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About this mod

An arcane archer is a hybrid archer/caster class, who combines their archery skills with conjuration and destruction spells. They can shoot arcane and elemental arrows of five different types that they summon with their own magicka, modify them with 16 different "sigil" effect spells, and engrave them with spells they know.

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  • Mandarin
Basic description

An arcane archer is a hybrid archer and caster class, who combines his archery skills with conjuration and destruction spells.  With arcane archery, you can shoot arcane and elemental arrows of five different types that you summon with your own magicka, and modify them with 16 different "sigil" spells that give them a variety of different effects.  You can also engrave spells you know onto the five types and activate them with a "Tap" power to be cast at the point of arrow impact.

What sets this apart from other elemental/arcane/bound arrow mods?
  • Shooting something with an arcane arrow is equivalent to hitting it with a spell
  • Levels casting skills in a manner that is properly affected by effects like the Mage Stone, etc
  • Costs magicka in a manner that is properly affected by your skills, perks, equipment, etc
  • Interacts with other effects that trigger from spellcasting (for example, spells like Electrolyze from Arcanum)
  • Does not suffer from hitbox issues like mods that achieve arcane effects by attaching explosions to arrows
  • Designed for all arcane effects and sigils to scale and remain relevant throughout the game
  • The base arcane arrows apply elemental weaknesses as a direct multiplier to your archery damage, weapons, and skills
  • Elemental damage sigils scale as you level up, and can increase the base arrow elemental bonuses, so they never fall behind as you progress
  • Non-damage sigils all apply effects that remain interesting and useful throughout your progression
  • Exploiting weaknesses matters
  • Most mods add elements as a bonus on top of the larger non-elemental arrow damage, so a weakness to the element isn't a big deal
  • MArc applies a bonus damage modifier to the full damage of the bowshot when targetting elemental weaknesses
  • Engraving spells casts them from the arrow, not the caster
  • A spell that has been engraved onto an arrow will cast originating from where the arrow lands
  • Allows you to displace self-area or melee range spells to hit at range

Overview by Cangar:

How to use

To get started, you must first acquire an Arcane Bow.  You can buy one from the Riverwood Trader or the merchant at Winterhold, or find one lying on Farengar's desk or on your bed at Winterhold College.  These can be disenchanted to learn the "Arcane Binding" enchantment to enchant other bows as Arcane Bows.  Alternatively, if you are not an enchanter, you can learn the novice level "Arcane Binding" power at spell vendors and at the Riverwood Trader.  This is a free unlimited use minor power that will turn any unenchanted bow you have equipped into an Arcane Bow.  You may shoot arcane arrows without an arcane bow, but none of their elemental or sigil effects will work.

To use arcane arrows, you can learn a variety of summon arrow conjuration spells: arcane arrow (novice), and flame, frost, shock and sun arrows (apprentice).  Casting the spell desummons any other arcane arrows you have out, resets any sigil modifiers you have set for that type, and gives you an unlimited supply of the corresponding arrow after a short delay.  Firing these arrows consumes magicka and levels conjuration skill; if you run out of magicka the arrow will desummon.  You can also learn the Elemental Quiver spell (adept) which simultaneously summons all five types and resets your sigils (this lets you switch between arrow types without recasting the summons).  Arrows get bonuses/penalties when hitting enemies that are weak or strong to their element.  Additionally, sun arrows are strong against undead/ghosts, and shock arrows are strong against dwarven constructs and casters.

You can also learn a variety of sigil spells from the destruction school.  Casting one of these will activate a sigil that will modify all arrows of that type, so for example you can have one flame sigil active and one frost sigil active which will make your flame and frost arrows behave differently.  The sigil will last until you activate a different sigil of that type, or resummon the arrow for that type.  The sigil changes the underlying spell of that arrow, giving it a new effect and adding to its spell cost and skill gain accordingly.

This mod is intended to be used in conjunction with other mods that allow you to instacast the summon and sigil spells while keeping your bow equipped (if you are playing in VR, MageVR will do this).  If you do not have such a mod installed, the "Quick Cast Preparation" spell will generate an unlimited supply of zero-weight potions for every Arcane Archery spell you know.  These can be favorited to quickly cast those spells.

While not requirements, Arcanum and Apocalypse have many spells that work well with Marc.

Spell engraving

Another use of the Arcane Binding power is to "engrave" a spell you have equipped.  The first time you engrave a spell, you are granted the "Arcane Tap" unlimited use power.  The engraving will persist until you engrave a new spell onto that arrow type, or clear all engravings by using Arcane Binding while your hands are empty.  You can activate the Arcane Tap power whenever you like to cause the next arcane/elemental arrow you fire to cast the spell you have engraved on its type.  This spell will be cast originating from the point the arrow impacted, which is useful for aiming projectile spells at long ranges, or casting self AoE spells like firestorm at range.  The engraved spell cast will cost you magicka as normal, and incur a shout cooldown that scales with its usual casting time (and is affected by shout cooldown modifiers).

Almost all spells can be engraved, including those from other mods, though not all are effective when cast this way.  Spells that directly affect a target will only cast if the arrow hits someone, and will affect that target.  Spells that fire an aimed projectile will fire that projectile from the point of impact, including projectile AoE spells like fireball.  This usually will unleash the projectile directly into the same object the arrow hit, but may miss it if it was a glancing blow on a quickly moving target.  Target location and self spells will cast at the point of impact, though some of them are not compatible with being cast from an object.  Experiment and see.

You can engrave five different spells, one for each of the types of arrow.  Flame/frost/shock destruction spells will engrave onto the corresponding flame/frost/shock arrows.  Non-elemental or multi-elemental destruction spells and restoration spells will engrave on sun arrows.  Illusion, conjuration, and alteration spells will engrave on arcane arrows.

At Master Conjuration level you can learn "Runic Binding".  This functions identically to "Arcane Binding", but serves as an additional five spell slots accessible with its own separate "Runic Tap" power.

Conjuration spell listing

Arrow spells
- Summon Arcane Arrow (novice)
- Summon Flame Arrow (apprentice)
- Summon Frost Arrow (apprentice)
- Summon Shock Arrow (apprentice)
- Summon Sun Arrow (apprentice)

After a short delay, will summon the appropriate arrow type, remove any sigil attached to that type, and then refund its own magicka cost (magicka will be spent when you shoot the arrows).  Arcane arrows do 14 damage, and elemental arrows do 16 damage.  Getting the mystic binding perk or reaching level 25 will upgrade arcane arrows to 26 damage and elemental arrows to 20 (must be resummoned to gain upgrades).

Additionally, elemental arrows will get a 30% damage bonus/penalty to enemies that are weak/strong against their element.  This is a direct multiplier to bow&arrow damage and applies to all archery bonuses.  This can also be activated by applying poisons or spells that change enemy resistances.

Sun arrows are strong against the undead and ghosts.  Shock arrows, in addition to normal shock resistances, are also strong against dwarven constructs and spellcasters.

- Elemental Quiver (adept)
Summons all five arrows types simultaneously and clears all sigils.

- Arrow of Iron Sand (expert)
Once a day major power, summons a single use arrow of iron sand.  Enemies struck by this arrow will be staggered continuously for 15 seconds.

- Arrow of Still Water (expert)
Once a day major power, summons a single use arrow of still water.  Causes an AoE that pacifies all enemies regardless of resistance and level.

- Arrow of the North Star (master)
Once a day major power, summons a single use arrow of the north star.  If this strikes an enemy with less than 40% health remaining, it curses them to die in three seconds.  If this strikes an enemy with 40-50% health remaining, it will immediately refund the arrow. "Hi Lost Meyz Dilon"

Destruction spell listing
Sigils modify the arrow of their type, you can only have one of each type active at a time.


- Arcane Sigil: Trap
Your arcane arrows soul trap enemies

- Flame Sigil: Ignite
- Frost Sigil: Chill
- Shock Sigil: Charge
- Sun Sigil: Dawn
Your elemental arrows do additional damage of their type with elemental effects (flame arrows burn, frost arrows slow and drain stamina, shock arrows drain magicka, sun arrow damage is 30% higher and counts as fire damage but only affects undead).  Additional damage is 20 at level 1, 40 at level 20, and 60 at level 40, and can be further enhanced by elemental damage perks.


- Arcane Sigil: Force
Your arcane arrows push enemies over (like a weaker version of Fus Ro Dah).  Operates on a 16 second cooldown shared with shouts (and modifiable by shout modifiers).

- Flame Sigil: Cordburn
If your flame arrows hit an archer who has an arrow drawn, they will disarm them.

- Frost Sigil: Entomb
Your frost arrows encase enemies in ice until they are hit.  Operates on a 16 second cooldown shared with shouts (and modifiable by shout modifiers).

- Shock Sigil: Spasm
If your shock arrows hit an enemy who is casting, they will be staggered and any hostile spells will double back on the caster.  Also carries a 20 damage charge effect.

- Sun Sigil: Illuminate
Your sun arrows cause targets to glow brightly, illuminating the room.


- Arcane Sigil: Expel
Your arcane arrows banish summoned creatures.

- Flame Sigil: Char
Your flame arrows lower the target's armor by 100 for 5 minutes.  Only one expert-level sigil debuff can be on an enemy at a time.

- Frost Sigil: Shiver
Your frost arrows prevent targets from regenerating stamina for 5 minutes.  Only one expert-level sigil debuff can be on an enemy at a time.

- Shock Sigil: Convulse
Your shock arrows cause targets to convulse for 5 minutes.  Convulsing casters will suffer double back on equipped hostile spells from spasm arrows whether or not they are casting.  Only one expert-level sigil debuff can be on an enemy at a time.

- Sun Sigil: Glare
Your sun arrows cause targets' physical attacks to do half damage for 5 minutes.  Only one expert-level sigil debuff can be on an enemy at a time.


- Chromatic Sigil
This is an independent sigil from the other 5 types, that is toggled on and off by casting its spell.  While active, it enhances all apprentice level damage sigils to do double damage, and also while those sigils are active the corresponding arrow bonuses against elementally weak targets increase to 60%.  This greatly increases the cost of these arrows and is meant to be used in conjunction with effects like Highborn or Root of Power.

Additional Arcane Bows

The optional second mod Marc-BaseArcaneBows transforms many of the unique bows you can find into arcane bows.  For those that already have an enchantment, the arcane bow enchantment is stacked on top of it.  It will not add to the charge cost, but also will not function as an arcane bow if the charge has run out.  The following bows are affected: Firiniel's End, Bound Bow, Nightingale Bow, Gauldur Blackbow, Bow of the Hunt, Froki's Bow, Auriel's Bow, Zephyr, Glass Bow of the Stag Prince, Dwarven Black Bow of Fate.

Version 2.3 changelog:
- fixed bug that caused initialization problems for some users

Version 2.2 changelog:
- reduced cost of base arrow shot to allow an easier start into arcane archery

Version 2.0 changelog:
- added spell engraving system
- sun arrows are no longer weak against living (to add flexibility to the spell engraving)
- arrows upgrade at level 25 or with mystic binding perk, whichever comes first (resummon after qualifying for upgrade)
- arrow of the north star now triggers on 40% health
- force sigil and entomb sigil have cooldown improved to 16s