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      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2020
     
    I know it is not ProFantasy related, but here is a very detailed spreadsheet to help give realistic details of populations, settlements, even building types within a settlement and much more. It is very much more detailed than the well known medieval Demographics made Easy.
    As most of us not only map, but do so for RPG campaigns or worldbuilding, I thought this might be helpful.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vWblaPrYsqieWn-m9emLVOAoH8zAQXd4_7GJURis0yk/edit#gid=0
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2020
     
    For balance, I thought I should add this. Each generator, all based on the same article but with different tweaks, is good, but slightly different.

    Comment by Robert J Becraft
    But this is junk. It was barely worth my time to examine it. While it claims to be "Done Better", it barely gets past the reasons why the author feels MDME is so bad. The only flaw it dwells on is universities. There is no presentation of an alternative real world data on which to do demographics better. The kingdom information is less useful than MDME. The job list has even fewer occupations than MDME.

    There are several resources based on MDME that are far superior than this spreadsheet. See the bottom of this page for good links:
    https://mythicscribes.com/.../population-demographics.../
    http://www.welshpiper.com/medieval-demographics-online/
    https://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/demographics/

    MDME is here for comparison: https://img.4plebs.org/.../image/1389/68/1389684960897.pdf

    While the MDME has issues, it is popular because it lays out a usable and mostly comprehensive model that makes sense for gamer's worlds. Can it be done better, certainly. Those decisions are dependent on how deep you want to take your world. As soon as you add magic to any world, MDME can give you the dirty nooks and crannies, but you will have to add your own flavor of detail that magic and fantasy brings to your world.
    [The reason MDME is so bad is that the source it uses is not a list of Occupations; it’s a list of people whose occupation and last name match up (ie John Smith the Smith). So as a source of numbers MDME is indeed mostly bunk.]
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2020 edited
     
    This is a tricky subject to handle, even leaving aside the problem of what happens when you add various levels of magic to a pseudo-medieval real-world setting, mostly because a lot of the material online is some years old, and as a result there are often a number of broken links involved. I'm unsure where the Robert Becraft comments Quenten's cited here came from (I can't source them online unfortunately), but a couple of the hyperlink addresses included are incomplete.

    For anyone trying to hunt up things at present (March 2020), there's what seems to be an initial posting about the early 2020 Medieval Demographics Done Better item on Reddit here:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/rpg/comments/esldq9/medieval_demographics_done_better_an_alternative/.

    This includes some early comments, as well as a link to the spreadsheet itself, as also given in Quenten's initial post here.

    After much hunting, I think this is the MythicScribes.com forum posting the first of the Robert Becraft links should have directed people towards:

    https://mythicscribes.com/community/threads/population-demographics-agriculture-and-military-strength.17233/,

    although for anyone interested in further discussion of the topic in relation to fantasy worlds (in literary forms at least), this topic might be equally interesting:

    https://mythicscribes.com/community/threads/demographics-not-so-easy.17720/.

    The WelshPiper.com and Donjon.bin.sh links are fine, but for anyone preferring hyperlinks for them:

    http://www.welshpiper.com/medieval-demographics-online/, and
    http://donjon.bin.sh/fantasy/demographics/.

    The Medieval Demographics Made Easy PDF has migrated a number of times, and a lot of old links to it are broken. This one at GamingBallistic.com still works:

    https://gamingballistic.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Medieval-Demographics-Made-Easy-1.pdf,

    though it seems to be a minor variant of the one the incomplete link in Quenten's second posting should point to here:

    https://img.4plebs.org/boards/tg/image/1389/68/1389684960897.pdf.

    The second version also has a number of embedded hyperlinks on its last two pages, quite a number of which are broken (irritatingly, including the FAQs for the text itself, and both the mentioned spreadsheets).

    It's also worth reviewing the detailed two-part discussion of Medieval Demographics Made Easy, as Medieval Demographics Done Right, on the Apotheosis of the Invisible City blog from 2013 here:

    http://ravenswing59.blogspot.com/2013/10/medieval-demographics-done-right.html

    and here:

    http://ravenswing59.blogspot.com/2013/10/medieval-demographics-done-right-pt-ii.html.
    • CommentAuthorseycyrus
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2020
     
    Posted By: QuentenI know it is not ProFantasy related, but here is a very detailed spreadsheet to help give realistic details of populations, settlements, even building types within a settlement and much more. It is very much more detailed than the well known medieval Demographics made Easy.
    As most of us not only map, but do so for RPG campaigns or worldbuilding, I thought this might be helpful.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vWblaPrYsqieWn-m9emLVOAoH8zAQXd4_7GJURis0yk/edit#gid=0


    Do we have to request access to make this pdf fillable?
    •  
      CommentAuthorQuenten
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2020 edited
     
    Thanks so much for this, Wyvern. The critique was on the Fantasy Maps and Worldbuilding FB page.

    Seycyrus, the answer is no.
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeMar 2nd 2020
     
    Thanks Quenten. I don't FaceBook, so wouldn't have found this otherwise.

    As usual with anything vaguely historical, there seem to be at least as many opinions as there are commentators, as to which, if any, of these variants is preferable/more "accurate" (not sure you can have "accurate" for a fantasy world based on a loose version of this reality...). Useful to have options to examine at least, I think.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2020
     
    Personally, I don't need perfect realism, but I am always hunting for material that allows me to produce a somewhat realistic view of things. And these resources are golden for that. I really appreciate you posting these Quenten, as well as all your follow up links Wyvern.

    I usually never use any of the numbers as written anyway, but they give a great starting point for considering what your city/world needs.
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2020
     
    While this is good for ideas, my starting towns typically have a merchant and other NPC groups I want available for the adventurers to encounter. The rest of the game world is more typical Middle Ages... However, Crestar is not a version of Middle Ages Earth, nor is it Amber. ( Store players wanted to know if I used either of those two... since gunpowder and jeweler's rouge aren't explosive in Crestar. )

    One store player tried to ask an incredibly convoluted question to try and determine if gunpowder was possible in my game world. I told him his character wouldn't know how to phrase the question and neither did he. Besides, after 5 minutes, I got bored listening to him and told him it wouldn't work.
  1.  
    Website: A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry: a Look at History of Battle in popular culture: https://acoup.blog/

    A friend recommended to me this site because of my tendency to criticise things in movies and particularly recommended the Siege of Gondor as he is knew my Army specialties were tanks, cavalry, and supply (Armor/Quartermaster): https://acoup.blog/2019/05/10/collections-the-siege-of-gondor/

    There was also a collection called The Lonely City, which also caught my attention. Those of you who are veteran mappers for role playing games probably already knew this information, but I found it interesting.

    https://acoup.blog/2019/07/12/collections-the-lonely-city-part-i-the-ideal-city/

    It has two parts.

    The site is chock full of other topics and is apparently updated weekly. He includes various maps, photographis, and screen captures to illustrate his work.

    It might be worth a look.
    • CommentAuthorWyvern
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2020
     
    Seeing how this discussion has developed, and the related one elsewhere on the Forum regarding the areal extent of farmland needed to support a settlement, has brought back to mind an early system for handling such matters from a set of medieval campaign and battle rules for tabletop figure wargames, published back in 1976 by UK-based Lamming Miniatures. Lamming Miniatures has long-since closed, though their figure ranges remain available from UK-based East Riding Miniatures, while the rules were republished as Volume 5 in the Early Wargaming Rules series by John Curry in 2016, and are still available (Amazon UK link).

    The rules are children of their times, so by modern standards are quite confusingly written, with a few elements missed, and key information often difficult to find quickly. The campaign rules revolve around the exploration, settlement and exploitation of an island equidistant from each player's homeland, and while the intention was to create a workable background to why the various players might need to fight combats and wars with one another on the island, they actually work quite well even for things like the solo exploration of a new land. The mechanics use an interwoven mix of abstracted points values and monetary values for things, the latter based on a simple coinage system of crowns and shillings (10 shillings to the crown), where a draught or riding horse costs 2 crowns, an oxen 1 crown, a sheep 1 shilling, and so forth.

    Although never stated, the campaign rules assume the GM-equivalent will have a basic map of the island showing its coastline, major rivers and the main, broad-brush, contour lines at 100-foot vertical intervals. The island is then divided into squares, each square 10 miles by 10 miles in size. As each player explores a new square, dice are rolled to determine what is found beyond any major rivers, primary contours or coast, which can include things like native peasants, oxen, hills (to help fill-in smaller details between the main contour lines), woods, lakes, areas of quarriable stone and suchlike. Some physical features have a points value (so each quarry has a variable points value of available building stone), while others (like woods, marshes, lakes, increasing height above sea level and also the stone quarries) decrease the available agricultural land value from a base 50 points - where for example, 1 point of land will support 10 sheep. Horses, interestingly, can be supported anywhere, BUT they cost 1 point of crops per month to keep them fed instead.

    Each player starts with a noble family, a retinue of military knights and lesser troops, 1,000 freemen (essentially artisans, overseers and craftsfolk) and 5,000 peasants, all available in their homeland, but can only transport a limited number to the island on the first sailing, and only one return sailing has been paid-for (so to the island and back to the homeland) at the start of the game. After that, everything has to be financed from the crops and goods taken from the island and sold back at the homeland. While the peasants are assumed to be able to feed themselves once settled (something that seems to factor-in unmentioned animals like pigs and poultry aside from plant crops), all freemen, military personnel and ships' crews have to be paid for. So while none of the settlers appear to use crops or animals for food, the fact money can only be raised by selling things like crops from the island once transported home - so this is effectively using only the surplus - means there is an abstraction of the additional, unstated needs of the non-peasant population. This could also include things like specialist materials needed by craft-workers, aside from more or better-quality foodstuffs, say.

    The agricultural points value of the land can be increased by building villages, towns (= villages with 50+ freemen) and cities (= 200+ freemen), abstracted by only requiring every freeman to have his own house, though defences may be added if desired, bridges built over rivers, etc., as well. Plus towns and cities must each have a permanent military garrison, which has a cost in both monetary AND crop points, so no free rides here!

    There are rules too for both sea and lake fishing from boats, together with the risk of losing each sea boat (only). Lake fishing gives a substantially lower points value of fish, however. Plus there are birth and death rates for the human and main livestock types (sheep, oxen and horses), wool values for the sheep - but sheep are more prone to dying (realistic, partly due to their poorer habitats). Overall - as there's a lot I've not tried to note here as well - and despite its necessary abstractions, the system is remarkably detailed and complex, requiring a LOT of book-keeping. I speak as someone who ran a play-by-mail game using exactly this system back in the 1980s, when such book-keeping meant pretty much pen and paper ("spread sheets" was what happened when making the bed back then...), and "mail" was purely of the stamp-and-envelope kind. Now, it would be very feasible to devise a computer spreadsheet to handle much of the numerical elements, and although the system may be too abstracted for some, with a small amount of tweaking (from my pencilled amendments, it looks as if there wasn't a mechanism for saying what agricultural points value was needed to support oxen on the land, for instance), it does work, and might be something worth experimenting with for those wishing to develop the whole "demographics & land areas required" theme further, from a source which appears not to have featured in discussions regarding RPG needs previously (more correctly, none that I've come across recently).