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by Andrew Theisen
Prompted by Bruce's new map and (mostly) his population calculations for Stonewall from his blog, I got to thinking about the differences between the "canon" population figures of Stonewall, and those calculated by Bruce (which are lower, but much more in keeping with the size and sustainability level of the kingdom).
We're discussing it a little on the Mystara Reborn facebook page, but I thought I'd bring the discussion over here, as well, and perhaps we can even use it as a springboard to flesh out Stonewall (and maybe we can do similar threads for the other nations).
Anyway, some of my initial ideas were:
1) Stonewall's policy of lenience towards commoners is a relatively recent one, and has led to an unforeseen influx of settlers from elsewhere in the Empire. The situation is growing beyond Stonewall's ability to cater effectively to its swollen population, and now things are reaching a point of unsustainability. It might lead Stonewall's military machine to take some drastic measures of some sort, and might even warrant the Grand Council to get involved ("What? The peasants are revolting? But I'm at a crucial stage of combining a nixie with a kopru!!! *mutter, mutter*")
2) Some heretofore unknown/undescribed political situation in Alphatia has led to the commoners fleeing in droves to Stonewall. Perhaps one of the other nations (Randel or Arogansa come to mind) have become even more belligerent than usual towards their commoners, or a war has been declared (Randel/Theranderol? There is that giant wall...), or maybe even a religious crusade/inquisition. Now the peasants are fleeing to Stonewall and putting major pressure on the kingdom's resources.
3) Perhaps the rural areas are more in line with Bruce's first spreadsheet, but the city of Draco itself is just massively populated beyond the ability of the nation to normally sustain it? Maybe Draco relies on its military and/or political influence to draw in tribute/money/resources to keep the city going; woe betide them if the rest of the nation should decide that they don't like the way the rulers are running the kingdom.
4) The population figures from the older sources are just inaccurate, and Draco wasn't quite as large as we were led to believe. I know many of us have long felt the population figures were off for Alphatia. We should just stick with newer calculations.
by Bruce Heard
It's an interesting issue altogether -- the population figures for Stonewall.
Just for the heck of it, I compared population stats of Wyvern (a dominion of Ar) and Stonewall. Here's what I found:
Farmers: 807,788 (75.2%)
Townsfolk: 256,022 (23.8%)
Military: 10,666 (1%)
Total: 1,074,476 Stonewallians
Pop. Density: 60.5 inh./sq.mile
Price of Bread: 8cp
State Revenues: 436,011 gp/mo (before graft & corruption)
Land Area: 17,750 sq.miles
62% Settled or Urban
Farmers: 61,764 (96.4%)
Townsfolk: 1,540 (2.4%)
Military: 734 (1.1%)
Total: 64,038 Wyvernians
Pop. Density: 12.1 inh./sq.mile
Price of Bread: 4cp
State Revenues: 38,734 gp/mo
Land Area: 5,308 sq.miles
6% Settled or Urban
Even if you multiply Wyvern's population numbers by three to match land areas, Stonewall is very heavily populated in comparison. Currently, with nearly a quarter million inhabitants, Draco is. . . huge. Stonewall's agriculture is actually a bit cruder than Ar's, but despite this, Stonewall still produces enough food for its own needs. Ultra-Elitist-Ar has a policy of developing its agriculture at the expense of urbanization. Stonewall is already using much of the best lands for food production, and its cost of living is twice that of Wyvern (and Ar in general) as a result. It is possible to make Draco even larger (would you really want to?), at the cost to importing food and other goods, or reducing the amount of wilderness in the area. The former would drive the cost of living higher yet. For the two dominions, the military stays at about 1% of total population, more than 10,000 for Stonewall or 2,100 for Wyvern, multiplying its troops by three for the purpose of comparison. It's rather a bean-counter's point of view, but in order to somehow balance out the various aspects of Alphatia (let alone the rest of Mystara) these concerns are of value. Adding half a million people out of the blue would also mean increasing state revenues and the resulting military to a point where this becomes a geopolitical issue. Draco is a quarter million people as I have it (rather than a half-million in DotE). Does it really need to be bigger? Most cities in Alphatia are in the tens of thousands IIRC. Furthermore, peasants (mostly serfs in Alphatia) don't travel. They don't flee. Most die on their lands. Their masters do not permit them to travel, even if serfs somehow developed the wealth needed to cross Alphatia and get past the Kerothar Mountains. Influx would have to come from Alphatian middle-class, which is neither that big nor in need to flee suddenly. Just sayin'. . .