Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter


In this lilacs-out-of-the-dead-land issue .....
FICTION: The House of the MacNabs [another d20 Call-of-Cthulhu
adventure from the denizens of Legbiter Hall]
CARD OF THE MONTH: Celeste Lamontagne
DECK: Black Hand Hybrid

FICTION: The House of the MacNabs

With Anklebiter as Dr Jack Jefferson .... Lady Legbiter as Dr Shona
MacConochie .... Jack Drever as Major Colum O'Keefe ..... and Legbiter
as everyone else.

Early in the month of August, 1915, a long, narrow steel craft was
nosing through the fog towards the enemy coast. Night was imminent,
but no lights shone on the dark land rising ahead - a testament to the
enemy's discipline, thought Lieutenant-Commander Lutyens, peering
through his binoculars into the fog. "Tea, sir?" asked the small voice
of a midshipman at his elbow. "Thank-you, Mr Reynauld! Mr White!
Position report, if you please! And, erm, a little more sugar, Mr
Reynauld, if you would be so kind!"

"Sir! Position is 20 minutes from target!"
"Are they ready?"
"Yes, sir!"

Lutyens nodded, and made his way down from the bridge towards where
the agents were waiting for disembarkation. Brave men, he thought -
risking not just life but honour; to be shot like a dog for the
Empire, that was the true courage. Wordlessly he shook them each by
the hand; each returned his pressure, and saluted. Then, donning
balaclavas, they slipped into the rubber boats and sculled for the
cold shoreline ahead. The sailors watched as they merged with the fog,
and then the vessel turned, back to home, warm fires and cold beer.
"Signalman! Inform the High Seas Fleet Command that our agents have
landed, near to Pittenweem, in Scotland! Code Orange, I need hardly
say. And, erm, is there any more of that tea?"

His Imperial German Majesty's Torpedo-boat Destroyer V106's wireless
blipped out its message, unnoticed by all but a select few - in the
Imperial Admiralty back in Kiel, in Room 31 of the British War Office,
and on the freezing bed of the Nordsee, 400 feet below its keel, where
something vast and vile twitched and stirred in the ancient mud.


That same evening, at a Scottish baronial lodge in the hills Northwest
of Dundee, Dr Shona MacConochie was preparing to receive her guests.
Although she now claimed to have embraced Mohammedanism [and had,
indeed, taken to wearing the veil whenever she went out], there was no
shortage of the Amber nectar at her charity Ceilidh for the Relief of
the Casualties in Mespot. Indeed, there were some malicious souls who
whispered that her conversion had more to do with an alleged penchant
for handsome black-bearded Imams; others, that the facial concealment
afforded by the veil was the real attraction. And while we need say
nothing on the subject of the hunky Imams, it is true that Shona had
good reason to hide her face these days, thanks to a distressing
encounter with an animated Mythos Tome in a Sorcerous Tower.

Outside on the croquet lawn Dr Jack Jefferson and Major Colum O'Keefe
were watching the sun set. Neither could any longer be fairly
described as a young man. O'Keefe in particular appeared aged and
worn, walking now with a stick thanks to a piece of shrapnel at Mons
the previous year, and his shape seeming sometimes to waver in a
strong breeze. He still smoked cheroots, and had acquired a
troublesome cough. Jack, who had given up Turkish cigarettes for the
duration of the war, looked concernedly at his friend.

"You should give up too, old chap. Those blooming reefers are going to
kill you!"

O'Keefe smiled.

"Been there, done that."

"All the same, I worry about you - maybe more so because of what
happened in Corsica and London."

"Don't, dear boy. When a man gazes too long into the Abyss, the Abyss
also gazes into him. If you want something to worry about, think of
your patients in the sanatorium! Which reminds me to ask you, I mean
congratulations on the new job and all, but why the deuce did they put
you, a mad-doctor, in charge of the Mespot convalescents?"

"Simple answer? An awful lot of them, all the ones that end up at
Pitkerro Mearns, ARE mad. As to why, I suppose that is what I'm
supposed to find out. On that point I still have some work to do."

"I think that's the real trouble with me - not enough work to do, now
that they won't let me fight."

"Well, but don't you have some frightfully important intelligence

"Counter-espionage liaison, Angus. Mainly involves watching over the
local bolshies in the Dundee jute-mills and monitoring the odd
frothing Scottish Nationalist lunatic. That, and a LOT of golf. If the
Germans come I shall challenge their commander to a round, winner
takes North-East Scotland, should be able to give him quite a decent
match. O look, here's my runner. Probably coming to tell me that RNAC
shyster has cried off again with some pathetic excuse about having to
patrol for U-boats."

Indeed, a leather-clad motor cyclist was being ushered into the garden
by the butler, who was indicating where to find the two friends. The
man marched up to O'Keefe and saluted.

"Cable from London, sir. The Red Channel. Lieutenant Marsden is still
decoding it, but he thought you might like to know."

"Quite right, good man."

"I brought the side-car, sir."

"Good show indeed, well Jack, toodle-pip for now. And if you pick up
any spare Celtic lovelies, or better yet, shooting invitations,
remember us poor toilers, won't you?"

Jack listened as the motor cycle trio sped off back down the hill in
the direction of Dundee, then turned to go into the party. A glowing
eye watched him disappear into the house, then winked out - the
stub-end of Colum's cheroot.


Shona cast a benevolent glance onto the crowded dance floor. What a
good thing that it had been Colum and not Jack who was called away!
For Jack was the real bait for her party, the magnet to which all the
local beauty had been attracted, and even if they could not all flirt
with him, at least not all the time, there were enough young
servicemen to partner most of them, at least most of the time. Poor
dear, he DOES look tired, she thought to herself, as the dance ended
and another bevy of Scottish lovelies collected around his tall and
handsome figure. Never mind, the service of the Empire must come
first. She sensed someone behind her, and turned.

"Dr MacConochie, you will not remember me, MacNab is the name."

"On the contrary, my new neighbour! I remember you quite well, and I'm
most grateful to you for coming. Ahmed, a glass of Lagavulin for my
guest. Mr MacNab, this is Ahmed, my, erm, spiritual adviser."

MacNab bowed.

"Thank YOU for inviting me. I wanted to say that I have read some of
your work, the Monograph on the Baluchistan Anomalies, the Notes
Towards a Biography of Robinson, your work on the Psycho-Physicality
of Dreams."

Shona dimpled under her veil. SUCH a useful invention!

"O dear, then you know what an awful fraud I am!"

"Nonono, quite the reverse. I think of you as Scotland's answer to
Freud, our greatest brain since Hume. It is I who am the poor fraud by
comparison, the merest dabbler in Pictish antiquities. Nevertheless I
think I may have something of interest to you, some stones on my
estate. I would value your opinion, and as bait I propose to invite
you, and any friends you may care to bring, over to the estate this
weekend for a spot of shooting. May I count on you?"

The combination of game-shooting and ancient stones revived old and
not altogether pleasant memories in Shona, and she thought for a
moment before answering.

"Of course I'll come, if I may bring my friends Dr Jefferson and Major
O'Keefe. Just to check, there aren't any chalk carvings, prehuman
delvings or ancient pagan bonfire customs around here, are there?"

"O, you're referring to the Windhover hanger business in your
biography of Robinson? No fear, all very peaceful hereabouts. Except
for the army range next door of course, Anyway, let me tell you what I
know about these stones."


What Macnab had had to say, and what he drew, was more than enough to
convince Shona that this was a problem worthy of her attention. And as
for Jack and Colum, a day's shooting was always going to prove an
irresistible lure. We may, perhaps, forgive Shona a little for not
revealing any unnecessarily-alarming rumours about alleged stones to
her younger friends.

Northwest of Dundee the land rises in waves towards the inner plateau
of Angus, and there, overlooking the Tay to the south, and overlooked
in turn by the ancient ditches of Dunsinane fort, lay the House of the
MacNabs. A motley collection of villainous Labrador hybrids and local
ne'er-do-wells were waiting by the house door as Shona and her friends
drew up in a pony-trap. MacNab came out to greet them, dressed for the
shoot and beaming all over his heavily-whiskered face.

"Good morning! Good morning everyone! Well, here we all are - dogs,
beaters, shooters. The picnic is being taken up to the butts, hope you
like pork pies, claret and bloater paste sandwiches? Got some
hard-boiled eggs too, and some pickles. Now, please choose your
weapons! Of course you may use your own, if you wish. O, what a superb
piece, Dr Jefferson! Jack, then, and you must call me Donald."

Still chattering away animatedly, MacNab led them into the house. The
beaters began to make their way up to the start of the drive, a
longish walk. It was still cool in the mist, but everyone could tell
that a hot day lay ahead. Jimmy Souness took a slug of raw whisky from
the ginger-beer bottle under his coat, then passed it over to his
friend Willy Stewart.

"Come the Revolution, it's us'll hae the claret. They can hae the

"Nah. They can help MAKE the whisky. We'll put them in the mash. That
Army chiel first. The Party has it's eye on HIM, alright!"


It was a shorter walk for the shooting party, but a steep one, up a
treeless slope to a ridge overlooking a foggy glen. The butts lay
along the ridge, and at the higher end were the stones which MacNab
was eager to show to Dr MacConochie. O'Keefe decided to come along
too, since MacNab's name was professionally known to him, and
Jefferson accompanied him, so as not to be left alone with the

At the top of the hill the stones huddled in a circle around a large
flat central stone, or altar, with a foot-shaped depression in which
rainwater had collected. The grass here was grey, blade-shaped and
slightly greasy to the touch. The stones themselves Shona judged to be
of the 8th century, showing as they did mature forms of the famous
Pictish Zed-rod and mirror symbols, in addition to the figures of
armed warriors. Yet, as MacNab had hinted, there were oddities, too.
The faces of the warriors were turned outwards, towards the viewer,
and they seemed to grin disturbingly. Also, there was writing, and
here Shona became really excited. She paced around the circle making
notes, and then she turned to her friends.

"How my poor late husband would have loved to have seen this! And it
all fits with his notes, "A conjectural reconstruction of the ancient
Pictish script". If poor Calum was right I judge that there are three
stones missing, but here would be the text from the others: "All hail
to the Hidden Ones that Wait in Shadow, attendant on the … then
there's a gap … third moon of the 9th year of the 333rd cycle shall
they … another gap … against which no mortal thing may stand save by
the recitation of the … another gap … Ahai Foebock! Ahai Carnala!"

"That's part of the Incantation of the Great and Threefold Wyrm, is it

"Yes, so either a forgery or the oldest known example of it! And right
under Dunsinane hill! Witches, Macbeth, the old stories of the
Saltatores Labyrinthi Nigri, Damborough, the devil-dog men of the
woods, all coming together - isn't it exciting?"

"Very. Let's celebrate by killing some birds! Or better yet, by having
a jolly good picnic lunch and THEN killing some birds!"


Lunch was indeed of the jolly good kind, little affected by the food
shortages inevitable in war. It began to be really hot, and the party
watched as the drive came into view, then descended into the dank mist
of the glen. It was time to get to the butts. As they did so, a
desultory gun began to fire in the Army range to their left. MacNab

"Damme! They'll scare our birds!"

A few minutes later, MacNab's pessimism seemed unfounded. Whirrrrr!
Whirrrrr! Two fine, fat grouse zoomed into view, and Jefferson shot
one, MacNab the other. And then another grouse, and another. And an
owl. And a wildcat. And a badger, a whole FLOCK of hares, and several
rabbits. On they all came, quite oblivious to the presence of the
shooters, sometimes stumbling into, and then out of, the very butts in
which they stood. All except for one little rabbit, which scurried up
to Jefferson's position, and then, with a sigh, collapsed in front of
him, its bright, terrified eyes filming over with the finality of
death. And then, out of the mist, emerged that from which they had
been fleeing.

Low and slow the dogs came loping out of the mist, purplish tongues
lolling out of their dead mouths, rib-bones showing through their
ripped flanks. Dropping his gun, Jefferson leapt to the lip of his
firing position, and began a strange throaty chant, accompanied by
arcane gestures.


The sound reminded MacNab of the pipes, but whatever its provenance it
had meaning for the evil dogs … snarling silently, they turned, and
disappeared back into the mist. And then the beaters came.


Some time later, and to various degrees shocked and hysterical, the
shooting party found themselves being helped into an Army lorry by
soldiers in strange masks and with glass goggles. They could remember
only fragmentarily how they had come to be there. O'Keefe recovered
first, intrigued by a conversation he lip-read between two of the [by
now unmasked] soldiers.

"… two canisters missing, yes sir. It must have happened during the
flap after we realised the experimental material was blowing over
towards the civilian shooters. No sir, we got them all, and the
corpses have been burned. Yes sir, all reliable except for the MacNab
chappie, he has some ScotNat form and has known Bolsheviks in his
employment. Yes sir, understood."


It was several days before Shona recovered sufficiently to turn her
attention to the question of the missing stones. By that time, it was
almost too late.

To be continued ........

CARD OF THE MONTH: Celeste Lamontagne
From the Gehenna preview at the White Wolf website:

Celeste Lamontagne
Gangrel antitribu, Sabbat, Group 4
Capacity 5
Celeste can strike to end combat against a werewolf opponent. She gets
+1 intercept when attempting to block a Camarilla vampire whose
controller has at least one Gehenna card in play.
Illustration by Chad Michael Ward, think Tia Carrera with pointy ears
and teeth.

A very solid country Gangrel antitribu with two interesting specials
and decent discipline spread. Back in the old nights there would have
been a lot of whining about how over-powered this vampire is compared
with equivalent Camarilla Gangrels, but this would have been as
misplaced then as it would be now. The Sabbat are savage fighty
vampires but their Clans relatively weak in politics and  at bleeding
- i think after all this time we should just accept that this means
they are individually better, on average, and also more variable, on
average [think Monique].

One other point of note is that Celeste is a group 4. This means we
STILL do not have the option of playing with 12 different individual
country Gangrel-antitribus in a deck, though you can do so with City
Gangrel antis.


DECK: Black Hand Hybrid
SPAWNED BY: Legbiter
COMMENTS: A cross between 2 Jalan Aajav decks, one due to Jeff
"Lasombra" Thompson, the other to Smiling Tom [Almadeva, IIUC]. Fairly
functional deck [2 outings, swept once, lost once] but still needs
some work [eg Wolf Claws should all be Claws of the Dead or Bone Spur,
2 masters should be removed/replaced by Elder Library or Dreams of the
Sphinx, and number of action cards needs reducing to 16 or so, thereby
creating space for 2 Mythic Forms and 1 more ritual]. Requires careful
playing - build your hand and mount surgical strike [Grapple, agg
strike, decapitate, ritual].

CRYPT [12 vampires]:
Jalan-Aajav x 4
Soldat x 4
Skryta Zyleta x 4

LIBRARY [90 cards]
The Admonitions
Blood Doll x 6
Campground HG
Communal Haven: Cathedral
Corporal Reservoir x 2
The Path of the Feral Heart
Talons of the Dead
Watchtower: Four Ride Forth
Weeping Stone
Ambush x 3
Bloodwork x 6
Harass x 3
Reunion Kamut x 7
Body Flare
Claws of the Dead x 5
Decapitate x 7 
Flesh of Marble x 7
Immortal Grapple x 11
Wolf Claws x 4
Ritual of the Bitter Rose  x 6
Eye of Hazimel
Forced Awakening x 5
Ministry x 6


And that's it for April! A bit late i'm afraid. Perhaps i will be
timelier in May. See you then!