March 22 Lore Staff Meeting Notes

The lore team and I met today to organize the completion of Nyroth’s lore. (Because seriously, we need to get this done so we can move on to a new arc.) It was a really good (if also really long) lore meeting. Thanks to everyone who came by.

I’ve decided to write up some quick notes from the meeting, and figured I might as well share them with the Factions community generally, in the spirit of community engagement. You’re encouraged to discuss these topics (and any others that catch your fancy) on the forum. (Don’t be shy; just start a thread in Lore Discussion with an appropriate title.)

General Principle: Just-In-Time Lore Development

As a general practice, we don’t lock anything down into Factions canon until we have to, e.g. as part of a lore update, Beyond the Battlefield piece, or Herald issue. Up until that point, everything is left somewhat ambiguous, though discussion is encouraged. This allows us to stay flexible. We’re going to get a little more proactive when it comes to a few topics that are obviously not going to be part of future Riot lore, like Summoners. (They might release some new “Summoners” concept, but it’s pretty clear it will be a Trundle’ing of Summoners at most.)

General Lore: The Rune Wars

The Rune Wars are a hazy area. It’s implied that “rune magic” involves not just using the ambient magic of Runeterra for spells but instead ripping leylines open and using that raw energy to power magic, which increases the spells’ power by orders of magnitude and wreaks havoc on Runeterra in the process. (It was particularly devastating to elemental beings.) It was observed that Piltover and Zaun might actually have been more powerful in the Rune Wars than they are now: when Rune Wars-level magic is on the table, troop counts are less relevant, and a Piltovian Archimedes might have been able to use a rune magic-powered reflector dish to blast attacking Noxians with a laser beam or whatever.

It was reiterated that the League’s core mandate is to prevent the use of such “magical WMDs” (rune magic), not to maintain the peace per se. However, seeing as wars between “nuclear powers” tend to get ugly, the League will often step in when the great powers start brawling with each other. The League is also quite happy for member-states to bring lesser disputes to the Fields, such as random trade disputes.  However, it won’t generally step in without the consent of the parties, unless the dispute threatens Runeterra as a whole.

General Lore: Summoners and Mages

Though not an urgent topic, we did discuss the Summoners/mages issue, which has also been the subject of much discussion and debate on the forums. The developing consensus is as follows. Mages are rather rare, but not because you need “wizard blood” / “midichlorians” / whatever to become a mage. Anyone can become a mage if they have the courage, intelligence, and (crucially) opportunity to study for a decade or two. Talent does vary among people. A mage can become a Summoner by being accepted into the Institute and being taught Summoning magic. (Maybe there’s a Summoner Judgment, too. Might be a good way for people to flesh out their characters.)

General Lore: Champions

Again, the consensus is that Champions are “superheroes”/”empowered”. Human potential is considerably greater in Runeterra than in our world; Champions take that to a whole new level. Their capabilities are far beyond what would be possible for even the most gifted or talented human in our reality. Generally speaking, Champion power level is about the same across the board, though it does vary situationally. There was some debate about whether it’s pure willpower or the forces of destiny or what that make Champions who they are, but it was agreed that this was really beside the point: Champions are Champions, and it’s obvious in-universe that (e.g.) Darius is not just a dude with an axe who’s really good at swinging the axe (well, not within the normal, RL sense of “really good”).

Game Plan Going Forward: Updates 11 through 15

Our top priority is finishing Nyroth’s lore, starting with the numbered updates. Updates 1 through 10 are at least roughly finished. (Comments/suggestions welcome, but they’re not a priority.) Rather than divvying updates up again, as last time that led to nothing really happening on any of them, we’re going to go through them as a team. Our current focus: updates 11 through 15, i.e., “Loresplosion II”. I’m going to sweep through and write these. (Exception: Junpei will take the lead on Return to Argyre.) Here are the rough notes from the discussion on each.
  • Update 11 (Argyre): Pretty much keeping as-is.
  • Update 12 (Korag): Keep it simple. Tack on a bit more resolution. Main focus will be showing a “factory of the damned” undead industrial thing, with grinning skeletons performing a sort of assembly line dance macabre pulling on chains and turning wheels as noxious fumes flood the air. Damned satanic mills, etc. etc.
  • Update 13 (Sannig Kloster): We had a discussion about Ionia. Are they insular, or are they international? The consensus was that it’s actually a combination of both. Like most factions, they’re primarily (though not exclusively) self-centered. However, they have a keen awareness of the interconnectedness of Valoran, Runeterra, and the larger cosmos, and are more likely to understand “distant” events as implicating their own interests. They also happen to be good at manipulating the League’s bureaucratic machinery. In this case, they’re helping the ghost-monks because from their perspective it’s just not right for the spirits to be trapped between worlds, and they’re open-minded enough to accept help from the Shadow Isles (at least the Karthus/Yorick faction) to do it. However, it was also agreed that we should work in a little bit of uneasiness from Ionia; the Shadow Isles types do creep them out a bit.
  • Update 14 (Return to Argyre): Junpei will take the lead on writing a new conclusion. We decided to try a Lissandra POV where she muses to herself about True Ice and the Freljordles she wiped out way back when (Gnar’s people). This led to a discussion about Lissandra. For context, see my Boards thread from a while ago. (Quick version: Lissandra is really old. She betrayed her tribe to the Watchers thousands (?) of years ago and gained superpowers, becoming Iceborn. She then took over the Frostguard, who are basically Freljord’s sages and “monster hunters”. She killed their leader and took her place, and she’s been doing that ever since, feigning her death, then replacing her successor. Apparently, she’s a shapeshifter or something. For whatever reason, her current identity is also named Lissandra. )Lissandra’s lore is a huge headache for us, but I think we’ve worked it out. In the Factions continuity, which includes a League of Legends, Lissandra is known as Lissandra, and looks like she does in-game. That’s sort of her “battlegear” appearance. The Ice Witch is a separate identity, who looks like a big scary monster; Lissandra uses this identity to “make work” for the Frostguard, convincing the other tribes to rely more and more on the Frostguard to save them from the scary monsters. The Frostguard themselves are aware of her plans to “bury the world in ice”, but aren’t aware of her full history. They also don’t know about the Ice Witch being Lissandra. (This is a deviation from Riot’s Lissandra lore, which has the in-game Lissandra as a mysterious “Ice Witch” who joined the League for some reason while “Lissandra” stays at home in the Freljord.) Quinn saw the Frostguard being spooky, but she doesn’t really have any hard evidence. Anivia froze Gnar in True Ice long ago. Gnar was a Champion of the Freljordles, but they lost the battle against the Watchers; Anivia froze Gnar in True Ice so that he could return thousands of years later to fight the Watchers again, or something. True Ice is to the Freljord as mithril is to Dwarves, though not quite as precious: it’s an uber-substance that they can make really cool stuff out of.
  • Update 15 (Neritum): Blah blah Kaius blah blah. I’ll do an Elise POV for the conclusion lore. Speaking of, we decided that Elise is probably aligned with the Mordekaiser/Hecarim/Thresh sub-faction of the Shadow Isles, which helps explain how the gauntlet got to Mordekaiser.

Bard

We sketched out an idea for Bard joining the League (which happened quite recently). Basically, during a match one day, a Summoner inexplicably finds Bard in place of the Champion he was trying to summon. Everyone freaks out, but then a bunch of chimes and meeps echo through the mind-link and everyone is sort of put at ease. The match plays out. People are like, wait, who is this guy? The Council meets. Soraka shares some Ionian lore about “the Bard”. It’s understood that he’s vaguely benevolent. He goes dancing through the halls of the Institute, and people follow. He goes into the Judgment chambers. A few Summoners awkwardly take the seats behind the podiums, and go to perform a Judgment, sensing that Bard wants them to. However, when they try to reach into his mind, they get pulled on a magical cosmic adventure that delves into their pasts and the history of the universe. Then, the magical doors swing open and he dances through, whereupon he vanishes. Trolololololololol.

Weekend Match Lore: Piltover v. Ionia

The question here is what exactly Ionia finds/gets. We decided to use this opportunity to explore Bard a little more, and expound upon the somewhat vague “Mountain” video. The Ionians will find a secret passage leading inside the mountain that got chopped in half. They find a shrine inside, similar to the one Varus was guarding (though not containing a spooky monster). They find a journal lying on the floor, around ancient bloodstains. They read the journal, which is the bulk of the update. It’s written from the perspective of a shrine guardian who was present during the Noxian attack. He chose to stand his ground and defend the shrine. Some Noxians found the entrance; he slew them, but was mortally wounded himself. With the last of his strength, as his home village burned, he dragged himself back into the heart of the mountain-shrine and sealed the rock up, so that the Noxians would not find it. As he lay dying, he wrote a journal, wishing that whoever should find the shrine, whenever they should find it, would use its wisdom for good. (Have it be a vaguely Kinkou-esque “cosmic balance” shrine.)

Weekend Match Lore: Icathia v. the Freljord

We decided that the artifact should be something like the Zz’Rot portal. It was brought to the Freljord long ago by a mad Piltovian scientist, who met his end at the hands of the ancient Frostguard. Malzahar found mention of it in some old texts, and began pursuing it, only to find Lissandra herself interceding to block the sale. That caught his interest. (We decided that it would be alright to have Malzahar be aware of Lissandra’s schemes, to some extent: he’s not going to tell anyone, and even if he did, who would believe him? It also sets up a rivalry between them and allows Lissandra’s schemes to be played out through some frame other than her own BWAHAHAHAHA-ing POV.) So he mind-controlled the Frostguard sage responsible for overseeing the artifact, which is a sort of interdimensional key (potentially of use to both Lissandra, to bring back the Watchers, and to Malzahar, to open another portal to the Void). We can work in a fight between Kassadin and Malzahar on the high seas, outside the League’s domain; perhaps Kassadin wants to use the key to try to get his daughter back.

Generally: Forums

I encouraged people to start discussing any lore topics that interest them on the forums. We aren’t going to nail anything down until we have to, but now’s a good time to dig through past lore and identify threads we want to carry forward, as well as (e.g.) areas we might want to revise or adjust.

Factions Wiki, Champion Judgments, etc.

We also briefly discussed our “wish list”, including some serious work on the Factions wiki, Judgments for Champions that joined the League during or after Mirrorwater, and so on. However, these are of a distinctly lower priority than our current focus: getting Nyroth wrapped up so that we can move on to the next arc.

There were a few other topics discussed, but these were the major ones.
—CupcakeTrap

Caitlyn, you monster.

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2 comments on “March 22 Lore Staff Meeting Notes
  1. Crazymasterbookworm876 says:

    I liked your Quinn Conversation .-.

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