How populous is your Shanri?

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How populous is your Shanri?

Postby JustJonny » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:29 am

Just how populous is Shanri in your game? Given the fact that the ven are newly recovered from a magical apocalypse, they're a culture so primitive that four wheeled carts haven't been invented yet and dogs have yet to be domesticated, and the tiny population of real world cites in the early bronze age, it seems safe to say there aren't many of them. This seems doubly apparent when you consider that they're a profoundly martial society too lacking in resources to wage war, for whom 30 soldiers is an army.

Based on that, in my game, a dozen or so veth work every rural region, a village has a population of a few dozen per level, and most cities no more than a few hundred. Davfanna Aldrena is a unique exception, a city with tens of thousands, on the scale of Harappa, or early Babylon.

What about your game?
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Re: How populous is your Shanri?

Postby Nihilistic Mind » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:30 pm

I agree with the figures/ideas you're sharing. I too keep Shanri fairly underpopulated. A village is composed of few families, etc...

I'm not a statistician, but let's do some quick math here, since numbers can give us an idea of how populous ven society might have been. Who said math can't be fun?

We'll start with the minimums:
6 Earls (each Earl has at least 3 Dukes)
18 Dukes
54 Marquis
162 Counts
486 Barons
=726 noble ven

We will make a lot of assumptions continuing forward :)

For the sake of these calculations, we will not calculate children into the statistics, only adult ven, blooded or unblooded.

Let's say that each of these noble ven, who specifically own land, have at least one Province to themselves.
That gives us 726 Provinces that are somewhat developed. They at least have one Castle and one Village.
The average castle will have a Staff of Rank 1. Let's say a Rank 1 Staff is composed of 10 veth servants fulfilling various duties around the castle.
The average village will be Rank 1 and will be host of enough veth families to "make things". I would say the first Rank of a Village counts as 50 people. That counts as ten veth families with 5 members within the family. (Rank 2 might be 100-150; Rank 3 would be 200-300, etc)

By the way, two thirds of the nobles are married. That is 484 spouses, probably all of whom would be blooded...

We will assume that Provinces average 7 Regions each (for now it sounds right), each Region being a minimum of Rank 1 averaging about 20-50 veth each, so let's call it 35 (villages will have more veth than farms or forests, presumably).
Also, each Province presumably hosts one Rank of Personal Guard, one Rank of Roadmen and one Rank of Spies. That's another 30 veth per Province.


Ok, so an assumed Minimum statistics could look like this:

726 Provinces
1210 Blooded Ven (726 + 484)
7 x 35 x 726 = 177870

Hmm...
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Re: How populous is your Shanri?

Postby JustJonny » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:43 pm

I like the way you think. And by that, I mean I did some very similar math (even assuming three dukes for every earl, and equal populations for each house, despite the fact the book never said either one). The only flaws I see in your numbers are that you failed to account for the four veiled houses, (who are probably much less numerous, another four dukes worth of population tops), and you didn't account for the population of Davfanna Aldrena. Aside from that, you've come up with a great minimum population for Shanri, but it's probably a bit higher.

However, since I was more concerned with population density than total population, I'm chalking this up as agreement. :)
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Re: How populous is your Shanri?

Postby Nihilistic Mind » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:50 am

Oh, absolutely! Coming up with a minimum, tweaked average was quite amusing, and actually a bit surprising. The ratio of unblooded to Blooded surprised me a bit. While the actual population totals can be assumed to be different, the ratio itself is probably about the same. So let's use that ratio and talk about it to see what sort of conclusions we can make about the ven.

Total minimum calculated population: 179080 (177870 + 1210)
Blooded ven population represents 0.68% of the total ven population. That means that for every 1000 unblooded ven, there are about 7 Blooded noble, land-owning ven.

That's an astounding ratio! Even accounting for secret blooded ven and additional blooded vassals under each Baron, etc, we're at most looking at a 1-2% ratio!

I think this also supports the low population density theory since it's easier to impress 20-80 unblooded ven once a season as you collect Resources, than it is to keep all of them clustered in densely populated cities where there is no denying that the unblooded ven could easily rebel against tyranny.

That being said, large cities are still possible and here is why: the ratio is less drastic in cities. Why? Because those noble Blooded ven who are either landless, masterless, and capable of handling a neighborhood or inner-city locale would surely flock to the cities, where they can have influence (not necessarily true for all of the Houses, but we're extrapolating from assumptions so I won't go into details yet).

Additionally, regarding the Seasons System from the game, it's very likely the Trouble that noble Blooded ven have to quell is sometimes the result a growing unblooded populace who has grown discontent with tyranny and oppression. The "quelling" itself is not the stuff of Operas, quickly dismissed by the system itself, but sometimes might be worth exploring in a story.
"Sparrow, I'll call you back. I've just gutted a man with a shard of wood and I need to make sure he's dead... I think you're right, Sparrow. I am a bad, bad man..."
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Re: How populous is your Shanri?

Postby Nephandus » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:33 pm

Interesting thread.

I've been considering setting a game on a fresh continent to reduce numbers, but maybe that's not necessary...
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Re: How populous is your Shanri?

Postby JustJonny » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:41 pm

I figured most bandits would actually be disaffected peasants looking for revenge (or even just independence and the privilege of subsistence hunting), maybe with a landless blooded or three looking to claim a poorly defended Region or two leading them.

They, peasant uprisings of a more direct sort (I think it's telling that Troubled Regions both fail to produce and spread Trouble throughout the Province), ork incursions, or spectral weirdness would be most Trouble as I see it.

Don't underestimate just how much most people are willing to tolerate just to avoid making trouble, though. Historically, virtually all revolutions are either one powerful political group seizing power from another (America, Rome), or catalyzed by vast incompetence and mass starvation (France, Russia). I don't know what a normal historical ratio of noble to peasant is in feudalism (it's surprisingly hard information to find online), but the degree to which blooded ven oppress veth is not far from what most of the world was like up until for hundred years or so ago. I don't find it that hard to believe that 20 personal guards and roadmen could keep a few hundred veth in subjugation, especially not when there's enough to eat and they aren't allowed to so much as possess weapons. Ignorance and tradition are powerful weapons for the aristocracy.

I feel like ven life in cities, or even villages, is the most underexplained part of the game. It's very disappointing that the Slumming book never got made. Coronets but Never Crowns is great for the exploration of the nobility and OK for Davfanna Aldrena, but doesn't help much with ordinary cities.
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Re: How populous is your Shanri?

Postby Nihilistic Mind » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:39 am

I bugged John about the Slumming book again this weekend. It's not a dead project but it's still a long way out. Can't say much more about it for now. Come to think of it, I will try to push him to release a few notes from it.
"Sparrow, I'll call you back. I've just gutted a man with a shard of wood and I need to make sure he's dead... I think you're right, Sparrow. I am a bad, bad man..."
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Re: How populous is your Shanri?

Postby Nihilistic Mind » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:38 pm

Speaking of the Slumming book: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2357
"Sparrow, I'll call you back. I've just gutted a man with a shard of wood and I need to make sure he's dead... I think you're right, Sparrow. I am a bad, bad man..."
~~Dr. Xander Crowe, WORMWOOD.
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Re: How populous is your Shanri?

Postby JustJonny » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:13 pm

I finally got around to making a login and throwing some money down for the magazine. As always, the login was the more daunting prospect, although to their credit Patreon does make it easy to give them money, and if I'd known just how easy I would have done it weeks ago.

The first chapter of Slumming alone is worth it. It's not enough to say much about, but it's a great start, and I'm quite willing to buy it on the installment plan. :D

I think annoyingly obsequious servants and petty thugs are going to start showing up in the near future in my game...
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Re: How populous is your Shanri?

Postby Nihilistic Mind » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:08 am

Hahahaha, nice! Yeah, I have not run a Houses of the Blooded tabletop in some time but I like where John is going with this.
"Sparrow, I'll call you back. I've just gutted a man with a shard of wood and I need to make sure he's dead... I think you're right, Sparrow. I am a bad, bad man..."
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