For other uses, see Crossbows.

Crossbows are projectile weapons in The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard. They are primarily used by the Dawnguard, a faction of vampire hunters


Crossbows differ from bows in a number of ways. They use different ammunition, projectiles are loaded instead of nocked, and they provide a number of advantages and disadvantages compared to the standard bow.


  • Walking speed is not affected while the crossbow is readied.[1]
  • Crossbows fire projectiles at a higher velocity than most bows, making them better for hitting moving targets.[2]
  • Ammunition varieties also include exploding bolts in each of the 3 elements (fire, ice, and lightning).
  • Crossbows are more powerful than most bows, with the regular crossbow having the same base damage as a Daedric Bow.
  • Crossbows have a higher base value than most bows, with the standard crossbow having a base value of 120 gold, and with the standard Enhanced version beginning at 200 gold. The Dwemer versions are significantly more valuable, with the standard Dwemer version having a base value of 350 gold, and the Enhanced Dwemer version starts at 550 gold. By comparison, the Dwemer Bow starts at only 270 gold.
  • Crossbows can help the Dragonborn raise their Archery level much faster than most bows.
  • Zooming in and slowing down time can be done with crossbows by pressing the corresponding button, provided the relevant perks are selected.
  • Crossbows have a built-in 50% chance to stagger opponents. If combined with the Power Shot perk, it will stagger 75% of the time.
  • The Enhanced variety ignores 50% of enemy armor.
  • Holding down the attack button and waiting for the weapon to be fully drawn is not required, as the bolt is already loaded in.
  • Bashing with a crossbow will cause a greater stagger chance than standard bows, as well as dealing more damage than bashing with a standard bow.
  • Crossbows can be given to followers, and there is a chance that the follower will prefer to use them instead of their standard bows.
  • All crossbow varieties can be forged, where only some standard bows can be forged, and others cannot. Furthermore, all crossbows benefit from smithing perks, where only some standard bows benefit from them, meaning those that do not benefit from them cannot be upgraded past "Flawless" quality without a potion or enchantment that improves smithing.
  • Enhanced crossbows can still be enchanted. If combined with the Extra Effect perk, it is possible to have up to three effects at once.
  • By the time a Kill Camera is finished the crossbow will have already reloaded itself.
  • Faster recovery after falling, unlike normal bows which must be nocked and drawn again.


  • Crossbows are loud, and can alert enemies at close range, making close-up assassinations difficult if surrounded.
  • Crossbows reload slower than most bows (even though game-data, speed of 1, suggests crossbows are faster, the reload speed uses different formulae).
  • Crossbows are much heavier than most bows, with the standard crossbow occupying 14 carry weight units, and the standard Enhanced version weighing 15. The Dwemer versions are significantly heavier, with the standard Dwemer crossbow weighing 20, and the Enhanced Dwemer version weighs 21. By comparison, the Dwemer Bow weighs only 10 units.
  • The Dragonborn is vulnerable to melee attack for a few seconds during reload, since it cannot be cancelled and it's impossible to run. (This can be countered by unequipping the bolts before or during the reload animation)
  • Lower-tier crossbows have a shorter default arc range than a standard bow (this can be fixed by simply aiming higher).
  • Because holding down the block button is not required for bashing, Stamina should be closely watched and monitored, as it can drain the Stamina bar rather quickly.
  • There are only 4 types of crossbows to choose from; the Crossbow, the Enhanced Crossbow, the Dwarven Crossbow, and the Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow.
  • Bolts can only be purchased from Fort Dawnguard or picked up from dead Dawnguard members (or, in the case of Dwarven bolts, collected from a dead Dwarven Sphere or purchased or forged during or after the "Ancient Technology" quest), whereas arrows are available in shops everywhere.
    • Forging bolts are also available only if the Dragonborn is a member of the Dawnguard, whereas arrows can be crafted at any blacksmith forge.
  • Bolts are crafted in groups of only 10 while crafting arrows produces 24 at a time.
  • Crossbows can only be forged at Fort Dawnguard, where standard bows can be crafted at any blacksmith forge, with the relevant perks and smithing materials.
  • Crossbows can only be purchased at Fort Dawnguard, whereas standard bows can be purchased at shops everywhere.
  • Fired bolts are less likely to be retrievable than arrows, even with the Hunter's Discipline perk.
  • Bolts are much smaller than arrows, meaning that ones that miss the target may either be difficult to find, or completely disappear as a whole and turn invisible.
  • Unenchanted Bolts deal less damage than higher tier arrows (Dwarven Bolts deal 14, Steel Bolts 10, vs 24 and 25 damage for Daedric and Dragonbone Arrows respectively) offsetting the damage bonus of the crossbows themselves. This can be negated by using exploding bolts, but the exploding versions are much harder to acquire and craft than regular bolts, and they don't benefit from sneak attack multipliers, meaning that higher-quality bows and arrows will far outperform any crossbows for sneak attacks except in the case of highly armored enemies where the enhanced crossbow's armor bypass may tip the scale.
  • If the Dragonborn joins the Volkihar Clan, they will get basic ammunition much more rarely, only being able to collect them from fallen Dawnguard members, fallen Dwarven Spheres, or even rarer, when fired at.



A Crossbow in action.

Two main types of crossbows are available, each with an enhanced variant. Crossbows may only be forged at Fort Dawnguard.

  • Crossbow – the standard crossbow used primarily by the Dawnguard.
  • Enhanced Crossbow – Similar damage to the standard crossbow but also ignores 50% armor rating.
  • Dwarven Crossbow – After finding a Dwarven schematic for Sorine Jurard, the Dwarven crossbow can be crafted and purchased.
  • Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow – After finding a Dwarven schematic for Sorine Jurard, a heavier Dwarven crossbow is available for creation and purchase. It has a combat advantage of ignoring half of a target's armor rating when detracting from its health. It can be upgraded at a grindstone with a dwarven metal ingot. It is the strongest crossbow available to the Dragonborn.


Name DamageIcon WeightIcon GoldIcon Upgrade Material Additional Effects Item ID
Crossbow 19 14 120 Steel Ingot - xx000801
Dwarven Crossbow 22 20 350 Dwarven metal ingot - xx00b647
Enhanced Crossbow 19 15 200 Steel Ingot Attacks ignore 50% of armor. xx00f19e
Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow 22 21 550 Dwarven metal ingot Attacks ignore 50% of armor. xx00f19f


Main article: Bolts (Dawnguard)

Two types of crossbow bolts are available—steel bolts and dwarven bolts, along with their magical variants. Crossbow bolts can be created at a forge, with one firewood and one of the appropriate metal ingot. Recipes yield bolts in batches of ten.

Unlike arrows, crossbow bolts are stored in a quiver at the hip.

There are also exploding bolts which can only be made by finding their respective schematics. There are exploding fire, ice, and shock bolts which do 10 damage of whatever element the bolt is. These can be found by doing the "Ancient Technology" quests for Sorine Jurard. Doing so unlocks them for forging and purchasing.


This section contains bugs related to Crossbows (Dawnguard). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  ,  NX  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PC   360   Movement while having a crossbow loaded will occasionally slow movement even though the fire command is not being held.
    • Solution: 'sheathing' the crossbow or firing a bolt.
  •  PC   360   A graphical glitch in first-person view while reloading a crossbow shows the left arm being half there, as if the inner forearm was removed.
  •  PC   360   While in third person and reloading the crossbow, the bolt is hovering just out of the Dragonborn's hand.
  •  PC   360   Standard followers do not fire when given a dwarven crossbow or enhanced dwarven crossbow. However, normal crossbows and enhanced crossbows function normally.
  •  PC   360   When a crossbow is equipped, the quiver for the bolts hovers in mid-air instead of sitting on the hip.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Bolts do not sink into enemy bodies. The metal tip can be seen just touching their body, but not penetrating.
  •  PC   The crossbow, no matter which type, does not shoot.
  •  360   NX   Swapping from a crossbow to another weapon in third person will sometimes cause the sword and shield to be held like the crossbow.
    • Solution: Swinging the sword or blocking. If the incorrect animation was triggered while walking, stop walking.
  •  PC   360   When you get a kill camera when firing a crossbow directly while being loaded, the crossbow will not fire and the Dragonborn will just stand there for several seconds before the kill camera fades.
  •  PC   360   PS3   Occasionally performing a bash attack with a crossbow will make the noise of a bolt hitting a target and do as much damage as a normal crossbow shot.
  •  360   PS3   When at close range, a kill camera may activate, treating the crossbow as if it were a one-handed sword.
  •  PS3   When standing half way in a body of water, shooting the crossbow may result in rapid launching of bolts.
  •  360   PS4   When first starting the game or loading a save with a crossbow equipped, there is a third person glitch where a bolt appears between the Dragonborn's middle and ring finger on their right hand.
    • Fix: Ready then sheath the crossbow, change weapons, or go airborne.
  •  PS4   Speaking to a character who is aiming a crossbow may cause them to stop firing and freeze. They will still respond if spoken to, however.
    •  PS4(Fix)   Leaving the area and returning will return the character to their normal routine.
  • Performing a silent roll with a Dwarven Crossbow sheathed may cause parts of the crossbow to clip through the player's camera.



  1. Holding down the attack command while holding a loaded crossbow will put the crossbow in firing mode which will reduce walking speed.
  2. Though the bolts travel at a higher velocity than arrows, archers will have to compensate for gravity at long range more than they would with bows. This is due to the bow's tendency to arc arrows slightly upward. The crossbow does not share this, and fires bolts straight forward.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Crossbows (Dawnguard)

  • What do you like/Dislike about crossbows?

    19 messages
    • I like crossbows but I prefer the way you can find better ammo for bows better than the system for crossbows. Also the weapon is indeed a bit s...
    • wrote:No one else mentioned it, but I hate that crossbows are too loud and give youre position away when sneak attacking. I wo...
  • Crossbows

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