How large is a town?

With my elven prisoners put to useful purpose, I've been able to resume my working on my plan to become the ultimate dwarf. Or rather, to raise the ultimate dwarf: My recent brush with old age got me thinking that perhaps focusing only on my own self-improvement was putting all my ore in one minecart, so to speak. I therefore broadened my focus a little, and have started paying more attention to my son and heir. I must admit I had been neglecting him - but no longer! I shall, I have decided, raise him to the same ideals that I myself have been following all my life. To that end, I've decided to send him on a few expeditions into the world to gain some practical experience.

Of course, I'm not sending him out unprepared and undefended; I've provided him with a loyal bodyguard and the finest equipment I could commission from my armourers, and have filled his head with all the relevant information about human lands that I could think of. He's a good lad, and curious, and asked me all sorts of questions about what to expect that I wouldn't have thought of myself. I was able to answer most of them from my own experience, but there was one that I didn't have a ready reply to: "How big is a human town?"

It's a simple enough question, I suppose - but I soon realised I've never needed to know the answer; As an adventurer, I never needed to know the precise populations and sizes of the towns I passed through, and as a vaultlord the only urban settlements I've had to deal with were dwarf-made and subterranian. Thus, I found myself stumped.

There must be some formula for working it out; Humans tend to spread out fairly evenly, from what I've seen. I imagine a human lord would know, since it'd allow them to determine whether or not a particular hex of their domain counted as having the city terrain type as per the table on page 244 - but my human mage friend is off selling some silk he obtained from a genie, and there's no-one else I could easily ask.

I therefore must turn to you, oh Autarchs: Is there any way to eastimate how much space a town takes up, provided you know the number of families present, and given some reasonable assumptions about the average population density of cities in late antiquity?

According to this classic site

it's 61 people per acre or 150 per hectare, roughly 12 families per acre or 30 per hectare.

Interesting. An acre would be 43,560 square feet.

A 6 mile hex, with 3.5 mile sides, has an area of 887,270,043 sq ft.

That's ~20,368 acres in a 6 mile hex, or, at 12 families per acre, 247,656 families in a 6 mile hex, which is ~6 times as large as the top-listed Class I city.

A 1.5 mile hex has an area of 54,322,655 sq ft, or, 1,247 acres.

Reversing, then, a city of up to 14,964 families, a mid-range Class II, will only take up a 1.5m hex within a 6 mile hex.

A Class I city of almost 30,000 will fill two 1.5 mile hexes, and will fill three 1.5 mile hexes at a population of 44,892 families.

That's an interesting prospect for mapping, given Axioms has introduced the concept of the 1.5mile hex in a bit more defined fashion.


The Aurelian Wall evidently enclosed about 3,500 acres, about 2.69 (1.5mile) hexes. I'm getting different numbers here and there, but if the population of Rome was about 500k at the time, then that'd be 41,666 families, which tracks pretty well.


To run this down, a .375 mile hex (1980 feet) is 3395165 sq ft, or 78 acres for 936 families - a mid-range Class IV Large Town.

The next iteration, a 495 foot hex, is about 4.87 acres, for about 58 families - not even a hamlet.


In fact, 495 feet is about the distance from my front door, down the street I live on, to the main drag of my subdivision. I'd estimate about 16-18 families in that 495 foot hex, and the average is well under 5 people per family. 58 families, or ~290 people, in that same area is essentially a modern apartment building.



Wow. Have I mentioned how much I love this forum? I ask a question that, anywhere else on the web, would get answers like "There's five people in my house. I haven't meaused my house, though," and I get a link to an essay on the exact topic I asked about and a breakdown of what that would mean in game rule terms on three different standard map scales.

The "One square mile per 7,770 families" figurefrom that page should work well enough for my purposes.