Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter



In this lazy-days-of-summer issue .....

EDITORIAL: The Camarilla Expansion and Rating Changes
FICTION: Death of a Princess
OBITUARY: Marianne Bishop, 1961-2002
DECK: Goodnight, Sweet Prince
SUPPLEMENT: Legbiter's Holiday Survival Guide


EDITORIAL: The Camarilla Expansion and Rating Changes

Most of the last month's Newsgroup discussion has been about one or 
other of the above topics and so far i have contributed close to 
nothing to either of them. This is because i ALMOST whole-heartedly 
approve of both.

In fact, i DO whole-heartedly approve of the new set from what i've  
seen of it, and not just, or even mainly, because i played a part in 
forcing a change to one of the cards [Temptation of Greater Power, 
silly, and no i WASN'T a playtester]. In fact i think the new set 
embodies something i have been arguing for right from the start of 
my NG career, namely the primacy of the need to make the game more 
accessible to new players. i'm thus very happy with the changes to 
the appearance of the cards, the simplification of some of the rules, 
and the minor adjustments to the relative power and rarity of certain 
key cards. Would i have done anything different, had i been a game
designer? Obviously i don't know, but i would certainly have tried a 
bit harder to break the Soul Gem. Probably i would have failed - i 
suspect, nay, KNOW the identities of many of the game designers and 
playtesters. They are solid people, who can both read about other 
people's decks and build their own. i expect they worked hard on the 
Soul Gem, and came to the conclusion that it is still a trick card 
whose positive effects in potentiating amusing off-the-wall decks 
outweigh its negative effects [it's REALLY boring to be just sitting 
there once a turbo-Arika or Baron deck starts to do its thing].

As for the ratings change, this was LONG overdue and is ALMOST entirely 
welcome. It was virtually impossible to maintain accurate ratings with 
the old formula because you needed a complete and chronologically-accurate 
record of ALL the players in EVERY tournament ANYWHERE. And even if you 
had that, what the ratings told you was whether or not people had won their 
last two games, modulated slightly by whether or not they had fallen under 
the gravitational influence of Rob "Black Hole" Treasure. The new system 
is MUCH better, but i still have two caveats;  firstly, i don't think it 
is good that a person's rating can fall if they go to a tournament - we 
should ENCOURAGE people to go to tournaments, NOT penalise them for it: 
secondly, i think the system will still show some artificiality in the 
ratings - it will still be the case that if i play tournaments exclusively 
with the family pets i will have a VERY high rating [unless i play Tremere, 
of course], and it will still be the case that EVERYONE who regularly plays 
with Rob will have an artificially-low rating. However, the regional tables 
already recognise this problem and it will now be possible virtually at a 
glance to spot whether someone's rating is meaningful or not.

FICTION: Death of a Princess
Eventually Juliana Priest did come back to fairy-land for good, and she was 
buried on a green hill overlooking the part of the country she loved the best. 
A small sapling marked her grave, and when our eyes were dry from over-weeping 
i wrote the following on a post-it and stuck it to the little tree:

The rustle of silk is discontinued; the leaves
Scurry into heaps, and lie still;
And she the Rejoicer of the Heart is beneath them:
A wet leaf that clings to the threshold.*

Soon the wind will catch it and blow it away, but she would have understood.


OBITUARY: Marianne Bishop, 1961-2002
Marianne Bishop, who has died at the age of 41, was a remarkable person gifted 
with amazing powers of insight and analysis. These she deployed in the social 
world to such effect that it was impossible for her to be deceived by people: 
and had she lived [and acquired a measure of self-esteem, which would also have 
been a condition of her survival], i think that through the use of the same 
skills she might have become the very best card player there has ever been. 
But she was still learning the rules of Jyhad/VTES when she was overcome by 
one of her periodic bouts of depression, and she hanged herself.
Her memorial is the story of Juliana Priest from the January or maybe
February 2002 NL, which i, and she, thought was an accurate portrait of 
her character, and from which it will be obvious that i personally was very 
fond of her. If there is a lesson from her life it is perhaps that to see 
too clearly is not always a good thing; and more prosaically, that clinical 
depressives really, REALLY need to take their happy pills [she was too proud 
and obstinate to do so]. She is survived by her husband Rick [from whom she 
was separated] and their two children Tom and Georgina.

DECK: Goodnight, Sweet Prince

Marianne looked like a Romany and she was a bit of a job-gypsy, so she was almost 
as keen on the Ravnos as the Kiasyd [fairies were her great love].  Before her 
death i had promised to try to build her a Ravnos / Kiasyd deck but i never did, 
and to be honest, cannot see how to. The closest thing i can offer to a deck in 
her memory is therefore this new version of an old idea - to use Goodnight, Sweet 
Prince on your OWN crypt, and then to possess out or redeem the lost souls of the 
vampires you discard in this way. i haven't actually played this version of the 
deck yet, so this is tech-in-progress; i think it is better than the old versions 
which Xian and i developed long ago, i think it could be improved, but i'm not sure 
if it will ever be the basis of a competitive deck - which doesn't mean i'm not 
going to persevere with it. 

CRYPT [12 vampire cards]:
Ezmerelda x 2
Ivan Krenyenko x 5
Queen Anne
Wilhelm Waldburg

LIBRARY [90 cards]:

Dreams of the Sphinx
Fortune Teller Shop
Giant's Blood
Goodnight, Sweet Prince x 6
The Path of Paradox
Redeem the Lost Soul x 6
Week of Nightmares


The Sargon fragment x 3
Wake with Evening's Freshness x 4

Fata Morgana x 4
Mirror Image x 4
Red Herring x 4
Sensory Deprivation

Conditioning x 5
Deflection x 7

Daring the Dawn x 3
Dawn Operation x 2
Day Operation x 2
Force of Will x 7
Freak Drive x 8
Hidden Strength x 3
The Kiss of Ra
Skin of Steel x 4

Call of the Hungry Dead x 4
Possession x 6

Lots of cards are questionable in this and i'ld be more-than-usually grateful 
for feedback, given that i've never actually WON a game with a GNSP deck [only 
played it twice, to be honest, and NEVER played the above version, though 
something closely-similar did a BIT of its stuff last Wednesday in the 
Northcote Hotel, before being stomped by John Keech's Stanislava deck].

SUPPLEMENT: Legbiter's Holiday Survival Guide

As i mentioned in the last NL i am going to miss the debut of the new set 
because we will be in Corsica from the 18th August to the 2nd September, 
and i'ld be AMAZED if there's a shop in Ajaccio that sells VTES. But we 
will take our VTES fun decks and it's also a chance to dust off some old 
games and to try some new ones. In so doing it's important to distinguish 
between beach-survivable and non-survivable games. 

Non-Beach games:
Heroclix. Great game. i am going to make vampires for it, using ordinary models 
and cards to represent the clicks. But not for the beach; sand and water NOT good 
for little dial things, and HIDEOUS lost model scenarios possible "Whaddya mean, 
the sandcastle fell on Thanos and now you can't find him????" Not to mention the 
wind and its effects on the board. Did i mention that now i have all the Uniques 
except for Wasp, and that i have doubles of Thanos, Unique Cyclops [2], Unique 
Electra and Quasar? Well now i did.

VTES. Wind again. 'Nuff said, really. Same goes for other card games we are 
taking namely Munchkin, The Works [cleaned-up non-collectable XXXenophile], 
Instinct, Lunch Money.

Master Labyrinth, History of the World, Medina, Vinci. Great, complicated board games 
with lots of high-quality and mislayable pieces. NOT for the beach.

Beach Games:
Home-made [by Michael aka Anklebiter] Role-playing Skirmish game based on Warhammer 
Ancient Battles and Graeco-Roman mythology. Uses plastic 1/72 scale minis PVA-glued 
onto different-sized pennies or euro-cents, cheap dice and cheap and simple rule book. 
So the dinghy sinks, we can replace the whole show for under 40 quid.

Surf Cricket:
We have a little blow-up boat which we push out to otherwise-inaccessible beaches using 
our fins and snorkels; it carries games, food and sick or wounded members of the party. 
A fine game may now be had if one person [the batter] sits in the boat with a cricket-bat 
and attempts to stop the others [the fielders] from getting the ball into the boat. 
You will ask how we keep score. i will answer, who cares. It's something to do with 
length of innings, measured in balls, i believe.

Climbing Genoese Watch towers:
There are quite a lot of these in Corsica, precursors of the Martello tower - more 
precisely, "the" Martello tower WAS such a structure. They are solid despite being 
half-millenia old in some cases, and may be climbed into: you get good views from them, 
and good exercise getting to them. Recommended.

Good games but not to be played on holiday:

Flintloque. i've been tidying up my old games and doing a bit of new painting and 
i'm reminded of what a terrific game this is. And even cheaper, now the company that 
made it has gone bust. At Ramstein airbase there is a shop which sells pottery models 
of picturesque Lithuanian houses. They are meant for holding scented candles but they 
also make great scenery for Flintloque/Deadloque.

Warcraft 3. Not really my cup of tea, but as a real-time strategy game this is excellent 
of its kind, and i did manage to overcome my scruples and complete it in the early hours 
of last Tuesday morning. i imagine that Michael will have done the same by the time we 
set out, but if not, this may come along in the laptop after all.

Netrunner. Two player. We will be four.

Ordinary cricket: The only beaches sandy enough so that we can play this on are too crowded 
to play it on. On our first Corsican holiday we learned this when Michael, age about 9, 
executed a fine hook-shot to just behind square leg, where it was BRILLIANTLY stopped by 
a sunbathing lady's nose.


And that's it for August. O dear, no Gangrel-antitribu content and no
Ravenloft cards, sorry about both of those omissions - but in the
circumstances i hope you'll forgive me if i save these for next time, 
which will be a bit late due to holidays. In particular, look for the
Gangrel-antitribu expansion to HeroClix. See you in September!


*The poem is a translation of a Chinese lament and is quoted from memory, 
but i'm sorry to say i don't remember the name either of the original poet, 
or of the translator. It is in the Penguin Book of Chinese Verse, i am fairly sure.