V:EKN Clan Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter, December 1998 VEKN Official Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter Vol 1 number 10 December 98 Bumper Fang-filled Christmas Issue! [posted 26/xi/98, a bit early because i may have computer problems over the next few days. Changing to a new version of Netware, apparently]. Contents: THE GANGREL ANTITRIBU CHRISTMAS REVEL [Fiction and two decks] STOCKING FILLERS FOR VAMPY TYPES [ideas for Christmas gifties] THE GANGREL ANTITRIBU CHRISTMAS REVEL Christmas is a time for bloodlines ..... and being a clannish bunch, the Gangrel anti-tribu have all gathered together for the festivities. The Shadow Court Satyr is perched sulkily on top of the Christmas tree. The Black Spiral Buddy is lying by the unlit hearth scratching its, er, let's look somewhere else, shall we? Monique is playing pin the tail on the Huang. "OUCH!!!!!" Merril Mollitor, smelling strongly of brandy, is trussed up on a big plate in the kitchen with an apprehensive expression on his face and an unreasonable amount of holly strewed over him. The Christmas victims are dripping into the seasonal buckets and Sadie is humming happily as she uses Talbot's chainsaw to slash a few more throats. Leon and Shane Grimald have already started supping, and are quite merry as they sing the Gangrel carol: "Deck the Crypts with Bits of Body, tralalalalalalalala ..... 'tis the season to be bloody, tralalalalalalalala. Don we now our red apparel, tralala, tralala, la-la-la ..... Christmas pudding will be Merril, tralalalalalalala!" Meanwhile the Elders are morosely flicking across channels and grumbling about the poor quality of Christmas TV and the general commercialisation of the Saturnalia and how things have been going to hell in a handbasket ever since [insert year YOU last got a decent Christmas present here]. "And as for that bugger Legbiter! Some chronicler HE turned out to be! Nearly a year of off-topic rambling and virtually every clan but our own spotlighted! Grmbl grmbl ..... kick im out ..... get Sorrow instead ... grmbl grmbl ....." At this moment there is a loud THUMP! on the roof .... and down the chimney plummets the artificially-portly figure of LEGBITER, dressed as Santa Claus! "Ho, ho ho aren't we Jolly!" exclaims the maniac as he drains a bucket of steaming vitae, badly staining his cotton-wool beard in the process. He tries to grab Caitlin for a bit of blood-bonding under the Mistletoe but she deftly knees him in the groin and hides behind Genevieve. Fortunately he has no breath to get back, and seeing that the Christmas spirit is perhaps a little strained hereabouts he proceeds IMMEDIATELY to the distribution of presents ..... For Sadie, a fetching little black number! Number 2, to be precise. Here, let me hang it around your neck ..... For Leon, a nice job with Wizards of the Coast. [This is true! See the newsletter for July]. For Shane Grimald, some decent clothes and a bit of Elderly advice about cross- clanning [like cross-dressing for vampires, bit of tough love needed sometimes doncha find?] For Caitlin, a year's free membership of the Legbiter sanatorium and massage parlour. Personal service our pleasure! For Monique, a promise to build a deck where she is actually preferable to her lovely sister. No really, i mean it. I, erm, i'm sure it can be done. Almost. Someday. For Pieter, a bottle of washing up liquid and a brush. Sheesh, that scythe STINKS, man. Take it through to the kitchen and scrub it up nice! For Luther, a really effective anti-histamine. For Zachary, a wig. In fact two wigs, because they were small. For Blaise, a century's supply of cigarettes. O, so kind, i will at that ... and may i trouble you for a light? Hmmmm ... Death Cigarettes, my favourite. For Samantha, a new boyfriend .... it's BILLY!!! [aka Robert Shread. this is also true! But a bit of a boring in-joke unless you play in Portsmouth, so don't ask]. For Genevieve, tinted contact lenses. THAT'S better! Here, let's look at them together in the bedroom, where there's less light ...... And ..... [rumble of drums, tinkle of sleigh bells] For you all ..... Not none .... !! Not one ..... !!!! but TWO !!!!!!!! reasonably ok decks containing Gangrel antis!!!!! Legbiter's Christmas Cracker [A non-Tzimisce Viscissitude deck] This deck is probably my most successful ever, and its construction was a complete accident. I was rebuilding the decks i normally use for casual play with Lady Legbiter to make them a bit more menacing, and when I had finished i found i had a whole load of vis cards left over, and an equally large number of vampires who all had vis/VIS but hadn't fitted into decks. I've had a fair bit of experience playing with a Tzimisce deck so i knew how good vis can be, not so much the combat but the dual-purpose cards like changeling and Plasmic Form. So I just threw together what i had and out came the following deck, more or less - the version i print here evolved a bit through playtesting. CRYPT  2 x Blaise 7 Gangrel antitribu Sabbat +1 Hand damage obf vis ANI CEL 3 x Christine Boscacci 2 Pander Sabbat Christine gets -1 intercept against any minion attempting to bleed vis dom Dominique 7 Ventrue antitribu Sabbat As a D action, Dominique may put a vandal counter on a location. If a location has a number of vandal counters on it equal to its cost [or 1 vandal counter if it has no cost], burn it. ani vis dom FOR AUS 2 x Hugo 4 Brujah antitribu Sabbat -1 intercept v Lasombra and Tzimisces pre vis POT Matteus, Flesh Sculptor 10 Toreador antitribu Sabbat Priscus; may burn an additional blood to play an action that requires a Cardinal or Archbishop. May burn 1 blood to get +1 intercept against a cardinal or archbishop attempting a political action. VIS PRE CEL AUS Olivia 5 Nosferatu antitribu Sabbat Bishop vis OBF POT 2 x Rex, The Necronomist 3 Pander Sabbat Combat cards cost Rex an additional blood to play vis pro pot LIBRARY  MASTERS  Animalism Ascendance x 3 The Barrens Blood Doll x 2 Celerity Dominate Elder Library Misdirection Obfuscate Pentex Loves You! Potence Presence The Rack Short-term Investment Sudden Reversal Vicissitude MINION  ACTIONS  Govern the Unaligned x 4 Legal manipulations x 2 Media Influence Social Charm x 2 ACTION MODIFIERS  Bonding x 2 Changeling x 3 Cloak the Gathering x 2 Conditioning x 3 Faceless Night Lost in Crowds x 2 ACTION MODIFIER OR COMBAT  Plasmic Form x 3 COMBAT  Blood of Acid Blur x 3 Body Arsenal x 2 Fire in the Blood Flash Fleshcraft x 4 Horrid Form Mighty Grapple x 3 Preternatural Evasion Pushing the Limit Reform Body x 2 Sacrament of Carnage Thrown Gate x 2 Undead Strength x 5 EQUIPMENT  Aaron's Feeding razor Hand of Conrad Leather Jacket REACTIONS  Cat's Guidance x 3 Deflection x 4 Forced Awakening Guard Dogs Rat's Warning Wake with Evening's Freshness x 2 RETAINERS  JS Simmons, Esq. Mr Winthrop Tasha Morgan Despite its unpromising genesis this deck really works, largely because it has a lot of good cards from a range of different disciplines that come together in unfamiliar combos. In that respect it is similar to the 5-colour Black or Green decks that have been winning the major Magic tournaments recently. Its basic stock-in-trade is presence- and dominate-based bleed [with dom and vis bleed- modifiers] and bleed-bounce. It is short on intercept and voting, but not completely without resources in those departments ... and it is surprisingly good at combat. However, the main thing about this deck is that it is always up to something, and there is a really pleasurable feel of flexibility about it. People playing against it have a hard time guessing the design principle [because it doesn't really have one], so it has a genuine surprise factor. Furthermore, it looks to me as though the off-clan vampires with vis may all be rather powerful .... i think the designers may have felt that vis was a kind of sucky discipline [which in my experience it is, as regards combat, unless you have Meshenka and Dragos] and so they stuck it almost as an afterthought onto vampire cards that they felt were marginally underpowered. Legbiter's Christmas Carol [or maybe Turkey] [a weenie animalism deck] I laughed like a deathless drain at Xian's [?] newsgroup posting about the Deck of many Raptors, and now present for your entertainment my attempt to implement this Noble Idea. It is, of course, analogous to the Magic Deck of Hand Destruction, just as Rush-combat is analogous to Magic Land Destruction Decks. In Magic, these deck-types are a laugh in casual play but rarely make it at tournament level .... however in Jyhad we are seeing combat decks make more of a competitive splash, so who knows whether Jyhad Hand Destruction might not actually work too? Reasoning along these lines, I actually tried to make a Raptor deck for the recent Portsmouth tournament, but playtesting it against Michael Beer revealed that it was a total slow crap nightmare disaster, so in the end i took Legbiter's Halloweenies [see the last newsletter] and made it to the final with 5VPs. The Christmas Carol version of the Raptor deck owes much to discussion with Michael Beer and, i think, might do better .... it is basically a weenie bleed deck but with a DEADLY intercept/combat/hand-destruction sting in its furry-and-feathery little tail. Remember, by the way, that DotB is stackable, and that retainers "forget" who recruited them when they get transferred to new owners. CRYPT  [aka Santa's helpful little elfs]. Navar McLaren 1 ani Gillian Krader 2 ani dem Dani 2 ani Vliam Andor 2 ani Anastasia Grey 3 ani pro Raziya Samater 3 ani pot Panagos Levidis 3 ani obf Leon 3 ani for Wendy Wade 3 ani aus Tommy 3 ani pot Shane Grimald 4 ani pot dom Josef 4 ani obt obf Laurent de Valois 4 ani dom obf LIBRARY  MASTERS  Heidelberg castle x 2 Animalism x 8 Tribute to the Master Ascendance x 3 The Hungry Coyote Inbase Diskotek Effective Management x 2 MINION  ACTIONS  Shepherd's Innocence x 2 Computer Hacking x 7 Family Reunion [aka Army of Rats] Bum's Rush x 3 COMBAT  Terror Frenzy x 2 Drawing out the Beast x 8 Aid from Bats x 10 Christmas Carol of Serenity x 5 Lurky Turkeys [aka Carrion Crows] x 5 EQUIPMENT  Dartmoor, England [Nothing to do with Christmas, but this is one of the top spots in England for outdoor sex. Another is the New Forest. You need to check for ticks afterwards, though. They carry Lyme disease.] REACTIONS  Forced Awakening x 4 [Ooooo .... my poor head ....] Guard Dogs x 8 [Remember: A Dog is for Death, not just for Christmas] Cat's Guidance x 5 RETAINERS  Fierce Turkey of Doom x 11 [aka Raptor] This hasn't been playtested at all so is quite likely to be a disaster, but perhaps not an unmitigated one ..... the core strategy of weenie minions doing computer hacks is strong in the early game, and the ideal is that when the weenie-hating decks finally hit the ground they get a nasty surprise from the accumulating raptors and ranged combat. I toyed with the idea of including a deer rifle or two and a few 5-cap vamps with ANI. Playtesting may well reveal this to be the right approach. I also thought about Tier of Souls but in the end decided to keep my copies for a nossie or gangrel deck because of the stealth. ..... Some time, and several buckets of vitae later, we are all sitting around in front of the tv burping and picking bits of Merril out of our fangs. Huang is sitting in his wheelchair and looking pleadingly at Monique who is teaching Zachary to juggle using his severed limbs. Legbiter beams happily at his joyful little band, and raises a crystal goblet brimming with AB Rhesus-negative: "Caine bless us, every one!" STOCKING FILLERS FOR VAMPY TYPES 1. The Kiss-Psycho Circus action figures. These are TERRIFIC dolls on a 6-inch scale, and pretty clearly they represent a Gangrel, a Malkavian, an Assamite and a Tzimisce. Plus you get an extra doll or two in three of the packs, one of whom could be a Ravnos, and another is DEFINITELY Poo-Chi the Chinese dog from last month's Newsletter story. 2. Tickets for Blade. Everyone i've talked to says it is good. 3. Bokhara-Knockoff rugs. These EXCELLENT articles of interior design are as reliable as a tip from Bleu. Need i say more? 4. 6-inch and 12-inch dolls of, or, indeed, anything at all to do with, Xena the Warrior Princess. Useful if you have nieces or daughters and, like me, you deprecate the general soppiness of girl's toys. Also useful if you are Mrs Peter Bakija. Downside: you have to stand in the queue with all the other sweaty middle-aged perverts who are snapping them up. 5. Poutine. This is something you put on chips [fries, i believe, are the colonial equivalent] if you are French-Canadian. It turns you into a sex-monster with an uncanny ability to foretell the future of Jyhad expansions, and guarantees that you will always win at Jyhad. OK, so i lied about the last bit. 6. Magic: Unglued. This very fine expansion is the only one for which i have a complete set. It is just TOTALLY hilarious, in a Black and Vampy kind of a way. I'll never forget the experience of playing with a Volrath's motion sensor on each hand. 7. Trinity: Battleground. This is a nice set of tabletop skirmish rules for Trinity [formerly Aeon] which is readily adaptable for any White Wolf game. The Aberrant models make great war-ghouls. Games workshop space-orks make good Nosferatu, and there are suitably vampiric Space Marines and Dark Eldar from the same line ... or for a cheaper and more contemporary game you can use the White Wolf/Ral Partha vampire models. Games Workshop also sell nice Gothic Ruin scenery. 8. Netrunner. The nearest thing i have seen to a competitor for Jyhad in terms of gameplaying excellence. I had my first "serious" game [ie against a good player] last wednesday-but-one .... and was entranced [and kippered]. Just the thing for those tiresome nights when only two of you show up for VTES. Also, some of the Fine Fellows in the Netrunner community will GIVE you free cards!!!!! Just do a bit of e-panhandling on the .misc group, like i did, and get into it for nowt! 9. Black lacy lingerie and fur-lined handcuffs. No, hang on, that's for Lady Legbiter's stocking ..... 10. Pretty much anything by Brain Lumley. OK, that's it for the first year of the gangrel anti-tribu newsletter! Hope you've enjoyed at least some of it, but if not, look on the bright side .. you don't have to read any more of them until 1999!!!! Have a spiffing christmas and a simply splendid new year, Your Loving Brother in Caine, Legbiter, Prince of Portsmouth, Slayer of Fish, Snogger of beautiful Girlies, Fanner of the Rules-Fight Flame and Complacently Slow-Minded Minion of Chaos and Entropy.