Cheliax and Azlant


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


Hello!
Long time, first time.

What is the view of Ancient Azlant within Cheliax? Are they like Taldor, proud of being able to claim that they're decended from their great heroes? Or do they view it as a distraction from serving Asmodeus?

I imagine the answer would be different from House Thrune and from a layperson on the street.

Canon sources preferred but wild speculation appreciated.


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Back in 1e Chelaxians were their own ethnicity descended from Azlanti ancestors mixed with Ulfen ancestors and they had a whole thing about believing themselves to be the true heirs of Azlant. Now that Cheliax's dominant group are technically ethnic Taldans in 2e I'm not sure if there's been anything confirming that they feel the same, but I also haven't seen anything implying that they DON'T still feel this way either.

I'd say go with what works for your game.


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Chances are Chelaxians still consider themselves to be their own ethnic group, it's just they're the only ones that do so. It's explained on page 6 of the LOCG in the lead-up to the descriptions for human ethnicities that those listed are to some extent an arbitrary label as in the real world. It's not that Chelaxians being considered their own ethnic group was retconned, it's that Paizo rightly decided that they were so similar to Taldans that only Chelaxians themselves would make the distinction. This also ties in a bit to Cheliax's white supremacist traits (as evidenced by the existence of Chelaxian colonists in the Mwangi Expanse) as the official line was that Chelaxians were partially descended from Ulfen while Taldans were partially descended from Keleshites and you can see where this is going.

Regardless, many ethnic Taldans, whether they be Andoren, Chelaxian, or Taldan, have some degree of pride in their Azlanti heritage, they just place emphasis on different parts of it. Andoran focuses on the quality of life of Azlant (and it helps that the Low Azlanti gave the fledgling democracy its approval), Taldor focuses on the greatness of that empire, while Cheliax would presumably focus on its superiority.

You're also right that many laypeople would have a different perspective, but those are also not the kind of people that would consider Chelaxians their own ethnicity (unless they buy into the party line)

Liberty's Edge

Note that in a Lawful country, people tend to believe what they are told by their legitimate authorities.

Even more strongly if the country is/feels at war or in danger of such.


The Raven Black wrote:

Note that in a Lawful country, people tend to believe what they are told by their legitimate authorities.

Even more strongly if the country is/feels at war or in danger of such.

I'm not sure that still holds in a society that is ruled by devil worshipers.


The following is all personal headcanon stuff:

Cheliax in 2e has just weathered two revolutionary movements. One (the Glorious Reclamation) failed, the other (Ravounel) succeeded. I'd say this represents a pretty solid blow to the Chelish sense of superiority, and when arrogant, fascist nations have that sort of thing happen to them they tend to wrap themselves even tighter in their sense of national identity.

So if you DO have their sense of legitimacy tied to their perception as being the heirs to Azlanti culture and power, it's not beyond possibility that they're pushing that hard-line even harder.

But again, this is just one view. It's also possible that the Thrune Stance has moved the country away from it. I don't tend to lean into this much because ethnonationalism is such an integral part of fascist ideology, so I keep the idea that Cheliax not only sees themselves as the heirs to Azlant, but as the ONLY legitimate heirs to Azlant.


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It’s worth noting that post-revolution Ravounel basically considers itself to be an island of pre-Thrune Chelish culture, trying to get back to the days before Hell got involved. They may well have inherited that sense of an Azlanti lineage.

Shadow Lodge

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keftiu wrote:
It’s worth noting that post-revolution Ravounel basically considers itself to be an island of pre-Thrune Chelish culture, trying to get back to the days before Hell got involved. They may well have inherited that sense of an Azlanti lineage.

The Ravounel gazetteer in Age of Ashes doesn't mention any such turn toward Azlantism. And the halflings, strix, and aquatic elves of Ravounel might have something to say about it, since it would necessarily implicate human supremacy.


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
keftiu wrote:
It’s worth noting that post-revolution Ravounel basically considers itself to be an island of pre-Thrune Chelish culture, trying to get back to the days before Hell got involved. They may well have inherited that sense of an Azlanti lineage.
The Ravounel gazetteer in Age of Ashes doesn't mention any such turn toward Azlantism. And the halflings, strix, and aquatic elves of Ravounel might have something to say about any such turn, which would necessarily implicate human supremacy.

You don't need to be a human supremacist to do Azlant-inspired opera and artwork, which is the sort of expression I'd imagine happening in Ravounel.

Shadow Lodge

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keftiu wrote:
You don't need to be a human supremacist to do Azlant-inspired opera and artwork, which is the sort of expression I'd imagine happening in Ravounel.

Don't you? Why not?

Azlant and its Thassilonian offshot were slave societies in which humans were the overt subjugators and covert subjugatees - but few to any people actually know about that part. Hearkenings to the Azlanti legacy unfailingly produce imperial regimes of conquest and subjugation, not least in the name of uplift toward the glorious, prelapserian past. Art hearkening back to Azlant makes a political statement, that this society is worth emulating. It isn't.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
keftiu wrote:
You don't need to be a human supremacist to do Azlant-inspired opera and artwork, which is the sort of expression I'd imagine happening in Ravounel.

Don't you? Why not?

Azlant and its Thassilonian offshot were slave societies in which humans were the overt subjugators and covert subjugatees - but few to any people actually know about that part. Hearkenings to the Azlanti legacy unfailingly produce imperial regimes of conquest and subjugation, not least in the name of uplift toward the glorious, prelapserian past. Art hearkening back to Azlant makes a political statement, that this society is worth emulating. It isn't.

I think this is a pretty unreasonable reading. Do you think every single book, movie, and videogame set in Ancient Rome is dragging society towards an expansionist, slave-holding past? Sometimes a romanticized history is just that. If Kintaro thinks Azlanti-style columns are a fun architectural flourish or someone writes a play about Acavna and Amaznen's love, I hardly think that's hardly a slippery slope leading to every non-human in chains.

Azlant is ten thousand years dead. It's functionally myth to the people of the Inner Sea today. You can create works themed around the thought of being linked to a fallen age without enthusiastically co-signing every evil that happened in it.

Shadow Lodge

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keftiu wrote:

I think this is a pretty unreasonable reading. Do you think every single book, movie, and videogame set in Ancient Rome is dragging society towards an expansionist, slave-holding past? Sometimes a romanticized history is just that. If Kintaro thinks Azlanti-style columns are a fun architectural flourish or someone writes a play about Acavna and Amaznen's love, I hardly think that's hardly a slippery slope leading to every non-human in chains.

Azlant is ten thousand years dead. It's functionally myth to the people of the Inner Sea today. You can create works themed around the thought of being linked to a fallen age without enthusiastically co-signing every evil that happened in it.

Answering this at any great length would be contrary to forum rules - suffice to say that the powers today that affect a self-conscious Romanism bestride the world caked in blood and dripping filth.


I think whether or not that "Azlantism" is objectively good or evil is less salient to the discussion than whether or not the various offshoots of Cheliax, or Cheliax itself, care about emulating it.

Given what's been established in canon (which for 2e looks ambiguous at best), it seems like your best bet is probably to just decide what works best for your game, I think.


I literally just watched this video yesterday, which explains a lot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylYgKPNsdk8


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Setting aside the complexities of real life Classicism, and the moral rightness of a comparative Azlantism, I think it's safe to say that if a deliberate emulation of Azlanti architecture and culture was a part of official Chelaxian policy when it split from Taldor, or before, the death of Aroden and the rise of House Thrune likely put thoroughly paid to it as the Thrunes put their Asmodean mark on Cheliax to establish their own dominance. An ideology loses believers when its greatest founder prophecied for greatness dies inexplicably. Ravounel may be trying to harken back to Old Cheliax, but it has no more reason to emulate that Azlantism than modern Cheliax does - it's just trying to get back to its own cultural past, of which some Azlantism was a part, which doesn't mean a conscious return to that Azlantism.

In the same way that Victorian Gothic Revival architects harkened back to the Gothic architecture of the early middle-ages, which was itself an evolution of Romanesque architecture, which was harkening back to Late Roman and so on and so on, whatever Ravounel is doing now would most likely be a new movement with its own complications and associations. Ravounel might have some lingering traces of Azlanti architecture or practices in the new ethos it's trying to create, but its people wouldn't think of it as Azlanti but Old Chelaxian. And as with other traditionalist movements, the bits they choose to keep or revive aren't always the bits the original culture would have, and say more about the current culture than the originator.


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Also from this description of Vellumis (I'm drawing on the wiki admittedly but I don't think there's been more written on the city in 2e so far):

"Vellumis is a scenic port, with many buildings marble-clad, domed, and colonnaded in the once-popular Chelish Old White style (characterized by whitewashed walls, ornately decorated eaves, and massive arched windows)."

So this implies pretty strongly that there have been multiple different Chelish architectural styles through the ages, and that the way the city was built is presumably no longer in-vogue in Cheliax. Maybe this is because of the Thrune influence or maybe something else, but either way, I imagine there have been periods over the country's history where Azlanti style stuff was more or less common.

Shadow Lodge

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Question might be moot as far as architecture goes, Ravounel is a poor country and can't afford new construction.

As far as other fields of art go, the opera is associated with the radical, critical, and forward-looking left wing of the Silver Ravens - with Shensen and the Sarenites who dominate the company, and with the Milanites whose theses and dogma underpinned the Song of Silver. This is true of theater companies generally along the Steaming Sea (in particular the Fine Company in Pezzack which forms the backbone of the White Thistles party, and the Magnimarian Rose and Rake). If there is a hearkening back to Azlantism, I'd expect to see it elsewhere.


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Y'know it would be interesting to have a campaign in Cheliax proper explore (at least as a side-plot) the tension in the arts between the different factions who are using the arts to push the Thrune doctrine and those who are attempting to use those same arts to be subtly subversive.

Great fuel for any bardic character.

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