The Arena level is found around D: 4. As might be expected at a huge attraction like the Arena, there are vendors selling items on this level. The other guaranteed monster on the level is Dak, the Arena Master, who provides access to the Arena. Note that he will not admit invisible PCs to the Arena, whether or not they have fought in the Arena before. He responds with "Sorry, we've hired more than enough invisible stalkers. Look for a job elsewhere or come back when some of yer pals are used up."
The Arena itself is for combat practice, with the rewards for a successful fight being gold pieces. The rewards get larger as the PC wins more fights. A PC should not fight more than nineteen times in the Arena before descending to deeper levels of the CoC. This is because he will encounter an NPC later who assigns a quest to win the 20th Arena fight. The 20th fight will be against a named former champion. These opponents are more difficult than the standard Arena opponents. There are four possibilities:
Li-Hon-Kay: ogre magus, uses invisibility and Frost Bolt, alternate name Li-Han-Kay
Spardakius: minotaur, brute force
Ripclaw: troll, brute force
Bonk: hill giant, brute force
Li-Hon-Kay can be particularly annoying and dangerous. PCs without cold resistance and the ability to see invisible will probably not survive a fight with Li-Hon-Kay. Fortunately, cold immunity and the ability to see invisible are granted by the Ancient Mummy Wrapping, an artifact armor held by Rehetep, the Mummy Lord (see section 2.9). Players who want to be conservative and maximize the chances of survival in the 20th Arena fight will tackle the Pyramid first. Note also that although ogre magi are somewhat resistant to confusion, if one is successfully confused using Mindcraft, they are unable to become invisible. This works for Li-Hon-Kay as well as ordinary ogre magi. If the PC can cast Darkness, things become much simpler. Li-Hon-Kay will not fight in Darkness unless panicked. The other 20th fight Arena opponents will fall to offensive magic or simple brute force bashing.
There are a limited number of fights available after the 20th fight, but beware: anything can be generated as an opponent in such fights. It is quite possible to be faced with an emperor lich or ancient karmic dragon. The monetary rewards for such fights are about 1000 gold pieces each, not worth it if the PC has to face a difficult opponent. Furthermore, the experience gains from these fights are dependent on the experience level of the PC. Those who have difficulty gaining experience (trolls, Raven-born Athletic monks, etc.) should leave these fights for when they are at a high experience level.
Timofei Shatrov has determined the possible opponents the PC will face in the Arena. There are five possible opponents in each fight, although some of them are duplicates. The table below shows the possible opponents, with cats in bold capitals and duplicates in parentheses:
|Arena Round||Possible opponents|
|1||giant rat||kobold||rat||goblin||(giant rat)|
|2||giant rat||kobold||orc||goblin||(giant rat)|
|5||gnoll||orc scorcher||lizard man||fire beetle||giant bat|
|6||ghul||black hurthling||WILD CAT||wolf||giant bat|
|7||ghul||black hurthling||hyena||large kobold||jackal|
|8||ghul||orc scorcher||large gnoll||large kobold||bugbear|
|9||ogre||large orc||large gnoll||shadow||wererat|
|10||ogre||large orc||kobold chief||shadow||werewolf|
|11||large spider||cave fisher||orc chieftain||ankheg||gnoll chief|
|12||kobold shaman||dwarf||orc chieftain||ankheg||giant spider|
|13||kobold shaman||dwarf||orc chieftain||ankheg||giant spider|
|14||imp||displacer beast||orc chieftain||quasit||CAVE LION|
|15||cave bear||displacer beast||minotaur||hippogriff||jackalwere|
|16||cave bear||displacer beast||minotaur||hippogriff||jackalwere|
|17||cave bear||dire wolf||minotaur||harpy||giant lizard|
|18||cave bear||dark sage||tarantula||fire lizard||hell hound|
|19||cave bear||dark sage||tarantula||fire lizard||dark elven warrior|
2.2.1 Ratling traders
There are several ratling traders on the Arena level who sell food. The best food source is cooked lizards, which weigh only 3 stones each and are very nutritious. Also available are fried bats, which are less nutritious but still acceptable. It is not worth buying rat tails or cooked roaches. They have a negative nutrition value, even for trolls, who can eat almost anything.
In contrast to shops, which restock dependent on total game time passed, the ratling traders seem to restock dependent on game passed on the Arena level only. Thus a PC may go off adventuring for many days, return to the Arena and find no new food available. Wait or run around on the level for a while and the traders should eventually restock.
It is worthwhile to 'n'ame the ratling traders according to the wares they sell. This prevents aimless searching for the traders who sell worthwhile food. They can also be slowed down with the Slow Monster spell, which will not turn them hostile.
2.2.2 Cats in the Arena
Cats in the Arena are a special problem. If the PC wants the Ring of the Master Cat, directly killing cats must be avoided (see section 0.9.2). There are several ways to deal with cats in the Arena. Teleportation is one, from a wand or spell. Potions of exchange thrown at a cat will turn it into another monster. A cat can be led over a trap until it is killed, teleported or turned into a writhing mass of primal chaos. However, if the PC sets off a trap which kills a cat, he is charged with killing the cat. For this reason, as well as general tactical information, it is useful to know the layout of traps in the Arena when they are created. A map showing the traps produced when the Arena is generated on D: 3 is shown below:
###############.############### #0123456789AB0###456789AB01234# #123456789AB0123456789AB012345# #23456789AB0123456789AB0123456# #3456789AB0123456789AB01234567# ############################### 0 - fireball 6 - arrow 1 - pit 7 - acid 2 - light 8 - pit (vipers) 3 - corruption 9 - spear 4 - stone block A - teleport 5 - alarm B - waterThe pattern shifts, but otherwise remains the same, and can therefore be worked out by creating a single trap, when the Arena is generated on other levels.
2.2.3 The Ratling Rebel
The final guaranteed monster on the level is the ratling rebel. He will spray Mace at PCs wearing fur when 'C'hatted with. He hands out tattered scrolls which have no known purpose in the game. He rewards PCs that kill Dak the Arena Master with a scroll of peace.