This is actually the only universal title currently used by the narch 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.