire. Presumably identical to their Earth counterparts.


TES3: Morrowind


TES2: Daggerfall, TES3: Morrowind (Slaughterfish, Small Slaughterfish), TES4: Oblivion


TESA: Redguard

Snakes are mentioned throughout lore.


The Coo in the Infernal City is modeled after a sparrow.


TES1: Arena, TES2: Daggerfall, TESA: Redguard (Rock Spider, Floor Spider)

From the Arena manual:

These arachnids are of the giant variety, very poisonous, and extremely fast. They often inhabit places underground where the moist depth can keep their chitinous skin pliable.

The spiders in both Arena and Daggerfall, though not those in Redguard, use paralyzing venom.


TES2: Daggerfall (Sabertooth Tiger), TESL: Battlespire


TESA: Battlespire


TES4: Oblivion


TES1: Arena (Gray Wolf, Snow Wolf), TES3: Bloodmoon (Wolf, Plague Wolf, Snow Wolf), TES4: Oblivion (Wolf, Timber Wolf)

The Arena manual describes wolves as

cunning, dangerous hunters who inhabit mostly forests and glens. They use their highly developed sense of smell to track their prey. They hunt in well organized packs, and are known for their ferocity in battle. It is rumored that far to the north is a large more dangerous version of the normal wolf. These Snow Wolves are said to be able to freeze their prey using some sort of magic.

Magical snow wolves were not found in Soltheim, and wolves do not hunt in packs in any of the games.


Namlir's Shivering Bestiary

Namlir Esprink

For my good friend and colleague Venristwie, who protected the creatures of all the Realms.

Although my early education involved extensive research into all forms of fauna, nothing prepared me for the surprises I've uncovered while exploring the Shivering Isles on the Great Expedition. Even though I've lived here all of my life, I am just now discovering how wonderful and unique the creatures of the Isles can be.

The Expedition was an extensive six-year exploration of every nook and cranny of the Isles in an attempt to categorize the indigenous fauna and record this information back for posterity and science. Below, I've done my best to describe each creature in detail. Please note that this information was obtained at the cost of many lives, and this work should be regarded as the most complete and definitive reference of its kind.


The Baliwog is an extraordinarily ugly aquatic-dwelling creature that frequents the lakes, rivers and bogs of the Shivering Isles. Although the Baliwog, or "Wog" as some of the locals call it, walks on all fours, it should by no means be considered stupid or docile. A fully-grown adult Baliwog can deliver a nasty blow from its claws or a potentially deadly bite from its razor-sharp teeth. The lethality of this beast comes not from the actual damage it can deliver, but from the horrible diseases it seems to generate. Also of note is the Baliwog's uncanny ability to regenerate when immersed in water. From our observations, it's best just to avoid these brutes, although it's said some of them carry flawless pearls in their bodies, though it is not known why they would swallow them, or what use they may serve to the creatures.


The Elytra are large insect-like creatures indigenous to much of the Isles. Although there is a marked color difference between the Northern (Mania) Variety and the Southern (Dementia) Variety, they are remarkably similar in behavioral patterns and physical makeup. The Elytra pose a serious threat to the casual traveler, as they have two interesting mechanisms that benefit them in combat. The first is their uncanny ability to block weapon attacks. Through my observations, I have deduced that they utilize their antennae as an early warning system to detect incoming attacks, say from a sword blade or an arrow. The antenna sends a signal to their brains, and they instinctively lift their arms to block. Their second ability is natural venom in their sting. This venom is very deceiving, as it is very low yield, but its real deadly nature comes from its duration. Gone unchecked, the venom can slay the average man over a period of hours. Especially deadly is the Elytra Matron's venom, which can last much longer than the poisons found on the lesser varieties of the creature.

Flesh Atronach

One of the most unusual creatures in the Isles, the Flesh Atronach appears as a sewn-together conglomeration of skin and muscle adorned with mystical symbols and wearing an iron collar. Although it's uncertain whether Sheogorath or some other Daedric Prince created this creature, it's obvious that the intent was to use them as guardians. Usually found inhabiting underground ruins, the Flesh Atronach will defend areas it's set to guard until it's destroyed. A unique visual feature of this creature is the energy spots located on its body. These colored areas seem to glow with an inner light and denote the power of the Atronach. In increasing order of magnitude, these seem to be Yellow, Purple, and Red. The function for these spots is still a mystery, but from my observations, I suspect them to be a magic dampening gland of some kind. As expected, the Flesh Atronachs are all completely impervious to disease and poison and highly resistant to fire and frost. Shock magic seems to affect them adversely, which appears to be their largest weakness. The Purple and Red varieties also seem to possess innate magic abilities, including healing and fireballs.


Perhaps the strangest creature of all is the Gnarl, or "Walking Tree" as it's sometimes called. Like the Elytra, this animated plant can be found roaming almost anywhere on the Isles. One of Sheogorath's truly unique creations, the Gnarl has the most unusual trait of being able to use magic cast upon it, and harness that power to bolster its own defense. Once struck with fire, frost or lightning, the Gnarl grows physically larger and becomes resistant to just that element for short time. Interestingly, this is where the Gnarl's vulnerability comes into play. At the same time the Gnarl is resisting that element it was struck with, it becomes vulnerable to all of the other elements. Our guide on the expedition demonstrated this by striking the Gnarl with a flame arrow then a frost arrow and then back to a flame arrow and so on.


The Grummite represents the only native weapon-wielding creature in the Shivering Isles. These primitive aquatic-born humanoids are organized in a tribal-like system, though it is uncertain who or what they worship. It would be presumed the Grummite worship Sheogorath, their creator, but their religious totems don't seem to bear the Madgod's likeness. What is known is that they maintain a simple hierarchy, including Shaman and Boss Grummites who seem to command the rest. The Grummite have mastered the art of spellcasting as well, evidenced by the Magus Grummite, which can be quite deadly. Curiously, the Grummite possess a defense mechanism similar to the Baliwog: when immersed in water, the Grummite will begin to regenerate damaged flesh. Unlike the Baliwog, this regeneration extends to rain as well, making them quite formidable on a stormy day. This aquatic healing ability leads me to believe the Baliwog and Grummite are somehow related, but even in my extensive research, I was unable to come up with a solid connection.


If any creature represents the darker side of Sheogorath, it's the Hunger. These are pure-born Daedric creatures placed here on the Isles as servitors and guards. The Hunger is not to be trifled with; it boasts superior speed and lightning reflexes along with its primary ability of draining its victim's fatigue. My best advice when encountering this horrible creature is to give it a wide berth or slay it quickly. Be wary, as it is said that conjuration magic exists that is able to summon the Hunger and unleash it upon the caster's foes.


Another aquatic native of the Shivering Isles is the Scalon. Looking strikingly similar to an upright Baliwog, the Scalon features large fin-laden appendages and dorsal spines. These creatures are usually quite fearsome, lumbering slowly after its prey. Don't mistake its speed for its weakness, as the Scalon has an incredible leaping attack that allows it to strike at its victims from a surprising distance. Another connection that it shares with the Baliwog is the fact that its bite or claws can transfer disease to its victim. It's recommended that these creatures be dealt with at extreme range with spells or missiles, as the can be quite ferocious in close proximity.


The Shambles appears to be some sort of an undead construct made of bone and lashed together with wire or bits of cloth. Oddly, the bones used in their makeup appear to have no correlation to one other. They might have skulls for kneecaps or leg bones for arms, to cite a few examples. The Shambles may be undead, but they pursue any victim as if they were a predator chasing down its prey. Like its undead bony brethren, the Shambles is fully resistant to disease, poison and paralysis; however, they possess a unique resistance to all frost magic. Furthermore, upon death, the Shambles will explode in a spectacular shower of frost. This ability seems to have been added by its creator as an interesting last-ditch defense mechanism. This fact was initially unknown to me, and one of our best guides was lost when his hammer struck the fatal blow. If you intend to combat these undead creatures, be certain to carry frost protection or destroy them at range.

Skinned Hound

These nasty undead beasts are generally encountered inside and around the ruins that dot the Isles. The Skinned Hound is extremely fast and agile, and has an insatiable hunger for flesh. Like the Flesh Atronach, it appears to be all skin and muscle that is roughly sewn together, but I am uncertain whether they are summoned or merely constructed. The Skinned Hound is not an adversary to be taken lightly; they feature an incredible invisible charging attack not unlike a ghost, limited frost resistance, and a complete immunity to disease and poison. This beast's weakness is fire. They don't seem intelligent enough to be frightened by it, but it's certainly very efficient at dispatching them quickly.

Although this work only touches upon the combat related aspects of the creatures, I feel this is of primary importance to any traveler within the confines of the Shivering Isles. In future works, I will touch upon the other aspects of these creatures such as reproduction or creation, magical origins, and even some delicious recipes I've discovered in my travels. My best advice when walking the roads and paths of the Isles is to remain ever vigilant and always be prepared. Knowing your foe can mean the difference between a gruesome death and survival.