On a scale from Zorro to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which is the rollickingest, cliffhangeriest, most Saturday-matinée tech level?

Which is the rollickingest, cliffhangeriest, most Saturday-matinée tech level?

  • Dev level 3.0 — D’Artagnan
  • Dev level 3.5 — Zorro
  • Dev level 4.0 –– The Outlaw Josey Wales
  • Dev level 4.5 — Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Dev level 5.0 — Indiana Jones

0 voters

Eichberger Spaceways refuses to transport weapons or other military equipment with no legitimate civilian use. And they have the monopoly on interstellar transport. So underdeveloped colonies feature the use of at least small amounts of imported vehicles, communications kit, medical equipment, and even e.g. clothes, but imported high-tech weapons are not really a thing. It is difficult to organise the supplies and markets to manufacture anything at an efficient scale that has a tech level higher than the the dev level where you are trying to do it. Expensive custom-made one-offs for the rich, high officials of the State, and their robbers, yes — something on the hip of every policebeing and rambunctious civilian, no. Moreover, attempts to build high-tech arms factories on low-dev planets are surprisingly disaster-prone; the Imperial resident sends flowers, perhaps a wreath, to the funeral.

The result is that at Development Level 0 people are armed with bows, knives, and axes when they are armed at all; at DL1 with bows, spears, and swords; at DL 2 with crossbows, spears, and swords. At DL 3 you get muzzle-loading firearms: usually matchlocks and rapiers at 3.0; flintlocks, bayonets, and spadroons or smallswords at 3.5. DL 4 brings in percussion caps, with breechloading longarms and cap-and-ball revolvers at DL 4.0, cartridge revolvers and magazine rifles at DL 4.5. Then DL 5 is time for self-loading pistols and battle-rifles, DL 5.5 for assault rifles and wonder nines. There’s a dev level table here: Development levels.

Now, Dev Level 1 colonies are very uncommon in Flat Black, and considered awful and barbarous. The least-developed numerous class are in Dev Level 2. But places where firearms skills are no use at all a pretty much a special case for PCs. That’s perhaps beyond what players are thinking of when you offer an adventure on a backward planet. On the other hand, at Dev Level 5 or even 4.5 Colonel Colt is really starting to make NPCs and PCs equal. Adventures have to be a twidge less rompy and just a shade more noirey. Besides, though that sort of thing is backward for PCs used to interstellar society, it doesn’t really feel backward to players. I think the high tide of low tech adventure is probably DL 3–4.