Threshold - town size? (area and population)

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stebehil
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Threshold - town size? (area and population)

Post by stebehil » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:12 pm

I´m just checking the sources on the town of Threshold, and noticed something odd. In the expert set map, there is a scale of one hex = 500 ft. One hex there is about 7 mm in size, which would roughly give a scale of 1:2000 for that map. In the GAZ and K:KoA, the scale is given as being one inch = 500 ft., or roughly 1:6000 scale. Suddenly, everything is way smaller. The map size is roughly the same, but the scale is different.

I tried to measure the size of Threshold, once in the expert set map, and once on the GAZ map. With the expert set map, the city has an area of roughly 1.3 square kilometers, or half a square mile (this is half-measured, half-guessed). The road measures about 6 cm within the city proper, or 1.2 km to scale (~8 hex or 4000 ft.) With the GAZ map, the road inside the town is just about 1200 ft (ca. 2.5 inch). The area of the town would be way smaller than before.

Now, I compared the size of "expert Threshold" to my hometown, which is estimated to have held around 5000 people in c. 1270 AD. The walled-in area is shown on later maps, and hasn´t changed much until the walls were torn down, at which point the city held about 10.000 people. With google maps, I found that the area inside the walls is about 1.1 square kilometers, somewhat smaller than Threshold, but not by much. It looks like the expert set size is about right for a town of 5000 people, and would be somewhat spacious, as described (medieval cities were not that densely built). The later size would be more fitting for the 500 people size given earlier. I would keep the former scale.

Incidentally, Tarnskeep would be about 400 ft. in the earlier map, and probably about 150 ft. in the later map. I know that this map could not be seen as being "to scale" in that regard. The famous Keep on the Borderlands is 330x250 ft. Judging from the description in the GAZ, Tarnskeep should probably be smaller than this, so the 150 ft. size might fit better.

Has this scale discrepancy been discussed before?

Furthermore, I think that the population of the fishing village and the logger camp at 1000 individuals each are too high. These numbers would indicate an industrial-level economy here. The lake does not seem to be that big to support 1000 individuals with fishing, and a 1000 loggers would deforest the area within a decade. Here, I would reduce the population to perhaps 200 each at most.

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Re: Threshold - town size? (area and population)

Post by Gravesguardian » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:47 pm

TSR wasn't known for consistency or realism when it came to maps & population. It's best for each Dm to veiw those as "suggestions" rather than fact.

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Re: Threshold - town size? (area and population)

Post by Sturm » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Yes me too think Expert set scale makes more sense. Fishing village and logger camp could be higher than 100 each if you include all the inhabitants (kids, older, some planters, shoppers, artisans). Not all the inhabitantants need to be logger or supported by fishing..

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Re: Threshold - town size? (area and population)

Post by stebehil » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:02 pm

That is right, of course, regarding the outlying villages and their population. The fishing village is described as a village in the GAZ, so seeing that as a typical "medieval" village regarding population makeup might be reasonable. Perhaps 50 - 60% are children below 15, 20-30% adults and the rest are elderly people. So, we might end up at perhaps 150 fishermen, which sounds reasonable, assuming traditional roles with the able-bodied men being the fishermen.

The logging operation is noted as a camp, which to me evokes an idea of this not being a real village, more a work camp. Still, the upkeep of a workforce of this overall size needs some serious infrastructure - houses, food must be made available, clothes, tools and some sort of government/bookkeeping. Building and upkeep of houses should be routine for loggers, but there will be hunters, cooks, smiths, weavers/seamstresses, leatherworkers etc. Some of these things might be bought in Threshold proper of course, but crossing the river for every pair of boots worn out, every axe in need of sharpening and so on would not be an ideal set up. And don´t forget a tavern and maybe a brothel (although the latter two might be found on Fogor Island as well).

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Re: Threshold - town size? (area and population)

Post by Gravesguardian » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:33 pm

"1,000 individuals" is what you typed in, not 1,000 lumberjacks. Therefore the numbers could be correct if you figure the 1,000 includes all the various people needed for a "self-sufficent" camp. The same holds true for the fishing village.

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Re: Threshold - town size? (area and population)

Post by stebehil » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:29 pm

Yep, thats right. However, GAZ 1 states that "about 1000 loggers live here" (p. 40) - obviously, I was not precise enough in quoting the source. Still, it is probably best to see these "1000 loggers" as being the whole operation, not a 1000 guys with axes and saws felling trees. At least, that is what I will make from is.

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Re: Threshold - town size? (area and population)

Post by Gravesguardian » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:00 pm

Also keep in mind that maybe half the loggers are cutting down trees while the rest might actually be planting seedlings, w/ the help of elves & druids, so that they won't log themselves out of work. May also help to explain why the size of the forest never changes.

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Re: Threshold - town size? (area and population)

Post by stebehil » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:11 pm

Nice idea, and having druids and/or elves helping explains why they can replenish the forest fast enough. This might fall in place nicely with the background to "The sound of madness", the second adventure in K:KoA. Maybe the baron is wise enough to see that the replanting of the forest is necessary, and his niece met the druid one day while inspecting the work there.

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Re: Threshold - town size? (area and population)

Post by Gravesguardian » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:44 pm

Page 22 of the adventure. Sidebar: "His love for Aleena arose when the two met during Bertak's last visit to Threshold." It's at the bottom of the first paragraph. Perhaps Bertrak was in Threshold to discuss replanting w/ the Baron.

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