Monday, February 19, 2018

World of Greyhawk Largest Cities

Welcome again Greyhawk fans. Today I'm taking a break from otherwise more important projects to discuss a random subject that came to mind while I was reading about the Free City of Greyhawk. In the lands of the Flanaess, Greyhawk is considered the largest single city in population. It's a hub of trade, knowledge, adventure and more given its central location on the map. For those reasons the World of Greyhawk setting bases everything around this city's point of view. Put simply we are supposed to consider Greyhawk as the most important city. But if it wasn't the largest city in population would that take away from the Gem of the Flanaess' grandeur?

In the United States, where D&D was originated, we consider New York City as the finest, most important metropolis in the world. That's our point of view here. It's certainly the most populous city in the US. But in the world? It's not top ten. It's not even top 20. It's not even the biggest on its own continent. Does any of this census stuff lessen the city's standing in the world to anyone? It is definitely more influential than over half the cities ahead of it. Let's look at the Flanaess' biggest cities and see if Greyhawk holds up in the population department.

 Note: the first list is from Gygax's 1983 Guide, the second list is 2000's Living Greyhawk updated population figures.

Greyhawk 58,000 

Greyhawk 69,500
Rel Mord 46,500 

Ekbir 63,700
Irongate 44,000

Rel Astra 61,000
Dyvers 42,000

Dyvers 52,000
Rauxes 41,000

Irongate 51,400
Zeif 40,300

Gradsul 49,400
Rel Astra 39,800

Rel Mord 46,500
Radigast City 39,100

Radigast City 44,800

Ekbir 29,400

Zeif 43,500
Eastfair 29,100

Dorakaa 40,000
Looks like having the biggest population does matter for the City of Greyhawk as it stays in first. The actual population of Rel Astra in the Guide is questionable, could be 63,000 making it 1st overall but since the LGG has it at 61k I believe the 39,800 is correct or is at least an attempt to clear up that confusion. Irongate and Dyvers are consistently top 5 as they should be. Both these cities could easily be alternative urbans centers for DMs tired of the same Greyhawk setting. 

Dorakaa's inclusion in the Top 10 of the LGG is dubious since its only 10k in the 1983 Guide. Rauxes falls out of the list because it is blown up after the Greyhaw Wars. And lastly, why does nearly every major city in Greyhawk get a population boost by the authors of the LGG except Rel Mord which stays exactly the same? Ekbir got a huge population boost knocking the capital of Nyrond down the list. This is unfortunate because Rel Mord in many ways should be 2nd only to Greyhawk. At any rate, draw your own conclusions. For now, Greyhawk is and shall remain king.


Bryan (Saracenus) said...

Just remember the LGG pop. numbers are a combination of correction of population numbers (seen as too low to be sustainable) and regugee/migration from the Greyhawk Wars. Considering how brutal the Great Kingdom treated the See of Medegia, it would not be inconceivable that people fleeing the devastation would swell the population numbers.

There is also a urban city bias in the overall 83 Guide numbers which is hard to make work since you need a large agricultural base to support large urban centers.

Mike Bridges said...

Bryan, I hear ya. Back when the LGG first came out there was always much scholarly discussion about those numbers. Didn't help Ull much haha. The wars do change quite a bit, but for me it is still interesting to see the rankings shift so much even with that justification.