Dark Anchors, also known as Dolmens, are enormous inter-planar hooks sent to Tamriel by Molag Bal from his realm of Coldharbour. The hooks are immense magical constructs, designed to break the boundaries between Oblivion and Mundus; they hook into the ground and the great chains attempt to pull Nirn into Coldharbour. The Anchors are visible from large distances and they affect the environment around them, displacing local weather for a portion of Coldharbour's dark and violent weather.
Anchors can be found anywhere on Tamriel. Unlike the Alliance War, they are not confined to Cyrodiil. Dark Anchors pseudo-randomly spawn and are protected by Daedric and undead guardians. High-level players may be able to defeat the guardian single-handedly, but it is recommended to attack in groups. Each Anchor is different each time it spawns, with different enemies and bosses, perhaps including the rare generals if you are lucky.
Summoning the Dark Anchor
When a player approaches a dolmen, six Worm Cultists of various kinds will appear at the base of a dolmen and perform a ritual with a sacrifice. Dark Anchors in the same zone are set to spawn in a way that there will always be one new one within 10 seconds of the last one being destroyed. Once the ritual is complete, a Dark Anchor appears and hooks into the ground. If the player interrupts the ritual by attacking the cultists, the Anchor will be summoned early.
Once the Anchor is open, it will randomly suck up and kill some of the cultists below. New cultists will then spawn to replace them. Regardless, when all the cultists are defeated, only then will the Daedra and undead start spawning.
Defeating the Daedra
Four pinions will appear around the base of the anchor, and enemies will drop down from the sky. Enemies will do minor damage in the area where they land. When an enemy is defeated, its body disintegrates and its animus is captured within the nearest closed pinion. When the pinion is full, it opens. A nearby player can then interact with the pinion to destroy it. Having a low number of players at a dolmen reduces the number of enemies needed to open each pinion, while higher numbers increases it.
Whenever a pinion is destroyed, all players nearby will have their health, stamina and magicka restored to full. The process continues until the last pinion is destroyed. When that happens, all remaining Daedra and undead will immediately die.
The Final Wave
Molag Bal will then taunt you, and send some slightly stronger creatures to face you. Once they are defeated, Molag Bal taunts you again, and the final pinion opens, at the base of the anchor itself. Activating it will release the chains and destroy the Anchor. As the Anchor disappears, some Daedra will fall down and disintegrate on impact.
Dark Anchors are direct portals to Molag Bal's realm of Coldharbour, and thus the creatures that emerge are all Daedra and undead. These enemies come in various difficulties as listed below.
- Dark Seducers
- Cold Flame Atronachs
- Flesh Atronachs
- Various kinds of skeletons
- Various kinds of vampires, including bloodfiends
- Winged Twilights
- Various kinds of zombies, including Ra-Netu
Sometimes more powerful creatures can be seen emerging from Dark Anchors. The animi of these elite creatures are larger than those of normal creatures and will fill pinions twice as fast.
- Frost Atronachs
- Flesh Colossus
- Grievous Twilight
- Spider Daedra
- Storm Atronachs
- Xivkyn Banelord
- Xivkyn Cauterizer
- Xivkyn Chillfiend
- Xivkyn Dreadweaver
- Xivkyn Soulbrander
- Xivkyn Voidstalker
These enemies are only summoned during the final wave accompanied by other reinforcements. They can be challenging to kill alone.
- Draugr Deathlord
- Dread Bone Colossus
- Dread Clannfear
- Dread Daedroth
- Dread Flesh Atronach
- Dread Flesh Colossus
- Dread Frost Atronach
- Dread Grievous Twilight
- Dread Harvester
- Dread Lich
- Dread Ogrim
- Dread Storm Atronach
- Dread Watcher
- Dread Xivilai
- Dread Xivkyn Banelord
- Dread Xivkyn Cauterizer
- Dread Xivkyn Chillfiend
- Dread Xivkyn Dreadweaver
- Dread Xivkyn Soulbrander
- Dread Xivkyn Voidstalker
These rare enemies occasionally replace the normal boss wave enemies, and will grant an achievement when they are defeated. Each general has two unique introduction lines associated with it. Molag Bal will use either line when announcing their arrival. Generals also have a small chance of dropping unique loot.
|Generals||Molag Bal's Commentaries|
|Amkaos, Kathutet and Ranyu||Now you face my chosen soldiers. Kathutet, Amkaos, Ranyu! Destroy these worms!|
|Kathutet, Amkaos, Ranyu! Time to torture some mortals!|
|Anaxes and Medrike||The Xivilai make excellent torturers and guards. Let's test them against you.|
|Xivilai know no honor. Anaxes and Medrike will test their strength, not yours.|
|Dregas Volar||Lord of Magas Volar, Bearer of the Daedric Crescent, serve me and destroy the mortals!|
|From your sanctuary on Vvardenfell, I summon you, Lord Dregas Volar.|
|Dylora, Jansa and Vika||Loyalties are fickle among the Dark Seducers. Face now the least loyal but most deadly.|
|The Seducers are known for their subtlety, but I find they have many strengths.|
|Fangaril, King Styriche and Zayzahad||From deep beneath Cyrodiil, I summon Fangaril! Consume them, each one!|
|Your flesh is nothing but mort meat to Fangaril.|
|Gedna Relvel||From deep beneath Morrowind, I summon the lich Gedna Relvel!|
|Let's see if you can withstand the might of Gedna Relvel, crimson witch of Mournhold.|
|Glut, Hogshead and Stumble||Amusing. Let's see how you fare against these Ogrim.|
|Think you're strong? Have some Ogrim! Three of them!|
|Hrelvesuu||Deep in dark Nchurdamz, I found Hrelvesuu. Come forth and destroy!|
|Some of my pets are fascinated by the toys of mortals. Hrelvesuu, show them!|
|Menta Na||You will now be a gift to my most favoured pet, Menta Na.|
|The daedroth Menta Na has served me well. He will destroy you.|
|Methats, Sumeer and Vonshala||Most Dremora serve Dagon, but these serve me.|
|The Dremora know no fear, and admit no defeat.|
|Nomeg Haga||Forged from ice at the heart of Coldharbour, Nomeg Haga will destroy you.|
|Now you face my personal slave. Nomeg Haga, come forth and stop these worms!|
|Ozzozachar||My son, my child! Ozzozachar, destroy them!|
|Ozzozachar, my son! I summon you from the skies!|
|Rhagothan||You've done well. Now it ends. Come, Rhagothan! Feast!|
|A mortal for you to feast upon, Rhagothan. You may feed now.|
|Velehk||Blood on the water, Velehk this way comes. Your doom is upon you.|
|He'll tear you open and eat your heart raw. His eyes gleam red, his heart will never thaw.|
|Yggmanei||Some prefer knowledge to strength. Yggmanei gives me both.|
|For your final test, meet Yggmanei. Even the Lord of Domination needs spies.|
|Zymel Hriz||Can you withstand Zymel Hriz, an atronach of lightning and rock?|
|Most atronachs are weak. Some are strong. Zymel Hriz, I summon you!|
Dark Anchors Dialogue
When a Dark Anchor is about to be activated, a group of Worm Cultists will appear and they will start the sacrificial rite. There are a few variations of the ritual:
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Summon the blood sacrifice."
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Let Coldharbour remake Nirn in its own image!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Lord of Domination and Brutality, we sacrifice this innocent in your name!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Through the spilled blood of an innocent, we call forth your anchor to join our worlds!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "We submit to your will and call forth the chains of Coldharbour!"
- <The ritual is completed and chains connect to the dolmen.>>
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Bring forth the blood offering."
- Worm Cult Battlemage: "When Coldharbour calls, Nirn obeys!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "God of Schemes, we offer this victim to honor you!"
- Worm Cult Battlemage: "Through the spilled blood of an innocent, we call forth your anchor to join our worlds!"
- Worm Cult Pyromancer: "Bind this world with your chains! Draw it ever closer to your realm!"
- <The ritual is completed and chains connect to the dolmen.>
Dark Anchor Start
- "My minions will gnaw the flesh from your corpse!"
- "I will dominate this world, and all others in time. The strong should always command the weak."
- "The end of Nirn is at hand. Come forth and destroy!"
- "Destroy the body, and the animus is cast into the darkness. But the animus returns."
- "Wretched things, mortals. May a storm wash you into Coldharbour."
- "Your death will mean nothing to me. You are but a minor distraction."
- "Your pathetic attempts to save this world amuse me."
- "When oath-bonds are weak, there is pain, and shame, and darkness."
- "You must bow to me or die. Minions, destroy them!"
- "They serve by choice. They serve the strong. They serve me."
- "While the prey was distracted, the predator prepared to strike."
- "Puny mortals, you think you've won? Come, my slaves! Destroy them!"
- "Yes. Sacrifice those servants in my name. Let's give you something worthy to sacrifice!"
- "You do not yet know fear? I shall make you afraid!"
- "You've only destroyed my whelps. These minions will not be so easily defeated!"
- "You think this is over, wretch? Tell yourself another lie."
- "Wretches! All my servants are wretches! Perhaps these will do the job!"
- "You have killed many. But I have killed more. Fool, you are outclassed."
- "Drink in your victory. It won't last long."
Dark Anchor Destroyed
- "I am patient. But not that patient, fool."
- "I admire your tenacity, mortals."
- "Like all worldly things, you will in time wear and be used up."
- "I don't want revenge. I want your submission."
- "This will not finish me!"
- "Pointless. Ten anchors drop for each that is destroyed!"
- "The skins of those you love will fly as my banners."
- "I will ensure no tales are told of your valor."
- "You've done nothing, mortal."
- "Wretched mortals. Worms."