Malazan Geography


There are seven major landmasses:

  1. Assail
  2. Genabackis
  3. Jacuruku
  4. Korelri
  5. Lether
  6. Quon Tali
  7. Seven Cities

Quon Tali: A large island (usually referred to as a continent) to the southeast of Seven Cities. Home to the Malazan Empire (Malaz Island lies to the south), there are several other smaller islands surrounding it: Falar and Strike Island to the north, and Malaz, Kartool, Nap and Geni Isles to the south. The Quon Tali landmass extends for over 500 leagues from east to west and for approximately 780 leagues from north to south (including the Falari Isles).

Korel = Sister continent to Jacuruku, close to the south end of Quon Tali. It consists of two subcontinents: Korel to the west and Stratem to the east. It was badly damaged in the Fall of the Crippled God, leaving hundreds of small islands along its coasts and many lakes in the interior. The Malazan Empire’s conquest began with the island of Theft off the north coast and then moved onto the mainland. However, the north of Korelri is a nightmare to hold with vast stretches of open territory surrounding the Malazan occupation zone. The nations and cities of Korelri have united against the Malazans to form the Korelri Compact and in recent years have managed to stall the advance of the Malazans. Attempts by the Malazans to rescue the situation have so far failed. The Malazans on Korelri also maintain the Stormwall, a defensive fortification along the north coast that defends the continent from attack by the Stormriders, sorcerer-spirits of the Sea of Storms.

Jacuruku = Sister continent to Korelri, Jacuruku is a ruined area, destroyed thousands of years ago by High King Kallor in order to keep it out of the hands of Elder Gods. The mages of Kallor’s Empire were responsible for bringing down the Crippled God to the world. Its dead surface has been transformed into the Imperial Warren by K’rul, but lately civilization seems to have reemerged, with likely little to no memory of the continent’s terrible past.

Seven Cities = The Seven Cities pretty clearly are a cross between North Africa and the Middle East. Desert tribes, nomadic horse cultures, the names and people have a very Arabic feel to them, etc. To me, the Seven Cities are roughly analogous to N. Africa and the Middle East of about seven centuries ago – essentially a region of some ethnic diversity, but with more to unite than divide along cultural lines. The subcontinent consists of large areas of wasteland and desert known as ‘Odhans’. The mapped region of Seven Cities extends nearly 2800 leagues from east to west and over 1800 leagues from north to south. The western part of Seven Cities has not been mapped but has been described in The Bonehunters, where it is revealed that three nations (Nemil, Perish and the Shal-Morzinn Empire) lie west of the Jhag Odhan and Trell tribe lands.

Not to mention that the whole “desert sub-continent with fertile river valleys as cradle of civilization” is blatantly Mesopotamian. And the Seven Cities themselves echo the older cities of Iraq and Syria, with layer built on ancient layer with an antiquity not quite matched, and only approached in Egypt. That’s a kind of parallel to be expected when the world-building’s done by an archaeologist.

For Seven Cities I just think of the city dwellers as Arabic, and the tribal Seven City dwellers as real dark skinned, though still Arabic in facial structure.

I always viewed Seven Cities as being more like India. A subcontinent that had its own unique history, never united until conquered by outside forces from overseas; the brutality of the 1850’s mutiny (though honestly, not as bad as the rebellion in these books); the varied landscape and cultures. Until the British came, there were independent empires, tribal regions, a land steeped in ancient tradition and religions; the landscape is vast and varied, they have deserts like the Thar desert (over 200,000 square kilometers), highlands, the Great Indo-Gangetic Plains, etc. Also, I kind of see some parallels from the Mutiny in the rebellion, a conquered people violently rise up against their foreign masters; they massacred civilians, Indians thought to be working for the British, and it took a lot to put it down.

Named for the seven holy cities (Aren, Karakarang, Ubaryd, Ehrlitan, Karashimesh, Yath Alban and Ugarat), although other large cities exist such as Hissar, Panpot’sun and G’danisban. The land itself consists of large areas of wasteland and desert known as ‘Odhans,’ (Jaghut word for pristine plains, though now many are deserts) as well as the nearby large island of Otataral (where the magic-deadening ore of the same name is mined), which lies off the northeastern coast. The mapped region of Seven Cities extends nearly 2800 leagues from east to west and over 1800 leagues from north to south. The southwestern part of Seven Cities has not been mapped but has been described to contain three nations (Nemil, Perish and the Shal-Morzinn Empire) west of the Jhag Odhan and Trell tribe lands.

There are many native tribes living in Seven Cities, including the Arak (in the Pan’potsun Odhan), Bhilard (east of the Nenoth Odhan), Can’eld (northeast of Ubaryd), Debrahl (northerly regions), Dhis’bahl (in the Omari and Nahal Hills), Gral (from the Ehrlitan foothills down to the Pan’potsun Odhan), Kherahn Dhobri (in the Geleen Plain), Khundryl (west of the Nenoth Odhan), Pardu (north of the Geleen grasslands), Semk (in the Karas Hills and Steps), Tithan (south of Sialk) and the Tregyn (west of Sanimon).

Quick Ben, Kalam, (are from Raraku), Lostara Yil, they are all described as dark-skinned. Yes, almost everyone in the Whirlwind Camp will have been black, since it was the resistance movement of a continent with a black population. Kalam comes from the southern tribes of seven cities, ones whom are described as having oynx-black skin, so for Kalam think very dark African. Whilst in RG Quick Ben is described as having skin the colour of “boiled leather” and so I would argue he is of a more Arabic looking character. (Lostara Yil) “She was Pardu, a southern plains tribe; her companion had the look of a northerner – possibly Ehrlii. His dusky skin was a shade paler than the woman’s and bare of any tribal tattooing.” “Born on the plains of Dal Hon, Duiker’s dark skin matched that of the local Debrahl”

Samar Dev makes mention of blue-eyed, blond-haired peoples living in scattered areas of Seven Cities. “By her hair and heart-shaped features – and those blue eyes – she reminded Samar Dev of the small, mostly subjugated peoples who could be found near the centre of the subcontinent, in such ancient cities as Halaf, Guran and Karashimesh; and as far west as Omari. Some remnant population perhaps.” (BH p.805)

DoD p437 Barghast in the NE, not many left

Lether = USA. I don’t have a clear picture of what the Letherii looked like, but I assume they were also Caucasian types. Then again, they are the offshoot of the Seven Cities-based First Human Empire, so should they not have Seven Cities heritage, i.e. black skin? Need a quote on this one.

The Letherii continent is the farthest distant from the Malazan Empire, and the two are largely unaware of each other’s presence. Letherii humans and Tiste Edur share the continent, but their relations are not entirely peaceful—the Letherii Empire is focused on expansion, after all. It is outside the scope of this roleplay, although citizens can be found within the Malazan Empire.

Genabackis = To the east of Quon Tali and Seven Cities, across the Meningalle Ocean (also known as Seeker’s Deep). The mapped continent extends for over 600 leages from east to west and over 1000 leagues from north to south, although the southern coast has yet to be explored. The northern area is controlled by the Malazan Empire, while the central area is controlled by a loose coalition of city-states led by Darujhistan. To the southwest lies Morn (a violent tear into an unknown warren) and the Seguleh Island, and to the southeast is an area known as Elingarth.

The former Free Cities include Ganiss, Hoop, Evinor, Genalle, Cajale, Sogena, Tulips, One Eye Cat, Pale, and Darujhistan—only Darujhistan remains free of Malazan control. To the south, Capusta, Setta, Lest, Maurik, and Coral are free and trading.

“Darujhistan was born on a rumor. Among the indigenous Gadrobi hill tribes survived the legend that a Jaghut’s barrow lay somewhere in the hills. Now, the Jaghut were possessors of great magic, creaters of secret Warrens and items of power. Over time the Gadrobi legend made its way beyond the hills, into the Genebackan north and the Catlin south, to kingdoms since crumbled to dust in the east and west. In any case, searchers came to the hills, at first a trickle then hordes – entire tribes led by power-hungry shamans and warlocks. Every hillside was laced with trenches and bore-holes. From the camps and shantytowns, from thousands of treasure-seekers arriving each spring, a city was born.” -Mammot, GotM, US HC, p.263 ”…It has managed to survive three thousand years.” GotM, UK TPB, p.320

Darujhistan: an influential city apart of the confederation known as the Free Cities, situated on the south shore of Lake Azur and populated mainly by Daru and Gadrobi populations in the numbers of three hundred thousand people. The nobility of Darujhistan seems to be mostly Daru, with some Gadrobi elements. Challice suspects Vidikas to have Gadrobi blood due to the architecture of his manor or whatever. Crokus is described as Daru, and as havin black hair n blue eyes in GotM. How the Daru giffer from the Gadrobi physically is never made clear, except that the Daru are taller.

That the Bridgeburners of WJ’s squad, a pretty mixed crew, are able to move around in Darujhistan without attractin too much attention seems to indicate the presence of pretty diverse types in Darujhistan (or Genabackis, at least). Sulty, barmaid at the Phoenix Inn, “There was a mumbled response from behind the wooden counter, then Sulty, her blonde hair disheveled and plump face looking plumper, stood up.”

Teblor Plateau =

Shal-Morzinn was a kingdom southwest of Nemil which had been ruled by three sorcerer kings for the last thousand years. As a nation they had proven quite formidable and were known for annihilating strangers to their land as a matter of course. They traded with no-one. Luckily for surrounding nations, they were not expansionist.

Malazan Geography

Seeds of Despair Greipr