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?