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The Future of Pathfinder Society Organized Play, Part VI: Establish Order, No Matter the Costs

Monday, April 25, 2011

The proud empire of Cheliax once spread across two continents, but fell to diabolical rule after 30 years of civil war following Aroden's death. Chelaxians believe their nation superior to the others in the Inner Sea region, and won't let something as simple as the death of their patron god prevent them from attaining their prophesied age of glory. The ruling House Thrune and its allies rose to power amid chaos, and established order with the help of the armies of Hell; they maintain control decades later with the same regimented organization of their infernal minions. Though Cheliax already controls the Arch of Aroden, and thus the western entrance to the Inner Sea, Queen Abrogail II's strategists know that control of Absalom is vital if Cheliax hopes to establish order throughout the region. They believe that victory is well within their grasp, and that it will come on the backs of the weak.

We led off the parade of factions two weeks ago with a look at Andoran, which is far and away the most popular faction. Though Andoran's neighbor geographically (and alphabetically in the list of ten factions), Cheliax couldn't be more different than its freedom-fighting rivals. Not only are the lawful-evil tendencies of the organization at direct odds with the chaotic good spirit of liberty, but the faction has also been the least popular in terms of active members in all three seasons of Pathfinder Society Organized Play.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out why, though. These are the "bad guys" of the Pathfinder Society campaign. They're the ones who send players on missions to spread the influence of Hell and the Infernal armies of the House of Thrune. If there's one thing we can learn from the trend in membership between the Andoran and Cheliax factions, it's that players want to be heroes!

So what happens to Cheliax going forward? So far, nothing, though faction leader Paracountess Zarta Dralneen's flagging leadership has certainly caught the eye of her superiors. It'd really be a shame for her to be punished personally for the fact that she represents the "bad guy faction." I know I'd personally hate to see her replaced, since I love reading her innuendo-drenched faction missives. I just hope Queen Abrogail and her lackeys are as amused by her suggestive tone and rampant hedonism as most Cheliax faction players are.

Luckily, we won't be gauging a faction's success on its membership numbers next season, but rather the rate at which active members succeed at faction missions. And while there are many disparaging things the champions of good can say about Cheliax, that they aren't dedicated isn't one of them. Then again, we've already said there will be another "good guy" faction next year. What would happen to Cheliax's resolve if we were to add another "bad guy" to keep things even? Will newly added prestige awards allowing Cheliax faction PCs of all classes to advance in the ranks of the Hellknights be enough to keep the already low number of faithful from jumping ship? Only time (and maybe some prayers to Asmodeus) will tell.

Check back next Monday for a look at the new scenarios and special events we'll be offering at Gen Con to celebrate the launch of Season 3!

Mark Moreland
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Cheliax Factions Pathfinder Society
Cheliax *

Perhaps a certain Baron can take the lead should the Para Countess ever desire to be "retired" to court.

Just saying.

Cheliax ****

May our exquisite, sweetest mistress, Paracountess Zarta Dralneen continue to treat us as her delectable morsels for years to come.

Cheliax

This "Moreland" is obviously an agent of Andoran. He will be proven wrong (of course).

Andoran *****

I have nothing against the common Chelish, I am one myself, but those that follow House Thrune are a Blight on the the Inner Sea! The failing of the Cheliax faction in the Society is only the beginning, soon the Chelish people will rise against House Thrune and bring freedom to Cheliax once again!

Sczarni ** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

joela wrote:
This "Moreland" is obviously an agent of Andoran. He will be proven wrong (of course).

Haha, I know at least one of Mark's characters was in Cheliax during season 0

Shadow Lodge **

Cheliax will most certainly rise again. Oh yes :)

Qadira ****

Gellius Ratarion wrote:
I have nothing against the common Chelish, I am one myself, but those that follow House Thrune are a Blight on the the Inner Sea! The failing of the Cheliax faction in the Society is only the beginning, soon the Chelish people will rise against House Thrune and bring freedom to Cheliax once again!

The Chelish people are better to trade with. Say what you will about their society, but at least they are always good for keeping up their end of the bargain. The same cannot be said for fething Andorans.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Lies! Lies and slander! This blog was clearly written by an Andoran sympathizer. Cheliax reigns supreme.

Andoran *****

Joseph Caubo wrote:


The Chelish people are better to trade with. Say what you will about their society, but at least they are always good for keeping up their end of the bargain. The same cannot be said for fething Andorans.

You sins of Slave trade shall in the end undo you.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Alorha

You ask me sometimes I have trouble telling Andoran from Galt. Obsession with freedom just ain't profitable.

Granted Cheliax has its problems, but at least I know where I stand with them. Andorans are far too zealous for a comfortable working relationship.

Cheliax **

All shall be cleansed with purifying pain as the power of Cheliax is regained.

Cheliax

This may be the truth, but do not be afraid. Our work will not be stopped. As long as even one agent is doin her work, the CHeliax will prosper. What is the greatest attribute of our nation? That we shall not never give up. Tis' only means we have to work harder, and one day, our nation-the nation that must be- will rise to the glory and Thrune shall be victorious!

All hail Asmodeus and House Thrune!

Qadira ****

Gellius Ratarion wrote:
You sins of Slave trade shall in the end undo you.

I'm sorry, I can't hear you because of all coin in my purse. Maybe my ears would be more apt to hear your incessant squawking if a few more gold somehow ended up within in my hands.

Cheliax

Cpt_kirstov wrote:
joela wrote:
This "Moreland" is obviously an agent of Andoran. He will be proven wrong (of course).
Haha, I know at least one of Mark's characters was in Cheliax during season 0

*Gasp* Then he's a traitor!

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Vermont—Brattleboro aka ElyasRavenwood

Interesting, I expected Taldor was the runt of the faction litter, not Cheliax. I had no idea Cheliax was the smallest and least popular faction among PFS players.

Cheliax

i'm guessing the reason Cheliax is at the bottom of the ladder is because we can't play "evil" character, *wink wink*

Qadira **** Venture-Captain, Idaho—Boise aka raylyynsedai

Joseph Caubo wrote:
Gellius Ratarion wrote:
You sins of Slave trade shall in the end undo you.
I'm sorry, I can't hear you because of all coin in my purse. Maybe my ears would be more apt to hear your incessant squawking if a few more gold somehow ended up within in my hands.

Exactly if perhaps these loose cannons fighting for freedom where to say pay for the freedom of slaves with gold. I might even sell their freedom at my cost plus a *coughs* small fee for processing the paperwork. and then they would not be shedding innocent merchant blood all over the place.

Qadira **** Venture-Captain, Idaho—Boise aka raylyynsedai

As for the infernal influence of Cheliax, I also agree that they are at least honorable and trustworthy, if a bit selfish and cruel... well Discipline is sometimes needed.

Osirion

Fortunately for the Chels, quantity has never equalled quality.

Sczarni **

baron arem heshvaun silent it that all it takes to shut Noel up

Cheliax in last place priceless

Cheliax **

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ElyasRavenwood wrote:
Interesting, I expected Taldor was the runt of the faction litter, not Cheliax. I had no idea Cheliax was the smallest and least popular faction among PFS players.

I think evil characters should be allowed. As long as the PvP rule is in place, I think evil characters are fine.

I suppose the reason this rule is put in so that paladins don't have to party with them and be unable to do something about evil characters doing evil in the middle of a scenario.

Oh well.

Andoran **

BYC wrote:
ElyasRavenwood wrote:
Interesting, I expected Taldor was the runt of the faction litter, not Cheliax. I had no idea Cheliax was the smallest and least popular faction among PFS players.

I think evil characters should be allowed. As long as the PvP rule is in place, I think evil characters are fine.

I suppose the reason this rule is put in so that paladins don't have to party with them and be unable to do something about evil characters doing evil in the middle of a scenario.

Oh well.

It may also be that some evil acts in game may be truly offensive to some players, based on some of their experiences or those of people close to them. Trust me when I say that in some 30 years of gaming, I have seen all types at the gaming table.

I was surprised to see that Cheliax lagged so far behind. I think that part of it is that although evil may have its appeal in shock value, it is very hard to play an evil character in a party where cooperation is key. (I think that some good role players can manage it, but Pathfinder Society Organized Play can often result in very random groups gathering together.)

I think that many people prefer their characters to be heroes, even if there are many different sorts of heroes. Somehow, it seems that trying to establish a tyrannical empire in service to Hell does not fit many people's definitions of heroism. That said, I have had fun interacting with people who have characters in the Cheliax faction. As a GM, I have found the Paracountess' missives to be amusing.

Osirion ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
her innuendo-drenched faction missives.

So *that's* what they're drenched in... I could always smell them from across the room...

*

BYC wrote:

I think evil characters should be allowed. As long as the PvP rule is in place, I think evil characters are fine.

I suppose the reason this rule is put in so that paladins don't have to party with them and be unable to do something about evil characters doing evil in the middle of a scenario.

Oh well.

Nah, you'd have upset tables, PVP, and DMs kicking players all the time from their tables. And DMs quiting too. I've played enough video games, even "cooperative" video games, to know that's a really bad idea. It would be like high school again. You're always going to find griefers.

You'd always have to adventure with 1-2 buddies, just in case there are griefers in the party. Or know everyone at the table. No thanks.

Only a Cheliaxian would follow such a flawed ideology. :)

Qadira **** Venture-Captain, Idaho—Boise aka raylyynsedai

BYC wrote:
ElyasRavenwood wrote:
Interesting, I expected Taldor was the runt of the faction litter, not Cheliax. I had no idea Cheliax was the smallest and least popular faction among PFS players.

I think evil characters should be allowed. As long as the PvP rule is in place, I think evil characters are fine.

I suppose the reason this rule is put in so that paladins don't have to party with them and be unable to do something about evil characters doing evil in the middle of a scenario.

Oh well.

LN is better! it allows you to have moments of sinister and diabolical intent without limiting you to always being such. i find it is hard for most role players to remain evil for more than brief spurts, it is just not in most peoples makeup. I love playing sinister and selfish characters but in games focused on teamwork (as already pointed out)it is counter productive. remain neutral to good and evil and you can always play both sides of the fence when it adds flavor to the game session and avoid unnecessary complications to the flow of a session.

**

raylyynsedai wrote:
i find it is hard for most role players to remain evil for more than brief spurts, it is just not in most peoples makeup.

After 8 years of Armageddon I am quite adept at it. I currently have a Neutral Evil character that is working damn hard at convincing the party Paladin that I have redeemable qualities. I am commiting minor acts which could be considered good (they're really neutral), trying to find common ground with him and bond with him.

IRL I'd consider myself Lawful Good (as in, I try to follow the law and do the right thing).

raylyynsedai wrote:
I love playing sinister and selfish characters but in games focused on teamwork (as already pointed out)it is counter productive.

The other players are simply tools at my disposal. To be discarded when they no longer prove useful (i.e. at the end of the campaign).

I'm shocked to see how popular Andoran is, given how much we deride it (we basically consider Andoran to be America, with Andoran faction members the god awful people from Team America). I'd be curious to see a break down by real life country for the factions. I wouldn't be surprised if Cheliax is second, if not equal, to Andoran in Australia.

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

John Lynch 106 wrote:
I wouldn't be surprised if Cheliax is second, if not equal, to Andoran in Australia.

Not according to the sessions I've reported: Australia (Melbourne and Brisbane)

Total for Andoran 183
Total for Osirion 141
Total for Taldor 104
Total for Qadira 95
Total for Cheliax 82

Note: Australia hosted two four-day Pathfinder conventions last weekend, Conquest 2011 Melbourne, and Eyecon 2011 Sydney (not included in the above totals) but from what I observed at Conquest last weekend, it was much the same representation. I GMed one table with three Andorans and three Osirions. Chelish are rare indeed.

Cheers,
Stephen (DarkWhite)
Pathfinder Society 4-Star GM
Venture Captain, Australia

Cheliax **

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
raylyynsedai wrote:
i find it is hard for most role players to remain evil for more than brief spurts, it is just not in most peoples makeup.

After 8 years of Armageddon I am quite adept at it. I currently have a Neutral Evil character that is working damn hard at convincing the party Paladin that I have redeemable qualities. I am commiting minor acts which could be considered good (they're really neutral), trying to find common ground with him and bond with him.

IRL I'd consider myself Lawful Good (as in, I try to follow the law and do the right thing).

raylyynsedai wrote:
I love playing sinister and selfish characters but in games focused on teamwork (as already pointed out)it is counter productive.

The other players are simply tools at my disposal. To be discarded when they no longer prove useful (i.e. at the end of the campaign).

I'm shocked to see how popular Andoran is, given how much we deride it (we basically consider Andoran to be America, with Andoran faction members the god awful people from Team America). I'd be curious to see a break down by real life country for the factions. I wouldn't be surprised if Cheliax is second, if not equal, to Andoran in Australia.

That's how I play it too. Even if I was CE, I wasn't just mindlessly slaughter people for no reason. An evil character is easy to play IMO when there are no paladins around. The problem with paladins is that players take it personally and think you, the player, is trying to screw them or make them fall, not your character, and with Detect Evil, I do think it's a bit harder to justify both being in the same party.

I find a party of evil characters more difficult because somebody has to be a child and goes "haha I kill everything because I'm EVIL!" and screwing things up. One of my favorite campaigns was when my group were all playing a drow campaign where we were elite forces (basically special teams called in to capture monsters for sport in the cities or eliminate threats to city preemptively). All the characters HATED each other, PC and NPC. But out in the Underdark, we had only each other, so we never follow up on opportunities to kill each other because everybody was needed for one reason or another. As soon as we got back to the safety of the city, we disband and go off doing our own thing. It felt like high school. Everybody hated each other, but tolerated it because there were no choice.

But I wouldn't run evil parties and characters with random people. Only with players I trust that can RP well. Ironic because I was for allowing evil characters in the first place.

Grand Lodge

I can see why you aren't allowed to play evil characters in PFS. At the same time the Pathfinder Society has IC methods of dealing with these sorts of things namely agreements on acceptable actions within each group (I can't remember all the details you can find them in 'seekers of secrets').


BYC wrote:
ElyasRavenwood wrote:
Interesting, I expected Taldor was the runt of the faction litter, not Cheliax. I had no idea Cheliax was the smallest and least popular faction among PFS players.

I think evil characters should be allowed. As long as the PvP rule is in place, I think evil characters are fine.

I suppose the reason this rule is put in so that paladins don't have to party with them and be unable to do something about evil characters doing evil in the middle of a scenario.

Oh well.

I do think this may be the thrust of the issue, and I find it to be a fascinating one, truth be told. Maybe the Darklight Sisterhood needs to make a comeback as a faction for evil characters. I have had resounding successes with my players as members of the organization in my All-Girl-Game(TM), they truly surprise and impress me almost every game with the things evil characters are capable of.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

The Darklight Sisterhood are not something we have any plans on ever mentioning in any future product. As much fun as they might be, they don't totally jive with the version of Golarion that evolved from the one that existed at the time the Sisterhood were created. We have other evil organizations opposed to the Pathfinders to work with, and ones that don't exclude 50% of all PCs (assuming equal representation of both genders), and don't give themselves away by all taking the same last name. ;-)

In any case, we don't really want PCs in the organized play campaign belonging to an organization whose sole mission is to destroy the Pathfinder Society. It'd make cooperation at the table nearly impossible. At least something like Cheliax can coexist with the Society without every member of the faction feeling like they need to shiv their companions and burn down their houses.

Andoran *****

Mark Moreland wrote:
At least something like Cheliax can coexist with the Society without every member of the faction feeling like they need to shiv their companions and burn down their houses.

*puts his shiv and torch away*

ummm nothing to see here..

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
... Will newly added prestige awards allowing Cheliax faction PCs of all classes to advance in the ranks of the Hellknights be enough to keep the already low number of faithful from jumping ship?

I will be looking forward to this with great anticipation!

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Diego Winterborg wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
... Will newly added prestige awards allowing Cheliax faction PCs of all classes to advance in the ranks of the Hellknights be enough to keep the already low number of faithful from jumping ship?
I will be looking forward to this with great anticipation!

I wondered when someone was going to comment on that. All this jingoism about Cheliax and Andoran and all that folderol and no one's paying attention to my subtle hints at larger reveals down the road!

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Diego Winterborg wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
... Will newly added prestige awards allowing Cheliax faction PCs of all classes to advance in the ranks of the Hellknights be enough to keep the already low number of faithful from jumping ship?
I will be looking forward to this with great anticipation!
I wondered when someone was going to comment on that. All this jingoism about Cheliax and Andoran and all that folderol and no one's paying attention to my subtle hints at larger reveals down the road!

This is the internet.

No one ever takes a tiny portion of the text and turns it into rampant speculation, conspiracy theories or arguments.
Right?
;)

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Diego Winterborg wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
... Will newly added prestige awards allowing Cheliax faction PCs of all classes to advance in the ranks of the Hellknights be enough to keep the already low number of faithful from jumping ship?
I will be looking forward to this with great anticipation!
I wondered when someone was going to comment on that. All this jingoism about Cheliax and Andoran and all that folderol and no one's paying attention to my subtle hints at larger reveals down the road!

Hints of Crimson Throne:
One of my characters is a former Grey Maiden looking for a way to make the world make sense again after being betrayed by her former liege.

She is a cold unfeeling b+~#! devoted to the Prince of Truth and has long sought a way to enter the Hell Knights, without compromising her chosen partial path [the feat-hungry build I have planned for her :)].

She would jump at such a Prestige Award in the blink of an eye!

*

San-Chez wrote:
baron arem heshvaun silent it that all it takes to shut Noel up

Ye of little faith. The Baron's Aspect was first to post on this blog.

Qadira **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Diego Winterborg wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
... Will newly added prestige awards allowing Cheliax faction PCs of all classes to advance in the ranks of the Hellknights be enough to keep the already low number of faithful from jumping ship?
I will be looking forward to this with great anticipation!
I wondered when someone was going to comment on that. All this jingoism about Cheliax and Andoran and all that folderol and no one's paying attention to my subtle hints at larger reveals down the road!

I saw it but thought you were teasing...mmm. That may make my monk more interesting.

EDIT: but what about all these chaotic Barbarians and witches I've seen running around in the Cheliax faction. Are the Hellknights really going to let them in?

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
teribithia9 wrote:
EDIT: but what about all these chaotic Barbarians and witches I've seen running around in the Cheliax faction. Are the Hellknights really going to let them in?

Unacceptable. They must be purged!

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Alorha

Diego Winterborg wrote:
teribithia9 wrote:
EDIT: but what about all these chaotic Barbarians and witches I've seen running around in the Cheliax faction. Are the Hellknights really going to let them in?
Unacceptable. They must be purged!

So long as they sow their chaos elsewhere, outside our glorious lands, let them go about their misguided ways. So long as they serve us, who cares if they act the part of disorderly fools?

Qadira **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Alorha wrote:
Diego Winterborg wrote:
teribithia9 wrote:
EDIT: but what about all these chaotic Barbarians and witches I've seen running around in the Cheliax faction. Are the Hellknights really going to let them in?
Unacceptable. They must be purged!
So long as they sow their chaos elsewhere, outside our glorious lands, let them go about their misguided ways. So long as they serve us, who cares if they act the part of disorderly fools?

If they're in the Hellknights organization, they're not really sowing their chaos outside our glorious lands, are they?

Osirion

I'm gonna have to agree,

From my, albeit limited experience, the main disuasion for Cheliax is the lack of ability to play evil characters.

From a rules perspective I can understand, it's less headaches all round if you say no evil rather than, 'please play a character unlikely to try and kill other party members', not to mention sounds a touch better.

For Cheliax though it does put a limiter on things.

I've no doubt though more experienced players will be able to tell me otherwise

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Alorha wrote:


So long as they sow their chaos elsewhere, outside our glorious lands, let them go about their misguided ways. So long as they serve us, who cares if they act the part of disorderly fools?

Exactly right. The "using" of chaotic, society-disrupting, creatures in other lands (namely Andoran) will foster dissent among the populace and commoners will clammer for law and order.

When the Hellknights or other Chelaxian groups arrive and show them the organizational benefits of the Cheliax model, they will fall over themselves to invite said groups in to depose their impotent local leaders.

And Cheliax will once again rule the inner sea.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Vermont—Brattleboro aka ElyasRavenwood

When asked what we are going to do to re absorb rebellious territories that left the fold, such as Andoran, as a Legate of Asmodeus, and a Citizen of the Glorius empire of Cheliax, I useally reply, "we don't have to do anything.....we simply have to wait. Andoran's experiment in "liberty " will eventually implode and collapse into the chaos that is Galt. The citizens will yearn for the order our empire can provide, and then we can march in and save the Andoran province from the depredations of Mob rule."

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