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[WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

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  • Mister_Dunpeal
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    One of the things that I've commented on when dealing with the Anarchs vs. Camarilla is that the former are read often one of two ways:

    1. They're either a group of valid revolutionaries fighting against a corrupt system.
    2. They're a bunch of spoiled poseurs accomplishing and signifying nothing.

    I find a similar issue exists with the Traditions vs. The Technocracy.

    An interesting story that came up with a game I ran was one where I ran a game in Chicago and did the usual petty bullshit of the Prince as well as Primogen. One of the players later commented that they were stunned by this as the games they'd played in before were all Pro-Camarilla ones where the Prince was the protector of the Masquerade and a guy you were supposed to work for.

    Them being a petty tyrant and the antagonist was new to them. That surprised me because I always thought the Princes were meant to be antagonists. Guys you are meant to oppose but walked the careful balance of, "Maybe I don't want to try to kill them either because that may result in my life becoming even more complicated."

    I felt they nailed it in La Croix but think about La Croix is that I've always run ALL my Princes like that while a lot of Bloodlines gamers acted like he was an outlier.

    Which comes back to my point is, the more oppressive and dangerous the Camarilla is in your game, the less ridiculous the Anarchs seem.
    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 Mark Rein Hagen had the idea on display in BAPTISM BY FIRE that the first Anarchs you meet is Juggler and Evelyn. Juggler is not just the first Anarch but the first Anarch SELLOUT you meet as he's almost identical to Modius and following him will end up fucking you over in exactly the same way as following the Camarilla. Evelyn is a good vampire but so is Allicia, really, and there's an answer for what side is the good side in that chronicle.

    The PCs.

    Yes, the game has the option of them following Anita Wainwright or Maldavis maybe but the really best possible leader for the Anarchs is the one you make yourself. I always felt that was an interesting angle as there's no Aragorn, you have to be him yourself.
    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.

    One of the things I liked about Chicago by Night 1st Edition is the fact that the Anarchs were a number of coteries representing different kind of social movements through Chicago. You had Genghis, Damien, and Dickie as the 80s Punks who resisted the Man because that's what they were doing. You had Maldavis, Theodore Dooley, and Anita representing the Civil Rights movement. Before then, you had Joshua Tarponski and Modius representing Socialist Unions of the 1930s. Part of what I disliked about Chicago by Night 2nd Edition was that in addition to wiping out huge chunks of the Anarchs, almost all of the New Anarchs are just stereotypical 80s Anarch stereotypes.

    Probably why the OPP killed them all in offhand references.
    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 think the Kuei-Jin are kind of a bad idea that people have fiddled around fixing but they really didn't have any idea how to do. For example, San Fransisco by Night has the Kindred of the East ruling over the city as a police state with the idea of local vampires serving as a resistance against THE EVIL ASIAN VAMPIRES. Which doesn't work for many reasons. We also had the early treatment of the Kindred of the East being extraordinarily racist against "normal" Kindred with Ming Xiao demonstrating her utter disdain as well as genocidal tendencies to them.



    Then we have in THE GUIDE TO ANARCHS, they had the Kuei Jin trying to work hand-in-hand with the Anarchs and some of their leaders becoming collaborators like Salvador. They argue that the Kuei Jin show a lot more respect to Anarchs than the Camarilla (what?) and have a much more leveled society (Huh?). I mean, I understand Salvador falling for the Kuei-Jin because he's a Communist Revolutionary and could easily get brainwashed into believing they're into that despite most being far older than Maoism. Still, you have to be crazy to think that the Kuei-Jin are any better than the Camarilla.
    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.')

    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.

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  • El Barto
    replied
    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.

    Also, I'm enjoying this thread. AU made me fall back in love with the anarchs after Bloodlines
    Last edited by El Barto; 12-29-2019, 12:19 PM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Personally, if I had to canonize any kind of Kindred of the East timeline, I would do it like this:

    How I did the Wan Kuei Invasion in my campaign

    Note: I hate the Great Leap Outward as a name and will never use it.

    The Wan Kuei have their own version of the War of the Ages and with the rising tide of population in the world, more humans were turning into new Kuei Jin than the older ones could control them. Thus, the Chinese Wan Kuei came up with a perfectly devious and evil plan of getting their rebellious Communist and Capitalist childer out of their hair. They decided to do as Henry IV and busy giddy minds in foreign quarrels.

    The plan basically consisted of using a bunch of rabble rousers to create a populist racist war against the Kindred of the West. All manner of slander, libel, and accusations were directed at the Cainites (some of which was true). They gave the younger vampires a ticket, told them to go invade California, and kill the Foreign Devils who were hideous monsters every bit as evil as the Yama Kings.

    This, of course, was all bullshit but a surprisingly effective bullshit that worked just fine from the Wan Kuei's perspective. Fighting against the Anarchs eliminated a lot of their extraneous childer and didn't have a likelihood of causing problems for the Wan Kuei at home because the Free States didn't have a way of retaliating against their Chinese enemies. Hell, the Anarchs barely knew they existed beforehand let alone how to combat their influence.

    The Camarilla and Jade Courts had a few meetings after the initial assumed this was a full-scale invasion. Several large cash payments, exchange of stolen relics, and negotiation via the Tremere in Hong Kong resulted in roughly this being communicated:

    "No, we're just going after the Anarchs. This isn't an invasion of America."
    "Oh, well, that's fine."
    "We know you'll try to take California back."
    "True, but we'll let you murder the Anarchs first."
    "Wouldn't have it any other way."

    Notably, La Croix was selected as an expendable Prince by Lucinde for this exact reason.
    There were a few higher-ranking Wan Kuei among the invaders but generally, they were like Ming Xiao and had managed to tick off people back in the homeland that this was a kind of exile. Much blood was spilled and it looked like the Anarch Free States would collapse. However, time eventually turned against them.

    In simple terms, the Wan Kuei have no real gain from holding territory in California since they don't appear there naturally. They can feed on the humans there but domain isn't really as big a deal there since many can feed easier than Cainites. They also weren't going to be getting any of the wealth or power of the Cainites they slew since most Anarchs didn't either. In the end, the Wan Kuei gradually lost of a war of attrition against the Anarchs. The Camarilla managed to briefly step in with La Croix but the death of both he and Ming Xiao resulted in the Anarchs retaking LA.

    They were, to use a colloquialism, a paper tiger.

    It was also thoroughly unnecessary too since the elimination of the Ravnos Clan also meant there was plenty of new territory to feed opening up in India, though the local Immortals weren't inclined to let bygones be bygones there either.
    Anyway, the joke may be on the Jade Courts and Camarilla both as it eventually happened that the surviving invaders finally did stop to talk with the Anarchs after years of brutal warfare. It didn't take much to convince the soldiers on the ground that they'd been had. Mostly because you had to be an idiot not to see the writing on the wall when reinforcements were requested, only to get the response, "Sorry, not our problem" and their passports back to their homeland revoked.

    The Dance of the Thrashing Dragon devotees and the Anarch Iconoclasts have since come to a bit of an agreement to leave each other alone. They have also cooperated more than any of the Elders of either the Jade Courts or Camarilla would have expected. In simple terms, following the collapse of the New Promise Mandarite, plenty of Wan Kuei gangs now exist in the Anarch Free States indistinguishable from typical Anarch Baronies.

    How did the Anarch Free States rebuild itself to full power in less than 20 years? Not just the fact Anarchs Embrace faster but the fact Thin Bloods and exiled/immigrant Wan Kuei are supporting the dream. Someday the Wan Kuei of California may repay their elders for their betrayal but right now, making sure any who try to establish business in California suffer is enough.

    Oh and perhaps helping their friends in Hong Kong who resist the Jade Court's influence...
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-29-2019, 07:44 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Mister_Dunpeal View Post
    The concept of Anarchs strikes me as being a bit like the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars. Something that can appeal to you for the underdog aspect, something that is easy to identify with superficially and romanticize when you attach your personal meanings to it, but is prone to break apart as indvidiual 'views' of the Rebellion collide (look at the transition of the Original Trilogy Rebels to the Expanded Universe New Republic and its iterations, nevermind how it evolved as the Prequels were introduced or we got Disney's spin on matters.)
    One of the things that I've commented on when dealing with the Anarchs vs. Camarilla is that the former are read often one of two ways:

    1. They're either a group of valid revolutionaries fighting against a corrupt system.
    2. They're a bunch of spoiled poseurs accomplishing and signifying nothing.

    I find a similar issue exists with the Traditions vs. The Technocracy.

    An interesting story that came up with a game I ran was one where I ran a game in Chicago and did the usual petty bullshit of the Prince as well as Primogen. One of the players later commented that they were stunned by this as the games they'd played in before were all Pro-Camarilla ones where the Prince was the protector of the Masquerade and a guy you were supposed to work for.

    Them being a petty tyrant and the antagonist was new to them. That surprised me because I always thought the Princes were meant to be antagonists. Guys you are meant to oppose but walked the careful balance of, "Maybe I don't want to try to kill them either because that may result in my life becoming even more complicated."

    I felt they nailed it in La Croix but think about La Croix is that I've always run ALL my Princes like that while a lot of Bloodlines gamers acted like he was an outlier.

    Which comes back to my point is, the more oppressive and dangerous the Camarilla is in your game, the less ridiculous the Anarchs seem.

    Anarchs have the appeal of being the revolutionaries and counterculture rebels (see Smiling Jack or Damsel) but lacking the hard-edged, terroristic inhumanity we might associate with the Sabbat. MacNeill is a good example of that too (to draw on the Rebel-New Republic EU analogy I mentioned, MacNeill and the Anarch Free States would be the Anarch equivalent of the New Republic... where we see the conflict between 'reformers' and 'radicals' CTPhipps spoke of, to which we can also add the 'realists' - people like Salvador Garcia IMHO.)
    I think Mark Rein Hagen had the idea on display in BAPTISM BY FIRE that the first Anarchs you meet is Juggler and Evelyn. Juggler is not just the first Anarch but the first Anarch SELLOUT you meet as he's almost identical to Modius and following him will end up fucking you over in exactly the same way as following the Camarilla. Evelyn is a good vampire but so is Allicia, really, and there's an answer for what side is the good side in that chronicle.

    The PCs.

    Yes, the game has the option of them following Anita Wainwright or Maldavis maybe but the really best possible leader for the Anarchs is the one you make yourself. I always felt that was an interesting angle as there's no Aragorn, you have to be him yourself.

    Compound that with the idea that each generation is likely to spawn their own iteration of Vampire 'anarchs' which is going to further defy any effort at a coherent history (the previous generation of anarchs are likely to be seen as too establishment for their successors and defy efforts at coordination) and we get a sort of mishmash that is likly to defy easy categorization. The most coherent groups might be the Thin Bloods under Cross (who might draw inspiration from the 'Smiling Jack' lineage of Anarch through Cross, obviously) but whether this has anything to do with their relatively greater humanity or the weakening in the curse in them I suppose is up for debate (its not as if humans aren't prone to falling apart due to tribalism... it's perhaps just less pronounced than in vampires due to their predatory natures.)
    One of the things I liked about Chicago by Night 1st Edition is the fact that the Anarchs were a number of coteries representing different kind of social movements through Chicago. You had Genghis, Damien, and Dickie as the 80s Punks who resisted the Man because that's what they were doing. You had Maldavis, Theodore Dooley, and Anita representing the Civil Rights movement. Before then, you had Joshua Tarponski and Modius representing Socialist Unions of the 1930s. Part of what I disliked about Chicago by Night 2nd Edition was that in addition to wiping out huge chunks of the Anarchs, almost all of the New Anarchs are just stereotypical 80s Anarch stereotypes.

    Probably why the OPP killed them all in offhand references.

    Edit: Oh yes, the Cathayans. I think in terms of them its worth looking at the Bamboo Princes and how their own attitudes might impact a 'rolling back' of the Kuei-Jin elements in Los Angeles (in a sense I've always seen the Kuei-Jin getting 'infected' with the Anarch bug through the Bamboo Princes and the New Promise Mandarinate, which naturally is going to undermine any efforts to impose order on the West. Which seems antithetical to how I remember the Kuei-Jin being depicted back then.)
    I think the Kuei-Jin are kind of a bad idea that people have fiddled around fixing but they really didn't have any idea how to do. For example, San Fransisco by Night has the Kindred of the East ruling over the city as a police state with the idea of local vampires serving as a resistance against THE EVIL ASIAN VAMPIRES. Which doesn't work for many reasons. We also had the early treatment of the Kindred of the East being extraordinarily racist against "normal" Kindred with Ming Xiao demonstrating her utter disdain as well as genocidal tendencies to them.



    Then we have in THE GUIDE TO ANARCHS, they had the Kuei Jin trying to work hand-in-hand with the Anarchs and some of their leaders becoming collaborators like Salvador. They argue that the Kuei Jin show a lot more respect to Anarchs than the Camarilla (what?) and have a much more leveled society (Huh?). I mean, I understand Salvador falling for the Kuei-Jin because he's a Communist Revolutionary and could easily get brainwashed into believing they're into that despite most being far older than Maoism. Still, you have to be crazy to think that the Kuei-Jin are any better than the Camarilla.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-29-2019, 07:33 AM.

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  • Mister_Dunpeal
    replied
    The concept of Anarchs strikes me as being a bit like the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars. Something that can appeal to you for the underdog aspect, something that is easy to identify with superficially and romanticize when you attach your personal meanings to it, but is prone to break apart as indvidiual 'views' of the Rebellion collide (look at the transition of the Original Trilogy Rebels to the Expanded Universe New Republic and its iterations, nevermind how it evolved as the Prequels were introduced or we got Disney's spin on matters.) Anarchs have the appeal of being the revolutionaries and counterculture rebels (see Smiling Jack or Damsel) but lacking the hard-edged, terroristic inhumanity we might associate with the Sabbat. MacNeill is a good example of that too (to draw on the Rebel-New Republic EU analogy I mentioned, MacNeill and the Anarch Free States would be the Anarch equivalent of the New Republic... where we see the conflict between 'reformers' and 'radicals' CTPhipps spoke of, to which we can also add the 'realists' - people like Salvador Garcia IMHO.)

    Compound that with the idea that each generation is likely to spawn their own iteration of Vampire 'anarchs' which is going to further defy any effort at a coherent history (the previous generation of anarchs are likely to be seen as too establishment for their successors and defy efforts at coordination) and we get a sort of mishmash that is likly to defy easy categorization. The most coherent groups might be the Thin Bloods under Cross (who might draw inspiration from the 'Smiling Jack' lineage of Anarch through Cross, obviously) but whether this has anything to do with their relatively greater humanity or the weakening in the curse in them I suppose is up for debate (its not as if humans aren't prone to falling apart due to tribalism... it's perhaps just less pronounced than in vampires due to their predatory natures.)

    Edit: Oh yes, the Cathayans. I think in terms of them its worth looking at the Bamboo Princes and how their own attitudes might impact a 'rolling back' of the Kuei-Jin elements in Los Angeles (in a sense I've always seen the Kuei-Jin getting 'infected' with the Anarch bug through the Bamboo Princes and the New Promise Mandarinate, which naturally is going to undermine any efforts to impose order on the West. Which seems antithetical to how I remember the Kuei-Jin being depicted back then.)
    Last edited by Mister_Dunpeal; 12-28-2019, 07:18 PM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Thoughts on Anarch History

    Perhaps I shouldn't have rushed through chapter one so quickly but that's the flaw of these sorts of WIR as you sometimes only get some thoughts on it's contents after you have had a few days to mule over them. The second chapter, The Traditions, can wait after all. The Anarch History given covered from the First Anarch Revolt to the Second in the Modern Nights and then the rise of the Red Question. So, what do I think of these things established in other books and mostly repeated here?

    + Tyler is interesting as the character from CBN that has gone on to become the most important of that book. It wasn't Critias, who might as well be the Brujah Inner Councilman or certainly should be. I feel like Crias needed to be in Byzantium or SOME location as a person who is a 3000 year old Brujah should NOT just be unimportant through history. Nor was it Maldavis who led a Kindred revolt that no one ever mentions. Instead, Tyler is the founder of the Anarch movement as we know it. The OG Anarch. Originally just listed as an old as dirt Brujah sellout who killed a early Founder of the Camarilla.

    It's kind of funny that she's so legendary now because her history has her in hiding, yet she's going by the nickname she's known by. You'd think Chicago would be indulated with pilgrims of the Movement or angry Ventrue. This actually leads to a funny thing the 25 Years Of V:TM guys commented on with "The Anarchs" sourcebook. There's a scene in that book where an Anarch talks about his mythical encounter with Tyler who stakes the local Sheriff.

    The 25 Years Guys react less with, "The Neonate is just making a story up" and more like, "You saw Tyler? Cool, where were you, Indianopolis? Or was it Balthazar in Chicago?" Because, again, she's been there for at least sixty years.

    + The Sabbat are pretty much the Anarchs worst enemy because they pretty much took a lot of what the Anarchs are famous for or should have. They're the die-hard violent rebels who hate the Camarilla above all things. Are the vampires of The Lost Boys a Sabbat pack or Brujah Anarchs? The fact that's not readily apparant is kind of their biggest issue. Even their history is basically, "The Anarchs became the Sabbat." Which means the Sabbat are still Anarchs, just the cool ones with weird rituals and anti-Clans plus cool powers. I feel like this basically hurt the Anarchs as much as Los Angeles by Night as it meant that if you really wanted to be wild and crazy, you were Sabbat. Anarchs came off as not really committed.

    It's part of why I do like V5 because separating the Church of Caine, Sabbat, Anarchs, Black Hand, and Banu Haqim's diablerie religion gives them all more room to breathe.

    + The French Revolution kind of needs mention of Madame Guil (pronounced Madame "Gee") because I absolutely love her character and she's intimately tied to it. I'd like to see her show up in one of the Kickstarters with, "CHOOSE THE FATE OF MADAME GUIL" because I'd totally have her join the Anarchs and become of their leaders. She was kidnapped, raped by the Toreador, Embraced, and then spent her life plotting the fall of the Camarilla from the inside.

    I think she fits with the Anarchs more than the Sabbat, honestly.

    I'm also interested in how Francois Villon (who is Helena's child and a liar about his age) feels about Anarchs to this day.

    + I really don't get why the Anarch Free State in California really is treated as the biggest thing ever as I can't help but think it's not really that interesting of a story. Yes, a Prince was overthrown by the Anarchs but is Don Sebastian REALLY such an outlier? He's described in the book as a racist anachronistic Elder who longs for the day of feudalism, brutalized Jeremy MacNeil with his powers, was chronically unjust in his judgements, and conducted orgies of excess on a regular basis. Am I an outlier in my handling of Princes? Because that strikes me as pretty typical for them as a general rule. They're (almost) all a bunch of decadent arrogant racist snobs who tyranize their subjects. It's just some are better at it than others. I mean, it seems like Don Sebastian being overthrown is like the only time an Anarch has EVER overthrown a Prince and held territory versus the Sabbat taking it.

    Which is really disappointing if true. I mean, what has Salvador been doing otherwise?

    + Jeremy Macneil is also the stated head of the Anarch Movement who, literally, does nothing but manage one Barony. Salvador wrote the Anarch Cookbook and supposedly has killed other Princes since then. While impressive stuff, I feel like they really are given a bigger role in this book than their actions might warrant. There's not much sign they've done stuff outside of the Free States after all.

    + I really would be interested in knowing if Marcus Vitel identifies as an Anarch in the Modern Nights as we know he retakes his domain of Washington D.C. in Beckett's Jyhad Diary then declares himself "Emperor." It's probable that he might have arranged the Camarilla defection for the Lasombra (and certainly is the one who sent Talley) but there's no one older than maybe the Sybil for him to turn over for a pardon nor would I think the Camarilla trust him should he resist the Beckoning.

    Frankly, Marcus is one of the people I'd argue is an outlier to the "Princes are mostly La Croix types" because he's a military, financial, and political genius. A guy up there with Caesar and Alexander in life even if he wasn't quite there while alive. Lots of Anarchs would follow him because he's a demagogue and he could form his own sect alone. I love Anarchs but I think most of them are less interested in reforming the system than not being on the bottom of it.

    + Mithras/Monty Coven could do the same if not for the fact The Fall of London went a different way.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-28-2019, 05:08 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Random aside, there were some odd V20 choices for the Anarchs. Like for example, Lizette Cordoba of the OCCUPY WALLSTREET movement is notably not just a vampire unaffiliated with the Anarch Movement but seemigly completely unaware of it in CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION.

    Indeed, Children of the Revolution barely had any references to the Anarch Movement despite being all about revolution.

    https://steemit.com/art/@stahlberg/a...the-revolution

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    The Red Question review

    I think my biggest issue here isn't the fact the Red Question is responsible for the 2007 Financial Collapse and that said real life tragedy is portrayed as a glorious victory of the underdog against the Camarilla. Though, certainly, that didn't help. It's the fact that the Red Question doesn't actually feel terribly useful. It's a group which is meant to be depicted as utterly redefining the Anarchs for the 21st century but runs into a lot of major issues.

    1. It's a group that very likely will never show up in person.
    2. It's a group that would almost entirely be composed of Western computer savvy Kindred
    3. I'm not terribly sure how to use them.

    These are pretty much the exact sort of things that got brought up in THE ANARCHS sourcebook for V5 and why the Red Question is no longer a thing. However, it's more the fact that I think there's a very good small group to be made out of this but it's not the kind of movement that would actually define the Anarch "Movement".

    Which is to say if the Red Question was actually just Vampire Anonymous them I'd probably be a lot more sympathetic to it. Say, 6-12 vampires total that enjoy wrecking the shit out of the Camarilla's corporations and maybe preserving the Masquerade by screwing with the government as well. I think that's a very useful group that could be inserted in certain games but isn't something that is going to radically re-paint the Movement.

    I don't care if they do have all the Technomancy for some reason.

    Indeed, that is one of the flaws of the Anarchs as a group that they don't have these sorts of little subgroups that make the Camarilla and Sabbat so interesting. Communists, Neo-Nazis and KKK (for killing!), Social Justice Assassins, Neo-Feudalists, Anarchist Capitalists, Transhumanists, and so on. I think part of why I like Jenna Cross is that her Thin Blood Liberation Army (for lack of a better name) is so unique.

    The Red Question in the book, however, comes off as a bunch of very (I hesitate to use the word "entitled") but arrogant rich First World Kids commenting on the Anarch Movement from the safety of their basement havens. Another reason why Bobby Weatherbottom being its founder and leader makes sense to me.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-27-2019, 01:03 AM.

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  • Saur Ops Specialist
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    Could just be that they bit off more than they could chew. They planned to take California from the Anarchs and then had it beaten back by the events of BLOODLINES.

    If they wanted to link it, the Anarch Free States was taken back in Bloodlines but it was only recently that the rest of the Wan Kuei were taken out by the Second Inquisition. San Fransisco could have been their stronghold until then.

    It would go well with a canonized LA by Night web series.
    Didn't follow or play it.

    I assume Ming Xiao would be a Chinese variant of the Tzimisce.
    That really depends on how much Flesh and/or Bone Shintai she had in the prior system.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Saur Ops Specialist View Post

    Even if the Hungry Dead are retconned into being just another form of Kindred, it would be entirely possible for a faction of vampires to look for a new place to squat, see a mostly disorganized group, and then exclaim "It's free real estate!" before going about to oust the soon to be former occupants. The only rub there is to ask why it didn't happen to disorganized Cam or Sabbat territories as well, or instead of, the AFS.
    Could just be that they bit off more than they could chew. They planned to take California from the Anarchs and then had it beaten back by the events of BLOODLINES.

    If they wanted to link it, the Anarch Free States was taken back in Bloodlines but it was only recently that the rest of the Wan Kuei were taken out by the Second Inquisition. San Fransisco could have been their stronghold until then.

    It would go well with a canonized LA by Night web series.

    I assume Ming Xiao would be a Chinese variant of the Tzimisce.

    Leave a comment:


  • Saur Ops Specialist
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    Rolling back the Cathayans

    Another thing the book does is that it retcons the Cathayans having destroyed the Anarch Free States. This is kind of a major plot hole that V5 has been ancing around. Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines is one of the most recognizable pieces of media and has been canonized repeatedly but the Anarch Free States don't exist in V:TM:B anymore because of the Cathayans who play a major role in the game. Now I'm not even sure the Cathayans still exist in any form.

    So it's kind of a Schrodinger's Cat because the Free State exists but Bloodlines requires it to fall. I mean, they could rebuild it after the death of La Croix but that's confusing.
    Even if the Hungry Dead are retconned into being just another form of Kindred, it would be entirely possible for a faction of vampires to look for a new place to squat, see a mostly disorganized group, and then exclaim "It's free real estate!" before going about to oust the soon to be former occupants. The only rub there is to ask why it didn't happen to disorganized Cam or Sabbat territories as well, or instead of, the AFS.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
    I am also disappointed in the handling of the Red Question. On the other hand, how much influence and presence does Anonymous (the real-world hackers group) have these days, by way of comparison?
    Anonymous basically ceased to be an organization engaged in active hacktivism due to the fact they started working against the Zeta Cartel and the Zeta Cartel responded they'd start murdering people randomly as well as any of their families if they did find out who they are.

    A bit nastier than their work against Scientology.

    Mind you, hacktivism and information warfare have also become much more relevant but now we're having election meddling and governments like China as well as Russia employing them as weapons. You could have the Red Question now co-opted by the Brujah Council or you could also have the organization having broken down into competing feuding factions. We also have the fact the Arab Spring (helped by but by no means inspired by the Wikileaks diplomatic cabal releases) becoming the Arab Winter. Also, the fact people like Julian Assange having also allied with authoritarian governments.

    A big problem here is that I think the Red Question, despite its anonymity, really would have benefited from having more personalities.

    Leave a comment:


  • Grumpy RPG Reviews
    replied
    To be specific, my take is vampires do not really control or meaningfully manipulate things – except to make everything worse. Because they are vampires – evil, hateful, cannibalistic, hell-beasts.

    In terms of the Anarchs, who should appear almost everywhere, I can see some Anarch Brujah, and Camarilla Ventrue, being a part of the Colorado Coalfield Wars and the Ludlow Massacre. The Brujah would further agitate the already agitated workers, and the Ventrue would make the reactionary owners even more reactionary. The result is still a massacre, which in the WoD probably killed 40 or more people, and the Brujah and Ventrue then wandering off to make other people’s lives worse.

    I am also disappointed in the handling of the Red Question. On the other hand, how much influence and presence does Anonymous (the real-world hackers group) have these days, by way of comparison?

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    The Red Question

    I feel kind of bad looking at my write-up for the HISTORY OF THE ANARCHS and just kind of skipping over the Red Question because that's a bit like doing a review of Star Trek: The Next Generation and forgetting to talk about the Borg. The Red Question is the centerpiece for Anarchs Unbound, however. I kind of feel bad that I wasn't particularly blown away by them and I feel like it was similarly received by fans as a whole given that the Red Question barely receives a sidebar that explains, "Yeah, these guys completely vanished. No one knows what happened to them." It even makes fun of them by saying the Tremere fiction at the end where a Tremere woman diablerizes a Camarilla spy and puts it on the net horrified people rather than inspired them.

    Because winners don't engage in cannibalism, folks.




    Random Factoid: I have a friend in Brazil who wondered why the Director or of the FBI was talking to him and other arcade gamers in his country during the 90s.

    As mentioned, the Red Question is a bunch of hacktivist Anarchs who wrote a manifesto called...The Red Question. It is a book that basically tears into the Camarilla, Sabbat, and the Anarch leadership of Jeremy MacNeil as well as Salvador. It is a satirical buzzfeed sort of thing that admittedly is entirely accurate as it just says, "The Anarch Free States are a joke. Does no one realize this?" Which they get props for if nothing else.

    It's not explictly spelled out in his Chicago by Night 5th Edition write-up but it's almost 100% positive that Bobby Weatherbottom was a member, if not the founder. Indeed, using the 2007 Financial Crash to destroy Ballard's fortune seems like something that was quietly confirmed. I mean, this would require someone like Matthew Dawkins to confirm but I think we can confirm it's possible. It could also have just been Ballard over-betting on the real estate market like so many other billionaires and getting screwed. Mitnick and that Brujah hacker from Los Angeles by Night are also possible Red Question members.

    I mean, how many super-hacker Anarch vampires ARE there?

    Well, the Red Question irritates the hell out of everyone with their critique of other vampires. It also befriends a bunch of Tremere Technomancers in Washington D.C. Pontifix Peter Dorfman is not the sort of guy who tolerates any sort of dissent and it was probably a bad idea to experiment with it there (albeit it seems to have forgotten the Sabbat controlled Washington D.C. for the majority of the new Tens). There's a couple of continuity errors like the Tremere Regent of London killing some Tremere fledglings in order to stamp out Technomancy--which is weird given what we learn about him in The Fall of London (i.e. he's a High Humanity fraud).

    Eventually, the Red Question institutes some magical web pages that regular humans can't see but vampires can. This results in them being declared Anathema by the Camarilla and the Ventrue Justicar demanding Schrek.net to be turned over to him for management. I'm assuming that was as obvious to the Nosferatu as me that this meant dismantling it. This results in the most controversial element of it where the Red Question DESTROYS THE US ECONOMY! The Red Question caused the 2007 financial crisis!

    A blow for freedom! A strike against capitalism!

    Millions of people loses their livelihoods, homes, and savings while the corporations get bailed out.

    *sarcasm mode* Yaaaaay. *sarcasm mode*

    I think it's the claiming of the Financial Crisis (which helped get Obama elected admittedly) that really makes the Red Question come off as incredibly obnoxious rather than a really fascinating group. Not only is it claiming credit for something in recent memory but it's also something that can hardly be considered a triumph for anti-capitalist pro-masses forces. I mean, if they used the 2007 Crisis to hit a bunch of elder's bank accounts in particular that would be very cool. The entire thing just makes them villains bigger than the Camarilla.

    And that's hard to do.

    Have them destroy Endron Oil (it'd be a good reference to Enron) if you want a fictional triumph.

    I admit, making them a bunch of Randians also irritated me as that is the ideology for Ventrue neonates.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-26-2019, 02:44 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Chapter One review

    The historical information is basically just stuff from previous editions assembled into one document. I mean, we've heard the story of the First Anarch Revolt literally dozens of times from the Transylavania Chronicles to the Sabbat books to the various Clan Books. We also get Jeremy Macneil's story from Los Angeles by Night repeated with no real new information regarding the Anarchs. I mentioned repeatedly that I feel like we could have had more information on other Anarch figures but it's mostly the same names as before.

    I mean, we could have at least gotten some new names for the Anarchs in, say, the Soviet Union. Such as YURI, THE PSYCHIC BRUJAH MASTERMIND!



    I mean the history of the Anarchs chapter is FINE. It's just not exactly anything new other. Well, no, it mentions the Brujah Council and revolt qualifies as Anarchs. It also introduces...THE RED QUESTION.

    They deserve their own section, which will be my next little article.

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