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[WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Ravnos in the Anarchs

    I feel like one of the biggest issues with the Ravnos is the fact that they were deliberately written in such a way as to make them unable to deal with other sects when they don't actually seem like they would be that hard to fit into any of the sects. They were written as the "Outcast" clan but the thing is the Ravnos aren't particularly possessed of any qualities that would make them Outcasts.

    They're a bunch of criminals isn't going to be much of an issue in a society where almost every vampire engages in criminal behavior as a daily basis. The undead of the Camarilla are based on crime families as well as feudal ones. The fact they hate authority makes it weirder because one of the major sects is devoted to being independent of authority and fighting the man. Is there any reason the Ravnos aren't all in with the Anarchs? I mean, aside from the fact Revised has a weird idea that the Anarchs didn't exist?

    Seriously, the Ravnos should be one of the major groups as part of the original Anarch Revolt and they could be a pillar of the Sabbat the way the Brujah Anititribu or Panders are. However, they're almost treated as an afterthought there even though their presence shows that they can get along well with others. You could even do a decent War of Ages between the Ravnos who are part of the Anarchs and Sabbat against the ultra-conservative pseudo-religious sect in India that just needs its own name. This is actually pretty much canon in Ravnos Revised but the Clan Novel takes the side of the ultraconservatives for some reason despite the fact most people genuinely think caste systems are horrifying.

    In my games, the First Anarch Revolt is actually the reason for the Ravnos "bad reputation" versus any innate quality of the Ravnos themselves. The Ravnos were part of the original Anarch revolt against the Elders with the Lasombra, Brujah, Tzimsice, and Assamites. They helped themselves to the diablerie and the aid of their fellows while using their illusions to assist in the destruction of the old order as well as fool the Inquisition.

    The thing is, when the Convention of Thorns happened, the Ravnos chose to opt out. They sent no delegates to it and simply faded back into society. This proved to be a mistake as the various vampires divided themselves into sects while forming a community far vaster as well as more interlocked (at least in Europe) than anyone expected. If you weren't Camarilla, you were Sabbat, and there was no room for the Independents. Since the Ravnos had not become Camarilla members, many Princes took the option of enacting revenge upon them for the sins of the Anarchs that were now untouchable.

    It would not be until the 19th century that the Camarilla would journey with the British Empire and discover the Ravnos of India were, much to their surprise, an ultra-conservative sect of religious as well as military caste leaders that rivaled the Tremere in terms of absolute control they exerted over their followers. The Ravnos encountered in Europe were uniformly refugees or the outcasts of their sect. Attempts to treat them the same way as their European counterparts ended up with 4th and 5th generation Ravnos banishing Camarilla Elders to eternal nightmares or hells with powers rivaling the Methuselahs of Dark Age Europe.

    The stereotype of the Ravnos would also prove utterly untrue for the Ravnos Antitribu who were among those who join either during Thorns or afterward. The Ravnos among the Sabbat taught things like Pack structure, communal havens, nomadic packs, and other things that benefited them greatly but did not noticeably stand out among the Sword of Caine. It is an irony for Ravnos in the Black Hand that being a bunch of criminals, wanderers, and diablerists mean that they're fairly normal Sabbat. The Path of Paradox, already debased from the fact that its practicioners were divorced from the ultra-religious theocracy of India, was quickly replaced with Paths that exalted in indulgence.

    With the New World, many European Ravnos fled there and found many of the same problems of "not joining" while not having the kind of Clan support the Assamites, Giovanni, or Setites had. However, it was here that they found themselves a second group to benefit in the Anarch movement. Most Ravnos were skeptical of the Anarchs in both Europe and America, believing the Anarch cause a suckers game but gradually the conflict with Camarilla as well as its growing power led to more of them joining up. So much so that half of the Ravnos in the New World identify as Anarchs as well as a quarter of Europe.

    History may well repeat.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Two review

    Chapter Two is a good collection of information about the Anarchs, their society, and how they interact without each other. I actually think it's an overly packed and disorganized chapter that could have been further divided into various subjects. A lot of the Clan information is outdated due to the changes of V5 and even some changes due to Beckett's Jyhad Diary. The Banu Haqim should have been included inside the Anarchs because they were mentioned as a group that had a substantial presence in GUIDE TO THE ANARCHS while they're completely absent here.

    I find the fact the Gargoyles have an entry but the Assamites don't is a little weird. I like how the Tzimisce are included among the Anarchs as I always wanted to see a write-up for them. Really, the absence of the Independent Clans is something I think is a weakness of ANARCHS UNBOUND since while the Giovanni not having any representation makes sense--the Ravnos should be ALL over the Anarchs Movement pre-Week of Nightmares.

    I think the various forms of Anarch domains worked pretty well with Communes, Military States, Cults, and Barons making them feel more diverse. However, it does feel like the narrator acted like the Anarch States are much bigger than they probably are. I feel most Anarch domains are going to be able to manage having little heirarchy than most because there's probably only 10-12 vampires in most medium-sized cities. The big epic courts of the Camarilla are really a thing for the big cities of the world.

    I don't think I'd ever use any of these domains in my game but I think that they're very good examples of various types of Anarch governance that could be adapted to cities surrounding your typical Camarilla domains. CHICAGO BY NIGHT has Anarchs in Chicago but really they live in EAST CHICAGO and just so happen to commute to the big city when they need to. I think that's a good way of playing it and potentially allows any big city to have its Kindred visit other cities.

    I particularly love Solomon's Haven.

    Anyway, the chapter is now done and it was a solid piece of fiction.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Two part 6: Anarch Territories Worldwide part 2

    The continued description of the domains of the Anarchs.

    Scandinavia

    Scandinavia is described as a really-really-really old domain that has a continuity of Prince-ships and leadership stretching back to the Viking days. The Gangrel are not fond of outsiders and while you can expect to be able to hang around for some time, the cities don't really take well to immigration and you're expected to leave after your hospitality has been expended. The Princes are nominally part of the Camarilla but they are loathe to involve them in their affairs. This is a problem because the Anarchs are warring against them fairly heavily in the region. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the Princes calling upon each other, forming their own little mini-sect. It's thus heating up into a full-on war.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool is basically where Anarchs are exiled from London and isn't really my favorite domain write-up since if there's any city in the world that should have a thriving Anarch domain, it's London. It may be a seat of Camarilla power but the punk movement was born there and that should be acknowledged. Liverpool is caught between Camarilla and Sabbat domains (I don't know how the Sabbat would survive here) but is left alive because the London Cainites want SOME place

    Perth

    The Australian city used to be ruled by Tremere and Anarchs. The Anarchs then purged the Tremere because they were getting too many powerful. The irony is that the Anarchs were so terrified of the Tremere retaliating that they created "The Circle" and established an absolute dictatorship over the region. It has made it one of the most effective and dangerous Anarch domains but a militant warlord state. I'm imagining Immortan Joe. My view is that the Tremere in Perth were not actually the best people in the Pyramid and their destruction was something the Council of Seven arranged. They were sent there to die at the Anarchs hands or get rid of them, so they're afraid of a retaliation that will never happen.

    Mombasa

    A Lasombra Antitribu domain full of pirates! It's a place full of water transport and people who choose to live outside of the Sabbat and Camarilla sect divide. I'm very fond of this.

    Solomon's Haven

    One of my favorite domains from this book. It is an online digital domain that has over a thousand Anarch members. Solomon's Haven is basically how the entire Anarch Movement communicates digitally and I really like that. This is also where the Red Question distributed their manifesto and thus gave everyone else the chance to talk about it with their non-online Anarch friends. I actually like to think Solomon's Haven is still up and probably has a couple of Second Inquisition spies on it but that it is far more secure than Schrek.net because the Anarchs are almost indecipherable as well as far more guarded about their private information than the Nosferatu were (because they were one big community).

    I like to think this is the ONLY digital domain of the Kindred protected by Blood Magic (as described later in the book) which is much easier to do than the idea it's a common thing for Anarchs to use.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-22-2020, 02:31 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Two part 6: Anarch Territories Worldwide part 1

    This chapter deals with Anarch domains and what cities have large presences of them. Sadly, I'm going to have to give this chapter a C- because, well, there are a LOT of Vampire Lore mistakes here. Maybe I'm remembering them wrong or maybe they were retconned but they seem really obvious.

    Anarch Territories Worldwide

    Anarchs' lacking territory was a big reason that I think they weren't treated particularly seriously in previous editions. Aside from California, they were essentially totally isolated. It made them feel like a bunch of small-time criminals versus a power like the Sabbat. Indeed, the confusion over whether they were a part of the Camarilla or their own thing was a constant running confusion.

    Boston

    Boston is a city I always felt needed more detail, even though we technically got a good insight into it with GIOVANNI CHRONICLES IV. That actually had the city fall to the Giovanni and making it one of the three cities controlled by them alongside Las Vegas and Venice. Here, there's no mention of the Giovanni and it is Camarilla controlled. However, Boston is the home of a huge number of non-violent intellectualist Anarchs called The Liberty Club controlled by a Toreador named Andrea Parker. It mentions the Brujah Idealists and is a sharp contrast to the Iconoclast Anarch Free States in California. They are interested primarily in REFORMING the Camarilla rather than fighting it. I like this group as an interesting contrast to the usual depiction of the Anarchs as well as Camarilla. The Camarilla notably tolerates the pacifist version as an alternative to the violent Anarchs but may actually have been encouraging more problems than they are suppressing.

    I believe that the Anarchs of Boston joined with the Anarchs of Baltimore to help Marcus Vitel retake the city of DC from the Sabbat in Beckett's Jyhad Diary, which means the Camarilla's appeasement philosophy failed miserably as they went from nothingburger in Boston to the residents of the most important city in America, politics wise. Not the stupid Anarchs either but the really smart philosopher ones.

    The California Free States

    What more has been said about the Anarch Free States that needs to be repeated? Surprisingly, there's still plenty. This is before Beckett's Jyhad Diary and V20 is "canon agonistic" (perhaps explaining the status of Boston but I think the Chronicles were still canon) but the Wan Kuei never took over the AFS in this write-up. It's very similar to how it was described in Los Angeles by Night with MacNeil at the top of a bunch of feuding gangs, baronies, and communes.

    The big difference is that it's no longer 1992 and the human tragedy that was the gang violence of the period has passed on. This is stated to be that the gangs have managed to reach an uneasy detente with each other so that they're no longer sending each other to do drive-bys, rumbles, and other fights in the street where vampires regularly risk the Masquerade. The police and mortal news have apparently wised to SOMETHING going on.

    The thing is, the Anarchs haven't gotten any less violent, they've just become more subtle about their in-fighting and (ironically) more Camarilla-like. Unfortunately, it has the big continuity era that Jeremy MacNeil is afraid San Fransisco is being bought out by the Camarilla in preparation for an economic takeover. The problem with this is San Fransisco IS the only Camarilla domain in the city. They'd either be buying Los Angeles or San Diego (which is under Tara's control).

    Vannevar disapproves!

    Madison, WI

    This is an interesting place as it's not so much territory held by Anarchs but territory that is controlled by a very powerful Gangrel Autarkis that just so happens to allow Anarchs to pass through harmlessly as long as they show the proper respect. Vulture doesn't really have any politics other than, "Don't fuck with me" but this fits the Anarchs just fine. It's a place for trading weapons, gasoline, and information freely. The Anarchs themselves who step out of line get slaughtered by their fellows as the place is just TOO USEFUL to threaten the stability. It's also mentioned that outside of Madison are some CHEAP ASS tourist attractions which may not be as luxurious as Vegas, but certainly attract a lot of vactioneers to feed on. They also mention how drinking is the national sport. Oddly, while the Camarilla of Chicago are mentioned plotting against Madison, they don't mention the Camarilla of Milwaukee.

    Saskatchewan

    This is a really interesting domain and I have to say that I approve of its inclusion. The premise of this domain is that the Prince of the region was under constant threat from the Anarchs, asked repeatedly for help against them only to receive nothing [because vampires]. So, he declared himself the Baron of the region along with his court as his Commune. The Anarchs have reluctantly accepted his help because even if he's just a Camarilla Prince now allied to him, he's no longer allied to the Camarilla. The Camarilla is furious, of course, but the "Baron" has stated that they'd told him to hold the region against the Sabbat at all costs. The local Anarchs, the real ones at least, are very oppressed and have reached out to the Anarch Free States for help to no avail in a fun reversal of their previous situation.

    Really cool and solid collection of ideas here.

    Venezuela

    I'm not particularly fond of this depiction of a real life country since it has much the same problems as the depiction of Mexico City as the Central American Mordor. Venezuela is said to be one of the most violent cities in South America as well as divided among Barons who rule without any order or treaties between them. The Barons tend to live in vast palatial estates while recruiting their armies from the slums. It's a somewhat one-dimensional of the country and its rather COMPLICATED politics that are Far Left, authoritarian, and opposed by foreign governments. Then again, when has any place gotten a good political depiction.

    Krakow

    Krakow is where the Anarch Movement was born in the Dark Ages but it is now suffering horribly from the Fall of the Soviet Union. Most of the Anarchs are communist in their behavior and reject the title of Baron for communal rule. However, the Western European Anarchs are people who want to install Barons to unify the region as well as secure it against the Sabbat. No mention is made of Baba Yaga because, again, canon agnostic. The Anarchs of Eastern Europe are heavily fighting over this, comparatively small, difference in ideology.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-06-2020, 04:28 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Sorry if I've been too enthusiastic and accidentally given the impression I think the Anarchs are the "good guys" in all of this. I think I may have come on a little too strong in taking their side in the previous posts throughout this thread.

    One of the things that I've been overly trying to do is work out why the Anarchs do the things they do and what their central motivation is. The Camarilla has the very easy motivation of "The Old Boys Club that Rules the WorldTM and wants to preserve its power." The Sabbat have the very easy, "Overthrow the Antediluvians because the apocalypse is just around the corner." I feel like a lot of gamers have an issue of not getting what the Anarchs are about. They're rebels but against what and for who and why?

    Having a strong sense of a group is the key to making them successful and figuring out what their place in the World of Darkness is. I do think I should clarify that I don't actually think the Anarchs are that much better than the Camarilla (A lighter shade of black at best).

    As I mentioned earlier, the first two Anarchs that we meet in the gameworld are already two sellouts. Juggler is shown to be identical to Modius at heart, just changing who is in charge rather than anything susbtantial. I actually describe this in my campaigns as the "Moderate" Anarch.

    The Moderate Anarchs are individuals who just want to not be the people on the bottom of the Kindred totem pole and I'd argue they're probably the most numeorus of Anarchs because vampires are naturally predatory, ambitious, and controlling. They want to gather as much territory as possible and rule over it with their minions/friends/coterie. Really, I'd argue they're also probably the most successful of vampires in the Anarchs because it's much-much easier to establish a Baron and kill the local liege lord than it is to try to rebuild Kindred society. I think the Moderate Anarchs get a lot of attention and have somewhat skewed things.

    Above the Moderate Anarchs are Sellouts who are people like Gordon Keaton. They're vampires who are Camarilla in all but name but they've joined the Anarchs because they don't have the pedigree, age, generation, or Clan to pull it off. Basically, if you're an ambitious rich Caitiff, you might as well rule over the Anarchs because you're not getting anywhere with the Camarilla. If they can, they switch sides to the Camarilla as they get older as happened with many of the original Pre-Sabbat era Anarchs.

    The Idealist Anarchs are those who want to reform Kindred society by having it become a Democracy, a Communist Revolutionary Government, or a Cult. Idealist Anarchs like Jeremy MacNeil have a lot of respect but they're the people who have the most trouble implementing their ideals because, again, vampires are predatory assholes one and all. Maldavis may be in her perpetual funk because, well, she may also realize that most vampires are not worth it.

    Iconoclast Anarchs (yes, I'm cribbing from the Brujah Clan Lore of 2nd Edition) are not interested in whatever the Idealists are selling. They're effectively Sabbat Loyalists in the only thing Iconoclasts care about is burning down the System or doing whatever they want, whenever they want, and to whoever they want. They're the Near Dark and Lost Boys interpretation of the Anarchs and I think that their existence provides a decent amount of edge. I feel like the Anarchs in Diablerie: Mexico actually need to have a bigger place in the Movement. People who just scare the shit out of other people and live down to the Camarilla's worst expectations.

    My view is your typical Anarch gang is just that, a gang of vampires, that behaves as criminals and outlaws because they've banded together for mutual support but that means that as vampires they will inevitably bring out the worst in each other.

    My .02.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    By "propaganda" I mean how Anarchs would want to portray their struggle to other vampires. As opposed to an objective evaluation.

    I was very clear that I enjoyed his posts talking about the sect.

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  • Mister_Dunpeal
    replied
    I'm not sure I'd call it propoganda. I mean yeah he's passionate about selling his ideas, but I don't think thats any different from anyone else on this board? There are plenty of passionate people about the game (and other systems) and it manifests in alot of ways. Just because he favors one style doesn't mean he's not open to other ideas (Heck I've argued with him on it a fair bit in this thread and elsewhere - I have different ideas yet he's never rejected them out of hand.)

    He's also never made it secret that he's got very specific ideas about how VtM and the WoD in general might work. Again that doesn't make him unique on this board nor do I see it as a bad thing or an indication he's been anything less than receptive to other ideas. At worst, I'd say he gets tunnel vision (but I can be guilty of that too, so I won't condemn him for it )

    I just can't see how it would be propoganda (especially in his own thread) unless you feel somehow pressured to conform to it and not interject your own ideas/opinions. Which I honestly have NEVER felt, so I would be baffled if that's the case.

    One of the biggest virtues (and drawbacks) of the WoD has always been its open ended (or 'canon agnostic' as V20 put it I believe) to things. That's always a mixed bag especially when it comes to the individual narratives of fans.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    So while I enjoy CTPhipps' commentaries, I think they are very much propaganda for one specific kind of style of Anarch and don't represent all the types out there. It's basically the Revolutionary faction and doesn't consider the real motivations of a lot of vampires who have the label of Anarch.
    I actually think you're probably right and while I tend to get behind the ideology of the Anarchs as a motivating factor, the game is very clear from the very beginning that a lot of the group is all leather jacket and no substance. Mark Rein Hagen after all created the first two Anarchs as Juggler and Gengis.

    Juggler is basically a younger more charismatic Modius, up to and including his beautiful enslaved childe.

    Gengis is the original Champagne Punk and a conformist who exists to follow the crowd. Just its a crowd of Rebels.

    Ironically, the first "real" Anarch we meet is...Damien.

    Ouch.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    I think ultimately there are five kinds of Anarchs from a meta perspective - Criminals, Adolescents, Revolutionaries, Outcasts, and Defaults. These are "objective" categories from an outside or gamer perspective, and the subjective/character perspective there's a lot more.

    Criminals are just that. They are the murderers and thieves who prey on their fellow vampires, and thus will eventually be wanted by the authorities. They hide behind the label of Anarch as a cover and use it to justify any of their publicly known actions, or to say it is black propaganda from the authorities. I would fit someone like Gordon Keaton from first edition CbN into this category. Probably Juggler too. But Keaton is an active predator while Juggler is more like a con man exploiting the rubes. I would also put someone like Dooley here who covers his unethical or criminal activities with a patina of idealism. Probably Smiling Jack too who might otherwise be considered a Revolutionary.

    Adolescents are simply immature vampires who complain about the Man because that is what teenagers do. They would complain about ANY restrictions on their behavior. They don't understand or accept even reasonable justifications or interpretations of the Masquerade and related issues (like who can sire new progeny). So they rebel and become "Anarchs". However, there is nothing really supporting this other than immaturity. Eventually, the vampires will grow out of this phase. Those who committed too many crimes during this stage may fall into the Criminal category. Those who become convinced of the Anarch cause during this time "graduate" to be Revolutionaries. But many others will eventually join the Camarilla once that phase of their life is over. I imagine many vampires embraced in their teens and early twenties fall into this category by default. Many of the Anarch characters in early CbN fall into this category - Gengis, Dickie Fulcher, Damien, Neon.

    Revolutionaries are those that actively choose to be Anarchs in order to reform or overthrow the system. These people have some kind of cause. They may be leaders or foot soldiers or just sympathizers on the sidelines, but they have reasons to be against the Camarilla. While it is possible for someone here to become jaded with the Anarch movement and return to the Camarilla, it is a relatively small number. Lots of known NPCs here - Anita Wainwright, Blackjack, Maldavis, Karl, and many others. I'd also include Uriah here even though he became a traitor (through Dominate). Certainly the key NPCs like Jeremy MacNeil, Crispus Attucks, and such are here. Needless to say, many of these Revolutionaries are probably at each other's throats because they don't agree on what should replace the Camarilla.

    Outcasts are vampires who WOULD choose to be part of the Camarilla, or a Camarilla like structure, but simply can't because they are too bizarre and deviant to be accepted. They don't make the decision to be Anarchs, it is made for them. I can't think of any canonical examples off hand (at least not in CbN), but they'd be people who wanted to create blood cults or do something else that the powers that be considers to be dangerous to the Masquerade, or perhaps consider to be signs of weird Sabbat-like activities that ring their alarm bells. But this category would also include vampires sired without permission.

    Defaults are vampires who are simply Anarchs because they were sired in a city already controlled by Anarchs. But if they lived in a Camarilla city, they'd be Camarilla. These are vampires who aren't particularly political and simply go along with whatever. They might even fight alongside Anarchs when their domain is invaded by outside forces, but they'd be the among the first to make up after defeat or cut deals because ultimately they really don't care. There's none of these in CbN because the city is controlled by Camarilla loyal vampires. But there's lots of them in LAbN.

    While these are the objective classifications an ST can use, of course in character there isn't a clean beak. The "Nihilists" coterie was a mix of Adolescents and Criminals. While Juggler's coterie was a mix of Criminals, Adolescents, and Revolutionaries. While the Socialists is a group entirely made up of Revolutionaries who lack the passion and drive at this point to actually do anything. And of course, over time vampires can change from one category to another.

    So while I enjoy CTPhipps' commentaries, I think they are very much propaganda for one specific kind of style of Anarch and don't represent all the types out there. It's basically the Revolutionary faction and doesn't consider the real motivations of a lot of vampires who have the label of Anarch.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Another little article by me

    Why do the Anarchs rebel?

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

    If you are Embraced as a Kindred in the Camarilla, you are a slave. If you think I'm being hyperbolic, let me establish the fact that your sire must have gotten permission for your creation and you are now beholden to them until you have paid off whatever debts or boons they think are appropriate for your very existence. In the best cases, this is because you are someone they love or have a unhealthy fixation on (that can also be the worst). In the worst cases, this is because you have some economic or social value they intend to exploit up to and including Blood Bonding you to submission.

    If your sire DIDN'T have permission to create you, you are casteless in the Camarilla and your life is now forfeit. Your best bet is to flee from the domain you were born in and try to find some place that will take you in. That usually requires the Prince to gain another hold over you as the permission to settle in a city is something given only to someone who has value. In Vampire: The Masquerade; Coteries and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines you wake up to becoming the lickspittle of either an Elder who vouches for your life or Prince La Croix and both times you can be executed outright. It is also the case of Ashes to Ashes where you are immediately framed by Ballard for the murder of Lodin because as outsiders, you are the scapegoat for all crimes in the city.

    For most Americans and Europeans, the discovery that you are now subject to a feudal society where your life exists solely in value to a geroncracy that has no care whether you live or die is a sobering one. The Camarilla is the worst elements of both capitalism and royal courts with the vast majority of vampires being born as peasants under the control of government that they have no say in or protections by. This latter isn't quite true as it was even worse in the Dark Ages but who enforced that Princes COULDN'T arbitrarily kill or Blood Bond any newcomer vampire and had to contrive a reason to destroy them? The Anarchs.

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

    The Anarchs gather together in coteries and resist the Prince as best they can because for the majority of them--it is not about anything so lofty as freedom. It is about survival. All vampires are competitors against one another for blood, resources, feeding ground, and Domain. Older vampires want nothing to do with Anarchs, Neonates outside of their Lineage, Caitiff, Thin Bloods, or potential rivals. As such, from the moment you're Embraced, you're in a complex murderous Jyhad that is 1000x more violent than your mortal life unless you just got back from Afghanistan.

    * You CAN become useful.
    * You CAN survive if you're smart
    * You CAN survive if you're an asskisser, liar, ruthless, or both
    * You CAN claw your way up the Camarilla's ranks if you're willing to lie, cheat, murder, steal, and maybe diablerize long enough until you're an Elder

    But even then, you probably have to throw under the bus every friend, ally, and loved one you've ever made to live in an Ivory Tower surrounded by people who you hate and hate you but are the only friends you have.

    Or you can ride or die with your friends who have your back.

    That is what it means to be an Anarch.

    For a much more simpler and less speech-like explanation, Anarchs are that way because they are usually the poor and powerless vampires of the game. As not having much wealth, the Camarilla often has the Sheriff and Scourges abuse them. Caitiff and Thin Bloods are subject to purges because they have no defense or rights innately. Camarilla elders and princes can and do make use of Anarchs as well as Neonates like criminals in Cyberpunk but generally you're part of the Anarchs because it's a gang you can join that appreciates strength in numbers versus any ideology.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-08-2020, 05:33 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter Two: Status Prefectus

    This is one of my favorite parts of the book because it actually provides an answer for one of the biggest questions: WHAT SEPARATES THE ANARCHS FROM THE CAMARILLA? Because their rebellion against the Camarilla is kind of weak-tea since they can't really come up with a reason why so many people are against the Six Traditions. I can't imagine so many vampires are eager to spread their curse that it has created a whole social movement. Here, however, we have some really good options for societies different from your typical Camarilla one.

    Free States

    Free States are defined here as vampire states that have a democratically elected president or parliamentry government. It's defined as something that is applied to all Anarch domains, though, despite the fact this is grossly inaccurate. Honestly, I think they could go into the fact that Kindred and democracy are naturally troubled. First, because most domains will have about as many voters as your average high school clique and that's a LARGE vampire society. So voting is not the most efficient system. Second, who will win a Kindred election? Whoever has the highest Presence or Dominate score.

    Baronies

    Baronies are defined here as basically identical to Camarilla cities and with heaps of disdain. I like this because it remembers Barons were originally an IRONIC title for Anarchs and Jeremy Macneil was like, "You fucking morons" when they started to have Barons taken as a title unironically. Being as, of course, a Baron is just a little version of a Prince. However, Anarchs need allies and better a dictatorship allied to you than your enemies. It's also mentioned many Barons are warlords and not to be trifled with.

    Dynasties

    This is an interesting element of Anarch society that we don't see very often and that's Domains that pass from Kindred rulers down to their childer because, well, vampires are immortal. In this case, many Anarch leaders have been killed over the years and their childer or heirs have taken over. This is interesting but it's not particularly Anarch-ish as we have Lodin and Kevin Jackson as well as Panhard with her sire for New York.

    Communes

    This is an interesting type of vampire society in that they are composed of groups living together. Technically, I think this is less radical than they're implying. Group havens and cities controlled by one single coterie seem like they're not only well-established in the setting but nothing radical. Then again, one of the things that's off here is they're acting like Anarch domains will be more than a couple of dozen vampires max. Even Los Angeles isn't a single Anarch domain but a dozen smaller large cities worth of Kindred gangs put together.

    Frontier Territories

    Frontier territories are Anarch domains on the edge of civilization, or at least Kindred civilization. Basically, you can do this in the far corners of Alaska and Australia OR you can do it in Chicago's subburbs (remember when that was called "The Wastelands?"). Just as long as you're an Anarch at the edge of a Prince or Archbishop's power then you can do what you want. Technically, I think this means Modius was a frontier Baron (since he was an Anarch before becoming "prince" of Gary). As he was in Gary because it was too far away for Lodin to set up shop.

    Anocracies

    Anarch domains with no laws whatsoever. Basically, the Anarchs are all independent of one another and take care of their own business. I actually like this because we saw some of it with Gary, Indiana. Modius has no real power over Lucien (a 2000 year old Methuselah), Danov (a 400 year old Elder), or Juggler (who doesn't respect Modius' authority in the slighest). He's only really in charge of Allicia and Michael who is Blood Bound to Allicia. I can easily see a city of complete lawlessness as a interesting twist.

    Cults

    Religious commune Anarchs make a lot more sense with the secularness of the Camarilla pre-V5. They're not necessarily Noddists like the Sabbat but the Sabbat's interpretation of Kindred religion is like ISIS anyway. There's potential for Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Golconda cults, or even people who believe vampires are a product of Aliens or the T-Virus (Is the Umbrella Corporation a subsidiary of Magadon Pharmaseuticals?). I don't know if they qualify as ANARCHS per se but with the Camarilla against such things and the fact the Ministry is now part of the Anarchs, they make a good chance.

    Islands

    Anarch domains completely surrounded by enemies. I don't think this actually works as this is set in the Modern World and there's things like planes, highways, and other things that I don't think vampires can actually seal off. Maybe if this is an Anarch domain WITHIN a city and that's more interesting. This would technically include Chicago as if you have Anarch territory within Jackson's domain that's a lot more interesting than a city surrounded by other cities. Hell, you could have an Anarch domain that's only one city block or even a building.

    Squadrismo

    Rulership by group, which seems the same as a Commune to me. However, it's depicted ad fundamentally different here because these are apparently paramilitary domains with bronwshirts or KKK themes or militia ideals. Here, there's a military commander and warlord of the fiefdom but he's imposed an actual organization underneath them. This is a very interesting idea but it seems very much against the Anarchs as a whole. Effectively, tiny groups of Sabbat without the religious fervor.

    Fifth Columns

    Anarchs who are pretending to be Camarilla allies. Not really a group per se. These are interesting as you'd think they'd be the majority pre-V5 as the Anarchs are not openly hostile to the Camarilla but living in their domains. Then again, these are supposedly SECRET Anarchs but I can't tell if that there's that many actual agents and spies in the Camarilla or how you'd even notice among all the typical double dealing.

    There is a final note from the author in the fifth column section that Princes who allow surface dissent are usually the ones who last the longest but even this can backfire fast.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-19-2020, 02:58 PM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Everyone here has inspired me to make up this chart!

    Caitiff and Thin Bloods House Rules

    * Here's my rules for Caitiff and Thin Bloods as well as their place in vampire society.

    * Social Caitiff exist and are a distinct difference from Biological Caitiff. Social Caitiff are basically vampires who have never been claimed by an existing Clan. Maldavis is, biologically, a member of the Tremere Clan and the only reason she's not treated as one is she was never claimed. She has Auspex and Dominate as her in-clan disciplines and would have probably been noticed as one earlier if not for the fact the Tremere Clan Flaw is not one that's readily apparrent.

    Social Caitiff can theoretically get themselves recognized as a member of a Clan if they get someone to vouch for their bloodline but plenty are disinclined to do so. These are vampires who, for whatever reason, find it actively dangerous or shameful. Social Caitiff in the past have included renegade Tremere, Lasombra, Tzimisce, children of diablerists, defecting Sabbat antitribu, disgraced Toreador, or even just illegal Embraces.

    Generally Nosferatu and Gangrel never produce Social Caitiff but not for the reasons you think. Nosferatu obviously recognize their own and are very open about welcoming them into the fold unless you are just a colosssal prick (and even then). Gangrel flaws are also immediately obvious with their condition but generally have no real social network anyway so, if you say, "I'm a Gangrel" then most will go, "okay, sure." Brujah rabbel and Caitiff are about the same socially so it's not really a step up for them either. Genghis pretended to be a Caitiff for decades or thought he was until
    someone pointed it out and it was a lateral move at best.

    * Biological Caitiff are a recent development in history, at least in numbers. These are people who have no Clan and may develop their own bloodline given circumstances. The original Tremere were biological Caitiff, being created by magical potions, and only those descended from Tremere post-diablerie are "truly" a Clan. However, this is the reverse of being a Social Caitiff since they had the social structure, discipline, and so on to make it pointless to bring up the issue.

    * Biological Caitiff can come about one of two ways:

    1. The first being Embrace via multiple sires, which the Sabbat used to do. The subject wakes up with no Clan and the blood of multiple sires running through his veins but is otherwise a normal vampire. It is not a particularly well-liked method as while the "Children of the Pack" are a group, they always have the highest generation of their sires and tend to be the embodiments of shovelhead stereotypes. They are, however, the bedrock of the Loyalists and the beginning of the Panders.

    2. The second is the "natural" way which is the fact that Caitiff are a product of the Time of Thin Blood and related to the Duskborn even if they're not Duskborn themselves. Roughly around 10th generation and stretching down to 13th generation, the Curse of Caine runs the ever increasing risk of not "sticking." Basically, about 10% to 20% of said childer never develop the Clan flaw or Disciplines but are, well, Caitiff.

    * Biological Caitiff are something a sire will automatically feel something wrong with as the metaphysical Bond just simply does not develop. This is one of the reasons many of them are abandoned by their sires and they often drop whatever ties they have to them, if they develop any. Other vampires of their Clan, if they know it, simply sense they are not one of them and will eventually push them out. They will also develop powers much more inclined to their own blood and personality, which can be dramatically different from what is expected.

    * Despite the fact that Biological Caitiff are a product of "weak" blood, there are many who are actually quite strong in the Modern Nights with 8th and 9th not uncommon. This is not just due to Social Caitiff or the Sabbat but, well, the simple fact that Caitiff are vampires and the secret to gaining power has always been diablerie. Agata Starek and other Caitiff have made their bones in the Anarch movement to the point they've become powerful Ancilla if not Elders. They've also sired their own childer at their powers' height.

    * As such, the Caitiff have gone from being the bottom of the barrel circa 1991 to, Post-Beckoning, powerful enough to be a Low Clan in terms of presence. In 2020, many Caitiff have Gangrel and Brujah alliances as well as age enough that the Camarilla may disdain them but they can't DISCOUNT them. This has irritated many Panders as it means that their chief reason for staying in the Sabbat is no longer the case and quite a few Loyalists (especially those with no interest chasing fantasies in Syria or Saudi Arabia) have drifted into the Anarchs.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-19-2020, 02:24 PM.

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  • CTPhipps
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    Okay, after this I'll get back to Anarchs Unbound. You guys rock with all your fascinating insights and write-ups.

    Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post
    That's true, but you yourself also pointed out that the Anarchs have suffered from lack of clear vision, especially amongst different authors. Which also is true of the Caitiff and to a lesser degree the Thin Blooded (although less so since V5 for them.)
    The most serious flaw of the Anarchs and something that they need to really have resolved is a strong sense of what they're rebelling against. Things like the ability to create New Vampires, Domain, maintaining the Masquerade, and introducing yourself to the Prince aren't exactly things that inspire much sympathy from readers. Instead, I'm inclined to think that if you want sympathetic Anarchs it should be trying to rule over you and drive you out or destroy your life. We see it in both BLOODLINES and COTERIES OF NEW YORK. I also think we'll see it in BLOODLINES 2.

    Technically, it's also REDEMPTION as Christof is fighting an 800 year war against the local Tzimisce Prince/Methuselah but that's one of the few Good vs. Evil conflicts in vampire history. Then again, you mention that later. The Prometheans are a bunch of Anarchs in the Dark Ages, back when they weren't all idiots.

    Adding characters like Lucita or Theo Bell does add stereotypes, but a 'stereotype' can also offer a path for the group that can lead to some sort of consistent vision (and through the magic of retcons you can always do away with stereotypes later. Its not as if WW hasn't tried this before...)
    I think it's because a lot of those characters actually feed into the "contrar‚Äčian" nature that makes the Anarchs interesting. Lucita is a rebel against her Clan, her traditions, and her sire because she wants to be free of her controlling evil incestuous sire. When he's dead and she's inclined to immediately give into the Path of Night, Sabbat, and basically become the New Moncada--it's not necessarily a BAD ending for her character but it does make the character substantially less interesting.

    Theo Bell's rebellion against Hardestadt is something that fits his character, though. I do think he should be a candidate for the Red List, though, and having to live off the grid among Anarchs who don't necessarily like him anymore than he respects them (because he's always viewed them as fools before and crushed them).

    Well that's the beauty of the Anarchs concept I think.. there's plenty of room for factional leaders as the different (competing) interests struggle to unify.
    Obligatory Life of Brian Judean People's Front meeting.



    To build on our previous discussion of Caitiff and Thin bloods, I think those kinds of concepts might be a better starting point for fleshing out Anarchs than ideology is (which is just going to be too varied if not confusing to do more than 'give examples' but as you mention later there are other reasons not to go in depth there too.) One thing we know is that Anarchs are often defined by the stereotypes the other sects (esp the Camarilla) impose on them, and many of those stereotypes are based in their nature. Either lack of conformity (disagreeing with Elders/clan, like Lucita or Theo Bell as you mention above) or by the peculiarities of their creation or how the curse affects them (duskborn and caitiff.)
    One of the things that the previous Editions of the game implied more than said is the fact that Anarchs do have a kind of "racial makeup" that didn't NECESSITATE the groups that made them up be such but they certainly had the majority.

    * Almost all Caitiff because Caitiff get shit on by the Camarilla, so what do they have to lose. Gordon Keaton was a yuppie serial killer ala Patrick Bateman but in CBN1E he's still working with the Anarchs because they're the only game in town. As a Caitiff with High Intelligence, Drive, and Ambition he's only going to get anywhere if the Anarchs win.

    * High generation vampires because low generation vampires are going to have more options even if it's only by degrees. Damien is a 6th generation Neonate but he's able to be Sheriff because of the sheer raw power of his blood. While his actions are ridiculous, the Fledgling of Bloodlines is stated to be 8th generation and you could argue that at least makes his actions only implausible rather than impossible. A 12th and 13th generation vampire may still be part of a Clan but they're almost everyone's meat Dominate wise.

    * Thin Bloods, duh.

    * Neonates because the majority of Anarchs are products of the Modern Age because the majority eventually do sell out or find their own power bases. They either become Sabbat, join the Camarilla, or the Camarilla pretends Prince Leopold or whoever isn't an Anarch. Its only after the Anarchs become their own sect this starts to change.

    Originally posted by False Epiphany
    And sometimes Caitiff just... happen, without any apparent rhyme or reason. There's horror stories about how once in a blue moon, a strong-blooded elder will spend years grooming an eminently suitable childe for the Embrace, but the Blood just refuses to take. Examples like that always seem to happen to "a friend of a friend's grandsire in a distant city," but then again... wouldn't any elder who sires a Caitiff want to cover up their mistake in a pretty permanent way? But somehow, the stories float around.
    Mind you, I also tend to think that Caitiff can be powerful but the majority of powerful Caitiff are going to be vampires that have stolen their power. This is just in my games but most Caitiff in my games start appearing around 10th, 11th, 12th, or 13th generation "naturally." They're a sign of the Thinning Blood but not Thin Bloods.

    Except many Caitiff DO have lower generations. How? Well, diablerie. Duh. These Caitiff then go on and have had their own childer.

    I agree, though, Maldavis is just a Tremere who hasn't been claimed by the Tremere Clan. She could be even now, though, and that's an interesting angle.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 04-19-2020, 12:01 PM.

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  • False Epiphany
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    The Caitiff have never had a story reason to exist and I think that needs to be addressed, maybe even if it's only, "If you Embrace a random homeless guy as a Ventrue or a incredibly peaceful conformist Brujah then it's possible that it won't take." Maybe also some terrible experiments with Kindred blood. I liked how the Sabbat have so many Caitiff because they used to Embrace people with the Vinculum.

    I admit, I LOVED the Caitiff's write-up in Outcasts and the idea of creating your own disciplines as well as being mercenaries for other clans like the Giovanni.
    I've always liked the idea that vampires ultimately don't know why Caitiff exist, and it scares the crap out of them. The Book of Nod paints a pretty scared picture of Caitiff too. It literally says (paraphrased), "They're gonna come for you and you shouldn't ever trust them."

    My own take is essentially:

    There are some accepted truisms about what causes them. Abandoning a childe after Embracing them seems to be strongly linked to whether they turn out Caitiff. If DuSable had stuck around to teach Maldavis, would she have turned out Tremere? She might not be as poster-made for the clan as someone like Erichtho, but I can still picture Maldavis the Tremere apprentice. She has the drive, the attitude, and the will to power.

    But that rule clearly isn't absolute. Gangrel abandon childer all the time and they still turn out Gangrel.

    I've liked the idea that "suitability" for a clan also plays into whether a childe turns out Caitiff. Sometimes, even if the sire sticks around and does everything right, the childe still turns out Caitiff because "the Blood just didn't take." Ala the homeless Ventrue or conformist Brujah. But "unsuitable" can be a lot harder for in-universe sires to quantify than game writers. Archetype subversions are a thing, and sometimes the homeless Ventrue turns out to have been a budding entrepreneur who just never had opportunities, or the conformist Brujah was actually rebelling in their own way against a nonconformist mortal family.

    High generation also might factor into it. Most Caitiff are young and far removed from Caine's fount. But it's debatable whether Caitiff being high generation is a "biological" or social phenomenon, notwithstanding elder opinions that Caitiff are inherently less than other vampires. There are lots of social factors which predispose Caitiff to have younger and weaker-blooded sires. How many Caitiff elders can we think of off-hand besides Stonema (if he exists), Mukhtar Bey, and whatshisname in Vienna?

    And sometimes Caitiff just... happen, without any apparent rhyme or reason. There's horror stories about how once in a blue moon, a strong-blooded elder will spend years grooming an eminently suitable childe for the Embrace, but the Blood just refuses to take. Examples like that always seem to happen to "a friend of a friend's grandsire in a distant city," but then again... wouldn't any elder who sires a Caitiff want to cover up their mistake in a pretty permanent way? But somehow, the stories float around.

    Ultimately, no one can say with 100% certainty what makes a Caitiff... or whether their own childe will turn out one.


    In Time of Thin Blood, interestingly, Netchurch puts forward the idea that Caitiff are a purely social construct. There's no such thing as "real" ones. Every vampire belongs to a clan, they just don't necessarily know which one.

    It's not an idea the game mechanics back up very well, though, when Caitiff don't have a clan weakness and get to pick their clan Disciplines. V5 makes the idea feel a little more believable by simply giving them no in-clan Disciplines.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
    Anarchs Unbound is an especially great book when you consider it within the context of what Revised and even 2e was. The Sabbat had co-opted a lot of the Anarchs' "freedom" rhetoric starting with 2e, and added cool new bloodlines, Disciplines, and Paths on top (though Revised was actually an improvement over 2e in some ways, as they're pretty unrelenting over how hypocritical the Sabbat is as a sect). You even run into groups like the Unbound in Time of Thin Blood who advocate a totally new approach to Kindred society but don't call themselves Anarchs, because Anarchs are failures. WTF? Those guys should just be Anarchs.
    I actually believe the Anarchs were written out of Vampire: The Masquerade in Revised but people didn't quite realize it. The Black Hand was nuked by a Void Engineer Barrabi, the Tremere Antitribu were destroyed by Tremere, the Ravnos nuked (again), and more. I think the Anarchs were meant to have received the same treatment and effectively just be considered "done." The destruction of the Anarch Free States, betrayal of Salvador, and so on all being meant to softly remove them from the gameline. Theo Bell was the "cool Rebel" and yet an Archon loyalist. The Sabbat were the chaotic FREEDOM sect. You also have the Unbound taking the "persecuted by the Camarilla" section.

    It's just that they got a shot of popularity by having a central focus in BLOODLINES. Which effectively increased the popularity of the Anarchs probably more than they ever did before as them being the "resistance" of LA was a role that they'd never had anywhere else save Chicago.

    Another thing that I think weakened the Anarchs in 2e/Revised (starting with Outcasts, a 2e book) was how Caitiff were basically laughed off as weakling vampires and inherently less than the other clans. In Chicago by Night, Caitiff are a substantial component of the local Anarch Movement. They're portrayed as ultramodern and individualistic vampires who see the concept of clan as an outmoded relic. In many ways, they're as perfect a fit for the Anarchs as the Brujah (and fittingly, 1e Chicago's Anarchs are split roughly 50/50 between Brujah and Caitiff). V5 has done a good job at emphasizing Caitiff as "post-clan" vampires who are just as strong as other vampires, and thin-bloods as pathetic weakling vampires.
    The Caitiff have never had a story reason to exist and I think that needs to be addressed, maybe even if it's only, "If you Embrace a random homeless guy as a Ventrue or a incredibly peaceful conformist Brujah then it's possible that it won't take." Maybe also some terrible experiments with Kindred blood. I liked how the Sabbat have so many Caitiff because they used to Embrace people with the Vinculum.

    I admit, I LOVED the Caitiff's write-up in Outcasts and the idea of creating your own disciplines as well as being mercenaries for other clans like the Giovanni.

    I think where Anarchs Unbound really shined was tying the disdainful late '90s/early '00s attitude towards the Anarchs in the books into real-world cultural developments. By the late Clinton/early Bush era, being rebellious wasn't popular and fashionable anymore. It makes complete sense this was a dark time for the Movement, and that they really started to get their groove back when the Great Recession and related events made anti-establishment sentiments flare up again.
    I always felt like this was actually reflected in a lot of gamelines. "The Era of Steve Jobs" is what I called it in my Mage circles as the Traditionalists were being constantly looked down on by the fanbase who wanted to play Technocrats or state they were far worse than the Technocrats would be if they ever won. It was also reflected with the Hollow Ones who people saw as REALITY BITES with Winona Ryder (A movie that has not aged well at all) -- a bunch of whiny rich kids who don't have to worry about dying in the streets -- versus runaways trying to survive on the streets against an oppressive government out to kill them.

    I did not like the Anarchs being responsible for the Financial Crisis and Great Recession. I'm a pretty firm believer that vampires should be driven by human history rather than drivers of it. Turning an early Bronze Age pharaoh into a vampire is fine, because the supernatural was more open then, but... I don't think that should fly in the modern world.
    I have the 100 year rule at my table where you can say supernaturals were involved in or key players in past events but you should never do this with events not in the 100 years before. I don't mind it being revealed that the French Revolution could have been all about the French Nobility all being controlled by Francois Villon as well as his cadre of vampires. Its ridiculous but it's a fun ridiculous. Less so real life events people remember and have been affected by.
    ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER is not a bad background for a silly WOD game where, yes, all of the Confederates WERE Ventrue and Toreador scumbags living like it was Enoch and needed killing.

    If you're going to be and this is a crazy idea...LESS THAN SERIOUS about V:TM.

    The lack of Chicago material might have been a continuation of Revised/2e attitudes towards the city. The writers wanted to stay mostly hands-off from it so that people could have greater freedom for their Chicago chronicle to unfold as they willed. Not sure that was a good idea when they still had events like the Lupine war and Lodin's death be canon, but it's what it was.
    I think leaving Chicago out of the game after 1994 when UNDER A BLOOD RED MOON meant that the next Prince was in the hands of individual STs makes perfect sense. However, it's just weird that the past of the city and its relationship to the Anarch movement were completely unmentioned. You know, the stuff BEFORE the campaign began. I get the idea, and again this is me being a conspiracy theorist, that someone just flat out didn't like the 1st and 2nd Editions of Chicago and wanted to move to a more international stage.

    I liked how "the hypocrisy of change" was the book's its big theme. It would be a fairly easy trap to fall into having the Anarchs be the scrappy underdog good guys fighting against The Man. But vampires all turn into The Man as they get older because that's just what they are. The Perth story about the fledgling Anarch rebelling against her own Anarch sire (who's just overthrown a prince!) was the best in the book, IMO, at conveying that attitude.
    I did like that scenario but I had to say I was kind of on the side of the sire. Basically, the child wants to know who will be free to sire in the new order. I'm like, "Is every vampire eager to create as many undead as possible? You need some regulation."

    Anarchs Unbound didn't have an open license to drastically rewrite the setting like V5 did. But even within that limited scope the writers had, they did a great job at making the Anarchs feel revitalized and relevant again.
    Agreed.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-18-2020, 05:12 AM.

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