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[WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

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  • CTPhipps
    started a topic [WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

    [WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD



    I love Anarchs.

    I love Anarchs to an unhealthy degree. This is something that everyone who reads my posts should already know. I love Anarchs more than any other element of the game except Malkavians and Chicago by Night. Indeed, if you could somehow combine Chicago by Night, Malkavians, and Anarchs then I might suddenly explode in a burst of sheer joy.

    However, Anarchs kinda suck. I don't mean in the vampire way either. There's been some wonderful Anarch works but there's also been a lot of really lousy ones. I feel that Los Angeles by Night really derailed the Anarchs in 2nd Edition. I also feel like Vampire: The Masquerade: Revised was utterly uninterested in the Anarch vs. Camarilla plot and Guide to the Anarchs was extremely underwhelming. Hell, Revised had the Anarch Free States exterminated by the Kuei Jin as if they were having Cobra Commander kicked out of power by Serpentor.

    While V5 did a lot to redeem the Anarchs as a movement, I feel like the real redemption of the Anarchs comes from two places:

    1. Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines where they were the most enjoyable faction.
    2. Anarchs Unbound.

    This is hands down my favorite V20 work after Beckett's Jyhad Diary and something I think deserves all the attention it can get. I'm going to discuss all of the various elements inside here as we await The Chicago Folio and Let the Streets Run Red. I hope everyone else on these forums with a fondness (or distaste for that matter) for the Anarchs jumps in.

    I hope everyone finds this as entertaining as previous works.

    https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...narchs-Unbound

    Articles

    Introduction
    Introduction Review
    Chapter One: The History of the Anarchs
    Chapter One review
    The Red Question
    The Red Question
    Thoughts on Anarch History
    Chapter Two part 1: The Traditions
    Chapter Two part 2: Social Currency
    Chapter Two part 3: The Clans
    Chapter Two part 4: Trouble in Paradise
    Chapter Two part 5: Status Prefectus
    Chapter Two part 6: Territories part 1
    Chapter Two part 7: Territories part 2
    Chapter Two review
    Chapter Three part 1: Spreading the Movement
    Chapter Three part 2: Spreading the Movement
    Chapter Three part 3: Spreading the Movement
    Chapter Three review
    Chapter Four: Characters and Traits
    Chapter Five: Anarch Disciplines
    Chapter Six: The Storyteller's Toolbox
    Appendix

    New Material

    New Anarch Slang
    The Invasion of the Wan Kuei
    The Tyranny of Princes
    Anarchs Unbound review
    House Rules for Caitiff
    Ravnos in the Anarchs
    New Anarch Skills

    WIR Links

    Anarchs Unbound
    Beckett's Jyhad Diary
    Chicago by Night 5th Edition
    The Chicago Folios
    Cults of the Blood Gods
    The Gary Chronicles
    Let the Streets Run Red
    Project: Twilight

    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-21-2021, 08:57 PM.

  • CTPhipps
    replied
    You guys raise a lot of interesting points. Personally, I feel like the problem with Thin Bloods in previous editions was the fact they couldn't really figure out what they were going for with them. Blade and Vampire Hunter D are a very different characters from Lily from Bloodlines after all. I also feel like they weren't really ready to acknowledge a group that I believe are very important to social gaming.

    Anti-Twinks

    I've encountered a surprisingly large amount of these guys over the years and I think they're almost as common as their better known counterparts. They're people who LIKE playing weaker characters like ghouls, mortals, and high generation Cainites. The Duskborn appeal to them I think because they are the weakest vampires yet and ditch many of the special abilities that existed before.

    The greater the challenge, the sweeter the victory.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mister_Dunpeal
    replied
    I had mixed feelings about ToTB because while it had some ideas I don't think they fully developed them (and its a pattern we're seeing with them in 5th - good ideas, but the execution could be better.) The discrepancy on 'hybrids' in ToTB I alluded to above is one example (we hate powergaming Dhampirs, but its a-okay if you're a 14th or 15th generation cuz we still let you use mortal sorcery in addition to all the stuff you get from vampires and high generation like the inceptor talent.) Oh and lets not forget True Faith is still possible, too :V

    But the whole 'All Thin Bloods are Caitiff' is another area that - as I think I mentioned elsewhere - wasn't fully fleshed out. It's not that big an issue or hard to reconcile, but the way they handled 'thin blood' vs high generation was really bizarre. IMHO the options for tweaking your character are tied less to generation and more to being thin blood. I could get SOME of those advantages applying to one, but I really feel like the Thin Blood trait never got fully developed because they loaded up the advantages on the 'high generation' flaws and in ways that made less sense (Thin Blooded can't make Ghouls or Vampires, but only 15th generation can make Dhampir? On top of being inceptors, seers, mortal sorcery AND resistant to sunlight?) Oh and if you're allowed to reach Golconda as 15th gen? You can get around those discipline limits as per ToTB too, whilst evidently losing none of the advantages. You still have the 'double cost' for augmenting or activating certain disciplines but... that's not a huge drawback at this point, really.

    I had similar feelings about BJD and the 16th generation. More weaknesses than 15th but (as far as I can tell) no real benefits. At the very least you'd think 16th generation would take bashing damage from Sunlight rather than lethal considering all else they endured (and thematically it scales well. 15th take lethal and reach 3 dots in disciplines, 16th take bashing and reach 2 dots.. .dhampir take no damage and have one dot unless they are ghouled.)

    I think the balancing would have been better handled by letting merits and flaws balance it out. Thin Blood and 14th and 15th generation are worth X points as a flaw, so you can spend that many points to gain certain merits (resistance to sunlight would be one.) Certain traits could still be paired together. For example Thin Bloods can't make Ghouls or Embrace but could make Dhampir, they might use 2 BP to use powers but also draw more sustenance from human and animal blood as per efficient digestion, etc. 14th and 15th could still be seers or inceptors. You could allow one 'free' merit to balance out the drawbacks (Thin bloods could make Dhampir or efficient digestion, 14th/15th gen could be inceptors or Seers, 15th gen could take lethal damage from sunlight) but depending on how you built the character you could still tailor it to your purposes.

    This also allows an easier reconciliation between thin bloods and Caitiff because much of it is less tied to generation over the weakening of the curse. Which is ironic because ToTB does in fact imply this in Netchurch's analysis and they treat it as optional. Why only 'optional' rather than 'canonical' baffles me though given the aforementioned discrepancies. BJD's treatment of the thin blood is even more explicit. (interestingly too, BJD has a comment that blood can 'thicken' over time so someone that starts out thin blood can become 'normal', which seems to be a nod to V5's borrowing Blood Potency from Requiem.)

    As far as TBA and Thinbloods: One idea I had developed to allow for more 'Media friendly' Vampires like D or Bloodrayne was that a Dhampir could 'bite' a vampire and drain its blood to 'ghoul' itself. It required a bit of modification to those Ghoul rules (like the Dhampir not permanently losing dots in certain disciplines like the physical ones, but I kept the blood bond risk.) This is something that could translate well into Thin Bloods in general (they can 'temporarily' gain disciplines from the blood of vampires Ghoul style) but they could also use TBA to 'fix' a certain number of powers for longer duration or gain others. Again it should be more a mix of mortal hedge magic and vampiric blood magic (likely anarch sorcery.) I should note that Mortal hedge magic was interesting because it allowed for magical ways to gain disciplines, garou gifts, etc. through concoctions and that is something that resonates VERY well with TBA. Blood Magic has plenty of 'alchemical' elements to it as well.

    Alternately it's possible for Thin Bloods to 'learn' the knowledge of how to use the disciplines, but their blood normally does not have enough power on its own to fully utilize it. Draining vitae from other vampires, use of thin blood alchemy would be other methods but I also figured treating the 'two blood points to use vampire powers' issue as being akin to 'Blood of potency' ('thicken' the blood by spending more of it per use.) - a variation of the idea I presented above.
    Last edited by Mister_Dunpeal; 05-25-2020, 03:10 PM.

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  • False Epiphany
    replied
    V5 changed a lot about thin-bloods. They were a pretty diverse lot earlier. You could have...

    * 14th gen vampires with a clan who were sort of quasi-thin-bloods, fuctioning identically to normal Kindred except for essentially 2 less blood points to use
    * 14th gen vampires who were that, and Caitiff
    * 14th gen vampires with the thin-blood flaw who belonged to a clan
    * 14th gen vampires with the thin-blood flaw who were Caitiff
    * 15th gen vampires who were universally thin-blooded Caitiff

    V5 basically turns them all into thin-blooded Caitiff. I wouldn't say that was a bad decision, because thin-bloods are defined by the thin-blood flaw and "normal vampire with a clan but for 2 less blood points, who's sort of but not quite a thin-blood" was an interesting idea but fairly niche concept. If I were designing thin-bloods for a setting I'd start with actual thin-bloods first. Belonging to a clan also dilutes some of their themes (Beckett's Jyhad Diary does a great job playing up how Caitiff are perhaps the only Kindred truly free of an Antediluvian ancestor's machinations), so I can see giving that the axe too.

    But the idea of a thin-blooded Toreador or Ventrue desperately trying to win their clan's acceptance is fun ("I'm not clanless! I'm one of you!"), so I might just have "Clan" as a Merit for thin-bloods to buy. You buy it, you have clan Disciplines and a clan bane, but you're still a thin-blood.

    I'd still really like to see rules for Insight. I feel like it and Thin-Blood Alchemy should be the only Disciplines thin-bloods can permanently buy.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mister_Dunpeal
    replied
    You know the 'How should Thin Bloods work' thread got me looking back at the concept, and it's rather interesting how very.. 'hybrid' Thin Bloods can potentially be. Like TotB says that they can learn hedge magic. They have inceptor powers (even if its only to level 2-4 depending on your generation. They even actively encourage you to recycle 'old' powers this way!) And though the rules suggest it should be nearly impossible for them to learn Blood Magic... they still can. Possibly not the 'in-clan' types like the Tremere or Assamite practice. But there are plenty of alternatives. Heck The Anarchs have their own sorcery paths and I suspect Thin Bloods wouldn't have too much trouble learning those (nevermind that 'Blood Magic' implied that Tremere Thaumaturgy may no longer be as exclusive as it once was....) And inceptor-ship is implied to

    And if you're 15th or 16th you're throwing certain advantages like 'Sunlight is less lethal' into the equation.

    There's alot of potential abuse in that and it seems rather odd this would be overlooked given how often they've looked down on hybrids as some filthy D&D-esque concept that dilutes the purity of the Storyteller system. I mean they weren't shy about discouraging it about Dhampir...

    On the other hand I think it's also an interesting way to demonstrate how flexible and customizable the concept is, and V5 seems to want to go in this route (although I feel the Thin Blood concept there needs some rework if they want to make them 'distinctive, customizable vampires' and still retain some element of their original ToTB idea as described above.)

    It's also an interesting way to demonstrate what the greatest strengths of the Anarchs are (flexibility, adaptability, a willingness to experiment) even if that strength can sometimes be its weakness (a tendency to infight and problems unifying.)

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris24601 View Post
    They’re absent because they’re in Rites of Blood on page 68 in the section on Anarch Hacktavist Thaumaturgy.

    Fangbook, etc. are created via technomancy rituals that are a variant of the Tremere “Inscription” ritual encoded into a computer file. As a form of blood sorcery it literally doesn’t work for anyone without vitae in their veins.

    So it’s not so much an oversight that it’s not in Anarchs Unbound as “it was already in another book.”
    Thanks for the info!

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris24601
    replied
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Sadly, missing here is the Thaumaturgy rituals that would allow a person to hide their internet servers and websites from mortal. I think that those would have been the most useful to include in all of this and they're conspicuously absent. They should be low level ones but ones that should have had the effect of a invisible ink.
    They’re absent because they’re in Rites of Blood on page 68 in the section on Anarch Hacktavist Thaumaturgy.

    Fangbook, etc. are created via technomancy rituals that are a variant of the Tremere “Inscription” ritual encoded into a computer file. As a form of blood sorcery it literally doesn’t work for anyone without vitae in their veins.

    So it’s not so much an oversight that it’s not in Anarchs Unbound as “it was already in another book.”

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...treets-run-red

    And the Chicago Folios/Let the streets run red WIR is now up.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gryffon15
    replied
    I liked the write up, they both seemed quite interesting to me!

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Gryffon15 View Post
    Gah, I just saw that I had posted mine when I saw your post about considering Vitel and Callahan and hadn't seen the leaders of the east coast Anarch Movement. X D
    Haha. Well I'd love your thoughts on the write-up.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gryffon15
    replied
    Gah, I just saw that I had posted mine when I saw your post about considering Vitel and Callahan and hadn't seen the leaders of the east coast Anarch Movement. X D

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Gryffon15 View Post
    Gah, I forgot about them!

    For me, the Anarch Movement of the East Coast would be defined by a sense of history and old senses of revolutionary morality (Tammany Hall democracy and Roman Imperialism are both distinct from the Camarilla in their own ways) as well as a sense of history in upheaval.
    Yeah, I considered making Parker a Revolutionary War patriot woman but it seemed a bit too old for the theme. I imagine she still is the closest embodiment of it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gryffon15
    replied
    Gah, I forgot about them!

    For me, the Anarch Movement of the East Coast would be defined by a sense of history and old senses of revolutionary morality (Tammany Hall democracy and Roman Imperialism are both distinct from the Camarilla in their own ways) as well as a sense of history in upheaval.

    Leave a comment:


  • CTPhipps
    replied
    East Coast Anarch Leaders

    Boss Callihan

    New York City's Anarch chief is basically the antithesis of what most people like to think the Anarch Movement about. The Anarchs of New York are run not by idealism but by hate, libel, and corruption. Boss Callihan controls over a dozen gangs of Anarchs formed in the aftermath of the Sabbat invasion and plays them against one another constantly. He's very good at blaming everything wrong on the Camarilla and has a decided habit of favoring white men over other minorities or women among his followers. Nevertheless, the Brujah Elder has tendrils throughout the region with everyone having to donate to him in order to get any sort of help for an operation beyond their immediate turf. Boss Callihan has recently made a lot of friends with certain Far Right internet groups, Skinheads, Neo-Confederates [despite being a lifelong New Yorker], and militia movement members.

    He is very popular with them, though, because populism as well as scapegoating are his bread and butter.

    Ironically, Boss Callihan is Blood Bound to Prince Helena Panhard and her devoted lover. He strikes out at the rest of the East Coast's Camarilla but works to keep the Anarchs under his command angry but divided. Joshua Tarponski and Salvador have both considered having him killed over the years. They've since started supporting local Torque to overthrow him.

    Most of this is from Coteries of New York and it's a fairly decent portrayal if you just want an Anarch Baron you hate.
    Andrea Parker

    The leader of Boston's Anarchs and the Liberty Club is in a pinch as she is a woman who has fought for decades to reform the Camarilla from within. So much so that she's basically become more accustomed to the rarefied air of Elysium than the rough and tumble heart of the Anarchs. The Separatist Anarchs who want the Brujah, Gangrel, and other Low Clans to leave the Camarilla are people she fights against terribly. However, if they were to succeed then she would be berift of allies in a much more hostile sect.

    She has since turned to people she probably shouldn't be making deals with in the Giovanni and now much-smaller Children of Isaac. Both have promised her protection from the Camarilla should things go South and she's started moving further to the Iconoclast side while still hoping to pull concessions from the Ivory Tower as an alternative.

    A part of her believes she may need to become the first Anarch "Prince" but worries this will just make her another

    Since I don't think she's ever been written up, I'd make her an Irish woman descended from immigrants during the Famine. She worked as a Suffragist, Irish Rights activist, and later trade unionist. However, despite her rabble rousing rhetoric, her parents actually managed to make a fortune before her Embrace and give her an education. She thus has a lot rarefied air than most Anarchs as well as very little "street" sense despite her background.
    Marcus Vitel

    Possibly the most powerful "Anarch" in the entire United States and one that goes by the title "Emperor" instead of Baron. In addition to controlling Washington D.C., he also claims large swaths of the surrounding area as well as props up a dozen other Anarch domains with cold hard cash as well as military-grade weapons. The idea that Marcus Vitel is a believer in the "Movement" is a joke that everyone essentially gets but very few actually care about.

    The ancient Lasombra rules absolutely and frequently gives commands down to his "Centurions" but serves as a one man Camarilla alternative that can flat out defy Justicars and shut down their efforts against domains if you ask him nicely. All of his soldiers must pledge allegiance to him personally with a gladius over their hearts. Their pledge is simple: absolute loyalty in exchange for domain, protection, and wealth. Ironically, he has very little resistance because Marcus doesn't insist on the Blood Bond and virtually every Anarch who HAS agreed to his terms (and lived up to them) has been rewarded lavishly. He's had to crucify a few and leave them for the Sun but, generally, very few of them disobey once let alone twice.

    Marcus knows the Blood Bond is an erratic tool as people become irrational under it and develop deep festering resentments. He knows it from firsthand experience with his daughters. Dominate, Presence, bribes, and fear may be less permanent but they're more reliable. Besides, one of his biggest enemies is the Sabbat and they can easily break the Blood Bond of any of his servants--which is why he prefers other ways to control them.
    Salvador, Maldavis, and MacNeil think of him as the embodiment of everything they hate in the Camarilla but find themselves trapped in their own rhetoric. If people swear allegiance voluntarily, then they can't begrudge them that choice. It's just Marcus is a Methuselah and his cult of personality is something that goes beyond normal human charisma (and he had loads of that 2000 years prior anyway). The Camarilla has considered adding him to the Red List but they're genuinely worried he'd try to nuke the country in revenge [and they're not wrong] or something similarly horrifying. The Sabbat are divided between those who want revenge on him for taking Washington D.C back from them and those who think he'd make a good Regent after their present civil war.

    Marcus considers the Anarch cause "quaint" and the Camarilla to be something of a joke since he's three times older than said organization to begin with. He fully believes he can create an American Empire for Kindred within the next century if Gehenna doesn't destroy their kind. Oddly, despite his age and intellect, he doesn't actually look down on the Anarchs themselves or consider them fools for their actions. He grew up in a time of great instability and sees them just as Roman-like citizens denied bread, slaves, and land. Freedom was always just an excuse for the Camarilla not properly rewarding servants. Bread and circuses is the proper way to rule and any Emperor who doesn't provide both deserves to fall.

    Disturbingly, he may be right.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 05-15-2020, 01:24 AM.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    Originally posted by Gryffon15 View Post
    I really do like this overview of the Anarch leaders! Alongside this I would also consider taking a look at Anarch leaders such as the Liberty Party leader of Boston, although I've also considered homebrewing a significant East Coast leader in Philadelphia or another domain elsewhere as well.

    That's something I've mulled a bit and I'll probably have to do more personal research into that myself.
    I had an idea for Boss Callihan and Marcus Vitel but couldn't figure out how to make it gel for the East Coast. I maybe should try anyway.

    Leave a comment:

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