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Tech Axiom

Jasyn Jones
1 Title
Tech Axiom
Game Design: Jasyn Jones
Design and Commentary: Ks. Jim Ogle
Commentary: Eric Gibson, Nick Simmonds
Editing, Layout & Graphic Design: Jasyn Jones

Copyright © 2001-2007 by Jasyn Jones. All rights reserved. (See the copyright section
for Creative Commons licensing terms.)

Produced under license from West End Games.

These are original rules, intended for use with TORG: Roleplaying the Possibility Wars.
The most recent version of these rules (and other TORG resources) can be found on the
STORM KNIGHTS website:

http://darleyconsulting.com/games/stormknights/

TORG is ®, TM, & © 2007 by Purgatory Publishing, Inc. (See the copyright section for
more information.)

Updated: June 20, 2007


Introduction
When originally published, the TORG role- advancement for the axioms, but were in-
playing game included charts for the four complete. This is a revised and completed
axioms- Magic, Social, Spirit, and Tech. Tech axiom.
These charts covered the general path of

Technological Axiom
”The Tech axiom affects the interactions between living beings and the natural
world around them. It defines the ways in which the living can manipulate and
affect the unliving natural world of their reality. It does not say anything about
what “natural laws” operate in a cosm, such as gravity or radiation, only how
much (if any) advantage living beings can take of those natural laws.”
(The Revised and Expanded TORG Rulebook, pg. 143)

0- No technology is possible. The liv- 2- Fire can be domesticated but not


ing may not deliberately manipulate the created. It is now possible to make simple
unliving natural world in order to achieve refinements to natural objects, but these
specific results. refinements are limited by the innate na-
1- Natural objects such as rocks and ture of the unliving tool.
sticks may be used as very simple tools. 3- Fire making is invented. Natural
Such tools cannot be refined or modified, materials like stone, wood or bone can be
but must be used “as is”. refined into small, primitive tools through

1 Tech Axiom
processes like knapping, whittling, or Bows are powerful enough for use as
hardening with fire. combat weapons. Metal armor appears.
4- Advanced stone tool making possi- Maps may be created. Simple wind-
ble. Composite tools, which combine two powered vessels appear.
separate unliving components into one 8- Timekeeping devices such as sundi-
tool, are possible. Examples include als and water clocks appear. Place-based
spears with stone points and axes (which numbering systems (such as the decimal
are essentially clubs with a rock affixed to system) may be invented. Astronomy fully
the end). developed. Silk may be harvested for fab-
Lashing and knot-tying are possible, rics.
and simple lean-tos made from lashed Large buildings appear for first time,
wood (or other natural materials) are pos- may have simple plumbing to provide wa-
sible. Rafts and small river craft, made ter and transport waste. Wide-scale irriga-
from lashed logs, appear. tion systems possible.
Animals such as dogs and goats may be Use of hard metals is common for pro-
bred and domesticated. Armor made from fessional tools, metal currency may be-
animal products possible. come common (given a sufficient Social
5- Agriculture invented, but still prac- axiom for currency.) Sea vessels powered
ticed largely as a dietary supplement to by more than one sail possible; first true
hunting and gathering. Calendars based transoceanic vessels possible.
on easily visible phenomena may be in- 9- Pharmacy and surgery organized
vented. sciences; healing herbs and simple drugs
Simple fired clay pottery can be cre- may be cataloged and produced. Lathes,
ated. Arithmetic is possible. The wheel or paper, candles may be invented. Dying of
axled rollers first used for transportation. fabric is possible.
Fishing vessels (four or more beings, mus- Concrete possible. Bridges, dams, aq-
cle powered) appear. ueducts, tunnels, road technology exten-
6- Metal is first smelted, tools may be sive. Hard metal tools commonplace,
made from first copper and then later from quality of metals improve significantly.
alloys like bronze. Metal hand axes and Locks and keys become practical.
daggers are state of the art weapons. Bows 10- Specialized surgery, such as cata-
are possible, but only with enough punch ract surgery, possible. Basic anatomy of
for small game. living beings, with all vital subsystems,
Potter’s wheel appears, plow speeds understood enough to diagnose and treat
agriculture. Glass, cloth, wine, beer in- many ailments.
vented. Seaworthy ships are possible but Gears and screws possible, allowing
still muscle-powered. Oil lamps invented. exploitation of water power. Sugar can be
Kiln-fired bricks used in buildings. refined, milling expands greatly. Magnetic
7- Medicine and astronomy as organ- compasses are possible but crude.
ized sciences are possible (given a suffi- 11- Hard metal alloys such as steel be-
cient Social axiom for sciences.) Civil en- come possible. Wind power exploitable
gineering possible; pulleys, block and with windmills. Rudders make boats more
tackle are available machines. Avian, rep- maneuverable. Clay and ceramic tech-
tilian and other “difficult” life forms may niques refined to the point that porcelain is
be domesticated. possible.
Hard metals such as iron are smelted. 12- Inks refined, making book printing

Storm Knights 2
(block printing) possible. Acids, mechani- Cell structure explained. Evolutionary
cal clocks, magnetic compasses possible. theories first developed.
Gunpowder may be invented; cannon are Flintlock firearms possible, rifling im-
possible. Small hot-air balloons may fly. proved greatly. Artillery pieces now very
Alcohol denatured for use as a disin- reliable; as explosive shells are refined,
fectant. Primitive analgesics may be re- they replace rifles as prime killer on the
fined from plants. Biology develops cate- battlefield.
gorization of animals by function rather 16- Single-action revolvers, repeating
than appearance. Glass mirrors are in- rifles, hand-cranked machine guns, recoil-
vented. Corrective spectacles possible, but operated machine guns are possible.
not terribly effective. Tungsten steel invented. Internal combus-
13- Cut-glass process invented. Tele- tion engines possible.
scope, microscope may be invented. Bicycles, telephones, hydrogen air-
Steam power possible but very crude and ships, gliders, submarines practical. Sy-
inefficient. Metal plates used for printing; ringes first used for injections. Antiseptic
printing press possible. Barometers in- surgery developed. Photosynthesis under-
vented; crude weather prediction begins. stood.
Crude firearms (matchlocks and wheel- 17- Radio voice transmission possible.
locks) possible; principles of ballistics un- Crude, flimsy airplanes can fly. Automo-
derstood and exploitable. Basic mechan- biles reliable enough to replace animal-
ics of physics understood. Probability the- drawn transport. Sonar invented. Brain
ory and calculus invented. Magnetism surgery successful. Automatic pistols and
and electricity connected. submachine guns possible. Movies, in-
14- Metallurgical advances allow pre- cluding “talking pictures.”
cision machined parts; Industrial Revolu- Radioactivity understood. Discovery of
tion may begin. Efficient steam engines relativity possible.
possible if energy source better than wood 18- Tanks become an effective tool of
available. Pocket watches, bifocals possi- war, metal-skinned aircraft with jet propul-
ble. Muskets invented. Primitive rifling sion, radar possible. Electron microscope,
possible. Large hot-air balloons can be vaccinations against viral diseases, antibi-
built. otics, television, polymers and artificial
Velocity of light recognized as finite. fabrics, large mainframe computers, heli-
Gravitation and tides understood. Plant copters, ball-point pens appear. Nuclear
extracts and essences possible; inoculation power and bombs possible. Antimatter
invented. Anesthesia introduced into sur- discovered.
gery. 19- Orbital spacecraft, lightweight
15- First electric batteries possible. automatic weapons, wire-guided muni-
Steamboats, telegraph, crude calculating tions, integrated circuits, transistor radios,
machines, somewhat portable electric organ transplants, crude artificial hearts
generators appear. Railroads are possible. and other organs, gene synthesis, “test-
Easy to ignite matches, sewing machines, tube” babies, 400,000 ton oil tanker,
reaping machines, vulcanized rubber in- primitive space stations, first home com-
vented. Photography on metal plates pos- puters, space shuttle, neutron bomb, robot
sible. probes to other planets.
Thermodynamic laws established. Bac- 20- Doppler radar, genetic engineering,
teria recognized as transmitters of disease. cloning proven possible, international

3 Tech Axiom
computer networks, solar power, compact
Time Travel
disks, computer-controlled aircraft, fire-
One of the more problematic issues in Torg
control helmets, laser-guided munitions,
has been time travel. Because the main cam-
large skirted hovercraft vehicles, perma- paign didn’t focus on it, it wasn’t a standard part
nent space station, limited fusion power, of the game, and was only shoehorned into the
primitive “bionic” prosthetics. Mapping Tech axiom as an afterthought. No other axiom
human genome possible. has an entry for time travel.
21- Small skirted hovercraft practical, In looking at the Tech axiom, and other axi-
oms, the question of if to allow time travel and, if
clone-organ replacement, “intelligent”
so, where it fits has been difficult. In this in-
self-maintaining houses, holographic tele- stance, the fictional sources that are the basis of
vision, high-energy laser weapons, fusion so much of Torg are not very illuminating.
commercially attractive, hyperplanes ca- H.G. Wells’ Time Machine was Tech 19.
pable of Mach 20, superconducting tech- Doc Brown’s first time machine (the DeLorean)
nology common, supercomputers achieve was Tech 23, his second (the train) Tech 19. The
time machine from Dean R. Koontz’s Lightning
limited awareness, efficient solar cells, ret-
Road was Tech 21. The Terminator’s was Tech 26.
ina scanners, “bionic” prosthetics that Bill and Ted’s was a phone booth of unknown
function almost as well as natural limbs, technological advancement, and Richard Collier’s
practical virtual reality (VR) technology, wasn’t even a device, but a state of mind.
energized melee weapons. These are all valid examples, yet introducing
22- Personal energy weapons common, time machines at Tech 19 would be disastrous.
But, how else can we reflect time travel stories?
portable fusion generators possible,
And that is the key- time travel stories. Time
“memory” metals and plastics, artificial travel is a genre. As such, time travel is not some-
intelligence in computers, cybernetic pros- thing that should be on the axiom charts at all.
thetics as good as or better than the natural By treating time travel as a genre (or an addi-
components, advanced gene therapy, ex- tion to another genre), it can happen whenever
tensive genetic engineering of physical the gamemaster- not the players- wishes to intro-
duce it. He can introduce any means of time
traits possible, nanotechnology practical
travel he wishes: miracles, psi, magic, tech, weird
for microscopic-scale uses, electromag science, the Occult, etc.
weapons. Sublight interstellar travel prac- And because he controls it, it works the way
tical though relativistic effects must still be he wants, and he can duplicate any time travel
dealt with. story he wishes. If it’s a one-shot, then it only
23- Nanotechnology practical for works once. And so on.
By treating time travel as a genre (instead of a
macro-scale uses, “living” plastics possi-
regular tool), the gamemaster retains control.
ble, artificial intelligences can become Accordingly, all mentions of time travel have
self-aware and pass as living minds but been removed from the axiom chart.
lack true sentience. Ballistic airliners de-
velop, complex genetic manipulations 25- Artificial gravity can be generated,
possible, genetic engineering of nonphysi- nanotech can be formed into “living” ma-
cal traits possible, artificial wombs (growth terials that reshape themselves as needed,
tanks). faster-than-light space travel possible, force
24- Orbital towers, anti-matter energy fields. Panimmunity medical techniques
sources developed, regeneration of lost developed, medical advances increase the
body parts possible. It is possible to re- human lifespan to several centuries.
construct extinct species, given enough Complex nanoviruses can transform organ-
DNA. Full terraforming of planets devel- isms. Bio-buildings, buildings constructed
ops. as a living organism, are possible.

Storm Knights 4
26- Antigravity technology available, distances.
planetary scale teleportation, dimensional 28- Matter and energy can be manipu-
travel is possible, direct conversion of mat- lated, created, and shaped almost at will.
ter to energy. Construction of Dyson Unlimited distance teleportation is possi-
spheres, Alderson discs, ringworlds, and ble. Artifical stars can be created. A lim-
artificial planets become possible. Near- ited control of the flow of time becomes
total control of biological processes. Ge- possible, enabling forward time travel (at
netic manipulation in conjunction with which an individual moves faster through
medical technology can create virtual im- time than an observer.)
mortality, biotech spaceships possible. 29- Whole galaxies (or galaxy-sized
Artificial intelligences can become sen- structures) can be fabricated. Natural laws
tient, possessing their own spiritual attrib- can be manipulated over a wide scale,
utes. These can even become reality- spanning an entire galaxy.
rated. Through these intelligences, tech- 30- Space and time can be manipulated at
nology may be used to manipulate magi- will. Dimensions can be altered, created,
cal energies, call upon miracles, or possess or destroyed. Entire universes can be fab-
psionic powers. ricated. The physical laws of the universe
27- Atomic forces can be controlled to can be manipulated at will, either on a lo-
allow for dispersal and “phasing” of mate- cal basis or for an entire dimension. Tools
rials through other materials; mass and cease to be physical devices, instead be-
volume of objects can be similarly ad- coming energy constructs. Living beings
justed. Energy sources can similarly be may choose to translate themselves into
controlled and manipulated at the atomic bodies of mutable energy.
level. Teleportation can span galaxy-wide

Design Notes
The Tech axiom was, in many ways, the moval of what had been Tech 25. It is the
easiest to finish. It is based (in part) on the opinion of this author that the biological
Revised and Expanded TORG Rulebook. In and technological achievements of classic
point of fact, that Tech axiom was the rea- TORG’s Tech 26 are closer than such a
son I ended up with axioms that went from benchmark would indicate.
0-30, instead of the 0-20 I had originally Later, I went back and revised the up-
envisioned. per reaches (20 +) based on my own ideas
In designing this axiom, I expanded the and some science fiction concepts I
ultra-low Tech, and collapsed the rest of wanted to add. As well, a vigorous debate
the chart, removing empty benchmarks. on the TORG boards helped me flesh out
This had a great many side benefits. the lower reaches (and gave them histori-
For example, Axiom 18 was empty (in cal context and support).
both the original TORG and the R&E ver-
sion) and very little occurs there, histori- Future Tech
cally. It is wedged in between 17 and 19,
and there are few tools that fit there. The Tech axiom is centered primarily
Therefore, removing it made the chart on tools which work based on the laws of
smoother. the natural world. Such laws include
Similar principles mandated the re- Newton’s Laws of Motion, thermodynam-

5 Tech Axiom
ics, biology and heredity, physics, chemis- It has been asserted by some TORG fans
try, quantum mechanics, and so forth. that “Axiom 33” allows anything and so is
As the Axiom rises, we move from tools indistinguishable from axiom to axiom.
based on natural laws to tools which This author cannot disagree more. One of
themselves change natural laws. At its the primary goals of this redesign has been
height, in Tech 30, all tools operate by al- to give flavored “super-axiom” bench-
tering how the natural world acts. For ex- marks, so that Tech and Magic can both
ample, by increasing the coefficient of fric- achieve incredible effects, but are still dif-
tion to a near-infinite value, two dissimilar ferent in tone and feel. I leave it up to the
pieces of matter can be permanently and reader to judge how well I accomplished
irrevocably bonded (at least, until another this goal.
tool turns the effect off.)

Conversion
Because the axiom chart has been altered,
Cosm Original Literal Suggested
conversion notes are necessary. The fol-
Aysle 15 13 13
lowing charts allows gamemasters to con-
vert Tech axiom ratings from the old axiom Core Earth 23 20 20
to the new axiom. It lists two values, a lit- Cyberpapacy 26 22 22
eral conversion, which maintains the old Land Below 10 9 9
Tech rating as much as possible, and a
“suggested” rating, which modifies the Living Land 7 6 41
Tech axiom of the cosm to take certain re- Nile Empire 21 18 18
alities into account. Nippon Tech 24 21 21
Also remember that, even if the relative Orrorsh 19 16 16
Tech advancement is unchanged, lower
numbers are to be expected in most cases. Space Gods 30 26 262
These cosms have the exact same Tech de- Tharkold 26 22 22
velopment, but the scale has changed. A Tz’Ravok 12 11 11
23 on the old chart is only a 20 on the
new chart.
1 A Tech of 6 is far too high for the Liv- can Storm Knights depend on their metal
ing Land. A 6 is glass, cloth, wine, metal weapons and backpacks. This makes the
smelting, oil lamps, and the like. None of Living Land even more deadly.
2 The Space Gods Tech rating is a close,
this is appropriate for the “Living” Land. A
5 would be clay pottery, calenders, the though not definitive value. The higher
wheel, fishing vessels, and such. In this Tech levels have been shuffled. Techni-
author’s opinion, the Tech rating of 4 is far cally, a 26 represents a far greater level of
more appropriate to the Eidenos. achievement than the old rating. How-
Even though this lowers the axiom, it ever, it is the first time biotech space ships
actually strengthens the realm. No longer are available, a staple of the Space Gods
reality.

Storm Knights 6
Complete Conversion Chart Original Axiom Revised Axiom
Removed, empty bench-
Because Tech is so central to most 14
mark.
cosms, I have provided a full conversion 15 13
chart. This chart is close, but not perfect.
16 14
Owing to the rearranging of high Tech
concepts (22+), the two charts will never 17 15
perfectly match. Removed, empty bench-
18
mark.
Original Axiom Revised Axiom 19 16
0 0 20 17
New Entry 1 21 18
1 2 22 19
2 3 23 20
3 4 24 21
Removed, empty bench- Removed, empty bench-
4 25
mark. mark.
5 5 26 22
Removed, empty bench- 27 23
6
mark. 28 24
7 6 29 25
8 7 30 26
9 8 31 27
10 9 32 28
11 10 33 29
12 11 Entry higher than
30
13 12 old Tech 33.

7 Tech Axiom
Jasyn Jones’ STORM KNIGHTS

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Copyright
This electronic document (and all other contents of the STORM KNIGHTS website) is copy-
right © 2001-2007 by Jasyn Jones. All Rights Reserved (except as noted below).

This electronic document is released under a Creative Commons


Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 license. The terms of this
license can be found at:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/

West End Games and Purgatory Publishing are hereby granted a license
to this electronic document under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution license. The terms of this license can be found at:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

In all cases, full attribution must be included in any derivative works, the text of which
must read:
Based on “Tech Axiom” by Jasyn Jones, copyright © 2001-2007. Original article can
be found at:
http://darleyconsulting.com/games/stormknights/reality/tech.html

These rules are based (in part) on material published in the following TORG rulebook(s):

TORG Boxed Set


Original Mythos and Game Design: Greg Gorden
Mythos/System Development: Douglas Kaufman, Bill Slavicek
Additional Mythos/System Work: Christopher Kubasik, Ray Winninger, Paul Murphy

The Revised and Expanded TORG Rulebook, v. 1.5


Rule Book Design: Jim Ogle
Editing: Gareth Michael Skarka and Steven Marsh
Cloud tile, eternium pattern, and stone tablet background produced by Garrett Taylor:
http://www.db.erau.edu/~taylorg/torg/

TORG is ®, TM, & © 2007 by Purgatory Publishing, Inc.

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finiverse, Kanawa, Living Land, Maelstrom, Maelstrom Bridge, Nile Empire, Nippon Tech,
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