The City of Wonders: an Investigation (Part 2)

From: Stewart <stu_stansfield_at_zW9GFRSQCr7JRmm7XaCoxaa37R0ucKyRDB7isSjZ1i_efSpp7618U8NNIFgPA>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 17:22:44 -0000

CONDIMENTS: A few thoughts. If anybody has their own insights, please do add them – particularly if they refer to sources I've not seen/mentioned and/or info you've picked up over the years.

I'm happy to follow the picture presented in the latest supplement (Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes), but the inconsistencies in other sources intrigue me. I'd be interested to learn as to what was originally intended.

I'm not sure Greg was consistently clear in his own mind—or greatly concerned with—what Duck Point was, where it was, and what he wanted to do with it. Were Duck Point and Stone Nest actually intended as separate settlements? 'Stone Nest' could be a natural, in-character duck synonym for a settlement surrounded in outlandish fashion with stone walls, after all – which is what Duck Point as described in KoS was.

Greg's own map [4.] possibly hints at this. And while [2.] describes Duck Point as a port and the terminus of Tarkalor's road, [5.] disagrees on the former, and most other maps disagree on the latter.

The subject also raises questions on the matter of `Duck Point as specific settlement' vs `Duck Point as broader demographical/geographical feature'.

There are five mentions of Duck Point in KoS, and two references to `Duckton'.


i. `The Composite History of Dragon Pass' (p. 103) refers to the "Little People, including the wereducks of Duck Point …" when discussing post-Dragonkill demographics.

ii. do. (p. 137) states: "Sometime during his reign Sartar also visited the beastfolk at Duck Point, and built walls for that little city. No city ring was set up, nor did people inhabit the nearly empty shell for some time."

iii. do. (p. 139) notes that "Tarkalor built a road from Wilmskirk to Duck Point early in his reign, linking the capital with that river port and opening a second route between Sartar and Kethaela."

iv. do. (p. 141) records that, in 1602, "The victorious emperor led his army south and seized Duck Point without resistance. It had been abandoned by human and duck alike."

v. `Jalk's Book' (p. 216) adds that, after King Ortossi refused to let Sartar build a city on his lands, the hero "went and made an empty city at Duck Point so he could finish his ritual."

vi. A copy of Jonstown Compendium #271,850 (p. 44), attached to the first Zin Letter, mentions that Jarolar Saronilsson was a great wall builder, whose works could be seen at "Duckton, Runegate, Dangerford, and Jarolar Keep."

vii. The same source notes that Tarkalor Saronilsson was "A Roadmaker, who stretched royal trade to Duckton, to greet the boats that came there."

As far as deciphering KoS goes, it's not as bad as some topics. Comparison of [iii.] and [vii.] would initially suggest that Duck Point and Duckton are one and the same – but [vi.] then raises questions, stating as it does that Duckton's walls were built by Jarolar. Other sources, particularly [ii.], state that Duck Point's walls were built by Sartar. Even Jonstown Compendium #271,850 perhaps references this (albeit by inference, noting that Sartar built walls for the—unnamed—Five Cities).

Error? A renovation? (A bit naff.) Does it refer to a different duck settlement, perhaps, like an inland Stone Nest? (Interesting.) Except that the same source implicitly notes that Duckton is open to Creek-Stream River traffic. (D'oh.) Nevermind.

I'm intrigued as to how readings of KoS affected later sources, most notably Barbarian Adventures (p. 6) and, following on from this, Dragon Pass: A Gazetteer of Kerofinela (p. 23). Barbarian Adventures notes: "Duck Point sits in their territory, but the durulz have never lived there." Where this comes from, I have no idea. A prejudiced reading of [v.], perhaps; certainly it does not fit easily with [i.] (though, cf. `Duck Point as specific settlement' vs `Duck Point as broader demographical/geographical feature'), [ii.] (taking care with the sentence's context, and the reading of `people') and [iv.] (it's difficult to abandon something you never inhabited).

Or does it? Stephen Martin once said: "I note that the Stone Nest which Sartar made for them was never used, and sat empty until it was destroyed by the Lunars." (

Which again points to the confusion between Duck Point and Stone Nest.


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