When we think about most cities in RuneQuest, they are pretty small. New Pavis is a little over 5000 people. Jonstown, Swenstown, and Wilmskirk are even smaller – none are more than about 2500 people. Many people have farms outside of the city walls, are tied into nearby villages, etc.
Boldhome is the biggest in Sartar, with some 10,000 people. But think about it – it is basically a mountain valley, with several connected towns and the dwarf-built pockets in the valley walls. It is low density. Most everyone knows most everyone else, at least in their towns or pocket. Arguably Jonstown, Wilmskirk, and Swenstown are satellites of Boldhome, as all are within a day or two travel.
Furthest is the next size bigger. A planned urban community of 20,000 people. That’s big – there isn’t a city larger than Furthest until you get to Mirin’s Cross some 160 km away (which is only a few thousand more people). It is big enough to have an amphitheatre for gladiatorial combat! Anonymity is much easier. Such cities are able to dominate their hinterland and even impose their will through force. But in truth, Furthest is also a pretty small city. It is smaller than either present-day Dodge City, Kansas or Laramie, Wyoming. Furthest, Mirin’s Cross, Jillaro – all these cities fall into this category.
The Dara Happan Tripolis (or Tetrarchy if we include Elz Ast) are a step higher. They are all 30,000 people or more. Many, perhaps most, of the people came from elsewhere – mostly from smaller nearby towns and villages, but some from much further. These cities rule their large hinterlands often like absentee landlords. They have their own dialects of speech (or even languages), customs, and clothes that distinguish them from those outside the city.
Finally there is Nochet and Glamour. World cities of 100,000 or more. That might not sound huge today, but these are worlds to themselves.
Glamour’s ruling caste has tremendous interest in the material affairs of the empire. Although the Red Emperor seems immortal, there have been plenty of Red Emperors.
And Nochet’s been ruled by mortal queens since Time began.
- In the West, Sog City has some 50k, making it somewhere between the Tripolis and the Nochet/Glamour scale. Seshnela used to have cities in that range but they sank at the end of the Second Age – now Noloswal (22k) is the biggest.
- In Pamaltela, Garguna is in the same league as Nochet and Glamour.
- In Kralorela, Chi Ting is also in the same league as Nochet, Glamour, and Garguna. Chang Tsai and Sha Ming are in the Tripolis league.
The World Cities – Nochet, Garguna, Glamour, and Chi Ting – are cultures of their own. They are known throughout the world – and people within their walls view the world like modern Manhattanites.
Sog City is just below that level. But Sog City is a dilapidated decadent version of a World City, ruled by immortal rulers who really are above the affairs of most of the population.