Powers and Perils

Farming and Population Support

At the technological level of the Perilous Lands, ranging from the stone age in the wilds of the Fierazi lands to the Late Iron age of the Caldans, farming, fishing, hunting or herding is the primary occupation of the majority of the population. Besides supporting themselves, however, they must also support the remainder of the population as well (crafters, soldiers, administrators, nobility, etc).

These rules are an attempt to allow you to figure out how much land is required to support your village or town.


The average man requires 3FP per day, every day.

The actual producers of food tend to be low-class people. The upper classes, which do not produce, tend to require more resources per person. As such, their consumption of foodstuffs is doubled to 6FP (representing more labor/field intensive luxury crops as well as more food overall)

Basic System

There are 4 degrees of farming:

Each type of farming will produce enough food to support the following:

Primative1 person per 6 acres(6 bu/acre)
Refined1 person per 3 acres(12 bu/acre)
Advanced1 person per 2.5 acres(15 bu/acre)
Intensive1 person per 2 acres(18 bu/acre)

Keep in mind that the actual support of the land will depend on soil quality. As a rough guild, use the following values for each type of terrain:

Plains x1.0
Hills x1.0
Forest x1.0
Jungle x1.25
Swamp x1.25
Desert x2.0
w/River x0.9
w/River Mouth x0.8
w/Lake x0.95

These values all assume land that is tended and properly irrigated. To find the cropland required to support the village population, multiply the population by the cropland requirements for the type of farming and any terrain modifiers.

EXAMPLE - A Marentian mountain village exists with a population of 210 people. Marentian agriculture is relatively advanced due to its fairly enlightened attitude on learning and freedoms. With Advanced farming, and since this village is in a mountain hex. this village requires 788 acres.

As a note, keep in mind that given farming techniques in the lands, farmers are limited to 5-6 acres of land each. Divide the above acreage by the population, multiplying by 0.5 if Barbarian farming and by 0.66 if using other farming. If the number of acres required exceeds 5-6, other sources of food are needed (herding, fishing, etc).

EXAMPLE - In the above village, farmers maintain 2.47 acres each, well within their limits.

After accounting for the village's own croplands, one must also account for the additional cropland required to support any towns and cities. From the culture book, subtract the total urban population from the population of the entire country to find the rural population. Divide the urban population by the rural population and multiply by 2 to find the urban support percentage (USP). Take the USP and multiply by the figured cropland of the village. Add this to the village total, again checking to see if they go over the limit.

EXAMPLE - Marentia has an urban population of 148,000, and a total population of 900,000. This produces a USP of 0.39, adding another 308 acres to the cropland, for a total of 1096 acres. This is still under the limit.

Besides crop land additional space is required for the village buildings, roads, and unusable "waste" land that cannot be used for enything. As a rough guild, use the following values for each type of terrain:

Plainsx1.05, x1.1 if rugged
Hillsx1.1, x1.2 if rugged
Forestx1.1, x1.2 if rugged
Junglex1.15, x1.3 if rugged or marshy
Swampx1.25, x1.5 if very wet
Mountainx1.5, x2.0 if very rugged or alpine
Badlandsx1.75, x2.5 if very rugged
Desertx2, x5 if very arid

Multiply the cropland by the indicated factor to find total land covered.

EXAMPLE - This village is in a mountain hex, but more on the foothills then in the rugged interior. Assigning a waste rating of 1.5, we have a total acreage of an 1,644 acres. Assuming a roughly circular arrangement (village in center, tended fields out from that), this village of 210 sits on 2.57 square miles of mostly cleared land, surrounded by woods, rock and other rough terrain. The outer edge of the cleared lands is a little over a mile and a quarter from the village center (actually 1.278 miles -- the village lands are about 2.56 miles across).

Take the figured cropland and divide out the land multiplier for the terrain. Multiply the remainder by 0.5 if barbarian farming or by 0.66 if civilized farming. This will indicate the number of "standard" acres actually sown each year. Each acre will produce the yield (in bushels) as noted for the type of farming, after accounting for next year's seed. From this there will be anywhere from 10-30% waste, with a 20% average, due to rot, vermine or theft. With the average man requiring 18 bushels of food per year, subtract the village's requirements for the year. The remainder is the lord's portion.

EXAMPLE - The village's 1096 acres of cropland (divided by 1.5 for 731 "standard" acres) are 1/3 fallow, so only 484 acres are available to produce 15 bushels of grain per year each, for a total of 7,260 bushels. The villagers need 3,780 bushels or grain, and another 1,452 are lost to rot or rats, leaving an average of 2,028 bushels for the lord of the village.

The remaining grain is now sold down the trade routes, eventually to end up in the cities and towns of the land. Each bushel of grain weighs 60#. While 10# of grain (10FP) costs 1CC, this is the retail price...the source village's lord will get HALF this, or 0.5BB per pound, rounded up to the next silver coin.

EXAMPLE - Our lord has a crop of 121,680# or grain, for a profit of 609SC per year for his owned village of 1,644 acres -- an average "yield" of 37BB per acre per year.

To keep things simple, simply provide for the living requirements of the lord and his staff, soldiers, sheriffs and the like from all his profits...they go down real fast. :)

Burton Choinski