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Nicolai Withander
Master of Realmslore

Denmark
1088 Posts

Posted - 03 Dec 2019 :  00:13:15  Show Profile Send Nicolai Withander a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hi guys and girls, I have a few questions about the populations of Faerun:

1) How many inhabitants are there roughly in Faerun around year 1372?

2) How many people of each level existed at that time? As in how many were level 1, 2, 3,... level 20?

3) How common are spellcasters? Like 1 in 10 or 1 in 100?

I was wondering if anyone here might know of either a formula, or perhaps Ed or other designers might have giving they estimate somewhere?

I assume most people are level 1 commoners, but how common is a level 7 sorcerer or wizard for example?

Any comments are ost welcome!

Thanks!

Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 03 Dec 2019 :  01:44:53  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Some of this has been discussed here:

http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=8842

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6898 Posts

Posted - 03 Dec 2019 :  04:45:52  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Some of this has also been discussed here:

http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15659

[/Ayrik]
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1708 Posts

Posted - 03 Dec 2019 :  11:14:07  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The canon AD&D 2nd Edition answer to adventurer demographics is found in DM's Option: High Level Campaigns. As I recall, roughly one in ten has adventurer class levels, half of them are 1st level and roughly half the people of any given level advance to the next one, the other half die or retire at that level.

So, adventurers of high levels are truly one in a million people. Pretty obviously, because they are powerful superheroes with abilities that no real people can have, and if they were in any way common, no D&D world would resemble any historical society even slightly.

Basically, around the 5th level, in D&D rule set, characters are street-level superheroes more than they are normal people, and once their levels are in the high teens, characters are full-blown superheroes. And superhero stories are generally assumed to take place in a world where superheroes are rare and most people are normal humans.

That being said, I feel that Toril is a highly magical world where higher level adventurers tend to amass divine assistance, magical life-extension and all sorts of other things that skew demographics in their favour, so despite the raw numbers apparently leading to the conclusion that zero 25th+ level people exist in Faerun, the reality is that dozens of such people actually do.

1) Canonically, the combined number of citizens in the established civilized realms of Faerun is 68,000,000. That obviously doesn't count all of Toril and given that the 'monstrous' races (primarily orcs and goblinoids, in raw numbers) probably outnumber the civilized ones, it's not even everyone who might have adventurer class levels in Faerun.

2) It seems like a plausible rule of thumb that no more than 1/10 of people really have adventurer classes. So, around 7 million people with adventurer classes, of whom around half will die or retire before going above first level. Statistically (by the AD&D demographics), only around 7,000 people in Faerun should be 10th+ level, which may or may not be accurate.

3) If 1/10 have adventurer levels, then spellcasters will be rarer than that, given that many adventurer classes have no spellcasting abilities or no spellcasting below a certain level (that most people never reach). Maybe spellcasters of all types are 1/20, 1/25 or 1/30 of the population (with 1st and 2nd level spellcasters, only capable of casting 1st level spells, and therefore more like apprentices or acolytes, being 75% of that number). So spellcasters capable of casting truly impressive spells (which I'd argue starts with 3rd level spells, e.g. Continual Flame/Light (though that is 2nd level in some editions), Cure/Remove Disease/Blindness/Deafness, Fireball, Fly, Speak With Dead, Water Breathing and Water Walk) are probably somewhere around 1/200 to 1/1000.

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6898 Posts

Posted - 03 Dec 2019 :  15:17:58  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, your other option in 1E/2E AD&D is to go through the FR0/FRA campaign references and actually count the character levels in each city, town, and village, lol.

Take notice of the fact that each major settlement has perhaps one or two dozen prominent NPCs who might be described as covering a wildly variable range of levels, some of these "background" folks are surprisingly/implausibly/ridiculously high levels.
But armies of generic soldiers, militia, etc, are quickly overlooked and glossed over and itemized. Even though these groups often contain hundreds or thousands of low-level (and mid-level) fighters.

[/Ayrik]
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Nicolai Withander
Master of Realmslore

Denmark
1088 Posts

Posted - 04 Dec 2019 :  09:01:40  Show Profile Send Nicolai Withander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
First of all, thank you all for your responses!

Secondly, let me see if I understand this correctly:

Ca. 1 in 10 person qualify to become a level 1 adventurer (11.6%).

Out of a million inhabitants that's 116.000 characters with PC classes, the rest (884.000) being commoners, warriors or experts I assume.

Out of those 116.000, about half reach only level one, a quarter level 2 and so on... Is this approximatly the correct understanding/ agreed upon simplification of the population in Faerun based on level?

The question then comes to spellcasters. Would one go by bell curve in terms of the chance of having a high enough score to actually cast the spells, or do we simple assume an even distribution of all the PC classes? (9 of each per 100) (keeping it simple lets just keep to core classes from PHB)

Thank you in advance!

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1708 Posts

Posted - 04 Dec 2019 :  13:49:26  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Nicolai Withander

The question then comes to spellcasters. Would one go by bell curve in terms of the chance of having a high enough score to actually cast the spells, or do we simple assume an even distribution of all the PC classes? (9 of each per 100) (keeping it simple lets just keep to core classes from PHB)


I very much doubt that the distribution of classes is even. My personal feeling is that it depends on the availability of instruction, especially for classes which require some level of education to qualify for them.

Self-taught people with PC classes might exist, but it's reasonable to assume that these are exceptions and that usually, the difference between a proper wizard or a hedge magician or a fighter and a warrior, to take some examples, are whether they were professionally instructed.

I would assume that in realms where there is little formal education available, fewer people who might theoretically have been qualified for it become bards, wizards or clerics. In areas where the lower classes rarely learn to read, for example, very few potentially qualified individuals will ever find themselves exposed to opportunities that lead to any career requiring book learning.

Because of the existence of temples and their acceptance of acolytes, I should imagine that clerics are more common than wizards in most lands, at least lands where there are no organized wizard colleges.

I should think that fighters and rogues require the least amount of education and that teachers for these are available on the widest basis, so these classes should, logically, be more common than other classes in most societies on Toril, at least how I experience the descriptions of them in novels.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
8411 Posts

Posted - 04 Dec 2019 :  18:02:40  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There were also rules for this in 3rd edition in the DMG. Personally, with as dangerous as Toril is compared to our own world, I picture people with character class levels as being fairly common. After all, in our own world, just travelling from one city to another doesn't stand a good chance that you can get kidnapped and eaten.... but with orcs/goblins/ogres/giants/trolls, etc... roaming the countryside of Faerun, I can't help but picture that a lot of folk have had some basic martial training.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

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Wrigley
Senior Scribe

Czech Republic
588 Posts

Posted - 05 Dec 2019 :  14:17:08  Show Profile  Visit Wrigley's Homepage Send Wrigley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My take on this is that levels are mainly a function of age. Humans commonly get up to 10 level in whatever class they chose when they get old with prime about 5th level. As a class I consider also nonheroic classes like adepts, warriors and experts. All heroic classes require teaching of some sort. Nonheroic classes can be upgraded to heroic with training. Longer living races have higher levels in their prime and old age as they had more time to develop. Adventurers are just leveling faster than common population so they have a chance to get to higher levels faster (in their lifetime). The same goes for anyone who lives in risky environment, have a lot of responsibility or focuses on a specific field.
So in numbers - level 1.-5. should be evenly distributed within given population, 6.-10. less as there are higher chances that something ends your life early. Rest of the levels are rare with little higher amounts with longer living races. Most numerous should be nonheroic classes and about 1/3 should be heroic but I see it as more of a function of resources/background than experience.
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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1708 Posts

Posted - 05 Dec 2019 :  18:23:30  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wrigley

My take on this is that levels are mainly a function of age. Humans commonly get up to 10 level in whatever class they chose when they get old with prime about 5th level. As a class I consider also nonheroic classes like adepts, warriors and experts. All heroic classes require teaching of some sort. Nonheroic classes can be upgraded to heroic with training. Longer living races have higher levels in their prime and old age as they had more time to develop. Adventurers are just leveling faster than common population so they have a chance to get to higher levels faster (in their lifetime). The same goes for anyone who lives in risky environment, have a lot of responsibility or focuses on a specific field.
So in numbers - level 1.-5. should be evenly distributed within given population, 6.-10. less as there are higher chances that something ends your life early. Rest of the levels are rare with little higher amounts with longer living races. Most numerous should be nonheroic classes and about 1/3 should be heroic but I see it as more of a function of resources/background than experience.


Why would all humans accumulate superheroic abilities simply because they got older?

Under D&D rules 5th level characters, even if they merely' have NPC classes, can still pretty reliably survive trauma that real people mostly do not. 10th level people can throw themselves off cliffs and survive reliably. Not only survive, but continue to to run and act after they land, because they are still at positive hit points.

The way I interpret this is that high-level characters, those high level enough to have capabilities that no real human has, should be rare in the world of the setting, at least if we want that setting to mostly have people that are recognizably human.

In real life, a 62-year-old Walmart greeter is not going to be able to survive a car crash, beat up several twenty-year-olds and then finish out his shift, because none of his injuries really affect him. In real life, he's not even likely to be any better at his job than a random younger person.

Most people don't continually improve their abilities throughout their lives. They improve until age 25 or so, deteriorate physically from age 25 and it depends on the person whether they improve or deteriorate mentally from a peak of around 35-45, with the mechanics of the brain subtly deteriorating, but some people read, experience and challenge their mind enough to compensate.

As far as skills are concerned, people tend to get better if the are being challenged, but once they've mastered all the basic tasks, most people will simply continue to rely on what they already know.

Most farmhands, drovers, muleteers, longshoremen, miners, street sweepers or other working people in the Realms will not dramatically improve their skills once they've learned the basics of their profession. Even those who are exceptionally driven and take much pride in their technique will only improve incrementally and, at most, be very good at their narrow field, they won't have any abilities that high-level D&D characters amass (better combat abilities, insane survivability, higher ability scores, regular new feats, etc.

Granted, I use the GURPS rules to roleplay in the Realms, instead of D&D rules, specifically because I want to be able to feature characters who are world-class artists, craftsmen or sages without them having to be high-level D&D characters who can survive any kind of trauma and kill a tiger with their bare hands. But if you use D&D rules, at least avoid having all old people be high level, because that makes the world feel cartoonish.

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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 05 Dec 2019 :  18:39:05  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is where Non-Combat abilities (skills such as Smithing and etc.) should be held apart from class abilities all together.

In AD&D/D&D a "commoner" might be the best Smith in the kingdom; but this should have nothing to do with their Level.

That is why I liked the abstract manner that Skills were handled with early on in the AD&D game. On page 12 of the AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide you could roll to see what "Secondary Skill" a player might have.

Having that skill, or lack of any appreciable skill, had nothing to do with the Character Class of the character. It only meant that the character had "some ability" in that field. It was more of a role-playing opportunity than a number crunching requirement in the game.

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Icelander
Master of Realmslore

1708 Posts

Posted - 05 Dec 2019 :  18:52:07  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

There were also rules for this in 3rd edition in the DMG. Personally, with as dangerous as Toril is compared to our own world, I picture people with character class levels as being fairly common. After all, in our own world, just travelling from one city to another doesn't stand a good chance that you can get kidnapped and eaten.... but with orcs/goblins/ogres/giants/trolls, etc... roaming the countryside of Faerun, I can't help but picture that a lot of folk have had some basic martial training.


In D&D 3e, the edition where Commoners as a class appear and therefore probably the edition that the original poster is asking about, most NPC classes have 'basic martial training'. Commoners are proficient with one weapon and Warriors are proficient with all simple and martial weapons.

Note also that the training required to be usefully competent with muscle-powered weapons so that someone has a realistic chance against Pre-Modern soldiers is not something that can be done in a few weeks or even a few months.

There is a reason why nearly all Pre-Modern societies had warrior aristocracies and that is that achieving and maintaining useful competence at arms is a full-time job, which only the ca top 10% of society in terms of material wealth had any realistic chance of being able to do. 90-95% of Pre-Modern populations were directly involved in food production, which was a full-time job of its own. At best, they could become mediocre with weapons in their free time, if they were affluent enough to afford weapons and practice time, and graveyards are full of mediocre warriors.

Faerun has a much more urban society than most historical Pre-Modern societies, with only 70% of the population directly involved in agriculture. That still doesn't mean that the others do not work, it just means that they are working in the cities, at producing all of the wealth that exists in Faerun over and above that of medieval societies on Earth.

The people who handle the fighting are still going to be rich elites compared to ordinary people, even if Faerun (like Early Modern society on Earth) is rich enough to add more classes of rich elites aside from warrior aristocracies.

Ordinary people might, in times of emergency, be levied into military service, where they mostly serve to guard territory and do not generally learn swordsmanship or become competent with any weapons at all. Levied troops mostly learn simple drills like standing in formations with spears or they use skills they already know, such as shepherds levied to become slinger skirmishers.

A special case would be English yeomen archers, who were better off than most of society, but still not as rich as the true warrior elite from whose ranks came the men-at-arms, but were nonetheless required by law and custom to master one vital military skill from childhood.

That is really the key issue. Being competent with military weapons is not something that farmhands can pick up on the side. Before the widespread use of firearms in warfare, being a soldier was actually a very skilled job, something that was mostly learned by being raised in a social class where you were taught to arms from childhood.

Men-at-arms or other culturally-specific warrior classes might own farms, but mostly, slaves (in Ancient times) or serfs, sharecroppers or farmhands (in Medieval and Renaissance eras) worked those farms while they were raised to arms.

No matter how dangerous Faerun is, by the evidence that humans have built a flourishing and affluent civilization there, we can see that it is not too dangerous for most people to devote themselves to agriculture and the production of wealth, instead of warfare. As in all other Pre-Modern societies, a warrior elite of 1% to 10% of society defend the others in return for better food, plentiful free time to keep in top shape, and in most lands, riches and social position.

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Wrigley
Senior Scribe

Czech Republic
588 Posts

Posted - 06 Dec 2019 :  15:50:49  Show Profile  Visit Wrigley's Homepage Send Wrigley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Icelander
Why would all humans accumulate superheroic abilities simply because they got older?

Under D&D rules 5th level characters, even if they merely' have NPC classes, can still pretty reliably survive trauma that real people mostly do not. 10th level people can throw themselves off cliffs and survive reliably. Not only survive, but continue to to run and act after they land, because they are still at positive hit points.

The way I interpret this is that high-level characters, those high level enough to have capabilities that no real human has, should be rare in the world of the setting, at least if we want that setting to mostly have people that are recognizably human.

In real life, a 62-year-old Walmart greeter is not going to be able to survive a car crash, beat up several twenty-year-olds and then finish out his shift, because none of his injuries really affect him. In real life, he's not even likely to be any better at his job than a random younger person.

Most people don't continually improve their abilities throughout their lives. They improve until age 25 or so, deteriorate physically from age 25 and it depends on the person whether they improve or deteriorate mentally from a peak of around 35-45, with the mechanics of the brain subtly deteriorating, but some people read, experience and challenge their mind enough to compensate.

As far as skills are concerned, people tend to get better if the are being challenged, but once they've mastered all the basic tasks, most people will simply continue to rely on what they already know.

Most farmhands, drovers, muleteers, longshoremen, miners, street sweepers or other working people in the Realms will not dramatically improve their skills once they've learned the basics of their profession. Even those who are exceptionally driven and take much pride in their technique will only improve incrementally and, at most, be very good at their narrow field, they won't have any abilities that high-level D&D characters amass (better combat abilities, insane survivability, higher ability scores, regular new feats, etc.

Granted, I use the GURPS rules to roleplay in the Realms, instead of D&D rules, specifically because I want to be able to feature characters who are world-class artists, craftsmen or sages without them having to be high-level D&D characters who can survive any kind of trauma and kill a tiger with their bare hands. But if you use D&D rules, at least avoid having all old people be high level, because that makes the world feel cartoonish.


My answer only show how I do it and I do not need anybody to emulate that or change their realms due to it. If you are interested I will gladly talk about it but please do not try to talk me out of it.

To answer your first question - because magic is prevalent in Realms. If you have aptitude for it you can do it.

Hitpoints - sadly hitpoints are bad representation of health of person and do not cover pain at all. They are designed to allow heroes maximal freedom until their last breath. If you play it that way than sure old man is tough.

I would disagree completely - older people are way better in their job due to practice and experience.
As for atributes (strength, ...) dnd have rules for old age that deal with just that. It is not perfect but it works. About the skills - you have to be motivated to learn so I agree that lot of people are not motivated enough and stop leveling at some point. As for incremental improvement - that is what levels are - they are slower and slower.

GURPS have some advantages over DnD but I could also name a lot of things that are not real enough. As a skill based system it is much easier to make skilled NPC without combat abilities. In my case 35 year old farmer would have bab +2, +0 str, no armor and bad weapon so he would not pose a challenge to skilled fighter. He would have some good skills that he practices and that would be all. There is almost no way he could kill a tiger with his bare hands.

To your other post I would answer - hunters, woodsmen, local guard, bounty hunters, bandits and as was already said Realms are dangerous place to live in. Most people have some ability to defend themselves even if they often do not have proper means to it.
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6898 Posts

Posted - 06 Dec 2019 :  22:06:56  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The numerical analysis in DM's Option: High Level Campaigns is really only meant to illustrate one approach to answering the question. It's flawed in several ways.
1) The math is based on a lot of assumptions. Some of which are wrong.
2) The math is wrong. The logic is wrong.
3) The results are wrong. The conclusions are wrong.

People (and adventurers) are measured by far more than their raw stats.

If a 17th or 18th level character was truly one in a million then there should be only about 6 such characters in Faerun. Or about 4 in Greyhawk. Or maybe 3 in Krynn. But the published setting lore has literally hundreds of characters well above 18th level. Even without counting all the "immortal" Chosens and archmages and liches and such, let alone long-lived demihumans and mere zulkirs and zhentarim and the powerful priesthoods of a couple dozen deities.

If the conclusions are so wrong at the top end then they're likely just as wrong at the bottom end. I doubt that 1 in 10 people (almost 700,000 people across Faerun) could be adventurers. Plenty of people have extraordinary strength or intelligence or whatever stats, yet they barely ever accomplish much more than uninteresting mediocrity. They're good enough at whatever they do that they never need or want to become itinerant adventurers - killing dragons just isn't a vocation for everyone.

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