Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

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Case ee
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Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Case ee » Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:39 pm

I've searched the Pandius site and all the listings of Kelven that I have seen use a larger population (20,000). I've decided that the population is much smaller (5,000).

Are there examples of Kelven with a smaller population?

I'd rather not parse through the 150+ options when I search for "Kelven" on the Pandius site.



Some notes on my campaign if you want some context:

I'm running Night's Dark Terror using 5e rules. The party will be heading westward at some point, with the option of spending some time in Kelven. Although the module clearly states that nothing happens in Kelven, I'm certain that we'll spend a session (or two) here since this is the first time we'll be role-playing being in the city.

Side note: The adventure technically begins in Kelven, but I narrated the first part of Night's Dark Terror during session 0.

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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by night_druid » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:22 pm

Any particular reason for wanting a smaller population? Overall a 20,000 population city is pretty small to begin with. Either way, I'm not sure it matters much either way.
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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Havard » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:45 pm

The discussion of population of Karameikos towns is something that keeps coming up ever so often. I believe the discrepancy comes from the difference between the Expert Set listing the lower numbers and Gaz1 Grand Duchy of Karameikos listing the higher numbers. B10 Dark Night's Terror, an excellent module, follows the numbers from the Expert Set.

One way to reconcile the differences in population numbers that has been suggested in the past is that Gaz1 describes the situation in AC1000, but earlier sources describe the setting 30 years earlier.

AFAIK B10 is the only prouduct using the "Kelven" spelling for the town. I kind of like there being different spellings of the city though. It is not like they had standardized spelling back in medieval times anyway.

night_druid wrote:Any particular reason for wanting a smaller population? Overall a 20,000 population city is pretty small to begin with. Either way, I'm not sure it matters much either way.
I agree with this. I tend not to give out population numbers to my players anyway.

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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by AllanP » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:23 pm

Just an observation -

Wasn't B10 "Night's Dark Terror" the only Karameikos specific moodule produced by TSR's UK team?

You know there's plenty of spelli ng differences between UK English and US English (e.g. colour/color)

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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Urieal » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:46 pm

I vastly prefer the smaller numbers as it allows the campaign, overall, to be more wild.

It requires less outlying farms and so forth to support the population.
With smaller numbers, a large gathering of humanoids is more of a threat.
Humanoids do more in-fighting between themselves than with humans, because if they banded together it would be catastrophic for humanity in the region.
It just feels more gritty and dangerous.


It makes the world feel more dangerous and that pockets of civilization are important.

This isn't to say that Specularum (Mirros, Marilenev, whatever your fancy) couldn't be a large city, like Lanhkmar or along those lines, but my preference is for smaller cities and towns to give a more wild feel to the area.

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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Thorf » Mon May 06, 2019 4:52 am

Searching for Kelvin stuff and came across this thread.
Havard wrote:
Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:45 pm
AFAIK B10 is the only prouduct using the "Kelven" spelling for the town. I kind of like there being different spellings of the city though. It is not like they had standardized spelling back in medieval times anyway.
The conflict actually originates in the 1983 Expert Set, which had Kelvin on the maps but both Kelvin and Kelven in the text. After that, subsequent sources had to choose one or the other, and there was little consistency in which they went with.

On the topic of the thread, as far as I know, Kelvin never had official population figures at all until GAZ1. It was described in B10 as follows:
B10 Night's Dark Terror wrote:Kelven is a thriving frontier town that has grown up rapidly, following its establish- ment at the point where the rivers Wind- rush, Shutturga, and Volaga meet. Much timber passes through Kelven on its way to Specularum where it is used to build ships and houses, or else exported to neigh- bouring states. Merchants following the trade routes from Specularum to Threshold and distant Selenica regularly travel through Kelven ensuring plenty of trade for the town.
Given the prime location and the "rapid" growth, I'd say it's not at all surprising to see why GAZ1 made it a city. This question therefore ties more into the question of what stage of Karameikos' development you want to play in. The easiest way to deal with this setting-wise is surely by choosing a timeframe: Karameikos was settled by the Thyatians in 970 AC, and GAZ1 says that Kelvin's population is 20,000 by 1000 AC. So if you set B10 in for example 980, it's quite reasonable to have Kelvin with 5,000 people at that time. In fact, make it 985 and we already know from GAZ1 that Specularum's 50,000 figure was true then.

That's a solution that allows everything in official stuff to stand as is, but there's also no reason not to do things differently in your own campaign. ;)

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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Case ee » Mon May 06, 2019 1:58 pm

I like having lower human population numbers for Karameikos for the reasons that Urieal cited in the post above. After reading through the gritty descriptions in Veiled Society, I like it even more.

Another thing I have thought about in regards to Kelven and B10, why doesn’t Lord Kelven ever send soldiers to Sukiskyn? There’s an invading force roaming the countryside and wiping out whole villages.

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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Robin » Mon May 06, 2019 2:33 pm

Case ee wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 1:58 pm
Another thing I have thought about in regards to Kelven and B10, why doesn’t Lord Kelven ever send soldiers to Sukiskyn? There’s an invading force roaming the countryside and wiping out whole villages.
That could have several reasons
1 political...reaction, repercuhions, and stresses in the current political system/balance in Karameikos. especially between Trladaran and Thyatian
2 religious...as Kelvin is a cleric and the period the adventure B10 is set (Between 1000-1005 B10 assumed to have happened) there is already Divine interference in the region due the Wrath of the Immortals interactions
3 Local tensions...Between 1005-1007 Penhaligon Trilogy assumed to have happened with major battles in North Karameikos, which would cause too much deterrence from Lord Kelvin's plans to allow forces to go elsewhere.(this option is ignored if the Penhaligon Trilogy is not happening in your campaign)
4 Argos the Worrier...The Green Dragon, though reasonably silent and at ease is a formidable opponent, not something to be arguing with as a mere Lord.
5...it is much cheaper, and riskless to let adventurers do the job.
6...Only a few mostly small family based settlements are being attacked, thus far (in the despotic opinion of Lord Desmond Kelvin) not something to worry about, especially as half the population succeeded to flee. everything will soon balance out and start anew. this happens thus often, it is more a nuisance than a real problem....at least thus far Desmond kelvin
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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Mike » Mon May 06, 2019 6:07 pm

I feel that the original lower populations suggest a points-of-light medieval tone (which was I think the intent), while the higher GAZ populations suggest more of a renaissance tone (also intended I think).

Large population centers imply great swaths of forest and wilderness converted to settled farmland; well established law and order; good roads supporting heavy traffic and trade between towns; and busy marine trade along coasts and rivers. There is little or no unexplored wilderness. That doesn't meant there aren't lawless regions, but they are known and mapped. The problem isn't texploration or monsters, it is politics and wars. For this type of setting I think you just layout the trail maps on the table and let players look at them and travel as they will. The maps aren't secrets, and you can probably book travel on a coach or boat between places like Kelvin and Specularum and Threshold. This is a lot like Warhammer's Old World but without the darkness. I feel like it's hard to support the existence of monsters unless they are an organized political force -- otherwise armies would wipe them out.

One problem I have with large population centers is that population spreads out if there is room to do so; population centers grow when there is no wilderness left to settle. That only applies to fertile regions -- land that is not fertile for crops or pasture will remain wild, as will unstable areas threatened by war, or areas too far away to migrate to. Mystara has vast areas of apparent wilderness, dotted with crowded metropolises. That doesn't really make sense to me. Why would anyone live in a crowded city when they can travel a few dozen miles and homestead their own farm? But I am not a historian, maybe there is precedent for this. Maybe monsters could explain it, in places where there are monsters. But it seems to me that the plains of Darokin should be thickly populated. People don't leave the farmlands until (1) technology reduce the labor needed to grow food, and (2) transportation such as railroads or rivers allows two way flow of goods between farms and markets. I don't see either of these happening in Mystara. Without tech you need a LOT of people working on the farms, and without transport you need local towns to provide services to those farms.

It could be explained if farming is so productive that only the areas immediately adjacent to a city are necessary to feed it, so that the city serves as the local market for the farmers. If farming is easy and food is plentiful and cheap, and quality of life in a city is better than living in the country, then nobody would have any reason to live on a farm. That is a level of productivity and affluence that matches or exceeds the modern day, I think.

Small population centers could feel either medieval or S&S. London (a decent analogue for Specularum) did not exceed 20,000 people until maybe 1200 or later. The general lay of the countryside was known, but people didn't travel much and there were still areas that were still large forests and wild hill country. There are bandits and local robber barons, and in D&D room for goblin tribes or other monsters. It's not really the time of Robin Hood and Arthurian Knights, but still the age of chivalry, and close enough to fudge.

The other option is a classic Sword & Sorcery type setting, like Conan or innumerable B-movies. Cities are always small and grungy, the wilderness perilous and full of monsters, local lords are either petty tyrants or lack the ability to extend power beyond the nearest village. You are on your own unless you're lucky enough to have heroes pass through and offer to help. This is probably more like dark ages Europe or homeric Greece, and probably the closest to the default assumptions of D&D.

Certainly it is a stylistic choice depending on what sort of campaign you envision, and canonically you could go either way.

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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Morfie » Tue May 07, 2019 12:03 pm

In the Expert Set era, you could book travel.
Even in the GAZ era, it was still only 20% of the population that lived in the named towns and cities. There were still plenty of Wilderness/Borderland areas to place dungeons and other adventures. The same areas were mapped in both eras, and also just because an area is mapped doesn't mean it was under complete control.

Mystara of the GAZ era was analogous to Europe of the 15th Century, without Gunpowder, the Printing Press, and the Black Death. The development of the Savage Coast alone between both eras made for a much more interesting place to explore.

A 50k city was also not unheard of on Earth in pre-industrial times. Rome had a mill in the Empire days, and there are many other cities in the BCE pre-medieval eras that reached 100k or more. The Medieval Era alone had Nanking with 500k, Florence had 100k (many other Italian city states were 50k+), Paris 200k. Constantinople had declined to 100k (from an 11th century peak well over 500k). London itself went from 18k in 1100 to 100k in 1300.

Grain growth rates during medieval times were at 2:1 to 7:1 enabling millions to be fed (Grain being 70% of their diet) without having to be farmers as well.
Also worth remembering is that these folk were mostly fed to a subsistence level. Being hungry was common, and being fat was a luxury that very few could afford. 3 meals a day didn't start until 18th century.

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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Robin » Tue May 07, 2019 12:59 pm

Morfie wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:03 pm
Grain growth rates during medieval times were at 2:1 to 7:1 enabling millions to be fed (Grain being 70% of their diet) without having to be farmers as well.
Also worth remembering is that these folk were mostly fed to a subsistence level. Being hungry was common, and being fat was a luxury that very few could afford. 3 meals a day didn't start until 18th century.
Totally agree to your points.:p

To the last point that bread was the main part of the diet is a bit off.(I have several cookbook replicas of 1100 to 1600) ...it is only 50%, the rest is roots/beets/carrots, beans, and other vegetables easily stored added with poultry/eggs, butchered meat, blood, fat, bones and seasonal fruits.
and one major important thing we forget...the Dish itself.
Most people ate from a board of wood or a bread dish (which was eaten later also, drained with the grease and other liquids)
Dishes like we know today were tin or clay with the above average income and ceramic of metals with the real rich (soldiers originally ate from the back of their shield and had a mug for liquids)...everything had multiple uses, something we today have forgotten

Menu's (for thusfar we can call it thus was a bowl of vegetable soup sometimes added with local fish/poultry remnants with fresh bread or loose grain with milk products, followed by a main dish(on a bread dish if poor or tin of richer) of Cheese and vegetables or meat (fish/poultry, bred pig/swine or old cow, or rarely ;local wildlife including rat/mice/beaver, or (mostly illegaly) captured rabbit/hare/deer/boar). Bred animals were almost always eaten when there was lack of food, or the animal was no longer producing . The last dish was was a milk product being milk yoghurt cheese often with fruitjuices or sometimes cheap wine. Beer was what people drank during eating, or milk products. wine or fermented fruitjuices and such were rarely used and then only selfmade from local plants.
Mystara taverns are actually overstocked and too expensive in reflection to Real Life, and would be ignored by the poor locals.
A knight requesting a sleep by his rights would mostly bee fed something of the above (often embellished somewhat out of pride or fear as having a knight visiting them).


As to the settlements; like today most people lived in or near settlements..like a spiderweb with clumbs wavering out over the landscape following fertile areas and travel conduits(road/trail/river) restricted by forests, mountains, rivers, swamps, lakes and seas, always trying to get the most out of these areas without entering them too far or riskful.
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/artic ... 62678.g002
the average people never traveled more than 20 miles from their home regularly and rarely 50 miles . this last mostly to trade, out of dire need to trade, or out of family bond requirements, and extremely rare out of curiosity/exploration. due this ---even in those days---like you said----most people lived in or near a settlement. There was no interest in the lands afar, except basic knowledge or what could be bought locally coming from there,

settlements were easily created out of small groups of male workers(or even bandits) on crossroads, fords/bridges, near local resources as long there was food/material and allowance of the owner of the land
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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Morfie » Wed May 08, 2019 7:31 am

Robin wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:59 pm
Morfie wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:03 pm
Grain growth rates during medieval times were at 2:1 to 7:1 enabling millions to be fed (Grain being 70% of their diet) without having to be farmers as well.
Also worth remembering is that these folk were mostly fed to a subsistence level. Being hungry was common, and being fat was a luxury that very few could afford. 3 meals a day didn't start until 18th century.
Totally agree to your points.:p

To the last point that bread was the main part of the diet is a bit off.(I have several cookbook replicas of 1100 to 1600) ...it is only 50%, the rest is roots/beets/carrots, beans, and other vegetables easily stored added with poultry/eggs, butchered meat, blood, fat, bones and seasonal fruits.
and one major important thing we forget...the Dish itself.
Most people ate from a board of wood or a bread dish (which was eaten later also, drained with the grease and other liquids)
Dishes like we know today were tin or clay with the above average income and ceramic of metals with the real rich (soldiers originally ate from the back of their shield and had a mug for liquids)...everything had multiple uses, something we today have forgotten

Menu's (for thusfar we can call it thus was a bowl of vegetable soup sometimes added with local fish/poultry remnants with fresh bread or loose grain with milk products, followed by a main dish(on a bread dish if poor or tin of richer) of Cheese and vegetables or meat (fish/poultry, bred pig/swine or old cow, or rarely ;local wildlife including rat/mice/beaver, or (mostly illegaly) captured rabbit/hare/deer/boar). Bred animals were almost always eaten when there was lack of food, or the animal was no longer producing . The last dish was was a milk product being milk yoghurt cheese often with fruitjuices or sometimes cheap wine. Beer was what people drank during eating, or milk products. wine or fermented fruitjuices and such were rarely used and then only selfmade from local plants.
Mystara taverns are actually overstocked and too expensive in reflection to Real Life, and would be ignored by the poor locals.
A knight requesting a sleep by his rights would mostly bee fed something of the above (often embellished somewhat out of pride or fear as having a knight visiting them).
That was grain, not just bread. I would have to re-check my sources, but I'm pretty sure that 70% figure was worldwide, so would also include the likes of maize in the Americas, and rice in Asia. (Incidentally still the top 3 staple products today.) I would guess your cookbook figure is Euro-centric and I am inclined to agree with it for that area. ;)

Re: Beer, I recall reading a while ago that the beer/ale/wine of the middle ages was much weaker than what we have today. I think people otherwise imagine folk of that era as rolling drunks.

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Re: Kelvin (or Kelven) Smaller Population

Post by Robin » Wed May 08, 2019 3:24 pm

Morfie wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:31 am
That was grain, not just bread. I would have to re-check my sources, but I'm pretty sure that 70% figure was worldwide, so would also include the likes of maize in the Americas, and rice in Asia. (Incidentally still the top 3 staple products today.) I would guess your cookbook figure is Euro-centric and I am inclined to agree with it for that area. ;)

Re: Beer, I recall reading a while ago that the beer/ale/wine of the middle ages was much weaker than what we have today. I think people otherwise imagine folk of that era as rolling drunks.
Oh yes not only bread, porridge and loose grains were used also regularly, often as an ingredient to a major dish.
Keep also in mind most farming people have the main dish in the midle of the day, instead what we currently see at the end of the day

Europe centric...ok that might be, especially in the books 1100 to 1400, those beyond have some recipies more foreign...
As I said most people don't (and many currently still do) not desire to eat something not indiginous or regulraly brought in. ...both out of cost or dislike (a Translated Dutch saying; What the farmer doesn't know, he does not eat. (wat de boer niet kent, vreet hij niet)
the vegetables in the Netherlands are still varieties of Cabbage,beans, carrots and beets, potatoes(this was early a solid grain porridge with berries) with fish, while in france more fruits and meat are used (and as such they eat more weirder stuff likee snails)

In the books I spoke of are weird recipies with poultry, like rooster fins(those thing on his head) with its testicles, only for men, or bovine organs just for women (guaranteed to increase bust size, and improve pregnancies.

I indeed do not know how other regions act; yet as I look to China, indiginous south america, and the middle east...people there seem to follow the same line; of unknown is not preferred to eat. so this maybe fear based habit might be something human.


As to the Kelvin region vs RL middleages
Image
Moost people helped on the land, be it produce or cattle

The following image in my opinion refelcts the Road Kelvin to Specularum/Mirros viewed south.
A peddler carried baskets full of pots, pans, spoons, knives and whatever else was needed in a medieval household.
Image

ll in all I don't think it is needed to reduce the poulation to achieve a middle ages feel.
When you imaginge Kelvin


Serfs lived in small farms that they built themselves from wood, branches and loam. Animals and people often lived in one space. And neighbours did some trading with leftovers of harvest. They had to obey the landlords and were not allowed to leave the land. It was their job to ensure that there was enough food in the castle. In exchange, they received protection from the landlord and his soldiers. When enemy troops came to plunder, they were allowed to hide in the castle. Even though Karameikos does not allow Serfs the living style would be similar. Everyone cooperated on the land. Children of ordinary people did not go to school. Although allowed (and even part of tradirtion; Shearing Years) to leave, most would find it easier not too do so, and return when the Shearing Years are over.
Free farmers rented the land and the farm. They paid with money or with part of the harvest. They were not really free.There were now people who practiced a craft. They made something with their hands and sold it. Blacksmiths, tanners, potters and shoemakers were such craftsmen.
Itinerant merchants, peddlers, sold all kinds of things at people's homes. When merchants settled in permanent places, the first villages with shops emerged. Often at ford places in a river or at a crossing of roads. The villages were usually also on the land of a landlord. He had the villagers pay taxes in exchange for protection.
Still later the first cities like Kelvin emerged. Against payment of a lot of money, a landlord (Stephan Karameikos) could give a city city rights. The citizens were allowed to run the city themselves and they could judge themselves (or allow someone else to do so in this case LordDesmond Kelvin). But they also had to defend the city. That is why they had walls built around the city with two or four gates. City dwellers were then called poorters.

Gatekeepers checked who entered or left the city.
Image
Rich Poorters had beautiful houses, but the poor people lived in small wooden houses. They were built close together. The families lived and worked in one room. The whole family slept in one bed. In the Middle Ages it was not normal to wash often. Dirt, food scraps and the contents of the pot were dumped in the street. Rats, pigs and dogs roamed loose. Infectious diseases often broke out. But nobody understood where they came from. And this total image would be detailed enough to enliven Kelvin and Specularum/Mirros, and many other cities, Although Specularum/Mirros would have more Thyatian influences like sewers and such, and less dirt on the surface, and being in effect more equal to Roman settlements.

All in all in don't think it is indeed notneeded to lower the population, most people would work on the fields nearby at day, and would not directly count to the active amount of people, the shopmerchants and officials and the elderly would remain behind giving enough oppurtunity to mediaval feel.
The busiest time would be roughly after sunrise and before sunset,when people travel between their fields to work upon and the city they live in, as trying to get the most out of a days work, they feared the night as in the dark looms danger by predators, foul folk, and the unknown (or in Mystara case Humanoids, Dragons, Lycanthropes or whatever creepy thing could endanger you)
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