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Zaun is a large, undercity, lying under deep canyons and valleys. What light reaches below is filtered through fumes leaking from the tangles of corroded pipework and reflected from the stained glass of its industrial architecture. Zaun and Piltover are bitter rivals, yet symbiotic societies. Both city states push one another in innovation, however, they are both ideological counter opposites. Though it exists in perpetual smogged twilight, Zaun thrives, its people vibrant and its culture rich. Piltover's wealth has allowed Zaun to develop in tandem; a dark mirror of the city above. Many of the goods coming to Piltover find their way into Zaun's black markets, and hextech inventors who find the restrictions placed upon them in the city above too restrictive often find their dangerous researches welcomed in Zaun. Unfettered development of volatile technologies and reckless industry has rendered whole swathes of Zaun polluted and dangerous. Streams of toxic runoff stagnate in the city's lower reaches, but even here people find a way to exist and prosper.
Zaun, also known as the City of Privileges, it is a place both supported and ruined by unchecked industry, mercantilism, and magic run amok. The pollution from the countless factories and laboratories is constantly spewed into the environment. The urban heart of the city-state is often choked with smog that blocks the morning sun and drains the sky of its pastels. Visitors have called the sky the "Zaun Gray", and describe staring up at it akin to seeing the beginnings of a cosmic disturbance. As polluted as Zaun is above-ground, its subterranean levels are far worse. All of Zaun's runoff waste pools together in its sewers, mixing together into toxic and mysterious concoctions.
Zaun is a city within Piltover located between northern and southern parts of Valoran. The current well known locations (not counting Piltover) encompassing Zaun are:
College of Techmaturgy
The great tower of the College of Techmaturgy rises arrogantly from the wide canyon separating North and South Piltover, anchored to the upper cliffs by swaying suspension bridges and thick iron cables that thrum like musical strings when the winds blow in hard from the ocean.
Its the cities best known institution of learning and prime location for techmaturgical research for the new and unexperienced. It also has cultural ties with Noxian's Bleak Academy.
Dr. Mundo's Laboratory
The main research location of Doctor Edmundo, it is where he altered his body through chemical means.
Priggs Industries are is large industrial complex of Dr. Priggs. It houses a large amount of warehouses and factories. It was later revealed that the complex house underground holding facilities and slave labor camps which has since ruined the reputation of the Industry. Graves was one of the prisoners that escaped from one of the Industries tightly controlled prisons known as The Locker.
Sump Works, and Sector 90TZ located in it, are one of many locations in Zaun. It is here where Twitch was spotted after his mutational transformation.
The most important location of all of Zaun, it was once the epicenter of a massive man made geological dissaster that sunk most of the city. Currently, it is the location of massive spires jutting upwards towards Piltover as the arrogant testemony of Zauns resolve to survive. One such building is the College of Techamturgy.
The Slums of Zaun are one of the most densely populated and polluted locations in Valoran. Large pipes flowing with industrial waste are placed around its buildings. Many of its residence are main source of labor for Zauns factories. The Memorial Wall is a place where residence of The Slums give homage to those they had lost.
The main research location of Viktor, the cities infamous robotics and cybernetics inventor. It has recently been trashed by Piltovers Jayce after Viktor stole an energy crystal from him and used it for his experiments.
Zaun's sewers are the where all the cities toxic waste ends up and is tossed into the sea. Many creatures such as rats live in this underground area, some of which had mutated from the toxic waste, such as Twitch.
While known to be a notoriously self-centered people by other nations, the denizens of Zaun collectively take great pride in themselves and their city. To them, their right to do as they please is what makes Zaun the freest city-state on Runeterra. As a result, the streets of Zaun are a constant hive of activity. Shopkeepers with a variety of eccentric items can be found at every corner of the city, with the dark and seedy alleys overflowing with ambitious individuals willing to give their all for a profit. It's also said that corporate rivalry is the very spirit of competition that defines Zaun as a city-state. Nevertheless, both espionage and sabotage are considered common practices when doing business with Zaunites.
Fashions of Zaun range from censervative to the outlandish, respectfully mirroring its counterparts above. However, It is also not uncommon to see wealthy individuals of Zaun dress in the rescent fashions of Piltover due to their frequent dealings with the surface city. There are also those that augment their bodies ether from necessety or for showcasing their progressive and/or wealthy status in the community. There is a distinct difference between the appearance of Piltover and Zaun augments. Piltover's are more flamboiant in their craftmanship, often adorned with elements of gold and blue arcane crystals, while Zaun's are were born more of the neceessity and practicality of its environment and often have crude details, with the elements of toxic green colours heavily featured in the most augmented individuals. For those that live in the city for a very long time, its easy to distinguish true augmented individuals from those that arent. The non-augmented individuals are refered to as "fleshies" by the followers of The Gloriously Evolved.
While Zaun's ambitious patrons do much to advance the field of science on Valoran, their research and inventions often push the boundaries of morality on a daily basis.
- The nation of Zaun is particularly famous for its Alchemists, who often alight the city with their magical concoctions. Their most renowned member is known as Singed, the Mad Chemist. He is best known for creating genocidal toxins which are potent enough to wipe out an entire village.
- The advanced College of Techmaturgy resides in the city, a forefront in the study of hextech devices. The doctorate students there are often credited for creating the first intelligent steam automaton, which they called Blitzcrank, the Great Steam Golem.
- With his tremendous knowledge of the human anatomy and its tolerance to pain, Dr. Mundo, the Madman of Zaun, strives to some day create the perfect science-enhanced killer. As a result, there are few household pets left in the city due to the doctor's appetite for live experimentation.
- Seeking to understand magic and its mysteries, the infamous Dr. Xavier Rath conducted a risky experiment that would give non-magical individuals the power to control magic. With a great deal of luck the procedure was a success for one participant, granting Twisted Fate, the Card Master, the ability to teleport.
- Twitch, the Plague Rat, has publicly stated his goal to gather enough of the materials needed to recreate the strange process in which he gained his sentience. Were he to succeed, it would mean a bold and brazen step forward for the evolution of life on Runeterra.
- Through the joint efforts of Zaunite Professor Stanwick Pididly and the Noxian Bleak Academy, the deceased soldier Urgot, the Headsman's Pride, was reconstructed and resurrected. Urgot's existence represents the first and only successful combination between the field of techmaturgy and the art of necromancy.
- Viktor, the Machine Herald, is a techmaturgist who engineered parts to replace and improve his own body. Almost no trace of the original man remains. He became obsessed with what he called "the glorious evolution", where man would renounce his flesh in favor of superior hextech augmentations.
- Zac, the Secret Weapon, is the product of a Zaun experiment to manufacture a hexchem-engineered supersoldier – the Zaun Amorphous Combatant. Combining brute strength with limitless flexibility, he is a versatile juggernaut: a creative fighter who bounces over obstacles and pounds his foes into submission.
One example of the denizens' love for freedom of expression is the unlawful synthesis of "Shimmer", a corrosive techmaturgical waste substance that is popular among Zaun's rebellious youth. When slathered onto the skin the Shimmer stimulates intense emotions in its subject. The Shimmer then creates an assortment of shining colors that corresponds to the emotion the subject is feeling. Though frequent application of the caustic glop can result in progressive degeneration of the skin and muscle tissue, a rumor that Shimmer can grant its wearer unnatural abilities has simply increased its demand.
The Gray Lady
The Church of The Glorious Evolved is celibrated in both Piltover and Zaun. The Glorious Evolution, a possible sub-group led by Viktor, views of flesh as inferior to that of steel and metal, has gathered most of the followers among the people of Zaun and has spread among other nations. 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.
Non-augmented individuals are forbidden to step foot onto their sacret grounds, but the Glorious Evolved often took in the sick, seeing the removal of dying flesh as a key to transforming a person’s life and faith through technology.
The Gray Lady is the patron saint of this religion. Her stained glass window is the main focalpoint of the First Assemblage of the Glorious Evolved, where The Gray Lady’s cloak is a mosaic of ash-violet glass, oxidized cogs, and blackened pistons. Her epithet was often invoked when an inventor felt at a loss due to inability or failure. Hers was a blessing that often required sacrifice. The Glorious Evolved celebrated the old Zaunite tradition of sacrificing something personal for Progress Day in the hopes the next iteration of invention would be better. It was a practice that could be traced back to the old days of the city, when the people of Zaun had to face rebuilding their lives after the devastation of “the incident.” The wealth and growth of Piltover on top of those scarred ruins served as evidence to many that the tradition had merit.
Festival of Flight
The Festival of Flight is an annual festival between Piltover and Zaun. The Main focus of this event is to showcase each cities technological supremacy through peaceful means like The zeppelins races have been occurring officially for at least 16 years.
Progress Day is an annual festival of Piltover and Zaun respectively. The Main focus of this event is the celebration of the cities technological progress. On this day, many awards and promotions are given to the brightest minds from all across Runeterra who are willing to contribute to the advancement of the city, as well as the showcase of new innovations all across the city.
Progress Day is viewed very differently down in Zaun, which was known as the original City of Progress before Piltover came along. Above, Progress Day marks the moment the Sun Gates opened for the first time, allowing trade to pass easily between the east and west of Valoran. It also marks the moment when taxation on that trade turned the trickle of gold entering the city’s coffers into a fast flowing river. Below in Zaun, it is a day to remember those lost in the geological upheaval that created the east-west passage and submerged entire districts underwater.
Zaun's powerful Chem-Barons keep a loose alliance that prevents the city from descending into chaos. This has allowed their researchers and inventors the leeway to push the bounds of their experiments at an accelerated rate, for better or worse. Some say the city-state is run more like a corporate business with no restraints rather than a society of law and order.
The city shares a friendly relationship with the nation of Noxus. It assists Dr. Mundo, the Madman of Zaun, in his ambition to create the perfect science-enhanced killer. They have provided the doctor a laboratory within their Capital city and have given him free reign to pursue his life's work in his spare time. Alchemists from the Zaun were also recruited by Noxus during their invasion of Ionia, the most heinous of them being Singed, the Mad Chemist. The brand of mass death and destruction the madman unleashed remains a festering scar on Ionian history. When the necromantic reanimation of Urgot, the Headman's Pride, proved problematic for Noxus due to his lifetime of injuries, a prevailing scholar of Zaun named Professor Stanwick Pididly provided the solution by forging a new body for the headsman.
As the two leading city-states in the development of hextech, Zaun and Piltover have a deep competitive rivalry, both vying to be the ones directing the future of techmaturgy on Runeterra. There are frequent smuggling campaigns orchestrated by zaunite thieves, valuable technologies are then later sold on the blackmarket all across Runeterra. They also share deep historical, social, and cultural connections, having Piltover (literally and figuratively) rise from the foundations of Zaun.
Noxian Trade Relations Improve
At the base of the Ironspike Mountains, along the main trade route between Zaun and Noxus, there lies two smaller villages: Askay and Meland. For generations the people of those villages had been embroiled in a bloody feud. The lawlessness of the region had complicated the development of trade agreements between the two city-states, limiting their interaction to wartime pacts serviced by mercenary contracts and alchemical weapons. However, after some Noxian intervention, both Askay and Meland have put aside their differences and declared their allegiance to Noxus. With the conflict resolved, Zaun and Noxus were now free to pursue more thriving peacetime trade relations.
The Festival of Flight
Tensions between Piltover and Zaun renewed as the 16th Festival of Flight race drew near, marking the beginning of the annual Techmaturgical Conference. The city of Zaun had been named victor of the symbolic event for the last four years running, though they showed a great deal of trepidation towards the upcoming match after Piltover publicly unveiled their new state-of-the-art zeppelin.
While it's difficult to classify any dirigible as small, the appropriately named “Tailwind” aircraft was a record-breaking length of 27 meters. Not only was it the first zeppelin to meet such small size constraints, but it also pioneered the utilization of Piltoverian Chrono-Technology. The new prototype “Chrono-propeller” engine, which received tremendous design contributions from Zilean, the Chronokeeper, was rumored to manipulate time itself to reach speeds that would otherwise be impossible under Valoran’s constantly changing atmospheric conditions. The zeppelin would be piloted in the race by Janna, the Storm's Fury, who was once one of Zaun’s most promising mage talents before defecting from the city-state several years ago.
Zaun Loses the Annual Zeppelin Race
Janna’s record-breaking zeppelin “Tailwind” defeated the Zaunite flagship “Lead Zeppelin” at the annual Techmaturgical Conference in Piltover. Zaun’s “Lead Zeppelin” had maintained a strong lead from the race’s start in Piltover. The Zaunite flagship, a powerhouse of black metal and Zaunite techmaturgy, had claimed victory at the Conference for the past four years. As the two zeppelins crossed the Bluewind Bay, however, Tailwind’s chrono-propeller engine allowed the craft to navigate through the bay's storms utterly unfettered, securing Piltover’s victory. After Tailwind sailed into Piltover hours before Zaun’s Lead Zeppelin, Zaunite representatives immediately contested the victory, claiming that the chrono-propeller gave Piltover an unfair advantage. Conference officials, however, overruled their protest.
Warehouse Revealed to be a Corporate Prison
An unassuming Priggs Industries warehouse in Zaun was discovered to be a corporate prison when a breakout from within revealed a secret entry point.
The commotion began when Edward Manfred was overseeing a routine inspection of his own warehouse next door. Manfred stated that he heard an explosion from Priggs' warehouse and went to investigate. Manfred reportedly entered the Priggs warehouse to witness an unidentified man grappling with a pair of guards. The man threw a smoke grenade of some sort, and when the haze cleared, the two guards were unconscious and the man had gone. Manfred was the first to discover a passage to an underground holding facility that had been blown open from within from a dynamite blast. Inside was what appeared to be a prison, but one cell was empty. The other five prisoners, however, were quickly released.
One of the prisoners was discovered to be Falren Danart, whose disappearance and assumed death three years ago was thought to be the cause of his father's failed management and subsequent bankruptcy of the famed Danart Chemicals, a once-rival company to Priggs Industries. With Falren's freedom, however, Danart immediately came forward to state that he was blackmailed following his son's capture and imprisonment. As this information has become available, the estimated value of Priggs Industries has plummeted in Zaun. Other warehouses under the Priggs name have been searched, primarily by forces under Manfred, though no other holding facilities have been discovered. Production at Priggs factories has all but shut down as employees are questioned. Dr. Priggs himself, however, has vanished from the public eye. Unbeknowingly to the public, he was executed by Graves after revealing information of his whereabouts.
The Herald and the Defender
After Viktor stole the Arcane Crystal from Piltover, Jayce invaded his lab and defeated his acolytes. He made his way into the heart of the lab where Viktor had used the crystal's energy to fuel his automatons. They both fought fiercely and both had suffered severe injuries. In the end, Jayce managed a desperate strike at the crystal. He shattered it and escaped as Viktor's machines erupted in flames.
Zaun Amorphous Combatant Lab Documents
- The name Zaun comes from the word for fence.
- In the lore, the Twisted Treeline was the last living forest of Zaun. It has since been retroactively relocated to the Shadow Isles as of Patch V22.214.171.124.
- Zaun was inspired by Dieselpunk, and fantasy genres.
- The Zaun Gray is the thick, chemical atmosphere of Zaun that can be fatal to breathe where densely settled.
|Dr. Mundo, the Madman of Zaun||Birthplace; notorious Zaunite scientist|
|Ekko, the Boy Who Shattered Time||Birthplace; Zaunite vigilante|
|Jinx, the Loose Cannon||Birthplace; Zaunite terrorist of Piltover|
|Singed, the Mad Chemist||Birthplace; notorious Zaunite alchemist|
|Twitch, the Plague Rat||Birthplace; rodent representative of Zaun|
|Urgot, the Headsman's Pride||Reconstructed cyborg of Prof. Stanwick Pididly|
|Viktor, the Machine Herald||Birthplace; leader of the Glorious Evolution movement|
|Warwick, the Blood Hunter||Birthplace; notorious Zaunite manhunter; procurer|
|Zac, the Secret Weapon||"Birthplace"; Zaun Amorphous Combatant; Zaunite hero|
Other Related Champions
|Blitzcrank, the Great Steam Golem||"Birthplace"; sentient steam automaton|
|Fiddlesticks, the Harbinger of Doom||Summoned by Istvaan, a powerful Zaunite mage|
|Malcolm Graves, the Outlaw||Imprisoned by Dr. Aregor Priggs, a Zaunite official|
|Janna, the Storm's Fury||Birthplace; defected|
|Jayce, the Defender of Tomorrow||An adversary to Viktor|
|Soraka, the Starchild||Warwick seeks to rip out her heart|
|Twisted Fate, the Card Master||Gained magical powers from Dr. Xavier Rath|
|Vi, the Piltover Enforcer||Birthplace; defected|
|Ziggs, the Hexplosives Expert||Rescued the captured Yordle professors|
|Geography of Runeterra|
|Valoran||Factions & Nations|