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Mannfred Von Carstein is the leader of the powerful Von Carstein vampire family and a villain from the Warhammer tabletop wargame.
Rise to Power
Mannfred received the Blood Kiss from Vlad von Carstein, one of the most infamous vampires in history. This was apparently before Vlad became infamous after arriving in Sylvania and marrying Isabella. After Vlad’s demise, Mannfred held the strongest claim to his throne, but stayed in the background while the others who sought to take over battled each other. He eventually met John Skellan, who’d been turned into a vampire by one of Vlad’s minions and had been hunting the ones who’d killed his wife. Mannfred and Skellan journeyed around, feeding on maidens and spreading fear and chaos. Mannfred eventually wiped out the ruling family of Nuln in a single night of feeding and decided to move on to bigger and better things. He sent Skellan back to Sylvania as his agent, who sowed the intense paranoia that would consume Konrad Von Carstein, Mannfred’s brother. When Skellan asked Mannfred why he didn’t just turn on Konrad and seize power, he was nonchalant about it, just coldly telling Skellan that if he tried to seize power, he’d have to deal with Mannfred. The Von Carstein journeyed south to Khemri, where he spent his time studying one of the Books of Nagash, gleaning much dark lore from it. After Konrad died, Mannfred returned to Castle Drakenhof, the main stronghold of the Von Carsteins, aboard the infamous “Black Ship”. He quickly began rebuilding the power of Sylvania and the Von Carsteins. Later on, Skellan told Mannfred about a coven of Lahmian Vampires, whose leader, “The Eternal”, he approached and proposed an alliance between their bloodlines.
Invasion of the Empire
Mannfred proceeded to remain dormant for 10 years, letting the Empire believe that the threat from Sylvania had ended. He allowed the contenders for the throne fight amongst themselves until they fully started fighting each other. As the Empire was consumed by civil war, Mannfred decided to attack and marched his forces through the tunnels under the Empire, battling the Skaven he encountered. Mannfred’s campaign was highly successful since he’d chosen to attack in the middle of winter and thus the Imperial forces were in no position to challenge him. He destroyed three-hastily assembled armies and as opposed to Vlad, Mannfred showed no mercy to his enemies, so he could raise them all as undead to bolster his ranks. As time passed, just a rumor of his coming was enough to send villagers fleeing to die in the winter cold, preferring that to facing Mannfred’s undead. He eventually arrived at Altdorf, but found it empty of defenders and prepared to take the Imperial capital, which Vlad and Konrad had failed to do. However Kurt III, the Grand Theogonist, appeared and read the Great Spell of Unbinding, causing Mannfred’s undead horde to crumble to dust. Forced into a humiliating retreat, the vampire retreated to Marienberg so as to capture the port. However he was defeated by Marienburg’s army aided by a group of High Elf mages, whose magic was crucial in defeating Mannfred. Before he could launch a full siege, Mannfred’s spies told him an army from Altdorf was approaching fast, forcing him to give up and flee across the Empire. The once fractured Empire united against the common enemy they had in Mannfred and he spent a number of years in a cat-and-mouse game with the Imperial forces. Some battles would cost the vampire much of his forces, but his victories allowed him to replenish his army. But eventually Mannfred was forced back into Sylvania and to the marshes of Hel Fenn, where he was cornered by an alliance of Imperial and Dwarf forces. As he made his last stand, Mannfred was forced to face Prince Martin of Stirland, who’d been aided by a renegade vampire named Jerek, Vlad Von Carstein's killer. Mannfred was eventually slain by Martin and his body was never recovered, making it seem as if his reign of terror was over forever.
Return and Storm of Chaos
But after centuries, Mannfred was brought back thanks to Schtilmann, a minor necromancer. The necromancer didn’t even know what he’d wrought since it was his blood, which came from his death at the hands of Gotrek Gurnisson, a Dwarven slayer, falling on Mannfred’s body that resurrected him. Mannfred reclaimed his position as ruler of Sylvania, becoming a threat to the Empire once again. It was at the Battle of Sokh that Mannfred and his army showed themselves, after the Imperial army and the forces of Archaon had exhausted themselves battling. The vampire reanimated all the Imperial soldiers and Chaos Warriors that had fallen and his army easily drove the Imperials and Chaos forces into retreat. Mannfred pursed the Empire’s forces to Middenheim and surrounded the city, preparing to besiege it. With all his preparations complete, he called out to the emperor, Karl Franz, saying that as Vlad called out to Franz’s ancestor, he would do the same. If he surrendered the city, all would be spared and if they resisted, all would be slaughtered. After a silence, Volkmar the Grim emerged alone from the gates to Middenheim, advancing towards Mannfred, and was clearly not there to discuss surrender. Volkmar looked the vampire in the eye and with no trace of fear, said that almost five centuries before, a man like him killed a monster like Mannfred and it could be done again. This statement shattered the vampire’s confidence and made him pause for a moment, as he remembered all too well that it was Grand Theogonist Wilhelm who dragged Vlad Von Carstein off the walls of Altdorf to both their demises. With this memory and the fact that Vardek Crom’s forces were posing a serious threat to his holdings in Sylvania on his mind, Mannfred snarled at Volkmar and made his army retreat. It was this withdrawal that signaled the end of the battle over Middenheim and the war, though the fighting would go on for a few months afterwards. Mannfred wiped out Vardek Crom and his forces, but now his presence was known, meaning it was only a matter of time until the Empire united to stand against him yet again.
Mannfred is an extremely powerful vampire, possessing immortality and great knowledge in dark magic. He is knowledgeable in all spells in the Lore of Vampires and the Lore of Death, such as his skill at necromancy. Mannfred possesses the Sword of Unholy Power, which increases his dark magic powers and often rides a skeletal steed into battle.
- In older editions of the Vampire Counts rulebook, Mannfred cost 690 points to field and had a set of magical equipment, which could not be changed or added to. In newer editions, he costs 475 instead and can take arcane items of the player’s choice.