The average Orlanthi clan in Dragon Pass or Heortland claims about 55 square km of territory. That may sound like a lot, but even my little city of Fort Collins could have three clans inside its city limits. London could have nearly 30 clans within its urban area, which is about a fifth the clans of Sartar! Think of London as a little bit bigger than the combined territories of the Colymar, Malani, and the Cinsina (plus the city of Jontown).
For us Americans, we could fit 6 clans into the District of Columbia. The average US county in the North or the West could fit 30-40 clans inside.
Now for some this might shrink Glorantha down, but that is how big it is. But it also means maybe we should be thinking at the level of the Kingdom of Sartar, and not just a single village and its surrounding farms and hills. This also means that going to Pavis, Dagori Inkarth, Furthest, or the Holy Country is not uncommon for Sartarites – people travel! And adventurers travel a lot!
So remember, you can easily walk outside of your clan lands in an hour or two. Greg used to average one standard five-mile hex per clan.
So on the Northern Sartar map, there are tiny strips of farmed land, and vast extents of empty space. Yes. This is the turf the clan claims as its own and will defend from interlopers. It includes grazing lands, wild lands, and sacred places claimed by the clan.
Actual iron agers would have needed more room . What are you basing that on? Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement patterns were often much denser than people assume (and also I see lots of comparisons with Scandinavia, Scotland, or Ireland – which is definitely not a good point of comparison for Dragon Pass). In the Danubian and Cucuteni–Trypillia cultures we had far denser populations (denser than Dragon Pass). Scandinavia was far less densely populated in the Neolithic than than say the Colorado Plateau was in the Ancestral Pueblo culture. And Sartar has cities, roads, libraries, and the like – it is more comparable to the Bronze Age Near East or Levant than to Scandinavia.
The entire Lunar Empire is about the size of modern Iraq or a little bigger than the state of California.
Now what does that mean for your game? Well most Sartarites have been throughout Sartar. They’ve regularly been to their local city and maybe go to Boldhome once a year or so. Many have been to the Holy Country, and quite a few have made the trek out to Pavis. Furthest is not so far away that you don’t know anyone who has been there.
And even Glamour is not “off the radar” – it is distant but not “legendary”(like Sog City or Lur Nop). You’ve all heard of Glamour, of Nochet, and of the City of Wonders.
So let’s imagine being a member of the Ernaldori Clan around Clearwine Fort circa 1621. The nearest Lunar garrison is about four hexes away or 32ish kilometers away. That seems awful close, but remember we don’t have cars or trains! That’s a long hike – doable in a day if you aren’t trying to move wheeled vehicles and you are on friendly terms with four clans you will need to pass through! But maybe a member of your clan killed someone from one of those four clans, so you are going to need to take the Royal Road, which makes it a much longer trek.
Same thing for the Lunars. A small group might be able to go directly from Wilmkirk to Clearwine, but enough to impose Lunar authority by force are going to have to take the road.
Another thing to remember is that Sartar has a rural population density of about 10 people per square kilometre. Which is a lot less than even rural northern Colorado!