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  • Changeling Population

    So something curious to me. I got into changeling after it was over right before the time of Judgement. And I asked the old forums and Shadownessence questions. And you can note Werewolves have a combined population of below 20k, Vampires, especially if you include Wan Kuei have a likely population of 70-80k+, they are normally 1 per 100k, sabbat twice that, but they also seem to blur where Kueijin and Kindred overlap like India seems to have Kindred keeping their ratio, but Wan Kuei also keeping up halfway ignoring kindred pops as dominance thing.

    Besides Ghosts, who number in Millions, changelings seem to be even more populous then Vampires. But how many would you say exist world wide? The old Forums experts told me they estimated at least 100k due to the descriptions of local courts/duchies and such, how you need a certain amount just to fill in the standard court positions and support political games. But that was a rough estimate, lets look closer.

    How do you think the populations changed after the different resurgences and such? We are still getting Sidhe, but if it turns out the Sidhe aren't reincarnating when will they stop popping up in normal numbers?

    Before I remember some people less familiar with the setting thinking that Changelings were the rarest of the supernaturals, like mages. But that is only because outside the Changeling books the other supernaturals don't understand the Mists, and that Changelings are much more numerous but they are never noticed, and even when noticed are often forgotten. Which is rather neat. But changelings out of all the supernaturals, only them and Wraiths have the numbers to literally form armies here and there.

    So would you think say that Changelings maybe numbered 100k and boosted by how much though with the Resurgence? by half, so they were 150k? 125k? Doubled?! Nah that's a bit too much. But what about those not part of the Kithain? Does this include Nunnehi and Merfolk? If not then how big would the pop be? How many Inanimae are there? Thallain are specifically noted as being much rarer then normal changeling, so what less then 1/10? That makes sense considering how many of their natures are not optimized for surviving in the modern age in high numbers, for instance you can't have too many bogies because they go around eating organs or limbs. So Thallain I would imagine are less then 5% of kithain's numbers, because they are probably higher then 1% due to them still sometimes being a threat in motleys or mauraders.

    Merfolk form cities! So they probably have thousands and thousands by themselves in the oceans. The Nunnehi meanwhile are noted to often be in places unlikely to house normal changelings like reservations or the wilderness.

    So While Vampires concentrate in Cities, and Werewolves are concentrated around Caerns with septs concentrating Kinfolk pops, Changelings are much looser. They are somewhat concentrated around Freeholds/Glades but this is much less strict then Caerns which are powered by sept rites. A Freehold and its balefire meanwhile needs less maintenance, and changelings can survive in large numbers just by feeding off of dreamers. And Freeholds are easier to establish and more numerous then Caerns.

    So please way in on this.



    It is a time for great deeds!

  • #2
    Personally I've never worried about it. I believe in a broad application of Joss Whedon's saying that "Travel moves at the speed of plot". When I'm running a game there are as many kithain as I need there to be. I never make them extremely populous, but I also never worry about a specific ratio of changelings to humans. Most cities that I make have several dozen kithain that I name and describe, and as many others as I need for a particular story.

    I've always had the impression that changelings were relatively common compared to other supernaturals, but they're not as obvious due to the Mists (as you stated, Eldagusto). There are also descriptions in the books of armies of sidhe fighting armies of commoners, so you can imagine at least hundreds if not thousands involved in those battles. I can't imagine a couple of dozen being described as an "army".

    I actually like not worrying about a specific population, because then I can have as many or as few as I need to tell a good story.




    Visit my freehold for Changeling links, settings, art, and other goodies.
    The Shepherd's Freehold

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    • #3
      It gets really hard to track because many Changelings only know that they are Changelings for a few years at most, and many for considerably less time, while others have been active for hundreds of years. They can also sometimes reawaken after becoming dormant.

      If you're counting every sleeping fae soul they're going to seem very common, to the point where I would expect most people to know a few, but they don't really count for demographic purposes.

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      • #4
        You may find this thread of interest, though it doesn't - no one actually could - answer the question of how many are there - just how many must exist for the setting as-seen to be represented. http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...-of-changeling

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        • #5
          Thanks for sharing that, loomer! Interesting analysis, though I don't think that looking at the characters presented in the canon books is a true representation of the overall demographics of the kithain.




          Visit my freehold for Changeling links, settings, art, and other goodies.
          The Shepherd's Freehold

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          • #6
            I'm inclined to agree. My personal inclination for actual populations is to adjust what we see in the following ways:
            1. Set our base population ratio at 1:250,000. It's a comfortable median between the high and low countries.
            2. Adjust our figures to correct for Sidhe overrepresentation, settling at 90% Commoner kiths over the Sidhe at 10% - a compromise between the states with much stronger Commoner populations and those like Neustria that emphasize Sidhe in their demographics.
            3. Add the Inanimae.
            4. Extrapolate from there.

            Our resulting population should be 28,000 fae, with at least 12,000 more Inanimae beyond that. But is this an adequate figure? While usually on the side of minimalism, for changelings I'm not sure, so we have two options. The first is to just double or triple the number. The second is to use an alternative model and just use the Sidhe for our initial figure. In that case, if the global ratio is still 1:250,000 for 'in-game' representation, and we use 1/3rd, we get some 9350 sidhe. This then lets us use step 2 as our base for going forward - nearly 10000 Sidhe, and accordingly, another 84,150 commoners worldwide. That gets us to, oddly enough, the old rough estimates of 100k globally, not including Hsien or other not-quite-Fae like the Inanimae but including Nunnehi and others.

            Why adopt this latter method? The representation we got was seriously skewed in favour of the smallest major kith, the Sidhe, to the extent that for Concordia - where something like 80% of the books are set - had six times as many Sidhe as it should have, proportionately. So if we use the raw base figure and just go 'well, let's take a median and apply it globally' we ignore the undetailed majority of the commoners. This latter method, which uses only the Sidhe for our baseline figure, assumes that the population ratios hold up broadly but should be based around the Sidhe only, and rely on the Sidhe being between 5% and 15% of the total sidhe fae population. I think this is actually a more accurate measure, though obviously this is a personal stance and not an empirical one.

            If we assume the lower end with Concordia's 5% stated as being broadly representative of Sidhe everywhere while using the same basic model (fae = 1:250,000 asrepresented; sidhe = 1/3rd of total represented; fae as intended = 95*Sidhe), the figure is instead 177650 commoners and the same 9,350 sidhe, again without Inanimae and Hsien. Add the Inanimae in and the total rises to some 205,000 fae creatures (there are a minimum of 12,000 manikins. We will assume, for ease, that this is also the maximum figure for now, and that there are 2 mannikins for every other inanimae) which is quite substantial, and brings us to something like 1:34,000 in total population ratio. Not insignificant, but outnumbered by most ethnic and linguistic groups on Earth.

            If we remove Africa, Asia and parts of Oceania from the equation - I'm not totally comfortable doing so, but they're extremely underrepresented in the dataset, and Asia is mostly Hsien territory while Africa is predominantly 'Eshu' metakith* land that never got the proper treatment it deserves - and declare this population to be just in the 'Western' world, then 1:8700 is our working ratio.

            (*Eshu metakith is my terminology for the reality of the Eshu kith as perceived by Western changelings in fact including in its number subkiths and wholly distinct kiths that in fact serve different roles and niches.)
            Last edited by loomer; 07-27-2017, 01:52 AM.

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            • #7
              The books don't really talk about Merfolk, Nunnehi, Menehune, and Inanimae characters after they introduced them, and we know they exist in large numbers, and the Hsien didn't have room to really give many characters even when introduced, and they are probably close to either half or 1/3 Kith Population.

              But I still need to read the Inanimae book, how numerous are they?


              It is a time for great deeds!

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              • #8
                The Inanimae are either super numerous or not - it's really hard to tell. As you say, the books neglected most non-core kiths and kinds after introducing them. Presumably there should be a great many more of them than we know of, but we know of some 58 unique Inanimae from the books - mostly without any detail, just an unidentified inanimae here and there - plus the 10,000+ mannikins in Europe and 2,000+ in Concordia. The inanimae book itself offered very little insight into their numbers beyond that, as memory serves. My personal inclination is that there should be a great many inanimae out there, but most of them should be dormant.

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                • #9
                  I think the X per Normals is pretty much the most useless trait outside of Vampire and even then Vampires of both types tend to over populate cities and under populate rural areas. Supernaturals tend to gather in places based on resources of said supernatural. Garou tend to clump on septs and in packs and not spread themselves out. Mages tend to focus on Chantries and Nodes. Changelings focus on Freeholds.

                  We see examples of all types of Freeholds in c20 but I'll point out the one that is probably the most interesting. One of the example freehold types is a small town where everyone is a Changeling or Kinain or at least Enchanted. We have other ends where a its just a single bar in a large city.

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                  • #10
                    I disagree that having basic demographic information is useless. Knowing the average ratio lets you play around with things, reinforcing and subverting as needed to make things stand out, make sense, and draw the players in. Take your two examples - the small town's weirdness is reinforced if everywhere else has fairly sparse changelings, and the bar's weirdness is further reinforced (as is its significance as the last place of warmth and comfort for miles in a cold, hard, brutal world) by it being well below the known average. Aberrations have a story behind them that the players are going to want to know for no reason other than why they don't fit the regional patterns. It's why I check ratios per town or region more than I do ratios per country or world.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by loomer View Post
                      I disagree that having basic demographic information is useless. Knowing the average ratio lets you play around with things, reinforcing and subverting as needed to make things stand out, make sense, and draw the players in. Take your two examples - the small town's weirdness is reinforced if everywhere else has fairly sparse changelings, and the bar's weirdness is further reinforced (as is its significance as the last place of warmth and comfort for miles in a cold, hard, brutal world) by it being well below the known average. Aberrations have a story behind them that the players are going to want to know for no reason other than why they don't fit the regional patterns. It's why I check ratios per town or region more than I do ratios per country or world.

                      No, its useless because it creates a false sense of correlation. Freeholds/Nodes/Caerns do not exist in proportion to human population. Now how many Changelings per square mile might be useful based on how common resources show up.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lian View Post


                        No, its useless because it creates a false sense of correlation. Freeholds/Nodes/Caerns do not exist in proportion to human population. Now how many Changelings per square mile might be useful based on how common resources show up.
                        This is only an issue if one misuses the statistic, not with the statistic itself. I would suggest that a view of changeling population that ties itself strictly to freeholds misses the reality that changelings can and do exist without freeholds at all, and that they are not the only source of glamour and survival. The same problem you suggest then appears for your freehold-centric model - people may confuse 'freehold = no' with 'changelings = no', and miss the potential for interesting stories of survival against the odds, of intrepid changelings carving out a niche in the absence of an existing freehold community, perhaps without the numbers and resources to establish one themselves. Just like a population statistic, the presence of a freehold is not the be all and end all of good storytelling.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by loomer View Post

                          This is only an issue if one misuses the statistic, not with the statistic itself. I would suggest that a view of changeling population that ties itself strictly to freeholds misses the reality that changelings can and do exist without freeholds at all, and that they are not the only source of glamour and survival. The same problem you suggest then appears for your freehold-centric model - people may confuse 'freehold = no' with 'changelings = no', and miss the potential for interesting stories of survival against the odds, of intrepid changelings carving out a niche in the absence of an existing freehold community, perhaps without the numbers and resources to establish one themselves. Just like a population statistic, the presence of a freehold is not the be all and end all of good storytelling.

                          There are rats in the wild. The vast majority of Rats however dwell among humans. A freehold-centric model of Changeling distribution has correlation. Changelings can survive without them BUT the majority are going to end up near them.

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                          • #14
                            Sure. But that doesn't mean that broad figures are useless, which is what you advance. Take your own example - knowing how many rats reside in non-human populated areas is itself valuable in terms of pest control strategies, ecological management, species preservation, and for mapping the distribution and breakdown of the 'proper' ecosystem due to the invasion of human-fostered intruders like rats. There are a whole swathe of applicable uses to models that suggest approximate figures for how many rats there are, period, in a region, just as there are for those that offer finer granularity.

                            Here's one example we could actually use for our current purpose. Let's say we want to establish a few new areas in broad detail, just in case our PCs ever visit the neighbouring duchies - and we're in an area with nothing published. We can always go completely from scratch, which is a really good option, but it helps to have a few yardposts and measures. So, we could just clone existing duchies and make some tweaks, but that's an inflexible option that doesn't reflect the reality on the ground. That's about all we can do without additional information.

                            If, however, we have a few figures to draw on - the known densities in various regions, say - then we can decide if that information is useful or not. Let's say I want to make my region a changeling hub - the first question is, what does that actually look like? Knowing how many fae exist in comparable domains elsewhere gives us that baseline information, and that's where the ratios come in. San Francisco, say, had 1:16,500, so I might use that for my region - or I might not, depending on if it applies. But having that information gives us useful metrics and measures to compare what we have with canonical representations and what 'feels' right. Do I want my town as dense as SF? Denser? Thinner, but with closer social ties? Once I have my yardpost, I can adjust as needed.

                            That's where the information is useful: As another tool. It isn't the be all and end all, anymore than your proposed model of 'freehold distribution = changeling distribution' is. They both fit different uses and scenarios better - and rather notably, we have much better information on how many changelings there are in various regions than we do freeholds in different regions. In the absence of good freehold data to feed your proposed model, why would you discard the data we do have?

                            In fact, we can even use our data to feed the number of freeholds in for the vast majority of places we know nothing about. If we know that the richest regions support x freeholds with an attending y changelings on average, and z changelings per i mortals, then we can decide to use that as a base value to tweak as we like for other 'richest' (glamourwise) regions, like my hometown in my case. If the poorest support x, the same is true - we can use that as a basic model, tweaking up and down in ratios, to get the desired reflection of or contrast from the basic game setting that's been presented over the years.

                            The other alternative is to approach each situation with only vague intuition of 'what seems right', which is a way to go - but not the only one. So I continue to stand by my position that population demographics are far from useless for non-Vampire lines.

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                            • #15
                              I guess to me this is too much work and goes against the feel of the game. Changeling isn't supposed to be as rigid as this, where you can do a mathematical calculation to determine a population base. Now I realize that for someone like you, loomer, this could be a source of Glamour while to me this is a source of Banality. Sort of how there will be different methods of glamour collection between redcaps and nockers. I don't want to look up a city's population, then do math to tell me how many changelings live there. In my games there are as many as there need to be to tell a good story.




                              Visit my freehold for Changeling links, settings, art, and other goodies.
                              The Shepherd's Freehold

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