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League of Legends is set on the dynamic world of Runeterra, home to most of the playable characters and is the setting for the game's lore. To learn more about the various major and minor powers in Runeterra, read on. For additional lore, visit the game's ever-expanding lore site, Universe, and its also ever-expanding Runeterra map.
Major powers are organized from north to south.
The Freljord — Harsh Frozen Land
Governance: Tribal Matriarchy
Level of Technology: Low
Attitude Towards Magic: Venerate
General Environment: Icy Tundra
Affiliated Champions: Anivia, Ashe, Braum, Lissandra, Nunu (and Willump), Olaf, Ornn, Sejuani, Trundle, Tryndamere, Udyr, Volibear
The Freljord is a harsh and unforgiving land, where demi-gods walk the earth and the people are born warriors. While there are many individual tribes, the three greatest are the Avarosans, the Winters Claw, and the Frostguard, each uniquely shaped by their will to survive. It is also the only place on Runeterra where True Ice can be found.
- An Ice Person:
- True Ice is a phenomenon that only occurs in The Freljord, being a magical super-cold substance that never melts, and is allotropic enough for master smiths to create into weapons, such as Ashe's bow, Braum's door shield, Sejuani's bola, Trundle's club, part of Olaf's axes, and Gragas' brew. There's also a variant called Dark Ice, tainted by the presence of The Void.
- Ornn, the Freljord demigod of fire and craftsmanship, is the only one capable of melting True Ice, but he makes it melt eternally; the Ice itself never goes away, but it'll keep melting and make essentially infinite water. In one of his old tales, a crafty troll tried to prank Ornn with a drinking contest by putting True Ice in Ornn's mug. Ornn's heat melted the True Ice and his mug never emptied, so he could never finish his drink first.
- For a more literal take on the trope, The Iceborn are an immortal sub-race of beings (mostly human, but other races can also qualify like trolls) which came about in ancient times after Lissandra made a deal with The Watchers to convert her, her sisters, and their followers into them (her logic was that such timeless immortality would allow them to survive the death of the universe once the Watchers inevitably consume it). Most were wiped out when Lissandra turned on the Watchers, resulting in the deaths of her rebelling two sisters and their Iceborn allies, but not only have some remained, it turns out the Iceborn traits are hereditary, with Ashe and Sejuani being direct Iceborn descendants of Avarosa and Serylda. Other traits include immunity to the cold and the exclusive ability to wield True Ice.
- True Ice is a phenomenon that only occurs in The Freljord, being a magical super-cold substance that never melts, and is allotropic enough for master smiths to create into weapons, such as Ashe's bow, Braum's door shield, Sejuani's bola, Trundle's club, part of Olaf's axes, and Gragas' brew. There's also a variant called Dark Ice, tainted by the presence of The Void.
- Apocalypse How: Double Subverted in the ancient war against The Watchers, in the sense that they traded in a Class X (the Watchers ceasing all existence from The Void) for a relatively less severe but still devastating Class 0 (Lissandra forcing to imprison them in True Ice, wiping out her sisters and most of their Iceborn followers in the process).
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: The Freljord is the home to yetis, a race of magic creatures that used to be more prevalent before the Iceborn apocalypse, but have since been drastically reduced in numbers and are held in a somewhat mythical sense even to the Freljordians. Many have descended into feral savagery, with Willump being the last magical one of his kind.
- Eldritch Abomination:
- The Freljord has ancient ties to The Watchers, effectively the rulers of The Void, and was home to the first Voidborn in Runeterra (among them in specific was Vel'Koz). The Watchers are currently frozen in True Ice, but their escape is seen as an inevitability.
- Legends of Runeterra showcases a set of Kaiju-sized beings simply dubbed "They Who Endure" and "She Who Wanders", referred to in-universe as "Balestriders". While "The Legend of the Frozen Watchers" describes them as "twisted far beyond their original form" and having been used by the Three Sisters in ancient times, it's still unclear what they exactly are if they're not ancient Voidborn. Nowadays, they are seemingly mythological and are very bad omens.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Freljord at large is evocative of medieval Scandinavia, but even further up north and directly mashed with supernatural concepts evocative of Norse Mythology.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: Ornn, Anivia, and Volibear, respectively — the three primary demigods of the Freljord.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: The three tribes and their leaders initially appear as Ashe/Avarosan (good), Sejuani/Winter's Claw (bad), Lissandra/Frostguard (evil), though their actual practicing morality is a little more complex than that.
- Grim Up North:
- The Freljord is a hard country even in the relatively mild south, and it only gets worse as you go north. The northernmost border of the Freljord (and indeed the Runeterra map as a whole) is the Gelid Vortex, an eternal winter storm.
- Amusingly, the Freljord was the origin of the now-unleashed Brand, a fire spirit. Naturally, he doesn't get along with anybody who originated from the same place.
- Horse of a Different Color: Freljordians are known to use a variety of large animals as mounts, including actual horses, but others include the buffalo-like "elnüks" or the boar-like "rüvask". The Winter's Claw have been known to ride whatever fantastical fauna roam the lands they can slap a harness on, and notably, they never feel the need to tame them, instead trusting in their wild and aggressive survival instincts that got them so far to begin with.
- Matriarchy: The Freljord's governance as a whole is listed as "tribal matriarchy", and the three most important tribes of the Avarosan, the Winter's Claw, and the Frostguard are led by women.
- Nature Spirit: According to the "Winter's Breath" card of Legends of Runeterra, Freljordians consider the winter itself to be a protective spirit of the land, one who they even dub "Warmother Winter".
- Physical God: The Freljord is the home to a legion of demigods — beings who were originally "born from gods" manifesting as spirit animals — who are so powerful that their actions shaped the land we now know as The Freljord, and so ancient that they knew what it was like while it was still the "old Vorrijaard". Anivia, Volibear, and Ornn, are a trio of these demigods who share a connective bond like siblings, but there are others mentioned but not seen, including a Seal Sister, an Iron Boar, and a Clever Lynx.
- Power of the Void: The Freljord was once of the first gateways to The Void, specifically the home to The Watchers, ancient beings who would prototype and develop additional Voidborn. The transhuman Iceborn were a result of a deal Lissandra made with them, but following Lissandra's betrayal, they have since been put on ice (so to speak), though their dark presence is slowly corrupting their prison.
- Scavenger World: The Winter's Claw are exceptionally resourceful, recycling everything they can get their hands on to survive the harsh Freljordian tundras. Their weapons are made of steel looted from their enemies, every animal pelt and bone is reused for clothing and armor, and if the sea routes are too frozen for their ships to be usable, they'll disassemble them and make harnesses to ride large Freljordian beasts instead.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Freljord was once the home to ancient masters of The Void now known as The (Frozen) Watchers, but after they began their conquest of destroying everything, Lissandra entombed them in True Ice (having to sacrifice her sisters and their allies in the process). She's aware that they're only sleeping, and that even the unmeltable True Ice can only withstand their horrific dark energy for so long, and one day, their prison will break.
- Shrouded in Myth:
- The Social Darwinist: The philosophy of Sejuani and her followers in the Winter's Claw is that the Freljord should make people strong, putting them in direct opposition to Ashe's Avarosan tribe, whose peace they believe is going to make them become "soft".
- Take It to the Bridge: There's one thousands of feet above the Howling Abyss, which is where the All-Random-All-Mid mode typically takes place at.
- War God: Volibear. Similar to real life mythologies, peaceful Freljordian tribes have a negative opinion of Volibear, and warrior tribes have a positive outlook on him, although they still fear him.
Ionia — The First Lands
Governance: Regional Provinces
Level of Technology: Low
Attitude Towards Magic: Harmonize
General Environment: Magical (Varied)
Affiliated Champions: Ahri, Akali, Irelia, Jhin, Karma, Kaynnote , Kennen, Lee Sin, Master Yi, Rakan, Sett, Shen, Syndra, Varus, Wukong, Xayah, Yasuo, Zed
Known as the First Lands, Ionia is an island continent of natural beauty and magic. Its inhabitants, living in loosely collected provinces, are a spiritual people, seeking harmony with the world. They remained largely neutral until their land was invaded by Noxus — this brutal occupation forced Ionia to reassess its place in the world, and its future path remains undetermined.
- Arcadia: Ionia, at least visually is a beautiful unspoiled natural paradise◊, with light touches of◊ Ancient Grome. Unfortunately, a ton of factors including the invasion from Noxus seems to want to change its idyllic nature.
- Brotherhood of Evil: Following the end of the Noxian invasion, one of the various Ionian resistance groups that continues to persist is the Navori Brotherhood, an ultra-nationalist band of fighters known for its extreme aggression. It seeks to reunite all of Ionia once again, but doesn't care about preserving Ionia's magic and is openly willing to conflict with Ionians who don't share their hardcore ideologies or agree with their violent methods, and it was learned that they — or more specifically, its master, Kusho — were the ones to free Jhin to use as their Psycho for Hire.
- Fantastic Flora: The land is naturally magical, so it should come as no surprise that its flora can get weird as well. Of note are the once-standing God-Willow (which has ties to all natural life in the area and merged with Ivern after he cut it down), The Garden of Forgetting (which Ahri travelled to due to its flowers and fruit being capable of removing her troubled memories), and literal "Rivers of Grass" that flow and move to the tides of magic.
- Genius Loci: In part due to its magical nature, Ionia is perceived to be a land with its own spirit, with at least some degree of manipulating its landscape or unleashing spirit guardians to protect itself from ill-intentioned outsiders.Yasuo: Terrain here is... opinionated.
- La Résistance: While Ionia is not the only place in Runeterra that vastayan folk live, more vastayans live in Ionia than anywhere else because of their attraction to magic. Because of this, human encroachment on vastayan land is common, and Xayah leads a vastayan revolution to try to push humans away from Vastayan territory.
- Magical Land: An Asian-inspired one. Ignoring Bandle City, Ionia is likely the most magical territory in Runeterra, featuring some of the world's wildest environments and creatures, with civilization existing in concert with its strange nature.
- Martial Pacifist: Many Ionians don't like to fight, and they certainly won't strike first, but they will defend themselves with force if necessary.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The nation once at peace and balance with itself that Ionia was introduced as is slowly becoming a thing of the past. The biggest and most defining wound dealt was the Noxian invasion, but other rising threats include Zed's Order of Shadows gaining prominence over the original Kinkou Order, the current Kinkou Order's Power Trio dissolving with Akali seeking a more aggressive path of fighting enemies, Jhin being revealed to have ties to the Ionian council, Syndra's chaotic rise to power, the vastaya rebellion led by Xayah, the rising Darkin threat... the worst part is that it's increasingly clear that Swain isn't done with pursuing Ionia just yet.
- Patriotic Fervor: A mix of good and bad patriotism currently pervades Ionia ever since it was scarred by Noxus' invasion. Many Ionians ultimately want to preserve their lands, but this also applies to a large amount of antagonistic forces on the islands, with some being ultra-nationalists willing to commit violence against those they consider opposition, which to groups like the Navori Brotherhood includes fellow Ionians who don't share their vision.
- The Shangri-La: Like Piltover, Ionia is very much an educational center for the rest of Valoran, though in martial arts rather than technology. A lot of Ionian champions have it in their biographies that they were someone's student, someone's mentor, or both.
- Supernatural Martial Arts: Most Ionians have a touch of magic worked into their combat style, though it's generally not acknowledged as magic. For example, Irelia clearly uses telekinesis to control her blades, and Yasuo has some elemental control over air, but these are described as extensions of Ionian dance and swordplay, respectively.
- Town with a Dark Secret: There are hints that Ionia is internally not as idyllic as it seems. The Darkin weapon Varus was imprisoned there, and a secret faction of the ruling council was behind the release of the mad artist/assassin Jhin.
- World Tree: Ionia used to be the home of the God-Willow, a giant tree shimmering in magical golden-green light and a landmark of the Omikayalan, a grove sacred to all Ionians. It was cut down by Freljordian warriors in ancient times, drastically affecting the surrounding flora and fauna, though in its place emerged Ivern, the Green Father, existing to protect and teach all others the value of life.
- Wutai: Ionia is a mashup of various Asian-inspired elements, and many of the more Animesque champions originate from here.
Noxus — Brutal Expansionist Empire
Governance: Expansionist Empire
Level of Technology: Medium
Attitude Towards Magic: Weaponize
General Environment: Inhospitable Steppes
Affiliated Champions: Cassiopeia, Darius, Draven, Katarina, Kled, LeBlanc, Mordekaisernote , Rivennote , Sion, Swain, Talon, Vladimir
Noxus is a brutal, expansionist empire, yet those who look beyond its warlike exterior will find an unusually inclusive society. Anyone can rise to a position of power and respect if they display the necessary aptitude, regardless of social standing, background, or wealth. Noxians value strength above all, though that strength can manifest in many different ways.
- A Load of Bull: Minotaurs are a sapient, likely non-magical race of beings from The Great Barrier south of Noxus, currently considered part of the empire. Most minotaurs accepted this merge as it allowed them to become a part of something greater, but those who didn't like Alistar were enslaved as Reckoners. In Legends of Runeterra, a "Minotaur Reckoner" appears to be participating voluntarily, and looks very well-off from it.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Black Rose is a hidden, ever-expanding cabal of powerful nobles and mages, formed by LeBlanc and Vladimir, who have been secretly guiding Noxus since its formation in a never-ending game of politics and war. Unfortunately for them, Vladimir's habit of fading in and out of public notice in their service has possibly put them in jeopardy, as he's reappeared soon enough for Swain to notice something suspicious about him.
- An Axe to Grind: The prominent symbol of power in Noxus is an axe. Even their swords are large and axe-like, more adept at chopping than slicing. The symbol of their nation, seen on the right, is Sion's axe.
- Arch-Enemy: Noxus and Demacia HATE each other. Their war has been going on for so long that the original motive has largely been forgotten, but their inhabitants nowadays continue to go at it out of spite and because they're in close proximity regarding territory.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: As with Demacia, though in Noxus this means more like "born into leadership without having the strength to actually lead."
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Want to be in charge? Outfight/outmaneuver the person above you!
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Noxus is described as a Meritocracy, so this is expected.
- Badass Creed: Vision, Might, and Guile are the key principles that are the foundation of Noxus. At the same time, this was subconsciously inspired by Mordekaiser's original quote.
- Mordekaiser: Destiny, Domination, Deceit.
- Beast of Battle: The Noxian army regularly uses animals and monsters as warbeasts.
- Better Living Through Evil: While conquest is Noxus' primary means of expansion, many towns and cities willingly joined the empire to enjoy its benefits (while Noxus does demand a certain amount of tribute in return, this is less than the cost of money and lives that would be spent fighting off Noxus or other attackers).
- Big Door: Well, a Big Gate. Or Big Archway. Whatever. Noxus erects structures known as 'Nox-toraa' on the roads just outside of their villages and settlements. These archways serve as a display of power and a declaration that the area is Noxian land.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Despite the "dark" theme built around the nation, most Noxian champions aren't necessarily "evil" as much as "ruthless". Some champions such as Riven are heroic at heart, while others such as Darius can be ruthless, but have noble intentions such as eliminating the corrupt rulers and restoring Noxus's name.
- The Empire: Yeeeeeepp. Regardless of whether you think they're "evil" or not, Noxus is still a heavily Darwinist, brutal, and overall threatening society that continues to expand its borders every year.
- Enemy Civil War: As an empire, Noxus is a heavily well-unified group of armies and war bands infamous for its ability to conquer foreign ground. Despite this, Noxian-related champions are among the most fractured in allegiances.
- Swain and his group (Darius, Draven, Sion) are currently at the top of the leadership, but are fighting the other groups for dominance, while not being entirely united themselves.
- The Black Rose (LeBlanc and Vladimir) are fighting Swain's group in the political game underground.
- Katarina's group (Talon, Cassiopeia) is seeking revenge for General DuCouteau's disappearance.
- Urgot has been plotting his revenge with his Zaun affiliated ruffians.
- Karthus seeks to bring all living (even his former Noxian home) into a stage of undeath.
- Kayn seeks to bring down Noxus and establish Ionian supremacy with Zed's shadow order.
- Kled is just a wild card and is claiming large swaths of territory throughout the Empire. Riven similarly is just wandering throughout Ionia.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Whether or not you think of them as "evil" is subjective, but Noxus prides itself on the fact that they give anyone, no matter your origin, race, personality, or strengths, a position of power. Once a land is conquered, everyone there is considered a Noxian citizen and free to join the army or pursue other careers within the empire. A very progressive practice, assuming anyone would want to join their conquerors, of course.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Rome, and in particular the Roman Empire. Noxus plays host to a vast multitude of peoples given equal opportunity to serve and rise in the ranks, Patrician Noble houses, a former emperor, great emphasis on military glory and strength, call their armies in the field Legions, Gladiator Games, and of course, it's an expansionist empire with the occasional mad emperor that has to be dethroned.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: A recurring theme. There's the three main power blocs in Noxus, consisting of Swain and the Military (Fighter), The Black Rose, led by Leblanc (Mage), and Katarina's rogue faction of Assassins (Thief), as well as the three seats of the Trifarix, comprising of Might, Vision, and Guile held by Darius, Swain, and an anonymous female figure that hides her identity behind a mask.
- Folk Hero: Runs heavily on these, with heroes being a descriptor of a 'true Noxian.' Both Sion and Kled have served as a template for a 'true Noxian' throughout the entirety of the empire in the past for their heroic and brave deeds on the fields of war. Katarina and Darius are something of this, but only among the military. Draven seems to want to be one for the sake of being one.
- Gladiator Games: Noxus Prime is renowned for running one called "The Reckoning", which originally began as a means of punishing criminals and settling disputes between nobility, with Xin Zhao and Alistar being survivors of this phase. In more recent times, thanks to Draven's intervention, these matches started to become more of a spectacle sport, complete with gimmick fighters, shoutcasters, and gambling bookies. There's even a degree of kayfabe as Reckoners have become valued as personalities as much as fighters, so while fights are still bloody, they're far less lethal than before.
- Had to Be Sharp: Noxus claims to make strong citizens by forcing them to survive on their own, no matter how weak or defenseless. The ones who deserve to live will manage, somehow, and be better for it.
- Hegemonic Empire: Despite being known for conquering lands by force, Noxus is surprisingly pragmatic in absorbing other nations, preferring to use diplomacy to make them honestly want to join before resorting to violence. One example is their occupation of several cities and ports in Shurima: the original inhabitants may sacrifice food and some trade favoritism, but they get the safety of Noxian soldiers to protect them from raiders and continue living in relative peace.
- The Horde: The Noxian army tends to fight like this, though with more nuance than other fictional hordes - they form up in only rough squares, and their national emphasis on individualism and personal glory means that they tend to fight in a less organized and more one-on-one manner than their Demacian counterparts (who are glimpsed using Testudo-style formations in the lore and are explicitly the best professional army in the backstory).
- Klingon Promotion: An accepted (if somewhat discouraged) method of social advancement.
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Averted. Skilled assassins, mages, and even politicians, craftsmen and traders are held in as high regard as strong warriors.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: Though it's been left ambiguous, Swain and the Noxian army, not to mention Katarina and her fellow Assassins are "bad guys" who are still sympathetic, while LeBlanc and her Black Rose could and would do terrible things for power.
- Non-Uniform Uniform: Because Noxus places more emphasis upon the individual and their own fighting ability, the military does not have a singular uniform or dress code beyond the color of their armor. This allows its warriors to wear and wield whatever arms and armor they are most comfortable or effective with, and as a result, no two soldiers in a Noxian army are ever alike, with only their colors to unify them.
- Red and Black and Ambiguously Evil All Over: Again, YMMV on whether Noxus can be counted as "evil," but much of◊ their architecture◊ and even a few of their champions revolve around this color scheme.
- Skeleton Motif: Noxus is built on and around a large rocky prominence known as the Immortal Bastion that resembles a skull (the capital used to be a fortress that belonged to Mordekaiser, hence the death theme). The further from the Immortal Bastion you get, the less 'evil' it appears as the Noxian motif takes over Mordekaiser's motif.
- Slave Liberation: One of the perks of Noxian invasion is that all enslaved people become citizens of Noxus, ergo free people.
- The Social Darwinist: The Noxian philosophy is that helping the weak only leads to more weak people. Leave society alone and the strong will eventually claw their way to the top.
- The Unfettered: Willing to do whatever it takes to win.
Demacia — Proud Military Kingdom
Governance: Feudal Monarchy
Level of Technology: Medium
Attitude Towards Magic: Deny
General Environment: Fertile Countryside
Affiliated Champions: Fiora, Galio, Garen, Jarvan IV, Kayle, Lucian, Lux, Morgana, Poppy, Quinn, Senna, Shyvana, Sona, Sylas, Vayne, Xin Zhaonote
Demacia is a proud, lawful kingdom with a prestigious military history. Founded as a refuge from magic after the Rune Wars, some might suggest that the golden age of Demacia has passed, unless it proves able to adapt to a changing world. Self-sufficient and agrarian, its society is inherently defensive and insular, valuing justice, honor, and duty above all else.
- Anti-Magic: The birth of Demacia can be routed back to its ancient petrified forests, capable of rendering mages completely useless. Later Demacians learned to mix the wood from these forests with ash and lime into a beautiful, white marble-like mineral called "petricite," now found all over Demacian architecture (it's what Galio is made of). Ryze has also formed a chamber in the anti-magic forests in order to properly store the World Runes. Of note is as discovered by Sylas, petricite doesn't so much nullify magic as it does absorb it, something he's able to abuse.
- Anti-Magical Faction: One of Demacia's least savory traits is their Fantastic Racism against magic-users, and their willingness to hunt down and eradicate (or induct) anyone caught using magic within their borders.
- Arch-Enemy: Demacia and Noxus HATE each other. Their war has been going on for so long that the original motive has largely been forgotten, but their inhabitants nowadays continue to go at it out of spite and because they're in close proximity regarding territory.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: There's the expected petty squabbling between noble houses, with the unpleasant factor that if one noble family can provoke another into crossing a line, the penalty is almost always execution. There's also how despite their willingness to oppress, exploit, and eliminate magic-users in the name of righteousness, the Demacian nobility has no shortage of hidden magic-users themselves.
- Awesome McCoolname: A very common trend, especially with nobility, with house names including Crownguard, Lightshield, Laurent, and Spiritmight. Ezreal literally made a name for himself snooping around Demacia under the alias "Jarro Lightfeather", presumably both to cover his real identity and blend in.
- Battlecry: A short, but sweet one shared Garen, Lux, Jarvan IV, and the kingdom's many soldiers at large: "DEMACIA!"
- Bling of War: The Demacian colors are blue, white, and gold, which makes for some really eye-catching armor.
- Boomerang Bigot: According to Sylas, magic-users aren't absent in the upper echelons of Demacian nobility, making their ongoing punishment of lower-class mages who are unable to defend themselves especially heinous in his eyes.
- Cape Busters: Demacia has an order of mageseekers whose job is to capture and imprison people within Demacia's borders who have the ability to use magic, rising to a much higher public profile following Sylas' escape and rebellion.
- Chef of Iron: In Legends of Runeterra, War Chefs are a low-level Follower card, with its accompanying art showing one fighting off armored enemy raiders with his fists. The accompanying Flavor Text reads:
- Conscription: All Demacian citizens are expected to serve a three-year tour of duty in the army, and Gender Is No Object.
- Curbstomp Battle: Their attempted invasion/exploration of the Shadow Isles was a complete disaster. Many Legends of Runeterra cards such as Rhasa The Sunderer and Soulgorger◊ show Demacian soldiers being routed by the horrors of the Isles. To make it even worse this was the Dauntless Vanguard doing it, Demacia's most elite army.
- Elite Army: The Dauntless Vanguard, led by Garen. While smaller than most, its the best equipped and trained in the world. Every soldier is trained to fill several roles and each of them boast the finest weapons and armor. According to Lux, all of them are Demacian heroes in their own right, with their deeds whispered next to fireplaces as legends and bedtime stories.
- Energy Absorption: Petricite, the nation's resident Anti-Magic mineral.
- Fantastic Racism: Against magic-users. Demacia has its roots in being an Anti-Magic refugee settlement during the cataclysmic Rune Wars, and its anti-magic attitude has persisted to this day. Anyone found to have magic in Demacia is exiled or forced to undergo treatments to kill their magic.... or quietly taken into the secret Demacian mage corps.
- Five-Token Band: For such an isolationist society Demacia has a really diverse band of heroes, including an Ionian ex-gladiator, a magic-absorbing statue (although that wasn't intentional), a bird, a yordlenote , a demon-hunting vigilante, a half-dragon, and a gunslinging paladin.
- Forest Ranger: The military has a branch of "ranger-knights" who are generally more armored than most examples, but otherwise evoke the traditional look and purpose, protecting Demacian wilderness and scouting in the regions beyond. Quinn and Valor are the representative champions, and all known rangers are accompanied with animal partners of their own to fight with.
- Good Is Not Nice: All Crimes Are Equal, conscription is mandatory, and the state can call you up for anything, at any time, if they need you — but it's a safe and well-ordered city.
- The Good Kingdom: What it fancies itself as, especially in contrast to Noxus. How much of this view is still intact to the present day is a bit tricky.
- Knight Templar: Demacia in the eyes of its critics — obsessed with law and order at the expense of freedom, while claiming to be morally correct. One of its founders, Kayle, was born from the literal Aspect of Justice.
- Light Is Good: It values itself as The Good Kingdom, and at least visually, Demacia has a very bright Color Motif of white, blue and yellow which carries into their◊ stunning architecture.◊ Knight Templar tendencies aside, most of its champions are very dedicated in the protection and the welfare of those who can't defend themselves, as noted with one of Garen's quotes:Garen: We fight for those who cannot.
- Mage Killer: Zigzagged; while they have an extreme case of being practically opposed to magic users, they won't hesitate to utilize magic for their own benefits, though for the most part it's used covertly or by noble families against one another. That being said, the order of mageseekers scour Demecia's kingdom for any mages and, if not drafted, will kill mages with no hesitation.
- Magical Library: Demacia has an Arcane Registry, although it functions like a Secret Government Warehouse, collecting all confiscated magic items and texts within their borders, and only a select few (primarily related to the crown) are allowed to enter.
- Malevolent Masked Men: The Mageseekers are denoted by their The Phantom of the Opera-style masks, which cover one side of their faces.
- Mutant Draft Board: While Demacia's policy of magic is to deny it, they're not above recruiting mages that they can control and are still of use to the kingdom's agenda. The story "Turmoil" also reveals that they have a longstanding alliance with a smaller neighboring nation of Arbormark — despite it being a nation of mages, Demacia requested for their help once Sylas' rebellion broke out to fight fire with fire. Sylas himself was originally recruited as a mageseeker, sent to hunt down and capture others like him.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Demacian royal line is supposed to be in the thick of every fight. Crown Prince Jarvan IV is a universally-acclaimed badass. Some of the nobility are right up there too.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: It's implied that there are mages within the Demacian nobility, but are tautologically excused from each other due to them being people in power. Those of the lower-class who don't get this luxury receive the full brunt of their anti-magic persecution.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: The major political philosophy is that Demacia's vision of society is good and just, and worth whatever it takes to make it possible.
Piltover — Thriving Coastal City
Governance: Aristocratic Oligarchy
Level of Technology: High
Attitude Towards Magic: Commodify
General Environment: Coastal Metropolis
Affiliated Champions: Caitlyn, Camille, Ezreal, Heimerdinger, Jayce, Orianna, Vinote
Piltover is a thriving, progressive city overlooking the ocean. Fleets of ships pass through its titanic sea-gates, bringing goods from all over the world. Merchant clans fund incredible endeavors, including artistic follies and architectural monuments to their individual power. With ever more inventors delving into hextech, Piltover has become the destination for the most skilled craftspeople from across Runeterra.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: A labyrinth of tunnels runs under the city, which had never been fully mapped until then-eight-year-old Ezreal explored them all.
- Bank Robbery: Sidereal Avenue is home to two banks, The Epliptic Vaults and the Clockwork Vault, both considered some of the most secure in the world, but were respectively broken into by Jinx and the duo of Twisted Fate and Graves.
- Cerebus Retcon: Piltover was formerly a Science Hero city whose main distinction from Zaun was that it was The Fettered in terms of experimentation, which made it slightly less powerful but far better to live in. In the update, it is the home of the wealthy ruling class and is clean and beautiful because it can shunt all the dirty manufacturing down to Zaun.
- The Clan: Piltover's government consists of the heads of various mercantile clans that rule over the city's various industries, with varying degrees of power and reputation. Due to the dynastic succession of these ruling clans, Piltover as a whole is considered an aristocratic oligarchy.
- Escaped Animal Rampage: Piltover has a city zoo that houses a large assortment of flora and fauna from across Runeterra, though as seen in "Get Jinxed", Jinx gave it one hell of a vandalism spree.
- Fictional Currency: Runeterra has a vast variety of currency, and Piltover produces its own, using coins called Golden Hexes, Silver Cogs (or Silver Gears), and Bronze Washers. Due to Piltover's global importance, these are especially valued.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Nearly all of its champions use weapons they built or repurposed themselves, especially Jayce and Vi.
- Layered Metropolis: Illustrations show that◊ Piltover, or at least a section of it, is built atop giant cliffs. Zaun is both figuratively and literally its undercity.
- Magitek: The home of "hextech", a merger of magic and Steampunk/Clock Punk machinery powered by extremely rare crystals that allow anyone to wield magical power, depending on their design. Piltover is home to some of the most advanced technology in all of Runeterra, though due to the rarity of its power sources, no devices are mass-produced, instead being created individually by skilled craftsmen that take years or lifetimes to design.
- Police Are Useless: Zig-zagged with the case of combating Jinx, who is constantly being chased by Vi and Caitlyn, but mostly due to elusiveness than incompetence. There were also Sentry Bots made to patrol the streets to assist combating her, but as seen in the "Get Jinxed" music video, they don't really work out too well.
- Port Town: Piltover is one of these, being a major in-between hub for traders across Runeterra and the Shuriman continent, with knowledge and control over oceanic trade routes being jealously-guarded secrets passed down from generation to generation.
- Power Crystal: Piltover's trademark hextech are powered by rare arcane "hex-crystals", with their exact development process being a top-guarded secret among hextech craftsmen. They're believed to originate from the Bracken of Shurima (the race Skarner is a part of), which were stolen alongside other crystals during an expedition by Elicia Ferros (Camille's ancestor), though modern hex-crystals presumably developed separately from them, as the ultimate fate of the Brackern crystals remain unknown.
- Punk Punk: Takes massive inspiration from Steampunk, Clock Punk and Art Deco styles.
- Science Hero: Firmly committed to the philosophy that science and knowledge will make the world a better place.
- Shining City: Bright and beautiful.
- Tracking Device: Piltover is home to Zindelo's Incognium Runeterra, a mysterious device claimed to be able to locate any individual in the world. Unfortunately, its creator died mysteriously before it could be activated, with many believing the alchemical formulae used to power it to have been stolen. As a result, the device sits in southern Piltover completely inoperable.
Zaun — Polluted Undercity
Governance: Industrial Oligarchy
Level of Technology: High
Attitude Towards Magic: Exploit
General Environment: Urbanized (Toxic)
Affiliated Champions: Blitzcrank, Ekko, Janna, Jinx, Dr. Mundo, Singed, Twitch, Urgotnote , Viktor, Warwick, Zac, Ziggsnote
Zaun is a polluted undercity beneath Piltover — once united, they are now separate, symbiotic cultures. Stifled inventors often find their unorthodox research welcomed in Zaun, but reckless industry has rendered whole swathes of the city highly toxic. Even so, thanks to a thriving black market, chemtech, and mechanical augmentation, the people still find ways to prosper.
- Bio Punk: In its current state, Zaun follows a much more gritty, industrial, and dangerous aesthetic than the slick and cleaner Art Deco looks of Piltover, with a grander focus on Bio-Augmentation. Contrast to the much more rare and expensive hextech, Zaun has developed its own equivalent called chemtech, which potentially exceeds the performance of hextech, but is also more potentially dangerous.
- City Noir: Dark, dirty, dangerous, yet allowing a lot of freedom for those too low to attract much attention.
- The City Narrows: Zaun is already a pretty cramped and seedy place to live, but the lowest Sump level is treated as the dingiest of the lot, being home to slums, prisons, abandoned chemtech, and incredibly potent pollution, described as "the most squalid, yet vibrant parts of the city."
- The Clan: Similar to Piltover, Zaun is ultimately ruled by the heads of a collection of dynastic industrial clans known as the "Chem-Barons". Many have been shown to not be the nicest people, but their ongoing alliances with each other and Piltover are considered the only things preventing Zaun from plunging into chaos.
- Deadly Gas: Most of the atmosphere, including the clouds, nicknamed "Zaun Gray," is incredibly hazardous to breathe in more concentrated doses. It's such a prevalent part of the culture that the wealthy families in Zaun keep large, glass greenhouses to lounge in; indoor plants represent their wealth and power because they provide clean, fresh air to breathe.Most days, [the Gray]'s thin enough that you can breathe deep without coughing up something wet. Today, though, is what we call a Grayout. You choke with every breath. Your chest feels tight. Can't see much past your fingertips.— The protagonist from Deep Breath, Janna's short story
- Fantastic Drug: "Shimmer" is a popular corrosive techmaturgical waste substance among Zaun's rebellious youth, which stimulates intense emotions and changes colors corresponding to them when slathered on skin. It's believed to cause skin and muscle tissue degeneration, but the rumor of it giving wearers supernatural abilities has only increased its demand. Jinx is implied to be a user of the stuff.
- For Science!: Practically the city motto.
- Layered Metropolis: Not only is Zaun the literal undercity to Piltover, it's also sectioned into multiple layers of its own: the Promenade Level (existing on Piltover's lower districts where the two interact for trade and entertainment), the Entresol Level (the base cosmopolitan area of Zaun housing most of its industries and population), and the Sump Level (the deepest and darkest of the city, literally and figuratively).
- Mad Scientist: Just another career option.
- Polluted Wasteland: The consequence of Zaun allowing for unregulated industrial complexes tampering with volatile technology is that said industries have spiralled out of control, rendering the city exceedingly polluted, and in some places dangerously toxic. Camille's Clan is rumored to be a heavy contributor to the pollution through their production of synthetic hex-crystals.
- Port Town: Zaun is part of the collective city-state/trade hub with Piltover between the continents of Valoran and Shurima (hypothesized to have once been a Shuriman port city called Oshra Va'Zaun), just layered underground. As you might expect, this proves to be extremely dangerous; one of Zaun's most defining historical points was the plan to sever the isthmus connecting the two continents to allow proper sea passage, with the demolition going so catastrophically wrong that it completely sank several large districts of the city, killing thousands. When Zaun was eventually rebuilt, the "Sun Gates" were constructed to regulate the oceanic passage they were built on. The wealth it brought likely led to the creation of what we currently know as Piltover, but to this day, Zaun maintains monitoring power over all water transport in the area.
- Punk Punk: Just based on the design of its champions and various◊ architecture◊, it's clear Zaun is heavily inspired by Bio Punk, Steampunk, and Diesel Punk elements.
- Rite of Passage: The children of Zaun crafted their own to see if they're "one of the big kids." Fittingly for the setting, it involves extremely dangerous activity, including hitching a ride on the top of the Rising Howl elevator, reaching the top of the gear-exposed Old Hungry with their limbs intact, pickpocketing a chem-baron attendant, and/or ding-dong-ditching a sump-scrapper.
- Skyscraper City: Played with, in that while many of their buildings are extremely tall, they actually lead directly up◊ to Piltover's foundations.
- The Unfettered: When it comes to science and experimentation, nothing's off limits.
- Wretched Hive: Zig-zagged. When put next to Piltover, Zaun fits the bill of being a heavily-polluted, run-down over-industrialized hive of mad scientists, criminals and slums, but it's also a "City of Privileges" for where scientists and hextech developers can bloom uninterrupted, though the moral compass heavily differs between individual cases, from the ambiguous (Viktor) to downright rotten (Singed).
Bilgewater — Lawless Port City
Governance: Gang Syndicates
Level of Technology: Medium
Attitude Towards Magic: Employ
General Environment: Tropical Archipelago
Affiliated Champions: Gangplank, Graves, Illaoi, Miss Fortune, Nautilus, Pyke, Tahm Kench, Twisted Fate
Bilgewater is a port city like no otherhome to monster hunters, dock-gangs, indigenous peoples, and traders from across the known world. Almost anything can be purchased here, from outlawed hextech to the favor of local crime lords. There is no better place to seek fame and fortune, though death lurks in every alleyway, and the law is almost non-existent.
- The Butcher: One of the most notable parts of Bilgewater is the Slaughter Docks. After ships come into town with large corpses of sea monsters in tow, the monster's corpses are hauled into the docks to be butchered. The monster's meat, skin, and bones provide a very large portion of the city's resources and keep the economy flowing. Other nations, particularly the Freljord, frequently haul large monster carcasses to the Slaughter Docks to sell them off to the experienced butchers in Bilgewater.
- Fictional Currency: Two known currencies used in Bilgewater are "golden krakens" and "silver serpents".
- Fog of Doom: They experienced being attacked by the Black Mist of the Shadow Isles during Harrowing night in Shadow and Fortune. This is apparently a recurring event every year, but before Miss Fortune's assassination attempt on Gangplank, the city always had time to prepare and assemble to combat it. Shadow and Fortune is a story about the Harrowing in the wake of the disjointed, civil war-torn Bilgewater.
- Gargle Blaster: Rum is apparently a well-known export product from Bilgewater, with among the most infamous being "Gangplank's Black Pearl Rum," a chewy rum "aged in charred oak casks and infused with some of the richest spices that Valoran has to offer, [coming out] blacker than pitch and about as thick." Consume at your own peril.
- Hunter of Monsters: The dominant career for sea-farers in Bilgewater. While there are a lot of pirates, others take their naval combat skills to battle massive sea monsters. After they kill the beasts, they haul them back to the city where they can butcher them. See The Butcher above.
- Necessarily Evil: Bilgewater is the home of some really unpleasant characters, so you'll have to be even more ruthless and unpleasant if you want to keep order.
- Noble Savage: The Buhru people of the Serpent/Blue Flame Isles, the indigenous folk who are native to the island chain that Bilgewater is built upon. Illaoi is a representative of these islanders. They're given a high level of reverence and respect by the people of Bilgewater, and most people in the city follow the native religion, even Gangplank. It revolves around their Sea God, Nagakabouros, also known as the Bearded Lady, and the fleets pay tithes to her by tossing offerings into the sea. Every ship worth its salt has a Buhru working upon it as a seer and adviser to the captain.
- Pirate: Home to a lot of these, the most dominant name being Gangplank.
- Port City: Dwellings and buildings in the city are even crafted from the ruined remains of longships and other boats. Many of Bilgewater's buildings are just ships turned upside down and secured to the ground and/or cliffs.
- Swamps Are Evil: The inland outskirts of Bilgewater is marshland threaded with rivers. The nomadic mystics who live there are often known as 'River Folk' and are considered a people apart from those who live in the city proper. Twisted Fate is one of the River Folk.
- Take It to the Bridge: Butcher's Bridge exists as one connecting the Slaughter Docks to one of the town's many slums. It served as the ARAM "Murder Bridge" during the Burning Tides event.
- Threatening Shark: Remember the Slaughter Docks mentioned above? Blood, guts, and abandoned chum from there constantly leaks into the harbor. Yes, this means the sea around Bilgewater is constantly inhabited by piranha, saltwater crocodiles, warfrats, and yes, sharks.
- The Wild West: Carries elements of this, with characters like Graves, Tahm Kench, and Miss Fortune evoking obvious western imagery. The coast and harbor are more The Golden Age of Piracy, but as you travel though the city towards the land, the culture draws a lot from southern Cajun, and the swamps outside of inland Bilgewater (where Twisted Fate hails from) are not unlike wetlands in Louisiana or Florida.
- Wretched Hive: Of the Outlaw Town/Not So Safe Harbour varieties. Gang violence is common, anyone would knife you for your shoes, and if you manage to survive the people, the local animals might get you — but if you're quick on your feet and have some stolen tech to fence, you might just have a good time.
Ixtal — Perilous Eastern Jungles
Governance: Magical Autocracy
Level of Technology: Unknown (Alchemical)
Attitude Towards Magic: Control
General Environment: Tropical Rainforest
Affiliated Champions: Malphite, Neeko, Nidalee, Qiyana, Rengar, Zyra
Secluded deep in the wilderness of eastern Shurima, the sophisticated arcology-city of Ixaocan remains mostly free of outside influence. Having witnessed from afar the ruination of the Blessed Isles, and the softening of Buhru culture, the Ixtali view the other factions of Runeterra as little more than upstarts and pretenders, and use their powerful elemental magic to keep any intruders at bay.
- Arcology: Ixaocan consists of many of these peppering the Ixtal jungles, each one housing up to tens of thousands of people, and each practicing a specific discipline/field of elemental magic. In practice, they're described as being neither purely habitats or colleges of magic, but somewhere in between. They also appear to be caste-based, as the ruling Yun Tal caste controls the Cardinal Arcology.
- Elemental Powers: The Ixtali greatly explore this concept through a system known as the Axiomata, interpreting the universe as a series of elements governed by axioms that can be manipulated. Each arcology represents and is devoted to a specific axiom, such as the Magma Arcology in the mountains studying fire, rock, and magnetism, or the Water Arcology near the Serpentine River studying water, ice, and steam. Qiyana's mastery over several magics at once is enough for her to consider herself fit to rule Ixaocan.
- Hidden Elf Village: Ixtal has remained hidden in the jungles east of Shurima for centuries, developing its own isolationist society filled to the brim with elemental magics. Notably, most of its citizens believe that they are all that remains of the human world following the destruction of Icathia, and only those within the ruling Yun Tal are aware of the truth.
- Hungry Jungle: Ixtal rests its entirety in lush jungle recognized fully as the Ixtal Jungle, and if its isolationist inhabitants won't kill you for trespassing into their borders, the jungle itself probably will. It should be noted that Ixaocan rule doesn't fully entail the entire thing; champions including Nidalee and Neeko roam in the jungle, but don't share allegiance with the city hidden deep within it.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Ixtal is the native home to the various elemental dragons that you come across on Summoner's Rift, occupying various abandoned Ixtali ruins. Fearsome yet majestic, they once fought alongside humans during the Shuriman war against The Void, but have since remained content being left alone without any major interference.
- Land of One City: A mixed case; aside from smaller surrounding villages, the capital of Ixaocan is considered the last "city" in present-day Ixtal, the rest having been ruined or abandoned as foreigners continue encroaching on their borders over time. Ixaocan itself, however, encompasses a large set of various arcologies, including but not limited to a central Cardinal Arcology.
- Magitek: Their technology is a variant of this, but very unlike Piltovan hextech. Instead of using magic crystals to power machines, the Ixtali prefer to directly use their Elemental Powers as a casual tool — a quarryman would use stone magic to easily break apart and carry large rocks, while a fisher can use water magic to create favorable currents and air magic to travel underwater using air bubbles. Within the Cardianal Arcology exists the Vidalion, a loom-like device that can channel and weave axiomatic energy into material form, which the Yun Tal use to weave robes to mark their status.
- The Magocracy: Ixtal is described specifically as a "magical autocracy", divided into individual, highly rigid castes, each with their own social hierarchies based on time spent in study. Those with mastery in their respective elemental axioms can ascend the ranks, with the initiation ceremonies of the Yun Tal being the ultimate test of it.
- Mayincatec: Shows shades of this.
- Precursors: Ixtal is described to have an even older past than Shurima, described as being part of a westward diaspora that also gave rise to the Buhru, magnificent Helia, and the ascetics of Targon, with ties to the very first Ascension. To boot, one of Ezreal's map notes indicates he met a shaman in the jungle who — despite not looking Targonian — claimed she was the Aspect of the Wanderer.
- The Unmasqued World: After centuries of seclusion, the Ixtali finally revealed themselves as more and more of their territory continues being encroached by Piltover and Noxus, with the major incident being Qiyana revealing a hidden path between villages which was discovered by Piltovan miners, resulting in a very messy bloodbath which still left some survivors to tell the tale.
- Vestigial Empire: While not as drastic as Shurima, Ixtal's legacy from its former glory leaves a lot to be desired. It once preceded Shurima, with its initial diaspora giving rise to the Targonians, the Buhru, and the Helia of the Blessed Isles, but following constant involvement in outsider disasters (including the Shuriman/Void war, the Darkin war, the Rune War, and the Ruination of the Blessed Isles), they decided they had enough and went into hiding. Even with that, they continue being encroached on by foreigners, reduced to being a Land of One City.
Shurima — Fallen Desert Empire
Governance: Divine Empire
Level of Technology: Unknown
Attitude Towards Magic: Covet
General Environment: Arid Desert
Affiliated Champions: Amumu, Azir, Nasus, Rammus, Renekton, Sivir, Skarner, Taliyah, Xerath
Shurima was once a thriving civilization that spanned the southern continent, left in ruins by the fall of its god-emperor. Over millennia, tales of its former glory became myth and ritual. Now, its nomadic inhabitants eke out a life in the deserts, or turn to mercenary work. Still, some dare to dream of a return to the old ways.
- Animal Motif: Shurima runs heavily on this theme. Most of the champions that represent Shurima are associated with a particular animal. In the case of the Ascended, the have a particular animal totem that is reflected in their physical form. Others have more subtle associations, but are still associated with them.
- Nasus ascended into the form of the Jackal, representing his intelligence and cunning.
- Renekton ascended into the form of the Crocodile, representing his strength and ferocity.
- Azir ascended into the form of the Hawk, representing his regality and royalty.
- Cassiopeia, while not among the ascended, has been cursed into the form of a Serpent. This reflects her insidious and venomous way of manipulating enemies.
- Taliyah, while not ascended or cursed, is heavily associated with the humble Sparrow.
- The Brackern, of whom Skarner is the main representative, are a race of crystalline Scorpions. Unlike most depictions of scorpions in media, the Brackern are very true to actual scorpions; they're mostly a shy, retiring race that sleeps below ground, but make tenacious and frightening enemies when provoked.
- Rengar, a Vastayan whose tribe hails from Shurima, is an anthropomorphic lion.
- Build Like an Egyptian: Sun motifs, scarabs, and the famous floating pyramids.
- The Empire: During its heyday, it was an enormous one with reach across the entire southern continent of Runeterra, including Ixtal. After being resurrected, Azir seeks to return it to its former glory.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Shurima is clearly modeled on ancient Egypt.
- Hegemonic Empire: Shurima was reportedly based around massive expansion and assimilation during its heyday, with states like Kahleek, Kalduga, and even Ixtal becoming attached voluntarily, implied to be because of access to greater powers like the Sun Disc. Icathia was the most notable exception, and when it attempted to rebel, it struggled to find allies since nobody dared to oppose the grand empire that was seemingly a net benefit for themselves.
- Living Legend: The Ascended were legendary in Shurima's day.
- Only the Chosen May Wield: While Shuriman Ascension is relatively more manual than the Targonian equivalent, it appears that the powers that be still have a set of standards that influence whether certain people are worthy of it. Those considered unworthy become flawed, incomplete beings dubbed the Baccai, which look similar to Ascended and share their long lifespans, but are considerably weaker and closer to mortal.
- Physical God: The rite of Ascension channels enormous power onto one person, granting them immortality among other things, and changing their appearance to reflect a particular animal. It's meant to be used only in times of desperate need, and only those considered "worthy" were granted the full package.
- The Power of the Sun: Worshiped the sun, as befitting a desert empire, and constructed a giant gold Sun Disc to harness its power further.
- Secret Legacy: The royal bloodline of Shurima persisted until the present day, with the roaming mercenary Sivir turning out to be Azir's last true descendant.
- Shrouded in Myth: Very little is known about the empire in its heyday or about its collapse, but it seemed to have access to magic far beyond what is currently known.
- Thirsty Desert: Much of the Shuriman continent is this, primarily one called The Great Sai, with modern civilization existing much closer to the various coastlines. Treks from coast to coast can be incredibly taxing, with a trek from northern Shurima to the capital by dormun said to take about 65 days.
- Vestigial Empire: Shurima has seen better days, to say the least. Once spanning an entire continent and absorbing many smaller factions, calamity has blasted its mainland into endless sand infested with Void monsters, with what remains being smaller coastal cities and nomadic tribes. The newly-resurrected Azir is determined to restore its former glory.
Mount Targon — Sprawling Western Mountains
Governance: Tribal Theocracy
Level of Technology: Low
Attitude Towards Magic: Aspire
General Environment: Harsh Mountains
Affiliated Champions: Aphelios, Aurelion Sol, Diana, Leona, Pantheon, Taricnote , Soraka, Zoe.
A mountainous and sparsely inhabited region to the west of Shurima, Targon boasts the tallest peak in Runeterra. Located far from civilization, Mount Targon is all but impossible to reach, save by the most determined pilgrims, chasing some soul-deep yearning to reach its summit. Those hardy few who survive the climb return haunted and empty, or changed beyond all recognition.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Solari sect dangerously teeters around this line; they are convinced that they are the one true religion, rejecting others, and indoctrinates followers in a zealot-ish fanaticism, going as far as to commit genocide for the Lunari sect for not going their way.
- Elemental Powers: The Targonian champions have this in general (sunlight, moonlight, starlight) thanks to their status as Aspects.
- Hate Sink: Many view the Solari sect to be this due to their utterly brutal Knight Templar mentalities in addition of never owing up to their missteps or other nefarious way to assert dominance (such as the Lunari genocide). Atreus (the current physical host of Pantheon) expressed dislike towards the sect, though mostly because they're too defensive to his tastes, and Pantheon himself only puts up to them just because how they're the only other manpower Targon has for war. Even Leona, their paragon, when she ascended, became horrified about the cruelty she did under the Solari's name and currently seeks to make amends.
- Light Is Good: Zig-zagged. The named champions that holds the power of light, such as Leona and Taric, are undoubtedly good. However, as mentioned with A Nazi by Any Other Name section, the sect Leona worked under, the Solari, might not be so altruistic after all...
- Oddly Common Rarity: Discussed: Aspects are incredibly rare, so having several active at once probably means a great battle or calamity is on the horizon.
- Scaling the Summit: The challenge of Targon. It is so hard to do that Demacia sets it as a punishment for those who have utterly disgraced themselves.
- Solar and Lunar: The status of the sun and the moon are major factors in Targonian conflict, primarily between the concisely-named Solari and Lunari. In the present day, the Solari are the dominant faction, with the Lunari deemed heretics, cruelly snuffed out, and erased from history, leaving any remnants in hiding. Diana and Aphelios' lore directly implies that the sun and moon exist in "cycles", and that a drastic power shift in favor of the moon is well underway.
- Star Power: Stars in the cosmos beyond Runeterra appear to be supernatural, and it's all but directly stated that the power of the Aspects descends from constellations. As a result, all Targonian champions have some influence in them to a degree — Zoe and Taric use the power of stars in combat, Aurelion Sol forges stars, Soraka descended from them, and Leona and Diana's respective sunlight and moonlight are influenced from them.
- Touched by Vorlons: Targonian Aspects are partly themselves, partly the Aspect they are now hosting. The spectrum ranges from "mostly still himself" (Taric) to "completely replaced" (Pantheon).
The Shadow Isles — Lands Shrouded by the Black Mist
Level of Technology: Low
Attitude Towards Magic: Suffer
General Environment: Cursed Archipelago
Affiliated Champions: Elise, Hecarim, Karthus, Kalista, Maokai, Thresh, Yorick.
The Shadow Isles were once a beautiful realm, long since shattered by a magical cataclysm. Now, Black Mist permanently shrouds the land, tainting and corrupting with its malevolent sorcery. Those who perish within it are condemned to become part of it for all eternity and worse still, each year the Mist extends its grasp to reap more souls across Runeterra.
- Always Chaotic Evil: All Shadow Isles champions are chaotic, and most have nothing but bad intentions for the rest of the world. The exceptions are Maokai, Yorick (good), Kalista (formerly good, now operating as a gray arbiter of vengeance) and Karthus (who sees death as good).
- And I Must Scream: The Ruination has condemned all the souls of the isles to an eternity of torture, plunging most of its brightest lights into darkness.
- Big Bad: The Ruined King, who rules the Shadow Isles, is probably the closest League of Legends has to an actual Big Bad. He still has yet to be definitively seen, but some of the denizens of the isles are bound to his will, including Hecarim and Kalista, and Lucian and Senna are now searching for him, seeing his defeat as instrumental for undoing the isles' curse.
- The Corruption: It was once a beautiful island kingdom called the Blessed Isles, but a forbidden spell that broke the barriers between life and death turned it into the spectral, undead-infested land it is today.
- Creepy Good: Champions who draw their power from the corrupted Isles, such as Yorick and Senna, ride the line between "noble" and "unnerving."
- Death World: Barring The Void, the Shadow Isles is likely the most dangerous place in Runeterra, as even death won't save you from the eternal torment it inflicts. Legends of Runeterra shows that the Dauntless Vanguard of Demacia tried to explore the land, and even they failed miserably.
- Faux Flame: The land is now littered with an eerie, spectral blue-green-ish fire◊ that carries into almost every champion associated with it.
- Fog of Doom: The Black Mist comes from here, and it spreads across Runeterra during every Harrowing in search of souls.
- Garden of Evil: The Twisted Treeline map, which looks the ruins of a once-beautiful palace garden.
- Giant Spider: Among the various giant beasts of the Shadow Isles is Vilemaw, an undead spider god who Elise serves.
- Heal It with Water: One repellent to the curse of undeath are the Tears of Life, water originally from the springs of the Blessed Isles which managed to survive the ruination. While it's unable to undo The Corruption in ruined beings, it's what allowed Yorick and Maokai to endure the incident, and both believe that what they have left will be instrumental in ending the isles' curse.
- Mysterious Mist: The Black Mist is an extremely dangerous variant. Back in the days of Helia and the Blessed Isles, the mist was much less scary, appearing as a normal pale mist used by the isles' denizens to shroud them from the rest of the world, but it too was corrupted by the Ruination.
Minor Powers and 'Outside' Factions
Bandle City — Mythical Land of Curious Enchantment
Level of Technology: Unknown
Attitude Towards Magic: Play
General Environment: Unknown
Affiliated Champions: Corki, Lulu, Rumble, Teemo, Tristana, Veigar, Yuumi.
Opinions differ as to where exactly the land of the Yordles is to be found. Some maintain these fey creatures live far to the southeast, beyond a range of impassable mountains. Others claim the Yordles live under grassy green hills or deep in the hearts of impenetrable forests. Perhaps some of these tales are true or maybe none, for no expedition mounted to find the Yordle homeland has ever located it. Which is not to say that no one has visited the land of Yordles, for many claim to have travelled through unseen portals into a land of fey enchantment populated by diminutive creatures of mischief. In Bandle City every sensation is heightened for non-Yordles; colors are incredibly vivid, the food and drink intoxicates the senses for years and, once tasted, will never be forgotten. The sunlight is eternally golden, the waters crystal clear, and every harvest brings fruitful bounty. It is also a place of unfettered magic, where the incautious can be led astray by its myriad wonders and end up lost in a dream until they drop dead of hunger and thirst. Those who claim to have travelled to Bandle City speak of a timeless quality, which may explain why many such taletellers appear to have aged tremendously or, in fact, never return at all.
- Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: As far as League champions are considered, female yordles are very elf-like in appearance, have large ears, and skin colors composed of varying shades of blue and purple, with newer designs adding peach fuzz to their skin to downplay this. Most male yordles are best described as humanoid hamsters. This is an artifact of Early Installment Weirdness, as current Yordles were originally two separate races, the Yordles (whose champions were all male) and the Meglings (whose champions were evenly split between male and female), before being merged together later on. Future depictions of female yordles (mostly those in Legends of Runeterra, such as the "Fae Bladetwirler") opt for the "bipedal hamster" approach, phasing this trait out even further.
- Fisher Kingdom: While the nature of humans being in the yordles' territory isn't known, Rioters have confirmed that yordles actually have this reaction to various factions in Runeterra, adapting to physical and behavioral characteristics of wherever they reside outside Bandle City (hence why the underwater-dwelling Fizz is amphibious, Kled is an Ax-Crazy mascot of Noxus, and even Gnar's rage gene is implied to be due to his presence with Freljordian yetis).
- Glamour: Yordles have access to this type of charm magic, allowing them to slightly alter how others see them and conceal their yordle nature, usually appearing as small humans. However, it can fall apart if they can't control their mental state (such as by going into a panic), and some especially perceptive humans can see right through their veils.
- Hidden Elf Village: Bandle City is accessible through pathways only known by yordles throughout Runeterra called bandlewoods, with its "location" having multiple points across the official map.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: With the release of Tahm Kench, it was revealed he hates yordles for this particular reason. Due to their social (and generally good-leaning) nature, they're difficult to manipulate when they're together. They're only susceptible to personal demons when they've been isolated from their kind.
- Killer Rabbit: While many yordles are well-meaning and friendly, many are formidable and dangerous champions generally on par with everyone else in the game. In-universe, yordles are actually feared and hunted down in most places because of this — according to one line in the comic Paint the Town, yordles were at one point used by Noxians as a weapon.
- Land of Faerie: Bandle City isn't a physical location, but rather its own separate realm which can be accessed through hidden pathways in Runeterra, described as a whimsical and timeless paradise. Bandle City itself has an even more whimsical and topsy-turvy realm in it known as The Glade, a place of primordial magic perceived by Lulu to be Bandle City's origin.
- Long-Lived: Yordles can apparently live for a very long time. To name a few examples: Poppy was there when Demacia was founded, Veigar was forced to work for Mordekaiser for possibly thousands of years, and Kled has supposedly been a part of every Noxian war.
- Magical Land: See Land of Faerie above.
- Magitek: Several yordles like Heimerdinger are depicted as working in Piltover, producing their own variants on hextech.
- Rule of Perception: In Legends of Runeterra, yordle characters are depicted as their true yordle forms despite taking territory in places where it would likely catch more attention, mostly in Piltover and Noxus. One can presume that their visible yordle appearances are a benefit to the audience, and that they have glamour on to conceal their appearances in-universe.
- Utopia: Bandle City has been described by outsiders who have claimed to visit it as a paradise of bright colors, beautiful sunlight and streams, delicious food, and unfettered magic.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: Bandle City appears to cause this, as non-Yordle visitors tend to come back much older, if they return at all.
The Void — The Unknowable Nothingness
Level of Technology: Unknown
Attitude Towards Magic: Devour
General Environment: Unknown
Affiliated Champions: Cho'Gath, Kassadin, KaiSa, Kha'Zix, Kog'Maw, Malzahar, Rek'Sai, Vel'Koz.
Screaming into existence with the birth of the universe, the Void is a manifestation of the unknowable nothingness that lies beyond. It is a force of insatiable hunger, waiting through the eons until its masters, the mysterious Watchers, mark the final time of undoing.
To be a mortal touched by this power is to suffer an agonizing glimpse of eternal unreality, enough to shatter even the strongest mind. Denizens of the Void realm itself are construct-creatures, often of only limited sentience, but built for a single purpose to usher in total oblivion across Runeterra.
Although it's technically everywhere and nowhere, as alternate dimensions tend to be, The Void is strongly tied to Icathia. This city-state on the eastern coast of Shurima, in a last ditch effort to free itself from said empire's control, opened a portal to the void that is now known as "The Rupture". Void-born plague the caverns below Shurima's deserts to this day and "The Lost City of Icathia" is only spoken about in hushed whispers.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Wants to consume the world. Doesn't really care why or how that gets done. Most of its champions are characterized by their hunger — physical hunger or something metaphorical like a hunger for knowledge.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Bizarre in that as Eldritch Abominations, they normally don't even have any sort of physicality and have to adjust to the material plane of Runeterra, which actually proves to be a significant and exploitable weakness of theirs.
- Body Horror: The Void will not merely destroy you, it will consume you and warp your flesh into something more to its liking. And inversely, the longer a Voidspawn exists in Runeterra the more "mundane" and "normal" they become, to the point where they could be mistaken for a "normal" magical creature.
- The Dog Bites Back: Icathia was formerly a kingdom in the Shuriman continent that was brutally subjugated by the ever-expanding empire, with a humiliating conquest that began eradicating their culture, history, and present power for millenia. This prompted a violent and disastrous rebellion involving uncovering the Void's power, and tragically, there were no winners.
- Eldritch Abomination: Everything that comes out of the Void, christened "void-born" or "void-spawn".
- Eldritch Location: Not only the Void itself but any place where the Void touches reality, such as the lost city of Icathia. To hammer the point home, the Void's general environment is listed as "Unknown" by the interactive map.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: The Icathians called upon it in ancient times to help their rebellion against Shurima and the Ascended. They won a Pyrrhic Victory that ruined the city and left even the survivors tainted.
- Go Mad from the Revelation:
- Looking directly at the Void can kill your sanity.
- The Void itself was driven to madness by "normal" reality coming into existence. The Void was formerly a place of absolute silence, tranquility, and nothingness. When the physical plane and life were created, the Void gained awareness and absolute horror at the incomprehensibleness of linear spacetime.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The Watchers are ostensibly the leaders of the Void, creators of the first Voidborn in the Freljord, and they share the same omnicidal mania as the rest of them, making them one the biggest antagonistic forces in the game's universe. While they're currently frozen in True Ice, Lissandra is sure that they will return, and Runeterra needs to prepare for it.
- Horror Hunger: A reoccurring theme with its inhabitants. Kog'Maw and Cho'Gath are the most direct about this and will devour almost anything in their path, Vel'Koz is essentially driven by a hunger for knowledge, and Kha'Zix has a hunger for evolution, which involves constantly hunting prey.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: Of a sort. The Watchers and the Voidborn in general have near-infinite power on their own terms, but due to the fact they have no concept of space, time, or heat, transitioning into the physical Runeterra leaves them especially confused and unformed, enough for mortals to retaliate. Voidspawn, especially ones that have just arrived on Runeterra, are stated to be just as horrified and terrified of humans as humans are of them.
- Humanity Is Infectious: "Newborn" Voidspawn that have just arrived from the Void are incomprehensible non-euclidean monstrosities that look as much like a piece of optical illusion abstract art as they do a lifeform. But the more matter from Runeterra they consume, the more like a "normal" creature they begin to look and the more like a human or animal they begin to think. Some are even implied to start to desire to abandon their fight against Runeterra so they can luxuriate in the newly-found hedonism of linear existance. Nearly all of the playable Voidspawn Champions are well past the tipping point, though art exists of "pure" Void-type monsters.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Despite Malzahar clearly pronouncing Icathia as "i-kath-ia," Rioters have since confirmed the official pronunciation as of Kai'Sa's Champion Spotlight is "i-kayth-ia." They've noted that should Malzahar get a voiceover update, it'll be changed, but they've also Hand Waved an idea that he just hasn't caught up with the centuries of linguistic evolution in the rest of Runeterra, or perhaps he has an accent.
- Power of the Void: Dark and sinister magic touches all of its champions.
- Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër: Void names have two syllables divided by an apostrophe. Kaisa changed her name to Kai'Sa to show her status as a Void creature, even though she was born human.
- Purple Is the New Black: Void creatures and Void magic are generally purple, probably because Purple Is Powerful.
- Token Good Teammate: Kai'Sa is still essentially a human, but her desire to protect humanity from the Void is undermined by the way humans fear her and see her as a monster.
- And I Must Scream: Being trapped in their weapons is a horrible experience. Not only can they not interact with their surrounding, they feel like they are constantly suffocating. Some of Aatrox's dialogue indicates that even when a Darkin has full control of his body, it still feels like a prison.
- Blood Magic: The source of it in Runeterra. Vladimir learned to use it under the tutelage of a Darkin that conquered his homeland.
- The Corruption: They slowly corrupt their hosts, eventually taking over completely. Aatrox succeeded, and Rhaast and Varus are fighting their wielders for control.
- Fallen Hero: All Darkin were once Ascended warriors of Shurima, fighting against the Void, but the horrors of the battle and fall of Shurima twisted them into what they are now.
- Grand Theft Me: They corrupt and eventually consume their bearers, gaining whatever powers their host body had and adding it to their repertoire. It's not clear what happens to the person they hijack, though Rhaast suggests Kayn is Deader Than Dead if he takes over.
- Living Weapon: Imprisoned inside lethal weapons. Aatrox (sword) has entirely escaped his confinement; Rhaast (scythe) and Varus (bow and arrow) are fighting for their freedom.
- Physical God: Before they fell and became Darkin, they used to be Ascended, merged with celestial powers to become living deities. Their status as these has become complicated as a result of their imprisonment; according to writer WAAAARGHbobo, the process seemingly trapped or outright destroyed whatever cosmic concept they gained their power from, so while they might still be incredibly powerful, it's suggested they've gone from being gods to something else entirely.
- Retcon: When Aatrox (the de facto introduction of the Darkin) entered the game, their actual nature was left deliberately vague, allowing the room for future writers to explore later. 2017 lore (through the newly-introduced Rhaast and the updated Varus, including his comic) stated that the Darkin came from another world beyond Runeterra, sensing the magic potential of the Rune Wars and invading in waves (Aatrox and Rhaast were of the first wave, Varus of the second), resulting in the Great Darkin War. This was significantly redone by the time of Aatrox's update in 2018, where the origins were changed to what we presently know, that the Darkin were corrupted Shuriman Ascended.
- Soul Jar: They are effectively immortal as long as their weapon survives. If their humanoid forms die, they are reduced to Sealed Evil in a Can but can simply take over the body of whomever touches them next.
- There Is Another: At least two other Darkin survived the war, but even Aatrox has no idea where they might be. Varus is searching for one he calls 'Sister'.Rhaast, after killing Aatrox: And then there were four...I think.
- War Is Hell: Especially when that war is against The Void.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Demons tend to transform themselves to catch prey off their guard. Evelynn uses the form of a beautiful and nearly naked woman to make people feel lust for her (which allows her to attack), but when she's hunting uses her Demon Shade form. Tahm Kench uses the form of a well-dressed catfish man, which is apparently a manifestation of his connection to Bilgewater's primary vices. Nocturne and Fiddlesticks are exceptions as a form you're uncomfortable with makes it easier for them to frighten you.
- Always Chaotic Evil: You cannot reason with a demon once it has its claws in you, and anything it does has the specific purpose of allowing it to get its claws in you. To them, you're food, and your only protection is that they Must Be Invited.
- Emotion Eater: Their preferred form of sustenance. Evelynn feeds off of pain and lust, Fiddlesticks and Nocturne prefers fear, and Tahm enjoys despair and misery. Raum, the demon that Swain defeated, fed off secrets.
- Must Be Invited: Demons are generally entirely unrestrained aside from one single caveat specific to them. As long as this caveat isn't fulfilled, they are harmless, but you can be absolutely sure that everything they do has the purpose of voiding that caveat.
- Evelynn can only harm someone who has even a small desire for her. It's no surprise she takes takes A Form You Are Comfortable With as a nearly naked woman.
- Tahm has to at least make a bargain his victim agrees to, so he uses the form of a well-dressed businessman to lure you in.
- In Nocturne's case, he can't even manifest unless someone feels fear in a dream - he is very good at making you feel that fear if he notices you.
- And as for Fiddlesticks? Don't enter its fields. Stay out of them, and you're fine... but it is very good at using decoys and Wounded Gazelle Gambits to get you to enter them. And judging by how every civilisation has tales of it, what it claims as 'its fields' may not be entirely set in stone.
- Our Demons Are Different: While other champions have a demonic appearance and/or theme (the Darkin are the most obvious), 'Demon' in this case refers to incorporeal beings who embody a sin, enjoy and feed off causing suffering, and Must Be Invited.
- Dying Race: Though they live very long, no new Vastaya has been born in centuries. Due to human interference with wild magic.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: Vastayans born from a union of human and Vastaya are not accepted in Vastayan society, as Sett mentions in his lines.
- Last of Her Kind: Neeko, the last of the Oovi-Kat, a more primal species of Vastaya closely related to the original Vastayashairei.
- Little Bit Beastly: Varies. They can be human looking with animal features (Ahri, Xayah, Rakan, Sett) or look like a full on humanoid animal (Rengar, Wukong, Nami).
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Killash Vastaya (Rengar's tribe) pride themselves as master hunters.