According to this source and many others, with smithing skill at level 100 and all the smithing perks, I should be able to improve my armor by 20 points, but what I discovered is that it's not correct for me. For example Deadric Boots with 26 armor(which also doesn't match the wiki, it should be 18, and I don't have any perks in Heavy Armor) the improvement is to 42, so it's 16 points. I don't have any clothes, gear or active magical effect on me. Turned off all mods and it's still the same. What should I do?

  • You mention you have all the perks, then you say that you have no Heavy Armour perks. Exactly what perks do you have?
    – Schism
    Jul 20, 2013 at 19:37
  • I'm sorry, all the Blacksmithing perks
    – icepopo
    Jul 20, 2013 at 19:42
  • 1
    Re 26 base stat on the boots: What's your Heavy Armor level? What Patch? If on an older patch, do you have the Ancient Knowledge ability? Do you have any Fortify Heavy Armor effects listed under your Active effects? There are a lot of things that can contribute to making the Daedric Boots' base stats more effective. Re only getting 16 points of benefit: Do the improved boots actually read "Legendary" as their improvement level? It's possible you're suffering some penalty to your effective smithing, only getting +13, and whatever's boosting their base is also boosting that. Jul 20, 2013 at 22:58
  • My Heavy Armor level is 38 (and no perks). patch. On the active effects, I have Agent of Dibella, Ancient Knowledge, Force Without Effort, Imperial Luck, and Lover Stone, no penalties. Yes, the improved boots actually reads "Legendary".
    – icepopo
    Jul 21, 2013 at 9:33
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    @icepopo Please note there are actually 14 levels of "legendary" improvements to an item in-game. But they all just show the word "legendary", not "legendary-7" or what-have-you. If your smithing is over 100 because you are carrying the Notched Pickaxe, or you have Seeker of Might, or a smithing potion/enchant, you can step well beyond "legendary-1" improvements. Mar 20, 2017 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


The UESP Skyrim Armor page lists the following approximated armor rating formula:

  • Armor rating = (base armor rating + item quality) × (1 + 0.4 × (skill + skill effect)/100) × (1 + unison perk† + Matching Set) × (1 + armor perk‡)

Now from the armor page you see that the Daedric boots have an armor rating of 18 which you have improved to legendary status (+20), the daedric boots should now have an armor rating of 38 before taking your character's skill into the equation. You have skill level 38 in heavy armor, no heavy armor perks, the Ancient Knowledge power and you have disabled all mods. From the powers page, you can read that Ancient knowledge is bugged and provides a 25% bonus to all armors except dwarven armor. According to the armor rating formula page, Ancient knowledge affects the skill level, acting as a fortify light/heavy armor effect.

Using this information we insert these values into the equation:

(18 + 20) x (1 + 0.4 * (38 * 1.25 / 100)) * 1 * 1 = ~45.22

Remember that the armor formula is approximate, the exact formula is unknown. The implementation may round the factors up, down or to nearest integer, or fast imprecise math functions may be used. I believe however that the Ancient knowledge bug is the source of the confusion and it has been fixed by the Unofficial Skyrim Patch.

  • legendary bonus is +10 to everything except main armor which is 20. Skill effect in the equation is either fortify light armor or fortify heavy armor enchants or potions. Ancient knowledge improves tempering 15% and buffs overall armor rating 25% after the fact. Your equation should have 11.5 instead of 20 and the 1.25 as an entirely separate factor. I wrote an answer to this effect.
    – Jtenorj3
    Mar 20, 2017 at 20:36

By default, Ancient Knowledge both gives a 25% bonus to armor rating and it improves tempering by 15%. Smithing items to legendary with 100 skill and the material perk adds 20 to the main armor piece, but only 10 to everything else(secondary armor and weapons). In this case, we add 10 to the Daedric Gauntlet's base of 18, not 20. However, the tempering modifier from Ancient Knowledge should make that 10 into 11.5, meaning the piece alone is 29.5.

You get an extra .4% armor rating per skill level(1.4x at 100 skill), so at 38 skill you get 1.152x protection. That times 29.5 is 33.98. Finally, we factor in the 25% armor rating boost from Ancient knowledge, giving us a grand total of 42.48. This is rounded down in your inventory display to the observed 42 rating.

Edit: Regarding how your boots displayed 26(vs 18) before you improved them:

base rating x skill or 18x1.15= 20.7

skill modifed rating x ancient knowledge or 20.7x1.25=25.875

round up to 26 to get what you saw before tempering.

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