Elder Scrolls Lore » Discussions

Khajiit Part 2: Physiology

  • July 2, 2014

    Disclaimer: This lore article was written by Loremaster Vix but was inexplicably deleted. I have recovered it for your reading pleasure.


          An important aspect that is often forgotten is the enormous diversity between the various sub-species of Khajiit. While many people see the Khajiit as being strictly the Suthay and Suthay-raht, and earlier players of Arena and Daggerfall might recognized the Ohmes and Ohmes-raht respectively they are all part of the Khajiiti species. Between the designers notes, the Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition, and many volumes such as a Dance in Fire we see an enormous variety of sub-species presented. The Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition states there are more than twenty documented species of Khajiit though we've had only mention of sixteen to date.

          These are all directly tied to the phases of the moon, the Lunar Lattice called the ja-Kha'jay, and in that way they are lycanthropic. Much like werewolves they are dependent on the moon for their true form. However, unlike lycanthropes they are not contagious in that respect and are dependent on the moon only for their birth and maturation. After this they remain an ordered and stable organism. Despite this stability there does seem to be both variations in the frequency some Khajiit are born, as well as what areas they inhabit. Yet this is not hereditary, meaning if a family of Khajiit from northern Anequina which has a large number of Cathay-raht moves to the southern Tenmar forest, they themselves will no longer be as predisposed to being Cathay-raht but may have a greater number of Tojay-raht born.

          While some of the official statements claim that there is no answer to whether Khajiit can procreate with other races, The Real Barenziah claims that they can and it is a genuine worry. Khajiit are all born the same size and said to be quite a bit smaller than most human children, but grow much quicker. This is corroborated by Racial Phylogeny saying that both the physical make up, the metabolism, and internal organs, sex organs, and digestion is all somewhat different from that of a human.

          To understand things well we must go on a basic astronomical explanation of Lunar phases. It's merely a review: when a moon is full it's fully visible; when it's new it's not illuminated; waxing begins with a new moon that slowly grows more visible into a full moon; waning is when a full moon is gradually obscured back to a new moon.  With that in mind:

    Masser: New Moon

    Secunda: New Moon

          When the sky is entirely dark we see the birth of the Suthay. They are likely what are seen in Morrowind. They are only slightly smaller than the average sized human. They have digitigraded (dog like) feet and have earth toned coloration.

    Secunda: Waxing

          The Suthay-Raht are similar to the Suthay in every respect except they are slightly larger and possess plantigraded (human like) feet. They have a larger variation of color and are one of the most commonly encountered Khajiit. As such they are the often seen face of the Khajiit in the series being found in both Oblivion and Skyrim. They are noted for being mentally and physically agility.


    Secunda: Full


    We have seen examples of the Ohmes before in a game as well. They were likely what was seen in in Arena being slightly smaller than the Ohmes Raht though possessing more human like features. They lack a tail and can easily pass for Bosmer. As such they are often mistaken at a distance. One of their trends is the markings and tattoos that they apply to become more feline like (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st edition). Given how easily they blend in they are one of the most far traveled groups and at least during the second era provided a large number of diplomats to foreign realms.

    Ohmes-RahtSecunda: Waning

          The Ohmes-Raht are likely what can be seen in Daggerfall. They are still generally larger than the Ohmes but possess a tail, a slight fur dermal make up, and like the Ohmes and Suthay-Raht are plantigraded.


    Masser: Waxing

    Secunda: New

          There is next to nothing known about the Torjay or the Torjay-raht other than they are frequently found in the Tenmar forest and even this comes from extra-canonical design notes.

    Secunda: Waxing

          No information.

    Secunda: Full

          The Cathay have little information given about them, instead, most of the attention is focused on the very similar Cathay-Raht. Likely, as with many of the base types compared to the -raht they will be smaller in stature and a slightly different coloration.

    Secunda: Waning

          The Cathay-raht are one of the more commonly found mentions in the lore. They are often called the jaguar men and are more bulky and physically imposing than the Suthay. As such they are said to be naturally more vicious warriors and more suited to such a task, this likely is the reason the Mane's bodyguard and palatial guard are drawn from the ranks of the larger Cathay-raht. They are bipedal but beyond that have never been seen. They have, however, been described in books as being the larger working class capable of physically rigorous tasks (Mixed Unit Tactics). Despite this, they are also known to be exceptional climbers despite being mistaken for werewolves due to their size yet incredibly acrobatic (Dance in Fire vol. 1). This gives them perhaps one of the most overbearing physical advantages of the Khajiiti race in Tamrielic warfare. They are described as sleek with whip like tails with a piebald coloration. They seem to have a larger than average proportion dwelling in the Northern kingdom of Anequina.



    Masser: Full

    Secunda: New

          Little is known of the Pahmar, extra-canonical material states that they are pretty much the size of a tiger and not too much different in that they are a quadruped hunting cat.

    Secunda: Waxing

          Nothing is known about the Pahmar-raht.

    Secunda: Full

          The Senche are seen in a number of accounts. Each time they are said to be terrifying to the people confronted. The Senche themselves are called Senche-tigers, they are quadruped, auburn in color with green eyes, and enormous teeth and jaws (Dance in Fire vol. 3). They themselves are said to be quite intelligent mentally but lacked reason (the Tale of Dro'Zira, the only account of a shape-shifting of Khajiit to form the Senche). They are likewise noted to be mounts for other Khajiit and are quite swift. However, they are also noted to being unable to swim (ironic given they're called tigers). They are roughly as tall as an Altmer and weigh twenty times as much (making them similar in size to a large draft horse).

    Secunda: Waning

           Where the Senche are large the Senche-raht are much larger. They are said to be called 'Battlecats' to the Imperials and are proportioned much less like a typical feline. They are shorter in length and with larger front legs than rear said to give them a slight 'ape like' appearance. However, they are twice as large as an Altmer and weigh as much as fifty (this makes them conservatively the size of an Indian elephant). This allows them to act much as a platform of war (Mixed Unit Tactics). They are also quite ungainly and slow to move unlike many of their agile siblings (Ahzirr Traajijazeri).


    Masser Waning

    Secunda: New

          The Dagi have only ever been mentioned once in the book Mixed Unit Tactics along with the Dagi-raht. There is nothing known about them other than they live in the Tenmar forests where they live in the trees. They were able to physically attack a group of Bosmer with claws thus they must be large enough in size to present a physical threat.

    Secunda: Waxing

          Nothing additionally known.

    Secunda: Full

          The Alfiq have been mentioned several times and tend to be used as analogies given they are the smallest of the Khajiit. In fact, they look pretty much identical to a housecat in every respect. They can not speak and yet are quite intelligent and aware of their size, thus they make excellent use of it being exceptionally agile even by Khajiit measures (Ahzirr Trajijazeri). They do, however, have one redeeming ability: they are natural mages (Mixed Unit Tactics).

    Secunda: Waning

          There is no information known about the Alfiq-raht.


    The Mane is born under a complete lunar alignment. Old legends state that this alignment actually causes a third moon to appear behind the others (Pocket Guide to the Empire 1st Edition). Conjecture states this may be something related to the secret of Azurah. This is, of course, something said to be quite rare but there is also only one Mane at any time. Unlike the others, the Mane may come in any form and is not so much a separate species as a destined leader.

          One of the most important things to remember is that all of these, despite the oddity of them looking so different, are in fact Khajiit.  Each could theoretically interbreed and create another Khajiit who might very well look nothing like themselves.  They are not hereditary races or forms, each is dependent solely on the phase of the moon.

    ←Part 1: Religion      Part 3: Culture→