The Third Word War Military Conflict in Game of Tomes | World Anvil

The Third Word War

The Game of Tomes is a writing game in which writers pick a team to support (a House) and compete against the other Houses through their total cumulative word counts. Each "elimination period" in November (once every five days when six Major Houses play) the House with the least word count is eliminated from the competition. One third of the eliminated House is randomly recruited by the Undead Horde, by being chosen on the Wheel of Misfortune, and must write for the Horde for the rest of the competition. The surviving two thirds choose a new House to support, and commonly, the Tome Knights (players) choose to follow their House Leader. We then write a story in our ongoing universe Lore that makes these results make sense. Consider it an MMORPG where the dice are replaced by word count scores, and the Lore of the game is like the relationship of The Legend of Vox Machina to Critical Role.
The Third Word War, also known as Word War 3 (WW3), was the third in the series of conflicts known as The Word Wars or The Tome Wars. It took place in the month of November of 2022. This conflict saw a significant escalation in the Word Wars in terms of the number of troops involved, and the tactics of modern warfare. Rather than being fought mostly by small units of Tome Knights, and a handful of military support troops, against disorganized mobs of undead, it was fought by Tome Knights working with and commanding full-scale armies, against organized zombie shock troops, who used military equipment and often were converted from dead soldiers. It also saw a number of natural (or supernatural) disasters that resulted in changes to geography, the death or unexplained disappearance of 4% of the world's population, and a shift in climate as a result of a meteor strike.

The Conflict


After a mysterious figure known as the Night Monarch appeared in November of 2020 and November 2021, raising an army of undead in attempt to take over the world by seizing the artifact known as The Iron Tome, many of the Literomancers who had sworn to protect the Realm from supernatural threats (Tome Knights) expected this might occur again in 2022. While some were content to chalk it up to isolated incidents, others (among them Queen Sable Aradia, King Darth Nikolas, Panda Polemarch Senna Nightshade, and Erin Righ believed that a new supernatural pattern, a curse of sorts, had become a condition of human existence, and they made preparations for the event. In particular, Queen Sable, the Mother of Bunnies, received significant political criticism for the incredible amount of money and effort she spent securing The Warren with wards and modern military defenses, building public bunkers, and arming her citizens. While, as a result, the world was better prepared than it had been for either of the two previous Word Wars, the The Undead Horde were also better prepared.   Sauropodan House Librarian ECC Books, and Lord Galakrond of House Meles, both began to feel the dark side pull of the Iron Tome over the course of the year. Neither chose to share this, for perhaps obvious reasons, but other Tome Knights noticed anyway. King RPGDinosaurBob warned the other House Leaders that ECC was acting strangely. Galakrond's ensuing corruption, however, was noticed, but chalked up to other factors.


Since each of the Literomantic Great Houses are sworn to guard their Protectorates, deployment was largely defensive on the part of the living troops, the objective being to defend significant military and industrial targets, and the civilian population. Roughly 10% of each Protectorate's population mobilized. Troops included literomancers and non-literomancers; humans, Werebeasts, and other non-humans.   The Undead deployed in an unusual manner. Since both ECC Books and Lord Galakrond were touching the Iron Tome as the clock struck midnight on the First of November in the timezone they were in, both of them were granted the powers of a Night Monarch.   This led to the extremely rapid spread of the Undead Horde, both in terms of converted Tome Knights, and in the numbers of teaming zombie masses that made up the bulk of their troops. Further, Lord Galakrond's necromantic studies allowed him to give some of his zombies access to skills they had in life, including the trained ability to use military equipment, if they had been trained soldiers. This made them a more organized, and arguably more dangerous, fighting force.   However, with two independent Night Monarchs, two separate Hordes developed, even though the two did attempt to work together. Each Horde had different powers from the other Horde, and especially among the Tome Zombies (converted literomancers), who had brought a given person into the Horde had a significant effect on what they could do as an Undead, and more importantly, where their magically-compelled loyalty was focused. This caused obvious problems in deployment and the chain of command, and was a signficant factor in the ultimate outcome.  
I mean, you saw the Fall of the Warren, same as I did. People were running at the zombies with bottles of ketchup and they just got eaten. And the ketchup got eaten too! It seems to me the ketchup thing was a giant red herring — ah, no offense to any Molluscans that may be watching this.
— Erin Righ on a live broadcast of SWW News
Yeah, that's what I thought, too, but eyewitness reports show that people who threw ketchup at the zombies were able to repel them, at least temporarily. However, if I recall correctly, it was GalaWight and his legion of undead that attacked the Warren, while ICC DeadPeople and his Horde attacked Aldergrove. Perhaps it depends on which Night Monarch turned the undead, how effective ketchup is against them?
— Buddha Kwake, in reply to Erin Righ


Sites of significant battles during the war included Windy Willows "The Den" (Montana, Meles Protectorate), The Cavern (near Sydney, Australia, Chiroptera Protectorate), The Warren (BC, Lapin Protectorate), The Zafforza Trench (South Pacific, Mollusca Protectorate, what are now known as The Great Crater and Aldergrove Craters (Oregon, present day Ailurus Protectorate, and BC, Lapin Protectorate, respectively,) and Mount Mitchell, NC, Sauropoda Protectorate.)


As always with the Word Wars, the war was fought in the month of November, leading to cold conditions in the Northern Hemisphere, and hot, summer conditions in the Southern Hemisphere. Logistics were also a real concern for the living, since they require food, water, and sleep, and the dead do not. And of course, when fighting zombies, dead soldiers among the living mean reinforcements for the enemy.

The Engagement

Once the Iron Tome had been stolen from House Lapin by Lord GalaWight, the living knew that war had come again. They launched the opening salvo of the war through what became known as The 50K Offensive, a risky literomantic ritual designed to maximize the effective Literomantic Power of the so-called "Power Writers," Tome Knights capable of producing large amounts of magical power, when they were fresh and before the Undead had amassed a large number of troops. The Undead worked against the Tome Knights by using magic to drain and thwart their efforts, but in general, the ritual was highly successful. There were, however, a few casualties who failed to generated the required NaNo (or Toam) of Werds in literomantic power, including Prince Jean of House Lapin, who was subsequently marked by the curse of a necromantic vulnerability that made it easier for the Horde to recruit him later.   The Night Monarchs began by amassing a teeming Horde of undead forces, and moving against House Meles on November 6, 2022. In the Second Battle of Windy Willows , House Meles was quickly overrun. Lord GalaWight, formerly the Crown Prince of Meles, Galakrond, seemed to take a personal interest throughout the war in trying to recruit his family. The survivors escaped to The Warren, but among the literomancers, Meles lost Brocktree Purpleheart and Prinx Xantos Meles.   Small skirmishes continued in the Meles Protectorate, but the next major target of the Horde was House Chiroptera. In The Battle of Sydney Cavern on November 11, 2022, House Chiroptera and House Ailurus, who were supporting them, took heavy losses. It is worth noting that a documentary about the experience of House Ailurus in the fight, Dreamfall, went viral, as it told the story of Archon Mykola Lapin-Void's first manifestation of her Void teleportation powers, the wounding of Feral Foxx in their defense of the Archon, and the noble sacrifice of Panda Polemarch Senna Nightshade that protected the all-important Ailurus Storehouses, essential strongholds of life-saving supplies, in a literomantically-binding deal she made with ICC DeadPeople (which also distracted the Horde long enough for her sister the Archon to escape.) Both Feral Foxx and the Polemarch later received Lapin Stars of Valour for their actions. Prince Jean was also killed in this battle.   The largest numbers of casualties for the living, however, came by far from the strike against House Lapin, which are now known as The Battle of Kin Beach and The Battle of Aldergrove, on November 15 and 16, 2022. Having now amassed large numbers of teeming undead, the Horde divided its forces and hit them with a two-pronged attack.   Lord GalaWight led the assault against the Warren, while the Night King ICC DeadPeople attacked Lapin's Transcontinental Portal in Aldergrove, BC. The rapidity and size of the Warren assault, and the intelligence of their tactics as they made use of necromantically-enhanced dead Lapin soldiers, overwhelmed Lapin's forces. Further, the Meles children were returning to the Warren from a field trip, and their helicopter was shot down over Kin Beach, in the shallow water of Okanagan Lake, requiring a rescue mission.   The youngest daughter of the Meles royal family, and also Queen Sable's youngest daughter, Princess Monkey Meles, was killed in the rescue attempt by the corpse of her sibling, Xantos. Queen Sable reacted in a magical explosion that people have since called a Turn Undead effect on a massive scale. The blast completely incinerated most of the regular zombies, wounded or repelled the Tome Zombies, and even repelled Lord GalaWight long enough for the survivors of Lapin, Meles, and Ailurus to escape. Queen Sable was severely wounded with Magic Drain, and had to be carried from the field, unconscious.   Lapin and the Woodland Family Alliance fled to the Transcontinental Portal at Aldergrove, which was under attack from ICC DeadPeople's forces. Leading the defensive forces was Feral Barbarossa the Wayfinder and the Houndstooth Company, who were forced to blow the Literomantic Batteries that powered the portal, giving the Woodlanders a limited amount of time to escape.   House Sauropoda came to their aid, and as the fighting became desperate and furious, even the Raptor Squad and Good King Bob himself took their field to defend them in the retreat. Feral Foxx fell to the Horde in the fighting. With zombie forces rapidly overwhelming both the local citizens and the Tome Knights, the Dino King called down a magical Meteor Swarm on Aldergrove. The strike turned Aldergrove into four large craters and a blasted wasteland, killed thousands of military personnel and civilians, and caused a nuclear winter effect for three days due to the immense amount of atmospheric dust. The world average mean temperature dropped by two degrees for a little over a year, and growing seasons were considerably shortened, threatening to cause famine.   The Woodlanders fled to the Sauropoda Protectorate to offer them the support of their survivors in fighting the Horde for the remainder of the war.   A documentary about these two battles, How the Rabbit Runs, cobbled together from military audio recordings, also went viral, and changed the public opinion of literomancers as the population were moved to empathy for their suffering and struggles.   While they were recuperating, the Undead Horde launched an assault on House Mollusca on November 16, 2022, in the Battle of Zafforza Caverns. They were also devastated by the attack. Not expecting for their underwater stronghold to be breeched, the Molluscans were also forced to flee to the Sauropoda Protectorate. Losses were catastrophic among the literomancers, including Chiropteran Queen-in-Exile TaraFaeBelle, Inkies JaySeaBoom, The Siren of Hope Reef, Tal ElementEds, and the Cosmic Kraken Coffee Quills themself. Coffee Quills was not able to be resurrected after the war, and Scion Striker, who had been granted a measure of the powers of a Cosmic Kraken, assumed the succession.   Evidence exists that there was another major battle on November 24, 2022, but the details remain lost to history. It seems that there may have been another House, and this was the target of the assault of the Undead on that date, but all traces of The Missing House seem to have been removed from existence. Footage exists of people talking to people that are blurred out or invisible, names are missing from documents as if never written, and the few scattered survivors, known as The Castaways, don't remember significant periods of their lives that would shed light on the mystery. What is known is that an entire House and city simply disappeared from the earth, leaving holes in history and a Great Crater, as if part of the earth had simply been scooped up and taken away. This conflict has since become known simply as The Nameless Battle, since no one can recall what might have given it a name.   With the last of the living forces supporting House Sauropoda, the final battle of the conflict, the Battle of Mount Mitchell, took place from November 30, 2022, to December 2, 2022. The largest armies of dead and living ever seen in the Word Wars clashed near the Sauropodan Mt. Mitchell stronghold in North Carolina, and the entire battle was televised live through an audio feed, and spotty drone footage, by the OneWorld News Network.   In the end, Lord GalaWight was resurrected by Queen Sable, Prinx Tempest Kwake, and Duke Buddha Kwake partway through the battle, causing massive confusion among the Undead Horde, whose numbers were already considerably reduced from the assaults on Lapin. Good King Bob acquired the Iron Tome from the hands of ICC DeadPeople, after defeating him in battle.


Since the dead were raised not by writing in the Iron Tome, but by filking only a partial Resurrection was affected. Only people remembered by the literomancers were restored to life, and those who were restored maintained their wounds, so many died again immediately, this time permanently.   Strangely, though the cause is debated, a number of Tome Knights simply vanished, and all memory of them was erased from existence. Footage remains of people talking to someone who is invisible or blurred out, names were erased from documents (including the name of an entire House,) and all traces of these people were simply extinguished. The survivors of The Missing House lost all connection to significant chunks of their past, and wandered, lost and confused. Further, the meteor strike caused significant casualties and a climate shift.   In the end, the estimated death or Missing toll was about 4% of the overall world population.


While food supplies were strained in the following year, and food prices rose around the world, few actually went hungry. The diminished labour pool threatened to be disastrous, but due to the strict rationing policies of the Protectorates, and the 1337 Speak Migration, there was actually enough labour to support the harvest, and enough food to support the population, especially with public relief efforts sponsored by the Great Houses.

Historical Significance


The Third Word War resulted in significant population movements and economic shifts, but it is hard to determine what kind of legacy this might leave, since the War was only a bit more than a year ago.

In Literature

  • The Fall of Chiroptera (epic poem composed by veterans of the Battle of Sydney Cavern)
  • The filks of ICC DeadPeople, celebrating the fall of each House
  • Dreamfall (documentary about House Ailurus in the Battle of Sydney Cavern)
  • How the Rabbit Runs (documentary about the Battle of Kin Beach and the Battle of Aldergrove)
  • Mt. Mitchell special live broadcast from OneWorld News
  • Seven Lapin Soldiers, a filk written by Erin Righ and sung by Queen Sable, that commemorates the Battle of Kin Beach
  • Technological Advancement

    Significant development was made to Literomantic Battery technology as a direct consequence of the Third Word War. Further, changes to the design of Transcontinental Portals were made as a direct result of the lessons learned from the Battle of Aldergrove. Also, environmental literomancy has seen increased interest and dramatic improvement as a direct consequence of reclaimation efforts, and sustainable energy technology has spread widely and received improved research funding.
    This article is a work in progress, and may be subject to changes.
    This article is part of a series related to streaming the Game of Tomes. For more information, see Streaming Game of Tomes.
    Several people and creatures writing in a Void pocket, generating magical energy
    The 50K Offensive, Day 7, the Warren by HeroForge
    Conflict Type
    Battlefield Type
    Start Date
    October 31, 2022
    Ending Date
    December 2, 2022
    Conflict Result
    Victory for the Living; The Iron Tome claimed by House Sauropoda
    Two people with bunny ears -- one is creating a magic portal, the other is running towards it
    Prinx Tempest and Queen Sable going to the rescue of the Forgelings by HeroForge
    Dragoons banner.jpg
    Dragoon by Wikimedia Commons
    A well-armed Filipino man carrying a white rabbit gently from a blasted beach
    Cmd. Kitoypoy carries Queen Sable from the battlefield after the Battle of Kin Beach by HeroForge/Kitoypoy/Sable Aradia

    The Filks of ICC DeadPeople


    Cover image: An artist's depiction of the Battle of Kin Beach by Pixabay


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