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[WIR] Anarchs Unbound - Anarchy in the WOD

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  • Grumpy RPG Reviews
    My take is vampires of all kinds – Anarch, Camarilla, Sabbat, Inconnu, etc – are like fleas and ticks. Where you have a lot of people, you will have fleas, ticks, and vampires. So, they should all have had some presence in all historical conflicts. Which is not to say they created the fight, just they were around making things worse.
    Last edited by Grumpy RPG Reviews; 12-25-2019, 11:41 PM.

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  • CTPhipps
    Chapter One: The History of the Anarchs

    This chapter has some good points and some bad points, which I'll discuss below.

    Pre-Anarchs Unbound History of the Anarchs

    The Guide to the Anarchs gathered toger the first real coherent history of the Anarchs and while I felt that book was underwhelming, due to reasons I'll discuss here, it did give a rough idea of what the Anarchs have been doing the past thousand years. The Guide to the Anarchs basically said that the Anarchs history consisted of three things:

    * The First Anarch Revolt that led to the Convention of Thorns.
    * The French Revolution
    * The Second Anarch Revolt that was led by Jeremy Macneil.

    This is an improvement because the French Revolution being added gives the Anarchs something to do but it still feels like the War of the Ages went on hold for centuries. It's a pretty weird statement because it is mostly bad history. It's not like Revolution stopped being a thing across the period between 1493 and 1940.

    Areas the Anarchs should have been involved in

    For me, the history of the Anarchs is something that definitely needed a few more events that (unfortunately) aren't actually talked about much in this book.

    * The Protestant Revolution
    * The 30 Years War
    * The American Revolution
    * Simon Bolivar
    * The Mexican Revolution
    * The Russian Revolution

    Seriously, you'd think the revolts against imperialism in South and Central America as well as an end to the Old Money landowning class would have been neck deep in Brujah vs. Toreador and Ventrue activities. The Protestant Revolution may be a bit to the side of Kindred interests but I could easily see Oliver Cromwell as the kind of totalitarian Brujah idealist pawn that the Toreador would hate. Ditto for Gustavus Adolphus as the kind of leader Brujah would love: full of piss and vinegar right until he was killed.

    No Ancient Anarchs

    I'm kind of disappointed that we get no discussion of Pre-Anarch Revolt history. The War of the Ages is something that has always been a part of vampire history. While Carthage was founded by Troile and thus not a good example of Elders vs. Young, you could say it was the first utopian Anarch domain and still an inspiration to many. Also possibly mention they were infernalist child-sacrificing psychos.

    Legends of Troile slaying Ventrue is something that should have also been included, IMHO.

    The Giovanni

    It's something I feel should have been addressed but it's kind of strange that we didn't get any discussion of the Giovanni and what the Anarchs thought of them. The Tremere were outsiders who killed a Clan that never Embraced them but the Giovanni were a revolt of the young against their Elders. Yes, the Giovanni are among the least interested in Anarch revolt but you think the specter of the Tzimsice and Lasombra would have hung over their head.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Occupy Wallstreet and the 2007 Stockmarket Crash

    The book's arguably biggest flaw (and one of its best elements) is the Red Question, which is introduced here in the most grandiose way possible. The book has a heavy focus on hactivism and basically lumps together Ayn Rand, social justice, and several other competing net philosophies. While the Arab Spring, Wikileaks, Ed Snowden, and others were all important events--the book seems to have a vastly overestimated role for hacktivists in the future. It also is a very American and First World vision of Anarchs.

    V20's relationship with the internet and magic is a major part of the book and I have mixed feelings on this.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-25-2019, 06:40 PM.

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  • GilbyTheFat
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Merry Christmas, everyone! May the light of the sun never burn your flesh as we plot the diablerie of our elders!

    Merry Christmas!

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  • CTPhipps
    Merry Christmas, everyone! May the light of the sun never burn your flesh as we plot the diablerie of our elders!

    Leave a comment:

  • CTPhipps
    Introduction Review

    There's not much to review here but one thing that Justin Achilli (as the developer or writer) makes clear is that the Anarchs are not heroes. They are not the plucky rebels who are going to overthrow the system of the Camarilla and replace it with something more egalitarian. They are not the Rebel Alliance or even the more idealistic Tech Clan from Johnny Mnenomic.

    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.

    (Speaking of which, I feel like Maldavis should be a more important figure in the history of the Anarchs but she's not even mentioned once in this book)

    That doesn't actually mean that overthrowing the Camarilla is a bad thing, though, because some gangs are worse than others. Also, on a personal level, there's a huge difference between the Prince who wants to see you killed and the Baron who is your buddy. The Anarch gang leader may be chosen by mutual acclaim but he's a lot more subservient to his soldier's wishes than a Prince who may control everything.

    Interestingly, this cynical read on the Anarchs is not a change but was always there. The first Anarch we meet is Juggler. Juggler is, of course, a empty suit. He advocated for freedom but his opponent is the least threatening Prince in the Camarilla. He blood bonds his childer and treats her as a slave (just like Modius). He's also someone who plans to manipulate the PCs if he can. The Anarchs cause is just but you can't trust any other vampire.

    COTERIES OF NEW YORK also has a similar twist with, by far, the most awful person in the game being the Anarch leader Callihan. He's also an Anarch leader that other Anarchs plan to overthrow.

    So let's see how this goes.

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  • CTPhipps
    Additional Glossary words

    Some slang I've inserted into my game for the Anarchs to make them feel more diverse.

    * Andre: Professional wrestling reference. An Anarch who is huge or extremely powerful physically but not necessarily mentally.
    * Bells: Camarilla loyal Anarchs who helped fight the Sabbat. It has since fallen out of fashion.
    * Bitches of Eastwick: A derogatory name for House Carna. Also a reference to the movie The Craft. Fails because many House Carna members find it hilarious.
    * Boss: Simple, to the point. Head of a Anarch gang.
    * Cannon Fodder: A term for young Potence and Celerity heavy Brujah or Caitiff eager to get into a fight. Also a term for the rare Mass Embrace Anarchs.
    * Captain: A name for a Boss' lieutenants or the immediate leadership of a gang underneath them.
    * Castle: Anarch equivalent to a Scourge. Guys who scare other Anarchs into compliance. Also known as Punishers and Executioners.
    * Comrade: A derisive term for an Anarch who is too into the ideology or about a vampire utopia.
    * Dibiase: Professional wrestling reference. A Diabiase is a Anarch who uses his position for power or wealth while ostensibly still being an Anarch. Often used to refer to Ventrue or Toreador Anarchs. Also known as Bruce Waynes and Jugglers.
    * Demoncrats: Anarchs who try to run domains by voting due to the perception such is inevitably crooked.
    * Dexter: A reference to the Camarilla Scourges.
    * El Presidente: A derisive term for an Anarch leader. Used as often as Baron among actual Anarchs along with President.
    * Enforcer: Anarch equivalent to a Sheriff.
    * Fundie: An Anarch who believes in the Caine myth. See also Creationist.
    * Jacks: Leather and motorcycle wearing biker Anarchs. A reference to Smiling Jack. The opposite of a Lost Boy.
    * Jokers: A term for a Malkavian Anarchs. Due to confusion with motorcycles, Harleys are not used for female Malkavians but Jeanettes.
    * Gang: An Anarch term for a coterie.
    * Getting Pissed: A popular Anarch pasttime of feeding heavily at a bar on drunk patrons.
    * Halfbloods: A reference to Thin Bloods. Also, Dhampyrs and Ghouls Plus.
    * Lost Boy: A derisive term for an Anarch who wears the leather and rides motorcycle but comes off as a poseur. The opposite of a Jack.
    * Lodin: A reference to a stereotypical Ventrue Prince. Obviously, named after the late Prince of Chicago.
    * Modius: A reference to the Socialist Anarch Prince of Gary that is meant to refer to either an Anarch who has utterly failed or a Prince who is a complete joke.
    * Officer Friendly: An Anarch who is given the task of enforcing what local rules exist but is overly defensive or polite about it. Derisive.
    * Pigs: A reference to a Camarilla Sheriff and his Hounds.
    * Pornomancer: An Anarch who primarily feeds through sex. Often used in terms with those who supplement their charisma with Presence. Those who use Dominate are known as Date Rapists and are treated much more harshly.
    * Sellout: An Anarch who joins the Camarilla for money, prestige, domain, or just because the offer is made.
    * Soldier: Membership in a gang as an Enforcer's Hounds or active Movement warrior.
    * Steve Rogers: Overly idealistic Anarchs who believe that they're liberating their fellow Kindred. Also known as Captain Americas or Wonder Women.
    * Turf: The Anarch name for domain.
    * Weekend Warrior: A term for Anarchs who belong to the local Anarchs either because they need protection or because they're rebelling, not actually interested in anything.
    * Vicki: A term for an extremely hot Toreador female who still acts like sex is a big deal for vampires. See also Vivi.
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-24-2019, 11:22 PM.

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  • CTPhipps

    I tend to think of Justin Achilli as one of my big three among vampire writers. Mark Rein Hagen, Justin Achilli, and Matthew Dawkins are my three go-tos. I have a bunch of others I like but I tend to think of these three guys as having the most distinct "styles" of V:TM.

    Justin Achilli created the Giovanni (incestuous disgusting jerks) as we know them and I believe he's guy who really managed to lay his imprint on Revised. His V:TM is a lot less romantic, gross, and brutal with the idea that the Camarilla/Anarchs/Sabbat are all just different sides of the same dice.

    All monsters.

    So it gives me a good feeling that JA was the developer of this book even though there were other good authors here.

    Chapter One: Introduction

    Justin opens with a less than flattering depiction of the Anarchs. He basically lists the various stereotypes about them that they are chasers of mortal fads, are attempting to seize from Elders what they can't get themselves, are hypocrites, and intelligent children of the modern age who can turn these tools against a stogy bunch who can't keep up with the Modern Times. They are also Wild Cards who are perhaps not as under the control of the Antediluvians as the Elders.

    I have a great quote here that I think really sums up the book, "Theirs is a glorious history of throwing off the shackles of oppression and likewise is theirs an ignominous litant of squandered potential and auctioned-off principle."

    Theme and Mood

    The book says the theme and the mood is essentially the cyclical nature of revolution in the World of Darkness. Princes and Bishops get overthrown all the time according to this book but usually a Baron is no different. However, Anarchs strive for egalitarianism and that actually does separate them from other vampire organizations.

    There is also the central conflict between Anarch radicals and reformers. Whenever Anarch revolts happen, they usually spiral out of control until someone puts the brakes on them and tries to build something stable. This results in a conflict between the reformers and those who want to continue the revolution regardless of whether it creates something or not. Essentially, where the original Anarchs helped co-found the Camarilla (and they co-founded it rather than surrendered to it) versus the Sabbat who continued the Revolt.

    Anarchs are also individuals who are always looking for the time to strike both in mortal and vampire times like the French Revolution or Bolshevik Uprising.


    Some good Anarch words and positions that add to the private language of Kindred. In addition to Barons, there's also Chancellors who rule Parliaments, and Warlords who run military dictatorships or are the heads of Anarch equivalents to Crusades. Compacts also exist that are Anarch domains without any government whatsoever but they all just watch each other's backs. Basically, this just illustrates that Barons are not the only kind of Anarch government. Later, we also get religious based groups and theoretically even democratic institutions (usually won by whoever has the highest Presence score I imagine). We also find out that Anarch Sheriffs are called "Reeves" that I think is far too archaic a term for the group. I'm not a fan of Cleaners either, though.

    Last edited by CTPhipps; 12-24-2019, 10:55 PM.

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  • Nicolas Milioni
    I hope you Have fun!

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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.


    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

    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.