Online:A Thorn in Your Side

The UESPWiki – Your source for The Elder Scrolls since 1995
Jump to: navigation, search

Join forces with Angof to win the Battle of the Cliffs.
Zone: Coldharbour
Objective: Cliffs of Failure — Win the Battle of the Cliffs and set the mages free.
Quest Giver: The Observer
Location(s): Cliffs of Failure
Prerequisite Quest: The Endless War
Reward: The Observer's Battle Helm
High Leveled Gold
XP Gain: High Experience XP
ID: 4364
"When you make your final decision, remember the reason we all came to this dreadful realm."
To save the Mages Guild members that were forced to compete in the Observer's game, I decided to side with Angof. Now I just need to find a way to win the game.

Quick Walkthrough[edit]

  1. Talk to the Observer.
  2. Find Angof the Undying.
  3. Defeat the opposing champions.
  4. Meet Juline Ginis at the cave entrance.
  5. Enter the Antechamber and defeat the guardians.
  6. Go to the Observer's Watch and defeat the Observer.
  7. Find the mages.
  8. Choose your reward.

Detailed Walkthrough[edit]

After you have chosen to help Angof, the Observer will send you back into the battlefield.

"You have chosen a side. Now understand that only one contestant can win this game.
And, as always, I can change the rules without warning in order to keep the contest exciting."
So, you can cheat?
"Never! The game is sacrosanct! But I can alter the rules to keep the contestants guessing and to keep my own interest in the proceedings high.
Report to the one you pledged your allegiance to. The game begins now."
I'll find Angof.
"Find the leader of the side you have chosen and present yourself. I'm eager to see how the game plays out with you involved."

Learning the Plan[edit]

After you go through the portal, you will have to climb the slope to Angof's camp, where he can be found overlooking the battlefield with Juline by his side. Talk with him to see what plan he has for winning.

"We make many decisions in life that we truly believe are correct when we make them.
This body, for example. It was a gift from the lord of this realm. He said it would grant me the power to topple the corruption of Glenumbra. He lied."
I'm only here to save the Mages Guild members.
"Look around, you fool! Would you open the cage of one prison simply to release them into another? This whole realm is a prison!
No, there is no way to save your mages. We are all trapped here. Forever."
Then why do you keep fighting?
"The magic that created this body resides in this land. If I can win this game and escape these Cliffs of Failure, I hope to find its source.
Help me win and you can take Juline with you. I simply seek a way to end this madness."
How do we win the game?
"Thallik and Estre's champions must fall. Use my seeds. Plant them in the bodies of those you slay to gain new allies to aid you.
It won't be easy, and you probably won't win, but you're the best chance I've had to end this since I got here."
I'll deal with the other champions.

While he is pessimistic about winning and leaving the game. However, he is still willing to try and will let you take Juline with you if you win. To win this game, the two champions of the opposing teams must be defeated first. These champions can be defeated in any order. He will hand you Angof's Seed, which allows you to create a zombie companion.

The Wormfather's Champion[edit]

When you head towards Thallik's camp, you will need to fight your way through Worm Cultists until you arrive at a Daedric pavilion where the champion Kalin Thal will be waiting for you. At his side will be Mim, who appears to be ensorcelled.

As you approach he will admonish you for daring to choose another team:

Kalin Thal: "I can't believe you selected someone other than my master. I'll try to make your death as painless as possible."

Once you have defeated both of them, a projection of the Observer will comment:

The Observer: "You beat one of the champions. Impressive! Now the game is finally getting interesting!"

Before you leave, the book The Lightless Oubliette can be found in the pavilion, and counts towards Shalidor's Library.

The Kinlady's Champion[edit]

Estre and her Champion

Estre's camp can be reached by fighting through the Heritance soldiers. When you reach the end of the camp, Estre will be idly watching from her lounge while her champion Coristir is ready to fight you alongside a charmed Relmus.

High Kinlady Estre "Do try to hurry, Coristir. This rabble isn't worth our time."

When you begin to fight, Coristir will announce his displeasure:

Coristir: "After everything our master promised you, you do this to us?"

Once you have defeated the champion and the mage, Estre will comment, "Well … that's not good." before disappearing.

As for the Observer, you second victory will have him call you to the entrance.

The Observer: "And so the last champion falls. Interesting. Find me at the entrance to my watch to receive your … reward."

A Reward … of sorts[edit]

As I reached the entrance to the Observer's watch, I spotted Juline waiting for me.

After hearing the Observer's request, head towards the portal antechamber. Juline Ginis will be waiting for you, ask her why she's here.

"There you are. I've been looking for you.
What in the Eight is going on? There was an awful commotion and then Angof disappeared."
I defeated the other champions.
"Really? I knew you could do it. Well, I mean, I didn't actually know you could do it, but I had a good feeling about you.
Did you see the others? Relmus? Mim?"
They were controlled by the other leaders. I freed them and they ran off.
"I have to find them! We got into this together and we're going to get out of here the same way.
Where were you rushing off to, by the way?"
The Observer told me to come collect my reward.
"Oh. The reward. I'm pretty sure you don't want any part of whatever the Observer is offering.
Just … be careful up there, you hear me? I have a bad feeling about this."
The Observer has changed the rules of the game and thrown another challenge in my way.

Angof apparently disappeared after you defeated the two champions. Juline will tell you be careful when meeting with the Observer.

When you enter the portal chamber, the Observer's projection will appear again with an impromptu challenge.

The Observer: "Impressive. Most impressive. No one in the history of my games has ever defeated two champions. But now, you must face one more challenge."

Two Watcher guards will appear out of portals.

The Observer: "Defeat my guardians and reach the portal to claim your reward!"

After you defeat the guards, enter the portal and you will arrive in a large area where the Observer is waiting to give you your reward.

The Observer has challenged me to a final battle. The mages have arrived to help me. Now it's time to end this!
The Observer: "You have accomplished the impossible! Now for your true reward. Prepare to face … me!"

The Mages will appear behind you.

Juline Ginis: "You won't face the Observer alone. We're in this together."

During this fight, the Observer will banish one of the mages when he hits a certain percentage of health.

The Observer: "This contest is between your betters, mage. Off with you!"
The Observer: "Annoying mage! Away with you!"
The Observer: "I grow weary of your interference, mage. Begone!"

When you have finally killed the Observer, you can go through the portal to see if you can find the mages.

The Final Challenge[edit]

What? I killed the Observer, but there he is, standing right in front of me. I should speak to him and find out what else he has in store for me.

You will arrive back at the observation deck, but there will be several changes. Firstly, there will be two cages, which contain Angof and the Mage trio respectively. Secondly, in front of these cages will be two statues that resemble Thallik and Estre. Thirdly—and most importantly—the Observer will be there, whole and healthy. Talk with him to see what is going on. You have apparently beaten the impossible game and now have a choice to make. The Observer will only let you take one companion with you, Angof the Undying or Juline and her friends.

"How positively exciting! You have won the game that could not be won. You defied the laws of this realm.
Oh, well done! Well done!"
I don't understand. I killed you!
"Confounding, isn't it? Such is the way of things in Coldharbour.
The game goes on, and so there must always be a game master. Still, I am amazed that you managed to win the game. That should have been impossible. So, choose your reward!"
What are my options?
"You won, fair and square. So you may select one companion to take with you when you leave. Only one. The others must stay and continue to play the game until they can win for themselves.
Now, are you ready to make your decision?"

Before you make the choice, you can stall and ask to get your team members opinions on the matter.

May I speak to them before I decide?
"As you wish. But don't take too long. I have a game to get back to!
Once you've made your decision, talk to me again."

When you talk with Angof, he is adamant that you take Juline. In his words, he deserves this fate but the mages are innocent.

"Leave me! You must take the others and go. That is your only option."
You'd rather remain trapped in the game? (This option will not appear until you've spoken to the Observer and asked him to let you speak to the mages.)
"Look at me! I'm a monster!
I deserve my fate. The others … they did nothing wrong. You came here to save them, so finish what you started!"
But you'd be a great help in my efforts against Molag Bal.
"It doesn't matter. You did what I could not. You won the game.
Now take the mages and get away from here before the Observer changes the rules again!"

However, when you talk with Juline, she will insist that you instead free Angof. She believes he will be a great help in the fight against Molag Bal.

"When you make your final decision, remember the reason we all came to this dreadful realm. You must select whoever you feel will best serve you in the battles ahead.
Whatever you decide, I know it will be the correct choice."
What do you mean? (This option will not appear until you've spoken to the Observer and asked him to let you speak to the mages.)
"Angof's power is far greater than our own. You'll need someone of his caliber at your side to defeat Molag Bal.
It just makes more sense to select Angof instead of us."
You want me to just leave you here?
"Think with your mind and not your heart. Angof gives you the best chance for victory. We both know that.
I wish there was another way. I wish we could all walk out of this together. But Nirn is more important than a trio of mages."

After you have deliberated, you can speak with the Observer once you are ready to make your decision.

"What is your decision?"
I won your game. Why must I choose?
"Because the balance of the game must be maintained. If you select Angof, then the mages take his place. If you choose the mages, Angof remains as a leader in the game.
You are lucky that I agreed to provide this reward at all."

The Mages[edit]

I'll take the mages with me.
"Very well. The mages are yours. Angof will have the honor of continuing to play my game.
Farewell, and thank you for such an excellent competition. You will not be allowed to participate again."

You and the Mage trio will be teleported outside. Talk with Juline to complete the quest. She will be sympathetic towards Angof and will head off to the Hollow City with the others soon.

"We'll head out at once. That was where we were trying to go when we got separated from the others.
I wish Angof the best. He really wasn't that bad. I think somewhere, deep inside, he remembered what it was like to be human."


I chose [sic] Angof.
"The vined one? You would abandon your comrades for one such as he? You continue to surprise me, mortal.
Now, you and your prize must go. Do not return here, for you may not play the game again."

You and Angof will then be teleported outside. Speak with him to complete the quest. Angof says he will be honor his agreement with you and fight against the Daedric Prince if you help him afterwards.

"I had allies and friends once. I understand this was not an easy choice for you.
Help me restore my mortal self and you will have my support. On this, you have my word."
There's a safe haven to the west. The Hollow City.
"I have heard rumors of such a place. Just remember our agreement. Help me find a way to become what I once was and I will aid you against Molag Bal.
I will find you in this city of yours soon enough."

Taking the Third Option[edit]

If you have been getting tired of the Observer's games and want to stick it to him, there is a third path you can take. But you will need to be sufficiently threatening.

[Intimidate] I'll take them all. Otherwise, I'll just keep killing you and disrupting your game.
"What? How dare you threaten me!
You are lucky that I even gave you a reward at all. The balance … the balance must be maintained!"
Give me Angof and the mages or I'll make sure the balance is never restored.
"I … the unmitigated … how dare … fine!
Take them all and do not return. My master will be angry, but not as enraged as he would be if the game was permanently disrupted. Now, be gone with you!"

You will then be teleported outside, looking around you will see that the Observer kept his word. Both Angof and the Mages will have been freed. Talk to Angof to complete the quest.

"I had friends and allies once. Companions who would never abandon me, no matter the cost. But that was before. Before I became this … monster.
Enough! I must find the magic to restore my human form."
There's a safe haven to the west. The Hollow City.
"I have heard rumors of such a place. We shall go there at once. And have no fear. I will make sure that your friends arrive safely.
Perhaps the city will provide me more clues as to the magic I seek."

In all three paths, you will receive The Observer's Battle Helm and some gold. Cadwell will arrive through a portal afterwards, to take rescued people back to the Hollow City.


  • Killing NPCs of the side you picked who are now neutral has no bad effect on the progress of the quest.
  • After defeating the champions, as the portals become shut off to streamline the rest of the quest, the only way to leave prematurely is to use wayshrines.
  • The watchers fought in the cave are the same seen as friendly earlier on. They are given an elite ranking during the fight but retain the same lower amount of health they had previously.
  • With the Fighters Guild Intimidating Presence perk, you can leave the game with Angof and all three mages.
  • Despite the Observer stating you won't be allowed to participate in the games anymore, after you are booted out of the Cliffs of Failure, the portals to access them and the battlegrounds remain accessible.
  • After completing this quest, the House of Darkness in The Hollow City will unlock. If you saved Angof, he will be found there, and also outside of The Shining Star. If you saved the mages, they will be found at the Library.


  • The enthralled mages disappear out of thin air instead of running away as later mentioned after defeating the champions. ?
  • The same as above occurs with Kinlady Estre after defeating her champion. ?

Quest Stages[edit]

A Thorn in Your Side
Finishes Quest Journal Entry
I should find Angof in the battlegrounds. Maybe he has a plan for how we can win the game.
Objective: Talk to Angof the Undying
To win this contest, I need to defeat the champions of the other two leaders. Angof gave me more seeds. I can plant them in slain enemies to gain allies in this battle.
Objective: Defeat Estre's Champion
Objective: Defeat Thallik's Champion
I defeated the other champions. Now the Observer wants to meet me at the cave entrance that leads to the watch portal.
Objective: Return to the Cave Entrance
As I reached the entrance to the Observer's watch, I spotted Juline waiting for me. I should speak to her.
Objective: Talk to Juline Ginis
The Observer wasn't at the entrance to the watch. I should enter the cave and use the portal so I can find him.
Objective: Enter the Observer's Watch
The Observer has changed the rules of the game and thrown another challenge in my way. I need to run the gauntlet in this cave to reach the portal and confront the Observer.
Objective: Survive the Observer's Challenge
I reached the Observer's watch. The Observer has challenged me to a final battle. The mages have arrived to help me. Now it's time to end this!
Objective: Defeat the Observer
The Observer is dead and this twisted game is finally over. However, he teleported the mages away before he died. I need to use the portal and try to find them.
Objective: Find the Mages
What? I killed the Observer, but there he is, standing right in front of me. I should speak to him and find out what else he has in store for me.
Objective: Talk to the Observer
Objective Hint: Talk to Juline
Objective Hint: Talk to Angof
(You will be given a choice at this stage.)
Finishes quest☑ (If you chose to save the mages)
I decided to save the Mages Guild members from the Observer's game. I should talk to Juline and send them to the Hollow City.
Objective: Talk to Juline
Finishes quest☑ (If you chose to save Angof)
I decided to save Angof from the Observer's game. It was the only real choice if I want to defeat Molag Bal. I should talk to Angof and send him to the Hollow City.
Objective: Talk to Angof
Finishes quest☑ (If you used the Intimidating Presence Perk to save everyone)
I decided to push back against the Observer and take everyone out of the game. Now I have Angof and the mages at my side. I should speak to Angof and send them all to the Hollow City.
Objective: Talk to Angof
* Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the game and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.