One Man's Science is Another Man's Magic

SF fans often have a jaded view of technology. We see it all over movies, read about it in literature and view it in art (turns out a lot of technological progress in our old futures was to make space suits for the femmes skin tight and appear open to vacuum around the torso). In many SFRPs including the original 2d6 progenitor, technology seems to mostly involve tweaking and refining a few gosh! golly! true breakthroughs.

The venerable Atomic Rockets site views a new tech level as being 85% refinement and 15% shit you never saw coming. The laser is one example. It was invented (or rediscovered depending on your world) at TL 7. At that point you could burn stuff with it, maybe melt stuff with a really good model. Now at TL 8 we use lasers for all manner of things, analysis, measuring, medicine, communications and they are smaller and burn a lot of stuff even better. 

TL 8 is the great mother of all leaps forward. We get anti-gravity, fusion power, and portable laser weapons. Makes you wonder what was going on at TL 7.9. In the real world the only advance we're seeing is laser weapons and ours are still sort of weedy. This ticks off some gamers. On the other hand, our computer technology is TL 11 in some people's opinions. Games are far neater and more organized than real life. 

Anyway, the salient, magical discovery at TL 9 is the jump drive, which gives mankind the Galaxy! What? It's not our Galaxy? We'll see about that. After TL 9... innovation seems to sputter to a halt. Jump drives get better. Computers get better. 

By TL 12 50% of the technology is MAGIC to us TL 8 knuckle draggers, busily flying around our fusion powered grav vehicles and plinking bottles with our lasers. Except, according to the RAW, it isn't, except the FTL drives. We have robots too but everyone was expecting those guys for a while. 

Take a pair of deck plans, for a TL 12 ship and a TL 8 ships and try to find any differences between the two. Take a look at a TL 4 airship and compare it to a TL 8 jetliner. Can you tell them apart at a glance?

There are fantastic artists and deck plans out there. I would just like to see stuff using gravity control, like zero gee swimming pools, or nuclear damper decontaminators. The list is growing

 

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