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Planet type terrestrial
Created by Raymond E. Feist
First appearance Magician (October 1982 (1982-10))

Kelewan is one of the fictional worlds described by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts. Kelewan was first described in his novel Magician though it is not described in any detail before the Empire Trilogy.


According to Pug's viewing on the tower of testing (which according to Hochopepa is very "Grand do opera"), Kelewan is an old world that was once inhabited by intelligent beings very different from the Tsurani, of which only the Thūn and Cho'ja survive. Most of the metal ores were mined before the arrival of the Tsurani, although very small amounts remain; as a result of this the inhabitants use lacquer-covered cured hides and wooden weapons which have roughly the same strength as their metal counterparts but which are easier to manufacture on their world. An everyday metal Midkemian item, such as a key, would be worth a man's life. Also methods of torture not needing metal - but quite as painful as those used elsewhere - were developed, involving the application of caustic material to a prisoner's skin.

While Midkemia is modeled after European (per Middle-earth) high fantasy myths, creatures and influences, Kelewan has a strong Asian-Pacific scent. Some of the names mentioned are very clearly modelled after Nahuatl names, others Japanese, showing some of Feist's influences.

It has been acknowledged by Feist that the Tekumel setting from M. A. R. Barker's Empire of the Petal Throne was the source for much of Kelewan. The original D&D campaign which he based his books on had an invasion of the Midkemia world by Tekumel. As a result, much of the background of Kelewan - the Tsurani Empire, the lack of metals and horses, the Cho'ja, the pantheons of 10 major and 10 minor gods - come from Tekumel. Feist claims to have been unaware of this origin when he wrote Magician.[1][2]


Kelewan was destroyed at the end of the Darkwar by Pug when he created a massive rift between Kelewan and its moon and sent a piece of that moon through to crash into the planet, preventing the Dreadlord from entering the first plane of reality. Majority of the Tsurani and Thuril were evacuated to another habitable planet by Pug and other magicians. The Cho'ja chose to stay and die with their world.

Intelligent Species[edit]

Kelewan is inhabited by three different intelligent species: humans, the Cho'ja, and the Thūn. Humans came to Kelewan as refugees from the Chaos Wars, while the Cho'ja and Thūn are native to the planet.

There are two major ethnic groups of humans on Kelewan: the Tsurani and the Thuril. Tsurani culture has elements that are similar to those of the Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Aztec cultures of Earth. Their average height is approximately 5 feet; a man of 5'7" is considered tall. They are descended from a group that fled to Kelewan during the original Chaos Wars. The Tsurani Empire is divided into clans, houses, and political parties. All magicians are the province of the Assembly of Magicians, and the Black Robes, for their service in immemorial times, were given the title "Great One" and may act outside the law as they see fit. The Thuril are similar in appearance to the Tsurani, though they have their own language and customs. An uneasy peace exists between the Tsurani and the Thuril; however the current border has existed for some time. They are also descended from refugees of the Chaos War, arriving at the same time as the Tsurani. On their original world they were allied with winged snakes, but these creatures died out due to Kelewan's extreme cold of the east highlands although they remain as mythological symbols.

The Cho'ja are an ant-like species. They can speak both their own language and the language of the Tsurani with whom they are allied. A Cho'ja mine present on Tsurani lands can bring about great trade opportunities from the minerals derived by Cho'ja workers, and new Cho'ja queens often negotiate with Tsurani leaders when deciding where to establish a nest. The Cho'ja originally had magical abilities, though the domination of the Cho'ja by Tsurani magicians drove those Cho'ja within the empire underground, however magic is still practiced by the Cho'ja outside the Tsurani empire. The Cho'ja can also make silk of great quality. It is possible to ride a Cho'ja as they have nubs on their lower stomach. Before the destruction of Kelewan, the Cho'ja refused to leave, and are believed destroyed as of Wrath of a Mad God.

The creatures called Thūn by the Tsurani - and Lasura ("People") in their own language - are similar to Centaurs, which the exception that their upper half is lizard-like rather than human. They're nomadic people who've inhabited Kelewan before the arrival of the Tsurani and Thuril at the time of the great rift. The Thūn have been driven back to the frozen tundra to the north of Kelewan, however young male Thūn must make a raid once each year and return with one Tsurani head to prove their worth to the herd. Defending the northern regions of the Empire against Thūn raiders is a permanently active posting for the Tsurani military, whether or not involved in war elsewhere.


The world of Kelewan has at least three main continents. In the north lies the Tsuranuanni empire which is separated from the "Lost Land" of Tsubar in the south by the Sea of Blood. In the east lies the Thuril Confederation. Additional continents were revealed to exist by the cho-ja in Mistress of the Empire.


The original Gods of Kelewan were withered and ancient by the time the Tsurani and other refugees arrived, and were replaced by the powers brought by the Tsurani. The gods are honoured and always asked for help. The Light of Heaven (or Emperor) is the communication between them.


  1. ^ Shannon Appelcline (2012-02-05). "Designers & Dragons: The Column #13: Midkemia Press, 1979-1983". Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  2. ^ Arthur B (2007-07-06). "The Reading Canary On: The Riftwar Saga". Retrieved 2012-07-21. 

External links[edit]

  • [1] Map of Kelewan