When dealing with settings, we inevitably run into questions of technology. In a pseudo-medieval fantasy setting, we can assume a medieval level of technology unless otherwise indicated — but do all readers know what that means? If the tech level is greater or lesser than the time period (or equivalent), how much more or less advanced is it? How can you express those concepts simply, without bogging down into very specific details?
Some roleplaying games have “tech levels”, indicating either by a number rating or some developmental benchmark where a setting lies. This setting has gunpowder, this setting has fusion reactors, and so on. That implies a lot, primarily that other technologies like social sciences, medical technology, space travel, information technology, and so on, develop at like rates. Should categories of tech be fleshed out, so you know that this place doesn’t have space travel, and they still use gunpowder weapons, but they have handheld computers and automated healing beds?
Or should there be a few benchmarks for tech level, like Bronze Age, Medieval, Present Day, Space Opera, and so on, with plus-or-minus tech called out? The Bronze Age, but some steel weapons are turning up. Present Day, except we’ve developed teleportation. Space Opera, but with incredibly advanced sociology that allows people to predict future trends. How would you present that?
I want a simple, clean, and fast way to present tech in Official Series Bible settings, for the times it’s necessary. It should be an elevator speech or less. I’m open to ideas and feedback.