Haven't played Skyrim in years, but started up a new game with Skyrim SE this week. Playing as a mage, and experiencing very varying degrees of effectiveness...

Sometimes my fire/frost/shock drains the foe in a short time, while other times their health is just trickling down slooowly. Even seem varying within for example the same group of bandits.

Is this a bug, or do foes have such very varying degrees of magic resistance or something?

I play on Expert if that makes a difference. And I've also tried to switch between fire/frost/shock to see if that helps, but the hard ones doesn't seem to care about the difference... or maybe it's just all in my head...?

2 Answers 2



  • Nords have 50% resistance to frost
  • Bretons have 25% resistance to all magic
  • Dunmers have 50% resistance to fire magic

Sometimes an enemy may be carrying an enchanted piece of armor which can increase the resistances even further (albeit it won't be a drastic change).

Also worth noting that the Skyrim Healthbar shows a percentage, rather than the total volume of health a character has. With that said, higher max HP characters will have their bar drain slower

  • Didn't think of that last point... I'm newb :P Any advice on dealing with resistance as a mage though?
    – Svish
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 3:01
  • Switch spells. Although you have to consider defense aswell. While nords resist frost, frost also hits their stamina which means they can't get to you. Likewise you can use lighting attacks against mages so you deplete their magicka. Then again, maybe it's that you're just not using the strongest spells
    – Oak
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 4:41
  • That could be. I've mostly used the Novice spells because the others sucks up my mana too fast, but should probably use those more now :)
    – Svish
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 5:36
  • The trick is to invest in Magicka when you level up, and using the perks in th perk tree, namely the ones that reduce cost of abilities (In your case Apprentice Destruction)
    – Oak
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 13:17
  • 1
    To deal with magic resistant enemies a good strategy is to use summoned allies or ilusion spells like calm to give you time to regen magicka. Since you are a mage ilusion can be the best way, since you can then get silence spells to sneak, Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 22:14

It depends, some bandits have it, some don't. This is not a bug, it is just how the game works. Hope this helped!

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