Establish Order, No Matter the Costs
Monday, April 25, 2011
The proud empire of Cheliax once spread across two continents, but fell to diabolical rule after 30 years of civil war following Aroden's death. Chelaxians believe their nation superior to the others in the Inner Sea region, and won't let something as simple as the death of their patron god prevent them from attaining their prophesied age of glory. The ruling House Thrune and its allies rose to power amid chaos, and established order with the help of the armies of Hell; they maintain control decades later with the same regimented organization of their infernal minions. Though Cheliax already controls the Arch of Aroden, and thus the western entrance to the Inner Sea, Queen Abrogail II's strategists know that control of Absalom is vital if Cheliax hopes to establish order throughout the region. They believe that victory is well within their grasp, and that it will come on the backs of the weak.
We led off the parade of factions two weeks ago with a look at Andoran, which is far and away the most popular faction. Though Andoran's neighbor geographically (and alphabetically in the list of ten factions), Cheliax couldn't be more different than its freedom-fighting rivals. Not only are the lawful-evil tendencies of the organization at direct odds with the chaotic good spirit of liberty, but the faction has also been the least popular in terms of active members in all three seasons of Pathfinder Society Organized Play.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out why, though. These are the "bad guys" of the Pathfinder Society campaign. They're the ones who send players on missions to spread the influence of Hell and the Infernal armies of the House of Thrune. If there's one thing we can learn from the trend in membership between the Andoran and Cheliax factions, it's that players want to be heroes!
So what happens to Cheliax going forward? So far, nothing, though faction leader Paracountess Zarta Dralneen's flagging leadership has certainly caught the eye of her superiors. It'd really be a shame for her to be punished personally for the fact that she represents the "bad guy faction." I know I'd personally hate to see her replaced, since I love reading her innuendo-drenched faction missives. I just hope Queen Abrogail and her lackeys are as amused by her suggestive tone and rampant hedonism as most Cheliax faction players are.
Luckily, we won't be gauging a faction's success on its membership numbers next season, but rather the rate at which active members succeed at faction missions. And while there are many disparaging things the champions of good can say about Cheliax, that they aren't dedicated isn't one of them. Then again, we've already said there will be another "good guy" faction next year. What would happen to Cheliax's resolve if we were to add another "bad guy" to keep things even? Will newly added prestige awards allowing Cheliax faction PCs of all classes to advance in the ranks of the Hellknights be enough to keep the already low number of faithful from jumping ship? Only time (and maybe some prayers to Asmodeus) will tell.
Check back next Monday for a look at the new scenarios and special events we'll be offering at GenCon to celebrate the launch of Season 3!