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Do specific creatures have weaknesses to specific types of attack, e.g. I have both a fire and shock based destruction spells. Would one work better on some creatures, and the other better on others?

Also, are blunt weapons better for one type of enemies, while blades better for others?

And if so, are there any resources as to which creatures are vulnerable to which types of attack? Are there in-books helping with this?

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6 Answers

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Some creatures are weak to different forms of magic, and it follows the normal fantasy archetypes:

  • Frost-based creatures are weak to fire, but resistant to frost
  • Fire-based creatures are weak to frost, but resistant to fire

Notably, this elemental-based dichotomization affects dragons and Atronachs.

There are also creatures that are not elemental-based, but are resistant to their natural surroundings:

  • Goats, snow foxes, and mammoths are resistant to frost
  • Chauri (the giant insects) are naturally resistant to poison

Vampires are resistant to frost, but weak to fire as well.

Automata and some undead are immune to poison and resistant to frost: this includes the Dwarven automata and the Draugr.

Spriggan are weak towards fire, as are trolls (a common fantasy trope).

Giants are resistant to magic of all forms.

As Skizzlefrits notes in the comments, while many foes won't have inherent elemental weaknesses, the side effects of each elemental class makes them suitable against different types of enemies:

  • Shock spells are useful against mages because they drain magicka in addition to health
  • Frost spells are useful against warriors because they drain stamina in addition to health
  • Flame spells are useful against groups because they deal area-of-effect damage and/or damage over time

I'm not aware of the type of weapon (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing) affecting damage to an enemy. If I remember correctly, the type of weapon didn't affect anything in Oblivion or Morrowind, either: it's not a mechanic used in the Elder Scrolls series.

In terms of where to find this, I pulled the list above from the strategy guide's bestiary, but they all should make sense from a common sense perspective (or at least a common sense perspective within a high fantasy setting). I wouldn't be surprised if there were books that cover some of them.

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Is anything weak to shock? It seems from what you've said that most things are weak to fire. –  StrixVaria Nov 15 '11 at 14:37
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keep in mind, fighting regular humanoids that may not have a resistance are weak to certain spells. fire is a good choice for battlemages as enemies take extra damage from all attacks, frost is a good type to use on warrior enemies, as it does stamina damage, and shock spells are good against spellcasters as it does magicka damage as well. –  Skizzlefrits Nov 15 '11 at 14:41
    
@StrixVaria The bestiary doesn't mention any creatures that are weak to shock; the benefit for shock is that it hits the mana pool (so mages, indirectly, are weak to it). Many things might be resistant to frost but have no inherent weakness to fire. Frost mages do seem to lose out in the cold wastes of the north, though. –  user3389 Nov 15 '11 at 14:42
    
I just like to add that druegars are often resistant to frost –  z - Jan 14 '12 at 0:28
    
to add to the shock theres a slight bonus to the shock ranged attacks as they reach the target the fastest of all the ranged attacks in the game –  user19046 Jan 27 '12 at 23:25
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I'm pretty sure that, as in oblivion, all forms of daedra are weak to the shock school of magic. So if you are looking to get those daedra hearts to make the armor I would keep that in mind... On a personal note I prefer lightning, as it is inherently more bada$$

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I prefer Fire, it's particularly good when you run out of mana and it's charging up slowly. Burning damage means you need only use it in spurts. –  Coomie Nov 22 '11 at 5:54
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Vampires are weak to fire spells and effects. One of the load screens tells you this, and it's been the case at least since Morrowind.

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Dark elves are fire resistant. Nords are frost resistant.

Weapon types don't intrinsically matter, but they do when you look at the perks. For example: Blunt's perk reduces armor. This is great for armored opponents and useless for un-armored opponents.

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Dark Elves are 50% resistant to fire Nords are 50% resistant to frost Wood elves are immune to poison Redguards are immune to diseases aswell as argonians

classes have their own special abilities.

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Orcs are immune to disease.

I have a level 58 Orc and I know for a fact that Orcs are immune to disease.

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This is just incorrect –  Rory Apr 2 '13 at 11:56
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