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  • Anarch domains: why official supplements ignore them?

    The title, basically: why do you think we never got a decently flashed out anarch domain? In the years we got loads of Camarilla ones, a few Sabbat ones and even one Autarkis one (Cairo). All we got for Anarchs are contested domains (the former Free State basically) and, recently, a shortt write up for Indianapolis (which is more a Setite city than an Anarch one). Why do you think game designers are so reluctant writing a supplement for a full Anarch domain?

    Edit:

    Also: which city would be good to represent an Anarch domain?
    Last edited by Haquim; 06-29-2022, 08:15 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Haquim View Post
    The title, basically: why do you think we never got a decently flashed out anarch domain? In the years we got loads of Camarilla ones, a few Sabbat ones and even one Autarkis one (Cairo). All we got for Anarchs are contested domains (the former Free State basically) and, recently, a shortt write up for Indianapolis (which is more a Setite city than an Anarch one). Why do you think game designers are so reluctant writing a supplement for a full Anarch domain?

    Edit:

    Also: which city would be good to represent an Anarch domain?

    Simply put, because the original LA by Night ruined Anarch domains and the anarch cause for everyone for decades until V20 came up to remember the time when anarchs, misguided or not were the heroes and antiheroes of the game. Bloodlines and the youtube series have done much to salvage things since, but the original LA by Night book was that toxic for VtM and the anarchs as a whole.


    So, it's a proccess, we are seeing the uphill movement to reverse damages done in the mid to late 2nd edition and whole of Revised era, that was directed by Achilli, a guy who hated anarchs and very much missed their point even before that. While dealing with V5's own baggage of whole new drama and polemics along the way might be said.

    Honestly, we should count ourselves lucky for anarchs getting more love than they have had since the 90s with all the ups & downs of the last edition.
    Last edited by Baaldam; 06-29-2022, 09:01 PM.

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    • #3
      Why was LA by Night so bad? I’ve never read it.

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      • #4
        I think part of it may be that Anarch domains are so far from the D&D model of supplements that writers really don't know how to construct them. Camarilla is pretty simple: there's a Prince, he's got some people who want his job, and he's got some masquerade problems or military problems he can hire the players to fix. The players socialize at some fancy parties to get the job, do some detective work that may reveal the original enemy they were hired to find, or may reveal some dirty political machinations, and they kick some ass here and there. It's not really all THAT different from a D&D game, except that keeping things secret from the public is important, and there's angsting about your humanity.

        Now let's look at an Anarch "domain". There's a bunch of gangs. They squabble openly for territory, only joining forces when there's an invasion by the Sabbat or Camarilla. There's nothing much to do in an Anarch domain except prepare your haven for the next territorial gang squabble or Sabbat/Cammy invasion.

        I really don't get the appeal of Anarchs. There's none of the layers of political mystery that the Camarilla offers. There's none of the engrossing feel of trying to roleplay dedication to, and advancement on, a Path of Enlightenment that the Sabbat gives, which gives the players personal storyhooks beyond the ST's plot, all while trying to root out Infernalism, or dealing with demagoguery by Path leaders whose appeal to the masses greatly outstrips their military competence.(I'm looking at you Cathari, you useless demagogues turning the Sabbat into perverts with no territory to call home by appealing to the masses of shovelheads.)

        There's just, we're free, but those guys over there want to take it from us, so let's prepare a lot and then sit around until they invade. Maybe fight the gang next door that we'll have to ally with during the next invasion.
        Last edited by CajunKhan; 06-29-2022, 09:21 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Amethyst View Post
          Why was LA by Night so bad? I’ve never read it.
          In terms of the By Night books other than Chicago By Night, it was typical - meaning it was rather mediocre. It wasn't "awful". Just useless.

          The problem is that this was supposed to be THE showcase for the Anarchs. So many people went "This is all there is?" and moved on. And unlike the Camarilla, you couldn't say "This is just one domain, I can set my game in some other domain" and let your imagination go wild. Instead, the Los Angeles area was basically it unless you wanted to set it in Madison, Wisconsin. So the LA Free State REALLY needed to sell itself as a great setting.

          The vampire NPCs were mainly generic and uninteresting. It did not take advantage of many of the interesting things about the Los Angeles area, for example anything dealing with Hollywood is conspicuously absent except for a few immaterial mentions. It defined ALL the conflict within the Anarch Free States as gang warfare which was boring. It did not provide any meaningful political or personality differences between the various factions of Anarchs. And it introduced yet ANOTHER Methusaleh (in generation if not in age) as being behind most things, which was already a hack trope by the time the sourcebook came out.

          There's a few interesting NPCs to be sure, but many of those were already introduced in the Anarch Cookbook or elsewhere. So it really didn't add much. It was just a waste of space.

          Most people armed with a 3L bottle of Jolt, and DVDs of LA Confidential, the Player, Chinatown, Falling Down, Heat, and Boyz n the Hood for an all night movie marathon can probably brainstorm much more interesting aspects for a vampire chronicle set in LA.

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          • #6
            I don't think LA by Night was so bad (not the worse definitely) and I also disagree there aren't interesting plot hooks in an Anarch domain. I must add that I am a RL anarchist, so the politics of Anarchy is something that deeply interests me.
            My players are actually in LA by Night setting right now, LA 1991. They are from Chicago and doing a job for Kevin Jackson, trying to close a deal to get the Bloods, who are just three Ventrue Neonates but have a lot of mortal power, recognised as a full Barony, obviously against the well established Crips.
            Now, the actual job can be accomplished in a lot of different ways. They can try to convince enough people to support their claim; for this route I am presenting them different types of Anarchs that can be convinced, bribed or both to give them support; some are established barons, some leaders of roaming biker gangs, some are heroes of the revolution, some are idealistic, some pragmatic, most something in between. There is also an investigation route, in which they can try to uncover some dirty secrets of the Crips and expose them (or threaten to do so); they may need to work with some Nosferatu in order to accomplish that. There are probably some other things I haven't thought about but my players will. And there is a betrayal that the PC's may or not discover before it's too late.
            My point is that you can run interesting stories with interesting themes in Anarch domains... You just need to stop seeing them as a one dimensional lot and look at them as different people with different goals, ideas and outlooks in unlife. There are good guys (or least they are trying), there are demagogues and blind fanatics. The main difference with a Camarilla or a Sabbat domain is how conflict between them is resolved (and no, it doesn't necessarily involve just fighting for turf with guns and katanas)

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            • #7
              I did a RPG.net review of LA by Night and basically my problem with the book was the following points:

              1. The Anarchs are exposed as basically identical to the Camarilla. Instead of Princes, you have Barons, and they enforce their territory with gangs that kill anyone who feeds in their territory that they don't like (or just beats them up if they're nice). In short, the Anarchs look like they have absolutely no interest in "reforming" Kindred society, they just hate that they're not in charge.

              2. The game only shows variations on the same archetypes of Brujah, Caitiff, and other thugs with a few memorable characters like Louis Fortier, Salvador, and Jeremy MacNeil. The fact this is the city of LOS ANGELES and they don't have anyone in Hollywood but a Bela Lugosi impersonator is a massive waste.

              3. The Anarchs are constantly fighting each other and killing each other, which is another sign that they're not a viable alternative to the Camarilla. It even makes the Camarilla look better because you're unlikely to be randomly murdered in their territory.

              4. The glorification of gang culture came off as particularly poor taste given the Crack Epidemic and RL murders happening in LA at the time with hundreds of young men and women gunned down that traumatized a generation. Here, the Crips and the Bloods are vampires versus vampire hunters, which is just tasteless. Worse, they cite Boyz in the Hood, which is about the tragedy of the situation.

              5. Even the Methusaleh controlling LA, the second largest city in the United States, is a fifteen year old boy that get crushes on handsome charismatic warrior Kindred. It doesn't even have the dignity of a real mastermind.

              Originally posted by CajunKhan View Post
              I really don't get the appeal of Anarchs. There's none of the layers of political mystery that the Camarilla offers. There's none of the engrossing feel of trying to roleplay dedication to, and advancement on, a Path of Enlightenment that the Sabbat gives, which gives the players personal storyhooks beyond the ST's plot, all while trying to root out Infernalism, or dealing with demagoguery by Path leaders whose appeal to the masses greatly outstrips their military competence.(I'm looking at you Cathari, you useless demagogues turning the Sabbat into perverts with no territory to call home by appealing to the masses of shovelheads.)

              There's just, we're free, but those guys over there want to take it from us, so let's prepare a lot and then sit around until they invade. Maybe fight the gang next door that we'll have to ally with during the next invasion.
              The Anarchs best work in a Camarilla city as they're basically an essential part of doing what I consider to be a "classic" Vampire: The Masquerade game. The Anarchs serve as one of the factions in a city against the Prince and Elders. They've got their own intrigues, though, and power plays.

              The first Anarch, Juggler, is just as manipulative and scheming as the first Camarilla Prince, Modius. However, Juggler talks a good game of freedom and liberty but he just uses Neonates as cannon fodder for his own ends.


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              • #8
                I'm not sure that's the refutation of the previous posts you think it is. It's basically the narrative version of the Rule Zero Fallacy. "Anarchs are great if you put in all the time and effort into making them fun that the books didn't do," means the Anarchs aren't well described in the books for eliciting good stories that don't involve a lot of real world knowledge of various topics and copious research.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  I'm not sure that's the refutation of the previous posts you think it is. It's basically the narrative version of the Rule Zero Fallacy. "Anarchs are great if you put in all the time and effort into making them fun that the books didn't do," means the Anarchs aren't well described in the books for eliciting good stories that don't involve a lot of real world knowledge of various topics and copious research.
                  Oh, I never thought I was refuting any previous posts. Actually, you are probably right and most published material authors didn't even have a clue about what anarchism really is. What I wanted to change was the vision that most people have of the Anarchs precisely BECAUSE OF the published books (Chicago by Night 1st edition being the great exception)

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                  • #10
                    In fairness, I don't think the writers need to know the details of the human political philosophy called anarchism, because that simply isn't what the vampire movement is about. To start with, vampires are predators. They don't need money, they need hunting territory, so human economic systems mean very little to them. They just don't want older vampires telling them where to hunt or punishing them for masquerade breaches and such things. By and large they consider the masquerade to be common sense, and masquerade breachers to be a self-fixing problem. In other words, the breachers will either quickly learn to be more careful, in which case punishing them is just killing someone who meant no harm and has learned his lesson, or hunters will give them a final Darwin award in the form of a stake and a blade, no need for a dictatorial system as you can let nature take its course.

                    And that's about all the Anarchs agree on. Some may hold to idealistic notions, albeit with very little ability to institute them, both because the other Anarchs are just as free to ignore them as they are to ignore everyone else, and also because vampire economics are so wildly different from human economics that it doesn't translate.

                    Some simply want the personal freedom to lobotomize a bunch of humans and live on a plantation with their ghouled slaves and lobotomized herd with no Prince telling them that such a large and blatantly monstrous operation is a masquerade breach waiting to happen. Those guys are just as much anarchs as any idealist.

                    Ultimately vampire needs mean any society they form is going to be closer to various one-resource dictatorships than any more egalitarian society. If all that matters is oil, then everyone is gong to fight over control of the oil, and whoever wins is going to be the dictator, right up until another group overthrows them and takes control over the oil and the wealth it provides.
                    Last edited by CajunKhan; 06-30-2022, 04:02 AM.

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                    • #11
                      At the end of the day, Vampire society is unfair. Old, lower generation vampires will simply be more powerful than younger, higher generation vampires. The oldest and lowest generation vampire will end up in charge of city. If he or she doesn't want to bother with ruling directly, then someone else might be allowed to rule. But that "puppet' Prince had better do what the older and more powerful vampire wants and if they don't they're going to be replaced ands the oldest, lowest generation vampire will inevitably be the secret ruler behind the throne.

                      The Prince system sucks but it's kind of inevitable and this was the biggest problem that the writers ran into. They couldn't really come up with new, functional political systems for the Anarchs that wouldn't implode under the weight of older, more powerful vampires. You could have a system with something like elections, but once you toss in Disciplines like Presence and Dominate, how meaningful are those elections? So Anarchs inevitably end up with a pretty similar society to the Camarilla: a system in which the oldest, lowest generation vampire is the one calling the shots, just with the labels changed. But it doesn't matter if you call that vampire Prince or Baron or Boss or whatever.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                        The Anarchs best work in a Camarilla city as they're basically an essential part of doing what I consider to be a "classic" Vampire: The Masquerade game. The Anarchs serve as one of the factions in a city against the Prince and Elders.
                        Oh man, given our (seeming) disagreements about the role of the anarchs and the Camarilla in the past, it's fun to read this. I agree with the above 100%, and this is more or less all I've ever meant when I say that "the anarchs are a faction within the Camarilla." It doesn't mean that the anarchs should be portrayed as ineffective squabblers who talk a big game about freedom but kowtow to the Camarilla party line whenever push comes to shove. It just means that the anarchs work best as the part of the Camarilla that is aggressively (sometimes violently) pushing for change.

                        The original game defined the Camarilla as an idea that covered more or less the entirety of acceptable vampire society -- from the Elders at the top to the various malcontents in the gutter. I don't think the V5 approach of narrowing down the concept of the Camarilla into just the faction for princes and snooty Elders is doing the setting any favors. When both the Camarilla and the Sabbat are reduced to outside forces trying to move in on anarch territory in the style of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, but the game adamantly refuses to detail how to make the anarchs playable whenever outside forces are not trying to move in on their territory, there's a gaping void where the center of the game should be.

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                        • #13
                          The Anarchs just don't make sense as a main sect. They work better as small subset within the main sects; the main sects being the Camarilla and the Sabbat. The moment the Anarchs become a main sect, they also become The Man. The Man has to solve nitty-gritty problems that require organization and hierarchy and once you have organization and hierarchy, you're going to have the oldest and most powerful corrupting it.

                          In fact it feels kind of silly that the Anarchs could ever have a major military victory over the Camarilla or the Sabbat. The Sabbat and Cammies have actual military leaders who can expect large forces to obey them in an organized fashion. By rights, they should literally roll over the Anarchs. It would be like the January 6th mob trying to defend territory against an actual organized conquering army. The moment they try to prevent that by truly organizing their own army, they've stopped being Anarchs and might as well not bother.

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                          • #14
                            So many posts here reflect how little people know about anarchism as a political philosophy....
                            1. It doesn't really matter if would be anarchists need money or hunting grounds. Anarchism is a political philosophy and its main point is the abolition of hierarchy. Any way to organise the resources according to this principle is ok.
                            2. Anarchism is not dependent on people being equal. There will always be stronger, wiser or cleverer people. Anarchism is based on the WILL to cooperate and not dominate. Can human do It? Can vampires? Well, as someone mentioned in a different posts, vampires are fictional beings and the only definitive truths about them are the stories and themes we want to tell (or play)
                            3. Organization and hierarchy are not the same. People can organise very efficiently in non hierarchical ways, and some have even proved effective even for military purposes. So the Anarchs could have their society.

                            For a fictional setting with functional anarchist societies I strongly recommend the RPG Eclipse Phase. But that's a game made by developers who actually understood anarchism and not guya who equated it to bikers in leather

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                            • #15
                              Its an intrinsic writting problem with the anarchs. They're undeveloped and are only really defined by reactive personal grudges. Even the speeches about freedom come across as pathetic when you pull the thread since they have a total lack of praxis. The problem was aggravated in v5 because of increased emphasis on them.

                              They actually worked a lot better in Revised as a dissident element in carmarilla society or holdouts in Sabbat. When they hold actually uncontested territory their complete lack of civic institions and distinct from other sect organization becomes a real problem.

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