Technology Level

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Technology Level or Tech Level is a measure of technological capability. Usually this is used in the Universal world profile to indicate the overall technology of the planet. A planet may have large sections, and/or populations at a more primitive level than listed.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Technology does not imply standard of living as workers in a high tech industrial world can have a poorer quality of life (perhaps not having the money to pay for high-tech health care), than a medieval farmer. The tech level does impact the economic exchange rate for a world's goods, but it has a very significant effect on its economy and the extent of its interstellar trade.

Technology can be a tremendous multiplier for economies of any size as well as a source of enormous prosperity. However, while many technologies have the capacity to bring great prosperity and economic wealth to planet, technology also has the capacity to be tremendously disruptive of local cultures, societies, and peoples.

Additional Data[edit]

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

The Third Imperium's most advanced technologies in common use are (TL-15) technologies. Some cutting-edge have achieved a (TL-16) rating, but are not yet in wide usage. Average technologies in common use within the Third Imperium are very often considerably lower than the high end of (TL-15).

Primary Technologies[edit]

There are three primary technologies that are determinants of the size and quality of a government (polity) such as the Third Imperium are:

  • Power (Energy): Energy production is a key technology for any government (polity) and the Third Imperium employs an advanced (TL-15) Fusion Plus (also Fusion+ or F+) as the primary source of almost all Imperial technology. Research into antimatter power plants is being conducted within the Third Imperium, but the technology is still very much in its nascent form. It seems very clear from archaological research that the Ancients possessed not only antimatter power plants, but other highly advanced power plants capable of producing orders or magnitude more power than anything within the Third Imperium or Charted Space.
  • Transportation (STL or FTL): The Third Imperium is capable of building a (TL-15) FTL (Faster-Than-Light) Jump-6 Jump Drive (J-6) propelling a starship at speeds approaching six parsecs (19.5698006 light years) a week. This transportation capacity greatly limits X-boat (Express Boat) message delivery times, and thus, with the communications limit, greatly reduces the maximum size acheivable by interstellar governments (polities). However, many jump-capable starships do not use J-6 propulsion drives. J-6 propulsion drives are incredibly expensive, and most commercial or private starships are limited to much less capable jump drives, often J-1 or J-2 rated drives. The Third Imperium is furiously researching more advanced and capable Jump Drive technologies. Research into Jump Drive technology suggests the Ancients posssessed much more capable Jump Drives, many orders of magnitude faster than existing (TL-15) Jump Drive technology.
  • Communication : The Third Imperium's most advanced communications device is the (TL-15) Meson Communicator. Mesons are normally short-lived particles, but they can be accelerated to nearly the speed of light, which also extends their energetic lifespan. However, even when the mesons employed by a Meson Communicator are used for near-FTL communication, their energetic lifespan is too limited to be useful over interstellar distances, which limits Meson Communicators to short astrographic distances between starships in the same stellar system. This necessitates the use of a X-boat (Express Boat) network, which limits the speed of communication to roughly one week between jump points. This means that it might takes months or even more than a year for information to travel via X-boat from one end of Charted Space to the other. The Third Imperium's most advanced minds are researching Pseudo Reality Communications and Pocket Meson Communicators. The most advanced (TL-15) Meson Communicators are still far too large to be personally carried by all but the largest of sophonts.


The Tech levels of the Imperium are measured in the range 0-15 (0-F), with 0 representing extreme primitive levels (hunter/gatherers), and 15 the height of Imperial technology.

However, there is technology beyond that of the Imperium as evidenced by ancient sites (e.g. Rosette worlds are TL-21 and Rigid Dyson Spheres TL-27).

Traveller5 aka T5 has introduced a new theoretical maximum to the TL System of TL-33.

Conversion Table[edit]

The TL system differs between different versions of the Traveller game. The following table shows conversion between different TL systems of the various Traveller editions.

Most Traveller game editions default to the original Classic Traveller Traveller TL technology levels.


Traveller TL GURPS 3e TL GURPS 4e TL Historical Era
0 0 0 Stone Age (fire)
1 1 1 Bronze Age (3500 BC)
1 2 2 Iron Age (1200 BC)
1 3 3 Medieval Age (600 AD)
2 4 4 Age of Sail (1450 AD)
3 5 5 Industrial Revolution (1730 AD)
4 5 6 Mechanized Age (1880 AD)
5 6 6 Circa 1910 AD
6 6 7 Nuclear Age (1940 AD)
7 7 7 Circa 1970 AD
8 7 8 Digital Age (1990 AD)
9 8 9 Early Stellar (2050 AD)
10 (A) 9 10 Early Stellar (2120 AD)
11 (B) 9 10 Average Stellar
12 (C) 10 11 Average Imperial
13 (D) 10 11 Average Stellar
14 (E) 11 12 High Stellar
15 (F) 12 12 Imperial Maximum
16 (G) 13 13 Darrian Historical Maximum
  • In Standard GURPS 4th, the maximum TL is 12, but in the GM's permission there can be more TLs. It's assumed to be the maximum tech level that present human can imagine is TL 12.


Enhanced tech levels describe the technology for different classes of technology (e.g. a planet may have a medical tech level different from its weapons tech level).

Traveller categorizes various technologies into the following enhanced tech level or classifications (categories):

Common Technologies[edit]

  • High
  • Low

Quality of Life Technologies[edit]

  • Energy
  • Computers/Robotics
  • Communications
  • Medical
  • Environment

Transportation Technologies[edit]

  • Land
  • Water
  • Air
  • Space

Military Technologies[edit]

  • Personal Military
  • Heavy Military

Novelty Technologies[edit]

  • Novelties

Universal Technological Profile (UTP)[edit]

These codes are represented as the Universal Technological Profile (UTP) Universal Code in the order defined below:


Where each of the codes is as follows:

  • C = Common (x2)
  • Q = Quality of Life (x5)
  • T = Transportation (x4)
  • M = Military (x2)
  • N = Novelties (x1)

The UTP is part of the system of as Universal Codes.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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