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[WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Justycar View Post
    About the Anarchs and their relationship with the Camarilla, I think it had changed with the pass of the editions. In the first and second editions the anarchs are viewed as a teenager phase of the neonates. The Anarch Cookbook pranks and childish tone only serve to reinforce that. Is in 3rd edition that the Anarchs achieve the status of a serious menace to the Camarilla, in my opinion. And about Salvador García, I think that in V5 his treason never happened, the author have rewind the invasion of the Anarch Free States and the fall and the claws of the yellow peril. But, in the same handbook of V5 (Anarchs) is stated that most of european anarchs does not know nothing about García, the Anarch Manifesto or what is happening in USA. There is a chapter of the book about a small group of anarchs in Paris and a american stranger who can not believe that their leaders (García) at the other side of the ocean are so unknown in the Old world. In the same book is written that most of the current european anarchs follow the inspiration of the danish Rudi or the Berlin comitee. I see possible the publication of a Berlin by Night ruled by the anarchs, as an alternative to Los Ángeles.
    I don't know if I would agree with that:

    1. Anarchs are children: This is one of those things that I often felt was commented on in fandom and I don't know if the book ever actually said it or if it was one of those things that sort of appeared in fandom only to take over the depiction in canon ala the "Technocracy is not just the moral equal of the Traditions but its superior" and "The Traditions will immediately fall to infighting the moment the Union is destroyed."

    2. The Anarch Cookbook did have a kind of "undermine the Camarilla's authority via tagging and pranks" but it also had discussion of murdering Princes.

    3. Revised is an interesting place to say when the Anarchs became a serious menace because I tend to think of that when they were at their lowest point. That's when the Anarch Free States were destroyed, there was an increased focus on Sabbat vs. Camarilla, and I feel like they were actually considered allies against the Sabbat. Guide to the Anarchs even said most Anarchs wanted to reform the Camarilla.Mind you, it's also when Bloodlines revived interest in them.

    4. Salvador's Treason: I think that has been officially retconned as it's mentioned in his Loresheet that he's been subject to a lot of slander and libel like betraying his kind. I actually didn't have a problem with it because there's plenty of ways for Kindred to MAKE people betray their cause even if they don't want to.

    5. Salvador being unknown: This makes sense to me because with the Brujah Council and Communism now added to things, the Anarch Free States seems a bit small potatoes. California is impressive, really, but it's not the only game in town. It's an attempt to move beyond the American-centrism of vampire and I approve. Plus, whoever took down Berlin (Rudi? Starek?) is going to have formed their own legend.


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

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    • #62
      And properly speaking, the Anarch's do not even have all of California. San Fransisco is in someone else's hands.

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      • #63
        Best Anarch in Film

        Rogue Tremere, Deacon Frost



        Why not David from the Lost Boys? It turned out he was answering to his video-store owning sire the entire time!



        Shock!


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

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        • #64
          About the anarch childish behaviour, in books as Anarch Cookbook, is hard to take seriously a speech when is full of pranks, jokes and funny games. The focus is put in the rebellion, but a rebellion from a teenager against the system. Not a serious war, with casualties, victims and collateral and political damage. They are young teenage neonates and idealist boys fighting the monolithic Camarilla, represent for the Justicar Cristo Alonso Petrodon, bane of the Anarchs and practically a fascist. I do not think that the Anarchs of 3rd edition were better or in the height of their power, but they are characters fighting a real war (and losing), that adds tragedy, not comedy to the cause. I strongly recommend you to read the Anarch Cookbook after Anarchs Unbound, if the goofy aspects of the tone and the style do not change your opinion, at least you would understand what I am trying to expose.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Justycar View Post
            About the anarch childish behaviour, in books as Anarch Cookbook, is hard to take seriously a speech when is full of pranks, jokes and funny games. The focus is put in the rebellion, but a rebellion from a teenager against the system. Not a serious war, with casualties, victims and collateral and political damage. They are young teenage neonates and idealist boys fighting the monolithic Camarilla, represent for the Justicar Cristo Alonso Petrodon, bane of the Anarchs and practically a fascist. I do not think that the Anarchs of 3rd edition were better or in the height of their power, but they are characters fighting a real war (and losing), that adds tragedy, not comedy to the cause. I strongly recommend you to read the Anarch Cookbook after Anarchs Unbound, if the goofy aspects of the tone and the style do not change your opinion, at least you would understand what I am trying to expose.
            Well I've read the original but I'm a humor author as well as horror so my opinion might be biased.


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            • #66
              It's a bit early but I did up my final review of this book for Booknest.EU.

              http://booknest.eu/reviews/charles/1766-anarchsunbound

              4.5/5

              The Anarchs are my favorite faction of Vampire: The Masquerade. The angry resistance to the corrupt Camarilla and yet still moral enough to not give in completely to the Beast like the Sabbat. I fell in love with them in Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines and have been eager for new content regarding them. For those unfamiliar with the Anarchs, they're based on such rebellious modern vampires as Kiefer Sutherland's David in The Lost Boys and Deacon Frost in Blade. Unfortunately, the Anarchs have not really been treated all that well by the setting.

              While initially set up to be the primary opposition to the Camarilla by the gameline, it had that role taken over by the Sabbat (who were like Anarchs+). The gameline continually struggled to define what the Anarchs were for and what their relationship to the Camarilla was. Sometimes they were the loyal opposition that were the first line of defense against rampaging shovelheads and other times were actively plotting vioent overthrow of the Princes. Sometimes both at once.

              One of the things that I enjoyed about Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition was that the Anarchs went from being a third-tier sect to being one of the primary focuses. They were formally separated from the Camarilla and given their own three clans plus both the Caitiff as well as Thin Bloods. I wasn't a huge fan of The Anarchs supplement, though. Which is why if you want to play an Anarch character, I recommend you pick up the V20 supplement Anarchs Unbound. I feel like this is probably the best thing to come out for the Anarch faction throughout all five editions.

              Anarchs Unbound gives a history of the Anarch Movement, shares its opinions on various elements of Kindred society, talks how they are (loosely) alligned, how they should deal with a variety of power structures, and also gives a number of interesting backgrounds as well as tools for Thaumaturgically inclined Kindred. Some of this is outdated like the massive focus on how the Anarchs are using the internet no longer applies since the Second Inquisition is monitoring it so closely but others are still very useful for the modern iconoclast.

              The best part of the book is probably the fact that it codifies the original Anarch Revolt didn't end with the Convention of Thorns. While the Anarchs split between those who surrendered and those who became the Sabbat, not all of the former gave up the fight completely. The French Revolution and Russian Revolution are revealed to have ties with the Anarchs. I feel the latter and the establishment of the Brujah Council goes a long way to making it clear the Anarchs are a dangerous as well as terrifying movement to the Camarilla. While authoritarian communism isn't what most of the freedom-loving revolutionaries wanted to achieve, it at least shows they weren't harmless for five hundred years either. Some of this was present in the previous Guide to the Anarchs but I feel it was much better established here.

              The book introduces the Red Question as a radical new organization within the Anarchs that has the potential to change everything. Sadly, I think they're a bit oversold. Imagined as an Anonymous-esque hacktivist collective, they are stated to be influenced by Randian thought as well as responsible for the 2008 Stockmarket Collapse. If ever there were two things that seemed less like an endorsement to free the masses from Kindred oppression, these are among them. Randian economics being perfect for the Ventrue and the corporations having weathered that better than anyone. It's weird seeing both as Anarch accomplishments.

              One thing I did like about this book is it does emphasize the Anarchs are connected to real-life social movements. Things ranging from the socialist movements of the early 20th century to Occupy Wallstreet as well as more radical issues are things that both influence as well as are influenced by the Anarchs. It doesn't necessarily mean that the Anarchs are going to be progressive about their beliefs but they are plugged into the heart of revolution (for good or ill). Anarchs can't agree on what they fight for but they all agree they must fight.

              I also feel like the book lacks information on one of the most important groups that should be a bedrock of their membership in Thin Bloods. They are not even acknowledged to exist. I suspect this is due to the fact that Thin Bloods were introduced primarily as a prelude to Gehenna in Vampire: The Masquerade Revised while V20 was a canon agnostic setting. Still, seeing them glossed over even as references are made to things like "Cleavers" and even Gargoyles was a surprise.

              Crunch-wise, the book provides a somewhat mixed bag. It gives a good amount of techno-magic that allows vampires to use the internet without detection by kine (though obviously Schreck.net didn't have access to this). It also includes some level 6 Disciplines, which felt off given I don't think many non-diablerist 7th generation Anarchs are going to exist. Some of the Backgrounds were lame with things like "Anarch Status" versus regular status but others like Armory and Communal Haven are very useful. I also likes several of the Merits and Flaws like Prized Patch and Black Sheep. We also get a bunch of solid Anarch archetypes that allow player characters to populate their Movement with quick and easy stats like Barons, Gang Leaders, and Molotovs.

              I think the best element of this book is the fact that it really does give a sense of what the Anarchs are about, how they're structured, and how a disordered rabble can still pose a significant threat to the Ivory Tower. I also think that it gives a sense of history and weight to the Anarchs that separates it from the Sabbat and Camarilla. The biggest weaknesses of the book are its overfocus on the internet, technomagic, the Red Question, and First World resistance movements versus a more international attitude. I feel the absence of Maldavis and the Council Wars from Chicago by Night is also a serious misstep. The lack of Thin Bloods and Jenna Cross is also a mistake.

              I think Anarchs Unbound is a really solid piece of writing and one of the better supplements from Onyx Path Publishing. While I prefer Beckett's Jyhad Diary and Chicago by Night 5th Edition, those are some of my all-time favorite supplements period. Anarchs Unbound gives us a solid look into how the Movement functions (or doesn't) and tells us why they're rebelling. I think it's an excellent purchase even for 5th Edition gamers who want to fight the power. Ra-ra.


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              • #67
                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.

                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.

                But I digress.

                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 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.

                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 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.

                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.


                Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  One thing that got brought up in another thread is how the Anarchs were completely absent from the Signature Characters. Lucita is the most Anarch Elder you might have ever imagined, hating everything about her sire, Clan, and being controlled but was an Autarkis then moved on to join the Sabbat for reasons that didn't really work well (and had her murdering a bunch of children). However, even Ramona is on her own.

                  Theo Bell has joined the Anarchs but, honestly, I feel like with Lucita this just makes them both more stereotypical.

                  I am hoping that V5 provides plenty of new signature Anarchs for the sect, though.
                  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.)

                  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 also think you can draw on other sources like the games for figures here. Remember how we talked about Christof being a figure in the Anarch movement before? Bit of an obscure reference and also kinda stereotypical but it could work.

                  Edit: Also if we use other fiction as a point of comparison, sometimes you need established characters to bridge the old and the new. We've seen that with the New Star Trek and the New Star Wars after all. It doesn't always work or satisfy everyone, but gambling on a completely new break from the old doesn't always work either (and sometimes is worse. I think some of the V5 mis-steps can reflect this.)

                  Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                  I can see Lucita leading the first group, but not the second one. I do not know who or what would be leading it. And signature characters is a good way to put it. The Anarchs didn't use to have any. Now, though, Starek might count.
                  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.

                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  Mortals

                  Some Anarchs object to the idea that vampires should be secretly directing the lives of mortals and enslaving them. This is something that I feel like is a thing that should either get a lot more attention (perhaps its own faction) or get no attention at all simply because all vampires are predators on humans as well as believers in the Masquerade.

                  I feel like a much better point of contention would be the treatment of Thin Bloods and maybe ghouls to a lesser extent. Thin Bloods don't even get mentioned in this part of the book and that's a shame because they are something that I think would definitely add to the Anarch Movement (as I mentioned before). Also, the Camarilla having things like the Scourge is some genuine oppression that they could rail against. Instead, they're just absent here and that's weird. You'd think a Scourge would get a bigger focus given they're not Sheriffs but executioners as well as torturers.

                  Generation Gap

                  The Anarchs are people that constantly ape the social norms and customs of their time. This isn't gotten into but I think should have been talked about more. One of the things I liked about Chicago by Night is that it was made of Socialists, Civil Rights activists, and Punks with Goths presumably as the next generation of Anarchs. The book says that they get looked down by the Elders but they are proud of keeping a connection to human developments.
                  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.)

                  I'd start with the latter and build narratively on the idea that Duskborn are 'build your own vampire' characters that over more customization than 'true' vampires. Start by merging the caitiff idea with thin bloods, but removing the generational element - you can have thin bloods of any generation (although higher generations are still more prone) and have a range of merits and flaws which define how the 'thin blood' manifests (which they kinda did in Time of Thin Blood.) It could be that 'thin blood' vampires - even of lower generation - could age rather than remaining truly immortal (which was an option in TTB and we have a 6th generation Gangrel in Giovanni Chronicle who suffers from that affliction.) It could be the weaker vitae (no ability to make blood bonds or ghouls), and you could even adopt the 'thin blooded alchemy' as a variation of that (they can't learn disciplines, or at most learn only the first level of certain disciplines. All physical, all mental, etc.)

                  Likewise the advantages would be built from merits (less vulnerable to sunlight, able to eat food or create Dhampir in place of ghouls) and of course being inceptors or seers. Its the inceptor bit where I'd really like to see Caitiff and Thin Bloods synthesized since its meant to be a defining trait of both.

                  Deacon Frost from Blade is actually a good example of what I am talking about, I think.

                  To be fair I'm not sure what better term than 'caitiff' you might use for non-clan kindred, but they would be one aspect of the Anarchs. The other part is where ideology comes in (to some degree) and you have Lucita, Theo Bell, and others. They may be clanless, or they may come from clans because they don't like how the Camarilla/Sabbat do things, didn't like their Elder, or any number of reasons. They come from Clans (with all the benefits and flaws therein) but they don't necessarily adhere to the way the clans within a particular sect operate (anti-antitribu?) They might ally with the clanless out of shared heritage (you could still have thin blooded in clans after all), or shared ideology (again Lucita and Theo), or simply necessity/survival. Or a combination of factors.

                  Cyberspace

                  Another statement that Anarchs are far more tech savvy than the Camarilla. While, again, I disagree that cyberspace is particularly Pro-Anarch, V5 has doubled down on the fact the Camarilla is more likely to use pneumatic tubes to communicate than cellphones. I happen to like the idea the Camarilla's low tech solution is actually cooler than it appears.

                  I think this is part of the 'Anarch/Caitiff = younger, higher generation' stereotype again. And as you note its not entirely true, since we have an entire clan (Nosferatu) who have a signature accomplishment tied up in technology and the internet. And as you also note 'low tech' is not necessarily bad (something that plagues a lot of fiction where 'newer is better' is assumed to be the default.) Think of a post-apocalyptic setting or areas where civilization might collapse (such as.. in a Gehenna scenario). Low tech solutions that aren't dependent upon (or less dependent upon) electricity, computers, and whatnot would actually be MORE survivable. It's not just stuff like pneumatic tubes either. Buried land lines, steam power, morse code and the telegraph, etc.) Heck even computers from the 40s-60s might be an interesting throwback in such a setting (or if you want to get really low tech, difference engines.)

                  You can easily get situations where 'older, low tech' vampires become nodes for survival or civilization because their preparations were less dependent upon modern tech than with a younger vampire. Or, even better, a synthesis of 'modern' survivalist technology WITH that older, more durable technology.

                  I actually could see the Anarchs doing better at a synthesis of 'old and new' than the Camarilla, which would also give ample justification to 'older' Anarchs.

                  The Cleavers

                  The Cleavers are an interesting element of the TIME OF THIN BLOOD and it's interesting that this is one of the things that stood the test of time. Here, it's not Thin Bloods that are having families but many Anarchs in general. Here, I think the PG-13 tone of the book hurts the story because it implies that it's only a Masquerade breach that's the problem. I feel like any V:TM game should have Cleavers (especially if they're not Thin Bloods) have a much more direct danger.

                  "Ever get in a heated argument with your spouse? Well imagine RIPPING HER THROAT OUT." That seems like a much better argument for why vampires don't have mortal families. Mind you, one of the plotlines I had was a vampire who lost their memory due to the fact they ATE THEIR BABY. Because, you know, that can happen when they're sitting there all appetizing.

                  Here, there's no sign that this is not just dangerous but abusive even without the Blood Bond or ghouldom.
                  I like it because its more of a double edged sword and a different way than the Camarilla/Sabbat approach. Cleavers and others among the thin bloods actually give you a different way of establishing mortal ties and support networks for vampires and in theory its based on more democratic/equality oriented views. The danger of course is that if you give someone a choice they may not always act in a way you agree with (or even contrary to those views) so it can create conflicts. Then you end up with a situation like the 'Vampire Dad' template from TtB (one of my favorite from that book!) Authority and command/force are easier to use and more controllable than attempting to use understanding/cooperation, which I think is where the Camarilla's approach has an advantage. At the cost of flexibility (There's something like this in military doctrine as well in the tradeoffs between a more rigid vs a more fluid military structure I believe.)

                  And of course the further risk of the Anarch approach is that not everyone WILL agree or have the patience/ability to be understanding so they may revert to more autocratic means of influence/control which results in the dangers and abuse you speak of. Road to hell and good intentions....


                  The Good Shepherd

                  This is basically the opposite of the opening where it talks about how Anarchs can use their powers to fight for causes that aren't related to Kindred society. Vampires who are LGBT, pro-refugees, anti-slavery, or so on. I'm inclined to remember the shit that Matthew Dawkins and other writers got for mentioning Neo-Nazis and the Alt-Right in V5 as potential examples. So it's probably a good thing they don't mention those here but my assumption is that TGG is correct that for every pro-democracy, pro-freedom, pro-racial equality Brujah that there's going to be a bunch of racist reactionary ones as well. If I'm going to make a KKK-themed coterie of vampires in, say, RED UNDEAD REDEMPTION 2 then I'd make them Brujah. Brujah are angry at society and the way the world works--that doesn't mean their anger is for good reasons. During WW2, there's going to be Brujah communists, Brujah Nazis, Brujah anarchists, and Brujah Tories (who get the most shit out of all of them).

                  Weirdly, no comment is made on the hypocrisy of Brujah angry over vampire manipulation of mortals and this--but maybe the author just believes you'll get it without holding your hand.
                  I really feel like this is another reason why getting away from ideology and philosophy as a major defining point for Anarchs might be a good idea.
                  Last edited by Mister_Dunpeal; 01-11-2020, 03:03 PM.

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                  • #69
                    Here's a bit of Anarch history I came up with: http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...76#post1360576


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

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                    • #70
                      Sorry guys for the delay, it was done by my being sick for two solid weeks. I ended up having to take antibiotics from the doctor. On the plus side, I managed to get a bunch of writing done despite my condition as well as managed to do a bunch of Resident Evil 2 as well as Devil May Cry 5. Cults of the Blood Gods finished and I'm looking forward to the release of its supplements. It was a solid and awesome manuscript but I don't expect to see any of these until 2021.

                      It makes me even more anticipatory of Chicago Folio and Let the Streets Run Red that I predict will be possibly available in February/maybe March. Mind you, I initially thought The Chicago Folio would be available in OCTOBER of last year so clearly I shouldn't be trusted with understanding how ANYTHING of this works.

                      In the meantime, back to the discussion of the Anarchs and why they don't have any luck with accomplishing anything!


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

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                      • #71
                        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.


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

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                        • #72
                          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.


                          Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                          • #73
                            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​ian" 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.


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

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                            • #74
                              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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                              • #75
                                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.


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

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