There are plenty of exciting and influential characters spread throughout The Elder Scrolls. One of the most exciting and deep, however, is Mannimarco. While he may not have started with the immediate power of a Daedric Prince or deity, Mannimarco is a compelling individual that plays a vital role throughout the series.
However, fully understanding the character requires gathering the lore from multiple entries, so many fans may want just to read this summary instead to get to know the character.
Key Info Up Front
- Game Appearances: Daggerfall, Oblivion, Elder Scrolls Online
- Notable Features: Mannimarco is a powerful necromancer known as the King of Worms or the Worm King. He was so powerful that his exploits included controlling all of the Cyrodiilic Empire as a puppet state, battling the Mages Guild, and helping Molag Bal almost invade all of Nirn.
Mannimarco is an Altmer believed to have been born to royal blood, but the exact line is uncertain. Early in life, he joined the powerful group of mages known as the Psijic Order in the Summerset Isles. This is thought to be where Mannimarco learned most of his magical knowledge, and he quickly became one of the most potent individuals ever known to have been in the group.
It is unknown when Mannimarco became interested in the secretive arts of necromancy. Still, at some point, he began trapping and enslaving souls to use their power for magical crafts, a highly illegal practice. His actions brought the ire of his fellow psijic Vanus Galerion, who tried to stop him.
However, Mannimarco refused to stop, and he was ultimately expelled from the order and sent to the mainland of Tamriel. There, his power in dark magic caught the attention of the scattered witches and dark wizards of the land, who all came to him for guidance.
This allowed Mannimarco to collect mighty artifacts from them to expand his powers. He established the Order of the Black Worm with all of his followers, the most influential group of necromancers and dark mages that Tamriel has ever known.
Mannimarco’s Work with Molag Bal
Mannimarco’s incredible power and influence eventually caught the eye of the Daedric Prince Molag Bal, who approached him for help lowering the barrier that divides the realms of Oblivion from the plane of Nirn.
Mannimarco worked with Molag Bal to do so, although he planned to betray the prince at the last moment to trap him and absorb his power to become a Daedric Prince in his own right through a process known as mantling. However, his plans were ultimately stopped by a hero known simply as the Vestige, forcing Mannimarco to flee Oblivion and return to Nirn.
Later, Mannimarco’s cult of necromancers was in a great battle with his former Psijic Order peer Vanus Galerion. Galerion was furious with Mannimarco for turning to the dark sides of magic despite his warnings. During the struggle, Mannimarco transformed into one of the very first liches in Tamriel, but his cult was eventually defeated in the battle.
However, all was not lost for him as he killed Vanus Galerion and escaped into hiding. Despite his lack of a massive following, he influenced the Cyrodiilic Empire during this time while Thassad II was leading it. He used his influence to place powerful necromancers in public offices during this time, such as giving N’Gasta control of Stros M’Kai.
However, one of the most significant events in Mannimarco’s history was his rise to power during the Warp in the West. The Warp in the West occurred during Daggerfall and is the most recent instance of a Dragon Break in The Elder Scrolls‘ timeline.
Dragon Breaks are complicated but can best be summarized as a fracturing of linear time that allows multiple contradictory timelines to play out and come together to all have happened despite their conflicts. During one of these timelines, Mannimarco was able to get his hands on the powerful weapon known as the Totem of Tiber Septim, an emperor. He was able to ascend to godhood, as well as the Mantella.
Using the combined power of these artifacts, Mannimarco turned himself into a planet known as the Necromancer’s Moon. Also known as the Revenant, this cemented Mannimarco as a full-fledged diety. However, in the other timelines, Mannimarco was still just a lich, meaning that once the Dragon Break reconvened, he was both the Necromancer’s Moon and an incredibly powerful lich simultaneously.
The Revenant then became a powerful symbol for necromancers all across Nirn. It would grant them guidance and power and allow them to make Black Soul Gems that can contain the souls of mortal races. The next appearance of Mannimarco as a mortal would not come about until the Oblivion Crisis in 3E 433 when a regular Altmer claiming to be Mannimarco led a regrown Cult of the Worm to try and overthrow the Mages Guild after the banning of necromancy in Cyrodiil.
He also managed to raise the corpse of his rival Vanus Galerion to use as a thrall until the Hero of Kvatch ultimately killed him. Despite this, it seems likely that Mannimarco is not entirely defeated, as he has escaped physical death before through his incredible power over even his death.
With how influential Mannimarco is on the land of Nirn in The Elder Scrolls, it is no surprise that players have a multitude of interactions with him throughout the games. The very first is in Daggerfall, where the player completes quests for him before he appeared as an antagonist in both Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls Online.
After the player reaches level three, they will receive a letter from Princess Morgiah in Wayrest asking them to meet with her. If the player accepts, she requests that they deliver a letter to the King of Worms for her within the month.
This is the player’s first introduction to the King of Worms, as Morgiah enters a deal with the necromancer to solidify her marriage with the King of Firsthold at the cost of surrendering her firstborn child. The player then has to take a response letter from Mannimarco to Morgiah, which will lead to the marriage happening.
Soul of a Lich
Shortly after this first interaction with Mannimarco, the player will be attacked by a zombie as they travel. On the zombie’s chest is a note from Mannimarco, requesting them to meet him to discuss a quest he has for them. When the player travels to Mannimarco, he requests that they help him trapping Prince Karolis’s soul from Castle Sentinel. The player receives both a physical reward and valuable information regarding the Underking in exchange for doing so.
In the main quest Lysandus’ Revenge players can collect the journal of Lord Woodborne, and one of the possible targets they can deliver it to is the King of Worms.
Totem, Totem, Who Gets the Totem?
The King of Worms is also a possible choice to give the Totem of Tiber Septim to in the mainline quest Totem, Totem, Who Gets the Totem? If the player decides to give it to Mannimarco, it leads to them experiencing the timeline in the Dragon Break where Mannimarco becomes the Necromancer’s Moon.
Journey to Aetherius
This quest is only accessible if the player gives the King of Worms the Totem of Tiber Septim and concerns Mannimarco ascending to godhood.
In Oblivion, Mannimarco is the primary antagonist of the Mages Guild questline. The Hero of Kvatch eventually uncovers a cult of necromancers who are working to topple the Mages Guild in retaliation for their outlawing of necromancy across all of Cyrodiil.
At first, they do not believe that it is Mannimarco because he has been gone for thousands of years, but it nevertheless ultimately is. Mannimarco nearly succeeds in destroying the Mages Guild and is only stopped by the Hero of Kvatch managing to defeat him through the sacrifice of the Archmage of the guild. So, Mannimarco plays a role in the entire questline, even though he does not begin appearing in the quests until the very last ones.
The Elder Scrolls Online
Mannimarco is also one of the primary antagonists in the main questline for The Elder Scrolls Online as he is working with Molag Bal in trying to merge the realm of Nirn with the prince’s plane of Oblivion, Coldharbour. Because of this, he frequently appears throughout the main questline as he taunts the player and tries to stop their attempts to end the planemeld.
Soul Shriven in Coldharbour
This quest is the first game if the player does not own the Morrowind, Summerset, Elsweyr, or Greymoor expansions. It sees Mannimarco sacrificing the player and sending them to the realm of Coldharbour to make Molag Bal more powerful.
Castle of the Worm
In this quest, the player rescues Abnur Tharn, a powerful wizard, from the clutches of Molag Bal. After Abnur Tharn is saved, he battles a projection of Mannimarco and ultimately defeats him to allow the player to escape the plane.
The Tharn Speaks
Mannimarco’s only appearance in this quest is as two projections informing the players about Kings’ Amulet.
Halls of Torment
In this quest, Mannimarco appears disguised as Abnur Tharn to torture Sai, one of the Five Companions.
Valley of Blades
Mannimarco again appears as an apparition in this quest to threaten the player with an army of resurrected Redguard heroes.
Shadow of Sancre Tor
The player is also subject to numerous conversations with a vision of Mannimarco as they travel through Sancre Tor.
God of Schemes
In this quest, Mannimarco is tied up in Coldharbour. The player is given the option to either set him free or leave him tortured and punished by Molag Bal for his planned betrayal.
Mannimarco also appears in numerous flashbacks throughout the Traitor’s Vault.
Unlike most big characters in The Elder, Scrolls Mannimarco does not have too many vital relationships, and the ones he does have are not very positive.
Mannimarco and Vanus Galerion were students together in the Psijic Order and grew very close during their time there. However, the two grew apart when Mannimarco began dabbling in the dark arts of necromancy against the warnings of Vanus. Once Mannimarco was expelled from the order, the two became bitter rivals, culminating in their ultimate battle that saw Vanus dying until Mannimarco raised him as a thrall years later as a final insult.
Molag Bal’s relationship with Mannimarco revolved entirely around the two working together to pull off the planemeld to pull Nirn into Coldharbour under Molag Bal’s rule. However, their partnership was anything but secure as Mannimarco planned on betraying him the entire time, ending in him being tortured by the Daedric Prince as punishment.
Question: Is Mannimarco in Oblivion the real Mannimarco?
Answer: Yes, the Mannimarco in Oblivion is the Mannimarco who failed to ascend to become a planet in one of the Dragon Break timelines in Daggerfall.
Question: Is Mannimarco a vampire?
Answer: No, Mannimarco is not a vampire. Instead, his long life is the result of his mastery over death through necromancy and becoming a lich.
Question: What royal line is Mannimarco from?
Answer: Although it has yet to be fully confirmed, it is widely thought that Mannimarco is a descendant of the Camoran Dynasty. This is because not only were they an empire of Altmer, but because they were largely wiped out, which could be why Mannimarco doesn’t seem to have any family when players interact with him.
Mannimarco Guide: Conclusion
Mannimarco is a very complicated and interesting character in the lore of The Elder Scrolls. His evil intentions and immense power make him a fascinating character for players to interact with throughout the series. It will be great to see how he pops up in the future of the series, especially for dedicated fans who keep up with his profound lore and impact on the events of Nirn throughout the years.