Most Sartarite tribes are pretty similar – being primarily Orlanth worshiping humans. However, there are two unusual tribes, the ducks and the Telmori. Let’s talk about the ducks today.
The ducks (or durulz if you are being respectful) number about 7000 in total. They are concentrated around Duck Point, although there are a hundred or more in each of the cities of Old Sartar. If you live in a city, or are a member of the Lismelder, Colymar, Locaem, or Malani tribes, ducks are a common sight.
In general, most Sartarite tribes view the ducks as quarrelsome, larcenous, proud, and cowardly. They also have a reputation for being aggressive when they have an advantage, however thanks to their small SIZ they are poor warriors, prefering to fight with slings. The ducks are noted for their intense loyalty to the Prince of Sartar, whoever that is.
The ducks are omnivores and survive by a combination of fishing, boating, theft, small gardens, and small livestock (sheep, pigs, chickens, etc.). The ducks are too small to raise cattle!
The ducks are one of the most intensely anti-Lunar of tribes, blaming the Empire and its religion for the Duck Hunts following Starbrow’s Rebellion. The ducks also demand compensation from those tribes who participated in the Duck Hunts – which includes most of them.
The most important cults of the ducks are Orlanth, Engizi, Ernalda, and Humakt – in that order. Shamanism is more common among the ducks than among most other Sartarite tribes.
The ducks are also numbered among the Beast People and are often allied with them. However, their loyalty to the Prince of Sartar is far greater than their loyalty to Ironhoof. The ducks are largely ignored by Delecti and his servants, and can travel safely through the Upland Marsh.
There are more Humakt initiates among the ducks per capita than any other tribe. The ducks and the Malani both have about 500 initiates – only the Pol Joni have more.
Ducks serve the same basic role in RuneQuest game ecology as halflings and gnomes do in D&D. Except ducks are WAY cooler.
This is perhaps the BEST source for RQ duck adventurers (and largely unknown to English audiences) and sources for ducks is Joann Sfar’s Dungeon comic:
I personally imagine them more Howard than Donald:
Engizi is obviously of great importance to the aquatic ducks. However, Orlanth is their most important god and patron. The ducks do not lay eggs, but give birth to live children, and Ernalda is the patron goddess of birth.
What happened during the duck hunts beyond the obvious of hunting ducks Who did it and why ? After Starbrow’s Rebellion failed, the new Lunar rulers imposed absolutely ruinous demands (“war reparations”) upon the rebellious tribes – especially on the Colymar and Culbrea, who were considered ringleaders. The Lunar rulers officially blamed the ducks for the whole rebellion.
As a gesture of kindness, the Lunar rulers offered a bounty – anyone who brought a dead durulz to various collection points would have their share of the war reparations fulfilled, for them and their kin. Many Sartarites – faced with ruin – accepted the Lunar offer.
Why do ducks need boats? To carry stuff around. They are great swimmers, but you can move a lot more stuff in a boat than in your hands!
Seems like if I could swim, I’d just pull a skiff behind me. It is a lot harder to pull a skiff (and a lot less control) while swimming than to use a paddle or an oar. Believe me – I’ve tried.
A “joke” race just doesn’t fit with the whole Bronze Age vibe for me. Although Tolkien had this whole very serious English epic vibe going on, he felt the need to include hobbits. And something that Greg impressed on me is that even the most serious of myths have their ridiculous or even vulgar elements. All serious is less powerful – less meaningful – than a mixture of the sublime and the absurd.