WOIN Setting assumptions

Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
Feedback with regards to tech levels and creating settings.

In a couple places it is mentioned that NEW assumes the 23rd century and has comments about equipment fading into obscurity, etc.. But not much in terms of helping build a new setting and grow it within a framework of assumptions.
To that purpose I want to share my initial musing on the topic of framing setting assumptions and availability of tech.

Please keep in mind that these are very initial musings :)

The three Eras consist of three Ages. Each Age has up to 6 periods, usually keyed on a technological advancement or social construct. These periods tend to follow the same pattern of nervous exploration to staking claim to confident ownership. And then some major change rips everyone back to the start.

Each period has a given tech level. Items from earlier periods in the same Age become cheaper and easier to find, but masterwork items get harder to find and more expensive as the experts who make them no longer ply their trade.
Items from the next period may be available at a higher cost and are usually unreliable.
Items from previous Ages are often collector items, although some technology stays constant... like swords. Once introduced in mid-CaveMan, versions with new materials have been made throughout time.

  • Cave Man
    • Dinosaurs Rule the Land
    • Human’s ascendant, Stone and Bone weapons
    • Settling the Land, Bronze weapons
    • The Change: Population centers end the clan life-style
  • Iron
    • City-States, Steel and alchemy is discovered
    • Conquering Kings
    • Feudalism at its finest
    • The Change: Take to the Seas! Trade and opportunity
  • Steel
    • Burgeoning Trade, Plate Mail becomes widely available
    • Expansionism - Border wars and tyrants
    • World at War - Crusades, etc.. Gunpowder is discovered. Cannons are built
    • The Change: Rise of the Merchant Class and broader access to education

  • Sail
  • Steam
  • Auto
  • Flight
  • The Change: No longer bound to Earth

  • Star Frontiers
    • Subluminal drives enable colonizing of the solar system
    • Generation ships start out to distant stars
    • Type I FTL
    • Gene-engineering colonist compatibility
    • Communication lag measured in months
    • The Change: First Contact!
  • Star Colonies
    • Type 5 FTL
    • Terraforming
    • Communication lag measured in days
  • Star Empire
    • Type 10 FTL
    • Communication lag measured in hours

With this sort of scale fleshed out, equipment and tech upgrades can be pinned in time using a quick code using the Era, Age, and Period. For instance early muskets are found during the third period of the third Age in the Old Era, listed as "O3c". If your setting is designed for early in this period, the muskets will be rare and possibly unreliable. On the other hand, later in this period you can find them everywhere and master craftsmen ply their trade.

Additionally, you can use these codes for shorthand descriptions when exploring space. While the setting might be 23rd century you might encounter a planet with a civilization that has only progressed to using steam power and list the planet as "M2D" until you have time to flesh out the world for your players.

One of the central issues that limit the scope of a civilizations reach is communication. That is why I listed the lag times in the NEW Era, showing that interplanetary communication takes a lot of time. It is hard to be an empire if the news of a pending revolt arrives months after the rebellion has succeeded.
One fun part of SciFi is thinking of ways around that problem. Does the emperor clone themselves to preside over a larger swath of space? Do special agents train to destabilize governments since since sending more than one man is prohibitively expensive and time consuming? Does the Empire hoard secret wormhole space-lanes? What happens when a free-lancing freighter jockey discovers a faster way to get to Alderon?
But I digress... and a buddy is showing up in an hour to help me playtest, so I better get back to reading the rest of this document!


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Have you read to the end of the book? There's a chapter on setting design near the end. It's not finished yet, though.

Don't worry about trying to write stuff. The priority is play testing what's there and reporting back. :)

Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
I did get to the end of the book and read that portion, but that was after I had mused for a while and had these ideas to share. :)

I was able to get a couple of friends over today and ran through character generation and the sample encounter. Had some good talk about the game itself, but I will go post that on the thread talking about first impressions.