View Full Version : How many pepole in a mine

2017-10-18, 01:04 PM
Ive got a game where dragon pcs will be attacking a silver mine, but I have no real idea of how many people would work in a large mine. Ive tried googling it but i cant find numbers for any period even modern.

Its a weird question so I'm not particularly optimistic but I though I might as well try.

Honest Tiefling
2017-10-18, 01:15 PM
Firstly, is it a pit mine or a tunnel? Pit mines were pretty common, and make a lot of sense for a dragon attacking it from the air. Secondly, there might be collateral damage, because miners need to eat, have clean clothes and a place to sleep.

Third...You could probably just hand wave the number if the corpses are charred beyond recognition. If the mine had some fishy stuff going on and didn't have good records (or those records are now burnt) no one might have a good idea of how many are dead beyond 'a lot'.

2017-10-18, 01:33 PM
the pcs are the dragons, and i picture a tunnel mine.

2017-10-18, 02:12 PM
Hundreds, potentially thousands of slaves working the mines.

You could just make up a number, it's not important to have historical accuracy for a topic that the players don't know the actual history on. It's more than enough that they believe the setting.

2017-10-18, 02:20 PM
doesn't need to be precise i just have no frame of reference to even know whats plausible

Is thousands of workers based on anything or just a guess?

Mark Hall
2017-10-18, 02:35 PM
doesn't need to be precise i just have no frame of reference to even know whats plausible

Is thousands of workers based on anything or just a guess?

How big is the mine? That's the real question.

I'd say that, just to ballpark numbers, you'll have 10 people actively working a face at a time (a few swinging picks, others shoring things up with timbers). If you have 5 faces, that's 50 people. But you also need cart-pushers... people who move the tailings out of the way. I'd say 1 per 100 yards per face... got to keep those carts moving. If there are donkeys or mules moving the carts, cut it down to 1 per 200 yards... they move faster, carry more weight, so you don't need as many. Then consider how many people will be around the outside... how many shifts are they going to work, and how many people will be working outside (ore sorting, looking through tailings for gems if that's the output, etc). I'd say take the number of people in the mine, add 25% to that to cover "outside people" (including overseers, etc.) and then multiply it by the number of shifts you have. Then consider guards and other such things.

That's some numbers. They may not be realistic, but they make a degree of sense, and will let you guesstimate how many people you're looking at.

2017-10-18, 03:31 PM
The biggest silver mine in ancient Greece at it's peak it had 20,000 slaves working in it. So thousands in a "large" mine would seem appropriate.

2017-10-18, 03:35 PM
thank you 20,000 + support staff it is

that's a big enough number that i can assume enough guards to actually make a fight of it

2017-10-23, 03:28 PM
I have never seen a pepole before. Then again, I've never been in a mine either.
Hmmm... I should buy one. Then it would be mine.

2017-10-24, 09:28 AM
Must be very small dragons then? Mineshafts tend to be as small as possible both for structure and for the time it takes to bore through rock. Unless they've hit a vein of metal, seems like dragons wouldn't even be able to fit? Dragons would be better suited to attacking the shipments rather than the actual mine?

But yes, a large, profitable mine would need guards not only from dragons, but from greedy bandits and scoundrels.

2017-10-24, 10:24 AM
The players are still young and they need treasure to grow, but beyond that in this game dragons are extremely flexible able to squeeze as if one size smaller, and one of the players took burrowing powers any way. That said they completed the adventure and mostly interacted with the mines surface structures (such as the fortified warehouse holding the silver) only lurking in the actually mine while they were planning their attack.

2017-10-24, 01:08 PM
I'd recommend oversizing the mine like a cavern or crevice being repurposed for ore mining.

Think of the Mines of Moria. No way they fully populated that hell hole.

2017-10-24, 02:12 PM
they finished the mine last Friday so it doesn't matter much now