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
General Lore: Champions
Game Plan Going Forward: Updates 11 through 15
- 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.
Weekend Match Lore: Piltover v. Ionia
Weekend Match Lore: Icathia v. the Freljord
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.