I enchanted every possible piece of my armor with a magic resistance enchantment, but as that are only two pieces of armor if you don't use a shield I decided to add some elemental resistances on the other armor pieces.

So I now have two times magic resistance, some shock resistance from my armor and the 50% frost resistance from being a Nord. How do these resistances interact and add up?

Am I actually reducing incoming magic elemental damage when combining magic and elemental resistances? How are those resistances added up? Do magic and elemental resistances stack, and if is there a diminishing effectiveness or how does it work exactly?

8 Answers 8


If it's a multiplicative stack as others have noted, it should work like this:

Say you have a 40% shield, a 30% chest piece, and a 20% buff...

In a simple additive system, you would have 90% resistance (40% + 30% + 20%). This is a problem because a user could figure out a way to completely mitigate damage and render certain foes permanently harmless, and what fun would that be? Generally systems that use this method implement caps, either hard (user can't score higher than x%) or soft caps (after x%, all bonuses are reduced by y%)

In a multiplicative system the 1st item adds its full value (in this case 40%), but the next item only adds it's bonus onto the un-resisted portion of the damage. This works out as follows: 40% + (30% * 60%) + (20% * 42%) = 66.4% resistance. The result is a much lower effect when stacking items. This kind of system makes large-chunk items more effective than collections of small-chunk items and also guarantees that no one can ever reach 100% resistance, even without the use of maximum-caps.

  • 2
    What determines the first resist to be applied? Is the the highest? Dec 6, 2011 at 4:20
  • 2
    @Mr.November It doesn't matter which resist is applied first - the end result is the same no matter the order. This is easier to see when the formula is put in this form: 60%*70%*80%=66.4% (just multiply the "unresisted damage" percentages).
    – Brilliand
    Jul 20, 2015 at 2:57

I decided to test these theories. I used the wolf blood exploit to get my alchemy to 800%+ and then used that on enchantment potions. Now I currently have a ring that protects against 200%+ magic. I still take damage from everyone and on any difficulty past apprentice I seem to take full damage.

I'm literally trying it right now. There is no resistance at all. I'm on the latest 360 update for the game.

  • 2
    Okay, a few things here. First off, you can edit your existing answers, you don't need to post a new one for every comment. Secondly, this is a Q&A Site, not a forum, once you've received 50 rep, you'll be able to leave comments (like this one) for extra bits of information or discussion that don't directly answer a question. Thirdly, the bug you're referring to with magic resistance was fixed in Patch 1.3, released earlier this week. Dec 11, 2011 at 1:40
  • Welcome to the site, Kyle. This is a Q&A site, not a forum; things behave a little differently here. Posts are sorted by score, not date, so you can't use answers to reply to other answers. You need to use comments for that. Your answers need to be full posts that can stand on their own if put right below the question - which is what happens if the asker decides to accept your answer :) I like your spirit and appreciate your effort in doing science: you're doing it very very right. Keep it up!
    – badp
    Dec 11, 2011 at 1:45
  • @Kyle: Patch 1.3 released for the PC earlier this week. It appears to have not been pushed to the 360 yet, but should sometime in the next few days. So, it'll be fixed soon. Dec 11, 2011 at 1:47
  • Thank you that was far more polite than that ridiculous response I received before. The point still stands though, there is 0 resistance to any elemental damage in any situation (trap, magic attack, dragon breath etc.)
    – Kyle
    Dec 11, 2011 at 1:49
  • Ok that's good news. Sorry I posted before I refreshed.
    – Kyle
    Dec 11, 2011 at 1:50

I believe that they do stack.I can't definately say they do without testing it (such as giving myself a total 100% fire resistance and fighting a flame antornach) but skill buffs stack so its reasonable to assume that resistance buffs stacks also.

  • 4
    It has already been tested and posted on forums, it stacks multiplicatively.
    – Domocus
    Nov 24, 2011 at 1:54

edit: just saw above reply.. makes sense

i believe there is a soft cap on them, unsure what it is but i was Nord, with sheild+boots enchanted with 40'ish% frost resist each, so essentially 50% Nord, 40*2=80%, so 130% total, yet i still was taking frost damage. forgot had sheild perk (Elemental Protection) so reduces incoming magic dmg by 50%

Wasn't much but it still was there, and i would assume its the same for others, in the case of seperate elements ie:shock+frost, each elemental resistance seems to be independant.


assuming you take damage from a spell that deals 100 frost damage

Being a nord: 50% (damage taken = 50) Shield perk: 50% (damage taken = 25) some magic resist 20% equipment: 20% (damage taken = 20)

And obviously according to the laws of math, the order doesnt matter. If its only % resist, its always the same value.

Basically, the more resistance you have, the less resistance provided by additional buffs. There will always be a number but its gonna be low as shit.

  • This is the definition of multiplicative stacking. Dec 11, 2011 at 1:42

The "player.getav Magicresist" console command gives you this answer : it adds up, not "multiplicatively", but "additively". I, for instance, have a 21% custom ring and a 22% nullification ring, plus a 10% buff from Azura's shrine, 21+22+10 = 53 ; the aforementioned command gives me the result "53", a multiplicative stacking would have given me an unresisted rate of : 0.79*.078*0.90 = 0.55458 = 55.458 %, which gives a resist rate of 44.542 %.

If you have better explanations, about how this console command would not be reliable, please let me know.


I think it's rather so:

All magic resistance items add up "additively", but are capped at 85%. All elemental restance items add up "additively", capped at 85% too. But: magic res and elemental res add up "multiplicatively" (if the cap is already reached).

For easier understanding:

If you have a ring with magic res 100%, only 85% is in effect. If you have a necklace with 100% elemental FIRE res, it's the same. If you wear both at the same time, the total FIRE res would be:

85% res (cap of one item) + (15% magic res [100% - ring] * 15% fire res [100% - necklace]) = 85% + 2.25% = 87,25% (and that's the MAX you can get!)

Maybe I'm wrong in my math between magic res and elemental res, but you definitely can't get more than 85% in either magic or elemental and you definitely can't reach 100% with both together.


I've just read the answer:

the calc between magic res and elemental res for the final 15% (to 100%) is:

100% - CAP = 15% so it calcs:

85% (cap from the other res) from 15% is 12,75%

=> 85% + 12,75% = 97,75% res together.

So 2,25% damage comes always through.

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