Population of Sharn

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KtA
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Population of Sharn

Post by KtA » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:46 am

I just got Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron. Sharn only has 200,000 permanent population? With those huge towers? The way it's illustrated, it looks like it ought to have more people than Manhattan.

I mean, that's a lot of people for a low-tech setting, but Eberron's magic makes it effectively higher-tech... And Rome c. 100AD and Constantinople c. 500AD, etc., were much larger even with ancient-world tech.

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Big Mac
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Re: Population of Sharn

Post by Big Mac » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:06 pm

KtA wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:46 am
Sharn only has 200,000 permanent population?
"Permanent"? So there is also a temporary population.

There must be people arriving on airships and leaving on airships, sailing ships, lightning rail trains and caravans who stay in Sharn for a while.

You have the Embassy District. Those people are not natives.

Morgrave University takes up a chunk of space and pulls in students. They might not count as permanent (especially if the university shuts down at certain times of the year).

Deathsgate has an adventurer's quarter. A fair number of adventurers must be waiting for jobs that might take them out of the city. Other adventurers must be arriving looking for work.

I wonder if there are also people close enough to Sharn to commute in. We used to have farmers drive animals into London, to take them to market, in the past. There could be similar things happening in Sharn and it's local area...as well as farmers riding in with carts of fruit and vegetables.

I don't know how many extra people that would give you, but it could bump up the numbers some.
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Beoric
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Re: Population of Sharn

Post by Beoric » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:54 am

I had a conversation about this with Keith once, he said the number isn't really that important. The important thing is that Sharn feel big (in comparison to anything the PCs have experienced in-world, anyway) and crowded.

He also said there is a lot of empty space, which has altered my conception of the city. Since most traffic is still by foot, and there are limited numbers of lifts, I assume most locations are within a few levels up or down from the location of an express lift. This also enables you to really separate Lower levels from Middle levels from Upper levels.

So I imagine the lower levels as being a bunch of 5-6 story buildings built on the ground inside the main towers, similar in architecture to the lower class areas in any city except its easier to build them taller because of the manifest zone - the limit to height is related more to how far people are willing to climb stairs.

The middle levels consist of a few levels above or below a sky lobby, which is reached by an express lift. Wealthier or more industrial areas may also have some levels reached by ordinary lifts. The architecture is very different, because it is designed to cling to the inside or outside of the tower walls, instead of being built on the ground. It is at least 40 stories up, because it can be; "Middle" used to be "Upper" before they built the "Upper". There are lots of windows and balconies, so it has a much different feel than the lower levels, which are basically towns build inside artificial caverns.

The square footage of a floor in the middle levels is much smaller than the lower levels, so 5 levels of buildings on the middle levels houses far fewer people than 5 levels on the middle levels, which in my mind reflects the fact that there are many more members of the lower classes than of the middle class. This also creates more empty space, because while the towers crowd together and their walls often meet on the ground, there is considerable space between the towers at the middle levels. And you get to see all that empty space through the windows and balconies, and also on the wide bridges that connect the towers and which also support buildings along their length. Unlike on the lower levels, middle-level occupants get to go outdoors.

So psychologically, in addition to just being populated by more affluent people and businesses, there is a huge physical separation from the lower levels (the plebes can take the stairs up but it is a big deterrent, and the express lifts serve as a checkpoint for the watch to keep an eye on visitors from below), it is airier, with distinct differences in architecture, and you get to see the light of day, albeit frequently blocked by the forest of other towers.

The upper levels are at a higher sky lobby still, but they tend to open onto a plateau built on top of the tower, with large parks and sprawling estates. A floating tower in the middle levels is pretty cool for the upper middle class, but you can't use it to host garden parties in sprawling gardens, or enjoy the shade of an orchard, or swim in artificial lakes. Your view of the sun is unblocked, and when it is a bit foggy (which it often is in Sharn) you can't even see the city below, it is as though you are living in the clouds.

So we are not talking about 500 levels worth of people, but maybe one or two dozen on average (depending on how many stairs you think people are willing to climb), with the middle and upper levels being much smaller in area than the lower levels, and the upper levels being sparsely populated.

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Re: Population of Sharn

Post by KtA » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:04 am

Big Mac wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:06 pm
KtA wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:46 am
Sharn only has 200,000 permanent population?
"Permanent"? So there is also a temporary population.
Well, sure, but the way the towers are described it sounds larger than Manhattan. It says "tens of thousands" pass through every day, so that could easily push it up from the base 210,000 to 300 or 400k, but not the tens of millions that mile-high towers suggest. But ...
Beoric wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:54 am
So we are not talking about 500 levels worth of people, but maybe one or two dozen on average (depending on how many stairs you think people are willing to climb), with the middle and upper levels being much smaller in area than the lower levels, and the upper levels being sparsely populated.
...that would make sense, then. I was thinking mile high towers meant 400-500 actual stories, like a modern skyscraper would have if extrapolated to that height.

If there's only 15 or so actual populated stories (I have a vague memory of reading somewhere that 5 stories was about the limit for buildings before elevators), and the upper ones are spacious/thinly populated, then it would fit perfectly if Sharn's land-area footprint is small (and it is described as having little room to grow horizontally).

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