Greyhawk, Greyhawk Wars, Greyhawk Wars Research, Let's Read, The City of Greyhawk Boxed Set

Let’s Read: City of Greyhawk, Part 1: Demographics

The most interesting thing about the first few pages of the City of Greyhawk comes from its demographics:

The city contains all sorts of people, and a few other sorts of individuals. About 80% of the city’s population are native Greyhawkers, with another 14% humans from about the Nyr Dyv, Rhennee, barbarians from the north or the wild coast, and those from farther afield . . . The largest group of nonhumans are the half-orcs, making up perhaps 2.5% of the population. Halflings count for 1.5%, dwarves for 1%, elves for perhaps 0.5%, and the remaining 0.5% is gnomes and other demihuman or humanoid types that are able to function as citizens . . .”

Niles, 3

So if we combine the two groups of human populations we’re looking at a breakdown that follows:

  • 94 % human
  • 2.5% half-orc
  • 1.5% halfling
  • 1% dwarf
  • 0.5% elf
  • 0.5% gnome and other

This formalized breakdown of lineages finds the city-state reduced in diversity from its previous version found in the World of Greyhawk Boxed Set. In the previous version of the city-state nearly 20% of the population was considered either demi-human or humanoid[1]. By contrast we now find only 6% of the overall population would qualify as non-human.

In the World of Greyhawk Boxed Set the city-state is said to hold around 133,000 persons in both the city proper, and the surrounding area, which should see a population of nearly 26,600 non-humans. So far the City of Greyhawk Boxed Set has not included a population for the city-state but if we use the same numbers for total persons we should see the following breakdown of non-humans:

  • 3,325 half-orcs
  • 1,995 halflings
  • 1,330 dwarves
  • 665 elves
  • 665 gnomes and everyone else
  • total of 7,980 non-humans

I am resolutely against such a stark reduction in the non-human population of the city-state and unless I am presented with a logical reason for the reduction I will be using the World of Greyhawk population density numbers instead. The numbers seem more reasonable for the style of game that I play and more exciting for my players as they tend to play a wide range of lineages.

What are your thoughts?

Notes

[1] On page 23 of A Guide to the World of Greyhawk: Volume III A catalogue of the land flanaess, being the eastern portion of the continent oerik, of oerth the Free City of Greyhawk is noted as having a population of “some” for both demi-humans and humanoids categories. “Some” in this context “. . . indicates numbers up to perhaps 10% of the human population; “few” generally means 5% or less in terms of overall numbers . . .” (Gygax,18). This indicates that the combined populations would range from 20% at the high end, to 12% of the overall all population at the low end. For my purposes I am choosing the high end estimate.

Works Cited

Niles, Douglas. Book1: Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess A gazetteer of the Free City of Greyhawk and the surrounding area. TSR, Inc. 1989. pg 3

Gygax, Gary. A Guide to the World of Greyhawk: Volume III A catalogue of the land flanaess, being the eastern portion of the continent oerik, of oerth. TSR, Inc. 1983. pg 18, 23

2 thoughts on “Let’s Read: City of Greyhawk, Part 1: Demographics”

  1. This is an incredibly pedantic question, but, since the original boxed set didn’t give a more detailed breakdown of particular non-human types within that 20% (as far as I know), would you keep the breakdown of the nonhumans within that 20% proportionate with what the City boxed set has?

    Obviously, converting 6% into 20% doesn’t give clean, even numbers, but by a rough guess, it would look something like:

    8.33% half-orc
    5% halfling
    3.33% dwarf
    1.66% elf
    1.66% gnome and other

    So, taking the old box’s population number, and those percentages, it gives hard numbers along the lines of:

    106,400 Humans
    11,088 half-orcs
    6,655 halflings
    4,433 dwarves
    2,212 elves
    2,212 gnomes and others

    Giving you your 26,600 non-human number.
    Does that seem like a reasonable breakdown of the nonhuman population of Greyhawk as you’d imagine it?

    (No, I don’t know why I’m doing math this early in the morning.)

    Like

    1. What a good question!

      I’m not entirely sure that I would keep the original breakdown as I tend to add more dwarves to my campaigns and I often feature a wide array of “other” lineages as well. My breakdown would look closer to this:

      8% half-orc
      5% dwarf
      3% halfling
      4% elf, gnome and other.

      I tend to feature elves and gnomes less than most other lineages so they would be lumped in with the other group. That said I’m not married to this breakdown either.

      Like

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