Those of us who played Runequest know of a race known as the Durulz, humanoid ducks with arms instead of wings,who live near rivers in Sartar. Based on Howard the Duck (from the pages of Manthing), Ducks were not imposing physical characters. Howard was intended as a pragmatic character who could provide amusing commentaries on the strange behavior of the ‘hairless apes’ among whom he found himself. Donald Duck was the most famous duck, so of course the creators of Howard had some trouble with the legal team from Disney Studios, but they emerged relatively unscathed. Howard was in many ways intended as a cynical, adult response to Donald Duck. Thanks to Howard, and to thanks to the art of Frank Brunner, Ducks were popular in the late 1970s. There was even a ‘Howard for President’ campaign.
Frank Brunner was famous for his duck drawings in the 1970s. Quack was the first place I know of where his ducks appeared, but his masterpiece was Howard the Duck #1, in which Howard reprises his role from Manthing as ‘Howard the Barbarian.’
Judges Guild produced two great modules. Dark Tower was an fairly long adventure for AD&D, and Legendary Duck Tower was a relatively short RQ module and a parody of Dark Tower. Interestingly enough, Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim’s Dungeon comic series features Herbert the Timorous Duck as one of the most important characters. I know that Runequest was more popular in Europe than over here. I wonder if Herbert owes his origin to Runequest or to Howard?