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What does "Filled Colossal Black Soul Gem" do?


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I've been wondering for a while what exactly this gem does and I haven't been able to find any definitive answers.


For context, during the final quest for the Mages Guild, Hannibal Traven kills himself and fills this gem with his soul in the process. He says that, "With this gem in your possession, you will be impervious to his attempts to enthrall you." Of course, it is entirely possible to head off to Echo Cave and confront Mannimarco without taking that gem. Presumably, something bad happens if you don't.


However, I can't find any evidence that this soul gem has any effect whatsoever on the quest. I opened the Construction Set and looked around. The soul gem itself (MG17MiscBlackSoulGemFilled) is just a miscellaneous item without any script attached. So it would only have an effect if something in the game checks if the player has it during the confrontation. I then opened the "Use Info" report for MG17MiscBlackSoulGemFilled and it reported that it is only used by two other references in the game:

  • The TestQAClutter container: A copy of this soul gem is inside this chest. The chest is only found in one of the testing cells and so is irrelevant.
  • The HannibalTravenScript: This script is attached to Hannibal Traven. The only thing related to this soul gem the script does is add a copy of it to Traven's inventory just before he kills himself.

Finally, I tried looking at Mannimarco himself to see if there is something there that would be affected by the gem. I found that when you approach him, he is scripted to cast the spell MG18MannimarcoImmobilize at you. If it hits, the spell disables the player's controls and Mannimarco starts talking to you. Once he is done talking, he then casts his Enthrall spell (MG18MannimarcoEnthrall) at you. The thing is that all the Enthrall spell does is re-enable the player's controls and triggers Mannimarco to fight you. There is absolutely nothing in that spell's script which takes the soul gem into account. I don't see anything on the Staff of Worms which would be affected by that gem if Mannimarco happens to try use it during the fight. None of the other spells he has are affected either; they are just ordinary spells that other NPCs can also have.


So as far as I'm concerned, there is no point whatsoever in grabbing that soul gem before you leave as it has no effect on the game at all. If anyone else has any insight or knows anything that I missed, please do say something.



On a side note, I also found and was amused by the fact that the Immobilize and Enthrall spells are both marked as hostile and don't have the "Disallow Spell Absorb/Reflect" checkbox ticked. This means that any amount of Spell Absorption, Reflect Spell or Resistance to Magicka has a chance of making those spells not work. The latest Unofficial Oblivion Patch also doesn't fix these oversights.

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The UESP Wiki page Oblivion:Confront the King has about all that I know of the quest and little about the Colossal Soul Gem (just covering what you have already uncovered).


Bethesda has a script that they themselves tend to follow ... it ends with an anti-climatic climax. Once again you find yourself the "head" of something meaningless (oh right ... the Dark Brotherhood ... you get to go listen to the old girl gripe about all the gripes she's had to endure ... very fulfilling and fitting task).

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The Elder Scrolls Fandom wiki says the following about that soul gem, "However, the presence of the Colossal Black Soul Gem in the Hero's possession negates this effect." Their page on Mannimarco says pretty much the same. However, my investigation above indicates that this is completely wrong.

I did see that others seem to have realised the same thing I did. Under the Bugs section for the UESP page, it says: "The Colossal Black Soul Gem given to you by Traven sometimes will not disappear or let you drop it after the quest is completed. Technically you don't need the gem. You can just leave it on Traven's corpse, ..."


This could be an interesting idea for a mod. Add some sort of consequence for not taking the gem.


As for the guild questlines, I think the biggest problem is that being at the head of an organisation inherently conflicts with the theme of the PC being a lone adventurer with flexible goals, common to TES games. Thus, the guild questlines are basically forced to end in ways that don't trample on this theme. As a result, the FG and MG end with you head of an organisation and then you immediately delegate all of your responsibilities to your second-in-command.

Same thing with the DB, though arguably the organisation's structure justifies the Listener's lack of responsibilities.

I feel that that TG has the best ending and aftermath of the 4 in this regard. I wouldn't regard it's ending as an anti-climax, being the Grey Fox is a leadership role that I think most closely matches the game's theme and the organisation itself isn't really an organisation that the lack of responsibilities is noticeable.

Can't remark on the script for any of the DLC as I have yet to play any of them.

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