Colony Population

Author: Flosha

Created: 14.04.2024
Last change: 21.04.2024

Similarly to how the level structure document has given an abstract overview of the levels without actually dealing with the appearance or story of these levels, this document is supposed to give an abstract overview of the population in the colony; how many belong to which guild, how many belong to which camp, how many are mere “background actors” (“ambient npcs”) in the drama and how many play an actual role and carry an “individual name”, as well as how these numbers changed in course of development and what we can deduce from these changes, without dealing with the design of these camps, guilds and characters themselves.


  1. Numbers by Guilds
  2. Numbers by Camps
  3. Numbers of Individual Names
  4. Miscellaneous Numbers
  5. Conclusions

Numbers by Guilds

Some people claimed that the character structure presented in the “NPCs per Guild” document, as going back to the Orpheus Concept phase, would be wildly different from the later implementation in the game, because, as they say, there were so much less characters supposed to be there. While there is truth to this statement, it is an overestimation. At least the Old Camp and the New Camp come still close to the early concept ideas in many regards.

Shadows: There were supposed to be 15 of them and most of them were not meant to be recogniseable by any particular clothing. In 0.94k there were about 32 npcs with the shadow guild (3 were cut before and one was a duplicate (Ian), so there may have been up to 36 shadows in ~0.7). In 1.01e they were further reduced to 27 shadows, even though the numbers of the instances increased to 40. Completely unnecessary, since 11 instances were cut who existed before plus the 4 gaps that already existed, leading to 14 instances that could have been replaced. Instead they added 4 additional ones, but those 4 cannot be counted, since they were just implemented to appear in the Free Mine for technical reasons (no NPC could actually be moved from one level to another) - thus just 23 remained.

Now we know very well, that often NPCs were given a specific guild just for scripting reasons (due to the fitting guild attitudes) and not because they were actually meant to be part of that specific guild. For instance, the slave girls in the Old Camp are technically “ore barons”, but of course we wouldn’t count them. In the same way, several so called “shadows” were not necessarily meant to be shadows. They were chosen to be called like that for simplicites sake and dressed like that in lack of other armours and due to giving up the primary idea of the shadows being snitches and spies “hidden in the crowd”.

When looked at like this, Balam and Omid are no shadows of course, they are just cooks, in the same way as e.g. the Joker that was cut from 1.01 onwards. Viper is no shadow either. Fisk just an influential trader. In the same way Alberto and/or Santino may just be (a) trader(s) in the Old Mine (it was in the Old Mine that the diggers were supposed to trade their ore for food). Ian was not a shadow but a guard until at least 0.7. All of that leaves us to just 16 remaining shadows instead of 23. Of these 16 remaining shadows only 5(!) have a name and anything to say. And even if Ian, Alberto, Viper, Fisk and Santino would be counted as shadows, we still have only 10 shadows with a name, while the concept promised us 15 shadows we can individually deal with. So in this case we do not really have more, but less NPCs.

Diggers (VLK): In the final game they consist of 88 instances (+ 7 instances for appearance in the Free Mine, so they do not count). But of these 88 just 34 are in the Mine, the remaining 54 in the camp.

The “VLK” guild in the NPCs per Guild concept was not meant for the diggers. The concept speaks of the folk as “no actual guild” but “more of a collection of all NPCs inside the Old Camp, which do not belong to a “real” guild”. This collection of people was meant to consist of about (not exactly) 50 people (to be adjusted as needed). And we will be more specific here in order to show that the diggers were no part of them: 7 beggars, 12 day labourers doing some work inside the camp, 8 crooks, 8 hucksters/dealers, 8 thugs, 3 burned out maniacs (former sect members) and 4 “tinkerers”.
Diggers are not mentioned because the “VLK” category was not meant for them. They would have been described on a page of their own and this list of OM diggers was just either not made yet or it was lost.

Thus, these “VLK” instances in the game are not that many at all, since it is a combination of diggers and all others for simplicity’s sake. Many of the NPCs inside of the Old Camp were not necessarily meant to be diggers even if in the game they were finally presented as such, but this is just due to poor execution of the idea. And no matter their job, it does not make sense for them to run around the camp in digger’s work clothes either way. It was just another practical concession due to the necessary effort involved in making a variety of regular individual clothing (which actually was done at least to some degree, but not included) and due to technical reasons such as memory limitations that made it problematic to display so many different textures.

So some of them (who specifically mention working in the mines) may be diggers who are just currently in the camp, but others should be thugs, beggars and so forth. And another important idea that was not realised is that those working in the mine were meant to come to the camp after work, making the camp much more busy and interesting in the evening.
Therefore we can say, that here too we do not have more NPCs than those that were planned in the NPCs per Guild concept; they just didn’t have planned for the Old Camp miners (and guards) yet.

Guard: The guards are indeed a lot more than described in the document. The concept speaks of 32 people. According to the concept there would be one leader or “captain”, one arena master, one very strong warrior for outside missions, one “leautnant”, 3 gladiators, 12 guards for the two gates of the outside ring (working in three shifts, two guards per gate), 6 “portal” guards guarding other important buildings, 6 palace guards (for the barons house) and one “Grinder” responsible to train the guards. 32 in total.

In the game, without any cuts between instances, there are 100.
13 of them are just inserted into the Free Mine as additional instances for technical reasons, so there are 87 remaining.
Mike had either not yet considered (or just not yet written down) that there would need to be several additional guards protecting the Mine.
In the release version there are 17 inside of the Old Mine (70 remaining). And then there were also supposed to be several guards outside of the mine to protect the entrance. On alpha screens we can see that there should be at least about ~10 guards stationed at the entrance; then there are still ~60 remaining for the camp.

The rest of the discrepency to the originally planned 32 guards we can only explain as such, that of course Mike could not foresee how many additional guards would be needed for other purposes and how empty the camp would look otherwise. The camp was never meant to be smaller than it is, but the outside ring was designed differently. Originally the palisade was not supposed to be accessible; the idea of the wooden “battlement” came later and so of course some guards had to be placed here (~10 more than the original 32 = 42). Then there were guys needed who would guard the regular convoys between Old Camp and Old Mine (~2), the Exchange Place (~2) and the prison (~1), as well as bringing some life to the inner ward (~50). The castle on the Orpheus Concept was openly accessible and the walls were not as thick and had no battlements, so that it made sense to plan with the 6 palace guards only. But here due to the new design of the castle based on Ralfs concepts there had to be guards at the castle gate and the castle walls would have looked very empty too if there wouldn’t be guards on them (there should be several, as seen on screenshots and the Comic), which means at least 10 additional guards (~60). And with this we arrived at the 60 mentioned above. So yes, in this case indeed much more NPCs were included than originally conceived - but for valid reasons.

Barons: Only 5 barons were in the game all the way since 0.56c till release. The early concept had 10. So there were not more, but less in the game. This will be dealt with in isolation.

Fire/Battlemages: The Firemages remained the same in number, although not in their role. There should have been just 4 actually fully initiated mages + one apprentice (“Lehrling”, which was realised in the form of Milten) and one assistant (“Geselle”), instead it ended up being 5 fully initiated firemages (6 when counting Xardas who still shares the guild in his instance).

Mercenaries: The available concept speaks of 24 mercenaries and in the game there are just 26 in the camp.

16 mercenaries are guards in the Free Camp - which could be argued were not supposed to be there originally, since specific “Digger Bodyguards” were meant to play this role.
We also should not forget about the “Rangers” which were still part of this earliest NPC document and they alone would practically add 20 additional NPCs to the Free Camp.
So in this regard too - at least when not yet taking differences among the Organisers into account - there would actually be more people in the New Camp and the Free Camp according to the concept (not forgetting Rangers & Scrapers) than they were in the game.

Organisers: Yes, the Organisers seem to differ significantly from the concept, where they were described as consisting of only 10.
There were 51 Orgas in 0.94k. 4 of them were cut in 1.00 (47) and 19 were added (66). But those that were added (most of those for sure, but we could argue potentially all of those) do not actually belong to the New Camp, but to Quentin’s Gang and are thus part of a later unrealised story idea (the two “blackmailers” may belong to Quentin or may as well be independent).

So when not considering the cuts we still have around ~51 potential Orgas. I will argue that it is here just as with the Shadows and other guilds: Several people were just given the guild for convenience sake without them actually being Organisers. For instance, Silas is the innkeeper and the two doormen are doormen, no Orgas. Lefty is just a thug like the other two thugs and they’re working for the Ricelord, they are no organisers either. Without the cuts after 0.94k but with Lefty, Silas and the thugs not being counted, we are at 47 again. Still much more than in the concept.

Here come the rangers into play. Some of the Organisers (even if unused) were placed in mines (e.g. Calash), some in the Free Camp, some in the wilderness; the ranger guild was removed early on because it seemed unnecessary, in the founders opinion there was too much overlap in their function with the organisers to justify them being a guild on their own, especially when the Free Camp lost more and more of its unique identity and was becoming a mere sub-camp of the New Camp (while on the other hand we could argue that the removal of the rangers was one of the reasons for this loss).

In any way: After the removal of the rangers, the Organisers were meant to fulfill more or less the functions of both (thieves, dealers, hunters etc., although not setting traps against the monsters in the mines). Originally, their role was different. Starting as “ore thieves” they were meant to get ore from the Old Mine and the Old Camp, hiding in the crowd just like the shadows; no one was supposed to recognise them inside of the Old Camp or the Old Mine as members of the New Camp and their job was to organise stuff. They had nothing to do with hunting, setting traps and so forth. Therefore, when comparing the numbers of NPCs in the concept vs. the game, it makes sense to count the originally planned 20 rangers into the numbers of organisers. That said, of the 47 organisers in the game, 20 may be the result of giving up the ranger guild. 27 organisers remain, which are still 17 more than planned.

When we think about the Old Camp, where we have about ~50 people not being diggers just living in the camp, doing other stuff, why wouldn’t this be similar in the New Camp? There are the Mages (researching), the Mercs (protecting), the Orgas (“organising”, dealing, stealing stuff) and the Peasants (growing food), but who is doing everything else? Who is building the wooden structures, who is repairing the dam, who is making all kinds of tools (we know there was supposed to be a smith), who is cooking food, who is fixing all kinds of stuff? Especially due to the independence of the New Camp, there have to be more people with different kinds of responsibilities and obviously the camp has more than enough room for those, as there are ~17 NPCs left that are technically belonging to the Orgas, but wouldn’t necessarily have to.

And wouldn’t this also make the camp much more believable and feel much more alive? Wouldn’t it give the camp a more profound meaning when there is a bunch of “ordinary” people who left the Old Camp and decided to join the mages and Lee, rather supporting their cause than the path of the barons? And wouldn’t it also let the player feel much more special, if he can join a small conspiring group of specifically trained organisers, instead of becoming a member of a large group of ~50 that apparently everyone can join?

Peasants: The peasants were described as 25 people. In the release version are 26. Homer is technically a peasant, but actually he is a builder and works at the dam and other structures. In 0.94k there are ~34 peasants, when we do not count Homer and Jeremiah (the alchemist). Not much of a difference.

Water/Healingmages: Just as with the firemages they were supposed to be 6 and still are, but their role changed. Like the firemages they should have an apprentice and an assistant, so that there would have only be 4 fully initiated mages. When going with this original structure, only 9 mages may have created the barrier (or only 4-5 - with or without Xardas - if we’d follow the even earlier idea, where only the firemages created it - 5 would make the most sense based on the pentagram).

Scraper’s Union: The Scraper’s union is described as 20 people. In the release version there were just 17. And only 2 of them with a name (with almost no dialogue worth mentioning). While in 0.94k when the Free Mine was still supposed to play a more important role in the story, they were exactly 23 and 21(!) of them with an individual name. So it was still very close to the earliest concept.

Novices: There are 71 novices in 1.06, but 12 of them were just included to be inserted into the Ancient Temple, 59 remain, 54 in 0.94k. In the concepts there were only meant to be 15(!). A very significant difference.
We can say that this is due to a significant increase in size of the Psi Camp in comparison to the original concept of a very small camp in the Swamp. While the original Old Camp, although different, has still about the same size as the later design, the Psi Camp was much smaller and so was the sect. At first it was a small group that was supposed to live there on the water and later in the Swamp - only 35 people in total.

But this was problematic for the story. On one hand it was believable that they didn’t have too many followers and a smaller sect would provide an interesting and different kind of atmosphere for the player to dive into, but on the other hand they probably offer the most chilling place to live at in the entire colony and lure many people into the swamps by promising drugs and sex (they acquired prostitutes from the Old Camp) so that the originally small guild increased in number fast. From the Comic we can clearly deduce that the Camp already existed about 2-3 years before the arrival of the player, which is some time to build up a following.

Another reason may be that a sect of only 35 people would not seem as intimidating and wouldn’t be as believable to be as big of a threat as it is supposed to be in the story. On the other hand it could have been a very interesting and believable part of the story when the sect would only grow as much in course of the first three to four chapters (by mostly nameless NPCs defecting from the Old Camp) to e.g. about 2-3 times its original size. Eg. from 35 to 70 or ~100 followers. But for this to be believable it would need to be accompanied by changes of the level mesh (progressive addition of new huts and so on); which is a difficult task (not impossible to pull of today, but definitely not feasible during development in 1999/2000).

We have to note that in the remnants of the Phoenix Concept, the original “Orpheus” number of 15 novices was increased to 25 novices.

Templars: The concept mentions only 15 templars. In 0.94 there were only 31 templars, although 5 instances were lacking and were most likely cut in 0.94 or shortly before (one reason may be the removal of the temple tree). At the same time it may well be that some templars were added in 0.94 or shortly before due to the addition of the stone temple replacing the tree (to our regret), as additional guards of that area. So that in the end it will not make much difference and it is most likely that there were about ~30 templars in ~0.7 or ~0.8.
In 1.00 there are 7 additional templars (without filling the 5 gaps between the instances), resulting in 38 in total.
In 1.06 there were 5 templars only added to display them as being killed in front or within the Orc Graveyard and 16 additional ones are only added to be inserted into the ancient temple (they do not count). So there are still 38 templars in total, the same as in 1.00.

Similarly to the Novices, this number was increased in the Phoenix Concept from 15 to 20 templars.

Gurus: There were supposed to be 5 gurus vs. 9 in the game. In the Phoenix concept they kept the number of 5 from NPCs per Guild. Although in Guild System V2 they were described as being 3. Based on this we assume that both guild system concepts were written before NPCs per Guild.

Sadly from the Phoenix Concept only NPC lists of the sect survived; but it is safe to assume that similar changes in the numbers of NPCs (increasements from 5 to 10) were made in several other guilds too.

Numbers by Camps

Old Camp: There were supposed to be around 113 people in the Old Camp plus a not defined number of diggers and guards at the Old Mine; so we can say around 150 were meant to be there in the original concept. And as explained above we can argue that this number increased primarily due to a redesign of the castle and the palisade as well as due to additional roles in the camp that were not considered before from ~150 to about 180-200 NPCs. A difference of 30-50 NPCs for good reasons.

New Camp & Free Camp: In the NC according to the original concept there would have been 65 NPCs in total. In the game there are around 108 (not counting the mercs in the Free Camp). In the FC, according to the original concepts, there would have been about 40 NPCs in total, while in the game there are 33 NPCs in the Free Camp (counting the mercs in the camp). Thus, in the concept, in the New Camp and Free Camp combined, there would have been 105 NPCs in total. While in the game there are about 141 NPCs in total. A difference of 36 NPCs, primarily due to the Organisers.

Psi Camp: The Sect was supposed to consist of just 35 NPCs according to the Orpheus concept, 50 NPCs according to the Phoenix concept, while in the actual game it consisted of about 107 NPCs if following the later versions or approximately ~99 NPCs if following the earlier versions. A difference of 64-72 NPCs (Orpheus) or 49-57 (Phoenix).

Based on these numbers, in the entire game there were meant to be about 425-453 NPCs depending on the different versions of the game.

If we only strictly count the numbers of NPCs that are actually suggested in NPCs per Guild (which means - please note this! - that the OC would have no miners at all and the OM and FM would have no guards), we have 113 (OC) + 65 (NC) + 40 (FC) + 35 (PSI) = 253 NPCs, which is where the number in the Phoenix Pitch may come from, where they promoted the game as having “250” NPCs.

Numbers of Individual Names

On one hand we have this large number of ~425 NPCs in the game. While in the Phoenix Pitch and at other places they mentioned “250 NPCs”. We have to assume that there were meant to be about 250 NPCs which the player could actually deal with and talk to; while we cannot say for sure how many of these NPCs were supposed to have an individual name.

When counting the number of NPCs with an individual name in the release version (1.06) there are 17 “diggers”, 12 “shadows”, 19 guards, 5 barons, 7 firemages (counting Xardas), 6 watermages, 6 peasants, just 2 scrapers, 21 “orgas”, 9 mercs, 16 novices, 8 templars and 9 gurus, which are just 137 NPCs in total. Although you could add a few nameless gate guards to the list that the player is also talking to.

When counting in v1.00 we have 20 diggers, 13 shadows, 22 guards, 5 barons, 7 firemages, 6 watermages, 6 peasants, 15 scrapers, 23 orgas, 8 mercs, 11 novices, 7 templars and 9 gurus; 152 in total with an individual name.

When counting in v0.94 we have 20 diggers, 20 shadows, 20 guards, 5 barons, 7 firemages, 6 watermages, 7 peasants, 21 scrapers, 21 orgas (Quentin’s gang was not added), 8 mercs, 10 novices, 6 templars and 9 gurus, 160 in total with an individual name.

While it is true that some additional names were actually added in later versions, it is much more often the case, that an individually named NPC was removed in following versions to become an ambient NPC. There are more individually named NPCs the further we go back in time until most likely ~0.7 or ~0.8, where the biggest cuts in the story were made.

We find additional confirmation in the Story v3.3 document. There are alone 18-21 individual templar names (of which only 5-8 do still exist in any version of the game available to us), 26-31 Novice names (of which only 7 exist in the available versions), 13 merc names (of which 8 exist) and 17 peasant names (only 7 known from the versions).

As you see: While the total number of NPCs went up in course of development and is indeed larger than it was meant to be according to the early concepts, the number of NPCs with an individual name, that the player should have been able to talk to, was continuously reduced further and further from version to version at least to a specific point. When going back to v0.56c there were some nameless NPCs, but in v0.64b, even if the camp was obviously not finished at the time, every NPC had an individual name. We cannot say for sure how it was done in ~0.7 onwards, but when looking at gameplay videos from ~v0.7 we can still see every gate guard having a name and we do not know a single screenshot of a no-name NPC of this particular version.

This may have started to change in ~v0.8-v0.9. On screenshots of this version we see nameless diggers, peasants, shadows, novices, guards, mercs and even firemages and orebarons. But the confusing thing is that it is Diego when we see the “Shadow” description. We see a no-name “Circle of Fire Mage” description when it is about Milten. It is Lee with the no-name “Mercenary” description etc. We know for sure that these NPCs already had their names at this point, at least conceptuall. Either they weren’t yet given their names in the game or there might have been a change in the structure of the NPC scripts. In 0.56c every NPC had a “name” and a “slot”.

   name[0] =    "Looser, der ";
   slot =       "Magierlehrling";

That said, the slot seems to have contained the general description, such as the guild or a rank in their guild, while the name contained the actual individual name to be given (and often containing a placeholder before). In 0.64b the “slot” was removed for many NPC scripts, only the name remained, but it stayed for others and for the player characters in particular. In any way, it might be that in 0.74b there was a similar system in place where NPCs may have had their names already - conceptually - but were displayed in the game via their guild/rank description only.

Another possible explanation may be what some traces suggest, that they experimented with a feature similar to what they would later implement in the Sequel (here on an individual case by case basis) for immersion: To display NPCs as nameless in general until the player gets to know their name.

In any way, it is not too far-fetched to assume that at least at some point every or almost every NPC in the game world was meant to have an individual name.

Miscellaneous Numbers

Underground Population: Including the orcs living in the caves and their city and the so-called exile-orcs which were banned from the city. We do not have any information about how many orcs were supposed to be there. In the game there are about ~94 orcs in total (not counting undead orcs in the temple).

Females: There is no information about the numbers of female slaves in the concepts. In the game there are 5, we know one additional name from old scripts and the one from the Comic, to probably 7 at most (while Velaya is an exception, in that she was supposed to be brought into the colony simultaneously to the player). In the novel by Alex Wittmann additional women are mentioned as being among the peasants of the New Camp, but no specific number. And in the later iteration of his novel two additional female warrior NPCs were introduced.

Childbirth: Due to the extremely low numbers of women in the colony and all of these women being reserved for the barons or the gurus - at least in the final game this is the narrative - who just use them for fun (or for whatever sexual practices in the sect), procreation is not a thing in the colony. This changes when we take the gothic novel by Alex Wittmann into account. Here one baron has a son who was born inside of the barrier; suggesting that he fathered him with one of his slaves - and based on the idea (which Alex’ story shares with the Gothic Comic), that the barrier is there since more than 20 years. Thus this son of a baron is more or less grown up already and it would still make sense that there are no other children in the colony. But less so when we take the female peasants into account. Other than that in Alex’ novel a brothel was mentioned in the Old Camp and in early alpha versions the preachers of the Sect were recruiting members by promising them to “get” women (among other things) that they have in the swamp, which may or may not mean that they were supposed to be “accessible” to novices or templars too. These conditions make it more unlikely, but not impossible (who wants to give birth to a child in such a prison?), that there are no children in the colony.


For PHOENIX we draw the following conclusions…

Old Camp

New Camp

Free Camp

Psi Camp

Thus, at gamestart…
→ the OC will have about ~215 NPCs
→ the NC will have about 81-106 NPCs (~94)
→ the FC will have about 40-50 NPCs (~45)
→ the SC will have about 50 NPCs

The sect will grow from 50 (the Phoenix Concept takes precedence) to ~99 NPCs (without a change in the total number of NPCs in the world - unless for a few additional convicts). So there would need to be 49 NPCs who join the sect in course of the first three to four chapters, most of them from the Old Camp, which would shrink the OC from about 210 NPCs to ~161 (not considering here all the NPCs who die in course of the story), which leaves us with a decent and believable evolution that we may be able to display dynamically in the story.

Concerning female characters, it wouldn’t cause any conflict to add additional sex slaves to a brothel in the Old Camp (that just the guards and some higher ranked shadows may be able to use) or some female peasants as it was described in the gothic novel by Alex Wittmann. The absence of any children can still be explained by other means (e.g. as we know women are only send to the colony as sex slaves (the female peasants can as well be former, liberated slaves) and these women may have been selected specifically for their infertility to be send into the colony; in other cases a baron may just have caused an abortion through violence).

There may also be a few guildless NPCs and Quentin’s little gang that’ll have to deal with independently, but they won’t add much to these numbers. Summarising our conclusion: There’ll be about ~400 NPCs in the world of Act I.