View Full Version : Malazan Book of the Fallen homebrew

2007-05-24, 08:47 PM
I've been tossing this idea around for a while, but have hit on a few problems. For those not aware, The Malazan Book of the Fallen is an epic fantasy series written by Steven Erikson. Currently at 7 books, with a projected final number of 10. It's set in a unique universe where war is constant, many factions vie for power, and the Malazan Empire attempts to rule over all.

For the purposes of this, I was thinking of attempting to write to d20. But there are two main problems. Power level, and the magic.

Power level is an issue because in the books, there are people of vastly different power levels (basically gods and men) who fight together, and it happens viably. Since it serves an integral part of the series, it would probably be worthwhile to at least attempt to make this possible.

Magic is very interesting in the books. It is much more abstract than the normal system, and thus would require much modification most likely. Wizards draw from alternate planes known as warrens, which are typically attuned to a specific element or, aspect (fire, sky, etc). Each warren has it's unique advantages and disadvantages.

For those who want to learn more (you'll certainly need too), you can visit the wiki here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malazan_Book_of_the_Fallen . Or even better, go read the books. But i would start with the wiki.

mabriss lethe
2007-05-26, 12:47 AM
Amazing books. I love them.

I've been trying to attempt the same thing and running into the same problems. Here are my *tentative* solutions. I haven't had a chance to play around with it and see how it will all work.

Power Level:

I'd leave it well enough alone. Sure, there are scenes where absurdly powerful ascendants are fighting side-by-side with total mundanes, but there is a realization time and again by the characters that they really are in a pickle, possibly even a hiderance to the ascendant. It's really a matter of good GMing to keep things like that flowing smoothly.

I'd use the Divine Rules for Gods and ascendants. Ascendants would simply have a Divine Rank of 0.

Magic System:

Ok first off, the normal spells per day system really won't translate true.
My best adaptation so far: (these really only apply to the warrens accessible to mortals. Elder warrens would need to be adjusted some to reflect the more primal aspects of their power.)

Use the spell point variant mechanic. Combine aspects of the cleric with the sorceror/wizard classes... There are no distinctions between divine and arcane magic. If you want a divine caster, just pick a warren aligned to a god.

Limit the spell lists for each warren. Each warren has an aspect. Treat the aspects as Cleric domains. The caster gains the domain powers of his warren as if he were a cleric. Most casters only learn to access a single warren. All mortal warrens have a vulnerability to otatoral.

I'd leave elder warrens out of the hands of PCs It'll just simplify the mechanics... at least for now.

2007-05-29, 09:36 PM
Those sound like reasonable ideas. Another interesting idea I had on the magic I got while looking through Encyclopedia Arcane: Chaos Magic. As much as I normally dislike that series, the idea of a freeform magic system was interesting. You basically craft spells on the spot based on several different criteria (damage type, duration, area, etc).

That seemed to fit the description of what happens in the book much better. I like the idea of making the warrens like cleric domains though.

2007-05-30, 01:40 AM
Edit: Meh... looks like someone got to most of these points before I did. Sorry.

First of all, let me apologise for forgetting the names of particular warrens. I can't remember most of them and am not willing to drag out the books right now.

It seems to me that casting would be based on something like the psion's power points. A caster drawing from the warren of air will be able to create a steady wind literally all day long, but perhaps only be able to blow down a building once. Your spell list should be damn long and mostly learned early... but you shouldn't have enough points to use most of them with any regularity. Points should be restored gradually, not every time you rest or meditate.

Individuals are also capable of learning multiple warrens at a cost. Casters might have different kinds of points, each belonging to a different warren that you are aligned to. You should not be able to spend points from the warren of light to cast a spell from the warren of water. You might, however, be able to trade in twice the normal amount to cast a spell from the warren of fire. The two would be closely alligned to each other.

But how many casting points you have and how powerful the resulting spells is based on more than on how many levels you have. A spellcaster commanding Hood's warren, the warren of death, will have one hell of a boost to both in the aftermath of a great battle. Likewise, your power may be cut to damn near nothing in a place far away from your element... or too near the element that stands opposite your warren.

Some powers also seem to let you 'borrow' power points... in return for something else. Both the chaos outside of the universe and the Crippled God offer immense power in exchange for health, sanity, and your human form.