Glossary and Concepts


Jump Drive

This is the only practical way to travel at faster-than-light speeds in the universe of Traveller. Jump drives generate localized singularities that envelope a ship in a Hyperspace field. Each jump moves a ship a parsec in distance from its origin, (if the drive is a Jump-1 speed) and takes 1 week of time to complete the hyperspace jump.

Jump-drive speeds range from 1 parsec per, up to the maximum of 6 parsecs per. Speeds are denoted with the “J-X” designation, where the numeral succeeding the “J” is the max distance the ship can travel, in parsecs ( i.e., a J-2 Far Trader ship, a J-5 passenger liner, etc) It’s important to note that, even at advanced speeds, the time spent in hyperspace is still 1 week.


Maneuver Drive -this is how all ships move in local space. Gravity manipulation. Speed is in Gravities (Gs). For example, a slow moving freighter might have a 1G drive, whereas a System Defense Boat has a 6G drive. The higher the Grav rating, the faster and more maneuverable the ship is in local space.


Tech Levels

Tech Level is a common classification for worlds and specific pieces of a given tech. It’s a shorthand way to label the myriad different technological capabilities found in and around the galaxy.

TL 0: (Primitive) No technology. TL 0 species have only discovered the simplest tools and principles, and are on a par with Earth’s Stone Age.

TL 1: (Primitive) Roughly on a par with Bronze or Iron age technology. TL 1 science is mostly superstition, but they can manufacture weapons and work metals.

TL 2: (Primitive) Renaissance technology. TL 2 brings with it a greater understanding of chemistry, physics, biology and astronomy as well as the scientific method.

TL 3: (Primitive) The advances of TL 2 are now applied, bringing the germ of industrial revolution and steam power. Primitive firearms now dominate the battlefield. This is roughly comparable to the early 19th century.

TL 4: (Industrial) The transition to industrial revolution is complete, bringing plastics, radio and other such inventions. Roughly comparable to the late 19th/early 20th century.

TL 5: (Industrial) TL 5 brings widespread electrification, telecommunications and internal combustion. At the high end of the TL, atomics and primitive computing appear. Roughly on a par with the mid–20th century.

TL 6: (Industrial) TL 6 brings the development of fission power and more advanced computing. Advances in materials technology and rocketry bring about the dawn of the space age.

TL 7: (pre-Stellar) A pre-stellar society can reach orbit reliably and has telecommunications satellites. Computers become common._ At the time of writing, humanity is currently somewhere between TL 7 and TL 8._

TL 8: (Pre-Stellar) At TL 8, it is possible to reach other worlds in the same system, although terraforming or full colonization are not within the culture’s capacity. Permanent space habitats become possible. Fusion power becomes commercially viable.


TL 9: (Pre-Stellar) The defining element of TL 9 is the development of gravity manipulation, which makes space travel vastly safer and faster. This research leads to development of the Jump drive, which occurs near the end of this Tech Level. TL 9 cultures can colonize other worlds, although going to a colony is generally a one-way trip.

TL 10: (Early Stellar) With the advent of Jump, nearby systems are opened up. Orbital habitats and factories become common. Interstellar travel and trade lead to an economic boom. Colonies become much more viable.

TL 11: (Early Stellar) The first true artificial intelligences become possible, as computers are able to model synaptic networks. Grav-supported structures reach to the heavens. Jump–2 travel becomes possible, allowing easier travel beyond the one-Jump stellar mains.

TL 12: (Average Stellar) Weather control revolutionizes terraforming and agriculture. Man-portable plasma weapons and carrier-mounted fusion guns make the battlefield untenable for unarmored combatants. Jump–3 travel is developed.

TL 13: (Average Stellar) Battledress appears on the battlefield in response to the new weapons. Cloning of body parts becomes easy. Advances in hull design and thruster plates means that spacecraft can easily enter atmosphere and even go underwater. Jump–4 travel.


TL 14: (Average Stellar) Fusion weapons become man-portable. Flying cities appear. Jump–5 travel.

TL 15: (High Stellar) Black globe generators suggest a new direction for defensive technologies, while the development of synthetic anagathics means that the human lifespan is now vastly increased. Jump–6 travel.


Higher Technology Levels exist (indeed, there is no theoretical upper limit) and may appear in other settings or be discovered by pioneering scientists in the Third Imperium.



Streamlining Streamlining means that a spaceship can enter a planet’s atmosphere and land without difficulty. Large spacecraft, like battleships, dreadnaughts and passenger liners are too big and bulky to survive the force of planetary gravity or atmospheric conditions. These larger ships convey personnel to the planetary surface by shuttles, launches and pinnaces (pronounced PIN-ness-ez, singular: PIN-ness).


Imperial Credits

The basic unit of legal tender in the Imperium is the Imperial credit. Individual worlds may issue their own currencies, and those currencies may or may not be acceptable on other worlds. Similarly, corporations and megacorporations may issue scrip, and its acceptance outside of the corporate environment is a matter of conjecture. But Imperial credits are accepted everywhere in the Imperium and in many locations outside of it. Imperial credits are almost impossible to counterfeit because of their unique method of manufacture. Plastic fi bres are combined under high temperature and pressure and extruded as a rectangular bundle of great length. The different coloured fibers form the pattern of the bill. It is not printed on but actually made a part of the structure of the note. The bundle is sliced to paper thinness, and a 14-digit alphanumeric (letter/number combination) is added for uniqueness. Credit bills are issued in 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 10,000 credit denominations. Plastic coins, manufactured in a similar manner in various shapes, are issued in quarter, half, one, and five credit denominations. The larger coins are often called the kilo, the ton, the toi, the low passage and the high passage, to reflect their value.

Glossary and Concepts

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