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Old 07-18-2010, 10:57 AM   #1
Stormcrow
 
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Default Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

Tales of the Solar Patrol gives the TL of its setting as 6+3, but I have been finding this inadequate for certain reasons.

In the setting, budget problems blocked the invention of the electronic computer and the transistor. However, the setting has an "ether," and discoveries relating to this have led to almost limitless power with "Tesla coils," electron drives that can accelerate in an hour to 0.1c and more, nega-barriers (force fields), atomic guns, and gravitic vectors (anti-gravity). All of these technologies are obviously TL^. The setting has electro-mechanical computers called infomats, and has not progressed beyond TL6 except for developments in nuclear fission, putting it in TL7 for power generation.

Yet the setting has manned interplanetary space flight, heavy laser weapons (both TL9), and perhaps some other TL9 stuff I'm forgetting.

So is TL6+3 the best descriptor of this setting? GURPS page B513 lists retro-tech mimicking 1940s SF (which is this setting) as a split tech level, not a divergent one. I was thinking TSP could be described as "TL6 (Tesla Power and Weapons TL6^, Nuclear Power TL7).

Any thoughts?
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:27 AM   #2
Kale
 
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Default Re: Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

By the nature of its weirdness, TotSP does not fit well at all into the GURPS TL examples. I would say it's TL/WTF? and go from there. If you HAVE to classify it, I'd say TL6+3/4^.
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Tales of the Solar Patrol gives the TL of its setting as 6+3, but I have been finding this inadequate for certain reasons.

In the setting, budget problems blocked the invention of the electronic computer and the transistor. However, the setting has an "ether," and discoveries relating to this have led to almost limitless power with "Tesla coils," electron drives that can accelerate in an hour to 0.1c and more, nega-barriers (force fields), atomic guns, and gravitic vectors (anti-gravity). All of these technologies are obviously TL^. The setting has electro-mechanical computers called infomats, and has not progressed beyond TL6 except for developments in nuclear fission, putting it in TL7 for power generation.

Yet the setting has manned interplanetary space flight, heavy laser weapons (both TL9), and perhaps some other TL9 stuff I'm forgetting.

So is TL6+3 the best descriptor of this setting? GURPS page B513 lists retro-tech mimicking 1940s SF (which is this setting) as a split tech level, not a divergent one. I was thinking TSP could be described as "TL6 (Tesla Power and Weapons TL6^, Nuclear Power TL7).

Any thoughts?
If the ether really exists in TOSP maybe those aren't superscience within the setting?
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Tales of the Solar Patrol gives the TL of its setting as 6+3, but I have been finding this inadequate for certain reasons.

In the setting, budget problems blocked the invention of the electronic computer and the transistor. However, the setting has an "ether," and discoveries relating to this have led to almost limitless power with "Tesla coils," electron drives that can accelerate in an hour to 0.1c and more, nega-barriers (force fields), atomic guns, and gravitic vectors (anti-gravity). All of these technologies are obviously TL^. The setting has electro-mechanical computers called infomats, and has not progressed beyond TL6 except for developments in nuclear fission, putting it in TL7 for power generation.

Yet the setting has manned interplanetary space flight, heavy laser weapons (both TL9), and perhaps some other TL9 stuff I'm forgetting.

So is TL6+3 the best descriptor of this setting? GURPS page B513 lists retro-tech mimicking 1940s SF (which is this setting) as a split tech level, not a divergent one. I was thinking TSP could be described as "TL6 (Tesla Power and Weapons TL6^, Nuclear Power TL7).

Any thoughts?
Yes. You have anachronistic tech by the car load with Superscience. Functionally Tales is a TL 9 world based on the effects of what it's tech achieves relative to the Tech level table. It diverged from TL 6 with super science so it's technically a TL (6+3)^. Something that is functionally equivalent to something we have today existed at TL 6+2 in the typical household. Maybe it's a maser array that slices food instead of blades in the 2002 Food Maytag processor, but life there functions like life here.

This is EXACTLY the situation the TL X+Y system was made for!
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

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Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Any thoughts?
My universal thought for all such debates is "why do you care?" That is, under what circumstance can you imagine needing to know the "right" answer to this in play?

Numerical TLs are a doubtfully useful idea in the first place; complex extentions of numerical TLs are pretty much completely pointless. Label it TL(Q) or something anywhere you need to record a label. Any rule where you need a numerical value of it is probably a questionable rule in the first place, and the GM simply makes up something appropriate. Which is more or less what you have to do with a differences between complicated string of letters and punctuation marks anyway, which aren't a clear number either; so you aren't really any better off with TL6^+2/6+2^ than with TLQ even in those cases.
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

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Originally Posted by Captain-Captain View Post
Something that is functionally equivalent to something we have today existed at TL 6+2 in the typical household. Maybe it's a maser array that slices food instead of blades in the 2002 Food Maytag processor, but life there functions like life here.
I don't know that this is always the case. Yes, household appliances and other conveniences can be considered TL6+3^, but what about, say, medical technology? The doctor is going to wear a stethoscope and use a tongue-depressor (though they probably have miracle pills). Materials science? Ships are made of steel, not ultra-tech alloys. Navigation? Astrogators perform their calculations with paper, pencil, and slide rule.

Hmm. Maybe the answer is to classify the base TL as 6+3^, and specify those technologies that are held back. E.g., TL6+3^ (Computers TL6; Materials Science, Nuclear Power TL7).

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
My universal thought for all such debates is "why do you care?" That is, under what circumstance can you imagine needing to know the "right" answer to this in play?
Skill penalties when encountering alien technology; rolls on tables like the First Aid Table and the Medical Help Table; letting players browse the Tech books.

I'm not really interested in debating the validity of GURPS tech levels. I'd prefer to assume they work just fine, and figure out the right answer.
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:05 PM   #7
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Tales of the Solar Patrol gives the TL of its setting as 6+3, but I have been finding this inadequate for certain reasons.

In the setting, budget problems blocked the invention of the electronic computer and the transistor. However, the setting has an "ether," and discoveries relating to this have led to almost limitless power with "Tesla coils," electron drives that can accelerate in an hour to 0.1c and more, nega-barriers (force fields), atomic guns, and gravitic vectors (anti-gravity). All of these technologies are obviously TL^. The setting has electro-mechanical computers called infomats, and has not progressed beyond TL6 except for developments in nuclear fission, putting it in TL7 for power generation.

Yet the setting has manned interplanetary space flight, heavy laser weapons (both TL9), and perhaps some other TL9 stuff I'm forgetting.

So is TL6+3 the best descriptor of this setting? GURPS page B513 lists retro-tech mimicking 1940s SF (which is this setting) as a split tech level, not a divergent one. I was thinking TSP could be described as "TL6 (Tesla Power and Weapons TL6^, Nuclear Power TL7).

Any thoughts?
You're right that infomats are inferior technology to our computers. However, the Solar Patrol universe also has functional humanoid robots capable of understanding simple verbal instructions. They aren't very good, essentially low-end TL 9 cybernetics, and the Solar Patrol doesn't use them for an anything, but they are substantially superior to our cybernetics. Similarly while they are still using fission reactors, their fission reactors are in fact substantially superior to ours, safer, more compact, cheaper. I'd be willing to be that somewhere in the solar system, there's a megaframe computer capable computation that is impressive even by our standards, and if there isn't yet, it's just because they haven't finished building it yet.

A fictional universe of the kind described on page 513 would be more like the hard science fiction stories of the 1940s or stuff like Venus Equilateral, a universe that required people to manually adjust power beams to keep them from drifting off target and didn't have any robots.

Quote:
I don't know that this is always the case. Yes, household appliances and other conveniences can be considered TL6+3^, but what about, say, medical technology? The doctor is going to wear a stethoscope and use a tongue-depressor (though they probably have miracle pills).
So far as I know, they still do that, although by TL 9 they might switch over to stethophones. In any case in terms of rolling for injury recovery I'd probably go with a TL 9 equivalent.

Quote:
Materials science? Ships are made of steel, not ultra-tech alloys.
<shrug> DR's about the same.


Quote:
Navigation? Astrogators perform their calculations with paper, pencil, and slide rule.
Well yeah but that's because if they didn't, they'd be wimps. They do have computers capable of doing it

Last edited by David Johnston2; 07-18-2010 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:57 PM   #8
malloyd
 
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Default Re: Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

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Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Skill penalties when encountering alien technology; rolls on tables like the First Aid Table and the Medical Help Table; letting players browse the Tech books.
Then it's 9. Those tables don't have entries for anything other than simple integers. And if you are going to make technology by technology exceptions, advances and retardations, alternate paths with different defaults counting up and down them, whatever, you are actually rewriting them anyway. The paragraph or two you need to explain which technologies are advanced, retarded or use totally different rules becomes the definition of your new TL, and might just as well simply list the new Medical Help table result as assign a number for you to look up on the Medical Help table. Which is more or less my point. If it's different enough from a simple integer it needs a descriptive paragraph, simply give it a name and refer to the descriptive paragraph. You are going to have to go read it anyway to understand the notation even if you do somehow construct one of those number and symbol strings that makes you happy.
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Old 07-18-2010, 02:10 PM   #9
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

In gurps more optional rules and information is almost always good. A giant YMMV.
I like having many ways to describe alternate timelines for crosstime jumping characters to give a base of operations.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: Tech Level of Tales of the Solar Patrol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
I don't know that this is always the case. Yes, household appliances and other conveniences can be considered TL6+3^, but what about, say, medical technology? The doctor is going to wear a stethoscope and use a tongue-depressor (though they probably have miracle pills). Materials science? Ships are made of steel, not ultra-tech alloys. Navigation? Astrogators perform their calculations with paper, pencil, and slide rule.

Hmm. Maybe the answer is to classify the base TL as 6+3^, and specify those technologies that are held back. E.g., TL6+3^ (Computers TL6; Materials Science, Nuclear Power TL7).



Skill penalties when encountering alien technology; rolls on tables like the First Aid Table and the Medical Help Table; letting players browse the Tech books.

I'm not really interested in debating the validity of GURPS tech levels. I'd prefer to assume they work just fine, and figure out the right answer.

He might wear a stehoscope. There is also the back in time aspect of some tech in anachronistic. Slide rules are the obvious examples. For all I know TotSP phones still have rotary dials but a built in Tri-D projector to allow face to face conversations.
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