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Old February 26th, 2019, 02:11 PM
jawillroy jawillroy is offline
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Default Sustainable Tech Levels?


SO. I've been reading Jared Diamond's 2011 book on societal collapses, and it's been bouncing all around the Traveller parts of my brain.

Greenland, for example.

Here we have a Norse population trying to maintain themselves as culturally and technologically European in the most remote European settlement of its time, barring Vinland. Ultimately, their unwillingness to dispense with their cattle and their sheep leads to destruction of their soil, total loss of their trees, total loss of the ability to produce metal... their insistence upon participating in trade with Europe (rather than self-sustainability) meant that weeks better spent on nurturing their marginal hayfields were spent walrus and bear hunting for ivory and furs for export, to trade for iron and luxuries.

Their pressures wouldn't have been as deadly if they were as close to Europe as, say, the Faroes - which were as barren but close enough to import everything they needed.

So I'm wondering about non-industrial Traveller worlds with technological levels dependent on industrial production. For example, the TL 13 world with a population of forty thousand, or five thousand. Or three hundred.

In order to maintain that technology, how close does that world have to be to a population 7+ world of TL 13 or better?

Suppose you've got one little TL15 world with a population of 300 or so, and within 10 parsecs there's one TL 11 industrial world and a mess of other systems between TL 5 and 9.

Do you just handwave it all, and say yep, that's a TL 15 world?
Is it a TL 11 world with a few TL 15 gadgets?
Those Norse Greenlanders did everything they could to avoid behaving like the Inuit. Apparently they didn't even eat fish, not even when they were still able to keep boats afloat. That's akin to our TL 15 enclave refusing to adopt nearby TL 9 methods when their own gear fails - are those non-industrial enclaves just lining up to die off?


Suppose our TL 13 pop 2 world is moderately isolated; let's say there's no major environmental stress: a shirtsleeve world of Atmosphere 8 with 50% oceans. Humans can survive there at tech 0, notionally.

The highest tech *producing* world is a jump away, TL11 pop 7.

The nearest TL 13 *producing* world is 6 parsecs away: two J3 or three J2, or some other combination with a leg or two of J1 thrown in. To get something there, you really have to WANT to get it there. No easy one-leg routes.

So the easiest imports for our TL13 outpost are liable to be TL11 stuff. Is the REAL TL of our outpost TL11? Or less, even?

Or do we assume the TL13 outpost exists because what it produces is of such high value (economically or scientifically or strategically) that the ships from the homeland will be there sufficiently regularly to maintain TL13 standards, despite the distance?

Supposing there's NO nearby worlds of high enough population to produce goods for export: Does that world get to stay TL13? Or do we say it's a TL1 world with a lot of broken TL13 ornaments?


And another thing. Supposing that the TL13 world with population 2 has a type A starport.
Can those few hundred people still build my starship?
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