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Population and Generation - timeline theory

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  • Population and Generation - timeline theory

    A recent discussion about the Dark Ages got me thinking about what the generation spread would look like at any given time. Because of that, I looked up what I could find about the historic human population, and what could be extrapolated from it to get a gauge of how the population of vampires would change over time.

    My assumptions: first, the worldwide population of active vampires would follow the 1/100,000 rule. Second, the higher generations are the most likely to embrace, as they are generally the youngest and most likely to expand into new areas and populations. Third, this is an abstraction and is not intended to conform with specific story elements. Just as with economics, the larger picture is much more accurate than looking at individual events. Here goes.

    10,000 BCE - humanity has a population of roughly 4 million, allowing for up to 40 vampires. The 4th generation already outnumbers the third. This far back in pre-history, debates about the meaning of Enoch and the loss of the first or second city are theoretical. Vampires would have lived as veritable gods, as human population was rarely dense enough to cause them significant problems.

    7300 BCE - Humanity now numbers 5 million souls, and the vampire population has grown with it. The 5th generation and 4th generation now have roughly the same number of active vampires, though there are likely fewer than 20 of either generation.

    3800 BCE - Population of the herd has grown to 7.7 million, introducing the possibility to further expand. The 6th generation now matches the 5th for the most populous in vampire society. Vampires of the 7th and 8th generation would not be unheard of in the trade centers around the largest city in the world at the time, Uruk in modern Iraq.

    2800 BCE - Human population doubles in a thousand years, now at roughly 15 million. The 7th generation is the most populous, with more than 50 active vampires. The 7th generation is now more populous than all vampires active when Caine exiled them from Enoch.

    1900 BCE - the human population has again doubled, now boasting 30 million people. More than 100 8th generation vampires now stand as the most populous cadre,

    1000 BCE - 50 million people now inhabit the planet, allowing the vampire population to hit 500 for the first time. The 9th generation nearly matches the 8th in established vampires, and the 10th-11th generation is likely considered thin-blooded. This would be the first time vampires with a blood potency of 1 are embraced.

    500 BCE - in just five hundred years, the human population has again doubled to 100 million. The rapid expansion of the populace means that the 10th and 11th generations taken together outnumber the 9th, though that remains the most populous generation for another century. Babylon stands as the center of civilization, though Alexandria, Carthage, and Xi'an will all rise in the coming centuries as major centers in their own right. Vampire society likely becomes more of a reality at this time, as population centers and trade routes would support multiple broods of different clans across large parts of the planet.

    Year 0 - 170 million humans now live, with both Alexandria and Rome potentially holding populations of 1 million each. This is the last century where the 10th generation is the most populous. The human population will continue to grow modestly for the next millennium, allowing for vampiric population to remain stable with respect to the generational spread. This is a golden age for a society that has yet to see any significant barrier to its growth.

    600 CE - Human population is now 200 million. 2000 vampires exist, much the same as they have for the prior thousand years.

    1200 CE - The 12th generation is now the most populous, matching the default generation of PCs in VtDA. Human population will peak in 1250 at 400 million, though by the end of the century it will be back at 360 million, where it was when the century began. The population percentage by generation looks something like this:

    13th (thin blood) - 2.8%
    12th - 38.3%
    11th - 29.6%
    10th - 14.8%
    9th - 7.4%
    8th - 3.7%
    7th-6th - 2.7%
    5th or lower - 0.8%

    1400 CE - dropping from an all-time high of 443 million just fifty years prior, humanity now stands at 350 million. The loss of nearly 100 million vessels brings about a population crisis. From this standpoint, the Inquisition seems like a foregone conclusion given the sudden loss of so much potential feeding. Odds are that no more than 2000 vampires embraced before this crisis remain alive once it is over. By 1500 CE, more than half of all vampires are likely under a century of age.

    1700 CE - worldwide population rebounded incredibly rapidly, now topping 600 million. Such rapidly expanding domains have allowed the latest generations to flourish; the 13th generation now stands at over 2000 vampires; the entire vampire population 1000 years prior was only 2100. The 12th generation will hang on to its position as the most dominant.

    1850 CE - just after the turn of the century, human population hit 1 billion for the first time and kept rising. By mid-century it hits 1.26 billion, allowing for a similar expansion in vampiric numbers.

    1930 CE - Sometime in the 1920's the population will hit 2 billion, doubling in just 80 years. This is the last decade where the 12th holds the most population, with the 13th exploding during the post-war boom. The first part of the 20th century is also when thin-bloods begin to appear, though infrequently and likely leading very short lives.

    1960 CE - The population is now 3.02 billion, adding a billion people in just 30 years, with more than half of them coming on in the last decade. Thin-blooded vampires are now a reality in most of the larger domains on the planet. The 13th generation now likely has over 15,000 vampires - a staggering number beyond the comprehension of most vampires over the age of an ancilla. At the dawn of the century the planet could only support a total vampire population of 16,500. If all vampires who survived the Inquisition are still alive (which is incredibly unlikely), they would comprise only 6.6% of the total vampire population.

    1990 CE - human population is 5.26 billion, and there are now likely more than 50,000 vampires on planet earth. 22,500 or more of those vampires are 30 years embraced or less, meaning half of vampire population is comprised of neonates. Only 18% of all vampires could be 200 years or more old, with the likely number being closer to half that. 7% of all vampires are likely thin-blooded, causing a panic in Kindred society and a rapid decrease in their numbers.

    2020 CE - Population is likely to hit 8 billion, with 80,000 vampires. Nearly 30,000 vampires are less than 30 years under the fang, with another 22,500 no more than 60. Elders are so vastly outnumbered that the reality of vampire society is going to change, and there is nothing they can do to stop it.

    Thin-Blood - 3.8%
    13th - 49.9%
    12th - 26.8%
    11th - 12.2%
    10th - 4.6%
    9th - 1.7%
    8th-6th - 0.95%
    5th or less - 0.04%

    Breakdown by age:
    Childer (0-15 years) - 42,522 (53.2%)
    Neonate (16-75 years) - 23,741 (29.7%)
    Ancilla (76-250) - 9762 (12.2%)
    Elder (251-1000) - 3225 (4.0%)
    Methuselah (1000+) - 750 (0.94%)





  • #2
    One thing I always point out is that 1:100,000 is not actually how many vampires there are. That is how many vampires can exist safely undetected among Kine. According to 1st and 2nd Edition vampires are GROSSLY overpopulated and constantly dueling with each other for territory, vessels, and influence.

    I think there should be at least 4 times as many vampires as the "proper" amount.


    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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    • #3
      I agree, so most cities would have closer to 1/25,000 or more. I used it as the worldwide ratio to account for the people who do not live in concentrated areas, especially prior to 500 BCE when the largest cities rarely had more than 100,000 total.

      Montana has a population of 1.06 million. Billings has 105,000, with the next three largest cities holding 67K, 59K, and 37K. The cities likely hold 4, 3, 2, and 2 vampires - a population of 11 vampires centered in the few populous areas and massively overcrowding them, but maintaining much closer to the 1:100K when the state's population is considered.

      All that being said, this is my theory. Double, triple, whatever. I don't think it would change the percentage when age and generation are considered.

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      • #4
        I did something like this once that was more aimed at social perceptions of generation than population demographics.

        First City
        1: Elder
        2: Ancilla
        3: Neonates

        Second City (Pre-Revolt)
        2: Elder
        3: Ancilla
        4: Neonate

        Second City
        3: Elder
        4: Ancilla
        5: Neonate

        Copper Age
        3: Methuselah
        4: Elder
        5: Ancilla
        6: Neonate

        Bronze Age
        4: Methuselah
        5: Elder
        6: Ancilla
        7: Neonate

        Bronze Age Collapse
        4: Methuselah
        5: Elder
        6: Ancilla
        7-8: Neonate

        Iron Age
        4: Methuselah
        5: Elder
        6-7: Ancilla
        8-9: Neonate

        Classical Antiquity
        4: Methuselah
        5: Elder
        6-7: Ancilla
        8-10: Neonate

        Late Antiquity
        4: Methuselah
        5-6: Elder
        7-8: Ancilla
        9-11: Neonate

        Middle Ages
        4-5: Methuselah
        6-7: Elder
        8-9: Ancilla
        10-12: Neonate

        Industrial Revolution
        4-5: Methuselah
        6-7: Elder
        8-10: Ancilla
        11-13: Neonate

        Post-World Wars
        4-5: Methuselah
        6-8: Elder
        9-10: Ancilla
        11-13: Neonate
        Last edited by False Epiphany; 01-18-2020, 09:18 PM.


        Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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        • #5
          I always assumed the real vampire/human ration would be closer to 1:3000-5000, like real life predator-prey populations.

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          • #6
            Yeah, I treat these numbers as what would be the most conservative estimates and even so they are extremely interesting for tracking the progress of kindred populations and how that would effect their history. I personally use estimates of ~5,000:1 for pre-Masquerade or weak infrastructures with 1:10,000-20,000 on average and 1:100,000 in the most conservative of times and places.

            The specifics of personal numbers aside, I really wanna say that these are extremely awesome numbers to have and I wanna say thank you to JRRParker to the great job in making them!

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            • #7
              V:tM has always had a mixed message when it came to population numbers. On one hand vampires are supposed to be city dwellers who are hemmed in by lupines circling the outer edges of civilization. On the other hand we have several clans and bloodlines which can function out in the wilds just fine and in some cases far better than they could in a city environment.

              Feeding styles don't give us help in figuring it out because for every vampire who hunts each night and thus contributes to the 1 to 100,000 ratio as far as being noticed, there are vampires who maintain mortal herds or feed from animals, which wouldn't draw attention. Vampire society is supposed to be tethered to mortal society and thus always adapting to keep itself hidden, yet the act of hunting a stranger each night is practically asking for trouble without Dominate memory modification. But the fluff keeps pushing the idea of the gothic romance figure who feeds by seduction and charm. Sort of the same way all vampire feeding artwork portrays vampires as being messy infants who wear most of their food rather than swallowing it.

              Vampiric reproduction also doesn't help matters regarding figuring out population numbers. Sure you can map out generations, but each sire can have an infinite amount of offspring, and since there is no vampiric gestation period in the reproductive act you are limited only by the quality of the local mortal population. Unlike a lupine which has to get pregnant, wait a year to give birth, wait an additional 15 years to see of the offspring breeds true, and then has to spend say another 5-10 years learning mortal skills and understanding their supernatural heritage, a vampire can grab someone off the street and just embrace them and it only takes a year at most to adapt to vampiric life and learn the ropes.

              I have found that when thinking about cainite populations, it is better to use a virus infection model rather than thinking in human terms. Which means you will have flair ups of vampiric populations at times before it dies back to a point of equilibrium. The tricky part is that Generation throws a monkey wrench into all of this, since it is entirely possible for a 5th generation prince to embrace a group of childer in a bid to change both the clan population ratio in a city and its generation ratio since all the childer will be 6th generation. The lack of a mechanical restriction on embracing beyond being thin-blooded has been a major issue in trying to figure out populations.

              Personally I have always preferred below average population numbers in my games just because it solves most of the masquerade issues that routinely get brought up and gives far more weight to the idea of vampire hunters being a threat. The only time I go with standard or higher population numbers is when I am doing a major departure from the established setting. A post Gehenna game where vampires rule openly or a game where the vampires have retreated to purpose built underground cities where humans are bred and kept as a slave class and all the vampire politics doesn't really interact with surface world.

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              • #8
                I think that the fluff informs the numbers, though. It has been shown that vampires who reach a certain age just stop embracing, likely because they have become so alien and paranoid that the idea of adding a vampire of nearly their own power stratum is anathema to them.

                Caine stopped embracing prior to 10,000 BCE and had between 3-8(?) childer depending on how one reads the Book of Nod, embrace of Osiris, etc.

                The Second generation mostly embraced between 7,000-8,300 BCE, with Set being the lone exception of directly-embraced 3rd generation around 5,000 BCE

                After Lazarus is embraced in 30 CE there are next to no direct embraces of 4th generation vampires, aside from two who diablerized their sires. The embrace of Gratiano de Veronese by Lasombra in 1130 CE is the last recorded embrace by an Antediluvian, as most Tremere and Giovanni 4th generation vampires achieve their blood potency through amaranth.

                From this we can extrapolate that the 5th generation ceased to be embraced sometime in the 15th century - aside from an incredibly odd one off here or there - in the wake of the Inquisition. There would be a corresponding drop off in 6th generation embraces as the 5th grew increasingly old and paranoid. In my mind the embrace of new 6th generation vampires would have mostly ceased prior to the 20th century, with 7th generation embraces being incredibly uncommon after WWII.

                My opinion on this is that the fluff gives guides to the mechanical world building. Sure, a 5th generation prince can embrace a handful of relatively powerful 6th generation childer who would crush other fledglings and neonates due to their blood potency. Soon after that they would all likely fall to the fangs of his enemies, as a 7th generation elder would find a 6th generation fledgling little more than a video game power up. Now said prince has to deal with even more powerful enemies than before, which is why that is not the first resort of every prince in the Camarilla.

                Procreation also seems to be presented as a byproduct of humanity. Vampires embrace out of love, out of guilt, loneliness, or boredom. As their humanity slips, these feelings have less and less hold on a Kindred, thus they are far less likely to embrace. Procreation is therefor the purview of the young and those with high humanity.

                Again, that's how I run and think about it, and I thought it would be an interesting discussion.

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                • #9
                  1 vampire for every 100.000 mortals are the global average for the Modern Nights. I'm pretty sure it's stated somewhere outright in a DA book that the Dark Ages number was closer to 1 vampire for every 1000 mortals. The huge difference being explained by on the one hand vampire populations completely collapsing with the Anarch Revolt + Inquisition and human populations rising spectacularly between the Middle Ages and the 1990s.

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                  • #10
                    The 1:100,000 is modern average for metropolitan areas (the major city + suburbs, though the suburbs themselves aren't actually populated unless they have an urban density (not single family homes). So that is not a general average for a country or world as a whole. Some vampires exist in rural areas, lots of Gangrel and some others like Nosferatu, but it is much more dangerous. In 1800, the US population was over 90% rural. In 1900 it was 60%. In 1920, 50%. In 1950, 40%. In 1990, 25%. Today it is around 20%.

                    So besides the total population, it is also important to know around the percentage living specifically in urban areas.

                    That is just a general rule, not an iron clad one. But urban environments provide anonymity, high crime, mortal influence to take over, ample victims, and lots of places to hide. All useful things to vampires. Rural areas make it much harder - they notice if people go missing, especially if it is more than one. And of course there could be lupines. It is much harder to feed with impunity. You can argue how bad it is precisely in different areas, but rural areas can safely support a much lower number of vampires.

                    At height of the Roman Empire, urban population reached around 25-30%. And Rome was heavily urbanized for its time. Europe wouldn't reach that again until the 19th century. In the Middle Ages, urban population is probably only around 5% of the population (and most of that is marked towards much smaller towns, so the figure we should be looking at is around 3%). So whatever average ratiio you use, you should be removing a large population amount from your equation. Or at least compensating for it.

                    And of course, those urban figures vary by region. Sub-Saharan Africa was even less urbanized. While the Middle East was much more urbanized.

                    Ultimately, the book's ratio is not based on anything "real". It was created to use as a guideline to keep the vampire population of any given chronicle to be manageable and make it easy for the ST. For most games, you probably want something between 20-100 vampires. So that's what you are getting, and the game works back from that to create a ratio. And then use whatever flavor text to explain why it changes.

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                    • #11
                      The Storyteller's Handbook does claim that the 1 in 100.000 ratio is the global average. It just also happens to be the ratio Camarilla domains try to stick to.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                        That is just a general rule, not an iron clad one. But urban environments provide anonymity, high crime, mortal influence to take over, ample victims, and lots of places to hide. All useful things to vampires. Rural areas make it much harder - they notice if people go missing, especially if it is more than one. And of course there could be lupines. It is much harder to feed with impunity. You can argue how bad it is precisely in different areas, but rural areas can safely support a much lower number of vampires.
                        I've never been clear on why people focus on this. It would be much more sensible for a vampire to use the blood bond, or Mental Disaplines if they have them, to control a stable herd and not kill anyone wouldn't it? It would be easier to hide surely?

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                        • #13
                          In an urban environment, people are much more likely to be atomized and lack the strong social bonds with nearby friends, family, and neighbors. People are more likely to be lost in the crowd. Your neighbors are much less likely to interact with you or know you. In rural areas, there are much stronger social bonds with the nearby community. Neighbors are much more likely to know you and notice if people go missing or are acting strange and investigate. Smaller communities are much more likely to be closely knit. They are much more likely to notice things like Bob is acting strange than Bob's neighbors in the cities do. So it isn't even a matter of littering the streets and fields with corpses. It's preventing people from investigating and interfering in general.

                          There are limits to blood bonds and mental Disciplines. And blood bonds and mental disciplines change how people act. This is something that often gets handwaved for the sake of convenience, but should be part of the setting. even if you are able to control the entire community outright because it is small enough, other people are going to notice when they visit for trade, travel, to share news, or look up old friends and family.

                          It is certainly possible for a single vampire, old and experienced enough to have the relevant powers, to set themselves up in a rural community. What is much less likely is that there are enough of them to do so. And to refrain from killing anyone, you need a very large herd to control. Which means taking over a significant number of the community. And of course, if a single vampire is able to do that in an rural area, they can't afford to have another vampire nearby who is going to screw it up for them. Only in the large cities can a vampire tolerate other vampires near them as competitors.

                          So while it could be a workable strategy for a relatively few vampires spread far from each other, it is not a sound basis for vampires as a whole to colonize the rural areas. If you allow that, you have a completely different style of game setting. It is certainly not sustainable with the setting's Lupines especially the further back in time you go.

                          Again, this isn't to say some vampires don't live in the rural areas or can't make it work. Just that it is very different life, more risky, and occurs at a much lower ratio. You can certainly change that, but you're creating a very different setting since it must have different assumptions.

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                          • #14
                            I like these numbers enough that I will probably use the 2020 numbers to model my npcs setup when designing cities. For a metro area I will probably use a 1:50k ratio although 95% of america lives in a metro or suburban area, I need a few more for the city I picked.

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                            • #15
                              We know just in the dark ages they went with one cainite per 1000 mortals for a comfortable population. We also know from lore passed by the most ancient draculers that the 2nd city had hundreds of draculers, but there’s was a society unseen possibly until Carthage, and was more a pulpy setting rather then a real world one.


                              It is a time for great deeds!

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