Chelaxians thrive on the southwestern portion of Avistan, and the exploits of their once-mighty empire spread Chelish seed throughout the Inner Sea region. Haughty, cultured, intelligent, ambitious, organized, and ruthless, Chelaxians have become a dynamic force in the world—not always to the world’s benefit.
Chelaxians are by and large an industrious, aggressive, self-confident people with refined cultural taste, who combine the best and worst traits of the Taldan and Ulfen peoples. They have a flair for organization, and as a result, soon came to dominate their large corner of Avistan. They undercut the power of, and later successfully rebelled against, the elder Taldan Empire, and soon dominated the surrounding regions either directly or indirectly, forming the Empire of Cheliax. They even successfully removed the center of worship of the god Aroden from Taldor to their empire, and spread both north into Varisia and south into Garund in a series of conf licts known as the Everwar.
The inherent self-confidence of the Chelaxians, instilled from birth, served them well at the time of their favored god’s death and the devastating civil war that followed. Modern Chelaxians believe they are inherently more capable of handling any situation than other races—this might take the form of either helpful, positive advice or arrogant dismissal of rival viewpoints. Their aggressive attitude causes them to persevere even in desperate straits.
This self-assurance is bolstered by a long, rich heritage and a love for learning, which manifests in theology, arcane studies, and mechanical invention. Chelaxian specialists are particularly capable in discovering, developing, and adapting new techniques revealed by their own research or learned from other cultures.
Chelaxians favor rich trappings both in their homes and on their persons. Popular outfits include velvet or silk gowns or doublets with rich brocades and lace trim, often covered with a cloak of a rare and valuable color or made from the hide of some uncommon creature. In more hostile climes, they prefer inscribed armor (often of dwarven manufacture) and filigreed weapons with rich and detailed provenances. This is not to say that, when money is tight or circumstances dictate, they are above traveling in civilian clothes or mixing with the common-folk in order to avoid difficult circumstances. They never sacrifice their bearing, however, and cannot hide their confidence.
Chelaxians venerate those heroes who embody their values: strength, nobility, ambition, and—most of all— success. Chelaxian heroes tend to be accepted into the larger community with titles, grants of land, and marriage into the more respectable houses. By the same token, those heroes deemed a threat to the local ruling class are watched and, if necessary, removed, either by sending them on quests to other areas or quietly, in the dead of night.
As a people, Chelaxians are serious about oaths, contracts, and promises, and they believe in playing by the rules, all the while checking for loopholes to best subvert those rules. They tend to organize themselves and to work together toward a common goal, taking direction from an established and recognized leader. Such a talent for organization has served well among the empire’s legions in its conquests, though the nation is not immune to periodic rebellions and unrest. A common joke is that while Varisians might form an angry mob, Chelaxians instead create a well-ordered, disapproving queue.
Chelaxians have a common first name and a family name or surname. Family and lineage are very important to a Chelaxian, and those of particular power or legendary ability might gain a sobriquet as well (such as “the wise,” “the open-handed,” or “the rat-biter”). Chelaxian names tend to sound grandiose and learned, and are used in full when officially addressing them.
Chelaxians are the descendents of Azlanti refugees, whose blood mixed with that of pale-skinned Ulfen raider-merchants from the northern climes. As a result, they tend as a people toward dark hair, dark eyes, and pale skin—skin lighter than that of their duskier Taldan cousins. Red hair is often seen as evidence of strong ties to diabolic influence, which can be a boon or a curse depending on one’s actual affiliation. Chelaxians have sharp features—narrow jaws, strong noses, and thin, arched eyebrows.