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Stew Stansfield

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Stew Stansfield last won the day on May 3

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About Stew Stansfield

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    Lancashire

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  • RPG Biography
    Stew Stansfield, duck-fondler
  • Current games
    Glorantha
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    Lancashire
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    'owdo!

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  1. Thank you! I appreciate the help, but I'd also be grateful if anyone could comment on the provided suggestions and their applicability.
  2. Wotcher! It is vitally (vitally) important that I find an appropriate expression in French. My French is OK on a grammatical level, but I have little to no idiomatic knowledge, so would really appreciate a little help. I'd like to find an equivalent expression to femme fatale for ducks. (I told you this was important!) It has to be alliterative, and will preferably have a broader or more abstract quality (as opposed to being strictly literal). It doesn't have to be a direct mimicry of 'fatale', but it should have an element of sultry exoticism and/or danger, and allude to all the brilliantly dodgy film-noir tropes. ("Oh, maybe just warble. You do know how to warble, don't you...?") My favourite attempt so far has been cane capiteuse, in the sense of heady or intoxicating. Would that work in the sense I mean? Other options include cane captivante (which I'm not as fond of) and cane cramoisie. The latter's potentially interesting, both being an abstract parallel to the 'scarlet woman' trope and in having a reference to Moony deviance (with all that entails). I'll likely also have a masculine variant of this (canard capiteux, canard cramoisi, etc.) aswell. Or does anyone have any better suggestions? Thanks in advance!
  3. And some people say ducks don't like necromancy... A peculiar little supplement for a peculiar little people, coming in a month or so! (When I finish a couple more pieces of art at my usual glacial pace.) It will focus on the DUCKS, the DUCKS AND and the MORE DUCKS counters of Dragon Pass (Chaosium, 1980). Included will be: the wyters and guardian spirits of the three duck counters, and their history, lore and mysteries detailed stats and descriptions of the duck warriors, their arms and armament, and insights into the secrets of duck warfare new Rune spells, spirit cults and magic items expanded character-creation options, including additional Family History tables and all-new occupations and skills
  4. This is very cool! I'm currently working on something that includes some updated Family History tables for ducks. I only mention this so Harald doesn't think I've stolen all his stuff! I mean, I will happily steal his stuff, but not as despicably as it might appear! I really like the human tables, too.
  5. She's tried to reinvent herself as a serious artist, but sadly no-one forgets her earlier Betty Ballista years...
  6. Stew Stansfield

    Duckton

    Funnily enough... Something I started, but abandoned years ago (probably because I couldn't seem to get the legs right). Incidentally, speaking of what duck cities look like, I'm currently doing a watercolour pencil map of Duck Point. This is an image from a while back. (It's more advanced than shown here, though I have ballsed some bits up and need to do some serious Photoshop surgery, which I seem to be trying to put off.) This gives a fairly good idea of what I'm going for, though.
  7. Stew Stansfield

    Duckton

    I think this description has done the rounds a couple of times, but this is from Sartar Companion (2012), p. 65: Duck Boats Most duck boats are tightly woven reed vessels that the little duck folk traditionally swam alongside. Cargo and supplies are placed in waterproof leather and reed containers and lashed to the boat. Larger cargos and human passengers are piled high onto reed rafts, with no apparent distinction made between cargo and passenger. The boatman poles the raft in sluggish water, or swims alongside it to navigate it. Ducks join and leave the raft seemingly at random. Duck boats are gaudily painted with strange names, like Slug Express, Bag O’ Worms, Pride of Quackford, and Gorpchaser. Some boats might have spirits or paltry guardians, with crude carvings and foci. The ducks expect their passengers to respect all the ritual observances that go along with travel. Funnily enough, though (and as is usually the way), Greg's initial ideas even a whiler backer whener were quite different. (We hadn't realised when the above was written.) Here's a snippet (again thanks to Scott) from some of Greg's early notes: So... yeah. For what it's worth, and splitting the difference a little, I always quite liked the slightly organic form of this image below, from the Han Dynasty. I imagine if it were a little reedier and muddier it'd make a quite nice floating nest-caravan for ducks plying their trade on the Creek-Stream River.
  8. Stew Stansfield

    Duckton

    So... Greg named a city 'Duck Point' in (modified) honour of a friend (and in so doing, helped usher ducks into Glorantha). At times it was labelled as 'Duck Point', but also took the duckish endonym of 'Stone Nest'. While this city was at various times noted to be a 'river port' [e.g. King of Sartar (1992), p. 139], at others it was drawn inland. Greg corrected this on one map, but seemingly misremembered or mistook the nature his earlier decisions and corrections later. [I don't think I'm being unkind to Greg to quote his exact answer here: "carelessness, probably... or too much pot that day to remember what the fu I had done before." (pers. comm., April 2012) Worth remembering for those of us who sometimes take Glorantha too seriously! ] And what was originally a single city, with two (or three, if we add 'Duckton') names, occasionally drawn in different places... became two separate cities with two different names drawn in two different locations.
  9. Stew Stansfield

    Duckton

    Spoiler, but the next map basically explains everything. It's from Greg's campaign notes for his house RuneQuest Sartar campaign, from the late '70s. This material was scanned and published as a reward for the highest-tier backers in the RuneQuest Classic kickstarter. (I don't own the material myself, but Scott was very kind in letting me see it.) Straight away, you'll see the three elements behind the subsequent confusion: (i) The use of 'Duck Point' here to refer to the doab or 'tongue' of land framed by The Stream and the Upland Marsh, as well as a city on other maps. References to Duck Point, be they on maps or in a text, might not refer to what we immediately think. (ii) The use of 'Stone Nest' to describe the main walled settlement in the area, with no appearance of a city named 'Duck Point' at all. (iii) The initial siting of that sole city ('Stone Nest') inland, quite far to the east of the Marsh. This city has then been crossed out—the pencil correction is scanned—and redrawn further to the west, by the confluence of The Stream and the Upland Marsh. The road has been extended likewise. So what's going on? 'Duck Point' was named as a fun thank-you to a friend on the White Bear & Red Moon map. But as Glorantha began to be explored in stories and play, things changed. Unsurprisingly, there were quite a few ducks in those early RuneQuest games, often played by Charlie Krank (who played both Alexander Yellowbelly and Joseph Greenface at times). Did those ducks call the city 'Duck Point'? Or something else? 'Stone Nest' is first mentioned in the 'Sartar High Council' freeform write-up in Wyrms Footnotes #7 (1979), which is reprinted in Wyrms Footprints (1995), pp. 96–103. Specifically, it is mentioned in the private knowledge (i.e. the duck perspective) known only to Joseph Greenface, the duck shaman and spokesbeak. Joseph knows that the ducks keep "... a third of their warriors on alert and mustered at Stone Nest... unknown [he thinks] to the Empire, who do not occupy that little city." There is no mention of Duck Point in Joseph's information. There is no mention of Stone Nest—only Duck Point—elsewhere in the write-up. Stone Nest does not appear on any published maps of that period and receives no further mention until the 1990s. Greg told me that Duck Point and Stone Nest were supposed to be the same place; one name the exonym, the other the endonym: "One [Duck Point] is the human name, the other [Stone Nest] is the duck name." (pers. comm., April 2012) 'Stone Nest' is a fitting duck name for a settlement curiously ringed, as Sartar's walls did, in stone. So why do subsequent maps show two different settlements? This next fragment is from one of Greg's larger handrawn maps of the main features of Dragon Pass (and many thanks to Jeff for letting me see this): Here we see a single major settlement that is named both 'Duck Point' and 'Stone Nest'. (And while it is at the terminus of the way to Wilmskirk, the final stretch is shown in a different fashion.) But we also see what is apparently a little settlement—marked with a dot as other settlements are—named solely 'Duck Point'. The latter is in the place of the redrawn city in Greg's campaign map; the former in its original, uncorrected state. In another handrawn map, with thanks again to Jeff, we see a further resolution: what was 'Duck Point'/'Stone Nest' above is now just 'Stone Nest Ruins': This map provided the basis of most future maps, such as Phil Anderson's map on pp. 34–35 of Tales of the Reaching Moon #19 (2000), which is reprinted in Wyrms Footnotes #15 (2012), pp. 16–17, and Wesley Quadros' insert from Dragon Pass: Land of Thunder (2003): These maps tend to be notable for one thing: the Wilmskirk–Duck Point road, shown on the earliest maps for WB&RM, Dragon Pass and RuneQuest, and mentioned in King of Sartar (1992) and other sources [notably Barbarian Adventures (2001; p. 5), Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes (2009; p. 248) and The Guide to Glorantha, vol. I (2014; p. 188)]... ... doesn't actually go to Duck Point. (I'll tidy this up with some conclusions in one final post.)
  10. Stew Stansfield

    Duckton

    Once upon a time... Many people will by now be familiar with the story of how Duck Point came to exist in Glorantha. Rick explains it very nicely here: Sadly, I don't own a copy of White Bear & Red Moon in any of its variations, so this is the best map I could find. For comparison, below is a fragment of the updated map for the 1983 Avalon Hill printing of Dragon Pass: And going back to the earlier, timeline, here are fragments of maps taken from the first and second editions of RuneQuest, respectively: Each of these maps shows the same thing: a settlement named 'Duck Point'/'Duckpoint' sited close to the Upland Marsh and The Stream, and which lies at the terminus of the road running from Wilm's Church/Wilmskirk. One thing you may also notice is how the position of Duck Point can vary slightly. The Dragon Pass map shows it slightly further to the west than the White Bear & Red Moon, RuneQuest 1 and RuneQuest 2 maps. There is also some potential confusion as to whether Duck Point is actually situated on The Stream (or even Upland Marsh) or not. Part of this is due to the constraints of hex maps and derivations from them. As a watercourse runs through the centre of a hex, and Greg "did not know how to make [Duck Point] a river port on the board game map" (pers. comm., April 2012), the city can potentially appear inland and be depicted as such on subsequent maps. You can see this, for example, on Yuri Chodek's map from the article 'Dragons Past' 1 from Different Worlds 28 (April, 1983), which is also reprinted in Wyrms Footprints 15 (Summer, 2012): Looking at this map, Duck Point is clearly inland. And is also basically in the place where Stone Nest is situated on many later maps. So what's going on? I'll try to show the answer to that in the next post, to split the images up a bit. (I appreciate this is all very boring so far, but the interesting stuff is to come. Promise!)
  11. Stew Stansfield

    Duckton

    Duck Point, Stone Nest and Duckton were all intended to be the same place. It's fairly clear (as you note) that there is often a discrepancy between the published descriptions of roads and settlements in the Durulz Valley and their appearance on Greg's maps. How this developed is something I investigated a few years back and chatted with Greg about. The best way to show what happened—and why the discrepancies exist—is to go right back to the very beginning of published Glorantha and look at how the maps developed and why. I've been meaning to do this for a while, and this thread seems as good a place as any. It'll take me a little while to put this together, but it should hopefully clear up why things are described and depicted like they are. I'll try to get it up by this evening.
  12. I think this is a great idea! Wyters tend to be presented as being sympatico with their communities—a magical reflection and summation of them, if you will—and any breakdown in that relationship typically symbolised as the community losing its way, as opposed to the wyter. But wyters also are dramatic story elements and characters in their own right, and can fall and be redeemed as any participant. That includes being suborned, tricked or perverted. Though that fall may likely mirror or follow some conflict or ill in the community itself, as you have in your examples. Sounds fun! As to the specifics, a lot will depend on whether the wyter has INT or not. A wyter might resist acting contrary to its fundamental role, relationship and nature, but that resistance and any subsequent 'cooperation' can take very different forms depending on the wyter's form, and this will change how the story is framed. It's perhaps not exactly the same as what you mention, but I'm currently playing around with wyters for the durulz (no, really). Three wyters for three counters. One is a fallen Lunar standard that they've scavenged and taken as their own god. They bully the wyter, squawking at it to give them magic, and threatening to bury it in mud or drown it in The Stream if it doesn't. The wyter is biding its time, gathering its strength from their paltry sacrifices for the time when it can break free.
  13. Every role-playing game and world likes its exceptionalism, and promoting it doesn't always come across well. But, that danger aside, Glorantha is quite possibly unique in that it was developed not only as a sandbox to tell stories, but to understand how and why stories work. As a world of myth, it focuses on stories, the power we invest in them and the power they have over us; how they resonate in our lives; how they provide meaning and structure. And that power will vary from listener to listener, irrespective of what the storyteller intends. So on the one hand, we have a world of mythos. And on the other hand, particularly in the form of a game like RuneQuest, we have the prism of logos. Role-playing games, and geek fandoms in general, tend to be very logos-heavy. We categorise, reduce and determine. There is a fundamental tension there; sometimes fun, sometimes clunky. As the Gloranthan community started to draw together, particularly in online form, we engaged in communal debate and storytelling, and discussing Greg (and others') creation. The logos was strong, as it always is. 'Your Glorantha May Vary' started as a very mild reminder that Glorantha, as a world of mythos, is not about rationalising a world down into single greater and common truths, or worshiping at Greg's unimpeachable altar, but more about exploring the meaning and power we get from it ourselves. And to enjoy that. As we as a fandom still didn't quite get that at times, the saying hardened into 'Your Glorantha Will Vary'. That's all I ever saw it as, I guess. It's certainly how I use it. And, looking at our fandom at times, I'm not convinced the need has disappeared. (I do agree that it should be used with purpose, however; and not littered around like confetti as a weak shibboleth.)
  14. A somewhat mischievously contrary point, but since we're talking about a phenomenon that is in part about challenging the very basis and ownership of knowledge and understanding... Duck Tricksters worship Humakt. It's fairly obvious when you think about it. We're used to Tricksters being modelled as provocative, contrary and absurd figures that challenge cultural insight and convention. But what happens when the cultural norm is itself provocative, contrary and absurd? But that is perhaps not the main reason. Greg was, for the most part, content to leave ducks as a lightly sketched and ambiguous element in the margins of Glorantha. But, very occasionally, he had a rummage and dug a little deeper. One of the most interesting insights was his belief that ducks are, like Delecti, liminal. Inbetweeners. Defined as either one thing nor another, but with potential to each. Between satire and seriousness, tragedy and comedy, acceptance and derision, Man and Beast, etc. Liminality is one of the most interesting and poweful concepts in myth, but also—by its very nature—one of the most difficult to describe. Greg said that he believed the ducks' relationship to the Death rune was a "misinterpretation" of their inbetweenness. That relationship itself highlights the tension often inherent in liminality; the lack of resolution. Because Death is Separation; the clear push over the threshold into another state; resolution and the crossing of the boundary. But the entire condition of ducks is rooted in irresolvable ambiguity. So your little warbling Death-cultists provoke and challenge the very basis of reality for the Durulz as much as your, say, Eurmali does elsewhere. And consider that several stories have the duck-people and Delecti living a curiously symbiotic and almost neutral co-existence: Mutually Assured Liminality. Duck Humakti gnaw at the security of this existence by provoking the necromancer and his minions at every opportunity, and questioning truths. Tricksters. A lot of people use ducks as a light-hearted, silly, mundane antidote to the mythic basis of Glorantha. But they're got a few provocative stories to teach us, too. Unsurprising, really, as they're Tricksters to us as their Humakti are to them...
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