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If you've visited the Imperial City Arena district, then you no doubt have seen the large coliseum where Cyrodiil's finest gladiators participate in duels to the death. If you enter the arena's main gate and go down the stairs to your left, you'll enter the Bloodworks, the area below the arena itself where all of the combatants' blood and entrails spill into after each fight. Speak with Owyn the Blademaster and tell him that you'd like to become a combatant. He'll scoff at your fighting prowess, but will let you participate nonetheless. You'll begin as a Pit Dog, and will have to choose whether you'd like to wear the Arena Light Raiment
or the Arena Heavy Raiment
. When you've picked one of the two, put the armor on and then tell Owyn that you're ready for a match.
There are seven divisions of Arena battles: Pit Dog, Brawler, Bloodletter, Myrmidon, Warrior, Gladiator, and Hero. Each division is composed of three separate matches, which means you'll ultimately need to be victorious in twenty-one different battles. Here's a full list of the divisions and the matches you can expect from each:
Pit Dog Matches
- Match #1: Female Wood Elf, 50 Gold Reward
- Match #2: Male Imperial, 50 Gold Reward
- Match #3: Male Argonian, 100 Gold Reward
- Match #4: Male Nord, 100 Gold Reward
- Match #5: Two Female Wood Elves (Twin Sisters), 100 Gold Reward
- Match #6: Male Khajiit, 150 Gold Reward
- Match #7: Male Redguard, 150 Gold Reward
- Match #8: Female Breton, 150 Gold Reward
- Match #9: Male Dark Elf (Armed With Bow and Sword), 200 Gold Reward
- Match #10: Male Wood Elf (Armed With Shimmerstrike), 200 Gold Reward
- Match #11: Female High Elf, 200 Gold Reward
- Match #12: Male Orc, 250 Gold Reward
- Match #13: Female Nord, 250 Gold Reward
- Match #14: Female High Elf (Spellcaster), 250 Gold Reward
- Match #15: Female Orc (Armed With Two-Handed Warhammer), 300 Gold Reward
- Match #16: Two Male Argonians and One Female Argonian (Black Marsh Prisoners), 300 Gold Reward
- Match #17: Male Khajiit, 300 Gold Reward
- Match #18: Male Breton, 350 Gold Reward
- Match #19: Male Imperial (Armed With Akaviri Katana), 350 Gold Reward
- Match #20: Male High Elf (Spellcaster Armed With Gray Aegis), 350 Gold Reward
- Match #21: One Female High Elf (Champion), One Male Dark Elf (Archer), and One Female Dark Elf (Spellcaster), 500 Gold Reward
To aid you in the final match against three separate opponents, Owyn will send up Porkchop the Boar. The beast is actually pretty tough and can help occupy one of the trio during the battle. Depending on how fast you take them down, the Boar might even kill off the caster or archer for you.
When all twenty-one battles have been won, you will be given the title of Champion. At this point, you must challenge the Gray Prince, Agronak gro-Malog, in order to ascend into the final rank of Grand Champion. You can find Agronak honing his sword skills just outside Owyn's room here in the Bloodworks.
If you haven't yet completed the Origin of the Gray Prince
quest, don't tell Agronak you're here to challenge him. Instead, choose not to challenge him (for now), and then ask him about his title. This will eventually initiate the Origin of the Gray Prince
quest, which will lead you to the ruined fort of Crowhaven. It's out of the way, sure, but finishing the quest will make the final battle extremely easy. When you've finished the quest (or have decided not to deal with it), tell Agronak that you're ready to challenge him and he'll send you to Ysabel Andronicus to set up the match.
Ysabel recognizes you as the new Champion, though she doesn't seem to agree with your decision to challenge Agronak gro-Malog. What's done is done, though, and she offers to explain the rules of a Grand Champion fight. There are no disqualifications in such a match - you can wear whatever armor you want and you can loot the corpse of the former Grand Champion, should you beat him. Ysabel mentions that Agronak will be wearing a heavily enchanted Raiment of Valor, and suggests that you enchant whatever armor you're going to use as well. Once you defeat Agronak, Ysabel requests that you bring her his Raiment of Valor and she will present you with one of your own. Once you understand the rules, tell her you're ready for the fight. She'll make you choose a name for yourself from the following choices: Lady Luck (Female) or The Iron Maiden for females, and The Spellslinger, The Butcher, Shadowstep, The Black Arrow, Skullcrusher, The Divine Avenger, The Messenger of Death, The Crimson Blade, Man o' War, Sir Slaughter, The Tamriel Terror, or Dragonheart for males. Once that formality is out of the way, she'll send you up to the Arena for the Grand Champion match.
If you successfully completed the Origin of the Gray Prince
quest, then Agronak will simply stand there and ask you to kill him. He won't fight back whatsoever (he doesn't want to live as the spawn of a vampire), so you can just hack away at him until he falls. Of course, if you didn't complete the quest, Agronak is quite a challenge. He's only a single fighter, though, so make use of any ranged weapons or spells at your disposal to wear him down while you run around the ring. Regardless of how you end up defeating him, grab his possessions (including Agronak's Raiment
) and return to Ysabel victorious.
The old woman can't believe that you've defeated the Gray Prince, as it makes you the new Grand Champion (something that doesn't happen often) and the best fighter the Arena has ever seen. When you give her Agronak's Raiment
, she offers you a choice between a Light Raiment of Valor
or Heavy Raiment of Valor
that you can keep as your own. She also gives you 1000 Gold and tells you to come speak with her again when you've had some rest so that the two of you can discuss your future.
So what's next for the Arena Grand Champion? The future Ysabel mentioned is the ability to put on weekly shows for the people of Cyrodiil. She will round up various creatures and wild animals from the wilderness and you'll have the option to fight them each week for a cut of the profits (which can be as much as 2000 Gold or more!). What monsters you'll face each week depends on your level, and can range from a single Boar or Wolf to multiple Ogres and Minotaur Lords. It really isn't a great perk to take advantage of, but it is a source of constant experience, items, and gold if you're looking for something to do.
When you leave the Arena for the first time as the new Grand Champion, an "Adoring Fan" will run up to you and begin flattering you with all sorts of compliments. He'll ask if he can follow you around, and it's entirely up to you whether or not you want him tagging along. He really doesn't serve any purpose other than lighting up a torch during the evening, so you'll most likely find that he's more of a nuisance than anything. If you tell him to beat it, he tells you that he'll wait for you around the Arena grounds should you ever need someone "to worship the ground you walk on." Nice.