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Stew Stansfield

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Wotcher, warblers!

I've been posting these to the Glorantha Google+ page so far, but while that format is brilliant for quickly displaying visual things like these, it isn't that great for keeping stuff collated. As I'm working on a few more at the moment, I thought I'd start a thread here, with all the links 'n' stuff.

Attached at the bottom of this post (at least, I bloody hope so) are the first four in the series. Below is a list of all current entries, with links to high-quality PDFs.


Famous Ducks of the Hero Wars

1. Runk Squallheart, Basmoli Duck Gladiator

2. Rudepebble the Streamlord, Rune Lord of the River Gods

3. Buy-one-get-one-free Bronzebill, Rune Priest of Issaries/Etyries

4. Sir Montgomery Quackholy, Duck of (Not Quite) All

5. Mildred Keenwarble, Vingan Adventurer

6. Sungobble, Ptyrant of the Sorns

7. Esmerelda Wildwarble, Torch Singer

8. Snipbeak, Duck Bandit


Bonus Deviance

a. In the Duck Corners of the Earth

b. Elf-finger

c. An Illustrated Duckopedia of Durulz Helmets

d. The Sord Sage

e. Holiday Glorantha: Stormwalk Mountain

f. The Parade of the Bloomers






Edited by Quackatoa
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Whoa! Wader minute! Is this some kind of web feat? Such fowl play! After peking at your posts I am aghast and agrebed! Such daffy quackery will fell me like a severe mallardy and I don't want to feel down no more! While you might think these fit the bill for the Hero Wars, I think it's just a misguided flight of fancy. You might as well have drawn one up as a one-handed, Star Wars Gedi and entitled it, "Luke, I am your feather."! But I must admit I liked the Dragonfriend one, it was quite drake-onic, and that's no eggs-ageration. Was it a decoy to distract me from the rest? We don't want to see any more of this nonsense, dewey? 

Lordy-Lordy-Lewey, I'der done it differently so I'm going to have to pin this one on you, Quackatoa! Waddle you do to get out of this now? Escape in a Huey? Perchance you wood duck this? Claim the evidence against you is poultry and go for a mis-trial or just wing it? They'll shoot you to pieces. I'm don; ald puns annoy me!

I'm so sorry.


Edited by Evilroddy
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Two new updates!

P.S. I'm afraid I was slightly lazy with the sorn. I've was meaning to do it properly in colour, but I have a terrible backlog at the mo' (and quite like the scratchy initial sketch). I'll update it eventually!

P.P.S. No, I've no idea why he has an Undead rune painted/tattooed/scarred on his head. I think I just got confused!





Edited by Quackatoa
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1 hour ago, Ainda said:

You have quite the eye for costume design! Would you take commissions to depict some unfeathered folks?

I'm afraid I just tend to do stuff for myself, Ainda, on account of: (i) being abysmally slow at getting anything done (seriously – no statement is too hyperbolic in this regard), which means I have a terrible backlog of things I feel I have to finish; and (ii) being conscious of the fact that when I have done stuff for others in the past, it's not turned out as well as I'd hoped, and I feel bad, no matter how polite they are.

But thank you for the kind words and offer!


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  • 6 months later...

I forgot to post Ponsonby's backstory on Google+. Might as well do it here! Especially as it has really bad jokes.

Ponsonby was the (d)rakish and well-preened Captain of the Duck Point city militia, until his close and happy friendship with Queen Wild-wheat was deemed rather too close and happy by her other counsellors, and he was shooed off to be the duck-people's plenipoteniary spokesbeak at the City of the Wonders. When the God-King disappeared, Ponsonby waddled off to the great city of Nochet to dedicate himself to a life of piety in the worship of his goddess.

The rites of love are somewhat different down south, though, and Ponsonby’s usual method of wooing a paramour—breaking into her house and leaving a box of juicy worms on her pillow—hasn't had quite the same effect in Nochet as it did in Duck Ferry. He can usually be found hanging around the grounds of the Temple of the Great Mother Imarja, belittling rivals and warbling turgid romantic poetry.

Once, while commanding the Pride of Quackford, Fairflanks’ little barge ran out of provisions, earning him the nickname 'Slugless' from his crew.


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Ponsonby is delightfully composed and makes for an amusing or possibly an hilarious NPC. How do you see him becoming a hero of the Hero Wars? How will he leave his mark on Glorantha? Is he the ducks-amorum to Faitikus' Dux Bellorum? Will he woo Queens in Nochet and just generally duck things up? I crave to learn more of this elegant drake as he moves from public service in the militia to servicing the public in the City of Queens. 

Cheers and thanks for posting this.


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  • 1 year later...

I didn't want to clog up the RQG Bestiary with this tangent, and here seemed pertinent. Also this thread is full of utter bollocks anyhow, and the OP (me) isn't going to complain.


I honestly don't care. Same way I don't really give a stuff how they give birth. I'm not the perverted duck-fetishist some of you think I am. Honest!

But it does raise an interesting question: how you communicate and signal femininity and masculinity, or sex and gender, in a race like ducks — which, in their base form, don't have the obvious sexual dimorphism that plagues informs human fantasy art?

The obvious mechanism is that that real-life waterfowl exhibit: plumage.

But outside of the most common breeds—like the mallard—the audience doesn't have the knowledge to pick up on the cues an artist might give. The only way to overcome this would be systematically define it for the audience and artists alike. And that—I'd suggest—is a terrible idea; one that goes against the lightly sketched ambiguity that is central to ducks. Also: real-world female plumages tend to be boring, as opposed to the Culture Club tribute-band thing the blokes have got going on.

So that's largely out.

So next is anthropomorphisation. Just how many sexualized human features do we project on them? Like boobs, for instance?

Duck boobs are something I've wrestled with a lot over the years.


Anyway. So, yep, I used to draw female ducks with boobs. But I stopped because the boobs made them unbalanced.

And while I wrote that sentence in a deliberately silly way, I'm actually being serious. My very first ducks consciously aped the form of Ralph Horsley's illustration in Wyrms Footprints (p. 101). Over the years, they skewed away from Ralph's more duckish style to my slightly more anthropomorphised style. But I kept the same general symmetry and contrast: BIG HEAD – small neck/chest – BIG BELLY/RUMP – small legs – BIG FEET. OK, you can't see the feet in Ralph's picture. That might be because duck feet are a pain in the arse to draw and he hid them. I did—and do—that all the time. Nowt to be ashamed of!

So, anyway. You have a symmetry of BIG—small—BIG—small—BIG. I just found that, drawing ducks the way I do, enlargening the 'small' chest area would throw that symmetry off. I couldn't get it to work. So... no boobs 4 U, ducks. Of course, if you draw ducks with different proportions, you might be able to get boobs to work. You dirty gets.

N.B. Using this symmetry and sense of proportion, it's also really difficult to go full Rob Liefeld with ducks. THANK GOD. So no back-breaking 'feminine' poses.

All this means I'm still struggling. So now we come to eyelashes. Yes, I know it sounds naff, but this can actually work. One of the benefits of ducks is that they have a strong history of obvious satire and farce. This means we can often use ironic caricatures, statements and jokes in a way that won't wash with human characters. You'll all have seen the cheesecake barbarianessess in a chainmail bikini, accompanied by the knowing wink and "But I'm actually being ironic! I'm mocking the genre!" Hmmmmmmm. But with ducks you can get away with that a lot more easily. Because no-one really sexually objectifies ducks. Not even me.

So I do occasionally draw ostentatious eyelashes on ducks. It seems to fit with the history of feminine duckish caricatures without being too pungently off-putting.

That brings us to socio-cultural trappings, including clothes and adornments. Daisy Duck, in addition to her eyelashes, used an array of bows, dresses and heels in pastel pinks and lilacs. Yeah, that's not happening, is it? You can obviously mimic the male and female fashions of, say, Sartar and Esrolia on ducks. That can help. But what if you're drawing a female duck warrior? That's tricky. And that's where I was saved by '70s/'80s disco.

At some point, I decided to gender-swap the cheesy medallion-man stereotype and have female ducks wear big copper medallions to proudly demonstrate their femininity. These medallions were adorned with the runes of the goddesses they worshipped (or had worshipped, in the cycle of goddesses) in their lives. That helped a bunch in giving me something to further differentiate between male and female ducks. Of course, you don't need medallions. Any runes are good. Runes are always good. Glorantha does like its runic element- and gender-essentialism.

So for me it's eyelashes and disco. For Andrey it was boobs.


Anyhow, I've talked enough bollocks. So here's a picture – a teaser of things to come in Hearts in Glorantha #7.




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2 hours ago, Quackatoa said:

So for me it's eyelashes and disco. For Andrey it was boobs.

I like the eyelashes and disco. 🙂

And the duck on the Bestiary cover may simply be mimicking Orlanthi/Vingan styles.

Btw, have you ever considered why the ducks can survive in the Upland Marsh/deal with Delecti?  Somehow I contemplated this a few days ago - and the thought that came to mind is this:  Delecti is actually a Duck! (And his ability to survive is somehow dependent on not harming them).  Of course, that is likely to just be some horrible Lismelder rumor, but still...

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On 6/19/2018 at 5:50 AM, metcalph said:

A possibility that has not been mentioned is that the female duck warrior wanted to be recognized as female.  So the biologically ignorant/maliciously cruel human armourer made her a breasted breastplate.


On 6/19/2018 at 1:38 AM, jajagappa said:

And the duck on the Bestiary cover may simply be mimicking Orlanthi/Vingan styles.

Both very true!

On 6/19/2018 at 1:38 AM, jajagappa said:

Btw, have you ever considered why the ducks can survive in the Upland Marsh/deal with Delecti?  Somehow I contemplated this a few days ago - and the thought that came to mind is this:  Delecti is actually a Duck! (And his ability to survive is somehow dependent on not harming them).  Of course, that is likely to just be some horrible Lismelder rumor, but still...

Ha! I did try to think of things a decade ago (and am not especially impressed with my attempts...), but have since shied away from it a bit. I think my issue is I don't trust my abilities to juggle the possibilities while retaining a sense of fun ambiguity. (I do seem to be banging on about 'ambiguity'!) My Glorantha these days is often incredibly superficial – an image and a few breezy paragraphs of text at most...

I know there's the theory that ducks, rather than being a sui generis Dragon Pass oddity or remnants of an ancient Vithaelan migration, were stitched together by Delecti and/or the EWF. (Keith likes this one.) And also the slightly more interwoven approach that Rick takes in his write-up in Tales of the Reaching Moon 19, where ducks and Delecti have at times been neutrally or even amicably disposed to each other (and in cahoots on a few occasions). And then there's the more familiar "Undead... Boo! Humakt!" approach.

For my own part, I tend to follow Rick's lead on how ducks and Delecti have co-existed and not do much thought of my own.

Incidentally, do you remember this post on the Digest? I mentioned it on the RuneQuest Facebook page recently, and rereading Rick's lovely passage about ducks' inbetweenness and effective invisibility to Delecti and his minions makes me wonder if it was an influence. Also it contains the line: "Delecti can, however, transfer his spirit to new bodies as the old one rots away." Which does rather open up the portents of your idea (if not ruling definitively on whether Delecti was originally a duck)! 😃

Edited by Quackatoa
Did I write 'Tradetalk 19'? I did. D'oh! Fixed.
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