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Blood magic of any sort has been incredibly rare among the Anarchs for most of the Movement’s existence. In the early nights of the Revolt, a scant few Tzimisce and Assamite Anarchs taught some elements of their hereditary arts to fellow revolutionaries. Both Koldunic Sorcery and Assamite Sorcery had religious components that made their practitioners reluctant to share their lore with non-believers (and made pre-Enlightenment Christian vampires reluctant to study them in the first place). A few very rare Anarchs from other Clans had learned some blood magic from their own sires, hoary elder occultists who studied those arts before the birth of Clan Tremere, who then unwisely passed their lore on to rebellious childer who then used it against them.

After Thorns, the surviving Kolduns took their knowledge to the Sabbat (if they didn’t flee from Kindred society entirely), many Assamite sorcerers returned to their own independent Clan, and Clan Tremere initiated a quiet pogrom of every Anarch who displayed knowledge of anything even resembling Thaumaturgy. Despite all that, a handful of occult scholars among the Anarchs avoided destruction, hiding from the Tremere and concealing their occult knowledge against the night when the fires of the Anarch Revolution would burn anew.

Over time, the Anarch Movement largely relocated to the New World to escape the control of their Camarilla elders. There, Anarch mystics who still practiced “the Old Ways” had more freedom to use and pass on their arts. More importantly, Anarchs who were interested in the acquisition of occult knowledge found new possibilities among the Native Americans, among Africans forcibly relocated to the Americas as part of the slave trade, and among indigenous peoples from every corner of the world.

After decades of research gleaned from such sources, these Anarch occultists were able to piece together workable equivalents to several Thaumaturgy and Necromancy paths. The modern name of their school, “Old Skool,” was originally an insult levied by Punk Tremere in the 1970s, but the venerable occultists adopted it as an ironic marker of their multicultural pedigree. And that pedigree was real — there are a number of Old Skool sorcerers who possess a body of knowledge of spirit magic in many ways superior to that of Clan Tremere, which remains largely ignorant of the potential to be found in the practices it would likely define as “primitive.”

What distinguishes the Old Skool from its peers is a sense of reverence lacking in mainstream Kindred occultism (both among the Anarchs and the larger Kindred community). The Anarchs grouped under this umbrella practice a multitude of techniques, ranging from paganism to Wicca to Vodoun to Native American shamanism, but in every case, the Anarch treats his magic not as a path to power (or at least, not just as a path to power), but as a lifestyle choice to treat some higher power — gods, loa, Orishas, totems, whatever — as worthy of respect. Accordingly, the Old Skooler performs her magical rituals with an intensity similar to that of a Sabbat priest conducting a ritus. Because like that priest, the Anarch is not just an occultist but a religionist, and for all religionists, fervor is the ultimate source of power.

Nearly any Clan can belong to the Old Skool movement, from a hoary Malkavian elder who was once priest of Apollo to a vodouoissant Embraced off of an antebellum Louisiana plantation by an abolitionist Toreador, from a Lakota medicine man brought into the night by a roaming Brujah to a Ravnos who found Asatru while headbanging to Scandinavian black metal. Unfortunately, diversity is not always strength, and there is frequently tension within this school between traditional pagans of all stripes and their neopagan inheritors, particularly when the traditional pagan is a vampire old enough to have actually been a priest or shaman in a pre-Christian culture and he takes offense at modern “best guess” reenactments of nearly extinct practices.

The paths pursued by Old Skoolers are typically those paths which can be interpreted within the framework of non-Christian religions and Christian offshoots (such as Vodoun). In many cases, the Anarch was already a practitioner of the relevant religious group or folk magic tradition prior to the Embrace and simply adapted his beliefs to his unlife along with the new power of his vitae. Just as often, however, the Anarch finds religion post-mortem in the form of an Anarch cult.

Common Paths:

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