OFFICIAL VEKN GANGREL-ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOL 3 NUMBER 4 APRIL 2000 In this Eastertide issue [near enough for me, anyhow] ….. FICTION: THE EASTER RABID CARD OF THE MONTH/DECK IDEA: BLACK SPIRAL BUDDY VTES: THE RPG [SUGGESTION FOR A GAME VARIANT] FICTION: THE EASTER RABID A cold sleety wind is blowing over the Langstone marshes, and its eerie howling permeates the noisome lair of the Black Spiral Dancers where Rends-the-Treehuggers is getting dressed to go out. His brothers [Craps- on-Sidewalk, Snarls-at-Postmen and Buttons] sit watching, and smoking shit. True, it doesn’t taste very nice but on the other hand it is cheap and doesn’t give you cancer so much. Also, it makes the lair smell better. Dress-sense isn’t high on a werewolf’s list of things to learn but you can tell that they are uneasy with their leader’s outfit. Craps- on-Sidewalk is the first to speak. "Gee Rends, won’t those ears kinda get in the way when you’re ripping the throat outa people?" "Yeah, kinda. If that happens i was thinking I might staple them to my head just before I get stuck in. Great Grandfather Wyrm’s Bollocks, what did I do with that tail?" "Its on yer backside, brother, remember? I superglued it there for ya last night." "O yeah, thanks, Snarly. OK, so how do I look?" "Er …" "Well, um ….." "It’s, ah, unusual …" "I LOOK LIKE A GREAT FUCKIN’ GIRL’S BLOUSE THEN, DO I?????" "Oh no – not at all – most manly and, erm, dignified –" "O dear, really? You’re sure I don’t look even a TINY bit like a great Girl’s blouse? I gotta be the Black Spiral Bunny at Legbiter’s easter party, y’see, and all my research indicates that that means REALLY sissy." Buttons stifles a snigger and polishes the surface of the tv so that Rends can look at himself in it. He turns this way and that, and then, satisfied, makes his way to the exit. "See y’all later! Save some of that Easter bottom-chocolate for me!" "Sure thing, man! Seeya Rends! Bye! Have a Great Time!" ……. "Is he out of earshot?" "Think so ….." "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!" Helplessly, the brothers roll around in the lair, clutching their sides. Far away, out of his keen hearing and therefore, he knows, out of theirs, Rends-the-Treehuggers, ridiculous in a pink layette with matching ears and tufty tail is practising for the party. "Hippety hop, hippety fuckin’ hop. The Things I Do For The Eater of Souls." CARD OF THE MONTH/DECK IDEA: BLACK SPIRAL BUDDY It was actually because of this card that I volunteered to do the Gangrel antitribu when the newsletters first started. This is because White Wolf’s Chronicle of the Black labyrinth places the origin of the BSDs fairly and squarely in the part of Scotland where I grew up and did my University Education and post-doctoral work. However, the Black Spiral buddy is a weak ally overall – costly, no inbuilt bleed, no intrinsic rush, fragile. To build a deck using BSBs is quite a challenge, but I think it can probably be done. Basically the BSBs would need to be at the heart of a !gangrel takeover deck. You would use rushes and disciplineless combat cards to get the BSB into fights with fragile vamps, which could include combatty ones if you slapped Memories of Mortality on them. Then you would stealthily grave rob then onto your side using Caitlin or Genevieve [protean stealth cards and cloaks from !gangrel with OBF]. Once stolen, your victims could computer hack for you with cloaks provided by !gangrel with superior obfuscate, or just feed you via tributes to the Master. A bit of misdirection, maybe, and you should be swarm bleeding for too much for most decks to handle. VTES: THE RPG [SUGGESTION FOR A GAME VARIANT] I’ve always thought that CCGs are essentially RPGs for people who don’t have time for the real thing anymore [which doesn’t, of course, mean that they can’t have aspects from board or strategy games too]. I’ve been musing about this concept a whole lot more since the entirely-welcome return of VTES to the White Wolf fold, and I wonder if there might be space for a VTES variant that was more character oriented. The simplest implementation of this idea might be to start out with one vampire controlled and three uncontrolled. Each player would choose a vampire from their crypt to be their controlled vampire, plus three random uncontrolled, and all would simultaneously reveal their chosen vampire and pay its cost in pool. Play would then proceed normally, but there would be TWO ways to be ousted: either the normal reduction to 0 pool, or the final death of your signature vampire. If two players chose the same vampire they would be locked into a destructive contest, of course, which would be dull, so I’d suggest that if this happened both players would shuffle the vampire originally chosen back into their crypt and pick the top vampire of their crypt to be their signature instead. In this variant you would NOT be allowed multiple copies of one vampire in your crypt, and although contesting would be allowed, contesting of your signature vampire would NOT be allowed, so that if a second copy somehow came into play it would just burn. This variant is not playtested but I can’t see any obvious flaws in it and I think it could be rather fun. Quick bleed wouldn’t work as well under this scheme and combat would work a whole lot better, which most of us probably think is desirable. Knowing your starting vampire could allow some really freaky strategies to be tried out – Tzimisce with chimerstry is one I keep meaning to explore, for example. Also, I really fancy trying something like this when the pre-constructed decks come out, because it seems to me it’s an obvious way to play a clan civil war between two or more IDENTICAL decks without their being completely kiboshed by contesting. More involved variants could involve the de novo generation of characters, now that we know the costing rules. Basically you would pick a picture to be you, give it whatever disciplines and specials you want and are prepared to pay for, pay its cost and then that plus your three random uncontrolled bloke[sse]s would be your starting vamps. This would have the advantage that you could be Spike, Drusilla, Angel, Dracula, Lady Death, Von Carstein or pretty much anybody from Ravenloft etc. Alright, that’s it for April. It’s really true about the sleet here, by the way – most depressing, and I hope the weather is better where you are. See y’all in may!