I am playing an assassin character. I focus on silenced pistols and eventually develop melee weapons as well.

My question is if any of you know if the sneak attacks stack with critical hits?

example: Let's say my silenced pistol does 50 damage and I have a 4x sneak attack multiplier (due to the Ninja perk). If I apply the critical hit to the sneak attack in VATS, what will the resulting damage be?

For the sake of argument lets assume I have a couple perks points invested which increase the critical damage by an extra 100% - raising the critical damage multiplier to 3x effectively.

I can see three scenarios but I am not sure which one applies to Fallout 4:

  1. SNEAK BONUS and CRIT are added => 4x + 3x = 7x total damage amplification
  2. SNEAK BONUS and CRIT are multiplied => 4x x 3x = 12x total damage amplification
  3. SNEAK BONUS and CRIT are not stacked => resulting in either the 4x SNEAK BONUS or the 3x CRIT

How does Fallout 4 handle this?

  • 1
    Hi, Jiri. I've edited your question to focus on the essentials of your question. We should be able to help figure out what, exactly, the system is doing.
    – Frank
    Nov 13, 2015 at 23:07
  • 1
    I haven't played the game (yet), but I'm sure this isn't unresolvable with just a bit of playtesting and paying careful attention.
    – Iszi
    Nov 13, 2015 at 23:14
  • Most of my targets drop dead after the first shot so I am not complaining :) But the VATS notification only says that the sneak attack and the critical hit was applied, which come to think about it pretty much rules out option C) but i still don't know what the exact damage is as VATS does not display the total damage or the total multiplier. I will do some more testing on bosses with high health to see what changes.
    – Darenis
    Nov 14, 2015 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


I got sick of waiting for an answer to my broader question regarding how the damage multiplys in general, so I did a bunch of testing myself.


All tests were done by shooting a friendly setler in the back of the torso at close range.

The NPC was wearing nothing but a Minuteman outfit and had their HP set to 5000 with the console. I did not check what their Damage resistance was nor did I modify it, though I probably should have.

A single shot was taken, NPCs HP remaining checked with the console, then the game was reloaded. This was done 5 times.

Due to perks etc, my Sneak attack bonus was at 4.2 Not sure what my exact critical bonus is, I had 4 ranks of Tesla Science (+20% crit damage) and no other perks or mods which would increase it.

Tests performed with a Laser Rifle, instigating tests performed with Old Faithful with the same mods. Both showed a base damage of 144 in the Pip-Boy interface.


Normal Shot

111.81, 214.99, 213.32, 214.57, 212.48

Average: 204.72 damage (Average may be low? First shot did much less damage)

Critical Hit:

350.93, 349.86, 350.63, 350.34, 351.00

Average: 350.552

Sneak Attack:

905.80, 905.97, 906.70, 906.38, 905.46

Average: 906.062

Sneak Attack + Critical Hit:

1040.25, 1042.20, 1040.83, 1038.45, 1040.27

Average: 1040.40

Normal Shot + Instigating Weapon

425.43, 430.58, 431.57, 430.70, 352.29

Average: 414.114 damage (Average may be low? Last shot did much less damage)

Critical Hit + Instigating Weapon:

565.44, 559.52, 566.39, 565.26, 566.12

Average: 564.546

Sneak Attack + Instigating Weapon:

1810.25, 1812.87, 1813.63, 1813.38, 1812.00

Average: 1812.426

Sneak Attack + Critical Hit + Instigating Weapon:

1944.69, 1946.42, 1947.35, 1947.74, 1947.11

Average: 1946.662


The above results show some variance, with some shots noted as being much lower than others. It is not clear if this was due to poor accuracy causing some bullets to hit the wrong location (though injuries on target suggested all shots hit the back), natural RNG spread of damage, or damage resistance of the target.

When roughly comparing Sneak attacks performed with both Instigating and normal weapons, the stated Sneak Attack bonus does appear to be multiplicative with Instigating ( [Weapon Damage x2] x4.2) or at least close enough to satisfy me that this is the case.

Interestingly, Critical Hits do not appear to be multiplicative with Sneak and Instigating. In all situations the additional damage inflicted was close to the weapons stated base damage (144, give and take some variance). This suggests to me that critical strikes are seperate damage which is calculated and then added after sneak attacks and instigating are multiplied ( {[Weapon Damage x2] x4.2} + [Weapon Damage xCrit Modifier])

The Wiki suggests that Critical Hits use the following formula:

Ranged: Critical Hit Damage = DamagePaper + DamageBase x CriticalMultiplier

Melee/Unarmed: Critical Hit Damage = DamagePaper x 1.5 + DamageBase x CriticalMultiplier

DamageBase = Weapon damage, including workshop mods, but excluding perks and other bonuses. DamagePaper = Damage displayed in PipBoy (PipBoy cuts off decimal places)


Sneak Attack and Instigating are multiplicative with each other.

Critical Hits are not multiplicative with Sneak or Instigating

This suggests: ([Weapon Damage x Instigating] x Sneak Modifier) + (Weapon Damage x Crit Modifier)

  • Does the Lucky legendary (double crit dmg) affect sneak attack damage?
    – SkyHiRider
    Dec 28, 2015 at 23:43
  • As the answer says, crit calculations appear seperate to sneak calculations. Both will be calculated seperately, then added together. Dec 29, 2015 at 0:52

From personal experience they do stack together. I had a critical sneak attack on a Mirelurk Queen which dropped her HP by just under half (I also have the Instigating weapon perk which doubles damage to full hp targets) , it then took another 21-28 shots (3-4 mags) to finish her off. That's with having +50% crit damage and 3x sneak bonus.

  • True, I have seen the effect, but I do not yet know which formula i used to calculate the total damage done.
    – Darenis
    Nov 15, 2015 at 15:23

I would think that if you use your critical on the sneak attack it would work.

  • Do you perhaps have a source for this?
    – childe
    Nov 15, 2015 at 7:21

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