D&D General Need wheat. Too dangerous. (worldbuilding)

nevin

Adventurer
Rome had 1 million people who were kept fed by Egypt and the entire north African coast, thanks to the Roman Empire having complete control over them.

And Waterdeep has 2 million inhabitants.
So interesting thing about population of Rome is that one group of archeologists says it was around 450000. And another thnks it was between 750,000 and a million.
The penninsula that is now italy easily fed Rome and provided exports.

Now at its height the Roman empire I s estimated to have between 45 million to 120 million. (Again experts dont agree) thats who all those other farming regions fed.

Farming has so many variables. the Aztechs fed 5 million people in a much smaller area with much poorer soil and water access.

The population of japan in 1300 10 million
1600. 22 million. And they were able to feed themselves and export rice.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
in my experience - and maybe that's because my GMs were teens at the time and not very experienced ha - was that each domain/adventure was sort of a giant "puzzle" that we had to solve. It's hard to solve a puzzle when so many things don't make sense.
Fair enough.
 

in my experience - and maybe that's because my GMs were teens at the time and not very experienced ha - was that each domain/adventure was sort of a giant "puzzle" that we had to solve. It's hard to solve a puzzle when so many things don't make sense.

It depends on what they focus on. Things in Ravenloft do tend to be a puzzle (you are often not just facing a standard vampire, but a vampire with special immunities, and weakness tied to its history....so investigating its past, trial and error, etc are important to solving the puzzle). That can be done at the domain level but its very heavy handed to have campaigns that are all about confronting domain lords (you can take the logic that makes a domain lord and make any number of villains from it). You do need some kind of logic to the puzzle, but it just doesn't have to revolve around things like how the rabbits are surviving in winter (and can't remember the details on that domain so not sure if that particular case has an answer or is more in the surreal realm: a lot of Ravenloft is sparse and bare bones with the GM needing to fill in the blanks). It is more of the logic of poetic justice. It is more literary thinking than literal thinking: i.e. what in the past might shed light on what weapon would serve as a symbol strong enough to destroy them. Or given the way this ghost died, what might we do to lay it to rest. That kind of thing
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Rome had 1 million people who were kept fed by Egypt and the entire north African coast, thanks to the Roman Empire having complete control over them.

And Waterdeep has 2 million inhabitants.
ok, I quoted your numbers for waterdeep. But you want to feed the entire region. Fine

so it's a 4000 square mile area. That is one third the area of Belgium. Seems quite doable to me.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
So interesting thing about population of Rome is that one group of archeologists says it was around 450000. And another thnks it was between 750,000 and a million.
The penninsula that is now italy easily fed Rome and provided exports.

Now at its height the Roman empire I s estimated to have between 45 million to 120 million. (Again experts dont agree) thats who all those other farming regions fed.

Farming has so many variables. the Aztechs fed 5 million people in a much smaller area with much poorer soil and water access.

The population of japan in 1300 10 million
1600. 22 million. And they were able to feed themselves and export rice.
No. Rome received and depended on grain shipments from Egypt.
ok, I quoted your numbers for waterdeep. But you want to feed the entire region. Fine

so it's a 4000 square mile area. That is one third the area of Belgium. Seems quite doable to me.
Even with 4000 square miles and your fantastic 500 person per square mile number (even for FR having so many spellcasters to keep this area enchanted is unlikely) you would barely make the 2.000.000 figure.
And Waterdeep does not command 4000 square miles. It commands an area 40 miles around the city which would be more than 4000 square miles if Waterdeep would be inland. But because it is on the coast which is shaped rather straight you have to half that number.

And you also assume that absolutely 100% of the land is used for farming. No infertil or unsuitable terrain, no forests, no rivers, no road network and people sleep in the corn fields.
 
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Faolyn

(she/her)
But, chestnuts, potatoes, greens, lotz of tubers and plants that we dont even recognize as food today was and is just there waiting to carb up your diet.
This particular domain (which I'm pretty sure is Vorostokov) is all winter, all the time. So maybe potatoes would grow there.

The climate and terrain of the domains were not always well thought out in earlier editions.
 

My point is saying "he was 16 when he made it" is completely beside the point, because these maps and designs HAVE changed. He wasn't 16 when the Spellplague changed the map and Realms entirely. He wasn't 16 when 5e reversed that. He could have made the decision to change during any of these periods of alteration.
Um, you think Ed actually agreed with the Spellplague? You think he had creative control over the Realms during this these times? You think he is the one that mapped Phandalin?

Now, I'm no expert on Ed or the Realms, but I'm pretty sure his influence was at least minimal during much of the life of the Realms, especially the 4E period. When on places like Candlekeep you would pretty much be ostracized for asking about anything not in the "canon" 2E timeline.

But, doesn't matter des it? I go back to the point I made earlier, why change a success? Because a handful of people complain about it on a forum and don't want to adapt any one of a number of magical reasons it could be so? As evidenced by the success of 5E and the growth of the Realms, they don't need to change to accommodate those folks. Most people like it just fine and are willing to spend their money accordingly. Its often a poor business decision to change a successful product away from it's core customers to satisfy a niche clientele.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
ok, I quoted your numbers for waterdeep. But you want to feed the entire region. Fine

so it's a 4000 square mile area. That is one third the area of Belgium. Seems quite doable to me.
Oh there is more than enough geography to make the cities work but it is not settled enough. In the real world a city state the size and wealth of Waterdeep would command the Dessarin valley at least as far as Yartar and the Delimbiyr valley to Secomber. This would be settled patrolled land. It would have to be as it is vital to the cities survival. Nothing causes a change of government faster than starving citizenry.
 

This particular domain (which I'm pretty sure is Vorostokov) is all winter, all the time. So maybe potatoes would grow there.

The climate and terrain of the domains were not always well thought out in earlier editions.

I am pretty sure rabbits eat tree bark, twigs, and acorns in winter. Not sure if they could survive on that all year, but we see them around here in the winter months. In the north east US though
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
And you also assume that absolutely 100% of the land is used for farming. No infertil or unsuitable terrain, no forests, no rivers, no road network and people sleep in the corn fields.
Plus magic that increases crop yields and possibly even magic that prevents spoilage.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Again they cant be everywhere unless your world is a Mad Max survival game where all the monster manual creatures and pc races are struggling for survival. reasearch the amount of deadly creatures in the amazon. Or african jungles and remember they've never really prevented human survival. also if regular attacks are common then average levels will be higher. you might have level 15 farmers out in those fields being guarded by level 15 warriors and clerics. everything is relative.

Deadly how? Are they deadly because they are poisonous to touch like the Poison Arrow Tree Frog? Or are they deadly because they actively target and try to kill people to eat them?

How isolated exactly are Ogres just for an example? Well, the Monster Manual tells us "When they establish lairs, they settle near the rural edges of civilized lands, taking advantage of poorly protected livestock, undefedned larders, and unwary farmers." So, here is a single monster that not only actively seeks to live near people, but that is specifically doing so because people DON'T defend their farmlands.

And I can do this for dozens of monsters, where it states that they actively hunt people, that they actively target farmers, that they actively steal from or raid towns. Sure, any one monster species can't be everywhere all the time, but when you are dealing with fifty or more? A hundred?

And some of them are animals, not just humanoids who are competing. You mention the amazon or Africa, but here's a number from Florida. 6,700. That's how many alligators were killed or relocated after being in a residential area in Florida in the year 2017.

Now imagine what would happen if you took 1/60 of that number. That is 111 incidents, but make them Trolls that actively want to kill and eat people.

Or hags. Or any number of other monsters. Again, one set might be rare, but once you start listing everything, it starts stacking up.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
No. Rome received and depended on grain shipments from Egypt.

They were dependent on those shipments for the entire empire. The food grown in Egypt also fed... Egypt. Which the entirety of Cleopatra's Egypt likely had more than a million people. Your claim that you needed an entire country's worth of produce to feed a million people is just wrong.

Even with 4000 square miles and your fantastic 500 person per square mile number (even for FR having so many spellcasters to keep this area enchanted is unlikely) you would barely make the 2.000.000 figure.
And Waterdeep does not command 4000 square miles. It commands an area 40 miles around the city which would be more than 4000 square miles if Waterdeep would be inland. But because it is on the coast which is shaped rather straight you have to half that number.

And you also assume that absolutely 100% of the land is used for farming. No infertil or unsuitable terrain, no forests, no rivers, no road network and people sleep in the corn fields.

The Plant Growth Spell lasts for an entire growing season. It covers a quarter of a square mile. You likely couldn't get the entire 4,000 sq miles, but give 100 days and a handful of people and you could cover a massive region, especially if the caster can cast it more than once per day.

Also, um, fisheries? If this is just about feeding people having a 20 mile coastline opens some options.
 

Oofta

Legend
Deadly how? Are they deadly because they are poisonous to touch like the Poison Arrow Tree Frog? Or are they deadly because they actively target and try to kill people to eat them?

How isolated exactly are Ogres just for an example? Well, the Monster Manual tells us "When they establish lairs, they settle near the rural edges of civilized lands, taking advantage of poorly protected livestock, undefedned larders, and unwary farmers." So, here is a single monster that not only actively seeks to live near people, but that is specifically doing so because people DON'T defend their farmlands.

And I can do this for dozens of monsters, where it states that they actively hunt people, that they actively target farmers, that they actively steal from or raid towns. Sure, any one monster species can't be everywhere all the time, but when you are dealing with fifty or more? A hundred?

And some of them are animals, not just humanoids who are competing. You mention the amazon or Africa, but here's a number from Florida. 6,700. That's how many alligators were killed or relocated after being in a residential area in Florida in the year 2017.

Now imagine what would happen if you took 1/60 of that number. That is 111 incidents, but make them Trolls that actively want to kill and eat people.

Or hags. Or any number of other monsters. Again, one set might be rare, but once you start listing everything, it starts stacking up.

Which is why there's such a demand for adventurers. :)
 

Oofta

Legend
Related to this, in my home campaign civilization took a giant step back a century and a half ago and now it's touch-and-go because of what we would consider a mini ice age that lasted for decades. There are very few "settled" lands left; some people question whether or not humans can recover. If they can't then it could be the first domino. Many halflings live in human communities, the other races may say that they don't "need" humans but they have been helpful allies in the past. Basically every civilized race has seen it's borders shrink in no small part because of the difficulty of maintain crops and a supply chain.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Um, you think Ed actually agreed with the Spellplague? You think he had creative control over the Realms during this these times? You think he is the one that mapped Phandalin?

Your defense of modern maps was to talk about how Ed Greenwood made them when he was 16. So, if he had no creative control over them... why does it matter how old he was when he made them? He doesn't have any creative control over them and hasn't for decades according to you.

Now, I'm no expert on Ed or the Realms, but I'm pretty sure his influence was at least minimal during much of the life of the Realms, especially the 4E period. When on places like Candlekeep you would pretty much be ostracized for asking about anything not in the "canon" 2E timeline.

But, doesn't matter des it? I go back to the point I made earlier, why change a success? Because a handful of people complain about it on a forum and don't want to adapt any one of a number of magical reasons it could be so? As evidenced by the success of 5E and the growth of the Realms, they don't need to change to accommodate those folks. Most people like it just fine and are willing to spend their money accordingly. Its often a poor business decision to change a successful product away from it's core customers to satisfy a niche clientele.

Sure, but you didn't make that argument. You made the argument that we should be nice to Greenwood because he created the realms when he was 16, and challenged people if they thought they could do so well when they were 16.

But that has nothing to do with the last decade and a half of releases, the modern maps we brought up, or the grown men who have been designing them.

Yes, there is a legitimate argument to be made that changing the success is a problem. If you'd made that argument, I wouldn't have argued against you. But that wasn't the argument you went with.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Again, some people have always wanted more grounded realism in Ravenloft. But I think the thing is this isn't a 'this way or that way is better'. What you are saying sounds to me like a valid preference, but as a critique, I think it falls short when you are dealing with a setting inspired by a genre that includes dream-like qualities and even dream-like logic. In the original boxed set there is even a domain where reality changes shape behind you. This is a place created by the dark powers. What the dark powers are exactly isn't known, but they can create new worlds, fill them with inhabitants, and change the land around you. In a setting like this there is plenty of room for cause and effect to not always work how we expect, there is even valid reason why you'd want to disrupt peoples' logical expectations (to build the sense of something not quite being right; a glitch in the matrix). For some players, something like the rabbit not having an obvious food source is going to be a source of disrupting their disbelief, but for others, it adds to the surreal nature of the setting. The problem is you can't please both preferences. The setting can go in either direction. I think it would be a very different story if the aim and purpose of the setting was to be a more plausible place. But I see both preferences as entirely valid.
Very much this, imc I essentially lifted Mordent from Ravenloft and put it in the real world. a rural agrarian region based on the English moors that was explicitly a region known to be haunted - PCs seeing the inexplicable and feeling the surreal was exactly what was supposed to happen.

As much as I love the worldbuilding of knowing how acres support the local town, forgetting that Ravenloft is about ‘ghost’ stories and not about normal living just seems weird to me
 

Very much this, imc I essentially lifted Mordent from Ravenloft and put it in the real world. a rural agrarian region based on the English moors that was explicitly a region known to be haunted - PCs seeing the inexplicable and feeling the surreal was exactly what was supposed to happen.

As much as I love the worldbuilding of knowing how acres support the local town, forgetting that Ravenloft is about ‘ghost’ stories and not about normal living just seems weird to me
The people who live in Ravenloft, for the most part, dont think of their world as surreal and inexplicable. For them, it was just as real as the Realms. Scary, maybe, but real. They could do this because the world looked like a real place (albeit one filled with monsters). Making the unreality of the demiplane so very explicit in the new books makes it harder to see it as a place worth saving or even caring about.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Oh there is more than enough geography to make the cities work but it is not settled enough. In the real world a city state the size and wealth of Waterdeep would command the Dessarin valley at least as far as Yartar and the Delimbiyr valley to Secomber. This would be settled patrolled land. It would have to be as it is vital to the cities survival. Nothing causes a change of government faster than starving citizenry.
Well if there is 200 K people in waterdeep, and 1.8 more million in the area, it seems pretty settled to me.

Also, I took your geographic instruction and made a rough rectangle of land using a map that calculates distances in FR. I was able to draw a rough rectangle and calculate that the area you depict is roughly 55 000 square miles. based on our previous discussion, where 1 square mile can support 500 people with some magical assistance, that's enough land to support 27 million!

Now, of course the land is not that settled, lots of mountains, moors and such, so as a result we don't have 27 million people living there.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Very much this, imc I essentially lifted Mordent from Ravenloft and put it in the real world. a rural agrarian region based on the English moors that was explicitly a region known to be haunted - PCs seeing the inexplicable and feeling the surreal was exactly what was supposed to happen.

As much as I love the worldbuilding of knowing how acres support the local town, forgetting that Ravenloft is about ‘ghost’ stories and not about normal living just seems weird to me
I think I need to re-explain this.

So the way the module/story/puzzle was presented to us, oh no we've been sucked in Ravenloft, we have to lift the curse to free the people and stop the evil werewolves.

The people are suffering because it's winter all the time and they are short on food.

... but it's been winter for many years now. Cleary it hasn't stopped them from feeding themselves so far? And boom, mood shattered, what the heck is going on, this makes no sense.

edit: what I'm trying to say here is that this isn't pedantic nitpicking. Starvation is part of the plot!
 
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