Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter


In this should-be-marking but weather-is-too-glorious issue .....
FICTION: The Transition, the fifth chapter of the latest lot of Call of
Cthulhu d20 goings-on from Legbiter Hall.
EDITORIAL: The Island Biogeography of playgroups
DECK: Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! By Emmit Svenson

CHAPTER 5. The Transition.

The passage climbed steeply for about four hundred feet and then
levelled out into a large rectangular hall down whose long axis marched
two lines of carved stone pillars. A strong sweetish smell filled the
chamber and steaming piles of, well, something, lined its walls. A
strange chuffing droning sound filled the air. The three companions
bent to examine one of the piles, but drew back, fumbling for their
weapons when it twitched, parted and revealed a huge white anthropoid
head. The brows on the head furrowed, and the mouth opened to produce a
deep, booming sound:

"Can't a fella get a half-century's peace round here?"

Karlotta recognised the language as Hyperborean, though a more archaic
form than she had learned, and than Eibon spoke. But her time in
Eibon's library had been well-spent, and so it was with some pride and
a faultless accent that she replied:

"I am a woman of easy virtue. Would you like a blow-job or do you
prefer it doggy-style?"

About half the steaming piles immediately produced heads at these
words, and things might have gone ill with Karlotta had not her pendant
suddenly begun to speak in a strange dry tinny voice.

"Cykranosh calling. Cykranosh calling. Great Tsathoggua speaks through
me, and commands you to assist this woman and her companions. That
includes NOT shagging her, you lazy fat hairy excuses for worshippers,

Karlotta's original interlocuter sighed, and pulled itself fully out of
its bedding, fastidiously brushing off the odd clinging fragment of

"You will probably want some supplies, and directions around the
mountain, then. We'll see what we can do. I am Azxheltl, a Voormis. Of
whom do I have the honour?"

Introductions having been made and mistakes corrected by the pendant,
food and drink were brought and eagerly consumed by the three Russians.
Munching happily, they gazed around. Great bronze doors pierced three
of the walls.

"What is behind those doors?"

"Secret stuff."

"Can we go there?"


"Not even if I give you some chocolate?"

"Some what?"

Karlotta passed Azxheltl a piece of brown Russian chocolate which he
sniffed, and bit into suspiciously. Suddenly his eyes widened, and
contemplative chewing gave way to frenzied feeding. Several dozen bars
of chocolate later the three companions were making their way out of
the Voormis dormitory with maps, an escort and several mysterious but
definitely powerful artefacts gathered from one of the locked rooms.
The guides led them up intricately-winding passages until they stood in
the light, gazing in wonderment on the fabled land of Hyperborea.


When Colum awoke his first thought was that he wasn't dead, and his
second that he wished he was. His entire right side seemed to be gone,
a mixture of third degree burns and frostbite. It was dark, bitterly
cold and there was a raffia lantern at 10 o'clock. The raffia lantern
seemed worthy of a look-see, and towards it Colum painfully crawled.

Inside their igloo Nanook was making tea by the light of a whale-oil
lamp while Sekatu snored on a pile of furs. Nanook gazed at her slim
naked body, so white, the slight covering of silvery hair enhancing the
beauty of her feminine curves and the faintly elvish cast of her
sleeping face. Magnificent eyebrows, he thought to himself, and that
thing she does with her legs is also pretty special. He looked down at
his own body, its trunk like a great triangular wedge set on thick
muscular thighs, and that bloody great THING between them. Don't know
how human men manage to walk around with this chap wobbling about in
front of them, she seems to like it though, and I suppose that's what
counts. A few more minutes uninterrupted cogitation might have led
Nanook independently to Mr Darwin's theory of sexual selection, but at
this point a faint noise outside caught his ears, and he crept towards
the entrance. As he reached it, the horribly burned and frozen form of
Colum O'Keefe fell through, moaning gently.

Sekatu sat up and rubbed her eyes.

"O, breakfast! How clever you are, darling!"

"It's not breakfast. It's a brother, smell him."

Sekatu sniffed, and crawled over to where her lover was gently licking
the still form of the British agent. She joined in. After about an hour
of this Colum's breathing deepened, and his crippled right side seemed
to be regenerating somewhat.

"Look here, sweetheart, this isn't going quickly enough. I'm going to
give him the kiss."

Nanook bent and bit Colum's neck, gently but firmly, holding it for a
few seconds as his saliva mixed with the Irishman's blood. Then he
licked the wound and sat back. They waited for a while, and drank their

"Still not quick enough. You're going to have to warm him."

"You WHAT????"

"It's a sacred duty to the traveller. Even if we were humans all the
time you would have to do this. Go on."


"So, what, you're going to WATCH??????"

"O, sorry. I'll, erm, wait over here. Facing this wall. Like this."


Some time later Sekatu crawled over to Nanook and licked the back of
his neck.

"Actually that was rather fun, and I think he's warm enough. Now, can
we go back to bed?"


Colum awoke the second time from strange dreams, intact, warm, well-fed
and ensconced on a heap of furs. An Elfin female face was watching him
from another pile of furs across the circular chamber.

"Hullo baby, remember me?"

"Well, no, or come to that, yes, but weren't you a dream?"

A second face poked out of the pile of furs opposite.

"Not a dream, though when she is in rabbiting mode I often wish I could
wake up from her. Welcome, brother! We found you wounded and saved you,
and you will stay with us as our honoured guest until you choose to
leave, at which time we will take you as far as we may in whichever
direction you choose. Would you care for some raw narwhal-blubber? Full
of nutritious vitamins."

"Erm, nothing would give me greater pleasure."

Colum reached for the proferred whale meat and then drew back, with an
exclamation. A polar bear paw seemed to have become attached to his

"Ah yes, how tactless of me. We, erm, had to resort to drastic
measures. You were awfully cold, and rather burned you see. But it's
ok, with the proper training you can change back and forth almost at
will. As you know."

"Actually I don't know. I WAS a werewolf, but I never learned to
control it. Can you teach me?"

Exchanging glances, Nanook and Sekatu prepared to explain the
shapechanger heritage to their prodigal brother.


As they collected their thoughts the scene in front of them resolved
itself into a lushly-forested river valley, steep sided and tapering
into narrowness both to right and to left. Light came from above, a
strange pearly radiance which, squinting upwards, they judged to be
coming through great slabs of ice. But down here it was hot and steamy,
and even with loosened furs all the Russians felt uncomfortably warm.

"Where now?"

"We do not know. Where do you wish to go? All we can say is that across
the valley is the land of Hyperborea, or what is left of it. That is
where Eibon came from, and if there are answers to the questions that
he and Tsathoggua have, then there is where they will be found."

"Well then, down we go!"

The pilot began to descend, but Karlotta, sweeping the jungle with a
telescope, stopped him with a sharp ejaculation.


Sheathing the telescope and compressing her lips, Karlotta replied

"I saw a head. Two metres long and teeth to match. I propose that we go

Karlotta's motion being carried, the Extraordinary Soviet of the
Peoples' Expedition into the Heart of the Magic Mountain began to climb
precariously along the edge of the forest. Thanks to Comrade Commissar
Bailkov's mountaineering skills and except for a few heart-stopping
moments over the river itself the transit went well, and six hours
later they stood on the far side of the strange forest, listening to
its sounds - strange creakings, bellowings, and the rattle of
submachineguns, diminuendo. Bailkov shook his head.

"Poor bloody devils. Whatever they tried to do to us, they didn't
deserve to be eaten alive."

The pilot pulled his lower lip meditatively.

"Did you know any of them?"

"Any of who?"

"The German pilots, of the Jagdlehrstaffel."

"Of the what?"

"Fightertrainingsquadron. Their government and ours have been
collaborating. We buy them planes, Fokker D-XIIIs mainly, and provide
facilities. They pay us buckets of cash and get round their Versailles
treaty obligations. I thought you knew? Anyway, none of the comrades in
the Workers' and Peasants' Red Air fleet likes them, or the situation,
one bit. Personally I am quite fond of the fat chap who took over
Richthofen's outfit after the Canadian Brown killed him, but that
Himmelstav fella with his Thule-this and Aryan-that crap, well quite
frankly he gives me the willies. Anyway, you are right, of course. A
man should not die in that way. Come on, let's get into the mountain."


EDITORIAL: The Island Bio-Geography of Playgroups.

Before he became famous for Sociobiology EO Wilson was known in the
scientific world for two things, namely his great work on the Social
Insects, and his collaboration with Robert MacArthur on the question of
why you get animals and plants on islands. This is the kind of childish
question that only a great scientist ever asks, but there's a
particular piece of context that you need to know in order to see why
it was such a good question. Briefly, this is that if you count the
number of animal and plant species on an island [Pacific islands, in
the original work], then for a given-sized island with a given degree
of remoteness you always get the same answer: and the less remote and
larger the island is, the more species it has. However, there is no
rule about the ACTUAL species one finds - instead, they are dotted
about in a totally bewildering and random manner. So, for example, you
cannot predict whether a given 13-hectare island is going to be graced
by the blue-footed Booby or not, but you CAN predict that if it is 200
miles from any possible colonising source then there will be three
[essentially random] species of seabirds on it.

MacArthur and Wilson made sense of these observations by proposing that
the number of species on an island represents a dynamic equilibrium
between colonisation and extinction. For any given island there is an
extinction parameter whose magnitude varies inversely with its size,
and there is a colonisation parameter which varies directly with size
[but not, it turns out, frightfully importantly] and inversely with
remoteness. This sort of thinking now underlies things like the design
of nature reserves so as to maximise diversity - long thin ones, eg
motorway verges, being much better than short fat ones, eg Yellowstone.

Recently it struck me that Island Bio-Geography [the name given to
MacArthur and Wilson's theory, hereinafter IBG] may have some bearing
on playgroups and tourneys, and hence on the prospects for Our Great
Game. Exactly what this bearing is depends on what we want for the
game, however. In this editorial We are going to take the view that
diversity is a Good Thing in Jyhad, and that it is linked to
survivability of the game in the longish term [in the longEST term, we
are all dead]. IBG theory says that, if one accepts this view, then
many small islands with easy intercommunication is the desideratum - ie
lots of tourneys, and it matters hardly at all if these take place in
small groups. Why you might hold this view would be that you want the
game to survive, and/or you want to sell cards. Of course, you could
take another view - you could want the game to achieve a maximum level
of competitiveness, to accomplish its potential. If you feel this way
then you want something else - big tourneys and not too many of them,
all the big beasts on one continent if you will. Here this newsletter
finds itself in a bit of an editorial quandary - it rather likes the
idea of the big beasts kicking lumps out of each other but it rather
fears that favouring this policy may lead to less diversity [fewer
dodos and more rats, if you will], and MUCH more importantly may
militate against the long-term survival of the game.

Food, I hope, for thought, and in any case a possible antidote to
people lamenting the growth of small tourneys at the expense of large
ones [something which is CERTAINLY going on in the UK].

[Deck] Wonder Twin Powers, Activate! By Emmit Svenson

Submitted for your delectation: a Protean/Dominate bleed deck empowered
by Dual Form. I've been playing it for several months, and the final
tweaked form you see here has worked quite well in our metagame. That
said, I'd love to get other folk's suggestions.

[Editor's comment: this is a sweet deck but I have to admit to posting
it in a SLIGHT mood of mischief, because I find the responses to it
ever so delicious and revelatory of fundamental splits in the global
metagame. Read the thread to see what I mean. Reyda, this ESPECIALLY
means you].

If I could, I would add another two Dual Forms to the deck. So far I've
not been able to trade for them, though, so I suppose it's time to pony
up $5 each to the Lasombra for them. Dual Form'd Illana is a menace,
and Soldat (or Faruq or Ingrid) with the Seal of Veddhartha also turns
out a DOM/FOR/PRO Dual Form. (Caitlin isn't such a good choice for the
SoV/DF combo, since she loses the use of the Seal when she drops in
In the dozens of games I've played, I've only had the Dual Form's burn
clause kick in twice: one loss to combat, one loss to Banishment.
Frankly, I expected it to be more of a liability. Luckily, there hasn't
been too much IG combat in our metagame recently, and Illana can't be
Jake Washington is MVP in this deck, a great way to fill up a new DF or
block rushers. It's also worth noting that just discarding a Claws of
the Dead can be a great deterrent against multirush decks, which really
can't afford to lose their multirusher. It won't stop them, but they
may hesitate for a crucial turn and find softer targets elsewhere.

Deck Name:   Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!
Created By:  Emmit Svenson

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 16, Max: 31, Avg: 6.16)
------------------------------ ----------------
  2  Chandler Hungerford       PRO                     3  Gangrel
  1  Daliyah                   obf PRO                 4  Nosferatu
  2  Caitlin                   aus dom ANI PRO         6  Gangrel Antitribu
  2  Soldat                    cel dom obf POT PRO     7  Gangrel Antitribu
  3  Iliana                    tha DOM FOR PRO         7  Gangrel
  1  Faruq                     dom for pot ANI PRO     8  Gangrel
  1  Ingrid Rossler            dom ANI FOR PRO         9  Gangrel

Library: (87 cards)
Master (15 cards)
  2  Dreams of the Sphinx
  1  Backways
  1  Zoo Hunting Ground
  5  Blood Doll
  1  Campground Hunting Ground
  1  Capitalist
  1  Coven, The
  1  Giant`s Blood
  2  Jake Washington (Hunter)
  1  Barrens, The

Action (16 cards)
  4  Dual Form
  2  Far Mastery
  9  Govern the Unaligned
  1  Graverobbing

Action Modifier (20 cards)
  4  Conditioning
  4  Foreshadowing Destruction
  4  Seduction
  8  Earth Control

Reaction (13 cards)
  6  Wake with Evening`s Freshness
  5  Deflection
  2  Redirection

Combat (19 cards)
  3  Claws of the Dead
  16 Form of Mist

Equipment (2 cards)
  2  Seal of Veddartha


And that's it for June! Now, back to marking, or, more likely, gloating
over England kicking the shit out of the Aussies in the 20/20 at the
Rosebowl [Australia 72 for 9 in reply to England's 179 for 8 at the
time of writing, so Good on Ya, Cobbers, if you manage to win from

Address for correspondence: Chopsalotapepl"at"swiftian word meaning