View Full Version : Mini Countries

10-08-2008, 11:11 AM
There was a post a couple months back about running a game set in a small country. I believe they said there were 5 cites and the PC's still never discovered all there was to do. I was intrigued by this and started working on a situation similar to that. I started with a map the size of Ireland with 4 cities. I figured a country that small producing so many myths it would be big enough for my needs. I then decided since I need my characters to ultimately be enemies of the state and on the run maybe I should give them more distance to cover to have the journey more epic, so I increased the size to roughly Great Britain. Now I'm at the point of determining how many cities I want versus small towns and villages and I'm stuck.

-How many large cities do I need for a central government to maintain relative control over their populous?
-Since I do not want to introduce other nations or lands at this part of the campaign is it too unrealistic to have an area that small produce all the resources necessary for an equivalent history of 500 A.D.?
-does a chase campaign need to span great distances (I'm thinking Apocalypto really didn't cover more then what 60 miles and that was exciting) to be entertaining for a 5-8 gaming sessions where afterwords I change the direction of the campaign
- My major inspiration for this part of the campaign are the times Matt and Rand spend in Andor in the first WoT book. Or any story where the party is being pursued by an overwhelming force

Love to see what you guys think

10-08-2008, 11:26 AM
When it comes to how many cities you need, you could have a single large city with many towns, depending on the government type it can be farely easy to keep the populous relatively happy and working, but if you want [control] you will need a larger military, which means several small cities and a capital that demands the first son of every family to serve a time in the military. while not at war this military force protects and keeps these cities in order, as well as the farm land that is needed for the civilization to thrive. which would also aid in the appearance of being chased by a central government. small cities just large enough to hide in, but not large enough to disappear in. a metropolice is the perfect place to hide amungst the people, this set up makes that difficult.

10-08-2008, 11:53 AM
So governments: well if the country was ruled by mages it would be dead easy to rule a large area. Otherwise you have to rely on reliable vassals to do your bidding and rule on your behalf. Each city (that isn't the rulers city) would be ruled by a direct vassal (like a Duke) and the city is basically a mini state within a state. Same for towns owing allegance/vassalage to the city, blah, blah. This provides good political intrigue when one noble helps them secretly but maybe they don't know which noble it is and they have to find out who.
Try to find a map of Britain and France around 1100 AD - William the Conquerer had control of a lot of ground.

Likewise I think back in the day things were much more self sustained, with local crops keeping the community going all year - also means things were super boring with the same couple vegetable species and meat (if your lucky) feeding you 12 months a year. Trade was for more luxurious items or stuff that just could not be raised in that area. Again in high fantasy this can be mediated to a large degree with magic.

10-08-2008, 12:38 PM
I recommend this website. Medieval Demographics Made Easy (http://www.io.com/%7Esjohn/demog.htm). It is an excellent article on populating your world. They exp;lain the issue clearly and in a manner that is easy to use.

10-08-2008, 01:01 PM
I'll second that recommendation. It's also in my list of bookmarks and a really great resource.

Stepping back a little though, you only need as many cities and settled locations as are necessary to tell your story. That link points to a realistic model of our world as it was. With fantasy games you have to remember that there are other sentient races in the area, so unless you want humans (or any other race) to have a near absolute majority on the land, there is plenty of opportunity to have fewer cities and more "wilds" that aren't so wild as they are not human.

10-08-2008, 01:05 PM
Nice link Tesral

10-08-2008, 01:29 PM
Yes, thanks Tesral. I will need to use the lower end of the numbers since my comparative time is late Iron age.

Grimwell, good points. Right now I'm working from the idea that this is an entirely human kingdom as all demi-humans agreed to a self imposed exile of the kingdom in question. My grand idea for this campaign is that the players start off in a time when magic has been removed from their land for hundreds of years and is just now starting to return. Which is why they will ultimately be on the run. They start slinging spells in a governemnt that has tried very hard to supress magic.

10-08-2008, 02:15 PM
I recommend this website. Medieval Demographics Made Easy (http://www.io.com/%7Esjohn/demog.htm). It is an excellent article on populating your world. They exp;lain the issue clearly and in a manner that is easy to use.

Dang, you beat me to it...

Another vote for Medieval Demographics as being a Great resource...

Foki Firefinger
10-08-2008, 05:08 PM
1st edition D&D dungeon masters guide was know for many sorts of useful tables and charts. One that was useful for establishing populated areas in your game world was a table which indicated the following populations of the towns, cities, etc.

Single dwelling: 1-12; Thorp: 20-80; Hamlet: 100-400; Village 600-900;
Town: 1,500-6,500; City: 10,000-60,000

A capital city could have much more in population and a thorp could be considered the population of a crossroads when an inn, stables and other buildings would be set up. Military could be 1%-5% of the population (or ever more). There would be also the local military groups each town would have to call upon in times of trouble (sort of like week-in warriors).

Also take into mind the climate and terrain of the area you set to be populated. Largely populated areas need a good water source and either good crop lands or a good trade route. Develop a good reaon for placing a large city in a certain area such as a major trade route. Remember a city is not going to work in the middle of a desert with nothing but sand surrounding it or a town built atop of a rocky cliff with no source income. But you could put a major glassworks producing a rare fine glass in the desert city along with a large oasis and a series of major precious metal mine near the cliffside town with a well-planned series of terrance gardens for crops. You could take note of each populated areas amount of military force that can be called into being and also know how much tax can be generated.

10-08-2008, 06:53 PM
This MDME is surprisingly fun. I now know how many hat makers are in the town and I hope this can come up in the story