Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Staffordian Naturalism?

Courtesy of Uz Lore, Book One of Trollpak (Chaosium, 1982) by Greg Stafford and Sandy Petersen. Illustration by Lisa Free.

13 comments:

  1. Very humanlike, except for the intestinal tract which seems lifted straight out of a ruminant.

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  2. How bizarre. Not very different from human anatomy, but with the curious addition of a rock gizzard, something normally found in animals that lack grinding teeth (chickens, crocodiles, seals). The dental anatomy is not shown though.

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  3. Rock gizzard. Very cool. I've been longing for a copy of Trollpak for some time now.

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  4. Remember seeing this in the shops when it came out. Always regret not buying it.

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  5. IIRC the Lone Wolf world guide ("The Magnamund Companion") did similar for their Orc analogues - autopsy pics and essays on bone structure, organ function and the like.

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  6. Trollpak was one of the better RQ supplements. I really wish they had gone on to do other ones for the other Gloranthin races.

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  7. "Petersonian," sure. Always good to see this.

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  8. Since Gloranthan trolls can eat dirt, rocks and minerals the "rock gizzard" probably functions differently then we may first imagine.

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  9. "Petersonian," sure.

    Was Trollpak more the work of Sandy Petersen than Greg Stafford? I can certainly believe it, but I figured, given how particular Greg is about most aspects of Glorantha, that things like troll biology were his doing.

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  10. @JDJarvis

    You're right. According to the original text, the rock gizzard is primarily for digesting rock (not a replacement for grinding teeth as in chickens). On p.49 it says: "Rocks are chewed, and/or pounded until they are small pebbles. The sight, taste, and possibly sound of stones stimulates glands surrounding the rock gizzard and they will then start producing within 15 minutes after rocks are present in the troll's stomach. A powerful sphincter opens and the rocks pass into the gizzard. The sphincter then closes (preventing any acids from passing into the sensitive stomach) and the gizzard begins to work. It secretes corrosive acids, works powerfully (with muscles that are nearly as strong as those of a female's uterus during childbirth), and grinds rock upon rock. The inside of the rock gizzard is covered with both mucus and a horny coat, to ensure safety. The gizzard is so tough that a troll could digest a bronze dagger in it without harm, assuming that it passed through his mouth and stomach without hurting him. After the rocks have been turned into mud in the rock gizzard, they move into the rock intestine, which connects to the gall bladder."
    Weird stuff.

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  11. Was Trollpak more the work of Sandy Petersen than Greg Stafford? I can certainly believe it, but I figured, given how particular Greg is about most aspects of Glorantha, that things like troll biology were his doing.

    From the designer's notes (which are actually on the back side of the "what's in this box?" page and thus easy to overlook):

    "I [Sandy Petersen] wrote most of the 'scientific' data about trolls that was included in the final manuscript, such as the troll dissection, the skulls, and troll etiquette. I also completed most of the Book of Uz and about half the scenarios. I created the cults (except for Kyger Litor and Zorak Zoran) from Greg's notes, and my own imagination. They changed and molded themselves to fit troll personality better, and that is as it should be. Greg, an excellent myth-maker, wrote all the legends of the trolls, their history, and their philosophy. It was a happy alliance."

    Stafford and Petersen made a really amazing team, because their talents and areas of interest intersected and dovetailed so well and they were both able to build on and improve on the work of the other to make a whole greater than the sum of its parts (which, when you consider what those parts were responsible for -- Pendragon on the one hand, Call of Cthulhu on the other -- is nothing short of remarkable!).

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  12. From the designer's notes (which are actually on the back side of the "what's in this box?" page and thus easy to overlook):

    I no longer have the box, so that'd explain my overlooking it. Thanks for pointing this out.

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