Pathfinder Chronicles: Heroes of the Mists
“Asmodeous himself smiles upon our endeavor and we shall not rest until the entire world trembles before Him.”
—Paracountess Zarta Dralneen
When Aroden died, some say the soul of Cheliax perished with him. The once mighty empire tore itself apart, and only through the power of three noble Houses, each steeped in deviltry, was order restored. The empire runs on the backs of fiends now, a perfect machine of hellfire and blood, where morality surrenders to the needs of law and order. It’s easy to curse Cheliax as a nation of devil-lovers, but few can argue with the results of their fiend-binding craft. House Thrune, the greatest of its diabolic noble families, has brought the empire under control once more. Cheliax rises like a dark star, as strong as ever, despite the recent losses of Galt and Andoran to rebellious forces.
Asmodeus proves as powerful a divine patron as Aroden ever did, shepherding his people toward glory and dominance of the Inner Sea. His plans reach eons into the future, and the minor setbacks of yesterday are all factored into the cost of doing a devil’s business. Chelaxians always plan for a long campaign, and never trifle over today’s skirmishes. In the end all will burn in hellfire. It is only a matter of time and calculated conquest.
The pale-skinned Chelaxians believe themelves superior to all other peoples. Their compact with great devils gives them power beyond measure, and no other nation of the Inner Sea can compete with their summoners and warlocks when it comes to trafficking with dark forces. These devils require payment for their service, often offered up in the form of tender flesh and boiled blood. Slaves are an important resource of the Chelaxians as are artifacts of ancient power whose secrets are revealed to them by their timeless patrons. Even as Andoran revels in its newfound freedom, the tendrils of Cheliax’s empire continue to expand. Arcadia lays open before them and Sargava is ready to fall under their hellish sway. The Inner Sea will fall with the rest as soon as Absalom rests firmly in the bloodied hands of House Thrune.
Goals: Hell on Golarion
Chelaxians plan to spread the dark influence of Asmodeus across the face of Golarion. They bring order to chaos, quell the troublesome concepts of freedom and self-determination, and leave broken souls eager to accept the bondage of slavery in their wake. The world must come to terms with the order of things. Mortals serve at the knee of greater powers. The devils of the Nine Hells are Golarion’s natural overlords and if the rabble gathered along the coast of the Inner Sea can’t be made to understand this simple fact, then they will be purged in a torrent of fire.
Methodology: The Kiss and the Lash
“A true corrupter can convince a man to hand over his soul, a blissful smile on his face.”
—Paracountess Zarta Dralneen
Chelaxians are masters of seduction as well as pain. They bring their enemies to heel with promises of aid, riches, and glory, but keep them in line with cruel lashes and hellfire. The Cheliax faction wins others to its dark cause with temptation. Lust, power, riches, vanity, the Chelaxians offer all, and cater to the sinful nature in every man to bring him low. If a foe cannot be seduced, he must instead be scourged. Many missions of the Cheliax faction involve tempting upright people into darkness and vice, and then threatening to expose their sins unless they aid the empire as dutiful agents. The tricks of devils have claimed men’s souls since time immemorial and they serve the Chelaxians well in their quest for control of Absalom.
Faction Leader: Paracountess Zarta Dralneen
Most people thought Zarta was nothing more than the spoiled daughter of a wealthy paracount. Then her father collapsed, his face purpled by poison, and she assumed control of House Dralneen smoothly with her elder brother’s consent. Contant rumors abound that her elder brother has long been deceased, and the “thing” that wears his skin now is just one of Zarta’s many diabolic servants.
Zarta relishes her role in Absalom. She’s always found the city rife with sins-in-the-making, and takes pleasure in Golarion’s largest cesspool of corruption. She uses her beauty and her diabolic power in equal measures to corrupt the souls of her enemies. Its been said Zarta is an erinyes in human form, but one victim of her corrupting influence who lost his entire family in a quest to please the coy woman’s evil whims claims: “She could set the most salacious succubi to school.”
Zarta paints the veneer of a cultured aristocratic lady on her outside, especially when appearing on official Chelish business (her cover role in Absalom is that of a diplomatic envoy), but the promise of soul-blasting sin is an ever present dance her sultry eyes, and the orgies of excess she holds at her private villa are legendary affairs that most scorn with curses, even as they secretly yearn for an invitation.
Since House Thrune rose to prominence, reclaiming the past glories of Cheliax and re-establishing their footholds across the world has been their primary goal. Chelish armies amass in the ruthless homeland, and their agents push far and wide seeking to expand the diabolic empire’s influence. Chelish culture is widely popular, and their fashions show up in most nations across Avistan and Garund. House Thrune places a high priority on discovering the relics of the past and controlling the revelation and interpretation of historical finds. The noble houses of Cheliax encourage the populace and even their own scions to join the Pathfinder Society and seek treasures of ancient power to bolster the empire.
Pathfinders not raised in Cheliax yet still loyal to the Cheliax faction in Absalom typically seek some form of personal power that they feel their loyalty to Cheliax will provide them. They see the advantages in bending fiends to the will of men (despite the incredible risks) and are generally more obsessed with ancient artifacts of power than their fellow Pathfinders.
To learn more about Cheliax, read the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting hardcover.