Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter


FICTION: Into the Abyss

FICTION: Into the Abyss
	You have to be tough-minded in my line of work, but I have to admit
I've been having the heeby-jeebies a bit recently. The wastes of Aranoc
were bad enough, but it was the Khejistan jungle, I think, all that rain
and vegetation and the constant sniping from the natives. Plus I think i
caught something nasty - sleeping out there you understood how the
smorgasbord must feel. At least here it is warm and dry, or should be -
though I still feel so cold, and so hungry. And now for the last seal! I
look around at my little Undead Army, check over their gear one last
time, and then raising Hellplague over my head I smite the seal, and then
I turn, and RUN towards the great pentacle in the centre of this
Sanctuary. My GOD it is HUGE!!!! Fuck o fuck I mean "I smite you back
down to hell, Demon!" Its face splits into a horrible fangy grin and in a
female voice it replies "Not even Death can Save you from Me". I strike
it with Hellplague and feel its life flowing into me - it responds with a
jet of agonising flame. And then there is what seems like an hour of
hacking and slashing, pausing occasionally to drink, dimly aware of my
legions of minions fighting bravely, mechanically and going down like
flies. My armour is in tatters and at the end only myself and Clot the
Blood Golem are on our feet. But Diablo is weakening, I can feel it ..
its life is flowing into me, and it begins to beg, with little piteous
sobs, allowing what is left of Magenta to come to the surface. I don't
relent, of course. Right at the end it puts on her face and I cut it in
half. The skin subsides like a burst baloon and a searing white spirit
rips out of it and dissipates. I would like to pretend that there were
two, at least to myself, but the truth is that it ate her all up, as far
as I can tell. Wordlessly Clot and I shake hands, before I delve in the
mess for its Soulstone, They tell me that smashing this will be the end
of it. I wonder. They've been wrong about everything else so far. In any
case, I'm out of here now. I'm going back to my little Northern island
and I'm going to buy a house on the Southern coast of that island where
the light is pearly-pure. Maybe I shall write a book, or take up star-
gazing - start a family or two, perhaps. I DO wish I wasn't so cold and
hungry though. Hmmm, mouth hurts too - maybe a visit to the dentist first
of all.

	I can hardly hear all the congratulations when I finally resurface,
my ears are buzzing so. And for some reason that old catch of Nietzsche
keeps running through my head .. how exactly does it go again ... He who
fights with monsters must beware of becoming one himself. When you gaze
too long into the Abyss, the Abyss also gazes into you.

	Although I spent most of the holidays playing Diablo II [finished it
with the Necromancer!] we did our fair share of playing vampires and
eating and drinking too much plus participating fully in the various
family dramas which are the whole point of Christmas, I increasingly
feel. I also came up with a parlour-game variant of VTES which isn't I
think essentially a new idea [can't remember who had it first,
unfortunately], though I think my spin on it has SOME original merit in
the following sense: it uses the non-Euclidean Coordinate geometry of
Vampires AND happy families in the design of the deck and crypt.

	Anyway it's very simple - two or more players use ONE deck. The deck
needs about n x 90 library cards where n is the number of players and a
crypt comprising one copy each [or more, if you are sanguine about
contesting] of vampires of a pair of clans that share two disciplines -
so Brujah/Toreador and Malkavian/Tremere are good choices. Happy-Familyfy
the library on 4-5 disciplines. For two-player leave out bleed-bounce
cards; probably leave out library/crypt-peeking cards since these become
significantly more powerful in this variant. Clan hosers SHOULD go in.
Leave out ante cards and maybe stuff that deals with contesting.

	The great thing about this variant is that the game really does
reduce to a pure test of playing skill leavened by a LITTLE luck, and it
also creates a fairly high level of play - no clunky episodes of cardless
stodge such as sometimes disfigure the otherwise-excellent sealed format.
Also crappy cards can actually be quite useful in this form - clan hosers
are only one example. Well I like it anyway, but I have to admit Sarah


And that's it for the first issue of 2001. See you all in February!