technology is the application of science and manufacturing to produce durable goods and consumer products. Technology allows a civilization to harness the forces of nature for energy. A society that obtains superior technology will increase the wages and quality of life for its citizens.
In game terms, technology is measured on a ordinal scale from one to ten (Roman Numerals) referred to as the tech level (TL). The TL of the Red Planet does not run in a smooth or linear fashion as found in our Earth’s history.
TL I = People live in caves or grass huts. Fire is used for heat and cooking. Travel is on foot or by dugout canoes. Tools and weapons are made from wood, stone and hide. This is the typical TL for castaways, tribesmen and inhabitants of the Barsoomian salt marshes.
TL II = People live in clay or stone buildings. Wind is harnessed for simple sailing ships such as galleys and triremes. Agriculture and writing is discovered. Polytheistic religions are common. Domestication of large animals allows cavalry as essential military units. TL II was available during our Earth’s Peloponnesian Wars and the Old Testament.
TL III = People live in wood homes, while public buildings are made from marble or granite. Oil lamps are used for illumination. The main ocean going vessel is the longboat or cog. Stirrups, nails, locks, and simple machines are available. Churches and wealthy estates have glass windows.
TL IV = Development of reliable cannons has rendered conventional stone fortresses obsolete. The printing press allows rapid exchange of news, information, and knowledge. Windmills are used to grind grain. Common people can afford glassware and china. The telescope, sextant and cartography allow dependable navigation of the oceans and seas. Medicine becomes a true science and esoteric arts obtain an outstanding level of development. Although muzzle-loading firearms are available, they are not reliable when damp; therefore, sailors still carry bows as crossbows as personal weaponry.
TL V = Peaceful society has collapsed; literature, architecture and science are neglected; however, medical skill is retained. Manufacturing is limited and when present is limited to producing armaments; however, most weaponry is scavenged from the spoils of the battlefield. Society is tribal and nomadic, requiring communities to travel to locations of the most favorable weather or game.
TL VI = People live in brick or wooden homes, many with built-in gas furnaces and lamps. Coal is burned to power steam engines giving rise to the locomotive and the steamship. Iron is smelted to steel in an affordable and abundant manner. The migration of people from the farms to urban areas is increased. Use of interchangeable parts allows for the inexpensive production of weaponry; carbines and cap & ball revolvers are invented.
TL VII = People live in insulated homes, many with refrigerators, electric lights and central heating. This era marks the production of simple, but serviceable fliers; however, regional trade is limited. The 8th and 9th rays are harnessed and the great atmosphere plant is completed. The radium revolver is invented. On earth, this era is known for mass production of crew-served weapons of war such as tanks, airplanes and battleships.
TL VIII = The common worker can afford a vehicle and send his children to college. Denizens of our Earth have cell phones, microwave ovens, fast food, robots, gene therapy, mobile computers, cloning and super-sonic air travel.
TL IX = Interplanetary travel becomes readily accessible and inter-stellar travel is available to powerful empires; think blasters, lasers, cybernetics, tractor beams, warp drives, and androids.
TL X = “Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clarke