Sunday, 12 October 2014

Reikland versus reality - some conclusions

Ages ago I rambled on about older and later incarnations of the Reikland, specifically about how far there are between the "points of light".

At the time my view was that Andy Law's map was probably a more realistic view of the Principality - but less interesting than the Death on the Reik version in terms of adventure. Now I'm not so sure...

I finally sat down to work out some demographics, drawing on figures from Wikipedia, and S. John Ross's Medieval Demographics Made Easy, and here's what I've come up with. There's some pretty extreme hand-waving involved here, so probably any other conclusion is equally if not more valid, but with a couple of tweaks it seems that the Reikland Gazetteer is at least plausable.

In Demographics Made Easy terms Reikland has 2 cities (Altdorf and Nuln), although it shares them both with neighbouring provinces. Despite the Renaissance setting, given how surrounded and riven with enemies (orcs, beastmen, etc.) the Empire is I'll stick with just 9x the number of towns compared to cities, and not the 14x the number. So we have 18 towns.

With the random 10% to 40% drop in size from town to town, here are my 18 towns compared to the Gazetteer -

Generated town Pop Reikland town Pop (adjusted)
Town A 7200 Carroburg 8000
Town B 5040 Bogenhafen 4500
Town C 3024 Kemperbad 3750
Town D 2722 Ubersreik 3500
Town E 2177 Dunkelburg 3000
Town F 1306 Auerswald 2500
Town G 1176 Schoppendorf 2500
Town H 1058 Delberz 2000
Town I 952 Stimmigen 1750
Town J 857 Grissenwald 1500
Town K 686 Grunburg 1200
Town L 411 Rottefach (nr Altdorf) 720 (was 88)
Town M 370 Autler (nr Altdorf) 648 (was 81)
Town N 296 Segeldorf (nr Nuln) 518 (was 48)
Town O 237 Geldrecht (nr Altdorf) 414 (was 49)
Town P 213 Koch (nr Auerswald) 373 (was 95)
Town Q 128 Wurstheim (nr Nuln) 223 (was 78)
Town R 102 Kleindorf (nr Grunburg) 179 (was 35)

Of course this is very arbitrary, but the exercise did highlight what seemed odd about the Gazetteer listing, being the complete lack of any settlement in the 101 to 999 population range. So selecting some villages at random (but concentrating near Altdorf and Nuln for obvious reasons) I've upgraded a few to towns.

Equally there's no reason why lots of more villages can't exist, but since the Gazetteer goes down to such small populations I'm happy assuming it lists them all. And a small number suits nicely the zone model described in the world guide section of the rulebook.

All of which is a very roundabout waying of saying I can justify to myself using the Death on the Reik version.

I'll check through the major coaching routes and make sure there's at least a coaching inn (perhaps heavily fortified) for each reasonable days travel. But prepare yourself for a much lonelier journey than would be the case with the later map.

Or at least, you hope you're alone...

One other thing

The reason I mentioned the Wikipedia demographics - the top 3 cities in the Holy Roman Empire in 1500 accounted for around 1% of the empire's population. So taking Altdorf, Nuln and Middenheim (total population 40,224) and allowing a much higher (3%) proportion of the population - allowing for how dangerous the rural areas are - that gives us a very rough population for the Old World Empire of around 1.3 million.

The Old World is a lot less densely populated than early 16th Century Europe.

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