The Empire of Cheliax once embraced virtually all people of Chelish heritage. With the empire’s sundering a century ago, the greater part of the Chelish ethnicity now resides beyond its shrunken borders. In Korvosa, humans claiming Chelish ancestry make up the majority of the city’s population.

The Chelish tend towards dark eyes, dark hair and pale skin. They have a confident bearing that often verges on haughtiness, bolstered by a long, proud heritage as the dominant people of the continent of Avistan.

Industrious and ambitious, the Chelish have a flair for organization and discipline. They take oaths and promises very seriously and believe in playing by the rules—while all the while looking for loopholes. The Chelish also place great value on scholarly and artistic achievement.

But what they value above all else is success. The Chelish have a tradition of welcoming heroes who have accomplished great deeds, granting them land, titles, and status in the community—while quietly eliminating those who threaten the status quo.

The Chelish of Korvosa

Though most of the city’s population identify as Chelish, in truth most of them have more than a little Varisian blood in their veins as well. This, combined with their status as an unwanted colony of Cheliax, has made the Chelish of Korvosa deeply insecure about their identity and determined to assert it at every opportunity.

By Charter Amendment, the highest levels of government and military office in the Korvosa are reserved solely for those of Chelish ancestry. Varisians and Shoanti are discriminated against, with many Varisians forced to live beyond the city walls in “Trail’s End” and the Shoanti discouraged from living in the city at all. The Chelish tendencies towards organization and conspicuous consumption are dialed up to 11 in Korvosa, with its bloated bureaucracy and opulent nobility.

This provincial insecurity often has the opposite of its desired effect on visitors from Cheliax, who frequently view the Korvosans as country bumpkins trying and failing to ape their betters in the motherland.

(A note on nomenclature: “Chelish” refers to a person’s ethnic heritage, while “Chelaxian” refers to actual subjects of the Empire.)

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