Duck!

From: Erik Sieurin (BV9521@utb.hb.se)
Date: Sat 25 May 1996 - 17:18:58 EEST


McNamara:
> I am sorry for phrasing my emails in such a way, i did not mean to
> patronise any of you, i only wanted to open up discussion on broader
> philosophical issues in glorantha.
I haven't read philosophy, and frankly I didn't care. Compared to
the constant quoting of out-of-print supplements, new Greggish stuff
I haven't got my hands on yet, and weird sociology and such stuff,
your drop of philosophical was like a drip of mucus in a sea of slime.
(Ouch, no I'm hungry....)

> 2. Who do ducks primarily worship? Do ducks use any form of feather
> tatooing or beak engraving?
As stated by others, the Durulz (to be poltically correct) worship
the same gods as humans, but it should be noted that they may
emphasize different aspects. Ducks tend to live in a more, eh, wet,
environment than their human neighbours both because they are pushed
there, and because they like it.

The Ducks of Dragon Pass worship storm gods, but since they live so
close to water they are more concerned with the wind aspects than
their neighbours, who are generally more interested in getting it
to rain when it should. They also preserved certain old customs and
rituals during the years when Dragon Pass was closed to humans, and
they can still be found among them. This is even more emphasized by
the fact that they since that time always have had good contacts with
the Beast People, and much shamantic lore has crept into their
religion.

The popularity of Humakt (not "Hueymakt" IMG; more about that later)
among Dragon Pass Ducks is IMO linked to the fact that they live next
to Upland Marsh, which is filled with undead monsters. Humakt is thus
more worshipped as The Rightful Ending, The Peaceful Death, than as
Weaponthane. Since they share the larger temples with more warrior-
oriented Humakti, enough of them slide along into the warrior mindset
to create the image of the DeathDrake.

IMG the Ducks don't worship Grandmother Duck, but most DP ducks pay
tribute to their ancestor, Durulzan.
Their story is that Durulzan was the ancestor of all duckish
waterfowl. His half-brother Vrimak haughtily disdained him, when he
did not outright beat him up.
When Orlanth full of rage went to compete with The Sun Emperor,
carrying Death, it was observed by ever-vigilant Vrimak, who also
noticed the danger. The Hawk-Father decided to warn his master,
but Durulzan had also noticed what was happening from his hideout
among the reeds of First Lake. He started to heckle Vrimak, and
the pride of the Great Sun Bird overcame his loyalty, and he
struck down to punish the upstart waterbird. Thus, he failed to
warn Yelm, and Orlanth slayed the Sun. When the Sun Emperor passed
the First Lake, he was met by the horrified Vrimak. The Emperor cursed
him by taking the dazzle from the feathers of all his ancestors.
Vrimak screamed out that all was Durulzans fault, and then Yelm in
his turn cursed Durulzan, denying him and all his kin born from now
on the Sky forever.
The proud King Orlanth, as his first order as new King of The World,
ordained that Durulzan's kin should gain the shape and years of men
in return for their lost flight.

The cult of Durulzan is a sub-cult of Orlanth. Ducks who are
initiates of Orlanth or any of his kin may join automatically. Non-
ducks must have 50% in Duck Lore, Swim and two skills demanded of
Wind Lords or Storm Voices, and be Duckfriends as well as initiates
of Orlanth. Durulzan teaches two divine spells: Taunt and Wings of the
Fathers. A Durulzan initiate must kill a raptor once a season to show
his disdain for Vrimak. He may never use the Orlanth Rune Spell
Flight. Durulzan Wind Drakes favor the Scarf of Mist as their weapon
cult, and they are the best source for it.

Taunt
ranged, duration, nonstackable, reusable
This spell causes the target, if defeated in a MP vs MP roll, to
become enraged as per a Fanaticism spell, with all his wrath directed
towards the caster of the spell. He MUST attack the target, and will
be totally reckless when doing so. The spell ends when the target
dies, or at its normal duration.
This spell is taught as part of a ritual when the one who is to learn
the spell plays the part of Durulzan (and, as a result of the drawing-
your-enemies-aspect of the ritual will be attacked by some raptorish
sky spirit or by real raptors). It is said to exist a mightier
version of this spell, obtained only by HeroQuest. It has indefinite
duration, and can only be lifted by magic or the death of the caster.
This is the spell taught to Eurmalites as associated cultists in Duck-
dominated areas. Many humans claim it comes from Eurmal, but ducks
will be very nasty if this is claimed in their presence.

Wings of The Fathers 3 points
ritual Ceremony, self, one day, nonstackable, one-use
This spell turns the arms of the caster into great white wings,
covered by beautiful feathers. He also grows a white tail, and his
facial features becomes more noble and stern (+1D6 to APP, when
dealing with ducks). The caster can fly at a speed of 6, but looses
the use of his hands.
This spell is only taught to Rune Level Durulzan worshippers, or
lesser worshippers who have performed some mighty deed. It is gained
through a more HeroQuesty sacred time ritual, in which the quester
travels back and meets his various ancestors. The traditional ritual
will cause you to meet two personal ancestors before you can meet
Durulzan, and you must please them to get further. To please
Durulzan, the most important thing is that you are not a bully - the
thing most despised by the demi-god, and unfortuneately a common
trait among ducks.

Ah, yes, I am not adverse to comic relief (hey, this is the GM who
has players who storm reed boats with battering rams), but despite
being a fan of both Donald and Howard, I don't find jokes about ducks
that are only funny to the players that good. Better to have many
evil ethnic jokes told by Ducks by humans, to create situation where
the otherwise very-similar-to-humanity-ducks are shown to be
different, and to emphasize the general weirdness of it all.
Oh, and since Donald and his relatives have totally different names
in Swedish and only me in my gaming group is freaky enough to read
the originals, the "Hueymakt" joke doesn't work that well.
But if your mileage didn't vary I'd be damned surprised....

> 3. What do ducks eat? In york all they ever seemed to eat was bread we
> flung at them to stop them devouring us. They used to tap on the windows
> with their beaks until we fed them with crackers. Is there a gloranthan
> god of crackers lurking on the god plane?
Look, _wild ducks_ eat a lot of worms, insects and other creepy-
crawlers, as well as various water plants. The obscenities that
happen in park ponds have nothing to do with "real" ducks.
Durulz have enough blood of their non-humanoid ancestors to find such
food appealing, and harvest many things from the swamp humans would
refuse to eat. However, humans _could_ eat most of'em if they were
really hungry. Durulz keep carps and similar fish in ponds, and
export much fish to their neighbouring clans in exchange for grain.

Some other ducky facts:
1, IMG, the Ducks of Dragon Pass doesn't always look like Anas
platerhynchos, the common duck, but can resemble other kinds of duck,
geese, and other related waterfowl. They are not as shifting in
appearance as the keets of East Isles, however. Just like many wild
species of waterfowl, drakes (male ducks) have more colourful
feathers than the females (gamespeak: female ducks get a Hide bonus
when naked). The exact patterns runs in the family just as much as
human hair colour - same goes for beak shape, etc.

2, Ducks, like many other nonhumans, tend to wear little clothing,
mostly practical stuff like harnesses, armor, hats to protect from
the sun etc. Many city-bred ducks, however, put a great store in
appearing as human as possible, and most ducks will clothe themselves
when among humans. The absence of legwear is always common, both
because it is damned uncomfortable anatomically, and because the
Things You Hide Within Your Pants are not visible on ducks.

3, Ducks usually resent being called just that - they prefer
"Durulz". Few humans care. You just have to be happy if they don't
call you "featherball" or something like that.

4, Duck eggs don't hatch within the mother's body - it usually
hatches just after birth. However, it very rarely happens that an egg
doesn't hatch as quickly. Then it is time to call in the priests and
shamans, wisewomen and elders. Usually, a duck hatching from such an
egg will have abilities similar to their divine ancestors: flight,
even more amphibical, great Power, the ability to speak with
waterfowl, etc. Think of'em as the duck equivalent to the Mistress
Race, or the True Mostali....
Ducks are not exactly born in litters, but twins, triplets and
quadruplets are much much more common than among humans.

5, Ducks are, as noted gamemechanically, much better swimmers and
divers than humans. Ducklings can swim as soon as they are born,
though not very well. Ducks can see and otherwise use their
senses under water much better than humans. Their feathers also
protect them from water just like their dumb ancestors. Ducks
generally don't mind wet weather, and very rarely freeze because they
are wet. It is instinctive for ducks to groom themselves, and they do
so regularely. As a result they tend to think of most humans as
"dirty".

6, The Ducks of Dragon Pass are always in danger from the despise and
prejudices of their human neighbours. This they very much resent.
They know that they, among other things, preserved Orlanthi culture
during the years Dragon Pass was closed off from humans, and consider
themselves just as good as any human. The unification/federalisation
of the tribes of Dragon Pass under Sartar meant much to the ducks;
Sartar fostered a spirit of cooperation and tolerance among his
subjects. Thus the Ducks always were supportive of the Kingdom, much
more than the other tribes. Sartar is held in very high esteem by

them, and it is not strange that so many Ducks have given their lives
in the fight for the freedom of Sartar.

Erik Sieurin

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