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The Arena Archive Project


The Elder Scrolls: Arena is a fascinating artifact. While its map formed the canvas on which future titles painted their conception of the universe, very little of its background made it into its sequels, and most of its lore was never documented.

Until now.

The Game Books > Arena section now includes most of the text from the game, from local rumors to mythical artifacts to the stuff people carry in their pockets. While none of them are books, I felt that this would be the most logical location for them (for now, at least).

You'll quickly notice that much of it bears little resemblance to Elder Scrolls as we know it today. Look a little deeper, however, and you'll notice that some very large parts of TES lore got their start as throw-away Arena mentions. The Underking was once just an evil necromancer, Kynareth a spirit with a legendary crypt, and the Blades an extrajudicial organization of epic warriors. 

  • Artifact Dialog - Rumors and conversations about the mythical artifacts of Tamriel. Many of these artifacts are also found in later titles, sometimes with nearly identical backstories. 
  • City Descriptions - Welcome messages and brief descriptions of each city found in Arena.
  • Exclamations - "By the Wood of Elborn!" Region-based exclamations and curses from around the Empire.
  • Holidays - Descriptions of Arena's holidays and what the people have to say about them.
  • Jokes - Pretty lame jokes.
  • Location Entry Messages - Messages displayed based on season when you enter an audience chamber, tavern, shop, temple, or mages guild.
  • Occupations and their Descriptions - Various occupations available to NPCs in Arena. Unlike later games, which focused more on classes (fighter, assassin, etc.) these are all very utilitarian occupations.
  • Organizations - The various guilds of Tamriel, and messages for when the player faces their members in combat. 
  • Rumors - Stuff the people tell you, general and quest-related.
  • Stolen Items - Describes the contents of people's pockets. 


In addition to all those new pages, the Arena Storyline has also been extensively updated to include rumors and the quest dialog related to finding each location. The manual's Introduction has been split off into its own page, and the French Introduction has been graciously translated by Tailin Sero. The English version takes place after Jagar Tharn has imprisoned the Emperor and is told by "Talin," who takes the role of the player character. The French version, meanwhile, focuses on Tharn himself and how he came up with his evil plan.


Vincentius's picture
Joined: 09/14/2017

I'm curious if there are other dungeons other than the ones featured in the main story. I think there is one called the Catacombs of Gripno and it was south of Blacklight.