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  #11  
Old June 20th, 2018, 03:37 AM
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Like others here, I'm in favour of critical breakthroughs defining TL changes. What they are though - well as you can see that is up for debate!

I have always felt that it was a mistake early on in Trav's story to tie TLs in some cases to dates in Terran history. Far better to have identified some critical breakthrough (like development of nuclear fission) and leave it at that without introducing dates from our history.
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  #12  
Old June 20th, 2018, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDS View Post
What is the key difference between bronze and iron that is worthy of making a dividing line between them? I understand iron is harder and would hold an edge longer, or allow for stronger constructions (bridges, buildings), but this seems incremental to me, not something worthy of a full tech level.

I know steel is made in a different way, is vastly stronger than iron, and allowed the construction of skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and large bridges like the Golden Gate, but that too could be considered just an incremental improvement; what makes it worthy of a tech level?
Copper, Tin, and Bronze can be made without a forced draft furnace, and are almost exclusively cast items; they cannot be forge worked much. Sharpening is by abrasion wheel removing material. Bronze tools don't work stone well. Bronze weapons are mostly thrusting, and are prone to bending if used to parry with the flat, or breaking if parrying with the edge. Copper and bronze adzes, axes, and hammers work well enough, but are less durable than steel and don't hold an edge all that well; the hardest stones have to be cut by fire or by wood wedges and water, not bronze. Maximum length is about 2.5' (~45 cm) for a tool, as that's the maximum reliable pour pour depth. Bronze is easily melted down and recast, but isn't easily repairable. Bronze doesn't make great springs on a large scale. (small brass or copper springs, however, can be made.)

Iron and Steel, in addition to hardness, can be face hardened (leaving a softer core) for a much more durable tool or weapon. Iron can be cast, but is brittle when cast. Iron, unlike bronze, can also be readily worked in a forge. Forges require forced draft furnaces with coal or charcoal for many techniques. Cutting and chopping weapons are makable, as well, and can have long blades. A billet can be drawn to lengths of 5-6 feet readily. Forge work also allows lamination and its benefits. Steel can work almost any stone.

Iron tech, most tools are iron with a case of steel from the forge work, most blades are hammered out but not folded. Many iron tools were heated in a forced draft furnace and cast, then face hardened with forge work. This is much more durable than bronze, and can make cutting implements (but still not great chopping/hacking swords), it also makes reasonable shears, which bronze doesn't. Iron can also be made into decent springs for heavy uses. Iron pliers readily allow drawing copper wire. The big advance for woodwork is the durable draw knives which can be used to pry chunks, and the durable planes it allows. The biggest advantage for machining is that durable files and punches can be made of face hardened iron (which is a steel shell over the iron core), which allow working bronze into complex machines like the antikithera mechanism with great precision and speed. Iron nails are also made.

Steel, at least medieval steel, was forge made - and can be made into a much better variety of wood-working tools. 18th and 19th C steel, serious industrial stuff, was batch made as steel in huge furnaces, then forge worked further, or rolled out and stamped to shape, or machined into shape. Different formulations become different purposes - a spring steel is different than a sheet body steel. Further, steel dies allow stamping copper, tin, zinc, aluminum, and steel sheets readily into complex shapes.
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  #13  
Old June 20th, 2018, 11:39 AM
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I pretty much stick with the standard CT progression, but then again IMTU is TL10 where each TL is a big jump- TL11+ always seemed to be just improvements on existing tech, not the major changes earlier on.


I do go to the lengths of visualizing what jump, fusion, computers are actually doing. I want to inject engineering drama and tough to do if it's just a stat.


ICE's SpaceMaster has an interesting tech progression that is 1-30, largely a doubling of Traveller's so you get an equivalent of TL9, 9.5, 10, 10.5 etc. It's a bit different, gravitics comes much later for instance, but it's a clear picture of everything from stone knives to Grandfather-type tech.



So if you can snag that, might help clarifying alternatives. The system makes my eyes water, but it's got some good stuff, particularly a nice personal armor section and the best drug section I've ever seen.


What is this doing in Non-Traveller Gaming?
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  #14  
Old June 20th, 2018, 12:55 PM
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Tell me what better place it fits into.
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Old June 20th, 2018, 01:12 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...ric_inventions

Just found this a couple minutes ago. Proving to be informative.....
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  #16  
Old June 20th, 2018, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDS View Post
What is the key difference between bronze and iron that is worthy of making a dividing line between them? I understand iron is harder and would hold an edge longer, or allow for stronger constructions (bridges, buildings), but this seems incremental to me, not something worthy of a full tech level.

I know steel is made in a different way, is vastly stronger than iron, and allowed the construction of skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and large bridges like the Golden Gate, but that too could be considered just an incremental improvement; what makes it worthy of a tech level?
Iron is softer than bronze and not as strong. For iron to be useful it must be alloyed, usually with carbon. The iron age should actually be termed the steel age since useful 'iron' tools weapons and armour were actually steel. edit - Aramis explains this in more detail above.

What changed was the ability to mass produce iron/steel (first industrial revolution) which also allowed steam engines to be a viable way of powering stuff - the Romans may have had steam powered toys but they lacked the metallurgical knowledge to build pressure vessels capable of handling the steam pressures that are needed for engines - not that even into the nineteen century steam boiler explosions were still rather too common IIRC there was an issue in New York city but I may be misremembering.

This is how I do it:

TL0 stone age - includes the harnessing of simple chemical reactions involving burning and thermal decomposition eg making lime
TL1 ~3300BC bronze age - a misnomer really since during this time many metal were extracted from their ores by smelting/carbon reduction. Copper, tin, zinc, lead even iron.
TL2 ~1200BC iron age - more properly the steel age
TL3 ~1700AD industrial revolution - mass production of iron/steel and the steam engine
TL4 ~1800AD electrical revolution - understanding of current electricity and the link between electricity, magnetism and light gives you generators, electrolysis and clues towards the nature of atoms
TL5 1861 electromagnetic theory - totally paradigm shifting view on the nature of our universe, would lead to a greater understanding of atoms, the quantised nature of energy and eventually relativity and quantum mechanics
TL6 1905 atomic theory, quantum mechanics, relativity, advances in material science as a result including the chemical industry, polymers, synthetic dyes etc
TL7 ~1965 the microchip, quantum field theory, the standard model etc

TL8 not there yet - man portable laser carbines, fusion power, air/rafts - this is where I put near future hard sci fi campaigns of mine, take today's tech and extrapolate without breaking the laws of physics (so no air/rafts - the jury is out on man portable energy weapons)
TL9 jump drive, artificial gravity etc the Traveller magic stuff begins in earnest.
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Old June 20th, 2018, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
This is how I do it:

TL0 stone age - includes the harnessing of simple chemical reactions involving burning and thermal decomposition eg making lime
TL1 ~3300BC bronze age - a misnomer really since during this time many metal were extracted from their ores by smelting/carbon reduction. Copper, tin, zinc, lead even iron.
TL2 ~1200BC iron age - more properly the steel age
TL3 ~1700AD industrial revolution - mass production of iron/steel and the steam engine
TL4 ~1800AD electrical revolution - understanding of current electricity and the link between electricity, magnetism and light gives you generators, electrolysis and clues towards the nature of atoms
TL5 1861 electromagnetic theory - totally paradigm shifting view on the nature of our universe, would lead to a greater understanding of atoms, the quantised nature of energy and eventually relativity and quantum mechanics
TL6 1905 atomic theory, quantum mechanics, relativity, advances in material science as a result including the chemical industry, polymers, synthetic dyes etc
TL7 ~1965 the microchip, quantum field theory, the standard model etc

TL8 not there yet - man portable laser carbines, fusion power, air/rafts - this is where I put near future hard sci fi campaigns of mine, take today's tech and extrapolate without breaking the laws of physics (so no air/rafts - the jury is out on man portable energy weapons)
TL9 jump drive, artificial gravity etc the Traveller magic stuff begins in earnest.
The above is reminiscent of the GURPS 4e TL-Progression (which maxes out @ GTL12 "Ultrascience").
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Old June 20th, 2018, 11:36 PM
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(Alloyed) iron weapons, meaning steel, seem to have been much better in our actual history than bronze ones. At least in my Ancient History course the decline of Ancient Egypt from "premiere civilization" to "easily kicked around" was attributed to this, in part. Egypt had plenty of copper and tin to make bronze, but very little iron. When the Iron Age came around Egyptian armies with mostly bronze weapons weren't able to hold their own against invaders armed with steel.

Plus, "the riddle of bronze" just isn't the same! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKMG-FdCGtM
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Old June 21st, 2018, 03:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDS View Post
Tell me what better place it fits into.

GenericTraveller, no specific version and not specific to OTU/not-OTU, so Lone Star.
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Old June 21st, 2018, 05:27 PM
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Plenty of other technologies could have been invented much earlier than they really were. For example, pretty much all of the tech available to wet etch integrated circuits was available by the turn of the 20th century. In other circumstances we could have seen a recognisable personal computer on the market by 1900-1920.

Electric cars have been a technical possibility since the first half of the 20th century, but economics were never in favour of the tech. If it weren't for the cold war we might never have developed rockets large enough to lift a satellite into orbit.

The old chestnut of the Romans developing steam engines was a possibility but it never happened. They could also potentially have developed gunpowder, industrial chemistry, sailing craft capable of crossing the Atlantic, or a wide variety of other technologies. There were similar golden ages in China, the Caliphates and various other regions.

Last edited by nobby-w; June 23rd, 2018 at 08:04 PM..
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