Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tech Levels and Year

I've seen the question "What year was tech level X first reached?" come around a few times in various discussions online for Traveller. Here's my research on it for Imperial Society:

TL 11, defined as Jump 2, was first achieved during the 1st Imperium. 909 BCE (c. -5422 Imperial) is given in GURPS Traveller on page 47 in the side bar. This may have been the maximum technology level during the Long Night for production purposes.

TL 12, defined as Jump 3 and Meson weapons, was developed by the Terrans around -2284, and deployed within a decade. The Terran Confederation and the Rule of Man are not known to have exceeded this technological development. However, an out of the way lab could have made some TL 13 prototypes...

TL 13 was developed before 624, when the Xboat system was first established. So it roughly corresponds to the Imperial Civil War era.

TL 14 was matured by the late 900's, when the J-5 capable Azhanti High Lightning class Fleet Intruders were produced.

TL 15 breakthroughs were made following the Rim War from 990 to 1002. It is specifically noted the demands of the Rim War led the Imperium to make the breakthroughs required for TL 15.

I have excluded the Darrians, as they mess it all up and their discoveries were not widespread. I have the suspicion much of their work was more theoretical than anything. I heavily relied upon the Library Data in GURPS Traveller, and the history section in Rim of Fire, as well as Mongoose Traveller 1e Core Book to give the dates and defining the technology levels.

Also, this falls seriously close to a fan wank here, but this might also be of some use. It's almost more detail than would be useful in my games, but it's still useful to the fandom at large.

UPDATE: Thanks to a response on the thread I started for this at Citizens of the Imperium, I learned this information. It comes from the MegaTraveller Referee's Companion.


  • The Syleans maintained TL 10, that is basic jump capacity through the entire Long Night period.
  • TL 11 was re-established by -650, with the establishment of the Sylean Federation.
  • TL 12 was re-established by -150, when robot manufacturing commenced. This makes sense, as the Shudusham Concords date from -110.
  • TL 13 was re-established by 300, during the Vargr Campaigns.
  • TL 14 was a result of the X-boat system being built, thus from 700.
  • TL 15 developments were from the Solomani Rim War, and dates from 1000.