Atronachs are a quite common sight in The Elder Scrolls universe. Conjurers love to summon them as fighters or defenders, just like they summon other types of Daedra. You surely saw them as multiple The Elder Scrolls: Legends cards – there are even decks based on Atronachs! You may have encountered them in other games of the series as well.
What are they?
Atronachs are similar to golems or elementals from other universes. They are not creatures made by mother nature or experienced mages, though. They are lesser Daedra, inhabitants of Daedric Planes ruled by Daedric Princes. When they appear on Tamriel, they are summoned from Oblivion by mages. They cannot be killed on Tamriel – when they are defeated and “killed”, they just return to Oblivion.
In first The Elder Scrolls games, they were indeed called golems. This name is correct as well. They are never called elementals in this universe, though. Each of them has one specific element and they deal damage based on that element. Atronachs are usually weak to the opposing element. For example, a frost Atronach would be weak to flame magic.
There are eight types of Atronachs:
- Air Atronach
- Cold-Flame Atronach
- Flame Atronach
- Flesh Atronach
- Frost Atronach
- Iron Atronach
- Lava Atronach
- Storm Atronach
They are known to be guardians used by Daedric Princes to protect their Planes of Oblivion. What’s interesting, Atronachs are not sworn to any specific Prince. They inhabit multiple Daedric realms and are simply recruited. That’s not common for lesser Daedra – for example the Spider Daedra serve Mephala, so the whole “species” is tied to one Prince. That’s not the case with any Atronachs. However, sometimes Princes prefer a type of them. Molag Bal has Cold-Flame Atronachs in Coldharbour, while Sheogorath has Flesh Atronachs in his Shivering Isles.
Where are they born? Atronachs come to existence from different types of elemental matter in Daedric pocket realms. Three such realms are known: Infernace, Levinace and The Fourth Sinus of Takubar. The first one is an extremely hot place, where molten rock flows like water. Imagine the hottest possible place, an absolutely hot temperature in a hell-like realm. That would be Infernace. That’s where Flame Atronachs come from.
Levinace is a realm with electric elements and fragments that make Storm Atronachs. The Fourth Sinus of Takubar, a small realm inside Coldharbour, is a place of infinite, absolute cold. It’s so cold there that bonds between particles break and rock literally melts from the low temperature. This way, cold lava is made, and Cold-Flame Atronachs from it.
There’s one exception: Flesh Atronachs were created by an inhabitant of Shivering Isles, Relmyna Verenim, instead of being created in some pocket realm.
For now, it’s unknown where other Atronachs are born, but we can surely expect The Elder Scrolls Online to provide answers someday. It did provide information about the three pocket realms I just described.
Types of Atronachs
Not much is known about Air Atronachs. They supposedly possess the combined power of a Flame, Frost and Storm Atronach. Often accompanied by spellfiends (people driven insane by the amount of magicka present in Craglorn in the Second Era) or other Atronachs, they reside in Craglorn and Vvardenfell. Sometimes, they guard Daedric ruins. Their preferred combat style is physical combat.
A mysterious type of a golem created from the cold lava in the Fourth Sinus of Takubar. They represent a temperature so cold that it can melt rocks. Molag Bal uses them as guardians in Coldharbour, his Plane of Oblivion. Flame, Cold-Flame and Lava Atronachs have the most humanoid form, compared to other Atronach types.
These are associated with fire; they come from Infernace. They drop fire salts when killed. Flame Atronachs appear in many different locations, with no specific location where they are usually found (but as any other type of Daedra, they can surely be found in Daedric ruins). Their preferred combat style is keeping a distance and using ranged flame spells. Flame, Cold-Flame and Lava Atronachs have the most humanoid form, compared to other Atronach types.
A Dunmer inhabitant of Shivering Isles, Relmyna Verenim, discovered a “flesh element”. The sadistic woman experimented by torturing people and sewing flesh together. Her most known creation is the Gatekeeper, whom she considers her own child. He is a huge Flesh Atronach guarding the gates to Shivering Isles, made of the flesh of those who try to pass and fail. Relmyna visits him every midnight and cries. Her tears are poisonous to the Gatekeeper. That surely is a harrowing story, which you can witness it in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Flesh Atronachs are known to use destruction spells and melee attacks.
Atronachs associated with frost; they resemble blocks of ice forming a humanoid-like being. Frost Atronachs never cast spells and use only melee attacks in combat. They drop frost salts when killed. No place is characteristic to them – they can appear in multiple locations.
These aren’t well researched or known. They appear mostly on Vvardenfell, especially the Forgotten Wastes, and the Spiral Skein (Mephala’s realm). That’s pretty much all confirmed information I can give you about them.
A type of Atronach very similar to the Flame one, associated not generally with flame, but with lava itself. They often appear near lava and use ranged spells while using their agility to avoid physical combat, just like Flame Atronachs do. Flame, Cold-Flame and Lava Atronachs have the most humanoid form, compared to other Atronach types.
These come from the Levinace, a Daedric pocket realm. They are an amalgamation of stone and lightning – both these elements can be found in Levinace. Storm Atronachs are the type that resembles the typical golem in fantasy universes. After being killed, they turn into a pile of stones and drop void salts. Usually, they fight by shooting lightning and emitting electricity on areas around them. They don’t have a specific location where they can be found. It’s known that Molag Bal likes to use them as guardians, but not as much as Cold-Flame Atronachs. A named Storm Atronach, Zymel Hriz, was summoned by Molag Bal in Second Era and was ordered to protect Dark Anchors across Tamriel, when the Daedric Prince tried to drag Nirn into his realm.
So, that’s your lore summary on Atronachs, the lesser Daedra from The Elder Scrolls. Thanks for reading and see you next time! Every time I write such articles, I realize I will never run out of topics. The lore is too vast.