The Anarchs

The Anarchs

"The Rebels"

Strongholds:

Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco

Description:

Nominally a faction within the Camarilla, most “Anarchs” are still under the authority of the Ivory Tower. The Camarilla would say that the Anarchs are under the protection of the Sect, while the Anarchs would likely call it oppression. Still, many in the Anarch Movement understand the usefulness of the structure, with only the most radical calling for total withdrawal from the Camarilla. The Anarchs seek to change the Ivory Tower from within, turning it into the benevolent Kindred society it so often claims to be.

What needs to change? Ask twelve Anarchs, and you’ll get thirteen different answers. They agree that change needs to happen, but they aren’t collectively committed to any particular plan. Common threads pop up, such as the redistribution of power from the elders to all vampires, and for political authority to be based on merit rather than age. Whether those changes come through passionate debate in Elysium or guerrilla action against specific elders, however, depends on the Anarch in question. Unlike the Sabbat who rebel because vampires should be superior, the Movement’s goals are at least nominally egalitarian.
Naturally, it’s that very sense of equality that makes the Anarch Movement so dangerous to vampire society. This resistance to change isn’t unique to the Camarilla; elders in the Sabbat or the independent Clans have just as little desire to relinquish their power, and ancillae have worked equally hard to be next in line for the elders’ station. If the Anarch rhetoric takes hold, all that work will have been for nothing. So it’s not surprising that Anarchs spend much of their time frustrated, and they tend to adopt a siege mentality.

Despite their integration within the Camarilla, the Anarch Movement is essentially a Sect, although they don’t have the level of organization that would keep them from being on the same level as the Camarilla, Sabbat, or the independent Clans. The only thing that unifies them is that they know what they don’t want to be. That’s helpful as a rallying call, but doesn’t work well as an organizational chart. Moreover, structure quickly leads to stagnation, and that’s exactly what the Anarchs are against.
That doesn’t meant that Anarchs are against organization, however. Despite their name, not all Anarchs are actually anarchists; many seek to change the Camarilla or the Sabbat into some sort of new structure, usually based on mortal governmental ideas. Most of these structures tend to revolve around some form of democracy, but variations of neo-feudalism and even fascism have been tried (with varying success) throughout the Movement. One of the few things that Anarchs seem to agree on is that at some point there needs to be someone at the top, and that vampire is commonly called the Baron (p. 25).

But it’s only been recently that the Anarchs have been able to have any kind of common identity. After the Second Anarch Revolt in 1944 that led to the creation of the Anarch Free State in California, the Revolutionary Council decided to adopt a set of principles of self-governance for the Free State before dissolving itself — the “Status Perfectus,” or “The Perfect State.” This was a revolutionary document, the first to state the Anarch dream clearly and unequivocally in modern times. It called on Anarchs everywhere to protect one another, regardless of Clan affiliation. It promised a Kindred nation free of political oppression and elder prejudice, and swore to extend that freedom to all Kindred everywhere. They declared that free will, or “libertas,” is an inherent part of Kindred spiritual nature, and that all vampires must work to free themselves from the forces that would rob them of their libertas. Some Anarchs disagree with parts or the whole of the Status Perfectus, but it has proved to be a massively influential document for the Movement, and the closest the Sect has had to a unifying set of principles.
Regardless, what the Anarchs lack in organization, they more than make up in passion. From the most in-your-face angry neonate punk to the most eloquent and soft-spoken intellectual, Anarchs are collectively driven, which provides a momentum that most Kindred simply aren’t used to. Even more terrifying to most vampires, the Anarchs appear to actually believe in what they say. Elders try to pass it off as naiveté or inexperience with the Jyhad, but these young vampires seem to accomplish things that centuries of manipulation and power couldn’t do. And change terrifies those in power.

The Anarch Revolt from centuries ago is flaring back up in the modern nights, and many Anarchs think the time has come for them to take the night back.

Practices

Some Kindred mistakenly think of the Anarch Movement as just a collection of newly-Embraced Brujah raging against their betters. They are often surprised to learn just how cosmopolitan the Sect really is. For every loud, brash neonate that wants to tear everything down, there’s a sober, thoughtful ancilla committed to the Movement’s ideals. The Anarchs wouldn’t have lasted as long as they have if they were all rebels without a clue, or if they were only a handful of Clans wrapped up in their passions. Diversity, the very thing that causes such disorganization, is also one of the greatest strengths of the Movement.

Unfortunately vampires often default to establishing dominance among themselves, and such a diverse collection of Cainites needs something to help show the pecking order. For Kindred bent on proving that merit should be the guiding principle of vampire governance, status is not only an incompatible concept, but actively offensive to some Anarchs. Instead, Anarchs rely on whether they have personally heard of another Anarch, instead of what some other vampire said was important. As a result, the Status Background for Anarchs relies on reputation: a combination of self-promotion, word-of-mouth, and outright braggadocio that gets the Anarch recognized both inside and out of his own barony. It doesn’t correspond to a political title or a measure of authority — there are untitled vampires (such as the notorious prankster Smiling Jack) with a universally higher reputation than Kindred who claim the title of Baron. Whether this recognition confers respect or disdain is a secondary concern; as Oscar Wilde said, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

Games and Pranks

Unlike the blood-splattered games that the Sabbat use as part of their ritae or the forced civility of Elysium, the Anarchs genuinely like to have fun and joke with each other. They believe that Kindred existence shouldn’t be all backstabbing and bloodletting, but rather about enjoying each night to the fullest. Sabbat fiends consider this idea to be a disgusting show of humanity while Camarilla cynics believe it to be the folly of youth, but the Anarchs don’t care. They frequently play games and pull pranks on each other (and on other unsuspecting Kindred), both as tests of courage and as a way to blow off some steam.

Some Anarchs disapprove of the games and the pranks. They say it brings down the level of the discourse. They say it makes it harder for the Movement to be taken seriously. They say that these games and pranks are dangerous, and that they threaten the Masquerade. Worst of all, they say that they’re all just a waste of time, time better suited for bringing about the glorious revolution of vampire society. And sure, playing tag with 9mm pistols is pretty dangerous, even if you tell everyone not to aim for the head. Baiting elders in Elysium into frenzy probably is making it harder for the Baron to conduct his debate with the local Prince. Staging accidents and pretending to be a corpse around a mortal likely is a hair away from breaking the Masquerade.

But the young Anarchs say “Fuck it; eternity’s too short.” And so the games continue.

The View from Without

  • The Camarilla: They, at least, understand that their place is within the Ivory Tower, but their destabilizing influence can be a problem. Best to keep them quiet, one way or another.
  • The Sabbat: They have the right idea, but they aren’t willing to give up their comfortable Humanity in order to go to the next step. There’s some potential recruitment material there, but they break easy.
  • The Independents: We should all hold hands and be brothers? Hardly, young Cainite. My Clan had fought hard to stay outside of your Jyhad, and I will not give it up because you tell me I am not fair.
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