Zaun is a city-state both supported and ruined by unchecked industry, mercantilism, and magic run amok. The pollution from the countless factories and laboratories is constantly spewed into the environment. The urban heart of the city-state is often choked with smog that blocks the morning sun and drains the sky of its pastels. Visitors have called the sky the "Zaun Gray", and describe staring up at it akin to seeing the beginnings of a cosmic disturbance. As polluted as Zaun is above-ground, its subterraneamiaumiaumiaun levels are far worse. All of Zaun's runoff waste pools together in its sewers, mixing together into toxic and mysterious concoctions.
While known to be a notoriously self-centered people by other nations, the denizens of Zaun collectively take great pride in themselves and their city. To them, their right to do as they please is what makes Zaun the freest city-state on Runeterra. As a result the streets of Zaun are a constant hive of activity. Shopkeepers with a variety of eccentric items can be found at every corner of the city, with the dark and seedy alleys overflowing with ambitious individuals willing to give their all for a profit. It's also said that corporate rivalry is the very spirit of competition that defines Zaun as a city-state. Nevertheless, both espionage and sabotage are considered common practices when doing business with Zaunites.
One example of the denizens' love for freedom of expression is the unlawful synthesis of "Shimmer", a corrosive techmaturgical waste substance that is popular among Zaun's rebellious youth. When slathered onto the skin the Shimmer stimulates intense emotions in its subject. The Shimmer then creates an assortment of shining colors that corresponds to the emotion the subject is feeling. Though frequent application of the caustic glop can result in progressive degeneration of the skin and muscle tissue, a rumor that Shimmer can grant its wearer unnatural abilities has simply increased its demand.
To cheer for their favorite League champions, Zaunite fans can gather at the Vaskervon Coliseum. There the League of Legends Visiopathic Service displays key battles featuring their city-state representatives, such as the matches between Zaun and their rival Ionia (or as the Zaunites refer to them, "those peaceniks"). Afterwards the fans will gather together for their traditional post-game celebratory feast.
The citizens of Piltover that encountered "described the street fashions of Zaun in her dress."
The city's governing body, the liberal Council of Zaun, are extremely lenient with their restrictions. This has allowed their researchers and inventors the leeway to push the bounds of their experiments at an accelerated rate, for better or worse. Some say the city-state is run more like a corporate business with no restraints rather than a society of law and order. Zaun’s Chief Executive, Chairman Magnus Dunderson, is said to have had a relatively long reign.
While Zaun's ambitious patrons do much to advance the field of science on Valoran, their research and inventions often push the boundaries of morality on a daily basis.
- The nation of Zaun is particularly famous for its Alchemists, who often alight the city with their magical concoctions. Their most renowned member is known as . He is best known for creating genocidal toxins which are potent enough to wipe out an entire village.
- The advanced College of Techmaturgy resides in the city, a forefront in the study of hextech devices. The doctorate students there are often credited for creating the first intelligent steam automaton, which they called .
- With his tremendous knowledge of the human anatomy and its tolerance to pain, , strives to some day create the perfect science-enhanced killer. As a result, there are few household pets left in the city due to the doctor's appetite for live experimentation.
- Seeking to understand magic and its mysteries, the infamous Dr. Xavier Rath conducted a risky experiment that would give non-magical individuals the power to control magic. With a great deal of luck the procedure was a success for one participant, granting , the ability to teleport.
- , has publicly stated his goal to gather enough of the materials needed to recreate the strange process in which he gained his sentience. Were he to succeed, it would mean a bold and brazen step forward for the evolution of life on Runeterra.
- Through the joint efforts of Zaunite Professor Stanwick Pididly and the Noxian Bleak Academy, the deceased soldier , was reconstructed and resurrected. Urgot's existence represents the first and only successful combination between the field of techmaturgy and the art of necromancy.
- , is a techmaturgist who engineered parts to replace and improve his own body. Almost no trace of the original man remains. He became obsessed with what he called "the glorious evolution", where man would renounce his flesh in favor of superior hextech augmentations.
- , is the product of a Zaun experiment to manufacture a hexchem-engineered supersoldier – the Zaun Amorphous Combatant. Combining brute strength with limitless flexibility, he is a versatile juggernaut: a creative fighter who bounces over obstacles and pounds his foes into submission.
Ties with Noxus
The city shares a friendly relationship with the city-state of Noxus, where the Noxian High Command would often summon Zaunite champions to fight in the League on their nation's behalf. In addition, Noxus assists , in his ambition to create the perfect science-enhanced killer. They have provided the doctor a laboratory within their city and have given him free reign to pursue his life's work in his spare time. Mercenaries from the city were also recruited by Noxus during their invasion of Ionia, the two most heinous of them being , and . The brand of mass death and destruction these two madmen unleashed remains a festering scar on Ionian history. When the necromantic reanimation of , proved problematic for Noxus due to his lifetime of injuries, a prevailing scholar of Zaun named Professor Stanwick Pididly provided the solution by forging a new body for the headman.
Relations with Piltover
As the two leading city-states in the development of hextech, Zaun and Piltover have a deep competitive rivalry, both vying to be the ones directing the future of techmaturgy on Runeterra. League matches between the two nations have a tendency to begin with their champions exchanging contemptuous banter and moody glares.
Noxian Trade Relations Improve
At the base of the Ironspike Mountains, along the main trade route between Zaun and Noxus, there lies two smaller villages: Askay and Meland. For generations the people of those villages had been embroiled in a bloody feud. The lawlessness of the region had complicated the development of trade agreements between the two city-states, limiting their interaction to wartime pacts serviced by mercenary contracts and alchemical weapons. However, after some Noxian intervention, both Askay and Meland have put aside their differences and declared their allegiance to Noxus. With the conflict resolved, Zaun and Noxus were now free to pursue more thriving peacetime trade relations.
The Festival of Flight
Tensions between Piltover and Zaun renewed as the 16th Festival of Flight race drew near, marking the beginning of the annual Techmaturgical Conference. The city of Zaun had been named victor of the symbolic event for the last four years running, though they showed a great deal of trepidation towards the upcoming match after Piltover publicly unveiled their new state-of-the-art zeppelin.
While it's difficult to classify any dirigible as small, the appropriately named “Tailwind” aircraft was a record-breaking length of 27 meters. Not only was it the first zeppelin to meet such small size constraints, but it also pioneered the utilization of Piltoverian Chrono-Technology. The new prototype “Chrono-propeller” engine, which received tremendous design contributions from fellow League Champion , was rumored to manipulate time itself to reach speeds that would otherwise be impossible under Valoran’s constantly changing atmospheric conditions. The zeppelin would be piloted in the race by , who was once one of Zaun’s most promising mage talents before defecting from the city-state several years ago.
Zaun Loses the Annual Zeppelin Race
Janna’s record-breaking zeppelin “Tailwind” defeated the Zaunite flagship “Lead Zeppelin” at the annual Techmaturgical Conference in Piltover. Zaun’s “Lead Zeppelin” had maintained a strong lead from the race’s start in Piltover. The Zaunite flagship, a powerhouse of black metal and Zaunite techmaturgy, had claimed victory at the Conference for the past four years. As the two zeppelins crossed the Bluewind Bay, however, Tailwind’s chrono-propeller engine allowed the craft to navigate through the bay's storms utterly unfettered, securing Piltover’s victory. After Tailwind sailed into Piltover hours before Zaun’s Lead Zeppelin, Zaunite representatives immediately contested the victory, claiming that the chrono-propeller gave Piltover an unfair advantage. Conference officials, however, overruled their protest.
Warehouse Revealed to be a Corporate Prison
An unassuming Priggs Industries warehouse in Zaun was discovered to be a corporate prison when a breakout from within revealed a secret entry point.
The commotion began when Edward Manfred was overseeing a routine inspection of his own warehouse next door. Manfred stated that he heard an explosion from Priggs' warehouse and went to investigate. Manfred reportedly entered the Priggs warehouse to witness an grappling with a pair of guards. The man threw a smoke grenade of some sort, and when the haze cleared, the two guards were unconscious and the man had gone. Manfred was the first to discover a passage to an underground holding facility that had been blown open from within from a dynamite blast. Inside was what appeared to be a prison, but one cell was empty. The other five prisoners, however, were quickly released.
One of the prisoners was discovered to be Falren Danart, whose disappearance and assumed death three years ago was thought to be the cause of his father's failed management and subsequent bankruptcy of the famed Danart Chemicals, a once-rival company to Priggs Industries. With Falren's freedom, however, Danart immediately came forward to state that he was blackmailed following his son's capture and imprisonment. As this information has become available, the estimated value of Priggs Industries has plummeted in Zaun. Other warehouses under the Priggs name have been searched, primarily by forces under Manfred, though no other holding facilities have been discovered. Production at Priggs factories has all but shut down as employees are questioned. Dr. Priggs himself, however, has vanished from the public eye. Unbeknowingly to the public, he was executed by Graves after revealing information of his whereabouts.
The Herald and the Defender
Afterstole the Arcane Crystal from Piltover, invaded his lab and defeated his acolytes. He made his way into the heart of the lab where Viktor had used the crystal's energy to fuel his automatons. They both fought fiercely and both had suffered severe injuries. In the end, Jayce managed a desperate strike at the crystal. He shattered it and escaped as Viktor's machines erupted in flames.
- In the lore, the Twisted Treeline was the last living forest of Zaun. It has since been retroactively relocated to the Shadow Isles as of Patch V220.127.116.11.
- "Zaun" means "Fence" in German
|Birthplace; infamous Zaunite scientist|
|Birthplace; infamous Zaunite alchemist|
|Birthplace; rodent representative of Zaun|
|Reconstructed cyborg of Prof. Stanwick Pididly|
|Birthplace; pioneer from the College of Techmaturgy|
|Birthplace; infamous Zaunite manhunter; procurer|
|"Birthplace"; Zaun Amorphous Combatant; Zaunite hero|
|"Birthplace"; sentient steam automaton|
|Summoned by Istvaan, a powerful Zaunite mage|
|Imprisoned by Dr. Aregor Priggs, a Zaunite official|
|An adversary to|
|Probable Birthplace; Terrorizes Piltover|
|seeks to rip out her heart|
|Gained magical powers from Dr. Xavier Rath|
|Rescued the captured yordle professors|