Open main menu

UESPWiki β

Escape from your prison cell to begin your adventure.
Quest Giver: Ria Silmane in the Imperial Dungeons
Location(s): Imperial Dungeons
Next Quest: Fang Lair
Reward: none
Your goal, the Shift Gate

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. Listen to your deceased friend's story.
  2. Reach the Shift Gate in the southwest corner of the map to escape the prison.
  3. Answer the Shift Gate's question correctly to leave the prison (floppy disc version only).

Detailed WalkthroughEdit

In a DreamEdit

Your starting point: The Imperial Dungeons (the room shaped like a boot to the right, the green dot is the shift gate, located at the bottom left)

First you see a cutscene in which the ethereal form, Ria Silmane, appears to you in your dream. She will tell you of how she died and how you are now the only person she can send on this quest.

"Do not fear for it is I, Ria Silmane. (Player's name), listen to me, there are no others left to carry on this fight. You have been left in this cell to die. Jagar Tharn, Imperial Battlemage of Tamriel has taken on the guise of the true Emperor. He does not see you as a threat, being only a minor part of the Imperial Court. In that act of arrogance, he has made his first mistake. Look to the north wall of this cell. You will find a ruby key which will unlock the door. Take it and make your escape. The passages here were once used by Tharn to hide treasures he had stolen from the Emperor's coffers. If you wish, you can gather enough to support yourself away from the Imperial Seat. Be careful, there are many creatures which inhabit the sewers now, vile rats and goblins."

"It is too late for me, for I am already dead. Only my powers as a Sorceress keep me between this life and the next. That power however is waning. Do not succumb to greed or you may find these tunnels to be your final resting place as well. I can still work my magic to a certain extent. If you travel west from this cell, then south, you will find a Shift Gate. It will transport you far enough from the center of the Empire that you should be safe. If you survive these sewers you will see me again. Remember, (Player's name), Tharn has taken on the guise of the Emperor. No one will gainsay his word for yours. I will come to you again in your dreams, so it is imperative that you rest from time to time. In that way I will be able to communicate with you and lend my aid. You are entering a dangerous arena, my friend, one in which the players are beings beyond your mortal comprehension. I do not envy your role. There is however a power within you as yet untapped. Look for me when you have gained experience in the world. You are my last and best hope."

A key

When the cutscene ends, you will find yourself in a locked jail cell. There is a ruby key (which looks more yellow than red or ruby) at the far corner of the cell on a raised platform (3,19). The key can be a little difficult to pick up. Make sure your cursor is right on top of it or just slightly below and that there is nothing else in the way. If that fails, move around a bit and try again. Try to keep the position of the key in the center of your screen. Once you have the key, use it to open the cell door (4,21).

Go West, then SouthEdit

Those were the directions Ria Silmane gave you. As you exit your cell, you will see a pile of loot. Click on the pile. It is a standard treasure pile, one that you will see in nearly every dungeon. It contains a random amount of gold and some random equipment. Before you move on, go into your inventory and equip any weapon that you currently have and are able to use. Here, you can either run for the exit, or explore further. The creatures that can be found here are goblins, rats, and sometimes even lizard men, but there is quite a lot of loot. You will not be able to return here once you pass through the Shift Gate. If you do want to make a run for it, simply keep going west, then turn south, then west, then south, (and so on) until you reach the Shift Gate.

The Shift GateEdit

As you run down the final long and narrow corridor, you will see a glowing, blue-rimmed Shift Gate. Once you reach it, you will be asked a question. You must get it right to exit the prison and be teleported to a different city. The question will look like this: What is the spellcasting cost of __________? where the blank is filled by a random spell. Originally, you were supposed to look in the Arena Manual that came with the box to find the correct answer; see the notes for how to access the answers. When you answer it correctly, you will be teleported to a random city in the province your character hails from. Congratulations! You have escaped!

Note: If you have version 1.07 of Arena (CD version with voice acted cutscenes for Ria Silmane, Jagar Tharn, etc. as well as many other minor changes), or one of the later releases, then you will not be asked any questions. You can simply step through the shift gate and you will be transported to your home province.


  • See Controls to familiarize yourself with your options and General Hints for tips and tricks to surviving the difficult early levels of the game.
  • This dungeon is designed to help you level up before venturing out into the more open world. Use this chance to get familiar with the game mechanics, as well as get a lot of loot. You should ideally be around level three or four by the time you exit the prison if you want to immediately continue with the main quest. You should also have a pretty good pile of loot to equip and sell.
  • Rats are often below the edge of the screen and therefore not visible. You may need to back up to see them or you can just keep swinging the weapon. It's not necessary to see a rat to hit it, as long as it's in front of you. If you need to, look around for a raised platform to rest on.
  • It is possible hostile people will attack you here if you rest on the floor. Rest on a raised platform, as the chance of an enemy spawning while you're resting on a raised platform are greatly reduced.
  • If you don't have a manual, you can download a copy here. If you have the free (downloaded) version of Arena, you can find the answers to the Shift Gate questions in a folder called "docs". You can find the answer in "Passwords.txt" or "Arena106 Setup.html" or "Arena106 Setup.doc". Look for the section called "COPY PROTECTION". These documents incorrectly record the cost of Witch's Curse as 300 rather than the correct answer found in the manual which lists it as 450. They also list Spell Drain twice, with the second entry listing the correct cost as 630. The CD version of Arena will not prompt you with a copy protection question when you reach the Shift Gate.
  • The Imperial City Prison can be found in the Lore section for more information and references in future games.


  • If you are running Arena on DosBox v0.72, your game may crash every time you try to leave the starting dungeon. This has since been fixed by a patch.Which one?

Prev: None Up: Main Quest Next: Fang Lair