Skyrim: Here’s How to Backstab – Enchantment, Does It Work With Bows, on Dragons, & More

backstab power attack 1

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Skyrim allows for a variety of play styles and combat styles. It’s a highly versatile game that allows you to create hybrid classes that best suit the character you are building. Enchantments, perks, and skills are used to further improve your combat abilities through various magic and non-magic effects alike. In today’s post, we’re going to discuss the Backstab effect. You can acquire Backstab as an enchantment, perk and you can even perform a “Backstab” power attack if you are skilled enough. Naturally, players have many questions when it comes to Backstabbing and we’re going to attempt to answer all of them. Let’s see, how to Backstab in Skyrim, acquire this enchantment, and will Backstab work on dragons as well? 

  • Article Breakdown:
  • To perform a Backstab or sneak attack simply toggle sneak. When your character is crouching, approach the enemy but make sure you are undetected.
  • As long as you’re wielding a one-handed dagger and your damage output is high enough, the Backstab animation should trigger.
  • While you have Backstab perk active sneak attacks performed with one-handed weapons will do 6x more damage than usual attacks.
  • Backstab works on dragons, but you cannot get the advantages of the perk or enchantment on ranged weapons (bows). 

What is backstab in Skyrim? 

Backstab is a perk in the sneak skill tree that allows you to do 6x more damage when you’re performing a sneak attack with a one-handed weapon. To unlock this perk your sneak needs to be at least level 30 and you need to have the stealth perk unlocked.

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Backstab perk in the sneak skill tree

The backstab perk is also one of the requirements for unlocking the Deadly Aim perk, a perk that allows you to perform 3x more damage when you’re performing sneak attacks with ranged weapons such as bows. To perform a sneak and attack and utilize the perk correctly, you need to sneak up on your enemy undetected and attack it with a one-handed weapon. In most cases when damage is overwhelming an animation will trigger and you will be able to one-shot your enemy.


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What is backstab enchantment in Skyrim? 

Backstab also comes in the form of an enchantment. However, it is not an enchantment you can learn as it’s only limited to a few items in the game and those items cannot be enchanted. 

The following items in Skyrim have the Backstab enchantment:

  • Ancient Shrouded Gloves can be found on a dead assassin in Hag’s End. They cannot be disenchanted. While equipped, Ancient Shrouded gloves provide you with double sneak attack damage if you’re using a one-handed weapon. 
  • Cicero’s Gloves are obtainable during The Cure for Madness quest. They are part of a set that Cicero wears. Cicero’s Gloves provide you with double sneak attack damage with one-handed weapons as well. 
  • Jester’s Gloves are identical to Cicero’s gloves, they provide the same bonus as well although they are worth 50 septims less. They can be found on a table while you’re entering the Dawnstar Sanctuary. 
  • Shrouded Gloves are a part of your standard Dark Brotherhood Armor. While equipped Shrouded Gloves will provide you with double damage while you’re performing backstab. 
  • Shrouded Hand Wraps are also a part of your standard Dark Brotherhood gear if you decide to wear cloth instead of light armor. Like all items on this list, they also make your sneak attacks vastly more powerful as they provide double damage. 
all items with backstab
All items with Backstab enchantment

As you can see all of these items can be acquired throughout the Dark Brotherhood storyline. The items cannot be disenchanted which makes this “Backstab” enchantment rather unique. 

Can you add Backstab enchantment with console commands? 

You can add Backstab enchantment with a console even though you cannot learn it. To add Backstab enchantment to any item follow these steps: 

  1. Use playerenchantobject <object ID> <000ff15c> command
  2. replace the objectID with an ID of the item you wish to enchant. For example, I want to enchant an iron helmet so I’m going to use: playerenchantobject 00012e4d 000ff15c
  3. execute the command and one item enchanted with backstab should be in your inventory

You cannot disenchant items with Backstab which means that it’s impossible to learn it, the only way to apply Backstab to other items is to use console commands. 

iron helmet with backstab
Iron helmet with enchantment applied through commands

Does Backstab work with bows? 

Backstab will not work with bows. There’s a simple reason for that. As soon as you unlock Backstab perk, one other perk will become available called Deadly Aim. With Deadly Aim your sneak attacks will have 3x more damage. Backstab only works on one-handed weapons and bows are not classified as such.

deadly aim
Deadly Aim perk is available after you’ve hit level 40 sneak skill

What weapons can you backstab with in Skyrim? 

You can Backstab with all one-handed weapons in theory as the bonus applies to one-handed weapons in general and not only to daggers. However, you might find sneaking up your enemies with maces and axes a bit difficult. If you’re trying to utilize Backstab and use the full extent of the bonus, you need to use daggers. Daggers are silent and will not alert your enemies to your presence. 


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Does Backstab works on dragons? 

Backstab does work on dragons, all you need to do is sneak up on one. As long as you’re undetected and you’re wielding a one-handed weapon Backstab perk will apply and your sneak attacks will have increased damage. 


As you can see, if you’re a stealth-oriented character Backstab perk is a must-have. The perk will allow you to perform powerful sneak attacks and one-shot weaker NPCs as long as you remain undetected.  However, the effect is also available as an enchantment. Various items that you can collect throughout the Dark Brotherhood storyline come with this effect. But there’s a catch, you cannot disenchant those items. The only way to acquire the Backstab effect on other items is through the console commands that we provided in this post. 

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