The Chromatic/Metallic Dragon Conflict Military Conflict in World After Tiamat | World Anvil

The Chromatic/Metallic Dragon Conflict

The age-long battle between chromatic dragons, metallic dragons, and their respective gods.

The Conflict


There are few historical records from before the races of dragon were created. However, by examining the mythology passed down to each dragon race through their respective religious texts, we are able to get a rough picture of what happened, despite the heavily biased accounts.   In the beginning, dragons only existed on the Celestial Realm as divine beings. As time went on, two dragons became stronger than the others and began to fight over who should lead the other divine dragons. These were Bahamut and Tiamat. Eventually, their conflicts grew so serious that they each feared dying at the other's hands. To protect against this, they each created a mortal race of dragons and placed them on the Material Realm.1   While this did prevent either Tiamat or Bahamut from being killed by the other immediately, it did not stop their conflict. Rather, hundreds of mortal creatures were pressured to battle hundreds of other mortal creatures in an attempt to wipe each race off the face of the earth all in service of a god's grudge.   Regardless, Bahamut and Tiamat faced the problem of free will among their subjects. There was no combination of threats and incentives that the gods could provide that would motivate all their subjects to pursue the genocide of another race. Mortal dragons on both sides renounced their ties to their creators and instead lived their lives while disguised as members of another race.2   Because of this, and mortals' general distaste for genocide, Bahamut and Tiamat were unable to kill each other and they stayed in relative balance for quite a while.

The Engagement

The balance of power began to shift when Tiamat began to kill the minor dragon gods that had aligned with her (commonly called the "evil" dragon gods). With each minor god she killed, Tiamat absorbed their power and became stronger. Meanwhile, on the Material Realm, clerics who had pledged to those minor gods were losing their power. It was clear that Tiamat was preparing for something, but if Bahamut knew anything about her plans, he didn't tell his creations.   Rather, records from the time show that Bahamut became even more insistent that his followers should kill chromatic dragons. At one point, he would remove a cleric's power entirely if they went too long without attacking a chromatic dragon.3 But it was impossible to accomplish Bahamut's goal even for the most dedicated Bahamut paladin.   Then, Tiamat killed and absorbed Grimgleam, a "good" dragon god of hearth and home. It's uncertain whether Grimgleam agreed to battle Tiamat or if she ambushed him, but, as was the custom for all divine duels, the fight took place on the Material Realm. Tiamat was far strong than Grimgleam and records from both chromatic and metallic sources describe the fight as "one-sided" and "brutal."   After this, Bahamut grew strangely quiet and stopped pushing his clerics to attack chromatic dragons. And then, Tiamat vanished.

Historical Significance


For centuries, the cause of Tiamat's absence was a mystery. Many people's speculation centered on Tiamat's fickle nature; she was notorious for punishing her clerics for offenses that were seemingly made up at random. But, personally, none of these theories sat well with me. Tiamat is fickle, but she is also a god of tyranny and control. The idea that she would give up control over his own creations never made sense. Rather, my personal theory was centered on strange facts about the life of High Cleric Alixan and his son, Saythas. Both disappeared from history after making cryptic remarks about a quest from Bahamut. The note Alixan wrote for his wife when he left home for the final time said:  
‘Darling, I must go north on a quest of the highest importance. If I succeed, our family and metallic dragons as a whole will never have to fear the chromatic menace again. I only regret that I cannot take you and our son with me. Your faithful husband, Alixan.’
Afterwards, it appears that Alixan's wife was very distressed by Alixan's absence, and this prompted her son, Saythas, to go searching for his father. Saythas did find Alixan and sent the following letter to his mother:  
‘Dear Mother, I have found my father living in the Sword Mountains and he has told me what quest he was given. I must confess this knowledge has sorely tested my faith in Bahamut’s wisdom. But, regardless of my feelings, it is done and now my father’s charge must be carried out or I fear for the world. He will not be coming home, but worse than that, I think it likely that when he dies I will have to take his place and eventually pass this burden on to others. Mother, I have never hated my father or my god more than I do as I pen this letter, but never doubt my abiding affection for you. Your son, Saythas.”
I have never believed it to be coincidence that Alixan's final quest coincided almost perfectly with Tiamat's disappearance. Yet there were no further records that could possibly indicate what had happened.   That is, until Bahamut himself revealed the cause of Tiamat's disappearance personally to a group of adventurers. He spoke through a cleric he had been mentally torturing for months because he was worried that his brilliant strategy would fail and doom the entire Material Realm.

The Truth

The story is this: Bahamut challenged Tiamat to a duel on the Material Realm one midwinter. They chose a location that was in the far northern icefields and each asked their most trusted clerics to summon them to that spot. Bahamut, however, had discovered a way to incapacitate Tiamat even if he could not kill her completely. To ensure his victory, he requested that two "good" minor gods attack Tiamat while she was fighting Bahamut.4   They held Tiamat down while Bahamut cut out her heart, bound her divinity within it, and then buried her body deep in the icefield. He then gave the heart to Alixan and told him to take it to the Forge of Spells, which could conceal the heart from any attempt to find it.   With this information, the letters penned by Alixan and Saythas make perfect sense. Alixan was fanatically devoted to Bahamut and even his fellow clerics remarked on the extreme lengths Alixan would go to to carry out Bahamut's will. He killed the most chromatic dragons by far when compared to other clerics of the time. He was the perfect person to help with Bahamut's plan and guard Tiamat's heart afterwards because he never would have questioned any of Bahamut's actions.   Saythas, on the other hand, was one of the clerics who renounced his powers when Bahamut began pressuring clerics to kill chromatic dragons. This decision caused Alixan to disown Saythas for a time, until his wife convinced him to reverse that. Saythas certainly would have seen the folly in Bahamut's plan and also the incredible selfishness. There is no reason why Tiamat had to be incapacitated and held on the Material Realm other than that Bahamut didn't want to have to keep all of Tiamat's followers in the Celestial Realm from resurrecting her.   But Bahamut's decision did indeed pose a world-shattering threat to the Material Realm. Even back when the gods entered the Material Realm four times a year, if Tiamat had been resurrected in between the solstice and equinox, she could have wreaked havoc for several months before she would be drawn back to the Celestial Realm. If Tiamat was resurrected now, there would be no way to send her back unless there was some sort of weapon designed for that purpose.

1 The fact that Bahamut and Tiamat each had the same idea at the same time indicates that their way of viewing the world (and especially the mortal world) may not be as vastly different as they would like us to believe.     2 The relationships these dragons had resulted in dragonborn, and some of those dragonborn went back to Bahamut or Tiamat. Indeed, one of Bahamut's most fervent supporters was dragonborn.     3 To their credit, a significant number of Bahamut clerics repudiated their vows in protest when Bahamut began to "punish" his clerics in this way. This was likely one of the reasons the Bahamut reversed course on this quickly.     4 It is worth noting that this was considered a very dishonorable move by Bahamut and a flagrant violation of the rules of divine duels. Bahamut, incidentally, is supposedly the god of justice and wisdom.


Please Login in order to comment!