What's the lore behind Arena Champion?

Digging into this further again, decided to approach from what we know.

She is wearing armor that is very similar in appearance to the Silent Legion armor, which does arguably tie her to them in some fashion.

Both the Champion Armor and Silent Legion armor share the same design, and Champion Armor in particular is said to be based on a “Vanir design.”

That said when an Arena Champion spawns, her face and appearance is randomized each time, often inconsistent with the appearance of the Vanir.

Looking in the Dev Kit, there are some odd details: her race is Hyborian, while she uses templates from both the Witch Queen and the Warmaker’s Champion. So that certainly supports what @Davies677 said - that she was put together from existing parts due to crunch time.

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Liked JJ’s story. Don’t argue if the Cimmerians have kings or queens… It’s not a vital element of the story imho.


It seems most likely that she’s a human enhanced by Klael.

Occam’s Razor says she’s human:

  • There’s no hint for her being part Giant King. She looks human and is human-sized, unlike Tyros, who seems a bit larger. Speculation: Tyros hides his face, maybe due to being ugly to both Giant Kings as well as humans. Whether that’s the case or not, the Arena Champion looks perfectly normal.
  • She doesn’t look undead and is not immune to poison, unlike undead.

There are counter arguments:

  • She hits really, really hard and is tougher than most humans. But we know that the Giant Kings practice strange science, and that’s most likely a product of their science - either due to her armor’s powers, due to combat drugs or any other effect.
  • It is questionable how she’s still alive. Klael seems to have abandoned his fortress some time ago. And “some time ago” may be a very long time in our view, as the Giant Kings apparently have very long life spans.
    But the effect that makes her so strong may also enhance her life span. And it’s possible that she wasn’t created by Klael, but by his assistants that stilll work there. She may even be an exile just like the player character, captured, changed and enslaved by the surving Giant Kings.
  • Her armor is similar to that used by the Silent Legion. It was likely created after the Silent Legion’s armor, but we don’t know when. The strong similarity makes it likely that it was created close to the time of the Silent Legion, which would be a long time ago.
    It is obviously much more advanced, with many strange magical powers. It is likely an improvement created by Klael or his assistants, and they may have been working on that for a long, long time.
    Also, the armor may be a relic of the past, or the Giant Kings clung to the last design they ever developed. After all, it worked fine a thousand years ago, so why shouldn’t it now? They do seem to somewhat slow learners or strongly cling to tradition, so maybe, it would be normal for them to reuse a design from another age.

So, for myself, I always assumed that she’s human or super-human, somehow enhanced by the Giant Kings to win a war they lost so long ago, a second Tyros, but more… compliant.


The final boss is the size of a Giant King. I always assumed that he’s either part or full Giant King, probably undead or broken by Klael in some other way.

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Waiiit a moment. She got to transfer her character back in 2019, even before Isle of SIptah was released? That explains a lot: She got much stronger armor, probably from a closed Beta test, and her stats got messed up in the transfer. Or they had a higher level cap, too, and her level 250 got grandfathered.

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I thought she may of been Telith when I first encountered her.

Ok fair enough. I guess I’m curious why the PhD authors of these textbooks use the word for some examples and not others. Must mean some kind of boundary. Right?

Oh well.

Mystery for the ages.

Greetings Exiles,

Please remember to keep it civil, as stated on the Forum Social Guidelines:
“Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.”

Thanks in advance. :slight_smile:

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Sorry Stelagel but you are asking the wrong man on this one old friend. Unfortunately my knowledge of the lore, is all highly specialised around one specific area. Can anyone guess what I am about to say next…? Yep, Crom. And I am just not that knowlegeable outside of the one field. When it comes to lore, two knowlegeable members I have enjoyed discussions with in PMs are @Oduda Odud (already here), and fellow I have not seen for a while now sadly, @BigDave. But both are dedicated Howard loyalist, so they may not have the answers you seek either. @Kapoteeni also dabbles in the lore a little…

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Yes, my mistake. I was thinking about the likes of the Menagerie Manager, and mistook her for the Arena Champion.

The Arena Champion is from the Warmaker Sanctuary.

Interesting idea!

From the hints in the Exiled Lands, I think we can assume that Telith is dead. Apparently, one could even find her ghost before it was sadly funcomed, uhm, I mean: eaten by some unexplained bug.

But there may be descendants of Tyros and Telith after Xalthar.

Xalthar may have had children with a human woman, and over the generations, the Giant King part may be diluted enough to not show on the face, but still give exceptional power.

So who knows? Maybe the Arena Champion not only wears armor shaped that of Tyros, but also is a distant relative. Speculative, but possible.

Are there any hints about what happened to Xalthar beyond what’s gathered in the Wiki? Anybody know?

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Not direct information as such - but I’ve always felt that ‘Imi’s Cradle’ links into Xalthar’s story somewhere as well. But is/was Imi another child, or some sort of magical ‘nursemaid’ that looked after Xalthar while Telith pined among the ruins. And why does this pretty little flower patch have the creepiest sounds in the entire game? Perhaps some sort of demonic connection to the child/children?
Or perhaps Imi’s Cradle was there before Telith came to the island - perhaps it hints towards some even older story still.

And why is Xalthar’s Refuge the centre for the Sobek Cult? In game lore it seems Telith’s family were Dagon worshippers, while Tyros’ father was a Set worshipper. Was it perhaps the cult that helped hide Tyros and Telith’s son from both Giant Kings and Lemurians? Or did they perhaps come later to the area and take it over after it already had it’s name?

So many aspects to speculate about and try to piece together :slight_smile:

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Imi’s Cradle… my impression when finding it was that Tyros’ and Telith’s had a second child, Imi, possibly a twin to Xalthar, that died at or shortly after birth, and her “cradle” is her grave.

That Telith’s ghost (buggedly) lurks nearby hints at her not surving the birth or maybe dieing not that long after.

But Xalthar seems to have survived long into adulthood, and may have continued their lineage.
Xalthar seems to have hidden in that cave named after him. Tyros was cursed and killed for his betrayal of the Giant Kings. I’d assume that was the reason for Xalthar to hide, either from the Giant Kings or from his undead father.
What happened to him after? I don’t know. But at least as far as I know, there’s nothing hinting at his death in the Exiled Lands. He may have ventured forth.

The Sobec cult arrived long after the Tyros story, I guess. There’s nothing connecting them, and while not exact timeline seems to have been given, the state of the Exiled Lands lets me think that the Giant King war happened centuries ago, at least decades. Warmaker Klael speaks of a thousand years without talking to anybody. I don’t know if that is to be taken literally, and may be much shorter or longer, but… I’d assume it unlikely that the Sobec cult lingered on in that cave for a thousand years or so.

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That was my first impression also - though I hadn’t considered the twin aspect. ‘Cradle as grave’ would make a lot of sense - though that still leaves the question of the whispers, since they are different to any other ‘ghost’ in the Exilied Lands. But then, as the grandchild of both the Witch Queen and the Priest King, one might reasonably suppose that their grave would be unusual - given the Lovecraftian themes, perhaps it represents a weak point in the fabric of reality, where the outer dark pushes that little bit closer.

Can’t argue with that, it definitely seems to fit the classic tragedy of the story - pining away for her lost love, she then loses her child and, after covering her grave with flowers, she retreats to the ruins and lets herself go too.

I hadn’t thought of it that way. Rather than a refuge for the adult Xalthar, I interpreted it as a place the baby Xalthar was temporarily hidden as he was protected from the fall of his father. And then I viewed Xalthar’s Crossing as a key point on the escape route. But now that you raise the adulthood idea, they could equally work in the opposite direction, with Xalthar crossing back into the GIant King lands as an adult, and hiding out in the cave. The lack of an ending to Xalthar’s story is a frustration - I feel like there should maybe be a third location - perhaps Xalthar’s Vengeance or Xalthar’s Fall (or Xalthar’s Falls, as perhaps time has twisted what the name once meant). But, as you say, perhaps he simply left. After all, the Priest King fell to Tyros, and the Archivist fell to the Witch Queen, so only the Warmaker remained for Xalthar to potentially want revenge on - and seeing Klael’s guilt over setting loose the sandstorm, perhaps leaving him to suffer might seem more suitable to him, giving Xalthar no reason to stick around. And it’s not like he would have been wearing a bracelet, since the war started before he was born, so the curse wall wouldn’t be a barrier to him.

with the constant cycle of the sandstorm, I suppose it could be only decades, but I’d certainly agree centuries feels more likely - the overgrowth of the Witch Queen’s palace feels like more than just a few decades and the Lemurians seeming move away from Dagon worship to Derketo similarly feels like something that would take more than just a couple of generations. Plus, the way Razma tells the Witch Queen’s story it sounds like she was part of the Lemurian group that arrived in the Giant King lands (rather than being born after they arrived) and logically they must have arrived more than just decades before Conan’s time, given the lengths of time between the sinking of Atlantis and Lemuria and Conan’s birth. I think you’re right, both that the Sobek cult wouldn’t have lingered a thousand years, so coming later makes sense, and that the Warmaker’s statements of a thousand years maybe aren’t supposed to be taken literally, but I still think they are perhaps a fair approximation.

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200w

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There are a few oddities that make pinning down the time frame very difficult. And some beings are definitely not aging in a normal manner.

The sand storm maniac was there during the war between the Lemurias and the Giant Kings. But he’s still alive ranting away. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the sandstone that prevents him from aging. Or perhaps through science or magic the Lemurians were able to stop their aging, at least among their most important people

Razma seem to indicate that the Witch queen was among the original settlers. That call themselves Lemurians rather Hyrkanians is also interesting and makes me assume that they must have arrived in what is now the exiled lands shortly after the cataclysm

Or I’m completely mixed up and off base :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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You know, you’re all a bunch of crazy nerds aren’t you?!
:smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :alien:

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Timeline
The timeline indeed gets weirder when we take Razma’s word into account.

According to the wiki, she says:

Her people, the Lemurians, were the remnant of a desperate race. Her memories before the Exiled Lands are vague and confused. Flashes of an island kingdom sinking as the world heaves. A people being subjugated with fire and sorcery. An escape and a long, treacherous journey into the West.

This does seem to refer to the Great Cataclysm. According to Howard’s essay (or Wikipedia’s summary), that is several thousand years in the past:

The article doesn’t give timespans for all developments, but between the cataclysm and the time of Conan, we have at least 1500 + 500 + 1000 = 3000 years.

The Witch Queen experienced the coexistence of Giant Kings and humans from start to finish, according to Razma. She developed the bracelets and saw her grandson Xalthar being born, which led her to revolt against the Giant Kings.
That means that she either led a freakishly long life before having the daughter that birthed Xalthar or that the whole affair was three thousand years ago.

Buuuut here comes the caveat: Razma’s words probably are not to be trusted.

  • The story as told by her doesn’t make much sense without some additional assumtions. If we assume somewhat normal lifespans for the Lemurians, they would only have lived for one or two generations under the Giant Kings, as the Witch Queen was present when they arrived, probably already an adult, had a daughter who also had a child - that gives us a maximum of roughly 20 years of time. The Giant Kings, however, saw humaninity “multiply” and speak of their much longer liferspans. That strongly implies that they watched generations of humans go by.
  • But there’s a pretty obvious explanation to that: Razma’s inherited memories mix a lot of stuff together. The mask she wore gave her memories of the Witch Queen and even made her believe that she was her.
    The mask most likely had that effect back in the time of the Lemurians and Giant Kings. It most likely transferred knowledge, abilities and will to rule from one generation to the next. The Witch Queen is obviously a title, not a name, and probably was handed down from one queen to the next.
    That explains why a.) Razmas has memories of the cataclysm and events that must have happened a long time after and b.) why some memories are vague and hard for her to understand: Because they actually do not make much sense without understanding their context, i. e. that they mix the memories of many people.

Xalthar and the War
The Witch Queen started the war to protect Xalthar, whom Razma vaguely remembers to be “a hostage?”. He probably was taken by the Giant Kings, maybe as a hostage, maybe to raise him, maybe to study him. Either way, the Witch Queen feared that he’d be a slave.

The war, however, was started because of the discovery of the serpentmen in the volcano.

Razmas first talks of the grandson, then of the serpent people, but the events probably happened in reverse order:

  • The Lemurians discovered the serpentmen (serpent persons? serpent people? Do they even care about gender neutral language? Who knows!).
  • They prepared for war by building outposts, secret tunnels and so forth to prepare for their war. That must have taken years, if not decades.
  • The war started and probably went on some time, probably generations, as Klael speaks about relying more and more of human slaves.
  • Tyros led the Giant King armies until betraying them due to his love for Telith.
  • Xalthar was born. That Razma describes a child - probably Xalthar - as a sign for hope, that may mean that the Witch Queen still hoped for reconsiliation with the Giant Kings, or that she hoped that Xalthar would help in the fight against them.
  • It is unclear to me why he was “a hostage?”. Did the Giant Kings take Telith and/or her child during the war? Or was he born before the betrayal? That’s a little vague.
  • However that happened, he apparnetly hid in the later Sobek cave and crossed the river at Xalthar’s crossing. The order of events, again, is unclear, but I assume that he escaped the Unnamed City, travelled east, hid in the cave for an unknown amount of time, then travelled further east, crossed the river and reached the Lemurian lands. There, the trail ends. Maybe he left. Maybe he took part in the war, if it was still ongoing. It is even unclear if he wore a curse wall bracer or not.

Damn, I’d really like to finish that story, either as a player or a writer.

Crazy Nerds
And proud of it.

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We know the mask is magical and can basically posses the wearer, so that possibly could mean the witch queen is the mask itself passed from one wearer to the next. Or the mask itself is responsible for her abnormally long life. Both are interesting possibilities.

As for the hostage, it is possible that he was not taken but exchanged. Historically opposing sides would exchange hostages during or proceeding negotiations as a sort of security against betrayal.

It doesn’t help that Razma herself seems to be unclear on the memories, but I imagine trying to keep your own memories and thousands of years of someone or something else’s memories straight would do a serious number on anyone’s brain

Great work on that post by the way, it’s nice to be able to look at all that information in one place!

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Sorry, another Howard purist here - although I do find Funcom’s take on Howardian lore and their interpretations on the vague remarks interesting.

I admit, I’ve always avoided the Arena Champion on my way to the final boss, so I haven’t had the opportunity to ask her about her mysterious past.

But, considering the other inhabitants of the stronghold, I’d wager a guess that whoever built an arena in there, and had gladiatorial/martial arts contests in there, was from the time period when the stronghold itself was built. I doubt the arena has seen active use in centuries, maybe millennia. So from this perspective I would guess that the Champion is no longer a mortal either. She doesn’t seem to be a skeleton, and she reacts to being hit like a human would, so maybe she has been preserved by whatever power keeps the rest of the locals moving. As she’s a human and not a Giant-King, I would assume that she was a favored fighting slave of the Giant-Kings back in the old ages when the two races coexisted, and was somehow preserved in the stronghold even though the show is over and the fat lady has sung a long time ago.

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So I decided that I’d go right to the source: the modder Snowhunter, who contracted with Funcom to make Warmaker’s Sanctuary. This was his answer:

This is near I think there is to a definitive answer, and not too far off what we were already speculating.

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Thanks for to Terzraerian for asking and Snowhunter for answering.

It is cheating, though!

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