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[WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

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  • #76
    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.

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


    • #77
      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.


      • #78
        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.


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


        • #79
          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.


          • #80
            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.


            • #81
              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.

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