Campaign of the Month: December 2016
Gamma World 2754
Technology and Tech Levels
There are five tech levels: Tech 0 through Tech IV. ‘Tech’ level is used as 1) a rating for item technological level and 2) a rating of social and technological sophistication for bases, villages, enclaves, tribes and other sentient social organizations. In post-apocalyptic earth, Tech 0-III societies often exist in close proximity. The definitions are flexible so there is quite a lot of variation within each tech level.
70% of total remaining population. Tribal societies surviving through hunting/gathering, scavenging, looting or banditry (‘Raiders’). Little or no agriculture. Example technology: tanned skins and hides, fire hardened spears, atlatl, javelin, bows/arrows, flint and stone tools and weapons, charcoal fires. May be using simpler Tech I-II weapons and equipment obtained through scavenging, looting or trade (particular Raiders). Sometimes found either worshiping or controlled by ancient Tech III+ technology such as computer installations, bombs, robots, androids, borgs, etc. 100% illiterate and sometimes without true speech (‘beast-men’ tribes).
20% of population. Pre-industrial technology (think medieval earth). Society is capable of manufacturing some if not all tech I items. Will usually be found using some salvaged Tech II-III items. Example technology: crossbows, handspun textiles, candles and oil lamps, copper/bronze/iron axes and swords. Rudimentary agriculture. Barter system, with money employed mainly for transactions with other Tech II+ societies. 10-50% literacy.
9% of population. Mid-20th century technological/industrial societies. Often based in pre-war installations such as bunkers or urban ruins. Will be using manufactured or refurbished Tech II items and usually a few salvaged Tech III items. Can manufacture all Tech 0-I and some Tech II items, depending on control of recovered manufacturing equipment. Advanced agriculture and economics (use of money). Example technology: optics, gunpowder weapons, incandescent lighting, metal trade goods, internal combustion engines (alcohol), simple electronics. 50-80% literacy.
~1% of population. 25th century Earth technology. Fusion power, gravity control, autonomous robots, energy weapons, etc. Advanced social organization and educational level. Tech III societies are always found in hidden bases, usually pre-war military, government, scientific or industrial installations. Can manufacture tech I-II items and possibly tech III items if in control of manufacturing facilities or robots. Will be using salvaged techII-III technology with possible access to experimental tech IV artifacts. Example technology: lasers, nucleonic glow-strip lighting, energy cells, advanced electric and nuclear-powered vehicles, robots, computers. 90%+ literacy.
? % of population. Experimental or secret technology from the late 25th century or Shadow Years. No known post-apocalyptic societies are Tech IV.
Key Future-History Technologies
Starting in the 23rd century, safe and long range far-field broadcast of electrical energy became practical. By the 25th century, most electrical energy was delivered to major metropolitan areas via broadcast antennas, with wired networks a thing of the past by mid-century. Useful power could be transmitted hundreds of kilometers by the biggest stationary antennas. Most 25th century ground-vehicles were powered by electricity delivered in this way.
- Broadcast power transmission antennas usually double as receivers for purposes of relaying power to the next in a series of transmitters, or rebroadcasting power to other devices in a smaller nearby area. However, smaller devices were generally equipped only with internal receiver antennas due to power transmission requiring a minimum antenna element size of around 4kg and 50cm.
- Data can also be transmitted through broadcast power networks, but two-way communication is problematic due to the minimum antenna size required for transmission. Dedicated data networks were generally served by a separate and evolutionary development of pulsed spread-spectrum OFDM digital radio technology (no set modulated frequency or amplitude).
- Shadow Years: due to the unreliability of any single power source in the post-apocalyptic 26th century, most devices of sufficient size were equipped with three power options: broadcast receiver, line power (a cable and/or plug), and internal battery. Very small devices with low power requirements were ‘self-powered’ whenever possible (generation of electricity through inertial motion for storage in a small onboard battery). This applies to most devices smaller than the ubiquitous hand-held ‘communicator’ (the Shadow-Years equivalent of a cell-phone, but using point-to-point pulsed SS OFDM receiver/transmitters).
- Limitations: the delivery rate of broadcast antennas is insufficient to power energy-hungry technology such as energy beams, larger anti-gravity generators, tractor beams and energy screens (aka ‘force fields’). Use of these technologies was generally limited to security, manufacturing and space travel applications incorporating the latest miniaturized aneutronic fusion or liquid-plutonium fission plants.
Anti-gravity technology first became practical in the early 25th century. This technology works by warping space to reduce or eliminate the gravitational effects of nearby massive bodies, such as planets. The warp can be controlled to cause the generator to ‘fall’ in various directions, thereby allowing very precise maneuvering for aircraft and spacecraft. The efficiency of anti-gravity generators declines as the distance from the massive body increases. Acceleration is limited to ~1g at earth sea-level, declining according to altitude and the power of the generator as compared to the mass of the vehicle the generator is installed in. By the end of the century anti-grav was miniaturized to the point where generators could be placed on platforms as small as 2000kg mass (personal anti-grav cars and such, but still a domain of the rich). In the Shadow Years anti-gravity was further miniaturized to become usable on devices as light as 80-100kg mass. ‘Tractor beams’ are an evolution of anti-gravity technology first developed during the Shadow Years.
25th century anti-gravity-equipped flying cars and VTOL air transports required more power than could delivered by broadcast technology. These vehicles relied on internal atomic batteries, or on-board fusion plants for longer-range and intercontinental vehicles. Efficiency improvements in the 26th century allowed smaller bots and vehicles to use broadcast power for anti-gravity propulsion (less than 5 tons mass).
Aneutronic proton-boron fusion was achieved in the 24th century, replacing lower-energy but more dangerous types used since the 22nd century. One advantage of aneutronic fusion, aside from greatly reduced neutron emissions, is the essentially unlimited shelf life and plentiful availability of the fuel (hydrogen and boron). Fusion plasma is contained in toroidal magnetic chambers around the core. Electricity is generated through electrostatic direct conversion. Ignition is achieved through lasers powered by other fusion reactors, or by liquid metal plutonium reactors or batteries (aka ‘atomic cells’). Fusion reactors as small as 1-meter were manufactured by the end of the 25th century. Further miniaturization in the Shadow Years allowed reactors to be placed in smaller high-value vehicles and bots massing less than 1 ton.
Small liquid metal plutonium reactors were used in the 25th century and Shadow Years for demanding military and industrial applications. Mostly commonly found in the form of small ‘atomic cells’ providing long-lasting high-output power for power-hungry applications such as large energy weapons, energy screens, small anti-gravity generators, powered personal armor, etc.
Nearly invisible fields of force that can block or deflect all forms of kinetic energy, up to a certain point. After maximum energy absorption is reached, the screen generator is rendered inoperative and must be repaired.
An advanced form of stainless steel used for structural components in buildings since the 23rd century.
With a hardness exceeding diamond, but 30% lighter than steel, duralloy is the material of choice for military and armored applications. Duralloy is an evolutionary development of rhenium diboride. Non-ferrous.
Combines the hardness of mild steel with the malleability and light weight of plastic. Non-ferrous.
Tough as face-hardened steel armor plate, but with the flexibility and malleability of plastic. Can be made transparent to visible light.
Manufactured exclusively in space (0g + hard vacuum) by ‘growing’ complete structural pieces, or the entire structure, from a single giant mono-filament of tungsten-alloyed iron. Provides fantastic structural strength, malleability and flexibility. Can be made transparent to visible light. Can be created in various single-piece hollow shapes such as cylinders and spheres up to 1000 meters in length or diameter. Used to build the largest structures of the 25th century including bridge spans over a thousand meters, structures over 2000 meters high including the Bifrost Space Elevator, and various space habitats. The secret of crysteel was lost after the 25th century.
Building material with 50% higher compression strength and significant malleability compared to standard 21st century concrete. Highly resistant to seismic shocks.