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

The First Word War

This article is a work in progress as I flesh out some of the back story of the First Word War. Right now it contains the important events, but there will be additions as I continue to develop the story. Keep your eye out for updates.
The First Word War was an armed conflict that transformed the world and shattered society as it was known. The first of the conflicts now known as the Word Wars or the Tome Wars, it launched a zombie apocalypse, the collapse of global political systems, and the return of magic to the world. In its aftermath, even geography was transformed. And it began with an annual contest for a handful of writing nerds.

The Conflict


For centuries, Literomancers, wizards of words, had gathered for an annual competition, the Game of Tomes. While once Literomancy had been extremely powerful, its power had waned until it was almost neglible. Most people thought of magic -- if at all -- as a myth. Yet the descendants of the powerful literomantic houses of bygone ages still gathered once a year to practice their skills, and celebrate the written word.   The Game of Tomes seemed to begin like any other event of previous years, but unbeknowst to them, a powerful artifact called The Iron Tome had been awakened. Reputedly, it had the power to literally rewrite reality, and it awoke the dormant powers of literomancy in the world.   Erin Meles Lapin, a scion of House Meles and the husband of The Chief Rabbit and leader of House Lapin, Sable Aradia, was possessed by a dark force and transformed into a powerful lich who called himself The Nite Qing. He was driven by hunger for control of the Iron Tome, and to get it, he had to defeat every living literomancer.   Transformed by dark magic, he began to murder the losers of the Game of Tomes competition, and raise them again as undead, so that they could help him to amass an army of zombies to secure his claim.   By tradition, six Great Houses competed annually for the symbolic "Iron Tome," and all others chose one of the six Houses to support -- although no one remembered the reasons for this anymore. They only began to get an inkling that something was amiss when some of the defeated Houses and their supporters began to disappear.   Having been hired by a small internet media network to document the event as a special interest, a handful of literomancer journalists suddenly found themselves as the eyes on the ground of a transformative global event.


Initially, the opening salvos of the war only affected the competitors. The newly-transformed Nite Qing raised The Queen Bee DaniAdventures, the leader of House Apis, and her companion Serukis, as Tome Zombies, who then began to aid him in building an army for the zombie apocalypse. They began slowly, at first raising only people from Billings, Montana, the host city for the competition.   Once the first couple of Houses had been taken down, and reports began coming in of people who were known to be dead walking around, that the literomancers responded. They rallied to repel the zombies, at first able only to call upon one another as the world scoffed at their concerns. This issue was initially exacerbated by the National Guard of Montana locking down Billings, once they discovered the building zombie population, and preventing any word of the incident from reaching the established media.   Once the Undead Horde had grown to a couple of battalions, the world began to take notice. As evidence mounted of the growing magical powers of the literomancers, the living world began to rally to their call, especially as existing governmental systems began to collapse. Most of the Great Houses went home and called upon anyone who would answer to help defend the populace. Armies ranged from random citizens to doomsday prepper militias, to martial arts clubs and reenactment groups. A few, like Sable Aradia Lapin, managed to rally her local scattered military forces.   While loosely-organized living groups fought zombies in the streets, the final literomantic conflict took place on a small island in the Pacific Ocean near Japan, becoming known as The Battle of Zafforza Trench. 90 living literomancers fought against 47 Tome Zombies and the undead they had amassed in this last conflict.


The initial battlefield was the event grounds, a small plot of land owned by the Meles family in Billings, Montana. As the conflict developed, battles were soon fought in cities throughout North America and then the world. The final conflict was an air, sea, and land battle on Zafforza Island, near the Zafforza Trench.


The opening salvos of the war took the literomancers, and the world at large, completely by surprise. No one but the Nite Qing knew that the Iron Tome had been awakened and the full power of literomancy was returning. No one expected an army of zombies. No one was in any way prepared.   When fighting undead, casualties for the living forces also meant reinforcement for the Undead.

The Engagement

November 1st to 5th, 2020

  • The Fall of House Apis
  • DaniAdventures and Serukis were taken by the Nite Qing secretly, making them the first Tome Zombies
  • The Battle of Billings
  • Literomancers at the Game of Tomes tried to combat the spreading zombie plague without people in authority locking them down and preventing them from doing so
  • November 6th to 10th, 2020

  • The Fall of House Meles
  • Darth Nikolas, ShyRedFox, and Dazzlinkat were taken by the Undead Horde
  • The literomancers at the Game of Tomes went back to their homes around the world to attempt to rally what forces they could to fight the spreading zombies
  • November 11th to 15th, 2020

  • The Fall of House Chiroptera
  • Siobhan the Writer and Senna Nightshade fell to the Horde
  • House Chiroptera (Siobhan, notably) willed AuthorGoddess's mercenary services to House Varangia
  • A bidding war for The Lemon Company's words resulted in a victory for House Avis
  • November 16th to 20th, 2020

  • The Fall of House Avis
  • Chrysalia, Gwenefre, Dhan Llynya, EGryph and RPGDinosaurBob were taken by the Horde
  • November 21st to 25th, 2020

  • The Fall of House Lapin
  • Sable Aradia was forced to flee The Warren when overwhelmed by the Undead Horde
  • Sable survived and earned the titles "Sable Bright-Eyes" and "The Queen Who Knelt"
  • Purpleheart Nathalia Books fell to the Undead Horde, sacrificing herself to save DM Stretch and Sable Aradia
  • Prince Jean, Xantos Meles, and Kitoypoy fell to the Horde
  • The Undead Horde started stealing WriterGreg's words for the Horde
  • Outcome

  • The Battle of Zafforza Trench
  • The Undead Horde was defeated by the living, under the banner of House Mollusca, in the Final Battle, at a total of 364,143 words.
  • House Mollusca claimed the Iron Tome and used it to resurrect the Undead. While this saved civilization from collapsing completely due to massive population loss, the erasing and rewriting in the fully covered pages of the Tome rearranged geography, causing massive loss of life. Much of the east coast of North America sank, and new landmasses formed in the Pacific Ocean. Total global casualties were estimated at roughly 500 million people.
  • Aftermath

    While civilization did not entirely collapse in the wake of the zombie apocalypse, the world was forever transformed. In the wake of this horrific disaster and the geographic transformation of the Earth that became known as The Restructuring, the massive loss of life, the return of magic, the chaos, and the complete inability of existing governments to deal with the scope of the problem and their subsequent collapse, a complete political reorganization took place. Large regions of the world asked for the protection of the literomancers. Most of the English-speaking world, and large swaths of Europe, reorganized themselves into large nations called Protectorates, each one of which was governed and protected by the literomantic Great Houses. These Protectorates would undergo significant changes over the next few years as regions were either exchanged or annexed.   Through the rewriting in the Iron Tome, all memory of the Coronavirus Pandemic was erased from the general populace, and retained only by the surviving literomancers. All evidence of the plague's existence also disappeared.

    Historical Significance


    The Great Houses established a semi-feudal structure in the governing of the Protectorates, and swore themselves to the protection of the Realm against any future Undead or other supernatural threats. They also swore to protect the Iron Tome and keep it out of the hands of anyone who would use its terrible powers for malfeasance. Literomancers so sworn became known as Tome Knights.   The Cosmic Kraken Coffee Quills locked the Iron Tome in a vault deep beneath the sea in Zafforza Trench, with the intention that it would never be used again. However, that would prove not to be the case in the subsequent Tome Wars.

    Technological Advancement

    The return of magic led to an explosion of literomantic technology in the world. Literomancers and enthusiasts began to research everything from the obvious, such as literomantic war technologies and literomantic medicine, to the study of cryptids and how literomancy could be applied to civil engineering and climate change. Literomancy itself became a field of study as Tome Knights began to test their limits and prepare for future supernatural threats. Older fields of magical study, such as the laws of magic, conjuration, necromancy, runic studies, magical rituals, and the like experienced a dramatic resurgeance.
    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.
    Conflict Type
    Battlefield Type
    Start Date
    October 31, 2020
    Ending Date
    December 1, 2020
    Conflict Result
    Victory for the living. House Mollusca claimed the Iron Tome and locked it in an undersea vault.

    Videos: First Word War News Broadcasts

    Week 1

    Week 2

    Week 3

    Week 4

    Battle of Zafforza Trench

    Conclusion & Aftermath



    House Apis by Dani Adventures
  • 6 literomancers at the time of their fall
  • Casualties

  • 2 literomancers. The Queen Bee DaniAdventures and Serukis were claimed by the Undead Horde by the Nite Qing in the opening salvo of the war.
  • Objectives

    To slay all others with the repeated stings of their word count totals, and claim the Iron Tome!


    House Avis by Dani Adventures
  • 18 literomancers at the time of their fall
  • 250 police officers
  • 3 regiments Malaysian Army
  • 11th Special Service Regiment, 21st Special Service Group (Malaysian Special Forces)
  • 5th, 6th & 14th Squadron, Royal Malaysian Air Force
  • 106 HANDAU Squadron (PASKAU, Malaysian Special Forces)
  • Casualties

  • 6 literomancers, including Gwenefre, nine_and_kittens, Dhan Llynya, EGryph, House Sauropoda leader RPGDinosaurBob, and House Avis leader Cryssalia.
  • 137 police officers killed; 72 wounded
  • 1572 Malaysian Army soldiers killed, 375 wounded
  • 785 11th Special Service Regiment soldiers dead, 134 wounded
  • 11 HANDAU Squadron airmen dead, 37 wounded
  • Objectives

    To fly to victory on the wings of words, and claim the Iron Tome!


    House Chiroptera by Dani Adventures
  • 13 literomancers at the time of their fall
  • 143 RCMP members
  • 1 regiment Rocky Mountain Rangers
  • Casualties

  • 4 literomancers; Siobhan the Writer, Queen of the Night, and Aydan Nightshade, LizaGrimm, and Caliope7
  • 43 RCMP members dead, 16 wounded
  • 572 Rocky Mountain Rangers dead, 120 wounded
  • Objectives

    To accumulate life (words) while everyone else is asleep, gather a great cauldron of bats, and use these combined resources to seize the Iron Tome!


    A salmon pink banner with a white rabbit head in the center. Text:
    House Lapin by Dani Adventures
  • 27 literomancers at the time of their fall
  • 1 battalion British Columbia Dragoons (light cavalry)
  • 1 company Rocky Mountain Rangers (irregular infantry)
  • Casualties

  • 9 literomancers, including Lapinites Prince Jean, Xantos Meles, p2poo2, Mirabaar, and Kitoypoy, Kalgidorah, leader of House Arraknis, Varangian mercenary Purpleheart, mercenaries MagikBeyondYourKen and Esongbird24601.
  • 275 Dragoons dead, 135 wounded
  • 35 Rocky Mountain Rangers dead, 50 wounded
  • Objectives

    To amass their forces and take the Iron Tome through sheer numbers!


    House Meles by Dani Adventures
  • 9 literomancers at the time of their fall
  • 52 police officers
  • 500 national guards
  • Casualties

  • 3 literomancers. Darth Nikolas and Meles' loyal banner, ShyRedFox leader of House Kitsune, and the mercenary Dazzlinkat were taken by the Horde
  • 45 police officers killed
  • 451 national guards killed; 299 wounded
  • Objectives

    To dig their way through the plot holes, and fight steadily and aggressively to claim the Iron Tome!
    House Mollusca

    Led by


    House Mollusca by Dani Adventures
  • 90 literomancers at the time of their victory
  • Casualties

    Molluscan TheOtherJoshArt, who was in The Cavern on a diplomatic mission, was killed and taken by the Horde in The Fall of House Chiroptera.   While many literomancers were wounded and even killed in the The Battle of Zafforza Trench, ultimately through the power of the Iron Tome, all were healed or resurrected.


    To have so many tentacles grabbing for the Iron Tome that nobody else could touch it!


    Undead Horde by Dani Adventures
  • 45 literomancers at the time of their defeat
  • Casualties

  • All 45 literomancers taken by the Horde, and the millions of zombies under their command, were resurrected or permanently killed
  • Objectives

    To plod on steadily with their ever-growing army of undead, slay the living en masse, and deny anyone else the Iron Tome through raw attrition!

    Cover image: Iron Tome by Misades


    Please Login in order to comment!