A small town lives

So, I saw a thing asking about how to bring a small village to life. I’m going to assume this is a village near a forest, but with some arable land nearby. With that in mind, here are a few things a village needs to have in order to survive:

  • Food
  • Waste Disposal
  • Water
  • Relaxation/Recreation
  • Kids
  • Government

So, food is probably going to be your biggest thing. A mix of farming and hunting will support the whole village. Villages tend to work together, and share a lot. There may be a common hall used for meals, and of course the people who stay at the village all day would be responsible for that. Think of this as a socialist society. Everyone puts in the effort, everyone reaps the rewards.

So, there’s going to be a lot of farmers/hunters – that would take care of about 30% of the population. (Say, 30 people in this instance.) They can work the fields in the summer, hunt the forest in the winter, and have a solid little society built around those two areas. Of course, some of them are going to pull double duty – one of those farmer/hunters is going to be a respected town leader, another is probably going to be the enforcer should anything bad happen. (Say, with traders or something.) Still others, maybe not so good with a bow, will run the mills or something of that nature. So that takes care of food and government, and some of the sundry jobs.

You’re going to need 10-15 old people who just sit around and spread wisdom, or stay in their homes. That’s a fairly good spread – If you go with 15 old people, you’ll have 45 people total in the village so far. They probably do a little, (say, cooking/skinning/leather work) but they don’t contribute a lot. They’ve survived years out here, and are being taken care of by family members now as they age. And because the families need children, lets toss 10 kids (aged 0-12) into the mix. That’s probably a bit low, but you can adjust as you like.

Your society might not follow traditional gender norms, but for every person out in the fields, there’s probably a person back home doing the laundry, cooking the meals, making the drinks, mending the clothes, sweeping the floors, etc. They can also be taking care of the kids, churning butter, milking cows or goats, making cheese, or anything else that might be something a stay-at-home parent would do. That brings us up to 85 people. Our town is really starting to take shape.

We do need a couple of specialists, though. 1 or 2 ought to do it – maybe a master and an apprentice. They could dig wells, build homes, mend fences, stuff like that. Maybe they help build new homes for new families, and newcomers, and maybe they also deal with the merchants that come through town. Of course, some of these tasks are going to require lumber, so you need a good team of strong characters out in the woods, chopping down trees, or running a saw mill, or acting as a blacksmith. That could take up about 10 people’s time, so that brings us to  97 characters. The last thing our little village needs is a bar, so that’s where our final three people go. An old barkeep, his/her wife/husband, and their son/daughter that helps them run the place. (This could also be the general store, too)

And there you have it. A nice little village.


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