He got a lot of his ideas from Norse and Celtic mythology. I took a mythology class a couple of years ago and we talked about it. Then when i read LOTR i thought, wow, look at all this cool Norse influence. i especially found the significance of the number nine to be interesting. it is very important in Norse mythology.
tuch posted... So we know a lot of fantasy elements in Oblivion came from Tolkien...
Fixed. Todd Howard is on record saying that he was heavily influenced by the LotR movies during Oblivion's development. I don't see that many similarities between Morrowind, Daggerfall, and Arena with the LotR.
There are a few things in Morrowind that could be considered similar to Tolkien's work, though. The first council, the battle at red mountain. Red mountain itself reminds me of mt. doom, Kagrenac's tools and the granting of power through them and the heart of Lorkhan reminds me of Sauron and his forge and the rings of power. Nerevar and the Nerevarine reminds me of Elendil, Isildur, and Aragorn. The way Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil betrayed Nerevar for the power of the Heart reminds me of the effect the one ring had. The Daedra and Aedra reminds me of the Valar and Ainur, almost to the point of having the same origin story, etc..
This is all speculation on my part, and no one knows if these things are for sure Tolkien influenced. they could very well not be, but they sure look familiar.