GPD Tech Level Discussions

Star Fleet Universe Discussion Board: Prime Directive RPG: GPD Tech Level Discussions
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By Matthew Pulido (Talison) on Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 02:35 am: Edit

Really, I don't see how this effects us. 4e has new TLs. But GPD uses it's own, as it did in 3e. It wasn't a problem useing none GPD material in 3e, I don't see why it would be now. Just have to change the TL an item is introduced to match the GPD TL timeline.

By Bruce Leslie Grubb (Maximara) on Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 04:31 am: Edit

Actually GPD uses a varient of GURPS 3e TL chart before Steampunk added in TL(x+y) to the mix. The problem is that when updating GPD for GURPS 4e somebody was not paying attention and continued to say the chart was THE SAME as the standard chart TL0 through TL7 even though in 4e from TL4 on things changed.

Ironicly GURPS 4e provided an out where they could have used the 4e chart AND their own together - the superscience marker (^); Use 4e chart to TL8 and have 9 and above 'superscienced'.

The ^ market means that the technology in question does not follow our accepted physical laws and could in theory follow ANY TL number.

For example Azoth-7 has interstellar travel but is at TL4^ (yes that is TL four), Gernsback has beamed power but it is only TL(6+2)^ way below where in 3e such technology should have been 'discovered'. The '^' is a great way to deal with TL headaches like FTL, tranporters and the like - assign it a 'reasonable TL' and slap the ^ afterword and go on. So if you wanted to modify the Star Fleet universe with say the STNG movie First Contact but not mess things up too much you could say Warp Drive is a TL8^ development and move on.

The whole point is the superscience marker opens up more doors than sticking to the old 3e chart does as it allows you to play fast and loose with the TL chart when any superscience gizmo/reference shows up regardless of it being Transmuter, Planet Killer, Ion power, or Mind Swapper.

By Steve Cole (Stevecole) on Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 11:37 am: Edit

Some day, in some future product (GFF4e?), Bruce can write a new chart for us and players can use whatever one they want. But the one in GPD4e isn't wrong, and isn't a problem.

By Matthew Pulido (Talison) on Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 02:42 pm: Edit

Yeah, I really think your over thinking it. I don't care if the chart is 100% different from the one in Gurps 3e and 4e. It's the chart for GPD and works fine as such.

By Robert Gilson (Bobcat) on Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 03:25 pm: Edit

Personally I like the GPD tech levels. I lobbied against the short list tech levels for 4th edition. Anyway SJG has long said that worldbooks can use the current or a modified tech levels and Powered by GURPS books can do even weirder stuff. The chart in the basic set is just a starting point.

By Bruce Leslie Grubb (Maximara) on Sunday, August 14, 2005 - 04:28 pm: Edit

I think I know where the idea for the shorter TL list came from: we are in the TL8 area and in GURPS you cannot understand TL 4 levels above your own by default. Four levels above TL8 is TL12 and that is were the Basic set caps out out at.

Also GURPS Ultra Tech 1e started having problems around TL13 in providing gizmos to play with and with so many things like contragravity, FTL, matter trasmission, force fields, disintegators, broadcast power, cold fusion, total conversion, cosmic power, and fast growth clone relegated to the Superscience (^) catagory in GURPS 4e there simply was not enough to continue to use TL 13-15.

Personally part of me wishes the Star Fleet Universe had expanded on the Industrial Scale given in TOS where mixture of letters and numbers rather than just numbers were used but as it was used in only "Errand of Mercy" (where they believe the Organians are IS D on the scale but we are not what time period that means), "Wink of an Eye" (IS 7), and "Spock's Brain" (1485: IS B and 2030: IS G) Finer than what GURPS uses but not enough to really do anything with.

By F. Douglas Wall (Knarf) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 03:12 pm: Edit

And if you used the ^ in GPD4e, you'd just confuse people who'd never seen GURPS before. You'd either have to explain why there are 2 different TL charts (one standard, one GPD) or why that funny little symbol (^) is so gosh darn important, or require that everyone buy the Basic Set too, just to figure out what the heck is going on.

Remember, not everyone here is a hardcore GURPSer. Some people here are SFB fans who want an RPG in their favorite setting. And GPD (and PD20) is supposed to be for them too.

By Loren Knight (Loren) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 03:38 pm: Edit

Wow, almost a year to the day!

By Darren Kehrer (Kehrer1701) on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 - 09:19 pm: Edit

I only wish, like GPD, that d20 would just include the d20 rules so you don't have to go out and buy another "starter" rulebook. I suppose you could get the Star Wars rulebook as it is d20.

By Andy Palmer (Andypalmer) on Thursday, August 17, 2006 - 09:20 am: Edit

Darren. The nature of the D20 OGL is that you can't play the game without owning the Players Handbook (or WOTC equivilant).

By William F. Hostman (Aramis) on Saturday, August 23, 2008 - 01:07 pm: Edit

Not true, Andy. That's the nature of the D20 STL (System Trademark License). The OGL itself has no such restriction. But PD20 uses the D20 Logo, and thus the D20 STL.

By Gary Carney (Nerroth) on Sunday, January 17, 2010 - 10:49 pm: Edit

For future reference, there's one matter I wanted to address regarding Technology Levels - the list of dates provided for the Inter-Stellar Concordium.

In GPD4e, on page 134, the ISC is listed as being at TL9 by Y25, TL10 by Y60, TL11 by Y120, TL12 by Y160 and TL13 by Y182.

However, according to the data published in Module Y2, TL9 should now be -Y175 (when the five planets started to develop Non-Tactical Warp), TL10 Y10 (when the Veltressai pioneered Tactical Warp) and TL11 Y81 (when the earliest Y-era ship entered service with the unified ISC Navy). TL12 and TL13 would, of course, remain unchanged.

Also, in my copy of GPD4e, on page 133, artificial gravity is listed twice under the entry for TL10.

Plus, matter transmission is listed under TL9 on the same page, though references to the technology elsewhere (not least on page 22) implies that 'the first finicky transporters' went hand-in-hand with the onset of antimatter-powered Tactical Warp engines, i.e. at TL10.

By Jean Sexton (Jsexton) on Monday, January 18, 2010 - 02:20 pm: Edit


As you know, when we work with the Air Force Tapes, sometimes we find new data. Right now, we have a lot on our plate at ADB, so you may have to wait until we work on PD ISC to get all your answers (or at least after Origins as all the questions require SVC time and he has to work on PD Feds and F&E 2010 and the Origins FC release and CL #41), and no, PD ISC isn't currently on the schedule as we have other books far ahead of it in interest and completeness. You and other ISC fans will just have to be patient.

While I wish we could just make books appear out of thin air, that technology (or cloning me and SVC and SPP) just hasn't happened.

RPG Line Editor

By Gary Carney (Nerroth) on Monday, January 18, 2010 - 03:22 pm: Edit


My comment was aimed more at a future version of the core rulebook in a different game system (such as PD6) and/or for any eventual re-prints of pre-existing versions of PD.

I'm not expecting the ISC to hit the production schedule any time soon, but the note about TLs (or whatever the equivalent is in other systems) might still be of note, given the data in Y2.

By Shawn Hantke (Shantke) on Monday, January 18, 2010 - 03:50 pm: Edit

Jean, I think what Gary is saying is that Module Y2 changed some of the yis TL dates, which contradicts what is published in Prime Directive. So those dates need to be looked at some time and maybe a little bit of errata needs to be written for Prime Directive.

By Jean Sexton (Jsexton) on Monday, January 18, 2010 - 04:11 pm: Edit

Shawn, we cannot look at this until after Origins. TL isn't based solely on getting one type of advance, but on the whole of the culture. Until SVC gets time to look at it, we cannot change anything.

Now that I know about it, whenever we do a new "flavor" of PD, if it includes the ISC, we will take a look at it. I strongly doubt that will happen before Origins.

I didn't mean to sound ungracious; I'm simply at the RL job and a tad pushed for time. I am glad that you are helping make PD better.


By Shawn Hantke (Shantke) on Monday, January 18, 2010 - 05:30 pm: Edit

I understand that you don't have time to look at it right now, I was just trying to help clarify what I thought was being said.

Gary, shouldn't this be put into a line item report and posted somewhere else so it doesn't get lost or forgotten? Is there an after action report for Gurps PD somewhere?

By Jean Sexton (Jsexton) on Monday, January 18, 2010 - 06:05 pm: Edit

Try here for after-action reports: Star Fleet Universe Discussion Board: Prime Directive RPG: PD AFTER ACTION REPORTS: GURPS PRIME DIRECTIVE 4TH EDITION

Thanks for finding this and giving us time to get it right!


By Gary Carney (Nerroth) on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 04:23 pm: Edit

Will do.

(I just noticed the date for TL12 might be an issue, too, but I'll put it elsewhere.)

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