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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.


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    • #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.

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      • #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.

        Ouch.


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        • #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.

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          • #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.

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            • #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.


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              • #82
                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.


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

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                • #83
                  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.


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

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                  • #84
                    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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                    • #85
                      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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                      • #86
                        If we wanted to take a different approach to the 'Anarch' idea, one thing that occured to me rereading Time of Thin Blood (and parts of Becket's Jyhad Diary at the time) was that Caitiff in general (and not just Thin blooded) represented some sort of 'evolution' of the Vampiric curse (its not 'truly' evolutionary the way NetChurch thinks of things, but nothing says that there can't be changes or 'mutations' of a sort) perhaps because in various ways the curse of Caine (and the way its tied to bloodlines) is weakening and that 'Anarchs' in a sense (not just thin blood again, but all caitiff) represent the 'future' of vampires.

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

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

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

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                        • #87
                          I could see introducing a new NPC to be the vampiric Jane Goodall. Netchurch's "medical experiments on live captives" approach is important to retain - both for his character as a horror figure, and for what his continued existence says about the patrons within the Camarilla who finance his atrocities.

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                          • #88
                            This may shock you but I really fell behind in my WIR on this. So much so that the hardback copy of THE CHICAGO FOLIOS has since come out and LET THE STREETS RUN RED is now in layout. They're both books that I started this re-read on in order to kill time until the release of. So, oops. However, it re-inspired my love of Anarchs enough to write my various Anarch essays on my blog. I'm going to have to do some more of those but I still want to finish this one up before I do my dual WIR of THE CHICAGO FOLIOS/LET THE STREETS RUN RED.

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


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                            • #89
                              Chapter Three: Spreading the Movement part 1

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

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

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

                              Why Do You Obey?

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

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

                              Anarchy and How to Spread It

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

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

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


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                              • #90
                                Chapter Three: Spreading the Movement part 2

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

                                Tyrant Princes

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

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

                                Weak Princes

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

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

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

                                Besieged Princes

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

                                Anarchs and the Sabbat

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

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

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

                                Anarchs and the Free States

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

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


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