Okay, ladies and skeletons, this time around we have an excerpt from the technology chapter. One of the things you guys have consistently expressed is some desire to see how the independents do things, since much of the previous (first draft! I’m fixing it!) material pushes them out of the limelight in favor of examinations of the more cohesive sects. So this one’s for you, my independent-clan-loving friends.
<n>For those Kindred whose clan is their sect, or whose clan abstains from sectarian endeavors, the use of technology falls much more along the lines of age than it does philosophy. That is, elders of the independent clans are often behind the curve of technology while the younger members are more willing to learn and use new devices, services, or equipment. As with all Kindred, even young members of the independent clans lag a bit behind mortals in terms of awareness and adoption of new technology. No small amount of this comes directly as a result of the Kindred condition: Even the youngest Kindred, at the moment of his Embrace, becomes a static icon of that time. The Damned forever face a stasis that puts them directly at odds with the inexorable advance of technology.
As well, for the independents, most of the clans have a distinct specialty, something that no other clan does with the capacity that they do. The Kindred find it in their nature to trust in their own abilities more than external tools. Aside from simple communication, what use would a Giovanni necromancer have for a smartphone while he’s summoning the souls of the dead? What purpose would a Setite high priest have for broadband wifi while she plumbs the buried secrets of the Middle Kingdom? What does a Ravnos care for 1080p, other than its street value?
That said, the independent clans do have their own penchants for emergent technologies.
<n>The Clan of Assassins has long had a formula for success that relies upon their own unique skils and proprietary Discipline more so than it does on tools and implements. Even in the modern nights, an Assamite wielding an ancestral kukri is a far more terrifying sight than any private security force soldier with a cutting-edge submachine gun. More than any other independent clan, the Assamites have actually demonstrated a keen ability to subvert or disrupt existing technologies, particularly defensive ones. Even the most expensive security system won’t stop the functions of Quietus, if the Assamite has a chance to employ them, and how well can that private security force defend a haven if its agents never hear the Assamites coming?
Among the viziers and sorcerers of the clan, technology is no substitute for the time-tested resources that contain mystic research. These jealously guarded secrets are much safer, the amr reason, in physical books than an individual can protect than on easily copied or smuggled digital media.
<n>The Giovanni rely on technology for two pillars of their clan agenda: market analysis and information control.
As a clan with massive financial investment, the Giovanni have been quick to take advantage of technological advancements that enable them to react quickly to financial stimuli. This includes everything from smartphone and mobile device apps that allow them to move their assets instantly to computers with software suites that watch the stock markets and analyze them for optimal returns on investment over very short periods of time. In fact. some members of the clan see parallels in the global stock market and the clan’s legacy casino businesses — they’re both effectively games of chance, and the more ability the Necromancers have to dictate the outcomes of either, the more money they generate.
As a family interest, the Giovanni have been migrating certain of their genealogical resources to a closed-network database on par with that of the Church of Latter Day Saints. One part of this is the ancestor-worship and family veneration that occurs in the cultic familial structure of the clan. The other part is that, as a digital “book of the dead” for the Giovanni, having an archive of the departed and undead is a valuable necromantic resource. The archive lists not only known dead, but their projected status in the Underworld, ability to effect change in the physical world, and contribution to the Endless Night effort.
<n>By and large, the Ravnos are too self-sufficient to worry about much technology. While certain advancement can make the Ravnos unlife a bit more convenient, the Deceivers aren’t a clan that places an enormous value on convenience or comfort. The most common piece of “advanced” technological equipment among the Ravnos is probably some sort of GPS device. The second most common is probably a stolen or pre-paid mobile phone or a Saturday night special. Indeed, among the Ravnos, too much dependency on gimmicks and gewgaws can lead to a loss of Status in the clan and the ill regard of one’s fellow Deceivers. Whether or not an individual cares much about the regard of her fellow Deceivers is a different matter, of course.
Certain Ravnos have a love for the act of travel itself, and choose to spend a great deal of time with their vehicles. Classic cars, vintage bikes, campers that do double duty is mobile haven fortresses — all of these an more might belong to a brood of Ravnos, or even a nomadic mortal family that just happens to have a Ravnos at its center. Some Deceivers would even risk their unlives rather than leave “Ol’ Bess” behind. Then again, it’s just as likely that they can call upon the assistance of an entire motorcycle club of ghouls to take vengeance on the goddamn bloodsucker who put a Ravnos’ favorite 1949 Panhead Harley-Davidson in a ditch.
<n>To the Setite mind, the end justifies the means, and whether that end is the revivification of their dead god or constructing a web of debts and debasement for his own profit is a matter of personal preference. If turning to a tool makes the difference between the success or failure of a gambit, so be it, and make sure it’s plugged in.
For the Setites, technology is rarely the object of a Kindred’s zeal. In particular, the Setites find themselves adept with technology they use for blackmail and eavesdropping. Their purpose is twofold: Listening in allows them to discern the true desires that linger in their marks’ hearts, and once they acquire dirt on a victim-collaborator, the better able they are to dictate the terms of the relationship or call in favors for their silence. The “dirt” doesn’t even have to be true; many Serpents are also skilled photo manipulators or video editors for the times they need to manufacture evidence or draw attention to something specific.
This isn’t to say the skullduggery is the sole avenue of Setite technology use. For a clan so ancient and steeped in tradition, the Serpents are quick to exploit new technologies that give them an edge. Language translators, security systems, communication devices, and even synthetic drugs and medical advancements all have their uses in the hands of clever Setites. Those who collect clan secrets use software suites on par with those of eminent archaeological schools, the better to discern the will of their chthonic progenitor. Even those who practice the bizarre sorceries of the clan have a use for technology, though it often carries the trappings of historical anachronism, such as ritual daggers that can be smuggled through security checkpoints or counter-technologies that allow a Kindred to evade a pursuer like a wisp of smoke on the wind.