Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter


IN THIS ISSUE ........
FICTION: The Mists of Ravenloft
FREE NEW GAME PART 1: The Mists of Ravenloft
EDITORIAL: The New Camarilla Base Set
DECK: Michael Eichler's Gangrel antitribu bash-n-burn deck

FICTION: The Mists of Ravenloft
The doors and shutters of the old Gothic house yawned sightlessly across
the green meadow, but Guillemot the thief, discreetly approaching
through the screen of pine-trees to the left of the main door, knew
better than to think it abandoned. "Parski li morti undort", the old
romany lady had said back there, on the path, handing him the little
wicker charm for which he had been glad to pay her a silver Pfennig,
never doubting the accuracy of her words. The sun shone and oddly-marked
bees buzzed lazily amongst the honeysuckle as Guillemot vaulted over the
decayed fence-pale. Then, drawing a wicked wavy-bladed dagger he entered
the house.

As he waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness Guillemot wondered
about the purpose of his contract. Certain glass vials to be taken from
the laboratory [he recited their description to himself, yet again] and
a parchment to be left. Ah well, as the Lord Legbiter wisheth. He began
to make his way up the stairs, moving his toes with an odd burrowing
motion to minimise any possible creaks. At the top of the stairs, three
doors, all locked, and a curious carved trunk. Guillemot began to pick
the lock of the left hand door.

As the lock clicked open there was a second, echoing click and the trunk
began to open, neither quickly nor slowly. Instantly Guillemot slid
sideways into the shadows from where he could watch as the dried anatomy
of something began to emerge from the trunk, first two legs, then an arm
and an unnaturally-mobile head, then the rest of the body. Humanoid it
seemed, and yet with a motion uncannily insect-like. It scanned to left
and to right, not seeing him and yet, somehow, knowing he was there.
Then it shook its head and its eyeballs popped out, displaced by another
pair from inside its head. The eyeballs on the floor began to slither
around, to roll, to move in his direction, and then, with a terrible
intensity, to fix their bloody gaze upon him. With a satisfied chitter,
the creature from the chest scuttled towards him.

The shadows gave with a horrible ripping sound as the creature's
serrated hands cut through them, but Guillemot was no longer there. The
creature became aware of this fact in the same instant that Guillemot
dropped onto its back, slashing hard and deep with his dagger. And then,
satisfied that it was really dead, he proceeded into the sunlit

FREE NEW GAME PART 1: The Mists of Ravenloft

Ravenloft is a do-it-yourself strategy card game which i have invented,
but not [or at least, not thoroughly] playtested.

As regards mechanics Ravenloft is exactly the same game as VTES, but it
is not compatible with it, for reasons which will become apparent as i
describe it over the next few months. Its background is loosely-based on
the originally-TSR, now WoTC D&D-compatible RPG of the same name, which
is licensed to White Wolf under the d20 system. No challenge to anyone's
copyright is implied by my serialisation of this game, which is provided
free and for pure love of the VTES mechanic and Gothic Horror generally
to this fine community.

In Ravenloft the dark powers struggle with each other for dominance, and
just like Methuselahs in the world of darkness they use others as their
pawns in their intrigues: Vampires, Romanies, Lycanthropi and Human
Adventurers may all be grist to their mill. Such creatures as may be
broadly characterised as Monsters are Crypt beings who are brought under
the control of the powers during the influence phase, just like
influencing out vampires. Crypt beings are difficult to permanently
kill, and to represent this for game purposes they work just like
vampires in VTES, even though most of them are NOT vampires. Others,
including Romanies and Adventurers, are allies or retainers.

In the Ravenloft game there are fewer "clans" and "disciplines" than in
VTES. The "Clans" are:

The Undead

The "Disciplines" are

Larceny [Thief Abilities]
Glamour [Magic-user abilities]
Vocation [Cleric Abilities]
Battlecraft [Fighter abilities]

And now for some sample cards.

Guillemot, Master Thief
Unique Neutral Human Ally
Cost 4 pool
2 life 1 bleed 1 strength
Guillemot has Grand Larceny, but may not use cards that have a blood
cost symbol.

Concealed weapon
[identical to the new CE card]

Melee weapon, cost 0, damage strength +1. 
A minion with a dagger has Last Strike, ie every minion NOT armed with a
dagger resolves its strikes BEFORE the dagger-armed minion[s].

[Ruling/Clarification: If a minion with last strike plays a card that
gives it first strike, its strike resolves in the normal
strike-resolution phase.]

Hide in Shadows
Action Modifier, requires Larceny
Petty Larceny: +1 stealth
Grand Larceny: + 2 stealth

Guardian Ghoul
Non-Unique Evil Undead Crypt Creature
Capacity 2
Superior Glamour
The Guardian ghoul may take no actions, only block. 

Reaction Card, requires Glamour
Petty Glamour: This minion untaps and attempts to block
Superior Glamour: As above, and once during this action this minion may
burn X blood to gain +X intercept.

Back Stab
Combat Card, requires Larceny
Only useable when minion is equipped with a melee weapon and can strike
with it.
Petty Larceny: Additional Strike, which must be to use your melee weapon
at +1 strength
Grand Larceny: Dodge with an additional strike, which must be to use
your melee weapon at +1 strength.

Poisoned blade
Combat card, Evil*
Play when you inflict damage using a melee weapon, and this damage is
not prevented. Burn the opposing ally or tap the opposing crypt minion
and place this card on it: the opposing crypt minion must burn this card
instead of untapping during its controller's next untap phase.
*Evil; if this card is played by a good minion controlled by a Power,
any other Power may search its hand, library [shuffling afterwards] or
ash-heap and give that minion a Ravenloft Power card as an OOT master.
When the number of Ravenloft Power cards on a minion equals its cost [in
blood or pool] to influence or recruit, the last Power who played a
Ravenloft power card on it gains pool equal to the number of RPCs on it,
and this minion is removed from the game.
More next month, and any contributions/critiques of proposed cards,
mechanics etc will be gratefully received!

EDITORIAL: The New Camarilla Base Set

Previews of the new Camarilla Base set are going up on the White Wolf
web-site, and even though only two cards have appeared so far they are
generating a lot of spirited posts on the newsgroup. i don't wish to
comment specifically on what i suspect are ephemeral controversies,
still less to complain about the decisive moves [actual or rumoured]
taken to reduce the power of Legbitery favourite deck-types such as ToGP
and Betrayer [to the contrary, i approve of these changes, which reduce
their power from absolutely brutal to merely competitive].

i do however wish to draw the community's attention to something for
which i think we should ALL be grateful, whatever we individually think
about any other changes in the rules and cards for this set, and that is
the reintegration into tournament play of previously-banned cards such
as Monocle of Clarity, and of Wallpaper cards such as Concealed Weapon.
This was a complete, and VERY welcome, surprise to me - well done, Game

Over the next few expansions i hope this policy will be pursued, the
ideal being that EVERY card there has ever been for VTES will once again
be made tournament-legal [even Return to Innocence], with whatever
text-changes and compatibility-restrictions are required to maintain
play balance. Madness of the Bard would probably be the trickiest: i
suggest making it another kooky pool-gain card, eg when this card is
played, everyone secretly writes down the name of a unique vampire in
play. Show the names simultaneously. Any combination of players who each
wrote down the same name gain one pool.


It was great to see/play with Cameron Domer and Michael Eichler during
June, and congratulations to Michael and to John Keech from our
playgroup for their success in the UK qualifier! i'm also grateful to
Michael for permission to post this !Gangrel deck which he played
against Anklebiter's Kiasyd, Lady Legbiter's Tzimisce, and my Nosferatu
Kagemusha deck the Friday night before the qualifier. i won that game [3
to me, 1 to Sarah] but that bald statement conceals some pretty exciting
play and fluctuating fortunes - in short, this is a fine deck, which i
now post without further comment [apart from its creator's].

DECK: Michael Eichler's Gangrel antitribu bash-n-burn deck

Deck Name: Another "They are out to get us" conspiracy...

This deck is a rarity for me as it breaks everyone of my standard deck
making rules.  It's only saving grace is it was made following
Legbiter's Happy Families deck construction rules.  The deck is a 6
discipline deck with 2 multi discipline sets as well.  At this time the
deck does seem to flow rather nicely, it still has some problems dealing
with bleed decks (I hope to have solved this with a change out of two
cards for two Forced Awakening cards) and forward momentum in the form
of bleeding out it's prey.  The deck is designed as a Bleed Combat deck,
however, it has thrown all Rush actions out the window and basically
dares other decks to stop it as it tries to move forward (fast enough)
to give it victory points.  It was designed with the intent of being
played at Watsford, UK as David has apparently worked hard to give
Watsford the reputation of being the V:TES Combat Capital of Europe.
The deck's primary aim is to torporize it's opponents with either a
Superior Shadow Feint or Superior Stutter Step
The largest problem by far has been Pool gain and Blood gain on the
minions.  Legbiter and I are on different stances concerning changing
over Amaranth to Ritual of the Bitter Rose at this time.  Legbiter feels
the Amaranth is the way to go with the deck for action conservation,
while I am starting to believe RotBR is the way to help the some of the
Blood gain problem the deck faces.
Comments on ways of improving the deck are welcome.  Note: If six
disciplines sounds a bit much, try it and see how it runs before making

  2x Darrell Boyce (6) CEL OBF PRO (Sab)
  3x Omaya (7) ANI AUS FOR pro (Sab) See special
  2x Zachary (7) CEL for OBF pre PRO (Sab)
  Tariq (7) AUS cel FOR OBF QUI (Ind) See special
  2x Gunther (7) ANI aus for pro (Cam) See special
  Ellen Fence (8) aus CEL OBF PRO (Sab) See special
  Fatima al-Faqadi (8) aus CEL for OBF QUI (Ind) See special

  Masters - 15 cards
    2x Minion Tap
    3x Blood Doll
    2x Celerity
    3x Gangrel Conspiracy
    Dreams of the Sphinx (1 pool)
    Barrens, The
    Direct Intervention (1 pool)

  Equipment - 4 cards
    2x Laptop Computer (1 pool)
    Sengir Dagger (2 pool)
    Ivory Bow (1 pool)

  Non-Discipline - 11 cards
    2x Amaranth or Ritual of the Bitter Rose
    Sanguine Instruction
    2x Pack Tactics (1 blood)
    6x Forced Awakening

  Animalism - 6 cards
    4x Guard Dogs
    2x Tier of Souls

  Fortitude - 13 cards
    2x Freak Drive (1 blood)
    3x Restoration
    2x Unflinching Persistence
    2x Rolling with the Punches
    2x Force of Will (1 blood)
    Skin of Steel

  Auspex - 10 cards
    Pulse of the Canaille (3 blood)
    Revelations (1 blood)
    2x Telepathic Misdirection (1 blood)
    Spirit's Touch
    2x Enhanced Senses
    My Enemy's Enemy
    2x Precognition

  Obfuscate - 3 cards
    2x Disguised Weapon
    Sacrificial Lamb (3 blood)

  Celerity - 9 cards
    3x Flash
    2x Blur (1 blood)
    2x Acrobatics (1 blood)
    2x Stutter-Step

  Protean - 13 cards
    6x Claws of the Dead (1 blood)
    Shadow of the Beast (1 blood)
    2x Carrion Coffin
    2x Flesh of Marble
    2x Form of Mist

  Celerity/Obfuscate - 5 cards
    5x Shadow Feint (1 blood)

  Animalism/Auspex - 2 cards
    2x Read the Winds (1 blood)

  At this time the vampires within the crypt have certain delgated
functions that I felt are necessary to the deck's function without going
over the "artificial" rule of no more than 3 identical vampires in the
crypt.  This is to prevent the tiresome all Omaya pull at the start of a
game or anyone else for that matter.
  Ellen has been in my pull at the start of every game using this deck.
She has actually been worth her weight in gold and I am seriously
considering placing one more into the crypt at the expense of another
vampire.  Ellen's ability to perform directed attacks helps make up the
loss of any rush actions within the deck.
  Zachary has seen less action, but his fortitude capability is not to
be discounted.
  Omaya is seen as the primary interceptor of the deck as she has access
to both the standard auspex intercept cards, but also the Read the Winds
cards as well.  Her ability to have more "Wakes" in the form of Forced
Awakening and Guard Dogs makes her invaluable.
  Darrell is the standard bad-ass who's sole function in life is to
bleed and fight if stopped.  'nuff said.
  Tariq is here for both his Diablerie capability (and immunity) and his
Rush capability.  His lacking in Protean is a small concern and the
change out of one Celerity card for a Protean card is not being
considered.  Tariq with a superior Celerity is more useful with to the
deck than a Tariq with inferior Protean and inferior Celerity.  Aside
from that, Tariq does have access to weapons.
  Fatima is here to act as support to Tariq as she already has superior
in both Celerity and Obfuscate with her outstanding special (if a weapon
becomes available).
  Gunther is the real question within the deck.  His untap ability is a
necessary evil that works well with his access to Auspex.  However,
replacing one Gunther for one Ellen may be a necessary move to give the
deck more flexibility at the expense of 1 additional pool.
The deck is not to have any minion that exceeds eight capacity to help
facilitate a 2 turn bring out.  The lack of any real rapid minion bring
out cards is a very real concern, but deciding what needs to go to make
room is a real issue.  The ability to burn torpored minions and getting
away with it alive is the primary aim of the deck.  This is being
attacked from several different sides.  Vulnerability, Gangrel
Conspiracy, Sacrificial Lamb, and Tariq are the different methods within
the deck aimed at making it all possible.

Michael Eichler

And that's it for July! Golly, only another 6 weeks to the Camarilla
Edition .... and frustratingly, i'll be in Corsica for the pre-release
events, and at my cousin's sort-of-wedding [Bengali Acht] for the next
Watford tourney. Never mind, my pre-order will be waiting when i get
back, and maybe there's a games shop in Ajaccio - Orpheus, anyone, do
you know for sure? Maybe even have its address? And now, back to
HeroClix which, i increasingly think, could be the basis of a fine
skirmish PRG [the premise being that the clicks are great, but you don't
HAVE to use them - you could do it all on a card]. However,  this NL is
quite long, creative/whacky and OT already, so see you all in August!