Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Quackatoa last won the day on October 14 2017

Quackatoa had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

102 Excellent

1 Follower

About Quackatoa

  • Rank
    Advanced Member

Profile Information

  • Location


  • RPG Biography
    Stew Stansfield, duck-fondler
  • Current games
  • Location
  • Blurb
  1. Gloranthan Battles & Warfare

    That's very true, David. Glorantha likes magic and myth writ large, with heroes, gods and monsters. I'm perhaps getting at something a little different. I'll try and explain by way of an example. A bronze-clad phalanx marches upon the enemy's heartland. It is summer. The air is cloudless, hot and dry. The lighter-armed enemy denies the attackers battle. They retreat, harassing the invaders at every opportunity. The invaders cannot engage or give chase, so march onward. Finally, after the phalanx is worn down by its marches, stressed by heat fatigue and skirmishes, the enemy gives battle. The phalanx is rigid and strong, but tired, unwieldy and inflexible. The enemy is quicker, lighter and more adaptable – in armament and tactics. Its swordsmen get under the spears of the phalanx; they harass its sides and rear. The invader is slowly and inexorably bled and defeated. This simple example has many antecedents in history. It draws on the relative strengths and weaknesses of irregular versus regular soldiers, or of light, medium and heavy infantry; of rigid and flexible tactics. Let's transpose this to Glorantha. A Stonewall Phalanx marches upon the enemy's heartland. It is Fire Season. The air is burned cloudless by Yelm's magnificence; the phalanx marches under his glory. The lighter-armed enemy denies the attackers battle. They retreat, harassing the invaders at every opportunity. The invaders care not. Their armour is burnished bright, reflecting their god's brilliance. Every step they take—in unison—under the blazing sun is an act of worship that makes them stronger. The enemy skirmishers are dazzled by the invaders' panoply; their very arrows and sling-stones blinded. Finally, the enemy gives battle. The phalanx is unyielding. Their armour shines and burns with Yelm's power. The enemy wilts and falters before its assault, unable to break the perfect unity of the Stonewall as it is trodden underfoot. The second example aims to show how two fundaments of Earthly military experience—so crucial to the first example—might have radically different effects in Glorantha. In the first example, the phalanx—heavily armed and armoured—suffers from heat fatigue, both on the march and in battle. In the second example, the sun has an opposite effect. It makes the phalanx stronger; its every deed taken under the aegis of their god an act of dedication and sacrifice. In the first example, the phalanx—being a formation of regular, heavy infantry—suffers when exposed to a more flexible force against which it cannot dictate its strengths; against an enemy whose weapons are more useful in an engagement of that nature. In the second example, such technological and tactical determinism loses its place. Military history likes its parables of innovation; where outdated and outmoded ideas are continuously defeated at the hands of tactical progress. But a Stonewall Phalanx is strong because it is stagnant and inflexible; every year it shuns change and adaptation is a year added to the thousands over which it has existed in the perfect model of its creation. Faced with the first example, you'd say (i) don't fight and march in the midday sun, and (ii) adapt to a more flexible paradigm. The second example says, "Bollocks." And, to end, a final example: A Stonewall Phalanx marches upon the enemy's heartland. It is Fire Season but the sun is hidden under a broiling slate sky, as the Storm-singers call upon the winds to marshal the clouds above. The lighter-armed enemy denies the attackers battle. They retreat, harassing the invaders at every opportunity, their thunderstones thinning the ranks. Finally, the enemy gives battle. The phalanx is strong, but shorn from the gaze of its great god; its armour dulled and cool. The enemy moves with edge and quickness of the wind. The phalanx tries to adapt to the challenge, but its paeans are lost in the keening storm; its officers' warnings and commands stifled as the breath is stolen from their throats. The mortar of the Stonewall crumbles, leaving hundreds of individual stones to be engulfed. Humility aside, I know a fair amount about military history. And honestly? At least in my Glorantha, I don't think it really matters that much...
  2. Gloranthan Battles & Warfare

    *hesitates* Oh, go on, let's be provocative... Warfare has always been—by far—the weakest area of Glorantha. Why? Because we know too little of what we speak? Quite the contrary. Because we know too much. (Or presume to...) No other area of Glorantha suffers from so many preconceptions. Most of us know sod-all about ritual, economics, semiotics, anthropology or any number of other subjects. Oh, sure, we pretend to when we're getting into arguments on t'internet. But we don't really, do we? We just look it up on Wikipedia beforehand. But warfare? We've got that down. It infuses us. It may be a fairly shallow level of knowledge, but it's real and broadly pervasive. (And, OK, there's probably a lot of Wikipedia'ing going on aswell.) Look at those of us who contribute to Glorantha, whether as creators or fans on message-lists. We're (mostly) all the same. Middle-aged white blokes of European heritage, who grew up playing with the same (or similar) toy soldiers, watching the same war films and reading the same popular military history books. We play the same role-playing games that—even now—struggle to shake off their clumsily deterministic wargaming roots. The fetish that is military history (or military 'current affairs') is the oldest, most persistent example of geek culture – that existed millennia before we thought to coin the term; its pathology rooted in the same categorisation, reductionism and determinism. Everything goes in its little box. Logos. And that's the problem with Gloranthan warfare, really: too much logos, not enough mythos. The tension between mythos and logos in Glorantha is, I think, often a good thing. Provocative but inspiring. But when it comes to Gloranthan warfare, mythos is losing. And that's bad. It's far too rooted in our own experience. We bring far too much baggage and fail to see it on Gloranthan terms. It's bad enough for me as a fairly proximal early-modernist having to bat off late-modern assumptions and prejudices; I feel for Gloranthans or even real-world ancient cultures. How often do we see magic treated as some addendum? A layer added on top of a unit's panoply and tactical function, as opposed to its core? Why not an approach that turned all this on its head; that reduced Earthly military history to second- or third-order haberdashery and instead centred on myth and meaning? I might whinge about Hero Wars and HeroQuest's incessant focus on the Orlanthi, but it had a glowing up-side. The Sartarite Orlanthi don't do military in the sense that comforted nasty old logos. You just had a bunch of yokels pratting around in a shieldwall while heroes and weaponthanes went around doing ABSOLUTELY COOL SHIT (TM). Mythos was front and centre. Needless to say, I liked that. Anyway, enough of me moaning. I should probably stick to duck wizards. But I've been wanting to write that for about five years, and here seemed as good a place as any. Sorry! *scarpers*
  3. Corruption in the Lunar Army

    I was searching for some info on something and came across this from a decade ago, which I completely forgot I'd written (and thought I'd repost for silliness). I'm astonished I went to the trouble of actually working all this out. I can only assume I was going slowly mad from being knee-deep—figuratively, but quite possibly literally—in forage contracts at the time. If you can follow the line of argument through to the end, my sincere admiration. ***** GOPTO GLABBRAX'S SPECULATIONS ON THE LUNAR ARMY I [In the above title, the `S' in `Speculations' has been crossed-out by an anonymous hand.] In the following, Gopto Glabbrax, centurion in the Slavewall Foot and son of the infamous Spurio (whom some label `Brothel-Master-General' of the Provincial Army, and others worse things besides), provides in his near-inimitable Tarshite drawl some insights into the financial condition of that noblest harbinger of the Lunar Way: the common Sedenyite sentinel, chastising barbarians for a lunar a week. Theoretically. [All the following figures are based on Martin Laurie and Mark Galeotti's article, `The Imperial Economy' in The Four Scrolls of Revelation Convulsions C02 Conbook (The Unspoken Word, Crewe, 2002), pp. 9-14. If you go by the older RQ pricelists, you'll have to make up your own numbers I'm afraid.] 1 (gold) wheel = 20 (silver) lunars = 200 (copper) navars WHAT'S THE PAY OF A COMMON SOLDIER IN THE SLAVEWALL FOOT? Well, feoretickly, your average full-time shi… soldier gets a lunar a week, or wun an' free-sevenffs coppers a day. Tha's not countin' special rates: as we's organised like a Lunar regiment, you gets wunan' -'alf rate in Sacred Weeks, an's then there's your double-pay- days, which is all the Great Moon Days. An' we also gets triple money on Moirades' burfday. When 'e remembers it. So, that's, er… FORTY-FIVE LUNARS AND SEVEN AND ONE-SEVENTH COPPERS PER ANNUM? Eggsacktly. An' file-leaders, they gets two lunars a week normal like, twice that of the regulars. Well, feoretickly. THEORETICALLY? Yeah, feoretickly. You see, we don't actually pay the bas… lads that, of course. WHAT, THEY DON'T ACTUALLY GET THEIR FULL PAY? Bloody Lunar 'ells no! You twit. Why would we do that? We'd all be bankrupt! Of the pay they's supposed to get, it's split into their subsistance, or the pay they're really supposed to get… if possible, mind… and the deductibles, or the pay they're really not really supposed to get, and that is stopped from 'em. Or, as the lads say, grain-'n-gin-money and I'll-be-buggered-backwards-by-a-brotard-if-I-know-where-it's-gone-money. … DEDUCTIBLES? Right. You know, off-reckonin's? Furstly, one copper from the weekly lunar, and a further copper over Sacred Weeks, is stopped as the King's Portion, a bit like the Emperor's Tenth up north. That's fortythree coppers a year taken from a man's pay, out of which we pays the standard Lunar Sevenff in tithing. Not to the Heartlands, mind, but to King Moirades. This 'elps provide for the Phargentites and variuss contingencies for the Army of Tarsh, such as hintelligence – Harr! – though the Royal Dishthane takes 'is `fair' share… After the tithe there's a further week's pay taken out of the Portion for road an' river money, fer makin' the ways, passages, posts, camps 'n' magazines in Tarsh an' beyond – of course, if you're making these ways, you get paid extra 'n' get some of the money back. An' then one lunar in every gold wheel stipended to a soldier is given to Lokarnos as spoke-money or waggonage, which amounts to anuver twenty-two coppers portage taken from the Portion, with a further clack accounted every uver year. I THOUGHT THAT WAS AN ANCIENT YELMITE CUSTOM, NOT USED IN THE PROVINCIAL ARMY? Tecknickly. ALSO YOU DON'T HAVE ANY WAGONS… Look, do you want me answers, or not? OKAY, PLEASE CONTINUE. SO THE KING PAYS YOU THE MONEY… AND YOU GIVE IT BACK TO HIM? Yer. ERM… WOULDN'T IT JUST BE EASIER FOR THE KING TO PAY NINE-TENTHS OF WHAT HE NORMALLY DOES? 'Cos, gormless, the Portion is usually for fings we's often got bugger all idea o' what's needed or 'ow much they'll cost. But we knows `ow many soldiers we's got, so we just tacks it on to the army establishment, all accountable like, an' each regiment pays its fair share. Anyway, out of the forty-three coppers of the Portion, four and six-sevenffs are usually retained by the regiment, as the Remainders or muster money, which is used in the King's name fer tributes to the Armsmen who provide men to the regiment, and expenses to the recruitin' saltrieves. OKAY, SO THAT'S THE DEDUCTIBLES… No it ain't! The King's Portion's only a third of 'em. Then there's the Fifth Quarter, which is a further two coppers from the weekly lunar stopped for vurious fings, with another two taken over Sacred Weeks. If you're confused, it's pretty obviuss to remember that the Fifth Quarter makes up two-thirds of the off-reckonin's. Yeah? … Anyways, this amounts to eighty-six coppers a year, from which is taken the usual Sevenff in tithing, only this time passed on to the Provincial Army and Administration in various amounts: free-sevenffs o' a copper to the Provincial Overseer, 2 coppers to his office and wun-sevenff o' a copper to his scrivener; wun-sevenff o' a copper to the General o' Procurements and Disbursements; wun-sevenff o' a copper to the General Guide fer the Lunar Spirit and wun and sixsevenffs to the Provincial Church itself; and free-sevenffs o' a copper to the General o' the Provincial Army, one-sevenff to his Harbinger, and seven coppers to the establishment itself. After the tithe there's a day's pay taken for the Teelo Norri poorhouses 'n' orph'nidges, two days' pay fer the widows' weepin' money an' funeral club… FUNERAL CLUB? SOUNDS VERY CONVIVIAL. Eh? And a day's pay per month fer the regimental cult, one double-pay- day's funds fer sacrifices not accounted fer by such, and the noshunul pay of every Water Day of Death Week taken for the Black Eel. HOLD ON… WATER DAY OF DEATH WEEK? SO YOU'RE PAID ACCORDING TO THE LUNAR CALENDAR, BUT ACCOUNT SOME OF YOUR EXPENSES ACCORDING TO THE THEYALAN CALENDAR? Yer. ISN'T THAT CONFUSING? Hurh! You should've seen it when they tried to pay us each day accordin' to the phase o' the Moon… RIGHT. ALL THAT STILL LEAVES FORTY-FIVE AND ONE-SEVENTH COPPERS A YEAR UNACCOUNTED FOR OUT OF THE 129 SO FAR `DEDUCTED', WHICH I PRESUME ARE REFUNDED TO THE SOLDIER? You great gorp! Clothin', armour 'n' weppens don't grow on trees, yer know… well, not 'less yer in Snakepipe 'Ollow, I guess. No, we provides 'em, and the bug… lads pays us back from their pay, that money bein' kept by the regiment fer the outfittin' fund. They don't get any o' that back, jus' their seven coppers' a week subsistence. SO A LUNAR SOLDIER ACTUALLY RECEIVES SEVEN COPPERS A WEEK… Whoah, 'ang on. One copper a week is stopped out o' subsistence for gin-tithing, or gingild as we say 'ere. Tha's effecktively one sevenff o' a clack a day, doubled on Great Moon Days and wun-an'- 'alfed in Sacred Weeks of course. So that's six coppers subsistence a week normal like, to be paid equally in two instalments, usually on Crescent-Come and Crescent-Go. Of course, if the wan… lads are subsisted in kind at regimental expense, then the value o' that is stopped too, innit? Same as if they're given goods fer barter an' all with them barbarians. Oh, yer, finally a further copper is offen stopped weekly every other month, fer regimental contingencies and shortfalls not covered by deductibles from the King's Portion or Fifth Quarter. SO, FIVE OR SIX COPPERS, THEN… Whoah there, Yarandros! There yer go again. All this is scratches on a wax tablet… 's not real money. No, real money costs… money. MONEY COSTS… MONEY? Eggsacktly. Look, if we be payin' the bas… lads in coin, we 'af to be gettin' it from somewhere. An' it offen don't come cheap, not least with Moonson's Monopoly on silver! Like, if we's in Sartar, there's usually a charge two-an'-free-quarter per cent on all funds issued, which is usually a clack accounted fer each month o' so. BUT THE SOLDIERS ARE USUALLY PAID IN NAVARS, WHICH AREN'T MADE OF SILVER. Tha's a point… Well, er, the recruitin' bounties are, tho'… a week's pay in advance like, jus' like this. <reaches into a bag and pulls out a coin> THAT'S NOT A LUNAR, IT'S A BOLG. No it isn't! IT IS. AND 'ARGENTEUS' DOESN'T HAVE A 'J' IN IT. ANYWAY, YOU'RE OBFUSCATING THE ISSUE. Eh? NEVERMIND. SO OF THE 45 LUNARS AND ONE AND ONE-SEVENTH LUNARS STIPENDED, THE SOLDIER ACTUALLY RECEIVES UNDER 26 LUNARS A YEAR? Yep. But they get free gin. BUT YOU'VE JUST SAID THE GIN ISN'T FREE…<alarmed> It isn't? NEVERMIND. HOW MUCH DO YOU GET, GOPTO? Now, tha's not a question t'ask a gennelman, is it! Well, alright then… do you mean from their pay or mine? EITHER. BOTH. DOES IT MATTER? Well, your typical company hofficer gets between five an' ten lunars a week, like, and a further lunar in slave money. He tends to pays for 'is stuff 'imself, so 'is stoppages is diff'rent, mind. 'E pays fer 'is waggonage, cult money, tithin's an' all that, but gets the outfittin' money back. Also 'is own Remainders is offen given back fer `company use' at the hofficer's discreshun. Then 'e gets 'is due proportions, like. DUE PROPORTIONS? Yer. There's 'is four-an'-'alf per cent of the gingild taken, fer negoshiatin' wi' the gin-peddlars on be'alf o' the company, and ensurin' it's good stuff, which is two clacks per man all told. Then there's 'is own sevenff taken from the regimental contingencies money, fer the `best usage o' the company at 'is discreshun', which is another free coppers per man. An' then there's 'is take on the widows' money, in their gratitude at 'is good graces, an'… IT'S OKAY. YOU CAN STOP THERE. Right. But, well, my company's a bit different, like. OH, HOW COME? Well, it's a long story, but my men don't acktually exist… ***** SYNOPSIS Pay of a common Lunar soldier per annum – 45L. 7,1/7n. OFF-RECKONINGS King's Portion deductible – 4L. 3n. (of which 6,1/7n. seventh tithing; 1L. road and river money; 2L. 2n. waggonage; and 4,6/7n. Remainder or muster money) Fifth Quarter deductible – 8L. 6n. (of which 1L. 2,2/7n. seventh tithing; 1,3/7n. Teelo Norri fund; 2,6/7n. weeping widows' money and funeral club; 1L. 4,2/7n. regimental cult; 2,6/7n. special sacrifices; 7,1/7n. Black Eel money; 4L. 5,1/7n. outfitting fund) SUBSISTENCE Subsistence, i.e. pay after deductibles – 32 L. 8,1/7n. Charge for subsistence transferred into specie, typically at 2.75% – 9n.* Gingild deducted from subsistence – 4L. 4,3/7n. Regimental Contingencies deducted from subsistence – 2L. 1n. BALANCE Total subsistence remaining per annum – 25L. 3,5/7n. *N.B. the entire fund of subsistence is usually transferred into specie and thus subject to the 2.75%, but the charge is effectively levelled on that which is issued to the soldier alone – regimental contingencies and gingild are not diminished!
  4. Thanks for this, Harald! I'm especially thankful for your tale about the Black Eel, which I'd completely missed. In my own Glorantha, I use the Slavewall Foot as a particularly enthusiastic antagonist in the Duck Hunts, with rumours of nasty Black Eel magics and all that. The loon connection gives some fascinating (and amusing) possibilities.
  5. A Drunken RuneQuest

    Ace! Thank you, Peter and 7Tigers! I don't know my brain skipped over seeing the rune in Simon's piccy, but it obviously did. Par for the course, these days... I was something of a fan of the expansion—within reason—on aesthetic grounds. Glorantha's often been a very wordy creation, and I quite like attempts to signal meaning in a non-textual manner. I guess everyone will have their personal break-point between what provides a resonant core with the natural expansions and derivations you might expect with such semiotics; and what a suggests a meaningless profusion that weakens the central concept.
  6. A Drunken RuneQuest

    Cheers, Richard! I sincerely hope—for that duck's sake—it's not the first one!
  7. A Drunken RuneQuest

    Cheers, Joerg! Yep, I tried to trawl through my books as best I could (including the collated 16-page rune.pdf that used to be on the Issaries website way back) but came up blank. I'm sure you're right about the Fire connection (symbolising some potent beverage, no doubt). I'm just a bit puzzled, as I didn't usually take any creative liberties with Orlanthi stuff (it wasn't my area), typically using things as I found them. Thanks for checking!
  8. A Drunken RuneQuest

    Hello! I seek help on a (quite literal) runequest! Years ago, I drew this for Newt. I'm trying to remember what the heck the large rune on the tankard is, or where I got it from. This is from the era when there were loads and loads of runes, so I'm struggling. (In case it's not clear, it'd be mirrored along a vertical plane running through the dot and u-bend.) I'd pretend I knew what I was doing at the time and it was something to do with Minlister and brewing. But I'm the person who draws Storm Bill berserks with Voriof-rune helms (thinking it's the Urox rune) and sorns with Undead-rune war-paint (thinking it's the Chaos rune), so it's also likely I was extremely confused. (Which doesn't help.) It's a bit like the Durev rune. Can anyone remember seeing it anywhere? I'm pretty confident I didn't make it up, but... Cheers!
  9. Deities of Beer and Wine

    Hopefully this isn't too much of a derail (and many apologies if it is), but I only tend to hang out in certain areas of Glorantha these days--none of them of great repute!--and this gives me something of a localist perspective. (Glorantha does like its localist vs globalist lozengist conundrums.) Not sure if some of the following is useful elsewhere. In Caladraland, Veskarthan is the great father and patron of the land; not just of the human tribes, but also of the plants that suckle on the ancient lava flows, and the beasts that wander its forests. Like any children some will inherit his Fire and Disorder runes more than others. I've thus always thought that the products of the plants and beasts are naturally 'fiery', 'spicy', 'disinhibiting', 'libido-enhancing' or 'emboldening', etc., because of those two runes. Not because of any attempt to push a certain cultural, geographical or climatological analogue (which Gloranthan musings can descend into), but just because of the Fire and Disorder runes that are Veskarthan's essential nature. This can be 'natural', without recourse to ritual, process or preparation. (Though, of course, you can add that if you think it's fun!) A freshly butchered deer can provide the hottest curry you've ever tasted - no spices required. I imagine the juice of the fruits of the forest can work the same way. Ready-made cocktails, straight from the gourd. Yay! Caladran hunters and horticulturalists know how to spot the signs of those fruits and animals strongest in Veskarthan's magic. Outsiders can get it very badly wrong... I'm sure it's quite different when you move into the Vinavale and Porthomeka, as Harald mentions above. But in the wilds, where the influence of the Twins and other presences is weaker, I tend to like 'natural' hotness and inebriation. Caladrians are the children and image of their volcano gods. And a rising cacophony of blustering violence, fecundity and effusions followed by comatose slumber does sound like some nights out...
  10. Ah, sorry, yep, we're on the same page. I was just wondering if I'd missed anything. (No, not really a fan myself, either.)
  11. Can I ask what made you cringe, Steve? My eyebrows rose a touch mischievously, though that's perhaps on account of reading too many Zatanna comics.
  12. Re: Yellow Bear: There's a fun set of Greg's stories about the Hrestoli knight Sir Beobard and his adventures with/against the likes of the Yellow Bear, the Serpent King and his paladins (including the grey dwarf Bool), the Blue Moon of Hell, etc. It finishes on the acest cliffhanger, where Beobard's just about to head off against the Pumpkin Corps... Sadly, I lent my copy to Loz years ago, when he was writing the Mongoose stuff, so can't check it.
  13. What miniatures do you use for Westerners?

    I've always thought that the very greatest duck heroes (behave) wore contraptions like the Husaria's wings in an atavistic attempt to manifest pre-Curse greatness... ... on foot. As quasi-Orlanthi heroes, their 'Four Supporters' in battle spend much of their time doing just that - trying to keep the hero upright. (Edit: Very sorry, thought this was in the 'other' thread. Will stop derailing. )
  14. Yep, I suspect my Glorantha might vary a little there. (Albeit perhaps because I spend too much time sodding around with ducks in Dragon Pass and want to encounter something a little different.) That said, I guess 'duck' can cover a multitude of sins... In case people weren't aware, this info isn't new – it's a mash-up of the information in Elder Secrets (our answerphone message du jour) and a textbox of Sandy's in Tales of the Reaching Moon #17 (p. 40). It's the latter piece that had the 'majority' comment – with the added clarification of '75%+'.
  15. Because ducks are metal and they want to shred out some serious tunes?