The Nightingale Bow: Where to Find One of the Most Powerful Bows in Skyrim

Updated on November 19, 2016
Nightingale Bow in all its glory.
Nightingale Bow in all its glory. | Source

With the Ability to Deliver both Shock and Cold Damage, this Unique Bow is a Devastating Weapon

One of the most powerful bows in Skyrim is the Nightingale Bow. Not only does the Nightingale Bow dish out shock and cold damage with each strike, it also slows the target by 50% for three seconds—a nice bonus when you’re battling multiple archers, or facing a charging opponent. The only catch is you have to join the Thieves Guild to get it.

To obtain the Nightingale Bow simply embark on the Thieves Guild main quest line. The Thieves Guild main quest line begins when you first arrive in Riften and are approached by Brynjolf near the market stalls in the center of town. The Thieves Guild is based in the Ratway—the sewer system beneath the city of Riften. As you progress through the Thieves Guild main quest, you will eventually find yourself on a quest called Blindsighted. Check out this detailed walkthrough of this quest.

Nightingale Bow in Action


The only other bow in Skyrim that rivals the Nightingale Bow is the Daedric Bow. If one dual enchants the Daedric Bow and maxes out the damage profile (smithing it to legendary level) it will actually exceed the Nightingale Bow in damage per strike. However, in order to max the Daedric Bow to this level, you will have to achieve a smithing ability of at least 90 so that you can earn the Daedric smithing perk. Along the way you will also need to earn the ebony smithing perk since Daedric weapons require ebony in their crafting. In addition to achieving this high level of smithing ability, you will also need to raise your enchant ability to 100 in order to earn the Extra Effect perk which is at the very top of the perk tree for enchantment. Obviously, as you can see, it will take many hours of game time to reach these levels where in the mean time, you could already be using the Nightingale Bow since it can be obtained much earlier in the game. Without dual enchanting the Daedric Bow and smithing it to Legendary level, it is an inferior weapon to the Nightingale Bow.

Once your character reaches level 40 in sneaking ability, the Deadly Aim perk becomes available. This perk enables sneak attacks with bows to do triple damage. Combining this perk with Overdraw perks on the archery perk tree, and obtaining a few magical items that increase archery ability such as the Dragon Mask Krosis, and items such as magical helms, gauntlets etc. that increase archery damage, the Nightingale Bow achieves one-shot kill ability when targeting all low and mid-level opponents. Only high level foes will be able to withstand this type of damage, and even then, it will significantly knock down their health at the beginning of a fight so that you will be dealing with a weakened opponent if it comes down to close combat.

The Nightingale Bow is only part of the formidable collection of armor and weaponry you receive as a Nightingale, but detailed information regarding this subject requires a separate article all its own. In order to max out the Nightingale Bow’s full damage ability you will need to smith it to Legendary level. Smithing improvements to the Nightingale Bow requires the Arcane Blacksmithing perk and an ebony ingot.

A great weapon to compliment the Nightingale Bow, particularly when it comes to close combat, is the legendary Pale Blade. For details on how to obtain the Pale Blade please see:

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