The technology of the game is pretty basic; most of it now exists. We have Ďmulesí (ATVs), processed food, MRI scans, wireless computers, space stations and maglev trains. The tech level out on the Rim is below ours by a considerable bit. People ride horses, use hand tools, shoot each other with revolvers and shotguns and cook their own food. The most tech we saw on the Rim was on the episode ĎHeart of Goldí: the bad guy drove a hovercraft, used a small cell phone or radio and had that laser pistol (one of two we have ever seen). The Core Worlds, however, have starships the size of small cities and somewhere (probably further out on the Rim) are machines that can terraform an entire planet.
While high tech might exist, it does not exist in depth on the Rim. You can buy a computer but you canít access the Cortex unless you have a satellite hookup to an interplanetary repeater. You can buy a box of laser pistols but you need a place to recharge them. You can buy a Firefly but good luck building a grav boot from scratch. You can send your computer to Ariel to be repaired but expect 4-6 months delivery each way. The infrastructure for supporting a high level of tech isnít there yet.
For the purposes of the game, tech used on the Rim will be, except for electronics, equivalent to the Victorian-Edwardian era. This lets us have telephones, electric light, automatic weapons, gas or electric vehicles and even X-rays. There will be the scattering of computers, wireless phones, maybe a big piece of industrial machinery here and there. For the most part, however, you will still see people pulling bullets out of a person with forceps and sewing them up with surgical thread. People will cook food instead of going to a machine and ordering Earl Grey, Hot.
Communications: The Cortex can be used on planets with the right satellites when the computer can get a signal and the satellite is pointed at a repeater (small station capable of boosting signals faster than light) in interplanetary space. A ship can access the Cortex if it is flying along the path of a beam between repeaters or between satellite and repeater. Alliance cruisers carry their own repeaters with them, but these are for official use only. Walkie-talkies work for 5-10 miles; cell phones will work if thereís a base repeater within twenty miles.
Weapons: Guns fire slugs of lead by exploding a chemical at the other end of the gun. Revolvers are about as reliable as a hammer (it can break, but you have to really try hard). Automatics vary between very reliable and not so much; itís a matter of how well itís made and how often you clean the damn thing. Bullets can have more or less power depending on who loaded them and a cheap bullet is more likely to jam than shoot straight. Knives and swords are not vibrating or made out of lasers. Armor is thinner and better but very expensive on the Rim as itís outlawed by the Alliance for civilian use. Lasers are very expensive, not reliable, a pain to use and anyone with a clue would hire fifty mercenaries for the price of a laser pistol to protect you and do your killing.
Ships: We donít have much technical data on space travel; we donít even know what the faster-than-light drive is called. In this game, we call it Ďfast driveí and it canít be done inside a system. Sublight drives seem to be fusion or ion, although some people use fission. There arenít shields or teleporters or laser beams. Most ship combat seems to be done with missiles, although I assume there are Gatling guns for close-in work. This game will avoid technobabble and everyone will explain things in ĎCaptain Dummy-speakí.
Medical: There are some futuristic scanners and machines that reattach ears and such, but for the most part you dig bullets out with shiny forceps or cut cancer out with sharp scalpels. Drugs are better than what we have, but itís very expensive to go through a treatment for cancer or keep Parkinsonís at bay. Most towns have someone with some basic medical training and some big first-aid kits. Weíre talking a school-nurse level of medical care. Fancy replacement organs are for the Core worlds, not for the likes of us Rim bumpkins.