Bethesda loves to pack their games full of pop culture references, callbacks to previous games, and all sorts of clever easter eggs for those dedicated enough to discover them. Skyrim is a massive game, and while it'll undoubtedly be some time before the community uncovers all of its secrets, here are ten of the best easter eggs we've found so far.
Like Morrowind, Oblivion, and Fallout 3, Skyrim is equally loaded with such content despite its admittedly darker, and more somber setting. Bethesda may have shifted away from the light hearted whimsy of Morrowind, but they've spared no expense at making Skyrim every bit as amusing where it needs to be.
Skyrim is a massive game, and while it'll undoubtedly be some time before the community uncovers all of its secrets, here are ten of the best easter eggs we've found so far.
The Notched Pickaxe
If you head up to the highest point in Skyrim, the Throat of the World, you'll find an clever tribute to indie smash hit Minecraft and its creator, Notch. sticking out of a rock at the mountain's peak is a unique item, the Notched Pickaxe. Har har.
Sure there's been a bit of legal trouble between the two recently, but it seems like someone at Bethesda wanted to throw this easter egg in to let everyone know there was no bad blood.
In Ivarstead's Vilemyr Inn, you'll find a rather surly woman by the name of Temba Wide-Arm who's pretty upset with the local bear problem.
Star Trek fans might remember an episode of The Next Generation where Picard and his crew encountered a race of aliens called the Tamarians, who spoke only in references to ancient legends. One of their most common allegories refers to "Temba, his arms wide," making this NPC a clever easter egg inserted by a Trekkie at Bethesda.
Of course, Skyrim's Temba speaks in plain English, and seems to have undergone a sex change on the way to Tamriel.
M'aiq the Liar
M'aiq the Liar is something of a tradition for the Elder Scrolls games. He's appeared in Morrowind, Oblivion, and now Skyrim, delivering dialogue that's always strange and usually comepletely false. Oftentimes, his lines will reference features that were left out of the game or take potshots at the previous games.
And how is it that M'aiq has managed to appear in three games that take place more than 300 years apart? Well, according to him, "M'aiq's father was also called M'aiq. As was M'aiq's father's father. At least, thats what he said." Then again, you can never really trust a liar.
Lady of the Lake
Northwest of Whiterun, you'll enocunter a shallow, isolated lake. Smack dab in the middle, a skeletal hand emerges from the water, holding a sword aloft. It's a clever nod to the King Arthur myth, where the Lady of the Lake presented Excalibur from beneath the water, thus giving Arthur his famous blade.
While the actual item will vary based on your current level, it's certainly nothing special, and it looks like the Lady of the Lake's arm hasn't held up very well over the ages.
The Sword in the Stone
Bethesda must have a thing for King Arthur, because they've managed to fit in another easter egg that references the legend. If you head south of Rebel's Cairn, you'll encounter a sword sticking out of a pile of stones, Skyrim's take on the famous Sword in the Stone myth.
Sadly, pulling it out won't make you the rightful king of Tamriel (or England, for that matter).
The Headless Horseman
If you roam the wilds of Skyrim for long enough, you might encounter a ghostly rider who seems to have lost his head, in reference to Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
As soon as you spot him, he'll begin galloping off into the distance. Give chase for long enough, and he'll lead you to a burial site, likely his own, where you can find some valuable enchanted loot.
The Lusty Argonian Maid
An Elder Scrolls game wouldn't be complete without Tamriel's most famous erotic play, The Lusty Argonian Maid.
An in-joke since way back in the Morrowind days, the play never appears in full. Instead, you'll only find a single volume from the work, a scene full of euphemisms that make you think about the Argonians in ways you never wanted to.
If you work your way through the Dark Brotherhood questline in Skyrim, you'll eventually be granted the power to summon a Spectral Assassin.
That evil spirit is none other than Lucien Lachance, the speaker of the Black Hand and leader of the Dark Brotherhood in Oblivion. Nice to know that even the dead can still find work in Skyrim.
Three Billy Goats Gruff
On the way to the Hag Rock Redoubt, just south of Markath, you'll find a bridge crossing a river, beside a waterfall. If it's your first time visiting, you'll find two goats running across the bridge to meet a third. Check beneath the bridge, and you'll spot a dead troll.
It's a clever reference to the old Norweigan fairy tale, Three Billy Goats Gruff, in which a trio of goats outsmart a troll who lives under a bridge.
At the Blue Palace in Solitude, you'll find Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. Not only does it mark the character's return from Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion, it also lends a nod to Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland.
Like that story's Mad Hatter, Sheogorath is holding a tea party in the middle of the forest.