This afternoon's red post collection includes the updated longer form champion introduction and story for Shen, a recap of the Foundations team Mount Targon talk, Meddler confirming Rapid Llama is Aurelion Sol's gameplay designer, a new episode of the LCP with special guest Phreak, and more!
- Red Post Collection: Cassiopeia MYMU Direction, RP Art, Context on Recent PBE Changes, and more!
- 3/1 PBE Update: Elderwood LeBlanc splash, Look To The Stars ARAM Announcer Teaser, and more!
Table of Contents
- Updated Shen introduction and story
- League Community Podcast: Episode 12- Phreakin Out
- Talking Targon with the Foundations team
- Rabid Llama is Aurelion Sol's Gameplay Designer
- Context on Jhin PBE changes
- The Virtuoso Collection (Jhin Wallpapers)
- Community Skin Spotlight
Updated Shen introduction and story
Following his champion update in 6.2, Shen's champion page has been updated to include his longer form introduction and story!
“The Eye is blind to fear, to hate, to love – to all things that would sway equilibrium.”
Leader of a secret clan of mystic warriors, Shen serves as the Eye of Twilight, entrusted to enforce equilibrium in the world. Longing to remain free from the confusion of emotion, prejudice, or ego, Shen continually struggles, spirit blade in hand, to walk the unseen path of dispassionate judgment.
An enigma to the shadowy realm of the spirits, as well as the mortal territories of man, Shen belongs to neither. Within him exists an uneasy fusion of human soul and arcane power. He is seen by both sides as someone to be feared. He is immovable. He is constant. He answers to nothing but his purpose.
Although his birth within the most revered of Ionian clans marked him as destined to serve, it was his iron will that made Shen the chosen leader of a shadowed order. Wielding his spirit blade – the symbol of his duty, as well his connection to the spirit realm - Shen roams both worlds, unerringly drawn to any place where one side threatens to overwhelm the other.
There are countless legends recounting Shen’s battles across the realms. From his innumerable clashes with the Seven Demon Clan throughout Ionia’s physical and ethereal planes to Shen’s brutal scourging of the loathsome skin devourers from the Black Steppes of the Freljord, the truth is lost among the tales told in his wake.
One of the most fanciful stories recounted by Ionians is of the day Shen suddenly appeared in the central court of Noxus. Standing in the very heart of his enemy’s stronghold, onlookers watched in rapt horror as he appeared to fight a terrible battle against a threat they could not see. To the crowd, Shen seemed to flash in and out of existence, wounds blossoming all over his body from nowhere. Unknown to the Noxians, he singlehandedly defended their entire empire from an incursion by the spirit world.
Though Shen walks a lonely path on both this plane and beyond, he does not always walk alone. Other members of his hidden sect - the mortal shadow warrior, Akali, and the lightning-quick yordle, Kennen - always stand ready to assist him.
Though he has allies, Shen is solely entrusted with his father’s blade and the responsibility it carries. The Eye of Twilight is forbidden from allowing passion to sway his judgment. While he still unswervingly executes his duty, Shen struggles to contain his anger over the murder of his father at the hands of Zed, a man he once considered his brother.
With the fate of the world of men, as well as the spirit realm, resting on his shoulders, Shen struggles to maintain the balance between his human emotions and his spiritual focus. How long can one man balance two worlds on the edge of a blade?
“It was no tempest. It was a spirit,” said the fisherman, still rattled by the shipwreck he’d barely survived two nights ago. The man told of his fishing vessel being sunk by a creature, large as a house and quick as the wind.
Shen listened to the tale, silently weighing the facts as presented.
“Show me where it happened,” said Shen.
The man led him to a beach in the bay, where a team of villagers worked to recover the drowned bodies of the mariners. Shen knelt to examine a piece of wreckage. The gashes in the driftwood were deep and savage, the work of powerful claws.
“How many dead?” he asked.“All but me… Six,” responded the fisherman.
The spirits are strong, thought Shen, digging through the wreckage for any further evidence.
At last, on the edge of a splintered portion of the hull, he found it: a small tuft of gossamer hair. Most people would overlook it, or if they did see it, they’d never believe a creature that could break a ship in half could leave something so delicate. But Shen had seen hair like this before. Any doubts he’d had about the veracity of the fisherman’s tale faded as he watched the fine, silvery tuft dissolve into nothing at his touch.
“A demon,” Shen remarked. “You must have sailed into its path.”
The fisherman nodded grimly. Spirits of all kinds were known to mingle with the physical world, especially in Ionia, where the barrier between realms was thin and passable. The ethereal and material planes were in constant contact, sliding peacefully past one another like oil atop water.
As the Eye of Twilight, it was Shen’s duty to walk between the worlds, ensuring neither side overwhelmed the other. To humans, he was a ghost, vanishing in the space between breaths to reappear many miles away. To spirits, he was a human, flesh and bone who ought never to venture into ethereal realms.
He knelt on the beach to examine one of the corpses that had been recovered. The man had been torn in half, just below the ribs. What was left of his innards dangled from a pale, bloated torso.
“You need not worry. I shall have the monster before nightfall,” said a voice from behind.
Shen turned to see a holy man sent by the local temple. Several acolytes stood around him, carrying an assortment of mystical trinkets and oils. They were beginning a cleansing ritual to root out any spiritual disturbances in the area. The holy man stared at Shen, as if sizing up his value.
“Can we count on your help, sir?” the man asked.
“Balance will be restored,” said Shen with an assuring nod.
He parted ways with the holy man and continued to follow the faint trail of gossamer hair. He thought of the dead seafarers and the cost he’d need to exact from the demon. The words of his father still rang true: “The hardest part is finding the point of balance in all things.” True neutrality, the precise center of all forces at work in the world - that is what the Eye must be able to distinguish.
Enforcing that equilibrium was its own struggle. For the task, Shen carried two blades on his back. One was an Ionian steel saber that could cleave through a person in one blow. The other was a sword of pure arcane energy. It was used for dealing with spirits, and had been passed down through many generations of Shen’s ancestors. He had slain countless demons, ghosts, wraiths, and sprites with it over the years, and fully expected to take one more before the day was done.
At last, Shen came to a secluded inlet, quiet and devoid of human activity. On a sandbar in the shallows lay the demon, its fine, glossy coat shimmering in the dusk. The creature swelled as it rested, engorged from consuming the mortal essences of its victims. Shen crept through the rushes, silently edging toward the sleeping demon. He could see its massive ribcage expand and contract with deep, restful breaths. When he was but a few paces from the sandbar, he drew his spirit blade, readying his strike.
Suddenly, a distressing sound stayed his hand. It was a shrill, ghastly cry, emanating from the very air itself. It sounded familiar, but before Shen could identify the noise, he heard it again. And again. And again, culminating in a chorus of blood-curdling shrieks.
These were the cries of dying spirits. Shen’s eyes darted back to the demon, now beginning to stir from its slumber. Shen took one more look at his spirit blade, calmly weighing his options. He then clasped his hands together, carefully focusing his ki, and disappeared in a vortex of crackling energy, leaving the demon alone on its sandbar.
A moment later, Shen reappeared at the site of the shipwreck. All around, smoldering pools of black ooze evaporated into the air, coupled with the lingering reek of terror.
Shen counted the dissipating black puddles, each the remains of a slain spirit. His tally was interrupted as the holy man entered the clearing with his acolytes. One of the men held a cord of flax and silver. Tethered to the other end was a smaller spirit - an imp of no significance. It struggled against the choke of its leash. It wailed as it saw the remains of its brethren.
“Would you care to dispose of this one?” the holy man asked Shen, casually, as if offering him a bowl of soup at dinner.
Shen looked at the sticky, smoldering pools that were mighty beings of the otherworld just moments ago. Then he turned his gaze toward the priest and the wailing imp.
“I am sorry for this, Your Holiness,” he said. He placed his spirit blade back into its scabbard and drew his steel saber instead. It was not the sword he had expected to use that day."
League Community Podcast: Episode 12- Phreakin OutIt's Thursday so we also have a new episode of the League Community podcast! Episode 12 welcomes Phreak on to the show!
"Welcome to the latest installment of the League Community Podcast, a series in which we take you behind-the-scenes with the people who help make League possible. Expect new guests and new stories every couple of weeks or so, and make sure to hit us with those sweet comments and ratings so we can keep striving toward a Challenger tier podcast.
This week, David “Phreak” Turley stops by to share both some breathtakingly bad jokes and the perspective he’s acquired throughout a diverse career in the gaming industry."
Talking Targon with the Foundations teamIn case you missed the episode 11 of the LCP and conversation with the writers on the new Mount Targon storylines, here's an overview of the discussion!
"Mount Targon is one of Runeterra’s most famous locations, a place with strong connections to League’s champions and rife with immense storytelling potential. The folks over on the League Community Podcast recently sat down with some of Riot’s Foundations team to gain insight into how its work helps build the framework for these stories, and to learn how champ bios, faction deep-dives, and art come together to create deeper worlds.
Not the podcast type? No worries—we’ve distilled the chat into the (slightly) shorter roundtable below.
So what’s the deal with Mount Targon, and why visit it now?
Ant Reynolds, lead Foundations writer: Targon is one of those places that gives us just a lot of storytelling opportunities. It’s got characters we all love and there’s some great stories around it, but we haven’t ever gone into it with too much depth. So it was a bit of a blank slate for us. It gave us a really good chance to dive in and start creating something truly unique.
Graham McNeill, senior narrative writer: Mount Targon is this enormous Everest-type mountain in Runeterra. It’s very much a place of pilgrimage in the world. Those who go there are drawn to the mountain. It’s a journey they feel they have to make. And when you get to the mountain—which is in itself an arduous and life-threatening journey of months or years—there’s a sense that this is just the beginning. Even though you’ve trekked for years and sacrificed everything just to get there, that was just the preamble to starting your climb.
Reynolds: Eric Canete, one of the artists on the Foundations team was doing some concept-type ideas just looking at some of our Targon champions and doing different versions of them, and some of the images were super striking. It was kind of bringing in a lot more of the celestial feel to it, looking at some of these characters as though they were almost myth-like. You could imagine someone looking up at the night sky, seeing things like constellations and the movements of the different planetary things—you could imagine them creating these myths.
What makes Targon interesting, from a storytelling perspective?
Reynolds: One of the things we really liked was that in the pre-existing story, you’ve got the power of the Lunari and the Solari. So this is where the power of Leona and Diana comes from—one represents the sun and one represents the moon. We asked, ‘Well, what if there’s more out there than just that duality?’ There’s all these different astral things going on up there; what if each one of them could effectively have an avatar on Runeterra? What would that mean?
McNeill: Looking at the existing background for champions (like Diana, Leona, and Pantheon) raised a great many questions. Where does their power come from? What is it? How did they get it? Why them? These questions unlocked a lot of potential stories for us and a lot of imagery for the artists, and those two things working together made for a really interesting space for us to explore.
How does the Foundations team approach updating known locations and existing bios?
Reynolds: We’re always coming at things like this from a point of respect for what’s there already. Not changing things for the sake of changing things, but building upon what’s already there, deepening the stories, deepening the characters. Players already love League’s champions, but how can we make players really fall in love with them, love them even more?
McNeill: The essence of everything we’re doing is evolution, not revolution. It’s, ‘What’s the essence of this civilization or this character, what’s the DNA of it,’ and then finding ways to strengthen and build upon those things to add layers, add depth, and add realism. We’re trying to make these places and characters relatable in some way and to develop hooks for future stories.
If you’re writing something about a particular champion and you don’t want to go off and then play it, you’re doing something wrong.
Reynolds: We love this world and its characters. If we didn’t, we shouldn’t be writing them. It always comes across if somebody is really excited about what they’re writing; if you feel like they don’t really get the character or the place, the stories don’t ring true. We have to fall in love with these characters and locations before we can write about them.
McNeill: When writing the new bios, we met up with a lot of the folks who originally designed the characters, just so we could get a handle on the original thematic behind them and make sure we weren’t taking them in a direction that the original designers hadn’t intended or that would be contrary to what a lot of the fans and players out there would think a character should be.
Reynolds: What we’ve started to do is sort of go around the office and say, ‘Okay, who are the super-fans of Pantheon?’ and show them some of this stuff and sort of gauge their reaction, like, ‘Hey, is this cool, do you like this, etc?’ And I think that’s a really good way of doing a sort of sense check to make sure we’re not straying too far. Every one of these pieces aimed at creating something that someone who loves the character will read and go, ‘Yeah, that’s my Pantheon, he’s awesome,’ or someone who doesn’t play him would read it and go, ‘This guy is so cool, I really want to play him now.’
McNeill: If you’re writing something about a particular champion and you don’t want to go off and then play him or her, you’re doing something wrong.
Are there plans to create more Shadow and Fortune or Bilgewater-type longform stories? Are bios the best way to help players get closer to League’s lore?
Reynolds: Some of our bios need love, so we’re trying to come back to the ones that haven’t been touched in a little while, or those that are a little lacking in depth, and slowly just getting them caught up. We’ve got a lot of champions to get to, but every champion is someone’s favorite. You don’t want all those players to sit there and think, ‘I haven’t had something for my champion in years.’
McNeill: We’re looking for the best stories to tell and the best ways to tell them, and we have a million and one ideas for types of stories and various formats. Figuring out the best way to deliver them is still something we’re working on. Whether something works better in prose, or in a comic, or in a video game, as long as the person reading it goes, ‘That’s still Pantheon’ or, ‘That’s still Leona,’ you can make those choices.
Reynolds: We all want to tell great stories, and I think we’re getting there, but it’s not something that will just suddenly happen overnight. We’re on that track, and the opportunities are so, so huge. We’ve got a world here that we’re continuing to delve into and deepen our understanding of, which is a really amazing place to tell stories. And we’ve got this huge big range of characters—good storytelling is all about good characters. I’m excited for what we will do going forward.
What about players who don’t care about lore? How do things like new Targon stories impact them?
McNeill: Even in a competitive game, something about a particular character draws you to them. Maybe it’s how the character plays in the game, but perhaps it’s their visuals, or perhaps you read the story back when you were choosing which character you liked and thought, ‘Oh she/he is quite cool, I’ll play this one.’ I think at some level we’re all drawn to story, even if it’s just because you like how they got their sword, or something small like that. You can be a super hardcore competitive person who’s playing to win and crush your enemies before you, but still be someone playing out the story.
"Everything you see when a champ finally hits is the tip of the iceberg to all the stuff that’s gone into establishing who they are, what they sound like, what they look like, how they play."
Reynolds: That is really important. Even the players who say they aren’t into lore, they’ve soaked up so much of it through osmosis. They get to know these characters anyway, just through playing them and hearing their VO lines and stuff—they’ve already got a pretty solid understanding about what our champs are. If you put one of those characters into a story, even players who aren’t super lore-focused are still going to think, ‘Oh, that is the Pantheon I know’ or ‘Actually, that doesn’t feel like Pantheon.’ Just through playing the game you’re automatically getting to understand these characters.
McNeill: Everything you see when a champ finally hits is literally the tip of the iceberg to all the stuff that’s gone into establishing who they are, what they sound like, what they look like, how they play. Every line in League of Legends tells you something about that character, and every part of a story, like the background, the voiceover, the context, the look, the gameplay style—that all helps. You can main Pantheon, love him to bits as a champion and how well he plays in the game, and then you can read his story, because there’s some great context that any hardcore Panth player can connect to. If we can get just a tiny little hook like that, it feels like a job well done.
What’s next after Targon? Any personal favorites?
Reynolds: I’ve always loved things around the Shadow Isles, and I’m really excited for things around Piltover and Zaun and the stories there. I like them all—there’s also some great storytelling to be done around our Freljord characters.
We want to craft a world for people to play in. It’s not designed to say, ‘Here it is, and that’s the way it is, and that’s the way it always will be.’
McNeill: Runeterra is a great setting where you can have the down and dirty stories in the guts of Zaun, the cosmic stories told through the background of Targon, and everything in between. The Freljord has always appealed to me. I love that whole icy tundra, civil war, barbarians thing. That’s always spoken to my inner Conan; I want to dive deep into the ice and the drakes and the longships at war. But like Ant, a lot of the worldbuilding stuff we’ve been doing recently has given me a real yearn to dive into something for Piltover and Zaun. We could go anywhere.
Reynolds: Just think about all of the interesting stories in our own (real) world, and then realize that Runeterra is a world with magic and this kind of stuff. We can have so much fun with that. We never want to be too restrictive. We want to have lots of room to go in different directions. We can flesh out the world a little bit more and understand it a bit more, but we should always leave lots of room to play, lots of room to introduce new characters, new races, new places. There should always be heaps of room for creativity.
McNeill: Everything we’re doing with Foundations is designed to inspire creativity at Riot and amongst players. We want to craft a world for people to play in. It’s not designed to say, ‘Here it is, and that’s the way it is, and that’s the way it always will be.’
Reynolds: That’s why we call it Foundations. It really is just the foundation that players and Riot teams can build upon. It’s like a sign that says, ‘Demacia is kind of in this direction, now go play and create cool stuff.’"
Rabid Llama is Aurelion Sol's Gameplay DesignerMeddler mentioned on stream that Rabid Llama, who was Bard's gameplay designer, is the gameplay designer for our upcoming dragon champion Aurelion Sol's! He mentioned this about 54 minutes into the stream.
Check out the VOD for more from Meddler and follow the channel for more weekly League community streams!
[UPDATE: Teaser out! MORE ON AURELION SOL HERE.]
Context on Jhin PBE changes
While the R slow has been reverted as of the 3/2 PBE update, here's Gypsylord with context on the PBE changes to increase slow % on Jhin's W-
"My motivations around balancing Jhin at this point are about asking the question, "How should this character's kit function and would I nerf him in other ways to achieve that functionality?"
I'm experimenting with buffing the slow values on his kit because I feel he may not be contributing the baseline of utility I intended for those spells.
The buff to R's slow is likely going to be reverted, but I'm liking the extra 5% on traps. Gives him more reason to put them out in the world as zoning tools instead of just saving them to force enemy movement in engagements.
Checked and made sure the slow still isn't strong enough to guarantee a hit on a champ running through, that would be bad. Part of the reason Lotus Traps are allowed to scale well and be stacked is because it requires followup for them to hit."
The Virtuoso Collection (Jhin Wallpapers)Speaking of Jhin, Riot Calad has popped on the boards to share 1920x1080 wallpapers of the Jhin teaser at!
Here's the wallpaper links to the high res versions of the Jhin promo art. Enjoy!
Community Skin SpotlightLast up we have a community spotlight on some outrageous community skin concepts and fan art!
"From the refined Lady Rek’sai to the utterly terrifying Star Guardian Urgot, we dug up a few of our favorite community-created skin concepts to spotlight! Though we probably won’t be seeing these in-game any time soon, they definitely deserve some love.
Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
"Feet are strange!"
Ever the elegant lady, our Lady Rek’sai! She really dug herself a hole wearing a white dress as the resident Void Burrower, though.
Art by CilviaMirell
I bet being a gravedigger is really lonely work. It’s okay, Yorick, we’re not judging you.
Concept by TinyCatFace, art by slowgun9
“Paint me like one of your Demacian girls.”
Animation by RedRiot
Call me mad as a March hare - these are the best automotive deals this here side of the river!
Art by DrWafercookies
Eternal life... endless refills
Art by Codeine Demon
"Wretched mongrels get the leash."
Concept by Chronomaiden, art by VegaColors
Of course Barn isn’t a skin, but we couldn’t have a list of fun community-created concepts and not feature him! Best barn, barn none.
Concept by MyNameIsDonovan, art by Zeriel00"