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.
The League of LegendsAs 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.
Valoran is home to many denizens. Most of which are humans but there are other races as well:
- Angels: With immense power and a dedication to their cause bordering on fanaticism, these immortals are alien to the world of Runeterra. Originating from a universe far, far away, these winged guardians wage an endless war against the tides of darkness. Seeking perfection, they are blessed with insurmountable power and ancient weapons. Despite this, not all angels are true to the cause, choosing that same dark path their fellow angels fight against. Two of these angels exist in Runeterra, Kayle and Morgana, both immensely powerful, both strong in their convictions, and both with a strong resentment for each other.
- Ascendants: An ancient immortal race that existed in the lifespan of the Shuriman Empire. Formerly humans, they were granted the right to Ascend through an ancient ritual that involved the fabled Sun Disc. Their forms are usually that of anthropomorphic animals, but disruption of the ritual can cause unpredictable results, as seen with Xerath, the Magus Ascended. With the fall of Shurima, the Ascended disappeared from the world, leaving only Nasus, who stands watch over the Empire's ruins, but through unfortunate circumstances some ascended have returned to the world, bring with them Shurima's lost legacy.
- Brackerns: An ancient race of large, crystalline scorpions that inhabited Kalamanda, Crystal Scar. During the Rune Wars, the brackern went into hibernation deep beneath the ground, waiting for the Rune Wars to end. The first of them, Skarner, was awakened by a massive magical disturbance caused by Zilean's Temporal Stasis Bubble.
- Darkins: A demon-like, winged race of humanoids. They are shown to wield tremendous powers over physical and mental psyches of mortals, as demonstrated by Aatrox. Only five remain in existence, with only three of those five known to history in some way.
- Dragons: Winged, fire-breathing reptiles that can reach near-giant sizes over their long, long lifespans, they are the indisputable ruler of the skies. Both fearsome and majestic, dragons have a society that revolves around strength and might and because of their egoistic and narcissistic pride, mixing their blood with that of races outside of dragonkind are seen as an abomination, a cancer that must be eradicated utterly. Many dragons persecute such defiled creations and their perpetrators to no end, a thing that Shyvana, the Half-Dragon, and her deceased father found out firsthand.
- Fae: Playful, winged, humanoid creatures that are smaller than the yordles. They inhabit the forests of the latter. They have capricious abilities of transfiguration and matter distortion and their glades seem to exist in dimensions far removed from the normal flow of time. One can only enter their glades when invited by a Fae, as Pix has done with the yordle Lulu.
- Iceborn: An ancient race of humans, they were granted immortality, incredibly power and icey forms by another ancient race known as the Frozen Watchers, in return for the Iceborn's servitude. They served the Watchers for a time before they rebelled, seeking their freedom from their masters in a mighty war which they won, but their society would later fall in to a civil war known as the War of the Three Sisters, dividing Freljord's people for all time and driving the Iceborn to near extinction. The only known living Iceborn is Lissandra . The Iceborn played an important role in shaping current Freljordian history.
- Marai: A sea-dwelling race who resemble both humans and aquatic creatures. They live on the sea floor and rely on the light of an artifact known as the Moonstone to survive. The Moonstone's light lasts a century, and when its light begins to dim a single Marai known as the Tide Caller makes a trade with a surface dweller for a new Moonstone. The current Tidecaller is Nami, who is also the only Marai to have ever explored the surface world.
- Another sea-dwelling race exists that holds some biological connection to Yordles. Fizz, the Tidal Trickster belongs to this race, but his appearance on the surface is due to the disappearance of his species. Not even Fizz known where his people have gone.
- Minotaurs: Enormous humanoid bovines, the lived in great tribes within the Great Barrier and are quite noble and valorous in their ways. The Minotaurs have suffered greatly from the cruelty of the Noxian warmachine, with many of them having been enslaved and forced to fight as gladiators in the brutal Noxian event known as the Fleshing. Alistar, the Minotaur, is a survivor of this game and seeks to protect his people from tyrannical dangers such as Noxus.
- Trolls: Grotesque, dim witted creatures that inhabit the Freljord. Most are blue-skinned and live in tribes. Lately, they have begun preparing for war, rallying under the banner of Trundle, the Troll King.
- Undead: Abominable creatures, created when the barrier between life and death is shattered and defiled. They predominantly reside in the Shadow Isles but their influence and manifestations have reached Valoran's shores over the past decades.
- Ursine: A race of Freljordian bears who are strong, honorable, and most notably stand upright. The Ursine lived in seculsion for many years before the reign of Volibear began. Thanks to a vision from the sacred storm the Ursine revere, Volibear was able to see a future where his kind were driven to extinction, and so roused his people from their complacency to prepare for war.
- Voidborn: Various seemingly intelligent entities who, for reasons beyond human understanding, have the desire to gain entrance to and vitiate the worlds outside their realm. They live in the Void, an alien realm of darkness. Their primary purpose is to consume, while the reason behind this varies from Voidborn to Voidborn.
- Yordles: Small, bipedal people with a wide variety of skin & hair color and are very small in stature. The Yordles live primarily within the Yordle Lands, and have good relations with human nations, in particular the nation of Piltover. Yordles are often credited for their intelligence, and have made great strides in the field of Techmaturgy. Males are more commonly covered in hair than females. Yordles evolved from immensely huge creatures of incredible ferocity and strength, before shrinking down and gaining greater intelligence with time.
- Unique beings also exist in the world, usually a product of some magical or unnatural phenomenon. Cryophoenixes, Golems of both mechanical and sorcerical origin, Elementals, Treants, Sentient Armadillos, Sentient Monkeys, Celestial Beings, Mutated Plague Rats, Cyborgs, Werewolves, Artificial Lifeforms and more unknown races.
Religions in Valoran are largely varied in every city-state but several have been known to gather the most of followers:
- The Solari: The worship of the Sun. Solaric worship is largely made up by a special sect of Rakkorians who surrender their mantles of war in favor of greater solar devotion. Their founder and leader chose Mount Targon, being the highest peak closest to the Sun, and was blessed with the power to call down the sun's wrath. Currently, Leona, the Radiant Dawn, has taken this legend's regalia and fights to protect the helpless and the innocent.
- The Lunari: The worship of the Moon. Not much is known of this shadowed sect, apparently eradicated a long time ago, possibly by the Solari. The Lunari's rise may come to pass through the dark crusade waged by Diana, the Scorn of the Moon and an outcast by the Solari themselves.
- The Frozen Watchers: Unknown and hidden, this religion schemes and bids their time in the dark fortresses of the once-pure Frostguard. Led by Lissandra, the Ice Witch, they plot the return to power of the overthrown Frozen Watchers. United under the Frozen Watchers, Freljord was brutal warmachine that boasted might and magic. Ironically, it was Avarosa's rebellion that divided Freljord into the war-torn wastes it is now.
Valoran also has a few cults:
- The Cult of the Spider has most of its followers located in Noxus and Demacia. The champion, Elise, serves as its High Priestess, traveling to and fro between the two city-states and the Shadow Isles, bringing her followers to live with the Spider God, Vilemaw, for eternity, or so they believe.
- The Cult of the Void is a cult that first began when League Champion, Malzahar, claimed that Runeterra will be ended by the Void. Many of its followers have surrendered themselves to this fate and simply do what is asked of them, including being used as a sacrifice to the Void. They are currently at war against an organization known as the Preservers, led by the enemy of the Cult's High Priest, Kassadin.
- The Glorious Evolution is led by Viktor, whose view of flesh is inferior to that of steel and metal, has gathered much followers among the people of Zaun and has spread among into the other city-states. An amalgamation of flesh or the total replacement of it had marked his works, incorporating techmaturgy to purge the weakness and inefficiency of the flesh. For as long as they exist, the day of the world replaced by beings of weaponized steel and metal becomes clearer with each passing day.
There are many regions and settlements on Valoran. The most well-known are:
- Northern Lands
- The Great Barrier
- Southern Lands
- Surrounding Islands
The League of Legends recognizes settlements with substantial influence on Valoran as city-states. These nations are afforded a great deal of rights and protections within the League, such as being allotted one League Assembly chair. The chosen emissaries are entitled to reside at the Institute of War and cast votes in League Assemblies on their city-state's behalf. They may also appeal to the League for general arbitration of political affairs.
Any settlement can apply for membership in the League and ascend to city-state status. However, they must fill certain League requirements:
- The settlement's population must be of sufficient size.
- The settlement must have a defined governmental structure.
- The settlement must have a means to police itself.
There are currently eight city-states recognized by the League:
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