OFFICIAL VEKN GANGREL-ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 4 NUMBER 4 APRIL 2001 IN THIS OVERLY-MECHANICAL AND HEARTLESS ISSUE .. FICTION: UNDEATH OF A SALESMAN [something which just came to me as I was driving home one night]. TEACHING DECKS [Well, everyone else seems to be doing it!] PIERRE "ROCKET SCIENTIST" REBSTOCK'S RPG DECK [a Gangrel antitribu deck from my Famed French Fiend Friend] FICTION: UNDEATH OF A SALESMAN "And this model is the Gti. Actually just for once the definite article is entirely justified - they only built the one. So it's a bit pricey, 750k." "Still not bad for a unique! I, er, don't suppose a test drive is on?" "You're having a giraffe, right? The boss would KILL me. No, you can look, but you can't touch." "Shutting up now boss!" "OK, thanks .. We'll be out in a sec ... scuse me, I have to lock up the keys." Leslie Cantor nods, and lights a cigarette while his friend goes into the office and puts the ignition keys into the safe. He adjusts his spectacles and only a VERY astute observer would notice that the right lens conceals a tiny camera. Clic .. clic .. Clic. And after goodbyes and a visit to the darkroom, Leslie Cantor visits another specialist in the motor trade, a Universal Broker. Armed with the combination, this shadowy figure is to be seen entering the garage late at night, opening the safe, selecting a key and then proceeding to the gleaming automobile which is the object of his employer's desire. He settles into the leather seat and breathes in the scent of MONEY. The engine starts, and the car purrs out of the automatic gates and onto the highway. It's a dozen or so miles to the pick-up point and he savours the sheer power of the machine, the way it seems to simultaneously mould itself to his body and to be an extension of it. Cheap at the price, he thinks, as he pulls into the lay-by where Cantor is waiting. A sum of money changes hands, and the Universal Broker pats the warm body of the car. "See you later, old chap". Then he is gone, and Cantor can look at his prize. Of course it will have to go abroad, but Arabia is FULL of open roads and it won't rust there, either. He gets in and restarts the engine. Glorious! Shifting gear he is soon cruising along at 70, carefully obeying all the traffic laws. What a fabulous car, is nearly the last thought of his life. But in fact the last thought of Leslie Cantor's life is Mother. It nearly always is, for men. Previous to that there was surprise, at the tickly feeling on his back and legs . anguish, as the sharp bony prongs which had emerged from the seat penetrated his flesh, wriggling into his blood vessels and draining him like a thief siphoning petrol from a car ... confusion, disbelief, shrieking terror as the Thing enveloped him with its hideous remorseless inhumanity .. and almost finally insanity, as the most terrible fears of humankind, those of being eaten alive, were realised in his brain. Later that night the car returned to the garage and purred smoothly through the gates. The Universal Broker is waiting for it. When it stops, he opens the door and removes the slumped remains of Cantor from the front of the car. This takes a while because the skeleton has got a bit disarticulated, but at least there is no mess this time - usually they shit themselves, you see. A quick spray with the airfreshener and hoopla! into the incinerator with the two plastic bags. While they burn, the Universal Broker goes round the car with his chamois, humming happily as he removes the mud-flecks. O dear, the poor number-plate must've got splashed! Don't want that, do we? He polishes for a while and then, satisfied, admires the gleaming plate upon which the beautiful old car's registration number appears: L368ITER TEACHING DECKS The motivation for this article comes from a conversation about teaching decks that David Tatu, Derek Ray and I had in the car going through Georgia last summer: and more recently from something David Zopf alluded to on the NG, namely the desirability of balance within playgroups. I think it's an unusual Methuselah who would dissent from this latter proposition - nobody likes losing all the time, and wise methuselahs do not like winning all the time either, because it puts a big fat target sign on their back, and that constitutes a huge disadvantage in tournament play. Be that as it may, balance is, I think, particularly important when one is teaching new people, and with all that in mind I've designed the following two "basic" decks for balanced duels. Because they are duel decks there is no politics to speak of and no bleed-bounce either; nor is there much in the way of wake-up. I've been using them for games with Lady Legbiter when Anklebiter is away or otherwise engaged [believed to be a euphemism for playing Diablo II], and also for helping my neonate Marianne to be a bit more confident about the game. As a further balancing factor, we play a handicapping system which basically is that one player has x extra pool, where x is the difference between the number of games they have won and the number of games their opponent has won. Finally, we take it in turn to play the decks: monkey-see, monkey-do sorta thing. DECK NAME: "Darling, you were WONDERFUL!" [first of two teaching decks: !Toreador bash/bleed]. CRYPT [12 cards] Lolita Donatien x2 Jost Werner x2 Sheila Mazarin Mercy, Knight Inquisitor Miller Delmardigan x2 Carter Victor Revell, loyalist Greta Kircher Matteus, Flesh Sculptor LIBRARY [78 cards] AUSPEX  Enhanced Senses x5 Precognition x5 Pulse of the Canaille x2 Revelations Spirit's Touch x2 Telepathic Counter Telepathic Tracking CELERITY  Alacrity x2 Blur x3 Fast hands Flash x4 Lightning Reflexes x3 Preternatural Evasion x2 Pursuit Rapid Thought Sideslip x3 Side Strike x2 Vampiric Speed PRESENCE  Aire of Elation x3 Catatonic Fear Legal manipulations x4 Majesty Media Influence x3 Social Charm x2 Staredown x2 DISCIPLINELESS  Blood of the Sabbat Cardinal Sin: Insubordination Crimson Sentinel Leather jacket Rave MASTER  The Art of Pain x3 Auspex Blood Doll Celerity Effective management Fetish Club HG x2 KRCG News Radio Minion Tap Misdirection Presence Purchase Pact The Rack Short-term investment Sudden Reversal DECK NAME: "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if the big bleeds don't get you, the big biffs must." [second of two teaching decks: Lasombra bash/bleed]. CRYPT [12 cards] Antonio Delgado Aaron Duggan Angelica Gratiano Royce Talley Aurora Van Brande Cameron Lucita Alvaro Ignacio Guido Luciano MASTERS  The Barrens Blood Doll x 3 Depravity Dominate Effective Management Elysian Fields Haven Uncovered Information Highway Minion Tap Mob Connections Obtenebration The Path of Night Political HG Political Seizure Potence The Rumor Mill Sudden Reversal Tomb of Rameses III DISCIPLINELESS  Ambush x 3 Arson Blood bond Bum's Rush x 2 Computer hacking x 2 Conditioning Gas-powered Chainsaw x 2 Hand of Conrad Leather jacket Vaulderie DOMINATE  Bonding Command of the Beast Obedience Scouting Mission x 4 Slaughtering the Herd x 3 OBTENEBRATION  Arms of the Abyss x 3 Darkness Within Entombment Eyes of the night Shadow Body x 2 Shadow Play Shadow Strike POTENCE  Decapitate x 3 Fractures Armament Increased Strength x 2 Pushing the Limit x 7 Rampage Sacrament of carnage x 2 Thrown gate x 4 Thrown Sewer Lid x 2 PIERRE "ROCKET SCIENTIST" REBSTOCK'S RPG DECK This is a deck that I've long admired and thanks, Pierre, for letting me post it in this NL. Pierre points out that this deck is experimental and in practise I've yet to see it do REALLY well but the concept is very neat. Furthermore, it's a City !Gangrel deck. On topic or WHAT????? Deck Name: RPG? Isn't that Role Playing Games??? By Pierre Rebstock Crypt (12) 1x Daliyah PRO obf (4) 2x Darrell Boyce PRO CEL OBF (6) 2x Ellen Fence PRO CEL OBF (8) 2x Pieter PRO OBF (6) 1x Samantha PRO CEL OBF (10) 2x Tansu Bekir cel OBF (4) 2x Zachary PRO CEL OBF (7) Library (90) Master (18) Campground Hunting Ground x1 Fame x3 Festivo dello Estinto x1 Haven Uncovered x5 Heidelburg Castle, Germany x1 Humanitas x1 Minion Tap x4 The Rumor Mill x1 Vast Wealth x1 Equipment (7) Catacombs x1 RPG Launcher x6 Combat (36) Blur x4 Claws of the Dead x2 Disguised Weapon x3 Dissolution x2 Flash x6 Flesh of Marble x6 Form of Mist x1 Psyche x3 Pursuit x2 Rapid Thought x2 Taste of Vitae x5 Action (14) Ambush x2 Bum's Rush x2 Sacrificial Lamb x3 Shadow of the Beast x7 Action modifier (12) Earth Control x2 Faceless Night x2 Lost in Crowds x2 Spying Mission x2 Swallowed by the Night x4 Reaction (3) Wake with the Evening's freshness x3 Comments: This deck seriously lacks tweaking, I'm sure this deck could be tournament material but not without some improvements. If I was going to play it again I would certainly remove the following: Fame x1 Haven Uncovered x1 RPG Launcher x1 Flesh of Marble x1 Sacrificial Lamb x3 Spying Mission x2 Flash x2 Form of Mist x1 Rapid Thought x2 And add the following cards instead: Path of the Feral Heart x3 Body Flare x4 Homunculus x2 Lost in Crowds x2 Dissolution x3 In the crypt, I might replace the two Tansu and Daliyah for 3-4 weenies with obf, simply to diablerise vamps when needed. Ideas I'm still considering: -Gangrel Conspiracy -Mob Connections -Sideslip -More stealth? Shadow of the Beast is absolutely vital for the deck, you need one! Transient maneuvers and presses will only go so far. The stealth must be kept for the SotB, In heavy intercept environment, use the Disguised Weapon for the RPGs, and shout Surprise! to your friendly Tzimisce player. Ideally you would like to get two vamps tooled up with RPG+SotB. Oh, and never use the maneuver from SotB in the first round, take the damage (Flesh of Marble helps for that), maneuver away with a card if you have backup, but have the maneuver always ready for the second round as people, if they have some, will use their own maneuvers in the second round to prevent the use of the trusty RPG. Comments more than welcomed. P. And that's it for April. Unusually, I find myself with a LOT of stuff left over and maybe I will write an Ahrimanes Newsletter this month with the extra stuff in it, or possibly hold it over for next month. But now I have to build decks, and buy food so that the Eichlers do not starve when they are here. I hope to see a lot of you on Saturday the 7th April at John's shop for the monthly tournament!