Narrative Speculation

by Jul 1, 2020hexscribe0 comments

Hello Summoners, welcome to another article in the Hexcribe column, with the title Narrative Speculation, let's talk about some facts that permeate the community of content creators and also Runarcana.

Fanfic

All fan-fictional work is based on original material whose creator is the ultimate authority in defining the facts, motives and unfoldings of any decision. This is a clear rule, although many fans lose the notion of this when they find identification with a work, by creating a sentimental bond they come to have a belief that something there belongs to them beyond the experience they had.

Now, if you have an understanding of something based on a work, it is yours, but that does not make it universal or totally correct. Other understandings may well have the same validity, after all, each experience is the fruit of an individual.

The words and decisions of the author or holder of the rights of the work are the "final" words, the decisions taken are those considered official and all this set of facts, information, interpretations and decisions (made by the author) are called "canonical".

Therefore, any content derived from this, especially that made by fans, becomes a fanfic. A fanfic is not just a story written by fans, licensed products that explore a main universe, creating an alternative universe where decisions that are not the author's exist, it can be considered a fanfic until the author "approves" them as canonical content.

As some of you may imagine, Runarcana is considered a "fanfic" in more simplistic terms, because it uses the Riot Games Intellectual Property known as League of Legends (and its extensions) to create a material to be used by fans and that is not canonical.

Destacamos desde o primeiro dia de lançamento do Runarcana que o mesmo não é feito e sequer tem endosso da Riot Games, é apenas um material feito por fãs com o objetivo de adaptar o mundo apresentado de forma a poder ser utilizado em jogos de RPG de mesa (TTRPG).

With this information, it is clear that the content of Runarcana is fan-fictional and, as such, is not the definitive and official word about anything. But the same goes for all the adventures that happen out there using this system, none of them influence or will influence the continuity of the intellectual property (I.P.) of Riot Games.

Valuation

Does this make them less important or inferior? Not at all, all people who play electronic games are used to a reality of limited decisions that lead to certain outcomes, with many games having several endings. Even so, when continuations are launched, usually only one of these finals is taken into account and becomes the basis for continuity.

Therefore, everyone who plays is used to the fact that that moment of leisure will not influence the progress of the work as a whole, it will not decide the "canon" of that universe. An RPG table just reproduces that, with an alternative and particular version of that universe being developed by the Game Master and the players.

These concepts are necessary to understand the most important subject of this article, Narrative Speculation, because it is based precisely on finding information gaps not filled by the original author, or sometimes on exploring clearly divergent possibilities.

Most content creators related to the lore/ history of the League of Legends are used to developing Narrative Speculation, usually through theories (whether they are grounded or top hat) that seek to present future possibilities or even fill the spaces already created and not fully developed. 

Here fits a personal opinion, as a passionate about works of fiction, especially the universe of Runeterra, I see that the greatest responsibility of content creators, who deal with this subject, is the commitment to the truth. To present theories together with canonical content is totally valid, as long as the lines are drawn and they are well delimited, leaving without shadows of doubt what is canonical and what is speculative/theoretical.

Runarcana starts from a temporal assumption, in which all lore officially revealed until that moment is taken into consideration in order to make the adaptation as reliable as possible, however this has certain limits, especially regarding the previously mentioned gaps.

When we come across situations not covered by the canon, we end up using elements of the canon itself to fill these gaps, at other times when there are no elements, we create them in a conscious and responsible way, because it can easily be discarded with the emergence of official information that disfigures them.

Official System

Citing some of the examples that were totally created by Runarcana and that have no support in lore, I quote the class division that we adapted (using D&D 5th edition as a base), although the Bodhisattvas and even the Pilgrims' own class are totally our creation, guided in lore to facilitate the access to certain "game fantasies", they are not official contents. At no time (until the date of this article) will you find these words with these meanings within the canon of the League of Legends.

When we look at Lee Sin and other characters from Ionia, we see several similarities between them because they are from the same region, but we also see several differences, based on these aspects of similarity or not is that we started to create the adaptation of that for RPG.

Is our path the only right one? Not at all, even in official materials it is possible to create derived content that best suits the taste of those who master and play. But it is still the only correct one within what we present as a "complete body" of material in the form of the basic book of Runarcana.

This is mainly because we create each part of this content taking into account a series of factors that are mainly guided by the lore/ canonical history of the League of Legends, it is a commitment that we assumed with the launch of the system and that guides us in each new creation.

When we talk about "Official System" we are not talking about something official from the point of view of Riot Games, but something official within the Runarcana Project which is maintained by Runarcana.org. 

Thus, we are aware of our ignorance of many Riot narrative mechanics, also aware that we do not know the material not released and that may invalidate part of our creation in this search for something reliable to the lore. 

Speculating responsibly

When we take the magic for example, the official rules within the universe of Runeterra are unknown to us, when we read the presented material we collect the expressed information and try to create something that resembles what was presented, but can be reproduced on a different scale that is the RPG table.

Most of Runarcana's content is speculative, there is no validation that the things we create are official according to the canon and that they are exactly as Riot thinks and as the League of Legends, as history, will be developed.

Our responsibility here is to create, adapt and even exclude what does not connect to this larger reality. With this, for version 1.21 we had to change all the texts about the Minotaurs reflecting the change they had with the revelations, whether they were from the Legends of Runeterra, League of Legends or just from lore of Alistar.

Each content created is thought of in the general body of what already exists and what has been revealed. If this content conflicts with the canon, it is modified, adapted or discarded. 

Ryze

An example of this is Ryze and its magic. What do we know objectively and canonically?

We know that he was an apprentice of magic who had contact with the World Runes, saw the misfortune caused when they fell into the wrong hands and took for himself the responsibility of keeping them.

We also know that his body has been modified by magic (without the certainty that it was by contact with the Global Runes, although this is a valid inference) and that his spells are gusts of magical energy, teleportation and some other achievements derived from these magical gusts.

At no time in history are we told whether he is dependent on a grimoire, whether he is capable of creating elements, bewitching people or other many spells available at Runarcana. We started from the assumption that yes, using the D&D 5th edition magic system as a basis and adapted it to something thematically closer than the magic was presented to us until then.

When taking the Ryze as a base, we need to look at other champions who are also considered "mages" to find similarities and differences. With this, we can separate in a practical and objective way, the necessary information for the parameterization of the magic within the RPG, through levels, duration, etc.

Taking Annie for example, she has spells more connected to fire, the invocation or transmutation of her teddy bear Tibbers and forms derived from this control and creation of flames. If we were to create a different class for each type of magic presented, Runarcana would have to have practically one class for each champion.

Connecting and Simplifying

Thus, we have magic as a central and common "theme" between Annie and Ryze, but still this is not enough to have a base of rules, after all, there are more system of spells by RPGs than I could quote here, going through ready-made formulas such as D&D, more versatile applications such as Mage: The Ascension or even the system of Arkanum which is (simplistically) derived from Ars Magica.

Choosing the general D&D magic system of the 5th edition, we started to approach the champions/personages of this system and not the opposite, losing a little of the visual characterization but in a totally acceptable and understandable level, after all, the "map" where the combat happens is completely different.

In this journey we end up simplifying things on both sides, whether on the part of theme and history (lore) or on the part of rules and systems, because while Annie and Ryze within the League of Legends are champions with a similar level of power, within Ryze history there are centuries of existence, experience and power, while Annie is just a little girl under 10 years old.

As you can imagine, this immense difference is portrayed in Runarcana by different character levels, while Annie should probably be around level 9 (in a freedom to scale her power even with little experience) for being "alone in the world" and managing to survive, Ryze passes level 20 reaching epic levels, maybe around 22 or even 25, after all, he fights in a certain way the Frozen Watchers, creatures that even semi-gods had difficulty (or found defeat).

It is obvious that if we analyze the two cases separately in a cold way, maybe these numbers would not sustain themselves, after all, as a girl under 10 years old would already have a level 9, while beginner adventurers with much more advanced ages start at level 1?

Simplifying is the key word. We don't know what Annie's experiences are, we don't know the real origin of her powers and if they don't give her a "natural" level 9. On Ryze's side, we don't even know if her magic is extremely versatile or totally focused on something. 

To connect and simplify these characters of similar themes, we end up speculating with the narrative and making adaptations that are based on lore, but extrapolate it into a different controlled reality.

Conclusion

Just as all Runarcana is based on canonical history, but extrapolated with narrative speculation and simplification for the connection, the same goes for the adventures that you will master or play. Not everything created by Riot needs to be used on your table yet, not everything needs to be followed completely to the letter in an RPG session.

Just as we adapt the system to each novelty, the master may well decide to do the same, but if he wishes, he can keep the reality "paralyzed" of a certain moment of history and rules, as well as solutions and stories found inside a game table may go totally against canonical facts.

Purism by lore is just another resource like all the others presented to you at Runarcana, using it or not is a decision that each master will have and therein lies perhaps the greatest beauty of an RPG table, stories that do not repeat themselves, that can explore already known creations or go to completely unknown territories.

Remember that we know only ⅙ of the world of Runeterra and that, although it is extremely unlikely that in this other ⅚ you will find Elves, Dwarfs, Orcs and Goblins in a canonical way, this is not an impediment for them to exist on your gaming table, they have perhaps even greater importance than this ⅙ that we know.

I hope you enjoyed these thoughts and reflections, see you next week!

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