Infernal Cheliax (pronounced CHEL-ee-ax) remains, without a doubt, one of the most powerful nations on Golarion and it continues to maintain naval control over the profitable Inner Sea. Nevertheless, as important as the nation may be at the current time, it pales in comparison to its former Imperial glories. Today, in the eyes of most external observers in other parts of the Inner Sea, Cheliax suffers from extreme diabolism and a tyranny which prevent it from truly achieving its full potential. Internal observers, including the new nobility of Cheliax, firmly believe that Asmodeus and Hell serve Cheliax and assist in maintaining the power necessary for Cheliax to assume its rightful role among the leading nations of the Inner Sea.
Since the Thrune Ascendancy of 4640 AR, Cheliax has been ruled by House Thrune along with a new configuration of noble houses made up of those willing to follow the philosophy of Diabolism. Much of the power of House Thrune was gained through the initial bargain struck between Abrogail Thrune and the rulers of Hell although rumors abound that additional pacts have been made since that time in the quest for still greater power. Currently Queen Abrogail II rules Cheliax with the aid and support of her infernal regent General Gorthoklek.
Governmental policy within Cheliax is focussed upon maintaining order and quelling dissent. This is in direct response to the 30 years of internecine warfare and chaos that proceeded the Thrune Ascendancy as well as the absolute order inherent in the support of Hell. There is a great deal of physical peace and order which allows the lives of ordinary citizens to proceed normally, but it carries a high moral price. Cheliax is far from the abomination of twisted evil imagined by many outsiders, but it does not allow room for any dissent. Nationalistic feelings run deep and are practically required to avoid suspicion. Ambition causes normal citizens to turn in those that they suspect as traitors to Imperial Cheliax for the perceived promise of wealth and advancement. Organized secular and religious forces such as the Hellknights and the Inquisitors further strive to quell any organized dissent.
The laws of Cheliax are based upon the Asmodean Disciplines which also serve as the primary religious text for the Church of Asmodeus. Many of these laws are not enforced, and may not even be enforceable, but they serve the purpose of the government by allowing the prompt removal of undesireable elements of society under some perceived or interpreted infraction.
The capital of Cheliax is Egorian.
Imperial Cheliax covers a large part of southwestern Avistan and, although currently less than half its former size, it is still one of the largest countries in the Inner Sea region. Cheliax can be roughly divided into six main areas of similar society and outlook.
The West: The hills of Devil’s Perch and the settlement of Pezzack are the home of the Strix, a race of winged humanoids. These fliers protect their homeland diligently although more from a dislike of any foreign rule as much as distaste for the current House of Thrune and its organized devil worship.
The Northwest: The Ravounel Forest, the North Plains and the settlement of Kintargo in the northwest are the least insular areas of Cheliax and therefore subject to the most outside influence and contact.
The North: The Menador Mountains are the religious homeland of Cheliax. It is also the home to scores of Hellknights prepared for a life of unending servitude by the unforgiving nature of the land they inhabit.
The Heartland: The Whisper Woods, the Barrowood and the Central Plains are the heartland of Cheliax.
The East: The Aspodell Mountains and the River Keld form a natural eastern border to Cheliax.
The South: The Inner Sea forms the southern border of Cheliax and port cities built upon bluffs dot the coast.
The current capital, Egorian, rests near the center of the nation on the banks of Lake Sorrow. North of the lake stands the Barrowood, and the River Adivian flows south from the lake, past Westpool and East Rikkan, into Gemcrown Bay past Westcrown. Cheliax maintains a foothold in Garund as well, holding the southern end of the Arch of Aroden (the province of Kharijite) and thus controlling access to the Inner Sea. Some of its Imperial holdings remain under Chelaxian control as well, including Nidal. It’s more distant holdings are the Garundi colony of Sargava (although Sargava has escaped from Chelaxian rule, at least for the moment) and Anchor’s End in far-off Arcadia.
Three-quarters of Cheliax’s human population are ethnic Chelaxians , and the pale-skinned Chelish believe themselves superior to all other peoples. Their contact 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. Tieflings enjoy an unusual status in Cheliax, often seen as subordinate to humans by the Chelish diabolists. Slaves are an important resource of the Chelish 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.