I'm currently reading Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon and the amount of characters is making my head spin. Another one of my favourite authors who loves piling on characters (and then killing them off) is Martin.

These two writers however tend to write epics so a fair chunk of the book (call it a mini-book) is devoted to a single character (ie. Tyrion who gets upward 60k words a book devoted to him). So, I think, in these cases the amount of characters is justified because a. the books are long and b. it's an epic story.

So to narrow down my question, how many characters per 10k words/chapter/section is acceptable?

The reason I ask is because I am currently working on a project that has 6 main protagonists and 3 main antagonists, and I introduce 6 of them in less 10k words, which is less than 1.6k words each.

Basically, I don't want to get into the situation I faced a lot when reading David Weber's Honor Harrington series where I didn't even know who half the characters were because there were just too many to keep track of.