Some vampires have no time for the traditions that have built up night by night amongst their kind. Some do not want to wait to gain seniority and status within vampire society but want to grab it now, even if to others it seems that they haven't earned it yet. These are the Anarchs, who can be summed up as being more like the kine on which they feed than like the kindred to which they belong. They are the agents of change, who see vampire society as stagnant and lost in its past and seek to incorporate new ideas and new tools as they drag it into the present day. No wonder older vampires hate them!
Yet their rebellion often does no more than replace one tyrant with another, their demands that their ideas be heard fade into stoney silence if anyone else wishes to express a contrary concept. Are they actually any better than that which they seek to replace? This book seeks to enable you to portray them warts and all, with background and setting details for those who want to play Anarchs and Storytellers who want to make use of them in their chronicles.
Beginning with Chapter 1: The History of the Anarch Movement - a look at the history of the Anarchs, nowhere as 'new' as they'd like to think that they are. Elder vampire look back and wonder if they could have stopped this pesky cult long before it erupted, but it's embedded in strands that go so far back that it would have been well-nigh impossible. It all goes back to the fall of Carthage - which of course had vampiric involvement, it wasn't just a political struggle led by Roman senators trying to ensure that no other power would get big enough to threaten the might of Rome. Brujah there had tried to build a life in some measure of harmony with the kind, and Roman Ventrue were having none of it, laying the foundations for the elder-dominated traditional vampire society we know tonight. This was reinforced by the development of the Camarilla and the Masquerade in the 14th century as a response to Church-led attacks on vampires... but many young vampires saw it as a blatent attempt by their elders to enforce control over them and organise vampire society at their expense - and revolt ensued, with neonates no longer slavishly following orders. And when those orders left them at the mercy of the Inquisition whilst their elders escaped, who can blame them? And so it continues to this very night, weaving through real-world history in a compelling account that encompasses exploration of the Americans, Soviet Russia right up to contemporary nights. Plenty of ideas here as to where (and why) Anarchs might fit into whatever is going on in your game.
Next, Chapter 2: The City Upon a Hill looks at how they organise their domains and the sorts of structures and internal politics that they have. Presented as a fascinating, if a bit rambling, diatribe, there's a wealth of information here, including notes on particular hot-beds of Anarch activity and plenty more of use to anyone wishing to construct or inhabit an Anarch domain. In keeping with their modern nature, there is even a virtual domain lurking in the Deep Web.
Chapter 3: Spreading the Movement is the 'cookbook' of ideas, showing how they destablise and attempt to destroy other vampire organisations. Whichever side your coterie finds itself on, they should find things of use here from traditional dissent and violence to cunning manipulations of the World Wide Web. A heady mix of anecdote, fiction and discourse conveys the information.
Then, Chapter 4: Characters and Traits provides what you need to create Anarch characters. Of particular use if you want to play them, a Storyteller can of course produce detailed NPCs by the same method. New archtypes, backgrounds and traits suited to Anarchs are provided. Chapter 5: Anarch Disciplines then follows on with new Disciplines and powers which in some way draw upon Anarch ideology, although they are in the main not confined to Anarchs alone. Some are strange indeed, mixing coding with magic to operate across the Internet!
Finally, Chapter 6: The Storyteller's Toolbox is just what it says, aimed at Storytellers and providing ideas for those wishing to add an Anarch flavour to their game. It's quite different to adding other sects or clans, for Anarchs define themselves by what they stand for, not where they are in relation to anyone else. Their central tenet is equality of opportunity for all vampires, but they do not espouse any particular outcome, let the chips fall where they may provided everyone gets a fair chance.
The Appendix: Antagonists and Allies also mainly for the Storyteller, covering useful NPCs with historical documents in Appendix II: The Anarch Accords. Yep, even Anarchs keep some records.
This work gives a fascinating glimpse into the Anarchs and how their history has been interwoven with that of oher vampires through the nights from the earliest to the present... as background invaluable, if you want to play Anarchs or involve their machinations in your game, priceless.
[5 of 5 Stars!]