In Skyrim, will striking an enemy in certain areas do more damage (e.g: headshots = x2), or produce any other effects, such as stunning/crippling?

I understand that sneak shots do more damage, and that the damage from those/attacks from behind can be increased with points.

  • 3
    No, there isn't locational damage, but there is a mod for locational damage that I use. nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/12615 (although it's not a very well-made mod, it doesn't work on a lot of monster/animal types and even on things it does work on it only works half the time.) Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 20:15

6 Answers 6


This was easy enough to test.

I equipped a weak hunting bow (I'm an archer so I'd probably 1 shot any normal npc with my usual bow), and found the nearest NPC that had no helmet on (just on the off chance that helmets can prevent head shots for some reason.)

I used getav health to read the NPC's health for every shot.


She took 79 damage regardless where I hit her, so no, there's no extra damage for headshots.

My tested locations:

  • Nose
  • Hand
  • Feet
  • Stomach
  • 132
    My only regret was I forgot to test the knees.
    – l I
    Commented Apr 9, 2012 at 16:04

No. Skyrim has no concept of location-amplified damage.

You can decapitate with your attacks in some cases, but such effects are not triggered by preferentially attacking the head.

  • 1
    There are also criticals but they again are not determined by location but rather by perks. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 17:31
  • 4
    Source? Or did you test this?
    – Morgan T.
    Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 17:17
  • 3
    @MorganTiley nothing about locational damage is mentioned, either in-game or in the manual, which, combined, are otherwise pretty comprehensive on the subject of combat. Additionally, there hasn't been locational damage in past games in the series, of which the Skyrim combat engine is very faithful to. Commented Dec 2, 2011 at 20:53

No, but since Skyrim is using a modified version of Gamebryo which was used in Oblivion, Fallout, New Vegas, the vats system from the Fallout series is still in place and it may be possible with modifications to implement location specific damage.

  • 5
    Not necessarily. More likely is that VATS is disabled or removed entirely. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 19:18
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    Some of the VATS script commands still work in the game and some do not. I believe modders will be able to implement the feature if it was partially taken out. Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 0:51
  • 1
    We can hope! That'd be better than the way the locational damage mod was implemented for Oblivion. Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 0:59
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    I found a mod that adds damage location. I have not tested it, use at own risk skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/12615
    – Ashterothi
    Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 20:43

Actually, there is locational damage, although this only and ONLY applies to the spells: Ice spike, Ice spear. Hitting any enemy(could be only man or mer) in the head with these spells will do double damage.

  • 5
    What source do you have for this?
    – Frank
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 19:54
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    When posting an answer that contradicts a highly upvoted, accepted answer, you really need to have a source. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 22:14

Sometimes in my game, I can get a critical attack that does more damage than a normal one, its somewhat random though.

I can shoot them in the face one time and get normal damage then do it again and get a critical attack. You know it's a critical when it does that hollow knock sound when it hits them, but I've only found it works with a bow, haven't properly done it with swords yet.

And in case someone thinks I'm mistaking this for a sneak attack, this is while we can both see each other and attacking.

However, it's not just the face that has given me critical damage, I've shot them in the chest too and it's happened.

  • 6
    There are perks in the One-Handed, Two-Handed, and Archery trees which give chances for random crits. Since you're only seeing them with bows, I'd say you've taken that perk from the Archery tree. (It's the second or third perk going up the right hand side.) Commented Dec 5, 2011 at 15:41

I Actually think shooting someone in the knees or calf may do more damage

  • 5
    So, do you have any proof to back this up, or are you just having fun with the "arrow to the knee" meme? The accepted answer has tested proof that there is no locational damage in (unmodded) Skyrim. Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 20:34

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