Technological Period

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Technical Data.jpg

A Technological Period or Tech Period represents a broad swath of time for a society or civilization while it develops technologically. This divides the entire technological scale into three parts, each roughly covering 9 technology levels.

The three periods are the Foundation Period, covering TL–0 to TL–9, and dominated by the society while it is tied to a single world. The Interstellar Period, covering TL–10 to TL–18 and dominated by the exploration and establishment of an interstellar society. The third is the Galactic Period, covering TL–18 through Accelerating Tech Levels and to the technological singularity.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Based largely on the Wikipedia:Kardashev scale, the idea of rating a civilization based on the order of magnitude of power available to them. Type I is usually defined as one that can harness all the energy that falls on a planet from its parent star. A Type II is a civilization capable of harnessing the energy radiated by its own star. And a Type III civilization is one in possession of energy at the scale of its own galaxy.

The Technological period takes the Kardashev scale idea of energy consumption and expands it slightly to describe the use of the energy, not just it's consumption.

Foundational Period[edit]

The foundational period represents the lengthy period of development while the society is still isolated to a single world. The resources available for continued development are limited what is available on this world.

This period is dominated by the exploration of the world, learning and applying the basics of physical sciences, and learning the process of establishing a stable society capable of enduring for many centuries.

Referred to in some texts as the Ur-Tech period or the Ur (primordial) period

In the Kardashev scale civilizations in this period exist between Type 0 and Type I as they expand their current power use and apply it to ever increasing technological advances.

The general agreement on the end of the period for a given civilization or society would be the establishment of a self-sustaining off-world colony either in an orbital platform or another world in the system.

Interstellar Period[edit]

The Interstellar period is one where the society expands beyond the bounds of a single world to explore and exploit the resources of the whole system, and indeed many worlds beyond.

This period is dominated by the exploration of many worlds, the continued refinement of the understanding of the physical laws of the universe, and the application of lessons learned about establishing a long term stable society.

In the Kardashev scale civilizations in this period exist between Type I and Type II. In the original the Type II civilization would be utilizing the entire energy output of a single star by construction of a Dyson Swarm or similar megascale project. The discovery of the Jump Drive and other interstellar transports gives a civilization the ability to use other systems for resources rather rather than being tied to a single one.

There isn't a broad agreement on the term "Interstellar Period" and is equally referred to as the "Stellar Period", "Starfaring Period", or "Stell-Tech Period". And, as with the naming, there is no broad agreement on the defined end to the period.

Galactic Period[edit]

The galactic period is one where a civilization expands the scope of their society to cover the entire Galaxy, beyond to other galaxies, or even other universes. This period involves the discovery of and implementation of unimaginable technological capabilities.

In the Kardashev scale civilizations in this period exist between Type II and Type III. They have access to the resources of the entire galaxy, and capable of making changes on that scale.

The ending of this period is the technological singularity.

See also[edit]

Technology levels[edit]

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.

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

    The most common metric from the Three Prime Technologies is star travel, the degree to which a sophont society can employ efficient, far-reaching FTL star travel...

    Epochal Technological Periods Overview
    Period Name
    Periods (TLs) Technology (Kardashev) Scope Key Technologies General Period Remarks

    (Emergent Period)

    TL–0 Proto-Tech

    (K= Type n>0) [Hemisphere Mastery]

    Very early societies with basic "found object" tools and a planetary (world) scope. Found tools, mysticism, proto-science, proto-culture, proto-art, band societies, caves, etc. Alpha Period These species have made the jump from creature to sophont. They are new to technology, and are beginning to use it to develop new societies and civilizations. They use found tools, but haven't yet figured out how to use tools to make more advanced tools yet.
    • Some call them Stone Age.
    Low Sophontic

    (Foundational Period)


    (K= Type 1)
    [World Mastery]

    Foundational technologies with planetary-systemic (intrastellar) scope. "Tools making tools or made objects." Steam Engines, celestial navigation, urban sanitation, factories, interchangeable parts, ICE engine, electronics, spacecraft, fission power (nuclear), etc. Ur Period Minor Races frequently establish successful civilizations in this range, often with very capable spaceflight programs and sleeper ships. Such societies typically master engineering, astrophysics, earth sciences, medicine, and variety of other sciences at proficient levels capable of building a unified World-State.
    • Some call them Space Age.

    (Interstellar Period)


    (A to J)


    (K= Type 2)
    [Star System Mastery]

    Interstellar technologies with an polystellar (intragalactic) scope. FTL, fusion power, advanced manufacturing (Makertech), advanced medicine, cloning, lethetic robotics, early nanotechnology, advanced artificial intelligence, etc. Stellar Period All of the Major Races possess interstellar technology within this range, with the current vanguard at TL–15.
    • Some call them Interstellar Age.
    High Sophontic

    (Ultra Period)


    (K to T)


    (K= Type 3) [Galaxy Mastery]

    Galactic technologies with a polygalactic scope. Transgalactic FTL, antimatter power, highly advanced biotechnology, advanced nanotechnology, true artificial intelligence, etc. Galactic Period Some believe that the Kursae, despite their lack of a Jump Drive were able to achieve many of these advances.
    • Some call them Galactic Age.

    (Astrodeific Period)


    (U to W)


    (K= Type 4) [Universe Mastery]

    Astrodeific technologies with a universal scope. Planet-bending, geneering (sophont creation), nano mastery, etc. Transgalactic Period Most technological researchers believe that most of these technologies were within reach of the Ancients.
    • Some call it the Age of Space Gods.

    (Bhodhisattivan Period)


    (X to Z)


    (K= Type 5) [Polyuniversal Mastery]

    Bhodhisattivan technologies with a polytemporal, trans-dimensional scope. Chronotaxis (time travel), dimension-hopping, reality mastery, etc. Omega Period Most technological researchers believe that most of these conjectural technologies were beyond even the Ancients.
    • Some call it the Age of Elder Races.

    (Post-Technological Period)

    TL-34+ PTP

    (K= Type 'Post-Omega') [Unimaginable]

    This sort of technology is beyond imagination. This sort of technology is beyond imagination. Post-Omega Period This sort of existence is beyond imagination. Often known as the hypothetical Post-Technological Period (PTP).

    Chronological Periodization by Transportation Technologies[edit]

    Five generalized civilizational periods (...and associated transportation technologies) are hypothesized:

    1. Planetary & Star System Travel Period (TL:1-9 - Kardaschev Type 1)
    2. Interstellar Travel Period (TL:10-18 - Kardaschev Type 2)
    3. Intergalactic Travel Period (TL:19-27 - Kardaschev Type 3)
    4. Transdimensional Travel Epoch (TL:28-30 - Kardaschev Type 4)
    5. Chronotaxis or Time Travel Epoch (TL:31-33 - Kardaschev Type 5)

    The Three Major Technological Periods[edit]

    Three basic stages of techno-political behavior have been suggested by Sophontologists:

    1. Planetary States (TL:1-9 - Kardaschev Type-1)
      1. Balkanized States (Not unified planetary state)
      2. World-State (Unified planetary state)
    2. Interstellar States (TL:10-18 - Kardaschev Type-2)
      1. Pocket Empires
      2. Interstellar Micro-polity
      3. Interstellar Polity
      4. Interstellar Macro-polity
    3. Intergalactic States (TL:19-27 - Kardaschev Type-3)
      1. Intergalactic Micro-polity
      2. Intergalactic Polity
      3. Intergalactic Macro-polity

    Transitional Technological Epoch[edit]

    Sophontilogical Era (TL:1-30):

    1. Transcendent Civilization (TL:28-30)

    New Sophontilogical Era (TL-31+):

    1. Ascendant Civilization (TL:31-33)
    2. Singularity (TL-34+)

    IISS Chronological Periodization[edit]

    History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

    In the highly diverse section of the galaxy known as Charted Space, a very wide variety of technological civilizations exist and often coexist, which means that metrics and protocols had to be developed not only for surveyors and scouts, but also for merchant princes, explorers, and sophontologists... among others. Rough guidelines exist for every TL, but alien civilizations have a way of exceeding or defying benchmarks, so the much rougher Technological Epoch designation was invented by the IISS. It encompasses three TLs spanning a very wide period of development making classification much easier, especially after a first contact scenario when little might be known about a new sophont society.

    So, for instance, a very early technology civilization containing technological benchmarks from TL-1, TL-2, and TL-3 capabilities, would be known as a TL:1-3 society. The epochs are grouped into batches of three and when a society contains a higher benchmark than a set grouping, the higher tech epoch is defaulted to. For instance a society that might initially be judged as a TL:1-3 society is observed to have TL-4 technologies, so it would then be reclassified as a TL:4-6 society, or simply a TL-4 society if higher technologies (...TL-5 or TL-6) were not judged to be present.

    It is a flexible and inexact measure of technological development.

    Standard Polity Growth Sequence[edit]



    Civilization Stages[edit]

    1. Pre-existence
    2. Creature Existence
    3. Proto-civilization
    4. Sophontic Civilization
    5. Ascendant Civilization
    6. Transcendent Civilization
    7. Singularity
    Civilization Stages
    # Stage TL Society Remarks
    1. Pre-existence TL-Negative A-life Not much is known about the origin of life, which is conjectured to be abiogenesis, or life arising from where there was none. In this environment, no conventional life is theorized to have existed, but A-life, or pseudo life, is thought to have pre-existed conventional life.
    2. Creature Existence TL-Negative Primordial Soup The first life is thought to have been exceedingly simple, probably acellular, pre-DNA, and almost unnoticeable. But it was conventional life, and later life built upon it. More sophisticated life evolved from these humble origins into sophisticated multicellular creatures. However, these creatures lack higher intelligence, civilization, and technology.
    3. Proto-civilization TL-0 Proto-Society The very first creatures to evolve multiple hallmarks of sophonce become known as Proto-sophonts, and they develop Proto-civilizations, recognizable by later sophonts as early societies with basic but fundamental technology. Proto-sophonts are classified as: TL–0.
    4. Sophontic Civilization TL:1-27 Band SocietyTribal Society or ChiefdomCity-StateNation-StateWorld-StatePocket EmpireInterstellar StateIntergalactic State Sophonts are sophisticated, highly intelligent technology-using species. They develop advanced technologies, cultures, societies, and civilizations. They actively seek to master themselves and their environment. They use a variety of technologies: (TL-1 to 27).
    5. Transcendent Civilization TL:28-30 Final State Transcendents have begun the transition to the Singularity. They control advanced technologies (TL-28 to 30) and have cultures and societies paradigmatically different from less advanced sophonts. Many such societies begin to explore alternate dimensions and pocket universes.
    6. Ascendant Civilization TL:31-33 Final State Ascendants are working towards an active transition to the Singularity. They control the most sophisticated technologies imagined by sophontdom (TL-31 to 33). In nearly every practical way but not in every effect, they have achieved omnipotence. The key technologies defining transcendents are temporal technology, reality manipulation, chronotaxis (time travel), and manipulation of time itself. Their powers are near limitless. Some lesser sophont species call them "space gods." They have goals and motivations near incomprehensible to less advanced beings.
    7. Singularity TL:34+ Post-Technological Period (PTP) Singularity The Singularity is a very nebulous term for both black holes and a hypothetical condition of life beyond technology, civilization, and life itself as confusing as that may sound. Some call it the afterlife while others call it the Post-Technological Period. Some even think that it is a future stage of life when sophont and machine merge. There is scant evidence for it, but many thinkers hypothesize that it exists.