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[WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post

    Even if the Hungry Dead are retconned into being just another form of Kindred, it would be entirely possible for a faction of vampires to look for a new place to squat, see a mostly disorganized group, and then exclaim "It's free real estate!" before going about to oust the soon to be former occupants. The only rub there is to ask why it didn't happen to disorganized Cam or Sabbat territories as well, or instead of, the AFS.
    Could just be that they bit off more than they could chew. They planned to take California from the Anarchs and then had it beaten back by the events of BLOODLINES.

    If they wanted to link it, the Anarch Free States was taken back in Bloodlines but it was only recently that the rest of the Wan Kuei were taken out by the Second Inquisition. San Fransisco could have been their stronghold until then.

    It would go well with a canonized LA by Night web series.

    I assume Ming Xiao would be a Chinese variant of the Tzimisce.


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    • #17
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

      Could just be that they bit off more than they could chew. They planned to take California from the Anarchs and then had it beaten back by the events of BLOODLINES.

      If they wanted to link it, the Anarch Free States was taken back in Bloodlines but it was only recently that the rest of the Wan Kuei were taken out by the Second Inquisition. San Fransisco could have been their stronghold until then.

      It would go well with a canonized LA by Night web series.
      Didn't follow or play it.

      I assume Ming Xiao would be a Chinese variant of the Tzimisce.
      That really depends on how much Flesh and/or Bone Shintai she had in the prior system.

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      • #18
        The Red Question review

        I think my biggest issue here isn't the fact the Red Question is responsible for the 2007 Financial Collapse and that said real life tragedy is portrayed as a glorious victory of the underdog against the Camarilla. Though, certainly, that didn't help. It's the fact that the Red Question doesn't actually feel terribly useful. It's a group which is meant to be depicted as utterly redefining the Anarchs for the 21st century but runs into a lot of major issues.

        1. It's a group that very likely will never show up in person.
        2. It's a group that would almost entirely be composed of Western computer savvy Kindred
        3. I'm not terribly sure how to use them.

        These are pretty much the exact sort of things that got brought up in THE ANARCHS sourcebook for V5 and why the Red Question is no longer a thing. However, it's more the fact that I think there's a very good small group to be made out of this but it's not the kind of movement that would actually define the Anarch "Movement".

        Which is to say if the Red Question was actually just Vampire Anonymous them I'd probably be a lot more sympathetic to it. Say, 6-12 vampires total that enjoy wrecking the shit out of the Camarilla's corporations and maybe preserving the Masquerade by screwing with the government as well. I think that's a very useful group that could be inserted in certain games but isn't something that is going to radically re-paint the Movement.

        I don't care if they do have all the Technomancy for some reason.

        Indeed, that is one of the flaws of the Anarchs as a group that they don't have these sorts of little subgroups that make the Camarilla and Sabbat so interesting. Communists, Neo-Nazis and KKK (for killing!), Social Justice Assassins, Neo-Feudalists, Anarchist Capitalists, Transhumanists, and so on. I think part of why I like Jenna Cross is that her Thin Blood Liberation Army (for lack of a better name) is so unique.

        The Red Question in the book, however, comes off as a bunch of very (I hesitate to use the word "entitled") but arrogant rich First World Kids commenting on the Anarch Movement from the safety of their basement havens. Another reason why Bobby Weatherbottom being its founder and leader makes sense to me.
        Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-27-2019, 01:03 AM.


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

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        • #19
          Random aside, there were some odd V20 choices for the Anarchs. Like for example, Lizette Cordoba of the OCCUPY WALLSTREET movement is notably not just a vampire unaffiliated with the Anarch Movement but seemigly completely unaware of it in CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION.

          Indeed, Children of the Revolution barely had any references to the Anarch Movement despite being all about revolution.

          https://steemit.com/art/@stahlberg/a...the-revolution



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          • #20
            Thoughts on Anarch History

            Perhaps I shouldn't have rushed through chapter one so quickly but that's the flaw of these sorts of WIR as you sometimes only get some thoughts on it's contents after you have had a few days to mule over them. The second chapter, The Traditions, can wait after all. The Anarch History given covered from the First Anarch Revolt to the Second in the Modern Nights and then the rise of the Red Question. So, what do I think of these things established in other books and mostly repeated here?

            + Tyler is interesting as the character from CBN that has gone on to become the most important of that book. It wasn't Critias, who might as well be the Brujah Inner Councilman or certainly should be. I feel like Crias needed to be in Byzantium or SOME location as a person who is a 3000 year old Brujah should NOT just be unimportant through history. Nor was it Maldavis who led a Kindred revolt that no one ever mentions. Instead, Tyler is the founder of the Anarch movement as we know it. The OG Anarch. Originally just listed as an old as dirt Brujah sellout who killed a early Founder of the Camarilla.

            It's kind of funny that she's so legendary now because her history has her in hiding, yet she's going by the nickname she's known by. You'd think Chicago would be indulated with pilgrims of the Movement or angry Ventrue. This actually leads to a funny thing the 25 Years Of V:TM guys commented on with "The Anarchs" sourcebook. There's a scene in that book where an Anarch talks about his mythical encounter with Tyler who stakes the local Sheriff.

            The 25 Years Guys react less with, "The Neonate is just making a story up" and more like, "You saw Tyler? Cool, where were you, Indianopolis? Or was it Balthazar in Chicago?" Because, again, she's been there for at least sixty years.

            + The Sabbat are pretty much the Anarchs worst enemy because they pretty much took a lot of what the Anarchs are famous for or should have. They're the die-hard violent rebels who hate the Camarilla above all things. Are the vampires of The Lost Boys a Sabbat pack or Brujah Anarchs? The fact that's not readily apparant is kind of their biggest issue. Even their history is basically, "The Anarchs became the Sabbat." Which means the Sabbat are still Anarchs, just the cool ones with weird rituals and anti-Clans plus cool powers. I feel like this basically hurt the Anarchs as much as Los Angeles by Night as it meant that if you really wanted to be wild and crazy, you were Sabbat. Anarchs came off as not really committed.

            It's part of why I do like V5 because separating the Church of Caine, Sabbat, Anarchs, Black Hand, and Banu Haqim's diablerie religion gives them all more room to breathe.

            + The French Revolution kind of needs mention of Madame Guil (pronounced Madame "Gee") because I absolutely love her character and she's intimately tied to it. I'd like to see her show up in one of the Kickstarters with, "CHOOSE THE FATE OF MADAME GUIL" because I'd totally have her join the Anarchs and become of their leaders. She was kidnapped, raped by the Toreador, Embraced, and then spent her life plotting the fall of the Camarilla from the inside.

            I think she fits with the Anarchs more than the Sabbat, honestly.

            I'm also interested in how Francois Villon (who is Helena's child and a liar about his age) feels about Anarchs to this day.

            + I really don't get why the Anarch Free State in California really is treated as the biggest thing ever as I can't help but think it's not really that interesting of a story. Yes, a Prince was overthrown by the Anarchs but is Don Sebastian REALLY such an outlier? He's described in the book as a racist anachronistic Elder who longs for the day of feudalism, brutalized Jeremy MacNeil with his powers, was chronically unjust in his judgements, and conducted orgies of excess on a regular basis. Am I an outlier in my handling of Princes? Because that strikes me as pretty typical for them as a general rule. They're (almost) all a bunch of decadent arrogant racist snobs who tyranize their subjects. It's just some are better at it than others. I mean, it seems like Don Sebastian being overthrown is like the only time an Anarch has EVER overthrown a Prince and held territory versus the Sabbat taking it.

            Which is really disappointing if true. I mean, what has Salvador been doing otherwise?

            + Jeremy Macneil is also the stated head of the Anarch Movement who, literally, does nothing but manage one Barony. Salvador wrote the Anarch Cookbook and supposedly has killed other Princes since then. While impressive stuff, I feel like they really are given a bigger role in this book than their actions might warrant. There's not much sign they've done stuff outside of the Free States after all.

            + I really would be interested in knowing if Marcus Vitel identifies as an Anarch in the Modern Nights as we know he retakes his domain of Washington D.C. in Beckett's Jyhad Diary then declares himself "Emperor." It's probable that he might have arranged the Camarilla defection for the Lasombra (and certainly is the one who sent Talley) but there's no one older than maybe the Sybil for him to turn over for a pardon nor would I think the Camarilla trust him should he resist the Beckoning.

            Frankly, Marcus is one of the people I'd argue is an outlier to the "Princes are mostly La Croix types" because he's a military, financial, and political genius. A guy up there with Caesar and Alexander in life even if he wasn't quite there while alive. Lots of Anarchs would follow him because he's a demagogue and he could form his own sect alone. I love Anarchs but I think most of them are less interested in reforming the system than not being on the bottom of it.

            + Mithras/Monty Coven could do the same if not for the fact The Fall of London went a different way.
            Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-28-2019, 05:08 AM.


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            • #21
              The concept of Anarchs strikes me as being a bit like the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars. Something that can appeal to you for the underdog aspect, something that is easy to identify with superficially and romanticize when you attach your personal meanings to it, but is prone to break apart as indvidiual 'views' of the Rebellion collide (look at the transition of the Original Trilogy Rebels to the Expanded Universe New Republic and its iterations, nevermind how it evolved as the Prequels were introduced or we got Disney's spin on matters.) Anarchs have the appeal of being the revolutionaries and counterculture rebels (see Smiling Jack or Damsel) but lacking the hard-edged, terroristic inhumanity we might associate with the Sabbat. MacNeill is a good example of that too (to draw on the Rebel-New Republic EU analogy I mentioned, MacNeill and the Anarch Free States would be the Anarch equivalent of the New Republic... where we see the conflict between 'reformers' and 'radicals' CTPhipps spoke of, to which we can also add the 'realists' - people like Salvador Garcia IMHO.)

              Compound that with the idea that each generation is likely to spawn their own iteration of Vampire 'anarchs' which is going to further defy any effort at a coherent history (the previous generation of anarchs are likely to be seen as too establishment for their successors and defy efforts at coordination) and we get a sort of mishmash that is likly to defy easy categorization. The most coherent groups might be the Thin Bloods under Cross (who might draw inspiration from the 'Smiling Jack' lineage of Anarch through Cross, obviously) but whether this has anything to do with their relatively greater humanity or the weakening in the curse in them I suppose is up for debate (its not as if humans aren't prone to falling apart due to tribalism... it's perhaps just less pronounced than in vampires due to their predatory natures.)

              Edit: Oh yes, the Cathayans. I think in terms of them its worth looking at the Bamboo Princes and how their own attitudes might impact a 'rolling back' of the Kuei-Jin elements in Los Angeles (in a sense I've always seen the Kuei-Jin getting 'infected' with the Anarch bug through the Bamboo Princes and the New Promise Mandarinate, which naturally is going to undermine any efforts to impose order on the West. Which seems antithetical to how I remember the Kuei-Jin being depicted back then.)
              Last edited by Mister_Dunpeal; 12-28-2019, 07:18 PM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post
                The concept of Anarchs strikes me as being a bit like the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars. Something that can appeal to you for the underdog aspect, something that is easy to identify with superficially and romanticize when you attach your personal meanings to it, but is prone to break apart as indvidiual 'views' of the Rebellion collide (look at the transition of the Original Trilogy Rebels to the Expanded Universe New Republic and its iterations, nevermind how it evolved as the Prequels were introduced or we got Disney's spin on matters.)
                One of the things that I've commented on when dealing with the Anarchs vs. Camarilla is that the former are read often one of two ways:

                1. They're either a group of valid revolutionaries fighting against a corrupt system.
                2. They're a bunch of spoiled poseurs accomplishing and signifying nothing.

                I find a similar issue exists with the Traditions vs. The Technocracy.

                An interesting story that came up with a game I ran was one where I ran a game in Chicago and did the usual petty bullshit of the Prince as well as Primogen. One of the players later commented that they were stunned by this as the games they'd played in before were all Pro-Camarilla ones where the Prince was the protector of the Masquerade and a guy you were supposed to work for.

                Them being a petty tyrant and the antagonist was new to them. That surprised me because I always thought the Princes were meant to be antagonists. Guys you are meant to oppose but walked the careful balance of, "Maybe I don't want to try to kill them either because that may result in my life becoming even more complicated."

                I felt they nailed it in La Croix but think about La Croix is that I've always run ALL my Princes like that while a lot of Bloodlines gamers acted like he was an outlier.

                Which comes back to my point is, the more oppressive and dangerous the Camarilla is in your game, the less ridiculous the Anarchs seem.

                Anarchs have the appeal of being the revolutionaries and counterculture rebels (see Smiling Jack or Damsel) but lacking the hard-edged, terroristic inhumanity we might associate with the Sabbat. MacNeill is a good example of that too (to draw on the Rebel-New Republic EU analogy I mentioned, MacNeill and the Anarch Free States would be the Anarch equivalent of the New Republic... where we see the conflict between 'reformers' and 'radicals' CTPhipps spoke of, to which we can also add the 'realists' - people like Salvador Garcia IMHO.)
                I think Mark Rein Hagen had the idea on display in BAPTISM BY FIRE that the first Anarchs you meet is Juggler and Evelyn. Juggler is not just the first Anarch but the first Anarch SELLOUT you meet as he's almost identical to Modius and following him will end up fucking you over in exactly the same way as following the Camarilla. Evelyn is a good vampire but so is Allicia, really, and there's an answer for what side is the good side in that chronicle.

                The PCs.

                Yes, the game has the option of them following Anita Wainwright or Maldavis maybe but the really best possible leader for the Anarchs is the one you make yourself. I always felt that was an interesting angle as there's no Aragorn, you have to be him yourself.

                Compound that with the idea that each generation is likely to spawn their own iteration of Vampire 'anarchs' which is going to further defy any effort at a coherent history (the previous generation of anarchs are likely to be seen as too establishment for their successors and defy efforts at coordination) and we get a sort of mishmash that is likly to defy easy categorization. The most coherent groups might be the Thin Bloods under Cross (who might draw inspiration from the 'Smiling Jack' lineage of Anarch through Cross, obviously) but whether this has anything to do with their relatively greater humanity or the weakening in the curse in them I suppose is up for debate (its not as if humans aren't prone to falling apart due to tribalism... it's perhaps just less pronounced than in vampires due to their predatory natures.)
                One of the things I liked about Chicago by Night 1st Edition is the fact that the Anarchs were a number of coteries representing different kind of social movements through Chicago. You had Genghis, Damien, and Dickie as the 80s Punks who resisted the Man because that's what they were doing. You had Maldavis, Theodore Dooley, and Anita representing the Civil Rights movement. Before then, you had Joshua Tarponski and Modius representing Socialist Unions of the 1930s. Part of what I disliked about Chicago by Night 2nd Edition was that in addition to wiping out huge chunks of the Anarchs, almost all of the New Anarchs are just stereotypical 80s Anarch stereotypes.

                Probably why the OPP killed them all in offhand references.

                Edit: Oh yes, the Cathayans. I think in terms of them its worth looking at the Bamboo Princes and how their own attitudes might impact a 'rolling back' of the Kuei-Jin elements in Los Angeles (in a sense I've always seen the Kuei-Jin getting 'infected' with the Anarch bug through the Bamboo Princes and the New Promise Mandarinate, which naturally is going to undermine any efforts to impose order on the West. Which seems antithetical to how I remember the Kuei-Jin being depicted back then.)
                I think the Kuei-Jin are kind of a bad idea that people have fiddled around fixing but they really didn't have any idea how to do. For example, San Fransisco by Night has the Kindred of the East ruling over the city as a police state with the idea of local vampires serving as a resistance against THE EVIL ASIAN VAMPIRES. Which doesn't work for many reasons. We also had the early treatment of the Kindred of the East being extraordinarily racist against "normal" Kindred with Ming Xiao demonstrating her utter disdain as well as genocidal tendencies to them.



                Then we have in THE GUIDE TO ANARCHS, they had the Kuei Jin trying to work hand-in-hand with the Anarchs and some of their leaders becoming collaborators like Salvador. They argue that the Kuei Jin show a lot more respect to Anarchs than the Camarilla (what?) and have a much more leveled society (Huh?). I mean, I understand Salvador falling for the Kuei-Jin because he's a Communist Revolutionary and could easily get brainwashed into believing they're into that despite most being far older than Maoism. Still, you have to be crazy to think that the Kuei-Jin are any better than the Camarilla.
                Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-29-2019, 07:33 AM.


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

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                • #23
                  Personally, if I had to canonize any kind of Kindred of the East timeline, I would do it like this:

                  How I did the Wan Kuei Invasion in my campaign

                  Note: I hate the Great Leap Outward as a name and will never use it.

                  The Wan Kuei have their own version of the War of the Ages and with the rising tide of population in the world, more humans were turning into new Kuei Jin than the older ones could control them. Thus, the Chinese Wan Kuei came up with a perfectly devious and evil plan of getting their rebellious Communist and Capitalist childer out of their hair. They decided to do as Henry IV and busy giddy minds in foreign quarrels.

                  The plan basically consisted of using a bunch of rabble rousers to create a populist racist war against the Kindred of the West. All manner of slander, libel, and accusations were directed at the Cainites (some of which was true). They gave the younger vampires a ticket, told them to go invade California, and kill the Foreign Devils who were hideous monsters every bit as evil as the Yama Kings.

                  This, of course, was all bullshit but a surprisingly effective bullshit that worked just fine from the Wan Kuei's perspective. Fighting against the Anarchs eliminated a lot of their extraneous childer and didn't have a likelihood of causing problems for the Wan Kuei at home because the Free States didn't have a way of retaliating against their Chinese enemies. Hell, the Anarchs barely knew they existed beforehand let alone how to combat their influence.

                  The Camarilla and Jade Courts had a few meetings after the initial assumed this was a full-scale invasion. Several large cash payments, exchange of stolen relics, and negotiation via the Tremere in Hong Kong resulted in roughly this being communicated:

                  "No, we're just going after the Anarchs. This isn't an invasion of America."
                  "Oh, well, that's fine."
                  "We know you'll try to take California back."
                  "True, but we'll let you murder the Anarchs first."
                  "Wouldn't have it any other way."

                  Notably, La Croix was selected as an expendable Prince by Lucinde for this exact reason.
                  There were a few higher-ranking Wan Kuei among the invaders but generally, they were like Ming Xiao and had managed to tick off people back in the homeland that this was a kind of exile. Much blood was spilled and it looked like the Anarch Free States would collapse. However, time eventually turned against them.

                  In simple terms, the Wan Kuei have no real gain from holding territory in California since they don't appear there naturally. They can feed on the humans there but domain isn't really as big a deal there since many can feed easier than Cainites. They also weren't going to be getting any of the wealth or power of the Cainites they slew since most Anarchs didn't either. In the end, the Wan Kuei gradually lost of a war of attrition against the Anarchs. The Camarilla managed to briefly step in with La Croix but the death of both he and Ming Xiao resulted in the Anarchs retaking LA.

                  They were, to use a colloquialism, a paper tiger.

                  It was also thoroughly unnecessary too since the elimination of the Ravnos Clan also meant there was plenty of new territory to feed opening up in India, though the local Immortals weren't inclined to let bygones be bygones there either.
                  Anyway, the joke may be on the Jade Courts and Camarilla both as it eventually happened that the surviving invaders finally did stop to talk with the Anarchs after years of brutal warfare. It didn't take much to convince the soldiers on the ground that they'd been had. Mostly because you had to be an idiot not to see the writing on the wall when reinforcements were requested, only to get the response, "Sorry, not our problem" and their passports back to their homeland revoked.

                  The Dance of the Thrashing Dragon devotees and the Anarch Iconoclasts have since come to a bit of an agreement to leave each other alone. They have also cooperated more than any of the Elders of either the Jade Courts or Camarilla would have expected. In simple terms, following the collapse of the New Promise Mandarite, plenty of Wan Kuei gangs now exist in the Anarch Free States indistinguishable from typical Anarch Baronies.

                  How did the Anarch Free States rebuild itself to full power in less than 20 years? Not just the fact Anarchs Embrace faster but the fact Thin Bloods and exiled/immigrant Wan Kuei are supporting the dream. Someday the Wan Kuei of California may repay their elders for their betrayal but right now, making sure any who try to establish business in California suffer is enough.

                  Oh and perhaps helping their friends in Hong Kong who resist the Jade Court's influence...
                  Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-29-2019, 07:44 AM.


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                  • #24
                    I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I wish V5 had kept the Red Question as an active anarch presence. Not because I was fond of them (I agree with everything pointed out by fans and the V5 anarch book, and understand why V5 swept them under the rug) but because they were so aggressively divisive within the community. That's a central aspect to the anarch movement that the new book didn't touch as much as I would like.

                    Also, I'm enjoying this thread. AU made me fall back in love with the anarchs after Bloodlines
                    Last edited by El Barto; 12-29-2019, 12:19 PM.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                      One of the things that I've commented on when dealing with the Anarchs vs. Camarilla is that the former are read often one of two ways:

                      1. They're either a group of valid revolutionaries fighting against a corrupt system.
                      2. They're a bunch of spoiled poseurs accomplishing and signifying nothing.

                      I find a similar issue exists with the Traditions vs. The Technocracy.

                      An interesting story that came up with a game I ran was one where I ran a game in Chicago and did the usual petty bullshit of the Prince as well as Primogen. One of the players later commented that they were stunned by this as the games they'd played in before were all Pro-Camarilla ones where the Prince was the protector of the Masquerade and a guy you were supposed to work for.

                      Them being a petty tyrant and the antagonist was new to them. That surprised me because I always thought the Princes were meant to be antagonists. Guys you are meant to oppose but walked the careful balance of, "Maybe I don't want to try to kill them either because that may result in my life becoming even more complicated."

                      I felt they nailed it in La Croix but think about La Croix is that I've always run ALL my Princes like that while a lot of Bloodlines gamers acted like he was an outlier.

                      Which comes back to my point is, the more oppressive and dangerous the Camarilla is in your game, the less ridiculous the Anarchs seem.
                      It's a good example of how people can treat groups as monolithic even when they aren't. Not just in WoD but also IRL. We know vampire (and other) factions are quite diverse because its often a source of conflict. But human nature - and WoD being a game - mean it can be 'simplified' for gaming convenience, personal bias, or whatever reason. The Anarchs - being highly individualistic - are going to be even more prone to this. Just like in the EU you had Rebels who were actual terrorists, but also very sympathetic Imperials (see: Grand Admiral Thrawn.)

                      I think Mark Rein Hagen had the idea on display in BAPTISM BY FIRE that the first Anarchs you meet is Juggler and Evelyn. Juggler is not just the first Anarch but the first Anarch SELLOUT you meet as he's almost identical to Modius and following him will end up fucking you over in exactly the same way as following the Camarilla. Evelyn is a good vampire but so is Allicia, really, and there's an answer for what side is the good side in that chronicle.

                      The PCs.

                      Yes, the game has the option of them following Anita Wainwright or Maldavis maybe but the really best possible leader for the Anarchs is the one you make yourself. I always felt that was an interesting angle as there's no Aragorn, you have to be him yourself.
                      Most game systems seem to lean in favor of PCs regardless of what the source material because it makes the game enjoyable for players.
                      Warhammer 40,000 has the 'grimdark' narrative where individuals don't matter.' But it rarely applies to players even when they aren't one of the larger-than-life heroes. IIRC it's the 'your guys' philosophy (as in "your guys always matter, because they are 'your' guys.") We've seen that quite a bit in the WoD game systems - especially in the various 'End Times' scenarios. And its even more true in the video/computer games, but it becomes one of those variables that can cause confusion or apparent contradiction.

                      One of the things I liked about Chicago by Night 1st Edition is the fact that the Anarchs were a number of coteries representing different kind of social movements through Chicago. You had Genghis, Damien, and Dickie as the 80s Punks who resisted the Man because that's what they were doing. You had Maldavis, Theodore Dooley, and Anita representing the Civil Rights movement. Before then, you had Joshua Tarponski and Modius representing Socialist Unions of the 1930s. Part of what I disliked about Chicago by Night 2nd Edition was that in addition to wiping out huge chunks of the Anarchs, almost all of the New Anarchs are just stereotypical 80s Anarch stereotypes.

                      Probably why the OPP killed them all in offhand references.
                      That could be more of the 'filtering by gaming necessity.' It's been happening for decades with most games whether they are paper and pencil, computer/video.. or whatever. I mean, look at how computer games go from CRPGS more like D&D to action RPGs (Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.) DND has become increasingly more streamlined as well. I don't see it as a 'bad' thing necessarily from an accessibility perspective, but I'm also somewhat stat obsessed, so that streamlining isn't what I'm used to. Or may even bore me lol.

                      I think the Kuei-Jin are kind of a bad idea that people have fiddled around fixing but they really didn't have any idea how to do. For example, San Fransisco by Night has the Kindred of the East ruling over the city as a police state with the idea of local vampires serving as a resistance against THE EVIL ASIAN VAMPIRES. Which doesn't work for many reasons. We also had the early treatment of the Kindred of the East being extraordinarily racist against "normal" Kindred with Ming Xiao demonstrating her utter disdain as well as genocidal tendencies to them.



                      Then we have in THE GUIDE TO ANARCHS, they had the Kuei Jin trying to work hand-in-hand with the Anarchs and some of their leaders becoming collaborators like Salvador. They argue that the Kuei Jin show a lot more respect to Anarchs than the Camarilla (what?) and have a much more leveled society (Huh?). I mean, I understand Salvador falling for the Kuei-Jin because he's a Communist Revolutionary and could easily get brainwashed into believing they're into that despite most being far older than Maoism. Still, you have to be crazy to think that the Kuei-Jin are any better than the Camarilla.
                      As I've been expanding my reading of the original material (and learning more about the V20/V5 stuff) I find myself treating aloe of the 'Time of Judgement' material in a more 'transformative' manner. Back when it happened, it was portrayed as THE END so that really shaped my thinking. But learning of the V20 (and V5) material and how they've continued after it forced me to abandon that (indeed even some of the later material adopt a 'it happened, but wasn't as bad as feared') viewpoint. And it works because alot of those materials were open ended enough to leave the option for a Storyteller to treat it as a 'new beginning' rather than an 'end'. Gehenna had a few scenarios where your characters could survive and perhaps be a new (different) race of vampires. Given some of the changes between V20 and V5 this becomes an obvious means to explain at least some discrepancies (changes happen, and the 'End Times' stuff did introduce alot of changes. And those changes may still BE continuing. Hence 'transformative.')

                      That has changed how I view certain groups like Hunters, where I see the 'imbued' as simply a variation on faith-based numina (a more complex sort of 'True Faith' or theurgy... which is supported by Dark Ages Inquisitor, DtF, and Hunter: Fall from Grace.) I can also see the same happening with KotE - a 'transformation' where 'eastern' vampires would be 'different' than they were. And there can be lots of reasons - some sort of transformation, or perhaps misinformation (always a possibility). We know the 'eastern vampire' concept went through several evolutions in-game, it could happen in-universe as well. Perhaps they were ALWAYS like Kindred, but had some additional element (something akin to Wraith possession, which in W20 can happen with supernaturals) that created those distinctions. Or, it was simply a different curse. We know Kindred could have ties to both the Risen (ability to learn certain disciplines) just as we know Saulot could 'learn' from the Kuei-Jin (even if the game system tried to deny/dismiss this for Obvious Gameplay Reasons.) Maybe the Gaki (1st edition) were really a thing, got 'changed' for some reason into what Kuei-Jin were, but by the End Times reverted to their original, more kindred-like nature. Factor in a good deal of propoganda and spin doctoring (in part because of Cathayan bias against Kindred) and you can kinda justify the absence of KotE - in one way, at least.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by El Barto View Post
                        I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I wish V5 had kept the Red Question as an active anarch presence. Not because I was fond of them (I agree with everything pointed out by fans and the V5 anarch book, and understand why V5 swept them under the rug) but because they were so aggressively divisive within the community. That's a central aspect to the anarch movement that the new book didn't touch as much as I would like.
                        I think the Red Sign as an active hacker collective of vampires like the Glass Walkers' Monkeywrenchers is probably something that is still extant in my games. There's a lot of things you can do with a bunch of vampire hackers like attack Camarilla corporations, send technologically-active Kindred texts with valuable information, and maybe fuck with the Second Inquisition because they are a group vulnerable just the same way Schrek.net was. I just think they should have been dialed down. It's kind of like how I feel about the True Hand except much-much less offensive with the Red Sign. They're too big and "influential" but not an inherently bad idea.

                        Also, yeah, they are 100% right about the Anarch Movements' failures.

                        Also, I'm enjoying this thread. AU made me fall back in love with the anarchs after Bloodlines
                        Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it.

                        Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post
                        It's a good example of how people can treat groups as monolithic even when they aren't. Not just in WoD but also IRL. We know vampire (and other) factions are quite diverse because its often a source of conflict. But human nature - and WoD being a game - mean it can be 'simplified' for gaming convenience, personal bias, or whatever reason. The Anarchs - being highly individualistic - are going to be even more prone to this. Just like in the EU you had Rebels who were actual terrorists, but also very sympathetic Imperials (see: Grand Admiral Thrawn.)
                        I think one of the issues that the Anarchs ran into was a lack of personality. There's literally hundreds of vampires we can point to in the Camarilla with varying degrees of ties to the organization and the same can be said for the Sabbat. Jan Pieterzoon, the Justicars, the Archons, all of the Princes, the Primogen, and the Elders are heavily invested in the Camarilla. The same for the Sabbat where it's an actual military organization. Everyone in the Sabbat from the most common boots on the ground to the Regent is heavily invested in it.

                        Chicago by Night 1st Edition had a lot of Anarchs and so did Los Angeles by Night but, honestly, not many other books actually had many Anarchs as characters. The Children of the Inquisition, Children of the Revolution (WTH? I just realized that), and plenty of the actual city books just kind of ignore the Anarchs in cities. I mean, there's no serious organized Anarch factions in the Clan Novels, the Transyalvania Chronicles (since they become the Sabbat or don't), the Giovanni Chronicles, and so on.

                        There's just not that many characters that embody the Anarch movement.

                        Most game systems seem to lean in favor of PCs regardless of what the source material because it makes the game enjoyable for players. Warhammer 40,000 has the 'grimdark' narrative where individuals don't matter.' But it rarely applies to players even when they aren't one of the larger-than-life heroes. IIRC it's the 'your guys' philosophy (as in "your guys always matter, because they are 'your' guys.") We've seen that quite a bit in the WoD game systems - especially in the various 'End Times' scenarios. And its even more true in the video/computer games, but it becomes one of those variables that can cause confusion or apparent contradiction.
                        I think a lot of games, including White Wolf ones, have actually screwed this up. As was complained about FORGOTTEN REALMS, they have a lot of major characters that PCs can feel redundant alongside. RAVENLOFT made it impossible to stop the Dark Lords or change the Demiplane of Dread for the better. Abberant also Divis Mal who was literally unkillable and unstoppable so the players were redundant around him.

                        Was it silly in Gehenna that the PCs were fighting Withered Antediluvians? Okay, yes, but it was silly good fun. I also think being political leaders in a city isn't that big of a contrast.

                        That could be more of the 'filtering by gaming necessity.' It's been happening for decades with most games whether they are paper and pencil, computer/video.. or whatever. I mean, look at how computer games go from CRPGS more like D&D to action RPGs (Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.) DND has become increasingly more streamlined as well. I don't see it as a 'bad' thing necessarily from an accessibility perspective, but I'm also somewhat stat obsessed, so that streamlining isn't what I'm used to. Or may even bore me lol.
                        I feel like Bloodlines did the best streamlining of a lot of silly concepts in V:TM to understandable one. They had the Camarilla, Anarchs, Sabbat, and a lot of other crazy concepts all existing side-by-side without problems. I think the Inconnu, Assamites, and Followers of Set were some of the few things that wasn't fit into the story anywhere. Mind you, I think the Cathayans weren't necessarily a great idea but while as stereotypical as they were, I also think that they managed them well because Chinatown also had a lot of other diverse characters who weren't Orientalist stereotypes.

                        Mind you, I can't help but think of the sheer ANGER and incoherent fan rage of CHICAGO BY NIGHT to the plagiarism of Big Trouble in Little China for Chicago in THE BOOK OF CHANTRIES. I mean, it seemed a bit much but I also wonder what the author there was thinking. It's like, "You realize John Carpenter is NOT an obscure director for geeks? I mean, this is not a movie that is an obscure reference. I've seen it literally 2 dozen times and half of those by the time I was twelve."

                        As I've been expanding my reading of the original material (and learning more about the V20/V5 stuff) I find myself treating aloe of the 'Time of Judgement' material in a more 'transformative' manner. Back when it happened, it was portrayed as THE END so that really shaped my thinking. But learning of the V20 (and V5) material and how they've continued after it forced me to abandon that (indeed even some of the later material adopt a 'it happened, but wasn't as bad as feared') viewpoint. And it works because alot of those materials were open ended enough to leave the option for a Storyteller to treat it as a 'new beginning' rather than an 'end'. Gehenna had a few scenarios where your characters could survive and perhaps be a new (different) race of vampires. Given some of the changes between V20 and V5 this becomes an obvious means to explain at least some discrepancies (changes happen, and the 'End Times' stuff did introduce alot of changes. And those changes may still BE continuing. Hence 'transformative.')
                        I think the idea of having some of the Gehenna elements as canonical isn't necessarily a bad idea. I think saying the Withering is canonical and maybe effecting those Methuselahs who stayed behind from the Middle East isn't a bad idea. I mean, limiting Ur-Shulgi to only 5 dots in any Discipline just doesn't make any damn sense. His whole thing is that he's able to do things that no other vampire can do and terrifying on godlike levels. I also like the Cyclical Gehenna and just straight up saying the Gehenna War (whatever it is) is the Gehenna of the past 1000 years and when it's done, things will be settled for the next 1000 years.

                        That has changed how I view certain groups like Hunters, where I see the 'imbued' as simply a variation on faith-based numina (a more complex sort of 'True Faith' or theurgy... which is supported by Dark Ages Inquisitor, DtF, and Hunter: Fall from Grace.) I can also see the same happening with KotE - a 'transformation' where 'eastern' vampires would be 'different' than they were. And there can be lots of reasons - some sort of transformation, or perhaps misinformation (always a possibility). We know the 'eastern vampire' concept went through several evolutions in-game, it could happen in-universe as well. Perhaps they were ALWAYS like Kindred, but had some additional element (something akin to Wraith possession, which in W20 can happen with supernaturals) that created those distinctions. Or, it was simply a different curse. We know Kindred could have ties to both the Risen (ability to learn certain disciplines) just as we know Saulot could 'learn' from the Kuei-Jin (even if the game system tried to deny/dismiss this for Obvious Gameplay Reasons.) Maybe the Gaki (1st edition) were really a thing, got 'changed' for some reason into what Kuei-Jin were, but by the End Times reverted to their original, more kindred-like nature. Factor in a good deal of propoganda and spin doctoring (in part because of Cathayan bias against Kindred) and you can kinda justify the absence of KotE - in one way, at least.
                        In my games, I had it revealed that the Imbued are actually a form of Demon from Demon: The Fallen. They're angels that have escaped from hell but have decided to become full blown Redeemers and going to try to destroy the forces of Hell as well as Oblivion to make up for their past crimes. It could be they're angels from Heaven too but I kind of like that no one knows where they went (same with God).

                        I don't know how they're going to do the Wan Kuei but if they did do it, I'd just make it: "Cainites on Roads of Enlightenment, having lots of Spirit Thaumaturgy, and having Sabbat-esque rituals to drink ki instead of just blood."
                        Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-30-2019, 04:14 AM.


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

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                        • #27
                          Al Swearengen makes for an interesting Anarch model.

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                          • #28
                            Chapter 2 part 1: Anarchs and the Traditions

                            One of the big issues of the Anarchs is the fact that we have an early problem with their vision, specifically, this:



                            WHAT ARE THE ANARCHS REBELLING AGAINST?

                            This is one of the things where the developers seemingly created the rebellious faction against the Camarilla without actually really trying to figure out what the Anarchs were against. It's easy to understand in cyberpunk because the corporations have made the world into a literal hellhole and everyone understands mass poverty even if they have different ideas how to approach it (such as, "fix it" or "get yours and screw everyone else").

                            The problem is the Camarilla's traditions are not particularly onerous. Vampires are not given much in the way of rules. So much so that the Camarilla is probably one of the most permissive governments in the history of everything because, well, you can kill and torture and hemophically assault as much as you want as long as you don't break the Masquerade doing it. You also can't create new vampires without permission and you can't kill another vampire. By using Anne Rice rules, you basically fail to note Anne Rice's rules are an incredibly permissive set of rules.

                            Anarchs Unbound sadly doesn't solve this problem and tries to handle it the wrong way by saying that most Anarchs just want to be able to create and feed where they want. Not exactly the most sympathetic motivations really and it's hard to believe that such would create a centuries-long blood feud between the various Generations of vampires. It also contributes to the feeling of the Anarchs as a bunch of spoiled children since I think most players can agree that more vampires=more trouble for everyone. Domain was also de-emphasized in previous editions so I didn't think, "and if I feed anywhere in Downtown, I'll be beaten or murdered."

                            I feel like the Anarch cause was much better handled in Vampire: The Dark Ages and it's probably why, again, a lot of people went with the Sabbat (even though Modern Anarchs have every bit as much title to being descendants of the First Anarch Revolt as their pseudo-ISIS brethren). In the Dark Ages, Anarchs had a lot of very legitimate complaints:

                            * The Blood Bond
                            * Being used as cannon fodder against the Inquisition
                            * Being forced to serve your sire for centuries after your Embrace.
                            * Your sire having the authority to kill you at will.
                            * The High Clans vs. Low Clan distinction
                            * The Big Kindred Civil Wars (The Omen War for example) that no one actually cared about but the people at the top.
                            * Princes being even more tyrannical, petty, and mouth breather (if they breathed) than they are in the next century.

                            I feel like if you want the Anarchs to make sense in the Modern Nights that you should look back to the Dark Ages and go, "have things really improved all that much?" I mean, there's still plenty of Dominate, Presence, Blood Bonding, casual tyranny, and random executions going on.

                            What the Book Does Say

                            1. Masquerade

                            The Anarchs support this one as without it, it wouldn't be called V:TM. The book mentions some Anarchs would like to be more open about it with their families or close relatives but that's a TERRIBLE idea even to most Anarchs. The only way to keep a secret between three people is if two of them are dead.

                            2. Domain

                            One thing that I like about this book and later V5 is this is expanded a lot longer. Before, it just justified Princes as a concept. Here, it implies that most vampires carve up cities like feudal territories so that everything is claimed. It may sound strange that "every Walmart in Jacksonville, Florida belongs to Marcus Jones" but it's actually a pretty good idea to have the Sheriff come around to beat you up if you had your characters buy a pair of pants there. WITHOUT PERMISSION.

                            Lots of potential storytelling here. I also like how Domain can have romantic and dramatic weight too. Say, if your Domain is the orphanage you run and some Ventrue come in, feed on the children and then kill a few. Wouldn't that piss you off? Domain isn't just who you can feed on. It's who others CAN'T. Generally, though, Anarchs hate the concept and all want to feed anywhere they want. So, the above orphan eaters may be your fellow Anarchs too. "Oh, so you're upset I dominated your sister blowing me? S'all good man, I just did it to ghoul her."

                            I mean, in that respect, fuck the Anarchs.

                            3. Progeny

                            Yeah, all Anarchs want to create new vampires. Unbound postulates that not only are the Anarchs just straight up WRONG about how they go about Progeny (i.e. everyone should be able to Embrace who they want when they want) but they've pretty much backed off of this in any successful Barony to do Group Approval. Which is just the same system as the Camarilla but under the Primogen equivalent. FYI - that's another, "We don't have enough to differentiate Anarch domains" issue. A rulership by Coterie of a territory instead of a Prince isn't exactly new. But yes, a lot of Anarch domains are overpopulated with people turning their girlfriends, boyfriends, grandmothers, and people they used to hang with in high school. They often get into serious fights over and threaten the Masquerade.

                            4. Accounting

                            In GUIDE TO THE ANARCHS, they state that most Anarchs don't think Accounting is worth anything and that basically a sire or childe is not blamed for the others actions. You're Embraced, you're one of us. Here, they reverse that completely and have a lot of Anarchs deeply concerned about making sure a new vampire as educated as possible (say, "indoctrinated") before swearing their allegiance to the cause. I feel this is very out of Anarch-character. I feel like they would not give a fig for Accounting and at most think, "You embraced a real fuckhead, George."

                            5. Hospitality

                            Anarchs talk about this and how that they've been reviving the old two-way system of Hospitality. That if you have guests in your domain that they are expected to behave but also that you're expected to protect them as well. I think this is a bit much and I think most Anarchs would behave with the idea that if you encounter a Kindred in your domain that they don't owe you anything and vice versa. Ships passing in the night is how most Anarchs feel that Kindred travelers should be unless they intend to put down roots.

                            6. Destruction

                            Anarchs HATE this trope and basically all know someone who was killed unfairly by Princes. I think this should have been analyzed more. However, the Barons usually have the power of Final Death over people because Anarchs murder each other all the time. Usually, however, it's a group decision as well as the Prince with a make-shift jury. I think this is actually a lot fairer and one of the few things that the Anarchs have over the Camarilla. Weirdly, that was also how the Primogen and Prince worked in Kindred the Embraced.
                            Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-03-2020, 08:55 AM.


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                            • #29
                              Long Digression on the Tyranny of Princes

                              Basically, I think that Princes should be dickheads. I don't think this is a very controversial statement but it's almost SHOCKING to some players who think of the Prince as the pinnacle of things to aspire to in Vampire: The Masquerade or are used to taking orders in other games. One of the things that many people comment on is that Bloodlines made the Anarchs seem a lot more sensible to players than they had before.

                              A major reason for this is simple: La Croix is an enormous pile of crap.

                              As much as the fact that Nines Rodriguez saves your Neonate's life twice in a row, La Croix is the biggest argument for the Anarchs because he treats you like shit, tries to get you killed, rewards you ONCE if you kiss his ass repeatedly, and dumped you on the street after murdering your sire with only Jack keeping you alive by telling you, "You know, maybe you should nail up some boards on your apartment before you go to bed. Oh and drink blood now too."

                              I feel like the book should have benefited by saying a lot of Princes are more like La Croix than, well, any hypothetical good prince that is just trying to keep the Masquerade. One thing I like about Kevin Jackson in C5 is the fact that for all the fact he's a progressive, intelligent, and capable Prince--he's planning on murdering all but 10 Anarchs in the city. That probably includes most of the Thin Bloods and Caitiff but for the few who are rich enough to buy in.

                              Having it so the Prince wants to kill any Neonate who is not immediately useful to him is a pretty good argument for the Anarchs were the STs to make this a general policy. Earlier editions implied it with the idea that higher generation Kindred were just a pain to most Elders and if you weren't a millionaire art snob, most didn't want you around (and even then--what, you made your money in COMPUTERS? How "new.").

                              Coteries of New York also continues this by having your first night result in you having to bargain for your own life. Basically, you have to enslave yourself to a Toreador elder to survive and if you don't (because there's no Nines Rodirguez), your character will die. You also see them randomly grab a guy under flimsy pretexts, make up a bullshit excuse, and then execute him for (almost) no reason. A good moment in my game was when the Prince did turn the sister of a PC into his Blood Bound slave just to piss them off and show his power over them. Another was when an Anarch Embraced his grandmother because she was dying of cancer and the Prince had them both burned alive to orchestra music while filmed to pass to the Anarchs.

                              Because tyranny requires showmanship.

                              I feel like an Anarch game should have the Sheriff routinely show up to hassle you, possibly have the Prince blood bond or feed on your family, or kill mortal acquaintances at random just as power plays. I mean, they're assholes and you should run them that way if you want to explain to the players, "Why are there so many Anarchs?"

                              But WHY are Princes dicks?

                              Well, that's not just because it's how they're written, it's actually the job requirement. In the Enoch to Dark Ages times, a Prince was just the Lord of a specific domain and however many vampires that lived underneath him that probably didn't exceed 6-10 vampires if you were lucky. Most of the time it would you, your childer, and their grandchilder. It's after the Dark Ages, though, that the Princedom became lord of a much more multicultural collection of Kindred. You had exceptions even before this like Rome, Paris, and so on but they're outliers. Even then, those were Princes like Mithras or Alexander who is like 4th Generation and actual politics don't matter.

                              No, modern Princes are all dicks because the job description calls for it. Because a Prince is selected by the Primogen and Elders of a city (if they exist) to embody Camarilla authority. He has to be someone that people are scared of but also envious of as well. The job of a Prince is, in Modern Nights, to be the Super-Sheriff. He's there to maintain the Masquerade, declare Blood Hunts, and host parties. He's also supposed to be rich, powerful, and intimidating so the young ones know to stay in their place while also why they should want to be the Camarilla. They're figureheads as well as possessed of a limited set of duties.

                              That person CANNOT be nice. Niceness is taken by vampires as weakness and Princes have to make regular examples of people to keep themselves in
                              power. If you don't have a Thin Blood to serve as a wine casque (not a keg like the Sabbat! Don't be gauche) then you will have to find one. You have to also show your wealth and extravangence in a cruel way by providing hordes of beautiful slaves at Elysiums (or dictate that to a Keeper of Elysium--because that's what smart Princes do). You keep the Elders and Neonates in line both by reminding them of the score ala Darth Vader.

                              And even if it's not taken as weakness, Elders don't want to support a Prince who is nice. They want to support someone who lets them get away with literal murder because why wouldn't they? A High Humanity Prince doesn't benefit anyone's bottom line.

                              Second, the simple fact is that crap floats to the top in the Camarilla. The ruthless, ambitious, and less flattering qualities are rewarded while the decent or content don't get punished. You may be a Prince just because you're old enough and it's your turn but most of the time, you want that job and will bribe your way or kill your way--or both--until you have it. Lodin became Prince by overthrowing Maxwell in a coup and its rare the Princedom changes hands without that. Older Elders will dangle their support to a hungry Prince to be in exchange for favors and throw a decent one under the bus because that's how Kindred politics goes.

                              Third, the job will wear down your Humanity even if you don't want it. Keeping the Masquerade means brainwashing people, bribing people, covering up for regular murders by frenzying or dickish Kindred, as well as the occassional outright, "I guess we have to have Bob meet a horrible accident." That's assuming you can also keep yourself from becoming addicted to the perks. Princes have access to wealth, slaves, and power that grinds down even the strongest resolve. Even a just man can be destroyed by power and all vampires have the Beast inside them.

                              For many Elders, a decadent snobbish Toreador or Ventrue who is a petulant child and murderer is one of the best Princes because he's someone they can manipulate. Besides, who is going to abuse? Mortals? Thin Bloods? Anarchs? Who cares. When they get angry, they'll get mad at the Prince not them.
                              Another benefit of the system.
                              Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-30-2019, 09:34 AM.


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                              • #30
                                Modified the Tyranny of Princes article with a second part.


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

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