Daedric Alphabet

Daedric is the oldest script invented in the Elder Scrolls. It first appeared in 1997's TESL: Battlespire, where it was used by the Daedra who took over the titular space station. It is also commonly used by the Dunmer of Morrowind, and is often used to write magic, such as all of the scrolls in TES3, the Sload necromancer N'gasta's book in TESA: Redguard, and the magical spells in both TES5: Skyrim and Elder Scrolls Online.

Character Map

As the oldest font in the Elder Scrolls, Daedric has a dozen different ways of writing it, some of which are documented below. There are however three distinct sets of letter forms that are worth discussing in depth, and which form the basis of every other version of the script.

The first is the Battlespire Manual variant, which was found in... the Battlespire manual.

The second came out at exactly the same time in the Battlespire Athaneum. Despite both being released alongside the game, there are large differences in several letters. In the Athaneum version:

  • The D faces left, not right
  • The H lacks the prominent stroke on the right
  • The J is mirrored
  • The U is round and reaches further up

The glyphs in the game appear to use the Athaneum variant, at least for the letter U. The Athaenum variant of these letters also appears throughout Vvardenfell.

The letters X and Y were missing from the Battlespire version of the font, both in the Manual and the Athaneum. The Manual version was turned into a typable font by a fan named Scribe of Black Marsh, and that font was later included in on the Morrowind data files, perpetuating the missing X and Y in games after Morrowind. Morrowind itself featured plenty of examples of the letter Y.

According to former developer Michael Kirkbride, the reason these letters are omitted is because they did not fit onto the book page's grid and were not found in the game. Former developer Ken Rolston corroborates, "The missing 'x' and 'y' were, I think, a mistake we decided to perpetuate."

The final version of the Daedric font is the Pylon variant, shared with us by developer GT Noonan. It's used on the teleportation pylons in Morrowind's strongholds. It has a more hand written feel overall, with many letters slightly slanted and the strokes connected. It has the same differences from the Manual variant as the Athaneum script, with a few additional differences from both other variants:

  • The I is reversed
  • Includes our only example of the letter X
  • Has a completely different Y

Each letter in Daedric also has a unique letter name/pronunciation. These were established in Battlespire and are listed at the bottom of the chart. Their most important uses are in the proto- and neonymics of Daedra, as well as the alternate names of Almalexia (Ayem), Sotha Sil (Seht), and Vivec (Vehk).

Writing Direction

Daedric can be written both left to right and top to bottom. In Dunmeri usage, words can be broken out by syllables to better fit the given space, and have the first letter appear behind the word, larger than the word, and/or colored differently. A couple examples are translated here, and more are in the Selected Translations section below.

Tel Fyr
Comfort is given justice is taken

Selected Translations

There are more phrases written in Daedric than any other script in the Elder Scrolls, so we won't show them all here. In all cases, Daedric translates either to random letters, or directly to English words.

TESL: Battlespire

Daedric lettering as it appeared in TESL: Battlespire.

The image with the Seducer on the left says D, U, and K. The U in this image is the Athaneum variant.

The image on the right with the bridges is a pair of Ds

TESA: Redguard

N'Gasta's Necromancy Book, from TESA: Redguard.

The second page uses the Athaneum U (3rd line), but the Manual D (5th and 6th lines)

Cover: A-Z

First page:
The time is now
The curse is spoken
arise demon and be named vengeance

Third page: Beware

TES3: Morrowind

City banners for Tel Aruhn (left) and Tel Fyr (right).

The Vvardenfell variant U can be seen on the Tel Aruhn banner (second letter in the right column), and the letter Y can be seen in the top right corner of the Tel Fyr banner.

A banner that hangs in Gnisis. It shows the Vvardenfell variants of H (middle red letter), U (on the left side of the H), and D (on the bottom right of the H)

It reads:
The thrice sealed house withstands the storm.

Two pylons showing the Pylon variant of the script.

On the left is Indoranyon, demonstrating the Pylon variant I at the start and the alternative Y in 3rd-from-last place.

On the right you can see the alternative H in Hlormaren.

A banner from Mournhold which says "Mourn hold Playe ers"

You can see the letter Y at the bottom of the third column. It also uses the Vvardenfell versions of U, H, and D.

TES4: Oblivion

The most prominent Daedric text in TES4 is the Mysterium Xarxes, supposedly written by Mehrunes Dagon.

TES5: Skyrim
Ash rune. Middle letters are TH, around the perimeter, going clockwise starting at the top: M H Q I O S C P
Frost rune. Middle letter is S, around the perimeter, going clockwise starting at the top: M F Q I TH L C P
Lightning rune. Middle letter is L, around the perimeter, going clockwise starting at the top: M F Q I TH S C P
Cowl of Nocrurnal

The Cowl of Nocturnal from TES4 (left) and TES5: Skyrim's Creation Club (middle), and Elder Scrolls Legends (right)

The TES4 and Legends versions are missing the Y, so its text reads "Shadow hide ou". In the Creation Club version, the Y as been added. All three use the Battlespire Manual version of U and H, but where the TES4 and TES5 helms use the Manual D, the Legends card uses the Athaneum D.


The following images are courtesy of the UESP: Cowl of Nocturnal, Lightning Rune, Ash Rune, Frost Rune.

Thanks to Scribe of Black Marsh for making the original Oblivion font, and to Dongle for turning all of the variations into typable fonts, way back when.

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