Villain Dossier: Mannimarco

Mannimarco in DaggerfallI’m happy to present another entry in our continuing series of guest editorials covering various aspects of The Elder Scrolls Online. This submission, from community member Potentate, delves into the shadowed past of Mannimarco, King of Worms. ESO will mark the iconic villain’s third appearance in the franchise, and he plays a crucial role in Molag Bal’s plot to enslave Nirn.

In this article I will be talking about the infamous Altmer Lich, Mannimarco, who first made his appearance in Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall as the King of The Necromancers. Mannimarco reprised this role 27 years later in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as the now-undead leader of the Order of the Black Worm. Elder Scrolls Online marks his third appearance in the TES series, where he serves as the right hand man of Molag Bal, assisting the Daedric Prince in his attempts to subjugate Nirn.

Life in the Order

Mannimarco, King of WormsBefore Mannimarco became the King of Worms, he was born and lived on the island of Artaeum which is located in the Summerset Isles. Artaeum is home to the Psijic Order, one of the oldest groups of arcane scholars in Tamriel. The island also features the famous Ceporah Tower, a landmark which predates even the arrival of the Altmer on Summerset Isle.

Details regarding Mannimarco’s childhood are largely unknown, but we can likely assume that he enjoyed a good life style, given the accounts of his remarkable intelligence. His great intellect allowed him to gained entry to the Psijic Order, where he later became a well-respected member. It was during this time as a student of the Psijics that Mannimarco first met Vanus Galerion.

In time Mannimarco and Vanus became good friends and contemporaries as two of the most brilliant young members of the Order. The direction of their studies diverged, however, with Mannimarco developing a fascination for necromancy, and its potential to control death. Over time, Mannimarco developed a new kind of magic, capable of manipulating the souls of both the living and the dead. When Vanus discovered the dark nature of Mannimarco’s studies, he confronted his friend at the Ceporah Tower. Vanus warned Mannimarco that he was following a dark path and should cease his macabre pursuits. Mannimarco dismissed Galerion’s warnings and ignored them as he continued to crave power and control.

The day came when Mannimarco was sent forth from Artaeum by the Psijic Order to carry out a task. It is unknown if the task was real or simply a pretext for banishing him without anyone discovering his dark deeds. Vanus did not approve, because he knew that the Psijics where trying to cover up Mannimarco’s inquests. Vanus believed that Necromancy should be openly condemned, and out of anger at the Psijic’s inaction, he too departed for the continent where he founded the Mages Guild. In the meantime, Mannimarco, too, formed a guild of mages, this one dedicated towards the refinement of the necromantic arts.

The dead rise...

The Coronation of a Worm

During the years Mannimarco spent in Tamriel, he grew in strength. Both in his own capability, and the zealous dedication of his quickly growing cult. In time, he perfected his dark and profane power, successfully becoming the first lich in recorded history. The transformation from mortal to lich it is said to have turned Mannimarco into a moving corpse, his blood replaced by acid, possessing the iron strength of necrotic flesh.

Mannimarco Oblivion DialogueVanus Galerion had formed the Mages Guild with the core purpose of centralizing magic and shielding it away from scattered sects that would not regulate its use. A concurrent purpose of the Mages Guild was to afford the public the ability to purchase magical items like potions and spell tomes. Despite its noble vision, ultimately Vanus grew to loathe the order which he had founded. He decided to depart and pursue his former friend, Mannimarco, calling the Mages Guild a morass and proclaiming how much he hated his once noble order.

In the end, destiny brought the two together, each with their own army of one thousands soldiers atop of a cursed mountain. Mannimarco backed by his cult of necromancers, while Vanus had rallied an army of mages behind the shared threat that the Worm Cult posed to Tamriel. Legend tells that Vanus shouted to Mannimarco, “Worm King, surrender your artifacts and their power to me and you shall live as befits the dead.” Then the hollow laugh of Mannimarco answered: “You die first.” The two armies clashed both locked in arcane struggle. It is said that lightning and frost clashed around them encasing a deadly battle ground. Before the closing moments of the battle, Vanus laid eyes on Mannimarco, perceiving his new form as a lich. Mannimarco’s twisted transformation had granted him near immortality. In the end, the necromancers were no match for the relentless lighting attacks of Vanus’s seasoned battle mages.

As for Vanus Galerion, he gave his life during the battle in a heroic stand that crushed the necromancer’s resistance. He and his army won the day and the legacy of Vanus Galerion would live on as the founder of the Mages Guild, and a great protector of Tamriel. Mannimarco, who now called himself the King of Worms, mysteriously disappeared during the closing stages of the battle, faking his own death. This deception would allow him time to rebuild and infiltrate Tamriel once again, while the Mage Guild celebrated and prospered until his return.

Daedric Titans

The Elder Scrolls Online

In The Elder Scrolls Online, Mannimarco has formed a pact with the Tharn family, the current Imperial rulers in Cyrodiil. The Tharns, and the empire itself, are weak, so they sought the aid of Mannimarco to strengthen their feeble position. The pact entails that Mannimarco use his dark powers to resurrect the fallen Imperial forces, in exchange he is given a position of great power in the Imperial City. In addition to his agreement with the Tharns, Mannimarco has a more sinister directive. He is operating as the direct agent of Molag Bal, assisting the Daedric Lord in exchange for the promise of even greater power. Molag Bal often sends Mannimarco forth from Cyrodiil to orchestrate his plans for aligning Nirn ever closer with Coldharbour.

The King of Worms and the Lord of Domination

Molag Bal's Dark AnchorDespite Mannimarco’s evident willingness to assist with Molag Bal’s scheme, it seems somewhat against his character. We know from evidence throughout Mannimarco’s life that he is highly intelligent, selfishly motivated, and easily capable of manipulating others. So why is he helping Molag Bal?

Molag Bal is the Daedric Prince of domination and enslavement, so in the end it is the Daedric Prince’s nature to exploit and betray people. Won’t Mannimarco expect to be similarly discarded once he has served his purpose? In Morrowind, Molag Bal commands the Nerevarine to kill his daughter and her lover so he can punish them for eternity. We must also consider the mythology and nature of the Daughters of Coldharbour. So, once again, why would the King of Worms help him?

Power seems to be the most immediate justification. Mannimarco explains during his confrontation with the hero in TES4: Oblivion, “power my dear friend, I seek power, and so I acquire and study those who have some degree of it”. This sentence clarifies that Mannimarco uses people for what they know about magic, then when there is nothing left to study, he eradicates them. Another possibility is that Molag Bal could grant Mannimarco the power to became a god. Both men and mer can be granted godlike powers, as in the cases of Tiber Septim and Malacath. While this is mere speculation, it could make a good plot twist if Mannimarco does ultimately turn the tables on Molag Bal. More likely is that defeating Mannimarco will be a crucial step in the main quest to prevent Molag Bal’s domination of Nirn.

I’d like to echo a big thanks to Potentate for his thorough and rich analysis of one of the principal villains of Elder Scrolls Online. Let us know what you think about the role Mannimarco plays in Molag Bal’s plans, think he will try to betray the Daedric Prince for his own gain, or is he a willing participant in the Lord of Domination’s scheme? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below!

76 responses to “Villain Dossier: Mannimarco”

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    Total Posts: 537

    Bosmer Nightblade


    Very good article.  Nice getting to know some of the back story to the characters we will be seeing soon.  Makes me want to go back and read some more of the in-game books from TES.

    We will endure. We are Legion.
    Triumviri of Tarvenveign

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    Total Posts: 453

    Dunmer Sorcerer

    Great House Hlaalu

    Triminac was not an Aldmer. Triminac was an et’ada, an original spirit.

    Same thing as Lorkhan, Akatosh, Tsun, ect.


    You might also considering adding to the article that Mannimarco became the GOD of Worms after the events of Daggerfall. He became a moon. It is through this moon that Black Soul gems are created.

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    Total Posts: 84

    Altmer Sorcerer

    Amazing artical! Wonderful word play! And astounding knowledge base!!

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    Total Posts: 145

    Nord Templar

    Knights of the Nine Order

    Great article. Now this guy seems allot more interesting, I like to see more articles about the other leaders of the factions as well if that didnt already happen


    in War, Victory. In Peace, Vigilance. In Death, Sacrifice.

    || It started with blood, it will end the same way.||

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    Total Posts: 47


    I’m ashamed to say that I don’t really know who or what the Ideal Masters are, so I’m going to check this !

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    Total Posts: 191

    Altmer Nightblade

    He did become God of Worms but only for a short time also it’s not stated that black soul gems are created by the Necromancer’s moon. Lastly that’s talking about his future after Elder Scrolls Online which is something I felt should be left out.

    House Tallsummers

    “Glory in Power and Power in Height”

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    Total Posts: 453

    Dunmer Sorcerer

    Great House Hlaalu


    But you mentioned him in Oblivion, no?

    And the Necromancer’s Moon is Mannimarco. He’s still the god of worms.

    The Dragonbreak at the end of Daggerfall made it so all endings happened simultaneously. So Mannimarco both became the god of worms and he didn’t. Alternative time lines coexist. Thats why he is the moon but also some annoying Altmer mage in Oblivion.

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    Total Posts: 191

    Altmer Nightblade

    True but that was just one line, if I talked about other things like the quest that would be spoiler to people who have not played the game yet.

    All the endings did happen but it is said that Arkay or Akatosh took away his god-hood powers. Though there a book which says that he is now the Necromancer’s Moon. It is just speculation.


    House Tallsummers

    “Glory in Power and Power in Height”

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    Thurl Mons Tenebram


    Total Posts: 10


    Loved it! I wonder if we’ll get to see much of Galerion in ESO.

    ”Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” -Gandhi

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    Total Posts: 74


    Truly a quality article. If I may inject my opinion, Mannimarco may have wanted to study Molag Bal’s power, but no one leaves an alliance or pact with the Daedric Prince of domination. Mannimarco, as powerful as he is, might not have any choice but to serve Molag Bal.

    By the pricking of my thumbs,

    Something wicked this way comes!

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    Total Posts: 276

    Bosmer Sorcerer

    Congratz on being featured in ESO website!:)

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    Total Posts: 32

    Altmer Sorcerer


    Awesome article!


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    Total Posts: 40

    Imperial Sorcerer

    Wayrest’s Finest

    Isn’t there a possibility that we will get even another experience of Mannimarco than what is said in this article? A possibility (and not necessarily a probablity) is that Mannimarco will be one of the lead bosses of a raid in the game AND in prelude to the battle will reveal his true plan of betraying Molag Bal? That would both suit his own lore aswell as contribute to some good gameplay.

    And if I might wish, perhaps the battle with this powerfull necromancer will involve him summoning his dead and powerfull friend, who gave his live in battle, Vanus Galerion? As Potentate wrote in the article, Mannimarco disapeared mysteriously during the closing stages of the battle, and perhaps he took his old friend with him.

    Thanks alot for the article, very good reading!

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    Umaril the Unfeathered


    Total Posts: 3414

    Altmer Sorcerer

    WOO!!! This article got featured on the ESO main website!

    Cheers to @Potentate!

    *Formerly known by the username ”GarlasMalatar”*

    ”What is better? To be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?”Paarthurnax

    ”Shanta, ehlno.  Tyavoy balangua!” ~ Umaril the Unfeathered

    ”Welcome, Nerevar. Together we shall speak for the Law and the Land and shall drive the mongrel dogs of the Empire from Morrowind.” ~ Dagoth Ur

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    Total Posts: 191

    Altmer Nightblade

    Well am over the moon now. :D Thank you ZeniMax Online and thank you Atropos for giving me the chance to write this article.

    Also Thank you everyone for the comments! They have been a joy to read.

    House Tallsummers

    “Glory in Power and Power in Height”

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    Total Posts: 98


    This guy sounds like a legit bad ass I’m actually worried if we have to fight this guy.

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    Total Posts: 10


    This was an exciting read, well done!

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    Total Posts: 390

    Imperial Nightblade

    fantastic read this reminds me of when i met him in oblivion good times you have given me yet another reason to replay oblivion pvp storyline and the lore thanks

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    Total Posts: 37


    I Actually went to The Elder Scrolls Online to see if anything new was up. There i found a link back to this article. That gives me a sense pride to be apart of a community that is recognized by Zenimax

    *Props to Potentate on the Article*

  20. Profile Photo


    Total Posts: 21


    I wipe my lower checks with Mannimarco’s severed head that treacherous elf consorts with the likes of Molag Bal.

    Beware mortals, the time of my awakening draws near. I will consume all in my path, none can stop me. I am the champion of old, the destroyer of any. I am the conqueror of all and no one dare speak my name for fear of what i have become. Orc will scream in terror and trample each other trying to run away, elf will burst into flames and turn into dust blowing in the wind at my very sight. Every race will piss them selves when they whisper of my coming… and it is near!!!

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