See also: The Factions of Runeterra
This page summarizes the factions of Runeterra and provides a brief introduction to the Factions setting itself.
We try to keep the Factions universe consistent with the “canon” League universe, though of course by its very nature (as a game mode which dynamically generates story developments based on match outcomes and Summoner decisions) it tends to diverge somewhat.
- Previous Storylines gives a concise summary of previous arcs and their outcomes.
- Storyline Overview provides a more narrative overview of the Factions saga to date.
Key Updates to Baseline Canon
An abbreviated list of some of the key developments that have occurred in Factions:
- Summoners and the League exist.
- A strange new substance has been discovered in the Shurima Desert. Piltover, Bandle City, Zaun, and Demacia participated in a dispute before the League regarding ownership of this “dark sand”. Zaun won, and now controls most of this powerful hextech energy source.
- Zaun has built a mechanized hextech army, the HexKorps, powerful enough to rival Noxus or Demacia.
- Icathia is swarming with Void monsters under Malzahar’s command. The League has been forced to grant this demonic principality standing before the Council.
- The League has also recognized the Shadow Isles, which brought the mortal nations of Valoran almost to their knees in a dark alliance with Malzahar’s Void army.
- Much Noxian land is in ruins after the Void War. Refugees fled to the Ionian island of Shon-Xan, sparking a war. The League intervened, and Ionia prevailed.
- The Noxian military is in shambles after its costly victory in the Void War and its devastating defeat in Shon-Xan. Its ally Zaun has become a power in its own right with the construction of the mechanized army known as the HexKorps.
- The Demacian Navy rules the seas, backed by an ocean goddess called Ceruleana.
- Riven has returned from exile as Reformist forces rise within Noxus.
- Lissandra is in the midst of an evil scheme to — wait, no, that’s just straight-up canon.
Here’s a quick overview of the most basic elements of Factions lore.
The League of Legends
Hear ye, and be warned! This affront to the peace of Runeterra shall not abide. The Council so declares: that by sunset on the 28th day of March all combat on the island of Shon-Xan must cease. An accounting shall then be made and terms of peace enforced.
Let the word of the League be as Law, lest all the powers of Runeterra arrange themselves against ye. There may be no appeal.
The League of Legends is a supranational entity founded after the unchecked use of high-level battle magic nearly destroyed Runeterra. It resolves international disputes through matches on the Fields of Justice, fought by Champions who are aided by mages called Summoners.
War still happens, but the League acts as a referee. It sets the boundaries for the conflict, and periodically intervenes to, e.g., determine who will gain control of a valuable port or city with a match on the Fields of Justice instead of actual combat which might very well destroy the object of contention. (The Shon-Xan storyline, featuring a new war between Noxus and Ionia, illustrates this sort of League adjudication.) Although founded to keep potentially cataclysmic wars in check, it also handles smaller disputes. Your average solo queue match might be part of an argument about the taxation of cupcakes from Bandle City or something along those lines.
The League is also the keeper of many powerful artifacts, which are adjudged too dangerous to be in the possession of any one nation-state. Although the League itself is made up of many powerful mages, it ultimately relies upon nations such as Demacia and Noxus to back up its judgments.
You are a Summoner. Your arcane talent and tactical ingenuity have won you education at the Institute of War and access to its mystical secrets. You empower Champions with magical items, runes, and spells. You don’t directly “control” them, but you watch over the battlefield and link telepathically with your Champion and the other Summoners, and provide tactical guidance.
When disputes break out, the various factions seek your help, and you must decide where to pledge your loyalty. You can stay loyal to a single faction (perhaps your “homeland”) through multiple disputes (storylines), or you can be a mercenary and switch with each new dispute.
Champions are powerful individuals who have come to the League of Legends in many different ways: some are here to represent their homeland, some seek glory, some are pursuing a personal vendetta, and some are even imprisoned and forced to fight. All Champions must swear an oath of loyalty to the League itself, and in the vast majority of matches they must fight for any faction that calls them forth. However, in the most serious disputes with the highest stakes, which Factions storylines center upon, Champions must formally petition to represent a faction and generally fight for their patron state.
The average Champion is essentially a superhero. Even those Champions who look like “some chick with a crossbow” have been elevated far above the strength of ordinary mortals by the ambient magical energy of Runeterra, or some other source.
An excerpt from the LoL Wiki
Copied from the League of Legends wiki.
Until only twenty years ago, Runeterra was on a collision course with disaster. As quickly as Runeterra’s denizens would band together in ancient times as tribes, opposing tribes would war to settle their disputes. No matter the era, the preferred choice of warfare has always been magical. Armies would be enhanced or decimated by spell and rune alike. Champions made the most of magical items forged for them as they led or supported armies. Summoners – often the de facto leaders of Valoran’s political forces – would unleash mighty magical powers directly against foes and their holdings with little regard for consequence. With such an abundance of raw magical power at their disposal, there was little motivation for summoners to explore more environmentally-friendly forms of warfare.
Within the last two hundred years, however, the dangers of unchecked magical warfare began to expose the fragility of Runeterra to everyone residing in Valoran. The last two Rune Wars drastically altered the geophysical landscape of Valoran, even after magical energy was focused on restoring it. Violent earthquakes and horrific magically-fueled storms made life on Valoran challenging, even before factoring in the horror of warfare on the populace. It was theorized that another unchecked Rune War would tear the world asunder.
As a direct response to the world’s growing physical and political instability, Valoran’s key magicians – including many powerful summoners – came to the conclusion that conflicts needed to be resolved in a controllable and systemic way. They formed an organization called the League of Legends, whose purpose was to oversee the orderly resolution of political conflict in Valoran. Housed in the Institute of War, the League would be given the authority by Valoran’s political entities to govern the outcomes of the organized conflict they would administer.
Artwork from the League of Legends wiki; I believe it belongs to Riot, and Factions asserts no ownership over it through what we believe is fair use here.