I'm level 11, and recently defeated a mob of assassin/posse Redguards who all had scimitars. I took one for my weapon collection. The game said it was worth half what a knife's worth.

But I see it also says it does 18 damage, which is what a steel two-handed greatsword does. The table of weapon damages here shows daedric and dragonbone swords as the best, which I've not even seen, doing 14 and 15. I have a steel war axe which does 15 +15 fire if I keep feeding it souls, but as base damage, 18 seems extremely good, no?

Apparently I'm missing something. It can't be that the super-fancy buildable weapons are basically worse than using one of these $5 scimitars, can it? Is it a fine-crafted scimitar, but just not showing that it's especially good except by the damage? So if I had a good crafting skill I could also get a steel sword to 18, and I wouldn't be able to improve the scimitar? The wiki says a steel bar can be used to improve a scimitar, but I don't see that it lists scimitar base damage anywhere.

Do all non-magic swords (including scimitars) in Skyrim vary in performance only by damage?

Where does the scimitar fall on the list of good one-handed swords?

  • @gatherer818 the scimitar is a vanilla weapon. The reason it appears to be more powerful is that when you are holding an item, it applies all your perks/enchantments/any other bonuses to the weapon damage, as per the weapon damage formula on the page you linked.
    – shanodin
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 7:31
  • @shanodin also, I apparently stole your answer from your comment. I read the first sentence of your answer on my phone, and then moved to the computer to research and answer the question without reading the rest. If you want to use your answer, go for it, and I will delete mine. Commented May 15, 2015 at 7:51
  • @gatherer818 nah it's the answer which is important, not who makes it
    – shanodin
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 11:52

2 Answers 2


The Scimitar's base damage is 11, putting it between a Dwarven Sword and a Glass Sword. When viewed in game all weapon stats are shown modified by your One-handed skill and perks, even while the item is in achest or on the ground. If you were comparing it to a Glass Sword in game rather than on the wiki, you'd see that the Glass Sword is better.

(Note that if you've barely started the Smithing line and can't improve a Glass Sword as much as a Steel Sword, which is what a Scimitar improves as, an improved Scimitar might be better than a Glass Sword until you get the Glass Smithing perk.)

  • At most smithing skill levels, Perks provide 2 or 3 extra damage. As such a Glass sword improved w/o perks will seldom equal a [Scimitar/Skyforge Steel Sword/Nord Hero Sword/Blade's Sword] that has been improved with the Steel perk. But Ebony/Daedric/Dragonbone can match or beat them without the relevant perks.
    – tjd
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 14:43
  • 1
    I am looking in my inventory, and I thought it might be my bonuses, but I have tried moving it and two other swords between inventory, chest, and wielded, and the damage shown doesn't change. I have an Ancient Nord Sword of Cold which shows 13 damage, and an Iron Sword of Cold which shows damage 12. Oh, I see those are supposed to be base 8 and 7. I didn't think those changed since I leveled/perked up several times though. Ok, it now makes sense. Thank you!!
    – Dronz
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 17:49

Acutally, a scimitar is only for aesthetic purposes. If you get it on initial levels like 10-30, you have the strongest weapon for that time period. Note I capped at 30. It is cause after that, glass weapons become available as random loot. You can get a glass as early as lv 20 as random loot. Obviously they are better than scimitars. But for a character like a battlemage, they are very good weapons to proceed with.

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