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Quackatoa last won the day on November 4 2018

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About Quackatoa

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    Stew Stansfield, duck-fondler
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  1. Quackatoa

    The Many and the One, or has there always been a Yelm?

    We've already got this solved conclusively, Ian!
  2. Quackatoa

    Prax Ostrich Combat Jockets = Terrible IRL

    In my Glorantha? I honestly don't focus much on this stuff. I'll tell you why. This will largely amount to a drive-by shooting on much of Glorantha and its fans. But hey, the thread's got previous. (Now it's my turn to start a fight. 😃) I'm a military historian by background and training. M.A. and Ph.D. in military history, written a book, got a medal, the full monty. Hardly anyone focuses on this stuff at academic level. You sure as hell won't get funding for it. Why? A few reasons. But the determinism—particularly technological determinism—you see in popular military history (I like to call it mankind's—and it's most definitely *man*kind's—earliest form of geek culture) doesn't get as much play. Military history can be a bizarre mix of the reductive and the fetishistic; a cross between Top Trumps and Hermann Goering guest-editing Marie Claire. I mean, if you look at two armies who are about to inflict untold murder, mutilation and misery on each other, and then force their will on a defenceless populace, and your first instinct is to pedantically look at, say, what type of shield they've got... well, it's a bit weird, isn't it? War is presented in the abstract; the pristine ideal, with little thought for the consequences. Look at all those Osprey illustrations — the soldiers look like their mum's taken a picture of them before their first day at school. You just know they have their name sewn in the label of their armour. You never really see Osprey Veterans Administration Hospitals 1964–1975, do you? And war is a mess. It's nowhere near as coherent as people like to pretend. Honestly, it's more like Animal from the Muppets playing the drums. One of the first things I always did at a new archive was look at the courts-martial records; as to what happened when it all went completely and utterly wrong. The funny thing is that, though the original post wound us all up, it is actually right. Certain aspects are privileged in physical violence and confrontation. One thing any military historian will tell you is that war is not fair. Violence has its own perverse internal calculus; it doesn't care for social justice or equality, or how noble your cause is. Or women. Unsurprisingly, the urge of humanity to solve its problems by lining up in a field and physically kicking the crap out of each other hasn't helped women much. The degree to which women can reciprocate with any degree of proportionality when men escalate or threaten to escalate any conflict to the level of physical violence is a principal pillar of patriarchy. Escalation dominance. The only acceptable answer to this, of course, is the radical feminist answer to entirely disestablish the system of violence and ridicule its use at every opportunity (especially in geek culture, which is appalling for the witless way it infantilises, valorises and fetishises violence, not that we care). I'm being entirely serious when I write this. If you've not turned into a radical feminist after studying military history, you've either not been paying attention or... well. Anyone here have the courage to argue for the introduction of sex-based characteristic modifiers in RuneQuest? Thought not. It much easier to ignore it and pretend that we can make violence equal, rather than demolishing the system itself and completely changing the nature of how we find and promote efficacy and catharsis in kicking the shit out of each other. But if we're normalising men and women in the practice of violence, why not anything else? Why not pygmies or ostriches? Typical white middle-class feminism that, ignoring ostriches! I realise I'm in a distinct minority. Loads of people—blokes, for the most part—love this stuff. I get it, and I'll shut up from now on. I just see all these posts—here or on the Facebook page—and I feel the need to make the counterpoint. There is always another way. Anyway. That's it from me. I'm not even that drunk as I type this. Just don't worry about it too much. That's all I'd advise. You're not doing as much a disservice to history as you might think. Do what's fun. Glorantha is about myth – which is just a posh way of saying stories and the power they have over us. Don't forget myth. And by that I don't just mean magic characterised as a logically coherent system adapted to a real-world framework ("Magic as artillery!"), but story power; its resonance in our minds and at our tables. It's a game where we pretend to be duck wizards, after all. 😃
  3. Quackatoa

    Military Ranks in Glorantha

    Aye, military ranks had distinctly functional linguistic origins, representing a variety of very particular roles, which we sadly lose a bit of sense of as time progresses and we tend to fall into the 'same thing, albeit with more men' mindset. It's always been one of my criticisms of popular military history – how it tends to treat command as a structure, rather than as a process. I always like approaches that reflect why and how people did what they did, or try and build up from first principles. Which is why I'll never give up my Lunar 'legates'.
  4. Quackatoa

    Prax Ostrich Combat Jockets = Terrible IRL

    I've veered off responding, because I didn't want to spend Christmas getting into a fight. But the above paragraphs (among other things) seem to be written in the hope of provoking one. I'm a bit puzzled this has started up on Christmas Day instead of getting pissed and falling asleep. Glorantha in game form has always been a relationship between mythos (the idea) and logos (our inherited framing mechanism). Sometimes this is an uneasy and fractious conflict; sometimes an inspiring and creative one. Recognise that tension, sure; but if we're to try and resolve that down into logos alone, then I guess I'm out.
  5. Quackatoa

    Gloranthan Slang.

    A fairly obvious one, but for profanity I have ducks substitute 'pluck' for 'fuck'. Given being plucked is one of the worst humiliations a duck can endure, it pretty much works as a direct substitution in most cases and is their favourite swear word. Get plucked, go pluck yourself, etc. 'Muddyplucker' is a name ducks use for their (communally unpaid) bar tab.
  6. Quackatoa

    Coal in Glorantha

    Earthblood (oil) and firebone (coal) appeared in Chuck's old Volcano Twins write-ups in Different Worlds 15 (reprinted in Rick's Cult Compendium) and Tales of the Reaching Moon 7. Aldryami aren't best impressed with burning such materials, considering it a 'desecration of their dead'. The cult teaches Detect spells for these materials. As to what current thoughts are on the matter, I'm afraid I can't help. Edit: In case you don't have these sources, the cult write-up notes: "Deep beneath the Earth the Twins sought for a way to dispel the Great Darkness, and there they found the buried remnants of the Green Age. Fused and blackened, these artifacts still had the Heat and Light of the young Sun locked in rock and liquid. Caladra and Aurelion taught mortals their use."
  7. Quackatoa

    What's the effect of obsidian in Glorantha?

    Speaking as a lapsed volcanologist, I just tend to treat 'obsidian' as a synonym for any volcanic glass, rather than a more specifically silicic form. (I like volcanoes; I like myth. I don't really like volcanoes and myth enough to try and categorically storify melt fractionation...) In my own Glorantha, a popular Caladran myth has obsidian as quenched, shed scales of the Fire lizards that Veskarthan sent slithering and crawling down the mountain to do battle with the forces of Night. Veskarthan's children were defeated as the Darkness strangled them; their fiery scales turning black and lifeless. But cunning Kudja, the ancestor god of the Caldrians, picked up a fallen scale and wounded the Darkness with it, before it devoured everything. People can try to reawaken the Fire powers slumbering within obsidian if they know the secrets. But all this is pretty local to Caladraland and possibly quite useless. *grin*
  8. Quackatoa


    I don't know, I'm afraid! Have at it! 😃 [In my own Glorantha I used to know (-ish), but... changed my mind. In my original notes on the Kings & Queens List, Blackscap the Mad is listed as ruling 1446–1449. But I ended up shifting him to over a hundred years earlier, 1311–1327, and altered things around that. The original notes had no mention of any king or queen immediately following. Prior to 1497, the next undated annotation simply reads Brackblood? The Lothario. But I'm a bit funny with whole Kings & Queens stuff these days. I did that at a time when I was still working out how to approach ducks, and these days I suspect I'd go about things quite differently. There's always room for a ladies' [hens'] duck, though! 😃]
  9. Quackatoa


    Thanks for the comments, Joerg! Well, here goes the afternoon... But seriously, I'll pull out some of the main comments/queries and give my own thoughts, albeit separately, as the forum software isn't the easiest for that. 1. Ducks & Runes: I was going to illustrate the ring on a diagram, and runes were one way of communicating information in a different way/at a different level. Some of the choices were trickier than others, though my thoughts were near-exactly in line with yours. Some were meant to be slightly mysterious, or not necessarily literal. The 'Barntar' rune is probably a hangover from when runes like that were also used in a general sense for things associated with the god (i.e. the rune is often marked as 'Farming', and not just in the sense of Barntar's affinity). Ducks will obviously turn over the soil, but not in the full Barntar way, so I did almost change it to Plant (though that can bring up other complaints, depending on how you read it; you buggers will always find a way! ) and IMG the Cabbage Ducks live fairly close to the Old Elf Ruins. Still might, I think. OR COME UP WITH MY OWN RUNE FOR THE CABBAGE GODDESS! If I can find a variant rune for the Marsh Ducks—something more in tune with Martin et al.'s write-up in Tales—I likely will; that's the most stop-gappy one. I know what you mean about, say, 'Reed Ducks'. I took all the names bar one—the Shell Ducks, representing my own penchant for ducks wearing snailshell hats—from KoDP. I know those clans are from the Resettlement Period, but it meshes with people's previous knowledge and the numbers match up fairly well with population figures. 2. Joseph Greenface: Yep! It was intentional. (In my original draft he actually had three seats on the ring, but I dialled it back a bit.) 3. Ducks & Water/Myth: My main issue is this: If we think about real-world ducks for a moment, we know that, as waterfowl, they're good in both the air and the water. That's their dual schtick. But if we anthropomorphize them and place them into Glorantha, taking away their wings and power of flight, they lose a fundamental part of that. People will understandably dig into that and seek the reasons and stories behind it. It's fun. I get that. But why are they still good at the other bit? It's created a situation wherein Gloranthan ducks have tended to be defined more by what they're not, than what they are. I like ambiguity. I'm OK with stuff not being explained. But this case has always struck me as being a bit off-balance in the degree to which definition and ambiguity have been applied over the years. So I suppose what I tend to do is: (a) dial back on the flight-myth stuff, perhaps pushing it back into RQ2 (rulebook) territory; and (b) big-up the Water connection a bit more.
  10. Quackatoa


    Ah, yes, I suspected it might be that one! I'm not 100% sold on it, truth be told. The 'Umath' rune had also been used for a few more general strength-related associations over the years – not quite as dissociatedly as the 'Lodril' rune being used for Vinga and Elmal, for example, but on similar terms. Some of those runes got around a bit! (Partly, no doubt, on account of considering their semiotics differently at different times.) I'm aware of Quack Keep, though haven't picked it up yet. I might keep it that way for a bit, just to let me develop my own stuff more naturally, without fear of comparison!
  11. Quackatoa


    Quite possibly, yes! (I tend to alternate between the lighter-hearted and more po-faced stuff. I find I have to dial back on the quirkier stuff when I'm writing many thousands of words, for fear of overload...) I thought I'd played the runes pretty straight in this scheme – which ones do you think are funny? The perils of being an early modern historian! 😃 Duck names have always been a strange thing—different authors and supplements have often adopted jarringly different approaches—but I've ultimately focused on adhering to the slightly whimsical approach Greg (and Charlie, I suspect) adopted in his campaign, with Joseph Greenface, Alexander Yellowbelly, Newcastle Bluebill and the like. The ducks of Dragon Pass have been accounted as more or less Orlanthi in culture since Borderlands. (The RQG Bestiary takes this to a new level with the Air rune comment.) They're not an Earth tribe in that sense, but will have a fair few queens. (For what it's worth, I've never been entirely happy with how official and unofficial Glorantha alike have portrayed ducks' relationship with the Water rune. In my Glorantha there's something approaching a three-way split between Air, Earth and Water in ducks.) There is passing mention of a pre-revolt king in 1613 (in the Sartar High Council freeform), but Barbarian Adventures introduced 'Skalfara Wild-Wheat' into the c. 1620 Hero Wars/HeroQuest timeline... and she was promptly never mentioned again. I get the suspicion that she was a Robin addition, though I could be wrong. I've kept her for my RQG timeline because official publications have been a bit naff with female ducks over the years.
  12. Quackatoa


    Ha, yes! My current focus on Duck Point started as I was developing the Duck Tribe's ring in a fashion a little similar to the Sartar High Council freeform. As well as a variety of fixed agendas, I also sketched out variable agendas that could be assigned randomly (or not) to the participants. One of those was to finish the job and try and form the tribal confederation. But I hadn't thought of it in quite this way – I shall have to go back and have a tinker! 😃 (I'm still trying to make my mind up about how I'm going to handle the city wyter. I've a few ideas, but it's still in the threshing-out stage.) Incidentally, this is the current provisional make-up of my ring. A few old faces! (Some names are provisional. I tend to spend a lot of time on names, to get them just so. I'm still not sure on some of them.)
  13. Quackatoa


    On the mean, muddy streets of Duck Point...
  14. Quackatoa

    Pilgrimage 2018-2019

    A Facebook friend is posting near-daily updates on his current pilgrimage (from Belgium). It's fascinating to follow. Bon voyage!
  15. Quackatoa

    Google+ Going Away

    Well, shit. I have to say, Google+ has been my favourite expression of Glorantha on social media over the years. Visual, colourful, immediate, lightly structured, yet responsive. Look; smile; move on. Perfect for how I like consume stuff. Facebook is, I suppose, similar in some aspects, but clunkier in others. Ho hum!