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Distances in Blackmoor

 
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Raphael
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 11:09 am    Post subject: Distances in Blackmoor Reply with quote

Based on Anna Meyer's online Greyhawk map, the distance from Blackmoor's capital, Dantredun, to Blackmoor's most easternly seaport, Mosshold, is approximately 250 miles (400 km). That's more or less the distance between NYC and Syracuse. Given the country's minute (human) population, Blackmoor must be almost entirely wilderness. I knew it wasn't densely populated, but that took me aback.
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Mystic-Scholar
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering that Dantredun is said to have a population of 709 and considering that other "major towns" have a population of 108 -- and such -- it shouldn't be a surprise.

In most places, such populations don't equate with a proper "city" and the designation "town" would be the best that "they" could hope for. Definitely the hind end of nowhere. Laughing
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Raphael
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've (crudely) measured the distances between Blackmoorian "population" centres:

Dantredun - Mosshold 250 miles
Mosshold - Blackmoor 100 miles
Glendour - Blackmoor 53 miles
Glendour - Broomsage Abbey 70 miles
Broomsage Abbey - Stornawane 60 miles
Broomsage Abbey - Trollbar 90 miles
Stornawane - Trollbar 40 miles
Broomsage Abbey - Ramshorn 78 miles
Dantredun - Ramshorn 92 miles
Blackmoor - Dearthkettle 75 miles
Dearthkettle - Dantredun 74 miles
Mosshold - Tonnsborg 80 miles

These distances are simply too great for (a) a credible Blackmoorian society to exist, and (b) for adventuring to be any fun.

I'm working on a Blackmoorian travelogue and I've decided that (a) the "towns" need more people, and (b) there needs to be more towns and villages. Otherwise, simply travelling between two "towns" in Blackmoor involves a 4 day camping trip. I'm not saying there must be metropolises, but a capital of 700 souls in a nation the size of New York State doesn't seem reasonable.

I wonder if other countries of the Flanaess suffer from the same condition? Could Furyondy be similarly a huge area of untamed wilderness.

Interestingly, Arneson's Blackmoor map for the FFC presents a Blackmoor on a vastly reduced scale. Travel between Blackmoor Towne and Glendower doesn't require a major expedition be undertaken.
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Mystic-Scholar
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raphael wrote:
These distances are simply too great for (a) a credible Blackmoorian society to exist, and (b) for adventuring to be any fun.


I take it there are no monsters in your world?

We use the term "roving bands" for a reason. Human towns would hardly tolerate a monstrous community existing within a few miles of their own. And vice-versa. Blackmoor simply has plenty of room for adventure.

You should not view this with a 21st Century view point. Perhaps this excerpt will clarify matters:

"In trying to recall that life, the most striking thing, especially to a modern Englishman, is its isolation. For every person who lived in England then, there are forty now. In terms of population the towns were negligible. London was unique, with a population of twelve to fifteen thousand people; York may have had eight thousand . . .

"A village was surrounded by a fence, and its land by another outer fence. Beyond that were miles and miles of primeval forest and heath, empty and wild, where men would venture by day to herd their pigs or gather logs for winter, but would not willingly spend the night for fear of wolves and spirits. Tracks for ponies led through the wilderness . . . Somewhere, the tracks joined a road the Romans had built six hundred years before . . . Nobody but the high and mighty with their escorts, or their messengers, or a few traveling merchants, had any compelling reason to try it . . . For ordinary people, to see the nearest town might be the event of the year, or even a lifetime and to meet a stranger was a nine days wonder.

"Within his own village, an Englishman knew everybody and almost every tree and animal . . .

"Conversely, the news of the outside world that came into the village was vague, brought by pedlars, or filtering down from mouth to mouth from the house of the lord, or rumored at the occasional district meetings."

That description is to be found on pages 12 and 13 of the book "1066; The Year of Conquest."

That's a description of life in England at the time that William conquered it. That's the time period I set my games in.

Raphael wrote:
I'm working on a Blackmoorian travelogue and I've decided that (a) the "towns" need more people, and (b) there needs to be more towns and villages. Otherwise, simply travelling between two "towns" in Blackmoor involves a 4 day camping trip. I'm not saying there must be metropolises, but a capital of 700 souls in a nation the size of New York State doesn't seem reasonable.


You seem to be setting your games in a much more modern age, when the world has a far greater population than it once did. OR, you're the type who feels that healing -- spells or potions -- should be readily available. Or that magic scrolls and swords should be easily purchased.

"Damn! Broke my +1 sword. I'd better run to town and purchase another," observes Sir George.

"I don't know, this looks dangerous," says Raven. "Perhaps we should go back to town and purchase some more healing potions."

Yes, it's highly improbable that a town with a population of 150 -- like Tonnsborg -- is going to have a 3rd level Cleric, or Wizard, much less an 8th level, or greater. In fact, it's highly doubtful that Tonnsborg would have a 1st level of either, much less both.

Sometimes . . . PCs die. And for a reason.

Raphael wrote:
I wonder if other countries of the Flanaess suffer from the same condition? Could Furyondy be similarly a huge area of untamed wilderness.


In my games? Yes indeed. One will travel for a couple of days to find a "village" of monsters. In the modern Army a "forced march" is 20 miles. Adventurers -- especially on foot -- are not going to travel nearly as far in a single day as so many seem to think.

Everyone plays their games differently.

At the time of William, Paris was thought to have a population of 150,000. In contrast, in the time of Jesus, both Rome and Jerusalem were said to have had populations of over 1 million. They were considered the greatest cities in the world.

After the time of William? Oh! You mean . . . after the bubonic plague, a.k.a. the "Black Death." Yeah, well, Europe lost more than half of it's population. In the 11th century -- hello William! -- Europe's population was estimated to be about 30 million.

It is estimated that between 1347 and 1352 some 25 million people died . . . in Europe, alone. There was a lot of "empty space" in the world.

This isn't criticism, it's just to show another view point. I don't consider Blackmoor to be "too empty" of people. I see it as other DMs over-crowding their Greyhawk campaigns.

To each his own. Enjoy! Happy
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Raphael
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you misunderstand me, Mystic-Scholar: I want Blackmoor to be as (un)peopled as 1066 A.D. England!

"The population of England at the time of Domesday has been tentatively estimated at between 1ž and 2 million." Ok, let's lowball it at 1.25 million.

Area of England = 130,279 kmē

Population density 1066 = 9.6 people per square mile

THIS density is the one which you describe as being destitute of people.

Let's check out Blackmoor:

Population: Population: 110,000-Human 37% (FOsb)- so alright, 40,700 humans. The rest are humanoids. Maybe some orcs and half-orcs participate in society.

I've been comparing Blackmoor to being similar in size to New York State in size. New York State is 141,300 kmē. But let's say I overestimate, so let's go with England's smaller area instead.

Therefore, the canonical human population density of Blackmoor is 1/3rd of a person per square mile.

So your depopulated England has a density of 31x greater than the canonical Blackmoor!
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Mystic-Scholar
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually . . . no.

You are only counting . . . humans. Typical bigot. Laughing

The example of England -- that I gave -- would, per force, include Orcs, Goblins, Gnolls, Hobgoblins, et al. IF England were located within the World of Greyhawk.

Do not confuse the example of the REAL WORLD -- where there are no Orcs, Goblins and Gnolls -- with an example that would be found within Greyhawk.

And these creatures do not "live together." They dislike each other as much as they dislike humans. So, somewhere within the 250 miles between Dantredun and Mosshold you're going to find an Orc village of 50 to 100, a Gnoll village of 50 to 100, etcetera.

Hell, you might even run into a gathering of 300 to 400 of them . . . getting ready to raid Mosshold. Shocked

Evil Grin
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Raphael
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ugh - I gave area in km and then referred to density in miles! I meant km!

You've got a point that the net should be cast wider - the LGG indicates that there is practically a halfling for every 2 humans, and an elf for every 4 humans. Which contradicts Frederick Weining's excellent article on Blackmoor in the Oerth Journal in which he states that Wastrian progroms had more or less eliminated demihumans from the Archbarony. I prefer Weining's take and eschew the "Creature Cantina Effect" where populations are a wild medley of different species.

But I see your point.
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember too that Blackmoor has its own "monster" races unique to the Burneal Forest and Cold Marshes, creatures of colder climes that aren't readily found elsewhere.

Quaggoth (2e) tribes are known to inhabit the Burneal Forest and Cold Marshes. Bullywugs, Grung, and other amphibious creatures that worship Wastri inhabit the Cold Marshes, just as they do the Vast Swamp. Naturally, human habitations will tend to stay as far away from these as possible, giving even more reason for the apparent "openness" of Blackmoor.

As for Wastri and the demi-humans; I doubt his followers -- Bullywugs, Grung, et al -- venture that far from the swamp, itself. I don't see amphibians roaming the vast, cold, wind swept tundra. They don't really have the hides for it. Laughing

Because of the various races, humans might well be the single largest group of "people" inhabiting Blackmoore, but there are likely an equal number -- if not possibly more -- of all the others combined. Given that most of these have an "honest" language of their own, you have to count them as "people" too.

So Blackmoor would have twice the perceived population the modules and books would indicate.

Naturally, I wouldn't make the habitations of these creatures much larger as the human habitations, otherwise these monster races would have already wiped out the human centers.

Perhaps a large village of Quaggoth deep in the Burneal, with smaller "villages" -- 50 to 75 -- scattered around. The same for the Bullyugs in the middle of the Cold Marshes. Each of these "major centers" could boast a population of, say, 500 . . . to rival Blackmoor's capital.

So I would double the "population" of Blackmoor and then, maybe even half again. The very reason that "heroes" are needed. Be it Blackmoor, or Furyondy, the "average" farmer is going to welcome "Protectors."

And don't let the numbers fool you. Remember, everyone fights to the death, when there is no other option. So, just like with humans, the females and young of the monster races cannot be considered as real "combatants." That's why they haven't arbitrarily over-run the humans-- Halflings, Dwarves, Elves -- of Blackmmor.

And they face other dangers, just as the humans do. Intelligent beast like Dragons might enslave them, but crocodiles and lions eat them, just as they eat us. So raiding doesn't consume every minute of their day.

Even Native Americans and Vikings had "raiding seasons." Oh! And given the "nature" of Blackmoor's "ruling class," I wouldn't put it beyond them to have a number of these "monster races" serving in the military; particularly Bugbears.
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