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 Population size, or "400 at High Horn?!"
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Ari
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2017 :  18:36:41  Show Profile Send Ari a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
(No I did not misname High Horn as Horn Hill several times. You saw nothing. You HAVE nothing.)

So going by the WotC site, Faer#363;n is several million square miles. Cormyr, one of the most stable and organized nations on the Inner Sea, has everything it needs for a large and steadily-growing population. Its proximity to expansionist powers and monster lairs and nationalistic fervor helped make one of the first professional standing armies in the Realms, the famed Purple Dragons. With a ready force of soldiers backed by the War Wizards, a devotion to order and conformity, the implicit understanding that to beget is a Cormyte's duty to the Crown and enough peace and prosperity to raise children in proper kindness and plenty you'd think Cormyr would have some serious numbers.

So you can understand why it was so confusing to read that Horn Hill, the most important fortress on the Storm Horns, had all of 400 troops stationed there on the regular.

The numbers given in the Campaign Guide are similarly weird, High Horn's isn't given, but the cities of Suzail, Marsember and Wheloon have, respectively, 55,000, 38,000 and 3,000. Putting aside that thousands of people were locked in a city to stew and die without a trial because a lot of them were in the pay of Thultantar(thus creating a nice safehouse for Shade agents), those are some seriously lackluster numbers for what,s supposed to be the indomitable core of unquestioned, imperial power that Cormyr,s written up as being.

In general, that,s just the tip of the weirdly desolate iceberg. But I feel it,s at least worth figuring on either more reasonable populations or to ignore it and pretend it,s enough. Or maybe most people live in the countryside so those numbers aren,t indicative.

But High Horn is especially weird since, again, it,s basically the western gate and it only had 400 permanent troops? That won,t stop even one dragon, or slow down even one goblin warband.

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29908 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2017 :  18:58:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ari

(No I did not misname High Horn as Horn Hill several times. You saw nothing. You HAVE nothing.)


quote:
Originally posted by Ari

So you can understand why it was so confusing to read that Horn Hill, the most important fortress on the Storm Horns, had all of 400 troops stationed there on the regular.




Nope, didn't see a thing.

quote:
Originally posted by Ari

But High Horn is especially weird since, again, it,s basically the western gate and it only had 400 permanent troops? That won,t stop even one dragon, or slow down even one goblin warband.



My guess would be that the key word here is "permanent." I would say there is a permanent standing garrison of 400 troops that are there every day, rain or shine, for at least a couple years at a time. However, I'd further guess that those permanent troops are supplemented by additional units that are rotated in and out on a regular basis -- maybe every 6 months or so, as a kind of "get 'em sharp and keep 'em that way" kind of readiness training. Green troops are rotated through to get some experience, and longer-serving troops are rotated through to make sure their skills and training don't get rusty.

I'd further guess that the 400 permanent troops are split into small units that are attached to the larger units when they rotate in; that way, there are skilled troops that are familiar with the area with the "softblades" and "dullblades" that are only there for 6 months. (Those terms are my own; I figure the permanent troops would have non-flattering names for the constant stream of troops from elsewhere)

There are likely War Wizards there to supplement the 400, as well, and to make sure that if reinforcements are needed, they're available in a hurry.

Lastly, I'd expect that the High Horn frequently hosts Crown-sponsored adventuring bands, to do those things you don't tap regular army troops for.

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Ari
Seeker

40 Posts

Posted - 18 Apr 2017 :  20:24:47  Show Profile Send Ari a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Aw, and I was so sure I got them all! Originally it was at least twice as long, must have missed that as I shortened it.

But yeah, that makes sense, a base, mnimum garrison of 400 Purple Dragons with rotating shifts of soldiers from the valley, auxiliaries and War Wizards helping with transport and weather. Be bad times if they got snowed in, after all. Wonder if they make offerings to Auril and Talos up there.

Yeah, that puts it very differently, thanks Wooly Rupert! A big stumbling block for me has always been squaring the Realms dual focus of "giant world of magic, mystery and monsters" with the need to make things small enough that PCs can cleary make a difference and aren't swallowed up by the world's enormity.

What do you make of the city numbers?
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13459 Posts

Posted - 19 Apr 2017 :  00:30:23  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There are literally HUNDREDS of tiny settlements all throughout Cormyr we never hear about, plus tons of farms, ranches, keeps, etc where people live in non-settlement fashion.

Maybe 10% of the population is represented by the towns and cities - the rest of the folks are living in rural areas.

And YEAH, 400 is a minimum number of people you'd have on hand at any given time simply to maintain the keep. Patrols, both large and small, are constantly riding around Cormyr (we even see characters running into these patrols on several occasions in novels, that's how frequent they are). Thus, they are not including those troops - anywhere from 20-1000 could be 'passing through'; resting up for a couple of days before continuing on their patrol routes, and resupplying, etc.

And as I have also seen in the novels, when one 'outpost' (be it a tiny thorp or large fortification) is threatened, the very first thing they do is send riders out... and more troops are only a couple of hours away (if there aren't enough nearby to handle the problem... and there usually are... then the warwizards open gates and send more on through... as many as needed.) That's the main reason why Cormyr doesn't need to 'base' large numbers in a few large forts - its has outposts of every size in practically every settlement, and in-between settlements (towers, waystops, etc), and can not only call on these additional troops, but the warwizards make it possible for practically the entire army to confront anyone on any front, just by using magic.

Cormyr is what it is BECAUSE of the warwizards, not just the soldiers. They have become the masters of magical logistics, and go from surprised to fully battle-ready in under an hour (and have the troops delivered to the front) - no normal medieval kingdom can compare to that. Sadly, 'stationed' troops just give the bad guys something to hit (and slow them down) until the real forces arrive (and that DID work the same way as RW ancient tactics - you don't need many men to hold fortified 'bottlenecks' - passes, bridges, etc).

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 19 Apr 2017 00:40:35
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Mapolq
Senior Scribe

Brazil
465 Posts

Posted - 19 Apr 2017 :  03:12:51  Show Profile Send Mapolq a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A permanent garrison of 400 people in a castle in times of relative peace is a very large contingent. A city of 55,000 people is also quite large. Not HUGE, but it's roughly the size of London in the 1500s. And Cormyr has two of those a day's ride from each other.

The FRCS (3rd edition) tends to use a figure of 10% of people living in the major cities for the nations with entries. If you don't believe me, check the FRCS, choose a few nations, sum up the population numbers given for the cities, towns and villages given in the description, multiply by ten and compare with the given population for the whole nation.

If anything, 10% urbanisation is a very high rate for an agrarian society, but Faerūn is in many respects a trade society closer to 18th century Europe than the Middle Ages, so that 10% actually feels good for me. Still, the point, which was already stated by Markustay, is that most people in Faerūn definitely live in the country.

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Starshade
Learned Scribe

Norway
94 Posts

Posted - 19 Apr 2017 :  09:46:43  Show Profile Send Starshade a Private Message  Reply with Quote
http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/High_Horn_(hold)
here, a citation from the TSR Cormyr book claims the high hold got 100 archers and 300 other soldiers; and during winter, half of Cormyr's army stay there.
A comment on the discussion:
10% city dwellers sounds good for the FR setting. More high medieval and renaissance, or perhaps it resembles the age of enlightenment more than "traditional" medieval ages. More craftsmen, specialized production. Import/export, etc.

Edited by - Starshade on 19 Apr 2017 09:50:31
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