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Tulake - How big is it really?

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  • Tulake - How big is it really?

    I haven't had much opportunity to play Blue Rose yet, but I'm enjoying reading the book and soaking up the setting. Something I noticed that seemed odd to me in the description of the island of Tulake in the Scatterstar Archipelago: The island is described as being 9 miles long and 6 miles wide and it contains two lakes, a mountain/extinct volcano, large forests (plural), extensive growing lands (olives, almonds, dates, barley, wheat and other crops are grown) and about 2,000 inhabitants ... on an island that is 9 miles long and 6 miles wide. Does that seem kind of impossibly cramped to anyone else?

  • #2
    Re: Tulake - How big is it really?

    Sounds like a vacation to me!

    Assume the island is roughly rectangular, 9 miles by 6 miles is 54 square miles. A population of 2,000 means 37 people per square mile.

    For reference, using Wikipedia, the population density of...
    • Hawaii is 214 per sq mi.
    • Honolulu is 5,791 per sq mi.
    • ‎Seattle is 8,398 per sq mi.
    • ‎Boston is 13,903 per sq mi.
    • ‎New York City is 28,210 per sq mi.

    Of course those are cities (barring Hawaii) but a population density of 37 per square mile over the entire island seems really spacious in comparison. Imagine if 99.6% of Seattle's population disappeared in a puff of logic (hopefully none of which is Green Ronin's staff - love you guys!).

    For a more relatable reference:
    • an american football field ~ 57,600 sqft.
    * 1 acre = 43,560 sqft
    • ‎1 sq mi = 640 acre
    • ‎54 sq mi = 34,560 acres ~ 26,136 football fields.

    How many people can live comfortably on the size of a football field? I don't know. I don't have the spatial intelligence to conceptualize how big a football field is nor do I have one readily available to me. So, something else:

    Let's say it takes 1 acre to sustain 1 person for food and living space (so almost a football field per person or 640 people per square mile). The inhabitants would take up 2000 acres, or just over 3 square miles or ~6% of the island. Doesn't seem too bad.

    Of course, there are varying sources on how much land is needed to sustain one person (anywhere between 0.5 to 17 acres per person), but with how prevalent magic is in Blue Rose (namely Plant Shaping, and Healing arcana), I think it's reasonable to assume it's on the lower end of the range.

    Some personal experience: On one of my internships, ~100 of us lived on a ~100-acre (~0.16 sq mi) island (~6 mi off the mainland) for a month (~640 people per square mile over the entire island) and ~7/8 of the island was still undeveloped (forest with a single lake). The food was imported from mainland though (so no farming). Still felt roomy. Breezy too.

    So, unless the inhabitants are the "get off my property or else" kind of people where they don't even want to see, hear, or know about their neighbors, I don't think they'll take up too much space.
    Last edited by Sentinel Ark; 09-26-2017, 01:38 PM. Reason: fixed math, sorry


    • #3
      Re: Tulake - How big is it really?

      This is very useful overview of real world pre-industrial demographics and how to use them to inform RPG world / setting design:




      • #4
        Re: Tulake - How big is it really?

        Thanks for the in depth analysis, but I really wasn't talking about where the population lived. My point was that there are an overabundance of natural resources. You have 2 lakes, a mountain, at least 2 forests plus substantial farming land for an island roughly a quarter of the size of hawaii. That seems like a lot for such a small area.