The story begins with the player’s character in prison in The Imperial City. Emperor Uriel Septim VII, accompanied by his bodyguards, is fleeing from assassins who have killed his sons. By chance, Septim’s escape route goes through the player’s cell and you are able to follow them and escape yourself.
During the escape, the Emperor tells you that he has seen you in his dreams and gives you The Amulet of Kings, an important heirloom. He tells you to find the monk Jauffre and give him the Amulet. After finding Jauffre, you are told that Septim had an illegitimate son named Martin who is working as a monk in the city of Kvatch.
As the only remaining heir to the throne, Martin must use the Amulet to light the Dragonfires that protect Imperial City. Upon reaching Kvatch, you find that it is under attack by the Deadra, inhabitants of a dimension called Oblivion.
You enter the gate and remove the Sigil Stone that holds the gate in place, thus closing it from the inside. Upon returning to Kvatch, you help the soldiers fight off the remaining invasion force and meet Martin.
The player must then escort Martin back to Jauffre whose Priory is under attack by The Mythic Dawn cult, the assassins who killed Septim earlier. After saving the Priory, you find that the Amulet has been stolen and you must escort Martin and Jauffre to Cloud Ruler Temple, a hidden fortress in the mountains, and headquarters to The Blades (the Emperor’s elite bodyguard).
As Martin trains to be the next Emperor, the player must attempt to retrieve the Amulet by infiltrating the Mythic Dawn. It transpires that their leader, Mankar Camaron, is in league with the Daedric Lord of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon. Dagon wishes to invade the world by opening Oblivion Gates near major cities with the help of The Mythic Dawn who worships him.
The player witnesses Camaron enter a portal into his own world, “Paradise” and take the Amulet with him. However, he leaves his book, The Mysterium Xarxes behind and the player steals it and returns it to Martin.
The future Emperor must than unlock the mysteries behind the book whilst the Player helps the cities close more Oblivion Gates. By the end, a major battle for control of Bruma ensues and the player enters Paradise to end Camaron.
Upon returning Martin to the Imperial City, you find it under attack by the Daedra, with Mehrunes Dagon himself leading the army. Martin rushes to relight the fires with the retrieved Amulet while Dagon destroys the city.
Reaching the main palace and relighting the fires, Martin merges himself with an ancient Dragon and battles Dagon, saving the city in the process but (possibly) sacrificing his own life. Peace is restored to the world but no Emperor sits on the throne…