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[WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

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  • Gryffon15
    replied
    I really do like this overview of the Anarch leaders! Alongside this I would also consider taking a look at Anarch leaders such as the Liberty Party leader of Boston, although I've also considered homebrewing a significant East Coast leader in Philadelphia or another domain elsewhere as well.

    That's something I've mulled a bit and I'll probably have to do more personal research into that myself.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Anarch Leaders suggestions

    Just some notes on the movers and shakers of the Anarch Movement that I think could be useful to gamers.

    ====

    West Coast

    Jeremy MacNeil

    Jeremy MacNeil is a guy who refuses to make the transition from being the figurehead of the Revolution to being the actual leader of it. I think the best way to portray him is someone who is long on rhetoric, ideology, and short on action. You should feel like he's the John Connor or William Wallace of the revolution but who never really wants to step out of his comfort zone to do something against his principles. Ironically, I've always run him as the guy who is Prince of Downtown L.A. and runs it as a ruthless dictatorship. Because even he's not immune to hypocrisy. It's just he can point to all the other domains and go, "Well if you don't like it, leave it." I do draw a bit from Connor Macleod, though, just because he's the obvious "legendary timelost badass who actually gives less of a shit than you'd think."

    Salvador Garcia

    The image of Salvador Garcia is basically different from the reality but it's one that Salvador himself clings to. He's more or less re-imagined himself as Che despite predating the man by a few decades. The romanticized revolutionary version rather than the reality. However, he's been involved in a LOT of revolutions over the past century and he burned out about a 1990 and has been going through the motions ever since. Willingly join the Kuei Jin/Wan Kuei? Probably not. Be glad when the Free States are gone and go somewhere else like Mexico or South America to fight for the Revolution? Maybe even Russia when the Brujah Council returns? Much better.

    Tara

    Rather than portray her as a Benedict Arnold to the Anarchs, I've always had Tara as doing the nuts and bolts work of the Anarch Free States. So much so that her attempt to become a Prince of the Camarilla was actually an attempt to show that a more egalitarian and just rule was possible. Unfortunately, this proved to be the worst possible decision she could have made as those who sit on fences get kicked by both sides. Not only did the Anarchs turn on her with a fury but the Camarilla had no interest in protecting their Traitor Prince.

    Midwest

    Maldavis

    Maldavis is a famous "doomed moral victor" among Anarchs who is only slightly less famous and beloved to MacNeil and Salvador Garcia. However, she has no interest in being involved in actual revolutionary activity anymore. Instead, she serves as a kind of cautious level-headed advisor to many Barons and ideologues. More radical Anarchs dislike her "patient stay the course" diplomatic style but others love her as a direct contrast to other kinds. However, she really is lacking a long term plan and mostly seeks to minimize damage. The irony is that as a Caitiff and enemy of beloved American kiss-up, I mean Camarilla hero, Lodin means that the Camarilla would never deal with her as a potential diplomat to the Movement.

    Juggler

    Juggler is something of a joke in the Movement but a lot more influential than he seems. While the Baron of Gary, he was the leader of Chicago's Anarchs for decades. As such, he's the center of a lot of smuggling Kindred, weapons, propaganda, and weapons throughout the Midwest to as well as from the Free States. Almost all Anarchs who meet him think of him as a consummate sell-out using the Movement to sustain his lavish lifestyle. He's also failed to accomplish almost anything of note AS an Anarch leader. It should also be noted that his "smuggling" business is just a front for Tyler [O'Hara Airport] and Lucian [Lake Michigan]. Notably, it says everything you need to know about Juggler that he's tried and failed to kill Modius of Gary for decades when left to his own devices.

    Blackjack

    Joshua Tarponski is arguably one of the smartest men in the Anarchs. A Unionist and socialist organizer, he's about as far from the usual Anarch stereotype as you're going to get. He's also responsible for large amounts of actual Anarch literature that the Brujah Idealists as well as intelligisia love while more stupid members can't decipher. Capitalism, The Camarilla, and the Oppression of Immortality on Static Social Systems are typical titles of his work. He's a big kindly teddy bear to those he likes but perfectly capable of beating a man to death with his own arm if you tick him off.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-14-2020, 05:26 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Appendix: Antagonists and Allies

    We're coming up on the end now. I appreciate everyone who commented and read.

    This section of the book basically just has a bunch of generic templates for running an Anarch game. To be honest, I don't much care for these however useful they can be. I always prefer providing an actual full-fledged character to put in games. If I need a more generic one then I can substitute Gengis or whoever with their name removed.

    Anarch Futurist

    This is basically an Anarch Elon Musk, who I have frequently considered to be either a Virtual Adept or Syndicate mage. I've also had Peter Thiel as a Thin Blood who feeds on children but that's my games. I like this kind of character as someone who can speak in technology and social justice but has a kind of slimy quality.

    Gang Leader

    A classic of the Anarchs and something that we have plenty of examples of before. I actually like the "storyline" of this one as she's someone who has a lot of contempt for poseur Anarchs who aren't hard enough to pull off life in the concrete jungle.

    Molotov

    Every revolutionary movement needs its professional terrorists. Molotovs are the urban commandos and saboteurs of the Anarchs. They show up to make things very difficult for the Camarilla then move onto the next domain. I like the description of them as "foreign agitators" who exist to force the Camarilla to make accomodations to the Movement. CBN's Sweetie Pepper would make a good one I think if he could ever calm down long enough to get involved on a state-level.

    Cleaver

    The Anarchs have a weird fascination with Cleavers and I've never quite gotten why. The Anarchs may not care about many Traditions but they certainly care about the Masquerade. Also, I think that unless you're a Thin Blood, hanging around your family is STUPID rather than sweet. Because eventually you're going to Frenzy and then you're going to have even more to angst over. Seriously, no one can get on your last nerve more than those who love you.

    Sect Infiltrator

    A Sabbat infiltrator is the model but this could apply to the Camarilla too or even an Independent Clan if they're sufficiently powerful. Certainly, I always wanted to have some Giovanni among the Movement as I think they'd appreciate escaping from the toxic environment better than most.

    Old Volunteer

    I really enjoy the story of this one because it talks about how he was an Anarch who was there for a "glorious victory" of the Movement only to be betrayed when his boss turned out to be no different than the previous one. He still believes in the Movement but is deeply cynical about its ability to make any real change. Solid writing there.

    Hacktivist

    I feel like a coterie of Red Question characters would have been better for this book than just this sample character, who isn't even associated with the RQ. However, that's complaining about a dog not being a cat.

    Legate

    A Nosferatu diplomat that is used by the Anarchs to keep the various Barons in line. Basically, the tendency to tyranny and hypocrisy is endemic to every one of the sects. However, the fact is that you now know TOO much and your bosses may be working to get rid of you.

    Elder Anarch

    A character that I really like. An ex-slave and revolutionary who has fought the long fight for both mortals as well as vampires. The problem is that they're now old enough to look at modern Anarchs and see a bunch of spoiled entitled children who know nothing of real suffering. They are considering hanging more with other Elders, even if they're former oppressors, because at least they understand.

    Baron

    In this case, it's a Navajo code-talker in WW2 who got Embraced. They have NO loyalty to the Anarch cause but their age and comparative power plus military ability means they're able to organize things into a coherent gang underneath them. I would have gone for something slightly different for a Baron. Juggler seems like the iconic Baron for me even if he only became one after Dust to Dust.

    The Accords of the Anarch Movement

    Some nice little in-universe documents about THE CONVENTION OF THORNS, THE STATUS PERFECTUS, and THE TREATY OF TYRE. Nothing really new here but you can photocopy these things and use them as handouts pretty well.

    Review

    And we're done!

    Solid and entertaining book throughout with a lot of insight into the Anarchs that helped transform them from a collection of rebels without a clue to some dangerously deluded revolutionaries that are every bit as monstrous as the Sabbat when they're not the best hope that the undead have.

    Gracias, everyone!

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Six: The Storyteller's Toolbox

    The Values of Symbols

    The Anarchs love their symbols and they're things that are innate to the Movement. This section encourages things like metaphorically having the player's Irish Pub haven thrive when its good times and fail during bad. Also, uses an example of a Prince's wife that gets her heart tattooed when they seduce her. Oddly, it doesn't address things like martyrs and epic battles that an Anarch's revolutionary spirit may produce.

    The Intellegentsia

    The Brujah are thinkers and philosophers as well as warriors with the revolution often driven forward by the educated. This talks about remembering that not all Anarchs are idiots. Sadly, so few of them are portrayed as smart guys that I actually think the Ministry joining them is about the only way the fandom could believe that the Movement was a threat. Say what you will about the Followers of Set but they've never been dumb.

    The Loyal Opposition

    This is a terrible set of examples that speak for themselves as they are not remotely "loyal" opposition. "Every Stalin has his Trotsky; for every Jeremy MacNeil,
    there’s a Tara lurking in the shadows." I don't think I even have to explain what is wrong with these two examples. In any case, the Anarchs have a lot of Civil Wars among themselves for ideaological purity versus pragmatism.

    Sheep Among Wolves

    The Anarchs are much closer to humans than the Sabbat or Camarilla. The Anarchs are actually weakened by this because they often attempt to live among humans. Vampires are parasites and attempt to live among "normal" humans only result in things getting needlessly complicated. You are either predator or prey, no exceptions. I liked that.

    Morality and the Anarchs

    The Anarchs are hypocrites. This is what this section is about. The Anarchs are against the feudal system of the Camarilla but very often act like psychopaths defending their own little tiny pieces of turf. I didn't need this spelled out but I'm glad that they did. An Anarch game where they are the "good guys" loses a lot of appeal.

    The Religious Anarch

    Before THE CAMARILLA book, the Anarchs were actually more religious than the Camarilla and less religious than the Sabbat. The Anarchs have many people who are religious in traditional Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and so on. The Anarchs of the Deep South also tend to be more religious than their coastal compatriots.

    Anarchs and Paths of Enlightenment

    Anarchs can and do have a few of their people on Paths of Enlightenment but due to the fact the Anarchs tend to be closer to Humanity than Camarilla vampires, this actually makes them outliers in the sect. It's not forbidden like in the Camarilla but it means that you are often out of step and the crazy person they only call upon in extreme situations (or use to infiltrate the Sabbat).

    There's also something called Ability Communes that seems to work like Contacts but is needlessly more complicated.

    Review

    This is a section devoted to the concept of providing Storytellers ideas for which to expand on and write about. This chapter has a lot going for it but it seems more like it should be in a different chapter. This feels like it'd discussing the intellectual roots of the Anarchs and its ideas, which is something that doesn't have much to do with Storytelling. I feel like this section really needed "How do I run an Anarch campaign", "Who do Anarchs fight", and so on.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Unless anyone has any objections, after I finish this up, I'll start up a WIR of THE CHICAGO FOLIOS and LET THE STREETS RUN RED.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Five: Anarch Disciplines

    I'm more or less going to skip over this one because I don't really have much to say about the new powers provided here. Some of them are interesting and useful but others I don't think really have much purpose. Slenderman is the most useful with a combination of Auspex and Obfuscate being able to short out any attempts to take a Kindred's picture. The thing is, I'm pretty sure that should be a function of Obfuscate by itself. It also has a very powerful Viccissitude power for breaking the Blood Bond that I think is too heavy to actually be useful. Aside from Vykos and Rustovich, I don't think many Anarchs or Sabbat will be using it versus the Vaulderie anyway.

    Sadly, missing here is the Thaumaturgy rituals that would allow a person to hide their internet servers and websites from mortal. I think that those would have been the most useful to include in all of this and they're conspicuously absent. They should be low level ones but ones that should have had the effect of a invisible ink.

    Some suggestions off the top of my head?

    Magic Eye Coding (Thaumaturgy 1, Computer 3)

    This simple and easy to learn ritual causes a website to become an empty domain to anyone but vampires viewing it. It only works for that one domain but everyone else will see INTERNAL ERROR 501 or some other code in its place. This has proven an extremely powerful boon to the Anarchs in the spreading of their message. Notably, the code is still there and if transferred would appear normally. Unfortunately, some Anarchs have also discovered that non-vampire supernaturals are able to see it as well.

    Domain Ward (Thaumaturgy 3, Computer 3

    This is a stronger version of Kindred Technomancer creation. In simple terms, a website cannot be accessed by any person that is not a vampire. It serves as a ward buried inside the code and if it is accessed by someone who is not a vampire then their computer will crash (sometimes just the website). This does nothing to prevent Kindred from accessing it who might be an enemy like the Camarilla or Sabbat but works wonders for protecting the Masquerade.

    Mailer Dameon (Thaumaturgy 5, Computer 4)

    "There's a demon in the internet."
    -Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    A good reason for the Tremere to be worried about the Anarchs and technology, this is a ritual that was created by Harold Zettler the decidedly non-Anarch Malkavian Blood Magician in conjunction with severe Tremere Antitribu. Somehow, it ended up going from Sunburst Computers to a friend of a friend until it landed in the hands of several Anarchs. Several bad knock-offs and failures have since happened but a few masters have managed to replicate it. Basically, it summons a demon into the internet and sets it to guard your data and go after anyone accessing it who doesn't. If a spy attracts the ire of the demon they can have their credit cards hacked, their cellphones explode, lights turn against them, and other horrible electronic accidents.

    Even those few Anarchs capable of using this note that it relies on a lot of knowledge that most don't have like, for instance, what the hell is a corrupted Weaver spirit?

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Some suggestions for things they could have put in CHARACTERS AND TRAITS:

    New Skills

    Anarch History

    A revolution that does not remember its past will not succeed in its future.
    ----
    * You know who MacNeil, Tyler, and Salvador are. Vaguely.
    ** You know about the First Anarch Revolt and some of the ties between sects.
    *** You could probably teach a college course on Anarch history.
    **** You know the broad scope of Anarch history worldwide and the history of individual domains.
    ***** The Camarilla wants to recruit you no matter what your crimes are.

    Possessed by: Gangrel storytellers, Brujah Idealists, Camarilla agents, Sabbat Priests

    Astroturf

    You are capable of wielding the power of the people against your enemies--with the right push.
    ----
    * You can conjure up a few guys with protest signs on demand.
    ** You can make a decent sized crowd outside of a store or movie premiere.
    *** You can make a cause a burning concern for your city's local news.
    **** The state government will be forced to hear your complaints, no matter how nonsensical.
    ***** You can stroke the fears of Soccer Moms across the nation.

    Possessed by: Anarch Elders, Lobbyists, Internet Trolls, Corporate Shill, Fixers

    Slander

    Not all Anarchs fight with Uzis and Molotovs. A sharp-wit is better than a grenade in the Camarilla.
    ----

    * You can trash talk with the best of them.
    ** Rumors dog your enemies that are not easy to get rid of.
    *** You can destroy lives with a well-timed accusations.
    **** Toreador Elders and you have a lot to talk about.
    ***** Princes can fall upon the sort of stories you tell about them.

    Possessed By: Tabloid writers, Gossips, Toreador of all stripes, Anarch agitators, Agent Provocateurs, Bloggers

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Four: Characters and Traits

    This is a section that will be easier to handle than all of the lore because it is about the crunchy element of creating an Anarch character that requires far less discussion. Really, it just opens us up with some of the easy bits of, "Why is your Anarch rebelling", "What's his concept?", and "What kind of archetype do they follow?" Then backgrounds, merits/flaws, and so on.

    Strangely, there's no New Skills for this and I really would have thought they'd have created some new ones like Anarch Lore, Tagging, Demolitions, Riot Creation, and so on.

    Backgrounds

    Anarch Information Exchange

    The Anarchs turn out to have a much better idea of what's going globally than anyone save possibly the Nosferatu. This allows Anarchs to know what's going on in California, London, Vienna, or other parts of the world. It's a solid ability for those who want a more globalized and united vampire society. Ironic, given that's what the Camarilla is about.

    Anarch Status

    Pretty self-explanatory and really doesn't need to be talked about at length. I have always wondered what sort of characters start with Status 5, though. Have you ever started as a Prince, Baron, or someone who is famous among all the Kindred of the City as a Neonate?

    Armory

    Something that came over from HUNTER: THE RECKONING and something I'm very glad about it. Armory is an ability I've always liked even though I expect gun laws in the World of Darkness are even more relaxed than in our world. I've had more than a few characters who have started with walls full of submachine guns and katanas hidden away.

    Communal Haven

    Another ability that the Anarchs, like the Sabbat, can all pour into this. You have a haven that is shared by your coterie and you can put the money into luxury, security, or size. Personally, I think havens are things the ST should be flexible about. Yes, I know player characters who envision something like a Bond villain and have had some ridiculous suggestions but I think mostly that a haven should be allowed with appropriate resources or maybe just a 1-3pt merit. This seems like it would be a point sink.

    Humanity

    Just how humane are the Anarchs? This section kind of splits the difference by suggesting that some Anarchs are VERY humane and idealistic while others are huge sons of bitches. My inclination is that the Anarchs are a study of extremes. When they're all in on being "good guys" they're all in and when they're bad, they're very bad. It also states that there's some Path followers among the Anarchs due to defecting Sabbat or a few people who picked them up from other esoteric places (I'm mentally thinking, "It means Ravnos on the Path of Paradox and no one else.")

    New Merits and Flaws

    Always a favorite until Loresheets came around.

    Peacemaker

    You're very good at making peace. Something that I think Maldavis should possess but her depiction in V5 shows her as someone who is far less inspiring than she used to be and outright dismissive these days.

    Prized Patch

    This is a reference not to having choice domain in a city but that you belong to a famous Anarch gang ala the Sons of Anarchy. Which is a good inspiration for Anarch conflicts, IMHO. Just replace the ATF with the Camarilla and the conflict between Clay and Jax with one between Iconoclast versus Idealistic Brujah.

    Soapbox

    Oddly, not a flaw but stating your Anarch has a way of disseminating their ideology and rants to a large number of Kindred. Effectively, it is the merit for allowing your player character to have a blog or newsletter that other Anarchs bother to read.

    Sugar Daddy

    You are the mistress or boytoy of another sect's high-ranking member. It doesn't have to be sexual but basically they look out for you despite the difference of you. Oddly, this is the merit that Victor would have with Fiorenza before he took her Loresheet.

    Expiration Date
    A lesser version of Dark Fate (5pt) in the fact the Kindred has successfully managed to burn any and all bridges they have with everyone around them. Worse, they're also reckless and dangerous so they will eventually get themselves killed. I liked this but I feel like it's more a personality than a flaw.

    Black Sheep

    The player character is a disgrace on a prestigous and noble bloodline. Maybe you're one of Lodin's children or even Jan Pieterszoon. They don't necessarily want to kill you outright but theyt may want to drag you back to the Camarilla, Blood Bond, or Dominate you into behaving.

    Experience Points

    Just some suggestions to awarding extra ones if your Anarchs are particularly crafty and wild.

    Review of this Chapter

    A little weak to be honest. I feel like it could have had more interesting Backgrounds, Merits/Flaws, and at least a few New Skills. Guide to the Technocracy is my gold standard for using Character Creation to inform a group.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Three review

    Well, I think this chapter did a good job of establishing the Red Question and what their criticism of the "Old School" Anarchs are. I've said my criticisms of them before so there's no need to repeat them. I also note that I don't think "overthrowing the Prince" should be the focus of every Anarch chronicle. I think there should be other chronicles where they just survive, establish their domain, or whatnot.

    I think the short stories were really well done and give some of the best flavor for the book that we're going to find. The idea that the Anarchs are kind of screwed because their leadership will eventually become less idealistic, corrupt, and then turn into the same sort of hoary old Elders who rule the Camarilla. It's not a pleasant thought but works well as a sign that this is fundamentally a horror game.

    Anyway, a solid chapter and now up for No. 4#

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Three: Spreading the Movement part 3

    Computer Stuff

    A good chunk of this chapter is taken up giving the history of Kindred and the internet. Basically, the Nosferatu were there from the very beginning, creating their own communications network back when the internet was just operated by the military. The Nosferatu then proceeded to expand their networks into the Schreck.net that we know and love. The Elders get annoyed at this and try to shut it down but run up against Nosferatu soft power. From there, the Anarchs start developing their own satirical aps and systems that allow them to organize on a national level. Most of these have special magical properties that allow them to only show up to Kindred and never to mortals. The fact they're named Fangster, Bloodspot and the Anarch Free Press doesn't help them. When I think of Brujah names, I don't think of puns.

    That's more an Eric and Bill from True Blood thing.

    I have to admit this part is my least favorite in the book because a large part of it is based around the idea the Anarchs have created a "human proof" system. Hunter.net was established along similar lines but they have the protection of the Messengers who may actually be literal angels protecting an internet server. I think the Anarchs are much less likely to be able to pull something like this off than, say, the Virtual Adepts or Technocracy. Hell, the frigging Glass Walkers are much more likely to do this.

    I'm inclined to think that if I were to run a V20 Anarch game with a heavy focus on computers (something that is a big if by itself) that I would just make it so that the Anarchs have security that is entirely mundane. It doesn't even have to be that complicated and could just a series of questions that only Kindred could answer. "Name the 13 Clans" [Obvious], "What is an Anarch leader called?" [Baron], "Who is the biggest asshole in any Camarilla city?" [The Prince]

    I find it better than suggesting the Anarchs have magical websites that only they can see. Interesting fact, it says here that Hunter.net (though it's never called that) was eventually taken down by the Camarilla. I assume that meant the Messengers got what they wanted or were defeated since I only think the Baali could have banished them and I doubt the Camarilla was employing them.

    Why We Fight

    This is arguably the best section of the book as they're four short stories that give different perspectives on the Anarch movement.

    Thomasina Payne

    Thomasina is a Brujah Anarch who has successfully overthrown the Tremere Prince of Perth and turned him into a pyre. She's immediately settling down to the business of building a new Anarch Barony, only to be not-so-gently chided about what a "Anarch Free State" consists of. Thomasina basically ends up describing a Prince, Primogen, and the Six Traditions in how she's going to run her city. Thomasina isn't a fool and actually manages to deflect the accusation by freeing her neonate and making her feel gratitude while never addressing her concerns. She then admits to the ashes of the Prince that she'll probably get overthrown herself eventually.

    I fucking LOVE this story. Beautiful encapsulation of the Anarchs and the cycle of war, peace, and revolution.

    Andy Sullivan

    A story about an IRA-affiliated Brujah who is dealing with the fact that the mortal conflict of the Troubles is something that he's essentially aged out of. I found this section to be honestly a bit tasteless even if I agree with the idea it's an interesting subject. Eventually, the conflicts of a vampire's youth are going to vanish even if they seemed eternal while alive. Unfortunately, the dialogue sounds very much like someone is parodying how Irish people talk. Specifically, a Englishman making fun of Irishmen, which makes it even funnier.

    Monica Chang

    Monica Chang is a supposedly badass member of the Red Question who manages to trick a Tremere coming to kill her into getting killed himself after a failed attempt by the latter to seduce her. She proceeds to film the entire affair and put it on the internet. While it's a bit try hard, I actually liked this as a way of showing how nasty and dangerous the Red Question could be. This is notably ripped HARD in The Anarchs supplement. Basically, they actually took a few paragraphs to say "Wow, this LUNATIC filmed herself murdering another Kindred and then put it on the net. No wonder the Red Question is no more."

    I'm assuming she's either on the Red List or up there now. Probably for the following:

    * Breaking the Masquerade
    * Breaking the Sixth Tradition
    * Being the only Red Question member whose identity is known [and thus being someone they can come down on]
    * Being a renegade Tremere Thaumaturge
    * Being a Technomancer who, in my game, would be the only one who COULD create the Red Question's magic doohickeys.

    Hector Juarez

    This is a fairly good story about an Anarch gang that has succumbed to a corrupt Baron. A bunch of Latin American bikers have taken over the city of Bakersfield and their leader has since set himself up as the local drug lord as well as various other criminal enterprises. However, this has disillusioned one of his lieutenants who has since Embraced two of his ghouls (against his will). Said lieutenant wants to flee with a chunk of money he's entitled to. It ends poorly for said lieutenant but not in the Final Death for him or his neonates.

    I really like this because it's another good Anarch corruption story. I do find it says a lot about the Brujah that, "We could turn Bakersfield into a Second Carthage!" was apparently an idea that this gang took seriously.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Three: Spreading the Movement part 2

    The second part of the chapter is talking about the best ways for Anarchs to undermine the Princes and Camarilla. It's a bit like the Anarch Cookbook as published by Salvador Garcia but a bit more focus on subtlety rather than violence.

    Tyrant Princes

    Tyrant Princes are those Princes who rule absolutely as opposed to ones who are abusive. Indeed, Marcus Vitel is held up as the perfect example of a Tyrant Prince as he ruled Washington D.C. without any real rivals or Primogen to reign him in. This is notable because, yes, duh, he was 2000 years old and YOU CAN DO THAT when you're a Methuselah. However, it's also notable that he was able to do this despite a Pontifex of the Tremere living inside the city as well. Notably, it doesn't mention that Marcus Vitel was a Lasombra infiltrator with ties to the Sabbat or the fact that it was the Camarilla who killed him. That's because V20 is metaplot agnostic, though, and it kind of makes this book iffy. The book has a lot of developments for canon on its own but none of those are related to any of the changes of Revised as they didn't happen.

    Essentially, the advice for bringing down Tyrant Princes is that you should do the opposite of what most Anarchs would think and play it cool. The best way to take down a Tyrant Prince is to toe the line and work your way into their confidences in order to undermine them from within. They'll eventually slip up because they have to do all of their business themselves.

    Weak Princes

    Oddly, rather than using Modius as an example of a weak Prince (Modius is the WEAKEST prince--because no one wants his domain and he could be a respected Elder in Chicago or virtually any other city) but Lodin himself. The Red Question win some respect from me because they note that Lodin was just the puppet of a bunch of powerful Elders/near-methusalehs/Critias that was more or less designed to take all the heat for the Camarilla's cruelty in Chicago. Lodin had almost a dozen childer but he was still weaker than a lot of Princes because all of his actions could overruled by a simple majority from his Elders.

    The Red Question states that this is actually harder to deal with than a tyrant Prince because "A weak Prince usually means a strong Primogen." If you kill Lodin and many of us players and Storytellers have over the years, that just means that the Primogen will select a new Prince. I stated that for the fifteen years or so after Chicago by Night 2nd Edition, Critias was effectively Prince of Chicago even if he was "first among equals" in the Primogen. Because when you're twice the age of everyone else then you are the Prince.

    The Red Question advises the best way to take down Weak Princes is to play the Elders against one another as they're likely to be at each other's throats.

    Besieged Princes

    When a Prince is on the verge of collapse, the Red Question advises you to put up the heat and this is the time when Anarchs should start taking direct action. Assemble all the disenfranchised Kindred in the city and prepare to seize the city for yourself. Notably, it suggests that some Princes may actually decide to throw their lot in with the Anarchs. It's weirdly uncritical of this and acts like "same boss, different sect" is somehow an accomplishment--which I think would have made an interesting twist if it turned out the Red Question was headed by an Elder of some kind. Sadly, we find out that the RQ is almost certainly Bobby Weatherbottom and a handful of other hacker-friendly Kindred versus something more sinister. It does explain how they knew Lodin was a puppet, though, as Bobby would know.

    Anarchs and the Sabbat

    Yes, the Anarchs turn out to have agents in the Sabbat as well as the Camarilla. The Anarchs infiltrating the Sabbat have done so by, essentially, just showing up one day in their cities and acting like complete assholes. As long as they use the proper lingo of "pack" and are willing to kill indiscriminately and solve every problem with guns, knives, Disciplines, or fists then they essentially have no difficulty fitting right in. It doesn't mention that, presumably, the Anarchs in the Sabbat domains would be expected to partake in the Vaulderie. That kind of puts a crimp on things and am surprised that it wasn't addressed even if the answer is, "The Vaulderie makes you less likely to want to kill the other Sabbat but no more likely to believe in the philosophy of the Black Hand." Anarchs BELIEVE after all and that might actually be an advantage they have over Camarilla agents.

    This section also establishes 90% of Anarchs or at least the vast majority of them think Gehenna is a crock of shit and while the Antediluvians may exist, they're almost certainly in permanent torpor. Oh you sweet Summer childes.

    The Sheriff reading this comments the Camarilla could probably get more done against the Sabbat by financing the Anarch infiltrators than their own failed infiltrations--but they'd probably have to have people who pretended to be Anarchs because many Anarchs would refuse such aid outright even if it was practical.

    Anarchs and the Free States

    Basically, this section says that a lot of Anarch domains could use their own revolutions because the Elders of them grow hard and tyrannical like the Camarilla's. This section also throws a lot of shade at Jeremy MacNeil and Salvador Garcia, which I admit are two of my favorite bits in the entire book. The RQ correctly states that Jeremy MacNeil's belief in absolute anarchism prevents any sort of government from arising in the Anarch Free States that might successfully defend itself or spread beyond the California borders.It also says that Salvador is stuck in the Spanish Revolution and projects Franco onto all of the Princes that he fights. Which is more a Requiem thing than a V:TM thing as I'm pretty sure that vampires CAN change from who they were while Embraced in V:TM--it's just not easy.

    The Camarilla Sheriff who opened the chapter takes time to be amused at the level of vitriol thrown at Salvador and Jeremy. Sadly, there's no mention of other leaders like Maldavis.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Three: Spreading the Movement part 1

    This chapter is largely focused on the Red Question, which is a group that I have mixed feelings on and have stated so previously in the thread. I do think that V5 effectively erasing them from the game True Hand in Revised-style was a bit much, though. Even if causing the 2008 Financial Crisis is a little weird to hold as a point of pride (the rich got richer and the poor got poorer), I felt like they were set up to be THE NEXT BIG THING in Anarchy when hacktivism was already on its way out compared to other grass roots work. The internet has proven to be something that is easily exploitable by tyrants and "the enemy" as well as freedom fighters.

    A big issue I have with the Red Question, again, is the fact that it effectively requires a Tremere high level Thaumaturgy and Computer scores. There's a lot of things described that allow a "vampire-only" internet that seems to always default back down to, "It can't be found by mortals due to magic." I feel like Thaumaturgy is so uncommon and technomagic especially so that this strains credibility versus "They have really good security due to mundane technology." There's also the fact that the Red Question suffers the fact that it's a very Western white privilege form of activism (Arab Spring aside) where the assumption is the Anarchs are at home with their larger computers and heavy online social media presences. Most vampires, by nature of their existence, are going to be extroverts and unable to spend much time online since they have to feed every night.

    Either way, it's not so much that I dislike the Red Question but I feel like it should have been one of several groups that defined "The New Anarchs." I also regret that they were removed from the universe in THE ANARCH and said to have collapsed.

    Why Do You Obey?

    This chapter opens up with a Camarilla Sheriff interrogating [implied to be torturing] an Anarch of the Liberty Club [see Boston] that received a copy of the Red Question documentation. She doesn't remember a lot of it and apparently has had it wiped from her mind when they tried to explore further. I feel like this is another way of making the RQ bigger than it should be since this is some very strong Elder powers at work. Also, there doesn't strike me as much need to hide this document from Elders since the ideas aren't really THAT radical or innovative. They're pretty much the same as "The Anarch Manifesto" that they mock.

    The Red Question states that the reason the Anarchs have achieved any success against the Camarilla and Sabbat is generally when they're distracted by other mundane or mortal concerns. It speaks at length about how the internet is the ultimate equalizer to Anarchs versus Elders (which is a bit much as I've said) with a dismissive attitude to the fact shotguns and automatic weapons are probably a bigger thing helping Neonates against Elders. It says that everyone who has received this information was "chosen" by the Red Question, apparently giving them knowledge of a lot of Kindred.

    Anarchy and How to Spread It

    This speculates the reason that the Camarilla doesn't go after every Anarch they find is because the Convention of Thorns specifically forbids anyone from being persecuted because they are an Anarch. This seems to be a bit silly to me because the vast majority of Princes in the New World and many other places aren't old enough to have been at Thorns like it says. I feel like most Princes are "light" on Anarchs simply because Anarchs tend to be a sleeping giant they would be reluctant to wake up. Also, that in many places, Princes ARE actively plotting against them.

    One bit of nuance I wasn't expecting was the discussion that Don Sebastian of Los Angeles (6th Generation Toreador) was actually one of the worst Princes of the Camarilla. I've always run my Princes generally as a bunch of petty tyrants and psychopaths so it was surprising to find out Don Sebastian got called out for this as an abnormality. So much so that the Justicars were considering killing him because he was a racist, violent, petty, and above all stupid lunatic prone to Masquerade violations [this is all true to his description in Los Angeles by Night]. The Camarilla actually didn't move initially because they all agreed he had to go and their society is pretty Darwinist.

    It's just when a vampire overthrows a Prince, they're SUPPOSED to just declare themselves Prince afterward and if MacNeil had then things would have been business as usual.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-11-2020, 01:45 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    This may shock you but I really fell behind in my WIR on this. So much so that the hardback copy of THE CHICAGO FOLIOS has since come out and LET THE STREETS RUN RED is now in layout. They're both books that I started this re-read on in order to kill time until the release of. So, oops. However, it re-inspired my love of Anarchs enough to write my various Anarch essays on my blog. I'm going to have to do some more of those but I still want to finish this one up before I do my dual WIR of THE CHICAGO FOLIOS/LET THE STREETS RUN RED.

    So let us begin anew with Chapter Three: Spreading the Movement

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  • Reasor
    replied
    I could see introducing a new NPC to be the vampiric Jane Goodall. Netchurch's "medical experiments on live captives" approach is important to retain - both for his character as a horror figure, and for what his continued existence says about the patrons within the Camarilla who finance his atrocities.

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  • Mister_Dunpeal
    replied
    If we wanted to take a different approach to the 'Anarch' idea, one thing that occured to me rereading Time of Thin Blood (and parts of Becket's Jyhad Diary at the time) was that Caitiff in general (and not just Thin blooded) represented some sort of 'evolution' of the Vampiric curse (its not 'truly' evolutionary the way NetChurch thinks of things, but nothing says that there can't be changes or 'mutations' of a sort) perhaps because in various ways the curse of Caine (and the way its tied to bloodlines) is weakening and that 'Anarchs' in a sense (not just thin blood again, but all caitiff) represent the 'future' of vampires.

    Naturally some in the Camarilla wouldn't embrace this idea (even fear it) and have a vested interest in purging the Anarch 'uprising' lest they be supplanted (indeed the biases against Caitiff and Thin Bloods may stem from this ancient fear of being supplanted. Its not as if the Camarilla hasn't had a structure designed to keep the elders in control at the expense of the 'lesser' vampires) The Stone Man then becomes a sort of revolutionary figure (think of a uber-Smiling Jack) who might be considered the 'first' Caitiff (or at least the first who SURVIVED long term, hence the mythical status akin to what the Baali progenitor has) Likewise the Sabbat aren't likely to be fond of Anarchs because they're seen as a rejection of the Vampiric 'way' they have made the core of their existence (its something that challenges their power AND identity, so obviously they're going to see it as a threat the same way the Camarilla do.)

    This does strike me as drawing a bit on the Blade movie mythos (possibly appropriate due to CTPhipp's reference to Deacon Frost) or even Underworld (which had its own 'genetic' overtones and you had the 'origin figure' too) but I'm not sure it would be a bad thing.

    I can totally see Netchurch willingly pulling a Jane Goodall with the caitiff/thinbloods just to further his own research (And the problems that creates. Reminds me a bit of the intro story we got with Gehenna in fact.)

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