Official VEKN Gangrel-antitribu Newsletter Volume 6 Number 12 December 2003. ********************* In this Cold, Damp and Windy Issue ..... GANGREL ANTITRIBU AND THE BLACK HAND - FIRST IMPRESSIONS FICTION: The Case of the Hand on the Door, Third and Final Instalment. DECK: Black Hand Anarchs ********************* GANGREL ANTITRIBU AND THE BLACK HAND - FIRST IMPRESSIONS i'm still gibbering slightly over the Black hand in general and the !gangrel therein in particular, but i think first impressions are valuable, and here are mine, at least as regards the Black Hand expansion !Gangrel. Jalan-Aajav. May i kiss your sneakers, sir? Advanced Sebastian Goulet. All of your Allies belong to us! Soldat and Skryta Zyleta. Anyone for a threesome with the handsome Mr Aajav? Maria Stone. i once had a mad student who looks exactly like you. Fabulous discipline spread. And fabulous, erm, spread tout court. Jesus Alcaza. Hmmm. You remind me of a guy named Carter. Together, you remind me of how good weenie celerity can be. Hmmm, and thrice hmmm. Talons of the Dead. Wow! And you say this is going to happen to me every month for at least the next thirty years????? KEWL!!!!!!!!!! ******************** FICTION: The Case of the Hand on the Door, Third and Final Instalment. In fact there were two luncheons at High Force Hall that Sunday, three if one counted the servants. Shortly before the Land Monitor rattled up to the door, Professor Ramanishi had arrived from Petersfield and a successful operation on MacAndrew. Shown into the house he presented Gaston the cook with a bloody parcel, which the Frenchman accepted with evident pleasure and gratitude. A little preparation later, M'Kwazi was summoned to the kitchen, from which he emerged carrying a covered tray. This was born up to the second floor, where the strange meeping thing that had been Kelly was securely held. Down at the old Varney place luncheon was delayed, awaiting an important guest; and eventually, half an hour late, the Imperial German Attache for naval affairs drove up in a smart Mercedes motor car. "So very sorry for lateness, Mr Fitzgerald! Most grateful for the invitation!" Fitzgerald smiled, his large luminous green eyes seeming never to rest on his interlocutor's face, but always to be trying to make out something in the shadows that surrounded him. "Come in, allow me to introduce my son George, and this is Dr Robinson." "Ah! So very interesting! Such perfect preservation, apart from the lips and ears! Can he hear us?" "Alas no, we were only able to summon the animal soul back into the body. The human soul went into a ring, we think, and our information is that the Britishers have it, without knowing what it is. But we will recover it, and the sacrifice will be made worthy." "Worthy of this famous Long Man, you mean?" "Just so, the great evil which Robinson awoke in the City of Pillars and which has been hungering for him ever since. He tried to escape it by fleeing to the distant past, where he died and was mummified, causing himself to be wrapped in these linen bands whose hieroglyhs, read aright, provide instructions on the building of the very Anachronomatic engine which took him there. But now we have recovered him and the Long Man has his scent again. We hope to bring it to the surface tomorrow night, and then it will be led towards London, using Robinson as bait." "When will it arrive?" "The old writings suggest the speed of a running man, so say 8 to 10 hours. It is preceded by a cloud of mephitic vapour that can kill a man in minutes." "Excellent, the fleet is prepared and the bombardment of London will begin the moment your signal is received. Moments later, Zeppelin airships will appear over Edinburgh and Dublin, dropping aerial torpedoes and weapons respectively. At the same time, our agents in India will inaugurate revolt. The British Empire will be overthrown!" The Attache's eyes were glittering and his face flushed with excitement at this prospect. Fitzgerald smiled. "Freedom from oppression, our hopes and dreams fulfilled. Come through to lunch, and let us toast the downfall of all tyrants!" Through they went, leaving the withered mummy that had been Robinson still strapped into its wooden chair. Fitzgerald had been partially right about the state of Robinson's re-embodyment, but wrong about his ability to hear and to understand. Robinson's thought reached out of the house, up the hanger and down to High Force Hall, where Harnden's guests were now taking dessert in the drawing room. The sad death of Jamie Taige apart, Harnden's guests were in a positive mood as they cracked nuts, sliced figs and selected dates, a mood comprising 30% fine Madeira and 70% belief in their successful overthrow of evil. As evidence of this good humour the volume and hilarity of the conversation had been increasing since they came through from lunch, and so it was some minutes before they became aware of the insistent rat-tat-rat-rat-tat-at-at which was coming from a little box located on the occasional table by the Bay window. All their eyes turned towards it. rat-rat. rat-tat. tat-tat-tat. rat-tat-rat. Then O'Keeth spoke. "It's .... Morse ..... hang on, let me get a pencil ....." And after some minutes of frantic scribbling, this is what O'Keeth had written on the fly-leaf of a convenient book: ACKASBAITTHELONGMANISCOMINGEMPIREINDANGERIMPERATIVETHEYNOTGETRINGMUSTGETTOANACHRONOMATICENGINE29AGREATCLARENDONSTKEYINMUSEUMCHESTTHEYHAVEBROUGHTMEBACKASBAITTH The tapping continued as the friends spelled out the message. Once they had done so, Jefferson opened the box. Inside was the scarab ring. "I'm guessing this is the one "they" mustn't get?" Before anyone could answer the floor of the house gave a great lurch; glasses crashed to the floor and then the whole building gave a convulsive shudder. At the same instant, a vile smell began to permeate the room. Without any need for discussion, the whole party staggered towards the French windows and out into the garden. "Shona, Colum, Jack - take the ring and go to London, the driver will take you. Quickly! Ramanishi and I will make preparations for your return." They raced round the corner of the house to find the driver already in the car, and the engine running. No sooner had they leapt aboard than the brake was released, and the car sped off down the drive. Looking back, it seemed to Shona that a wave of earth followed them for some hundreds of yards, but in the gathering afternoon gloom it was hard to be sure. "So is this wise - rushing off to London on the tap-so of a poltergeist, or whatever it is?" "Not a Poltergeist. That was Robinson. Poor fellow, I misjudged him." "I thought you thought he wasn't dead?" "Undead, then - he and the stolen mummy were, are, one and the same, it's obvious to me now. He left our era by time machine, the Anachronomatic engine, going back into Ancient Egypt to escape the notice of the Long Man of Windhover hangar. But now he is back in our time, thanks to those Sinn Feiners and their Daemonic dabbling. So much now falls into place!" "This Long Man then, you know what it means?" "Death and Degradation, the End of the Empire, maybe of Life itself on this island. It's a, a, a horror from the old Celtic past. Legends say that the first people of this island, the Fomorians, had commerce with it, carving the chalk in its hideous likenesses, or alleged likenesses - for it is invisible to mortal sight. The largest of those chalk carvings supposedly was on Windhover hangar until defaced by the early Christians. The Fomori called it up by the sacrifice of a special individual, and there's a confused account of a terrible mile-long blankness that choked and crushed their enemies, and then themselves, those that did not flee to Ireland, leaving the land a stinking desert for hundreds of years, and corrupting their line so that in the end the whole race died out - it's in the so-called Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion. I only remember little bits of the text, let's see ' In the spaces between the worlds it walks. By its stench shall ye sometimes know it, and yet see it not, but ever it is aware of thee, and hungreth for the soul that knows the way. ' " "That would be Robinson, the soul that knows the way?" "Yes, or anyone else unlucky enough to know the Thing Which Should Not Be Known. By the way, where are we?" "Just past Petersfield." "It's just occurred to me that it would probably be quicker by train. Driver, please turn the car around - we want to get to Petersfield station!" The driver braked, but rather than the car turning round, he did - a Colt revolver in his hand. As he raised it Jack and Shona realised that it was not the driver, and Colum, who had known since they set off from High Force Hall that the man beside him was Kennedy, found that he had to make a decision between his friends and the cause to which he had dedicated his youth. A sharp struggle later, Kennedy was stunned and bound, and the three friends stood panting over his recumbent form. O'Keeth's decision had been made. The car was the only serious casualty of the fight, stopping several .45 slugs with important elements of its mechanism; so, leaving Kennedy in the vehicle, the three companions set off back down the road towards Petersfield. It was quite dark by now, and the way was slippery with fallen leaves. As they came over Alton Edge they could see the lights of Petersfield below, and Shona sighed with relief. At the same instant there was a faint click, and the air ahead of them filled with strange diaphanous floating abominations, obscene congeries of tentacles, claws and writhing amoeboid bodies several feet long. Each of the companions gave an involuntary shriek, and the things began to move towards them. A strange ozonic smell preceded them, and Shona cried out again. "The, the Museum! The things that killed Aitchison!" They were upon them now. Levelling her pistol, Shona blew one of them to gelatinous shreds. O'Keeth emptied Kennedy's revolver into another, hardly slowing it, and with a hideous scything of drooling insectoid jaws it seized hold of his arm. O'Keeth fought free, but the wound was terrible and his head spun with pain and loss of blood. Jefferson too was bitten, but he was not trying to fight; he was running, running madly into the midst of them, flailing his arms and then leaping - there was a splintering crash and a grunt. Like snuffed candles, the things disappeared. "Help me, o help me, guguguguguughh ......." Recovering, Shona and O'Keeth ran as fast as they could towards where Jefferson was struggling on the ground with a huge strong man wearing thick black-glass goggles. It took all their combined power to subdue him, and then they saw that it was the Vicar's son, George Washington Fitzgerald, lying on the ground amidst the shattered remnants of what looked like a large camera. "What the dickens is that?" "Apart from broken, you mean? I think it is a dark-colour lantern - it's supposed to illuminate the spaces between the worlds, so that THEY can see you, if you can see them - hence the goggles, I imagine." "Shhh! There's someone coming!" Indeed, the sounds of a pony-cart driven at speed were now plainly audible. Bundling their captive off the road they waited in the darkness as it approached, and were very relieved to see that the trap was driven by Harnden. "Where's the car?" "Ahead. The driver-impersonater is still in it. And we also captured one of the Fitzgeralds. This is the machine he used to kill Aitchison." "They'll both hang for murder. We found the real driver choking on his own blood in the garage. Let's get them, and this machine, down to Petersfield." Once down in the town the Irish patriots were delivered to the police, and the three companions to the train station. Three hours later they were turning the key from the museum chest in the lock of 29a Great Clarendon St. In the basement, shrouded by a dust sheet, was the Anachronomatic Engine. Early the next morning the Engine was in Harnden's pony-trap at the foot of Windhover hangar and the party were waiting the signal to attack the Varney place. Suddenly the ring, in Jefferson's waistcoat pocket, began to vibrate, and at the same instant a head appeared out of an attic skylight, followed by a body that, though humanoid in outline, scuttled like a stiff-legged spider over the roof and down the wall. Shouts and shots came from within the house, evidently directed at the strange fugitive, which was now staggering down the drive to the gate, jerking occasionally when struck by a bullet. Watching through field glasses Harnden nodded approvingly, and when he judged the moment right he lowered the glasses, raised his hand and fired a flare pistol. Seconds later the old Varney place was smashed into atoms by a six-inch shell from the Land Monitor, and the Empire was saved, at least for the moment. Of the strange dry thing that had been Robinson, suffice it to say that it was reunited with its ring and its engine, and that it disappeared from that age of humanity. No-one of the companions liked to think about it very much, and in time they began to wonder if it had all been an hallucination. Perhaps it was. Shona and Jack were made Members of the British Empire for their services. George Washington Fitzgerald and Timothy Kennedy were hanged for murder at Petersfield and Pentonville gaols respectively. Their last words were "Ireland for ever! Ireland shall be free!", and eventually it was. Colum O'Keeth, a renegade to his own land, was decorated and promoted and became an important operative in British Military Intelligence. He also acquired the undying enmity of the IRA, with the consequence that ..... but no, that was a different affair, and this is the End of the Case of the Hand on the Door. FINIS *************** DECK: Black Hand Anarchs This is a concept deck which didn't really work out in practice, and yet i'm nearly sure that there is a viable strategy in here - to make a deck of Black Hand Anarchs, using all the funky-but-subtle specials of those two groups to do horrid stuff to people. i only played this version once, getting thoroughly kicked in by Michael's !Brujah, but as i say still think there is something to work on here, so have not TOTALLY liquidated it. DECK NAME: Black Hand Anarchs CREATED BY: Legbiter CONCEPT: Cross the Black hand with the Anarchs and, erm, see what comes out. CRYPT: 2 x Henri Lavenant pot qui DOM OBT 2 x Selena AUS DOM THA 2 x Banjoko obt pot DOM 2 x Wah Chun-Yuen cel dom pre POT Tarbaby Jack dom ser ANI OBF POT Blackhorse Tanner AUS DOM FOR Soldat cel dom obf POT PRO Yasmin the Black dom pre AUS THA 12 dom, 8 pot, 4 obt, 4 aus, 3 cel, 3 pre, 3 tha, 2 obf, 2 qui, 1 ser, 1 ani, 1 pro. LIBRARY: 30 masters [15 normal, 15 trifles] WMRH Talk radio Political HG Elysian Fields 4 x Blood Doll Anarch Free Press Anarch Railroad Hospital Food Seattle Committee Remover 3 x Dominion 5 x Life in the City 5 x Galaric's Legacy 5 x Corporal Reservoir 60 minion, 30 of which Anarch/Black Hand, 30 Happy Families ANARCH/BLACK HAND 6 x Diversion 4 x Improvised tactics 2 x Body bag Highway Haven: RV 2 x Stolen Police Cruiser 4 x Car Bomb 4 x The Mole 4 x Skullduggery Flaming Candle Circumspect Revelation .44 magnum 30 non-anarch; 12+12+8+4+4 = 40 [12/40] x 30 = disciplineless  [12/40] x 30 = dominate  [8/40] x 30 = potence  [4/40] x 30 = Obtenebration  [4/40] x 30 = auspex  6 POTENCE Death of my Conscience 3 x Undead Strength 2 x Thrown gate 3 AUSPEX Pulse of the Canaille 2 x Telepathic misdirection 9 DOMINATE 4 x Conditioning 4 x Deflection Seduction 3 OBTENEBRATION 3 x Tenebrous Form DISCIPLINELESS Legwork 2 x Ministry 2 x Watch commander 4 x Forced Awakening This deck definitely needs work, and as a first approximation it will be made a "true" happy families deck, ie MASSIVELY increase the amount of Dominate which, as we all know, is a Good Thing. Probably cut the masters radically and go with just dom, pot and disciplineless/Anarch, raise up the going-to-anarch cards a little, and try again. ************* And that is NOT it for this year. There will be a Christmas special just before the happy hols, with all the usual fun from Legbiter hall, plus Hot Tips for Christmas gifts, and maybe even a deck or two. Seeya later!