More lore coming Soon™. (A friend of mine has snarked at me, “Oh, hey, CupcakeTrap, didn’t know you were on Narrative.” Very funny.) In the meantime, here are some rough summaries of what’s happened so far. Right now, we really only have outlines; feel free to pitch in ideas for Montesque and company as they set about fleshing these out. For example, what exactly happened in that library to sideline Karma for a week? Did it blow up? Did he discover ancient secrets of cosmic balance that she must take a leave of absence to pursue? Or did she just decide to start reading the entire Wheel of Time series?
A general note on World Systems
Factions matches shape the storyline. Starting with the previous arc, Hextech Revolution, we’ve been experimenting with a more tabletop-y system for translating match victories and defeats into in-universe events. I’m still evaluating how these elements, collectively known as World Systems, are working out: they add some richness to Factions, and add an exciting random element that helps make the story feel “honest” and “alive”, but they are time-consuming, and sometimes confusing. In many ways, they represent the tension between story and game. Naggarok should be congratulated for the excellent job he’s doing on World Systems, although I’m also going to be looking to get him some backup, so that he doesn’t get burnt out.
Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.
We’re still smoothing out our process for handling island exploration. There have been three island exploration events (and two mainland explorations) so far. We’ve held the polls, rolled the dice, and worked out the essentials of what happened, but the proper lore writeups are still in progress. In the interim, this post provides a quick guide to the story so far.
The story of Nyroth
A little backstory for those who are still getting oriented within the Nyroth arc.
Nyroth is a continent located to the west of Valoran, in a tumultuous region of the Conqueror’s Sea wracked by storms of wild magic. An ethereal veil surrounds Nyroth, which combined with the extreme danger of its environs left it entirely unknown to Valoran until recently. It was discovered during the Hextech Revolution, when yordles who had traveled to the moon in their refueled Mothership spotted it from above.
The Institute’s Summoners believe that the strangely regular configuration of Nyroth’s ten islands is the result of a leyline convergence. It is theorized that Nyroth began with a single large nexus that pulled ten smaller nexuses into its “orbit”. These outer nexuses drew in the energy of the magical storms and channeled it inward to the central nexus. Supercharged by this network of leylines, the nexuses formed Nyroth and its islands by an accumulation of elemental earth magic. The central “mega-nexus” sublimated the wild magic of the storms into a stable thaumic matrix, an ethereal foundation blanketing Nyroth and its islands and enabling the creation of sophisticated hextech and other magic. The most striking of these are the automata, living hextech constructs of remarkable intelligence.
About one thousand years ago, an aftershock from Valoran’s Rune Wars—in which Valoran’s mages recklessly tore open leylines to fuel world-breaking spells of devastating power—sent a shockwave through Nyroth’s leyline network. The central nexus ruptured. Nearly every Nyrothian on the mainland perished as the laws of reality fractured and broke. Burning stars fell from the sky, the ground split apart, and beings of elemental power rampaged through the great cities. The thaumic matrix blanketing the mainland turned lethally toxic. The poisonous magic flooded back up through the leyline network into the islands. Their nexuses absorbed the brunt of the impact, distorting their arcane resonance. Valoranians are only now beginning to discover how these re-alignments have changed the islands—generally, it has not been for the better.
When the Valoranians arrived in 24 CLE, they found a floating city in the clouds inhabited by winged Nyrothians. This hextech sky-fortress harbored a small holdout population. For them, most of Nyroth’s history had passed into the hazy fog of myth and legend. Thus far, they have politely refrained from revealing Valoran’s role in triggering the cataclysm.
The Valoranians also discovered that, while the mainland remains toxic to the Nyrothians, they themselves seem immune. Bilgewater has founded the Port of Stormhaven in the Monsku region, and the other factions have begun constructing makeshift settlements in those environs, as a base of operations from which to explore the islands.
The first round of island exploration
The Nyroth arc centers around exploration and discovery. In keeping with that, we’re building the storyline around the exploration of Nyroth and its islands. In the first round, Bilgewater explored the island of Avalon. There, it discovered that the great island-city had been overrun by berserk hextech automata. Only a handful of Nyrothians survived, eking out a fearful existence in fortified valleys and fending off raids by the mad constructs. The only “sane” automata that still remained watched over these settlements. Bilgewater’s Champions and Summoners chose an ambitious challenge, convincing the survivors to rally together and risk everything on a massive assault against the island’s factory-core. Gangplank assembled a massive fleet to bombard the rogue automata with cannonfire. In the ensuing melee, the combined forces of Avalon’s natives and Bilgewater’s troops defeated the rogue automata and shut down the factory. The Harrowing mists brought forth the spirits of all those who had perished over the dark centuries following the cataclysm. They embraced the warriors who had fallen in the great battle and, joyously reuniting with their kinfolk, their glowing forms slowly faded out of sight.
Avalon is free. With the berserk automata deactivated, the Nyrothians are free to roam over Avalon once more, and begin rebuilding. The guardian automata, seeing their work finished on Avalon for now, have joined Bilgewater on its quest to rediscover Nyroth.
The second round of island exploration
In tournaments held before the League of Legends, Bilgewater and the Shadow Isles each won the right to explore another island. Bilgewater selected the green isle of Emain Ablach, while the Shadow Isles set sail for the shrouded land of Daeyux. Meanwhile, the Freljord was given permission to investigate possible sightings of automata on the outskirts of Monsku, and Ionia was permitted to explore an ancient library discovered in the wilderness. (These latter two adventures were the “second-place” prize for going 1–2 in the Featured Matches. They are smaller, simpler versions of island exploration lore events.)
The Automata (the Freljord)
Link: The Automata
The Freljord tracked the automata to a settlement in the forest. They attempted to communicate with them, but despite an initial success the situation rapidly turned violent. The settlement was destroyed in the chaotic fighting, as were most of the automata. They were able to capture a small number of them. With the help of the Nyrothians, they managed to turn these automata to their side. They discovered that the automata functioned only on Nyroth and its islands, confirming the significance of the local thaumic matrix as the foundation of Nyrothian hextech. (Freljord gained a Strength 3 Military unit of automata.)
The Ancient Library (Ionia)
Link: The Ancient Library
Ionia sent Karma into a mysterious ancient library. The exploration came to an abrupt halt as latent magic ignited, destroying the library.
(Ionia rolled a critical failure from the get-go. I’ll keep the details of this one vague, giving Montesque64 some room to be creative. Maybe the library just explodes and injures Karma. But maybe she discovers some great mystery and announces a leave of absence to pursue it.)
Daeyux (the Shadow Isles)
Daeyux was once a land of potent healing magic. The nexus inverted during the cataclysm, instantly transforming the long-lived and vigorously healthy inhabitants of the island into undead monstrosities. A handful of the most magically gifted managed to retain their faculties, becoming liches and soon establishing dominion over the near-mindless undead that roamed the rest of the isle. The island’s nexus is surrounded by a distorted combination of life magic and necromantic energy, and the undead there have so far resisted all attempts at control. Karthus and Mordekaiser tried to overcome this distortion field, but even with the aid of several Summoners they were unable to break through. Instead they determined to rally the armies of the dead and seize control of the nexus, intending to stabilize its alignment and eliminate this last vestige of life magic.
Fortune was not on the side of the Shadow Isles. The battle turned against them, and their entire force was lost. Elise, Evelynn, and Nocturne, who had vanished during the fighting, are nowhere to be seen.
Though Fortune did not favor the Isles, the undead have a more constant ally upn whom they have long relied: Patience. The Shadow Isles retain legal control over Daeyux, and they have already begun to replenish their forces. The earth’s rich bounty of corpses and lost souls overflows into their hands. Soon, Daeyux will be theirs.
(The Shadow Isles suffered a serious loss. However, they reinforce lost units at double-speed, and have just completed their first industry project, which will further amplify their Nyrothian military capacity. They will be allowed to revisit Daeyux in lieu of any mainland exploration event they win in the future, when they’re ready. The damage they inflicted on the nexus-hordes will persist.)
Emain Ablach (Bilgewater)
Link: Emain Ablach
Bilgewater set sail for the lush island of Emain Ablach. They found it teeming with hardy plant life of breathtaking splendor and variety—as well as walking plant-monsters. It seemed that the nexus was hovering out of alignment between these two resonances, creating an opportunity to tilt it one way or the other. They were soon approached by two Champions of the League: Maokai and Zyra. Their first option was to realign the nexus to sap energy from the plant monsters and invigorate the island’s other flora. (Maokai endorsed this option, believing that it could reveal the secret to restoring part of the Shadow Isles to vitality.) Their second option was to tilt the nexus the other way, creating new hordes of plant monsters which they could form into an army. (Zyra endorsed this option, which could have allowed her to create a new jungle, where even without “roots” she could exercise control and feel connection with the environs.) Bilgewater decided on the former, and was successful in realigning the nexus accordingly. (Gained Favor. Maokai added as a Tertiary Champion option for recruitment by League petition.)
Bilgewater also cleared a region of plant monsters, and chose to use it for staple crops to feed Avalon rather than cash crops to enrich themselves. (Gained Favor.)
However, Gangplank is MIA after the battle. (Something about a citrus orchard?)
During island exploration events, factions can increase their odds of success by sending Champions into the fray. This poses a small risk, however—a default of 10%, increasing if the situations turns south—of these Champions being injured or otherwise going “MIA” for one week.
The following Champions have been sidelined until 14 November, 24 CLE, and are unavailable in matches (pick-up and Featured) until then.