Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Divergent Retro-Tech

I'm toying with the idea of making at least one of the worlds in my Alkonost setting have "non-standard" technology with an Atomic Age (i.e. 1950's/1960's speculations about future spaceflight) flavor to it. The world in question, Laana, is strongly biased against AIs and most advanced electronics (and with a good reason - they were slaves to the Incunablis Machine Empire up until recently), and having analog electronics, hydraulics and a lot of clunky machinery - not to mention bulky fission reactors - would fit them very well and also make them quite unique.

The thing is that I also want them to be a minor interstellar power, and, therefore, would like them to have jump-capable ships. But J1 drives are TL9, and Fusion is available beginning from TL8, which makes the clunky fission plants redundant.

So what I have in mind is to make Laana TL7, with several elements of TL8 (in biology, agriculture and medicine for the most part) and with a few TL9 technologies (mainly jump-drives). Alternatively, they might be importing the jump-drives as 'black boxes' from Alkonost (the TL11 major power in this subsector) and jury-rigging them into their TL7 fission-powered, analog-system, reaction-driven starships.

What do you think about this? Have you done something similar in your campaigns?


  1. I have a similar problem with one of my non-Imperial polities. The world lacks the tech for more than Jump-1 ships. Another, more anti-Imperial polity, was quietly selling J-3 carriers to this world and the locals then went for massed Battle Rider tactics, basically dropping two or three carriers into a system and then swarming the Imperials with massed fighters and Big Ship gunboats.

    The local Imperial Forces are only at Tech 12 so there isn't a huge tech difference.

  2. I think that I'll make Laana TL7 and make its ships clunky-tech and heavy with fission reactors and reaction drives; but it'll import jump-drives (and maybe particle accelerators?) from the TL11 Alkonost.

  3. Sounds like a lot of fun and would certainly create some interesting scenarios where player modern technology could not interface with the retro analogue controls being used.

  4. Exactly. And a Laanese character would have problems interfacing with higher tech, though, thankfully, most worlds aren't THAT much more advanced, and most are TL5-8.

    However, Laanese navigators are quite good as they can plot jump-courses by heart (they're inspired by the Mentants from Dune), which is VERY useful if your main computers are damaged...