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Town populations too low? (spoilers)


Kingmaker

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

My players are very interested in keeping a track of their demographics (Kingdom size by square mile, population etc.) One of the ways that they do this is by working out town population by the number of city blocks that have been constructed.

That's all very well and good however when the players finally get to annex Tatzlford at the start of Blood for Blood there is a major discrepency between the number of free buildings and the actual population of the town. According to the number of free buildings the population of Tatzlford should be roughly 4,000 not 189 as it is in the book.

As such when my players finally do take over Tatzlford they are going to be a little confused by the huge difference between the population and the number of free buildings. After all this tiny hamlet is far more productive than towns 20 times the size.

Anyone got an idea of how to field this inevitable question?

Taldor

Have a massive immigration boom once the town is restored?


I also kind of stumbled on this, until I had a clever and crafty idea as any good GM should:

•Invoke Rule 0 and change the way populations are calculated.
My suggestions:
-A hex initially claimed and settled trickles in a population over the next few months until it reaches a random number between 5 and 250. (This can be further spiced up by having farms up population, etc.)
-In towns, most buildings only increase the population by 1-25 (randomly), while residential districts (houses, tenements) get a random roll of 5-250. Certain larger buildings (academy, arena, cathedral, etc.) may bring in more people than the above.
—Events that actually involve migrations, new immigrants, or a population boom? Add 50-250 residents to a town or hex.

Using the above, on Kingdom turn 12, this gave my players a capital (centered on the Stag Lord's Fort) with a population of 474 and a second town (centered on Oleg's Trading Post) of 78, making them a Small Town and a Hamlet, respectively. It's fast and dirty, but seems to come up with better numbers than +250 residents/building block.

Your mileage may vary.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Both good suggestions. I will have a think.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah this is one of those "there is no real answer" deals. The fact is the population calculations made in the Kingmaker rules are extreme abstractions (each time you claim a hex 250 new people magically appear during the course of a month!) I'll be taking a look at them for the next time I run the AP for my second group, with an eye towards lending a bit more realism.

I do like Daviot's suggestions though. That's a great place to start.


Remember that you have nothing in the way of modern infrastructure to really keep an accurate tab on things like this so you do have the option of just giving vague estimates you think fit.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
FallofCamelot wrote:

My players are very interested in keeping a track of their demographics (Kingdom size by square mile, population etc.) One of the ways that they do this is by working out town population by the number of city blocks that have been constructed.

That's all very well and good however when the players finally get to annex Tatzlford at the start of Blood for Blood there is a major discrepency between the number of free buildings and the actual population of the town. According to the number of free buildings the population of Tatzlford should be roughly 4,000 not 189 as it is in the book.

As such when my players finally do take over Tatzlford they are going to be a little confused by the huge difference between the population and the number of free buildings. After all this tiny hamlet is far more productive than towns 20 times the size.

Anyone got an idea of how to field this inevitable question?

1. You could assume the 189 is lacking an ending 0, which would bring the number up to 1890.

2. The towns had a rough go of it, perhaps prior to the events of the adventure it had a population in the neighborhood of 4,000. While the buildings/infrastructure is present, the population rebuilds slowly over time.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Town populations are in the same category as alignment, gun rules, naval rules, and which class is best—no two gamers can ever seem to agree on the "right" answer. We do list numbers in our books when we detail towns, but that's mostly to generate internal consistency. For the purposes of how many people live in a town your PCs create in Kingmaker... the GM should absolutely pick numbers that make sense to him and adjust other numbers in the adventures as he sees fit. We deliberately did NOT attach any game mechanics to population totals for this precise reason; you can adjust those numbers all you want and no rules get impacted.

Qadira

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Perhaps the buildings are unoccupied and are in disrepair. Your players may need to hold a festival in that town to draw in population to fill these buildings. I think this is how I'm going to handle it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I just redid the way populations are calculated for my PCs kingdom. I wanted to do a few things with this.

Lower the city populations a bit.
Increase the population of farmed land to model the fact that societies are less urban and more agrarian.

Now populations in my kingdom are calculated as follows.

Each farm hex adds 500 people.
Claimed hexes with no farms or cities add 100 people.
Each block of buildings in a city adds 50 people (with the exception of houses)
Each house in a city adds 100 people.

This cut the population of my PCs kingdom (at the end of Varnhold Vanishing) from around 125,000 to about 70,000.

It also cut the population of their capital city from nearly 13,000 to just under 4,000, which is a much more realistic number for a medieval kingdom that is only 5 years old.

By these rules, the population of Tatzlford as listed in the book is 900. Still quite a bit bigger than the ~200 listed, but manageable.

It also helped me with another conundrum I had.

My players had asked me why the gold limit of their capital city was capped at 16,000 gp, when it was large enough to qualify as a large city (according the the 3.5 rules which we're playing by) which should give it a cap of 40,000 gp. Lowering the population gave me the justification to tell them that by the new population rules, once the city population reaches large city size again, their limit will increase to 40,000.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
molten_dragon wrote:

I just redid the way populations are calculated for my PCs kingdom. I wanted to do a few things with this.

Lower the city populations a bit.
Increase the population of farmed land to model the fact that societies are less urban and more agrarian.

Now populations in my kingdom are calculated as follows.

Each farm hex adds 500 people.
Claimed hexes with no farms or cities add 100 people.
Each block of buildings in a city adds 50 people (with the exception of houses)
Each house in a city adds 100 people.

This cut the population of my PCs kingdom (at the end of Varnhold Vanishing) from around 125,000 to about 70,000.

It also cut the population of their capital city from nearly 13,000 to just under 4,000, which is a much more realistic number for a medieval kingdom that is only 5 years old.

By these rules, the population of Tatzlford as listed in the book is 900. Still quite a bit bigger than the ~200 listed, but manageable.

It also helped me with another conundrum I had.

My players had asked me why the gold limit of their capital city was capped at 16,000 gp, when it was large enough to qualify as a large city (according the the 3.5 rules which we're playing by) which should give it a cap of 40,000 gp. Lowering the population gave me the justification to tell them that by the new population rules, once the city population reaches large city size again, their limit will increase to 40,000.

Great suggestion! Consider it borrowed for my campaigns.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
molten_dragon wrote:
My players had asked me why the gold limit of their capital city was capped at 16,000 gp, when it was large enough to qualify as a large city (according the the 3.5 rules which we're playing by) which should give it a cap of 40,000 gp. Lowering the population gave me the justification to tell them that by the new population rules, once the city population reaches large city size again, their limit will increase to 40,000.

Well - that's also a problem of the PFRPG to D&D conversion, something you could have easily overlooked. All cities in PFRPG are limited to 16,000 gp, with random major items that go way beyond that. In converting to 3.5, you should raise the limit to 200,000 gp, and just allow them to continue purchasing stuff to get them there.

Osirion

I have to agree that the rules for the population makes little sense, especially considering the capital city of my players kingdom is about to rival the size of Restov in four short years.

A bigger issue I came upon was at the end of Varnhold Vanishing. When the players entered Varnhold, there were barely over 100 people that were supposed to be living there (obviously not there at the time, hence the Vanishing portion of the title.) However, at the end of the module, when the remaining 42 poeple were rescued and devoted themselves to joining the PCs kingdom, the buildings that were said to be in Varnhold jacked up the population of Varnhold alone to over 5,000. Just the 8 houses that were in Varnhold added 2,000 people. Now I saw the map of Varnhold, there was not room for 2,000 people. I just do not like the continuity between the rules saying a "house" built in a city is a collection of homes, and seeing an individual house on the map of Varnhold magically become a "collection" of houses once the PCs annex the town.

The same issue exists with Taztleford.


Kris Genschmer wrote:

I have to agree that the rules for the population makes little sense, especially considering the capital city of my players kingdom is about to rival the size of Restov in four short years.

A bigger issue I came upon was at the end of Varnhold Vanishing. When the players entered Varnhold, there were barely over 100 people that were supposed to be living there (obviously not there at the time, hence the Vanishing portion of the title.) However, at the end of the module, when the remaining 42 poeple were rescued and devoted themselves to joining the PCs kingdom, the buildings that were said to be in Varnhold jacked up the population of Varnhold alone to over 5,000. Just the 8 houses that were in Varnhold added 2,000 people. Now I saw the map of Varnhold, there was not room for 2,000 people. I just do not like the continuity between the rules saying a "house" built in a city is a collection of homes, and seeing an individual house on the map of Varnhold magically become a "collection" of houses once the PCs annex the town.

The same issue exists with Taztleford.

I cut the size of a city block down (I think to 250x250 instead of 750x750), and called it a single building (or set of buildings) instead of a district. Then I also cut the population per block (I think to 25).

I keep tweaking those numbers, though, because as JJ said, they don't actually affect anything.

Osirion

Bobson wrote:
Kris Genschmer wrote:

I have to agree that the rules for the population makes little sense, especially considering the capital city of my players kingdom is about to rival the size of Restov in four short years.

A bigger issue I came upon was at the end of Varnhold Vanishing. When the players entered Varnhold, there were barely over 100 people that were supposed to be living there (obviously not there at the time, hence the Vanishing portion of the title.) However, at the end of the module, when the remaining 42 poeple were rescued and devoted themselves to joining the PCs kingdom, the buildings that were said to be in Varnhold jacked up the population of Varnhold alone to over 5,000. Just the 8 houses that were in Varnhold added 2,000 people. Now I saw the map of Varnhold, there was not room for 2,000 people. I just do not like the continuity between the rules saying a "house" built in a city is a collection of homes, and seeing an individual house on the map of Varnhold magically become a "collection" of houses once the PCs annex the town.

The same issue exists with Taztleford.

I cut the size of a city block down (I think to 250x250 instead of 750x750), and called it a single building (or set of buildings) instead of a district. Then I also cut the population per block (I think to 25).

I keep tweaking those numbers, though, because as JJ said, they don't actually affect anything.

It is true that the population of the city ultimately doesn't matter. I have been deciding what the population shgould be for my PCs towns and villages. Their gripe was a worry about how they would be able to pool citizens together for an army if needed and I had to assure them that the ability to pool an army more relies on the amount of hexes in the nation rather than the size of the cities. But I was wondering if anyone has supplemented the army size restrictions based on nation hex number with populations of towns and cities. I can see a nation of 100 hexes (which is 25,000 population counting hexes only) putting together sizable forces, but if the players have really focused on city growth versus nation size I don't see why a smaller nation that contains two cities of comparable populations couldn't amass a similar sized force. Just wondering if anyone else has thought about this issue.

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