How many wizards live in that kingdom?

by Heckle_Jeckle

Population dynamics in Fantasy Games has always been, tricky. Ultimately it is always up to YOU as the Game Master to determine how many of these people exist, or even if they exist. However, the 3e Dungeon Master’s Guide had some pretty in depth guidelines about this very topic. The key point it makes is this:

If the Highest Level character is of X Level, then there will be twice that many characters at half that level. Example: If the highest level Wizard in an area is level 12, then there will be two level 6 Wizards and then four level 3 wizards, and then 8 level one wizards. Or: one Level 20 Wizard – two Level 10 Wizards – four Level 5 Wizards – eight Level 2 Wizards – sixteen Level 1 Wizards.

So first you have to ask yourself this. How many of these characters are running around the world? Because according to the 3e Dungeon Masters guide, the majority of the population is going to have NPC classes and be a mixture of CommonersWarriorsExpertsAdepts, and Aristocrats.

So here is the question you need to decide for yourself. What % of the population does NOT have an NPC classes and instead has an Base/Adventurer Class?

Now you can obviously decided this upon yourself, but an implication of the 3e/3.5 DMG is that less than 1% of the population has a Base/Adventurer Class. Not just spell casters, but this includes Monks, Rogues, Fighters, etc.

This less than 1% of the population has to get split among everyone that has one of these classes.

But to make things simple, and to be generous, lets assume that 1% of the population has a Base Class. I am not saying they are a spell caster, just that they have a Base Class.

So lets work with a population of 1 Million People. I’m just picking this because it is a big number that can be manipulated when you know the population of your Empire/etc.

But 1% of 1 Million is 10,000. So that is 10,000 people who do NOT have an NPC Class.

Since you are asking about the spell Greater Restoration, we need to decide upon how many people are spell casters, and how many of them are a specific caster that can ALSO cast Greater Restoration. Lets pick a specific class and start focusing on Clerics. So, we need to decide upon a % of this 10K that are Clerics.

To keep things simple, I’m just going to say 10%. Which gives use 1,000 Clerics. Based on this math…

For every 1 Million People, there are 1,000 Clerics. Not Clerics of any specific level, but just Clerics in general.

Now the 3e/3.5 DMG does not suggest inverting the population pyramid. But it also focuses specifically on individual settlements. Not global/regional populations. So we are going to invert the population graph a bit we get something like this.

18th(1) – 9th(2) -4th(4) – 2nd(8) – 1st(16)

This is just a sample of the math, but it gives us something to work with. We also have a group of 31 individuals. Since we need the number who can cast a 5th level spell, this gives use three(one 18th level and two 9th level), or 3 out of every 31 Clerics; 3/31; or 9%.

If we take our 9% and combine it with our 1,000 individual Clerics we get 90.

90 Clerics who can cast a 5th level spell. Which sounds like a lot.

But remember this is out of a population of 1 MILLION!

90 Clerics out of 1 Million People can cast a 5th Level Spell!

So they are RARE!

If we want to expand upon the numbers a little bit… Look, I’m on a roll and I am reminded of why I miss the old 3e/3.5 boards. Those boards were all about this kind of shit! That said, if we take this logic for all level, 20-1, we get something like this..











10th… We already know the numbers for 10th because we got them for 20.

But now we have our population distribution. The numbers are shaped in such a way that we don’t just get a pyramid, we get something with a VERY wide base and a VERY NARROW top.

So if we add up all the numbers we get…

20th(1), 19th(1), 18th(1), 17th(1), 16th(1), 15th(1), 14th(1), 13th(1), 12th(1), 11th(1), 10th(2), 9th(4), 8th(4), 7th(4), 6th(4), 5th(4), 4th(16), 3rd(16), 2nd(44), 1st(270).

This gives us a population of 383 individuals. So if we want to get a % we just have to do a fraction. Level 9 characters for example make up 9/270 or 3%.

But if we want to answer the question of who can cast a 5th level spell(levels 9-20), then we get 16/270 or about 6%.

So 6% of Clerics could cast a 5th Level spell.

But that brings up back to question of how much of a population is made up of Clerics? If we want a number that we can use to estimate population distribution, we can also say that 1,000 Clerics we get about 60 Clerics out of a 1,000 who can cast a 5th Level Spell.

The next thing to do would be to decide what % of the total population is made up of Clerics. Which unfortunately is going to be a number that you are probably going to have to just make up. But if we wanted to go with the value (that I made up honestly) of 1,000 Clerics per 1,000,000 people, that means there are only about 60 Clerics who can cast a 5th level spell per 1,000,000 people.

So yeah, high level casters are RARE!