The latest and perhaps most important development in Anarch blood magic came at the dawn of the new millennium. In the earliest nights of the 21st century, a coterie of Tremere based out of Washington, D.C. collectively pioneered the then-recent development of the Path of Technomancy, having long chafed under the disdain of superiors who preferred more “reputable” forms of Thaumaturgy. They stunned the Camarilla by defecting en masse to the L.A. Free States. Even more exasperating to the Tremere, these malcontents actually managed to steal most of the existing database of Technomancy research before leaving. While the Clan was able to reconstruct their knowledge of Technomancy, it was deeply embarrassing for the Inner Council to acknowledge that, for the first time since the Clan’s founding, an outside faction had a superior understanding of any facet of the Clan’s signature Discipline.
For several years, the Anarchs did indeed have superior access to Technomancy relative to the Tremere, although in recent nights, the two have achieved a rough parity. As astonishing as the defection and accompanying theft was, Camarilla insiders were even more surprised when Clan Tremere declined to seek the defectors’ inclusion on the Red List even after the defectors made low level Technomancy rituals readily available to other Kindred through occult “shareware” programs. The apparent leniency with which the parent Clan has treated these defectors is a continuing source of mystery.
Freed from the constraints of Tremere hierarchy and backed financially by a mysterious cabal of Anarch venture capitalists known as “The Red Question,” the defectors (who took the cheeky name “Digital Draculas” as a collective nom de guerre) set up shop in Northern California and started a campaign to disseminate information about Technomancy (and other Thaumaturgy paths) to affiliated Anarchs around the globe. Their mode of instruction was twofold: For broad consumption, the Digital Draculas provided a series of shareware computer programs which incorporated powerful thaumaturgic rituals which had been magically inscribed into the very fabric of the Internet itself. By activating these programs, the user could access the Internet in special ways. For example, the Fangbook ritual allows any vampire to hide secret messages and even videos within mortal social media apps, messages that appear mundane to humans but which are obvious to other Kindred.
The second avenue was more direct. By monitoring the Internet habits of Fangbook users, the Digital Draculas can identify Cainites who are both supporters of the Anarch cause and devotees of the occult. The group carefully weeds out the posers, the incompetents, and the Camarilla infiltrators before indirectly contacting those who are serious about learning blood magic that can be used to advance the Anarch cause. Once the target has satisfied the Digital Draculas as to her worthiness, one of more of the coterie will provide instruction into Technomancy and even other facets of “true” (i.e. Tremere-style) Thaumaturgy in exchange for services rendered to the Movement. Invariably, one service required is that the student voluntarily submits to Dominate effects incorporated into the Internet transmissions that make the student incapable of revealing what she has learned under interrogation. Those who complete their training are inducted into an elite world — the world of Hacktivist Thaumaturgy.
Or at least, most Hacktivists will happily claim that they represent an elite culture. Of the four main schools of Anarch occultism, the Hacktivists are the only ones who claim an institutional connection to Tremere Thaumaturgy, and most of them aren’t shy about letting members of the other schools know it. There have, of course, been Tremere who self-identify as “Anarchs” almost since Thorns, but very few of them have ever willingly shared their knowledge of Thaumaturgy to those outside their Clan, certainly never to the extent that the Digital Draculas have with their arts. Indeed, Anarch conspiracy theorists often claim that for every genuine Tremere Anarch, there are probably three who have infiltrated the Movement to fulfill some Clan goal, and any Tremere who freely teaches his art to others is probably doing so as part of some baleful scheme that a wise Anarch should avoid. Even tonight, as the Digital Draculas happily offer their lore (or selected bits of it, at least) across the Movement, they find that less than a tenth of the Anarchs they observe are worthy of even being offered the chance to learn, and half of those turn down the offer out of sheer anti-Tremere paranoia.
While the paths available to the Hacktivists represent a decent cross section of the Tremere library, not all paths are readily available. In fact, selections are largely limited to those which had been mastered by the various members of the Digital Draculas at the time of their defection. The coterie has an almost obsessive interest in Technomancy and usually (but not always) requires new initiates to study that as a primary path in lieu of the Path of Blood. The coterie is also inordinately proud of its development of new computer-based rituals, many of which are modernist revamps of traditional Tremere rituals which the coterie aggressively “markets” in place of the original versions. The Digital Draculas proudly state that they do not discriminate on the basis of Clan or Sect. They’re lying. In practice, they are extremely reluctant to train Malkavians and Gangrel in Technomancy, the former because they’re either too incoherent or too unpredictable even for Hacktivists, and the latter because they are perceived as being too rustic to properly master a technology-based occult style. Tremere Anarchs rarely receive contact from other hackers prior to an exhaustive examination of their loyalty to the Cause. Ventrue, Toreador, and Nosferatu, however, are all prized as potential students of the art, especially Nosferatu, who are admired by the founding coterie for their Clan’s great work in the creation of the original Shrecknet.
The paths pursued by Hacktivists represent a crosssection of the Tremere repertoire. Technomancy is, of course, standard, but many of the Digital Draculas had been devotees of obscure or archaic paths prior to their defection, and these minor paths gain greater currency when they’re one of the few things on the menu.