this is a pretty fascinating discussion. it really makes your tale all the more vivid and immersive!
its inspiring me to make my long-form a little less fly-by-night.
The last time a council was called, it was just an aging Emperor Conrado, his five middle-age kids, and a smattering of grandkids in adulthood. And in the background, an empire that consisted of Earth, the lunar and Martian colonies, and Veeta.
This time around, it's dozens of planets, a fleet of military and trade ships, and a family numbering in the....
Well, that's the interesting part. Thanks to the kind efforts of Drive reader Brian Huisman, you can plug in the variables yourself, to see how big the family might be after 140 years. Try it out yourself. (We assume that, for political & economic reasons, La Familia encourages an intentionally high number of children, such that each offspring averages five kids. Also: That they have them (on average) between the age of 25-30, that their (average) lifespan is 80 years old, and that males and females both count as "continuing" the family line. Add to that, we know that Conrado already had five children 140 years ago, and can assume that they were near, but not at, adulthood. We also know that, by Fernando's time, there were "1,200" Familia servicing the drive -- but that's just a slice of the total populace, as they serve multiple roles in the Empire.)
Anyway, plug in the variables and see what you get! The number can rise and fall exponentially with tiny tweaks...so I'm still debating where *I'd* like the final tally to be. For now, I'm thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000-8,000 current members of La Familia.
Anyway, fun stuff!
DRIVE reader Ben Blank was having trouble posting to the forum, but he sent along this interesting thought about drive-related accidents:
I played with the numbers a bit and found a scenario I like. Assuming that:
Children stay at home for ~18 years…
…then service the drive for ~12 years, with a mortality rate of about 1/6…
…then spend ~25 years raising a family a large family (with an average of 6 children)…
…and work in non-drive-servicing jobs for ~35 years until an average age of death at 80.
(Drive-operator mortality rate isn't considered by Brian's calculator, but seems reasonable based on the emperor's reaction to losing ships to the drive, and can be accommodated by considering the "number of children" to mean "number of children who survive to have children of their own".)
This would make La Familia ~9,100 members at time of the comic, with ~7,000 adults, ~1,240 of whom are servicing the drive. I can see why the emperor's cousin is worried about getting them all together!
Thanks for the props, Mr. Kellett!
I just added another element to the script [greywyvern.com] that you may find helpful when drawing the mob of La Familia. :) If you hover each row of the table, it will now show an age distribution chart for that year.
If each child has their children between the ages of 25 and 30, you can see that the progeny will be grouped relatively tightly into distinct age groups.
These groups will blur as the time between each childbirth increases, although the final total progeny will go down significantly.
Now Drive mortality is also added to the script. At the year before child bearing age, the script does a random check with a 1/6th possibility (adjustable) of "killing" that person. That means the person does not add any children to the Familia.
It adds a random factor to the script and you shouldn't get the same final total twice now :) Sometimes even Conrado will be killed while servicing the very first Drive and the chart will show no Familia at all after 140 years!
Does La Familia have to marry La Familia? Or is new blood ok? If only La Familia, start upping that death rate as the genetic issues start cropping up. And lower the birth rate.
There are a variety of reasons that they might intentionally restrict their numbers as well. It may not be correct to assume 5 kids per family.
On the other hand there are always going to be "black sheep" and spies in the family, and not all of them can be dealt with in a handy accident, so a large number might be required...