Behold a journey through lands unknown; delve into the reworked lore of Ashe, Gragas, Nunu, Olaf, Tryndamere and Udyr; check out what Rioters have to say about the growing story of Freljord and its new-found champions!
I’ve included shorter, TL:DR versions for each lore piece, should you wish not to read it all.
Ashe, the Frost Archer
With each arrow she fires from her ancient ice-enchanted bow, Ashe proves she is a master archer. She chooses each target carefully,waits for the right moment,and then strikes with power and precision. It is with this same vision and focus that she pursues her goal of uniting the tribes of the Freljord and forging them into a mighty nation.
As a child, Ashe was always a dreamer. She marveled at the colossal, abandoned fortresses of her ancestors,and spent hours by the fire listening to tales of the Freljord’s fabled champions. Most of all she loved the legend of Avarosan, the renowned Queen of the once magnificent and united Freljord. Though her mother chided her foolishness, Ashe swore one day she would join the scattered and warlike tribes of the tundra.She knew in her heart that if her people would stand together once more,they would reach greatness again.
When Ashe was only fifteen,her mother was killed while commanding the tribe on a brash raid Suddenly thrust into the role of leader, Ashe made the difficult decision to follow her childhood vision instead of seeking the revenge she craved. She spoke passionately against her tribe’s demand for retribution,declaring the time had come to put blood feuds aside and broker a lasting peace.Some of her warriors questioned her fitness to rule and soon hatched a treasonous plot to kill the young leader. The assassins struck while Ashe was on a routine hunt,but their plan was interrupted by the warning cry of a great hawk. Ashe looked back to see her tribesmen approaching with swords drawn.
Outnumbered and overwhelmed, Ashe ran for hours. She found herself deep in uncharted territory, her weapon lost in the chase. When she heard another cry from the hawk, Ashe put her faith in the strange creature and followed it to a clearing.There she found the bird perched on a pile of stones – an ancient Freljord burial cairn.With a last glance at her,the hawk screeched and flew away.Approaching the mound, Ashe felt her breath turn to frost and an unnatural cold chill her to the bone. The stone at the top of the cairn was marked wit a single rune: Avarosa.
The assassins burst into the clearing. Ashe lifted the rune stone from the cairn to defend herself,revealing something hidden underneath: an ornate bow carved from ice.She grasped it, crying out in pain as frost formed on her fingers,and tore the bow from its resting place.Cold flowed from the enchanted weapon into Ashe, awakening a tremendous power that had always lived within her. Ashe turned to face the assassins.She drew the bow, and by sheer instinct,willed arrows of pure ice to form from the cold,crisp air.With a single frozen volley,she ended insurrection.Carefully replacing the cairn stone,she gave thanks to Avarosa for hergift,and returned home. Ashe’s tribe immediately recognized the legendary weapon in the archer’s hand as a blessing from the ancient Freljord queen herself. With Avarosa’s bow and her vision of peaceful unification, Ashe’s tribe soon swelled,becoming the largest in the Freljord. Now known as the Avarosan, they stand together with the belief that a united Freljord will once again become a great nation.
”One tribe, one people, one Freljord.”
Ashe’s mother was killed during a raid, leaving her daughter in charge of the tribe. She chose duty above vengeance, following her childhood dream of uniting the people of those freezing lands under one banner. This decision spurred conflict among the tribesmen and soon several decided to end her life. Ashe was warned moments before the assassins would strike by a hawk’s cry.
Following the bird’s beckoning, she soon found herself standing next to a cairn (man-made pile of stones). Ashe lifted the runestone atop the burial grounds, revealing an ancient frost bow. She felt herself overflowing with power as she grasped the weapon and quickly dealt with her pursuers. Now with the mystic weapon and her vision of unity, Ashe wanders the frozen realm with her ever-growing tribe, confident that Freljord will rise to greatness once again.
Gragas, the Rabble Rouser
The only thing more important to Gragas than fighting is drinking.His unquenchable thirst for stronger ale has led him in search of the most potent and unconventional ingredients to toss in his still. Impulsive and unpredictable, this rowdy carouser loves cracking kegs as much as cracking heads.Thanks to his strange brews and temperamental nature, drinking with Gragas is always a risky proposition.
Gragas has an eternal love of good drink, but his massive constitution prevented him from reaching a divine state of intoxication. One night,when he had drained all the kegs and was left wanting, Gragas was struck by a thought rather than the usual barstool: why couldn’t he brew himself something that would finally get him truly drunk? It was then that he vowed to create the ultimate ale.
Gragas’ quest eventually brought him to the Freljord, where the promise of acquiring the purest arctic water for his recipe led him into uncharted glacial wastes.While lost in an unyielding blizzard, Gragas stumbled upon a great howling abyss. There he found it: a flawless shard of ice unlike anything he had ever seen. Not only did this unmelting shard imbue his lager with incredible properties,but it also had a handy side effect – it kept the mixture chilled at the perfect serving temperature.
Under the spell of his new concoction, Gragas headed for civilization,eager to share the fermented fruits of his labor.As fate would have it,the first gathering to catch Gragas’bleary eyes would shape the future of the Freljord. He blundered into a deteriorating negotiation between two tribes discussing an alliance with Ashe. Though Ashe welcomed a break in the tension, the other warriors bristled at the intrusion and hurled insults at the drunken oaf. True to his nature, Gragas replied with a diplomatic headbutt, setting off a brawl matched only in the legends of the Freljord.
When the fallen from that great melee finally awoke, Ashe proposed a friendly drink as an alternative to fighting.With their tempers doused in suds,the two tribes, formerly on the brink of war, bonded over a common love of Gragas’ brew. Although strife was averted and Gragas hailed a hero, he still had not achieved his dream of drunken blissfulness. So once more, he set off to wander the tundra in search of ingredients for Runeterra’s perfect pint.
”Now this’ll put hair on your chest!”
Gragas likes his beer cold so he came to Freljord. (lol)
Nunu, The Yeti Rider
Sometimes bonds of friendship becomes stronger than even bonds of blood. When those bonds link a fearless boy to a fearsome Yeti, the bond becomes a force to be reckoned with. Given the responsibility of taming a terrifying beast, Nunu forged a friendship where others would have forged chains. Now Nunu and his burly pal Willump are an inseparable pair who combine youthful exuberance and brute strength with the mythical powers of the Yeti to overcome obstacles insurmountable to any ordinary duo.
Nunu had only the vaguest memories of his parents or the time before he was part of the reclusive Frostguard tribe. Never welcome among his caretakers, Nunu’s wanderlust and compassion often put him at odds with the tribe’s elders and the boy frequently dreamed of places far beyond the shadow of the Frostguard citadel.Sometimes he would do more than just dream, much to the frustration of his minders. This was never more apparent than when Nunu was apprenticed to the tribe’s beast master and charged with the care of the creatures under his yoke.
The Frostguard held a menagerie of the Freljord’s wildlife at their beck and call,but unique among their collection was the Yeti:an uncommon creature with mystical qualities and raw physical strength. The beastmaster taught Nunu that it was only a lean diet of plants and regular whippings that kept the vicious beast tame, but the more time Nunu spent caring for the creature, the more he learned that the Yeti was no feral monster.
As he saw his new friend Willump growing weaker and sicker, Nunu began to sneak the Yeti scraps of meat, hoping to restore his health. Day by day,Willump grew stronger and not the slightest bit savage contrary to the beastmaster’s claims. Nunu had hopes of convincing him that the Yeti possessed no danger, but it wasn’t meant to be.The next time Nunu came to deliver Willump a meal, he found the Yeti’s cage shattered,with only a crude drawing inside signaling the Yeti’s farewell. Without hesitation, Nunu rushed into the wilderness in search of his friend.
When Nunu finally caught up to Willump, he found the Yeti cornered by the beastmaster alongside a group of Frostguard warriors. Afraid that the men would hurt his friend, Nunu threw himself between the Yeti and the beastmasters lash,but the brutal man would not stay his hand. As the furious beastmaster raised his whip once more, the Yeti swelled up with uncharacteristic fury. Even after so much mistreatment, it wasn’t concern for himself but for the boy who’d shown him kindness that finally pushed Willump too far. The Yeti raged and left the man bloodied in the snow.
Terrified by Willump’s fury, the remaining Frostguard warriors fled. Nunu realized there was no going back. He yelled at Willump to run before the men returned to kill him, but the Yeti refused to leave the young boy. Faced with the choice of abandoning his sole friend or living his own life of captivity with the Frostguard, Nunu chose the only path that made sense. Leaping onto the back of the mighty Yeti, Nunu joined Willump in his great escape. The pair took their first steps into the wide world from which they had been kept for so long.
”Willump and I have a whole world to explore. Don’t get in our way!”
Nunu had a rough time fitting with his tribe and felt unwelcome, always dreaming of places beyond the Frostguard citadel. He was appointed to apprentice the beastmaster and that was when he discovered Willump, the peaceful and sadly mistreated Yeti. He was given only plants to eat and was getting weaker by the day. Nunu began sneaking meat for his new-found friend and was hoping he could show the beastmaster that Willump was harmless.
One day, however, he found the cage shattered and ran in the wilderness to find the creature. He found Willump surrounded by several of his tribe, including the beastmaster who had raised his whip. He took the lash for his furry friend, who raged and murdered the man who had dared harm Nunu. Left without choice, as he would be condemned to a life of captivity, he leaped onto Willum’s back and the two took on a journey to explore the world that had been hidden from them for so long.
Olaf, the Berserker
Most men would say that death is a thing to be feared; none of those men would be Olaf. The Berserker lives only for the roar of a battle cry and the clash of steel.Spurred on by his hunger for glory and the looming curse of a forgettable death,Olaf throws himself into every fight with reckless abandon.Surrendering to the bloodlust deep within his being,Olaf is only truly alive when grappling with the jaws of death.
The coastal peninsula of Lokfar is among the most brutal places in the Freljord. There,rage is the only fire to warm frozen bones,blood is the only liquid that flows freely,and there is no worse fate than to grow old,frail,and forgotten.Olaf was a warrior of Lokfar with no shortage of glories and no hesitation to share them.While boasting one evening with his clansmen over the burning embers of a razed village,one of the elder warriors grew tired of Olaf’s bluster.The old fighter goaded Olaf to read the omens and see if Olaf’s fortunes matched his gloating.Emboldened by the challenge,Olaf mocked the aged raider’s envy and tossed the knuckle bones of a long-dead beast to predict the heights of glory he’d achieve in death.All mirth left the gathering as the clansmen read the portents: the bones spoke of a long life and a quiet passing.
Infuriated,Olaf stormed into the night determined to prove the prediction false by finding and slaughtering Lokfar’s feared frost serpent.The monster had consumed thousands,man and ship alike,in its long lifetime and to die in battle with it would be a fitting end for any warrior.As Olaf hurled himself into the blackness of its maw,he fell deeper into the blackness of his mind.When the shock of freezing water roused him from the dark,there was only the butchered carcass of the beast afloat beside him.Thwarted but not defeated,Olaf set out to hunt down every legendary creature with claws and fangs,hoping that the next battle would be his last.Each time he charged headlong toward his coveted death,only to be spared by the frenzy that washed over him while on its brink.
Olaf concluded that no mere beast could grant him a warrior’s death.His solution was to take on the most fearsome tribe in the Freljord: the Winter’s Claw.Sejuani appeared amused by Olaf’s challenge to her warband,but his audacity would earn him no mercy.She ordered the charge and sent scores of her warriors to overwhelm Olaf.One by one,they fell until he lost himself in the bloodlust once again,effortlessly cutting a path to the leader of the Winter’s Claw.The clash between Olaf and Sejuani rocked the glaciers with its force,and though he seemed unstoppable,Sejuani battled the berserker to a standstill.As they stood deadlocked,Sejuani’s glare penetrated Olaf’s berserker haze in a way no weapon ever could.His frenzy abated long enough for her to make him an offer: Sejuani swore that she would find Olaf his glorious death if he would lend his axe to her campaign of conquest.In that moment,Olaf vowed he would carve his legacy into the Freljord itself.
“When you meet your ancestors, tell them Olaf sent you.”
Olaf, a blood- thirsty warrior from the land of Lokfar, was challenged one night by a member of his clan to prove his tales of bravery matched his fate foretold. The signs whispered a long life and a quiet passing, much to Olaf’s infuriation. The berserker set out to slay a legendary frost serpent, thinking he would find glorious death in the void of its maw. But his frenzy took hold of him and he emerged victorious.
Every monster he fought shared the same fate, until Olaf realized no beast could slay him and went to seek The Winter’s Claw, Sejuani’s tribe. He decimated her warriors and the two found themselves caught in an epic clash that seemed to be going in no-one’s favor. Then, suddenly, Sejuani’s gaze overwhelmed Olaf long enough for her to propose a bargain: his services in exchange for the opportunity to die in the glory he craved.
Tryndamere, the Barbarian King
Fueled by his unbridled fury and rage, Tryndamere cuts his way through the tundra,mastering the art of battle by challenging the Freljord’s greatest warriors. The wrathful barbarian seeks revenge on the one who decimated his clan and strikes down all those who stand between him and his final retribution.
Struggling to survive in the harsh, frostbitten Freljord,the young Tryndamere and his people warred with other tribes over the scarce resources of the land.One such battle changed his life forever.Raiders ambushed Tryndamere’s clan in the dead of night, and though his warriors were able to push the first wave of attackers back, they weren’t prepared for the dark figure that next stepped forth. He wielded a cruel, living sword, and inspired an unhinged bloodlust in the invaders with his unearthly magic. Tryndamere’s tribe was overrun within moments. With no hope of defeating the enigmatic being, Tryndamere threw himself at certain death.The dark figure swatted him aside, mortally wounding the young barbarian.
Tryndamere saw death and destruction engulf his home as his life slipped away. No one was left standing – only the screams of the dying remained. Unable to surrender to death, Tryndamere gave in fully to his wrath. His blood boiled and his anger consumed him, banishing his mortality. He staggered to his feet – barely able to take hold of his sword- steeling himself for the decisive confrontation with the shadowy being. But the dark figure did not even lift his blade, and instead gave Tryndamere a knowing smile as he withdrew into the shadows. That was the last time the barbarian ever saw his nemesis.
A man robbed of his home and his people, Tryndamere wandered across the Freljord for years, vowing to forge himself into a brutal instrument of revenge. He visited all the tribes in the frozen wastes, besting each of their warriors until there were none left to challenge. In doing so, he mastered the barbarian ways of war and harnessed his anger as a force to be reckoned with. With sword in hand and rage in his heart,he is now on an undying quest for vengeance against the one who destroyed the life he once knew.
”Rage is my weapon.”
Tryndamere, leader of a tribe in the Freljord, found himself ambushed at night by a group of raiders. He fought fiercely alongside his people, repelling the first wave of attackers. But a dark figure stepped from the refuge of shadows and together with the rest of his allies, he slaughtered the barbarian’s tribe. Tryndamere was mortally wounded and could only watch his home and family perish in flames. With nothing else to lose, he broke free from the clutches of death and thrust himself into battle once more. But his nemesis refused to fight.
From that moment on, Tryndamere began his quest, besting every warrior he came across in the Freljord until there was none left who could challenge him, hoping he could one day face the one who had deprived him of everything.
Udyr, the Animal Spirit
Udyr is more than a man; he is a vessel for the untamed power of four primal animal spirits. When tapping into the spirits’ bestial natures, Udyr can harness their unique strengths: the tiger grants him speed and ferocity, the turtle resilience, the bear might, and the phoenix its eternal flame. With their combined power, Udyr can turn back all those who would attempt to harm the natural order.
In the Freljord, there is a unique caste that lives outside the society of those savage lands. They are the custodians of the natural world: the Spirit Walkers. Once a generation, a child is born under a blood red moon, a child said to live between the two worlds of spirit and man. This child is brought to the Spirit Walker to continue the shamanic line. Udyr was such a child, and knew the howl of the tundra wolves even before he learned the language of his ancestors. Through the Spirit Walker, Udyr would one day learn the meaning of the spirits’ calls and tend to the balance of nature. The Spirit Walker often told Udyr he would be tested more than those who had come before him, for the spirits of the Freljord were growing ever more restless, though the reason remained clouded.
The answer arrived in the dead of winter, as Udyr and the Spirit Walker were descended upon by a fearsome figure known only through frightened whispers: the Ice Witch. Knowing the boy would fall easy prey to her vile magic, the Spirit Walker shielded the child from her assault at the cost of his own life. Wracked by grief, Udyr howled with fury, and he felt the Freljord itself howl with him. In that moment, the child embraced the spirits’ primal nature and became a beast himself. Coursing with their untamed power, Udyr’s angry roar shook the mountaintops and brought down a torrential avalanche. Once Udyr had finally clawed his way out of the frost, the Ice Witch was nowhere to be found.
For years, the tribes of the north learned to avoid the wildman and his domain. Then one day, Udyr caught the scent of a fearless trespasser. Determined to chase the intruder from his territory, he attacked, only to be deflected with ease. The wildman launched himself at the stranger again and again, only to be effortlessly cast aside each time. Exhausted and defeated, Udyr felt his animosity ebb and croaked a clumsy “who” to the stranger. Lee Sin had come seeking the Spirit Walker’s guidance and instead found a man who had also lost his way. The monk promised he would right Udyr’s path and guided him to a monastery said to be protected by four eternal spirits of great power and wisdom. There, Udyr would find harmony.
Lee Sin brought Udyr to a land that was a stark contrast to his birthplace. Survival was not the only law that governed the lives of Ionians or creatures of the land. For the first time, Udyr felt at peace with the spirits surrounding him and found comfort in human companionship. His time among the monks taught him to temper his instincts, while his meditations with the ancient temple spirits taught him wisdom. Through them both, Udyr learned to truly embrace his life as the next Spirit Walker.
Udyr owed much to the Ionians. It was a debt he was never asked to honor, but one he would ultimately repay many times over. When the armies of Noxus invaded, Udyr did not stand idle as the brutal soldiers oppressed the peaceful Ionians – he had not forgotten how to bare his teeth. Udyr leapt at their armies with all the ferocity of a cornered beast and gave the invaders good reason to fear the wilderness. From the trees, his claws tore the Noxians down in scores; on the river banks, he threw them back with the falling tides, and in the fields, he consumed them with searing wildfire. Only when the Noxians fled with their tails between their legs did Udyr quell his rage.
Peace returned to Ionia, but still Udyr felt something stirring him from his rest. The spirits of the Freljord called out to him, warning of an unnatural evil emerging from the ice. Udyr understood the true threat that the Ice Witch posed to his homeland: she was the herald of a greater darkness that would soon envelop the land. Armed with the potent spirits of the temple, Udyr returned to the Freljord, seeking to defend the natural world from all who would threaten its balance.
“Through me, nature’s will is done.”
This lore was made and remade by community request and the end result is pretty satisfying. I won’t summarize it – you’ll have to check it out for yourselves. Trust me, it’s a good read
Rioters discuss the Freljord Lore
Here is a healthy batch of Red Posts, sorted in the following topics: Lore Issues, Future Lore and Teasers and Udyr’s Lore questions.
Ashe should lead with vision, not magic!
Here I have some larger problems. I really don’t like how she’s effectively been changed from a strong visionary leader to someone who effectively rules via divine providence.
Her people didn’t believe in her vision of a united Freljord, some of them tried to rebel and kill her, but she found a magic bow at the last second and used it to kill everyone who disagreed with her. Really? That’s her story? That’s how she came to power? And we’re just supposed to accept it because she’s a designated “good guy?”
I think this rewrite is a huge blow to Ashe’s integrity as a character.
RiotRunaan: Is Ashe is supposed to be a designated “good guy”?
Actually, that is how she came off before, I think. Most of Freljord united behind her. Sejuani, on the other hand, was the designated “villain.”
Now, Ashe’s bio isn’t saying that all of her people didn’t believe in her vision, nor was everyone questioning her right to rule via her bloodline. It was an uncomfortable, scary change for her tribe. They were so used to battle and bloodshed, Ashe’s vision of a united Freljord isn’t something everyone believes is even possible. That’s the mindset the assassins came from. Even finding Avarosa’s bow hasn’t settled everyone’s fears–Quinn’s journal detailed this a little bit, too. The barbarians of Freljord are warriors, not farmers.
The new lore for Gragas is preposterous!
This is one of the worst in my eyes. Tying Gragas into Freljord (at least in the manner it’s been done here) feels completely hackneyed and pointless. Almost every event in his new bio is a nonsequiter.
He finds a shard of magic ice that keeps his beer cold – okay, great? This artifact doesn’t tie into his character or his in-game abilities in any way whatsoever. I’m willing to bet it’s never mentioned again. It seems that other than “imbuing his lager with incredible properties” (which aren’t explained or elaborated upon in any way) it serves no purpose.
Next, he just barges into a diplomatic negotiation between Ashe and some other tribe, starts a massive fight, gets everybody drunk and hey, hooray! A positive diplomatic outcome for Ashe, and Gragas is hailed as a hero. Just because. The whole event is completely unbelievable.
Next he “sets off to wander the tundra in search of ingredients for Runeterra’s perfect pint.” What useful ingredients for brew does he expect to find in the frozen wastes? It was previously established that the whole reason he was in the Freljord to begin with was to find the purest water in existence. Now he’s got his magic ice and he’s continuing to just “wander the tundra” (in naught but a loincloth, mind you) in search of… what, exactly?
More than anything else I have spoken about or will speak about in this post, this Gragas lore rewrite needs to be revisted, badly. It doesn’t read well and the tie-in to Freljord feels totally irrelevant.
RiotRunaan: You raise a lot of thoughtful points. To clarify our goals, we wanted to hold onto Gragas’ personality, but we wanted to give him the a story where his rabble-rousing and beer-brewing could have a real impact instead of having him feel like a one-off drunk guy “over there.”
Can we backtrack a little? Can you guys talk to me about what you found compelling about Gragas’ original story vs. his new one? To be completely honest, I always found Gragas’ old story a little lacking, but he isn’t my kind of character. What are Gragas players looking for here?
Gragas has lost his charm in the new lore
In Gragas’s case, the issue is that he doesn’t actually feel like he’s connected to Freljord in any way, shape, or form. He found (yet another) magical macguffin there, but his new lore doesn’t actually specify that he was from there before finding it, nor does it give him any association with any side of the building conflict. He helped Ashe, but it doesn’t give the impression he did so out of any desire to help her, he just wanted to share his booze, and then after that he was gone. He could just as easily go to Sejuani next and do the same. It feels like a lucky break for Ashe, but that Gragas still remains unassociated with her, or anyone but himself. Without that one throw-away line at the end about going off to search the Tundra, there wouldn’t even be any implication that he stayed in Freljord afterwards, and actually, it would be good if there wasn’t!
The truth is that Gragas is, well… He’s a joke. Completely irrelevant to anyone or anything, existing only to tell joke stories. But you know what? That’s totally okay! Not every character needs to be a part of some huge overarching plot. With over 100+ champions, plus some characters that aren’t champions, it’s virtually impossible to give every single one of them equal time and attention. If you do, you risk either diluting the story by not being able to flesh out any of them to a large enough degree (especially with how slow the lore moves), or you risk making things far too complicated to keep track of.
Even big, serious stories often have a a jokey comic relief character that don’t get fleshed out as well as other characters do. I mean, just look at Gragas! He’s a big, burly fat man who does nothing but drink booze and start bar brawls. Even post rewrite, he has no goal but to make the perfect ale. He even fights with a keg of beer. He is completely one note, and there is absolutely nothing serious about this character, and there doesn’t need to be. Instead of making him go off to search the Tundra to weakly connect him to Freljord, make him go off to search all of Valoran. He doesn’t need to be a part of Freljord’s plot, and doesn’t really feel like he fits. Have him go everywhere, interact with anyone/everyone who comes in contact with him on his quest for the ideal brew. Use him to tell smaller, more comedic stories, because let’s face it, not everyone likes the same types of stories, and you can appeal to more people by telling a wider variety of tales. Have some champions set aside specifically not to have huge story arcs, and keep them for telling smaller stories that fulfill different needs. This is where Gragas feels like he’d be best put to use. The types of stories he’d fit in best aren’t ones where he’s stuck in one location for a prolonged period of time, but rather, where he’s free to travel and interact with as many different factions and characters as possible, to showcase what kind of comedic reactions you’d get out of Gragas interfering in a variety of events and more serious champions’ business.
RiotRunaan: A common theme I’m getting from you guys is that Gragas no longer feels powerful and special as a result of the magical brew he drinks, and this is pretty fair. This is something I can bring up with the rest of the team.
Aside from that, I don’t really feel that the issues being brought up are actually limited by Gragas’ new story. You’re right, he helped Ashe, but it was almost an accident–he could have easily helped Sejuani, too, but he didn’t stumble into her conflict. There’s something funny about that particular circumstance which fits with the humor of the character like you’re saying in this post. We didn’t intend to make Gragas into a super-serious, conflict-defining character by giving him an opportunity to play a role in the Freljord–like you said, even big serious stories need some comic relief. Gragas can offer that here.
And again, none of this says that Gragas is stuck in the Freljord forever. I agree that Gragas could play a very fun role in a variety of stories, most of them humor-focused. He could go everywhere (like I said, Bilgewater could be particularly funny–imagine Gragas and Miss Fortune in a drinking contest, for example), he could be a part of smaller, more comedic stories in the future. Putting him in the Freljord hasn’t made him a huge, die-hard patriot of the place, but it’s given him some storytelling potential there at this point in Runeterra’s development.
Trundle’s story seems tacked on and inconsistent
I know this particular rework has been a point of major contention for a lot of people, but honestly… I’m okay with it. I like the new Trundle design and story enough to let the poor justification for it (“we completed one arc; it’s impossible to continue from here!”) slide.
One complaint on consistency, however: Trundle bullsh!ts a story about magic weapons signifying a right to rulership so that he can become the leader of his tribe, goes and gets himself a magic weapon, and then… uses it to kill the old chieftan. What on earth was the point of the story and the right to rule stuff if he’s just going to give himself a Klingon promotion anyway? It feels like that whole bit was shoehorned in just so that you could go “look guys, he’s still a trickster!” (even though that was never part of his character to begin with).
Also, a non-lore issue – seriously, you need to make the Traditional Trundle skin actually look like old Trundle. Right now, it just looks like you slapped his old texture on his new and proportionately very different model. It’s not at all up to par with the quality of the other Traditional skins we’ve seen so far.
RiotRunaan: I could have definitely clarified a lot of this better in Trundle’s bio, you’re right. Trundle killing the old chieftain wasn’t the exact way in which he was promoted by his own warband, his kin essentially rallied behind him the moment he showed up with the weapon. Trundle killing him was more an act of show and revenge for the humiliation he’d suffered at the chieftain’s hands. Following that, Trundle proclaimed his further goals–to unite the rest of the scattered trolls and lead them as King.
As for the last point, I really hesitate to speak on art issues as it’s not my discipline, but I know there’s issues with readability in terms of model size across skins. Trundle has to be recognizable as the same champion no matter what skin he’s wearing–I think that’s where the discrepancy is coming from. If he’s much smaller or much different, he might be misread as a completely different champion. Again, this is a tough issue and I’m not an artist by any means, so I’m sorry for how limited this answer feels.’
Tryndamere’s story has lost all roots with his previous lore
But with Tryndamere’s story so much has been cut out we’re left with a lot of confusion when we try to reconcile the old lore with the new.
Reading the new stuff I don’t know if he’s working alone, or if he’s leading a new group, or if he’s even married to Ashe, or why he would be if his goal is revenge on random living-sword guy (and with his demonblade skin that just adds another level of discomfort to this whole thing, I don’t have a lot of faith in riot to make whatever story this demonblade sideplot is… work), rather than leading the barbarians.
Plus again, Noxus was removed, so there’s less interaction among the various city-states which makes the world feel less rich.
RiotRunaan: We could have added a small line about his current standing with the Avarosan, and that would have felt tacked on much like the Sejuani line in Volibear’s bio, but would this help reconcile a bit of the disconnect for you guys? It’s sometimes kind of a tough call as to what “one-liners” we want to include in a champion’s bio, but this might be one that makes a lot of sense.
Speaking from personal taste, I think Noxus’ involvement in the JoJ storyline more interesting than Noxus’ involvement in Tryndamere’s old bio–“Noxian assassins” felt really overdone in our older storytelling and didn’t really paint a compelling picture of Noxus as anything more than jerks who are out to assassinate everyone all the time forever (again, just my personal thoughts, not speaking for the whole lore team here).
Also, in terms of the nemesis in Tryndamere’s new story, hang onto your hats… it may not be what you’re expecting.
Are Tryndamere and Ashe still allies?
Harrow: Tryndamere is still allied with Ashe, and Tryndamere’s new backstory doesn’t contradict him rallying other barbarian tribes.
Note that in Gragas’s story, Ashe is trying to sway some unruly Freljordian tribes to her side. Who’s more unruly than a band of barbarians?
Champions don’t have a strong sense of allegiance
kitae: We currently don’t make it clear what city state or faction champions belong to. One of the improvements to the web site that is in the work is clearly displaying the city-state or faction a champion belongs to.
In that case of Udyr that will be both Ionia and Freljord.
Future lore and Teasers
Where are Maokai and Nocturne’s revised lores?
Also, a reminder to Kitae and the lore team: we were promised all the way back in October that we’d be getting new lore for Maokai and Nocturne to make them mesh with the Twisted Treeline being in the Shadow Isles now, and that still hasn’t happened. And we were promised that Singed would get a lore rewrite to account for Warwick and Soraka’s new lore even before then, and we still don’t have that either. I would think that two champions having lore that directly contradict one another would be higher priority on the fix-list than jamming Gragas into Freljord.
: We’re still working on this, we haven’t forgotten. We prioritized a lot of the Freljord stuff because of the upcoming Freljord patch (which a ton of work has gone into, there’s a lot you guys haven’t seen yet), but we’re working on the other updates, too (Entropy specifically has been rockin’ this, he’s kind of a badass).
Who’s Tryndamere’s dark nemesis?
I’m hoping this means there is another champion along the lines of Varus. A being who is dealing with these unknown dark and ancient powers but, unlike Varus, he’s completely succumb to it’s influence.
Though, considering he’s in the freljord, I’ll assume he’s just the Ice Witchs minion. Would be really cool though if the Ice Witch herself was one of those dark beings, and that mysterious sword dude was another one. A new ‘ancient evil’ kind of faction would be pretty cool.
RiotRunaan: Tryndamere’s nemesis is not a minion of the Ice Witch.
Is the Ice Witch a minion of Tryndamere’s nemesis?
Udyr’s remade lore – Community concerns and Questions
kitae: I’d like to take a moment to thank those community members who helped identify issues with the Udyr’s bio on PBE.
For a long time LoL’s lore has been in a frozen state. Champions stories, like Udyr’s, are told and then abruptly end. That is something we want to change, and that is something that requires change. Kha’zix says “change is good” but it can also be difficult. We rely on honest feedback from players to help us identify when we miss the mark, and how, so we can address those concerns while still setting up our champions to play a role in future stories.
In the case of Udyr, his new bio is just the first step – we are already working on a new story which involves him as a key character.
Why is there no Monkey Spirit?
kitae: We discussed this one for some time but concluded there was no “monkey spirit”. Note the difference in wording of his abilities “Monkey’s Agility” vs “Turtle Stance”.
Each of his stances (tiger/turtle/bear/phoenix) corresponds to a specific, powerful, Ionian spirit that Udyr summons in battle. They are his bros.
Why are Udyr’s spirits not native to Freljord?
kitae: Ok we’re getting into some deep lore here.
Born with the potential to become the Spirit Walker, Udyr had the innate capability to communicate with and channel spirits of all kinds. However, he never completed his training. If he had, he would be a very different kind of champion, channeling Freljord nature spirits in battle like his master did. Some of this power is hinted at in his bio, where in his untrained state he unleashes an avalanche.
When the Ice Witch killed his mentor, she thought she had ended the line of Spirit Walkers for there was no one left to teach Udyr how to use his abilities. This is one reason why she never returned to hunt down and kill Udyr.
When he went to Ionia and studied with the monks, he found their techniques for self control and mental mastery enabled him to use his spirit walker abilities. There in the temple, he formed a strong relationship with four primal Ionian nature spirits. The very cool thing about this is – this is not an Ionian capability. This is what makes Udyr a unique champion who combines the powers of a Freljord Spirit Walker, with Ionian martial arts training and the ability to summon and channel four Ionian nature spirits.
Still Udyr has much to learn and he still struggles to control his rage. One path he may walk in the future would be to return to Ionia, to fully embrace the teachings of the monks, and at that point he would evolve to become an even more potent spirit warrior.
Why does Udyr refer to himself in third person?
kitae: Good catch we’re changing his quote to “Through us, nature’s will is done”.
Could we have a northern theme for his new visual update?
KotlettDrake: It makes sense I guess. I accept the fact that you can make up random lore just to justify his visuals not fitting his current lore to avoid to doing a visual update. Would still be cool if his new skin could include animals native to a northern land. Polar bears, Wolves, walrus, mammoth, cryophoenix. Would be cool if you can make it more clear that he connected with Ionian animal spirits because it left me kind of confused when it linked him to tundra wolves yet it also says he is associated with tiger, turtle, phoenix when he is from a northern land.
Riot Entropy: I was thinking more Snow Leopard, Polar Bear, Cryophoenix for direct analogues. Turtle is a little more problematic. Arctic Crab has the shell and resilience (it might even look cool), but I can’t say “I’ll unleash the power of my Crab Stance” with a straight face. Walrus or Mammoth might sell the toughness as well, but I think there may be a better fit out there worth researching.
That’s all the Freljord lore bits from the last few days put together! Hopefully we’ll get more information from Riot soon!
In the meantime, look forward to the live Freljord patch!