# Help me to estimate population -

### Homebrew and House Rules

I'll be using an online random settlement maker for my population centers. I'd love some help estimating the population of three examples:

Great Garden

Geromet's Swamp

Orgark

One, I see as a large village, one a small town, and the last, a city - but, considering averages, what would you think the population might be of each?

Edit The Generator

I really could use some help, here. Outside of counting buildings, is there a decent way to estimate population?

From a map? Not really, though I suppose you could look at the total area enclosed and use average population densities. Wouldn't it be better to start with an idea of the population and generate maps until one matches though?

avr wrote:
From a map? Not really, though I suppose you could look at the total area enclosed and use average population densities. Wouldn't it be better to start with an idea of the population and generate maps until one matches though?

I have a few dozen maps to be used as population centers...I'm not sure how your methodology makes things easier, at any rate. How can I decide when I have a map of the correct population, when I can't work out the population by looking at the map?

As you said, count buildings and multiply, or as I said, estimate area and multiply. Neither's easy but they're possible. I can't actually open the links you've posted or I'd give it a try.

I was imagining that there might be some reason for a settlement to be of a given size in your world other than 'I have a map and this population would fit', but if no such reasons exist then sure, just work the pop out from the map.

You can't open the links? What do they give you? They should go to my dropbox.

Edit: It appears I can't link to them that way. I need a good free image hoster, then.

You could just steal from Threshold #1, the fanzine for Mystara.
The very first article is detailed demographic of the country of Karameikos (the default 'starting adventurer country') which takes into account things like official sources, mediaeval demographics, terrain, different races and settlement types and the history of the nation.

Yes, the Mystara fanbase has people who actually sit down and crunch the numbers instead of just arbitrarily assigning them.

Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

You could just steal from Threshold #1, the fanzine for Mystara.

The very first article is detailed demographic of the country of Karameikos (the default 'starting adventurer country') which takes into account things like official sources, mediaeval demographics, terrain, different races and settlement types and the history of the nation.

Yes, the Mystara fanbase has people who actually sit down and crunch the numbers instead of just arbitrarily assigning them.

Thanks for the link, I'm scanning it now. Can you see my maps? Any thoughts?

I can't see your maps, but even if I could, the biggest uncertainty is what the maps were meant to include. Presumably in any settlement, most of the buildings are uninteresting - Farmer #35's House, etc. Are the maps meant to show all buildings, or just the interesting ones?

If they're meant to show all buildings, Google "London 1300" or something to see pictures of real life cities along with their known populations.

If they're not meant to show all buildings, estimating the population is futile.

Watery Soup wrote:

I can't see your maps, but even if I could, the biggest uncertainty is what the maps were meant to include. Presumably in any settlement, most of the buildings are uninteresting - Farmer #35's House, etc. Are the maps meant to show all buildings, or just the interesting ones?

If they're meant to show all buildings, Google "London 1300" or something to see pictures of real life cities along with their known populations.

If they're not meant to show all buildings, estimating the population is futile.

Where does the link take you?

This is so frustrating.

I can see the google folder. I'm sure there are ways to create & share links to dropbox, that was the point back when it was set up. It's been years since I used it and I don't remember how to now though.

Most medieval towns had walls which mattered a lot legally so two of those maps look odd. A quick google suggests ~15 000 people/square km. Eyeballing Orgark's map I'd think it about 1.4 km2 which makes 21 000 population.

avr wrote:

I can see the google folder. I'm sure there are ways to create & share links to dropbox, that was the point back when it was set up. It's been years since I used it and I don't remember how to now though.

Most medieval towns had walls which mattered a lot legally so two of those maps look odd. A quick google suggests ~15 000 people/square km. Eyeballing Orgark's map I'd think it about 1.4 km2 which makes 21 000 population.

Cool. 21k sounds pretty good - I'm likely to up it a bit, as it's an orcish population.

Any thoughts on the other two?

A non-walled town wouldn't be as compressed. I really don't know what that means in terms of population densities, obviously lower but not how much.

Great Garden looks like a 0.12 km2 area so at a medieval town's density that's 1800 people. It doesn't look like it's that built up, so maybe a quarter that, 450?

Geromet's Swamp looks like 0.2 km2, but it also looks built up, but there's no wall...maybe half the 3000 the area suggests for a walled town, or 1500?

That's guesswork of course.

avr wrote:

A non-walled town wouldn't be as compressed. I really don't know what that means in terms of population densities, obviously lower but not how much.

Great Garden looks like a 0.12 km2 area so at a medieval town's density that's 1800 people. It doesn't look like it's that built up, so maybe a quarter that, 450?

Geromet's Swamp looks like 0.2 km2, but it also looks built up, but there's no wall...maybe half the 3000 the area suggests for a walled town, or 1500?

That's guesswork of course.

That's fine, and very appreciated. I was thinking fairly similar numbers, myself.

I really do wish there was a setting for density in the generator - I definitely get where you're coming from. That's not the most realistic, but I didn't want them all walled.