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Xorvintaal, sometimes referred to as The Great Game or just The Game, was a game dragons used as a proxy for open warfare.[1]

RulesEdit

Dragons who played xorvintaal were called taaldarax. A dragon's head servant was known as his or her lovac, and his or her other servants were known as dokaal.[2] Xorvintaal was like a chess game, as players had to defeat their opponents with strategy instead of combat.[3] Dragons who played xorvintaal took great pains to not be discovered by others, as well.[4]

There were hundreds of rules, called Precepts.[1] Brimstone said that to read the entire codex of rules would take a few years,[5] and even Alasklerbanbastos admitted he didn't fully understand all the rules.[1] The rules were so complicated that it was rare for the less intelligent races of dragons, such as the whites, to play the game.[6]

The most important rule was that "to gain, first you must lose"; thus all taaldarax lost what magic they had in order to play the game.[2] Another rule forbade players from acting against each other directly; instead they must use their servants against their opponents.[3][7] The rules did not forbid combat in all circumstances, however; if a challenge for combat was issued and both players agreed, the taaldarax could battle one another, and their servants were bound to fight as well.[1][8]

Points were scored based on conquest or by killing key opponents, although players also scored points by showing great skills of subterfuge, daring or renown.[9] Points scored in the game were used to determine the pecking order of dragons.[1]

The rules of xorvintaal were so difficult, that humans were unable to understand them.[10] The knowledge humans had from the xorvintaal was usually contradictory and not even close to the actual rules of the game. At least one book, A History of Draconic Interactions, made the xorvintaal look as if was a game of dragons trying to outwit their rivals and kill each other, and that the governments of many nations, the priesthoods of many gods, and even shadowy organizations were all involved somehow with the taaldaraxi. According to Clytemorrenestrix, the book not only was wrong about the rules, but it actually made the game look illogical, at least from the perspective of dragons.[11]

HistoryEdit

During the Time of Dragons, wyrms of the age feared that if dragons continued battling each other, as they had since their race was born, they would eventually face extinction. In time, they came up with a solution: Instead of battling each other, dominance among them would be established by status. To determine this, they developed the xorvintaal. After the first Rage of Dragons, however, dragons lost knowledge of the game.[1]

The vampiric smoke drake Brimstone claimed that he rediscovered the game's rules in the ruins where Sammaster was killed after the last Rage of Dragons, in 1373 DR.[12] However, according to Clytemorrenestrix, her grandsire, Chendarixanath, had been a player of xorvintaal since she was a wyrmling, what means that the secrets of the game were known at least by a few dragons before 1373 DR.[11] Nevertheless, for most dragons xorvintaal was just a myth even after Brimstone made public the rules.[4]

Brimstone brought the rules of xorvintaal to Dracowyr in Murghôm in 1479 DR, convincing many chromatic dragons and a few gem and metallic dragons to participate.[12] Brimstone set himself up as the referee and scorekeeper. Brimstone's xorvintaal was dedicated to the goddess Tiamat.[13] To ensure the dragons would play, Brimstone bound them with a powerful spell, although the participants were unaware of this.[14]

The ultimate goals of Brimstone's xorvintaal were to determine who became the emperor of dragonkind and to dominate all the nations in the Alamber Sea vicinity.[1] If they succeeded, the dragons would use the game to conquer all Faerûn and usher in a new Time of Dragons.[15] Tymanther, due to its hatred of dragons, was considered the most dangerous nation in the game, and many players aimed to either subjugate or destroy it in order to quickly rack up massive amounts of points.[1]

After the Battle of Luthcheq, Tchazzar's death and Alasklerbanbastos' destruction, the leaders of the Brotherhood of the Griffon, as well as several dragon princes of Murghôm and dragonborn knights from Tymanther, traveled to Dracowyr to confront Brimstone and forced him to cancel the magic that bound wyrms to the game. Brimstone claimed that the game was just a ruse to allow him to eliminate the most powerful dragons around the Sea of Fallen Stars.[16]

That same year, the green dragon Andareunarthex was playing its own xorvintaal game in Waterdeep,[4] whose final goal was to destroy the city,[17] but his schemes were stopped by the former-blue dragon Clytemorrenestrix and her companion Tennora Hedare.[18]

Notable playersEdit

AppendixEdit

BackgroundEdit

The concept of xorvintaal was first introduced in Monster Manual V, and was later adapted to the Forgotten Realms by Erin M. Evans.[19]

AppearancesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Richard Lee Byers (June 7th, 2011). The Spectral Blaze. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 15–19. ISBN 0786957980.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Erin Evans (February 2010). The God Catcher. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7869-5486-5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Erin Evans (February 2010). The God Catcher. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 166. ISBN 978-0-7869-5486-5.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Erin Evans (February 2010). The God Catcher. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 148. ISBN 978-0-7869-5486-5.
  5. Richard Lee Byers (2010). Whisper of Venom. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 0786955619.
  6. Erin Evans (February 2010). The God Catcher. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 135. ISBN 978-0-7869-5486-5.
  7. Erin Evans (February 2010). The God Catcher. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 167. ISBN 978-0-7869-5486-5.
  8. Richard Lee Byers (2010). Whisper of Venom. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 247. ISBN 0786955619.
  9. Richard Lee Byers (2010). Whisper of Venom. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 221–222. ISBN 0786955619.
  10. Erin Evans (February 2010). The God Catcher. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 81. ISBN 978-0-7869-5486-5.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Erin Evans (February 2010). The God Catcher. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-0-7869-5486-5.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Richard Lee Byers (May 2010). The Captive Flame. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 194. ISBN 0786953969.
  13. Richard Lee Byers (2010). Whisper of Venom. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 17. ISBN 0786955619.
  14. Richard Lee Byers (June 7th, 2011). The Spectral Blaze. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 193–194. ISBN 0786957980.
  15. Richard Lee Byers (June 7th, 2011). The Spectral Blaze. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 163. ISBN 0786957980.
  16. Richard Lee Byers (June 7th, 2011). The Spectral Blaze. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 324–326. ISBN 0786957980.
  17. Erin Evans (February 2010). The God Catcher. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 224. ISBN 978-0-7869-5486-5.
  18. Erin Evans (February 2010). The God Catcher. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 237–244. ISBN 978-0-7869-5486-5.
  19. Erin M. Evans (September 24th, 2017). Questions for Erin M Evans. Retrieved on November 17th, 2017.