He leads an excavation at the tomb of Saarthal and experiments with Soul Gems, the latter of which he is highly secretive of. Arniel is located in the first room on the right on the second floor of the Hall of Attainment.
After the Dragonborn's first lessons as a new student of the college, Tolfdir and the other apprentices venture to Saarthal to assist Arniel with his excavation. Upon arriving, the Dragonborn is tasked with collecting three Enchanted Rings and an amulet. Performing the errand ends with the Dragonborn being imprisoned behind iron bars. Upon being freed, Tolfdir and the Dragonborn investigate a hidden tunnel in the tomb, eventually coming in contact with a member of the Psijic Order. After discovering the Eye of Magnus in the rooms below the tomb, the Dragonborn returns to inform Savos Aren. Any time after this event, the Dragonborn can give the Enchanted Rings to Arniel, but it is not required.
Arniel helps the Dragonborn and Faralda defend Winterhold against Magic Anomalies in Containment. During the battle, he will not personally use magic to attack, instead relying entirely upon unarmed combat. However, he will reanimate characters who die during the battle as zombies for further assistance.
As part of a secret experiment, Arniel tasks the Dragonborn with retrieving ten Dwemer Cogs. After finding the artifacts, the Dragonborn must then contact Enthir about a Warped Soul Gem Arniel wanted from him. Enthir was reluctant to provide the item to Arniel, but relents if the Dragonborn retrieves a staff Enthir accidentally sold to a necromancer. Enthir surrenders the gem after the staff is returned to him. This eventually allows the Dragonborn to use the Warped Soul Gem in a Dwemer Convector three times, along with Arniel's Convection.
Arniel disappears as a consequence of his research with the Warped Soul Gem. However, the Dragonborn gains the ability to summon his shade in battle. Arniel Gane's shade can be seen wandering the area around the College of Winterhold after his quest line has been completed. Besides simply not being around, Arniel's disappearance has little, if any, effect on the rest of the mages at the College.
- Arniel's Shade does not benefit from the Twin Souls perk, making it impossible to summon two of the spells at once.
- At the Saarthal excavation site, Arniel cannot be killed. This makes it possible to max out the Sneak skill within an hour, simply by attacking Arniel while remaining crouched and hidden.
- Despite being considered a conjurer, Arniel seems fond of engaging enemies in unarmed combat instead of using magic. He has been known to even attack dragons in this manner should one attack the College; and can be seen fist-fighting the Magic Anomalies during the quest, "Containment."
- During the beginning of "Containment," Faralda tells Arniel to tag along, saying that the people of Winterhold need protection. Arniel will protest initially, saying: "Do we really have to? They'd never lift a finger to help us."