Ganniwer Playthrough,  Oblivion

In Which Ganniwer Does Battle in the Imperial City Arena

Oh hey look another post for my Oblivion playthrough! Not much to this, just enough to let me remind myself of how the game works, and to try to push my activity in the Arena along a little further.

Play by play

  • Play date: 11/4/2023
  • Session number in this run: 6
  • Picked up again at the merchant’s inn in the Imperial City
  • Ran through several fights at the arena
  • Started off fighting the same guy who’d kicked my ass at the end of Ganniwer’s last session, and this happened a few more times
  • Finally learned how to dial down the difficulty in Oblivion a bit, and once I did that I started winning the fights
  • Took me a while to get the hang of how to take down most of the opponents, and to remember how to cast spells and get at my inventory
  • Went through a couple of days of game time doing this, and had to get my gear repaired a couple of times to account for the damage it was taking
  • Advanced from Pit Bull rank clear up to Gladiator
  • Main opponents who gave me trouble were a couple of different Orcs, and later, three Argonians at once
  • Advanced from level 3 to level 5, and saved at that point until next time


Mostly, this post was all about a) doublechecking that Oblivion still worked on my Deck after rearranging how I do my modding on it, and b) reminding myself of how the hell Oblivion’s controls work compared to Skyrim’s.

I still wasn’t feeling prepared to try going to Kvatch again, so I tried to make a hard push through playing the Arena. And since I just do not find the Arena interesting regardless, I wanted to get it over and done with as fast as possible.

But I did learn at least a couple of things doing that:

  1. It was valuable combat practice, and a chance to remind myself that Oblivion’s controls for combat and spellcasting are not the same as what I’m used to in Skyrim, and
  2. Part of how hard I got my ass handed to me in the previous session might have been due to the Difficulty setting.

The Difficulty setting in particular was interesting, since I discovered that Oblivion has a full on slider for it without distinct levels. By contrast, Skyrim has six distinct level choices. I wound up setting Oblivion’s Difficulty slider to about 1/3 of its entire length–and once I did that, I started winning fights.

Because yeah, I’m not too proud to pull down the Difficulty a bit, if I’m finding a new game a hard slog. I need to remember that that’s an option, at the very least for my future inevitable playthrough of Skyblivion! And since I’m still very much in ramp-up mode in Oblivion, making it a little easier on myself seems like a very good idea.

And I’ll say this for the Arena fighting: even though it was really kind of boring to me, it did let me remind myself pretty well of how Oblivion’s controls work. And to try to get used to its combat mechanics. Some things I found helpful included:

  1. Buying myself a steel longsword, which did more damage than my steel shortsword
  2. Discovering I really, really need to work on my bow precision in Oblivion, I have issues enough with archery in Skyrim, and in Oblivion it seems harder
  3. Remembering I had magic at my disposal, and discovering that setting opponents on FIRE was a valid Arena tactic 😀
  4. Remembering that oh yes Oblivion expects me to repair my gear, so taking the time to do that in between bouts helped keep me alive

One other thing I’ll say about the Arena: at least unlike Morrowind, its various fighting ranks did not appear to assume I’m a dude! Thank you, game!

I’m torn on what I think about Owyn, the Blademaster who handles giving me the Arena battles. I find him kind of an asshole, but he’s an asshole in a way that seems to fit his job. And I do like that he gets less snarky at you as you proceed up the Arena ranks. He’s also a font of information about all the various opponents you go up against, too.

Also, I gotta say that it’s hilarious to me that even though Skyrim has the Nords as their central culture, there’s no arena of any kind in it, at least not in the released game we got. (I’m aware that there was going to be an arena in Windhelm, but that this was cut from the final Skyrim release, yes.) I’d think that out of all the cultures in Tamriel, the Nords would be all over arena fighting!

But to be sure, having an arena in the Imperial City is super evocative of Rome, and I’m sure that’s the entire point.

And I figure all of this can count, narrative-wise, as Ganniwer trying to blow off a bunch of her anger issues. She has some problems to work through! And I’m deeply amused by my sweet-faced Bosmer girl turning out to be a lion in the Arena.

Next time

Honestly not sure yet. I kinda feel like I’d like to go ahead and plow through the rest of the Arena stuff just to get it done, and also to get the money from it, which should serve to maybe let me get a local house and have somewhere to ditch my extra stuff.

What I do after that is still open for consideration, though. Bugger off to go do side quests? Join the Mages Guild? Join the Fighters Guild?

Or do I try to make a run for Kvatch again and meet up with Martin Septim? I kinda feel like if I’m assuming Ganniwer’s having premonitory nightmares about this, she’s going to subconsciously dig in her heels on this. But on the other hand, I don’t want to screw myself over by running Kvatch either too early or too late.



As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.