My third post on Hyperborean demographics will discuss Brigand’s Bay. The AS&SH Hyperborean Gazetteer describes it thusly:
This inlet is lined with the petty holdings of thieves, outlaws, and other villainous men. These holdings emerged at the end of the Dark Age. Each is its own fortress of some 500-1,000 individuals. Each is walled, is mounted with siege engines, and boasts two or more warships. The rulers fancy themselves dukes or kinglets, but the ruling elite of Khromarium scoff at such conceits.
Brigand’s Bay was where I kicked off my Astonishing ACKS adventures. The campaign was set in Türas Tem, the northernmost of the eight “petty holdings” of Brigand’s Bay. It was based on the Turas Tem from the Sinister Stone of Sakkara, with Hyperborean tweaks.
(Again, this is a very wonkish post. Continue if you are interested…)
Okay; the first issue with Brigand’s Bay as described is that “settlements of 500-1,000 individuals” rank only as ACKS Market Class VI villages. In my first demographics post I decided that the settlements indicated on the Hyperborea map should generally be at least Market Class V (1,250 inhabitants, or 250+ urban families).
I’m going to assume that (once again) the Sage’s Guild has underestimated populations outside of Khromarium. Let increase the settlements to between 160 and 480 families (800-2,400 inhabitants) so that at least some of them are Market Class V.
Now that we’ve established the largest settlement, we can back-calculate the total realm population. Like many Hyperborean realms, the population of Brigand’s Bay huddles within the protective walls of their communities (50% urban population). Unlike Khromarium, however, it is not centralized, with the population split between eight different settlements.
I figure this translates to a realm population between 8,000 and 12,500 families, which is in between a “County” and a “Duchy” on the Realms by Type table (p.229). Let’s pick 9,600 families, with 50% urban (4,800 families) and 50% rural (another 4,800 families).
Half of the urban population (2,400 families) will reside within the walled fortress-towns of the petty kings, with the other half (2,400) living in vassal villages surrounding the main settlements.
Let’s make two of the settlements larger than the others with 460-480 urban families. This qualifies as a “small city” in Hyperborea. One will be called “Portown” and the other will be “Fellchapel”.
Another three settlements will be around 300 urban families – considered “large towns” in Hyperborea. One of these will be Türas Tem, the others will likely be a mixtures of Skandik raiders and Keltic brigands.
That leaves three smaller communities with 160-180 urban families. I’m thinking that some of these might be run by mad wizards, evil slavers, or other nasties. Note that they would only be Market Class VI.
(The rural population would be divided between these various domains.)
So with a total population of 9,600 families, Brigand’s Bay is home to 48,000 individuals. This compares to 120,000 in Khromarium’s realm and feels about right. If the settlements could be united they would be a significant faction in Hyperborea, but still not nearly as strong as Khromarium.
Mapping the Realm:
Brigand’s Bay would be good to map at a 6-mile hex scale. I started on a smaller campaign map focused on Türas Tem at a 3-mile scale which might be representative of other petty kingdoms:
The town of Türas Tem (Market Class V, population 1,400 or 280 urban families) has developed beside the reclaimed Fort Türas, stronghold of Bjorn Skullsplitter. Bjorn’s huscarls manage four vassal villages, one of which is Calford (each MC VI, with a total of 280 urban families).
Ruins of ancient roads, built before the Green Death, connect several of the communities, degrading to mere trails further out. There is even a stone bridge crossing the Krysivor river at Türas Tem, although the old bridge at Calford was destroyed centuries ago.
Rural peasants are scattered across the domain as well (560 families total), farming the land and raising sheep to support their lord.
Authority Figures & Criminal Guilds:
Most of Brigand’s Bay is essentially run by organizations which would be considered “criminal guilds” elsewhere. But since they are in power, they are considered “authority figures” here instead.
The individual kinglets will be at least 8th or 9th level. Bjorn Skullsplitter, lord of Türas Tem, is 8th level; the leaders of Portown and Fellchapel would be at least 9th. (Handy Haversack’s Brigand’s Bay post establishes that the Kybernetes, ruler of Fellchapel, is a 10th-lvl Thief.)
The leader of Türas Tem’s “criminal underworld” is Seamus McAnus, a 3rd-lvl thief. His gang, the “Dead Rabbits”, consists a dozen angry Kelts trying to overthrow the Skandik ruling class. (The bandit gang known as the “Disciples” was led by Drusus, who was higher level than Seamus, but he was killed by adventurers after the assault on Calford.)
The larger petty kingdoms (Portown, Fellchapel) would host larger criminal guilds (up to ~42 members). In Portown’s case, this is actually a rival guild contesting the domain’s ruling thieves. (This scenario is likely true of several smaller petty kingdoms too, with rival “guilds” of ~16 or so members.)
Once again I’ve had to bump up population numbers for the demographics to make sense. And even then the settlements are only Market Class V at best, which certainly limits the purchasing options of PCs in this region. But I think it still works as a starting realm for a Hyperborean campaign. (I’d probably limit starting equipment, though – especially armour.)
That’s it for today. I’ll post about the Gal Hills over the weekend.