The following Champions were recruited in Week 6. The outcomes of their joining-stories will be written based on the Featured Matches this weekend.
- If the faction goes 3-0, the Champion will get an extremely positive story development that will tie them more closely to the faction.
- If the faction goes 2-1, the Champion will succeed in an important objective.
- If the faction goes 1-2, the Champion will have mixed success. They’ll be grumpy, but they’ll also have some story progress.
- If the faction goes 0-3, the Champion will fail dramatically. It’ll be a big blow to them, and they may be pretty furious with the faction.
One of our major design goals for Divinity is to make it so that, although losing may suck in-universe, being on the losing side is just as interesting and engaging in an out-of-universe sense. Your Summoners should have cause to be upset by failures, but it may also push them into dramatic moments of crisis and difficult decisions that can create very memorable story experiences.
July 10 update: I have added resolutions from last weekend’s Featured Matches, and included a decision for each faction to make. (I tried to keep it brief. I got carried away with Icathia, but I figure they deserve some extra lore-love given the rough time they’re having!) Voting will close tomorrow (Monday, July 11), whereupon I’ll wrap each Champion’s story update. Whichever option you choose, there’ll be a stat roll (adjusted with Balance of Power) to determine how it plays out. (Note that a winning FM record plus a failed stat roll will still lead to a generally positive outcome, just with more of a down note.)
Brand, the Burning Vengeance, has joined Icathia. He is a fire elemental who survived the Rune Wars that ended the Age of Divinity thousands of years ago, though it seems not fully intact. No Summoner has dared to delve deep enough into his mind to discover evidence that he was ever anything other than a force of indiscriminate destruction. The earliest mention of Brand in historical records dates back to the reign of the Emperor Azir, well into the Rune Wars. Just before Azir’s Ascension, Brand broke out of the sarcophagus in which Shurima had imprisoned him, drawing the Ascended guardians Nasus and Renekton away from the capital and allowing Xerath to make his fateful bid for cosmic power. Brand escaped, as the brothers raced back and used the sarcophagus made to contain him to seal Xerath away. Brand was later captured by the League, with the aid of many Champions and Summoners, and bound to the Institute’s prisons alongside the likes of Cho’Gath and Nocturne.
In June of 26 CLE, an undersea volcano erupted near the Guardian’s Sea Nexus. The eruption blasted away millennia of sand and stone, and witnesses soon reported lines of fiery red magical energy tracing patterns and sigils into the volcano’s sides. Scholars speculate it may be an ancient temple, but modern Runeterran thaumaturgy is poorly equipped to distinguish between types of divine magic. Agents of Icathia have secured Brand’s admission to the dispute over the nexus, and now move the Council to allow them to bring him to the undersea volcano. They propose to use Summoning magic to link minds with him as he comes into the presence of the sacred site, thereby gaining insight into the soul-melting intensity of the divine conduit within. Some openly call this madness, but as so often seems to occur, Icathia has somehow secured enough votes to bring the matter to the Fields.
Icathia went 0-3 in its Featured Matches, triggering the most negative lore event setup.
Icathia’s mysterious support evaporated as quickly as it had materialized. The Council issued an order banning Icathia from removing Brand from the Institute or otherwise tampering with this volcano. It instead sent neutral Summoners to secure and examine the site. They found extraplanar energy signatures tracing out ancient Shuriman prayers to earth and fire spirits.
“This is truly ancient,” one bespectacled Summoner remarked.
Another Summoner, of a more martial and pragmatic bent, smiled. “Hey, that’s five times he’s said that so far this dispute. Pay up.”
The first Summoner was visibly dismayed to see several golden securi actually change hands, beneath the light of a caged diving lantern.
“No, I mean, truly ancient. Look, the Shurimans didn’t worship the elements, they controlled them. At least, for virtually their entire recorded history. Shuriman prayers to elemental deities are only found in a set of tablets that are among the oldest writings known. Archaeomages have been trying to construct the spellforms behind those prayers for centuries. Putting music to the words, you c—”
“Yeah, I know what a spellform is. So those words we’re hearing are the music behind…I mean the spellforms behind the prayer words?”
“More or less.”
“So what are the words? Is it just mumbojumbo, or does it actually mean something?”
“Well. Yes. In an ancient Shuriman dialect. It pre-dates most of the standardization of Valoranian language. Possibly derived from—”
The Noxian Summoner finished counting his coins. “What’s it mean, Professor?”
The first Summoner hesitated, almost embarrassed. “It’s, uh. Repetition was a big part of these prayers.” He sought for a way to put this. “It really loses a lot of the nuance of tense and mood, but I guess, literally, in modern Valoranian, a reasonable translation would be, uh…burn, burning, burn, blaze, blazing, blaze…honestly, I don’t know enough words for burn in modern dialects to really do it justice.”
Another Summoner patted the ‘Professor’ on the back of his diving suit. “Hey, I’m sure it’s a great prayer. There’s some Zaunite pop that has fewer unique words, and you can still dance to it.”
He frowned as he watched the rivulets of lava glowing and pulsing as they flowed down the sides of the volcano. “I don’t think we want to dance to this song. Those tablets I mentioned? They found them with handprints burned into the stone.”
Back at the Institute, the guards outside Brand’s cell heard him chanting in an unfamiliar language. A Summoner was called. After hearing what he was saying, she laughed, though it sounded a bit anxious. “Well, congratulations, you just called a Summoner to tell you that Brand is chanting burn over and over again. In ancient Shuriman. I’ll make sure Kolminye hears about this right away: Brand wants to burn things.” But she sounded more and more troubled as the chant continued. She asked them when the room starting getting so hot; they replied they hadn’t noticed it until she mentioned it. It had been too gradual. She touched one of the enchantments carved around the door to the cell, and cried out as it seared her hand. “Clear this wing. Now!”
The undersea volcano erupted with tremendous force. The leyline running through it ignited, blasting apart the surrounding rock and creating a magma flow all the way to the divine nexus. Abyssal monsters began to swarm the area, and the League team only narrowly escaped with their lives. Their reports suggested some kind of battle taking place at the mouth of the volcano. On the surface, alternating plumes of white steam and black ash burst into the air.
Though Brand’s cell held fast, that entire wing of the Institute became oven-hot. Several people were killed before they could escape.
Fires broke out at leyline intersections across Valoran. The League dispatched Summoners to battle them, and the mages on several occasions reported fleeting contact with elemental beings trying to manifest on the corporeal plane.
- Control. Icathia has access to types of ancient Shuriman magic which could allow them to communicate with one of these elementals, and stabilize their presence on the corporeal plane. A seance with the Shuriman Void-Wraiths could give them the knowledge they seek.
- Manipulate. Or Icathia could seize upon this disaster to pin blame on its enemies in the League, perhaps those who refused to allowed them to perform the ritual with Brand in the first place.
In other words, do you want to be ambitious or sneaky?
Icathia drew the King of Swords, and rolled 16 on its Might check.
Fires raged across Valoran, as fire elementals fought to break through the dimensional fabric and enter the corporeal world once more. Icathian Summoners called upon demons of the Void to manipulate the flow of energy within this other-dimensional space. They called Kou’Zir, the King of Swords, back from his cosmic wars against the forces of Order, with blood sacrifices and promises of glorious battle. And Kou’Zir was delighted with what he found. Most of all, he took pleasure in battling his way through masses of crazed fire elementals from the Age of Divinity, and even drove a few minor gods back into oblivion. Yet he is not so simple-minded a creature as some might assume, and he also appreciated the Icathians’ clever strategy. The conflict on the extradimensional plane shifted the patterns of the attacks in the corporeal world, arousing suspicion among members of the Council and paving the way for more nefarious machinations. Icathian agents were able to convince the Council that several high-ranking Summoners and other parties influential within the League had been complicit in this catastrophe, planning to use it for their factions’ own gain. Icathia thereby eliminated several of its staunchest rivals, who had often frustrated their schemes, and smoothed the way for the use of its many accumulated “favors” in the future.
The next time Icathia rolls a 1 on an Influence check, it will call upon some of those favors to avoid complications, rerolling the 1.
Special thanks to Summoner BetaDude40 for this lovely Icathian dictionary.
Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest, has joined Bandle City. A devoted agent of the reformed Kinkou Order, he is primarily loyal to Ionia, and has dedicated his life to the pursuit of balance and harmony. While known on the fields as the bringer of a fierce malestrom, Summoners say that in truth his power comes from the calm he maintains at the center of the electric chaos. His inner tranquility has allowed him to be at peace with a new home far from his kin, a trying ordeal for any yordle. But his love of his homeland is undiminished, and the Kinkou Order has dispatched him to aid Bandle City, and help his fellow yordles resist the temptations posed by their Icathian allies.
The ability to control lightning is one of the rarest forms of elemental affinity, and yordles see Kennen’s talent as a gift from the Mothership, which itself has been seen to crackle and spark with electricity. With the appearance of the Guardian’s Sea nexus, this phenomenon has become much more frequent and intense. With the blessings of the Mothership Elders worn in sacred friendship bracelets around his wrists, and after partaking of a rainbow-frosted Dreamcake, Kennen ventured deeper into the Mothership’s sparking core than any other yordle had gone since the nexus appeared. He found there that the long-dormant consoles known as the Naptime Boxes were now very much active. He soon emerged, his fur somewhat more “energized” than before, and brought a message from the Mothership itself. All fell silent as he intoned the sacred words: “Aboar Tree-Tie Feyl.” Clerics recognized these words from an old story, and said they bear grave meaning: the Mothership’s spirit has become imbalanced and discordant. He proposes to seek help from the League, joining the powers of Bandle City and Ionia that he may fulfill the task appointed him by the Mothership.
Bandle City went 2-1, triggering a generally positive setup.
With the League’s help, Kennen succeeded in inputting the sacred TREE-TIE command into the Naptime Boxes. A cheerful tune played from the Mothership’s speakers, and the boxes showed an animated starmap before going black once again. The Mothership projected a holographic image of Kennen in the air above it, proclaiming him to be a worthy member of its crew. The yordles of Bandle City threw a massive celebration in his honor, with unlimited juice boxes and many purple-frosted cupcakes and shuriken sugar cookies.
At the same instant, the isolated Ionian yordle village of Nuigu was seized by intense religious fervor. Working as one, they assembled a Signal Dish, not resting until it was complete and began to rotate and chirp. Crackling with divine energy, the Dish projected an image of the yordles in Bandle City celebrating Kennen’s victory, and the glorious sight of the Mothership…with one of their own, Kennen, displayed proudly above its nose as a giant hologram. Even more astonishingly, the Mothership reacted, replacing Kennen’s image with a mirror-feed of the Nuigu villagers. An excited conversation soon took place, wherein both sides explained what they had experienced.
It is resolved that this Mothership-established bond must be strengthened. There are two primary proposals.
- Ioniatown. The Nuigu villagers could leave Ionia and set up their own village on the outskirts of Bandle City, with the Signal Dish at its center.
- New Nuigu. Interested yordles from Bandle City could come to Nuigu and expand the village, bringing Mothership artifacts for the Dish, to help “get it ready” for the Mothership’s launch.
Either option, if successful, will strengthen ties between Ionia and Bandle City, and make Kennen happy.
Bandle City drew the Ace of Pentacles, and rolled 15 on its Vision check.
There were many tearful farewells in Bandle City when the ship from Nuigu set sail for Ionia once more, for many of Bandle City’s most adventuresome yordles packed their knapsacks and joined the Nuigu villagers on their voyage. They went with the blessing of the Mothership Elders, on a sacred pilgrimage to see the Signal Dish of Nuigu and help “get it ready”. Their technical ingenuity soon paid off, and human Ionians flocked to the newly enlarged village to marvel at these strange yordles and their stranger devices. Trade has increased with the humans, and even the aloof Ionians have begun to let their curiosity get the better of them.
The next time Bandle City rolls a 1 on an Influence check, its Ionian connections will step in on its behalf, allowing it to reroll that 1.
Jax, the Grandmaster at Arms, has joined Bilgewater. His origins are mysterious even by the standards of League Champions. His clearly inadequate “official story” is that he is an especially skillful mercenary with a knack for the sadly lost art of lamppost fencing. Yet every so often, he performs truly legendary feats that seem well beyond the abilities of even most Champions. Some theorize that he, like Aatrox, is a Darkin, a supernatural agent of destiny. (Quoth one stand-up comic at the Heart of Gold: “Come on. Jax is no more a Darkin than Swain is the Grand General of Noxus.”) If so, he seems to want no part of it. He was hired as a mercenary Champion by Bilgewater during the Nyroth dispute, and played a pivotal role in thwarting Aatrox’s attempts to consume the lost continent in war, while at the same time seemingly taking pains to make it seem he’d done nothing at all.
In most disputes, Jax insists that he’s merely a merc looking for some extra spending money. Yet the declaration he delivered to the Council in the battle for the Guardian’s Sea was without pretense or jest. “I don’t wanna find out what kind of god Aatrox would be.”
And as Jax stamped his seal on the declaration, Aatrox basked in the lightless deep, sifting through the lingering spectral currents of the ancient battle for Uun’Zek’Nare.
Bilgewater went 2-1, triggering a mostly positive lore event setup.
Jax sought League authorization to venture into Icathia and recover an artifact that he believed could empower the Marai to stop Aatrox. Agents of Icathia blocked the motion, however, and Jax was forced to take matters into his own three-fingered hands. He met Aatrox on the ocean floor, no longer running from him, but openly accepting his challenge. The duel began, Darkin blade against burning lamppost. Jax fought with every technique he knew, but Aatrox drew upon the divine nexus energy to empower himself with millennia of the prayers of those on the verge of defeat, fighting against hopeless odds. Jax’s flawless technique was not enough to drive back the belief of this multitude of warriors who pledged their lives to wage seemingly impossible battles.
Summoners gathered to watch the duel. So intense was the thaumic distortion surrounding the two that it was impossible to see what exactly was happening. Or, rather, it was impossible to see what was really happening; everyone seemed to have their own story. One saw a simple fight no different from a standard toplane brawl. Another saw two luminous humanoid figures armed with alien weapons. Still another saw a lone hero battling a mob.
As Jax lost ground, he reached out to the Bilgewater Summoners nearby. Normally, a Champion can only link with and draw power from a single Summoner; somehow, during this duel, Jax drew upon their combined strength. He seemed to be searching not for power or cunning but for inspiration. Two images presented themselves to each Summoner…
- Captain Coro, the Reaver King. Captain Coro was a Rune Wars-era Reaver King. The basic story of the Rune Wars and Bilgewater was that Bilgewater managed to avoid being conquered because most rune magic doesn’t work on the high seas. (The churning ocean is chaotic enough that you can’t really get at the leylines on the sea floor.) Captain Coro was remarkable in that he built a force disciplined and powerful enough that he was able to actively raid the mainland. He stole from both the Magelords and the Protectorate.
- Hap Hexborne, the Oracle of the Docks. Hap Hexborne is a Bilgewater folk hero who lived over a thousand years ago. He had the gift of prophecy and fate-turning, typically expressed by trance-painting a divinatory image. He was also a scoundrel who made deadly enemies by teaching secret magic to commoners. One enemy applied the ancient curse of the drowned. That night, Hap fell asleep at his canvas, having painted himself drowning. He sleepwalked out of his house, knocking the easel over on his way, and walked straight off the pier. He sank, filling his lungs with water without waking, as back at his home the brush dripped onto the canvas…two languid drops that bled together into the shape of a heart. Just then, a mourner rigging a friend’s coffin to a buoy released the rope, letting the coffin sink into the water, and dove in after Hap, dragging him up from the depths and resuscitating him. (They would later marry.)
Captain Coro represents Bilgewater’s ferocity and determination. Hap Hexborne represents Bilgewater’s roguishness and adaptability.
Bilgewater drew the Six of Swords, and owing to its expanded critical range from its high Week 6 BoP of 54, rolled a dramatic critical success: totaling 36! Needless to say, it was successful.
The Summoners chose Captain Coro, the Reaver King. It seems every Summoner saw something different next, but all agree that Jax changed. That he is no ordinary “merc” has become something of a joke at the Institute, but never before had these Summoners seen a display such as this. He stopped evading and deflecting Aatrox’s blows, and tore into him—some said with his lamppost, some said with a great shining broadsword, some said with a blast from Captain Coro’s matchlock. Meanwhile, on the surface, a mage-sculptor awoke from his bed and began carving a statue of Captain Coro, ancient hero of Bilgewater. Even non-mages sensed its magical power, and flocked to gaze upon it.
Aatrox fought back. On the surface, the poor of Bilgewater rose up in a riot against the pirates, merchants, and gangs who lorded over them, ready to meet the swords of the city watch with dockworkers’ hooks and clubs. (Readers may wish to take personal note—Summoners were themselves a target, as the oppressed of Bilgewater sought to exact vengeance on these foreign meddlers who aid and abet the likes of Gangplank and Miss Fortune.)
Although Summoners disagree on virtually every other detail of the combat between Jax and Aatrox, even as to what forms they took, they do agree that they heard Jax say something at this moment—
Know your damn place.
In the city streets of Bilgewater, as watchmen and gangsters alike raised their weapons to fire on the crowds, and the crowds readied to throw themselves into a hail of gunfire against impossible odds, none other than Captain Coro himself appeared between them. He asked them how they’d managed to forget that Bilgewater’s enemies are across the sea. Or that it’s Bilgewater itself that is the true “underdog” here. And unless they wanted to prove all those mainland snobs right, he said, they’d come together and remember what it meant to fight under the flag of Bilgewater. Captain Coro vanished, but when crews went to their ships the next morning, they found that all the flags had been magically reverted to an ancient Bilgewater crest not known since the Rune Wars—since the time of Captain Coro, when those banners not only fluttered above the waves but were carried onto the mainland itself, where the armies of the Magelords and the Protectorate, at least for a short time, fled from their sight. The statue was moved to the docks, looking out across the ocean at the lands Captain Coro once raided.
The battle at the nexus was over. Aatrox was gone, and Jax seemed once more to be merely a humanoid (if not unambiguously human) figure with a lamppost in his three-fingered hand. He limped, as though wounded, but angrily refused offers of aid from the gathered Summoners. Though he was victorious, he seemed changed, and not for the better: colder, harder, sharper.
The next time Bilgewater rolls a 1 on a Might check, Captain Coro will inspire their forces to greater things, allowing a reroll. (Seriously, Icathia, Aatrox needs to beat up Jax at some point. This is getting embarrassing. Win those matches!)
Udyr, the Spirit Walker, has joined the Freljord. Udyr has been loyal to Ionia for a long time, serving in many conflicts and wars over the League of Legends’ history, including the pivotal Ionia vs Noxus match that regained Ionia’s full independence. However, he also owes much to the land he was born in, the Freljord, and to the Winter’s Claw, his adopted tribe. His choice reflects much upon Udyr’s own journey, from a wild beast-like man to a warrior who wields the ferocity of nature with an iron will. His spiritual journey through Ionia revealed to him the deeper meaning of the natural order, a meaning which he intends to better understand through the window of the divine nexus in the Guardian’s Sea.
Whereas most are concerned with using the divine nexus discovered in the Guardian’s Sea to fulfill their prophecies or otherwise access supernatural power, Udyr was alarmed at how it seemed to be warping the complex natural environment of the deep ocean. If this imbalance is not corrected, he said, then no matter which prophecy is borne out, it will do incalculable damage to the natural world. He has therefore petitioned the League to allow the Freljord to use some of the nexus realignment magic developed on Nyroth to bring greater harmony between the divine nexus and the environment.
The Freljord went 2-1, triggering a mostly positive lore event setup.
The natural world needs an avatar, a spirit animal, to maintain itself in the face of the human-driven divine energy building in the Guardian’s Sea. The League grants Udyr access to the nexus resonance spells used in Nyroth. Udyr sees two main solutions: either the natural world can become aggressive enough to fight back against threats, or strong enough to resist their influence. The eruption of the undersea volcano (see Brand’s lore) offers an opportunity: a surge in elemental, natural magic that can be harnessed to establish one of these resonances.
- Phoenix Ray (Mag Mell). Mag Mell is a Nyrothian volcanic island. Its resonance could be conducted through the undersea volcano that’s erupted. The spirit animal would be a phoenix ray, a stinging ray that lives on geothermal (and elemental fire) energy. This would represent an aggressive reassertion of the natural world’s ferocity.
- Glacial Turtle (Argyre). Timi’u helps Udyr adapt the resonance of Argyre to encase the erupting volcano in ice. The interaction of fire and ice magic coalesces into a complex structure made of ice and cooled volcanic rock. The spirit animal that emerges is the glacial turtle, a long-lived and hardy species that represents the resilience of nature.
In other words, should Udyr rely on the natural world’s savage ferocity, or its ability to endure?
The Freljord drew the Two of Pentacles, a super weird card that I didn’t even really try to bring into this, and succeeded on its Vision check with a total of 18, for one extra Success Level.
With the help of Timi’u the Argyrian yordle, the Freljord’s Summoners adapted the Argyrian nexus resonance to modulate the divine energy coursing through the natural environment of the Guardian’s Sea. Udyr took this resonance into himself, and summoned a suitable spirit to personify the ocean: a Glacial Turtle. It took form as Anivia sealed the erupting volcano with an undersea glacier.
The next time the Freljord rolls a 1 on a Vision check, Udyr will offer some sage advice from their friend
Smokey the Bear the Glacial Turtle Spirit, rerolling that 1.
If for some reason you want to see the details of the rolls, they are available here.
There’s also a discussion thread.