OK, guys, fix my setting.
I created 27 knight-baronies, or baronetcies, for Bissel (in Greyhawk) with a population of 150,000 total. I haven't determined the area of Bissel, but it's a points-of-light-ish setting.
My Bissel (the borders aren't any official Greyhawk edition, and I'm interpreting the geography from the map) has geography I describe thus:
Bissel guards a gap (known to geographers as the Bramblewood Gap) between the two major mountain ranges (Yatils Mountains to the north, Barrier Peaks to the south) that separate the Baklunish civilization in the west from the Suel/Oeridian civilization to the east.
This gap region is heavily forested, scarcely populated upland -- the Bramblewood Forest. One well-maintained main road -- the Irafa Road -- and several secondary tracks cross the forest between Ket (in the north) and the Bisselite capital of Thornward (to the south).
To the east of the Bramblewood, near the foothills of the Yatils, the forest turns to scrub land (small bushes and other brush) with more settlements, including the small city of Falwur.
The Fals River begins in the Yatils and flows through central Bissel. The Fals River valley is Bissel's heartland, where most of the population lives and most of the food is grown. The walled capital city, Thornward, is on the banks of the Fals. The Fals flows south and east, towards the Archclericy of Veluna, where it joins the Velverdyva River, which then flows through the Kingdom of Furyondy and empties into the Nyr Dyv, or Lake of Unknown Depths, at the Free City of Dyvers and near the Free City of Greyhawk.
Southern Bissel -- south of Thornward -- is a high plains region with a temperate, dry climate, inhabited by scattered herdsman and small farmers, centered on the town of Pellak.
The borders in this region are friendly. To the south across the plain is Gran March, the Kingdom of Keoland’s northernmost territory, and Bissel's staunch ally in fighting off Kettite invaders.
To the west of Pellak, the Realstream spills down from the Barrier Peaks and skirts along their foothills. The Realstream valley is inhabited mostly by Flannae aborigines, but the leaders pay homage to Thornward.
The Realstream flows into the Dim Forest, a wilderness truly within the bounds of no realm, before eventually emptying into the great Javan River of Keoland, south of the freetown of Hochoch. Hochoch is on the border between the Grand Duchy of Geoff and Gran March, both territories of Keoland. Portions of the Dim Forest are claimed by Bissel, Gran March, Geoff, and Hochoch, but there are few inhabitants so the undefined borders matter little.
(Physically and climatically, much of Bissel resembles the mountainous parts of New England, particularly Vermont. The scrub areas along the Yatil’s foothills resemble the Chapparal hills of California or the Fynbos of South Africa, while the high plains resemble the flatter high plateau areas of western Montana and Wyoming.)
Here's how I spread out the population:
Bissel Population: 150,000 (town or city = 18,220, so 12% urban)
• NW Bissel (Banner Hills and Bramblewood Borderlands) = 7,000
o Alnwick = 1,500 (Alnwick Castle 300)
o Bambaugh = 1,500 (Castle of Joyous Guard 600)
o Brecon = 2,000 (Brecon Castle 300)
o Bungay & Framlingham = 2,000 (both castles now ruined by war)
• N Bissel (northern Bramblewood, edge of Ket plateau) = 11,000
o Prudhoe = 11,000 (Prudhoe town = 1,000)
• NE Bissel (Between Yatils and Bramblewood on Falwur Road) = 32,500
o Falwur = 30,000 (Falwur city = 4,800)
o Piren’s Bluff = 2,500 (Piren's Bluff village 210)
• Bramblewood Forest = 2,000
o Bartheld = 1,800 (Hart House 150)
o Dzeebagd = 200 (Tirthon Castle 60, Dzeebagd Castle 50)
• Western Bissel (Between Barrier Peaks spur and Bramblewood) = 3,000
o Grossmont = 3,000 (Grossmont Castle 200)
• Central Bissel (Heartland in Fals River valley) = 50,500
o Thornward = 35,000 (Thornward city = 6,000)
o Bridgewater = 3,400 (Bridgewater Island 400)
o Buckbray = 1,500 (Buckbray Manor 545)
o Grenward = 3,600 (Castle Grenward 250, Wellyn's Ferry 100)
o Oakhurst = 7,000 (Oakhurst town = 900, Furness Abbey = 300, Barrow's Edge village = 100)
• East Bissel (North Lorridges, southern Yatils along North Road) = 6,800
o Argalia = 3,200 (Maidensbridge town = 900)
o Mountain’s Reach = 2,400 (Mountain's Reach castle + Lordsview village =200)
o Kendall = 1,200 (Kendall Keep = 220, Trobridge "free" village = 200)
• Southeast Bissel (Lorridges, Fals River Valley into Veluna) = 7,700
o Barnard = 1,500 (Barnard Castle = 100)
o Navan = 4,500 (Fairhill village = 420, Navan manor = 120)
o Deepen Hall = 1,700 (Deepen Hall = 300)
• South Bissel (Plains along Watchtower Road) = 22,500
o Circencastle & Deganwy 9,000 (Circencastle town = 1,000, Deganwy Castle = 200)
o Pellak = 13,500 (Castle Oversight + Pellak city = 2,300)
• SW Bissel (Realstream Valley into Dim Forest) = 7,000
o Carreg Cennen = 1,700 (Carreg Cennen fortress = 200)
o Carew = 1,000 (Carew Castle = 100)
o Hammerstone = 3,500 (Smithton town = 900)
o Ossington = 800 (Ossington village = 160, Ferry Crossing = 60)
Here's a sample write-up of a Baronetcy:
a. On an island in the Fals River, Bridgewater is at the junction of the Irafa Road (which crosses the Bramblewood Forest towards Lopolla in Ket) and the Falwur Road. Thornward is downstream, Buckbray upstream, and Dzeebagd is the next town out the Irafa Road.
b. Bridgewater is infested with Magershole Gang, who extort merchants, prey on travelers, and engage in smuggling and other nefarious activities.
c. The former Baronet Ralph Walkley, born a gentleman named Ralph Dreymar, rose high to become High Chamberlain of the Margrave. He married Lady Sibel Walkley, an only child who was heir to Bridgewater. Her father, Baronet Warren Walkley, adopted Ralph, who became the heir. Ralph died two years ago.
d. Lady Sonya Walkley (age 53) helps her son, Baronet Godwine Walkley (age 17) rule. She has hired an excellent tutor for his son, and they are slowly working out a strategy to suppress the Magershole Gang and revive Bridgewater’s once substantial trade.
e. Based on Medieval Total War 2: Britannia, and Buckbray Manor module.
f. Population: Bridgewater Island 400. Baronetcy 3,400.
a. Kendall Keep, or “The Keep on the Borderlands” protects the North Road, which skirts the southern edge of the Yatils on its way towards the Highfolk and Baranford in Furyondy’s Duchy of the Reach. Outside the Keep itself, this is a wilderness region of scattered hearty crofters and semi-nomadic Flannae mountaineers. Goblins and lizardmen are also common in the area. The economy of the region depends on road traffic and collecting tariffs – the Merchant’s Guild has a depot in the Keep.
b. Kendall’s nearest neighbors are Mountain’s Reach (towards Thornward on the North Road), Argalia (up Argalia Creek), and Navan baronetcy and the Velunese capital of Mitrik, both across the Fals River.
c. The settlement of Trobridge, at a ford of the North Road across Argalia Creek near its junction with the Fals River, is claimed by Bissel to be part of Kendall baronetcy, but its residents do not agree, and consider their village “free” and independent of all outside authority. Veluna also has claimed it in the past.
d. Former Baronet Macsen Wledig was a retired adventurer, appointed by the Margrave some 30 years ago. He died leading the castle’s strong garrison forces some 17 years ago (571 CY), in a border battle with the Kettites. Castellan Master Devereau, a invalided archer, had been left in charge and effectively became the ruler of the Keep, though his authority over the outlying areas of the Baronetcy withered. During this period, the Caves of Chaos grew dangerous. They were cleared by adventurers in 576 CY, but by 587 CY the threat had regrown, with an evil cult at the heart of it.
e. Baronet <PC #1> is an adventuring wizard, newly appointed to the post for service to the Margrave, most particularly in preventing the secession of Piren’s Bluff, but also for actions at Kendall Keep itself, in Dzeebagd, at Ossington, and at Buckbray Tower. He and his friends saved the Keep from an overwhelming assault by bandits and undead from the Caves of Chaos in December 587 CY, and negotiated a peace deal with the goblin king, Haggidiah the Old. Baronet <PC #1> is the nephew of Baronet Adrian of Navan.
f. Master Devereau remains in charge of the day-to-day management of the Keep. The most important guardians of the place are <retired PC>, <retired PC>, Jess Greevesdottir (the roguish owner of the Green Man inn, retired NPC), Lt. Jedale, and Sabine the Gatekeeper.
g. Brother <PC #2>, a monk of Rao and adventuring companion of Baronet <PC #2>, has awarded a patent to build a monastery to his god near the Keep, but construction has not yet begun. Brother <PC #2> is also the Sheriff of Kendall, enforcing the Margrave's justice in the region.
h. Source: Keep on the Borderlands module, Return to the Keep on the Borderlands module, plus actual play
i. Population: Kendall Keep & Monastery = 220. Region 1,200. In addition, the “free” village of Trobridge has a population of about 200.
My question is, am I screwing up by having "population centers" of a few hundred, and the rest just are "more people who live in tiny hamlets and isolated crofts I don't need to detail but make up the majority of the population". Should it be a fewer centers with true villages of 500 people each?
I don't see much of that in modules, but from Magical Mystical society, it seems to be the norm.
Or perhaps the Keep on the Borderlands should be 200 people in the castle proper, then the other 1000 are nearby, in contiguous fields stretching around it (but again, never mentioned in modules), rather than in separate small settlements (unworthy of mention)?