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 Post subject: Musings of a Canadian Nierite, mark 2!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:13 pm 
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Location: Central Alberta
Okay, so most of you may be aware that I've been writing a bunch of essays for a long time now on these forums about my thoughts on various Arcanis (both IRL and in universe) topics. I haven't written a lot recently because there is so many other thins impinging on my time, but I was determined to start writing these again because. . . .well, I enjoy them.

For those who care, the previous ones I have written (and the associated discussion) are found here:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=229

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Cody Bergman
Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite, mark 2!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:47 am
Posts: 2429
Location: Central Alberta
Populations of the various races in the Known Lands

Egads I have not done one of these in a long time. . .

Anyway, this came up from me (once again) trying to explain Arcanis to one of my coworkers (I swear I’m wearing them down!) about the different races of the universe. Their only real experience is with games like The Witcher or Skyrim, or in a single case AD&D when he was a kid. Because of that, their interpretation of how a fantasy universe is populated relates effectively to modern New York city: an extremely varied group of nations and races all living extremely intermixed lives in a small area. There are elves everywhere, living next to dwarves, with a dragonborn down the street. While this is true of a number of D&D campaigns that I have played or watched online, however, this is not really the case for Arcanis.

Focusing primarily on the Known Lands of which the last 15+ years of campaign has taken place in, we get a fairly good representation of the demographics in the areas around the Coryani Empire. This is both aided and hindered by very specific numbers given in books like the Canceri Sourcebook and Legacy of Damnation, which gives more exact percentages in certain cities like Nishanpur and Bastion (before it was wiped out anyway), but as we have seen in previous adventures those numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt. To that end, I will effort to apply some sort of rational explanations to what is essentially my own (reasonably informed) guesstimates.

First off, humans. Unsurprisingly to all, humans make up the overwhelming majority of the population of the Known Lands from as far north as the northern Unsealed Lands, down into the League of Princes. Simply put, probably nine out of every ten people on the entire continent of Onara are probably human, but of course that does not entirely explain the nuances of the area. For one, the race we call humans are actually split between two ‘races’, excluding all of the races touched by supernatural forces: the Mandai and the Savosh.

The Mandai represent broadly the humans who followed the Pantheon of Man to Onara from “the Eastern Continent” thousands of years ago. They are taller on average and of a more thin build. The Savosh represent the original breed of humanity that lived on Onara prior to the coming of the Gods of the Pantheon of Man. They tend to be squatter and with curlier hair overall compared to other humans, and seem to be focused primarily in many of the ‘ancient’ peoples such as the Myrantians, Ossarions, and (by descriptions) the Chauni. While in the cases of groups like the Myrantians, the Savosh held positions of power, but is much of the Known Lands it appears that these positions are overwhelmingly held by people of Mandai descent. The main reason for this seems to be that most of the Known Lands were once dominated by the Imperium of Man, a Mandai-ruled nation, with any remaining Savoshi powers (like in the case of the Chauni) pushed into more subservient or marginal positions.

That being said, there seems to be no physical impediment to interbreeding between Mandai and Savosh, which means that the majority of people in the modern day are probably so hopelessly mixed as to make few distinction between the two breeds of humanity within the Known Lands. This could help explain why these titles only really came up in the Blessed Lands Sourcebook, and only in context of ancient humanity when the distinctions were more pronounced. This could also explain why certain groups of humans have variation, like the Khitani being Mongoloid and many Coryani being Caucasian, with these variations being introduced by adding Savoshi genes into the mix, creating regional variations, but we have no data to support that. This also gets called into question as the Altherians are distinctly of African appearance (I believe more akin to East African Bantu, but the art style changes depending on the artist), which is unique of all the groups of humans to there specific region which could represent a ‘pure’ line of Mandai brought by the Gods to Onara, which would suggest that the variation came from the Mandai, not (necessarily) the Savoshi genes.

That said, we know that humans of both breeds (as well as the mixed breed) make up the majority of people in Onara. Like in our world, these populations center overwhelmingly in areas of rich agriculture like Naeranth and Tralia in Milandir, the Corvus River valley in Coryan betwee Illonia and Balantica especially, the Kio lands of the League of Princes, and the coast of the Sea of Yarris near Savona. This doesn’t mean that large populations aren’t found elsewhere like Altheria or Annonica, but these areas are much rougher compared to these fertile regions so the population density is almost certainly lower.

Additionally, the majority of people in the Arcanis world would NOT live in cities (despite all of our Heroes saying they come from X city). Until recent years, the number of people living in urban areas (let us say communities of more than 1000 people in a reasonably small area like a town) was tiny. In the 1790’s in the United States alone, only about 5% of the population lived in cities, though I’ve seen some estimates of the High Roman Empire being as high as 30%. This means that a lot of people live in the countryside. These people can be split into two different varieties: sedentary farmer, and nomad pastoralist. While some people think that there is little intermixing between these two groups, these groups probably exist side-by-side throughout Arcanis, with the pastoralists being the main ‘moving’ population facilitating trade as they move their herds from pasture to pasture. The relative amounts of these people probably vary from the region, with the Hinterlands having almost entirely pastoralist peoples, while Cafela near Savona having relatively few.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about the variations of humanity!

Despite what the number of players may suggest, other human-kin are probably relatively rare and the number of each population varies wildly depending on regions. For the sake of argument, I am going to focus on the major variations of humanity here in brief in descending order of relative population per my understanding: undir, kio, vals, dark-kin, gnomes, and ‘other’.

Undir are probably the largest single group not-human humans in the world of Arcanis by population, but almost never come up in Arcanis canon. The main reason for this is because they are an extremely localized population centered on the Sea of Coryan and the Lauriol Sea south of the Coryani Empire, with the overwhelming number of their people being in what is now the Western Lands. However, per the most recent Kio book(s), we know that the undir make up the majority of the common people of that region, with even vanilla humans being a minority against them. That isn’t to say some don’t exist down there, as we have seen in mods that vanilla humans are among the Harn tribes and in Eppion, but the undir are simply the single largest group in the region.

Because of the fertility of the Western Lands, and the League of Princes specifically, there are probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions of undir living in the region, making up the bulk of the region’s population. However, except in a few specific locals, the undir are considered an underclass even if they are a majority population. Because of this, aside from ship crews they simply do not move around a lot, which means that your average person is unlikely to see an undir outside of the Western Lands or the city of Plexus. Of note, if you look at the descriptions of the undir, they fall more into the description of Savoshi rather than Mandai humans, and that they were created sometime during the Shadowed Age when vile tribes of evil creatures and humans chased them out of their ancestral homelands near the mouth of the Corvus River in Coryan. Any relation they have to the Savoshi seems to have been mostly erased with their merging with the undine water spirits and the march of time, but it is an interesting association.

The next largest population of not-quite-humans also is highly localized in the Western Land: the kio. These are the half-breed population of the True Kio (which seems to be a genetically related but otherwise non-human race, like the dwarves and giants) and the undir (note: I emphasize that many kio are not from True Kio/human crossing, but True Kio/undir). These people have a much more Mandai-like appearance (for what it’s worth) which comes mostly from their Kio genes, and make up the second- or third-most common type of being in the Western Lands (the only other competition would be vanilla humans). Without exception, the kio are the ruling class of the Western Lands, with all of the major roles in society being filled by kio. As is the case of our world, this likely means that the kio make up a relatively small portion of the population, maybe as low as 10% of the total population of the Western Land (I have no solid numbers here, just guesses).

Like the undir, but more so, the kio are extremely geographically located. While we have evidence showing undir communities in Annonica and even in various port cities around Arcanis, there are almost no references to kio living permanently outside of the League of Princes. The only cannon example I can think of is the runesmith in the First City. This means that while you may see an undir in the normal human lands, it would be almost impossible to find a kio except maybe in a large city which trades with the Western Lands.

With the undir and the kio, we have fairly healthy but geographically limited people with hundreds of thousands (or millions) of people who make up major populations in their specific regions (even so far as being the majority). The next group, however, probably has populations far inferior to these two races, but are found literally everywhere: the vals.

As most people know, the vals are the descendants of those humans who formed some sort of union with a valinor, the celestial servants of the Pantheon of Man (or, at least, most of their members). Because of their divine heritage, they have served as the hereditary elite in literally every human nation that has existed since they were created some decades after the end of the God’s War and the formation of the Imperium of Man. Anyone who plays Arcanis knows that val is probably the most commonly played character race, with one poll done years ago showing somewhere between 50 and 60% of all players playing some flavour of val. While this may work for Heroes, however, this does not in any way reflect how common they are in the population.

Simply put, vals aren’t all that common next to the seething masses of humanity. I have come across a lot of instances of player characters being vals who were former slaves or street urchins or farmers or other ‘lower class’ people, but these people would overwhelmingly be the minority of their populations. I understand a lot of reasons players may give their vals more humble origins, as I’ve noticed many people (especially North Americans) tend to shy away from aristocratic people and like focusing on those of humble birth and roguish upbringings. While this may be true for individuals, unfortunately, it is not true for the majority.

Vals are the equivalent of the Great Houses of Europe during the Middle Ages to the Victorian Age. They are the Habsburgs and Tutors and such. Alternatively, if you want to look at the Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire series, the vals are far closer to the Starks and the Baratheons then they are to people like the Cleganes or the street urchins of King’s Landing. Sure, it is possible that you’d find a scion of House Stark living as a simple farmer or as a common soldier, but the majority of their family would still be based in Winterfell. This actually becomes more likely the longer the House exists as eventually lesser branches fall into ruin and become commoners (or, at least, yeoman or other similar terms). They may come from a more humble origin, but as long as they can trace their ancestry to a great house, they can still acquire high positions of authority and power.

Of course, we’re not talking about the works of George R.R. Martin or of our own world as a 1:1 comparison, because val’s (unlike Starks or Habsburgs) have a few things which make them unique. For one, val bloodlines have very specific markers. While all val family have physical traits which are identifiable (val’Emman have red hair, val’Abebi have dark skin, val’Ishi have epicanthic folds), these traits can blur between individuals so that while all vals look like they are related, there is variation between individuals. However, ALL vals have either the steel-grey eyes or the silvered ‘clear’ eyes of an Awakened val. This makes them instantly recognizable to those around them, and once their physical traits come in (again, the hair, skin, features, etc.) they are more likely to be adopted into the main val families major holdings as wards to learn and be married off for political gain. We see this as far back as the original Codex Arcanis in Coryan where patricians can improve their station to Patrician Imperalis simply by marrying a val—even a commonly born val—into their family. This means that it actually is HARD for a val to be poor and salt of the earth as their very nature makes them desirable.

All of that being said, the vals have existed for almost 5,000 years in universe, so why do I say they are but the 3rd largest population? For the longest time, PCI has stated that val’s breed true, but this was changed when the Arcanis RPG was released. While that book said that they are instead a recessive trait, I have argued before that val-ness almost have to be a dominant trait in humans. If it were recessive, a val and a human would always make a human, forcing val’s only to breed among themselves to ensure that these recessive traits would be passed on, and that doesn’t seem to be the case. A good example of this is with Senator Tensin-Balin and his wife (a val’Tensen) who produced four known children, with three being human and one being a val’Tensen. However, even as a dominant trait, the majority of val’s in the current day are probably heterozygous for ‘val-ness’, which means that two val’s only have about a 50% chance of producing another val. This means that val-ness is not a guarantee to pass on.

As with all hereditary aristocracies, val’s would tend to breed within their own class than ‘breed down’, which also would limit their population growth in general. This means that you don’t have that one val’Mordane spreading his genetic material over an entire population, as that would be massively frowned upon by the family as they would not want to dilute their own power significantly. Since a val child of any class can immediately become aristocracy by marrying a human aristocrat, the Val Houses would (I would think) attempt to temper the number of kids being produced unofficially whenever possible. Additionally, for a val to learn to harness their powers, they need at least a small amount of education, which means being taken into the main-line val families. While it seems there can be some ‘home schooling’ on the part of val parents, it has been stated many times that Awakening Rituals and even the ability to access bloodline powers needs to be learned through the family Mentagi (the artifact which preserves the collective knowledge of the family) and certain masters of the powers. This means that the val family would want even more control over their scions, even the low born ones, or else you’ll have lots of poorly trained people with the literal powers of the gods running around, which could cause problems.

To that end, I would expect val’s to make up no more than 10% of the total (Mandai-descended) human population, and probably far fewer than that. The population numbers in books like Canceri don’t give us much to go on, while Legacy of Damnation gives the val population of Bastion as 8%. Now, this is probably skewed because we 1) Bastion had received something of a rework between Legacy of Damnation and the A1: Crusade! story arc, 2) it is the only hard number I could find about human/val population, and 3) the case of the val’Vasik is a bit unique overall. However, this is probably in line for major urban centers in Arcanis, with rural populations being far lower than this as heretidaty elite may have estates, but an landed noble makes up a fairly small portion of the rural population. Honestly, I think a 5% of the human population is a reasonable number for vals, which fits reasonably well for some figures I read about roughly 10% of Ancient Roman populations being of Senatorial or Decurion rank and the other 90% being ‘commoners’.

Moving away from the reasonably human-looking humans, we start getting into the ‘cursed’ races, starting with dark-kin. Now, I place these people at a most likely higher portion of the population than gnomes less out of any solid data, and more because of where their curse manifests. In the case of dark-kin, when the Infernal Lords broke through during the Time of Terror (and, we have some records, a some random interbreeding before that among Sarishans) their literal rape of Onara spread around their. . . genes, for lack of a better word. However, while it is know the first generation Infernally-touched human (can) create a Havili (also known as a Black Val), at least among the most powerful of Infernals, this seems to be a metaphysical taint rather than a genetic one. The main source for this seems to be how ‘dark-kin-ness’ seems to be able to be recessive for generations, then spontaneously exhibit in dramatic ways. If this were a purely genetic trait, you would expect more common traits, like an entire family of people with horns, for example.

One reason for this may be the extraplanar nature of Infernals. Depending on which batch of fiction you believe, the Infernals that most find on Onara are actually ‘projections’ or ‘avatars’ of the true infernal creature which exists in the Hell’s, and that the actual Infernal is something more of an amorphous malicious being. The bond connecting this projection/avatar to the infernal is what metals such as Sarishan Steel seem to attack, with severing it causing the infernal to be more easily defeated. That said, more modern stories of Sarishan Steel seem to show that they specifically target the infernal themselves and that they are bodily brought into the world when summoned. Either way, Infernals are such a supernatural, alien race that do not seem to obey usual genetics. My personal thoughts on the matter is that infernal curses are curses on the souls, and possibly the reason why they ‘skip’ generations in humans is that Beltine’s Cauldron tends to mix-and-match souls to create a patchwork soul for the next generation, so there is no guarantee that an infernally-tainted piece will necessarily be passed on. Now, this brings up other questions regarding the Judgement of Nier and other things, but it is a theory.

Either way, dark-kin seem to be exceptionally rare in the population, likely far less common than vals. The Canceri Sourcebook gave numbers in the neighbourbood of 1-4% as I recall, but that might also be artificially high owing to 1) the position of Sarish in Canceri, and 2) the fact that Canceri was so deeply held by the Infernal Lords during the Time of Terror. In all cases of canon, dark-kin are always the exception, the lone isolated person. There often is a couple in a given town it seems, and cities probably have communities of them, though a large number of these beings are killed at birth. This means that the actual rate of birth is far higher than this, but the rate of survival (either by natural or human-caused death) may be woefully high. Either way, I would 100% say there are fewer of these people than vals, probably no more than half as many in total, and almost always are considered as we would have considered lepers through most of human history.

The final major race is gnomes. Like dark-kin, they are reviled creatures, with all the negative stigmas a lot of cultures gave to people with birth defects like dwarfism through history, but far more so. Unlike dark-kin, however, who are the product of a supernatural curse of the damned that comes up randomly so that some may believe they are cursed with the evil eye or something similar, people know where gnomes come from: dwarves. Gnomes are probably situationally common in Arcanis, with areas within probably 50 km of each dwarven enclave or a major centre of dwarf activity having reasonably frequent cases of gnomes, while areas far from dwarven territory having absolutely no gnomes. For example, there probably aren’t that many gnomes in Altheria as there are no known Enclaves anywhere close, but there are probably quite a few in what is now Almeric which is beside Solanos Mor.

Overall, the total number of gnomes that survive childhood is probably tiny as they are killed or left to die. Like dark-kin, they probably are common orphans and urchins, and typically would be attracted to professions like thief that would come with those lives (while dark-kin may be able to become prostitutes, pretty much nobody would want to sleep with a gnome). There are a few exceptions to this, of course, and there always will be, but overall I can’t see gnomes making more than 1% of the total human population, though more similar to kio and undir that number may be higher in some places and much lower in others.

Now, there are also small populations of ‘other’ humans that see almost no reference in fiction, but may be distinct. These people are almost certainly Savoshi in descent, but again we have no overwhelming proof. These include groups like the Naori, the Pengik, and the Hunai, and all represent something ‘off’ from other races of humanity that we know. The Naori are said to have fire powers from their elemental god, while the Hunai seem to worship a version of Belisarda and two other goddesses said to be Her sisters. The Pengik are also strange, with some talk that they are basically Elemental (All) humans, but they have not be expounded upon since the 3.5 days so there is no firm word on how they stack up in the ARG or 5e rules sets. Either way, these are marginal peoples in the extreme with only a few thousand (maybe tens of thousands) of people each in very specific geographic areas. They represent such a tiny portion of the population of the Known Lands that one could hardly include them in any reasonable pie-charts of the human populations.

Now, onto the non-human races! For the sake of argument, I am not going to include the Ssethregoran Empire in this list. While it would be lovely to include them, their social structure, use of the Endless Dark, and general mysteries surrounding them until more information is provided means that any estimates on their population are even more wild than the humans.

Ss’ressen in the Known Lands fall into 3 distinct flavours: the Black Talons, the Ashen Hides, and the Ghost Scales. These populations we have fairly tight numbers on in general in that there are probably no more than a few tens of thousands TOTAL ss’ressen of these Pariah Clutches that exist, period. We know that the Ash Spire has a population of only about 2,500 and Lampeltis only has a population of 9,000. In the case of the Ash Spire, I am unsure how much of the Ashen Hide population that represents, but since it is them living in caves in a volcano (the Ash Spire), I would assume that that enclave would represent a large portion of their population. Let us say for the sake of argument that it represents half of the population of Ashen Hides, which means there are only 5,000 or so of that Clutch. The numbers for the Sulfur Marsh are probably more akin to a standard population distribution between rural and urban, which I’ll give at about 20% in the city and 80% outside. This would mean that there are only about 45,000 Black Talons total. This means that the total population of the Pariah Clutches is only 5% that of the city of Grand Coryan, which while the biggest city in the Known World, means that the total number of ss’ressen likely only numbers in the few TENTHS of a percentage point of the world if that. These creatures are vanishingly rare in the Known Lands unless you are in Tralia or in the Nierite lands of Canceri, and even then they’d be fairly rare.

The Ghost Scales are the stickiest of the Pariah Clutches to pin down. They lived in the sewers of OLD Coryan for generations, which meant that their population could not be very large. After all, while GRAND Coryan may be a million people strong, Old Coryan is only a few tens of thousand (maybe 100,000?). This is a much smaller population, so any group of alien lizard-men larger than the hundreds of individuals would have been officially noticed much earlier than they were. While Fantasy RPG writers love the convention of the deep and cavernous sewers, they simply did not exist in an ancient world. This means that before their rediscovery, I doubt there were more than 200 TOTAL Ghost Scales in existence at a time. Now that they are exposed and started sending population off to new areas, that number may have ballooned as much as 10x, but even then, at the outside I still wouldn’t put them any more than 2,000 individuals at present.

Ss’ressen are probably only rarely seen outside of their own lands except for those pressed into military service by Milandir and Canceri. They are so alien to the average human that most of them would be shunned on sight and treated as little better than beasts, and we know that the Ash Spire and Sulfur Marsh do not do much trade beyond their local area. As such, you would probably almost never see a ss’ressen in a bar or on a road except as part of an army unit or a lone mercenary who left for their own reasons.

Elorii are a strange race in Arcanis, because we actually know roughly how many elorii CAN exist as it has been stated how many souls were created (though that number may have gone up). We also know that 9/10’s of all elorii live in the mysterious realm of Elonbe’ or the much smaller and more violent Malfela. Only no more than 1/10 (and now more like 1/20th) live in the relatively open land of Entaris. Still, that is something like 50,000 total elorii that are kicking around, which could in theory make them as common as the ss’ressen in the greater campaign world. In fact, I think it is more likely that a common villager would have seen an elorii vs. a ss’ressen.

The reason for this is the whole concept of the Laerestri, and the main power of Seremas: the naval power and trade. The whole point of the Laerestri are that they are a small number of Elonbans whose entire job is to wander and watch. As such, your average villager may have come across one or two in their time, especially those in Milandir or Almeric who are especially close to the Vastwood. Similarly the naval power of Seremas means that it would not be strange to find elorii traders from Aleigis to Savonna. That said, I still doubt that there are more than a few thousand elorii in total wandering around the Known Lands as they, like the ss’ressen, tend to keep among their own people. However, don’t be surprised if the average person responds better to an elorii than a ss’ressen, as the elorii look more human and travel more widely.

The final ‘major’ race would be the dwarves, and they are probably even harder than the ss’ressen and the elorii to pin down. Simply put, I don’t think it has ever been published anywhere about how many dwarves exist. We know that each enclave must have tens of thousands of individual dwarves, as the Tir Betoq were able to suck up 40 years of war with the Infernals, and Solanos Mor was able to field large armies to stop entire Imperial Legions during the Coryani Civil War. As such, I would not be surprised if each (surviving) enclave of dwarves house as many as 100,000 people, with Tultipet probably only having 10,000 or 20,000 left total, while Encali would maybe be a more as they haven’t been in any major conflicts in decades.

In terms of how often they’d been seen in the wider world, it really depends on the enclave. That being said, dwarves are almost certainly the most commonly encountered non-human in the Known Lands. While some, like the Nol Dappans and the Encali, tend to be more secretive than others, all dwarves feel at least some need to travel among humanity. They are teachers, contractors, craftsmen, and holy men. They are bankers (Encali), warriors (Tir Betoq and Nol Dappa), sages (Solanos Mor), or diviners (Tultipet). You likely would never see more than a few dozen dwarves in your average lifetime, but I think dwarves are more likely to actually set down roots in human cities or travel broadly. Hell, we know that the Tir Betoqi would travel from the Western Lands to the Godswall Mountains frequently for centuries to man their defensive posts up there. I should also point out that wherever dwarves go, inevitably gnomes are produced.

One other major non-human race to consider are the gar. While the gar aren’t a playable race, they are ubiquitous, with tribes existing in almost every nation in the lands between cities. These beings often fill the role of pastoralists and nomads in the Arcanis world, living away from ‘civilized’ areas. A not-great analogy of this would be to compare them to the roles of Native Americans in the earlier days of colonization (up to the formation of the United States, for example). While people like humans would live down in river valleys farming, with large cities and organized villages, the gar would be up in the highlands hunting and gathering. They would trade sporadically for luxuries and manufactured goods with the civilized people, raid when they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) trade, and otherwise stay as far away from these people like animals would against loud noises. As other populations increase, they are increasingly hunted down, pushed into marginal territory, or enslaved.

There are, of course, larger enclaves of gar in the world. We know there are even formal citystates of gar down in Uggur, and there are more organized tribal groups and confederations in places like the Blessed Lands, but overall they live only in small kin-groups of no more than a few dozen. This means that while they may be everywhere, they may not be more than 100,000 total in all of the Known Lands left, with the larger populations being in untamed areas like Nova Cormata, the Western Marches, and the Hinterlands.

Lastly, since this is already over 5,000 words long, I’ll briefly touch on ‘other’ races as well. These include the sama, the ibon, havili, shellbacks (this is highly guesswork), the Clockwork Warriors, etc. Most of these races are even more highly localized than the kio, with groups like the sama ONLY being found in and around the First City and their hatching grounds in the Vastwood. Simiarly, the ibon only seem to be found in the First City and the Blessed Lands, but their progenitor “titan” race seems to live in the Far West, so presumably more live past the Khitani Empire and therefore beyond the Known Lands. Havili probably exist in large quantities in the Fiendish Expanse (the Lordships of Iron and the Thorn Hills), but are rare elsewhere beyond a recent uptick in the Hinterlands due to the relative rarity of Infernals. Meanwhile the shellbacks that Heroes would encounter are escaped slaves of the hylis of the Ssethregoran Empire, and would be so rare right now as to make even ibon and sama look common. The last one listed is the clockwork warriors of which only, what, 3 exist in all the world?

Anyway, I’ll leave this here. While this took me a week to write in between experiments at work, I’ll hopefully get something else out at some point as I do enjoy the essay writing.

_________________
Cody Bergman
Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite, mark 2!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:59 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 792
Location: Michigan
I find all of this very interesting and helpful in trying to understand the population dynamics of arcanis, so thank you for writing all of this!

I noticed something in the discussion that drew a question. You mentioned the fertility of the western lands, but I never had the impression of them as being terribly fertile/populous territory. None of their cities are very large, most territory appears wooded or swampy, and large areas of it are in danger of barbaric incursion on a semi-regular basis. None of these promote high population density. Many of their valuable resources generally appear to be from things found in remote/inaccessible areas. I would consider them primarily a raw resource supplier, rather than a finished product producer, except for the heart of the shadow towns, and in glassware.

This, of course, then flows down your assumptions for the populations of subraces - since if the population of the western lands is lower, than the population of undir and kio is obviously lower. Because of the localized nature of of their population, I had always assumed that they would have a much lower population than the val in toto, since the val (And uls) might be a small percentage of a very large population, while undir and kio might be a high percentage of a low population. (keeping in mind the kio have a val line associated with it as well).

What we do need to think about as well, I believe, is what the population of the western lands might be, and if there are any val in them. Since there is an indication that val cannot necessarily interbreed with all of the Savosh, there might not be any val in that significant portion of the Arcanis population which would drive down the total number significantly. Additionally, I have never had a clear understanding of what the val population is in some of the more "wild" populations, such as the ying-hir. I believe modules have had there be val ying hir, but it seems like they would be lower in population than in Grand Coryan. Can you speak to that at all?

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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite, mark 2!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:31 am 
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Oh, the humanity!

Like Cody I think (and strongly agree with his points) “vanilla” humans are BY FAR the most populous race on Onara AND that the average racial composition of an Arcanis adventuring party of PCs has almost nothing to do with statistical norms of who lives where.

Like Cody I also think the Mandai vs. Savosh split among humanity is interesting and enjoy the parlor game of guessing who goes where on that divide. Though in game play it seems irrelevant. My guesses differ somewhat from his though. I agree with Cody that the Ossarions and the Chauni are good candidates for a Savosh origin. Personally though, I think the Myrantians are their own deal and are neither Mandai or Savosh ... but another extraplanar branch of humanity that came to Onara independently. I think the Pengik and Naori also almost have to be Savosh.

I don’t think mixing of Mandai and Savosh bloodlines has resulted in the various nationalities and ethnicities of Arcanis humans. I think those distinctions were already there. If you accept that Altherians (Africans) and “Coryani” and “Milandesians” (Caucasian) and ancestral Val Ishi (asians) all came with the hosts of the Pantheon of Man then I would just assume that the whole rainbow coalition of humanity came over as part of the the War against the Other. A similar rainbow of humanity may have been in place on the margins of Onara as part of the Savosh.

I also agree with Cody that most of the population of Arcanis is rural and agrarian though this is not reflected in adventures. Cities are more interesting locations almost by definition. I’m not sure I agree with Cody on how sedentary and fixed in place people are. Ian Mortimer wrote a book called The Time Travelers Guide to Mediaval England and he argues (I think persuasively) that even peasants moved around a lot more than they are given credit. Obviously this is not true if you are a slave in Coryan who has the wretched fate of working on a latinfunda (plantation). As such I think a lot of people have had a chance to see “interesting” travelers who aren’t vanilla human over the course of their life.

I have a somewhat different take on the Undir than Cody, largely influenced by Mr Virida and the Undir Benevolence Association from the 3rdE days of Freeport. I think there are a lot of Undir sailors in the ports of Onara. Some using their gifts to make a living...some pressed or enslaved into service. They tend to be lower class citizens and outsiders who stick together. If you live on the coast or deal with ships I think it’s likely that you may have met or at least seen Undir. I think Undir are pretty solidly in the Mandai tree of humanity. They don’t leave for the Western Lands till the Shadow Ages and depart from lands controlled by the First Imperium.

Arcanis has cities that are substantially bigger than the real medieval world (which tended to cap in the 25-50,000 range). So they would be cosmopolitan places that drive and support a much stronger network of trade (presumably) much like Rome which sat at the center of a massive network of trade routes. The key posts that control that trade and wealth make up the upper crust of society. In the medieval world and renaissance on Earth that would have been 2-4% of society. So I think Cody pegging Vals at 5% of the population in human lands is high. A place like Bastion is a special case. I could easily see the scions of Xabal reaching 8% of the city’s population due to their unique circumstances. Or formerly unique circumstances (there are less than 100 Val Vasik left in the world...and fifty ish are the special characters of players).

I don’t have much to add to the Kio, elori, gnomes or dark-kin. I think Cody is essentially corrector these estimates. Or at least close enough for back of the envelope guesses.

My cert for a Tultipet character says there are only 500ish of them left in the world. So the odds of anyone netting one outside of Tultipet these days is almost nil. That’s lower than Cody’s estimate. I like his thoughts on the other dwarves enclaves though.

Finally. While I don’t doubt his numbers, I think Cody is underestimating the Black Talons. They punch above their weight class. My opinion. I think a lot of Milandesians, especially crusaders have met or come into contact with the Black Talons....who are VERY well respected despite being walking carnivourous reptiles. And in a Crusade LARP Beast negotiated a trade route between the Black Talons and Haina(!?!...I know - Haina?) that centered on amber from the Sulpher Marsh for Jade. So if you are traveling up into the Hinterlands or the Unyielding Gate you just might meet a ss’ressen trade delegation...

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. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite, mark 2!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:39 pm 
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toodeep wrote:

I noticed something in the discussion that drew a question. You mentioned the fertility of the western lands, but I never had the impression of them as being terribly fertile/populous territory. None of their cities are very large, most territory appears wooded or swampy, and large areas of it are in danger of barbaric incursion on a semi-regular basis. None of these promote high population density. Many of their valuable resources generally appear to be from things found in remote/inaccessible areas. I would consider them primarily a raw resource supplier, rather than a finished product producer, except for the heart of the shadow towns, and in glassware.


Ultimately, this is all my interpretation of things, and you may be correct, but I personally think that the Western Lands are quite fertile and they seem to have a decent population density. The Lhauveris River seems to be a very nicely fertile region for basic agriculture, so much so that it warranted the mass clear-cutting of the area by the kio settlers to create the wide open area that we now see today. In most ancient cultures, prime agricultural areas are wealth, and there must be a reason why the kio chose that river valley as the home of their prime kingdom of Capharra. Now, I doubt that Pahjero is particularly fertile, and neither is Bhiharn (who’s wealth almost certainly comes from trade as having the only ports available to the Kio).

Does this translate to Illonia- or Balantica-scale agricultural wealth? Maybe? We would need more data to say that for sure, but to me I would think it has to be. The kio seem to punch greatly above their weight in terms of resources, so many so that they could stand up to a war with Seremas and hold back the Coryani Empire, at least temporarily. This needs people and resources, as well as culture.

That said, the Greeks held back the Persians, so this may entirely be wrong ;)


toodeep wrote:
This, of course, then flows down your assumptions for the populations of subraces - since if the population of the western lands is lower, than the population of undir and kio is obviously lower. Because of the localized nature of of their population, I had always assumed that they would have a much lower population than the val in toto, since the val (And uls) might be a small percentage of a very large population, while undir and kio might be a high percentage of a low population. (keeping in mind the kio have a val line associated with it as well).


The relative population dynamics that I presented are based on a lot of “what if’s”, and I fully fess up to that. That said, we know that the kio and undir make up a large population generally, and can field enough men to fight wars and maintain their borders. I would expect that the Western Lands, despite being only the size of what, Florida?, to need to have some either large populations (remember, city size does not equal population size, especially if there are more rural populations on farms and estates), a very strong martial tradition (which the Kio have, but not the undir), or some very strong financial edge (which could be exotics from the tropical southern lands, which would be the equivalent of Veracruz in Mexico if I draw my maps correctly).

toodeep wrote:
What we do need to think about as well, I believe, is what the population of the western lands might be, and if there are any val in them. Since there is an indication that val cannot necessarily interbreed with all of the Savosh, there might not be any val in that significant portion of the Arcanis population which would drive down the total number significantly. Additionally, I have never had a clear understanding of what the val population is in some of the more "wild" populations, such as the ying-hir. I believe modules have had there be val ying hir, but it seems like they would be lower in population than in Grand Coryan. Can you speak to that at all?


Honestly, while I fully assume there are “wild vals”, I see them remaining the exception over the rule. Simply put, the val families have it in the best interest to keep an eye on their scions, so even if one was born in a Yhing hir society if they ever came across more ‘civilized people’, and word got to the parent family that they existed, the parent family would probably try to reclaim them in one way or another. I seem to recall a story of Sarishans claiming Yhing hir children ‘born under the correct moon’, which I took to mean those with skills to become Sorcerer-Priests, but this could also mean val’Mehan children (who also fit much of the criteria to become SPS, but I digress). This probably (IMHO) happens a lot.

My view of this (which may be wrong) would be they would act the same way as one would if we found a feral child today (the “raised by wolves” children). They would be taken in, re-educated, and brought into ‘civilized’ society. Now, the relative view of civilization and barbarians vary a lot over the years and centuries and ages, and in Arcanis a Yhing hir might as well be a wolf as far as a Coryani is concerned, so they may be more aggressive.

Now, this only counts if the val in question IS seen. There have probably been generations of val’s living in the ‘wilds’ of the world with grey eyes who live their entire lives not knowing about their heritage. Most val powers aside from things like the val’Virdan seeing into the infrared require training, especially psionics. There can be spontaneously awakened psions in the wilds, but would they be killed as threats? Become Shamans? There are a lot of variations to this theme to create stories, but I still believe they are the exception to the rule.

For reference to a population of people which include val’s living for generations without knowing there heritage, I suggest looking a little west of Coryan for an example. . . ;)

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Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite, mark 2!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:15 am 
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I am of mixed opinions of just how open the Val families are to “foundlings.”

I believe that all the major Val families have different “clans” and family groups that vie to various degrees for power. Like any of the great families from Europe. Mary Queen of Scott’s and England’s Queen Elizabeth were cousins, yet despite being part of the same political family they found plenty of opportunities to be frenemies or outright enemies.

So the issue of bringing in foundlings takes place against a more complicated backdrop than merely “more of the bloodline is good.” Are the foundlings parents known? Which branch of the family is going to raise it? Is the foundling young enough to be indoctrinated? Or have they picked up “foreign” thoughts and ideas? Will the foundling embarrass you at court because of its background or beliefs?

Imagine a scenario where a foundling is the result of an affair or liaison while one parent was on Crusade. To keep the scandal from becoming known (perhaps in general or just to a spouse) , the foundling HAS to disappear far from “court.” A powerful noble (or coalition of nobles) *May* have an interest from the child being “found.” Has the child been brought up by the Yhing Hir and now firmly believes that anyone who doesn’t own a horse is not an adult. Maybe that child is not an asset at court.

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AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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