By Graham Robert Scott
(Note: This article was written in response to a recent Ludi Magister article by Wallace Cleaves.)
I have to admit that in my own campaigns, I have tended to be biased in favor of either the wilderness or big cities. (For evidence, see my previous article on city population generators!)
Villages, hamlets, and small towns have largely been treated in my games as uninteresting specs on the map, to be bypassed on the way to adventures where worthy adversaries dwell: dungeons, mountain lairs, dread forests, or cities large enough to support active adventuring populations. Partly, this was due to my comfort areas: I live in today’s world, not yesteryear’s, and my literary area of study is Renaissance, not medieval, so my campaigns often use cities like Shakespeare’s London as at least partial insipiration.
Largely, though, this oversight was a failure in my own creativity, and Wallace’s recent Demiurge article on the medieval village, written with the sorts of insights one would expect from a professional medievalist, has sparked an urge to rectify that fault. Last week, I used the population generator to generate five rather distinct cities, all with large populations, but I noted that it could be used to estimate the class demographics of small towns or large countries. Time to test that!