The World of Factions

See also: The Factions of Runeterra

This page summarizes the factions of Runeterra and provides a brief introduction to the Factions setting itself.

General Background

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.

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.

Instituteofwar_small

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.

Summoners

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

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.

Mogron_Pass_concept

Mogron Pass during the Rune Wars.

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.

10 comments on “The World of Factions
  1. Antonqaz says:

    Why is Fiddlesticks fighting for Shadow Isles?
    In his lore he is he is summoned from another plane/world by a Zaun mage

    • CupcakeTrap says:

      We look at three factors when deciding where Champions are placed:

      Story: Written lore. e.g., Lux is obviously Demacian.

      Theme: Their overall “feel” and tone. e.g., Piltover is steampunk, Zaun is mutants and mad science, Demacia is knights in shining armor.

      Gameplay: Matches are the centerpiece of Factions. So we also sometimes consider, e.g., whether a faction just needs more Champions, or if a Champion would help to reinforce a faction’s distinctive playstyle.

      Fiddlesticks is primarily a Theme pick for Shadow Isles. Shadow Isles is the “spooky” or “undead” faction. As a possessed demonic scarecrow, Fiddlesticks fits in quite well on the SI lineup. There’s also a bit of a gameplay argument, in that SI relies on aggressive AoE magic damage to compensate for its lack of an ADC.

  2. Sheamus O'Rourke says:

    What about Rengar I have not found him on this page

    • CupcakeTrap says:

      Interesting question. He’s not obviously tied to any particular faction, but he could of course come in as a secondary Champion, e.g. as a Tournament prize pickup. This would be more likely where, for example, there’s a faction with Kha’zix involved.

  3. LordVeral says:

    Curious as to why Aatrox is only associated with the void, considering his lore has nothing to do with the void. To me i believe aatrox could be associated with every faction since he tends to appear on the losing side of great wars.

    Other than that…its quite interesting to see where and who the champions ally themselves with..

    • CupcakeTrap says:

      To me i believe aatrox could be associated with every faction since he tends to appear on the losing side of great wars.

      Indeed. He’s associated with the Void primarily because in the third arc, Discord, he joined the forces of the Void in their rampage against the League nations. He’s also I think a good thematic fit for the Void, in that while not being from the Void himself exactly he has a creepy alien aesthetic that seems to mesh well with the other Void Champions.

      He could definitely end up on any number of rosters in future arcs, because as you say his entire backstory is about him joining in great wars, often on the side of the underdog.

      • LERY JNKNS says:

        does anyone have any proof aatrox isn’t from the void? no where can you find an origin for aatrox, but appearance could have him as a voidling-sword type deal. more lore from riot would be needed to say wether or not he is a voidling but i could honestly see it.

        • Landis963 says:

          Tahm Kench refers to Aatrox as “brother” and everyone else as “child,” when he refers to them familiarly at all. Tahm Kench doesn’t look the part of a Void champion, and I personally suspect that he came from the Glades in search of more satisfying prey.

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