While many of the technologies in Æthereal Sun are more advanced than modern Earth, there are gaps and retarded areas. Unless specified otherwise, TL is treated as TL6+3^, or TL9^, for purposes of equipment bonuses, performance ratings etc. Familiarity with GURPS Ultra-Tech is recommended, since the cost, weight and other stats of items are listed in UT, unless stated otherwise in this wiki. Specific details follow:
- 1 Core Technologies
- 1.1 Power
- 1.2 Computers & Generic Electronics
- 1.3 Personal Gear & Consumer Goods
- 2 Communication, Sensors and Media
- 3 Housing, Tools & Survival Gear
- 4 Covert Ops & Security
- 5 Weaponry
- 6 Defences
- 7 Medical and Biotech
- 8 Vehicles
Power cells are available and used often. As a rule they are rechargeable. In fact, they phased out liquid fuels in most areas rather early. Large energy banks (used on vehicles) use stats of Fuel Cells and Gas Turbines, but can run 'in reverse', storing energy they are given.
Rechargeable UT cells are assumed to have 4× the capacity of non-rechargeable HT batteries.
Approximate conversions, at 4× the capacity:
High-Tech Ultra-Tech N/A AA, $1, 0.0005 lbs. T, tiny, $0.25, 0.02 lbs 4×A, $2, 0.005 lbs. each XS, extra-small, $0.5, 0.1 lbs 2×B, $3, 0.05 lbs. each S, small, $1, 0.33 lbs 6×B, $3, 0.05 lbs. each S, small, $1, 0.33 lbs (2/3)×C, $10, 0.5 lbs. each M, medium $5, 2 lbs 4×C, $10, 0.5 lbs. each L, large, $10, 10 lbs 2×D, $100, 5 lbs. each VL, very large, $20, 50 lbs 10×D, $100, 5 lbs. each VL, very large, $20, 50 lbs 2½×E, $2,000, 20 lbs each
It is assumed that a C-cell holds approximately 1.7MJ of energy.
Actual power generators are available and relatively safe. There is no nuclear power, but between more developed renewable energy sources, and the availability of other alternatives, this isn't much of a problem.
The cost of electricity varies, from about $0.0005/kWh in space or near a groundside receiver, to perhaps $0.3/kWh in a small settlement in the middle of nowhere that is importing electricity from a more well-supplied region using good-old powerlines, and can be anything in-between depending for other situations and power sources.
Alchemical Power Generators
The most common form of fuel-based generators still in use is the Alchem-Synth Fuel combustion engine. Alchemical-Synthetic Fuel named so for the process of its production and combustion: it is made by breaking down water into oxygen and hydrogen while simulateneously shifting them to alternate alchemical superstates, making them inert - nearly incapable of reacting with normal elements under normal circumstances. ASF will only burn under the peculiar condition of the ASF combustion engine, and is quite safe to transport.
ASF released into the environment will evaporate like normal hydrogen and oxygen. It takes a long, long time (on the order of months to years under normal atmospheric conditions) for it to gradually revert into normal oxygen and normal hydrogen, which means that there is no risk of fire or explosion. And yes, alchemically stabilized O2 is inert for the purposes of breathing until it reverts.
Another generator, once ubiquitous, but now becoming obsolete, is called the Æther Furnace, running on Nebulonic Fuel - a mix of metals and gases with peculiar alchemical properties.
Void Entropy Plants
Orbital stations commonly employ Void Entropy power plants. In this case, entropy is not a thermodynamic term; instead, it refers to the unpredictable deviations from the (on average) smooth waves in the Cosmic Æther that pass through long stretches of vacuum (thus, the effect cannot be replicated in lab conditions). Properly tapping these deviations can provide large amounts of energy. This requires large arrays of plates, and thus is unsuitable for aerospace vehicles, but fits perfectly for stations set in a geostationary orbit or kept over a receiver 'non-orbitally' with constant thrust from MPDs powered by said VEPs. ARC-based beamed power is used to deliver said energy to the planet. (Note: civilian beamed power systems, unlike military lightning cannons, are outright incapable of directing the beam at anything other than a properly calibrated receiver; this isn't a matter of having safety measures, but rather a use of different physical principles entirely.)
Building/buying a good-quality VEP costs about the equivalent of about $8,000 per MW of power it can provide nearly indefinitely (density-wise, it provides 1-3MW per tonne of its mass, depending on construction), but of course requires additional systems, maintenance crews etc. to be fully functional. (Note: this is a cost multiplier of ×0.05 relative to the normal price of Vacuum Energy Plants according to GURPS Spaceships.)
(A Spaceships Power Point is considered to be the equivalent of 1 MW per tonne of mass of the system that consumes it, i.e. a 5-tonne system in a 100-tonne ship consumes 5 MW per PP.)
Other industrial power sources
Aside from that, geothermal, hydroelectric and wind farm generators are common where they are useful. Solar power proved controversial in terms of efficiency.
For the purposes of cell recharge, it is assumed that a semi-portable muscle-powered bicycle generator provides about 75W of power, while a portable and a miniature one provide a half and a quarter of the power level respectively. These values can be increased by 100% to 300%, but this tends to result in unsustainable FP costs even for trained people.
Broadcast power is unavailable, but Beamed Power is a reliable technology based on exotic (TL^) forms of radiation. It requires line of sight and a clear target. A beamer-receiver pair can transfer a lot of energy rather fast. About 10-30 Power Points of equivalent size is pretty normal for a pair of Major Batteries (one on each end). Combined with highly efficient orbital power plants, this means that building a receiver is sometimes better than building a power plant on the ground. Note that beamed power receivers are not available in man-portable sizes.
Like the ARC, a path of beamed power looks similar to lightning (typically stretching from a spire into the sky), even in vacuum, but it is not very bright compared to natural lightnings.
Computers & Generic Electronics
Computers and electronics of this setting took a different path than Earth. Instead of transistors and microcircuits, they are based on Mnemocrystals - natural or artificial crystalline formations that react in peculiar ways to electric stimulation, and even capable of rudimentary learning, like a simple neuro-net. Signal propagation in Mnemocrystals is superluminal, but the exact speed depends on size. Also, it is not possible to analyze the internal propagation of signals from the outside.
Mnemocrystals used as universal computers need to be rather large, but their processing ability scales non-linearly. Thus, it takes a desk-sized system for a Complexity comparable to a mid-2000s laptop, but a building-sized system will be more powerful than a Terran supercomputer of the aforementioned age.
Terminals & Networks
Since Mnemocrystals are more efficient when large, the terminal-based approach to computing became dominant. Large networks are typically housed by universities and R&D centres, renting processing bandwidth whenever it is unused.
The local Net, also called the Memonet, Mnemonet and so on, is less uniform, but also more conservative, than Terran Internet. Notably, sites resemble university-maintained libraries, communication has a Usenet feel, and hacking relies much more on knowledge of undocumented hardware behaviour than on finding the latest bug/exploit/hole in the newest patch.
Cryptophillic versions of Mnemocrystals exist, and have twice the Complexity for purposes of breaking encryption (use Quantum Computer cost multipliers).
AI & Expert Systems
The closest thing to an AI is the Progenitor. Expert systems require big Mnemocrystals. Even something like a guided missile is problematic, since the processing unit would take too much mass and volume in the missile.
Cyborgs & Neural Interfaces
Neural interfaces and cyborg conversions are on the edge of current bio- and cyber-tech. That is, neural interfaces are large and delicate, and a mobile human-sized cyborg is something from fiction set 'twenty minutes into the future'.
Personal Gear & Consumer Goods
Personal Items & Clothing
Available (p. UT38, 4e):
Attache Case, Pocket Pack, Cleaning Gel, Smart Brush, Depilatory Cream (despite TL), Bioplas Contact Lenses (despite TL, but chemscanners can identify them).
Varicloth (chemical, not electronic), Swimwear (TL9), Suitspray (TL9),
Cybervox is a very large device, not very practical for playing pranks.
Electronic Ecstasy is available, and is based on TL^ neuro-affecting radiations.
Communication, Sensors and Media
Communication and interfaces
All TL9 communication methods are available, but none of them are digital, and they lack in miniaturization. For personal radio comms, use TL7 size, cost and range. Do note that TL9 power cells are generally better than TL8 ones, improving endurance.
The local equivalent of mobile phones, officially called audiorelays (even though nobody cares) are reminiscent of the early 'brick-sized' cell phones. Apply the Radio Phone modifier to a radio if it can connect to the local phone network (most of them can!).
Encryption is approximately TL9-equivalent, but with some adjustments - see Encryption. But note that Quantum Communications are unavailable. Translation programs are TL9, and require a big Mnemocrystal to run.
Suborbital express mail is commonly used for some deliveries.
Media and Education
Recording and Playback devices are TL9, but have none of the TL9 Digital benefits - no processing for a pocket camera. Sonic projectors exist, but must always be aimed manually.
VR is almost unheard of. Augmented reality is not feasible at this time. Sensies are extremely clunky, and thus rarely used.
Electronic teaching aids exist, but they are used almost exclusively by the Justicariate's intensive training programmes.
Sensors and Scientific Equipment
All TL9 sensors are available with the adjustment for lack of miniaturization (the Timescanner is not...). In general, it is unusual for anything requiring complicated microelectronics to mass less than 1-2 lbs.
Notable differences for passive electromagnetic sensors:
Videocameras tend to have sizes closer to approximately TL7 numbers.
Night Vision Gear: mass is 2 lbs and cost is $2,000 for a version granting Night Vision 9. Cheaper versions are available, reducing the base price by 1/10 for each level of Night Vision lost. B/50 hr. LC4.
Infravision Gear: mass is 3 lbs and cost is $4,000. B/10 hr. LC4.
Hyperspectral Vision Gear: mass is 4 lbs and cost is $6,000. B/10 hr. LC4.
The stats are for monocular versions of the gear, mountable on the helmet, head harness, or a scope of a longarm. Binocular versions multiply cost by 1½.
Additional Sensor Technologies
Some factions have access to additional sensor technologies:
Housing, Tools & Survival Gear
Housing & Food
Housebots are unavailable, but the rest of TL9 housing breakthroughs are.
The GPS is not miniaturized - it is only available in vehicles. The inertial navigation system is miniaturized, but is not infallible. Otherwise, TL9 tools are available.
The Robot Mule is unavailable, just like the rest of small robots.
Tools and Construction Materials
Most TL9 tools are available. The Portable Antimatter Trap isn't. Under Demolitions, Nuclear, Antimatter and similar explosives are unavailable.
The Neoforge has phased out the development of assembly lines in many areas. It allows a single specialist to assemble rather complex devices.
Covert Ops & Security
Deception and Intrusion
There are no Electronic Thumbs - biometrics have to be circumvented in other ways. No high-tech Voice Masks either (crude ones are no good for impersonation). Thermo-optic camouflage is based on principles other than computing, and is a TL6+3^ device in this tech path. There are some reports indicating that some small groups have access to TL10 thermo-optic camouflage and invisibility surfaces.
SQUIDs are something between a theory and a secret tool of technology conspirators, at least according to rumours.
Other TL9 burglary/infiltration tools are available.
Security and Surveillance
Remote-controlled weapons are somewhat rare and complex. As are Sonic Barriers. Monowire is unavailable. Biometric scanners are large due to needing Mnemocrystals. Interactive bugs are unavailable. Most other TL9 tools are available.
Enforcement and Coercion
Verifier software exists; rumours say that the Justicariate has better versions. No Power Dampers, obviously. Biopresence software unavailable. Brainwipe Machines and Neural Programmers are only rumoured to exist, not shown in action. Message bombs, on the other hand, are commonly used by some élite forces as a demoralizing tool.
Black Ops robots are unavailable.
The only beam weapon of note is the Arc Ray Cannon, or simply ARC. It is visually best described as a vehicle-mounted lightning gun.
Vortex Ring Projectors are available, but are not very useful against a target that has active Orgone Shields (the shield deflects the initial ring of gas, after which the target may immediately Dodge the area of effect, negating contact with the gas).
Guns and Launchers
Guns - Conventional and EM (Hybrid)
Conventional guns are roughly between TL8 and TL9 in most terms. For every existing calibre, at least one EM version exists, with +50% ammo (due to not needing propellent), double cost, and the ability to use high-powered shots doing +1/die damage, having +20% range and +10% minST (round nearest).
EM versions are usually known as 'Hybrid' guns, since they require both matter (bullets) and electricity (power cells) to work, as contrasted to conventional guns and to vehicular lightning cannons.
Gyrocs are available as written (doing about 6d pi++ damage etc.), but cannot have homing ammo. The TML (Tactical Missile Launcher) does 6d×20 (instead of ×30) damage, and uses Guided missiles, NOT Homing. The IML (Infantry Missile Launcher) and the MLAWS (Multiple Light Anti-Armour Weapon System) are unpopular due to not having a solid role (they're mostly neither here nor there; they are a tolerable SAM substitute, and that's about it). It should be noted that advances in alchemy made HEAT warheads obsolete.
Most gun accessories are unremarkable. Scopes are scopes and rails are rails, but all the computerised accessories are unavailable. Sound suppressors ('silencers') exist, and typically provide -4 to Hearing. Collimators exist.
Warheads and Ammunition
A newer variant of APHC, commonly called AP/MilSpec, gains a (3) armour divisor solely against non-vehicular, personal armour (but not shields). HP is available. APHEX is available but rare - Orgone Shields protect against internal explosions just like any other explosions. Flare, biochemical aerosol, biochemical liquid, HE, HEC, HP, Memory Baton, Shotshell, and Theromobaric are available. HEAT and SEFOP exist, but are obsolete due to alchemical advances making HEAT- and SEFOP-resistant armour trivially available. EMP and Strobe warheads are available; Warbler is experimental/rare.
Nuclear, antimatter and similar weapons are unavailable.
Homing projectiles and Smart Grenades are unavailable.
TL9 (al-)chemical weapons exist, but their use is highly discouraged by both the laws and the public opinion in the world (except for the safer nonlethal ones). Nano is unavailable, and there are no known gengineered bioweapons.
Mêlée weapons haven't fully disappeared, because with new technologies they can now defeat some of the world's strongest defences (primarily this refers to Yliaster blades, that can easily go through vests and shields).
Karatands exist. Limpet Mine Dispensers and Rocket Strikers are theoretically possible, but are not used (limpet mines are not very useful without all the smart-grenade electronics; experiments also proved that a rocket striker interferes with Yliaster focus).
Stun Wands, Zap Gloves, and even early Neurolashes (normally TL10/TL10^) exist, but unlike other mêlée attacks, an Orgone Shield does block the energy part of the attack. They also fully disrupt Yliaster focus of the wielder. Finally, Neurolashes are not as effective as the full-fledged TL10 variant. Their primary effect only lasts for 1 second, and the secondary effect lasts for seconds equal to the Margin of Failure.
Personal armour is solid TL9, except that there are no Battlesuits, Exoskeletons or Powered Armour. However, there are large (SM+4) mecha units that serve a similar purpose.
Miscellaneous TL9 defensive systems which do not require computers are available. HUDs, IFF and the like would require large Mnemocrystals, and thus are unavailable. Helmets that are listed, according to UT, as having TL9 radio (UT44, $200, 0.5 lbs at normal TL9), GPS and Infravision gear (UT61, $500, 0.6 lbs normally) do not have such gear. Instead they typically get an equivalent of a Tiny TL7 Radio (HT38, base cost $100 and 1 lb) with the Radiophone, RDF, ECCM and GPS options (HT39; this ruling assumes that cost factors operate additively as per the new rules, not multiplicatively as per HT). Of course, customisation abounds, and many characters will have a different suite of electronics in the helmet - adjust cost accordingly and keep mass within the same magnitude.
Environmental protection systems are mostly TL9 with no changes there.
Biosuits may become available in late JR90/GR1550/KR50339. They require about 20MJ of energy per day to recycle air for a standard character (i.e. 231W). With availability of solar energy (up to about 0.5m² at 50% efficiency) or a wall socket, this is usually not an issue, but when cut off from such a supply the two C-cells are good enough for 4 hours of recycling. Standard Terrestrial luminosity during zenith on a clear day can provide about 280W at best; in orbit where there's no atmosphere, that rises to 340W; both assume perfectly silhouetted orientation. For Etéra's and Lumenoferos' parameters, increase those values 18%.
One of the features distinguishing this world's technological path from many others are the Orgone Shields. These shields provide large levels of protection, capable of withstanding even some explosions. However, focused attacks by sapient entities deteriorate this protection; focused mêlée attacks almost completely ignore them (especially if made of Yliaster).
Medical and Biotech
Biomonitors are too large to be worn. Diagnostic probes are also large and require a hospital-grade set of equipment. Pocket Medics and other Medical Robots are unavailable, except for manually-controlled robotic 'medic arms' used as part of an advanced operating room.
Growth tanks and Artificial Wombs are extremely rare outside the Justicariate.
In general, other TL9 tools are available, and effectiveness of tools should be based on TL9 numbers, except for the Justicariate, which uses TL10 numbers instead.
Drugs exist, and deserve their own article.
TL8 first aid kits restore 1d-1 HP, TL9 ones restore 1d, and TL10 ones restore 1d+1.
Torpine (BIO157) and Hibernation Chambers (BIO147) used to be two competing methods of hibernation, providing slightly different benefits and drawbacks. Approximately since the year JR84/GR1544/KR50333, a third, mixed method of achieving hibernation became commercially available, occasionally referred to as Third Hibernation.
Hybrid Hibernation System (TL10). A mixture of bioalchemy, reduced temperature, and orgone field manipulation allows sustaining a more efficient hibernation, reducing the needs for both dedicated equipment and alchemical consumables. Reduces metabolic activity to negligible levels (requiring no additional oxygen, food or water for decades, so long as a sealed, freezing-cold environment is maintained). Requires $1,000 worth of Torpine and other bioalchemical consumables for the first month, then for the next 2, 4, 8 months; at about $5,000 worth of reagents, efficiency spikes to the point of allowing decades of storage. Revival has the same risks as Nanostasis (BIO147); before the method was perfected, the symptoms used to be permanent! The main system itself fits in a case, includes several IV blood pumps, filters and containers, a specialized orgone field manipulation machine, masses 20 lbs and costs about $25,000, but does not include the external power nor the refrigeration systems that are required for it to work.
Cybernetics and Biomods
In general, cybernetics and biomods are extremely limited. Cyber-replacement limbs are somewhat crude, and cyber-sensors are generally unavailable. Bionic Voicebox and (cybernetic) Boosted Reflexes are unavailable. Memory Flesh and Smart Tattoos are unavailable. Brain Implants and Cybernetic Uplift are unavailable (except a clumsy neural interface).
Cars are common on the continents. Khæn rely more on aircraft, specifically various Ornithopters, including personal flight packs (the Backpack Dragonfly, an early TL10 invention). The citizens of the Justicariate use public transport for personal needs, but have their share of various ATVs for expeditions.
Among the more exotic vehicles, mid-sized mecha (8 to 20 yards / 10 to 100 tons / SM+4 to +6) are available, including those using a Flexibody drivetrain.
Vehicle design uses rules from the GURPS Spaceships PDFs and the relevant Pyramid articles.
Robot Leg drivetrains cost only 1/5 of their default price. Likewise, Robot Arms (but not Grabbers) cost 1/5.
Alchemical accumulators can store large amounts of energy, but have limits on discharging/recharging speed. Use stats of Fuel Cells and MHD Turbines, but they can not use external fuel tanks. Instead, they can run 'in reverse' (with the same restrictions on maximum rate as when discharging), absorbing provided power and recharging their power storage.
Nuclear, fusion and antimatter power plants are unavailable. Instead, craft typically recharge from the various stationary alternatives.
Mono-Polarised Displacers are the world's first form of reactionless pseudovelocity propulsion. They are the spiritual successor of the failed Magnetic Planetary Drive project. Unlike the earlier proposed Drive, they do not require a pre-existing magnetosphere to function. Instead, the new MPD creates 'inclined' ætheric 'bumps' and 'dents', which in turn create a polarized spatial shift of the propulsion system's main body (and occupants). This leaves a wake of static discharges and minor magnetic anomalies in the craft's wake - luckily, the area of these effects in confined to a small 'exhaust' cone. MPDs are somewhat bulky (cannot be made lighter/smaller than a half-tonne/SM+4 module), but produce a 10:1 thrust-to-weight ratio (twice that using Khæn advanced tech). (Use stats of a Magnetic Planetary Drive from GURPS Spaceships 7, with appropriately reduced side effects, and at ×10 cost.)
MPDs primarily produce pseudovelocity (aside from a small bleedover into real velocity, which is usually almost negligible). However, they tend to catch onto the ætheric 'drag' of nearby celestial objects, gradually approximately matching true orbital velocity), which means going from one planet to another is relatively safe. It should be considered that it takes significant time to establish a true orbit around a celestial body through the pseudo-to-real-veclotiy bleedover, and thus ships in pseudo-orbit around a planet need to have their MPD operational at all times.
Tebríthan-made craft can have Contragravity systems, but these are more of an oddity.
Beamed Power: a dedicated pair of a power beamer and a power receiver can remotely transfer ten times as much energy as a similar-sized beam weapon consumes to fire. (I.e. if a ARC battery consumes 3 Power Points to keep firing, then a similarly sized Beamed Power battery can transfer 30 Power Points, provided it is targeted at an active receiver of the same capacity; if there is no active receiver, nothing happens.)
Khæn have access to TL10 aerospace vehicles, but have relatively few ground and water vehicles (not like they need them in their lands). The Justicariate, on the contrary, is severely lacking in aerospace vehicles.
Values of interest for atmospheric combat:
Mobility: Rocket/missile: Accel 6G, 1.66mps / 3,000 yps / 6,000mph; delta-V/endurance: 10mps / 4½ minutes / roughly 700km. High-Thrust Rocket/missile: Accel 6G, 2.44mps / 4,300 yps / 8,600mph delta-V/endurance: 5mps / 2¼ minutes / roughly 470km. EM Gun muzzle speed: 2mps / 3,500yps / 7,000mph; Conventional Gun muzzle speed: 1mps / 1,750yps / 3,500mph;
In the atmosphere, weapon Acc equals sAcc+18 (as usual). Since normal shells are neither homing nor guided, they suffer the usual speed/range penalties. Guided missiles suffer from speed penalties only (based on the sum of speeds of the missile and the target).
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