How many people would die per day?

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How many people would die per day?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:26 am

I've been thinking about the logistics of death in Ghostwalk. People die, come back as ghosts and can get resurrected...or can move onto the True Afterlife (assuming they get The Calling).

Does anyone know of a way to estimate the background number of people that would die every day in a campaign setting?

Does anyone know of a way to estimate the higher peaks that a war, famine or plague might cause?

Finally, does anyone know of a way to estimate the number of ghosts that might get resurrected per day or the number that might get pulled off to the True Afterlife by The Calling?

In theory, if people kept dying, but never moved onto the True Afterlife the city of Manifest would get more and more crowded with ghosts over time, but I am going to assume that does not happen, because I am looking for numbers to "make Ghostwalk work" rather than numbers to "tear it down".

I am going to assume that Sean K Reynolds and Monte Cook designed the The Calling to cancel out the number of people coming in, so that the population of ghosts over time was more or less stable. I am going to assume that if you have a plague, famine or war that the population of Manifest would rapidly rise, but that, over a period of time, poor ghosts would gain enough XP to level up enough that if they have not bought a resurrection for themselves, they would be forced to move onto the True Afterlife and the population would start to fall back towards normal levels.

I'm not sure how slow commoner ghosts might level up, and if they could save up enough gold pieces before The Calling got them, but I'm figuring that if I can work out the maths for commoners coming in, and the average time for a commoner to level up to 2nd level, then that would be the time taken for 1st level commoners to exit Manifest via natural causes.

I'm guessing the same sort of logic would cover ghost NPCs that are above 1st level, but that the higher the starting level each ghost would have, the more time it would have in Manifest to either buy a resurrection spell or avoid The Calling. I am assuming that all of this is stable (when there are no wars, famines or plagues) and that there would be some sort of spread of ghosts of various levels. I am assuming that ghosts with levels of standard classes would need to be younger than ghosts with high levels of standard class levels, because living longer would cause ghost NPCs to gain NPCs and move closer towards the point where The Calling got them.

I don't have those numbers or proportions, and sadly, while there are stats for the population of everywhere except Manfest, I can't find any population figures for Manifest itself, but I figure that it might be possible to look at some sort of medieval documentation and see what sort of death rates were happening in the real world...or in different parts of the real world, and then to try to use that to work out a potential range for the number of ghosts living in Manifest.

I've heard of some sources for looking up medieval demographics to estimate the number of people doing specific jobs in cities, towns or villages, but does anyone know of any sources for working out how many people would be born or how many people would die per day?

And are there any real-world sources for the various causes of deaths, as that might help work out percentage tables for use with the Faces of Death rules on pages 11-12?
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Re: How many people would die per day?

Post by TBeholder » Sat Jan 16, 2016 6:57 pm

Assuming it's in dynamic equilibrium and disregarding fluctuations?
(average dead / day) = (average born / day) = (Total population of the area in question) / (average life expectancy [days])
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Re: How many people would die per day?

Post by night_druid » Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:32 pm

Well, I can imagine in a medieval society, a depressing number of ghosts will be children. Child mortality rates were atrocious; it might even be a situation where the majority of ghosts are going to not be adults. Probably along with a disproportionate number of women (who died in childbirth). It might make for a different gaming experience, but a depressing one (depending on the GM).
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Re: How many people would die per day?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:22 pm

TBeholder wrote:Assuming it's in dynamic equilibrium and disregarding fluctuations?
(average dead / day) = (average born / day) = (Total population of the area in question) / (average life expectancy [days])
That sounds like the equation I need to use, but I'm not sure where to get the numbers from.
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Re: How many people would die per day?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:32 pm

night_druid wrote:Well, I can imagine in a medieval society, a depressing number of ghosts will be children. Child mortality rates were atrocious; it might even be a situation where the majority of ghosts are going to not be adults.
They might get sucked through by The Calling. When ghosts get more XP for being dead than they get for being alive (i.e when they level up and get as many ghost levels as living levels) they are then unable to resist The Calling any more.

In 3e D&D every NPC gets at least one level, whereas in 2e there were 0 level humans. If you were retro-converting Ghostwalk to 2e, that would make it easier, as the kids would all vanish. But I'm guessing they would wander around for a bit and either get restored to life or they would learn a few skills and move on.

Babies would probably move straight on. Animals can't resist The Calling and if people have not gained the ability to speak, they probably have a lot less chance of resisting The Calling...or even thinking to resist it. It would pull them and they would just go with it.
night_druid wrote:Probably along with a disproportionate number of women (who died in childbirth). It might make for a different gaming experience, but a depressing one (depending on the GM).
A lot of the ghosts carry their death with them and are a bit grim.

I guess that mothers might try to rescue their babies and get them restored to life. Or they might go onto the afterlife to look after stillborn babies. Or they might get themselves brought back to life to carry on looking after the rest of their family (or to get on with whatever they were planning to do after giving birth).

A high mortality rate from childbirth, in a place where you can come back from the dead without loosing levels, might not seem so big a risk. Perhaps expectant mothers might save up for the cost of being brought back from the dead. Or maybe they might pay a midwife an insurance premium that includes the cost of being restored to life.

But having more women in Manifest could be fun.
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Re: How many people would die per day?

Post by Big Mac » Wed May 01, 2019 1:40 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2015 12:26 am
I don't have those numbers or proportions, and sadly, while there are stats for the population of everywhere except Manfest, I can't find any population figures for Manifest itself, but I figure that it might be possible to look at some sort of medieval documentation and see what sort of death rates were happening in the real world...or in different parts of the real world, and then to try to use that to work out a potential range for the number of ghosts living in Manifest.
I don't know how I didn't find the population figures, back in 2015, but I've found them now:
  • Page 93: The City: "Manifest has a resident population of about 22,000 people, about one-third of whom are ghosts."
  • Page 93: The City: "Add to that another 10,000 nonresidents occupying the city at any given time, here to bring corpses from other corners
    of the world, meet with the ghosts of dead friends or family (or occasionally enemies), or just earn some gold working as merchants or other transient occupations (like being adventurers), and you have a goodsized city."
  • Page 93: The City: "Racially, Manifest is more cosmopolitan than many cities, with significant numbers of humans, elves, gnomes, halflings, and dwarves among the population."
  • Page 93: The City: "There are even a surprising number of orcs and other wild humanoids who come here for the same reason that the other races do. They tend to lay low and keep to themselves rather than draw attention to their presence."
  • Page 90: Humans: "Humans make up about 50 percent of the city on their own, both as living people and as ghosts. Because of the nature of the city, its residents hail from everywhere. All manner of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds are represented."
  • Page 91: Elves and Half Elves: "Elves and half-elves comprise about 18 percent of the city’s total population. They would probably be even
    more numerous if their attention wasn’t drawn to the Spirit Wood rather than the Veil of Souls."
  • Page 91: Dwarves: "Dwarves make up 12 percent of the city’s population, although it seems like less because so many of them dwell beneath the city."
  • Page 91: Halflings: "Many of the halflings in Manifest are travelers who work on the caravans that transport the dead to the city." and "Halflings make up about 10 percent of the city’s population."
  • Page 91: Gnomes: "Gnomes are not native to the lands of this region, so all those found in Manifest trace their ancestry to lands very far away." and "Gnomes comprise seven percent of Manifest’s population and tend to keep to themselves in the Merchant Ward and Phantom Hill areas."
  • Page 91: Half-Orcs: "Half-orcs make up three percent of the city, at best."
I'm not totally sure how to work out the exact numbers, from the percentages, as it's not clear which races are mostly part of the 22,000 permanent residents and which ones are mostly part of the 10,000 visitors.

I think the Halflings would throw off the numbers.

But, if we can calculate the spread of living and ghost people of each race, and work out the maximum age of each race, perhaps we could have a guess at something. :?
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Re: How many people would die per day?

Post by willpell » Wed May 01, 2019 7:28 pm

Obviously how many people die will depend on how many people exist, so the bigger the campaign world outside of Manifest, the bigger the logjam that area will have. If Thurkasia and Bazareene and the rest are all on a tiny peninsula that's Florida-sized compared to the rest of their planet, or even just their continent, then people all over the world will be constantly dying, and will take quite a while to complete their Ghostwalk unless they succumb to the Ethereal Current. But if the whole area is one of three whole continents on a modest-sized planet, then obviously there are fewer people who can be on their way into the Manifest region from outside of the Zone, and ghosts in general are a bigger factor in global geopolitics.

(It's a pity Ender isn't really around anymore, he used to volunteer to construct models around questions like this.)

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Re: How many people would die per day?

Post by Big Mac » Sat May 04, 2019 4:26 pm

willpell wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 7:28 pm
Obviously how many people die will depend on how many people exist, so the bigger the campaign world outside of Manifest, the bigger the logjam that area will have. If Thurkasia and Bazareene and the rest are all on a tiny peninsula that's Florida-sized compared to the rest of their planet, or even just their continent, then people all over the world will be constantly dying, and will take quite a while to complete their Ghostwalk unless they succumb to the Ethereal Current.
I thought that the Ghostwalk was about bringing dead bodies to Manifest (to either reunite them with the ghost, so they could get resurrected or toss them through the Grand Portal into the True Afterlife to get reunited with the soul that way).

But you are right. The living people will be based on local numbers, while the dead (ghosts) would be based on world-wide stats.
willpell wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 7:28 pm
But if the whole area is one of three whole continents on a modest-sized planet, then obviously there are fewer people who can be on their way into the Manifest region from outside of the Zone, and ghosts in general are a bigger factor in global geopolitics.

(It's a pity Ender isn't really around anymore, he used to volunteer to construct models around questions like this.)
There are ships that arrive at, at least one, of the port cities to bring bodies that are taken to Manifest on the Ghostwalk, but there has to be a limit to how far people can afford to send a dead body. A king might be able to afford to hire a ship to send his body half way across the world after he dies (especially if there is a chance he can return home to his kingdom) but a farmer wouldn't be able to afford the service.

So there must be a zone on Manifest's world outside which people continue to die and be buried and the locals know nothing about Manifest...or have no direct contact with Manifest.
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