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[WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

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  • Mister_Dunpeal
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I feel like the Anarch cause was much better handled in Vampire: The Dark Ages and it's probably why, again, a lot of people went with the Sabbat (even though Modern Anarchs have every bit as much title to being ancestors of the First Anarch Revolt as their pseudo-ISIS brethren). In the Dark Ages, Anarchs had a lot of very legitimate complaints:

    * The Blood Bond
    * Being used as cannon fodder against the Inquisition
    * Being forced to serve your sire for centuries after your Embrace.
    * Your sire having the authority to kill you at will.
    * The High Clans vs. Low Clan distinction
    * The Big Kindred Civil Wars (The Omen War for example) that no one actually cared about but the people at the top.
    * Princes being even more tyrannical, petty, and mouth breather (if they breathed) than they are in the next century.

    I feel like if you want the Anarchs to make sense in the Modern Nights that you should look back to the Dark Ages and go, "have things really improved all that much?" I mean, there's still plenty of Dominate, Presence, Blood Bonding, casual tyranny, and random executions going on.
    Part of the problem may be that you need a better label than 'Anarch' as that implies some sort of Ayn Randian Bioshock caricature who only cares about their short term desires and interests but not building anything lasting or sustainable. Which isn't true, since you had people like MacNeill and Garcia who clearly WANTED to build something lasting... they just didn't get played up. ​ Its less about 'personal freedom' or 'individuality' and more about fair representation, equality of opportunity, etc. Democratic vs autocratic/aristocratic. Maybe a modernized version of the Dark Ages Prometheans would have been better as an 'anarch' archetype.

    At least with the thin blood/duskborn you could play this up - wanting to be treated as actual vampires with a say in things, rather than something to be feared, hated, or purged. There's even a 'old vs new' dynamic there (the 'old' traditions vs the younger and more modern ideas and mindset.)

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Long Digression on the Tyranny of Princes
    Basically, I think that Princes should be dickheads. I don't think this is a very controversial statement but it's almost SHOCKING to some players who think of the Prince as the pinnacle of things to aspire to in Vampire: The Masquerade or are used to taking orders in other games. One of the things that many people comment on is that Bloodlines made the Anarchs seem a lot more sensible to players than they had before.
    Eh, some but not all. I think the issue is that the ones who are assholes should be the ones who highlight the flaws in the system - the corruption, the lack of representation, the emphasis on tradition and stability (which maintain those who hold the power and influence). IT's those factors which fuck it up for the ones who aren't assholes and who may actually care about ensuring the Camarilla serves its idealized purpose rather than being the Vampiric Old boys club who are intent on keeping the younger upstarts under the elder's thumb where they belong.

    It's that sort of situation that breeds the sort of conflicts that bring out the worse in vampiric nature and replay thoes things that highlight their cursed nature. They can't get along, they can't lead or rule effectively (for any lenght of time) -they can only lurk, hide, and be parasites. \

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    I think one of the issues that the Anarchs ran into was a lack of personality. There's literally hundreds of vampires we can point to in the Camarilla with varying degrees of ties to the organization and the same can be said for the Sabbat. Jan Pieterzoon, the Justicars, the Archons, all of the Princes, the Primogen, and the Elders are heavily invested in the Camarilla. The same for the Sabbat where it's an actual military organization. Everyone in the Sabbat from the most common boots on the ground to the Regent is heavily invested in it.

    Chicago by Night 1st Edition had a lot of Anarchs and so did Los Angeles by Night but, honestly, not many other books actually had many Anarchs as characters. The Children of the Inquisition, Children of the Revolution (WTH? I just realized that), and plenty of the actual city books just kind of ignore the Anarchs in cities. I mean, there's no serious organized Anarch factions in the Clan Novels, the Transyalvania Chronicles (since they become the Sabbat or don't), the Giovanni Chronicles, and so on.

    There's just not that many characters that embody the Anarch movement.
    That might reflect that Anarchs were the 'throwaway' category, a bit like how Caitiff were also an 'everything else' dumping grounds. It's hard to define something when you're treating it like that. On the other hand, that leaves things more open ended and easier to adapt with fewer contradictions. In that respect I can see why V5 dropped the Sabbat in favor of Camarilla vs Anarch... the Sabbat really didn't seem to have a niche (at least currently) that the anarch's couldn't fill.. but there were niches the Anarchs could fill that the Sabbat could not.

    And then you get the thin bloods and the evolution to duskborn (which I think is where the Anarchs might have started to become distinctive compared to the other sects.. but also feel like they've subsumed alot of previous ideas about Anarchs or Caitiff. Which is a shame given you had stuff like 'Outcasts' that was still pretty interesting.)

    Was it silly in Gehenna that the PCs were fighting Withered Antediluvians? Okay, yes, but it was silly good fun. I also think being political leaders in a city isn't that big of a contrast.
    I guess it depends on how you considered them 'fighting' and why. We could get back to speculation about Redemption in this respect, for example. Similar 'YMMV' principles apply I think. I mean personally the idea of some sort of vampiric rebellion against the Vampire Empire of Blood, even in a post-apocalyptic setting, has a certain appeal even if you aren't fighting the Antediluvians directly.

    I feel like Bloodlines did the best streamlining of a lot of silly concepts in V:TM to understandable one. They had the Camarilla, Anarchs, Sabbat, and a lot of other crazy concepts all existing side-by-side without problems. I think the Inconnu, Assamites, and Followers of Set were some of the few things that wasn't fit into the story anywhere. Mind you, I think the Cathayans weren't necessarily a great idea but while as stereotypical as they were, I also think that they managed them well because Chinatown also had a lot of other diverse characters who weren't Orientalist stereotypes.
    I thought both games did. But then again its easier to do that when you have a medium that works on multiple levels (graphics, sound AND text/dialogue) to convey the meaning. Whereas a book has text and art (at best) to convey it. Much harder to condense. But even then you had stuff barely touched on (Redmeption did more to show off the Society of Leopold than Bloodlines did with Stripper-Nun.)

    I think the idea of having some of the Gehenna elements as canonical isn't necessarily a bad idea. I think saying the Withering is canonical and maybe effecting those Methuselahs who stayed behind from the Middle East isn't a bad idea. I mean, limiting Ur-Shulgi to only 5 dots in any Discipline just doesn't make any damn sense. His whole thing is that he's able to do things that no other vampire can do and terrifying on godlike levels. I also like the Cyclical Gehenna and just straight up saying the Gehenna War (whatever it is) is the Gehenna of the past 1000 years and when it's done, things will be settled for the next 1000 years.
    I think less in terms of 'canon' and more of a.. narrative tapestry I guess. Canon strikes me as too inflexible, too religious and dogmatic. It doesn't give you any leeway to adapt (at least not without conflict.) Whereas a 'tapestry' I will unweave and re-knit in a different pattern if the previous one didn't fit. The idea threads are still valid, they just have to be connected in different ways. Surprisingly enough, I find this often works quite well.

    In my games, I had it revealed that the Imbued are actually a form of Demon from Demon: The Fallen. They're angels that have escaped from hell but have decided to become full blown Redeemers and going to try to destroy the forces of Hell as well as Oblivion to make up for their past crimes. It could be they're angels from Heaven too but I kind of like that no one knows where they went (same with God).
    Given how many of the different systems involve some sort of spiritual/supernatural element 'embedding' itself in a human (whether the vampiric curse, the changelings, Mage Avatars, The Fallen, etc.) that would fit right in.



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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Reasor View Post
    The divide that can't be bridged between Anarchs and Sabbat Loyalists is an interesting one. The Anarchs are technically correct that joining an organized army to fight for an ideal means becoming somebody else's soldier. On the other hand, it wasn't the Anarchs who were knocking over one city after another up and down the United States' eastern coast as the 1990's gave way to the turn of the millennium. For any number of reasons, the decision was made to depict the Sabbat as ascendant in the metaplot at the same time that the Kuei-Jin had the Free State Anarchs' backs to the wall.
    I think this is one of the reasons that the Anarchs are given so much more new territory in V5. The Anarchs no longer just control Los Angeles (albeit contested by the Camarilla so they can actually be Anarchs), they now can say they have Las Vegas, Berlin, and New Zealand. There's now a lot more Anarch Free States spread throughout the world.

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  • Reasor
    replied
    The divide that can't be bridged between Anarchs and Sabbat Loyalists is an interesting one. The Anarchs are technically correct that joining an organized army to fight for an ideal means becoming somebody else's soldier. On the other hand, it wasn't the Anarchs who were knocking over one city after another up and down the United States' eastern coast as the 1990's gave way to the turn of the millennium. For any number of reasons, the decision was made to depict the Sabbat as ascendant in the metaplot at the same time that the Kuei-Jin had the Free State Anarchs' backs to the wall.
    Last edited by Reasor; 01-01-2020, 08:58 PM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    I consider the Mexican Revolution to mainly be cover for the Second Sabbat Civil War which saw the sect become tyrranically centralized. Any anarchs in Mexico would have been eaten by the Sabbat.
    Only if you consider the Sabbat Loyalist movement as part of the greater Anarch movement, would they have a role. And the Loyalists were clearly defeated at this time.
    That's an interesting angle to pursue. In my campaign, I have the Mexican Revolution as having been between the Anarchs, Sabbat Civil War, and the Camarilla trying to rexert their control in the region. Just to reflect the chaotic and often shifting alliances of real life. In the end, the Sabbat won and then the conservatives of the Sabbat. However, it's a conflict that goes in multiple directions and has many sudden reversals.

    In fact, it would have been nice to explore any possible connections between the Loyalists and the Anarchs. But I assume there wasn't (I have not read Anarchs Unbound). In my chronicles, there is a significant interaction between serious Anarchs and senior Loyalists on how to achieve freedom in both of their sects.
    One of the things the book discusses is the fact that Anarchs and the Sabbat have tried to ally in the past and why it doesn't work out. Basically, most Anarchs will prefer to side with the Camarilla versus the Sabbat in the end and the most they can do is stay out of each other's way. I do think the Loyalists are the most similar to Anarch-Anarchs but the simple fact is the vinculum means they're bound in ways the regular Anarchs never would be.

    What exactly the Brujah Council was, has been something of a mystery to me. Glad to see this has been clarified. In the past, I mainly assumed that the Brujah Council was kind of a nebulous dissident movement within the Camarilla, but still ultimately loyal in the sense that they'd allow the Brujah Justicar to come in and police things, and still followed the Traditions. It's just that they added a new layer of control over the local Princes in Russia (which they probably renamed). I don't think they should be considered real Anarchs, but obviously something had to change from the standard Camarilla.
    I think it's interesting to think of the Brujah Council as a potential example of what a successfully realized Anarch Revolt might ne. They had the ideaology to unite them, an idea of how to run things afterward (a Council of Brujah versus Princes), and the oomph to pull it off. It just suffered all the consequences of, well, all the things the Soviet Union did. The idea of it being a rival to the Camarilla in Eastern Europe is an interesting idea to me but I have to admit that does kind of limit the power of the Camarilla--especially for the 20th century.

    I think Beckett's Jyhad Diary established that the Brujah Council actually did keep a Prince or two in a couple of places to make it so vampires visiting wouldn't be TOO freaked out but that it really was a radcial militarization of vampire society until Baba Yaga destroyed it.

    Also, that it's coming back post-Baba Yaga.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

    While this is likely de facto true, I think things would benefit if each Anarch faction could be categorized in two different ways. The first would be how the Anarchs themselves IC view each faction (or how each faction views itself), and then would be an OOC objective perspective that classifies them.

    Thus Juggler's "Nihilists" would be "existentialist warrior poets" who are actually "a criminal gang under the sway of a charismatic ganglord". Hind's Socialists would be "social reformers providing the intellectual foundation of vampire syndicalism" who are really "a useless debating club of demoralized anarch former revolutionaries".
    I think that was a major failing of Los Angeles by Night, IMHO. The gangs weren't necessarily the biggest problem of the Anarch Free State but the homogenity of the Anarchs. As you've stated, the Anarchs should be a mixture of intellectuals, criminals, and "vampires who would normally serve the Camarilla but are just sticking together for survival." Indeed, one of the things that I have stated in my games is that coteries are actually something that is primarily found among younger vampires and almost suspiciously Anarch-like by themselves.

    Basically, any group of vampires is something that implies to the Prince that they're plotting something or sticking together to survive. I've often said that coteries are really a survival mechanism among the young because a Prince might move against a lone Kindred but destroying one with a strong bond with multiple others who supports him or her is a different matter.

    Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
    That is disappointing because the history as written in CbN implies that the Anarch struggle in Chicago (both 1968 and in the 1980s) was their Gettysburg / highwater mark. While in truth we know they only got so far because elders were positioning themselves and not acting together (and when they did, they crushed them), to the Anarchs it must have seen like a big thing they almost won each time.

    Maldavis' defeat no doubt destroyed her reputation (defeat is an orphan), but there must have been significant outside support for her from LA and other areas. And even disillusioned survivors of her campaign would have some kind of significance and following with the Anarchs.
    Honestly, I think that a section about it would have been good just to show a "what not to do" and "how a seemingly successful revolt can go horribly wrong." Maldavis could be someone that is referred to as an Anarch leader who put too much faith in making inroads with Elders (Critias, Annabelle), trusted her subordinates too much (Uriah), and possibly underestimated just how dangerous or willy a Ventrue opponent could be. If nothing else, a failed military campaign by the Anarchs has its own lessons to impart. You could also use it to show how Anarchs still living in sizeable numbers in a Camarilla city might look like (and we did see that with V5).

    According to V5, Juggler also attempted to make a play for Prince/Baron of Chicago but ended up failing miserably.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-31-2019, 09:51 PM.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    * The Mexican Revolution
    I consider the Mexican Revolution to mainly be cover for the Second Sabbat Civil War which saw the sect become tyrranically centralized. Any anarchs in Mexico would have been eaten by the Sabbat.

    Only if you consider the Sabbat Loyalist movement as part of the greater Anarch movement, would they have a role. And the Loyalists were clearly defeated at this time.

    In fact, it would have been nice to explore any possible connections between the Loyalists and the Anarchs. But I assume there wasn't (I have not read Anarchs Unbound). In my chronicles, there is a significant interaction between serious Anarchs and senior Loyalists on how to achieve freedom in both of their sects.

    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    The Bolshevik Vampires

    Anarchs Unbound adds to the storyline with the addition of the Brujah Council and their revolt in Russia being considered "Anarchs." I like this element because while totalitarian communists are not the sort of people you'd commonly associate with Brujah, they actually are perfect for illustrating how vampirism handles concepts of revolt and reform. They are all about overthrowing the old order but being vampires can't give up an iota of control and even take over more. It also gives the Anarchs a big "win" even if it's not a particularly nice one as taking over the whole of the future Soviet Union at least makes the Anarchs not look like perpetual losers.
    What exactly the Brujah Council was, has been something of a mystery to me. Glad to see this has been clarified. In the past, I mainly assumed that the Brujah Council was kind of a nebulous dissident movement within the Camarilla, but still ultimately loyal in the sense that they'd allow the Brujah Justicar to come in and police things, and still followed the Traditions. It's just that they added a new layer of control over the local Princes in Russia (which they probably renamed). I don't think they should be considered real Anarchs, but obviously something had to change from the standard Camarilla.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Lack of the Council Wars

    One irritation that I have about the Anarchs history is the fact that it mentions Salvador, Smiling Jack, Macneil, and more many times but it almost never mentions Maldavis or the other major revolt figures in the 1960s or Civil Rights era. Maldavis may have failed to take over Chicago but it's still a seminal event in the Anarch history. Also, the Civil Rights Era is yet another one where it seems like there'd be a lot of Anarch influence.
    That is disappointing because the history as written in CbN implies that the Anarch struggle in Chicago (both 1968 and in the 1980s) was their Gettysburg / highwater mark. While in truth we know they only got so far because elders were positioning themselves and not acting together (and when they did, they crushed them), to the Anarchs it must have seen like a big thing they almost won each time.

    Maldavis' defeat no doubt destroyed her reputation (defeat is an orphan), but there must have been significant outside support for her from LA and other areas. And even disillusioned survivors of her campaign would have some kind of significance and following with the Anarchs.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    The Anarchs are basically criminal gangs working to overthrow the existing criminal gangs to set themselves on top. The overthrow of the existing power structure of the Camarilla is never going to result in a vampire utopia. Had Maldavis succeeded in doing so in the Council Wars of Chicago, she would have ended up being a puppet for Annabelle and Critias until it wore down her better side until she was every bit as bad as Lodin.
    While this is likely de facto true, I think things would benefit if each Anarch faction could be categorized in two different ways. The first would be how the Anarchs themselves IC view each faction (or how each faction views itself), and then would be an OOC objective perspective that classifies them.

    Thus Juggler's "Nihilists" would be "existentialist warrior poets" who are actually "a criminal gang under the sway of a charismatic ganglord". Hind's Socialists would be "social reformers providing the intellectual foundation of vampire syndicalism" who are really "a useless debating club of demoralized anarch former revolutionaries".

    Not all anarch groups are actually criminal gangs. While many are, there is no doubt a substantial number who simply complain about the elders, violate social convention, but don't actually engage in violence unless attacked. They are people letting off steam. (and as such, the true Anarchs don't take them seriously for all their posing.) But groups like the Chicago Socialists can't possibly be counted as criminal gangs. Their revolutionary days seem to be behind them, but they could possibly enter the fight again - but not as anything like the LA Barons. So I don't think Achilli's statement is actually true. There are too many exceptions.

    While it is true that overthrowing the Camarilla will not result in a vampire utopia, SOME of the Anarchs have to have a working theory on what replaces it. The reality might be that their new forms of government would not be an improvement but lead to the same results just with different people on top, or might make things even far worse. But give us SOMETHING! This intellectual space would be a good place to put alternative social models like we found in the Requiem game.

    The real OOC factions would likely be something like:

    Posers letting off steam
    Criminal Gangs
    Revolutionary Vanguard
    Intellectual Think Tank

    With something like 30%, 45%, 20%, and 5% being the breakdown of the "movement" in OOC terms. While in IC terms, we'd see a vast multitude of factions, many of which fight themselves as much as the Camarilla.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Reasor View Post
    On Anarchs and diablerie: There were books released in 1992 and 1993 that basically were adventures designed with coteries of diablerist Anarchs specifically in mind, complete with dungeon crawl third acts in the lairs of the coteries' low Generation targets.

    This game has taken some weird twists and turns over the years. When Beckett's Jyhad Diary first came out, and when that superb read-along thread was going on this forum, I had honestly forgotten that the Sword of Nul and the Book of the Grave-War both date back at least as far as the Diablerie adventure set in England.
    I always liked those adventures even though the premise requires the PCs to want to go do some cannibalism as their driving goal. It's kind of funny because you could easily do a more D&D-esque origin by having the PCs want to stop the rising of ancients.

    Agata Starek is a pretty good homage to the old diablerist Anarchs of old.

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  • Reasor
    replied
    On Anarchs and diablerie: There were books released in 1992 and 1993 that basically were adventures designed with coteries of diablerist Anarchs specifically in mind, complete with dungeon crawl third acts in the lairs of the coteries' low Generation targets.

    This game has taken some weird twists and turns over the years. When Beckett's Jyhad Diary first came out, and when that superb read-along thread was going on this forum, I had honestly forgotten that the Sword of Nul and the Book of the Grave-War both date back at least as far as the Diablerie adventure set in England.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Modified the Tyranny of Princes article with a second part.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Long Digression on the Tyranny of Princes

    Basically, I think that Princes should be dickheads. I don't think this is a very controversial statement but it's almost SHOCKING to some players who think of the Prince as the pinnacle of things to aspire to in Vampire: The Masquerade or are used to taking orders in other games. One of the things that many people comment on is that Bloodlines made the Anarchs seem a lot more sensible to players than they had before.

    A major reason for this is simple: La Croix is an enormous pile of crap.

    As much as the fact that Nines Rodriguez saves your Neonate's life twice in a row, La Croix is the biggest argument for the Anarchs because he treats you like shit, tries to get you killed, rewards you ONCE if you kiss his ass repeatedly, and dumped you on the street after murdering your sire with only Jack keeping you alive by telling you, "You know, maybe you should nail up some boards on your apartment before you go to bed. Oh and drink blood now too."

    I feel like the book should have benefited by saying a lot of Princes are more like La Croix than, well, any hypothetical good prince that is just trying to keep the Masquerade. One thing I like about Kevin Jackson in C5 is the fact that for all the fact he's a progressive, intelligent, and capable Prince--he's planning on murdering all but 10 Anarchs in the city. That probably includes most of the Thin Bloods and Caitiff but for the few who are rich enough to buy in.

    Having it so the Prince wants to kill any Neonate who is not immediately useful to him is a pretty good argument for the Anarchs were the STs to make this a general policy. Earlier editions implied it with the idea that higher generation Kindred were just a pain to most Elders and if you weren't a millionaire art snob, most didn't want you around (and even then--what, you made your money in COMPUTERS? How "new.").

    Coteries of New York also continues this by having your first night result in you having to bargain for your own life. Basically, you have to enslave yourself to a Toreador elder to survive and if you don't (because there's no Nines Rodirguez), your character will die. You also see them randomly grab a guy under flimsy pretexts, make up a bullshit excuse, and then execute him for (almost) no reason. A good moment in my game was when the Prince did turn the sister of a PC into his Blood Bound slave just to piss them off and show his power over them. Another was when an Anarch Embraced his grandmother because she was dying of cancer and the Prince had them both burned alive to orchestra music while filmed to pass to the Anarchs.

    Because tyranny requires showmanship.

    I feel like an Anarch game should have the Sheriff routinely show up to hassle you, possibly have the Prince blood bond or feed on your family, or kill mortal acquaintances at random just as power plays. I mean, they're assholes and you should run them that way if you want to explain to the players, "Why are there so many Anarchs?"

    But WHY are Princes dicks?

    Well, that's not just because it's how they're written, it's actually the job requirement. In the Enoch to Dark Ages times, a Prince was just the Lord of a specific domain and however many vampires that lived underneath him that probably didn't exceed 6-10 vampires if you were lucky. Most of the time it would you, your childer, and their grandchilder. It's after the Dark Ages, though, that the Princedom became lord of a much more multicultural collection of Kindred. You had exceptions even before this like Rome, Paris, and so on but they're outliers. Even then, those were Princes like Mithras or Alexander who is like 4th Generation and actual politics don't matter.

    No, modern Princes are all dicks because the job description calls for it. Because a Prince is selected by the Primogen and Elders of a city (if they exist) to embody Camarilla authority. He has to be someone that people are scared of but also envious of as well. The job of a Prince is, in Modern Nights, to be the Super-Sheriff. He's there to maintain the Masquerade, declare Blood Hunts, and host parties. He's also supposed to be rich, powerful, and intimidating so the young ones know to stay in their place while also why they should want to be the Camarilla. They're figureheads as well as possessed of a limited set of duties.

    That person CANNOT be nice. Niceness is taken by vampires as weakness and Princes have to make regular examples of people to keep themselves in
    power. If you don't have a Thin Blood to serve as a wine casque (not a keg like the Sabbat! Don't be gauche) then you will have to find one. You have to also show your wealth and extravangence in a cruel way by providing hordes of beautiful slaves at Elysiums (or dictate that to a Keeper of Elysium--because that's what smart Princes do). You keep the Elders and Neonates in line both by reminding them of the score ala Darth Vader.

    And even if it's not taken as weakness, Elders don't want to support a Prince who is nice. They want to support someone who lets them get away with literal murder because why wouldn't they? A High Humanity Prince doesn't benefit anyone's bottom line.

    Second, the simple fact is that crap floats to the top in the Camarilla. The ruthless, ambitious, and less flattering qualities are rewarded while the decent or content don't get punished. You may be a Prince just because you're old enough and it's your turn but most of the time, you want that job and will bribe your way or kill your way--or both--until you have it. Lodin became Prince by overthrowing Maxwell in a coup and its rare the Princedom changes hands without that. Older Elders will dangle their support to a hungry Prince to be in exchange for favors and throw a decent one under the bus because that's how Kindred politics goes.

    Third, the job will wear down your Humanity even if you don't want it. Keeping the Masquerade means brainwashing people, bribing people, covering up for regular murders by frenzying or dickish Kindred, as well as the occassional outright, "I guess we have to have Bob meet a horrible accident." That's assuming you can also keep yourself from becoming addicted to the perks. Princes have access to wealth, slaves, and power that grinds down even the strongest resolve. Even a just man can be destroyed by power and all vampires have the Beast inside them.

    For many Elders, a decadent snobbish Toreador or Ventrue who is a petulant child and murderer is one of the best Princes because he's someone they can manipulate. Besides, who is going to abuse? Mortals? Thin Bloods? Anarchs? Who cares. When they get angry, they'll get mad at the Prince not them.
    Another benefit of the system.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-30-2019, 09:34 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter 2 part 1: Anarchs and the Traditions

    One of the big issues of the Anarchs is the fact that we have an early problem with their vision, specifically, this:



    WHAT ARE THE ANARCHS REBELLING AGAINST?

    This is one of the things where the developers seemingly created the rebellious faction against the Camarilla without actually really trying to figure out what the Anarchs were against. It's easy to understand in cyberpunk because the corporations have made the world into a literal hellhole and everyone understands mass poverty even if they have different ideas how to approach it (such as, "fix it" or "get yours and screw everyone else").

    The problem is the Camarilla's traditions are not particularly onerous. Vampires are not given much in the way of rules. So much so that the Camarilla is probably one of the most permissive governments in the history of everything because, well, you can kill and torture and hemophically assault as much as you want as long as you don't break the Masquerade doing it. You also can't create new vampires without permission and you can't kill another vampire. By using Anne Rice rules, you basically fail to note Anne Rice's rules are an incredibly permissive set of rules.

    Anarchs Unbound sadly doesn't solve this problem and tries to handle it the wrong way by saying that most Anarchs just want to be able to create and feed where they want. Not exactly the most sympathetic motivations really and it's hard to believe that such would create a centuries-long blood feud between the various Generations of vampires. It also contributes to the feeling of the Anarchs as a bunch of spoiled children since I think most players can agree that more vampires=more trouble for everyone. Domain was also de-emphasized in previous editions so I didn't think, "and if I feed anywhere in Downtown, I'll be beaten or murdered."

    I feel like the Anarch cause was much better handled in Vampire: The Dark Ages and it's probably why, again, a lot of people went with the Sabbat (even though Modern Anarchs have every bit as much title to being descendants of the First Anarch Revolt as their pseudo-ISIS brethren). In the Dark Ages, Anarchs had a lot of very legitimate complaints:

    * The Blood Bond
    * Being used as cannon fodder against the Inquisition
    * Being forced to serve your sire for centuries after your Embrace.
    * Your sire having the authority to kill you at will.
    * The High Clans vs. Low Clan distinction
    * The Big Kindred Civil Wars (The Omen War for example) that no one actually cared about but the people at the top.
    * Princes being even more tyrannical, petty, and mouth breather (if they breathed) than they are in the next century.

    I feel like if you want the Anarchs to make sense in the Modern Nights that you should look back to the Dark Ages and go, "have things really improved all that much?" I mean, there's still plenty of Dominate, Presence, Blood Bonding, casual tyranny, and random executions going on.

    What the Book Does Say

    1. Masquerade

    The Anarchs support this one as without it, it wouldn't be called V:TM. The book mentions some Anarchs would like to be more open about it with their families or close relatives but that's a TERRIBLE idea even to most Anarchs. The only way to keep a secret between three people is if two of them are dead.

    2. Domain

    One thing that I like about this book and later V5 is this is expanded a lot longer. Before, it just justified Princes as a concept. Here, it implies that most vampires carve up cities like feudal territories so that everything is claimed. It may sound strange that "every Walmart in Jacksonville, Florida belongs to Marcus Jones" but it's actually a pretty good idea to have the Sheriff come around to beat you up if you had your characters buy a pair of pants there. WITHOUT PERMISSION.

    Lots of potential storytelling here. I also like how Domain can have romantic and dramatic weight too. Say, if your Domain is the orphanage you run and some Ventrue come in, feed on the children and then kill a few. Wouldn't that piss you off? Domain isn't just who you can feed on. It's who others CAN'T. Generally, though, Anarchs hate the concept and all want to feed anywhere they want. So, the above orphan eaters may be your fellow Anarchs too. "Oh, so you're upset I dominated your sister blowing me? S'all good man, I just did it to ghoul her."

    I mean, in that respect, fuck the Anarchs.

    3. Progeny

    Yeah, all Anarchs want to create new vampires. Unbound postulates that not only are the Anarchs just straight up WRONG about how they go about Progeny (i.e. everyone should be able to Embrace who they want when they want) but they've pretty much backed off of this in any successful Barony to do Group Approval. Which is just the same system as the Camarilla but under the Primogen equivalent. FYI - that's another, "We don't have enough to differentiate Anarch domains" issue. A rulership by Coterie of a territory instead of a Prince isn't exactly new. But yes, a lot of Anarch domains are overpopulated with people turning their girlfriends, boyfriends, grandmothers, and people they used to hang with in high school. They often get into serious fights over and threaten the Masquerade.

    4. Accounting

    In GUIDE TO THE ANARCHS, they state that most Anarchs don't think Accounting is worth anything and that basically a sire or childe is not blamed for the others actions. You're Embraced, you're one of us. Here, they reverse that completely and have a lot of Anarchs deeply concerned about making sure a new vampire as educated as possible (say, "indoctrinated") before swearing their allegiance to the cause. I feel this is very out of Anarch-character. I feel like they would not give a fig for Accounting and at most think, "You embraced a real fuckhead, George."

    5. Hospitality

    Anarchs talk about this and how that they've been reviving the old two-way system of Hospitality. That if you have guests in your domain that they are expected to behave but also that you're expected to protect them as well. I think this is a bit much and I think most Anarchs would behave with the idea that if you encounter a Kindred in your domain that they don't owe you anything and vice versa. Ships passing in the night is how most Anarchs feel that Kindred travelers should be unless they intend to put down roots.

    6. Destruction

    Anarchs HATE this trope and basically all know someone who was killed unfairly by Princes. I think this should have been analyzed more. However, the Barons usually have the power of Final Death over people because Anarchs murder each other all the time. Usually, however, it's a group decision as well as the Prince with a make-shift jury. I think this is actually a lot fairer and one of the few things that the Anarchs have over the Camarilla. Weirdly, that was also how the Primogen and Prince worked in Kindred the Embraced.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 01-03-2020, 08:55 AM.

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  • Grumpy RPG Reviews
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    Al Swearengen makes for an interesting Anarch model.

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  • CTPhipps
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    Originally posted by El Barto View Post
    I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I wish V5 had kept the Red Question as an active anarch presence. Not because I was fond of them (I agree with everything pointed out by fans and the V5 anarch book, and understand why V5 swept them under the rug) but because they were so aggressively divisive within the community. That's a central aspect to the anarch movement that the new book didn't touch as much as I would like.
    I think the Red Sign as an active hacker collective of vampires like the Glass Walkers' Monkeywrenchers is probably something that is still extant in my games. There's a lot of things you can do with a bunch of vampire hackers like attack Camarilla corporations, send technologically-active Kindred texts with valuable information, and maybe fuck with the Second Inquisition because they are a group vulnerable just the same way Schrek.net was. I just think they should have been dialed down. It's kind of like how I feel about the True Hand except much-much less offensive with the Red Sign. They're too big and "influential" but not an inherently bad idea.

    Also, yeah, they are 100% right about the Anarch Movements' failures.

    Also, I'm enjoying this thread. AU made me fall back in love with the anarchs after Bloodlines
    Thanks! Glad you're enjoying it.

    Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post
    It's a good example of how people can treat groups as monolithic even when they aren't. Not just in WoD but also IRL. We know vampire (and other) factions are quite diverse because its often a source of conflict. But human nature - and WoD being a game - mean it can be 'simplified' for gaming convenience, personal bias, or whatever reason. The Anarchs - being highly individualistic - are going to be even more prone to this. Just like in the EU you had Rebels who were actual terrorists, but also very sympathetic Imperials (see: Grand Admiral Thrawn.)
    I think one of the issues that the Anarchs ran into was a lack of personality. There's literally hundreds of vampires we can point to in the Camarilla with varying degrees of ties to the organization and the same can be said for the Sabbat. Jan Pieterzoon, the Justicars, the Archons, all of the Princes, the Primogen, and the Elders are heavily invested in the Camarilla. The same for the Sabbat where it's an actual military organization. Everyone in the Sabbat from the most common boots on the ground to the Regent is heavily invested in it.

    Chicago by Night 1st Edition had a lot of Anarchs and so did Los Angeles by Night but, honestly, not many other books actually had many Anarchs as characters. The Children of the Inquisition, Children of the Revolution (WTH? I just realized that), and plenty of the actual city books just kind of ignore the Anarchs in cities. I mean, there's no serious organized Anarch factions in the Clan Novels, the Transyalvania Chronicles (since they become the Sabbat or don't), the Giovanni Chronicles, and so on.

    There's just not that many characters that embody the Anarch movement.

    Most game systems seem to lean in favor of PCs regardless of what the source material because it makes the game enjoyable for players. Warhammer 40,000 has the 'grimdark' narrative where individuals don't matter.' But it rarely applies to players even when they aren't one of the larger-than-life heroes. IIRC it's the 'your guys' philosophy (as in "your guys always matter, because they are 'your' guys.") We've seen that quite a bit in the WoD game systems - especially in the various 'End Times' scenarios. And its even more true in the video/computer games, but it becomes one of those variables that can cause confusion or apparent contradiction.
    I think a lot of games, including White Wolf ones, have actually screwed this up. As was complained about FORGOTTEN REALMS, they have a lot of major characters that PCs can feel redundant alongside. RAVENLOFT made it impossible to stop the Dark Lords or change the Demiplane of Dread for the better. Abberant also Divis Mal who was literally unkillable and unstoppable so the players were redundant around him.

    Was it silly in Gehenna that the PCs were fighting Withered Antediluvians? Okay, yes, but it was silly good fun. I also think being political leaders in a city isn't that big of a contrast.

    That could be more of the 'filtering by gaming necessity.' It's been happening for decades with most games whether they are paper and pencil, computer/video.. or whatever. I mean, look at how computer games go from CRPGS more like D&D to action RPGs (Fallout and The Elder Scrolls.) DND has become increasingly more streamlined as well. I don't see it as a 'bad' thing necessarily from an accessibility perspective, but I'm also somewhat stat obsessed, so that streamlining isn't what I'm used to. Or may even bore me lol.
    I feel like Bloodlines did the best streamlining of a lot of silly concepts in V:TM to understandable one. They had the Camarilla, Anarchs, Sabbat, and a lot of other crazy concepts all existing side-by-side without problems. I think the Inconnu, Assamites, and Followers of Set were some of the few things that wasn't fit into the story anywhere. Mind you, I think the Cathayans weren't necessarily a great idea but while as stereotypical as they were, I also think that they managed them well because Chinatown also had a lot of other diverse characters who weren't Orientalist stereotypes.

    Mind you, I can't help but think of the sheer ANGER and incoherent fan rage of CHICAGO BY NIGHT to the plagiarism of Big Trouble in Little China for Chicago in THE BOOK OF CHANTRIES. I mean, it seemed a bit much but I also wonder what the author there was thinking. It's like, "You realize John Carpenter is NOT an obscure director for geeks? I mean, this is not a movie that is an obscure reference. I've seen it literally 2 dozen times and half of those by the time I was twelve."

    As I've been expanding my reading of the original material (and learning more about the V20/V5 stuff) I find myself treating aloe of the 'Time of Judgement' material in a more 'transformative' manner. Back when it happened, it was portrayed as THE END so that really shaped my thinking. But learning of the V20 (and V5) material and how they've continued after it forced me to abandon that (indeed even some of the later material adopt a 'it happened, but wasn't as bad as feared') viewpoint. And it works because alot of those materials were open ended enough to leave the option for a Storyteller to treat it as a 'new beginning' rather than an 'end'. Gehenna had a few scenarios where your characters could survive and perhaps be a new (different) race of vampires. Given some of the changes between V20 and V5 this becomes an obvious means to explain at least some discrepancies (changes happen, and the 'End Times' stuff did introduce alot of changes. And those changes may still BE continuing. Hence 'transformative.')
    I think the idea of having some of the Gehenna elements as canonical isn't necessarily a bad idea. I think saying the Withering is canonical and maybe effecting those Methuselahs who stayed behind from the Middle East isn't a bad idea. I mean, limiting Ur-Shulgi to only 5 dots in any Discipline just doesn't make any damn sense. His whole thing is that he's able to do things that no other vampire can do and terrifying on godlike levels. I also like the Cyclical Gehenna and just straight up saying the Gehenna War (whatever it is) is the Gehenna of the past 1000 years and when it's done, things will be settled for the next 1000 years.

    That has changed how I view certain groups like Hunters, where I see the 'imbued' as simply a variation on faith-based numina (a more complex sort of 'True Faith' or theurgy... which is supported by Dark Ages Inquisitor, DtF, and Hunter: Fall from Grace.) I can also see the same happening with KotE - a 'transformation' where 'eastern' vampires would be 'different' than they were. And there can be lots of reasons - some sort of transformation, or perhaps misinformation (always a possibility). We know the 'eastern vampire' concept went through several evolutions in-game, it could happen in-universe as well. Perhaps they were ALWAYS like Kindred, but had some additional element (something akin to Wraith possession, which in W20 can happen with supernaturals) that created those distinctions. Or, it was simply a different curse. We know Kindred could have ties to both the Risen (ability to learn certain disciplines) just as we know Saulot could 'learn' from the Kuei-Jin (even if the game system tried to deny/dismiss this for Obvious Gameplay Reasons.) Maybe the Gaki (1st edition) were really a thing, got 'changed' for some reason into what Kuei-Jin were, but by the End Times reverted to their original, more kindred-like nature. Factor in a good deal of propoganda and spin doctoring (in part because of Cathayan bias against Kindred) and you can kinda justify the absence of KotE - in one way, at least.
    In my games, I had it revealed that the Imbued are actually a form of Demon from Demon: The Fallen. They're angels that have escaped from hell but have decided to become full blown Redeemers and going to try to destroy the forces of Hell as well as Oblivion to make up for their past crimes. It could be they're angels from Heaven too but I kind of like that no one knows where they went (same with God).

    I don't know how they're going to do the Wan Kuei but if they did do it, I'd just make it: "Cainites on Roads of Enlightenment, having lots of Spirit Thaumaturgy, and having Sabbat-esque rituals to drink ki instead of just blood."
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-30-2019, 04:14 AM.

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