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TL-0 or the “Proto-Sophontic Age” is an age of firsts as sophont species emerge from an animal or creature existence, develop higher intelligence, and begin to use found objects as the first tools.

Library Data Referral Tree[edit]

Please refer to the following AAB Library Data for more information:

Description (Specifications)[edit]

It is characterized by the use of stone objects, found tools, and fire.


EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT & NEWS: TL-0 communications are limited to the physiological abilities of a sophont. Most sophonts tend to communicate on an oral-auditory level although, as the Hivers prove, many other kinds of communication also exist.


LARGE SCALE POWER, SMALL-SCALE POWER & TRANSMISSION NETWORKS: TL-0 power Generation is limited to simple combustion without mechanical aids. Most Proto-sophonts are unable to create power reliably. Fire, for example, may only be acquired after sourcing it from a natural occurrence such as a lightning strike, for most sophonts.


LAND, SEA, AIR, SPACE, FTL & EXOTIC: TL-0 transportation is limited to the physiological abilities of a sophont. The locomotor limbs of a species are typically called “peds” although most humans think of them as “legs.”


MANUFACTURING, MATERIALS & MACHINES: TL-0 proto-sophonts do not yet manufacture tools and cannot reliably kindle fire. Hunter-gatherers are learning where richer sources of found tools can be found and the very concepts of manufacturing are being thought up. Band societies may have formed.


COMPUTERS, DATA STORAGE & ROBOTICS: TL-0 processor technology doesn’t exist as such. However, most sophonts are beginning to form ideas about the mind and how it works. These later become the foundation of early electronics and processing technologies.


GOVERNMENT, POLITICAL ECONOMY & CLIODYNAMICS: TL-0 proto-cultures form rudimentary governments, typically no more advanced than a band society. TL-0 proto-Societies are often called band societies, and represent nomadic wandering sophonts of high intelligence, but not necessarily all of the much disputed hallmarks of sophonce. Not all are nomadic, but few have begun to form significant attachments to any sort of geographical location. TL-0 Proto-civilizations represent a wider overview of organized Proto-sophontic life. Some species develop writing, art, and mysticism, while others might take much longer. Some societies develop early chiefdoms, although many sophontologists argue that a chiefdom is a sign of a TL-1 society.


TRADE, FINANCE & SCIENCE: TL-0 trade, finance, and science don't exist as such. Trade is limited to barter except in very rare cases, and theft or violent confrontation are more likely. Science in its contemporary form doesn't exist at all. Species tend to form very early mystical beliefs and superstitions, which are beginning to coalesce into organized cosmologies, a necessary precondition for scientific thought.


STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTS & MEGASTRUCTURES: TL-0 proto-sophonts are unable to build more than the simplest shelters and typically live in caves or similar found homes whenever possible. Many proto-sophonts live nomadic lives with no set homes or places of residence.

Life Sciences[edit]

BIOLOGY, MEDICINE & AGRICULTURE: TL-0 biological sciences are extremely simple without a reliable way of building tools. Nevertheless, many very early yet sophisticated societies from extremely complex bodies of knowledge regarding their own biological functioning, local herbs and medicinal plants, and a generalized idea about anatomy, physiology, and psychological health.


TACTICAL COMBAT, SMALL ARMS, PERSONAL ARMOR, STRATEGIC COMBAT, HEAVY ARMS & HEAVY ARMOR: TL-0 weapons and armors are limited, primarily to thrown rocks, sharp piercing objects, and hide armors since tools cannot be reliably made, only found at this level of development.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Strangely enough, the first found tools form an evidentiary trail of this early stage of sophontic evolution. Most anthropologists and sophontologists do not consider these early objects to be artifacts yet, since most consider that an artifact must be constructed with tools.

Alternate Nomenclature for this Technological Epoch[edit]

Terran historians have many names for this TL bracket including

  • TL-0 Stone Age: They have often mastered fire and developed a rudimentary spoken language, but we have yet to see any evidence of metallurgy, tool-developed-tools, or written communication.

Hallmark Technology-1: Found Tools[edit]

TL-0 objects are “found objects.” Although some of these found objects show characteristic signs of use or wear by an emerging sophont species. While many higher technology sophont species may look down on found tools, some such artifacts may be highly sophisticated and advanced in their own regard. Many sophont species continue to use “found tools” for many millennia after the TL-0 period of their development.

Hallmark Technology-2: Shelter[edit]

Shelter makes a profound difference in sophont's lives as it allows a greater range of environments to be colonized. Caves, lean-tos, sheltered areas can all make the difference between life and death under extreme weather conditions. Protosophonts become very good at seeking and inhabiting shelter.

Hallmark Technology-3: Fire[edit]

Combustion and fire allows a wide variety of new options for sophonts that master it: warmth and heat, food preparation, food preservation, transformation of materials, and more.

Representative Sophont Species[edit]

TL-0 proto-sophonts are relatively rare. It is near unknown for a proto-sophont to not undergo major trauma after First Contact with an interstellar starfaring society.

  • The following sophont species are known to possess technical mastery within these technological limits:
5 Sophonts in the TL-0 epoch

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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