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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 5 months ago

A Crisis of Population Density

The point at which my campaign world differs from what is described in A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe and Dungeon Masters Guide 2. A static, hereditary aristocracy seems illogical in a world where adventurers accumulate wealth and power in epic proportions. My aim is to describe a setting that is much more an extrapolation of the D&D rules, rather than an emulation of a pseudo-Medieval, high fantasy setting.

Which is not to say that Helsmuth and Eastrealm do not contain pseudo-Medieval elements and an aristocratic class. However, that is not the driving force of civilization. Instead, the basic building block is the adventurer who achieves "name level" and establishes a stronghold. This harks back to 1st edition AD&D, which is part of why I like it, but is still just as relevant in 3rd edition (particularly with the Landlord Feat as described in the Stronghold Builder's Guidebook, and the Leadership feat as described in the DMG).


At 9th level, a character can take the Landlord Feat. This provides funds to build or expand a stronghold, starting at 25,000gp and increasing each level. Additionally, any money of his own that the character spends on his stronghold is matched by the landlord's contribution.

In the case of fighters, this feat represents a noble title granted by their liege lord. The character then has a feudal obligation to maintain an army, defend his territory from monsters, and come to his lord's aid in time of war.

In some cases, the noble title might not be earned through impressive deeds, but might be inherited from a deceased relative.

For clerics and paladins, the feat represents labor and materials supplied by their religious organization, for the purposes of establishing a place of worship. Of course, there are no shortage of warlike deities in D&D, and so many of the military obligations also apply. The stronghold often includes facilities for the construction of magic items (healing potions, and the like).

Monks might establish a monastery in a remote area, or a martial school within an established settlement.

Bardic colleges

Thieves' guilds

Wizards' towers

Barbarians, Druids and Rangers tend to live a nomadic life, and are therefore unlikely to ever settle down and establish a stronghold.

how far to the next village?

Description of population density as described in MMS:WE

Contrast with my own understanding as derived from the DMG and Stronghold Builders Guide

Lifecycle of a city, beginning with a small keep and the village that grows up around it, expanding with the population growth

a semi-autonomous collective

Eastrealm, an association of city-states that maintain varying degrees of independence from each other. There is no centralized government in Laveril that administers law & taxation across the entire realm.



"With rare exceptions such as Marco Polo or Christian ambassadors such as William of Rubruck, few Europeans traveled the entire length of the Silk Road. Instead traders moved products much like a bucket brigade, with luxury goods being traded from one middleman to another, from China to the West, and resulting in extravagant prices for the trade goods."

I imagine that this would be the case within Eastrealm, and even moreso between the other Realms of Man (Khemet & Rokugan). It might take less than a fortnight to sail from Helsmuth to Laveril, but overland travel is much slower and more dangerous. Merchant caravans would carry goods that could not be produced locally, and travel back and forth between adjacent cities.

Comments (5)

Azeari said

at 4:08 pm on Aug 27, 2009

Medieval Demographics Made Easy: Numbers for Fantasy Worlds (S. John Ross)

Azeari said

at 3:05 pm on Sep 14, 2009

Many of these sourcebooks are founded on the assumption that the default D&D setting is a simulation of medieval Europe: a rigidly structured social hierarchy with the nobility/church at the top and serfs at the bottom.

However, to me D&D is much closer in feel to the wild west: isolated communities surrounded by vast tracts of badlands and untamed wilderness inhabited by hostile savages. The local sheriff and his deputies try to enforce the law, but many gunslingers have little respect for the conventions of civilized men.

Azeari said

at 9:36 pm on Sep 23, 2009

The assumed climate and terrain for a magical medieval society is temperate land comprised of 35-50% arable land (not necessarily currently being cultivated), 15-20% forest, 20-25% pasture or meadow (plains and hills), and the rest of the land is marsh, mountain, or waste (unusable) land. Sometimes rural communities predate the manors. Other times a stronghold, church, monastery, or other potential protector settles the land and houses follow. Regardless the incubation sequence, communities cluster together in arable rich land.

Azeari said

at 3:47 pm on Mar 8, 2010

Azeari said

at 4:10 pm on Mar 8, 2010

More on historical medieval demographics contrasted with D&D:

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