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Jan 25, 2020 10:03 AM
Jinx & Mark in Runeterra
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"I can do back-alley doctoring. At least in theory. I could use some help with the details, I'm sure."

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"Fortunately for you, I've got a bit of a name for myself in the shadier parts of Piltover. If I put the word about, you'll get plenty of clients. Space and equipment might be more tricky, but..." She grins. "Five-finger discount. When that doesn't work, rocket launcher discount. If you need it, I can probably get it — and I definitely don't mind helping you set yourself up."

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"Really good healers don't need much in the way of equipment. I'm not that good, yet. But I don't know the first thing about what doctors here even use... well, it'll be an adventure."

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"I should have some spare supplies I can give you: while you're learning, you're welcome to stay with me. Though, uh, you should know this isn't where I like, live. Just a convenient bolthole." 

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"I am happy to take you up on your kind offer."

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"Alright then! If you wanna stay here and rest for a bit, feel free, or if you wanted to ask more questions that's also good, or we could head to my place right now, or maybe there's something else I'm forgetting? I do that a lot." 

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"Hmm, let's see, questions - what's this League you mentioned somebody fighting in?"

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"Huh. You really must be from far away: the League of Legends is kind of a big deal. I don't know the details, but I can fill you in on the basics." 

Jinx sits down on the free futon, and absently counts on her fingers. 

"Alright so, magic is a big deal, it's scary, hextech is badass. There are spells and enchanted things out there that will fuck your shit up. If you're a nation, you get your hands on as much of it as possible, because the other side has magic too and if you don't fight magic with magic, things are gonna go badly." 

Jinx cracks a small smile. 

"Except actually fighting magic with magic tends to go badly. It only took one or two magical wars before people started realizing that we were running out of places for people to, uh, live. Things were crawling out of cracks in reality, an entire kingdom is a blasted hellscape now... Yeah, it wasn't good. So the League came in to replace all that. Magical trial by champion, wagering Nexus crystals on the outcome - they're intensely magically powerful, one of the big wars was over a place that's now called the Crystal Scar, three guesses why and the first two don't count, you get the picture. Some of the champions fight for a nation, some of 'em are mercenaries, a few are Things That Should Not Be left over from the bad old days... should I keep going? Want any examples?"

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"Wow, that makes so much more sense than just continuing to fight each other until the continent you're fighting on is under the ocean and covered in horrible monsters," she says.

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"We've still got a whole kingdom of pissed-off dead people, so I wouldn't say we did perfect. But yeah, the League's probably better than that." 

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"A kingdom of pissed-off dead people? Where'd you get one of those?"

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"They call it the Shadow Isles. I dunno what happened to it - my money's on 'too many people being killed and resurrected' - but nothing there stays properly dead anymore. The whole place is covered in the Black Mist, which so far as I know is basically a giant cloud of hate ghosts, and occasionally the Black Mist goes and attacks Bilgewater on the coast, and they call that a Harrowing. S'part of why I don't live in Bilgewater. Anyway, the League uses parts of it as a dueling ground sometimes - nothing there that anybody would mind destroying, and it adds to the tension of the match when a five-story-tall spider could come crashing into the middle of it." 

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"Sounds exciting."

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"Oh, it definitely is. A good chunk of the matches are just so's you know who's got the toughest champions nowadays: they play up the drama a lot. There's this one guy Draven who basically runs on showboating, he throws these enchanted axes that bounce into the air and then he runs and catches them and when he gets 'em going let me tell you it's a sight to see, and of course there's the void beasts and the Shadow Isles representatives and so on. Nobody dies permanently though."

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"People die temporarily?"

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"Yeah! If the Champion dies, then their Summoner just calls them back in a few moments... Okay, this could get complicated. Should I, like, go over it from the top? I'm pretty sure I've got the collectible board game over here somewhere..." 

 

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"Sure, let's hear it. Collectible board game and all."

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"Okay!"

Jinx fishes around in the pile, and retrieves a case of dark wood. She unfolds it and spreads it open, revealing a heavily-forested miniature battlefield. Three sharp paths have been cut through the trees, linking a red jewel in the upper-right corner with a blue jewel in the bottom-left.

"So the basic setup is that most of the dueling terrain is very difficult to move through — dense jungle, usually — and inhabited by monsters. The three paths between the red and blue nexus crystals are called the 'lanes', and they're where most of the fighting happens. They're guarded by towers." Jinx taps a little stone figure placed in one of the lanes, which holds a glowing red crystal high above its head. "The towers can smash visible enemies flat with deadly magical projectiles, and they also sustain defensive enchantments that make attacks on anything further in from them futile. Your team of five champions needs to destroy all the towers in a lane in order to expose the enemy nexus, and then make a final assault and shatter the crystal — all while preventing the same thing from happening to your own Nexus. With me so far?"

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"Yeah," she says, studying the tiny battlefield thoughtfully.

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"Okay, so that's the basics. But it gets better! This isn't just duelling, this is a little simulated war. Each side gets a whole bunch of conjured soldiers - they're extremely dumb, and just run down a lane, attacking anything from the other team. Both sides' soldiers are exactly the same, so any battle between equal forces is largely a matter of luck..." 

Jinx grins. "Until the champions get involved, that is. Their job is to clear a path through the opposing forces so their own minions can attack the tower — and both sides' champions earn additional personal enchantments by the impact they've made, so even close stalemates don't tend to hold for long." 

Jinx taps one of the Nexus Crystals. "Now, your question about people dying temporarily. Sometimes, a Champion kills another one. It comes with the game - and it's worth a lot towards your side's progress through the match. That said... Nobody wants to actually lose a Champion in a ritual duel, right?"

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"Right. Wouldn't want to run out of Champions and have to go back to fighting wars."

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"That's where the Summoners come in. The actual Champions never venture out onto the battlefield: instead, they're Summoned into conjured bodies by dedicated mages. The Champion and their Summoner essentially share that body: sometimes it's an even split, sometimes the Summoner is just along for the ride, and sometimes the Summoner's the one in charge. That last one is how the Void Beasts are controlled, incidentally. If somebody dies, that Champion and their Summoner are going to be disoriented and hurting - they just 'died' - but in a few seconds, a new conjured body is ready and the fight continues." 

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"Huh."

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"Yep. Real luxury version of ressurection magic: most of the other ones don't work nearly that well. On one hand, it sucks that I don't get to come back like that when I die: on the other hand, watching the matches is seriously fun. They're part of the reason I came here, actually: the local sheriff and her deputy both serve as Piltover's Champions in the League." 

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"And, what, you're a fan?"

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