So, if the tech tree is like a spell list, how do you tech?

Do you even tech?

Well, I had this accompanying idea with “Factions Like Wizards” — independently-researched Inventions or Innovations might represent interactions between the different technologies. How do I explain?

To talk about Innovations, let’s look at my example from before:
T3: Shipbuilding and T5: Woodworking

You get the former when your faction hits 5th level (remember, we’re using tiers similar to Wizard spell levels), and the second when your faction hits 9th level.

For the last four levels, your faction has been struggling with prototypes and expensive projects, and the occasional visionary engineer who builds a fully-functional boat but you lose it in a freak storm. Or to sabotage.

Now, you can finally drop some of your workers in your workshop and get them smashing together ship designs and wood-crafts.

At last! They have an innovation in “wooden-ships.”

They’ve hit their heads against a wall enough times to combine shipbuilding with woodworking. I mean, it seems obvious, right? Hopefully it stays that way.

I’m not going to go through the whole list and make sure everything’s awesome now, because I think that would be a monumental waste of time before I’ve completed at least a first draft of the tech tree.

But it’s something in the back of my mind.

When it comes to designing a new faction from the ground up, I’m thinking it would be cool to allow players to choose either a “progenitor” tech they have in lieu of standard 1st-tier tech — which could be any tier. Awesome but impractical.

I’m thinking it could be pulled off using the rules for scribing and using scrolls from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. IIRC, a magic-user can cast from any scroll, and can scribe a scroll of any spell he knows, but can normally only cast known and uh, ‘memorized’ spells from per-level spell slots. This means like, blueprints.

In other words, my old idea of ‘projects?’ That could represent undertaking a thing that’s technically above your tech level, but as long as you follow the instructions and invest a decade of your life, you can do it!

Sometimes one guy just . . . wants to build a pyramid in his backyard.

By contrast, Inventions develop in one technology (instead of combining two), and are more volatile in nature. They might be prototype-able, or they might be wholly unique. I’m going to have to go back and reread Genius: the Transgression to see if there’s something there I can borrow or exploit.

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I didn’t really explain this before, but I have a madness to my method when it comes to organizing my tech table: generally speaking, knowledge of a thing precedes application of a thing — knowledge enables inventions and prototypes (specials), while application enables accessibility (units and facilities).

In some cases, apparent cross-discipline developments occur.

For example, math doesn’t lead to accounting and society doesn’t lead to taxes.

Taxes and accounting actually come about as the result of agriculture, because agriculture creates surplus, and surplus has to be managed.

Now, the creation of social order gives rise to slavery, so it’s possible that if you develop agriculture without politics, that you can finally achieve the ideal communist state. Just like the elves.

And there I managed to conclude two blog posts with jokes about elves.