|Multihued Vortex or a Flame in a Tear|
|Portfolio||AD&D: Wild Magic, Evil Magic, Rebellion
5E: Chaos, Rebellion, Wild Magic
|Domains||5E: Tempest, Trickery|
|Worshippers||Wild Mages usually of the Drow, Derro and Alhoon races|
Malyk, also known as The Dark Mage, is an obscure lesser deity of the Dark Seldarine, the elf sub-pantheon relating to the Drow. Patron of drow anarchists and Wild Mages, this obscure deity first materialized in the pages of Polyhedron #116, although he was also mentioned in several Advanced Dungeons & Dragons splatbooks: Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark, Volo's Guide to All Things Magical, and the Menzoberranzan boxed set. He made a surprise return after decades of having been forgotten in the pages of the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition splatbook, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.
In AD&D lore, Malyk was a drow lich who, towards the end of the Time of Troubles, attempted to ascend to godhood by using the power of a mighty zone of wild magic in the depths of the Underdark. Although successful in stealing a fragment of Mystra's portfolio, he didn't get long to enjoy it; Tempus descended to the Underdark and destroyed the less-experienced deity, hoping to take the portfolio of wild magic for himself. Instead, Ao intervened and gave it to Talos... for some reason.
Now an aspect of Talos, Malyk began appealing to the restless and rebellious members of drow society... which, understandably, are pretty common. Instead of investing his power in them to grant them full Cleric status, he instead encouraged them to study the art of the Wild Mage, rewarding their worship with the ability to cast certain cleric spells alongside their wizard spells. Through this activity, he began appealing to other rebellious souls amongst the Underdark races, predominantly derro and alhoons.
It goes without saying that Malyk's budding cult did not get on well with the church of Lolth, although Malyk faded into obscurity before anything more official than that was said.
When Malyk made his surprise return in 5th edition, he lost the convoluted backstory and the status of being an aspect of Talos. Instead, he is a full-fledged Drow deity, and is in fact one of the two drow gods of arcane magic. Unlike Zinzerena, who is often portrayed as his sister, or lover, or both, Malyk is associated with the raw, chaotic aspect of magic, making him the patron god of Sorcerers, especially those of the Wild Mage origin.
For this reason, unlike Zinzerena, Malyk's chuch is officially outlawed in drow society. Sorcerers, who appear at random and develop their power through individual drive rather than subordination to Lolth or easily-restricted study at the wizardly academies, are a threat to the repressive social web that holds drow society together in its Lolth-ordained form. As such, all sorcerers, whether they worship Malyk or not, are outcasts, and being one is punishable by death. Which ironically is why they tend to be rebellious because, hey, when the priestesses come for your head, trying to blast your way out and escape is a perfectly rational response!
Malyk's cult is, obviously, rather unstructured, and usually takes the form of either subversive drow - males and low-status females alike - worshipping him for power whilst outwardly feigning devotion to Lolth, or as anarchistic cells which help sorcerers strive to control their powers or escape. It's logical to presume he still has favor amongst the derro, but this isn't gone into.
One surprising cock-up from WoTC is that, despite Malyk being strongly associated with arcane magic, he is not presented as having the Arcana domain in his writeup. This same issue plagues Zinzerena as well - in fact, Kiaransalee is the only drow deity with any arcane overtones to have the Arcana domain. Luckily, a reasonable DM will surely agree that a Malyk cleric should have the option of taking the Arcana domain.