The Rise of the Runelords
Beyond the Mindspin Mountains and far to the south lies the cosmopolitan heresy of Cheliax. Once an empire of unquestioned might, the death of the empire’s god Aroden allowed the rise of a diabolical aristocracy who treat with the denizens of Hell to afford their endless decadence and eternal rule. Although unquestionably depraved and diminished by the loss of its deity, Cheliax remains a beacon of culture, art, and magic that dominates much of the southern part of the continent.
While expansionist Cheliax once coveted the riches of Varisia, its decline has freed its colonies to their own fates. Now, the most powerful of Cheliax’s city-states, monument-haunted Magnimar and imperial-minded Korvosa, vie for control of its abandoned Varisian holdings.
In these cities and the numerous vassal settlements of each, the majority of the populace can trace their ancestry to the sharp-featured people of Cheliax. Chelaxians possess dark hair and eyes contrasted by pale skin—-along with a taste for artistic fineries and high art—-and the far-reaching and polyethnic holdings of Cheliax allow humans of varied heritages to claim Chelish descent. So numerous and varied are these immigrants that the natives of Varisia now simply refer to all humans not of Varisian or Shoanti blood as Chelaxians.