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What is the meaningful difference between "Computer" and "Technology"?

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  • What is the meaningful difference between "Computer" and "Technology"?

    I keep staring at the descriptions for the "Computer" and "Technology" Abilities, but I can't see a meaningful difference. Can someone explain to me why someone would put dots in one over the other? Thanks.

  • #2
    If I'm wrong, someone can correct me, but I think I've got a pretty good analogy: building a robot.

    "Technology" is what you use for building the body, the engineering/hardware part.

    "Computers" is the skill you would use to program the AI, the software.

    Now, if the example was assembling a *computer* I would *guess* Technology, but not sure.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kharnov View Post
      If I'm wrong, someone can correct me, but I think I've got a pretty good analogy: building a robot.

      "Technology" is what you use for building the body, the engineering/hardware part.

      "Computers" is the skill you would use to program the AI, the software.

      Now, if the example was assembling a *computer* I would *guess* Technology, but not sure.
      I like your take on it, but the problem is that I don't think the text of the two Abilities agrees with you. Both discuss software, access to information, programming, and hacking.

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      • #4
        You're right: Wraith doesn't draw a clear distinction between them. Looking at the other 20th Anniversary gamelines, Vampire, Werewolf, and Changeling all describe Technology as the Knowledge of working with electronics, while Computer is the Knowledge of software. (Mage goes weird in that it reclassifies Technology as a Skill and makes it all about operation of all sorts of technology, in contrast to Crafts and Computer which are about design, construction, and maintenance.)

        I'd tweak Wraith's Technology to conform with Vampire, Werewolf, and Changeling — though there is the issue that wraiths generally don't have much access to electronics in general.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Callishka View Post

          I like your take on it, but the problem is that I don't think the text of the two Abilities agrees with you. Both discuss software, access to information, programming, and hacking.
          Apologies, I wasn't actually referring to the Wr20 text, which I don't have, but my experience with the other 20th Anniversary lines, though I forgot or didn't notice Dataweaver's point about M20. Seems strange of them to get two Abilities muddled like that when the split is pretty clear in other books.

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          • #6
            i took Technology as the ability to use all sorts of devices, like phones, tablets and other computerized devices, while the computer is used to alter how a computer is doing something, like the ability to write your own program, and do in dept internet searches, as a real world example i got kids that can use a phone/tablet better then most people, but can't really use a full computer, no programming skills what so ever.

            in wraith it would also be more of what you are trying to use it for, i have a player with Inhabit 4, and some of the older alt arts, that affect computers and data, he uses the computer knowledge to lower the difficulty before using an art if it applies.
            but the Technology knowledge he has only one point in, so that these new phones, watches, GPS touch screen devices, he can kind of use.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DeadMan View Post
              i took Technology as the ability to use all sorts of devices, like phones, tablets and other computerized devices, while the computer is used to alter how a computer is doing something, like the ability to write your own program, and do in dept internet searches, as a real world example i got kids that can use a phone/tablet better then most people, but can't really use a full computer, no programming skills what so ever.

              in wraith it would also be more of what you are trying to use it for, i have a player with Inhabit 4, and some of the older alt arts, that affect computers and data, he uses the computer knowledge to lower the difficulty before using an art if it applies.
              but the Technology knowledge he has only one point in, so that these new phones, watches, GPS touch screen devices, he can kind of use.
              Thanks, DeadMan. That's pretty much how it reads to me. The two are not distinct enough for my taste, but I agree that that's likely what the writers were going for.

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              • #8
                I just ended up treating Computers as a speciality of Technology for simplicity's sake.

                Really, the Computer skill is kind of an artifact of the WoD's early 90's origins, when computers were still this somewhat arcane piece of geek culture that required a degree of specialized knowledge to work with. (I'm not even a computer person, but I am still old enough to remember having to use DOS commands to start word processors and computer games, as well as physically installing sound cards and modems.) This is especially true with 1st ed Vampire, which set the template for the Ability list, and was going really strongly toward the kind of subcultures its Kindred would be part of (hence also ones like Music and Finance). Technology got introduced in Mage, largely because it had two groups who were heavily tech based as well as initially presenting technomagic as something young and hip Mages (such as the PCs) were heavily involved in. But the Computer ability was still there, and just kind of stayed.
                Last edited by No One of Consequence; 02-02-2020, 12:35 AM.


                What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                • #9
                  I found a great tidbit on this topic:

                  "• Computer Use [Intelligence/Wits + Computer]:
                  Although ubiquitous across much of the living world, many wraiths still dismiss computers as little more than a curiosity. Such views ignore the power that computers have to collect information, share knowledge and opinions, and coordinate like-minded individuals across vast distances. For the purposes of this feat, a “computer”covers most anything from a traditional desktop machine to the latest smartphone, or even an old mainframe system. Most Computer Skill rolls are made to collect, display, or transfer information. Use Technology for physical results instead, like turning off a security system remotely or activating a restricted elevator. Similarly, use Technology to access or modify Skinlands devices that use software and computer systems (cars, security systems, checkout scanners, game consoles). That said, a player who makes a good argument for using Computer in a particular circumstance may try a roll, at the Storyteller’s discretion." (Wr20 322)

                  There's more on that page that clarifies what the devs were thinking. Basically, Computers is moving and handling information through machines; Technology is for influencing the physical world through machines.

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