“ The vastaya named the world. We named the trees, the wind, the mountains. We know their power. — Xayah
The Vastaya are a chimeric race of Runeterra that are the weaker magical descendants from enlightened mortals that took the power of the spirit realm into themselves known as the Vastayashai’rei. From the ferocious, bestial power of Rengar to the foxlike allure of Ahri, vastaya can look considerably different from one another, but they all share animal and human characteristics.
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In an age lost to myth, the harmony of the First Lands was shattered by war between mortals and a race of titans that had come from the skies above. Calling upon the wisdom of their ancestors, the most enlightened mortals took the power of the spirit realm into themselves, becoming Vastayashai’rei—deathless shapechangers who could wield the natural world itself as a weapon.
The titans were eventually defeated, and the Vastayashai’rei were hailed as the heroes of the age. Even so, they refused to put themselves above their mortal kin, choosing instead to live among them as equals.
Their descendants were known as the vastaya. These were mystical, chimeric beings, neither mortal nor truly immortal, and greatly attuned to the magic of Runeterra.
In time, as the balance between realms was restored, the power of the Vastayashai’rei began to wane, and the vastaya left to form their own tribes. They proudly took their names from those who had defeated the titans—noble Kiila, dutiful Chyr, cunning Lhotl, and countless more besides. For thousands of years, the vastaya have sought to uphold their own spiritual legacy, even when it would bring them into conflict with one another.
More recently, as humans have continued to disrupt the currents of magic in the world, relations with the tribes have soured. No new vastaya have been born in several mortal lifetimes, and it could be that this ancient race now perceives another time of great change approaching…
Other Related Champions
- Akali gets additions to her impressive dragon tattoo from the vastaya artist named Bo’lii.
- Diana is the Aspect of the Moon that Nami is searching for to help her people.
- Ezreal unknowingly encountered Neeko during his search for The Elixir of Uloa.
- Gnar attacked Rengar in his Mega form during the hunter’s recent hunts.
- Irelia fought along side vastaya, and against other vastayan tribes allied with Noxus during the Ionian invasion.
- Ivern the Cruel attacked the God-Willow, a sacred site of the Vastayashai’rei, leading to his eventual transformation into the Green-Father.
- Kha’Zix attacked and injured Rengar in their previous skirmishes.
- Lillia resembles the Vastaya, but she is a purely unique being born from the dreams of the Dream Tree.
- Nidalee, a human residing in Kumungu, has diluted vastayan blood which gives her shapeshifting ability.
- Master Yi trains Wukong in the art of Wuju.
- Sett has diluted vastayan blood which gives him the ability to use vastayan magic.
- Soraka is a well known and respected seer among the vastaya.
- Swain fought against many vastaya during his campaigns in the Ionian invasion.
- Udyr, a Freljordian Spirit-Walker, has diluted vastayan blood and thus being able to commune with animal spirits.
- Zed has frequently attacked vastayan lands and taken some as prisoners.
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“ “Neeko is Oovi-kat. We are not Vastaya. We are Vastayashai’rei. We are more colorful.” — Neeko
The vastaya’s origins can be traced back to a hidden corner of Ionia. The mortals lived in harmony with nature until a race of titans came from the skies and waged war against them. Most enlightened mortals taken the power of the spirit realm into themselves becoming the Vastayashai’rei to defeat the titans. Initial generations of Vastayashai’rei were deathless and held imm kin, their future descendants would start mixing ortal kin and be known as the vastaya – a blanket classification for any number of species of chimeric creatures. Over time, the varied offshoots began to settle in different regions and naturally adopted different forms – simian, avian, even piscine – according to the creatures which most embodied their strongest characteristics.
Some of the Vastayashai’rei resided in the sacred grove of Omikayalan, the “Heart of the World”. In its center stood the God-Willow. This massive tree, dripping with long gossamer leaves that shimmered with golden-green light, was of immense importance to both human Ionians and the vastayan people of the continent, which guarded the tree from anyone who wished it harm. Unfortunately, the tree was destroyed by an invading war party from the Freljord, its leader transformed by its natural energy into the being known as the Green-Father.
As time wore on and the balance between realms was restored, the Vastayashai’rei began to wane and the vastayan bloodline spread throughout Runeterra, an interesting genetic aberration occurred: certain humans with very small amounts of vastayan heritage gained the ability to shapeshift. From the frozen Freljord to the darkest jungles of Runeterra, these shapeshifters can’t maintain their animalistic forms for long, yet are still capable of harnessing some of their ancestral magic and change their shape.
There is a very old treaty between specific tribes of Ionian vastaya and the humans, which deals with the sharing of natural magic. Over the last decade post-Noxian Invasion, the humans have begun to abuse their share, and as a result, the vastaya have become increasingly unhappy and uncertain with the way humans are using magic. This has caused a lot of concern from the Vastaya as well as mistrust between the races. For instance, extremist groups like the Order of Shadows have begun consolidating power for their own purposes. The vastaya are, understandably, not pleased by this.
For more information, see Eduard Santangelo’s Vastaya Field Journal.
Vastaya are a group of sexually dimorphic races of various shapes and sizes. Their animalistic appearance depends on the location in which they adapted, and their animal spirit. However, disregarding distinctions between the tribes of land, sea, and air, there are three types of vastaya:
- “Animal-like” vastaya resemble other animals, but are bipedal or otherwise mildly humanoid.
- “Human-like” vastaya closely resemble humans, especially in terms of facial features, but still retain a modest level of animalistic elements: for instance, feline or foxlike ears, tails, or feathers.
- Shapeshifters retain either a human or animal appearance of their choosing, but they are able to shapeshift in and out of each form.
Each type of vastaya greatly differs from the others in appearance and abilities, but they are all in tune with the natural magic of Runeterra to some degree. Vastaya of different tribes can reproduce. Tribes like the Sodjoko are made up of various tribes coming together. What a child would look like would depend on the parents, the nature and amount of magic the child grew up near, the customs of the tribe it grew up in, and the child’s own personality – especially its connection to the various animal spirits. Vastaya with egg-laying animal spirit does not lay egg.
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While most vastaya need a supply of magic to thrive – they don’t need massive amounts of it and can go extended periods without magic (think of humans’ relationship to water). Vastaya tend to settle near the “springs” where magic comes into our world or near the invisible “streams” of magic that flow from these springs and snake through the world (comparable to ley lines). They can travel beyond though, just as humans don’t all have to constantly live near fresh water rivers.
Most Vastaya have some ability to change shape. Most arrive a shape that is comfortable, reflects the animal spirits connected to their tribe, and their own personality (needs wants). They can change shape depending upon the availability of magic, amount of time required for the change, and in the depth of their connection to their ancestry (Vastayashairei).So it might take Rakan a few minutes to change the color of his cloak- or a few hours to give himself stylish new horns, while a radical change that might take him three days, totally exhaust him, and be hard for him to hold for more than a few minutes… But he will always be kinda flashy looking – because subconsciously he wants attention, and vaguely griffon like because that is what family and tribe reflect. Neeko is better, faster at shapeshifting than other Vastaya types thanks to her more powerful connection to magic and being attracted to an animal spirit that is good at changing. Neeko could change her appearance dramatically in 2 seconds and hold it for several days. The vastaya generally avoid looking purely human or animalistic because it’s uncomfortable and not ideal for fighting. ( Xayah would find having a human foot about the same comfort and ease as you would wearing 8 inch platform heels, two sizes two small. You could do it, but you wouldn’t want to fight those shoes and you wouldn’t want to wear them for long either.) But this does mean they excell at spying and intrigue.
The race ages far more slowly and has far longer life spans than humans. Some have been said to live for thousands of years, while others, rumors and legends say, might be immortal. All true Vastaya individuals are at least about 180 years old. This is due to the fact that they spend most of their lives in places where time is more “fickle”. Hybrids of Vastaya and human as well as their far-flung descendants may not share this trait.
There are three main vastayan tribes (sea, landwalker, and sky) each with their own sub-tribes:
Tribes of the Sea
- Marai (fishlike; mermen; includes Nami)
- Makara (“carnivorous, ever-smiling”)
- Unknown humanoid foxes (includes Ahri)
- Unknown humanoid wolverines (includes Sett’s mother)
- Unknown tribe with feline ears (mentioned in A Fair Trade)
- Unknown tribe with furry and spiced-leathered neck (includes Hirin in A Fair Trade)
- Fauhwoon (goatlike)
- Juloah (notable similarities to Lhotlan, but they are hairy rather than feathered and have horns)
- Kiilash (most notable member being Rengar)
- Khonlui (“Rhinobears?”)
- Ophelis (“charming”)
- Ottrani (goatlike; 1 Illi and 4 Vin)
- Oovi-Kat (originally chameleonlike; currently has no common trait, but is led by Neeko)
- Lhotlan (birdlike; most notable members are Rakan and Xayah)
- Kepthalla (feathered, long heads, and from their crown grew great horns).
- Vlotah (lithe and narrow; massive shoulders that protrude vertically from their backs like wings of bone. Iridescent fur that glitters in the light, all over their body; creamy-white faces, vaguely feline in aspect).
- Shimon (monkeylike; includes Wukong)
Tribes of the Sky
- Chyra (“the Silent Chorus”)
- Strig (“Reptilian butterflies!”)
- Numerous other currently unknown tribes
- Skard (from Silence for the Damned)
- Canghapi (Temple of Lily and Lotus)
- In-universe, the appellation Vastaya means simply “[the] people” & is shortened from their supernatural ancestors’ endonym Vastayashai’rei.
- Some Vastayan tribal names originate from those who have defeated the titans such as noble Kiila (Kiilash), dutiful Chyr (Chyra), cunning Lhotl (Lhotlan)
- Other tribal names might’ve originated, instead, from human languages, due to Vastayans’ partial human ancestry:
- Makara < Dravidian *mokaray “crocodile” < *mo(ṅ)k(u)- “devour”; Marai < PIE móri “sea”, Ophelis < *h₃bʰel- “help” or h₁ógʷʰis “snake”, Ottrani < udrós “otter”, Fauhwoon < *bʰh₂eu-no-s “gracious one”, etc.
- Unlike other pure Vastaya who are at least older than 180 years (including Neeko), Sett is born less than 30 years ago.
- Vastaya resemble yordles in the sense that both are animalistic in appearance and both have a strong connection to magic.
- Xayah is annoyed that humans mistakenly label yordles as vastayan.
- The true existence and fate of the vastaya were unknown to mainland scholars until an explorer from Piltover, Eduard Santangelo, chronicled his findings of this mysterious race during his expedition to Ionia. Upon first encountering them, he coined the term ‘Phantasma’, but later adopted the local name for them.
- Santangelo mentions examples of vastaya ranging “from the winged humanoids of Ionia or the sporadically-limbed sandshufflers of Shurima, to the Freljordian scaled manatee with a look of perpetual discomfort on its face.”
- Warwick’s chemtech transformation may have been inspired by the Vastaya and their chimeric existence (which Singed might have discovered when participating in Noxus’ Ionian Campaign).
- Despite having vaguely vastayan features, Twitch is not a vastaya; he is a plague rat that was transformed by chemical waste.
- On Summoner’s Rift, the red team’s shopkeeper may be a vastaya.
- Half-breeds of vastaya and human are not considered true vastaya, but do have some vastayan blood that grants some form of shapeshifting ability.
- During the war with Noxus, certain vastaya tribes allied with the invaders, looking for a better deal.
- Vastaya Universe Page
- Eduard Santangelo’s Vastaya Field Journal
- Dev: On Vastaya Evolution