OFFICIAL VEKN GANGREL-ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 2 NUMBER 8 AUGUST 99 [ACTUALLY POSTED SEPTEMBER 99] In this Issue ..... FICTION: THE CAULDRON [part 2 of a three-parter about the June tournament in Portsmouth - NOT the April tournament, as wrongly stated in the previous NL]. GUCCG [A plug for Jyhad as the Generic Universal Collectible Card Game, and some ideas about how this might be developed]. BLADE EXPANSION FOR VTES [card ideas from the denizens of Legbiter Hall]. FICTION: THE CAULDRON Just off Castle Street there is an exclusive little French Restaurant called Le Sanglier. There is no sign outside, and you have to knock on the shutters to speak to the not-very-friendly Patron. If a mortal, and your French is good enough, and he likes the look of you, he MAY deign to let you in. The food, of course, is excellent, and if you appreciate this fact, can pay the bill, and don't do anything stupid like offer a tip, then who knows, he may let you back in another night. But if you are a vampire, and especially if you are the beautiful Stanislawa, then you will go in by a different entrance, a steel door that leads off a World War 2 tunnel that used to connect the forts on the Downs with the dockyards. Then you will encounter Rebstock's Ghouls, who will usher you in to the tastefully-furnished apartment where Rebstock's Brides are cautiously massaging his shoulders and feet. Their master is not in a good mood tonight, and his rages are terrible. Stanislawa greets the old vampire with a barely-perceptible bow, which he returns, studying her face with his large eyes the while. With a wave of his talon he dismisses the brides who retire, relieved, to the crypt. "More bad news then, i take it?" "Yes Rebstock, zey have spies everyvhere. The antitribu of my own clan have declared for Legbiter, including that Bitch Caitlin. He controls the media. i just can't get through. Vhy von't you employ more help?" "My Dear, our resources are too stretched. Cantlow the Beastmaster has been worrying away at the foundations of our power - ah! Salaud!"
"... as you see. If only our ally, the Dear Prince of Mercia, could put more pressure on Cantlow, then we in turn might be able to reduce the power of the Wicked Legbiter. But alas, i have just been on the phone to Coupe, and he tells me that although he has corrupted some of Cantlow's minions the Progeny of Legbiter is on the point of destroying his influence in Wessex. Indeed, i distinctly heard the sound of a helicopter landing towards the end of our conversation, and i am afraid that Coupe may already be on his way back to the Midlands to plot his revenge. This, of course, will strengthen Anklebiter. Hmmm, perhaps we should ally with Legbiter's progeny and aid him to destroy Cantlow. That young fellow is far from being his Sire's puppet, and it seems that Legbiter's recent attempts to discipline him have largely failed. Let me think awhile." Rebstock lapses into meditation and Stanislawa, knowing her master's ways, goes to the bookcase and takes down a First Edition of Pascal's Pensees. Opening the cover she finds it inscribed, in the author's own hand, to that Cher Duc de Rebstock whose many valuable insights have contributed so largely to the present volume. It isn't philosophy that we need now, she thinks, more like a bloody miracle - if Legbiter himself cannot control his progeny, what hope have we? GUCCG Steve Jackson invented the concept of a Generic Universal Role-Playing System or GURPS for short. Basically the same, very simple, mechanic is used to generate characters and resolve conflicts for pretty much any role-playing system. GURPS Goblins is my personal favourite, followed by GURPS Blood Types, and it seems to me that there is mileage in a similar idea for CCGs which are, after all, only role-playing games for people with more money than time. This is not a new idea: Wizards tried to sell a series of games based on the C23 mechanic that model systems as different as Hercules/Xena and science fiction [C23 itself]. But although the mechanic of C23 is quite neat [a cross between Magic and Jyhad], it hasn't caught on - apart from me and Robert Shread the only Methuselah i know who likes this stuff is Peter Bakija, and i suspect it is the Leathers and Firm Protuberances aspect of Xena which is the real hook for our respected Nosferatu brother. It seems to me that Jyhad is the best bet for a GUCCG, for two main reasons. The first reason is that the clans model the personality archetypes really well - whoever you are, or however you would like to be, there is a clan and style of play in Jyhad that reflects your personality. The second reason is that the World of Darkness which Jyhad so ably recreates in card form is the setting for four other RPGs - Wraith, Mage, Werewolf and Changeling. All these games have essentially the same structure, and it would be relatively easy to use the Jyhad mechanic to create a CCG equivalent for any of these games. There is a third, minor reason why i think that Jyhad as a GUCCG could be a winner, and that relates to the big successes of things like B5, Star Wars and Star Trek. Quite honestly, my opinion is that these are all rather poor games - ugly cards and clumsy mechanics - but i can see why they are popular; people WANT to play out their favourite shows. Furthermore, the artwork is dead cheap - just photos or more precisely stills from successful shows. Just think of all the vampire movies and comics, and consider the possibilities of stand-alone Jyhad expansions based on Blade, Buffy, Interview with the Vampire, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and so on! Already Buffy cards with which you can't actually play ANYTHING are one of the hottest collectibles around! Anyway, Vitae for thought. i think there are objective reasons for being optimistic about future expansions and support for jyhad - basically the main one being that VtM is the second-biggest selling RPG. One night Wizards will need money again, and then they will remember or realise that VTES could be a real gold mine for them, if they chose. Maybe the first step will be a Vampire: Portal offering. We'll see. BLADE EXPANSION FOR VTES Just before we went off to Corsica Michael [aka Anklebiter] and i devised a Blade expansion for VTES. If you haven't seen the film, this won't mean much to you. Our advice in that case would be to see the film! It's VERY VTES/World of Darkness. Vampire Mace Equipment, cost 0 Burn and strike for 1R, aggravated. Blade's Cool Shades Unique Equipment, cost 1 pool A Vampire with Blade's Cool Shades counts as having superior Presence. EDTA Equipment, cost 2 pool Burn and strike for X aggravated damage, where X is the capacity of the target vampire. Sunblock Equipment, cost 0 During each of your untaps, place a Mascara Running counter on Sunblock. When there are 4 such counters, burn it. Burn Sunblock to prevent all damage from a strike that deals aggravated damage. Judiciously Engineered Retrovirus Equipment, cost 1 pool Burn to take a D action to destroy any non-unique vampire. Familiar Ally, cost 1 blood. 1R, 1 life, 0 Bleed. Dr Karen Jenssen Unique Ally, cost 1 pool 1R, 1 life, 0 bleed. Karen may take a +1 stealth action to search your library for EDTA, Concoction of Vitality or Judiciously Engineered Retrovirus, or to add one blood or life to a Vampire Hunter. Abraham Whistler Unique Ally, cost 3 pool 3R, 2 life, 0 Bleed Whistler may take a +1 stealth action to add 1 life or blood to a vampire hunter. Tap Whistler to reduce the cost of an equip action by a vampire hunter by 1 blood or pool. Curtis Webb Unique Ally, cost 1 blood. 2 hand damage, 0 bleed, prevent 1 damage each combat. Expendable Oriental Person Ally, cost 0 1 life, 1R Burn to end a combat involving any vampire hunter. Not usable after the reacting minion has chosen its strike. The House of Erebus Unique Master Location, cost 4 pool Tap to gain 3 votes during a political action. Any vampire may burn this card as a D action. The Book of Erebus Unique Master Location Tap to draw a card. Discard down to your maximum hand size at the end of your turn. Burn as a Master Phase action to search your library for the Temple of Eternal Night, and put it in your hand. Discard down to your maximum hand size afterwards. Temple of Eternal Night Unique Master Location Tap to remove 1 blood or life from any ally or vampire hunter. Any vampire may burn this card a D action. La Magra Master If you control the Temple of Eternal Night and the House of Erebus at the start of your turn, you may burn both and then play La Magra as a master phase action. Remove a ready vampire you control from the game, and place its blood, equipment and retainers on La Magra, which now counts as a 12- capacity vampire with 4 votes, +3 bleed and superior versions of all disciplines. Allies may not block La Magra. Pearl Nosferatu 2 capacity for Your hand size is +1 if Pearl is ready. Pearl may take no actions, only block. Dragonetti Ventrue 6 capacity DOM PRE 2 votes If Dragonetti takes aggravated damage, burn him. Quin Pander 3 capacity FOR If Quin is in torpor at the start of your turn, give him 1 blood. Deacon Frost Pander 7 capacity POT PRE DOM for Blade, Daywalker Pander 8 capacity No disciplines, may strike for 3R, -1 bleed, first strike, prevent 1 damage each combat. Blade can play any combat card as if he had the inferior level of any required discipline. Blade is immune to aggravated damage. If Blade is reduced to 0 blood, burn him. Blade counts as both a vampire and a vampire hunter. Master cards cannot be played on Blade, and he may never have any votes. At the start of each of your turns, if Blade is ready, remove 1 blood from Blade and lose 1 pool or 1 blood from a vampire you control. If you do not, burn Blade. Two down, one to go. i'll do the September newsletter next week, i hope. Seeya then!