How Archery Damage is Calculated

I have three scenarios I think is happening concerning how archery damage is calculated.

First Scenario is that Bow and Arrow damage is added together. Bow and Arrow Armor Pen is added together. The shot made is the total Armor Pen being applied to the total Damage being applied.

Second Scenario is that Bow and Arrow Damage is not added. Bow and Arrow Armor Pen is also not added. What happens here is Bow Damage and Armor Pen is applied separately from Arrow Damage and Armor Pen. So if a Bow has 4 dmg, 8armp… and an arrow has 6 dmg 8 armp, there is a hit for 4d/8a, and one for 6d/8a per shot.

Third Scenario is that Bow and Arrow Damage is added together, applies bow armor pen and ignores arrow armor pen, resulting in a bug.

I’m leaning towards it being the Second or Third Scenario based on testing. But I don’t have the means of being thorough. I’m wondering if anyone has done some of the legwork already and can provide insight on how this system actually works.

------ Edit

Conclusion is Scenario 2 is True. Bow Damage and Armor Penetration and Arrow Damage and Armor Penetration are separate entities and apply as two separate damage events.

For example:

A bow with 12 damage 8% Armor Pen with an arrow with 18 damage 9% Armor Pen would deal damage as if it was a weapon doing 12 dmg 8% armor pen and another weapon dealing 18 dmg 9% armor pen at the same time.

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Just the bit of testing I’ve been able to do myself, I’ve found that the First Scenario is not happening.

I tested a Steel Mace (30 dmg / 16 armor pen) against the Royal Armor (114 armor). It does 23 points of damage.

Then tested an Ancient Bow (12 dmg / 8 armor pen) with Dragonbone Arrows (18 dmg / 9 armor pen). It does 22 points of damage.

If Scenario 1 was true, it should equal or exceed the Steel Mace damage. So the Armor pen on the Arrow is either being ignored, or only being applied to the arrow’s damage.

Its hard to test further since all bows and arrows each only have 8 or 9% armor pen. There’s no extremes without using mods.

30 Accuracy, unmodified Dragonbone Bow, Dragonbone Arrows.
101 Damage dealt to thrall with 0 Armor.

111 Armor = 30% damage reduction.
111 Armor -9% = 101.01
101 Armor = 28% Damage Reduction.
So 9% armor pen should deal 72.72 damage.

111 Armor -18% = 91.02.
91 Armor = 26% damage reduction.
So 18% armor pen should deal 74.74 damage

Now for what I see…

73 Damage dealt, that's a 27.72% damage reduction.

A second test…

40 Accuracy, unmodified Dragonbone Bow, Dragonbone Arrows. Armor pen should now total 27% with Crevice in the Armor.
113 Damage dealt to thrall with 0 Armor.

111 Armor -27% = 81.03
81 Armor = 24% damage reduction.
So 27% armor pen should deal 85.88 damage.

83 damage dealt, that's a 26.54% damage reduction.

A third and final test.
40 Accuracy, Spiked Dragonbone Bow, Dragonbone Arrows. Armor pen should now total 49.5% with Crevice in the Armor.
113 Damage dealt to thrall with 0 Armor.

111 Armor -49.5% = 56.05
56 Armor = 18% damage reduction.
So 49.5% armor pen should deal 92.66 damage.

83 damage dealt, that's a 26.54% damage reduction.

Conclusion: It looks like arrow and bow armor pen stacks and it appears that Crevice in the Armor does not stack with the spiked attachment on bows, but it definitely does stack with it on melee weapons as can be seen in my Crevice in the Armor test results.

Please let me know if any of my math is off.

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Your conclusion is conflicting with what I’ve seen. If this was true, then an Ancient Bow and Dragonbone Arrows (12 damage + 18 damage = 30 total) should do 23 or 24 damage to a 114 armored target as they would have 17% armor pen. It does 22 damage, less than a Steel Mace (30 damage and 16% armor pen) which does 23 damage.

I made all tests with 0 Accuracy and 0 Strength so perks and damage bonuses are not applied.

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I just believe you need to work with higher numbers to get more accurate results.
I think my second test makes it pretty clear as it’s almost exactly correct when the bow and arrow each have 13.5% armor pen and the reduction seen adds up to 26.54%.

I do think some of my numbers are off though. I’ll recheck.

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Steel Mace against Silent Legion does 11 damage.
Ancient Bow with Dragonbone Arrows does 9 damage.

The higher the armor, the more it displays that Bow and Arrow Armor Pen are NOT added together.

Steel Mace does 30 damage and 16% armor pen. Ancient Bow does 12 damage and 8% armor pen. Dragonbone arrow does 18 damage and 9% armor pen.

Damage added together is 30. Same as the Steel Mace. Adding the Armor Pen gives 17% which is HIGHER than the Steel Mace. Yet it does less damage.

This means that the Armor Pens of the Bow and the Arrow is calculated separately to their respective damage, OR the Armor Pen of the arrow is being ignored. I think its the former rather than the latter. But I would need to use a mod to increase arrow armor pen to something ridiculous to see.

They could be getting calculated separately, that is hard to determine. But I do think both are being applied.

I think they are too, as in Scenario 2.

The reason I wish to figure this out, is because I am working on a mod to fix some of the archery damage. But I don’t wish to do blanket changes across the board like some similar mods. And they don’t tend to have a PVP focus.

Okay I had one wrong number in test 2, the damage I expected to see was a couple points too low. 82.49 instead of 85.88.

82.49 is what was expected if the arrow (or bow) armor pen was not applied.
So it actually looks like the arrow armor pen might not do anything after all.

Or maybe it’s the bow armor pen that isn’t being applied, which would make sense considering Crevice in the Armor did not stack with the spiked attachment I added, yet it does stack on melee weapons.

I think that might be it. Arrow armor pen works but not the bow. I’ll just wait to see what results you or someone else comes back with.

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if the bow’s armor pen isn’t being applied that’d explain a LOT of the problems bows are having with damage. If confirmed should go in the bug section. Hopefully it gets fixed cause I’d love to pick up a bow

I’ll test a bit more but I think that’s exactly what’s going on here.

I don’t think its a bug.

What is happening with my test or so I believe, is that Bow does 12 dmg 8% armor pen. Then the arrow does 18 dmg 9% armor pen. Its like every shot hits with two attacks.

A similar 30ish damage weapon with similar 8-9% armor pen does about the same damage. If one wasn’t doing any armor pen, the damage should be quite a bit lower.

I can test that though real quick. I’m going to try a 0 armor pen weapon and see.

-edit. Found a better test, Hardened Steel Sword 36 damage 8% armor pen, and Dragonbone Bow and Arrow total of 36 damage. If they do the same amount, then we know both armor pens ‘work’ but apply separately.

We’re close to results, will post as another reply.

Final results:

Hardened Steel Sword 36 damage 8% armor pen. 11 total damage against Silent Legion armor.

Dragonbone Bow w/ Dragonbone Arrows 36 damage total 9% Armor pen for each bow and arrow. 11 total damage against silent legion.

If either the bow or the arrow’s armor pen was being ignored, it would do less than 11 damage.

So in conclusion, the damage and armor pen of the Bow and Arrow are applied separately as if they were different weapon hitting at the same time. I’ll edit the OP to reflect this.

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NPCS do not have armor stats. That is solely a player mechanic.

well like was said, when applying the weapon kit for armor pen on a bow itself, there is no change at all in actual armor penetration, that points to it being a bug

50 Accuracy

Dragonbone Bow and Arrows = 114 damage with heavy attack against 0 armor.
Dragonbone Bow (9%, 13.5% with perk) and Arrows (9%, 13.5% with perk) = 48 damage against SL armor.
Dragonbone Bow (24%, 36% with perk) and Arrows (9%, 13.5% with perk) = 48 damage against SL armor.

This shows that the bow armor pen is being ignored completely. Same damage with and without a spiked attachment on the bow.


This is easy one

Archery damage is calculated by poison damage snake arrows can deal :wink:

And that will remain true until we get buff for all arrows except snake arrows.

Poison damage is apparently mitigated by armor. Making it a utility at best.

It is. As is bleed damage, frostbite, heatstroke, etc. It makes no sense to me, these things should ignore armor, but they do not.

It will still deal damage over time and prevent healing. You will have more time to regain stamina and move around.
Damage that other arrows can do is low and they are not worth using. At 10 stacks, poison is quite good and it will out damage all other arrows (and bows)