This lore event, the first of the Insurrection arc, is connected with the May 27–28 Featured Matches.
The Story So Far
Qa’hhar is a city in northern Shurima, situated just south of the Mogron Pass. When it came under Noxian rule in 25 CLE, it had a population of only about a thousand people. Its population boomed to ten times that figure starting in March of 26 CLE, when Noxus and Zaun completed the construction of an aqueduct into the city from the mountains to the north. Most of these new inhabitants are Shuriman, but many come from other parts of Valoran, and some even from distant Nyroth. The construction of this aqueduct was part of a joint effort to develop Qa’hhar into the first major Shuriman city not under Azir’s control. Noxus sought a strategic foothold and a source of new legions, while Zaun was primarily looking for a new market for its goods and housing for its workers—both beyond the reach of Azir’s laws and, crucially, outside the jurisdiction of his tax collectors.
On 1 May, 27 CLE, Qa’hhar rose up in a violent insurrection against hated Noxian governor Sorinius Felk, ejecting him and his troops from the city. The rebels soon launched an attack on a nearby Zaunite pyrikhos refinery, provoking a counter-invasion by a HexKorps tank unit. The League dispute began after a brief but tremendously destructive clash between the HexKorps and Felk’s rallied troops.
Over the past three weeks, the Qa’hharian Provisional Government established by the League has managed to clean up the rubble from the clash between Noxus and Zaun that started all this, and the city’s normal routines are beginning to resurface. Some Qa’hharians have enlisted in the Noxian legions, while others work in Zaun’s mines. Noxian troops are patrolling the city streets, albeit with League observers from various member-states (even Demacia and Ionia) tagging along. However, the deep tensions that provoked the revolt remain.
Noxus has used its control over the desert between Qa’hhar and the Zaunite pyrikhos fields to establish a commercial blockade. Zaun continues to run its refineries at full load, spewing pollution across the desert into the city. Local Qa’hharian leaders are fractured into quarreling camps. Every street corner, it seems, is occupied by at least one speaker. Depending on the corner and the day, you might hear rhetoric for or against Noxus or Zaun, or a plea to the merciful Emperor Azir to deliver his people from foreign bondage, or a call to join the Glorious Evolution and forge a new future, or, on at least some corners, a sales pitch for some hot meat pies. (Qa’hhar is home to a few meat pie sellers who are fully capable of displacing even the most hotheaded revolutionaries at lunch hour.) And, as usual, the League is trying to hold this chaotic situation together, in this case in the form of a provisional government.
This lore event centers on two main decisions. These refer to “Control” and “Instability”, which are used to track the situation in Qa’hhar. Each faction has a Control stat which measures the strength of its overall position. There is also a shared Instability stat, which numerically describes how volatile the situation in Qa’hhar is. The factions begin with a Control value equal to their Balance of Power divided by 10, rounded down. Instability begins at 1.
In the first decision, the faction may select between two general approaches to Qa’hhar: Convert or Dominate.
- Convert: Try to win over the Qa’hharians, or at least co-opt their institutions and local leaders. Lower risk, lower reward.
- Success: +1 Control, -1 Instability.
- Failure: -1 Control.
- This will also set the base probability for the random disaster at 10%. (See: Undermine.)
- Dominate: Use aggressive tactics to reshape Qa’hhar. Higher risk, higher reward. Causes a slight increase in instability even if successful.
- Success: +3 Control, +1 Instability.
- Failure: -d3 Control, +2 Instability.
- This will also set the base probability for the random disaster at 20%. (See: Undermine.)
Second, the faction has a choice as to whether or not to attempt to Undermine the other faction, i.e., to sabotage their position, creating potential for gain at the risk of destabilizing the entire situation. Each faction’s respective disaster (the refinery explosion for Zaun, the revolt for Noxus) has some chance of happening on its own. If a faction chooses to “undermine”, that chance will be significantly increased. However, the only information that will be released—for now—will be whether or not the disaster occurs, not whether or not either faction chose to undermine. Neither faction will itself know for sure what its leadership chose to do. (Indeed, I’ll be using a “statistical democracy” model, whereby the odds the faction will go through with the plan are set by the percentage of “yes” votes, so that even if a faction counts votes, it won’t be certain.) This mystery may be a subject for investigation later on.
- Undermine: Try to turn Qa’hhar against the other faction with a dangerous covert action.
- This will increase the odds of the disaster occurring by the undermining faction’s Balance of Power divided by 10 (rounded down, min 0, max 5) plus d6. Bonuses from the FMs will also be applied here.
- Roll a d20 to determine if the disaster occurs. It happens on a total of 19+ (if the faction went Convert) or 17+ (if the faction went Dominate). If the natural roll is 3 or below, no disaster occurs, regardless of modifiers.
- If the disaster occurs, Instability will immediately increase by 1. (If both disasters occur, it will increase by 3.) In addition, the Difficulty of the target faction’s Convert/Dominate check will be increased by 2, on top of the added difficulty from the higher Instability. Finally, the undermining faction’s Control will increase by d3. (A new uprising will prove Zaun right about Noxian brutality, and a refinery explosion will prove Noxus right about Zaunite recklessness.)
Noxus wants to turn Qa’hhar into a strategic foothold in the region, as well as a source of human and material assets for its legions. For some time now, the High Command has been using Felk to impose brutal policies and whip Qa’hhar into shape, intending to toss him aside once the dirty work is complete and put in a more permanent leader. Some think that Noxus needs to implement another crackdown, aimed at the rebels who provoked the present crisis. Others believe that it’s time to shift to a more conciliatory posture.
- Convert: Banish Felk to the wastelands. Find someone nicer.
- This option will also result in a lower risk of a new uprising. (See: Zaun’s “Undermine” decision.)
- Dominate: Find the rebel leader who humiliated Felk with this revolt, and settle things the Noxian way, with a public duel.
- This option will also result in a higher risk of a new uprising. (See: Zaun’s “Undermine” decision.)
Qa’hharian rebels are not the only thorn in Noxus’s side here. Zaun is continuing to sap the health of Qa’hharians with its pollution while it simultaneously drains currency out of the city with the sale of commercial goods. Still more nefariously, it has the temerity to offer Qa’hharians jobs in their mines and production facilities—forcing Noxus to pay higher wages to attract legionaries, and reducing the overall size of the hiring pool.
A secret proposal circulates among the higher levels of Noxian government, and their League contacts. (That would be you, Summoners.) The refinery that the rebels attacked shows some signs of instability. If it were to tragically explode, blasting Qa’hhar with a wave of pollution, that would attract the ire not only of Qa’hharians, but perhaps also of the League. It would prove Noxus right. It may only be a matter of time before it blows on its own, but Noxus could move that forward with an act of sabotage.
- Undermine: Sabotage Zaun’s pyrikhos refinery, with disastrous consequences that will be blamed on Zaunite greed.
Cast your votes here. Voting will close on Tuesday, 30 May, 27 CLE.
Zaun’s chem-barons and megacorps fervently desire the establishment of a major Shuriman city not under Azir’s control. Noxus building up its military is a nice bonus, but Zaun is fairly confident in its own military capabilities, and in any event would rather see Qa’hhar as a modern metropolis rather than some grim Noxian barracks-city. Noxus is trying to stoke outrage over pollution, even though Qa’hhar is really quite clean compared to most parts of, say, Zaun. Spirox is expensive, but progress isn’t cheap, and sales are funding more research into better medications.
“Why don’t we just stop polluting?” is not a question that goes entirely unasked, though usually the people asking are newer Summoners who are not especially familiar with Zaunite politics. The only way for Zaun to completely stop polluting would be to shut down its pyrikhos refineries, at unacceptable loss of profit. Even then, the jury is out on whether a facility shutdown would stop the problem. This is arcane pollution based on the combustion of a substance (pyrikhos) which resonates with both Shuriman magic and Void energy; it’s not entirely clear what might happen if Zaun just turned off its factories.
That said, there is a strategic question as to how Zaun wants to approach this Spirox/pollution situation. It could certainly make things a little nicer for Qa’hhar right now, and that might pay off in the long run. On the other hand, these people damaged corporate property, and they need to learn what happens when you cross chem-barons. Or, rather, they need to learn what doesn’t happen: they don’t play nice with you.
- Convert: Attempt to scale back pollution, negotiate with Noxus to sell Spirox (with a lot less profit margin).
- This option will also result in a lower risk of the refinery blowing up. (See: Noxus’s “Undermine” decision.)
- Dominate: Teach them to get used to it. Send in more Glorious Evolution types to give them less fragile lungs. Crank up refinery output to fuel demand.
- This option will also result in a higher risk of the refinery blowing up. (See: Noxus’s “Undermine” decision.)
Meanwhile, Zaun notices that Noxus has boots on the ground once more, patrolling the city streets under League oversight and functioning as a provisional city watch. Sure would be a shame if, say, certain Qa’hharian subfactions decided to get more aggressive than they should, and matters turned violent. One wonders why those Qa’hharians might act that way. Perhaps their zeal for Emperor Azir might suddenly increase to fanatic proportions. Perhaps it might all start with a vision, with a dream that comes to them in the night but won’t leave when day comes. On an unrelated note, Summoner, someone from the PsiKorps is here to see you.
- Undermine: Use PsiKorps agents to provoke a new uprising, which will force a violent Noxian reprisal.
Cast your votes here. Voting will close on Tuesday, 30 May, 27 CLE.
See also: the Resolution section of the GDoc, with full wonky details, and Herald Vol. VI, Iss. 2.
- The refinery exploded, and a new revolt erupted in Qa’hhar. Both factions gained Control by attacking the other for their respective disaster, but Instability rose dramatically (from 1 to 4, out of a possible 8) as a result.
- Noxus chose Dominate, keeping Felk in power and brutally suppressing the rebels. It succeeded, raising its Control to a commanding 5, but further increasing Instability from 4 to 5.
- Zaun chose Convert, lowering Spirox prices and reducing pollution. This backfired, however, when black marketeers bought up the Spirox and its newly improved refinery exploded. Its Control fell from 3 to 2.
- Overall, both factions have ultimately gained Control, but Instability is very high going into Lore Event II.