So I've been accumulating a ton of arrows on my mace&shield character, using them very rarely.

I busted the bow out the other day for a change of pace, and found it extremely effective. I then realized that I had falmer arrows equipped even though they had the lowest damage so I switched to iron arrows. It felt like my damage went down a lot.

Was that my imagination, or is there an arrow modifier that I don't know about?

  • I already had elven, orcish, etc arrows by the time I'd found falmer so would be interested to know if I've missed out on anything
    – Alex
    Jan 17, 2012 at 17:18
  • The difference between arrow damage ratings is very small when you put it up against the base damage of the bow & its enchantments. Still, I don't carry any arrows with <10 rating. Most times, I'm using ones rated 14+.
    – Iszi
    Jan 17, 2012 at 17:42
  • 2
    @Iszi - I carry any and all arrows that I find. Mostly because with 0 weight I can't think of a reason not to. Though I also check every corpse and jar I come across for the chance to loot 10 gold...
    – tugs
    Jan 17, 2012 at 17:58
  • I think the only reason not to carry weaker arrows, is the chance that the game might default you to them when you run out of your preferred type. That, and I like to keep my inventory at least somewhat clean.
    – Iszi
    Jan 17, 2012 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


The damage rating on the arrows are accurate but the difference between them are really small (iron only being marginally better than falmer arrows). Some possible reasons why you feel your damage has gone down a bit:

  1. Are you sneak attacking differently? Bows get sneak attack bonuses just like all other weapons.
  2. Are you fighting different enemies? Heavily armored targets take less damage.
  3. Did you change your bow? Or maybe you had a bow with an enchantment and now its out of charges?
  • All of those are possibilities, I wasn't paying enough attention. I guess I'll have to do some tests tonight.
    – tugs
    Jan 17, 2012 at 17:54
  • I think what happened is I was fighting different enemies... I went and loaded the save right before I noticed it and shot the same guy with all of the different arrows and the damage scaled as expected. I guess I really just wasn't expecting such easy mobs so near the end of the main storyline as Skuldafn.
    – tugs
    Jan 18, 2012 at 17:02

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