Has anyone found an explanation/legend of the map symbols?

#1 Posted by BaconHound (120 posts) -

Some of them are pretty obvious (mine, town, fort, cave), but there are quite a few and several of them are pretty cryptic. I didn't find anything in the manual or in-game help. Did I miss something? Is there a key/legend/guide somewhere that explains what all the symbols mean?

#2 Posted by MistaSparkle (2283 posts) -

I went towards one near Riverwood and found a mine with some bandits in it. I think they had some pretty nice gear and there were some books in there that increased my skills, but other than that it seemed pretty normal. Maybe there's something I'm missing though...

#3 Posted by DaPinkTerrorist (58 posts) -

if you bought a physical version the manual in the box explains them

#4 Posted by FinalDasa (2417 posts) -

Just wander towards them and after awhile you get to understand what is what. If I'm ever curious I check my map and see any of the other symbols I've already encountered for reference.

#5 Posted by BaconHound (120 posts) -

@DaPinkTerrorist: No it does not. I just looked through the manual and there is nothing that identifies the seemingly dozens of different symbols that show up on the map. Like I said, there are some that are pretty obvious. But for each obvious symbol, there are one or two that aren't clear at all. I can't even really give examples of them because they're so non-descript.

#6 Posted by Daneian (1306 posts) -

Like the 'N', the 'E', the 'W' and the 'S'? The plus sign between them?

#7 Posted by Dagbiker (7022 posts) -

i know no place with a description of the symbols, but you could try the elder scrolls wiki. and if there is no way you can describe them then we have no way of telling you what they are.

#8 Edited by JP_Russell (1167 posts) -

@BaconHound said:

@DaPinkTerrorist: No it does not. I just looked through the manual and there is nothing that identifies the seemingly dozens of different symbols that show up on the map. Like I said, there are some that are pretty obvious. But for each obvious symbol, there are one or two that aren't clear at all. I can't even really give examples of them because they're so non-descript.

Does the legend in the manual given for the compass not include all the symbols that you see on the map? I don't have the game yet, so I wouldn't know, but there is a legend for the compass symbols, looking at the manual .pdf from Steam.

EDIT - Okay, zooming in on the world map page, I guess not. Anyway, it's pretty easy to guess what the symbols visible on this map picture that aren't explained are. Town, mine, and cave. If the others are as visually distinct as these, I don't see it being too hard to figure them out, either.

#9 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -
  • The symbol that looks like a crown is a tomb. Mainly draugr and necros in there.
  • The one that looks like a standing stone with a door is a dwemer ruin.
  • Mills and bridges look like they should and the smaller building-looking symbol is usually just a single cottage or farmstead.
  • Dragon head symbols are wordwalls where you can learn new shouts.
  • I've only seen one symbol so far that looked like the Skyrim logo; didn't end up finding out what it was.
#10 Posted by Kanden (140 posts) -

I'm pretty sure the Skyrim Logos are Imperial Camps and the Bear Claw Logos are Stormcloak camps.

#11 Posted by VisariLoyalist (3091 posts) -

the one that looks like a trident in my experience has always involved the signature claw puzzle

#12 Posted by BaconHound (120 posts) -

@Ravenlight: @Kanden: Thanks, that's helpful! It seems like many of the ones that have confused me show up on my compass, but due to a mountain range or ridge, I'm unable to get close enough to see what they actually are. It seems like there are maybe 3 or 4 different symbols for "tower". I just wish they'd put an option to see what all the symbols mean in the game...

@VisariLoyalist: I haven't even seen that one yet, I don't think.

#13 Edited by nabbs (3 posts) -
  • Emblem/shield = large city

  • = settlement (no instance)

  • = single shack or house

  • = Farm with Mill

  • = Farm

  • Pine Tree = Grove

  • = Mine

  • = Imperial Army Camp

  • = Stormcloak Camp

  • = Giant camp

  • = Fort

  • = Tower

  • = Guardian stone

  • = Barrow/Tomb (most if not all Daugre tombs have the dragon word walls)

  • = Dragon + Word Wall

  • = Surface encounter

  • Waterwheel = Mill

  • = Cave

  • = Stable

  • = Daedric shrine

  • = Dwarven ruins

  • = Jarl's castle

  • = Camp

  • = Orc Camp

  • = Wrecked Ship

  • = pond/clearing (only found two, if someone has more and can generalize please update)

  • = Generic point of interest. (Guild halls, some quest encounters, ect...)

  • = Quest Marker - The quest is in the same zone as you.

  • = Quest Marker w/ door - You must pass a loading screen to get to this destination

  • Hope this helps

    #14 Posted by spookyfaust (61 posts) -


    That's great. Thanks, nabbs.

    #15 Posted by Linkster7 (1094 posts) -

    @nabbs: Yeah thanks. Have been wondering about some of them myself.

    #16 Posted by Ares42 (3018 posts) -

    Although I already posted this in the help thread too, might wanna add that Draugr Tombs (the one above dragon head) also always have Words of Power. Sort of a gamechanger once you realize that, as they are way easier to find than the dragon lairs.

    #17 Posted by nabbs (3 posts) -

    oh yeah thats legit too. I noticed that as well

    #18 Posted by DoubleKR (116 posts) -

    are orc camps friendly or hostile?

    #19 Posted by BillyLetters (17 posts) -

    This might seem obvious to some but I just figured this out today, if an icon on the map is white you've already discovered it. Black icons indicate somewhere you haven't discovered yet.

    #20 Posted by Kanden (140 posts) -

    @DoubleKR: I know they're friendly if you are an orc yourself.

    #21 Posted by ElCount (84 posts) -

    Talking about maps does anyone know what the red "x" on the physical map that came with the game mean?

    #22 Edited by Bollard (6412 posts) -

    @nabbs: Awesome list thanks!

    @CountTheMoney: I would hazard a guess at treasure - I heard someone say high level loot.

    #23 Edited by poisonmonkey (416 posts) -

    @nabbs: Thanks mate, very helpful

    #24 Posted by MsAtheism (37 posts) -


    Hey that's awesome! Those appear to be accurate from my description. I have only found two of the pond/clearing ones. They may be hiding on top of some random mountain but that sounds pretty accurate!

    #25 Posted by kidko (91 posts) -

    @nabbs: Dude! you are awesome

    #26 Posted by zegolf (236 posts) -
    #27 Posted by fisk0 (5188 posts) -

    @DoubleKR said:

    are orc camps friendly or hostile?

    They become kind of friendly (you can trade with them during daytime, but aren't allowed into their buildings at night) if you help the Orc miner at the occupied mine outside Markath. There are probably other ways as well.

    #28 Edited by Baal_Sagoth (1378 posts) -

    @nabbs:Oh man, thanks dude! That's very helpful. Coming into this thread I thought I figured 'em all out for myself pretty much but boy was i wrong about that. I haven't even encountered a handful of these ever in my 60 hours of play. Most of them are reasonably distinctive and self-explanatory though so I don't think shrouding the symbols in a bit of mystery is a big deal.

    @Ares42: Are you guys sure this is the case? The Gauldur sidequest and some other similar locations have tombs marked with the claw/ crown/ whatever symbol and I don't recall finding a word of power there for the life of me. Am I going crazy? Or maybe I managed to run past the wall? Mixing things up? In any case, you're at the very least right about them mostly having word walls even if my exceptions are correct.

    #29 Posted by Orionmax (2 posts) -

    @ CountTheMoney. The red x's on the physical map mark the locations of the Guardian Stones. However Bethesda left off the Serpent Stone which is in the North East corner of the map.

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