Kingdom Building

So in my usual, thinking about it too much sort of way, I was breaking down the population per hex figures in the Axioms 3 article on Domains. Then I was trying to correlate them to the realm demographics in chapter 10 of the core book and the base assumption of 10 families/sq. mile. If I assume a single city with a 48 mile radius of civilized hexes, another ring of 24 miles in width of borderlands hexes all with the maximum allowed population in the limit of growth rules in the Axioms article, I end up with a population density quite a bit above the 10 families/sq. mile assumption. If I assume another ring 24 miles in width of wilderness hexes I end up within a reasonable rounding of the 10 families/sq. mile figure. That final ring of wilderness hexes isn't explicit detailed in the rules but it seems like a reasonable extrapolation and the numbers work out pretty well.

I'm a little puzzled, though, when I start thinking about adjusting domain and realm population density for other assumptions. For instance if I was going to use the Medieval England density of 8 families/sq. mile, should I just scale all of the maximum populations per hex back proportionately or assume a different ratio of civilized to borderlands to wilderness hexes surrounding the urban centers?

Gryph, it sounds like you solved the issue yourself in paragraph 1. Not everything is going to be populated to its maximum possible amount! It might be the case that there are large areas of relatively unpopulated area, or it might be that some areas are less populated but widely spread.

To achieve lower population density you could either (a) have a smaller number of dense hexes or (b) have a large number of less-populated hexes. Both are historically plausible. For example:

- The Kingdom of Egypt had maximum population density along the Nile, and then very thin population density deeper in the desert, except at oases.

- The Kingdom of England had a few dense areas along coasts and rivers, and then a lot of thinly-populated area in highlands and moors and whatnot.

Obviously the conceit that population limit is strictly defined by "civilized/borderlands/wilderness" is an oversimplification so you have ample room to play around with it.

So I was going through some old maps and notes and found some scribbles of an idea that might tie together the civilized/borderlands/wilderness hex pattern with the overall population density for a realm. Several years ago I was apparently working on a notion that the civilizing radius around a city/large town should be thought of in terms of travel time rather then map miles. So the default rule of 48 miles from a city is based on grasslands/plains overland travel rates and the predominate terrain type of a hex would affect the civilization radius by the ratio in the overland travel rules. I think I still like this notion as it explicitly ties the geography of a realm into the determination which hexes are considered civilized/borderlands or wilderness.

Gryph, that's an awesome idea. IN FACT, you could even tie that into maximum population density outside of cities too.

The more I noodle over it the more I like it. I'm going to work up a couple paragraphs and a table to flesh out the idea.

Needing to carve Royal Roads through the hills or stick to navigable rivers sounds like a lot of fun. Looking forward to seeing your output!

Been through that scenario a couple of times, it works nicely in forested/hilly/mountainous areas. The spread along rivers makes knowledge of rivers and their true density on a map essential, which also means reasonable relief mapping. My Spellbound campaign used it well, so I pulled out one of my working design maps to show the slow grind of calculating the distances for 48 mile movement.

Note the extended movement along River (Bottom Left) and Road (Bottom Right). River movement curtailed to the north as it hits the hills and the land rises. The Dwarves have River Locks to help with the Northern Trade route from Nanton (glimpsed top right). I abstracted River movement to the same as Road movement, with a dead stop as soon as you hit hills.

In addition you will need to remember a kingdom will need to add/maintain river infrastructure to make this work to some degree. The King of Dunland maintains small keeps with quays along the River for his patrolling boats and troops and these are overseen by a "Keeper of the River", somewhat similar to the Warden of the Cinque Ports (whose original title was Keeper of the Coast) who has maritime jurisdiction along the UK coastline. On the coastline of other countries in my campaign I have Barons of the Coast (Barons of the Cinque Port in the UK), who help maintain coastal jurisdiction. You will also need to spend some of the kings income on a small riverine navy to maintain control and transport troops quickly throughout the realm.

Be warned, that calculating the travel time can be both a time suck and slightly addictive. It makes your countryside somewhat more real to you and interestingly reveals deadspots where patrols (the reason the terrain is civilised) cannot cover well. It also shows where you would need to erect border castles in a far more realistic manner than a simple 48 mile / 72 mile radius manner.

Overall a fascinating exercise and worth persuing, I hope you enjoy yourself!

I think this likely needs to be an Axioms article. Who wants to write it?

*looks around eagerly*

I sometimes adjust my civilization/borderlands borders like this, but I use the the military supply line costs and with slight changes.  Civilization ends 8 points from cities/large towns, with borderlands extending 4 points beyond.  Navigable waterway = 0, road = 0.25, settled = .33, normal = 1, hill/wood = 1.5, jungle/swamp = 2, barren/desert = 4, mountain = 10.

That's really good, too, tire_afk.

[quote="tire_ak"]

I sometimes adjust my civilization/borderlands borders like this, but I use the the military supply line costs and with slight changes.  Civilization ends 8 points from cities/large towns, with borderlands extending 4 points beyond.  Navigable waterway = 0, road = 0.25, settled = .33, normal = 1, hill/wood = 1.5, jungle/swamp = 2, barren/desert = 4, mountain = 10.

[/quote]

Huh, that's a good way to do that.  Without formalizing it, I did something similar but less formal with my own Civ/Border/Wild map. I realized it seemed weird for nation borders, and therefore civilization levels, to extend over mountains so... they just didn't