[Planning] Villages and Towns

Discussion in 'Inspiration & Worldbuilding' started by Andy_Jones, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. [Note] This Thread is under construction, but can already help builders planning projects a lot. The parts about "Professions" and about "Layouts" are mostly done.

    This thread is about: Finding fitting locations for larger villages and towns, defining its size and distribution of professions, planning realistic layouts as well as the surroundings of the place.
    This thread is not about: Architecture and Building.

    Coming soon...


    While this section is not done yet, size of towns depend on these factors:

    • Density of the region
    • Food production capability of the surroundings
    • Trade Routes
    • Since we build GRRM's universe, also by Canon and what he tells us about the wealth of the noble houses.

    More soon...


    Please always check out this document.

    As you can see, towns had to be quite large to support a profession. This is because in pre-industrialized times the yield of farming was so small, you can roughly say 140 farmers had to support 1 not-farmer.

    Obviously we cannot build houses for 150 farmers in a town to build one for a shoemaker. But we should always try to show that the vast majority of people in this time were peasants.

    With growing size of a settlement the proportion of professions towards farmers does increase, since they will be forced out of a towns boundaries by larger distances and higher prices (given a town with town citizen that were actually able to acess the market freely). As you can see in cities like Kings Landing and White Harbour, most peasants would settle outside the walls or in sub centres (villages, smaller towns in proximity to the regional centre). This applies to towns of the size of Bitterbridge, Fairmarket, Duskendale and larger (in our measures, 150 houses+). Even towns of the size of Bandallon (in our measures, 80 houses) have more farmers than other professions.

    Lets start an example for a distribution of professions following Whitefireneo's profession document:
    Roughly 500 inhabitants, leading to:

    • 1 Mason
    • 1 Pastrycook
    • 1 Old-Clothes dealer
    • 1 Tavern-keeper
    • 1 Jeweler (does not scale down properly to our servers measures, should not be put in smaller towns)
    • 1 Cleric
    • 1-2 Barbers (Surgeon)
    • 2 Tailors
    • 2 Maidservants
    • 2 Furrier
    • 3 Shoemaker
    • 484 Farmers
    On our server, this should (roughly) lead to a town with 30 houses, including 2/3 in the primary sector:
    • 1 Mason
    • 1 Pastrycook
    • 1 Old-Clothes dealer
    • 1 Tavern-keeper
    • 1 Septon
    • 1 Maidservant
    • 1 Barber (Surgeon)
    • 1 Tailor
    • 1-2 Furrier
    • 2 Shoemakers
    • 18-19 Farmers
    Besides the fact that from a gameplay point-of-view not every town should feel the same, there are reasons why villages and towns should vary profession-wise.
    Some of those can be:

    • Geographical features of the surroundings. A town at the coast has not only farmers for food production, also fishermen. Near larger forests there are also hunters, and a larger amount of citizens working in the wood sector.
    • Proximity to larger centres (drain of higher professions) or smaller centres (gain of higher professions).
    • Traderoutes. Settlements along the main trade routes of Westeros like the Roseroad, Kings Road, Goldroad etc. can have a significantly larger amount of Inns, Cartwrights, Saddlers, Trading professions; or respecticly can have those professions in towns that would normally not support them.



    This is an overview of the most common types of village layouts in europe during the medieval times. Layouts were mostly defined my geographical features like terrain or rivers, but also greatly by existing roads and culture.
    Layouts g) and h) show examples of villages along a through road. Whenever you have roads that lead through your project, you should place villages like these along them.
    Layout f) (German "Rundling") is a purely agricultural or foresting settlement located at the end of a road. You can place these next to forests or inside a larger portion of fields.

    Check out this website for nice maps of medieval villages (Thanks to kulmen).

    • This awesome collection of maps, mostly of towns but also of the countryside.
    • Check out this book with maps of towns (Thanks Estoop for both).
    • For everyone that likes reading, kulmen found this book about the history of towns.


    Check out this model of a town with "Thünen rings":

    More soon..
  2. Wazgamer

    Wazgamer Lord Paramount of The Riverlands Maester

    Love this
  3. Enah

    Enah Mother Nature and Lord in Bandallon Maester

    The Book kul shared, amazing. I hope to own it one day because it's pretty detailed and fascinating
  4. EStoop

    EStoop Peasant of Oldtown Builder

    Just print it at work, I'm sure the bossman wouldn't mind. Call in a couple of days sick to read it while you're at it!
    IwanDeLarch, Andy_Jones and Wazgamer like this.
  5. Where did you get this number from?
    PoziPoisonDart likes this.
  6. Enah

    Enah Mother Nature and Lord in Bandallon Maester

    well, it's estimated that one person needs 24 bushels of food a year to survive, and a typical family needed 10 acres of land to survive (not thrive). this is based on info from Battle Abbey, Sussex in 1300s and Elton, Cambridgeshire 1200s. Both used open field systems however. Now, today, it takes 0.5 to 1 acres of land to feed a person according the western dietary habits, as well as with the assumption of adequate water and land quality. I may or may not have answered, but, this information is deduced via demographics and general knowledge of the time periods. It's also estimated it took 30 peasants to be able to just feed the lord of a singular manor.
    lemonbear and Wazgamer like this.
  7. Howy

    Howy Thanos Maester

    For an example of the Thunen Rings, see Bitterbridge (which was inspired by the market gardens -> firewood forests -> fields/crops). I didn't employ the style to the fullest extent but it played a foundational role in my planning for the project's lands. If you're unsure about implementing the Thunen Rings its a good start.
    Wazgamer likes this.
  8. I apologize if I come across as blunt, I'm just curious.

    I was asking for the source of this 140farmers figure. The information you posted from Battle Abbey, while interesting, does not answer this.
    So now 30 are enough to feed a whole lord, who must have more luxurious dietary habits than a mere pot-maker? I admit that those peasants would have families to feed but still that figure strikes me as a way too high. My reasoning: The church in my country in medieval times used to take a 10th (the 'Zehntsteuer') of the produce of each peasant as taxes. This is excluding what you had to pay your liege lord. So, just from this you could say 10 peasants could easily support one non-peasant.

    Edit1: Maybe it is the other way around. For a shoemaker to make a living, he has to have ~140 farmers as potential customers.
    Edit2: By the way, this could be a nice addition to your hamlets; Tithe barns. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tithe_barn
    This is the building were the taxes (in produce) were stored. One could argue that it is the same as a granary, but not really. Tithe barns were also representative buildings where the tithe lord showed his power, and could get rather ornate for a barn. Often the church and the tithe barn were the only stone buildings in a small town.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  9. Found this whilst looking around at maps the other day and thought it might be useful its a generic map of a medievil manor and lands from Shepherds 1923 Historical Atlas.


    It shows the 'typical' rough proportions for a manor/(castle for westeros) and its surrounding land. Woodland, meadow, fields and crop rotation, common land and the all important village pond (More on that in a seperate post)

    Some of the other medievil maps may be useful too.

    Andy_Jones likes this.
  10. Enah

    Enah Mother Nature and Lord in Bandallon Maester

    Yea, that’s an oldie but a goodie. I believe it was the inspiration/made the case for three field system which is now commonplace across the server.