so i recently made a continent map for a game that i will be running. It is asian themed and as i was setting the scale i figured 1 inch= 100 miles. But i will be darned if my continent isnt roughly 24inches tall and 26 inches wide when converted to miles that is roughly just smaller than the united states. How do you guys handle scale, population and territory or nations? am i just over thinking this?
check old maps of the chinese empire at various eras. During ages of strife, the whole area broke into smaller states, and there is even some census data from the time. Chinese written records go back a long time, so finding some rough population estimates and territory sizes is simple enough.
Or, just look at your terrain to figure out natural borders, like mountains or rivers. The size of the kingdoms should develop from that.
Well one thing to consider is in real life Europe there was usually a town or village or something every 30something miles apart (one days travel). That way famers only had to travel half a day at most to get to town to sell their goods. You can even see the same spacing of towns in some parts of North America. Like along the I-5 corridor through Oregon and Washington for example.
Traditionally national borders often follow geographical features. Like major rivers or mountain ranges. One of the biggest factors is of course where drinkable water can be found.