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For the Legends of Runeterra icon.png Legends of Runeterra Runeterra region.png regional card set, see Piltover & Zaun region.svg Piltover & Zaun.
Zaun Life Survives In The Depth.jpg
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Zaun Crest icon.png

Faction

Zaun

By Unknown Author

 
"Welcome to Zaun!"
Ekko Ekko
Separator.png

Zaun, also known as the City of Iron and Glass, is a large, undercity district, lying in the deep canyons and valleys threading Piltover Crest icon.png Piltover. What light reaches below is filtered through fumes leaking from the tangles of corroded pipework and reflected from the stained glass of its industrial architecture. Zaun and Piltover were once united, but are now separate, yet symbiotic societies. Though it exists in perpetual smogged twilight, Zaun thrives, its people vibrant and its culture rich. Piltover's wealth has allowed Zaun to develop in tandem; a dark mirror of the city above. Many of the goods coming to Piltover find their way into Zaun's black markets, and hextech inventors who find the restrictions placed upon them in the city above too restrictive often find their dangerous researches welcomed in Zaun. Unfettered development of volatile technologies and reckless industry has rendered whole swathes of Zaun polluted and dangerous. Streams of toxic runoff stagnate in the city's lower reaches, but even here people find a way to exist and prosper.

Lore

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. It is a place both supported and ruined by unchecked industry, mercantilism, and magic run amok. The pollution from the countless factories and laboratories is constantly spewed into the environment. The urban heart of the city is often choked with smog that blocks the morning sun and drains the sky of its pastels. Visitors have called the sky the 'Zaun Gray', and describe staring up at it akin to seeing the beginnings of a cosmic disturbance. As polluted as Zaun is above-ground, its subterranean levels are far worse. All of Zaun's runoff waste pools together in its sewers, mixing together into toxic and mysterious concoctions. Even so, thanks to a thriving black market, chemtech, and mechanical augmentation, the people still find ways to prosper.[1]

Champions of Zaun


Other Related Champions

  • Akali Akali tried to track down Jhin Jhin in Piltover Crest icon.png Piltover and Zaun.
  • Caitlyn Caitlyn frequently patrols the upper levels of Zaun and captures Zaunite criminals.
  • Camille Camille is usually dealing with Zaunite chem-barons.
  • Ezreal Ezreal traveled to Zaun in his expeditions.
  • Heimerdinger Heimerdinger has past connections with Ziggs Ziggs, and indirectly with Jinx Jinx.
  • Jayce Jayce is an adversary to Viktor Viktor.
  • Jhin Jhin is sent on an assassination mission in Zaun.
  • Orianna Orianna frequently travels to Zaun.
  • Seraphine's Seraphine's parents are from Zaun and she frequently performs there.
  • Shen Shen tried to track down Jhin Jhin in Piltover Crest icon.png Piltover and Zaun.
  • Soraka Soraka visited Zaun in the past.
  • Swain Swain tricked Urgot Urgot into coming to Zaun, and considers Singed Singed a loose end of Boram Darkwill's for his contributions in the Ionian conflict.
  • Teemo Teemo buys his mushrooms from the black market of Zaun.
  • Vi Vi grew up in Zaun.
  • Zed Zed tried to track down Jhin Jhin in Piltover Crest icon.png Piltover and Zaun.

History

Foundation of Zaun

More than three thousand years ago, a port was founded in the isthmus in the would-be present location of Zaun. It would later become part of the ancient Shurima Crest icon.png Shurima empire. It is unclear if the name of mercantile city was Kha'Zhun or Osha Va'Zaun, but over time the name was changed to Zaun. 

During the Great Darkin War, Janna Janna shielded the city from their conflicts.

Birth of Progress Day

Zaun finalized its plans to destroy a portion of the isthmus connecting Valoran and the Southern Continent, allowing for safe sea passage between eastern and western Valoran. The plan involved using thousand of chemtech bombs to crack open an area of the land so that a cavern could be created, but the results were catastrophic, as in what seemed to be an accident the bombs triggered a series of earthquakes that completely destroyed the isthmus and sank large districts of Zaun and thousands of its citizens, while also leaking poisonous gas into the city's surviving areas.

Janna Janna, empowered by the prayers of Zaun's people, arrived and blew away the gas, saving many lives and being eternally remembered by Zaun's denizens, converting her from a goddess of faith for sailors to a guardian deity for Zaun. She has yet to leave Zaun following this event.

Eventually Zaun was rebuilt. In order to regulate the oceanic passage they were built over, the Sun Gates were constructed, forcing all transport through the waters to be regulated by Zaun. This brought immense wealth to the city and likely led to Piltover's construction and elevation from Zaun, as the merchant clans were in control of most of the money coming through this trade route.

Construction of the Sun Gates led to great changes in eastern Valoran and the eastern seas, as Noxus was from this point on able to more easily pool together resources from across its empire without needing land travel, and Bilgewater's pirates found the seas brimming with trade ships waiting to be plundered, feeding in to the criminal underbelly of the city.

Explosion of the Dredge

Urgot Urgot, a noxian headsman who took the control of the Dredge, a chemtech prison mine, after being a prisoner of the mine himself, started a riot that ignited a chemtech vein within the mine, Urgot shook the city above, and cracked the prison open in an explosion that rivaled the birth of Zaun itself. Many prisoners died, and thousands more disappeared into the Sump beneath the city. But the strong, as ever, survived.

Hex Crystal Destruction

Clan Giopara's explorers discovered a raw, blue crystal deep within the Shuriman desert. Jayce Jayce, one of their youngest apprenta, volunteered to experiment on it, though his lack of tact in doing so prompted Clan Giopara to give it to their better-mannered scholars as a form of punishment. Yet, after many months, the scholars reached a unanimous conclusion that the crystal was worthless. The disappointed clan leaders finally handed the crystal over to Jayce, assuming that even he wouldn't be able to learn anything from it.

Jayce spent many months running every variety of test on the crystal. Deciding to not give up in his efforts, he approached the problem from newer different angles, which later proved promising.

Viktor, the Machine Herald

Shortly before that, a toxic event in the Sump levels of Zaun transformed thousands from the Factorywood into rabid psychotics. Before that situation Viktor Viktor, a brilliant Zaunite inventor skilled in cybernetics and robotics, used a powerful soporific to sedate the victims and bring them back to his labs to try and undo the damage. The toxins had begun to eat away portions of their brains, but Viktor was able to slow the degenerative process by opening up their craniums and employing machinery to slowly filter their bloodstreams of poison. The technology available to him wasn't up to the task, and Viktor knew many people were going to die unless he found a way to greatly enhance his purgative machinery.

As he fought to save these people, he detected the surge of Hextech energy coming from the lab of his former associate, Jayce.

On the following day, Viktor appeared and told Jayce that he only needed one thing for his Glorious Evolution – a power source like Jayce's crystal. Jayce disagreed, informing Viktor that what he truly needed was a moral compass. Viktor, who had long grown tired of Jayce's rudeness, leapt upon him, grabbed the crystal and knocked Jayce unconscious with it. When Jayce awoke hours later, he noticed that though the Shuriman crystal was gone Viktor hadn't seemed to notice or care about the smaller shard.

He returned to Zaun and hooked the strange crystal to his machinery, readying a steam golem host for each afflicted person in case their body gave out under the stress of the procedure. Empowered by the new crystal, Viktor's machines went to work and, gradually, the damage from the toxins began to reverse.

Jayce, the Defender of Tomorrow

After Viktor Viktor stole a Brackern crystal from Jayce Jayce, Jayce raided Viktor's lab with his newly made Mercury Cannon Mercury Cannon powered by a shard of the same hex crystal. He made his way into the heart of the lab. Due to a misunderstanding, they both ended up fighting fiercely, suffering severe injuries. In the end, Jayce managed a desperate strike at the crystal. He shattered it and escaped as Viktor's machines and laboratory were destroyed in the aftershock of the explosion.


Locations

Zaun is a city within Piltover located between Valoran and Shurima. The current well known locations (not counting Piltover) in Zaun are:

Connected Cities

Dual city-states that control the major trade routes between Valoran and Shurima. Home both to visionary inventors and their wealthy patrons, the divide between social classes is becoming more dangerous.

Piltover Zaun Connected Cities.jpg

Promenade Level

Entertainment and commercial zone located above the Entresol level. The upper reaches of Zaun exist alongside the lower districts of Piltover, though the differing architecture means the two could never be confused. This is where the wealthy of Zaun gather to shop, dine, and trade goods and supplies from below and where Pilties go for good, cheap times.

  • Boundary Markets: The levels where division between Zaun and Piltover blurs are home to thriving markets and Commercia Halls. Boundary Markets areas are the most cosmopolitan of the city, where people from all walks of life and levels of society can be found for the purchase and sale of goods.
    • First Assemblage of the Glorious Evolved: Located at the end of the Boundary Markets in southern Piltover, the Church is the main location where worshipers of the Glorious Evolved from both Piltover and Zaun come to worship their deity, the Gray Lady. Its is also a place where the disenfranchised come to seek refuge, and where the crippled come for techmaturgical miracles.
  • College of Techmaturgy: The great tower of the College of Techmaturgy rises arrogantly from the wide canyon separating North and South Piltover, anchored to the upper cliffs by swaying suspension bridges and thick iron cables that thrum like musical strings when the winds blow in hard from the ocean. It is the city's best known institution of learning, and a prime location for techmaturgical research, as one might imagine.
  • Pump Station: Facilities located in Piltover, housing pumps and equipment for moving clean air from Piltover into Zaun via ducts and vents.
  • Skylight Commercia: A market in the Promenade where locals browse galleries, meet friends, dine, or go to see one of the companies of players that tour the undercity with satirical works. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and it's the perfect place to bask in all that Zaun has to offer.

Entresol Level

A level of Zaun situated just below the Promenade: the notional border between Piltover and Zaun. Deep in Zaun, brokers, dealers, traffickers and entertainers mingle in cliff-dug trading posts and workshops. A flourishing hub of cosmopolitan commercial arcades, supper-clubs, recital halls, joy houses, and “everything goes” type clubs, making it one of the most populated districts of the cities. This is where the Zaun Gray tends to linger most. Zaunites living here would claim this level is where the majority of the work that allows the city to function takes place. It is the level where Viktor Viktor was born.

  • Augmentation Parlors: Facilities where Zaunites can be installed with various augmentations for any use.
  • Breather Station: Facilities where people can stop in to get a reprieve from the Gray for a breath of less dingy air. Breather Pipes move cleaner air to polluted areas.
  • Bridgewaltz: Located on one of the Entresol's lower levels, Zaunites and Piltovans alike flock to the Bridgewaltz market for a taste of everything that makes the undercity great. The best in music, food, and artisanal chemtech creations can be found here every night.
  • Chemtech Seam: Crevasses in the cliffs that are the source of compounds used in chemtech.
  • Cultivair: Large isolated greenhouses specifically designed to grow trees and plants. The wealthiest in Zaun maintain them as a symbol of their power and a source of clean air. Bioluminescent algae and night-blooming flowers are cultivated in these facilities.
  • Delicatessens: A type of store that also exists in the real world, selling cold cuts, cheeses, and a variety of salads, as well as a selection of unusual or foreign prepared foods.
  • Drop Street: Street to a wheezing hexdraulic descender station on the Entresol level. The descender connects the Entresol level Drop street to a Piltover level street by the same name. The descender has an iron-framed cabin with a lozenge-patterned grille, and is still running in Piltover later at night than other descenders. A quiet a secluded route for those on the run.
  • Emberflit Alley: A fog-bound narrow corridor. The location of Viktor's Viktor's house.
    • Viktor's Laboratory: The main research location of Viktor Viktor, the city's infamous robotics and cybernetics inventor. It has recently been raided by Piltover's Jayce Jayce after Viktor stole a Brackern crystal from him and used it for his experiments.

Sump Level

Zaun's deepest levels, past the reaches of the Gray-filtered light, where the environment turns grim, increasingly disorderly, and poorly lit; it is densely cramped with piping and discarded items. Most of the working class live here or just above it. The depths of Zaun are amongst the most squalid yet vibrant parts of the city. The Zaun Gray has its origin here, rising from rank waterways or venting from corroded grilles. Thick chem-fumes thread the alleys between crowded abandoned industrial buildings. It has been built and rebuilt on top of itself, and almost everything there now serves the chemtech industry (or its workers) in some way. Sump Works, and Sector 90TZ located in it, are one of many locations in Zaun. It is here where Twitch Twitch was spotted after his mutational transformation.

  • Bonscutt Pump Station: A facility including pumps and equipment for removing sewage from the Entresol level, moving it deeper into Zaun. Located near a stop for the Rising Howl right beneath the Entresol level.
  • Dredge Prison: A prison mine for chemtech compounds deep beneath Zaun with hellish conditions. The prison once held Urgot Urgot.
  • Factorywood: A place where many factories are situated close together. Sump pools are chemtech holding vessels located in the Factorywood. Located somewhere beneath the Entresol level and above the Sump.
  • Old Hungry: An iconic mechanized clock tower in Old Zaun with exposed grinding gears; its base is located at the heart of the Sump. It towers high above the levels of Piltover and hasn't told the correct time in years. It is a popular haunt for Zaunite kids, and is the "heart of Old Zaun."
  • Priggs Industries: Priggs Industries is a warehouse and factory complex that has turned out to hide slave labor camps, which has ruined the reputation of the company. Graves Graves was one of the prisoners that escaped from one of the company's tightly controlled torture chambers, known as The Locker.
  • The Slums: The slums of Zaun are one of the most densely populated and polluted locations in Valoran. Large pipes flowing with industrial waste are placed around its buildings. Many of its residents are workers in Zaun's factories. The Memorial Wall is a place where residence of the slums give homage to those they have lost.
    • Black Lanes: Located close to the Sumps, this is a market of colorful bazaars, at the heart of Zaun where merchants and thieves do business. Anything is for sale, and everything is stolen. The area is known for the especially gritty quality of air.
    • Commercia Fantastica: A market specializing primarily in gearwork toys. Possibly located in the Black Lanes.
    • Hope House Orphanage: Located somewhere in the Slums between the Factorywood and the Sump, it is a crumbling foundling home cut into Zaun's cave-riddled cliffs, dedicated to the welfare of the many orphans created in the wake of the disaster that tore Zaun apart.
    • Zaun Sewers: Zaun's sewers are where all the city's toxic waste ends up and is tossed into the sea. Many creatures, such as rats, live in this underground area. Some creatures have been mutated by the toxic waste, for instance Twitch Twitch.
    • Zaun's Asylum for the Irreparably Troubled: The Asylum of Zaun 'Doctor' Edmundo 'Doctor' Edmundo was left to when he was very young. It is no longer operational due to Mundo 'curing' everyone in there in his own way (murder, that is).

Hexdraulic Conveyors

Hexdraulic Conveyors are scattered across Zaun, connecting it with Piltover and its numerous city levels. Some conveyors are for public use (those that can afford it), while some for private, used mostly by Chem-Barons and wealthy Piltovans.

  • Rising Howl: A large multi-tiered rack-and-pinion Hexdraulic Coveyor supported by three vertical structural beams which span the height of the city, from the Sump to the Boundary Markets. Its ovoid shape and curved top side are constructed of thick glass and an elaborate ironwork baroque latticework frame with ratcheting endless gears. At the top sits a howling wrought-iron wolf, the elevator's namesake, and a set of steam whistles. It's the primary Hexdraulic Coveyor for transporting crowds between the levels of Zaun and Piltover. Conductors' voices are magnified by a flexible speaking tube connected to a bell-shaped sonophone.


The Cliff

The most important location of all of Zaun and Piltover, it was the epicenter of a massive man made geological disaster that sunk most of old Zaun. Currently, it is the location of massive spires jutting upwards towards Piltover as an arrogant testimony to Zaun's resolve to survive. One such building is the College of Techmaturgy. The Sun Gates are built above The Cliff.

  • Boundary Markets: The levels where division between Zaun and Piltover blurs are home to thriving markets and Commercia Halls. Boundary Markets areas are the most cosmopolitan of the city, where people from all walks of life and levels of society can be found for the purchase and sale of goods.
    • First Assemblage of the Glorious Evolved: Located at the end of the Boundary Markets in southern Piltover, the Church is the main location where worshipers of the Glorious Evolved from both Piltover and Zaun come to worship their deity, the Gray Lady. Its is also a place where the disenfranchised come to seek refuge, and where the crippled come for techmaturgical miracles.
  • The Sun Gates: The most important location in all of Piltover, the construction of these huge accessways made Piltover a hub of mercantile trade between Valoran and Shurima. They were named 'The Sun Gates' to honor the region's Shuriman heritage. They were constructed as a necessity of the city, but unfortunately, an accident during their construction sank large chunks of Zaun into the sea. In Piltover, Progress Day marks the anniversary of the day the Sun Gates opened for the first time, allowing trade to pass easily through the city, bringing unimaginable wealth to the city's rulers. In Zaun, it is a day to remember those lost in the geological upheaval that created the east–west passage and submerged entire districts underwater. It enabled the rapid expansion of the Noxian empire along the coast, although Piltover charges truly staggering hazard rates for the transport of all military assets.
    • Wharfside Docks: Located at the lower end of the Sun Gates, the quaysides of Piltover are always busy, with ships from every major port passing through the Sun Gates every day.

Oshra Va'Zaun

Underneath modern Sump Levels of Zaun, the old port city ruins of Oshra Va'Zaun can still be found. This location holds secrets which explorers often risk their lives to uncover. Stretching far under the River Pilt, the ruins are a veritable labyrinth, with whole maze of dusty staircases and old passageways.

  • Vault of Resplendent Holies: In the ruins of old Zaun, the Vault contained Resplendent Holies. One of those holies is a relic that once belonged to the Shuriman Emperor's personal spirit-banisher, Carikkan.

Wildlife

Zaun hosts an assortment of hardy creatures; for instance: cliff-shrikes, crag-ducks, flesh-eating mites, gutter rats, plague rats, seagulls, shadowhares, viridian beetles.

Cats

They are a sentient feline race resembling Felis catus that reside both on Runeterra as well as Bandle City. While they have the physical appearance of regular real world house cats, they possess human or above human intelligence, being able to think of complex ideas and inventions. LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png4Professor von Yipp is a cat that is able to create LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png1giant mechs and LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png5submarines, while Yuumi Yuumi possesses magical abilities with the help of Book Book.

Cavernberry

Type of native edible plant species. Used to make juice.

Gutter Rat

Gutter rats are a type of native mammal species. Their name is also used as an urban insult.

Plague Rat

Plague rats are a type of native mammal species. Twitch Twitch was once a plague rat, before he was mutated by chemicals.

Poros

A LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png1daring Poro being fired out of a Progress Day cannon.

Poros Poros are an are the mysterious, magical, and most-loved creatures originating from the Howling Abyss. Poros are equal parts truth, valor, and innocence. The colour of their fur is described as “very light blue, like Freljord Crest icon.png Freljordian snow”. They have a heart-shaped underbelly because they're made of love. A poro's horns perk up when it's excited and droop down when it's scared. Poros paddle through deep snow with their front paws. Some believe that poros are indestructible. Poros stick their tongue out because they are incredibly warm. This is why they can survive the harsh cold environment of the Howling Abyss. Poro-Snax Poro-Snax are frosted with Freljordian ice crystals and are a favourite treat of this creature. The leader of the Poros is known as the Poro King Poro King.

There is at least one Poro found in Piltover and Zaun.

Whumps

Whumps are rodent like mammalian creatures that live in the underbellies of Zaun. Their appearance resembles that of raccoons, their most unique feature is that they are able to survive the toxic waste inducing sewers. Whumps are used for a giant underground black market to collect puffcap mushrooms from the sewers and bring them back to the LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png4Chump Whump Yordle or the LoR Non-Champion Non-Spell Indicator.png3Puffcap Peddler for further trade. Whumps enjoy collecting puffcaps as much as eating cheese. A group of them are called clumps.


Culture

 
"Progress doesn't belong to one city."
Ekko Ekko
Separator.png

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 in 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.

Life Survives In The Depth

Language Slangs

Due to Piltover and Zaun being international trade ports, every type of language can be heard around its docks.

Over the course of its history, Zaunites / Piltovans have formed their own terms and slang:

  • All-night bender - Phrase describing one who has spent a long night under the influence. "Bender" is also real-life slang.
  • Apprenta - Apprentice.
  • Bells - Term for the hour. Example: Eight bells = 8:00
  • Burn-off - Smoke from combustion.
  • Chem-burnt - Experiencing negative effects from being exposed to toxic compounds too much.
  • Chem-fumes - Chemical gas, smoke, or vapor.
  • Chem-stunted - Experiencing negative effects from being exposed to toxic compounds too much.
  • Crawl-hatch - Opening in the sides of pipes or ducts for maintenance and manual cleaning.
  • Chem-punk - Derogatory term used for a trouble maker, or gang member from Zaun.
  • Dram-dealer - Person who sells dram.
  • First rule of the Sump - Only marks go in through the front door.
  • Foundlings - Orphans.
  • Foundling home - Orphan Home.
  • Go pound a sump - An insult.
  • Gob it - Shut it; shut up.
  • The Gray - Term used to describe Zaun's thick chemical atmosphere.
  • The Gray Lady - The holy patron saint of the Glorious Evolved.
  • Grayout - Massive pollution of The Gray.
  • Grey-pox - Illness caused by The Gray.
  • Head up top - Phrase meaning "Go to Piltover".
  • Hereabouts - Phrase used to describe a person's current location.
  • Hex-mechanics - People who work with hextech.
  • Horticulturalists - People that tend to cultivairs.
  • Janna's mercy! - A Zaunite exclamation used in cases of extreme danger, a plea for help.
  • Lung Blight - Illness caused by The Gray.
  • Mark - A thief's target.
  • Name day - Birthday.
  • Not even a plague rat's brown cough - Basically so silent you could hear a pin drop.
  • Orderly - A caretaker.
  • Physicker - phyiscian, or doctor.
  • Piltie - Derogatory term for Piltover natives.
  • Pipework - pipes that make up a network.
  • Sawbones - Zaunite doctor.
  • Skirl - Term used to describe a shrill, wailing sound from pipes.
  • Snipe - A derogatory term for a Zaunite child.
  • Stilt-walking sump-scrapper - A salvager who uses stilts to stay above the toxic gases and sludge of the Sump.
  • Sump-raker - A derogatory term for a person from the Sump level.
  • Sump-scrapping - The act of salvaging items from the Sump level.
  • Sump-snipe - A derogatory term for a child from the Sump level.
  • Sump-scrappers - People who make a living salvaging items from the Sump level. Also known as a Sumper.
  • Sump-sucker - A derogatory term for a person from the Sump level.
  • Sure as gray follows day - Phrase signifying certainty.
  • Tallyman - Person who sells merchandise on credit, especially from door to door.
  • The cliffs are muttering - A reaction to small earthquakes.
  • Techmaturgy - Field of study combining technology and magic.
  • Toxic runoff - Poisonous liquid drainage.
  • Uppside - Term for Piltover.
  • Well-heeled - Phrase used to describe those well off, named for their state of the soles of their shoes not being worn down, or the type of shoes that wouldn't last long in the muck below.
  • You ken? - You know?

Writing and Numerals

Being connected, both Piltover and Zaun have formed similar writing systems and numerals used throughout the two cities. While having a common writing system used for general communication, a specific writing system, both elegant and rough, is used for numerous applications. Its symbols are used for alchemical works and scientific equations.

The cities use several different numerical symbols for its mathematical and time measurements. This is due to Piltover and Zaun being key trading hubs for both north and south continents. However, the common numerals used in Piltover and Zaun resemble that of Roman numerals.

Architecture

Most of Zaun's structures are crafted from lattice ironwork, either forged in the many seething foundries or wrought from scavenged material discarded from above. Though there is brutal functionality to the bolts-and-rivets of Zaun's structures, its inhabitants still manage to craft breathtaking wonders that pierce the smog and reach for the sky. Though swathes of Zaun are little better than polluted slums, and others are all but overtaken with steel and stone, living things still find a way to grow such as the example with cultivairs. Although much of Zaun lies in the shadow of towering cliffs, it is not a city of gloom. Chem-lights burn in bolted sconces and through creative use of colored glass, polished steel lightweels bring light to the depths.

  • Cultivar: Zaun's wealthy maintain isolated crystal houses known as cultivars, which contain life-giving trees and plants as both a symbol of their power and a source of clean air.
  • Handmade Shrines: A holy relic dedicated to Janna Janna, crafted of scrap and gearworks.
  • The Zaun Gray: The thick, chemical atmosphere of Zaun, a by-product of the constant production and spread of chemtech industry. The production of synthetic crystals initially created in Piltover is also rumored to be a heavy contributor to the Zaun Gray. It is fatal to breathe where the Gray is densely settled, and this toxic soup is believed to be the cause of the lung blights that afflict many Zaunites. Most days, it's thin enough to breathe deeply without coughing up something wet. When the Zaun Gray grows thick, some say Janna blows it away. It gives off a chemical smell, like it could singe off your nose hair if inhaled too deeply.

Clothing

Fashions of Zaun range from censervative to the outlandish, respectfully mirroring its counterparts above. However, it is also not uncommon to see wealthy individuals of Zaun dress in the rescent fashions of Piltover due to their frequent dealings with the surface city. There are also those that augment their bodies, either from necessity or for showcasing their progressive and/or wealthy status in the community. There is a distinct difference between the appearance of Piltovan and Zaunite augments. Piltover's are more flamboyant in their craftmanship, often adorned with gold and blue arcane crystals, while Zaun's were born more of the necessity and practicality of their environment and often have crude metal and toxic green chem-fluid within. For those that live in the city for a very long time, it's easy to distinguish true augmented individuals from those with faux augments. Non-augmented individuals are referred to as 'fleshies' by the followers of The Glorious Evolved. The citizens of Piltover profileicon.png Piltover that encountered Jinx Jinx described 'the street fashions of Zaun in her dress'.

  • Razor-Rings: A band of metal worn on a finger with a bladed or pointed projection used by sump-snipes to aid in emptying purses.

Drinks

A few drinks can be seen in Zaun, aside from the usual beer, ale, and whiskey.

  • Cavernberry: Type of native edible plant species. Used to make a juice.
  • Kouaxi: A potent spirit made from fermented goat's milk.

Research

While Zaun's ambitious patrons do much to advance the field of science on Runeterra, their research and inventions often push the boundaries of morality on a daily basis.

  • Alchemy: The nation of Zaun is particularly famous for its alchymists, who sometimes light up the city with their magical concoctions. Perhaps the most infamous alchymist is Singed Singed, who is best known for creating genocidal toxins which are potent enough to wipe out an entire village.
  • Shimmer: One example of Zaunites' 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.
  • Twitch Twitch was the result of a plague rat being exposed to the various chemicals that exist in Zaun's sewers.
  • Urgot Urgot exists as an example of the lengths that chemtech can push the human psyche.
  • Viktor Viktor 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, additionally his works have garnered a cult of personality around him (despite him not approving of such), as many citizens of Zaun see his life saving inventions as a miracle.
  • Zac Zac is the product of a Zaun experiment, orchestrated by a Chem-Baron, 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.

Technology

  • Chemtech: Denied the funds and means to craft hextech, Zaun's researchers instead use potent chemicals to power their creations. The combination of machinery and equipment with a compound that has been produced artificially, that harnesses the power of both. Used to create utilitarian/practical artifacts that can be used by anyone. It harnesses chemical energy to power machinery, and produce light and heat. Chemtech performs like hextech, but is far more dangerous, toxic and explosive.
    • Chem-Bomb: An explosive using chemicals as the incendiary material.
    • Chem-Burner: A powerful chem-light that can be used to illuminate over large distances. It is also a heating element with a near-invisible flame from chemicals, used to heat up food.
    • Chemlight/Chem-Lamp/Chem-Lantern: A form of greenish illumination that burns chemically with wavering flames.
    • Chem-Lumens: Street lights running on chemicals, likely a type of gas.
    • Chempump: Parts of chem-tech augmentation.
    • Chemtubes: Parts of chem-tech augmentation.
    • Esophilters: A chem-tech augmentation installed to allow people to breathe noxious fumes safely.
  • Crystal Burners: A type of power source that uses crystals as fuel.
  • Hexdraulic Descender: Travel between Zaun and Piltover usually entails a long and tiring climb, but towering elevators exist that allow for swifter transit.
  • Gondola: A mode of transportation in Zaun using chains to diagonally or horizontally traverse the canyons and valleys of the Great Chasm from “the Incident”. They usually carry a smaller number of people than Hexdraulic Conveyors.
  • Pneuma-Tube: Sealed container to protect paper messages from moisture and the corrosive environment. Pneuma-tube runners are people who carry messages throughout the levels of Zaun, taking quick climbing routes that few can follow.
  • Shared Pipe: Exhaust pipes with intakes from more than one location; an experienced ductwork maintenancer can identify them by smell.
  • Sonophone: Metal horn shaped instrument for magnifying sound.
  • Steam Golems: 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 steam golems, of which Viktor's Blitzcrank Blitzcrank stands above the rest for being the only one to possess sentience.
  • Therma lamps: Indoor sources of yellow-orange illumination used on the Promenade level.
  • Velocipede: A type of hextech bicycle with large wheels to avoid the splash of toxic runoff.
  • Vent Stacks: A major source of the Zaun Gray.

Tools

  • Tellstones: A variant of Tellstones called "King's Gambit" is played in Demacia Crest icon.png Demacia. It is named after a Demacian King Santon the Great. King Santon of Demacia avoided civil war with a game of Tellstones, saving thousands of lives. Despite the game's popularity across Runeterra, no one seems to know where Tellstones originated. There is a variant of Tellstones played by the Dauntless Vanguard Crest icon.png Dauntless Vanguard and they use it to settle disputes within the ranks.

Church of the Glorious Evolved

Statue of the Gloriously Evolved

 
"Join the glorious evolution."
Viktor Viktor
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The Church of the Glorious Evolved is popular in both Piltover and Zaun. The church, views flesh as inferior to steel and metal and advocates the use of techmaturgy to purge the weakness and inefficiency of flesh.

Some members of the church (and Zaun in general) see Viktor Viktor as a messianic figure, as fragments of his phylosophy started the religion. However Viktor couldn't care less for them, viewing their quasi-religious cult as an aberration and as another reason to eliminate emotional foibles and the belief in that which could not be empirically proven.

Although it's unclear if she's a member, Camille Camille is a respected individual by many in the church, which gives her leeway within it.

The Church often takes in the sick, seeing the removal of dying flesh as a key to transforming a person's life and faith through technology.

The Gray Lady is the patron saint of this religion. Her stained glass window is the main focal point of the First Assemblage of the Glorious Evolved; her cloak is a mosaic of ash-violet glass, oxidized cogs, and blackened pistons. Her epithet is often invoked when an inventor feels at a loss. Hers is a blessing that often requires sacrifice. The Glorious Evolved celebrates the old Zaunite tradition of sacrificing something personal for Progress Day in the hopes the next iteration of invention will be better. This practice can be traced back to the troubled years after the opening of the Sun Gates, when the people of Zaun had to rebuild their lives and their city. On the Church, those sacrifices usually are organic parts of the body, which are then replaced by technological augments.

Camille has adopted the moniker of “The Gray Lady” but she is not to be confused with the figure.

Janna

 
"The storm approaches."
Janna Janna
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An ancient and mysterious wind spirit, Janna has come to protect the dispossessed of Zaun Crest icon.png Zaun. Once known as Jan'ahrem, her power was once felt all throughout Shurima, with her aiding the vulnerable of the continent, especially those of the seafaring land of Oshra Va'Zaun Oshra Va'Zaun. She protected the people of the region during the Great Darkin War, and was instrumental in saving the people of Zaun when it sunk. In modern times, she is seen a deity to many in Zaun, and protects many from the toxins of the sump.

Tahm Kench

Once the Sun Gates opened easy trade from Bilgewater Crest icon.png Bilgewater to Piltover, tales of Tahm Kench Tahm Kench became more common in gilded wagering tables of Piltover and Zaun. There, children know Tahm as “Two-Coats,” a fish so monstrously large that he wears two fine jackets stitched together. With a jaunty top hat and a smile wider than the Pilt itself, he drives the jealousies of young artificers. All those who have given a covetous glance to another’s wealth know the unending hunger that comes from an encounter with the River King.

Jubilee

A local festival dating back several thousand years, the Jubilee has been celebrated every quarter century to give thanks for the sea and the bounty it brings. For modern Piltovans, this is a quaint and happy excuse for traditionally themed feasting. For Zaunites, it has become a more somber observance.

Progress Day

Progress Day is an annual festival of Piltover and Zaun. The main focus of this event is the celebration of the city's technological progress. On this day, many awards and promotions are given to the brightest minds from all across Runeterra who are willing to contribute to the advancement of the city, as well as the showcase of new innovations all across the city.

In Piltover, Progress Day marks the moment the Sun Gates opened for the first time, allowing trade to pass easily between the east and west of Valoran. It also marks the moment when taxation on that trade turned the trickle of gold entering the city's coffers into a fast flowing river. But below in Zaun, it is Remembrance Day - a day to remember those lost in the geological upheaval that created the east–west passage and submerged entire districts underwater.

Zaun has an old tradition of sacrificing something personal for Progress Day in the hopes the next iteration of invention would be better. It was a practice that could be traced back to the old days of the city, when the people of Zaun had to rebuild their lives after the devastation of the opening of the Sun Gates. The wealth and growth of Piltover on top of those scarred ruins served as evidence to many that the tradition had merit.

Rites of Passage for Children of Zaun

The children of Zaun have made a specific rite of passage for themselves: they hitch a ride on top of the Rising Howl. If they reach the top of Old Hungry with all their limbs intact, cutpurse a chem-baron's attendant, or play knock-and-run ("ding dong ditch?") with a stilt-walking sump-scrapper, they're "one of the big kids."

Government

Zaun's powerful Chem-Barons keep a loose alliance that prevents the city from descending into chaos. This has allowed their researchers and inventors the leeway to push the bounds of their experiments at an accelerated rate, for better or worse. Some say the city is run more like a corporate business with no restraints rather than a society of law and order.

Chem-Barons

Chem-Barons

A loose alliance of convenience exists between Zaun's powerful Chem-Barons, powerful individuals who each control an area of the city. They are factory owners, business owners, landlords, resource owners, and/or mob/gang bosses having large amounts of money, man power and influence. It is they and their thugs who keep Zaun from descending into chaos.

Chem-Barons Description
Artega Holt
Crimson A Baron who could afford high grade chem-tech. Was defeated by Urgot Urgot. (Deceased)
Zaun Baron Marko Volkage.jpg Marko Volkage A Baron who terrorized the gutters of Zaun. He had planned to marry Lady Sofia of Clan Arvino so that he would inherit her clan's wealth and influence in Piltover. He was successfully stopped by Camille Camille of Clan Ferros. (Deceased)
Zaun Baron Petrok Grime.jpg Petrok Grime Grime lost both his arms in an explosion at one of his chem-refineries. Despite (or perhaps because of) this, his chemtech stock is some of the most sought after blends.
Zaun Baron Saita Takeda.jpg Saito Takeda Takeda is a Chem-Baron with a notoriously violent temperament, reputation for bloody gang warfare and has made no secret of his disdain for his fellow chem-barons. Claiming lineage from an exiled caste of warriors from a distant land, he has plans far beyond his own territories and interests. One example of such plans was the Zaun Amorphous Combatant Zaun Amorphous Combatant.
Zaun Baron Velveteen Lenare.jpg Velveteen Lenare A chem-baron with many business interests in Piltover, Lenare deals mainly in research into golem technology. Her ravaged body was dying, so she had her head transplanted to a hextech-powered replacement. She visits Piltover regularly for fluid baths, and blood/oil transfusions.
Voss Baron Voss was the warden of the Dredge, a chemtech prison mine beneath Zaun. She would sometimes offer freedom in return for a prisoner's tortured confession - granting it with the edge of her blade. Voss however fled to the surface after an encounter with Urgot Urgot, who took control of the mine in her place.
Zaun Baron Wencher Spindlaw.jpg Wencher Spindlaw Once a lowly lieutenant, Spindlow murdered his boss and took over his empire. Armed with a pair of shock-batons, he is a ruthless killer who sees murder and mayhem as tools of the trade.
Karvyq the Silverhanded During a past Jubilee, Karvyq fell in love with Aurelie of Clan Tariost. Their love was forbidden, and they cut off his hands as they sent him back to Zaun. Since then, he has acquired a set of silver prostheses. When Aurelie died, Karvyq had a thief steal her ashes and tattooed them on his chest. Karvyq is known for the production of extremely sophisticated Chemtech and for his hatred of Clan Tariost.

Academy of Techmaturgy

The Academy is an institution that formed and controls the College Of Techmaturgy.

Chem-Jacks

When the pipes of Zaun are backed up with toxic sludge, the chem-jacks use their canker-spars to unblock them. Armored faceplates are a must, because every almshouse already has its share of blinded and burned chem-jacks.

Criminals

Chem-Punks

Zaun has numerous criminal groups: the Gray Nails, the Factorywood Fiends, the Lost Children of Zaun. Chem-punks are gang members from Zaun; the term is also used as a derogatory term for any trouble maker.

  • Chem-Punks: Though the majority of troublemaking gangs form in the lower reaches of Zaun, their members come from every level of the city, and Piltover too.
  • Chem-Thugs: Chemically augmented gangsters, often used as grunts by the Chem Barons. They are also known as chem-bruisers.
  • The Sons of Ur: A group that holds a fanatical respect for Urgot Urgot, and follows the belief that only the strong survive. Urgot, however, did not exactly ask for followers.
  • Vigilnauts: Employed by the chem-barons to supervise the stilt-walking sump-scrappers and factory workers, vigilnauts make sure these unfortunates don't try to keep anything valuable for themselves.

Mechanicians

Augmented mechanicians are trained to repair searing-hot pipes in the most dangerous parts of Zaun.

Sump-Scrappers

Nothing is wasted in Zaun, and even the toxic hinterlands of the Sump can be churned for salvage. These toxic environments are too hostile for an unprotected human, so sump-scrappers make their living wading through the waste on iron stilts.

Sumpsnipes

The short life-expectancy of Zaun's workers results in a great many orphans. Sumpsnipes can be found begging, stealing or earning a coin in places where their small size is an advantage.

Relations

Ionia Crest icon.png Ionia

Zaunite chemists such as Singed Singed, which the backing of Noxus, were able to commit horrific war crimes during the Noxian invasion of Ionia. Their chemical weapons decimated Ionian lands that have physical and spiritual scars to this day.

Noxus Crest icon.png Noxus

Despite the empire's plans to invade Piltover, Noxus has a friendly relationship with the undercity of Zaun. Mercenaries from Zaun were recruited by Noxus during the invasion of Ionia, the most terrifying being Singed Singed and his biological weaponry.

Piltover Crest icon.png Piltover

As the two leading city-states in the development of hextech, Zaun and Piltover have a deep competitive rivalry, each vying to be the one directing the future of techmaturgy on Runeterra. Smuggling campaigns are frequently orchestrated by Zaunite thieves; the valuable technologies obtained are then later sold on the black market all across Runeterra. The two cities also share deep historical, social, and cultural connections, as Piltover (literally and figuratively) rose from the foundations of Zaun.

Trivia

Zaun profileicon.png
  • The name Zaun means "fence" in Standard German, cognate with English town, down, and dune. Ultimately from Proto-Celtic *dunom "enclosure, fortress".
    • Original names of Zaun Crest icon.png Zaun were Oshra Va'Zaun Oshra Va'Zaun, and Kha'zhun Kha'zhun.
  • 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 V1.0.0.150.
  • Zaun was inspired by Dieselpunk, Biopunk and Steampunk fantasy genres.
Season 2019 - Bronze 1.png
  • In Season Nine, the ranked emblems for the League system were redesigned. Zaun represents the emblem for the Season 2019 - Bronze 1.png Bronze rank.
  • The Zaun Gray is the thick, chemical atmosphere of Zaun that can be fatal to breathe where densely settled.
  • When Zaun's plan to create a waterway between east and west Valoran went awry, Janna Janna prevented thousands of deaths and is now revered by many there as a guardian saint.


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References

North ValoranFreljord Crest icon.png Freljord · Void Crest icon.png VoidValoran.jpg
East ValoranNoxus Crest icon.png Noxus
South ValoranHoldrum · Pilt River · Piltover Crest icon.png Piltover · Stonewall · Zaun Crest icon.png Zaun
West ValoranDemacia Crest icon.png Demacia · Gates of Mourning · Kalstead · Palclyff
Central ValoranArbormark · Argent Mountains · Boleham · Nockmirch · Old Bargate · Silent Forest · Skaggorn · Tokogol
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