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  • Anarchs, what's the appeal?

    I've seen a lot of people going on about how they like the Anarchs being a Sect in V5, and i'm just wondering why?

    They always seemed to be the sullen teenagers of the setting to me, too immature for the Cam, too indecisive for the Sabbat, too afraid to be Autarkis. Essentially aimlessly hanging around the park with their mates, occasionally graffiting things or knocking over bins when "the man" hassles them.

    The watered down remnants of the Anarch revolt that didn't join either sect.

    Seriously, what is the appeal there?


    Prone to being a Classic Curmudgeon, goshdarned whippersnappers...

  • #2
    Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post
    I've seen a lot of people going on about how they like the Anarchs being a Sect in V5, and i'm just wondering why?

    They always seemed to be the sullen teenagers of the setting to me, too immature for the Cam, too indecisive for the Sabbat, too afraid to be Autarkis. Essentially aimlessly hanging around the park with their mates, occasionally graffiting things or knocking over bins when "the man" hassles them.

    The watered down remnants of the Anarch revolt that didn't join either sect.

    Seriously, what is the appeal there?
    The Appeal of the Anarchs

    Well do you want the Anarch answer or the OOC answer?

    The Anarch answer is because the Anarchs are the protagonist of the game. When Mark Rein Hagen created Vampire: The Masquerade, he was drawing on the favorite RPG zeitgeist of the time in cyberpunk with a twist. Gothic Punk. The idea of the game is that you are a neonate who has been Embraced in the past 50 years, probably the past year if you want to do it "right." It will be, from the moment of your Embrace, almost certainly a living hell.

    I'm in a hostile environment. I'm totally unprepared. And I'm surrounded by a bunch of guys who probably want to kick my ass. I feel like I'm back in high school.
    -Johnny Cage


    Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines is one of the rare things I can point to in vampire fiction because a lot of writers seemed to have missed this. From the moment you have been Embraced, your character has an enemy: the Elders. The Prince does not want you to unlive and will exert at least a minimal amount of effort to have you killed. You are competition for territory, you are competition for vessels, you are a danger to the Masquerade by just being another untrained vampire, and you could potentially be the guy who kills them some day. So it's best to antagonize you until you break one of the Traditions so a Blood Hunt can be called and deal with you. You are trash from the day you were born unless you're lucky to take a Mentor/Malwa or Low Generation.

    As a Storyteller, I've done the following things to my PCs as the Prince and Sheriff:

    * Blood Bound and kept a PC's sister as a sex slave ghoul.
    * Dominating them into frenzying the next time they see their mortal parents.
    * Tied them up in a basement with a little girl in a corner and no blood.
    * Sending gunmen to shoot them up in their mortal identity so they have to abandon it.
    * Inviting them to participate in a "Human Hunt" to horrify their humanity.
    * Show them a slave auction for vessels (which was actually a present from them)
    * Order them to kill someone's mortal friend or lover because they revealed the Masquerade, thus giving the PCs an eternal enemy and keeping the Prince's hands clean.
    * Burning down their mortal business.
    * Had the PCs befriend a bunch of Thin Bloods and then send down the Sheriff and his Hounds to murder them all for no reason, stuffing them in tires before setting them on fire.

    The appeal of the Anarchs is the appeal of the Matrix. You have a small group of fellow vampires you can trust and fall back on so that the Prince can't simply send the Sheriff to your haven. A coterie is a matter of survival for younger vampires as the power structure of the Evil CamarillaTM is against you. You're stuck as a bunch of small time hoods in a deeply mobbed up town like it's Grand Theft Auto and they have the police, media, and other vampires in their pocket. If you want to survive, you need to build friends, alliances, and get yourself some weapons.

    Eventually, in my games, if the PCs are VERY lucky they will be able to overthrow the Prince and not be on the next Prince's shit list.

    "Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave."
    -Roy Batty


    However, if you serve the Camarilla then you're a fool. No matter what sort of loyalty you display to the sect, you will only succeed if you betray your friends. The Prince will give you gold, whores, and wealth but at the end of the day, he will always turn on you if it suits his interests. So you need to turn on him first. The Tremere are the only clan that has any actual meritocracy and bootlicking but the only way to make a opening above you in the Pyramid is to kill the guy above you. He knows that too.

    Mind you, the Sabbat are a joke in my game. They're ISIS and they have no freedom because all of them are Blood Bound cannon fodder for a war against the Camarilla. It's the same shit, different toilet and if you're not a Lasombra Elder or Tzimsice then you're doomed to get eaten by someone's new childe in monomancy after they poison the Vaulderie or sent on a mission to kill Hardestadt with no backup. It's also a note that Anarchs are not GOOD people but the majority of them object to going into a Maternity Ward and eating babies on a dare too. That's Tuesday for the Sabbat. The average Camarilla Elder is Humanity 4, the average Anarch Elder's Humanity is 6. Yes, they steal and feed at will but they at least TRY not to kill indiscriminately and make the world a much worse place.

    The Anarch is the only way to be free because you can't make it alone in the Kindred world but you can maybe fight for your tiny family and friends.

    Brian: People, we should be struggling together!
    PFJ member
    : [in a headlock] We are!
    Brian: No, we should be rising up against the common enemy.
    All: The Judean People's Front?!
    Brian: No, no, the Romans!


    Mind you, I've found most PCs are Anarchs but they just don't realize it. A lot of the higher clan people fight against the Prince but never quite join the actual Movement because they don't trust it. Which is right because the thing about the Anarchs is that they are every bit as untrustworthy as other vampires. The Revolution will feed on the Revolution. That doesn't make you less of an Anarch.

    So why be an Anarch?

    Because you live in a world of predators and you are not the top of the food chain but a competitor.

    "Come with me if you want to live."
    -The Terminator
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-13-2019, 06:05 PM.


    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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    • #3
      I got the vibe they wanted to present a ”Goodguy”
      As a subgroup In the Anarchs. And with the current climate they plan to sell some books by presenting some Antifa Vampires which the kids dig now a days.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
        I got the vibe they wanted to present a ”Goodguy”
        As a subgroup In the Anarchs. And with the current climate they plan to sell some books by presenting some Antifa Vampires which the kids dig now a days.
        Mind you, in the 1990s anti-establishment-ism wasn't exactly unpopular either.



        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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        • #5
          The OOC Answer?

          The OOC Answer is that it depends greatly on how the Storyteller is presenting the relationship between Elders, Neonates, and the Anarchs vs. the Camarilla. The original game presumed that you were going to be Neonates and angry "Fight the Man" like it was similar to Mage: The Ascension but as we saw with Mage: The Ascension, plenty of people identified with the bad guys the same way that gamers often identify with Warhammer 40K's Imperium or the Galactic Empire. Also, well, the other supernatural factions are kind of assholes.

          2nd Edition and Revised had the weird idea that the Anarchs and Camarilla were less, "Revolutionaries vs. the Man" and more "Democrats in leather jackets vs. Republicans with fangs." They had the Anarchs side with the Camarilla against the Sabbat so the distinctions between the two sides seemed gradually less and less important. The game also stopped being about a single city and more often about globe-trotting adventures with the PCs very often Elders as we see with the Transylvania Chronicles and Giovanni Chronicles.

          Perhaps the deathblow to the Anarch Movement was LA BY NIGHT (the supplement, not the awesome web series). The depiction of the Anarchs there was as spoiled children who, after seizing the 2nd largest city in America, proceeded to divide it among a bunch of gangs constantly fighting each other. It was pathetic and made the organization look like a bunch of fools. In CHICAGO BY NIGHT, the Anarchs were half-intellectuals and half thugs with 1920s Socialists, Civil Rights leaders, and a few other geniuses interspersed with the thugs.

          So, very disappointing.

          The Movement's depiction in V5 is much more enticing and builds on the work in ANARCHS UNBOUND with the revelation that plenty of Anarchs didn't throw down their colors and surrender at the Treaty of Thorns OR become Sabbat psychopaths. The movement is 800 years old and still has many members fighting the good fight. It also incorporates the Brujah Council, the Anarch Free States, South American Revolutionaries, and the French Revolution. In short, the Movement has gone from being a joke to every bit as successful as the Sabbat ever was.

          The Sabbat are functionally identical to the Camarilla except maybe a little meaner. The Anarchs, however, are now a thing to keep Kindred Elders up at night


          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

            Mind you, in the 1990s anti-establishment-ism wasn't exactly unpopular either.

            Oh yes and they directed them to Sabbat Extremes...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post


              However, if you serve the Camarilla then you're a fool. No matter what sort of loyalty you display to the sect, you will only succeed if you betray your friends. The Prince will give you gold, whores, and wealth but at the end of the day, he will always turn on you if it suits his interests. So you need to turn on him first. The Tremere are the only clan that has any actual meritocracy and bootlicking but the only way to make a opening above you in the Pyramid is to kill the guy above you. He knows that too.
              See, the fun of the game for me is to succeed in that environment. Build a network, gain favours, find allies. Cut their throat's and stand on their bodies if it helps, but never be the one that holds the knife. Gain power, use it to leverage more, in sevice of the prince, so that when the time is right and he's facing a problem, you can prop him up and secure his favour, or let him fall and reap benefits in the aftermath. Your coterie is your base, and will someday be your officers, if they don't fuck up.

              I never saw the anarchs as a way to succeed, maybe to hide but not to gain anything.


              Prone to being a Classic Curmudgeon, goshdarned whippersnappers...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post

                See, the fun of the game for me is to succeed in that environment. Build a network, gain favours, find allies. Cut their throat's and stand on their bodies if it helps, but never be the one that holds the knife. Gain power, use it to leverage more, in sevice of the prince, so that when the time is right and he's facing a problem, you can prop him up and secure his favour, or let him fall and reap benefits in the aftermath. Your coterie is your base, and will someday be your officers, if they don't fuck up.

                I never saw the anarchs as a way to succeed, maybe to hide but not to gain anything.
                Kevin Jackson aside, you might become an Anarch Baron of Chicago but you'll never be Prince of Chicago.

                Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post

                Oh yes and they directed them to Sabbat Extremes...
                Yes, let them have the Hot Topic wannabes.



                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                Forum Terms of Use
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                • #9
                  Actually since the early first edition Anarchs were already set to be some kind of "tragic losers". Since Chicago By Night showed the Jyhad the whole Anarch's thing become much less attractive.
                  It isn't much usefull to be free if you are just blood bonded or manipulated by an ancient elder or a sleeping Methuselah. The whole story arc of the Anarchs in Chicago was a sad story of useful pawns. Not that the remaining Camarilla's vampires were not pawns, but the Anarchs had something dramatic in them: they believed in what they did, and their fight was meaningless. They rebelled againts elders only to improve the long con of some very old Methuselah somewhere around the world.

                  Maldavis was just an instrument in Menele's hand to weaken Helena's powerbase. At the beginning she was just a tool of the Primogens to force Lodin to bend, and in the end the whole Chicago Revolt died in the moment that Menele decided that Annabelle was a more usefull pawn that Maldavis ever was in his war with Helena.
                  The same goes for Juggler, the other leader of the Anarchs of Chicago, and the leader of Gary's Anarchs. Charismatic, strong, and a puppet of Tyler who is a direct servant of Helena. In the end every anarch in Chicago is a slave to some Methuselahs.
                  The worst thing was that while the Elders knew this...while they knew that a bigger game was being played, the anarchs didn't, and that made them something of a tragic heroes.

                  2nd edition then throwed the whole lot in the grave. The focus shifted from Anarchs vs Camarilla to Camarilla vs Sabbat. The whole Anarch's revolt of the past was exposed as a plot of Antedeluvians and old Methuselahs, with the anarchs (and the future Sabbat) being the gullible but useful idiots.

                  Truth be told, it was a very very sjort parentesis. Anarchs stopped being central in 1992 when Sabbat Player's Guide came out. By 1993 Chicago By Night 2nd edition erased most of Chicago Anarchs and shifted the focus on the primogens and the politics behind the vacant throne of Lodin. They lasted less than a couple of years.



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                  • #10
                    Anarchs represent one of the "primordial" themes of Vampire. The young vs the old. It's a metaphor for our society actually. You are young, hold no real power and you are thrust into a world of wicked malevolence lorded over by overpowerful malignant beings who seem to hold all the cards and will never make room for you unless you force them to. How are you going to survive? What will you sacrifice in order to do so? Will the price you'll inevitably pay be worth the cost?

                    Being young is not just a weakness though: THEY might be powerful but THEY do not understand the times. They are out of place and out of their time. Can you use that against them?

                    That said: nowadays Anarchs' "domains"can be anything, from communes of like minded vampires banding together to the tyranny of a cadre of rebels who police their barony implementint nazi ideology... Being an Anarch today seems to mean "being out of the Camarilla and having the strength to stand up to it doing your thing".

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                      The Sabbat are functionally identical to the Camarilla except maybe a little meaner. The Anarchs, however, are now a thing to keep Kindred Elders up at night
                      Since the 1990s I've been saying the Sabbat are basically the Camarilla with much worse table manners.

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                      • #12
                        I'm 100% with the OP, been playing since 93 and the Anarchs were kinda/sorta a focus for most of the 1st Edition run....which was less than a year. For the other 25+ years of VtMs history they were the young kids who talked a lot and did very little and were used as disposable shovelheads by the Cam whenever the Sabbat turned up. Hell, even when I was a broody teen they weren't interesting and they're still not despite the layers of cheap polish V5 has tried to apply.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          Kevin Jackson aside, you might become an Anarch Baron of Chicago but you'll never be Prince of Chicago.

                          The only way i'd want to work with the anarchs would be so i could present Maldavis's ashes to the Prince to get on their good side...


                          Prone to being a Classic Curmudgeon, goshdarned whippersnappers...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post

                            The only way i'd want to work with the anarchs would be so i could present Maldavis's ashes to the Prince to get on their good side...
                            So you don't see the point of Anarchs. That's fine. Just play a Camarilla game. If your Storyteller wants to tell an Anarch story don't play OR try to convince him to let you play a character who is an Anarch in name only and plans to betray his coterie to the elders in the Cam for power and riches.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jamiemalk View Post

                              The only way i'd want to work with the anarchs would be so i could present Maldavis's ashes to the Prince to get on their good side...

                              Besides what he said is just untrue. Since 2nd ed there is plenty of material focused on how to become the king or the kingmaker: the appendix of Chicago By Night 2nd ed about vampire politics, Elysium:Elder's Way, Council of Primogen, Archon's and Templar, Guide to the Camarilla, Prince's Primer and so on...

                              It might have been true in 1991, that princedom and kingmaker's title were unreacheable. But the whole point of Chicago By Night 2nd ed (1993) was to become the kingmaker, Diablerie Britain was about an Archon's chronicle.

                              Just think that New York by night was created as a chance to give princedom to player's characters.

                              Page 8

                              In the end, New York by Night is set up with the
                              intent to give troupes the chance to put one of their own
                              in a position to claim the princedom. That doesn’t mean
                              Storytellers should just hand over the keys to the domain
                              Nor does it mean that the character who claims the title
                              should become an unchallenged tyrant. What it does aim
                              to do, however, is make relatively low-powered characters
                              able to play a high-stakes game of politics. And politics
                              need not even be construed as a realm for only pinstripesuited
                              Ventrue — New York is just as amenable to a savvy
                              Brujah who speaks with the support of the Kindred of the
                              streets as it is to a Toreador darling of high society. While
                              the character who claims the princedom might not be the
                              most physically, mentally or socially apt of all the Kindred,
                              what really matters is how she treats her domain — and
                              how she claims it as her domain in the fi rst place.
                              Use this book as a going-forth point.

                              So yeah, maybe in 1991 you could just hope to be the Anarch baron of Chicago.

                              But in 2001 you can be the king of New York.

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