Duck Bandit Cults

dbulDuck Cults & Keywords

This page contains suggestions for duck bandit keywords for use in HeroQuest, and a quick overview of some central duck cults. It is presented in the spirit of Indlas Somer and Terry Pratchet.

I love the Durultz, and think they deserve respect and serious discussion. Unfortunately, these notes aren’t going to advance the cause.

The marvellous duck art on this page is by Makoto Hokura and Stewart Stansfield.

Ducks were first described in HeroQuest terms by Jamie ‘Trotsky’ Revell in Anaxial’s Roster.

Duck cults were first described by John Castellucci and Stephen Martin in RuneQuest Adventures. I have adapted and expanded those descriptions for HeroQuest.

Much of the basic duck and cigar lore featured in these pages arose from discussions on the HeroQuest RGP list, and has been purloined with considerable gratitude, including suggestions from Simon Bray, Mark Galeotti, Guy Hoyle, Jeff Kyer, Roderick Robertson, Stewart Stansfield, and Jane Williams, among others.

We all worship at the altar of Paul Jaquays and Rudy Kraft, authors of the immortal, Legendary Duck Tower, Duck Pond and Return to Duck Tower.

These notes were created in the course of writing a module for Scotscon entitled Beak No Evil / Bad Boon Rising.

Duck Bandit Keywords

Common Physical Traits

Skill & Rating

Boating 1W
Close Combat (Shortsword,
Shortsword & Shield, Knife,
Viciously Peck At Kneecaps) 17
Dabble 19

Endure Weather 1W

Farming 12

Fight In Rain 17

Fishing 17
Gather Grubs 19

Hide In Cover 17

Hold Breath 1W

Nimble 18

Ranged Combat (Crossbow,
Throwing Knife, Reed Spear)17Run Away!15Small10Sneak19Swim3W

* Dabble (preferably in a pond – heads down, butts up, we can’t see them so hopefully they can’t see us.

Special Physical Traits

Light Soggy Cigar, Mating Yodel (males), Ride Alynx (Get On), Ride Alynx (Get Off), Ride Horse, Quack Foo (duckish martial art), Curling, Hockey (Ice)

Common Mental Traits

Skill Rating
Durultz Customs 19 19
Durultz Myth 17
Dragon Pass Geography 13
Evaluate Loot 11
Follow In A Line 12
Group Heist 7
Know Local Area 12
Know Local Waterways 1w
Make Canoe/Raft 17
Mythology of God 17
Predict Rain 17
Spot Ambush 14
‘Stand & Deliver!’ 15
Tactics: Attack Enemy While He Writhes In Laughter 11

Special Mental Traits

Bribe Innkeeper, Clever Disguise, Flee! Flee!, Recognise Foe, Strategy, Tactics: Jump & Stub Lit Cigar in Eye, Tactics: ‘Take Me I’m Wounded’ (Motherduck), Tactics: ‘Please don’t hit me!’


Relationship Rating
To Nest 12
To Gang 7
Fellow Freedom Fighters 7
Friendly Innkeepers 12
Hate: Snapping Turtles 17
Hate: Lunars 17
Hate: Chaos 12
Hate: People 12

Personality & Flaws

Attribute Rating
Advantage: Cowardly 12
Boastful 15
Vengeful 15
Price On Tail 7/12/17
Throw Temper Tantrum When Thwarted 12
Hated by Nick Brooke 12
Argue 15
Resent Leaders 12
Quack Up 12

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Duck Gods

Poveri PondFather and Canarda StweamMother are the leaders of the duck pantheon. When the Great Ice froze the Stream World, Poveri the Fisher King stole fire and sweet herbs from the hostile gods, bearing it to his people in the form of a sacred cigar. Canarda taught bullying and good nestkeeping, and so made the ducks what they are today.

The three eldest sons of Poveri and Canarda are the ancestral lords of death – dread Hueymakt, Dueymakt and Loueymakt, the Death Drakes. Hueymakt, who kept fighting even when he lost his arms and his legs; Dueymakt, the Boat Bandit, who can see a long way even though he has only one eye; and Loueymakt, the dread Berserker Storm Bill, who runs to tell someone when Chaos is near. ‘Eat, drwink, smoke, and guzzle down grubs, for we choose the day that we die!’

Other gods born of the Cosmic Egg include Finoswam the Waider, Mallard Gor the MudSlinger, Babeakster Gor the Egg Avenger, Vinga Nestguard the Weed Protector, Mudhome the Nest Maker, Sogarsi the Stream Voice, Swimmer In Shadows, the dancing shamanka, Ty Kora Quack, Mistress of Secrets, and Ducka Fowl, Judge of the Quick, the Dead and the Dread. Ducks also recognise Orlanth the Trickster, the cold wind who makes circles cross the pond, who stole their wings but promised to one day return them.

The ancient enemy of ducks is the chaotic Quackodemon, who laid the Red Egg in the Sky, the Red Moon of the Lunar Empire. Dread prophecies reveal that if the Red Egg ever hatches, it will release into the world Kwakboth, the Devil Reborn. And that could turn a bit nasty.

Note: Most duck hero feats have a verbal component which entails shouting the feat’s name aloud. If you get it wrong… whammo! Remember in particular to distinguish between a Whack and a ‘Wak!’

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Poveri Pondfather

Fisher King, Lightbringer, Cigar Stealer, Old Ironbeak, Snapping Turtlebane, StormHater, HerbMaster, Founder of the Pond Tribe.

Poveri is chief god of the Pond Tribe. All ducks are communal worshippers of Poveri, and strive to obtain at least a few cigar-related common magics, talents or feats.

Sacred cigar smoking is endemic in duck culture. (And the average life span for a duck is around thirty years).

Cigar Common Magic Talents

  • Balance Ash
  • Counter Delecti’s Fog
  • Everlight
  • Flick Ash
  • Fumigate Bugs
  • Good Shag
  • Hide In Smoke
  • Manipulate Fire
  • Noxious Cloud
  • See In Smoke
  • Shape Smoke
  • Smoke Any Old Weed
  • Smoke Underwater

Mental Abilities: Avoid Blows, Quieten Ducks, Grumble, Blame Others

Physical Abilities: Swim, Hold Breath, See Underwater

Traits: Cautious, Expect the Worst, Quack with Authority

Poveri Affinities

Fisher King (Sense Fish, IronBeak, Wiggling Grub, Resist Current, Avoid Net)

Pondfather (Everlight, Sacred Thief, Face Storm, Face Fire, Command Ducks)

Cigarbringer (Conspiquous Consumption, Haze of Leadership, Smoke of Repulsion, Lungful of Courage, Smoke of Spirit Seeing, Smoke of Concealment, Cloak Stench of Undead, Sweet Smell of Success, Healing Smoke, Noxious Cloud, Cigar Against the Darkness, Flick Ash, Herb Life, Herbal Insight, Black Lung)

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Canarda StreamMother

Pondzilla is a follower of Canarda StweamMother
Canarda is the Gweat Stream of the Pond Tribe, the Mother of the Gods. She teaches bullying and good nestkeeping.

Membership Requirement: Must be a female duck. Must have strong desire to dominate and always have last word. Members turn a little blue and develop strong biceps. Some devotees develop beards.

Mental Abilities: Bully, Last Word, Sense Weakness

Physical Abilities: Control Underlings, Enforce Peace, Form a Line!, Head Butt, Strong, Tough

Traits: Earthy Tongue, Fowl Temper, Petty, Violent

Canarda Affinities:

Family (Bless Egg, Order Family, Intimidate Opponent, Waaak! Wak! Wak! Whack!, For Your Own Good, Heal Subordinate)

Stream (Float, Cleanse Water, Great Stream, Snow Signature, Suck Under, Command Stweam Daimon)

Secret: Become Stream

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Hueymakt DeathDrake


First of the Death Drakes, dread lord of death and honour.

Hueymakt teaches his servants to choose the moment of their death. Most ducks choose to die in bed at age 30. However, in desperate times, Hueymakt produces many dreadful heroes.

Membership Requirement: Must be a duck. Must have iron sword. Must sacrifice leg to learn feats (negotiable).

Mental Abilities: Don’t Fib, Forge Dread Fighting Farce, Quick In Seeing Victorious Side, Survive On Battle Field, Recognise Lie

Physical Abilities: Close Combat (Short Sword, Whooping Big Sword), Hobble Silently, Perform Sacrifice

Traits: Brave When It Suits, Honourable, Loyal To Leader

Hueymakt Affinities:

Death (Go Slightly Berserk, Chop! Chop!, Lighten Whooping Great Sword, Shiver of Fear, Fight Undead)

Honour (Spell It Wight, Empower Oath, Don’t Fib, Sense Ambush)

Secret: Die in bed at age 30

Hero Cult: Peg Leg Paluga

Peg Leg was a Keet from the Eastern Isles. (Being seabeings, Keets tend to be deeper than Durultz, who as pond dwellers are pretty shallow). His hero cult teaches the feat of Sword Surfing.

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Dread Eye Dueymakt


Second of the Death Drakes, Boat Bandit, soggy Far-Seer, Dead of Eye and Deaf of Tone, dread lord of poetry and pond piracy.

Membership Requirement: Must be a duck. Must have eye patch.

Mental Abilities: Choose Winning Side, Compose Limerick, Ignore Opposition, Memorise Music, Rally Warriors, Pond Piracy

Physical Abilities: Dance, Duck Incoming Garbage, Dread Battle Cry, Quack Fool (Wave your arms about and pretend you know Quack Foo), Sing While Running Away, Yodel

Traits: Persistent, Thick Skin, Tone Deaf

Dueymakt Affinities:

One Eye (Ignore Obvious, See One Side of Debate, See Far, Dread Soggy Evil Eye)

High Entertainment (Ridiculing Song, Battle Yodel, Sorrowful Ballad, Uplifting Anthem, Vengeful Dirge, Earthy Limerick)

Special Hero Feat: Ho! Ha Ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! …[Splash].

Secret: Battle March. Allows devotee to ignore multiple target penalties when using his High Entertainment affinity to aid his clan in battle. If roll fails, skald succumbs to friendly fire.

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Loueymakt the Storm Bill


Like his god Loueymakt, Hobbs is nasty, brutish, and short.

Third of the Death Drakes, Berserker, Chaos Cleanser, Pond Rippler, Wave Maker, Bottom Feeder, Life of the Party. Also a deft shot with the crossbow.

Membership Requirement: Must be a male duck. (Mostly). Must fail intelligence test on entry.

Storm Bills must never wun away too quickly from Chaos, and are duty bound to report chaos outbreaks to the proper authorities, or at least to someone bigger. Members usually experience deep throbbings in the presence of Chaos.

Membership of the cult requires great devotion, for it is very difficult to snort when you have a bill.

Devotees are known as Atak Waks or MarlJarls. (Marl is the mixture of clay and duck skat found at the edges of nests).

Mental Abilities: Comprehend Orders, Ignore Pain, Tough

Physical Abilities: Close Combat (Big Stick), Inbibe Mead, Snort, Ranged Combat (Crossbow), Run Away Slowly

Traits: Beastly, Reckless

Loueymakt Affinities

Anti-Chaos (Retreat Slowly, Brave Face, Remember Encounter, Righteous Fury)

Berserk Combat (Throth at the Bill, Whack! Whack! Wak! Whack! Wak! Whack!, Cripple Kneecap, Great Blow, Make Waves)

Secret: Report Chaos to SomeWon Bigger

Special Magic Ability: Sense Chaos

Storm Bills use the HeroQuest rules for berserk magic. Whatever they are.

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Vinga Nestguard, The Reed Protector


Vinga saved many cowards and ducklings in the Great Ice. She made the first javelins from reeds.

Vingans must defend cowards, which means they are responsible for all of duck society. Many drakes dislike the cult.

Membership Requirement: Must be a female duck. Must have weed spear. Members feathers become redder and redder. Devotees must swear never to marry, at least until someone nice comes along.

Mental Abilities: Dry Land Survival, Let a Woman Do It, There Is Always a Way, Twack, Rally Cowards

Physical Abilities: Close Combat (Reed Spear), Jump, Left Upper Cut, Piercing Shreik, Ranged Combat (Reed Spear), Quack Foo

Traits: Clucky, Zesty

Vinga Nestguard Affinities:

Combat (Dread Spear Throw, Throw, Really Long Throw, Stoopid Dwake!, Stoopid Hooman!, Stoopid Chaos!, Spear Leap)

Movement (Duck!, Really Deep Dive, Run On Water, Duck Torpedo, Dodge Missiles)

Secret: Defend Cowards.

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If you have survived this page, and seek to dive deeper into the pond of your inner duck, then let me recommend The Centre for Duck Studies. Learn to stick your butt in the air without feeling embarrassed! The Centre features many documents from studied quacks.

  1. Denise Calaway

    Love this!

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