Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Cheliax, The Infernal Empire (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Cheliax, The Infernal Empire (PFRPG)
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In Hell We Trust

For centuries, the empire of Cheliax stood as an example of humanity's greatness, with colonies and vassal states spread throughout the Inner Sea region. Then Aroden, god of humanity, died mysteriously on the eve of his prophesied return, and the empire fell into a vicious civil war. Seeking victory at all costs, the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune made pacts with the denizens of Hell to wrest control of Cheliax away from its rivals. While many of the empire's holdings have fallen away in the decades since, at its core, Cheliax remains powerful, both subservient to and allied with the legions of the Pit. Yet discontent looms throughout the nation, even as brash young Queen Abrogail II seeks to tighten her imperial grip on the populace.

Cheliax is the diabolical setting of the thrilling Hell's Rebels and Hell's Vengeance Adventure Paths, making this comprehensive sourcebook a perfect supplement for either campaign. Within these pages, you'll find:

  • An overview of Cheliax's government, foreign relations, society, and history—including details House Thrune wants forgotten forever.
  • An extensive gazetteer of the entire nation, offering more than 80 entries on such people and places as Brastlewark and its wily gnomes, the xenophobic strix of Devil's Perch, Kintargo and its rebellious citizens, and majestic Egorian's imperial sycophants.
  • A breakdown of Chelish noble titles and the country's social hierarchies.
  • Nearly a dozen new adventure sites ripe for intrigue and exploration, from a magical city ruined in the aftermath of Aroden's death to an isolated island where House Thrune secretly creates fiendish supersoldiers.
  • Six hellish new monsters, plus random encounter tables, a template for creating fiend-infused golems, and much more!

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Cheliax, The Infernal Empire is intended for use with the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can be easily adapted to any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-799-4

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscription.

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The Devil's in the details.

5/5

A spectacular in depth look at Cheliax, it's government, people, and creatures. Essential reading for any campaign set in Cheliax, especially the three adventure paths that take place there, the Godfather-esque Council of Thieves, the rebellious minded Hell's Rebels, or the infernal affairs of Hell's Vengeance, this is the book you need to add nuance, beasties, and depth to your campaign.


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Axial wrote:

Are Ash Hags Lawful Evil?

Are Hellfire Ignises Lawful Evil?

What CR is the Sire Devil and what does it look like?

The ash hag is indeed Lawful Evil, but the hellfire ignis is Neutral Evil.

As mentioned above, the sire devil is CR 7.


I cannot recall any fey being lawful...though I am certain someone will point one out to me momentarily. All I can remember are NE,CE,CN,N,CG,NG


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Fourshadow wrote:
I cannot recall any fey being lawful...though I am certain someone will point one out to me momentarily. All I can remember are NE,CE,CN,N,CG,NG

It took me a bit more than a moment but -- Svartalfar from Bestiary 4 are LE.


Heine Stick wrote:
Axial wrote:

Are Ash Hags Lawful Evil?

Are Hellfire Ignises Lawful Evil?

What CR is the Sire Devil and what does it look like?

The ash hag is indeed Lawful Evil, but the hellfire ignis is Neutral Evil.

As mentioned above, the sire devil is CR 7.

What does it look like?


Humanoid'ish with a "fanged mouth running vertically across its torso." Also, insectile arms, tentacles sprouting from its sides, and tyranidesque plates running along its back and neck.


And are we led to assume that that...thing breeds with people to spread infernal blood?


As the fluff puts it, "patraavexes are the progenitors of many of the Material Plane's tieflings."

That might be understood to be through breeding, but one of the creature's special abilities is the ability to taint a bloodline simply by touching a mortal being (full-round action).

Dark Archive

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It can also shapechange into small and medium humanoids that look more appealing.


Okay, just wanted to make sure that we're not dealing with Berserk-style monster rape.


While I don't get the reference, rape doesn't seem to be their modus operandi. Like most (all?) devils, they tempt with the promise of services and power, a tainted bloodline and a damned soul being the price. How that taint happens is up to the GM, I suppose, but it can certainly happen without any sexual activity involved, thanks to their special ability.

That's how I understand the fluff text, anyway.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

For those looking to learn more about the sire devil's methods, read Hell's Pawns, by Dave Gross. It originally appeared as the fiction in Council of Thieves, but it's available separately here. (Plus, it's the origin of two famous Pathfinder Tales characters!)

Fourshadow wrote:
I cannot recall any fey being lawful...though I am certain someone will point one out to me momentarily. All I can remember are NE,CE,CN,N,CG,NG

The ankou, from Kingmaker and Bestiary 4, is also lawful evil.

Dark Archive

And on the divine-side related to the fae, there's at least two LN Eldest: Imbrex and Magdh.


Heine Stick wrote:

While I don't get the reference, rape doesn't seem to be their modus operandi. Like most (all?) devils, they tempt with the promise of services and power, a tainted bloodline and a damned soul being the price. How that taint happens is up to the GM, I suppose, but it can certainly happen without any sexual activity involved, thanks to their special ability.

That's how I understand the fluff text, anyway.

Berserk is an anime, so I'm assuming that is what he was referencing. Other than that this devil has some interesting bits to it from what has been said. I look forward to seeing the full write-ups on these creatures.

Liberty's Edge

Does this update the Cheliax Empire of the Devils Companion? Used on it's own? Or does it need the Companion as well?

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
memorax wrote:
Does this update the Cheliax Empire of the Devils Companion? Used on it's own? Or does it need the Companion as well?

For the most part, they cover different content. This book gives a lot more info on the big picture of the nation, where Empire of Devils takes a closer look at life in Cheliax. The Player Companion also has far more game content - feats, spells, etc. This has a lot more "DM info", like adventure hooks and city statblocks.

In my opinion, Empire of Devils is still very relevant.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That was my first player companion. :-)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

My first was Elves of Golarion. Cheliax: Empire of Devils actually caused me a lot of consternation for a while, due to its Kingmaker-esque price tag.

Then, I got lucky. There was a non-mint copy for sale here, and I snatched it up. So... my collection is mostly complete! ^_^


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I got mine on Amazon, for like 6 bucks.

True story, what sold me on the campaign setting, I was (and still) on a It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia kick, the McPoyle brothers are always saying "Chillaxe" so when I saw there was an empire in decline ruled by evil a~+~@$~s that worship devils, twas too much, I had to get it.


Out of curiosity....what size is the Ash Hag ?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
nighttree wrote:
Out of curiosity....what size is the Ash Hag ?

Medium.


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The new Pathfinder Campaign Setting product for Cheliax names House Henderthane as ruling the Archduchy of Sirmium. Wasn't all of that house wiped out as a result of the events in the serial story contained in the Council of Thieves adventure path? Or was it just one branch of the family, leaving some distant cousin of the named characters as their heir? If the entire house was wiped out, who would have replaced them?

Paizo Employee Developer

David knott 242 wrote:

The new Pathfinder Campaign Setting product for Cheliax names House Henderthane as ruling the Archduchy of Sirmium. Wasn't all of that house wiped out as a result of the events in the serial story contained in the Council of Thieves adventure path? Or was it just one branch of the family, leaving some distant cousin of the named characters as their heir? If the entire house was wiped out, who would have replaced them?

As with most fiction set in the world of Pathfinder, "Hells Pawns" did not have such large, overarching effects on the politics of the nation. So while the effects of that plot are certainly canon, they didn't impact the entire family, but rather the members of the family living in Egorian (which isn't the same branch as the ones ruling Sirmium from within the archduchy itself).


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Ah, thanks! It is also useful to know that the nobles in Egorian are not necessarily the highest ranking members of their families as some earlier material seemed to imply.


Question on the title of "Prince/Princess" as listed on p. 3 of the book: does the title apply only to the descendants of the current majestor/majestrix, or the direct descendants of any previous majestors/majestrixes as well?

Thanks!

EDIT: I also noted that the description for archcount and count are the same. Was this intentional?


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PFWiki Scribe wrote:
EDIT: I also noted that the description for archcount and count are the same. Was this intentional?

That question is answered elsewhere on the same page as the sidebar you cited. In Cheliax, a county can be ruled by a count or by an archcount. The only difference between the two titles is that an archcount outranks a count.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am a big fan of the nation focused Campaign Setting books, and mostly really enjoyed this. However, a lot of the former books subdivided the countries of interest into regions, then listed all sites of note. This volume...just has one big ole' section on the entire nation, with everything listed in alphabetical order. I admit I found this set up confusing and hard to use. Was there any reason why the Gazetteer was set up this way, rather than subdividing it?

Paizo Employee Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
MMCJawa wrote:
I am a big fan of the nation focused Campaign Setting books, and mostly really enjoyed this. However, a lot of the former books subdivided the countries of interest into regions, then listed all sites of note. This volume...just has one big ole' section on the entire nation, with everything listed in alphabetical order. I admit I found this set up confusing and hard to use. Was there any reason why the Gazetteer was set up this way, rather than subdividing it?

There was! We debated a lot about whether to do a 4-page section on each of the archduchies, as seemed natural and fit with past organization. In the end, however, the fact that most of the nation's locations were in the Heartlands region meant that we wouldn't be able to do justice to them if we were restricted to only a few pages on that archduchy.

Further, because almost all the locations in Ravounel are more thoroughly detailed in the Hell's Rebels Adventure Path (and play very important roles in that campaign), we would have been hard pressed to fill the section on that archduchy with anything that wasn't either super-spoilery or made redundant by the more thorough accounts elsewhere.

In the end, the current layout meant that we could give each location as much or as little room as was appropriate to the respective subjects, both to expand on existing map tags people wanted more information on and to leave us with room to add new locations where we thought they fit rather than where the book's layout demanded.


How many hit dice does the Ash Hag have? I'd like to know for template reasons.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Axial wrote:
How many hit dice does the Ash Hag have? I'd like to know for template reasons.

7.


David knott 242 wrote:
Axial wrote:
I'm a little bit confused as to why anyone would want to be a Demibaron, since it just seems to place you one step above a peasant. I guess that's...something?

In a place like Cheliax, I assume that you would take whatever status you can get. Being one step above a peasant is a heck of a lot better than being a peasant.

This sounds like the rough equivalent of a Baronet (appointed, may or may not be landed, usually not hereditary). And historically, becoming a Baronet was a pretty big deal. You were probably already wealthy, or very accomplished in some professional field.

Nobility were pretty much all, by modern standards, in the 1%. Sure, there was a huge difference between a Baronet and a Duke -- but in modern terms, it was like the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire.

Knights were appointed, and not nobility, but they were already two or three steps up from the peasantry. Being a knight was a pretty big deal. You were usually landed and almost always 95th percentile or higher in terms of income and wealth. That could break down a bit in times of protracted war, when you might get a lot of relatively poor men getting knighthoods on the battlefield, and/or some comfortable members of the upper class -- or at least the lower edges of the upper class -- getting ruined by the war. But as a general rule, knights were pretty rich and at least locally powerful. I mean, just owning a warhorse and a basic suit of armor? That was wealth equivalent to many years of income for an average peasant.

A Baronet was one step up from a knight. That meant that while you were below the lowest Baron, you were almost certainly in the 1%. By way of analogy, a Chelaxian Demibaron would still be a member of the upper classes, with access to significant wealth and power.

(Trivia: Baronets were not formally nobility, meaning they couldn't -- still can't -- sit in the House of Lords.)

Doug M.

Dark Archive

I'm curious how this compares to the previous Cheliax book from the Companion line? I mean, obviously being from the "Campaign Setting" line it's more pages, but how much of it is new or changed and how much is just reprinted? How much IS reprinted for those that don't have the older one?

No judgement from me on reprinting some material, there is pros and cons to that.


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It's all new pretty much, there might be some stuff that's essentially reprinted but nothing that sticks out in any way.

Neither one invalidates the other, it's very well done, I got it for Christmas. :-)


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Here are some questions for anyone knowledgeable about the cosmology of the Pathfinder universe:

In Cheliax, being sent to Hell is considered to be a punishment worse than simply being put to death -- and there is a speech given in one of the chapter openings that implies that the Church of Asmodeus can actually send somebody there for eternity. Is that a bluff, or do they actually have some way to divert a soul from its proper destination?

For souls not destined for Hell, the only way to get them to Hell would seem to be to send them there alive -- but how long can a living person be kept alive under such circumstances? And since the dead cannot be raised without their consent, wouldn't anyone who prefers their actual afterlife destination over Hell refuse to be brought back?

Dark Archive

Hellfire Ray (6th level spell found in Book of the Damned Volume 1) jumps to mind immediately for me. People killed by it get damned to Hell and become hard to resurrect.

I'm reasonably sure that there's a reference somewhere that being ritually sacrificed to an evil quasi-deity/demigod/god can do the same general sort of thing, but I don't actually have a book-reference on that one. I also think it may be more of a up-to-the-GM/depends-on-circumstances sort of thing.

Similarly, I think there's a reference somewhere that if you're in certain areas of Hell when you get killed, you get stuck there unless some other deity intervenes.

There's a specific Devil type out there (Chortovs) that comes from souls that Hell has trapped that aren't Lawful Evil initially.

So while it's not exactly *easy*, it's certainly possible for the higher-ups in the Church of Asmodeus to divert a soul to Hell. From what I recall of the non-Hellfire-Ray methods, it'd be harder for them to do it to a cleric or other individual favored by a non-Hell-affiliated deity / someone with an unusually strong connection to some other other plane.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

The ebon acolytus, from Council of Thieves, sends any soul it sacrifices to its masters in Hell (or wherever).

The punishment of being impaled upon the Tines, as shown in one of the chapter openings and detailed in Pathfinder Tales: Hell's Pawns, is supposed to have the same effect.


Quick question:

Page 3 of the book mentions House Carthagnian as being in charge in Longmarch, ruling from the city of Corentyn. That noble house isn't mentioned anywhere else in canon, although House Charthagnion is mentioned elsewhere numerous times (including in Cheliax, the Infernal Empire).

Is this a typo?

Dark Archive

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Ooh, the village of Blackcove from Shore to the Sea is mentioned! Very cool to see a town developed by Wolfgang and his whacky Kobold Krewe.

And the word 'aver' was used in a sentence. I don't think I've ever seen that word outside of a dictionary. Kudos!


There are far too many ways to unjustly damn an innocent soul to various lower planes, and far too few ways to fix it.

Dark Archive

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Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
There are far too many ways to unjustly damn an innocent soul to various lower planes, and far too few ways to fix it.

That's why we send Paladins to Hell.

And also creates the interesting/scandalous option that there might be terribly evil (and forward thinking) folks who have flipped Pharasma the bird and 'unjustly' gotten themselves cozy retirement cottages in Heaven/Elysium/Nirvana...

Dark Archive

captain yesterday wrote:

It's all new pretty much, there might be some stuff that's essentially reprinted but nothing that sticks out in any way.

Neither one invalidates the other, it's very well done, I got it for Christmas. :-)

Cool, thanks. As much as I love Cheliax it was already on my list, but you just moved it up the list :)

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

PFWiki Scribe wrote:

Quick question:

Page 3 of the book mentions House Carthagnian as being in charge in Longmarch, ruling from the city of Corentyn. That noble house isn't mentioned anywhere else in canon, although House Charthagnion is mentioned elsewhere numerous times (including in Cheliax, the Infernal Empire).

Is this a typo?

Carthagnian is a typo. It should be Charthagnion.

Paizo Employee Contributor

Set wrote:
And the word 'aver' was used in a sentence. I don't think I've ever seen that word outside of a dictionary. Kudos!

That was from me; I have a friend who says he knows which book section is mine, because it sends him to a dictionary. :)

"Aver" probably crept in from my day job as a lawyer.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Set wrote:
And the word 'aver' was used in a sentence. I don't think I've ever seen that word outside of a dictionary. Kudos!

That was from me; I have a friend who says he knows which book section is mine, because it sends him to a dictionary. :)

"Aver" probably crept in from my day job as a lawyer.

I thought lawyers only work at night. Aversion to sunlight, and all that. <g, d, & r>


Any maps in this thing?

Sorely missing a map of Cheliax in general, and Ravounel in particular.


There are two maps of Cheliax in the book. One, on the inside front cover, shows a detailed map of the nation with lots of named locations. The other is a barebones map that shows the archduchies.

In addition, there are four city maps in the book - Bastlewark, Hinji, Ostenso, and Remesiana.


Heine Stick wrote:

There are two maps of Cheliax in the book. One, on the inside front cover, shows a detailed map of the nation with lots of named locations. The other is a barebones map that shows the archduchies.

In addition, there are four city maps in the book - Bastlewark, Hinji, Ostenso, and Remesiana.

Awesome, thanks. That's me popped an order in, Kintargo was feeling a bit abstracted without some more surrounding detail.

Liberty's Edge

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What are "vampire wraiths"?

The description of Ganderhal's Lair on page 45 lists "vampire wraiths" on the inhabitants line and then explains that some of the captured goblinoid chieftains and adventurers who died there rose as these "vampire wraiths".

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
CBDunkerson wrote:

What are "vampire wraiths"?

The description of Ganderhal's Lair on page 45 lists "vampire wraiths" on the inhabitants line and then explains that some of the captured goblinoid chieftains and adventurers who died there rose as these "vampire wraiths".

I suspect that they don't exist as a statblock (yet); I'm quite certain I've never heard of them. It's a very flavorful sort of name for a creature, though.

This isn't the first time this has happened, either - the sire devil from this very book first appears in Hell's Pawns, the fiction from the Council of Thieves Adventure Path. That's a while to wait for stats. ^_^

Dark Archive

Saw this at a local game shop, but was wondering if it's PFS-compatible. It's not listed in the Additional Resources document. Thanks.


There's not really anything in the book that's relevant for Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The crunchy bits are limited to a few monsters. The rest is all flavor.

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