Argrath’s New Pavis

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As of 1625, New Pavis has a permanent population of about 5150 people, making it the second largest Sartarite city after Boldhome. Another 1500 people live inside the Big Rubble. All of Pavis County collectively has some 25,500 permanent inhabitants, making it more than twice the population of the largest Sartarite tribe.At any given time, another 5,000 to 15,000 Praxians are camped around the city, along with their herds. Livestock are traded to the city merchants in exchange for crafted goods, especially metal goods. Many of these Praxians are affialiated with the White Bull society and worship Argrath as the avatar of the White Bull. Combined with the mercenaries and adventurers that flock to Argrath’s banner, this gives New Pavis something of a feel of the Wild West. Praxians of the White Bull society show off their riding skills on the city streets or en masse outside of the city walls, duels are fought sometimes to relieve boredom, and the merchants selling weapons, armor, drink, and entertainment make a killing.

Argrath is king and White Bull, but is primarily a war and religious leader. Day to day administration of the city is in the hands of Argrath’s companions. The old city council has been disbanded by Argrath, and replaced by his Ring.

If we think about the main cults of New Pavis within the walls (and not the Big Rubble or Pavis County), they are:

  • Orlanth 700
  • Ernalda 650
  • Pavis 400
  • Humakt 350 (!)
  • Storm Bull 325 (!)
  • Waha 200
  • Yelmalio 200
  • Zola Fel 200
  • Issaries 150
  • Gustbran 150
  • Lhankor Mhy 150
  • Chalana Arroy 75
  • Lanbril 75
  • Eiritha 50
  • Uleria 50

There’s no need to use watered down terms. Uleria courtesans are sacred companions – hetaira – and not simple streetwalkers. I’m sure there are plenty of those as well.

There are also between 75 and 150 Eurmal cultists. Argrath gave them the former Seven Mothers temple to be the Trickster’s Place.

The White Bull Society was founded around 1616. Argrath went on his world spanning journey along Harrek in 1621, and returned in 1624.What has hold the White Bull Society together in his absence? Who was the leading figure in these three years? Plenty of first wave recruits, including Yazurkial Blue Llama, Narmeed Whirlvishbane, Roneer the Hue, etc.

These numbers all seem pretty low when you consider Bronze Age cities in Greece which had much, much higher populations. Mycenae was about 30,000, pylos about 50,000. Population numbers often get thrown around by historians that are absolute nonsense. Mycenae covers about 32 hectares. If it was totally built up, it might have had a population of 4500 to 6000 people (at 150 to 200 people per hectare), but we know it wasn’t. Our own Oliver Dickinson concluded in “The Aegean Bronze Age” that we just don’t have enough information about these settlements to make an intelligent guess as to their population.

I’m not sure that’s true. I’m an archaeologist.

There’s a lot of academic material on estimating population density in ancient cities. The crudest is to multiple the built up area by an approximate average density. We can get a guess at what makes sense by look at pre-modern cities around the world. So if we say Mycenae had about 30 hectares within the walls, there’s simply no way it had a population of 1000 people per hectare within the walls.Now of course, we could be saying that the population of city includes the agricultural population that supports it. That’s actually probably the way Aegean palace communities worked, but then we are in complete guesswork territory. And it doesn’t help us with what we think of when we think of “the city”- that built up area inside the walls.

To avoid confusion, how many people would you estimate resided in the citadel and lower town of Mycenae? I looked first to see if Oliver made an estimate. He says, “not enough is known”. So I checked out the Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age, which estimates that Knossos in the Neopalatial period had a population of 17,000 people, and that Mycenae perhaps reached up to 6,400.

New Pavis covers about 28 hectares, so it is roughly comparable in size to Mycenae. It is very built up, and averages nearly 200 people per hectare, which means it is uncomfortably densely populated. With all the livestock, it smells like herd beast and animal dung.The Big Rubble, in comparison, covers about 2500 hectares (!). Even with all the non-human inhabitants, we are likely no more than 2 or 3 people per hectare, which is incredibly low. Lower than most of Prax actually. Of course ghosts, zombies, and monsters don’t count as part of that number.

Where New Pavis under the Lunar Occupation was oppressed and boiling beneath the Lunar rule like the Casablanca of Rick and Captain Renault. Argrath’s New Pavis is a Wild West town, with cowboys, duelists, mercenaries, dance halls, clown societies, inns and saloons.

Are there any sourcebooks that digs more into this city? I’m editing our new book on New Pavis and the Big Rubble that Robin D. Laws wrote, but here’s the version set during the Lunar Occupation: https://www.chaosium.com/pavis-pdf/

But we can also see how Argrath’s New Pavis is linked up with Praxian society AND is tied through Swenstown to Sartar and Dragon Pass. Now as has been correctly pointed out, the Lunar treasure that Argrath got his hands on might not last more than a year or two, but then again, he’s in Dragon Pass by then.And I imagine there are now a LOT of Praxians outfitted with Lunar imperial armor!

It gets pretty hot in New Pavis in Fire Season – with daily highs in their 40s (Centigrade). It cools down in the night – to around 20. So I imagine that in the late afternoon/early evening most people are out of their homes (those homes likely get very hot during the day, even if they are made of adobe). So you might have most of the population out on the streets, in the baths, or otherwise in the shade.

So if we look at the world from the vantage point of New Pavis in 1625, we have the city’s new rulers firmly allied with the White Bull society – which in turn has unified and dominates the Praxian tribes. Argrath has at his disposal far more military resources than the original Lunar Army of 1610. But he must work with the Praxian khans, not all of whom are pledged to him, especially as it becomes increasingly clear to him that his destiny is in Dragon Pass.Argrath seized Corflu in order to maintain contact with his Wolf Pirate allies. He’s got some companion or associated who has the lousy job of being Lord of Corflu.

Pavis County itself is about 1200 km2. It has an average population density of about 21 people per square kilometre. That’s about twice the population density of Sartar, but in actually that’s about the same as the settled lands of Sartar (almost half of Sartar is wild).

If we look at the map, you can see that outside of the arable areas of Pavis County is plenty of steppe. Good grazing land in the East Scritha, which I expect now is filled with herds of bison, high llamas, sables, and other animals.

Heck it might almost look like the Serengeti in terms of animal life.

I also expect there are large herds frighteningly close to the settled parts of Sun County and in the former Grantlands.

If you are a Yelmalio cult leader or a homesteader in the Grantlands, now might be a good time to pledge your support to Argrath and keep the herds out of your fields.


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