Altmer or High elves are a race of elves native to Summerset Isles.
Altmer are most gifted in their use of arcane magic. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, they can call upon their racial power "Highborn", which speeds up their Magicka-regeneration rate by 50%. In all Elder Scrolls games, including Skyrim, they generally have a greater reserve ("pool") of Magicka to call upon, but this attunement to magic also made them weaker against magical attacks (excluding Skyrim).
They try very hard to resemble their ancient ancestors, the Aldmer. Altmer do this with highly selective traditions surrounding reproduction and marriage.
Altmer are not fast or stealthy due to their tall heights, and they are also very physically weak when compared to the human races, but they are great magic wielders who can excel at all of the Schools of Magic. In fact, their magic potential is even greater than the Bretons, making them an ideal race for a mage character (even though their Weakness to Fire, Frost, & Shock leaves something to be desired in the earlier games).
Generally, relations between this race in particular & the Nords have been strained, and they've never gotten along well. To add on to this, Altmer are known for being arrogant and snobbish even in the Septim Empire. The more recent Great War in Tamriel's 4th Era, and the signing of the White-Gold Concordat forced by the Thalmor (the ruling body of the Second Aldmeri Dominion), has only served to worsen the reputation of this race in the eyes of the other races in Tamriel.
Fourth Era HistoryEdit
Between the Oblivion Crisis and the Dragon Crisis, the Tamriel Empire is attacked by the Aldmeri Dominion, a large alliance of elves made up of mainly altmer and bosmer ranks. The Empire saved itself only by working out the White-Gold Concordat, a treaty which seems to heavily favor the Dominion. The Elves' ruling government, the Thalmor, are Elven Supremacists determined to stop the dominance of mer and the Empire as a whole.
The White-Gold Concordant allows the altmer to freely wander and roam the Empire. They are also allowed to suppress the belief in Talos, the man-god. Resentment toward the altmer, and toward the Empire for surrendering to them, runs rampant in the proud Skyrim nords. When in Skyrim, the altmer are encountered many times, a majority of that population are part of the Thalmor. The members of Thalmor are always ready to become somebody's antagonists often using veiled hostility and aggression when confronting one. In Skyrim there is one quest where the Dragonborn has interactions with the Thalmor that isn't hostile. Tasked by the Thalmor Justiciar Ondolemar, the Dragonborn must track down and discover a Talos worshipper and give proof to Ondolemar. Once this interaction is complete Ondolemar greets the Dragonborn as if he is a friend.
Many altmer emigrated from Summerset Isles to Skyrim. Many head there to become alchemists or enchanters. Other emigrated altmer visit the College of Winterhold to enhance their magical abilities. Another potential possibility is that during the rise of the Thalmor many altmer with strong loyalty to the Empire departed from the Summerset Isles to escape the new Aldmeri Dominion. Even so, the Stormcloaks still show racism to the altmer , though on a much lesser scale then their dunmeri cousins from the province of Morrowind. The Empire, too, do not look highly towards the so-called "High Elves" – and many altmer outside of the Thalmor live as second class citizens compared to the Cyrodiil population of altmer during the Third Era.
Like the other non-native Skyrim races, the nords and Stormcloaks do not enjoy the altmer presence. Due to the strong population of Thalmor, many altmer are assumed to be with them.
Indentity & OriginEdit
Altmer are one of the oldest races on Tamriel. They originated from the Aldmer elves and from their on Ehlnofey to divine et'Ada themselves. As a race though, altmer are very proud of their Aldmeri heritage and strictly maintain their genetic lineage. In Aldmeri language, their names translate to "High Ones" or "Cultured Ones" which often interperts them tall or snobbish in a way. For their part, the altmer argue that they are the first true culture on Tamriel, and still the most civilized race, an argument that even human scholars find difficult to refute.