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kelpie

Rokugan Demographic

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I found this long article about rokugani demographic

https://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/legend-of-the-five-rings-demographics-of-rokugan/

i don't really agree about some numbers: 50% infant mortality rate seems very high for samurai caste wich can use magic and have a general wellfare very higher than original medieval japanese-chinese one; also, shugenja proportion of 0.1% seems very low for me (i guess will be 5-10% depending on clans where lower will be lions and higher will be phoenix)

And in the end the "people for square mile" comparison should be made with china, that's a continent like rokugan, rather than japan (an island so will have a way higher number of "people for square mile")

But it's still veeeeeeery interesting and posing several questions about hows' the living on the Rokugan...

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They drop the infant mortality rate to 40% in the article.

1 shugenja per 1000 samurai is reasonably accurate to the setting. Shugenja will be taken hostage and ransomed back to their lord, refused right of seppuku or duelling, etc - all because they're so rare their continued existence is valued above their honour or shame.

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Infant mortality in a pre-industrial society is no laughing matter, and that is before you account for the spirits and supernatural monsters which actually prey on children. 

Samurai children in general have better access to medical care, and the families of daimyo would naturally be nearly free of such difficulties, but see the description of Shosuro Hyobu in the City of Lies as an example. She is the governor of the second wealthiest city in the Empire, but still lost three out of her five children before they reached adulthood. 

Regarding population density, I believe Rokugan is traditionally depicted as being much more similar to pre-industrial Japan than China. According to the Atlas of Rokugan, it is about the size of Japan, as a note. 

Edited by sndwurks

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The thing is magic in a setting isn't as protective for child birth and survival rate as global healthcare and advances in medicine. 

Main thing about Japan population rate is that it was not only influenced by the fact that it's an island but that this island is very mountainous in its middle, and so usable land is scarce. 

Thing is when it was designed, Wick's team took the historical Japan numbers and made them fit in the setting instead of designing them in coherence with the lay of the land. 

But of course it's way smaller than China. Maybe closer in size to the ancient states of Qin or Goryo.

 

Edited by Nitenman

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Note that Japan and China have VERY different rates of peasant farmers to everyone else from Medieval Europe.

Western Rice - from the middle east and northern africa IIRC, was less productive than Wheat (aka Corn), Rye and Barley. Oriental rices are well more than wheat, rye or barley. The peasant farmer rate was, pre-tokugawa, about 80% vs 90% in europe in the same timeframe, and still left a surplus in the farmer's hands with which to buy some small comforts. There was an firm economic middle class (even tho' it was socially below the peasant farmers) from at least 1200 CE, perhaps earlier. 

Oriental Rice can support, on average, 1.5 to 2 times the needed workers. Japanese millet and buckwheat are also highly productive (supporting 1.2 to 1.7 times the needed workers)

So, while Europe was 90% farmers, 5%-8% non-noble non-farmers, and 2%-5% nobles and gentry, Japan was around 75%-80% farmers, 5-10% non-farmer heimin, 1%-5% hinin, and the rest samurai and noble.

Rokugan should be even more productive, thanks to active and practical magics.

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On 10/11/2017 at 4:40 PM, sndwurks said:

Regarding population density, I believe Rokugan is traditionally depicted as being much more similar to pre-industrial Japan than China. According to the Atlas of Rokugan, it is about the size of Japan, as a note. 

Slightly bigger. Atlas of Rokugan acutally claims it ti be  twice the size of England, which is ridiculously small and actually smaller than Japan, but I assume they actually meant the UK or didn't remember that area squares. By my own rough estimates based on the scales in the Atlas I would say Rokugan is roughly the size of France.

Which at 30 million people means Rokugan should be a fairly well urbanized and more lived in than usual depicted even if not as densely packed as, say late XVIIIth century Japan. But that a common bias I've seen in North American authors regarding population desnities of other parts of the world.

 

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5 hours ago, Suzume Chikahisa said:

Slightly bigger. Atlas of Rokugan acutally claims it ti be  twice the size of England, which is ridiculously small and actually smaller than Japan, but I assume they actually meant the UK or didn't remember that area squares. By my own rough estimates based on the scales in the Atlas I would say Rokugan is roughly the size of France.

2E and 3E sources have a scale bar.

taking the map scan from the d20 version, along the widest part, it's  about 1160 miles tall, and 790 wide, roughly triangular

China, according to google earth pro, is about 1540 miles straight up from the peninsula near Hainan to the mongolian border, and 1600 from western tibet to the sea; manchuria fills in some of the cutouts, so roughly rectangular. the parallel for the north of manchuria is some 2200 miles north of Hainan.

So, the Rokugan map  looks to be right about half the size of China+Mongolia  in both directions.  Not small. At a long days hike on good road, some 15 miles per day, that's about 77 days walk N-S, or 55-days E-W at the top. and, very roughly, 450,000 square miles. It can take a season to march an army...

 

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21 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

2E and 3E sources have a scale bar.

taking the map scan from the d20 version, along the widest part, it's  about 1160 miles tall, and 790 wide, roughly triangular

China, according to google earth pro, is about 1540 miles straight up from the peninsula near Hainan to the mongolian border, and 1600 from western tibet to the sea; manchuria fills in some of the cutouts, so roughly rectangular. the parallel for the north of manchuria is some 2200 miles north of Hainan.

So, the Rokugan map  looks to be right about half the size of China+Mongolia  in both directions.  Not small. At a long days hike on good road, some 15 miles per day, that's about 77 days walk N-S, or 55-days E-W at the top. and, very roughly, 450,000 square miles. It can take a season to march an army...

 

1st ed and OA also had size bars. Suffice to say the size of Rokugan as varied widely between different editions, but if you want to handle the travel times from fiction the 1st edition and Atlas of Rokugan sizes map closer to it.

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8 hours ago, sndwurks said:

Hopefully, this will be something that is definitively clarified at the release of the RPG, because we have multiple different sizes across different editions.

It’s not really a big problem. Be specific when it matters, but usually it doesn’t. I GMed a military campaign once where the logistics of war were a concern to the players, for that I made sure to decide on a specific and consistent set of maps so everyone was on the same page with the geography. Most other campaigns though, actual distances don’t really matter. I’ll happily change them a bit too, if that works better for the ongoing adventure.

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