Technology Level

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Technology Level or Tech Level, commonly abbreviated TL, is a measure of technological capability and sophistication.

Description (Specifications)

OVERVIEW: Technology Level (abbreviated tech level or TL) is a rating. It rates the capability of typical equipment used by the average citizen on his or her world. The tech level of a star system has a significant effect on its economy and the extent of its interstellar trade. Technology is essentially a 10x force multiplier for economies: a TL-5 society is roughly ten times as productive and powerful as a TL-4 one. 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. Generally, technology tends to increase the quality of life for the average sophont, but it is not a guarantee. It is very possible for a sophont on a very low-tech world to have a higher quality of life than a sophont in a high-tech star system.

Average Tech, Mastered Tech & Research Tech Levels

Average technologies in common use within the Third Imperium are very often considerably lower than the high end of (TL-15 or TL-F) Imperial technological achievement. Each of the polities of the major races has a different average, sustainable technology level, but most systems and worlds average in the TL:10-12 range, with the most capable, higher tech worlds averaging in the TL:13-15 range.

Tech Levels 0 through 21

This TL table is a list of technological levels and short descriptions. The descriptions correlate TLs to periods in history or alternately, future technology.

Technological Level Table
TL Lvl Historical Era IC CE Remarks
TL 0-9
TL-0 Xlow Stone Age TBD TBD Found Tools, fire, mysticism, village, agriculture, etc.
1 Vlow Bronze Age TBD 3500 BC None
1.3 Vlow Iron Age TBD 1300 BC None
1.6 Vlow Medieval Age TBD 600 AD None
2 Vlow Age of Sail TBD 1500 AD None
3 Vlow Industrial Revolution TBD 1730 AD None
3.3 Vlow Napoleonic Era TBD 1800 AD None
3.6 Vlow Colonial Era TBD 1850 AD None
4 Low Mechanized Age TBD 1900 AD None
5 Low Broadcast Age TBD 1930 AD None
6 Low Atomic Age TBD 1940 AD None
7 Mlow Space Age TBD 1970 AD None
8 Mlow Information Age TBD 1990 AD None
9 Mlow Early Stellar Age / Fusion Age TBD 2050 AD None
TL 10-21
10 (A) High Early Stellar Age / Gravitic Age TBD 2120 AD None
11 (B) High Average Imperial 0 TBD None
12 (C) High Average Imperial 30 TBD None
13 (D) Vhigh Average Stellar / Geneering Age 600 TBD None
14 (E) Vhigh High Stellar 1000 TBD None
15 (F) Vhigh Imperial Maximum 1105 TBD None
16 (G) Xhigh Artificial Persons Age TBD TBD None
17 (H) Xhigh Personality Transfer Age 1902 TBD Republic of Regina
18 (J) Xhigh Exotics Age TBD TBD None
19 (K) Uhigh Matter Transport / Antimatter Age TBD TBD None
20 (L) Uhigh Skipdrive Age TBD TBD None
21 (M) Uhigh Stasis Age TBD TBD None

Tech Levels 22 through 33

Levels above 21 are the Accelerating Tech Levels: each of them tends to be of shorter duration and each leads at an ever-accelerating pace to the next. The technologies addressed by TLs above 21 are frighteningly powerful and exceptionally susceptible to disaster. As a society progresses to each new Accelerating Tech Level, the focus shifts to a different technology.

All advancing technological levels are Accelerating Tech Levels to one degree or another. Many scientists within Charted Space argue that the concept will apply most significantly to the TL:19-27 Ultra Period or higher. Others argue for any level above TL-22.

The Singularity (TL-34+)

When the society moves beyond TL-33, it reaches the Singularity. Some think of it occurring within the TL:31-33 technological epoch. Noone really knows, or if they do know, they aren't telling. The technologies focused on for the past thirty-three TLs are strong indicators of the fate awaiting the culture. A focus on more warlike technologies points the society towards destruction, while a focus on peaceful engineering disciplines tends to point the society towards survival. A balance of the various technologies available may result in ascension to a post-technological existence.

Epochal Technological Periods

On a very broad level, Imperial historians, scientists, and scouts have divided contemporary and future history into technological epochs and periods. This chronological periodization also projects where future technological trends might be found as evidenced by Ancients technology and that of other Precursors:

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).

History & Background (Dossier)

The Third Imperium's most advanced technologies in common use are (TL-15) technologies. Some cutting-edge worlds have achieved an unsustainable, theoretical (TL-16) rating, but are not yet in wide usage. The Darrians or Daryen are a prominent example of such a society with access to TL-16 technologies.

Technological Epochs

The scientists of Charted Space have, more or less, agreed upon a vision of the future outlined below. Who knows if the future of Charted Space will resemble these projections?

Technological Epochs
TLs Hierarchical
Epoch Hallmark Sophontic Period Smelchakian Period Key Indicators Remarks
TL-Negative Pre-Sophontic Period Pre-Sophontic Period Pre-Sophontic Pre-Sophontic Period Pre-Historic Period (PHP) The Rise of Life. Creatures. Pre-technology lifeforms.
TL-0 Proto-Sophontic Period Found Tools Period Proto-Sophontic Proto-Sophontic Period
(Alpha Period)
Stone & Fire Development of a ur or proto level culture, society, and civilization. Found objects. Before tools making tools.
TL:1-3 Vlow Tech Epoch Tool Making Epoch Early Sophontic Foundational Period, Early Sail & Steam Development of a modern scientific culture, society, and civilization. Made objects. Tools making tools.
TL:4-6 Low Tech Epoch Division of Labor Epoch Early Sophontic Foundational Period, High Atom & Factory Development of increasingly efficient communication, power generation, and transportation technologies. Standardization of scientific method and efficient manufacturing.
TL:7-9 Mid Tech Epoch Processor Epoch Early Sophontic Foundational Period, Late Rocket & Computer Development of advanced processors allowing for an exponential increase in scientific research and engineering breakthroughs.
TL:10-12 High Tech Epoch Gravitics Epoch Meso-Sophontic Interstellar Period, Early Jump Drive & Gravitics Practical gravity manipulation and its associated transportation systems revolutionize travel and the movement of goods. The Jump Drive opens up interstellar colonization and exploration to a degree never before known.
TL:13-15 Vhigh Tech Epoch Biologicals Epoch Meso-Sophontic Interstellar Period, High Geneering & Wafertech The High Interstellar Epoch brings about increasingly capable jump drives, fusion weapons, cloning & geneering technologies, and advanced robot intelligences that are bordering upon true artificial intelligence.
TL:16-18 Xhigh Tech Epoch Artificials Epoch Meso-Sophontic Interstellar Period, Late Robots & Lethetic AI The Late Interstellar Epoch brings about increasingly capable artificial intelligence, affordable robotic labor, and increasingly advanced FTL jump drives.
TL:19-21 Uhigh-1 Tech Epoch Matter Transport Epoch Late Sophontic Ultra Period, Early Antimatter & Matter Transport The availability of elemental matter portals (transporting raw materials across AU distances efficiently) transforms concepts of physical value. The Skip Drive and it successors allows sophonts to finally explore other galaxies.
TL:22-24 Uhigh-2 Tech Epoch Transformations Epoch Late Sophontic Ultra Period, High Postsophontism & Goo The lines between individuals blur as bodies become customizable, replaceable, and disposable. Post-Sophontism (individualized transformation) and the development of practical nanotech, often called the “Goo.”
TL:25-27 Uhigh-3 Tech Epoch Psionics Epoch Late Sophontic Ultra Period, Late Psionic Engineering & Inertialess Drive Psionic engineering, practical societal engineering, effective psychohistory and others now allow not only individuals to be transformed, but entire societies and civilizations.
TL:28-30 Dei Tech Epoch Trans-galactic Epoch Hyper-Sophontic Epoch Astrodeific Period Galactic Scale Megastructures & Topopolises Technology develops capabilities to manipulate worlds and stars: to move them, harvest them for their matter and energy, and convert them to other large scale objects. The ability to visit other universes changes society profoundly. Entirely different astronomical environments engenders new viewpoints.
TL:31-33 Omni Tech Epoch Pocket Universe Epoch Trans-Sophontic Epoch Omnipotential Period
(Omega Period)
Chronotaxis & Transuniversalism. The ability to create and manipulate pocket universes infinitely expands available resources and turns all but the most adventurous inward. Time travel heralds the Singularity. Technological existence is forever transformed. Multiple possible existences motivates sophonts to seek existence beyond technology.
TL-34+ The Singularity PTP Post-Sophontic (Post-Omega Period) The Singularity & PTP. Society reaches a critical point in its development. Beyond imagination. Beyond technology. Beyond any previous definition of life.

See also

Universal world profile

§ == ( Please refer to the following AAB Library Data for more information: ) == §

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

Charted Space Technological Spectrum:

References & Contributors (Sources)

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GURPS Traveller Notes: An array of notes regarding the similarities and differences between Traveller TL and GURPS TL can be found here: Technology Level/meta
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