An Overview of the Ducks of Glorantha


Delecti, Our Saviour
The Upland Marsh (different web page) BR The Real Upland Marsh (different web page) BR Why Ducks Still Live In the Marsh
How I Kill Undead
Quack! Glub, Glub, Glub
Duck Towers
Duck Psychology
Why ducks don't lay eggs

Duck Overview

A while ago I was involved in a discussion on the Gloranthan Digest concerning the Ducks of Dragon Pass, their culture, origins and how they lived in the Upland Marsh. I proposed certain views which were either supported, opposed or ignored as is proper in a discussion forum.

Ingo Tschinke of the Chaos Society then contacted me and asked if I would be interested in putting together some articles based on my ideas on Ducks etc. for an upcoming edition of Tradetalk magazine. Unfortunately, work pressures meant that I could put no time into this and it was lost in the pile of stuff I had to do.

However, now I have some more time and will be able to put these ideas down. I will also send them onto Ingo in case he wants to publish them. As he wanted the articles in a particular format, I will stick to that format even for the Web Site.

Basically, the articles represent a series of reports, collected from various sources, relating to the Ducks of Dragon Pass, their origins, survival tactics, way of life etc. They follow my (possibly) heretical idea that Delecti saved the Ducks by creating the Upland Marsh and that he still has a duty to protect and keep them from harm. Thus, his Undead guards keep down the Chaos and keep Duck Hunters away from the Marsh. Unfortunately, the Ducks do not like the Undead and fight against them, which really annoys Delecti.

Anyway, that's the gist of my proposal. People can agree or disagree, to me the proposal hangs together, is internally consistent and could well be true. It also fits my idea that most of the "Bad" people in Glorantha are not bad at all, from a neutral, independant point of view, but are merely misunderstood. This will annoy some people who do not like the idea of lots of "misunderstood" races, but that has never stopped me before.

Delecti, Our Saviour

This account was given by Spirit Wing, a shaman from one of the Loyal Nests(1) deep within the Upland Marsh.

Many years ago when our friends the Dragons blessed us with their Knowledge, many were jealous of our friendship with the Dragons and came to destroy the Nests. The Infernal Horde came from the North and West and crossed over into our lands and its might was so great that it took a week to cross the Black Eel and nearly drank our sister dry.

Many of the Dragon Lords had retired to the Celestial Nest in order to ponder the Great Mysteries and did not reply to our cries of help. One of the Dragon Lords, Delecti was his name, did heed our pleas and stayed behind to help us, even though it meant that he would be excluded from the Mysteries.

Delecti spoke with the Creek-Stream and her daughters the Creek and the Stream, where we have made our nests for many years, and agreed a plan that would save the people of the land and defeat the Infernal Horde.

Delecti spoke also with the Earth Nymphs of the land and those who remembered when the Hollow was formed to the north to destroy an earlier Infernal Horde(2). He made bargains and allegiances with all the folk of the land and began his work.

First, the Earth Nymphs stood around Delectiís Villa and made a Ring of Power. Then they struck the ground and broke it into many pieces, creating holes and cracks and broken areas. Then the Rivers flowed into the broken ground and made many daughter lakes and ponds. Then the Rivers and Earth Nymphs joined to create new daughters, the Mud Spirits. Finally, Delecti joined with the Rivers and created the Pale Maidens who would guard the new Kingdom.

Now, the people were safe, for the land was filled with still, quiet lakes and ponds to hide the Nests and hold off the Infernal Horde and Delecti retired to his Villa.

The Infernal Horde reached the Upland Place and stopped, afraid to enter Delectiís Kingdom. Howling with Rage and Frustration, their leaders strode forward and entered by themselves, finding Delectiís Villa and facing the Dragon Lord. Delecti offered them a choice - fight him and possibly die or spare his people and he would subject himself to their will without a struggle.

The Evil Ones were craven and cowardly and were afraid of Delectiís powers of Death, so they took the second way and Delecti sacrificed himself for our safety, becoming Our Saviour.

Later, when the Infernal Horde had passed on and been punished by the Dragon Lords, one of Delectiís chief followers re-enacted his Quest and sacrificed himself to save his Lord. Delecti returned, his Mighty Spirit living in the newly-sacrificed body of his faithful worshipper. Ever since, the faithful followers of Delecti have sacrificed themselves so that he may continue to rule and protect his subjects, keeping them from harm and guarding the land lest the Infernal Horde return.

In order to protect us and guard his Kingdom, Delecti makes soldiers and guards from the bodies of the slain, making use of what would otherwise be wasted and ignored. His Eternal Guards keep us safe and prepare for when the Monsters come, the Third Infernal Horde when they will fight their last battle and make the world safe forever.


[1] The Loyal Nests are those Duck communities within the Upland Marsh who do not fight Delecti and his forces. They remember the Old Stories and are least influenced by outsiders.

[2] The Ducks of the Loyal Nests say that there are Three Infernal Hordes, one stopped by the Hollow during the Darkness, one stopped by Delecti the DragonLord and a third, to come, who will be stopped by another DragonLord.

Why Ducks Still Live In The Marsh

Report from "Long Fang", First Constable of the DuckPoint Protection Zone to Gregorius, Ram and Iron Lord, Head of the Imperial Guard.

Greetings, Brother

In reply to your question of why we do not destroy those who fight us within the Upland Marsh, I would like to explain Our Lordís instructions here.

When Our Lord created the Upland Marsh he swore to protect those within the Marsh from harm, specifically protecting them from the Infernal Horde, but also protecting them in the future. This agreement is still in place and Our Lord continues to abide by it.

Therefore, those who make their home within the Upland Marsh are under the protection of Our Lord and are under our protection. Those included are the wildlife and dumb creatures within the Marsh, Ducks, Newtling, Dragonewts, Dragons, Wyrms and other Dragonkind, Shadow Cats, fish, amphibians, including Cliff Toads, and any travelling birds which care to tarry here.

We must guard and protect these subjects of Our Lord from harm from outsiders. Such harm may come from the Servants of Chaos who come from the Hollow and Footprint. Any of these found to be in the Protected Zones are swiftly dealt with. Others may come to harm subjects, including outlaws, bandits and religious zealots. All must be confronted and destroyed before they can do harm.

You ask about those within our borders who fight against us. This is a constant worry to Our Lord who is hurt by each and every such attack. However, he is bound to protect his subjects, even when they turn against him. Therefore, even though some of his subjects, specifically the Duck Outlaws, fight our forces, attack our temples and destroy our brothers, we may not act against them unless in self-defence. I know that this is like feeding while wearing a gag, but it is the Way of Our Lord.

Sometimes, a band of outlaws will become so dangerous that they will endanger the other inhabitants of the Protected Zones. If this happens, then Our Lord will sign a warrant declaring them to be Outlaws and beyond His Protection. We will then arrange for a Cull to take place where we send our best forces to their dwelling place and we remove them from the Marsh. Often, we will return them to Our Lord where he will talk with them and will offer them service within his forces. Such converted outlaws become scouts and guides and also help to persuade others of the futility of fighting Our Lord.

So Patience, My Brother. You are new amongst us and have not yet learned to wait. Even those who fight against us will soon be gone, either to places new or to their grave. We shall still remain, guarding those within our Protection Zones and preparing for our Final Battle.

How I Kill Undead

An Account by Deathwing, Sword Drake, of Duck Point.

There are many ways to bring Humaktís Justice to those Perversions of Death which walk the Upland Marsh. As an expert in these things, I have killed Delectiís minions for ten years, I have collated the best ways to send these creatures back to their graves.

General Tips

Undead are not affected by Poison, so do not use it. They are also normally not affected by Spears, Arrows or Daggers, apart from Vampires and Ghouls. If you are allowed to Ambush then do so otherwise you may be slain. Always fight with more than one warrior against each Undead, this will give you the edge. Above all, do not fear them - they have already died once and can easily die again.

Killing Zombies

Although Zombies are big and strong, they are also stupid. This is our best defence against them.

When Zombies patrol the Marsh, they do so in single file so that they leave few tracks. This means that we can follow a patrol and take the rearmost Zombie without the others knowing. If we repeat this, we can destroy a whole patrol using only one warrior.

The best way to kill a Zombie is to strike at the head with a Sword. Use a Bastard or Great Sword, that way you may be able to take the head off with a single stroke and will not alert any of its comrades. It may be wise to use Humaktís Powers to make the Sword Sharp and True and ensure victory.

Do not use spears, arrows, shortswords or daggers against Zombies, they just stick in and do not cause any harm. Clubs have little effect as you cannot stun a Zombie. Sticj with swords if you can.

One method I have devised is to use a Garrotte, preferably one made of Iron. This will allow you to sneak up behind the Zombie and to remove its head with a minimum of fuss. Do not use a Garrotte made of rope as Zombies cannot be strangled, make sure yours is of metal. This is also a good tactic if the Zombie falls into the water as you o not want to wrestle with it.

Zombies can easily be caught in Traps as they do not watch out for them. Pitfalls should not be used as the Zombie will not be hurt by the fall. When setting traps, use Man Traps to grab hold of limbs and slow the Zombie down. Also, if near a stand of trees, use nooses and ropes to pull the Zombie into the air where it can be safely despatched. A Zombie will almost never be killed by a trap, so you must follow behind and kill the Zombie when it has been trapped.

Sometimes, the Zombies will travel in boats. This means that they will not fall into traps and cannot be picked off one by one. In this case, we need to ambush the boat. Several warriors are needed for this manoeuvre. Each warrior removes most of his armour and swims underwater until they are all at one side of the boat. If the boat is a reed boat, the warriors can attack the underside of the boat and break it up, causing the Zombies to fall into the water. If the boat is wooden, the warriors must take hold of the boat and overturn it. Either way, the zombies will be floundering in the water and will be simple to pick off. Do not try to take on a Zombie by yourself as you will probably lose. Instead, mob each Zombie in turn, making sure it is dead before attacking the next. Zombies cannot swim and will be disoriented when under water. Obviously, this manoeuvre works best in fairly deep water, one of the lakes or waterways is the best place.

Occasionally, the Zombies will have a Captain in charge who is a Mummy or even a Vampire. In this case, the use of Humaktís powers is encouraged, if you have access to them. Such a captain will be able to organise the Zombies and will make them a far more effective force.

Killing Skeletons

Whilst Zombies are a dangerous force within the Marsh, Skeletons hold few dangers. Yet they are still Perversions and must be dealt with.

Skeletons are weak and may be discommoded by a single blow or by a spell. I recommend the Disruption spell as it will shatter a limb or even the head.

Any sword or club may be used against skeletons as their bones shatter easily. Do not use spears or daggers as they just pass through or beside the bones and cause little damage.

In normal combat, skeletons are faster and more agile than Zombies but they re far more fragile. It is still a good idea to attack them with more than one warrior.

Skeletons may be caught in traps and may well be destroyed by them. Springing traps which throw boulders or clubs into the skeletonís path are often enough to break them apart. Man traps will break legs. Pitfalls may smash the skeleton on impact.

When travelling in boats, skeletons may be ambushed in the same way as Zombies. They are more dangerous in water as they are more skilful, although they are not as strong.

I prefer to face a skeleton to a Zombie any day.

Killing Ghouls

For some reason, Delecti does not mount many Ghouls within the Upland Marsh. However, when a Ghoul is met it must be instantly destroyed as they are very dangerous.

The first thing when fighting ghouls is to plug up oneís ears with mud. This protects one from the Ghoulís Howl. Use Sword Speech to organise the attack as this need not be spoken.

Beware of the Ghoulís Bite as it is poisonous and will draw you into a deep state of slumber and will kill you. The Ghoulís claws may hurt you but they are not poisoned.

A Ghoul may be killed with a sword, club or spear equally as effectively. They can also be harmed with spells, but as they are normally magically powerful, this is not the best option.

The best tactic when fighting a Ghoul is to attack it with many warriors at the same time. In a mixed group, kill the Ghoul befoe the Zombies or Skeletons as it is truly a Horror.

Ghouls can be caught in Traps but generally Howl when caught and may drive the stalker away. Ghouls have been known to free themselves from a trap by gnawing off their hand or foot. This may slow them down but does not harm them too much.

If you feel that a Ghoul is too powerful to fight by yourself, contact a Humakt Temple and tell them where you saw it and they will send a group of warriors to deal with the threat.

Fighting Mummies

If you ever need to fight a Mummy you must bear several things in mind.

First, a Mummy is fully intelligent and is probably a seasoned warrior and commander.

Second, a Mummy is far stronger than any Duck and is harder to kill.

Third, a Mummy may have powerful magic.

Fourth, a Mummy in the Upland Marsh will be soaked to the skin and will not be able to burn.

Mummies are normally encountered as Captains of a group of Zombies or Skeletons. In this case, all warriors should try to kill the Mummy while ignoring the other undead. This is because the Mummy will lead and organise the Undead and make them into a more effective team.

Mummies may be killed with Swords and clubs, although they cannot be stunned. Do not use spears, arrows or daggers as they merely stick in. Use Humaktís Powers when fighting Mummies, make your Swords Sharp and True otherwise you will merely scrape their armour and skin. Make sure you parry or dodge their blows or they will kill you easily.

Sometimes it is necessary to use Humaktís Greater Powers to Turn the Mummy away or even to Slash at its Spirit. Be warned that the Mummy will be powerful itself and your spell may fail. However, it is worth the attempt as this may shorten the combat considerably.

Killing Vampires

These are Delectiís Chosen, the elite of his forces. Whereas faithful soldiers will be made into Mummies, faithful officers will be made Vampires.

If you ever have to fight a Vampire be warned - you may not live to tell the tale. I do not say this to frighten you but merely to make you understand the gravity of the situation. Vampires are the most dangerous of the Undead in the Upland Marsh.

Most Vampires are very old, very wise and very skilful. They will have been trained in Swamp Warfare for many years and will be experts in all forms of combat, including combat underwater. They are very strong and have access to powerful magic and powers. They can run as wolves or fly as bats and can sneak upon you unawares. They can hold you in their eye and simply walk up to you and kill you without you raising a finger to stop them.

They are also very weak. Flowing water destroys them. They cannot cross a river or stream unless on a boat, bridge or aided by others, so you can escape them by crossing one of the many streams in the Marsh. They lose their powers in daylight. They can be hurt by Fire and cannot bear the Symbol of Death. Holy Water burns their skin. All these things gives us power against them.

If you fight a Vampire, use all Humaktís Powers. Make your Sword Sharp and True, make your armour stronger, try to Turn it away or Break its Spirit. Use all the powers you have otherwise it will kill you. Strike at its head or chest otherwise it will turn to mist and disappear. Avoid its gaze and do not listen to its voice. Use Fire if you have it and Holy Water to trap it. Attack it with many warriors and you may survive.

Give thanks to Humakt if you survive combat with a Vampire. I have fought a dozen and felt that each one would kill me.

Quack! Glub, Glub, Glub

A Report on the favoured Methods of Killing Outlaw Ducks, To Gregorius, Ram and Iron Lord, Head of the Imperial Guard.


In answer to your query, here are the Favoured Methods of Culling Ducks.

Favoured Methods

The Stealth Approach

Walk along the bottom of the Pond until you are directly beneath a swimming Duck.
Take firm hold of the Duckís legs and pull it beneath the water.
Hold the Duck closely to your chest until it stops struggling.
Quack! Glub, Glub, Glub.
If the Duck tries to attack you, grab it by the neck and throttle it or rip its arms and legs off.
A Duck will always lose in a trial of strength against one of our soldiers.
It is a good idea to practice on one of our Duck Soldiers as they can be drowned again and again with no ill effects.

The Ambush

Lie down along the side of a Duck Track and wait.
Eventually a Duck will pass by.
When it does, reach out and attack it, either by grabbing it or by striking it.
The element of surprise will be there.
This may take weeks, so use those expendable troops, those missing legs are good.

The Hunt

Set a couple of "Beaters" near a Duck Encampment.
These will be large but slow soldiers, heavily armoured but easy to flee from.
If you have Ghouls, use them for extra effect.
Have them lumber into the encampment. The Ducks will flee into the Swamp.
Have a large force of soldiers waiting beneath the water on the other side of the encampment.
When the Ducks flee into the water, the soldiers leap up and ambush the Ducks.
Often the Ducks will have left their weapons behind in the encampment.

Target Practice

A group of Ducks offers excellent target practice for one of the Brethren.
The Brother waits in a stand of grass of of trees with a Arbalest and twenty bolts prepared.
For fast kills, use a Composite Bow but ensure that magic is used to increase the number of shots available.
If you need to, ensure that the arrows or bolts are coated with poison as Ducks are weak and will easily succumb to that mode of attack.
Pick off the leaders first, then the followers
If the Outlaws are in a patrol, they will be in single file. Take the rearmost outlaw first and the leader will be unawares.
This has the advantage that even if the Ducks see the Brethren they will not attack, being in fear of their lives.

Upsetting Boats

Have a large number of soldiers lay in wait beneath a waterway.
When a Duck Boat comes by, have the soldiers reach up and overturn the boat.
Even though the Ducks are good swimmers, they should be disorganised for a while and should be easily despatched.
Ensure that some soldiers are made to grab the Ducks while others attack the ducks.
This should reduce their attempts to flee or fight back.

Using Horrors

One of the best methods to Cull Ducks is to use one of Our Lordís Horrors.
These are the special creations, designed to strike fear into the craven Ducks.
They include Zombie Giants, The Killer Whale, Waltapus Zombies and Zombie Dragons.
Use a Horror by having it charge into an encampment or patrol of Outlaw Ducks and start to kill those nearby.
It does not matter how many it kills as the others will run into the swamp and tell of the Horror they met.
This often causes Outlaws to give up their evil ways.

Using Converts

Sometimes it is necessary to use the Converted as a weapon.
Attack an Outlaw encampment with those Outlaws who have joined Our Lordís Army.
This will have the effect of demoralising the Outlaws.
If the Converted succeed in killing any Outlaws, make them conspicuously pick up the body and march back into the Marsh.
This should reinforce the futility of opposing Our Lord.

Drastic Measures

If an Outlaw Group proves particularly difficult to destroy, Drastic Measures may be required.

Poison Bag

This requires one of the soldiers to be especially altered.
Bags are inserted within his chest and abdomen and then sewn in place.
These bags are filled with a special poison, available only from the Palace.
The soldier sneaks into the Outlaw encampment and submerges in the water supply (most encampments are based around a supply of good, clean water and do not draw from the Marsh itself).
The poison will last for a single day and will ensure that the Ducks are made ill.
This is a Drastic Measure because it may injure the wildlife and should only be used as a last resort.

The Brethren

An Outlaw Group which has resisted all attempts to be culled may require the intervention of The Brethren.
At the Dead of Night, a group of between 7 and 20 Brethren will move towards the encampment.
They will only be wearing their Burial Equipment and will carry no other weapons or armour.
If the encampment is very heavily guarded, The Brethren may tun into bats or mist to evade the guards.
When The Brethren have entered the encampment, they will fall upon the sleeping Outlaws and will kill them quickly.
No attempt will be made to feed, so only those disciplined Brethren should be used.
A back-up force consisting of Captains will be held close by in case the Brethren need assistance.
This force will be used to bring the Brethren across water if necessary, although The Brethren may cross the Swamp and Marshes with impunity, as you know well enough yourself.
This is a Drastic Measure as The Brethren should never be endangered needlessly.

Using An Army

It is sometimes necessary to use an army to Cull Outlaws.
The army will move into place using boats or marching columns.
Each Twenty will be lead by a Captain.
Each Five Captains will be led by a Constable.
Special Forces groups will be made up of Captains and Brethren or Horrors.
The Army will surround the encampment.
Special Forces groups will take out the boats and ensure that escape is difficult.
Some Captains will lead their Twenties underwater to prevent Outlaws from swimming away.
Some Captains will hold their Twenties in reserve in case the Outlaws break through the Army.
The other Captains will lead their Twenties in an attack on the encampment when the Ghouls are unleashed.
The Brethren who are unassigned will ensure that the Outlaw Leaders are stopped using Arbalest and poison.
In the event of heavy losses, the Brethren and Captains will retreat, leaving the Soldiers to cover them.
This is a Drastic Measure as organising an Amy takes a great deal of planning and ties up a large number of Brethren and Captains.

In conclusion, these are the Authorised Methods of Culling Outlaws. They have worked quite successfully in the past and we see no reason to change them. We thank you for your enquiry and for your innovative ideas but do not feel that Imperial Tactics will work in the Upland Marsh.

Duck Towers

When Delecti created the Upland Marsh, many of the denizens were pleased that they would be protected from the Infernal Horde that was approaching. However, there were some of the Duruluz, or Ducks, who were enemies of Delecti. During the latter days of the Empire, there were many in the courts who needed entertainment and were cruel. They took the duruluz and dressed them in gaudy clothing, forcing them to dance, act, sing, fight and make love for the amusement of the courts. When the Empire turned sour, some of the Duruluz escaped and swore revenge on those who had mocked them. Even though Delecti had never engaged Ducks as jesters many of the rebels blamed him as one of the Rulers. [When the Empire had ventured into the World of Myth, they had found strange and wonderful things there which they tried to recreate in the world. They remade some people in the forms of the Beast Folk they had seen. Delecti was one of the Remakers involved in creating the Race of Ducks. For this, some ducks hated him.]

The Ducks who hated Delecti decided to betray him and to lead the approaching Horde to Delecti's Manor, now at the heart of a maze of swamps and marshes. The Infernal Horde approached from three directions. From the East came the Nomads whose great beasts terrified the ducks. From the North and West came the Sun Folk whose Brightness and Majesty drove the Ducks away. However, from the South came normal people, amongst whom were grim, sword-wielding Death Dealers. The Ducks recognised something about them that was connected with their creation and approached them. These people treated them with Dignity and Honour and offered their help. They did not mock or patronise the Ducks and many of the rebels joined their cult of Humakt. Using secret ways known only to the Ducks, the Infernal Horde took their best warriors and attacked Delecti's Mansion, killing the Demigod.

The Infernal Horde moved on and attacked the Dragons' Nests, causing the retribution known as DragonKill. In the aftermath of that event, the Ducks and other survivors picked over the battlefields, collecting spoils. Those who had joined the grim death cult carefully aid to rest those who had died, taking the artefacts of their cult into safe-keeping. Cult Spirits recognised their honour and spoke to them, guiding them when they returned to the Upland Marsh. By this time, Delecti had revealed the monsters hen had created and had expanded his army with those who had fled the DragonKill and ventured into the Upland Marsh. The Spirits of the Ducks' grim cult told them to fight the abominations they found in the Upland Marsh. Over the following years there was war between the Ducks and Marsh Undead until Delecti gave them a choice - leave the Marsh or be killed. After much negotiation they came to an agreement that the Humakti Ducks could live near to the Upland Marsh and that the Undead of the Marsh would not bother them and Delecti would not expand his realm into the Ducks' territory.

The Ducks settled onshore in the lands to the South of the Upland Marsh now known as DuckVale. There they built villages like the cities of the old Empire and lived in peace. As their numbers increased, the Ducks expanded and created small settlements around the Upland Marsh. These settlements were populated by Humakti Ducks and effectively kept the denizens of the Marsh in check. With the exception of the occasional raid into the Marsh or retaliatory attacks, the Humakti Ducks lived in safety.

After many years, the first humans moved into Dragon Pass from the South. The ducks had never known humans but remembered their friends from the Southlands. They tried to deal with their new neighbours, but two tribes saw their lands and coveted the lush farmlands. The Colymar and Lismelder tribes attacked the Ducks who were no match against the well-armed humans, even though the Ducks had Humakti warriors, and drove the Ducks back into the Upland Marsh. Without the Duck settlements, Delecti had no reason to curb his expansion and three years later he moved into the Ducks' land, expanding the Marshes, burning the Colymari farms and killing those he met, adding them to his army. When the humans sent an army into the Marshes it was ambushed by Ducks and destroyed. Its leader, Kurash Varn, was returned with his arms kept as hostages. When the humans surrendered, his arms were restored and he became a firm Duck Friend. The Colymari retreated from the lands, but the Lismelder tribe stayed and became Duck Friends, following their kinsman, and put themselves under the protection of the Ducks. The Ducks repopulated their old settlements, helped and strengthened by their Lismelder allies.

Then came Sartar who approached with words of peace and friendship. He spoke secret words to the Ducks and accepted them as equals in his Kingdom, creating the walls of Duckpoint and promising to strengthen the Ducks' small forts. After he became a god, Sartar's son Saronil and grandson Jarolar continued support for the Ducks and strengthened the Humakti settlements around the Upland Marsh, building a series of watchtowers and Humakti Shrines. These Towers were generally manned by Duck Humakti and succeeded in holding back the Upland Marsh. Many tried to find out the Ducks' secret powers against the Marshes but failed. The secret was two-fold. First, Delecti's secret truce still held and he would not expand past the Towers. Second, the Shrines of Humakt pitted the power of Death against the half-death of the Marsh which foundered and died. For this reason, the waters around the Duck Towers wee clearer and less fertile than elsewhere in the Upland Marsh.

The Duck Towers generally took the form of a Humakti Temple, a small fort, a few other buildings such as shops, inns, maybe a small hospital and occasionally shrines to other friendly deities. The smallest Towers held around a hundred Duck Humakti and consisted of a fort, a Temple and a small village for the Humakti's families and friends. The largest was the size of a small town with temples to Chalana Arroy and other deities including spots holy to both the Sun and Moon. This Tower was created by those seeking outside help against the denizens of the Marsh, but was destroyed after a retributive strike by a Zorak Zoran gang after a botched HeroQuest attack on their Shadow Plateau Temple.

Over the years individual Towers were attacked by enemies. The Humakti Ducks made enemies amongst the Kitori and Shadows Dance Trolls. Occasionally a Tower was attacked by Grazelanders or the Sartarite tribes, sometimes Chaos boiled from the Snake Pipe Hollow or the Upland Marsh and trashed a Tower. When Sartar went to war the Humakti Ducks supplied many warriors, many of whom never returned. Whenever a Tower was sacked Delecti and his forces overran the area before it could be resettled, turning the surrounding into marsh, filling the forts with zombies and ghosts. Slowly but surely the Duck Towers were neutralised and swallowed up. After Starbrow's Rebellion the Ducks were outlawed and made scapegoats. Some of the Humakti went into hiding in the marshes, some left for the River of Cradles but a few holed up in the last Duck Tower which was sacked soon afterwards.

Now, the Duck Towers are lost in the Marshes, rarely mentioned by Ducks to outsiders. Occasionally, adventurers will stumble across old ruins and may dare the dangers inside. Sometimes, Humakti HeroQuestors will Quest to reactivate a Temple or force the Marsh back, opening one of the Towers up for public inspection. Unless the Tower is quickly resettled, however, the Tower will once again be swallowed up.

Even though it is only a generation since the last Towers were destroyed, they are not well known and have been forgotten by most people. This is for several reasons. Most Ducks will not discuss their failures with outsiders. Humakti Ducks have been hunted down and tend to be reticent loners. However, when they hear of a rediscovered Tower they will often flock to it before it is hidden once more. The surrounding humans do not like to acknowledge the Ducks' power in the area and will play down their contributions. Delecti himself does not like to gloat about his conquests, especially as they still hold back the Marsh. Even though the Towers are deactivated they still hold the power of Death enchanted within their walls and weaken the Marsh around them to such an extent that the Marsh cannot advance for more than a few miles past the Towers.

Duck Psychology

Most Ducks in Glorantha behave within certain set stereotypes. These stereotypes are a function of the roles that Ducks played many years ago when they were a created race.

When the Empire of the Wyrms Friends explored the worlds of Myth and Legend beyond the Veil, they met and saw many strange races that they had never even heard of before. After they returned, they tried to recreate those races within their Empire. Thus were born the races of Centaurs, Satyrs, Fauns, Minotaurs, Manticores and Ducks. Of these, the Ducks were the most disappointing for they were modelled on the inhabitants of Ganderland but were to those Mythical Ducks as dwarves are to True Mostali. The people of the EWF did not know what to do with the Ducks and used them as slave labour. Sometimes, the courts desired amusement and called for their Duck jesters, dressed them in gaudy costumes and made them perform as normal people, fighting, singing, dancing, making love, all for the entertainment of the Courts.

During the Fall of the Empire, some Ducks escaped and became rebels. They saw the invading Hordes and were terrified by the forces they met. Some saw the terrible steeds of the Nomads from the East and fled. Some of the rest saw the Bright Ones of the North and also fled. Some of those remaining saw the grim Death Dealers of the South and fled. Those remaining joined the grim cult and swore that nobody would make fools of them again.

During the battles with the Empire, many Ducks became frightened and fled to Delecti's Marshes where there was safety. Others tried to act heroically and remained true to their new cult. After the Empire fell, many Ducks remained in safety in the Upland Marsh. Many others were exiled after a war with Delecti. They set up little villages in emulation of their former masters and began to prosper. When the humans came from the South the Ducks welcomed them as friends of their liberators but were betrayed. After a war lasting three years or so, the Ducks drove the humans from their lands and took the Lismelder Tribe as hostages. From then on, the land-bound Ducks absorbed the culture of their neighbours to such an extent that their culture is now totally Theyalan in nature.


There are several points to Duck Psychology. First, Ducks have a very short history and tend to try and develop their own history. Second, Ducks try to forget what they were made to be by the EWF. Third, Ducks suffer from not being taken seriously by those around them. Fourth, Ducks are not trusted. Fifth, Ducks within the Upland Marsh are protected by Delecti.

These points lead to the following stereotypes:

  1. Ducks within the Upland Marsh and accepting Delecti's rule, the so-called Loyal Nests, are gentle, timid souls, at peace with nature and not willing to harm anybody. They live as hunter/fisher/gatherers, surviving on the bountiful reserves provided by the Upland Marsh and protected from outside harm by Delecti's Hordes.

  2. Ducks within the Upland Marsh and not accepting Delecti's Rule are usually outlaws and operate as bandits and thieves. They are untrustworthy and cowardly with no self-esteem. They feel that they have no friends and are paranoid about their neighbours.

  3. Ducks near the Upland Marsh who are not Humakti try their hardest to be just like everyone else. They join the cults of Orlanth and Ernalda just like their neighbours. They take part in all the neighbourhood projects and tribal affairs. Where they live in towns they join the Guilds and try to be full and enthusiastic citizens, even to the point of laughing at themselves together with their friends. As they have no real history, they fill themselves with the local culture. They continually try and find examples of Great Ducks in History and try to rebuild the History which they feel is due them.

  4. Humakti Ducks are dour, grim types. They have little sense of humour and react very badly to anyone who seems to be laughing at them or mocking them. They make up for their diminutive stature by being more honourable and more deadly than other Humakti. Often they succeed.

  5. Duck exiles who become outlaws are like their counterparts in the Upland Marsh but are even more treacherous and untrustworthy. As they are not even protected by the undead denizens of the Upland Marsh, they have to be fiercer and deadlier, so they have developed the art of backstabbing and bushwacking.

  6. Duck adventurers are often ridiculous in nature. They are normally traders, entertainers or thieves, dressing in gaudy clothing and often acting the fool in order to distract people from what they are. They trust few people and forgive fewer. They make up for their lack of size by being particularly aggressive or cunning. They are not to be crossed as they delight in taking revenge on their enemies.

Overall, most Ducks fit one or more of these stereotypes. Probably the most balanced Ducks are those who belong to the Loyal Nests. They have no illusions of a great history and do not try to be what they are not. They simply live their lives and try to be as happy as they can. It is only when Ducks mingle with outsiders that their natural inferiority complex comes into play and they try to escape through swagger, bluster or cunning and deceit. That is what makes them such interesting characters to roleplay.

Why Ducks Don't Lay Eggs

Once, when the world was younger than now, a duck flew over the Spike and landed on its slopes. This duck was sad, he thought that something was missing from his life and had flown around trying to find what it was. He saw the Gods and their adventures, the forests and oceans and he had seen the newer races, the trolls, elves and humans, but he could not find what was missing.

The duck saw Old Man walking towards him, whistling a tune. He knew of Old Man as he had made the trolls, elves and humans and always seemed to be happy, so he decided to ask Old Man what was missing from his life. "Only you know that," said Old Man, "but I can help you find out." The duck agreed, no matter what the cost. With that, Old Man took some soil from the Spike and formed it into a mud pack and smeared the duck with this mud pack until he was totally covered. Then Old Man breathed his magic over the duck and the mud caked hard and split into two pieces, and the duck found that he too had broken into two pieces, each different from the other and each different from what he had been before. The two halves stood up and started to rub the mud off with their hands. Then they stopped and quacked because previously they had only wings, now they had hands like the trolls, elves and humans. After a while, they carried on cleaning themselves until one duck noticed that the other had changed his feathers and now wore a female's plumage! He had a mate who was the same as he was and different to all the other ducks. He now realized that he had found something of what he had been missing and they both thanked Old Man.

The two ducks walked down the slopes of the Spike, for they could no longer fly, but they were happy that they could do other things. They walked and swam along the rivers and explored the world as new people, doing what came naturally to them. After a while, they realized that they did not know what to do and decided to ask Old Man to tell them, so they went out to search for him. After many miles of walking and swimming, they came to a trail where Old Man's footprints could clearly be seen and they followed his tracks. Soon, they walked over a small hill and saw Old Man talking to two Gods, one of whom seemed very cunning and a bad one and the other who held a shining sword. The ducks ran over the hill and down the other side, but when they climbed the next hill they saw Old Man lying on the ground and the Swordsman sheathing his sword. When the gods had left, the ducks came to Old Man and tried to talk to him, but he did not reply as he was dead. The ducks did not understand this as all the gods could knit themselves together again even after a sword fight and they became afraid. After some animated quacking, they decided that if they could not follow Old Man then they would follow his slayer, as he would be more powerful than Old Man.

Running swiftly, they came to the camp where the Bad One and the Swordsman were sitting beside a fire, and they asked to speak. The Swordsman invited them in, as he knew the Laws of Hospitality, and asked them what they wanted to say. "We want to serve the one who slew our Master, Old Man." said the female. The Swordsman laughed and said that even Eurmal could not have come up with a better joke than this. The Bad God looked hurt at this and suggested that Humakt set these two a task to prove their worth. Since Humakt was trapped by the Laws of Hospitality, he could not refuse and told the ducks to stand guard at this spot beside the River until one of his relatives came to relieve them. Then the two Gods broke camp and headed away.

The ducks took up their positions and stood guard. However, the female realized that she was heavy with eggs and must soon build a nest and sit down to lay them, but the male told her that she could not do this. They waited and waited until a wolf crept up to them and snarled at them. The female hefted her sword and frightened the wolf back, but in doing so she relaxed a little and one of her eggs dropped and rolled towards the wolf. Immediately, the wolf leapt on the egg and stole it away, crunching it between its jaws. As they guarded, a Rubble Runner came close and almost entered the camp site, but the male rushed towards it and scared it off, but this startled the female who dropped another egg that the Rubble Runner also ate. Her third egg was lost to an eagle that dropped from the sky and threatened to carry her away. Her fourth egg was eaten by a snake that slid from the River nearby. Her fifth egg was devoured by a lizard that had hid under a rock and her sixth egg fell when the Sky went dark and it smashed to the ground. [1] Still terrified, the two ducks stood their ground and waited for the next dangers, even though the female knew that she only had one egg remaining. Then came Yinkin, who was the first of the Alynxes, the Shadow Cats. Yinkin slinked around the camp and waited to see what was happening. The ducks ran towards him to drive him away, but he simply moved to one side and came back. Again and again this happened until the ducks grew tired. Then the female screamed in pain as the egg within her hatched and a duckling emerged and fell to the ground. Yinkin laughed and, instead of snatching the duckling away, said "I have never seen a duck that gave birth like a woman, you must be my friends. Come with me to my camp where my brother Orlanth celebrates the slaying of the Evil Emperor." The ducks knew that Orlanth was the brother of Humakt, so this must be his kinsman, sent to relieve them of duty, so they followed Yinkin to Orlanth's Camp where they learnt how to behave. [2]

At Orlanth's Camp they were taught how to fight, how to live and how to honour the gods, but they could not find their master, Humakt, no matter how hard they searched. Eventually someone told them how Humakt had severed his links with the Storm Tribe and had left the Storm Camp. Reluctantly, the ducks decided that they could not stay in Orlanth's Camp and decided to return to the campsite where they first met Humakt. There they made their nests and raised their families and there the descendants of those two ducks [3] still live, sworn to Humakt's service and friendly to the Orlanthi who live nearby. [4]


1. These are the Six Dangers that young ducks are warned about.

2. Duck culture shares some similarities to Theyalan culture because they were taught by the Storm Tribe. Many ducks join the cult of Orlanth to honour this heritage.

3. The two ducks are known as Grandfather Duck and Grandmother Duck and are honoured by the shamans of the ducks and also in small shrines in duck nests.

4. This is the lands now covered by the Upland Marsh and still guarded by the ducks, although now they guard against Delecti's Undead rather than any outside foe.

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