The City of Wonders: an Investigation (Part 1)

From: Stewart <stu_stansfield_at_jWiHXHds9i1OqGTSe9tYB5z8DzkyYBydGbWphL7EO4LHvLMOByR-KZBcS_Vlf>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 17:20:52 -0000

Duck Point: the City of Wonders! (Sorry.)

Jewel of the Creek-Stream River! (Or not.)

I've been looking into the history of this glorious city. There's a bit of confusion surrounding it and its relationship with Stone Nest. I'm not entirely sure as to what's going on. Which is not surprising, as I'm not convinced that Greg is, either.

Let's have a gander.



  1. Duck Point makes its appearance as a 'Fortress' on the White Bear & Red Moon/Dragon Pass board. It's in the nearest open hex adjacent to the confluence of The Stream and The Creek/River outflow from the Upland Marsh. Duck Point is connected by a Primary Road to Famegrave (and from thence to Wilms Church). There's no mention of Stone Nest.
  2. In King of Sartar (Chaosium, 1992), Duck Point is mentioned several times in passing. It is listed as a 'river port' and terminus of the Wilmskirk–Duck Point road Tarkalor built (KoS, p. 139). There's no mention of Stone Nest.
  3. The Sartar High Council freeform write-up, originally presented in Wyrms Footnotes and reprinted in Wyrms Footprints (Chaosium and Reaching Moon Megacorp, 1995), contains the 'first' mention of Stone Nest. Joseph Greenface mentioned that a third of the ducks' warriors were "on alert and mustered at Stone Nest ... unknown to the Empire, who do not occupy that little city." (Wyrms Footprints, p. 103.) Duck Point is mentioned elsewhere; they are not mentioned together.
  4. At some point, Greg drew a map of Heortling lands in the Third Age. This is printed in History of the Heortling Peoples (Moon Design, 2007) on page 12. The resolution makes it difficult to pick out certain details, but:
  5. There appears to be a 'Duck Point' at the confluence of the Creek-Stream River (i.e. a port).
  6. There is another settlement, apparently named both 'Duck Point' and 'Stone Nest', E/ENE of [a.], inland.

On this map, Tarkalor's road to Wilmskirk actually stops half-a-dozen miles east of [b.]; the final distance is covered by a track. There is no path marked to [a.] at all. This map seems to have been used by subsequent map-drawers, which creates a few issues.

5. Greg also drew a 'Sartar and Neighbors' population map (which Jeff helpfully placed online here: On this map, the settlement marked `Duck Point' is clearly inland, in a position similar to what is marked on other maps ([4.] in part; [6.], [7.] and [8.]) as `Stone Nest'.

6. Phil Anderson's map in Tales of the Reaching Moon #19 (pp. 34–35), shows a similar geography to [4.]. Duck Point is at the confluence of the Creek-Stream River; the 'inland' settlement is named Stone Nest (and on this map is marked as a ruin). Tarkalor's road runs to Stone Nest. There is no way of any form to Duck Point, but a track runs from Stone Nest to Duck Ferry. This map is reprinted in Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes (Moon Design, 2009) on p. 321, which is why I list it here.

7. Wesley Quadros' map in Dragon Pass: A Gazetteer of Kerofinela (Issaries, 2003) also looks to be based on [4.]. Tarkalor's 'Road' stops a few miles short of Stone Nest; 'Trails' run to Duck Ferry and (also, in this map) Duck Point. Stone Nest is listed as a Small City (1,000–5,000 inhabitants); Duck Point and Duck Ferry are both listead as Villages (<500 inhabitants).

8. Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes (Moon Design, 2009) revises this. In the map on p. 237, Duck Point is a port at the confluence of the Creek-Stream River and is restored to its earlier magnitude: it is now a Small City (1,000–3,000 inhabitants) and is once again the terminus of Tarkalor's road. Stone Nest, inland, is a Village/Town (<1,000 inhabitants); Tarkalor's road passes through it (p. 285).  

OTHER SAUCES: 9. Jon Quaife's map in Tales of the Reaching Moon #5 (p. 3) has several similarities with [4.]. Duck Point is placed at the confluence of the Creek-Stream River, unconnected by any road or trail. The terminus of Tarkalor's road is an inland feature named `Stone Nest Ruins'. A short trail runs from `Stone Nest Ruins' to a settlement named `Harvest Home'; the latter is seemingly marked as being a larger settlement than the nearby ruins and Duck Point.

(TotRM #19, p. 35, describes Harvest Home as the "only ramparted fort remaining in the Duck Valley. It sits at the end of the Boldhome road.")

Jon's map carries the following note: "With the exception of the Lismelder detail, this map is based on an original by Greg Stafford." I don't recall seeing this map of Greg's—I don't believe it to be [4.], based on the level of detail—and I'd be interested to see the degree to which duckish elements might count as `Lismelder detail'.

  1. Stone Nest makes a notable appearance in John Castellucci's RuneQuest Adventures #1: `Escape from Duckland' (1993), as a ruin. John describes (p. 9) Stone Nest as "a strange jumble of stones and abandoned dwellings. The ruin is menacing and appears almost haunted. The wind whistles through the rubble in an endless mad song. Sometime in the past this place was ransacked (by a Lunar patrol) and many structures are nothing but burned out shells."

He notes that "most of the foundations are of ancient stone and have been in place for hundreds if not thousands of years. The town is laid out in a random manner and does not seem to make much sense to humans. There are no discernible districts like the ones that characterize Sartarite cities."

The Wilmskirk–Duck Point road does not connect to, or pass through Stone Nest; rather it marks its east–west passage to Duck Point a little way to the south (pp. 10, 33). John makes no mention of Harvest Home.

Furthermore, Stone Nest was apparently an ancient, wereduck-constructed city. In describing the `Wyrmish Ruins' elsewhere, John wrote (p. 11): "These ruins are markedly different from Stone Nest. While the previous were ancient Duck ruins, this is the remnants of a bizarre structure from the Empire of Wyrm's Friends."            

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