The anarchs make up a sect-within-a-sect, most of the anarchs are still under the auspices of the Camarilla. Only the most radical anarchs espouse complete and total secession from the Ivory Tower, and most anarchs realize the usefulness of the structure that already exists. Of course, to the anarch mind, that existing structure has rotted from within, and the time is right to bring about the changes that the Camarilla needs in order to make it succeed as the grand potector of the Kindred that it purports to be.
What are those changes, specifically? Ask a dozen anarchs, and you'll likely receive a score of answers. As a social phenomenon, anarchs are committed more to change than to any particular way of making it happen. What anarchs want is a redistribution of power from the top of Kindred heirarchies down to the bottom. They want Kindred society to be based on merit rather than age, Embrace, and inherited privilege. Whether that change comes about by guerrilla activity or its ushered in from salons and Elysiums is up to the individual anarch. Whether the cause is couched in terms of anarchistic rhetoric, communist propaganda, fascist decree or for-its-own revolution, the cause of the anarchs is egalitartian.
Of course, this is what makes the anarchs such a thorn in the side of the established society of the Damned. Few elders, be they of Camarilla, Sabbat, independent or less identifiable sympathies, really want to relinquish the comforts that they've fought so long and hard for. Ancillae strive for the elders' comforts themselves. They don't want some sneering Lick just a few weeks under the night to have the same benefits that they claim. Even neonates have little sympathy for the anarchs. Childer of esteemed sires often enjoy the same comforts that their sires do, and the less privileged fledglings see the anarchs as a liability that leads their elders to dismiss all young childer as radicals. The Sabbat dismisses the anarchs as ineffectual or recruits them into grudging allegiance. The Camarilla variously tolerates the anarchs or cracks down on their movement as a destabilizing peril.
It is not surprising, then, that the unlives of anarchs are typically frustrated and spent with a siege mentality. Their challenges are manifold, not only to bring others around to their ways of thinking, but then to implement those ideas. The Anarch Revolt, put into motion centuries ago, hasn't died- it's simply gone underground. In the Final Nights, many anarchs believe that it's time to make their voices heard again. Despite a few setbacks, it's the dawn of a new era for those who would challenge the stasis that characterizes Kindred society.
The Anarch Movement exists, as an entity, entirely because the Camarilla give it both a purpose and a (relatively) safe haven in which to pursue that purpose. The smaller subsect is in many ways defined by the larger. It is true that the anarchs wish to birth a more equitable system of Kindred society, even to the extent of creating a governing body of undead, buyt they are still shaped largely by their desire to rebuild the old one. Wise anarchs recognize, however, that this must be done from within rather than from without, for the Camarilla not only provides the building blocks for the anarchs' future society, it insulates the movement from the other, far more dangerrous enemies. Anarchs not wise enough to recognize that fact are probably ignorant of those outside threats anyway.
Those anarchs who actually manage to obtain something in the way of status in the Camarilla itself - not the chameleons specifically, but simply those who have succeeded at playing the political game in hopes of changing the sect — are subject to their own particular Faustian temptations. Its' not uncommon for an anarch to experience her first real taste of power and suddenly understand, "OH, that's what the elders are trying to hold onto. Can't say I blame them.." The most devoted among them manage to ward off the temptations of power and continue working for the betterment of younger Kindred, but many prove fallible. Some of the most power-hungry up-and-comers in the Camarilla are former anarchs who have abandoned the movement to line their own nest, as it were.
Anarchs hate these turncoats with a passion, but they also exhibit a tendency to blame the Camarilla itself for their fall, trather than their own lack of will. Just another reason the system has to be changed; it corrupts even those who go into it with the best of intentions.
This love/hate relationship with the Ivory Tower creates an interesting dichomoty in the anarch attitudes. Mention any given facet of the Camarilla, and you'll receive a veritable barrage of scorn, vitriol and mockery. Yet when the shit hits the fan and the Camarilla is menaced by threats from without, such as the recent Sabbat offensive on the East Coast, the anarchs are always among the first on the front lines, fighting back the enemies of the sect.
~Guide to the Anarchs, White Wolf Publications 2002
Princes and Archons
For all they rail against it, the current system of Kindred society isn't really the problem. The anarchs would be more than happy with it, princes, primogen, the whole nine yards, if only the Kindred themselves could be trusted to do it right. If the Kindred in power were willing to share their privilege and prestige; if that power went to those most suited to wield it, rather that those strong and well connected enough to simply take it; if not every damn elder was a greedy, grasping old sociopath — well, the system could work just fine.
The failure of the Camarilla isn't the failure of order, but of Kindred. Hell, some more progressive anarchs are even willing to concede that isn't not really the elders' own faults. They're products of the ages in which they were raised. Still, regardless of who's ultimately responsible, this is who the elders are now, and since the anarchs can't change the older generations of Kindred, they'll have to settle for the next best thing.
What this means is that the anarchs are more than willing to grant their respect to a Camarilla prince, but he's got to earn it, not demand it. A prince who handles his domain well, who's concerned about the welfare of the Kindred who dwell within, who refuses to put his own advancement and the game of prestation over the good of his city, earns the accolades of an entire anarch community. Or at lease he would, if he existed, but so far the anarchs haven't found him
Most princes, of course, fall into the "selfish, power-hungry monster" category, and the anarchs have long since grown disillusioned. Most of them have fallen into the trap of judging all princes by that standard, assuming that any given prince (or for that matter, primogen or any other elder) will fit the standard mold. It's unfortunate, since it means it'll be that much harder for that one good prince, the single diamond in the rough, to prove himself to the anarchs.
Then again, so far no one's tried.
The anarchs tend to lump most Camarilla officials into the same category as they lump princes. All well and good if they can prove themselves, but generally worthless. For the archons, however, the anarchs hold a very specific loathing.
Imagine a radical from the '60s. Now combine his hatred of the cops, his hatred of the military, and his hatred of coporate culture, and you have the first inklings of the degree to which anarchs despise archons. Princes enforce the Traditions, sheriffs may crack a few heads in service to those Traditions and scourges can turn entire neighborrhoods into slaughterhouses, but it's the agents of the justicars and the Camarilla itself who cause the anarchs the most severe problems. It's the archons who harry anarchs deep into their own territories and domains, the archons who seem to feel no compunctions about beating, burning and killing anarchs for the most minor infractions, archons who represent the ultimate effort of the sect to keep the younger generations down while accruing yet more wealth and influence for the upper echelons.
Since the recent East Coast war, during which archons and anarchs often found themselves fighting side-by-side, a few members of the movement have begun singing a different tune. They speak of some archons - not many, but a few - who actually seem to be a decent, even honorable sort. Cops who are actually interested in protecting the Camarilla and its Kindred rather than maintaining the power of the elders. IF these archons could just be shown the virtue of the anarch cause, the Anarch Movement might well have allies and support the likes of which they've never enjoyed.
Anarch leaders have so far proved reluctant to approach any of these so-called "good cops," fearful that any apparent interest of sympathy might prove nothing more than a ploy to lure them in. Discussion continues, however, and the anarchs have extended a few tentative feelers, hoping to find even on truly interested party.
As much as the anarchs hate archons, there's someone they hate even more: archons who used to be anarchs.
In recent years, a growing number of anarchs have renounced their allegiance to the movement and slipped back into the Camarilla proper. Some have grown weary of constantly being on the losing end. OThers have simply decided that the system has to be changed from within, and the anarchs, while still part of the sect, aren't really "within" enough to qualify.
Most anarchs have at least some experience with violence, though - usually far more than otehr Camarilla Kindred of comparable age. Some of the justicars have discovered the benefit of that experience, and have begun selecting former anarchs as archons (after rdeterminating to their satisfaction that the fomerr agitators are trustworthy, of course).
This, to the anarchs, is the worst form of treason. It's one thing to go crawling back to the elders; that's understandable, even if not particularly admirable. But to join their police force, to turn your talents against those who were your brothers and sisters, that's wrong.
To date, the fear of possible repercussions has prevented the anarchs from making a concentrated effort to make an example of any of these "anarch archons," but alert Kindred have witnessed a growing call within the movement for the leaders to take some sort of action. It may only be a matter of time before some reckless neonates decide to stop waiting and attend to the matter themselves. Not even the most experienced anarchs can guess what might happen when those floodgates are opened, but it sure as hell can't be good for anyone.
Convention of Thorns
Many years have passed since the start of our current conflict, now called the Anarach Rebellion. Be it known that on this night of 23 October 1493, the Jyhad has ended. The time of conflict is over.
This concordat, bound in the Covenant of Caine by sacred vow, represents an unyielding, vigilant truce between the Kindred known unto themselves as the Anarchs, the Clan Assamite, and the freestanding Kindred bound under the title of Camarilla. Henceforth, the parties shall be recognized by faction as the Anarchs, the Assamites, and the Camarilla.
Each of these parties agrees to the responsibility of maintaining peace. Each shall lay its censures on any who breach or oppose this sacred Agreement. Accounting will be made of all parties for violations by them to either the letter or the spirit of this Agreement. This document is binding under the social code of all Children of Caine by the accepted Lextalionis of all Cainites as it has passed through the ages. All Kindred are entreated to accept and gain solace from this peaceful accord.
Be it known that all Anarchs will enjoin with the camarilla as an accepted part, making it whole. All Cainites are expected to work peacefully to achieve their own ends. Each must become defenders of all, and each shall receive full entitlement to all rights and privileges belongint to all camarilla Kindred. All Anarchs shall be accepted back unto their elders and their forrmerly denounced clans without any fear of repirsal. Only the most vicious of atrocities shall not be forgiven. These shall stand written for the justicars to hear within one year, after which all allegations are no longer valid. All Anarchs shall reclaim all remaining and rightful property confiscated from them. In return they must turn over any war gains taken during the conflict by giving them to their sires or any recognized elder.
Know also that if the Anarchs are futher warred on, this open Jyhad invalidates their responsibilty to maintain peace with their attacker. They may act freely without fear of reprisal from inactive members of the Camarilla. Anarchs are guaranteed the freedom to act as they please, short of breaching the Masquerade imposed for the protection of all Kindred from the kine.
It is also noted that any member of any other self-proclaimed sect must openly declare this before his elders and renounce this relation. failure to do so will result in the destruction of any deemed guilty. No Kindred may be sent knowingly to his death by an elder or sire.
From this night forward, the Assamites shall henceforth no longer commit diablerie onmembers of other clans. The Assamites must commit themselves to this acceptance by a mark of assurance placed on them in the form of a Thaumaturgical limitation. All members of the Assamites shalll become unable to drink freely of the viatae of other Kindred from now unto forever. In addition, the Assamites shall pay the Brujah elders of Spain two thousand pounds of gold, in ransom of the five Assamite elders captured committing diablerie. Also, the Assamites may no longer participate in blood hunts.
Be it also known that the Assamites are guaranteed complete independence from Camarilla demands. The Assamite fortress, Alamut, shall be free from further assaults. Assamites are also granted, out of respect for their beliefs, the freedom to commit diablerie within theeir own clan without restrant and the right to commit diablerie on all Kindred not recognized as holding membership within the Camarilla.
It is rendered that all parties involved and all showing allegiance to any of these parties shall be held responsible for all aspects of this Convention brought forth here, in the neutral Kingdom of England, outself the hamlet of Thorns, near the town of Silchester. May Caine hold truth and peace for us all.
The very notion of control by an aged is anathema to the anarchs. Government "of the people, by the people, for the people" may be a mortal invention, but it's what they strive for in the Kindred community. Boil it down, the anarchs don't want to destroy the Camarilla, just the "geriocracy" that runs it.
It could be argued, of course, that rule by the elders is what defines the Camarilla and that you can't have one without the other, but the anarchs aren't buying it.
Ostensibly still part of the Camarilla, the Anarch Movement pays lip service, at the very least to the Six Traditions. That said, the anarchs tend to hold some what differing views of these laws than their hidebound elders, and they're enforced very differently in an anarch-dominated barony than in a comparable Camarilla domain.
This is actually the only universal title currently used by the Anarch Movement, with regard to the political arena. By its simplest definition, a baron is simply the Anarch Movemen'ts equavalent of a prince. The anarchs — or at least, those anarchs smart enough to have gained some experience without winding up on the wrong end of a stake or a sunrise — know that any territory with even a modest Kindred population requires someone to moderate it.
Even here, perception is everything. The choice of the term "baron" is no accident. In afeudal society, a king is all-powerful, a prince only slightly less so. A baron, however, is much more of a local lord, a landowner — someone who may govern the people below him, but can hardly be said to hold supreme power. The title was selected precisely because it is, in connotation, far less absolute than the title of prince.
An anarch baron normally isn't one for passing a great number of policies; again, he must avoid the appearance of ditating the behavior of those below him. Instead, most of his time is devoted to mediating conflicts and disputes between Kindred, orchestrating agreements with other local Kindred leaders (both within the movement and other sects) and enforcing those traditions — the anarchs aren't so stupid as to bring the wrath of the mortal world down upon them - that even the anarchs must obey.
The problems barons face when it comes to mediating disputes is that the aggrieved parties rarely com to them willingly. If two KIndred are battling over a corporation, a street corner, a bit of terriotry or even a favored mortal, it's the baron's job to keep abreast of the situation and to step in before it gets out of hand. Sure, an anrach occasionally comes to the baron with a problem, but that's usually because she's come out on the losing end of a conflict she's already tried to handle on her own.
Barons can try to prevent such conflicts before they start, of course. By "suggesting" that a newcomer set up shop in one portion of the city rather than another, the baron may head off a conflict before the two parties even meet. This has to be couched in verry careful terms, however, and the baron has to do a good job of selling the new arrival on the terriotry. An anarch who thinks she's being ordered to stay away from a specific area, or who feels she's been given the worst domain in the city, may cause a ruckus purely out of spite.
Most often then, the baron becomes involved only after things get ugly, and that means his job is one of enforcement as often as mediation, if not more so. This is a dangerous positions for a member of a faction devoted to revolution. MOre than on baron has been ousted because of the mere appearance of favoritism or impropriety. The anarcsh don't stand for abuse of authority, no matter who that authority may be.
So what a baron really is, when all is said and done, is a Kindred with all the responsibiolities of a prince, but without the tools. He can't count on the respect that a prince's title inspires, because he doesn't have the strength of a prince. In addition to having less political clout than most princes, a baron isn't necessarily one of the eldest or most powerful Kindred in a region. The anarchs believe in a system that awards merit, and that means the best administrator in the city — and thus, the best baron — could be 70 years old and a pushover compared to the ruthless prince in the next city who's seen three centuries since her breathing days.
This is actually an informal title; emissries are also called ambassadors, heralds, and by more cynical members of the sect, expendables. The Anarch Movement is surrounded by enemies or at least rivals. IN most cities, the anarchs intermingle with the Camarilla Kindred around them. On the West Coast, the remains of the Free State will struggle to retain its independence, or else has alredy been subsumed into the Cathayans' New Promise Mandarinate. Nomadice coteries sometimes find themselves deep in Sabbat territory, with precious little room for error or escape.
As bizarre and oxymoronic as an image as it is, some anarchs must carry the olive branch of to the other sects, and must negotiate and haggle and play the games of prestation and diplomacy if the movement is to survive.
The baron usually appoints these emissaries, though some are selected by popular vote (particularly in towns where no baron has claimed the title, or among nomadic packs without a fixed leader) and others merely fall into the role and discover they've a talent for it. Their job is to travel to the leaders of the other sects and somehow convince them that isn't in their best interests to help the anarchs or, at the very least, to leave the movement alone.
By far the most frequent duty required of an emissary is negotiation with a Camarilla prince (or other elder). Despite holding themselves somewhat separate, the anarchs are still part of the Ivory Tower; someone needs to look out for their interests, and the elders themselves certainly have no incentive to do so. Within a Czamarilla city, the most common duty of an emissary is to plead the case of another anarch who faces punishment for some violation of the princes interpretation of the Traditions.
The barons themsaelves prefer to call a vampire who holds this position a counter or even a census-taker, but most anarchs use the terms sweeper, proctor, Sherlock or even on occasion, abacus. The plethora of names, some of which border on comical, certainly suggest that the anarchs don't take these kindred seriously. It's true, they don't, but their mockery, while genuine, is tinged with more than a little fear for what these vampires could come to represent.
Barons in anarch-dominated territory don't have much luck when it comes to the Tradition of Hospitality. At any given time, a baron is fortunate to know the identity of half the Kindred currently occupying a domain. Some barons have accepted that as the way things are, but others have developed the office of counter — or the sweeper — to rectify the problem
A sweeper's duty is simple. He frequents the Rack, the outskirts of the city, the nightclubs and any other place that might attract the Kindred, particularly young newcomers. He observes, recording names and faces and where possible, attitudes abilities, clan ancestry and anything else he can discover. This information is used for no nefarious purpose; he simply reports at a regular interval so the baron has at least some notion of who's in her city.
Naturally, many members of the Anarch Movement are not happy about this.
All the usual objections are raised. It's a violation of freedoms and privacy, an attempt to keep track of who's doing what, it doesn't represent what the movement stands forr, its effort could be better expended elsewhere, and so forth.
Very few anarchs are willing to give voice to the true nature of their dislike (and their fear) of the sweeper. To many of them, an independent Kindred sneaking about the edges of the city and the Rack, taking careful note of who's new and who isn't, who belongs and who doesn't, reminds them far too much of that most loathed of the Camarilla bullies, the scourge.
There was a time, not really all that long ago, in the scheme of things, when the anarchs and the Sabbat seemed tailor-made for each other. The anarchs espoused freedom from the oppression of the Camarilla elders, and the Sabbat offered just such an escape in the form of the bond-breaking Vaulderie. Both sects were far more openly violent than the Camarilla, and both seemed willing to acknowledge their inhuman natures.
Then the anarchs got a really good look at what the Sabbat is.
They don't offer freedom at all, just a new form of enslavement. The Vaulderie might allow a bit more room to roam than the blood bond, but ultimately, it's still just another leash. Forced devotion to a fanatic ideal isn't any better than bondage to an ancient monster, not when that fanatic ideal seems to be nothing less than the glorification of the worst parts of Kindred nature. The don't just "acknowledge" their inhumanity, they venerate it, treating mortals like less than chattel. Sure, even the Camarilla Kindred refer to the mortals as kine, but at least the don't make a practice of glorifying mass murder. How could the anarchs justify claiming equality with Kindred more powerful than they, if they treated their inferrors - even mortals - in ways they'd never accept from their own elders?
To say nothing of the Sabbat's holy war against the Antediluvians. Hello? Why not go to war against the dinosaurs while you're at it? Oh, wait, that's right. They're extinct! Holy shit!
Tonight, the vast majority of the anarchs bitterly oppose the Sabbat and everything they stand for. As mentioned above, they've come to realize that the Camarilla, for all its flaws, is home, and its a home that requires defending. The Sabbat is no longer to be envied or emulated as once it was. The Sabbat is the enemy.
Unfortunately, the minority of anarchs who haven't yet figured this out, or else refuse to acknowledge it, is still a sizable one. To some, the call of the Sword of Caine is too strong to be ignored. A sect where your elders can never blood bond you, where you don't have to follow any damn Traditions or kowtow to the mortals beneath some follish Masquerade, where every Cainite has a purpose to unlife….It's all quite attractive to many of the aimless neonates who find their way into the ranks of the anarchs. Some only dream about it, talk about it, but never actually take that final step. A small but steady flow of anarchs does indeed join the Sabbat, though. In fact, the anarchs are still a major source of new recruits for the Black Hand, though fewer now than in nights past.
This isn't to say that the Anarch Movement doesn't have some nonviolent contact with the Sabbat. A small anarch population exists in quite a few Sabbat cities. They do tend to keep their heads down much of the time, since they'd rather not draw attention. Some actively work against the Black Hand, trying to sabotage the Sabbat from within their own territory. Most, however, are far less brave (or foolhardy..) and dwell in Sabbat domains primarily because they have nowhere else to go.
Unlife is unpleasant at best for most of these anarchs. The Camarilla can be aggravating with its "You're part of us whether you want to be or not" policy, but it's vastly preferable to the Sabbat's "If you aren't with us 100 percent, you're an enemy and we're going to rip you to pieces and eat your soul" outlook. Anarchs dwelling in and around Sabbat cities learn quickly to to remain inconspicuous and to mimic enough of the basic Sabbat attitudes and rituals so they can pass if questioned casually.
Some nomadic anarch coteries enjoy a more active relationship with the bloody-minded sect. The Sword of Caine is always happy to receive information or favors from vampires with access to Camarilla domains, and the anarchs themselves are thrilled to receive Sabbat support when waging a covert war against a particularly loathsome Camarilla elder. Anarch coteries and Sabbat packs work suprisingly well together in those circumstances where they share a mutual goal. Such instances are proving more and more infrequent, in light of both the recent war and the anarchs' new interest in choosing their targets more carefully, but it still happens frequently enough that anarch and Sabbat Kindred don't necessarily attack one another on sight. It's also frequent enough that the Camarilla elders remain convinced that the Sabbat and the anarchs maintain a far closer relationship than is actually the case, a misonception that only perpetuates the cycle of hatred and fear between elders and anarchs.
It often seems in these nights that the Camrilla is teetering on the edge of a knife, and the anarchs are just as precariously perched as everyone else. For a time, it looked as though the war on the East Coast could only go in one direction; had the Sabbat victory proven as unilateral as it first appeared, the Camarilla would have fallen to its weakest state (at least in North America) since before the Revolutionary War. Some particularly pessimistic doomsayers were predicting the fall of the entire sect on the continent. And the first anarchs. like everyone else, took note. For the first time, it seemed possible that the Ivory Tower might actually topple, that the Anarch Movement's future utopia was never to be.
The Camarilla turned the tide, of course, even taking New York from the Sabbat's grasp (and the anarchs have a great interest in the development of the city's nascent undead society). But the close call fot the leaders of the Anarch Movement thinking. Most of them, even those who support the "blow shit up" method of societal evolution, have changed their tactics.
Few Camarilla Kindred have noticed the change. The anarchs are still making a nuisance of themselves, still mouthing off at the worst times, still destroying valuable property and, on rare occasion, assassinating important elders.
What the anarchs are doing differently, however, is picking their targets. Cities near Sabbat territory have been struck less often, and when the anarchs do turn to violence in such a city, their targets are invariably Kindred who are relatively uninvolved with the city's defense. In cities some distance from the front, the anarchs are specifically targeting those elders who prove intractable in their hatred or disdain for the younger generation. Elders who show even the slightest hint ot a willingness to negotiate are left alone.
Nor is this change only among the more violent members of the sect. Politically minded anarchs are making deals and alliances like never before, sometimes approaching elders whom they would have avoided like the sun itself not two years ago. The movement as a whole has begun taking an active interest in prestation, not merely between its own members, but with outsiders. Emissaries are far more common now than they were before the East Coast situation, and more than one elder has been stunned by the anarchs' newfound willingness to compromise….on some issues.
The anarchs have realized that they can no longer afford to weaken the Camarilla with their activities. Thus, their efforts are now aimed specifically at pushing the Ivory Tower in the direction they want it to go, rather than causing random mayhem in the hopes of attracting attention. It's a subtle shift, and one that may prove ineffective. But at least the anarchs are taking the dangers of the modern nights seriously, something of which the elders appear incapable.