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This thread is now more an expansion of his material by me that a simple review, but I think his article was great exactly because it inspired me to develop a bit more the different races that live in Karameikos.
I'm also expanding on past work done by agathokles on humanoids here that was also a source for Zendrolion's article, and using as reference my map here also derived from a map by agathokles.
Thoughts and expansion on the Demography of Karameikos articleby Francesco Defferrari
Ok we could make several interesting topics just from the first 5 paragraphs of this article:
- Low population Karameikos as presented in the Expert set never made any sense to me. Italians are obviously used to live in a country that has a quite high population density since the roman empire, so 250.000 inhabitants in almost 40.000 square miles always seemed ludicrous to me, considering that Traladara is an ancient nations near to other civilized nations, despite the humanoids and monsters. The figures of Zendrolion make much more sense, also considering as he said the cities populations. Personally I'd increase even more the numbers for demihumans and humanoids. My take on elves, for example, is that they cannot be considered hunter-gatherers with low populations, but an ancient civilization which, while living in balance with nature, must have in place quite advanced systems for food production. So my guess on Calaarii and Vyalia populations would be more like around 50.000 each. Same figure for gnomes and dwarves, that IMC have a society based on mining, manufacturing and trade and so theoretically could even be more numerous. The number of humanoids and other minor races too is much higher IMC, also because several areas that Zendrolion marked as borderlands in his map are true wilderness in my Karameikos, i.e. devoid of human presence. The percentage of territories "humanoid and monsters" control is more like 55% of the total nation, and their numbers are more like 500.000 than 40.000. I'll delve in population details later, but my assumption here is that, as the humanoids and other races mostly live in the same territories since centuries, side by side with elves, gnomes and humans, it should be assumed that they have at least some horticulture, pastoralism and trade to support their populations. It's absurd to think that they only live on hunting, gathering and raiding, IMHO.
Ok that said, how this would apply to actual play?
I indeed chose this approach long ago because I think it creates a more interesting setting: PCs who enter the wilderlands enter dangerous territories that can be survived only with stealth and cunning, not by brute force. Also it creates more opportunities for roleplay, where each borderland community will have its own strategies for survival.
Karameikos adventure idea 1 - Population explosions
- Let's say in your campaign you have a low population Karameikos, nevertheless during the years single populations could increase for several reasons:
An explosion of the human population could be simply due to a better organization of the central government, with safer roads and more trade. The first consequence of that would be the government wishing to settle more lands, particularly those now belonging to humanoids. The first step would be to send explorers to evaluate the numbers, the strenght and the weakness of humanoids. The second step would be war. But what if the government has severely underestimate the actual numbers of humanoids, or what if they have some powerful help, like Argos in the Dymrak woods?
- The Alfheim emigration after WotI would create an elven population explosion, and that too could create a lot of conflicts with humanoids, and a lot of work for adventurers.
- What if a numerous cabal of entropic clerics decide to supply an humanoid population of reliable clerical magic, with create food, water and healing? That would cause a humanoid population explosion pretty fast. What if a wise humanoid leader organize his or her people and decide to create an humanoid nation (as Dhrom Dhum in my article in the same issue 1)? What if a humanoid nation decides to trade extensively with humans? What if 10.000 goblin warriors out of the blue lay siege to Kelvin?
Karameikos adventure idea 2 - Humans-monsters relations
- Some borderland communities could be in constant war with local humanoids, but what if some aren't? A community could have an agreement with local humanoids. A classic dark agreement, as we'll give you travellers if you let us alone, or maybe just a grey agreement, we'll sell you weapons if you let us alone, or even a "white" agreement, we cooperate against worse monsters. Obviously PCs could happen creating any sort of misinterpretation and mayhem..
Continuing from Land Control, well Zendrolion's map here gives humans a bit more land control than I gave them in my 3.2 mph map here, discussed at lenght in this thread
Main difference are:
- The Radlebb plain for me is full in humanoids control, and the road is quite dangerous.
- Also the Dymrak plain and the interior of the Vorloi/Dmitrov Peninsula (has it another name?) are complete wilderlands, inhabited by fairies, dragons, undead and werecreatures
- Almost all the Dymrak woods is the dominion of Argos and his goblins.
So my Karameikos, even if more populated, still has a lot of wild areas (i.e. not inhabited by humans, but by other races).
About the number of villages, there could be much more than those shown on my 3.2 mph map. For example here in Italy, even in medieval time, there were few areas without at least a tiny hamlet every 2 or 3 km.
I think in the high density areas a village should be present every 1 mile
one every 3.2 miles in average and low density area (and probably also not-human communities in demihumans-humanoids areas)
one every 8 miles in low dentity areas.
Proposed table for Random generation of a Karameikan village:
- Roll 1d6 for the internal mood:
1) Very bad. People in the village are very unhappy, scared and/or there is an internal feud
2-3) Moderately bad, as above but without bloodshed, so far.
4-5) Normal, the village is placid and there are not serious problem, for now.
6) Very good, people are happy, friendly and united, rulers are fair.
- If previous roll is 1-3, roll 1d4 for human relations:
1) Thyatians and traladarans are at daggers drawn here, blood has been spilled or is about to be.
2) Thyatians and traladarans hate each others, scuffles are commonplace
3) Thyatians and traladarans tolerate each other well for now
4) The two people are fully integrated in this village.
- Roll 1d4 for humanoids relations (that could apply regardless of the internal mood, but obviously a bad mood will complicate things much):
1) Humanoids raid the outskirts of the village often
2) Humanoids aren't attacking now but the village fear they soon will
3) The villagers appease the humanoids somehow (paying tributes, trading or in worse ways)
4) The village is on peaceful terms with local humanoids
- Roll 1d4 for other nearby monsters (regardless of internal mood):
1) Many and dangerous, threaten the very existence of the village
2) Some monsters nearby, roads are often unsafe.
3) Rare monsters sightings, creating more curiosity than fear
4) No monsters in the nearby area, or only peaceful creatures
- Another possible 1d4 roll for xenophobia:
From 1, Severe xenophobia, other races could be killed on sight to 4, some villagers aren't human and well integrated.
You could have regional modifiers to those rolls as well.
Yes, sure, I'd give a -1 to human relations in the west, and maybe a +1 along the eastern road.
Also a -1 to humanoids relations could apply in the Dymrak area and the Radlebb plain, while the Cruth hills could have a +1 as local ogres and hill giants shouldn't be too aggressive, at least IMC.
Also a -1 to the nearby monsters roll could be applied to borderlands probably.
Populations and races
As I said, my take on Karameikos population it to have it even more numerous than in Zendrolion's article, which already has more population than canon products. That's because, comparing Karameikos to medieval Italy, an area of roughly the same size had more than 3 millions inhabitants, even during plagues and famine (now it has 20 millions). If Karameikos has a total population (between humans and not) of just 1 million and half, it still has less than half the density of medieval Italy.
So my estimation of the total human population in Karameikos would be around 700,000, of which 490,000 traladarans (70%, higher percentage than Zendrolion's), 105,000 thyatians (15% same as Zendrolion's), 84,000 "karameikans" of mixed descent (12%, less than Zendrolion's), 21.000 foreigners of various nations, mostly darokians and ylari, minrothaddans and ierendians, more than Zendrolion's, also counting thyatians of the Empire but not halfling of the Five Shires which are counted below among the halflings.
Also around 5,000 alphatians could be added after WotI and the founding of Krakatos magical school (more on this later).
Around 5,000 nomadic Darine could be added if used in the campaign.
Elves, 100,000 at least (250,000 with Alfheim immigrants after WotI)
So the humans and demihumans should number over 835.000 (995,000 after the Alfheim immigration and WotI)
To some these figures could seem too high, but consider that 5,000 is just the population of a modern small town and we're speaking of people spread in vast areas. Next, I'll continue with more comments on the above populations.
About Thyatians and Traladarans, I toned down the percentage of new "Karameikans" because I think 30 years, or even 50 (or 120 if we consider the initial thyatian colonization) are not enough for the mixed population to reach 18%. 12% seems already quite high to me.
IMC the racial hatred has been quite toned down by the marginalization of thyatian extremist and by the recent politic of King Stephan, roughly as it happened in the almanacs. Yet "freedom fighters" may still exist in the borderlands.
IMC Karameikos also became more and more cosmopolitan with the arrival of alphatians, the founding of Krakatos magical school, the arrival of alfheimers and more trade from Sind, Yavdlom, Kastelios in Davania. I imagine Specularum's port as quite an exotic place where it's common to see any foreigner, including pearl islanders, atruaghin, sindhians, people of the Savage Coast, rakasta, lupins, tortles and other strange people.
Darines could also be a source of land trade from Sind, Slagovich and the Savage Coast, through the Five Shires or the Duke's road and Darokin.
Karameikos adventure idea 3 - Trade wars
All this could create much adventure when the Crown itself (or Queen Olivia, or Prince Valen), thyatian and traladaran noble families and powerful merchants, locals and foreigners, compete to monopolize new trade routes and exotic merchandise from faraway place. That could be a long city adventure/campaign where the PCs have to stop foreign agents, persuade trade partners and probably avoid too much bloodshed, in order to stay out of jail.
Piracy and smuggling, theft in rival houses and assassinations could well fit into such a campaign arc.
Karameikos adventure idea 4 - After King Stephan
By 1020 AC, Stephan is already 72 years old. it would be safe to assume he received some alphatian longevity potions from Terari, but he could die for several reason, like thyatian (or others) assassination. Bruce Heard already imagined here a difficult succession after him and indeed anything could happen to the young kingdom after his death, as any parties could decide to fight for the kingdom's future:
- Karameikan party: I think Adriana will try to keep the kingdom unite and maintain friendship with the alphatians. I think that Justin and Valen will eventually rally behind her, as many dominion rulers and ministers.
- Thyatian party: Desmond Kelvin II could try to claim the kingdom with Thyatian backing, and with the support of many lesser thyatian nobles, the order of the Griffon and part of the Church of Karameikos.
- Traladaran party: Traladaran nobles, mostly Magda Marilenev if still alive, could try to reclaim the kingdom with the aid of several freedom fighters like Andros Marilenev, Achelos and Gentleman Jehann. Some humanoid tribes (like Dhroom Dhum, also in issue #1 of Threshold), the Church of Nyx (see Mirror of Eternal Night in issue #1 too), Halag, Sulescu, Dmitrov and Rugalov could or couldn't side with them, depening on the circumstances.
- Black party: The Dark Triad, the church of Thanatos, Korizsegy and other vampires, several humanoid tribes, Argos and the goblin of the Dymrak woods, The Black Eagle and the Iron Ring could all fit into this party.
- "Grey" party: Some humanoid tribes, like the one of Dhroom Dhum, and the Church of Nyx could fit into this category. They aren't really evil as they just want independence, but will be probably perceived as evil by most humans.
- Many other players could obviously intervene in such a struggle for a party or another, as foreign nations, giants and fairies, druids, elves, gnomes and dwarves, alfheimers, alphatians, wizards in general, churches, guilds, adding layers and layers of complications
Elves of Karameikos
Zendrolion has less than 19.000 elves in Karameikos, to me 100.000 is a low estimate, considering they control relevant territories and are ancient populations. I see elves as an advanced civilization that carefully protect forest and knows how to obtain from it a great number of products for consumption and trade, therefore being able of sustaining even larger populations.
I'd give Callarii, whose number I estimate over 55.000, slight less lands in the western Radlebb woods, a land dominated by undeads, but slightly more in the west. In their lands a large number of fairy folks, over a thousand, should also inhabit. Callarii lands are surrounded by troublesome people. The West is inhabited by undead and monsters, the South borders bugbears and hobgoblins tribes, the East is under constant harassment by dragon and goblins of the Dymrak woods. The less dangerous border is the northern one, where hill giants and ogres are quite peaceful and gnolls and goblins are too weak to really menace elven lands. Zendrolion also gives Callarii some territories near Highforge but that would me gnomish and dwarvish territory to me, even if I guess there could be some elves too, as relations with gnomes and dwarves should be good.
The central part of Callarii lands is indeed the most safe, as is the safe the road that cross their territories. After the arrival of alfheimers during the Wrath of the Immortal several things change.
I think that topic deserves another thread entirely, but for the part that affects Callarii, I put Chossum elves south of them, as I thought Chossum would want to be near a trading road.
I put Feadil west of Callarii lands, near to the undead lands, because them, being strong in clerical magic, were best equipped to deal with such creatures.. that, and the fact that IMC Koriszegy has been killed, as greatly reduced the menace of the western Radlebb woods.. yet part of it is still called the Night Land, and inhabited by dangerous unholy creatures.. (mostly dark fairies and undead).
The Vyalia are estimated as 7.500 in his work but I'd rather go to 50.000.
I suppose the eastern Vyalia, i.e. those not living in Thyatis, are the most reserved ones and have good relations mostly with the Vyalia of Thyatis and Haven, even if they should have some trade with Rugalov too.
North of Haven there are orcs, and the valley of the Rugalov is probably infested with the goblins of the Dymrak woods.. probably humans have done or are doing some colonization attempt in the area.. in the novel "Dark Knight of Karameikos" some human communities in the area are destroyed by orcs, but probably humans will try again
IMC the thyatian imperial territories north of Vyalia lands are inhabited by an ancient giant kingdom, with whom the elves have good relations.. but more on this later..
There are also two other elven communities, one is the village of Kota Hutan near to the Duke's road (it,s featured in the module B7, Rahasia, curiously the name seems to be indonesian for "urban forest" but the elves' culture seem more arabic.. as the module was written before Mystara existed I think any story about the origins of these elves can work).
The other are the Lindenelm elves of the Achelos woods, that I believe Zendrolion himself created from a PC in M5.
Both are very interesting communities to me but I'll again raise their numbers as 500 and 190 people are the brink of extinction. A durable and culturally distinct community cannot have less than 1.000 people, IMO, or will disappear from history in a few generations. That could be a longer time for elves, but still I'd like to have them a bit more numerous.
Back to the article, regarding Gnomes and Dwarves:
as can be seen in the map here
I gave them a big area comprising all the southern Wufwolde hills, about 35x20 miles. As I wrote above I estimate the total population of this area as much higher, about 50.000 gnomes and 20.000 dwarves, while Zendrolion has 16.100 and 4.000. Some of this population however will not be only in Highforge (and in the seven other outlining towns I put there), but also in the other cities of Karameikos, and probably also in several small mining communities all over the Kingdom.
Zendrolion however is right saying that some of the southern Wufwolde hills were indicated as elven territory.. I guess several elves could live in the area, at least those who have good relations with gnomes and dwarves.
Also IMC, besides the elves, some human descendants of old taymorans lived in the area before the gnomes, as the southern hills, dotted as they are with ancient tombs and dungeons, were considered by traladarans a cursed area. Those people still live there among the gnomes and dwarves...
Zendrolion estimates a population slightly over 16.000, but my idea is much more:
Nightstalkers: 10.000. This is Dhrom Dhum's tribe, described in issue #1 of Threshold magazine, page 119.
Dymrak goblins: 50.000. Six different tribes as explained by agathokles here
Faz-Plak or Yellow fangs: 3.500 goblins followers of Leptar.
Under Leptar's fist Hobgoblins: 1.500 goblins
In the northern Altan Tepes: 5.000 goblins, mostly under Hobgoblin rule too.
Nightseeker goblins: 10.000, followers of Nyx, north of Sulescu
White death: 5.000 goblins under Hobgoblin rule, in the Radlebb plains
Cruth goblins: 5.000 goblins scattered west of Verge and underground.
Therefore total number of goblins in my Karameikos would be around 90.000.
Several goblin tribes, particularly the Nightstalkers and the Nightseekers, claim to descend from the Nightfollowers, the first goblin tribe who came in Traladara in 890 AC. The Nightfollowers were initially submitted by gnolls, freed themselves and occupied the Dymrak woods after 760 BC. They were fully under green dragons' rule around 603 BC and very powerful, but after a series of setbacks against humans and elves and internal rebellions and strifes they scattered all over Traladara. Another major group of hobgoblins and goblins arrived after 490 BC, when Queen Ubdala's attack on Rockhome failed, and was lead by Leptar, terrifying central Traladara for years.
There are deep religion divisions among the goblins with followers of Hel and Wogar (Nightstalkers) Nyx (Nightseekers) and the Dark Triad (mostly Dymrak and Altan Tepes goblins), Thanatos and Yagrai (White deaths) and Atzanteotl (Cruth goblins).
The Green Dragon Argos hold power over many goblin tribes in the east.
More specifically on the humanoid immortals, I think they're likely to ally with either cult depending on the convenience, but in details:
- Jammudaru is more likely to ally with the Dark Triad, as Orcus was probably is patron, but I don't see his cult as very common among the ogres of the Cruth hills who are, IMC, among the more peaceful humanoid tribes and follow Nyx and Hel.
- Same for Bagni Gullimaw, his cult could be present among the few trolls of the Blight Swamp, but as they are dominated by Black dragons their patron is hardly relevant.
- About Wogar I think he could have good relations with Hel and Nyx, and even with Zirchev if they can find an agreement about werewolves (I can see a likely rift between Halav and Zirchev on this matter)... He's a sworn enemy of Atzanteotl and I don't think he get along well with Thanatos and the Triad either.
- Bartziluth, Karaash Kurtulmak and Yagrai I see as probably aligned with Hel. They could also get along with Nyx's church, if convenient. I think they aren't very friendly with Thanatos, Atzanteotl and the Triad.
- Ranivorus is supposedly a close ally of Thanatos.
I think I'll start a separate thread about the relations among Karameikos immortals as the matter is quite complex and interesting
Zendrolion has 10.000 orcs in Karameikos, but again my numbers are quite higher.
Leghorn Orcs: 4.000, sometimes clashing in not very bloody battle with Three Suns Penhaligon knights and the Duke's road Keep troops, but also with Leptar's Fist hobgoblins and Yurlivsky orcs, as they prefer Karaash and Hel. Have a sort of working truce with the elves of Kota-Hutan and local fairy folks and centaurs, and also with Faz-Plak goblins.
Yurlivsky orcs, 5.000, followers of the Dark Triad. It's suspected that the people of Seragrad have some arrangerments with them, but known to raid as far as the outskirts of Penhaligon and Haven and the upper Castellan valley. There are also some minotaurs among them.
Pftark orcs, 5.000, live mainly underground, are followers of Atzanteotl. Often clash with Vyalia elves and troops of Haven, known to have conducted raid as far as east of Kelvin. Argos is trying to infiltrate and submit them.
Black web orcs or Nyy-akk, 5.000, followers of Nyx, have a sort of peaceful relation with Haven, the Vyalia elves and the giants of the mountains, but often clash with Pftark orcs and River wolves goblins. Argos is also trying to infiltrate and submit them.
Horned heads orcs, 1.000, near Castellan keep, in a working alliance with gnolls, followers of Orcus, often clashing with human troops and sometimes with other local humanoids and giants.
Jagged rocks orcs, 2.000, with goblins and hobgoblins allies, all followers of Hel and goblinoid immortals.
White death orcs, 5.000 orcs with goblin allies, followers of Thanatos, in the Radlebb plains. They often raid the Westron road and clash with Radlebb keep troops, Nightseeker goblins, werewolves, fairy folks and Bloodbears bugbears and hobgoblins.
Greyslayers orcs, 5.000, along the Cruth river and to the Five Shires border, followers of Atzanteotl. Often raid the Five Shires and the Riverfork area, and also clash with local giants, werewolves and other orcs.
Rashak's orcs, 500, a group of orcs follow this powerful gnoll leader, and honor Karaash.
Blackstone orcs, 15.000, this powerful tribe claim descendants from the once ruler of the Five Shires and often raid the hin. They follow Karaash and Leptar.
Rotting snakes orcs, 5.000, followers of Karaash and Hel, but enemies of the Blackstone. Often clash with ogres to the east and humans to the south
Jagged claws orcs, 6.000 orcs, descendants of the orcs that ruled the Shires, followers of Yamag (Terra) and Karaash, generally more peaceful that other orcs, often clash with Greyslayers.
Cruth orcs, 1.500 mostly under ogre rule, often followers of Yamag and Nyx.
So I have more or less 60.000 orcs in Karameikos...
Red orcs (orcus rubeus vulgaris, brick red to reddish brown skin, short hair if any, monkey faces) from Atruaghin lands are the first humanoids to invade Traladara in 1021 BC, conquering the hutaakan city of Ranenek and renaming it Rak. Dwarves took the city from them in 954 BC. Rotting snakes orcs and Cruth orcs descend from them.
Greyslayers arrived in 950 BC from the Shires, as later the Jagged claws (930 BC) and the Blackstone (740 BC). All are orcus porcus, but greyslayers have greyish skin, Jagged claw pinkish, Blackstone tanned.
The north eastern clans instead came to Traladara after 88-122 AC, when Darokian kings successfully fought orcs in the Streel plains. Other were repelled in the same years from Rockhome and Alfheim. These orcs formed a great horde that in 313 AC, with the complicity of some traladaran nobles, managed to sack Vaion (Penhaligon), Krakatos and several minor towns. Leghorn and Horned heads orcs both claim to be the descendants of this powerful horde.
Yurlivsky orcs claim instead to have come with the horde of Leptar after 490 AC.
The north eastern clans are all orcus porcus too, but tend to have different shades of light brown skin. An orc can easily recognize immediately, on sight, from which tribe another orc is.
Zendrolion estimates 4,750 in Karameikos, arrived all after 492 BC.
My numbers and story are a little different:
Steelwarriors, 7.000. The most powerful tribe of the Altan Tepes came from the north after 622 BC and several times dominated other humanoids of western Traladara, even defying the power of green dragons. Eventually however was repulsed from the Dymrak area. They raid on all the road from the Duke's road keep to Selenica and Parsa and are followers of Yagrai.
Killer sands, 5.000. These hobgoblins came from Ylauruam and normally raid in that direction only. Had clashes with Jagged rocks tribe.
Jagged rocks hobgoblins, 1.000, with goblins and orcs allies, all followers of Hel and goblinoid immortals. They supposedly descend from Steelwarriors
Chaos horde, 1.000, near Castellan's keep with goblin allies, followers of the Dark Triad, allied with the Horned heads orcs and gnolls but often clash with Steelwarriors and Jagged rocks. They came after 490 BC as..
Leptar's fist, 4.000, a menace both for the Duke's road and the Castellan valley, also clash with Leghorn orcs, stone giants and Vlackkag hobglins
Vlackkag, 5.000, dominate a large area of the mountains east of Castellan river, often clash with Leptar's fist, Chaos horde and Horned heads, but have a sort of agreement with the humans of the Castellan valley. Supposedly they were part of Leptar's horde after 490 BC but after that they mixed with Steelwarriors. They still aid Dark Triad's priest and followers if requested but do not really support their plans.
Bloodbears, 5.000, allied with Bugbears in the northern Radlebb plains. Followers of Bartziluth, they often raid the Westron road as far as the outskirts of Radlebb, Luln, Krakatos and Specularum, and often fight against Calaarii too. They are known to avoid killing their victims, when possible, and are sworn enemies of the much more violent and dark White deaths orcs and goblins. The hobgoblins are descendant of the Steelwarriors migrations.
Roaring Fiends, 7.000, among the nastier humanoids of Karameikos, they were originally from Leptar's migration but left their patron for Alphaks around 400 AC. Once soldiers of the Black Eagle, after the defeat of Von Hendriks they escaped to the lower Cruth hills, whence they menace all the Riverfork and Luln area and often clash also with Cruth ogres, hill giants and Callarii elves.
My hobgoblins would then number around 35.000
Killer sands Hogboblins are Goblinus Fortis (copper skin, bulldog face) while all the others are Goblinus Grandis (light tan skin, toad faced), but the descendant of Steelwarriors tend to have lighter skin and brown hair, while the descendants of Leptarians tan sky and darker hair.
Jumping to Bugbears, to continue on the humanoids:
Bloodbears, 7.000. They were the first bugbears to arrive in Karameikos around 755 BC, and for centuries they had a powerful kingdom in the western Dymrak lands, until the kingdom fell under attacks by humans, elves, goblins and green dragons. They escaped in the northern Radlebb plains, where they live now with hobgoblins allies, see their entries. They follow Bartziluth.
Altan Tepes bugbears, 3.000. Small groups exist among the Steelwarrior and Leptar's Fist hobgoblins, and near to Castellan keep. They are of mixed origins and religions, some came with the Steelwarriors, others with the Leptarians in 490 BC.
Bargle's bugbear and Vileraiders (Halag), 4.000+1.000. An offshot of the Bloodbears that left the main tribe over the centuries for religious reasons, as they worshipped Atzanteotl and the Dark Triad. Recruited by the Black Eagle and Bargle after 970 AC, they have been almost wiped out IMC and submitted by the Duchy of Halag. Now, purged from entropic cults, have become full citizens of Halag. A thousand of them, refusing to submit, have joined the White deaths orcs and goblins.
Therefore bugbears IMC are about 15.000
They are all Ursus Bipedis Vulgaris, but the Halag bugbears have grey fur, the Bloodbears brown and some of the Altan Tepes bugbears dark brown, almost black.
Traladarans have tried to exterminate gnolls for centuries, but some of them still survives nevertheless.
After the initial invasion from 1002 to 999 BC, gnolls maintained a kingdom in the west for centuries, often dominating over orcs and other humanoids. But several wars against humans, elves, orcs and ogres eventually undermined and destroyed their power, so that today their numbers are greatly reduced.
Death's Head or Galt-Kalat, 4.000. From their strongholds in and west of the Foamfire valley, these gnolls have tormented Threshold, Verge and nearby kobolds, goblins, hill giants, ogres and elves for centuries, and have maintained the Lost Valley of Hutaaka isolated. IMC they were soundly defeated by PCs and now the Valley isn't lost anymore. The gnolls have retrated in the mountains and are planning their revenge. They are followers of Ranivorus and Thanatos.
Faceslasher, 5.000. Living near Haradraith keep, probably under control of Ilyana Penhaligon or the great red dragon that lives nearby. They are followers of dark immortals and often in conflict with nearby harpies, goblins, stone giants, chameleon men, brutemen (B8) and humans.
Horned heads, 1.000, allied with orcs anf followers of the Dark Triad.
Rashak's Reaver, 3.000. They claim to be the heirs of the ancient gnoll kingdom, as the Faceslashers do. Once soldiers of the Black Eagle, they have been defeated and repulsed in the Riverfork woods, whence they fight everyone: humans, lizardmen, elves, hobgoblins.
My gnolls therefore number around 13.000
They are all Canis Erectus Hilaris with light brown hair and black spots, yet there are enough differences between the four tribes that they can easily recognize the origin of a gnoll. To humans, they all seem the same..
As I already explained in this thread
Ogres came to Traladara long ago and become the dominant force in the Cruth hills after gnolls and orcs were defeated, allying themselves with hill giants and the church of Nyx. Worship of Hel and Yamag (Terra) is also common among them, while Jammudaru hasn't many followers in the area.
There are around 20.000 ogres divided in four main clans in the Cruth hills. They do not usually attack humans but sometimes have clashes with Greyslayer and Rotting snakes orcs and Roaring fiends hobgoblins.
There are some more ogres in the Altan Tepes, roughly 1.000, who came with the Leptar horde or are renegades from thyatian ogre tribes. They are usually followers of the Dark Triad.
The total number of ogres should then be around 21.000
Cruth ogres are Homo Monstrum Grossus with brownish skin and dark green eyes, while Altap Tepes ogres are Homo Monstrum Brutalis with copper skin and black eyes.
I agree with Zendrolion about only two tribes of kobolds living in Karameikos, the Brokenshields arriving in Traladara from 5 AC from Darokin, but I'd say following the gnomes from as far as the Northern Reaches. They had two times of power in which they menaced Threshold, Penhaligon, Verge, Highforge and even Rifflian, in 302 AC and 982 AC, but were later defeated by humans, elves and goblins. Now they number about 5.000 from Castle Mistamere to the north of Threshold barony and the mountains, including the extensive network of caves and dungeons in the area.
They have often fought with nearby gnolls, goblins and humans.
IMC recently a big part of the tribe struck a deal with baroness Aleena Halaran to live peacefully in Castle Mistamere and the north of the barony. They worship Kurtulmak and are allied with local harpies.
The other tribe, the Grey Rats, live to the north west of Castellan keep and counts about 5.000 above and below the mountains. They arrived originally with Leptar's Horde after 492 BC but do not follow the Dark Triad anymore, and worship Kurtulmak. They try to mantain peaceful relationship and even occasional alliances with Steelwarriors hobgoblins, which they fear greatly, but often clash with Chaos Horde hobgoblins and goblins and Horned heads orcs and gnolls, and with the humans of the valley.
I'd say that the Brokenshields are Canis Minor Rapidus with dark brown, almost black scales and greenish brown manes, while the Grey rats could be Canis Minor Militaris with rusty brown scales.
Summarizing, I have 244.000 humanoids in Karameikos, but they are obviously divided in so many tribes that can hardly be considered an united front.. IMC the Black Eagle was able to recruit a great number and started a war, conquering Luln and Kelvin and laying siege to Specularum, but was eventually defeated and killed by Duke Stephan, while PCs killed Bargle. I think this was a much better resolution of the plot that letting the Five Shires halflings do all the work with Von Hendriks and Bargle escaping! But obviously all this happened IMC well before the official almanacs were printed...
Now in my new Karameikos some humanoid tribes will slowly integrate in the nation, while other will probably remain fiercely independent and hostile.. but I'll say more about this when reviewing my Dhrom Dhum article...
Going back a bit to Halfling, Zendrolion estimates 3.000 in Karameikos and in this case I could have the same number, maybe rising to 5.000 during spring and summer, i.e. the busiest trading seasons. The number could easily be increased to 10.000, IMO, considering the proximity of the Shires and the many centuries in which halfling have lived in the area.
Some Karameikan halflings could be natives, i.e. living in Traladara since the orc wars, therefore having a distinct culture, influenced by traladarans, quite different from the one of the Shires...
Besides the Foreign Quarter of Specularum I'd expect them to be present also in Halag, Luln and a bit also in Krakatos, Kelvin, Highforge, Rifflian and Threshold.
BTW in Zendrolion's "Demografia Mystariana" available, I think, in italian only, he suppose a certain number of halfling, around 7.000, lives in Thyatis too, around 1.500 of them as slaves (this number could be increased too, IMO).
It's a bit of info I find very interesting for adventure possibilities:
- The 5.500 free halfling of Thyatis could be in part former slaves, but in part former traitors who joined the thyatian cause during the wars between the Empire and the Shires. Complex relations could therefore be staged between Shires halflings, Karameikan halflings and Thyatian halflings, with maybe Shires halflings using the Karameikans as mediators with the Thyatians to free slaves or spy on the Empire, or the opposite, with the Thyatian ones using the Karameikans to spy on the Shires.
Also some Karameikan halflings could be spies for Shires pirates.
All this could obviously led to several blood feuds between Karameikan halfling, with great puzzlement of the authorities..
IMO here there is a great untapped source of potential adventures!
Zendrolion estimates around 2.000 but I'd say much more. The tribes mostly come from the work done by Havard here
Radlebb centaurs, (created by Zendrolion I think, their presence in the area make sense indeed). I suppose at least 1.500, much more numerous in the past, number decreased by centuries of fight with humanoids, undeads and werecreatures, are obviously allied with elves and other fairy folks of the area. Now, IMC, they do not have much problems with bugbears, giants and ogres, which aren't very aggressive, but could fight with the undead of the Night lands, White death orcs and goblins and Roaring Fiends hobgoblins.
Firemane centaurs, 3.500, between Haven and the Kelvin Moor, hostile to humans colonists and the Order of the Griffon who are expanding in the area, occasionally allied with the Hags of Dymrak and maybe even goblins and Argos.
Stormwind centaurs, 4.000, I'd say they control almost all the Moor, have probably good relations with the humans of Kelvin and Penhaligon, dwarves and gnomes, but occasionally clash with Firemane centaurs and Dymrak goblins. Probably at least 1.000 traladarans have found shelter among them.
Shurak centaurs, created by George E. Hrabovsky I suppose, 5.000?, Between Haven and Vyalia lands, could have complex relations with the Hags and the goblins of Dymrak, and with Argos too, being so near to him. I don't see them nor the Vyalia in open war with Argos, but maybe in a sort of cautious non-belligerence.
"Chevall" centaurs or clanless, 1.000, bards and druids roaming Karameikos and acting as judges, sages, storytellers and healers for all the centaur tribes, I think created by Havard too.
Therefore I'd put the number of centaurs in Karameikos at 15.000. As they should be one of the more ancient races living in this lands, I don't think the number is too high, quite the contrary I suppose it could be easily increased.
Zendrolion give a number of 1.000, but I'd go to 5.000 at least, considering that Karameikos has plenty of woods. They should belong to dark fairies, so probably serve the Hags of Dymrak or the Hags of the Night Land near Radlebb woods. Some could also be allied og goblins, other humanoids and Argos.
Zendrolion gives 550 and in this case I'd probably use a small number too as originally my campaign had no lupins nor rakasta (as it began before they were created in Mystara so I'd keep them pretty rare in the KW.. I'd use no native lupins in Karameikos at all, but obviously there would be some visitors from the east or the west. I'd agree they would be not welcomed in this land due to similarity with gnolls, but things could slowly change in the incoming years...
I disagree with Zendrolion's figure of only 550 giants as IMC they are among the ancient inhabitants of this lands, and therefore ought to be much more numerous. Also IMC the whole Altan Tepes area that includes parts of Karameikos, Darokin, Ylauruam and the north western Thyatian imperial territories was once a Giant kingdom that secretly still exist. It's an area of 60x200 miles, so 12.000 square miles. Such an area can support a population of 50.000 giants if we assume they are an ancient civilization with ancient magic and advanced systems of food production. Indeed the less populated italian region has one tenth of the square miles and almost thrice the population, so I'd consider reasonable even a much higher figure.
The Karameikos corner of this kingdom however is just a small part of it, yet it's almost 1.000 square miles and so I think 3.000 frost giants and 2.000 between mountain giants, storm and cloud giants are likely to live in north eastern Karameikos.
At least 2.000 stone giants should live in the mountains and hills east and west of Threshold.
Around 5.000 hill giants should also live in the Cruth hills, particularly in the eastern part toward Verge, mostly on peaceful terms with local ogres, elves and humans but probably not with Roaring fiends hobgoblins and undeads of the Night Land. The Cruth hill giants should not be considered savage brutes as they too are the descendants of a powerful ancient kingdom.
Another 1.000 storm and cloud giants should also live in the Black Peak mountains (with more of them on the Darokian side and in the Cruth mountains in Darokin and the Shires)
So I'd have roughly 13.000 giants in Karameikos, but as they try to avoid humans their real number is not commonly known, not even by the government and other officials..
Zendrolion suppose there are around 500, but I think the number should be more like 5.000, as some of them will be hidden among the human population, others could live in the wild among humanoids or other races, or even among normal animals.
I'd still use the same percentages I think, so something like 3.000 werewolves, 1.000 wereboars, 200 werebears, 100 werefoxes, 100 devil swines, 600 wererats (corrected the number of wereboars as the total in the article was 102%, and added werefoxes).
IMC werecreatures of Karameikos are not united. A group of werecreatures lives peacefully in Halag now. Other live secluded in the middle of the Dmitrov-Vorloi peninsula. Others are allied to goblins and Hags of the Dymrak woods and quite hostile. A powerful wereboar, the Beast of Radlebb, and his clan, terrify the area north of Sulescu and west of Marilenev (search the Vaults for more fans infos about the Beast)
Others still live among bandits or traladaran rebels in remote areas.
Wererats should have a secret "city" under Specularum, and their number could be easily increased to a 1.000 or more.
Devil swines could be present in the churches of Orcus and Leptar.
Several werecreatures should be also present in the church of Zirchev, in friendly terms with druids, foresters and elves.
It would be interesting to have Leo Variantia (a thyatian werecreature on the Path of the Polymath, describe in PC4) founding a free community of werecreatures in Karameikos to obtain recognition for them. That could be a major adventure path touching deep issues in the karameikan society.
This is a category that should include satyrs/fauns, dryads, hsiao, actaeons, treants, pixies, sprites, brownies, leprechauns, sidhes, drakes and pookas, so 350 is really too low for me, I'd go easily with 15.000, considering that Karameikos is full of woods and fairies do not even live fully on the material plane, but partially in the Dreamlands.
Fairies have their secret paths and secret glades, and other creature normally cannot find their communities unless them wish so. After the arrival of Alfheimer the number of fairies could be much higher, maybe the double. I doubt in fact that Titania and Oberon stayed among the shadowelves, but maybe some of the Alfheim fairies did.
Traladaran versions of the classic fairies would obviously be more appropriate.
Hags, crones of chaos, gremlins, redcaps, wood imps and some shapeshifters could fall into the category of Dark Fairies, that I see as allied with Argos in the east and with undeads in the west.
Interesting creatures, I'd trace them to the times of Blackmoor as they are described in Blackmoor d20 as the creation of hobgoblin necromancers... A small number of them could indeed exist among the Bloody Heads/Vlackkag and Steelwarriors hobgoblins, but I'd increase it to 500 at least, as they are suppose to be an unique race and would need some numbers to reproduce.
I'd like to have a sizeable population of them in the Black Peaks, and under them, north of Threshold. I'd go to 10.000 or more, but most of them should live in Darokin. They appeared in B8. Same for
also described in B8 as having a leader named The Lord of Shadow and Hue. I find it's fascinating the idea of using them as very ancient civilization that now have left only a lost underground city.
I'd have higher numbers for them too, I like the idea of having a city in the clouds around Mount Pavel, inhabited by faenare, faeries, cloud giants, rocs, harpies and some dragons. It could be a usual stop for Serraine.
I suppose they could be quite numerous in the mountains of Karameikos, Darokin, Thyatis and the Shires as they are often present in B-X modules and tables. And they are allied to Kobolds Brokenshields near Threshold.
Not much to add on fauna and constructs.
IMC I have a secret town inhabited by gargoyles, living statues and rockmen north of Threshold.
But about Dragons...
A gold dragon living in disguise in Threshold is mentioned on page 40 of the Expert set. He could be an agent of Azem, the powerful gold mentioned by Bruce Heard in Dragon 171 as ruler of dragons in Eastern Shires and Western Karameikos from Wereskalot.
Argos the Green rules the Dymrak forest, as explained in Dragon 171.
One very old red dragon is mentioned in the northern Wufwolde hills on page 60 of Gaz1. He could be independent from Azem and Argos.
Gaz1 also mention black dragons in the Blight Swamp, whites in the Altan Tepes, greens in the forested areas.
KKoA mention three warrior knights of the Order of the Griffon disappeared in the Dymrak Forest while hunting a dragon (page 12-13). There is a tapestry of elven warriors battling a green dragon on page 18. Argos is also mentioned on page 123.
In the encounter tables red dragons are mentioned in the mountain terrain and, quite curiosly copper dragons in desert terrain...
In "Lords of the Cruth Lowlands", agathokles mentioned Vulomar as the leader of the Black dragons in the Blight Swamp, binded by Azem. He also placed Green dragon siblings Krolovaash
and Ahkriin in the Cruth Lowlands, the latter binded by the Red dragon Ulnag, who is creating the first embryo of his kingdom, Ulnagaar.
I recall someone mentioned a Bronze dragon appearing on AD&D products but now I cannot find anything on official products, maybe it was this one who is however a fan creation.
About goblins, Cruth goblins could be a mix of Occidensis and Goblinus, and therefore of Nightfollowers and Leptarians descendants.
Chaos horde goblins should be Goblinus goblinus and Leptarians.
Hungry wolves and Bloody noses should be too a mix of Occidensis and Goblinus, and of Nighfollowers and Leptarians, but they have rejected the Black Triad to return to Hel and Wogar.
Orcs, all Orcus Porcus except for Rotting snakes and Cruth orcs as indicated.
The other orc tribes could have arrived in 950-740BC, 313AC or 490AC as the DM prefers, but I'd say that the N-E Orcs probably arrived from Darokin's orclands in the last five centuries, the Pftark should have arrived from Darokin around 500 AC, the Nyy-aak should be a branch of the first grey orcs of 950BC that converted early to the faith of Nyx, the Jagged rocks should have arrived with the 313AC migration, the White Death with the 740BC migration (so former Blackstone orcs), the Rashak's orcs could descend from orcs from the Shires that joined the gnoll invasion as early as 1005 BC.
I imagine that the orcs scattered in the Battle of Fire Rock of 944 AC was an alliance of the former Shire's tribes, i.e. Greyslayers, Jagged Claws and Blackstones, probably under the Blackstone. They could try to force the others in a new alliace in the future...
Gnolls, Galt-Kalat are heirs of the gnoll kingdom too. Horned heads instead came from Ylauruam after 0 AC.
Cruth Ogres came slowly from Darokin even before the gnoll invasion of 1000 BC, were initially submitted to gnoll rule but became the dominant people of the Cruth hills with the reign of Kulfan, by 603 BC (see here and in issue #2, 3 and 4 of Threshold magazine).
The Grey Rats kobolds arrived with Leptar's horde.
Canonically indeed lizardmen, troglodytes, caymen and chameleon men appears in modules and adventures officially set in Karameikos... as particularly the latter two were later given as originally from the Savage Coast, Zendrolion in his file logically supposes they could have arrived in Karameikos for some magical accident.
My take however is that these people are among the most ancient inhabitants of south eastern Brun that IMC before the Great Rain of Fire was much warmer than today (as I have the north pole toward the Sylvan Realm as in the HW map and not in Ethengar).
Therefore there is plenty of opportunity for underground cities inhabited by hundreds if not thousands of them
IIRC correctly they do not appear in modules and adventures set in Karameikos, but maybe they appear in some random table for wandering monsters.. (Edit, indeed in the forest terrain in KkoA, where also Trollbaiter is given as a possible elven surname, but not in Gaz1 AFAIK). As Zendrolion does, anyway, I suppose too that they could be encountered in small numbers underground, or in the west, among giants and ogres, or in the Blight Swamp...
About the category indicated as Monsters,there are some interesting observations to make, imo.
I'd have minotaurs as quite numerous in the areas near to Thyatis.. my idea is that they expanded from western Davania many centuries ago and as they were quite numerous in classic Milenia, I imagin several of them could have reached Thyatis during the centuries.
If there is a sphynx near Halag (IIRC this is mentioned in canon somewhere), I suppose there are several others in the area between Karameikos, Thyatis, the Shires, Darokin and Ierendi. I'd put their origin in Davania too.
Zendrolion puts hivebroods near Rugalov, but I think they are mentioned in canon under Specularum in the adventure "Of Nests and Nations", anyway I'd have them as coming from southern Skothar so lairs could appear in many places...