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The svart as a monster for first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was created by Cricky Hitchcock, and first appeared in White Dwarf #9 (October 1978). The monster entry in White Dwarf says it was taken from The Weirdstone of Brisingamon [sic]. In White Dwarf #15 readers were asked to vote for their top ten "Fiend Factory" monsters. The top ten, including the svart, were later reprinted in Best of White Dwarf Articles (1980).
The xvart first appeared in the first edition in the original Fiend Folio (1981). The module The Sentinel (1983) details a xvart lair. In the article "Hey, Wanna Be a Kobold?" by Joseph Clay in Dragon #141 (January 1989), kobolds, xvarts, goblins, and orcs were presented as player character races along with two new character classes, the "Shaman" and the "Witch Doctor".
The xvart appeared in third edition for the Greyhawk setting in Living Greyhawk Journal #1 (September 2000), in "Enchiridion of the Fiend Sage." The xvart appeared in Dragon #339 (January 2006), where it was also presented as a playable character race.
Within the Dungeons & Dragons universe, Xvarts are bald, blue-skinned humanoids with orange eyes. They are 3 feet (0.9 m) tall and usually wear loose cloth doublets. Xvarts live in hilly, cavernous regions, and are usually of chaotic evil or chaotic neutral alignment.
In 4th edition, Xvarts (or xivorts, as they are renamed) were originally gnomes enslaved and experimented on by the fomorians. They escaped to the Plane of Shadow thanks to a pact with a coven of hags, where they mutated further, their skin becoming deep blue in order to blend better with the shadows of the plane. Since then, many have spread back to the Feywild and Abeir-Toril.
Xvarts make random appearances in the computer game Baldur's Gate, based on the Forgotten Realms setting. They are common in the southern areas of the map and have a village due west of Nashkel. Their village consists of wooden huts where they are most populous in the game.
- Turnbull, Don, ed. (Oct–Nov 1978). "The Fiend Factory". White Dwarf (#9): 8.
- Turnbull, Don, ed. Fiend Folio (TSR, 1981)
- Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 116. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
- Clay, Joseph (1989). "Hey, Wanna Be a Kobold?". Dragon. TSR. #141.
- Williams, Skip, et al. Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (TSR, 1992)
- Reynolds, Sean K. "Enchiridion of the Fiend Sage." Living Greyhawk Journal #1 (Paizo Publishing, 2000)
- Reynolds, Sean K. "Creature Catalog IV: Campaign Classics" Dragon #339 (Paizo Publishing, 2006)
- Mearls, Mike, Greg Bilsland, and Robert J. Schwalb. Monster Manual 3. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2010.