The Hush of Expansion
The concept of a technology level (TL) is designed to encapsulate the scientific capacity of a world, and how complex or effective their equipment and technology is. The scale starts at TL 0, and at the time of play the most advanced scientists (mostly still to be found on Earth – which itself has TL9 – but increasingly they are joining the departing diaspora) are pushing at TL 12. Across the diaspora, technology levels vary wildly between these two extremes; although it is a rare planet that has less than TL 4. Isolated systems have slipped back into the technological past due to disasters, wars, and such like; while planets of scientists have advanced beyond Earth.
- TL 0: (Primitive) No technology. TL 0 species have only discovered the simplest tools and principles, and are on a par with Earth’s Stone Age.
- TL 1: (Primitive) Roughly on a par with Bronze or Iron age technology. TL 1 science is mostly superstition, but they can manufacture weapons and work metals.
- TL 2: (Primitive) Renaissance technology. TL 2 brings with it a greater understanding of chemistry, physics, biology and astronomy as well as the scientific method.
- TL 3: (Primitive) The advances of TL 2 are now applied, bringing the germ of industrial revolution and steam power. Primitive firearms now dominate the battlefield. This is roughly comparable to the early 19th century.
- TL 4: (Industrial) The transition to industrial revolution is complete, bringing plastics, radio and other such inventions. Roughly comparable to the late 19th/early 20th century.
- TL 5: (Industrial) TL 5 brings widespread electrification, telecommunications and internal combustion. At the high end of the TL, atomics and primitive computing appear. Roughly on a par with the mid–20th century.
- TL 6: (Industrial) TL 6 brings the development of fission power and more advanced computing. Advances in materials technology and rocketry bring about the dawn of the space age.
- TL 7: (Pre-Stellar) A pre-stellar society can reach orbit reliably and has telecommunications satellites. Computers become common.
- TL 8: (Pre-Stellar) At TL 8, it is possible to reach other worlds in the same system, although terraforming or full colonisation are not within the culture’s capacity. Permanent space habitats become possible. Fusion power becomes commercially viable.
- TL 9: (Pre-Stellar) The defining element of TL 9 is the development of gravity manipulation, which makes space travel vastly safer and faster. TL 9 cultures can colonise other worlds, although going to a colony is generally a one-way trip.
- TL A (10): (Early Stellar) Orbital habitats and factories become common. Interstellar travel and trade lead to an economic boom. Colonies become much more viable.
- TL B (11): (Early Stellar) Gravsupported structures reach to the heavens.
- TL C (12): (Average Stellar) Weather control revolutionises terraforming and agriculture. Man-portable plasma weapons and carrier-mounted fusion guns make the battlefield untenable for unarmoured combatants.
- TL D (13): (Average Stellar) The battle dress appears on the battlefield in response to the new weapons. Cloning of body parts becomes easy. Advances in hull design and thruster plates means that spacecraft can easily enter atmosphere and even go underwater.
- TL E (14): (Average Stellar) Fusion weapons become man-portable. Flying cities appear.
- TL F (15): (High Stellar) Black globe generators suggest a new direction for defensive technologies, while the development of synthetic anagathics means that the human lifespan is now vastly increased.