Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Using Diaspora's Technology Ratings for Babylon 5

Diaspora's Technology-Environment-Resources -4 to +4 rating system for planetary systems will work well for Babylon 5. I don't see any changes that are needed to use Diaspora's Environment and Resources ratings out of the box. To use the Technology scale with a Babylon 5 campaign, there are just a few modifications I'd make to the upper end of the Technology scale.

These are detailed in the OGL Mechanics section, below. The modifications to a certain degree reflect the abilities of different races and groups in the setting. Technological levels are somewhat racially stratified, as most of the major interstellar civilizations in B5 apparently lack internal technological heterogeneity (i.e., there are not huge technological differences among Narn-settled worlds, but there are between Narn and Minbari worlds).

For example, using the scale below:
  • The Vorlons, Shadows, and other First Ones are at T+4. 
  • Races/groups such as the Minbari, Technomages, and Soul Hunters at T+3. 
  • Centauri, Narn, and Humans would be T+2.
One thing I have been struggling with a bit is how to deal with the differences between Centauri, Narn, and Human technology. The thing that has bothered me most in the otherwise fairly subtle differences is that for most of the series, Humans use centrifugal force to generate gravity on their ships, whereas the Centauri and Narn have artificial gravity. Otherwise, I see their technological levels as being basically in the same neighborhood.

Take a look at the revised scale below and let me know if you think it works - or how you would modify it to better fit the setting.


  • T+4     The First Ones: 
      • Matter-energy life forms, practical immortality, sentient bio-organic spacecraft, stealthed jumpdrives, Thirdspace technologies
  • T+3:    Children of the First Ones:
      • Bio-organic spacecraft, crysalis bio-modifications, advanced ECM technologies, soul capturing technologies, technomagic
  • T+2:    The Major Powers:
      • Artificial gravity, build and maintain tachyon communications networks, manufacture jumpdrives, manufacture jumpgates
  • T+1:    Minor Powers:
      • Use jumpgates, use tachyon communications networks
  • T 0:     Exploring the System
      • No change from original
  • T-1:     Atomic Power 
      • No change from original
  • T-2:     Industrialization
      • No change from original
  • T-3:     Metallurgy
      • No change from original
  • T-4:     Stone Age
      • No change from original

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