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One other technology has grown across the Third Age. Using the power of crystalline technology, relatively vast amounts of information can be quickly stored and retrieved mechanically. These essence-run 'computers', named after their original mathmatic functions, have changed the way that information is stored and retrieved - most feel that it is for the better, but some are concerned.
Running on a crystalline lattice, computer technology is just rare enough that the average person does not really understand how it works. While basic operation of computers is possible at Lore 1, a character must have Crafts (Computers) in order to truly program or run deep operations, as well as repairing hardware.
Resources 000 to 0000
Most computers are larger mainframes, run by businesses, governments, and similar organizations. Most major organizations in the modern world have access to mainframes. The average mainframe fills a small room, and is a series of smaller boxes that have been carefully linked together (unlinking them is extremely difficult, and requires an extended Crafts (Computers) roll at Difficulty 3, with each roll representing an hour of work; five successes must be acquired for each box unlinked.) Mainframes have the approximate computing power of a Pentium 1, as a rule, and can store up to 250 megabytes of information per box.
Personal computers are not a common household item in the Third Age. While the rich can, and often do, have them, the poor have to make do with hearing about them, or using older typewriters and paper. Most personal computers run at about half the speed of a mainframe computer, and have a mere 200 to 250 megabytes of space on them. Obviously, software is not as advanced as the current day - in addition, generic software such as games is very rare due to the luxury nature of computers.
Because of the nature of crystalline lattices, networking is easily possible between machines, but to do so over larger areas becomes progressively more difficult. Because of this, most cities have small networks, with public access terminals and mainframe connections, but there are no real networks between cities. Deheleshen has a powerful Machina controlling a central network that can radio queries and responses to other networks, giving them a partial full military network, but most networks remain localized. Still, their simple existance means that government officials can usually get records quickly and easily from one city to another. Very few personal computers are directly connected to a city's network, and mainframes that are connected typically have protective programming in place to prevent hacking.
Artifact Computers: Machina
Artifact 00 to 0000
Of course, there are always exceptions. Some Exalts, intrigued by the prospect of computers, have gone one step further, and begun to create their own artifact variants. Most of these are forged of white and blue jade, with adamant networks of lattice for memory. These computers are significantly more powerful than the mundane variety, but are equivalently difficulty to produce.
At Artifact 00, Machina are just extremely efficient computing devices. As a rule, these devices are the size of a single computer box, and plug into a normal monitor and keyboard (as an Artifact 000 variant, these artifacts may be laptops). These Machina require only a normal power plug to function. They have a processing power of approximately 10 gigahertz, and can typically store over 20 gigabytes of information safely. However, these artifacts require the commitment of a single mote to properly function; if their owner dies, the information contained on them will degrade over the course of one day as the residual power fades. Most owners consider this an advantage.
Artifact 000 Machina are something rarer - semi-intelligent automatons. In addition to having the properties of the above, these Machina have functional voice-based commands, and are capable of responding to basic logical concepts. They are fairly stupid (Intelligence and Wits 1), but can roughly anticipate commands and structure concepts. These Machina require a Level 1 Hearthstone to be placed in them to function, but do not usually need commitment.
Artifact 0000 Machina are extremely rare, usually only found in advanced research facilities. In addition to the properties of an Artifact 00 Machina, these machines are fully sentient, within the programming bounds of each individual machine. They typically have all Mental and Social Attributes at 3, along with any Abilities that may be programmed into them. These machines are typically linked to multiple mainframes, giving them incredible memory capability.