Piltover and Zaun are the twin cities that separate the two largest continents of Runeterra, Valoran and Shurima, making them an important crossroads of trade.
The region has a long history as it already existed as a port city of Oshra Va’Zaun thousands of years ago. As time passed, the ambitions of the people grew and a plan to make a canal across the isthmus hatched around 300 years ago. The excavations ended up making the land under the city unstable, and one day, entire districts of the River Pilt collapsed. These unfortunate parts of the city would evolve into the current Zaun, while the new Piltover would rise on the cliffs above. With the canal and its sea-gates finished, the twin cities became a focal point of all trade between Valoran and Shurima, bringing immense wealth to the region (mostly Piltover).
The Progress Day is celebrated on the anniversary of the Sun Gates’ first opening.
Piltover is the cultural center of Valoran, which values innovation above all else. The city is mostly run by rich and powerful mercantile clans, like Ferros and Medarda, and the order of the city is maintained by the Wardens. The finest Piltovan innovations are powered by hextech, a fusion of magic and technology that is based on rare crystals found by Clan Giopara’s explorers from the deserts of Shurima. Unknown to the people, these crystals originate from brackern, a race of crystalline scorpions, and they hold the living thoughts and memories of their ancestors. Nowadays, Piltover is also manufacturing synthetic hextech crystals.
While Piltover’s architecture is dominated by marble and stone…
Zaun, in turn, is the home of more “experimental” science, pollution, and black markets. Large parts of the city are constantly enveloped in smog, the so-called Zaun Gray. Instead of the expensive hextech crystals, the inventors have created the cheaper but more dangerous chemtech. The power is held by Chem-Barons, each of whom controls a territory of their own, maintaining their loose alliance of convenience. Mechanically augmented people are not an unusual sight in Zaun, not without the contribution of the dangers of the city.
…the typical Zaunite buildings are made of iron and glass.
The twin cities are connected by hexdraulic conveyors, the largest of which is known as the Rising Howl for the noise it makes. While Piltovans do not visit the lowest levels of Zaun, known as the Sump, the Entresol level in the middle of the cities sees the two populations meet while not truly connect with each other, as the cities’ disparity of wealth has created a divide between the people. Only the followers of the Church of the Glorious Evolved, which treats the mechanical replacements with religious fervour, do not see the difference between a Piltovan and a Zaunite, as long as you are augmented.
Jinx – the Loose Cannon
“Rules are made to be broken... like buildings! Or people!”
Jinx is an anarchistic Zaunite criminal that seeks to bring chaos and mayhem to Piltover and is often accompanied by her shark-mouthed rocket launcher Fishbones.
Jinx used to be a Zaunite tinkerer with big ideas until an unknown incident changed her into the maniacal, chaos-sewing criminal that she is today. Jinx started to gain notoriety with anonymous “pranks” in Piltover, but after her crimes got credited to Zaunite chem-punk gangs, she has made her presence known in every crime scene since. Her growing reputation has left the Zaunites divided on whether she should be hailed as a hero standing up to the arrogant Pilties or a lunatic escalating tensions between the twin cities.
Despite continuous efforts from the Wardens, Jinx has kept evading their grasp and leaving taunting graffiti and messages to the crime scenes, often directed to the newcomer enforcer Vi. She even announced her intention of robbing one of the most secure treasuries, the Ecliptic Vaults, with a particularly unflattering caricature of Vi on the building’s wall. Jinx successfully smuggled herself inside in a coin crate, and the resulting pandemonium with Vi and the Wardens, who had been guarding the treasury on the outside, left the Vaults in ruin and Jinx still on the loose.
While Jinx’s growingly audacious crimes have inspired copycats and numerous satirical plays of the Wardens’ incompetence, her true motivations, as well as her obsession with Vi, remain a mystery.
Vi is Jinx's sister.
- Jinx used to be called Powder in her youth.
Jinx comic "Paint the Town".
Jinx's music video "Get Jinxed".
The upcoming animated series "Arcane" is expected to shed light on Jinx and Vi’s youth:
Heimerdinger – the Revered Inventor
“Ah, the sweet smell of science!”
Professor Cecil B. Heimerdinger is a highly esteemed yordle scientist, who is held as one of the most brilliant inventors of Piltover. Heimerdinger firmly believes that knowledge should be shared and is currently teaching at the University of PiltoverBADCARDNAME.
Heimerdinger used to run a pyrotechnics store in Piltover together with his then-apprentice Ziggs. In order to help the yordles blend in, Heimerdinger had invented a visual transmogrification charm called glamour, which made them seem like short humans in most people’s eyes. After Ziggs ran off with Jinx and caused mayhem in the city, running out of glamour in the process, Heimerdinger denounced him and continued to run the store by himself.
Ezreal – the Prodigal Explorer
“The world's a big place! Let's see all of it.”
Born in a wealthy Piltovan neighbourhood, he was often left in the care of his uncle, Professor Lymere, when his archaeologist parents were on their travels. Each time they returned, his father would share stories of their adventures, making the young boy dream of joining them. Ezreal’s lack of discipline irritated his uncle, who assigned strict tutors to teach the boy about several subjects, like cartography and ancient history. However, Ezreal would just absorb all information and pass each assignment easily, which left him more time to roam the campus, much to his uncle’s annoyance.
Over time, his parents’ absences grew longer until one year they did not return at all. While his uncle sorrowfully accepted that they might be lost forever, Ezreal would not give up. Gathering supplies from the university and leaving a farewell note to his uncle, he headed out in the world to search for his parents, starting from the place his father had once told they were looking for: the lost tomb of the Shuriman tyrant Ne’Zuk.
Ezreal spent months in the Shuriman deserts, uncovering ruins and facing the horrors inside them before he managed to find what his parents could not: Ne’Zuk’s tomb. The sarcophagus was almost empty as only a bronze gauntlet was left. Upon taking the artifact, the tomb’s ancient traps triggered, and without a thought, he donned the gauntlet and managed to teleport away from the danger. Ezreal knew that he had found the source of Ne’Zuk’s teleport magic his parents had been interested in, as well as the perfect tool for an adventurer.
While Ezreal did return to Piltover, his hunger for adventures was far from sated, and he has kept uncovering lost cities and treasures within, returning with wondrous tales that his “jealous” critics might call exaggerated and question his methods. Ezreal still remains resolute in finding his parents but has changed his tactics: if he becomes the greatest adventurer in Runeterra, surely his parents will return and seek him out.
- Ezreal's quotes indicate a crush with Lux, despite there being no mention in lore of them ever meeting.
Ezreal’s Field Notes can be found all over the map of Runeterra.
Warriors cinematic, showing Ezreal meeting with Kai'Sa and fighting voidlings:
Teemo – the Swift Scout
Teemo is a yordle who is part of the Bandle City’s Special Forces. His zeal for obeying the Scout’s code occasionally makes him unaware of the broader consequences of his actions.
Despite his cheerful and kind-hearted nature, Teemo turns serious and efficient when in combat. He displayed this trait even as a young trainee which made his superiors steer him to one of the most notable Special Forces unit, Scouts of the Mothership. There he befriended a fellow defender of the Bandle City, Tristana.
Teemo’s efficiency in his frequent solo missions and his record of defending Bandle City against infiltrators make him one of the most dangerous yordles alive. His weapon of choice is a blowgun which uses a rare ajunta poison, which he gathers from the Kumungu jungle in Ixtal.
Vi – the Piltover Enforcer
“One girl wrecking crew!”
During her childhood in a Zaunite orphanage, Vi learned to use both her wits and fists in the streets to get out of trouble, often preferring the latter. As she grew older, the scrapes and scams of her youth started turning more serious as Vi formed a gang of her own and gained a reputation as someone who got things done.
From the Zaunite miners’ chatter she learned how and when the payments of big deals were delivered and planned a heist. As her gang was not large enough for the plan, she reluctantly included a rival gang, Factorywood Fiends. She would later regret the choice as the leader of the Fiends killed the mine owner and trapped the workers inside with a pair of oversized pulverizer gauntlets. While everyone else fled with the loot, Vi’s morale did not let innocent people die because of her. Painfully donning the gauntlets, she smashed a way out for the miners. The next day she visited the Fiends with the same gauntlets and administered a memorable beating spoken to this day.
Vi eventually disappeared from Zaun one day, and rumours of her death started to circulate until a murderous Zaunite gang was brought down by Caitlyn, the sheriff of Piltover, and her new ally Vi. Now working for the Wardens, she has replaced her old Zaunite gauntlets with new hextech ones. Nobody knows what brought the two to work together, although it is speculated that the reason might involve Jinx. Vi has since helped the Wardens to uncover the rise of Urgot’s cult following in Zaun, leading to the Dreadnought’s imprisonment.
- Vi is Jinx's sister.
The short story "Child of Zaun", telling the story of Urgot's cult.
Warriors cinematic, showing Vi and Caitlyn preventing Urgot's prison escape:
The upcoming animated series "Arcane" is expected to shed light on Jinx and Vi’s youth:
Viktor – the Machine Herald
“Flesh is a weakness we must shed.”
Born on the borders of the Entresol in Zaun, Viktor always had a passion for invention and building and hated all interruptions to his work. Attempting to cut down the disruptions caused by Zaun’s many accidents, his research on them revealed that the majority was caused by human error rather than mechanical failure. Starting to offer his safety-enhancing inventions to local businesses, he kept being rebuffed until the Fredersen Chem-forge took a chance with the eager young man. His automation technology became a huge success, and at the age of nineteen, he was offered a place in Zaun’s Academy of Techmaturgy. However, he had also drawn the attention of Professor Stanwick, and the Piltovan academy’s top-class resources persuaded him to move to the City of Progress above. In Piltover, he would meet the intellectually equal Jayce and while the pair never truly became friends, they developed a mutual respect for the other’s talent.
During his studies, a major chem-spill in Zaun made Viktor return to help his home city. He built the mechanical golem Blitzcrank, who was instrumental in saving numerous lives and developed sentience beyond Viktor’s expectations. With the spill contained, Viktor continued to help those affected through his techmaturgic skills, and while learning a lot of merging human anatomy with technology, he was ultimately unsuccessful in preventing further deaths. Upon returning to Piltover, he found out that Professor Stanwick had presented Blitzcrank and Viktor’s research as his own. With his formal complaints failing and Jayce unwilling to speak up, the bittered Viktor returned to his studies. His views on the inefficiency of human involvement in any process got him at odds with fellow students and professors alike, and a particularly heated argument with Jayce ensued when one of his inventions seemed to eliminate the user’s free will. He was expelled from the college shortly afterwards and retreated to his laboratory in Zaun.
He sank into depression before realizing that he too had succumbed to the same weakness that had held back his inventions, and secretly operated on himself to remove the parts that were affected by emotion. His multiple mechanical augmentations changed his personality, and he now saw himself as the pioneer of Valoran’s future. He became obsessed with his Glorious Evolution that would see humanity renounce flesh and free them from fatal errors and suffering. He began helping injured Zaunites with technological augmentations, saving hundreds of lives. Some started viewing him as a messianic figure, but for Viktor this cult was an aberration and another reason to eliminate human emotions.
After another toxic accident in Zaun, Viktor had to sedate the rabid victims, bring them to his lab, and open their craniums to start filtering away the poison. He knew that his machinery was not up to the task but detected a powerful surge of energy from Jayce’s lab. As Jayce refused to hand over the energy’s source, a hextech crystal, Viktor took it by force and hooking it to his machinery, he saw that the toxins’ damage started to reverse. However, vengeful Jayce found his way to Viktor’s lab and seeing the people connected to strange machinery, he thought this was another one of Viktor’s forbidden experiments. Jayce destroyed Viktor’s entire lab and the stolen hextech crystal with his energized hammer, killing all people Viktor tried to save in the process and was hailed as a hero in Piltover for stopping Viktor’s nefarious plans.
For Viktor, this incident was merely another proof of the weakness of human emotion and he has kept on his sometimes-unethical research to bring about the Glorious Evolution.
Ekko – the Boy Who Shattered Time
Ekko’s intellect was evident from his childhood as he was building simple machines before he could even crawl. His parents, two lifelong Zaunites, worked hard in the undercity’s horrible conditions in the hope of providing their son the chance of one day being able to move to Piltover. However, Ekko was able to see the dynamic energy and potential of Zaun which inspired many of his inventions. He became friends with many orphans, the so-called Lost Children of Zaun, who chose a life in the streets over the education through apprenticeships.
One night, Ekko found a shard of a hextech crystal from the ruins of a recently demolished laboratory. Returning to home, the young genius started experimenting with the crystal and accidentally created a temporal distortion but he and the echo versions of himself he accidentally created eventually managed to fix the anomaly. Recognizing the crystal’s potential, Ekko managed to create a device that would theoretically allow him to manipulate small increments of time and named the invention as Zero Drive.
On his name day, his Lost Children friends invited him into climbing the ancient clocktower Old Hungry with them. When nearing the top of the tower, one child’s handhold gave away and he would have fallen to his doom if Ekko had not brought his untested machine with him. After a couple of time rewinds, he managed to save his friend. His supernatural reflexes impressed everyone before Ekko shared the secret of his Z-Drive with them. This merely made them try even more daring things knowing that Ekko was now able to get them out of trouble if needed, with the only limit being the exhaustion that the rewinds caused to Ekko’s body.
While Ekko’s invention has gained him increasing attention, the boy himself only cares about his city and his closest ones. He dreams of the day when his beloved Zaun rises to overshadow Piltover with its ingenuity.
The comic "Chronobreak", which is no longer available on the official site.
Ekko will be featured in Riot's upcoming "CONV/RGENCE" game.
Ekko's LoL champion teaser: