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Orc Chess Game
If anyone tells you chess is a game for intellectuals, they haven't seen it played the Ultima Online way. Join us for the story of a battle of brains and brawn as we watch the unlikely pairing of orcs and humans in an intellectual battle to the death.
"'Motherless swine!'
"'Dum dum pugdung femmy!'

"Insults and empty bottles hurled back and forth. It was another typical night in the Hungry Halfling.

"Emma Frost and Tiger Dream had lived in relative peace and quiet on the border with the Stormreaver Clan. Occasionally they would watch the war bands as they passed their way, striking further and further in their quest for Empire. Until recently, the Orc Horde had ignored their small village, tucked between the borders of Yew and the Clan. By providing their services as metalsmiths and alchemists of no small skill, they had earned the good graces of the Clan. Lately, however, the restless Horde had begun to harass the two women and their retainers.

"Tonight was typical. Trying to find a drink, the two had settled into seats at the Hungry Halfling, only to be accosted by filthy marauders seeking to make 'lil Orcs' with them. Throwing a drink into the face of the rudest only resulted in another of the bar brawls that made the Hungry Halfling famous.

"Qog jumped up atop the table before the two women, brandishing his great axe. Quickly, Tiger yanked hard on the tablecloth, bringing Qog crashing to the ground. A flash of silver and Emma pressed the kryss, oozing green with venom, against Qog's throat.

"'Silly Orc, you never think, do you,' Emma asked, a laugh in her voice at the manner in which the mighty Warboss had been foiled. 'If only you would think before you attacked, you'd do soo much better.'

"'Ju let meh up! Meh shows ju how meh tinks!'

"'Now now,' she jabbed him back into place. 'Tiger and I were just talking about how Orcs seem to be great fighters, but very poor thinkers. Do you have any comments on that?'

"Snarling with fury, Qog thought hard. Spying the scattered chess pieces, he reached down and grabbed one. As he prepared to throw it up at Emma, a voice spoke from the back of the room.

"'Now there is a good idea, Orc. Show them how smart an Orc can be.'

"Both Emma and Qog stopped their struggles and stared open mouthed at the ridiculous person seated against the wall. William Smit, dressed in his characteristic jester's suit, stepped foward smiling.

"'You know, you two really should try to combine your differences and see who is the best,' he went on. 'You think Orcs are too dumb to achieve anything worthy, and you think humans are too weak to be a worthy opponent. I have an idea that might solve your dilemma.'

"With that, he plucked the chessman from Qog's grip and helped the Orc to his feet.

"'It occurs to me that this could be the solution. Why not play chess?' he asked. Speaking quickly to overcome Qog's obvious reaction to the thought, he went on. 'No, no, not with these pieces. Use the chessboard in Nujelm. Actually FIGHT for each contested square! That way you can combine the best of both your worlds: your intellect, Emma, and your prowess, Qog.'

"Emma and Qog looked at each other, then back at William, who was nodding to himself and already making plans.

"On the appointed day, the forces of the Stormreaver Clan stepped up onto the Nujelm chessboard, adorned with black armor and weapons, prepared to show the world that Orcs were clearly superior. On the other side of the board, Emma and Tiger, along with their retainers and allies Sanchez and Uriah Heap, took their places as the white chess pieces. The opening moves were conservative on both sides. A white knight, resplendent in his blue cape and shining armor, trotted out to the middle of the board. Soon an Orc pawn in black leather and curved scimitar advanced down the board at him.

"Both Orc and human eyed each other across the open board, both wary of making the wrong move. This was no ordinary chess match - this was a chess match to the death! The first clash of the match took place between pawns. Soon a black clad Orc stood over the broken body of the first casualty of the day. Realizing that each Orc pawn was a warrior of great ability, the white king brought forth his bishops Sanchez and Uriah Heap, mages both. They decimated the ranks of the Orc pawns.

"Qog was unconcerned about the loss of his pawns, however. Qog was playing a crafty game. The white queen, Emma Frost herself, fell to Snafu, Qog's black bishop and mage of great skill. Qog felt a great joy knowing she fell upon the board, but regretted not being able to bury his axe in her himself. Qog was set back, however, when his other bishop, Xolkug, was soundly defeated by Sanchez. Quickly following that loss was the loss of Snarfu to a knight.

"Tenders dragged the bodies of the fallen off the board while the white king Mr Blue and the black king Qog contemplated their next moves. Mr Blue sought a drive down the side of the board with his rook and bishop, only to lose them both to a strong armed Orc pawn. Caught off balance and in the open, the white king faltered and lost another pawn.

"This was the moment Qog had been waiting for. Ordering Gurghlk, the Orc queen to advance down the board, Qog placed the white king in checkmate. Knowing he had no choice in the matter, Mr Blue drew his blade and attacked Gurghlk. Gurghlk's dark magic quickly felled the white king, sealing the Orc victory.

"Leading his surviving Orcs in a warcry for the Bludgod, Qog marched his forces off the board. None cheered the victors of this test of brains and brawn, but Qog was unconcerned. He knew his Orcs had proven they were the mojoest."

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Published: August 2001
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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