Old Cheliax

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

In the history of Golarion, no empire has reached the heights of influence nor seen that influence ripped away by revolutionaries and anarchists than Cheliax—at least if modern accounts of Chelish history are to be believed. But in today’s Cheliax, ruled by Her Infernal Majestrix, Queen Abrogail II of the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune, the truth is malleable and is often altered to support the reigning regime rather than objective fact. From the outside, Cheliax appears as a failing state, whose territories have slipped through its fingers in the wake of decades of tyrannical rule by devil-worshipping nobles more concerned with their own power than the plight of their people, an empire in decline despite its own claims to the contrary.

A dark landscape, cloudy and tinged in reds and dark purples. Through light mist, low stairs lead up to an imposing gothic cathedral with ornate towers peaking in pointed spires. It dominates the city skyline, with prominent iconography of Asmodeus, including his pentagram religious symbol, displayed in its architecture.

Illustration by Roman Roland Kuteynikov

At the heart of the Old Cheliax meta-region is Cheliax itself. Two recent revolutions (one successful, the other not so much) within their borders have shown the people the precarious position their government and aristocracy find themselves in. In response to growing anti-Thrune sentiment, the infernal agents of the throne have redoubled their efforts to stamp out any discord and promote the propagandic party line of both House Thrune and the church of Asmodeus. Despite this, the downtrodden and abused commoners of Cheliax know of the success of the Silver Ravens in Ravounel and of the folly of mounting an overt assault on House Thrune as the Glorious Reclamation attempted to do, and they have adapted. With the help of the Firebrands and allied organizations like the Twilight Talons of Andoran and the halfling abolitionists of the Bellflower Network, small cells of dissenting Chelish revolutionaries are gaining a foothold in the deep shadows. Will the agents of the crown, the Hellknights sworn to maintain law and order, and the Asmodean church be enough to put out any new sparks of freedom that may take light in the dry kindling of the authoritarian regime?

A grey-skinned humanoid female with long, thin ridged horns, arms up and one knee raised in a battle stance. Long dark hair is pilled back from the face in a braid past their waist. They are clothed in red monk robes and pants, with white lower leg coverings bound by criss-crossing straps from their leather shoes. A simple bangle bracelet adorns each wrist.

Illustration by Tomasz Chistowski

The successful revolution that has so effectively inspired the people of Cheliax to consider alternatives to the status quo is that of Ravounel. Formerly a Chelish archduchy, Ravounel began its struggle for sovereignty in 4716 AR behind the revolutionaries of Kintargo known as the Silver Ravens. At the same time, the Iomedaen crusaders of the Glorious Reclamation attacked Cheliax in Westcrown far to the south. Its armies and resources split between the two fronts, Cheliax could only win one war, and in 4717 House Thrune was forced to recognize Ravounel’s independence. Today, Ravounel’s focus is on building the foundation of a stable government to last for generations to come and establishing trade with its neighbors along Avistan and Garund’s western coasts.

A flag with the top half colored blue and the bottom half colored silver. The center of the flag has a shield emblem that is pointed at the bottom. Two vertical blue stripes run vertically down each side of this shield and one down the center. A set of black and white laurel branches are set at the bottom of the shield and rest of each side.  Above the shield is a silver diamond-shaped symbol incorporating wings for the three lower points.

Illustration by Rogier van de Beek

Aside from Cheliax, Ravounel shares a border with the shadow-shrouded nation of Nidal—the oldest continuous nation state in the entire region. Founded by followers of Zon-Kuthon emboldened during the Age of Darkness, the isolationist nation is ruled by a secret cabal of shadowcasters known as the Black Triune. During the period of Chelish expansion known as the Everwar, Cheliax formally annexed Nidal, though the latter never truly ceded its independence to Chelish rule. Instead, the Black Triune maintained near total control of the shadowy nation by Chelish grace. Even under control of House Thrune, Nidal has been left largely to its own devices, though the common ground between Zon-Kuthon’s and Asmodeus’s faiths have strengthened the nations’ alliance.

A slim stone tower with many windows sits in the background, but more alarming are the large zig-zagging chasms opened in the ground leading to to it, breaking up grass and path. Huge tendrils of wispy black shadow extend from the depths.

Illustration by Fabio Gorla

In Isger, to Cheliax’s northeast, however, things are not so cordial. Isger is a vassal in every form of the word, with its ruler, Hedvend VI little more than a thrall under Abrogail’s iron rule. Despite its close ties to Cheliax, Isger gets little benefit from its powerful liege state’s influence, instead sending its resources to Cheliax with little in return. This dynamic was never more evident than two decades ago, when the goblins of Isger’s Chitterwood, under hobgoblin commanders, attacked much of the unprotected countryside surrounding the forest. During the ensuing Goblinblood Wars, the armies not only of Cheliax but Andoran and Druma had to come to the Isgeri’s aid, and casualties were high on both sides. Even 20 years on, Isger is still recovering from the bloody conflict, but a glimmer of hope has arisen, for among the surviving goblins, a new alliance of likeminded tribes has begun reaching out to the local human population in the hopes of preventing future conflicts between goblinoids and other ancestries from causing the same level of devastation. And with the undead threat around Lake Encarthan growing, the Isgeri largely welcome any allies they can get as their government largely ignores their needs in order to lick their Chelish masters’ boots.

A path through deep, old woods. It appears to be night time. In the foreground right, a pair of females in cloaks are tucked away behind large tree roots, staring in horror at the path where a string of undead with arrows in their abdomens, are being attacked by torch-wielding goblins. The undead in the foreground has a gleeful goblin sitting on its shoulders, legs wrapped around the undead’s neck as it tries to light fire to its head.

Illustration by Michele Giorgi

Players hailing from or adventuring in the region can look forward to seven new backgrounds such as Chelish rebel, Goblinblood orphan, or Thrune loyalist, as well as the Hellknight Armiger archetype, which allows members of all classes to begin their journey as a keeper of law and order as early as 2nd level! Look for a new piece of horror-tinged flash fiction from Liane Merciel later this week as the Tales of Lost Omens series continues. Next week we’ll venture to one of Cheliax’s more distant former holdings, the frontier region of Varisia and its larger meta-region of the Saga Lands.

A formidable dark skinned woman with no hair stands sideways to the viewer, her head tilted as she measures them silently. She has the outline of a sun with a dot in the center in the middle of her forehead. She wears dark fitted armor with spikes on the elbows and shoulders. Her left hand wrists on the scabbard of a long sword with a crescent moon on the pommel of the hilt. She wears a red cape across her right shoulder.

Illustration by Biagio d'Alessandro

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Most of the PCs from past Adventure Paths are probably busy making sure that their work doesn't get catastrophically undone or perverted, and on top of that possibly trying to cover for some other PCs who are missing in action or even slacking from their job:

** spoiler omitted **

I had assumed the Strange Aeons group was busy trying to keep the sort of knowledge that is liable to destroy the world out of people's hands or private collections, having had personal experience with it.

Shadow Lodge

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NightTrace wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:


Thanks, I hate it.
I mean, alright? I'd say wait for them to officially be revealed and if I'm right, then make them something else if that's what you want to do.

Sorry, I should have been clearer rather than going for a pithy Lindsay Ellis reference.

What I had really been hoping for was that the revolutions in Ravounel and Vidrian, and the Glorious Reclamation, would sound the tocsin for the formation of international constellations the way the January Uprising of 1863 sounded the tocsin for the formation of the League of Peace and Freedom and the International Workingmen's Association (if not moreso - the January Uprising was not successful). The Adventurer's Guide had hinted at something like this, showing the SRs forming alliances with groups like the Bellflower Network, the Eagle Knights, and that one Gray Maiden faction whose name I can't remember. This blog post paints a different picture, where each group, including the Firebrands, confines its activities to its own country.


One thing to keep in mind is that a general sourcebook might contain primarily widely understood information and there are more things going on behind the scenes than they're going to commit to the page without a good reason for doing so.

So it's entirely conceivable that the SRs are, very quietly, assisting every revolutionary group they can trust, we just won't hear specifics until the actual Cheliax book. Since they have an incentive to appear as though Ravounel is abiding by the terms of their treaty. I feel like the World Guide should mostly reflect the knowledge that would lie in the intersection of knowledgeable people from all over the presented region(s)- so things which are not known outside of a region are more appropriate for a more specific book.

But as for a worldwide uprising or organization, I'm pretty sure the nature of the setting being extremely compartmentalized makes this unfeasible. Like Golarion is structured so you can have gothic horror in one part of the map, king solomon's mines in another part of the map, pirate adventures, viking adventures, conan fights robots, etc. None of these themes really mix together well, so what's happening in Ustalav is probably never going to influence what's happening in Katapesh.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:


But how will we read all of the writings of an immortal Liane Merciel?

I don't know about the rest of you, but from what I saw of her in the PaizoCon videos, she looks like she will easily outlive me even without unnatural life extension.

Or she is already immortal


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Before there can be any sort of international human rights movement, the Inner Sea region needs to deal with more basic issues such as slavery. A relatively simple anti-slavery coalition would be more realistic in the current situation.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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Zaister wrote:
Shouldn't the date for the Silver Ravens and the Glorious Reclamation be 4716 AR instead of 4616 AR?

Yes, that was a typo on my part. I'll get that fixed.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
What I had really been hoping for was that the revolutions in Ravounel and Vidrian, and the Glorious Reclamation, would sound the tocsin for the formation of international constellations the way the January Uprising of 1863 sounded the tocsin for the formation of the League of Peace and Freedom and the International Workingmen's Association (if not moreso - the January Uprising was not successful). The Adventurer's Guide had hinted at something like this, showing the SRs forming alliances with groups like the Bellflower Network, the Eagle Knights, and that one Gray Maiden faction whose name I can't remember. This blog post paints a different picture, where each group, including the Firebrands, confines its activities to its own country.

We've already included Firebrands from a completely different part of the world in one of the Tales of Lost Omens, so they're by no means constrained to a single country.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So the Firebrands could well be that international abolitionist coalition. If real world history is any guide, they should be able to end the (legal) slave trade long before they end slavery itself.

Shadow Lodge

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David knott 242 wrote:

Before there can be any sort of international human rights movement, the Inner Sea region needs to deal with more basic issues such as slavery. A relatively simple anti-slavery coalition would be more realistic in the current situation.

Not only is slavery a quintessential human (sic.) rights issue, it and serfdom were issues with which the organizations I mentioned concerned themselves intimately in the 1860s and 70s. I would imagine any equivalent on Golarion would do the same.


I find it kind of funny that the only nation in the Inner Sea region that cares enough about the rights of all peoples to not only define it in a governing charter but also to rigorously enforce said charter is Geb.

Shadow Lodge

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Mark Moreland wrote:
We've already included Firebrands from a completely different part of the world in one of the Tales of Lost Omens, so they're by no means constrained to a single country.

Tantalizing! I assume Katapesh, and that the ToLO post would be from around the time of the Golden Road post, but would it be too much to trouble you for a link?

Also, is that "from" as in "originating from" or "from" as in "operating in?"

Paizo Employee Developer

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
We've already included Firebrands from a completely different part of the world in one of the Tales of Lost Omens, so they're by no means constrained to a single country.

Tantalizing! I assume Katapesh, and that the ToLO post would be from around the time of the Golden Road post, but would it be too much to trouble you for a link?

Also, is that "from" as in "originating from" or "from" as in "operating in?"

They had a brief mention in the Golden Road blog. The High Seas fiction also features a Firebrand ship. The Firebrands operate all over the Inner Sea region, though their origins are more tied to Ravounel and Vidrian. You'll get a chance to take a deep dive into the Firebrands in the Lost Omens Character Guide.


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VerBeeker wrote:

Also that last picture got me thinking of a new Goblin Chant.

“Goblins chew and Goblins Bite! No Longer Do You Fear the Night! Walking, Walking are the Deads! We go out and take their Heads! Grave Flesh Burns Like a Pyre! We help Kill with lots of Fire!”

"Bash the zombie, make it burn,

Hunt the dead at every turn,
Chop the ghoul and torch the wight,
Goblins always own the night!
Burn the walkers, take their heads,
We be goblins! YOU STAY DEAD!"


So I guess there's no real for the Hell's Vengeance PCs to backstab House Thrune and take the Throne of Cheliax for themselves, then?


Ventnor wrote:
So I guess there's no real for the Hell's Vengeance PCs to backstab House Thrune and take the Throne of Cheliax for themselves, then?

We're trying to figure out how to work in our Hell's Vengeance game in which the "heroes" abandoned Westcrown to the Glorious Revolution (and the Council of Thieves party) after laying waste to the assembled Thrune forces because they held more animus for Abrogail than Alexeara. It feels like this is a huge divergence from canon, but we kind of like it.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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Ventnor wrote:
So I guess there's no real for the Hell's Vengeance PCs to backstab House Thrune and take the Throne of Cheliax for themselves, then?

Sure. In your version of Golarion, it can be whatever you and your players want it to be. We can't publish versions of the setting that incorporate all possible outcomes of every adventure, but luckily it's a compartmentalized setting so if you need to change Cheliax to reflect your home campaign, it shouldn't affect your ability to use material set in other parts of the world as-written.


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Firebrands are the best. We're not just in own place, we're everywhere. And we look good doing what we're doing when we're there!

Shadow Lodge

Shensen wrote:
Firebrands are the best. We're not just in own place, we're everywhere. And we look good doing what we're doing when we're there!

Who's the "we" in that sentence? Your loyalties are elsewhere.


Good thing for Shensen is- Bard mixed with fighter is a lot more viable this time around.

Shadow Lodge

Luis Loza wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
We've already included Firebrands from a completely different part of the world in one of the Tales of Lost Omens, so they're by no means constrained to a single country.

Tantalizing! I assume Katapesh, and that the ToLO post would be from around the time of the Golden Road post, but would it be too much to trouble you for a link?

Also, is that "from" as in "originating from" or "from" as in "operating in?"

They had a brief mention in the Golden Road blog. The High Seas fiction also features a Firebrand ship. The Firebrands operate all over the Inner Sea region, though their origins are more tied to Ravounel and Vidrian. You'll get a chance to take a deep dive into the Firebrands in the Lost Omens Character Guide.

I'm terribly confused. Are they a unitary organization, or an organization to which other organizations can affiliate, or both?

Paizo Employee Developer

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
I'm terribly confused. Are they a unitary organization, or an organization to which other organizations can affiliate, or both?

It's a little of both. They are an organization that exists in various pockets throughout the Inner Sea region, with each pocket possibly being different from the rest. The organization as a whole shares common values, however, so Firebrands from one place can easily join up with Firebrands from elsewhere. All will make sense once you have the Character Guide in your hands. :)


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I feel like the details of clandestine organizations are best left vague barring the need to reveal specific information to tell a specific story. Doing this lets GMs make them as omnipresent and competent (or not) as they need to be.

Like we've gone 10 years without knowing much about the Twilight Talons in terms of membership, reach, resources, etc.


You know what I realized while reading back through the Cheliax Campaign Setting?

The Glorious Reclamation really dropped the damn ball. Like completely and utterly dropped the ball. That and the Silver Ravens could have made so much head way in some locations along the Hellcoast.

The Reclamation could have headed for then Brastlewark and gotten the Gnomes on their side by unseating Thornfiddle

Dekarium is another hot bed, and while it would have been on the front lines of a fight with Egorian they would have had access to river travel.

Remesiana would have given them a coastal launching point for what ever ships they could muster to their cause, of course if any could actually run the blockade.

The Silver Ravens meanwhile could have turned their eyes further south to protect their southern sea border by helping with the chaos in Pezzack and allying with the Giantsb on Thuryan.

Shadow Lodge

VerBeeker wrote:
The Silver Ravens meanwhile could have turned their eyes further south to protect their southern sea border by helping with the chaos in Pezzack and allying with the Giantsb on Thuryan.

They (and the strix of Devil's Perch) are really more useful in Cheliax, both from the point of view of securing Ravounel's territory and what is the same thing, from the point of view of exporting the revolution. Separated from Cheliax, they're strategically insignificant. Incorporated, they are buboes on its body.

In fact, the same would hold true for Ravounel itself - separatism really was counterproductive.


Enlight_Bystand wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, recent APs have explicitly made textual justification for "why don't the PCs from a previous AP just come and fix this?" So it's safe to say that the PCs who completed the AP canonically are around and exist within the setting, it's just that there will be no specific reference to them so as to not contradict anybody's game.
If anything, this is indication that PCs from past games cannot be allowed to intervene in events. They are non-factors, and even if they exist, they might as well not.

Most of the PCs from past Adventure Paths are probably busy making sure that their work doesn't get catastrophically undone or perverted, and on top of that possibly trying to cover for some other PCs who are missing in action or even slacking from their job:

** spoilers omitted **

Big Tyrant's Grasp Spoiler:
There are no such thing as previous PCs from Tyrant's Grasp...

Tyrant's Grasp:
Aye, the previous groups met sticky ends after celebrating their victories, did they? Well . . . there you go

This article begs the question: How long until Hobgoblins and Bugbears get playable stats?


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
ClanPsi wrote:
This article begs the question: How long until Hobgoblins and Bugbears get playable stats?

Hobgoblins will get stats in the Lost Omens Character Guide, along with lizardfolk and leshies.

No word on bugbears.


Hobgoblins already have playable stats even in 1st Edition, but this would be new for Bugbears if 2nd Edition makes them playable.

Shadow Lodge

UnArcaneElection wrote:
Hobgoblins already have playable stats even in 1st Edition, but this would be new for Bugbears if 2nd Edition makes them playable.

Every monster had playable stats in 1E, albeit CR was an imperfect guide to how to fit a monster into a "standard" party. That was part of its appeal, at least to me.

Shadow Lodge

Luis Loza wrote:
All will make sense once you have the Character Guide in your hands. :)

I realize you've got books to sell, but as I have little interest in transitioning from PF1 to PF2 mechanically as opposed to lore-wise (see above for one reason why), I probably won't be picking this one up.

What's the turnaround on updating the wiki these days?


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:
Hobgoblins already have playable stats even in 1st Edition, but this would be new for Bugbears if 2nd Edition makes them playable.
Every monster had playable stats in 1E, albeit CR was an imperfect guide to how to fit a monster into a "standard" party. That was part of its appeal, at least to me.

Technically yes, but in terms of balance within a party (without quite a bit of GM work), no. Not saying that all the officially playable races are balanced in 1st Edition (they're not, in case anyone didn't notice), but at least many of them had a decent attempt at it (and then again, some didn't . . .).

Shadow Lodge

UnArcaneElection wrote:
Technically yes, but in terms of balance within a party (without quite a bit of GM work), no.

Balance within the party was so impossible, not just in terms of races but also and especially between the far more impactful classes, that I'm sure it wasn't even a design goal. And honestly, I was fine with that.


Well, about the planetary defense program... maybe the PCs from Giantslayer can lend a hand? I have always thought that the cloud castle can be used as a starship. Nothing in the book said it cannot fly into space, right?


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^But does anything in the book say it can fly into space safely for the occupants?


Maybe the energy field surrounding Ironcloud Keep would protect those inside from the negative effects of space exposure?


I mean, there has to be something in Numeria that could make that thing space worthy.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Very excited about the hellknight archetype

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