Factions is built around a community-written storyline that develops based on match outcomes and interactive lore event decisions.
“Hear ye and be warned! This affront to Runeterra’s peace shall no longer abide.”
—Opening of the traditional formula for League proclamations of intervention
The Factions story began in 22 CLE (i.e. 2012) with the Prism Shard dispute, followed in early 23 CLE by the Mirrorwater dispute.
This is an index of all previous storylines, with brief summaries of who won and what happened. It also includes Riot’s original Noxus versus Ionia “Trial for the Isle” tournament, which inspired Factions.
- The Trial for the Isle
- Participants: Ionia, Noxus
- Victor: Ionia
- 20 CLE: After years of Noxian occupation, Ionia’s petition to join the League is granted, and Noxus agrees to take the dispute to the Fields. In a startling upset, Ionia prevails. Karma, an international diplomat, ascends to power, and charts a new course for the historically isolationist nation.
- Key elements: Galrin, Navori, Shon-Xan
- The Prism Shard
- Participants: Demacia, Zaun
- Victor: Zaun
- 22 CLE: A landslide in Kalamanda traps Zaunite surveyors, and a Demacian research team comes to their aid. In the chaos, an artifact, the Prism Shard, is uncovered. Both sides allege different facts, and argue different legal theories, and the matter of who has claim to the Prism Shard goes to the Fields of Justice, where Zaun prevails.
- Key elements: The Prism Shard
- Part I: Mirrorwater
- Participants: Demacia, Ionia, Noxus, Piltover, the Freljord
- Victor: the Freljord
- 23 CLE: The Freljord’s tribes unite to win control of the Mirrorwater, an eerie silver liquid found at the crash site of a meteor. The Avarosan build an ice fortress enchanted with the Mirrorwater, while the Winter’s Claw tribes forge magical weapons and Lissandra…that is to say, the shamans of the Troll Tribes make a magic potion to harden themselves against disease, and Trundle definitely doesn’t give it to Lissandra to do something spooky with.
- Key elements: The Mirrorwater
- Part II: Ceruleana
- Participants: Demacia, Ionia, Noxus, Piltover, the Freljord, the Shadow Isles
- Victor: Demacia
- 23 CLE: An island of silver-blue ice, called Ceruleana, rises from the ocean between the Shadow Isles and the Freljord. Demacia, victorious on the Fields of Justice, takes control of Ceruleana, and its priests conduct a ritual to bless the island. The personification of the island appears in a storm-gray cloak, proclaiming herself to be goddess of the ocean. Demacia adopts her as their patron, and with her strength behind its sails, the Royal Navy enforces Demacian order on Valoran—as Ionia warns that the pendulum returns from every swing.
- Key elements: Ceruleana
- Part III: Discord
- Participants: Bandle City, Demacia, Discord, Piltover (plus Noxus for special matches)
- Victor: Discord (but Noxus won against Discord in the special matches)
- 23 CLE: When Demacia tips Runeterra toward Order, the cosmic balance reasserts itself. A Void rift splits the cursed sands of Icathia, and an army of Void demons and undead monstrosities emerge to rampage across Valoran. The combined forces of Runeterra stop Discord at the gates of Noxus, but at a terrible cost. Void ooze poisons Noxian soil, leaving neither land nor food enough. The broken Empire teems with refugees.
- Key elements: The Void War
- Part IV: Shon-Xan
- Participants: Ionia, Noxus
- Victor: Ionia
- 24 CLE: Noxian refugees from the Void War settle in the Ionian wilderness, provoking a new war between Noxus and Ionia. Ionia wins on and off the Fields, but Noxus manages to retain claim to a tiny patch of scorched land through the use of techmaturgical biochemical weapons. The casualties suffered in this final push breaks the might of the Noxian military machine, and leaves its ally Zaun to fend for itself.
- Key elements: Shon-Xan
- Part V: Hextech Revolution
- Participants: Piltover, Bandle City, Zaun, Demacia
- Vi(k)tor: Zaun
- 24 CLE: Void contamination spreads from Noxus into the Shurima Desert, where it mingles with residual ancient Shuriman magic to create “pyrikhos”, magically charged purple sand that serves as a universal hextech power source and fuels the so-called Hextech Revolution. Zaun wins control of most of the pyrikhos in Shurima, and establishes itself as a great power independent of the battered Noxian military when its HexKorps defeats the other three nations in a pitched battle, then joins them in a fight against a Void incursion. King Jarvan III is arrested under League warrant, and Demacia is sanctioned with costly reparations. Piltover builds a high-speed levitating railway to Demacia, while Bandle City refuels the Mothership and flies to Runeterra’s moon—from which vantage point yordles discover a new continent, Nyroth.
- Key elements: Pyrikhos, Merricurry, Nefara, Shurima Desert, Jarvan III, HexKorps, PsiKorps, velocitronic railway, Mothership, Yordle Moonbase, Solar Codex, Ceruleana
- Part VI: Nyroth
- Participants: Bilgewater, Ionia, the Freljord, the Shadow Isles
- Victor: Ionia
- 24 CLE: Valoran discovers Nyroth, a continent to its west, concealed until now by turbulent magical storms and an arcane distortion field. Nyroth was once home to a great civilization, brought to ruin a thousand years ago by the thaumic shockwaves of Valoran’s Rune Wars. Bilgewater leads the charge to explore Nyroth’s ten islands and aid the survivors of the cataclysm, while the Shadow Isles brings solace to the tormented souls of those who perished. The Freljord, with help from Ionia, achieves the remarkable feat of restoring Nyroth’s arcanosphere to its pre-cataclysm state. Ultimately, though, it is Ionia that prevails on the Fields, and becomes the overseer of Nyroth, with a resurgent Bilgewater under Nami granted primary authority over trade affairs. Meanwhile, Valoran faces the Harrowing.
- Key elements: Pteranthos, Rune Wars, Nyroth, the Harrowing, the Black Mist, Marai, Moonstone, Lunari, Krocylea
- Part VII: Lines in the Sand
- Participants: Shurima, Noxus, Piltover
- Victor: Shurima in the first phase, Noxus in the second
- 25 CLE: Nyroth’s restoration sends a mana-surge through Valoran’s leylines, and Azir uses this power to raise his ruined capital up from the sands and proclaim the resurrection of the Empire of Shurima. Noxus and Piltover contest his claims to the Shurima Desert, but are unprepared for the furor of Azir’s followers, or the Shuriman magic they wield. Shurima is recognized as a sovereign League member-state, and granted authority over both the ancient city of Dar’khos to the south and the pyrikhos boomtown of Bel’zhun to the east. But Noxus rallies, using its political network within the League to hobble Azir on the Fields, while its mages develop defenses to hold Azir’s armies back. Without a steady stream of fresh victories, Azir’s court fractures, and Noxus ultimately wins control of most of the territory in Shurima outside of its three major cities.
- Burning Tides: In the midst of the Shuriman dispute, Gangplank makes a move many years in the making. Casting off his facade of drunken pirate buffoonery, he returns to Bilgewater and proclaims himself Pirate King. A clash with Miss Fortune ensues, during which Gangplank is briefly believed to have been killed. Both use the League to reinforce their domestic claims, citing recent precedent from the Shurima dispute to justify League intervention within a member-state. In the end, Gangplank keeps his Pirate King title, holding control over Bilgewater itself, but Miss Fortune wins authority to conduct Bilgewater’s international affairs.
- Key elements: Shurima Desert, Dar’khos, Bel’zhun, Burning Tides
- Part VIII: Divinity
- Participants: Bandle City, Bilgewater, the Freljord, Icathia
- Victor: Bandle City
- 26 CLE: Soon after the God-Emperor Azir’s return to the throne of his resurrected Empire in the Shurima Desert, a nexus forms far beneath the waves on the floor of the Guardian’s Sea. This new nexus is, remarkably, attuned to divine energy, which had all but vanished from Runeterra after the opening salvos of the Rune Wars poisoned the arcanosphere thousands of years ago. Four factions claim that this nexus is a fulfillment of their prophecies. In the end, Bandle City prevails, and in accordance with yordle prophecy a Launch Pad is constructed over the nexus. The Mothership blasts off into the cosmos. Some of the divine energy lingers, as do a few of the gods and spirits from the Age of Divinity.
- Key elements: Rune Wars, Rune of Freedom, Rune of Purity, Age of Divinity, Launch Pad, Mothership, Ylsa’s Memory, Uun’Zak’Nare, Nagakabouros, the Serpent’s Nest, the Ghoul, Frostgems, Lunari, Nyrothian Civil War
- Part IX: Black Winter
- Participants: Demacia, Ionia
- Victor: Demacia
- 26 CLE: The Black Mist blasts through Bilgewater and into Valoran’s mainland, as the Ghoul, a god of undeath awoken by the Guardian’s Sea nexus, drives a snowstorm south from the Freljord. They collide at the Institute of War, and trigger a Valoran-wide Black Winter phenomenon that comes to be called the Black Winter. Most member-states fail in their independent efforts against the Black Winter. Demacia and Ionia, having each found success in their homelands, come forward as candidates to lead the others in a united effort. Demacia’s solution is a purifying crusade, while Ionia seeks to mediate between the living and the dead. Demacia prevails on the Fields. It strikes an unpleasant but practical deal with Noxus, gaining its help in reining in Zaunite necromantic hextech (NekroTek) in exchange for declining to investigate suspicions that the Black Winter was itself enabled by a bargain between Noxus and the Shadow Isles.
- Key elements: the Harrowing, the Black Mist, the Ghoul, the Black Winter, NekroTek, Nyroth
- Part X: Insurrection
- Participants: Noxus, Zaun
- Victor: Zaun
- 27 CLE: After the war of Shuriman independence, Noxus and Zaun combined their resources to build the small northern oasis-village of Qa’hhar into a major city, primarily by constructing an aqueduct to bring water down through the Great Barrier. Qa’hhar survives the Black Winter, defended by its Noxian garrison, but conditions worsen as tensions mount between the two allies. Hextech pollution floats in from the Zaunite refineries from the east, as Noxian tariffs make the Zaunite medication that treats the illness (Spirox) unaffordable to the common people. Governor Sorinius Felk, commander of the Eighth Legion, brutalizes the rebellious people of Qa’hhar into revolt against their Noxian overseers and the Zaunite chem-barons on their borders. When Noxus and Zaun clash in the chaotic aftermath, the matter of the city’s future comes before the League. Zaun prevails, and establishes Qa’hhar as an “independent democracy”—but also very much part of its hextech-driven commercial empire.
- Key elements: Qa’hhar, the Black Winter, pyrikhos
- Part XI: Kin-Fire
- Participants: the Freljord, the Shadow Isles
- Victor: the Shadow Isles
- During the Black Winter, a League expedition retrieved sacred artifacts from the Ornnhjaln, a shrine to Ornn. Among them was the Kin-Fire, a torch Ornn forged from the severed finger-bone of the death-goddess Anjalni to guide the souls of the Freljord’s honored dead back from their trek through the afterlife. That vessel, the Bright Revelation, vanished into the Mist. Later, the Kin-Fire reappeared in the possession of the Shadow Isles. Ornn emerged from his forge, and led the Freljord in a battle for the Kin-Fire on the Fields of Justice. The Shadow Isles prevailed, and now the Kin-Fire calls the spirits of the Freljord out of the endless cycle of life and rebirth into the stillness of undeath.
Click on a particular storyline to see the page for that arc, including all lore updates published during its course.
The Factions Canon
The Great Retcon and Factions Canon
“REHT’KON AL TRAZARA! INVOH REHT’KON KADORES REHT’KON!”
—The mad Summoner Thomas Gnox
Riot’s “Great Retcon” marks a critical point in League lore. With the Great Retcon, Riot declared that it was removing certain extraneous elements from the lore of League of Legends, such as, you know, the League of Legends. Because the world doesn’t have enough reboots and remakes already, they then set about rewriting the lore of a number of Champions and other fundamental story elements. To follow the Great Retcon, we would have had to abandon the core concept (Lana!) of Factions, and indeed delete the players (Summoners) from the universe. This we decline to do.
While Factions canon rejects the Great Retcon itself, we do our best to incorporate new post-retcon lore into traditional pre-retcon Riot lore and Factions lore. (Example: we fused the pre-retcon “yar har har” Gangplank with the post-retcon “I’LL <verb> YER <bodypart>” super-edgy Gangplank in our Burning Tides event.) We’ve been doing this kind of thing for a while, as rewriting Champion lore from scratch has long been something of a running joke with Riot. (It’s not surprising that Warwick’s new lore says he doesn’t know who he is or where he came from, given that the poor guy’s history has been retconned like three times.) When faced with lore changes, our objective is to “make it all true”, and to have fun while doing so. As a symbolic affirmation of our commitment to incorporate as much new Riot lore as possible, we even took a bit of a “nuTrek” approach: technically speaking, the Riot lore-verse is a parallel reality, perhaps one in which Summoner Thomas Gnox’s attempt to wipe the League from history was successful.
In addition to retaining the League of Legends, Summoners, the Rune Wars, and other lore elements from traditional Riot lore, we also continue to use the original map of Runeterra. If and when Riot releases a full new map of Runeterra, we plan to switch to that map through some sort of cataclysmic in-universe event. (Something something thaumatectonics.)
The “notable events” section of the first issue of our in-universe newspaper, The Summoner’s Herald, bridges traditional Riot lore and the Factions story. It’s also intended as a quick review of the material published in the Journal of Justice.
The League of Legends
“The Institute of War is a monument to peaceful cooperation whose halls are packed with the highest number of dangerous sociopaths per square meter in the world, unless somebody’s shoved the entire Du Couteau family into a broom closet somewhere. The runespells that will probably one day incinerate the planet are in its basement. To keep them safe.”
—Attributed by oral tradition to High Councilor Vessaria Kolminye on the day of her elevation to the Council
The League of Legends, guardian of Valoran’s peace and final arbiter among nations, was born of idealism—and desperation. The great powers of Valoran came together at last when their reckless use of rune magic had broken the very foundations of their world and left them on the brink of oblivion. Under the League’s charter, they agreed to adhere to certain laws of war, principally a prohibition on rune magic, and wherever possible to resolve conflicts through League adjudication. No judge or law could be fully trusted, and so the League would make resort to contests of arms on the Fields of Justice to break political deadlock. The mightiest warriors of Valoran became the Champions who battle on the Fields, while rune mages assumed the purple robes of Summoners of the League, pledged to guide and assist these Champions, and sworn to seek out ways to use their magic to mend the broken world of Runeterra. Though the League is the keeper of potent arcane knowledge, its own power is minuscule compared with that of even its weakest member-state. Thus the dilemma of the League: it must be able to control the great powers of Valoran in times of crisis, yet it depends upon these same nations for its own strength. (Aren’t you glad, Summoner, that you chose such an easy line of work?)
The League’s founding mandate was to stand against apocalypse, to be Valoran’s last hope that it would see tomorrow. That hope survived its first great test at Kalamanda, when the League stood between Demacia and Noxus, the superpowers that created it, and these bitterest of enemies yielded to its pleas for peace. Since that day, the nations of Valoran have increasingly made recourse to the League to resolve conflicts great and small. Ordinarily, Champions and Summoners must fight on the Fields of Justice for whoever calls upon them. However, there are some disputes so great that it would be unreasonable to expect such neutrality. In these disputes, Champions and Summoners make declarations of allegiance to contend for their chosen factions.
The League will only intervene of its own accord when a situation poses an imminent threat to Runeterra. This generally means an escalating war between two or more member-states. However, member-states may also bring their dispute before the League by mutual agreement. This has become more and more common since its founding.
It is hard to deny that the League has succeeded in its mission of preventing the apocalypse. But there have also been many credible accusations of corruption in its ranks. Summoners and Champions are not always hailed as heroes: many regard them both with suspicion and resentment.
You, Summoner, are a gifted mage who has survived the trials necessary to enter the Institute of War. You have been entrusted with the dread legacy of rune magic, and the ability to link your mind and spirit with a Champion. When nations do battle on the Fields of Justice, they call on you to aid their Champions. Off the Fields, you may serve on any given day as a diplomat, a scholar of magic, an investigator of strange arcane phenomena, or a battle-mage. While the Champions take center-stage, more often than not it is you, not those angsty spotlight-stealing primadonnas with their quests for vengeance and their dark and mysterious pasts, who does what needs to be done, whether that’s battling monsters, scrutinizing a stack of ancient treaties, curing an arcanovirus, digging through the research archives, slogging through a swamp to find out why the local leyline was just deflected five degrees to the east, or diving into a swamp to avoid being bitten in half by the reason why the local leyline was just deflected five degrees to the east. You may believe deeply in the mission of the League, or you may simply be taking the opportunity to ready yourself for the aftermath of its collapse. Either way, on you much depends.
The Summoner’s Herald
Link: The Summoner’s Herald
This is our in-universe newspaper, in the style of the Journal of Justice. It is published at the Institute of War, and reports on international news.
Beyond the Battlefield
Link: Beyond the Battlefield
Beyond the Battlefield is for community-written lore, especially lore that isn’t directly related to the central Factions storyline. Anyone can send in their writing for review. We check submissions primarily to ensure there are no conflicts with Factions canon. All Beyond the Battlefield works that are published have been vetted in this way, and are themselves Factions canon. In other words: we invite anyone who would like to do so to contribute to building the Factions world.
Link: Factions Artwork
We are fortunate enough to have lots of awesome community art, as well.