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Combat General Information

Combat can take place between the player and/or any number of Enemies and NPCs. All participants utilize combinations of physical attacks, weapons, or magic in an attempt to kill or overcome their opponent. Combat normally begins when player or another NPC becomes detected by a hostile NPC/ Enemies or otherwise provokes them into attacking.
Anything that is hostile to the player will appear as a red dot on the compass until combat has ended.
Combat can be ended in four ways: Player is killed, all enemies that are killed, player moves far enough away to escape form the enemies, or force to end either by a magical effect (i.e. as Calm and Kyne's Peace) or a yield. 

Combat Skills

Player can perform different skills in combat including Warrior Skills, Magic Skills, Thief Skills

Warrior Skills

  • Unarmed Combat: Attack an opponent with your fists, performed by attacking with nothing equipped (spells, weapons or shields) in one or both hands.
  • One-handed Combat: The art of combat using one-handed weapons such as daggers, swords, maces, and war axes. Those trained in this skill deliver deadlier blows
  • Dual-Wielding: A fighting style where one-handed weapons are used in both hands and blocking is prevented.
  • Two-handed Combat: The art of combat using two-handed weapons, such as greatswords, battle axes, and warhammers. Those trained in this skill deliver deadlier blows
  • Archery: An archer is trained in the use of bows and arrows. The greater the skill, the more deadly the shot.
  • Blocking: The art of blocking an enemy's blows with a shield or weapon. Blocking reduces the damage and staggering from physical attacks

Magic Skills

  • Alteration
  • Conjuration
  • Destruction
  • Illusion
  • Restoration

Thief Skills

  • Sneak Attacks:Toggling the sneak control causes your character to crouch or stand. Perform a physically strike to Enemies or NPCs that are not aware of the player's presence will result in a sneak attack.

Alternative Combat Systems

Apart from the above traditional combat system. There are several optional abilities and situations that allow you to fight against enemies in unique ways

  • Brawls

    • A brawl is a fistfight that invovles no killing action. Both parties fight without weapons until one surrenders. Some NPCs will challenge player to a brawl and certain quests require you to brawl an NPC.
    • Brawling combat usually starts by selecting a dialogue option that ends with the action "(Brawl)". When combat begins, players' weapons and spells automatically unequip. Player must fight someone by attacking only with your fists or bashing with a shield until a winner emerges. Spells like Healing, or a shield can be used during a Brawl but any damage spell other than bashing or punching (including the passive effect from the Ebony Mail) will void the fight and count as a crime. The rules of brawling prohibit you from healing an opponent.
  • Transformations

    • Through the events of certain quests, you can gain the ability to transform into either a werewolf or, with the Dawnguard add-on, a Vampire Lord. Both of these forms change combat in a number of ways, including a forced third-person view, faster movement, improved unarmed damage, and unique attacks and abilities. These forms also become stronger in different ways than the normal character and have certain limitations. For more information on these forms, see their respective pages.
  • Horse-Mounted Combat


    • Version 1.6 of the Official Skyrim Patch introduces the ability to use melee weapons and bows while riding a horse. Unarmed attacks, magic, Powers, and Shouts cannot be used. While using melee weapons, you will only be able to use whatever is equipped in your right hand (including two-handed weapons which you will be able to wield with only one hand). When the left or right attack control is used, you will respectively make a low swing on the left or right flank of the horse. If the attack button is held, you will hold your weapon in preparation for an attack and swing when the button is released. This strike will consume Stamina upon release but doesn't seem to do any additional damage.
    • When using a bow, you will draw and fire as normal and will be able to zoom in with the Eagle Eye perk. However, if you ride over especially rough terrain or are hit by a power attack, you will be forced to un-nock your arrow. Also, regardless of where you aim your reticule, your arrow will only fire within the horse's front arc of about 180 degrees. Attempting to shoot farther left or right will simply cause the arrow to shoot out at the arc's limits.
    • Obvious advantages to using the horse-mounted fighting style are that you are harder to attack and are much more mobile. Additionally, if enemies block your attack you experience no knockback and can quickly follow up with another strike. One disadvantage to mounted combat is that if your horse is killed while you are riding it, you will be thrown to the ground in a ragdoll-like fashion, and you will be unable to perform any action until you regain your feet.
  • Dragon Riding

    • During the Dragonborn main questline, you will gain the ability to tame and ride dragons. This introduces a new mechanic of gameplay that also has a different type of combat. While you cannot directly control a dragon as you would a horse, you can give it basic commands to attack or land and can aid it with certain spells and Shouts.



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