Pathfinder Companion: Cheliax, Empire of Devils (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 9 ratings)
Pathfinder Companion: Cheliax, Empire of Devils (PFRPG)
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Seventy years ago, the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune defeated its rivals in a bloody civil war following the death of the god of humanity, bringing order to the war-torn nation of Cheliax—but at a price. Now the imperial bureaucracy enforces devil-worship as the state religion, and the common people bow their heads in perpetual servitude to the dark lord of Hell. Fortunately, Cheliax still has heroes: crusaders and revolutionaries motivated by glory, honor, greed for the throne, or hatred of what their land has become under the infernal thumb of Asmodeus.

This Pathfinder Companion describes the nation of Cheliax, its diabolical capital of Egorian, and its shadow-haunted former capital of Westcrown. Inside you’ll also find new character traits, magic items, spells, combat feats, and Chelish NPCs suitable for cohorts or contacts. This book is perfect for use in the Council of Thieves Adventure Path, set in the city of Westcrown, or any adventure taking place in a nation of devils and decadence.

Written by Jonathan H. Keith, Colin McComb, Steven E. Schend, Leandra Christine Schneider, and Amber E. Scott

Each bimonthly 32-page Pathfinder Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for social, magic, religious, and combat-focused characters, as well as a persona section detailing helpful NPCs and traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-191-6

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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****½ (based on 9 ratings)

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Solid Introduction to a Fascinating Setting

****( )

Cheliax, Empire of Devils is a solid entry in Paizo's line of Player's Companions for Pathfinder. The nation of Cheliax provides a far different feel than that of most fantasy, as it's a land where the rulers have openly made pacts with the devils! It's a dark and oppressive place to live, and one wrong word can bring the Inquisitors to one's door. I've read about several different areas in Golarion, and Cheliax is one of the most interesting and original. Cheliax, Empire of Devils contains the following:

* A map of the city of Westcrown on the inside front cover. The map isn't particularly good or detailed, and one doesn't see any cartographic talent at work.

* A twelve-page overview of Cheliax. This is one of those all-too rare occasions where the history of a fictional land is actually quite fascinating! This section a lot of useful information on the culture of Cheliax, as well as its leadership, perception of neighboring countries, organizations (such as the famous Hellknights), and even a few paragraphs on the arts scene(!). Some of this will naturally be more useful to GMs than players, but it was still done well.

* A two-page description of Egorian, a major city in Cheliax. There's a brief overview of the different districts of the town, but this was fairly bland.

* A two-page description of Westcrown, Cheliax's former capital before the pact with demons was made. As with the discussion of Egorian, there's not a lot of detail here and the material is probably of more interest to GMs.

* A section titled "Social" that contains brief one- or two-line descriptions of how the different core classes are perceived in Cheliax and then several new traits. This may be the most useful part of the book for PCs, and it's done well (if short).

* Four pages on "Magic & Spells", introducing several new magic items and spells. Good flavour links them to Cheliax.

* Two pages on "Faith." Purely descriptive, but good as far as it goes.

* "Combat", another two-page section. This is chock-full of feats, but contains an interesting sidebar on battle slang and one new weapon.

* Four NPCs detailed (with descriptions, pictures, and full stat blocks) in a "Persona" section. This would be really useful for a GM, but (apart from maybe integration into a backstory) of little value to players.

* The inside back cover has a map of Egorian. It's better than the map of Westcrown, but still falls a bit flat.

A word about the art: oddly, the cover art is much worse than the interior art! There's some absolutely gorgeous artwork inside (see pages 20 and 26 for examples).

Overall, this is another of Paizo's early entries in the Player's Companion line wherein they still hadn't found the right distinction between material for players and material for GMs. That being said, it's a good book and I'd recommend it.


Almost perfect

****( )

This is probably my favorite Pathfinder product by a wide margin. In it are new spells, feats, traits, magic items, NPC statistic blocks, and just about everything you need to help flesh out adventures your adventures set in Cheliax. There are even a couple of nice maps on the insides of the covers of two major cities. It is excellent for players and GMs alike, and contains plenty of fluff along with all of the options that it presents. As Cheliax is my favorite place to set homebrew adventures in, this supplement book has been a boon. It is short, but fulfills its goal well while being reasonably priced, and I wouldn’t want to run an urban adventure in Cheliax without it.

I simply couldn’t put a review up without handing out a bit of criticism though (even if it is very little- my issues with this book are few and far in between). There isn’t a map of the actual country included, only its major cities. A few of the character options presented feel a bit on the strong side as well (Emergency Force Sphere comes to mind).

Overall this book is a near to perfect a supplement you can hope for. You won’t regret purchasing it.


The Devil, You Say!

****( )

One of the distinguishing factors seperating Golarion from all the other worlds is the importance of Hell as the nemesis of good. Demons this and Demon Queen of that are the order of the day in the Forgotten Realms. Now, see how just a little evil can go a very long way, exploring how a country that made a deal with the Devil fares.

Check out my full review Cheliax, Empire of Devils


A solid addition to the Companion line.

****( )

This book is 36 pages long. Cover, city map of Westcrown, and ToC. Take up 3 pages.

Chapter 1 – Introduction to Cheliax and History (12 pages)
It talks about the country, the history, society, military, glossary of terms, entertainment etc. It gives a brief overview of the country, where it came from and what it is like today. It also has a section of geography of the country and talking about each area of the country.

Chapter 2 – Cities of Cheliax (4 pages)
This gives a brief overview of two of the important cities of Cheliax, the former and current capitals.
Egorian Capital of Cheliax (2 pages)
Westcrown (2 pages)

Chapter 3 – Social (2 pages)
It has a section on how most classes are seen in Cheliax and Chelish traits.

Chapter 4 – Magic (4 pages)
This chapter is about magic items and spells. There is 7 new magic items, and 7 new spells.

Chapter 5 – Religion (2 pages)
This section talks about the role religion plays, while it is mostly about Asmodeus church, it does touch on other religions.

Chapter 6 – Combat (2 pages)
11 new feats mostly combat feats and 1 new weapon.

Chapter 7 – Persona (4 pages)
5 complete NPC's with history and stat blocks. They can be used as replacement PC's, NPC's, cohorts, villians etc.

It closes with 1 page of ads with the OGL, map of Egorian and back cover.

Conclusion, I liked this one. The magic and combat sections I thought was especially well done and IMHO the best such sections for one of these books so far. The NPC's are well done, but I am meh about them. I tend to like to make my own so they are of limited use to me. The city sections give a nice vague overview of each city but I wish they had added at least one more page to each of them. The social and religion chapters are pretty much what you would expect.

The largest section is the first and I think it does a pretty good job of giving one a decent view of what Cheliax is like with enough information that you should be able to bring it to life for your players. If you are a fan of Cheliax I highly recommend this book or if you are just looking for more information about the world of Golarion. I am giving it a 4 star, I think it is a good book but could have been a bit better.


No map of Cheliax and inconsistencies in an otherwise good supplement

***( )( )

A book about the Empire of Cheliax that doesn't contain a map of the place? Yes, there are maps of the 2 main cities (quite inconsistent in their presentation) but what about the land itself? It's as if owning the Pathfinder Campaign Setting is a prerequisite to actually making sense of this book, something which is not really written in the product's description. The other problem I had is that while it presents things in Pathfinder RPG compatible format largely, there are some inconsistencies, for example a feat that still refers to the old grappling rules. Otherwise this is a good book with some interesting bits and a very nice presentation.


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Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Westcrown sounded full of potential, just in the Campaign Setting - I look forward to seeing how it develops.

Liberty's Edge

GeraintElberion wrote:
Westcrown sounded full of potential, just in the Campaign Setting - I look forward to seeing how it develops.

Agreed, I to will be keeping an eye on how this one evolves!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

We've just announced a new direction for Player's Guides, so Pathfinder Companion: Council of Thieves Player's Guide has become Pathfinder Companion: Cheliax, Empire of Devils. If you see the old cover, reload your browser's image cache.

Liberty's Edge

mmm lovely :)
I want it

Dark Archive

Montalve wrote:

mmm lovely :)

I want it

Me too! =)

Dark Archive

I am so looking forward to this one, yeah i know it is a long long way off.


Montalve wrote:

mmm lovely :)

I want it

So you see the error of your ways, eh? Abandon those starry-eyed delusionists of Andoran and hitch your wagon to the Crimson Star.

Dark Archive

KaeYoss wrote:
Montalve wrote:

mmm lovely :)

I want it
So you see the error of your ways, eh? Abandon those starry-eyed delusionists of Andoran and hitch your wagon to the Crimson Star.

Yeah, we have the best parties, don't we? ;)

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Saaaaweeeeet!

Turn the mutha upside down!

Zuxius

Scarab Sages

I am so getting this. I was pouting after reading the 2 pages of info in the campaign setting. When I turned the page and saw no more on Cheliax, tears ran down my cheeks.

Not really, but I am stoked that this is coming out and the next adventure path is in cheliax. I have so many player concepts for this place. :D

Dark Archive

Curtis Sheldon wrote:

I am so getting this. I was pouting after reading the 2 pages of info in the campaign setting. When I turned the page and saw no more on Cheliax, tears ran down my cheeks.

Not really, but I am stoked that this is coming out and the next adventure path is in cheliax. I have so many player concepts for this place. :D

Join the revolution! Let's bring down those Taldorian dandies with the help of the secrets revealed in this mighty tome!


How much work will be involved to convert the PFRPG traits in this and future companions back to 3.5e traits? Will traits in the PF Companions going forward be comparable in power-level with the OGL 3.5e traits in the previous companions?

Contributor

Traits haven't changed, they're still supposed to be about the equivalent of half a feat.

Scarab Sages

Wolf Munroe wrote:
How much work will be involved to convert the PFRPG traits in this and future companions back to 3.5e traits? Will traits in the PF Companions going forward be comparable in power-level with the OGL 3.5e traits in the previous companions?

;) oh it's really simple, you just upgrade to Pathfinder heh.


Xaaon of Xen'Drik wrote:
;) oh it's really simple, you just upgrade to Pathfinder heh.

I plan to get the PFRPG core book and bestiary but I have no intention of switching systems for the foreseeable future. I'll get the book and read it, and it will probably join Monte Cook's World of Darkness, Ghostwalk Campaign Option, and d20 Modern Core Rulebook (and Urban Arcana) on my shelf as a possible variant d20 game. Unlike a couple core books, the Pathfinder Companions are a regular expenditure and I need to know that the starting traits in the upcoming PFRPG-compatible companions are easy enough to integrate with the existing OGL 3.5e starting traits I already have in my current companions. I already expect the included prestige classes to change significantly as they're re-balanced for PFRPG but honestly the traits are much more likely to see actual use than the regional prestige classes.

Since Sean K. Reynolds has said they'll still be worth about half a feat, that's good enough for me. (And, SKR, I do plan to use Ghostwalk eventually.)


Just to follow-up on my previous post, I just read the sample PFRPG cleric entry in the Paizo blog (I only read it intermittently) and I may have to eat my words afterall. The changes sound kind of awesome.

Liberty's Edge

Wolf Munroe wrote:
Just to follow-up on my previous post, I just read the sample PFRPG cleric entry in the Paizo blog (I only read it intermittently) and I may have to eat my words afterall. The changes sound kind of awesome.

The Dark Side has cable ^_^


Since I'm already planning on Chelish influence in a campaign I'm running this will come in very useful...

Scarab Sages

Since I now know I will be playing in this adventure path after DM'ing the Legacy of Fire, I am wondering how a HellBred Crusader will work in this Adventure Path.

I know a Crusader will be fine, it is more the HellBred part I am concerned about. :D

I would love to hear the concerns or comments on what other DM's preparing for this AP might do if presented with a player wanting to run a HellBred.

Thanks,

CC

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

The cover and description have been updated to match the finished product.

Dark Archive

Oh I really like the cover of this one.

Grand Lodge

Yay I see Steven's name. Must be one of the things he kept teasing me that he couldn't tell what he was working on. The other being an article in the next AP (after CoT). YAY!!!

Contributor

Andrew Betts wrote:
Yay I see Steven's name. Must be one of the things he kept teasing me that he couldn't tell what he was working on. The other being an article in the next AP (after CoT). YAY!!!

Hmm, I dunno if that is what Steven was referring to. :)

Silver Crusade

Centaurs make such awesome Hellknights.

Man, Amiri and Seoni have been rocking out on the past couple of Companion covers, eh? Always stirring something up!

Grand Lodge

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Andrew Betts wrote:
Yay I see Steven's name. Must be one of the things he kept teasing me that he couldn't tell what he was working on. The other being an article in the next AP (after CoT). YAY!!!
Hmm, I dunno if that is what Steven was referring to. :)

Great, now more people tease me. I'll have to harass Steven and tell him other buddies of his tease me ... grrr :-P. Maybe if I can get that imp to possess someone again ...

Again Grr to you SKR!

*mumbles* Must find moon destruction cannon.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
The cover and description have been updated to match the finished product.

Who is the cover artist?

Contributor

Cover artist is Matt Dixon. Woo! :)


Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Evocative illustration!

Dark Archive

A very good illustration, which is only fitting, as this tome deals with the mightiest, most glorious empire on Golarion! Feel free to weep and moan now, Taldorians and Qadirans! ;P

EDIT: And I wish to add that it's great to see Steven contributing to this book! =)

Shadow Lodge

Is this going to available at GenCon? Or should I just preorder?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Michael Gear wrote:
Is this going to available at GenCon? Or should I just preorder?

We do expect to have it at Gen Con.

Shadow Lodge

Sweet. I can't wait to get my hands on this.

Shadow Lodge

Vic Wertz wrote:
Michael Gear wrote:
Is this going to available at GenCon? Or should I just preorder?
We do expect to have it at Gen Con.

reminder: must buy a more sturdy suitcase


Michael Gear wrote:


reminder: must buy a more sturdy suitcase

Man, I wish I could make it this year. I'd love to see how Nimh fares under a few other GMs (then again, I haven't seen him after going through Chris' GM grinder).

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Awesome preview! It's been almost two years since I first heard about Cheliax and I'm finally getting it. I can't wait!

On a slightly more technical note, who were the artists for these fine pieces of art, and why can I am I not allowed to click on Abrogail to make her bigger?

Dark Archive

MUST -- slurp! -- have!


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:

Awesome preview! It's been almost two years since I first heard about Cheliax and I'm finally getting it. I can't wait!

On a slightly more technical note, who were the artists for these fine pieces of art, and why can I am I not allowed to click on Abrogail to make her bigger?

Your inappropriate clicking will be reported to Nessus.

BTW: just change the jpeg at the end of the URL to jpg.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

yoda8myhead wrote:

Awesome preview! It's been almost two years since I first heard about Cheliax and I'm finally getting it. I can't wait!

On a slightly more technical note, who were the artists for these fine pieces of art, and why can I am I not allowed to click on Abrogail to make her bigger?

Sarah was out of the office today. And instead of guessing or putting off the blog post until tomorrow... we decided to post it today and then ask her tomorrow who painted the pieces. If we remember to do that, we'll probably ammend the blog post as appropriate. If we don't it might be because we all passed out from heat exhaustion.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Michael Gear wrote:
Is this going to available at GenCon? Or should I just preorder?
We do expect to have it at Gen Con.

Yet more money to be spent at the Paizo booth...

My poor, poor wallet...

Dark Archive

yoda8myhead wrote:
Awesome preview! It's been almost two years since I first heard about Cheliax and I'm finally getting it. I can't wait! why can I am I not allowed to click on Abrogail to make her bigger?

You need to join the Cheliax fold for that priviledge.

Master Yoda, you disappoint me, and others have spoken of you so highly, should you not have joined the Cheliax Faction by now ?

I pray that you join Cheliax legions before you join those enslaved by thier foolish ideals and our irons.

James Jacobs wrote:
it might be because we all passed out from heat exhaustion.

Relish the heat James ! Or perhaps you would like accommodations on our 8th layer.

Shadow Lodge

KnightErrantJR wrote:
Michael Gear wrote:


reminder: must buy a more sturdy suitcase
Man, I wish I could make it this year. I'd love to see how Nimh fares under a few other GMs (then again, I haven't seen him after going through Chris' GM grinder).

Heh...he does fine, HUGE in social situations and microscopic in combat. Though, I'm not sure what kind of changes he faces once converted/recreated in the PFRPG mold. He may become, down right, dangerous as a party buffer.

Gear

Dark Archive

I have a fluff question: Why is the ruler of Cheliax a queen? Shouldn't she be an empress?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
nightflier wrote:
I have a fluff question: Why is the ruler of Cheliax a queen? Shouldn't she be an empress?

If she wants to be called a queen, who's really going to tell her no?

Dark Archive

Cheliax is an LE bureaucratic empire, populated with sticklers for law and order. It is totally out of character for their ruler to assume incorrect title and - even more - less prestigious one than she's entitled to.

Silver Crusade

nightflier wrote:
Cheliax is an LE bureaucratic empire, populated with sticklers for law and order. It is totally out of character for their ruler to assume incorrect title and - even more - less prestigious one than she's entitled to.

Don't forget, she's also like twelve years old or so.

And the monarchy-on-top-of-a-heavily-regulated-bureaucratic state has been established as as something Chelish are wont to do already, with Korvosa.

'Sides, can't have that little brat taking on airs. Might make the devil huggers confident that they can throw down with their neighbors without losing some teeth over it.[/andoran]

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
nightflier wrote:
Cheliax is an LE bureaucratic empire, populated with sticklers for law and order. It is totally out of character for their ruler to assume incorrect title and - even more - less prestigious one than she's entitled to.

Queen Victoria was a Queen even though she was also Empress of India etc, etc. Her full title no doubt fills pages, but she is a Queen because the important part of her empire (Cheliax) is a monarchy, not a republic. Besides, it's so obvious that she's ruler of the outflung dominions why draw attention to it? Anyone would think she was a Taldoran dandy rather than the modest, rightful leader she is.

Dark Archive

Queen Victoria isn't the best example. Calling an empress queen is pretty much the same as calling the president of USA 'governor'. But, I've noticed that Americans generally make mistakes with those kind of things, like using 'your highness' or 'your grace' when speaking to ruling monarch. But... during the middle ages my own country had a tradition of 'young kings'. When the ruler was crowned as king, his son would assume the title 'young king', even if he was underage. When Serbia became empire, the emperor's young son assumed the title of king, and after his father's death he became the emperor. I would suggest to designers that when queen of Cheliax comes of age she should become an empress, or add imperial title to her royal one. "All bow to the Scarlet Empress and Infernal Queen of Cheliax, or face the might of Crimson Legions!", that kind of thing. Other Europeans on this board should confirm that there is a hugeenormous difference between queen and empress.

Liberty's Edge

The precise form of address and title of any head of state, whether Queen, President, Crown Prince, etc, gets pretty complicated. I think it depends on history, tradition, and culture as much as a simple right/wrong way. I'm sure I read ages ago that for a particular principality the correct form of address of the Crown Prince/Princess was His/Her Majesty, even though that usually gets used for Kings/Queens. That being, said I don't really know what really makes a head of state a King or Queen instead of a Prince/Princess. Anybody care to enlighten me?

I've just had a quick look on wikipedia and found these two pages, which I thought might interest some people.

Style (manner of address)
Forms of Address in the UK

I knew we got pretty convoluted in the UK, but I was shocked at how long the full title of the current Queen really was. I knicked this from another wikipedia article (Titles of Elizabeth II), its pretty long so I've spoilered it...

Spoiler:
Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith,[1] Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich,[N 1] Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Mercy, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

I think my personal favourite title is one I heard recently at a meeting. The proper form of address for the Crown Prince/Princess of Monaco; His/Her Serene Highness. Apparently, its a mistranslation from German, although I think its still pretty nice.

Hmm, anyway, I think that was my long-winded way of saying that I agree with Paul; the head of state of Cheliax can call herself whatever she damn well pleases and who's going to stop her!

Ukos

Dark Archive

Allow me to continue to play devil's advocate. In our world - western part of it, anyway - title of emperor has it's origins in Roman Empire. There were only two emperors - of East and West, and after the fall of Constantinopol only the Holy Roman Emperor (of German people) remained. Eventually, the Russian rulers became inheritors of the Eastern Roman emperors. British rulers gained imperial title because of their possession of India and territories of ancient Mogul empire and their imperial title doesn't have anything to do with the politics of European continent. In the western world wars were fought over possession of the imperial title. Kings of Prussia warred with the rest of German peoples in order to unite them in one state, but to become emperors as well. Napoleon fought with Habsburgs so that he could be sole Emperor of Europe. To conclude: there is enormous prestige in the imperial title. Emperor is way above king.

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