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28th Jan 2020, 5:00 AM in Guest Arc: Equestria Girls
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 28th Jan 2020, 5:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
Author: GreatDinn

Guest Author's Note: "It took a significant chunk of willpower to not call this page NLP. Anyways, computers are weird. I mean, really weird when you break it all down. We basically found some special rocks, and we learned that if you stimulate the rocks in a precise way, you can pass information through said rocks, and that information can be translated by different rocks into new forms of information and now we have YouTube, so we're still dumb as rocks when you really boil it down.

In RPGs, I find that if the game doesn't involve technology and the DM introduces it, it ends up being treated as magical anyways, so I've always felt arcana is a good substitute. And in games with technology...

Well, it's still pretty magical there too. Story Time prompts about sufficiently advanced tech?

Unrelated: In this scene, I found out that Twilight in human forms bumps her fists together when pleased, because it's the human equivalent to her pony equivalent of clapping."

Newbiespud's Note: We started a brand new Spudventure, with myself at the helm, this past weekend! We're going back to the Stars Without Number system, to reboot the voyages of the starship Takeout!
Voyages of the Takeout, Session 1 - Shore Leave: Podcast | Video

17 Comments:

Gamemaster80 28th Jan 2020, 5:27 AM edit delete reply
I've noticed that in Pathfinder and DnD magic and tech are 2 separate entities, even though high end tech can sometimes be powered by a magical substance. Some fantasy tropes have it where the more we start to lean towards tech, the less we become aware of magic to the point of losing it entirely.
Digo 28th Jan 2020, 7:53 AM edit delete reply
I like Shadowrun's take where the more advanced the tech, the more resistant it is to magic. Thus, mages find it harder to fight opponents who have a lot of cyberware versus fleshy people who don't.
Godzfirefly 28th Jan 2020, 8:25 PM edit delete reply
For many versions of D&D (at least 4e and 5e,) the Artificer class uses Arcana for almost all of its 'tech' options. Low level tech (like locks, snares, and some traps) are interacted with Thieves Tools or other tools in 5e and the Thievery skill in 4e, but advanced tech is almost all arcana-based.
Digo 29th Jan 2020, 5:29 AM edit delete reply
There was a d100 system I played in for a Fallout Equestria campaign that used the Science skill for arcana checks and spellcasting, reasoning that science and magic in Equestria are linked.

That was fine, though it introduced the odd quirks that 1) spellcasters were inherently the best hackers and 2) my earthpony doctor could conceivably pass pretty much any arcana type check short of actually casting spells.
FanOfMostEverything 28th Jan 2020, 7:18 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, Twilight tends to ball up her fists when she's not actively using her fingers. Sunset does it too a few times, usually when she's distracted or just waking up. It's one of the more fun and consistent little Easter eggs in EqG.
Wulfraed 28th Jan 2020, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
Technically, the "special rocks" are a late addition. The first digital computers were power-hogs using lots of vacuum tubes, and maybe using mercury delay lines for memory. And analog computers were resistors (potentiometers), variable capacitors, and variable inductors.

The first of the "special rocks" would have been natural galena crystals which, with a narrow wire contact, makes a diode. cf: crystal radio https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_radio

Doped semi-conductors are relatively late on the scene. The semi-conductor equivalent of a triode tube doesn't show up until the 1950s -- the bipolar transistor.
albedoequals1 28th Jan 2020, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
albedoequals1
NERD! :p

But seriously, how cool is it that the materials we need more and more of are what the whole planet is made of? The most amazing thing about modern technology isn't the things it can do, it's how incredibly cheap it is. Last I checked, the going rate for a big sack of hobby transistors is significantly less than 1 cent each.
Winged Cat 28th Jan 2020, 5:01 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Other way around. First we came up with this special new thing to do, then we found ways to do it with more common materials that cost less. In this case, way less.

(It also costs less per unit, when more and more people are using more and more units each. Smartphones weren't just enabled by cheap transistors; the wider spread of adoption of computing technology they have caused, has resulted in already-cheap transistors becoming far cheaper still.)
Retnuhytnuob 28th Jan 2020, 11:24 PM edit delete reply
Retnuhytnuob
Aldebo's not wrong. It would be a different story if we were on a gas planet, or if the periodic table had fewer current/light bearing materials, and they were uncommon and hard to find/make

Having those available, so that we can switch to a common material that works, is a blessing.
Guest 29th Jan 2020, 7:17 PM edit delete reply
The fun one is blue LEDs. They used to be ATROCIOUSLY expensive.

Then someone figured out that they could make ordinary silicon glow blue. Now they're dirt cheap. A little more expensive than other LEDs, but still cheap.
Digo 29th Jan 2020, 5:26 AM edit delete reply
The idea of Earth being one giant computer from the book Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy gets less far-fetched as time goes on and we learn more about the world and how we make tech. :3
Freelance 28th Jan 2020, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
In my original DnD campaign, my party eventually travelled to the Elemental Plane of air, because you know, you're almost always are going to travel to other planes in DnD somewhere somehow. We came across business constructs that reached as far as we could see up, odd metallic carriages, pits of black sticky oil--

--it was Las Angeles. We came across an huge chunk of a deserted/abandoned/lifeless Las Angeles. So what our mage did was cast Item on an SUV, and once we returned to our material plane, we handed it over to the gnomes to tinker, experiment, and reverse engineer with.
Evilbob 28th Jan 2020, 12:22 PM edit delete reply
Evilbob
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

TBF, any technology we don't understand is indistinguishable from magic.

And if you want to think about it, even (collectively) well-understood technology is magic to the rest of us bumpkins unless we've taken the time to learn and understand it at a granular level (as opposed to the do A to get B to happen level). Basically the idea of collective knowledge/wisdom: It's impossible to know everything; we tend to rely on others for that knowledge we don't know. The doctor for medicine, the mechanic for car troubles, the plumber for toilet issues, etc.
Winged Cat 28th Jan 2020, 5:25 PM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
"Any magic, sufficiently analyzed, is indistinguishable from technology."

Consider magic items that can cast Create Food & Water a certain number of times per day, on a ship. Make it a submarine or a spaceship and add Purify Air. For extra points, add something to control the winds or currents (solar winds for spaceships).

Taking "education" as an "advanced technology", what happens when mandatory public education includes basic cantrips, such that any random peasant or thug has a good chance of knowing some basic damaging spell they can use every round all day long?

Then there are concepts like the technomages from Babylon 5: advanced tech combined with street magic and neural/cybertech controls, to give the appearance of actual magic - and it almost might as well be.
VariousGameMasteries 28th Jan 2020, 6:23 PM edit delete reply
New game, Massif press, look them up on ich.io, yadda yadda, good stuff.
A good part of the appeal of the game is the idea of paracausal technologies. It's a relatively new field of study in setting (under 1000 years old!) and a lot of it is just freaky. One entry concerning the testing a paracausal rifle meant for boarding actions (IT only damages enemies, allies stay untouched) one of the test subjects SAW something during the test and kept repeating "something has gone wrong" in the interview.
Aside from that, we have nuclear techno-daemons, unerring guns that are not guns (Nothing prevents its damage), teleportation through a spaceless realm, and RA.
tipulsar85 28th Jan 2020, 9:11 PM edit delete reply
I'm gonna let one of my characters, Poule, answer this:
"Really the worst time to try and explain to some of those under my command that how vacuums or how pulse rifles work is when a sector of a Warden class generational ship lands in a High Fantasy setting. It took an hour plus to explain the concept of alternate reality clusters to people who deal with gods and elementals on a daily basis. to them the term alien is still rooted in nationalism, not interplanetary and galactic travel."
At this point he claimed to need a break to calm down but did explain that the best way to get new players to try this is with "Expedition to Barrier Peaks".
DM's Choice 29th Jan 2020, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
On my table, we call that an "uncanny botch".