On pages 16 and 17 of the DMG three sizes of possible settlements are detailed: villages, towns and cities. Their respective sections give details about the size of their population amongst other things. On page 14 it's explained how to make a map at the province scale, where each hex represents 1 mile. This section even gives information about how much space is taken up by farmland around the settlements. However I couldn't find any mention of the area of a village, town or city itself on any of those pages.

This leaves me wondering, how much area a settlement takes up on a province scale map. I know, this is all subjective and depends on each individual settlement. I am just confused, why they would give us categories with population sizes, without mentioning a rough size of the settlement itself.

Is the answer just as simple as each settlement taking up 1 hex? If so, how large does a settlement's population have to be, for it to be larger than that?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m not sure I understand the confusion here. It seems to me you’ve answered the question in the question. 1 hex = 1 mile. So wouldn’t the representation of a town on the map just be based on its area? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2022 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov My question is: What is the area of a settlement, is it only 1 hex or larger? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2022 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don’t understand. Different settlements have different sizes. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2022 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Perhaps I should have phrased it more like. "What is the average area of each settlement type?" ? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2022 at 15:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you trying to read an existing map or make a map yourself? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2022 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


All these settlements fit into a one mile hex

Typical feudal societies, such as used for the Magical Medieval City Guide, had population densities in towns and cities range from 20-60 people per acre, and up to 200 in larger cities, or cities on major trade routes. With 640 acres to the square mile, even sticking to the 60 people per acre, you could fit over 38,000 people into a square mile.

The area of a hexagon that is 1 mile side to side is only 0.866 square miles, so that would mean a city could habor up to about 32,000 population and still fit into the hex.

The cities described in the DMG are "up to about 25,000" in population, which means even the largest ones should fit into a 1-mile hex. And of course, smaller settlements like towns or villages, will always fit into one hex. Potentially there could be more than one village in a hex.

Metropolises that are larger than a mile in diameter are pretty rare in the default fantasy setting. One of the largest cities in the Forgotten Realms, Waterdeep, has a population of about 130,000 people, and is about 3.8 times 1.5 miles large. That matches an area of about one square mile for a population of 25,000. Waterdeep's area includes a larger harbor and a mostly unsettled mountain, meaning that there live more in the order of 32,000 people in the actual "city" part of the city per square mile, or about 28,000 per hex, maching the above nicely.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Going by 60 people per acre, 32k would fit into 1 hex. If we were to go by 20 people per acre, 10-11k People would fit in a hex. If that were the case a city of 25.000 would need 2-3 Hexes. But I guess that is never going to be the case, as a city would rarely have such a low population density. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2022 at 15:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it seems the larger the cities, the higher their density. Nobody is stopping you to come up with an elven forest city that is spread out more thinly across 2-3 hexes, if you like. But normally, a city should fit into one hex. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 3, 2022 at 16:01

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