OFFICIAL VEKN GANGREL-ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 3 NUMBER 3 MARCH 2000 In this Mad-as-a-March-Hare Issue …… FICTION: Saturday Night in the City of the Damned. GANGREL ANTITRIBU STRATEGY ARTICLE: Town and Country: Two sub-blood-lines of the Gangrel antitribu as the basis for theme decks. PREACHER’S CORNER: Spreading the Bad Word: Vampiric Magic and Pokemon decks for working among the Unbelievers. FICTION: Saturday Night in the City of the Damned. Genevieve discreetly hitched her miniskirt a little higher and crossed her legs, then inhaled deeply on her powerfully-scented cigarette. She knew that in the flickering red light cast by the disco-ball she looked simply wonderful, and that it would not be long before she would be able to start a fight among the Anarchs for her favours, a fight whose consequences would severely inconvenience the shadowy presence behind the City Gangrel. Only a matter of time, if no-one came to interfere …. Ah good, there’s a face I recognise …. "What you doin’ here, bitch?" "And a very good morning to you, too, cousin! But what happened to your poor face? O, nothing, I remember now. Tell me, how did your parents ever get together if they were anything like as UGLY as you?" Zachary’s face was, in fact, changing, becoming more bestial … with a gesture he whipped a magnum out of the shadows but as he closed with the beautiful Priscus it was with his claws outstretched …. Meanwhile the other vampires, sensing the approach of the dawn, were screaming in panic as they surged towards the exits. Almost on her ….. she stepped off the bar stool and her high heels sank into the tiles … then her legs … and Zachary took a despairing swipe as she sank into the earth. Behind the mad beast in his brain the tiny voice of his remaining humanity was shrieking in terror "Follow her!!! FOLLOW, you great hulking monstrosity! We’re going to burn!!!" Rays of sunlight were criss-crossing the club and smoke was indeed beginning to pour from Zachary’s clothing ….. with a mighty effort the sane part of Zachary took charge for long enough to meld with the earth, and blackness engulfed his mind. Early the next night, Genevieve arose, armed with a spade. Ugly he might be, but Zachary was a tough fighter, and could be of use to the Country gangrel, if properly motivated … let’s see …. Gotta be around here somewhere …. GANGREL ANTITRIBU STRATEGY ARTICLE: Town and Country: Two sub-blood-lines of the Gangrel antitribu as the basis for theme decks. It’s now three years since I started writing these newsletters and at long last I am getting round to writing about the Gangrel antis as a clan. Actually there are two quite separate Gangrel anti factions – the City Gangrel [cel/obf/pro, hate werewolves and in fact just about everybody] and the Country Gangrel [ani/for/pro, live like nocturnal plains indians, hate werewolves [therefore like the Black Spiral Dancers] and quite like the camarilla gangrel too]. With that information it’s pretty easy to see how the available Gangrel antis divvy up, and to illustrate this I’ve devised the following two Happy sub-Families decks, each with a nice little combo ….. DotB/Dawn Op/ Form of Mist or earth Meld for the Country deck, and Earth Meld/Psyche for the City deck. Country gangrel-antitribu Deck. [12 vampires, 70 library cards] 2 Shane Grimald 2 Leon 2 Monique 2 Caitlin 2 Luther 2 Genevieve [average 5.33, opening uncontrolled 12-34 blood capacity] 14 masters: Giant’s Blood Twisted forest Gangrel Conspiracy 2 Blood Doll 2 Minion Tap Campground HG Auspex KRCG News Radio Fortitude Fame Animalism Protean 13 Disciplineless cards: Black Spiral Buddy 2 Leather jacket Sports Bike Bastard Sword JS Simmons Tasha Morgan Bum’s Ruch Ambush 13 Animalism 4 Drawing out the Beast Tier of Souls 4 Guard Dogs Army of rats Shepherd’s innocence 2 Aid from Bats 9 Fortitude 3 Skin of Steel 4 Dawn Op 2 Skin of Rock 9 Protean 4 Earth meld 5 Form of Mist 6 Auspex Pulse of the Canaille 3 Aura Reading 2 Telepathic Misdirection 6 Dominate 2 Govern the Unaligned 2 Grave Rob 2 Deflection City Gangrel Antitribu deck [12 vampires, 70 library cards] Huang 2 Sadie 2 Pieter Blaise 3 Zachary 3 Samantha [Average 6.25, opening uncontrolled 11-37] 13 Masters: Festivo Dell’ Estinto Hungry Coyote Fame Haven Uncovered 2 Blood Doll 2 Minion Tap Campground HG Mob Connections City Gangrel Connections Celerity Protean 14 Disciplineless Cards: 2 Computer Hacking [Sabbat version – read flavour text to see why] 2 WWEF Taste of Vitae 2 .44 Magnum Changeling Skin Face Mask Shadow Court Satyr Bum’s Rush 2 Ambush Leather jacket Trap 13 Protean 7 Earth Meld 4 Rapid Change 2 Homunculus 10 Obfuscate 2 Disguised weapon 4 Hidden Lurker 4 Swallowed by the Night 8 Celerity 4 Psyche 2 Blur 2 Flash 6 Fortitude 2 Skin of Steel 2 Skin of Rock 2 Freak Drive 6 Thamaturgy 3 Walk of Flame 3 Burst of Sunlight PREACHER’S CORNER: Spreading the Bad Word: Vampiric Magic and Pokemon decks for working among the Unbelievers. Ethan Burrow’s February !Toreador NL contained a moving little piece about how good, in the long run, Pokemon will be for the CCG hobby. I think he is right about this, and it’s a good opportunity for me to restate my opinion that engagement with competing CCGs is a good idea for Vampire players, since those are the areas we are going to recruit from. What this actually means, again in my opinion, is that we have to play at least some of these games at some level so that we can meet the people who currently play them with a view to winning them over in the future. With Magic it is also possible to have genuine good role-playing fun in the process. Sarah and Michael and I play quite a lot of fun-deck Magic, Michael tending to play with Goblin or Robot [artefact] decks, Sarah with garden- or nature-themed decks, and I of course with some manifestation of the undead myth. Magic may not be as deep or interesting as Jyhad, the rules and timing are a mess, the steady stream of broken cards is a pain but, crucially, you don’t HAVE to be a vampire in Magic, though you MAY be. Furthermore, you can explore aspects of the vampire myth outside the rather narrow conceptions of the World of Darkness [itself an emanation of Bram Stoker’s ideas]. I would really like to be complimentary about Pokemon, so let’s start with the positive aspects. Although superficially similar to Magic, this game has a weird integrity about it – it links to vibrant themes in Japanese popular culture, such as Manga and the Godzilla movies, themselves rooted in wider Japanese culture and history. The individual Pokemon [it’s short for Pocket Monster and not, as I originally thought, for stealing the kids’ Pocket Money] are characters so the game has some of the same focus on more-or-less-believable personalities which is a strength of Jyhad. Evolution is a novel idea for a card-game and I’m told that the links to the playstation game are close. The rule-book is beautifully written, carrying on the high standards set by Netrunner [an EXCELLENT game, to boot] and Battletech [not so good]. The foils are quite pretty, some of them – not Classic rage standard but not the boring oily things in the current Magic expansions. Where this game unfortunately falls down is in actual play. You bring out a Pokemon. You evolve it. Your Pokemon bashes your opponent’s, and vice versa, until one of you falls over. Then you do it again. There is some scope for graveyard manipulation and for tactical play but basically this is a five-way rock-paper-scissors game, and in my experience rather boring matches tend to be the rule, the more so if you are losing. Of course you do get boring games of Magic, and very very occasionally even of Jyhad, but dullness should not be the rule in any game that you are going to play more than once. Here are my current vampy Magic and Pokemon decks. In home play they are pretty effective, and with the Magic deck I have also beaten a good player in the form of John Eagles. Magic Deck: Jyhad: The Gathering Keeper of the Dead 3 Urborg Panther 3 Breathstealer 3 Feral Shadow Urborg Stalker 4 Sewer rats 2 Blood Pet 3 Barrow Ghoul 2 Spirit of the Night 2 Hidden horror Skyshroud Vampire 2 Vampire Hounds 4 Bog Rats Stronghold Assassin 4 Dark Ritual Spinning Darkness 4 Drain Life Necrologia Bad Moon 16 Swamp Urborg Pokemon Deck: Insufferably Cute Blood-Sucking Monsters of the Night 4 Mysterious Fossil 3 Kabuto 2 Kabutops 4 Zubat 3 Golbat 2 Venonat 2 Porygon 2 Koffing 2 Gambler Computer Search 3 Recycle Professor Oak 2 Gust of Wind 3 Potions 13 Grass Energy 13 Fighting Energy And that’s it for another month, making it exactly three years since I first started chronicling the misdeeds of the sabbat gangrel. Or not, as the case more frequently is. See y’all in April!